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vice of literature. His contributions, metri- | view' and Sir Richard Philips's 'Monthly cal and critical, to the periodical press of the Magazine.' He first met the poet (by nine time, opened a new and a rich vein-he was years his junior) at the house of a common treated accordingly by its proprietors and con- friend in Yarmouth, and they took to each ductors with an eagerness of attention such as other so heartily, that Southey not long afterseldom falls to the share of any but a great wards revisited Norfolk to pass several weeks original genius; and this will surprise no one under Taylor's roof. His younger brother, who considers what a dim and drizzling twi-Henry Southey, was by and bye domesticated light that was which intervened between the at Norwich as the pupil of an eminent surgeon obscuration of Cowper and the outblazing of there, and Taylor conceiving a warm affection the galaxy that has not yet entirely passed for the youth, and superintending with a paaway. As literary demands and connections ternal care the direction of his extra-profesmultiplied, his attendance at the counting- sional studies, the letters between him and the house became slacker and slacker. Before poet assume by no slow degrees such a charhe turned the corner of thirty he seems to acter of entire trust and confidence as might have pretty nearly settled into the 'gown and have beseemed the intercourse of near and slipper habits of a confirmed bachelor, and a dear blood relations. To the correspondence confirmed miscellanist. Had he married at begun under these interesting circumstances, the proper time of life, he would have had and continued, with few interruptions, until motives for either not neglecting his father's near the end of Mr. Taylor's life, illustrating trade, or carrying a more strenuous spirit of as it does in a very lively manner the course enterprise into the department of letters: but of the late Laureate's literary history, the this is one of the very few biographies in changes that his mind underwent, and the unwhich there occurs from beginning to end no changeable warmth and purity of his heart and hint or trace whatever of any tender passion feelings, the present volumes owe their highor attachment. Though his writings indicate est attraction. The publication of Mr. Souno coldness of temperament, but the reverse, they's letters was authorized by himself shortly he appears to have declared from the very first after the death of his Norwich friend: seventhat he never would marry-and he stuck to ty-three of them are here printed. that resolution as doggedly as he did to his German lore, and what was, we suspect, a main source of all his errors and neglects, his Meerschaum pipe. One of his earliest acquaintances out of the Norwich circle was Godwin; but they had not met for several years when that philosopher happened to pass through Norwich shortly after his marriage with Mary Wolstonecraft. His salutation to Taylor was an expression of surprise at finding him still a bachelor. Yes, Sir,' said Taylor dryly, 'I practice what I preach.'*
It must indeed have been with very peculiar feelings that the grey-haired Laureate revised some of these communications for the press. On the 10th of August, 1798, Mr. Taylor writes to him thus :-
entitled "A Picture of Christian Philosophy," by 'I have just been reading a delightful book Robert Fellowes. Such a work, and from a clergyman of the Establishment, is indeed an omen of better times. The character of Burke is remarkably well given in one of the notes. Those of Rousseau and of Paine are to my thinking not It was in the summer of 1798 that the sec- quite so fortunate; that of Jesus is drawn exactly retary of the Norwich Revolutionary Socie- as it should be-in the manner most conducive ty' made acquaintance with Mr. Southey, to its useful operation on public morality, and most consonant with the general design of his whose early opinions on many subjects were proper historians. This is infinitely the best anakin to his own, and who was, we believe, a swer to Wilberforce's cant which has yet been brother-contributor to both the Monthly Re-produced, but is, I fear, of too refined an order to
operate on the organs of his followers-it is attempting with otter of roses to aromatize the fumes of tobacco.
'I am idling away my leisure in settling questions of chronology. I have stumbled on the new hypothesis, that the Nebuchadnezzar of Scripture is the Cyrus of Greek history, which annihilates seventy years of received story sup
* So did not in this matter an elder and a better light of Norwich. The Religio Medici was yet a new book, when Sir Thomas Browne espoused, as Whitefoot records, a lady of such symmetrical perfection to her worthy husband, both in the graces of her body and mind, that they seemed to come to gether by a kind of natural magnetism.' Johnson adds: This marriage could not but draw the rail-posed to pass between them. To compress and lery of contemporary wits upon a man who had just been wishing that we might procreate, like trees, without conjunction ;" and had lately declared that "the whole world was made for man, but only the twelfth part of man for woman," and that "man is the whole world, but woman only the rib or crooked part of man."
squeeze together the annals of Egypt sufficiently, has given me most embarrassment. A second proposition is, that Daniel, the Jew, a favorite of this prince, wrote all those oracles scattered in Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel, relative to his enterprises, for the particularization of which they afford ample materials. Ishall endeavor to unite
the several investigations in an essay on the life | by his parents, and to which he returned in of Cyrus... the sobriety of his matured and disciplined 'Will it be a sin this tenth of August to trans understanding. But the whole of that deepcribe you an attempt at an ode on the death of Messrs. Shears of Dublin?'
