Page images

May you be caught ; and may your heart
In wedlock meet its counterpart.
For greater worth it cannot find,
Tban in your own exalted mind;
And may you then with me rejoice,
And join a grateful mother's voice,
While), my infant in my arms,
Contemplate all her opening charms,
And fondly fancy in her face,
I every wish'd endearment trace !

Mr. Duncombe appears to hare been at this period of his life, for a short time, chaplain to John Earl of Cork and Orrery, with whom he and his father hal long enjoyed a friendship of the most intimate kind, and were very frequent visitors in the family, In 1773, more than ten years after the death of that accomplished nobleman, he collected and published a series of letters written by him when abroad, principally in Italy, which have been much admired for their ease and elegance. To this collection Mr. Duncombe prefixed a memoir of the earl.

Soon after his marriage Mr. Duncombe came to reside at Canterbury, upon his living; in addition to which he was appointed to hold for a minor, the rectory of West Thurrock, in the county of Essex. In 1766 he became one of the six preachers in Canterbury Cathedral, by the nomination of Archbishop Secker; and in 1773 received from Archbishop Cornwallis, to whom he had also been appointed chaplain, his last clerical preferment, which was the vicarage of Herne near Canterbury, where he afterwards occasionally * resided.

In 11785 he had a paralytic affection, from which ho partially recovered, but lost. his life by a second attack on the 18th of January, in the following year..

For a longer account of this very respectable clergyman, we must refer our readers to an article in the Biographia Britannica, written certainly with the partiality and warmth of a friend, and probably of a neat relation, but amply confirmed, as far as the goodness of his private character is concerned, by the general report of those who knew him personally and yet survive him. Our business is more particularly with his literary life.

John Duncombe was the author and publisher of many works, a complete catalogue of which would occupy too much space; it may be found in the article in the Biographia Britannica, above alluded to, and in the 56th volume of the Gentleman's Magazine. The principal of these is perhaps the translation of Horace, in conjunction with his father, an edition of which was published in 1768, and a second in the following year, This work was not entirely original, but composed by adopting such translations of different parts as had already appeared, and which the editors “ despaired to equal,” and completing the whole by “attempting to trace the original as closely as was consistent with the genius and elegance of the English tongue." This translation, although upon the whole not equal to the recent attempt of Francis in the same line, has several spirited and successful versions both original and selected. The greater part of the literal translations are from the pen of the elder Duncombe, and are inferior to the parts selected for execution by his son; many these are imitations, in which he has ingeniously, but


unfortunately for the permanent interest of his work, selected temporary subjects. The following is a fair specimen.



To the Honourable James Yorke.

For quiet on Newmarket's plain,
The shivering Curate prays in vain,

When wintry show'rs are falling;
And stumblmg steed and whistling wind,
Quite banish from his anxious mind,

The duties of his calling.

With thoughts engross'd by routs and plays
The gallant Sophi for quiet prays,

Confuted and confuting;
And quiet is alike desir'd
Een by the king's professor, tir'd :

With wrangling aud disputing.

In crowded sepates, on the chair
Of our Vice-Chancellor sits Care,

Undaunted by the mace ;
Care climbs the yacht when adve se gales
Detain or tear our patron's sails,

And ruffles ev'n his Grace.

How bless'd is he whose annual toil
With well-r'ang'd trees improves a soil,

For ages yet unborn!
Such as at humble Ba ley, plapn'd
By mitred Herring's youthful hand,

The cultur'd glebe adorn,

From place to place we still pursue
Content, and hope in each to view

The visionary guest:
Vainly we shun intruding Care;
Not all, like you, the joys can share

Of Wimple and of Wrest.

Then let us snatch, while in our pow'r, The present transitory hour,

And leave to hear'n the morrow; Youth has its griefs; a friend may die, Or nymph deceive; for none can fly

The giant hand of sorrow. His country's hope, and parent's pride In bloom of life young Blandford died;

His godlike father's eyes Were dimm'd in age by helpless tears; And hear'n to me may grant the years,

Which it to you denies.

Your rising virtues soon will claim
A portion of your brother's fame

And catch congenial fire :
They shine in embassy and war;
They grace the senate and the bar;

And emulate their sire

Invested with the sacred gown,
You soon to rival their renown,

The glorious task shall join;
And while they guard Britannia's laws
You, steady in religion's caute,

Shall guard the laws divine.

[ocr errors]

Besides the letters of Lord Corke before mentioned, Mr. Duncombe published a volume of correspondence between Archbisbop Herring and his father, and a more valuable selection of letters by various-writers, including a considerable number by his maternal uncle, John Hughes, Esq. His latest works were some topographical contributions to a periodical publication by Mr. Nichols, comprising a history of Reculver and Herne in Kent, and an account of three hospitals in Canterbury of which he was master. In the same year, 1784, he published select works of the Emperor Julian in 2 volumes 8vo. He printed at different times, three sermons: one preached in St. Ann's Church, Westminster, where he was for some time, in the early part of his life assistant preacher, and two delivered to bis congregation at St. Andrew's Church in Canterbury. These were all printed at the request of the hearers, and are creditable to him as a careful and diligent student and expositor of holy writ. He was concerned in the publication of the Gentleman's Magazine for more than twenty years, haring succeeded his friend Dr. Hawkesworth in the reviewer's department of that work; he also contributed a variety of papers

in biography, poetry, and criticism; some of these have the signature of Crito, others are anonymous.

The poems written by Mr. Duncombe at different periods of his life, would form a volume of handsome dimensions, but they bave never been collected. Some of them were printed in the form of pamphlets, but the greater number were inserted in the various miscellanies of the day, and are to be found in the Gentleman's Magazine, the Poetical Calendar, Dodsley's and Pearch's Collections, Nichol's Selections, and the

« PreviousContinue »