« PreviousContinue »
To bogs, and snares, and death! The time draws
near; When, seiz'd with horror, from the face divine, From angels, from the sight of mortal eyes, And from yourselves you'd flee. No flashy turns Of boasted wit, can raise your wonted flights Of thoughtless mirth; or chear your conscious minds, Lash'd with the stings of guilt. A dreadful steep You fearless tread; and o'er the fiery gulph Sulphureous, move unthinking: vainly bold In impious madness : whilst the lambent flame Sustains your tottring clay. The fatal gasp Inevitable, hastens: when the soul, With dread surprize awaken'd, sadly feels Immortal vigour springing up anew, Adapt to endless torture; and, accurst Thro' ages infinite, the galling chain Drags horrible, depriv'd of distant hope; And seeks, in vain, to die. The judge supreme, With stern resenting brow, descends once more; Not meek, as erst in Bethlehem. Arm’d with pow'r, And glories, scarce by heav'nly seraphs borne, Mortal access forbidding, high he rears Above the trembl’ing globe, his awful throne, With radiant death surrounded. Smoking clouds More dreadful than on Horeb's sacred mount, Clothe his triumphal car. Beneath the wheels, With burning gems beset, and axle red, Sharp-pointed lightnings flash. Unnumber'd hosts Of flaming guards in dread procession move : Their vollies rend the skies, and cleave the ground. Nor can that direful fragor so torment, With shrieks, the ear; when, from buge Alpine rocks
An ancient ridge of sturdy oaks deep-fang d,
With rays divine ; whilst daily incense pierc'd
** We have carefully followed the author's punctuation
throughout this poem, not feeling ourselves at liberty
to alter what seems to have been his own peculiar system.
BORN ABOUT 1700.-DIED 1742.
Here mark what ills the scholar's life mosail,
The life of Nicholas Amburst would abound with instruction, could materials be found from whence to compose it: unfortunately these are but scanty, and the following notices are principally taken from an article by Dr. Kippis in the Biographia Britannica,
George Amhurst was vicar of Marden in Kent, and died there in 1707, whether this clergyman was the father or grandfather of Nicholas does not appear.
Nicholas Amhurst was born at Marden, but in what year is unknown. He was educated by his grandfather, a clergyman, and at Merchant Taylor's school, in London, from whence he was removed at a fit age to St. John's College, Cambridge. How long he continued at the university is also unknown. One thing appears certain, that he was expelled from thence for alledged irregularities and offence given to the head of his college : what these irregularities were, does not satisfactorily appear: by his own account he was a martyr to his principles, for he affirmed that his disgrace was the consequence of the liberality of his political sentiments, and his attachment to the Hanoverian succession.
Whatever it may have been, he meditated, and in some degree effected signal revenge: he removed to London, and commenced the life of an author by attacking with the most unsparing severity, the character, the discipline, and the learning of the university of which he had been a member. In this violent abuse he employed both prose and verse, and he spared neither individuals nor corporations ; many of his invectives were personal, and appear to have been both illiberal and unjust.
The principal organ through which he conveyed this scandal was a periodical work with the strange title of “Terræ Filius, or the secret history of the University of Oxford ;" to which were added, when the
papers were collected and published in two volumes 12mo. 1720,– “some remarks upon a late book entitled, University Education, by R. Newton D.D. principal of Hart Hall." of the origin of his assumed title he gives the following account in the first number:-" It has till of late been a custom, from time immemorial, for one of our family who was called Terræ Filius, to mount the rostrum at Oxford at certain seasons, and divert an innumerable crowd of spectators, who flocked thither to hear him from all parts, with a merry oration, in the Fescennine manner, interspersed with secret history, raillery, and sarcasm,
as the occasions of the time supplied the matter. Something like this jovial solemnity were the famous Saturnalian feasts among the Romans." The work of Amhurst appears to have been worthy of its title, containing much abuse, some wit, and probably more malignity and exaggeration. It is now forgotten, and we shall not revive it in the small degree we are able, by further extending our remarks upon it.