[This is a long rebellious lyric, in phrase and metre as un-English as in sentiments, which we need not transcribe.]
'Many who read your writings forgive your opinions for the sake of the poetry. You are called on for an opposite indulgence-forgive the poetry for the sake of the sentiments.
'Your very affectionate, 'WILLIAM TAYLOR, Jun.' Next week Mr. Southey says in reply (inter alia):
order so to have lived? . . .
ly-interesting story will be told ere long by Mr. Southey's own selected biographer, having at command his entire correspondence, and we believe a MS. poem expressly designed to set forth the hidden life of his mind. At present our business is with him only as the friend of William Taylor-the freedom with which the two men from the beginning communicated their thoughts and sentiments to each other, and the perfect charity with which they continued this intercourse in the midst of growing divergence of opinion, and after Mr. Southey's creed, political and religious, had become what it was to the last, the very opposite of Taylor's.
Another of Taylor's eminent early friends was Sir James Mackintosh. They first met
'I thank you for your ode. You have taught me enough of Klopstock to see that you have caught his manner. The Irish business has been almost a counterpart to the death of the Girondists; yet who would not be content so to die, in 'I shall look for Fellowes's book. Your chro-at Edinburgh, where Taylor twice visited nological researches I can only wonder at; my Sayers, while, like Mackintosh, pursuing his studies have never been directed that way. medical studies at the Northern University. Have you seen a volume of Lyrical Ballads, &c.? Upon being called to the bar here Sir James They are by Coleridge and Wordsworth, but made choice of the Norfolk circuit, and durtheir names are not affixed. Coleridge's ballading the Norwich assizes he either took up his of "The Ancient Mariner " is, I think, the clumsiest attempt at German sublimity I ever saw Many of the others are very fine; and some I shall re-read, upon the same principle that led me through Trissino, whenever I am afraid of writing like a child or an old woman.
'God bless you,-yours truly,
abode under Taylor's roof or spent the evening in his society. One of Taylor's first known attempts in original verse was a lofty but stiff sonnet to the author of the Vindicia Gallicæ ; and many eulogistic notices of Taylor's talents and sly good-humored allusions to his hopeless heresies of taste and style, are scatAbout the same time, Taylor, in criticis-tered over Mackintosh's Indian diaries and ing some of Southey's verses, gives him the letters; but if they were ever in the habit of pithy advice to squeeze out more of his epistolary correspondence, we have no proof whey'-a phrase which is often revived be-of it in this book. On the other hand, tween them-and then rebukes him for some though Taylor and Coleridge never saw doctrinal and moral aberrations, of what na-each other, community of connections and ture we may guess from the reply:
sympathies of studies made it natural for them to write to each other when occasion
'Barker is painting a picture from "Mary the invited: and though neither was there any Maid of the Inn," but from what part of the story I have not learnt. He might have found personal acquaintance between Taylor and better subjects in my better pieces. My "St. Mr. Wordsworth, nor was Mr. Wordsworth Anthony" has no morality at all. Sophistry at any period so unfortunate as to adopt any may be expected from the devil, whose object of Mr. Taylor's doctrinal errors, it is not surin arguing is to puzzle his adversary. The prising that in this case also we should find eclogue was written before Lloyd's "Lines on traces of mutual regard, and now and then the Fast," and "Letter to the Anti-jacobin" the exchange through Southey of friendly had reached me; but Satan defends himself exTaylor says on actly upon the same principle that Charles messages and criticisms. Lloyd defends existing establishments.' Mackintosh's first visit at Norwich:'Dr. Parr and Mackintosh have been in Nor
"Ceu duo nubigenæ quum vertice montis ab alto Descendunt Centauri."
We have quoted enough to show how Tay-wichlor and Southey agreed in their early politics; and the reader of Southey's early poetry, as originally published, and of his Letters from Spain and Portugal in 1796, was ly knows whether to admire most the oracular They are both very dazzling men. One scarcealready well aware that he in the pride of significance and compact rotundity of the single youth wandered far from the Church of Eng-sentences of Parr, or the easy flow and glittering land, in whose principles he was educated expansion of the unwearied and unwearying
eloquence of Mackintosh. Parr's far-darting the same habits of profuse hospitality. Wilhyperboles and gorgeous tropes array the frag-liam Taylor is now entirely devoted to his ments of his conversation in the gaudiest trim. literary studies and magazine engagements Mackintosh's cohesion of idea and clearness of intellect give to his sweeps of discussion a more during the morning hours, dividing the rest instructive importance. Parr has the manners of his time between the most affectionate atof a pedant, Mackintosh of a gentleman. Of tention to his parents, the pleasures of their course people in general look up to Parr with social circle, and the intellectual and conawe, and feel esteem for him rather than love; vivial activity of his clubs of liberalism and while Mackintosh conciliates and fascinates. In free-thinking. He soon became an active this feeling I do not coincide with others wholly.journalist--but this implied in his case a There is a lovingness of heart about Parr, a sus
ceptibility of the affections, which would endear very helluo librorum. He was not to be conhim even without his Greek. But admiration tented with skimming surfaces-though he is, if I mistake not, yet more gratifying to Mackin- had, in his command of the continental lantosh than attachment; to personal partialities guages, the means of satisfying his editors he inclines less. His opinions are sensibly aris- and their readers at comparatively little cost tocratized since the publication of his "Vin- of labor to himself, he disdained to make diciæ;" but they retain a grandeur of outline, himself the mere exponent of other men's and are approaching the manner of the constitutional school. Mackintosh's memory is well works and views, worked out every subject stored with fine passages, Latin and English, in his own way for himself, and was unwhich he repeats; and his taste in poetry in-doubtedly more instrumental than any man clines to metrical philosophy rather than pathos of his standing in introducing that more disor fancy. Milton, Dryden, and Pope have alone cursive and essay-like fashion of reviewal sufficient good sense to please him. Virgil he which our Edinburgh brethren had the merit overrates, I think, and Cicero too. Style and again style is the topic of his praise. or demerit (there is much to be said on both Čareless writing, redolent of mind, is better than all the sides) of ultimately, and we believe pervarnish of composition, merely artful. I was manently, popularizing in this country. surprised to find him agree with the French in Though, as we have already observed, his thinking Bossuet very eloquent; and still more classical education was slight, and he never so at his rating so very high the panegyric attained any thing like a critical skill in mysticism of Bishop Jeremy Taylor.'-vol. i. Greek or Latin, his curiosity was too genuine pp. 295–298. to be satisfied without very extensive exploration of the remains of antiquity, and You give me a more favorable account of with the help of the numberless excellent Mackintosh than I have been accustomed to re-translations and ingenious disquisitions ceive. Coleridge has seen much of him at the which his mastery of German placed at his Wedgewoods'. He describes him as acute in command, he certainly attained such an acargument, more skilful in detecting the logical quaintance with the history and manners and errors of his adversary than in propounding truth himself—a man accustomed to the gladi-philosophical systems of the old world as was atorship of conversation-a literary fencer, who in his earlier day most rare among the ablest parries better than he thrusts. I suspect that, prosodists and variæ lectiones men of our in praising Jeremy Taylor and in overrating him, he talks after Coleridge, who is a heathen in literature, and ranks the old bishop among his demigods.'
Southey answers :—
Our readers will by and bye remember with astonishment what William Taylor said at this time concerning "style and again style;" but we must not lose sight of his personal story.
universities. That he had made some progress in Hebrew and its cognate dialects is also evident-we do not profess to measure it; with so many German manuals at his elbow, a man of his cleverness might produce much article effect with but a slender stock of real Orientalism; but he himself in his letters to Southey now and then alludes to his expertness in the use of his hidden reThe foreign commerce of the house of sources for that sort of mystification, with an Taylor and Co. had received a serious blow easy sportiveness which the mere charlatan on the breaking out of the war with revolu- never had courage for, and which probably tionary France, and among other changes, rather exaggerates the matter than othernot long afterwards, the idle partner's name wise. Of his skill in the cultivated lanwas dropt, while the old gentleman yielded guages of the modern continent there can the chief control of the remaining business be no question. He spoke and wrote the to a more active person, and withdrew a con- three most important ones with rare ease and siderable capital, to be invested by way of very rare accuracy; and he knew enough permanent provision for his son in mortgages and in the funds. The family continued in the same spacious house at Norwich, and in
of the minor dialects, whether Romance or Teutonic, to read in them whatever they had worth reading. Probably no man ever re
viewed books written in such a variety of lan- own reviewals, I should say-This man's style guages-and he whom we have just heard has an ambitious singularity, which, like chewexpatiating on the charm of careless writing ginseng, displeases at first and attaches at often sacrifices felicity to curiosity of expression: last. In his pursuit of the curiosa felicitas, he with much philological knowledge, and much familiarity among the European classics of all sorts, his innovations are mostly defensible, and his allusions mostly pertinent; yet they have both an unusuality which startles, and which, if ultimately approved, provokes at least an antemerit is the appropriate application of his inforrior discussion that is unpleasant. His highest mation: in his account of Rivarol you discover only his philological; in his account of Eichhorn only his theological; in his account of Gillier only his artistical; and of Wieland only his belles-lettristical pedantry, &c.'
ing, redolent of mind,' reviewed them all in a style as thoroughly artificial as was ever compounded out of Gibbonism and Parrism; nay, it is not too much to say in a dialect of his own invention, which was adhered to with paternal steadfastness in spite of the solemn reclamations of every editor with whom he formed any connection-in spite of remonstrances and rebukes that led to the breaking up of more than one such connection-in spite of the pressing and affectionate appeals which Southey repeated until the case was utterly hopeless-and in spite of a thousand friendly jokes and jibes from the gall-less Mackintosh, who also at last gave it up in despair, saying in his Bombay diary; 'Well, there is no help-I am content to add another tongue to my list for the sake of one author.'
We make no attempt to follow our biographer through the long array of Mr. Taylor's critical labors. They embraced a vast variety of subjects-philology, especially etymology, chronology, topography, history, sacred and profane, ancient and modern, political Talmudic legend, Mahometan ethics, Biblieconomy and statistics, international law, cal texts, churches and sects, parliamentary
This Taylorian dialect is mainly English of a Johnsonian cast, spoilt and distorted by the embroidery of vocables from the German, but still more frequently by the introduction of new compounds framed accord-reform, slave-trade--and, the catalogue would ing to the German principle, and involutions of phrase and syntax adopted with similar infelicity from the same quarter. But in his 'Babel-like structure, as Southey calls it,
few materials were inadmissible. Words
fill a couple of pages, almost every possible branch of the belles-lettres of modern Europe. The editor has interwoven specimens, mination; and he hints at some larger selecwith, we are willing to believe, a good discriwill encourage him in that design: it is a tion by and by. We doubt if the public very remarkable fact, that no collection of reviewals has as yet proved a successful bookseller's speculation.
maxim of an eminent doctor of the craft, We are not exactly prepared to adopt the that the best reviewer is he who has had least knowledge of his subject until he begins to
and turns, old or new, from south or north, east or west, whenever they seemed capable of being employed so as to lend precision to his sentence, or to heighten the strut of his paragraph, were alike lawful plunder in the eyes of Mr. Taylor. That even to those who were skilled in the sources of his plunder, he did not often make his meaning clearer by the free use of such license, may be readily conceived; but he of course made himself prepare for his article: but undoubtedly the very often utterly unintelligible to the read-outpourings of a vigorous writer on a fresh ing public, who could not translate him for themselves, as they went on, into Dutch: and we should have lamented indeed his adherence to the dialect, had the doctrines it ⚫ mostly conveyed not been as heterogeneous and presumptuous as the vehicle. This is to be said to his credit, as compared with some other Babel-mongers, perverted by studies not dissimilar from his, that however difficult his phraseology, it does not seem ever to have been made obscure either from mistiness in his ideas themselves, or from reluctance to
It is impossible not to be diverted with his description of his own style, in a letter to Southey of 1799 :
'I think it easier you in prose than in verse.
theme may often surpass, in popular attrac-
should always know me
mond's biography, which was almost my whole per? Such glimpses of Southey, at all events, duty, I have reviewed Milton's pamphlets one by must have no ordinary value for all our one, as if they were new publications. It is readers. In September, 1798, Taylor pleasant to get out of the modern shrubberies in writes :perpetual flower, into the stately yew-hedge walks, and vased and statued terraces, and fruitful walls and marble fountains, of the old school of oratory. Such things are not made without a greater expense of study and of brains than modern method requires; and yet there is a something of stiffness and inutility to censure there, and as omething of aptness, grace, and convenience to applaud here.'
'Your friend Mr. Lloyd has been addressing to me a tragedy. I thought it odd he should send to me his poem to read; he has older and dearer friends, who are better judges of the taste of an English public than I, whose taste has been moulded on that of a foreign public. I wrote to him very freezingly-I do not know enough of his heart as yet to take strong interest in his head. The afternoon I drank tea with him at Burnett's, he struck me as better qualified to assert
old men to be intoxicated with a small quantity of wine. Those who can die of a rose in aromatic pain have not grief in reserve for Medea's last embrace of her children. If I am wrong,
me right about Lloyd. Is not he one of those their productions, and who are too much used to men who underrate their talents and overrate complaisance to bear severity ?"
Southey's reply has this passage:
We wish the editor had afforded more explanatory notes as to various persons mention-empire over the understanding than over the feeled in this correspondence, whose celebrity ings-as a good reasoner—as a man of great cahas already pretty well passed away. Of Mr. pacities. His sensibility, I suspect, is too soon Lloyd, indeed, we have a sufficient account excited to be very profound, and attains its maxIt is a imum of irritation by inferior woes. in one of the Appendices to Southey's edi-mark of debility, not of vigor, in children and tion of Cowper-but of others who fill no small space in these letters, and who at the time were objects of general curiosity and high expectation, the generation that now is knows little or nothing. Such is the case asset to the friend who brought Southey and Taylor together-Mr. George Burnett, of whose literary performances only one, we believe, can be said to have escaped utter oblivion-a small volume of letters from Poland, written 'Lloyd has promised me his tragedy, and I about the beginning of this century—a lively have been for some time vainly expecting it. You have well charactered him. A long acand amusing book, which was on its first ap-quaintance would enable you to add to what you pearance very popular-the first English book have said, not to alter it. Lloyd is precipitate that gave any detailed view of modern Polish in all his feelings, and ready to be the dupe of society. We see that Burnett was born near any one who will profess attachment. I never Southey's native city of Bristol, the son of a knew a man so delighted with the exteriors of then flourishing farmer, and that he was friendship. He was once dissatisfied with me for Southey's fellow-student at Balliol we infer a coldness and freedom of manner: it soon wore from the name of that college on the title-off, and I believe he now sincerely regards me, of the Polish letters. When he intro-casions advised, and at times reproved him, in unthough the only person who has ever upon all ocpage duced Southey to Taylor he was minister of palliated terms. Certainly he is a powerful reaan Unitarian chapel at Yarmouth. He after-soner, but he has an unhappy propensity to find out wards studied medicine at Edinburgh-failed a reason for every thing he does: and whether he in the attempt to establish himself as a prac-drink wine or water, it is always metaphysically titioner in some provincial town-went abroad right. His feelings are always good, but he has as secretary and librarian to a Polish noble- not activity enough for beneficence. I look at his talents with admiration, but almost fear that man, with whom he in about a year quar- they will leave no adequate testimony behind relled-and hung about London after his re- them. I love him, but I cannot esteem him, and turn, a mere adventurer of the periodical so I told him. He thinks nothing but what is press, which career his idle irresolute charac-good, but then he only thinks. I fear he will ter seems to have made peculiarly unhappy. never be useful to others or happy in himself.' Of his end we know nothing. Many of In a subsequent letter, chiefly occupied Southey's allusions to this gentleman and with a family quarrel of poor Burnett's, on others of a similar class are dark as the dark-which Southey had as usual spoken his mind est enigmas of Taylorism, for want of a note without disguise, Taylor, who objected to inwhich we can hardly think it would have terfere, gives this reason for his conduct :cost the editor much trouble to supply. In general, however, our quotations are made for the sake of sentiments or opinions that may stand by themselves-sketches of other men that are by reflex autobiographic-as indeed who can criticise his fellow-beings without At the time when Southey was bestowing throwing light on his own character and tem- so much of his anxiety on the struggles of
'I shall avoid that sort of comment which sin
cerity perhaps requires, but which, as it respects a question of the finer feelings, would inflict an unhealable though invisible wound on our relations of intimacy.