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sentiments and imagery are trite, and the versification insufferably tedious and languid.

Of the prose of Blackmore, his Essays and the Lay Monastery are the best. This last production was intended. as a sequel to the Spectators, the seventh volume of which was at that time supposed to have closed the undertaking. It was originally published in single papers, under the title of the Lay Monk, and the first number appeared on November 16th, 1713. ' It was presented to the public thrice a week, on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday; and, having reached forty numbers, expired on February 15th, 1714. It was re-published the same year in one volume, and under its present title, and passed through a second edition, which now lies before me, in 1727. Sir Richard was assisted in this work by Mr. Hughes, who wrote all the Friday's papers.

The Lay Monastery, though never popular, contains some essays of no inconsiderable merit, and, in imitation of the Spectator; has adopted a dramatic plan, for the purpose of binding the parts into a whole; an advantage of which, unfortunately, few periodical papers have since availed themselves. . . That Blackmore very justly appreciated the value of this resource, and had a correct idea of the peculiar laws of periodical composition, as exemplified in the Spectator, is

strikingly evident from the first paragraph of his preface. “ The world,” says he, “has been obliged to an author of distinguished merit, now living, for having been the inventor of a manner of writing, no less entertaining than any which had been established by the practice of the most celebrated antients. The form into which the best writer among the Romans generally chose to cast his thoughts, was that of dialogue, or of corrversations related, in which the persons introduced were all philosophers, and the discourses wholly serious; yet this he borrowed from Plato and others of the Greeks whom he professed to imitate. But the introducing a set of persons of different humours and characters, acting on some imaginary occasion which might draw out a variety of incidents and discourses, and in which every paper should be an entire piece, at the same time that it is a part of the whole, is the invention of the writer already mentioned, who seems at once to have introduced it, and carried it to perfection.”

In conformity with the approbation expressed in this passage, Sir Richard has formed a club consisting of six characters, who, retiring to a house in the country, assemble twice a week for the purpose of reading and discussing the merits of various essays, of their own composition, on

literature and manners. This select fraternity consists of a Mr. Johnson, a gentleman of great genius, erudition, and accomplishments; of Dr. Lacon, a physician; of Sir Eustace Locker, whose favourite studies are metaphysics and theology; of Sir Arthur Wimbleton, a widower, a man of uncommon beneficence and humanity; of Ned Freeman, a compound of gallantry, good humour, and classical elegance; and of Mr. Ravenscroft, the secretary, the history of whose eventful life is given in the third number.

Of these personages, five owe their existence to Sir Richard Blackmore; and the sixth, the portrait of Ned Freeman, is the conception of Mr. Hughes. They are supported with consistency and spirit; and it was the opinion of Hughes, that, had not Sir Richard been unexpectedly diverted from the prosecution of the plan, the work would have gained its share of popularity, and might have been continued with credit and advantage to its authors. The style is, in several of the papers, elegant and correct, and the subject-matter occasionally interesting. Two Essays, N° 31 and 32, contain an ingenious parallel between poetry and painting; they are, being Monday and Wednesday papers, the composition of Sir Richard; and, as specimens of his diction

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and manner, I shall select, from the first of them a couple of passages.

« With what wonderful success has nature painted all the scenes of this wide theatre, the world! How masterly are her designs, how strong and bold her draughts, how delicate her touches, and how rich and beautiful is her colouring! It is with inimitable skill that she manages and proportions her lights and shades, and mixes and works in her colours; the gardens smile with her fruits of different dye, and the verdure of the fields is beautifully varied by different flowers. What pencil can express the glowing blushes of the rose, the glossy white of the lily, or the rich crimson of the amaranth ? What master can delineate the changeable colours in the neck of the dove, and in the tail of the peacock, arising from the rays of light glancing and playing among their feathers ?”

As the epic and tragic poets by the warm ideas they convey, touch all the springs and movements of our minds, and take possession of our hearts, by propagating their own passions, and transmitting their very souls into our bosoms; so the masters of the great manner in painting history, who express in their pieces great design, generous sentiments, and the dignity of the

sublime style, animate their canvas with the most lively and active passions. All the emotions of the heart appear in the faces of their figures with the utmost spirit and vivacity: the whole soul is collected and exerted in the eyes, which sometimes Aash with fury, and sometimes are transported with joy, or uplifted with admiration; in one piece they are filled with horror and consternation, and at another they melt with tender affection.

" What poetical design and description, what an epic imagination does Raphael show in his celebrated piece of Constantine and Maxentius ! And what masterly and admirable painting does Virgil express, when he describes the battle of the Latins and the Trojans.”

22. THE MERCATOR, OR COMMERCE ReTRIEVED. So general had become the taste for periodical composition, that even subjects of a commercial as well as a political nature, were conceived capable of being published to advantage in this form..' Mercator appeared in 1713, and was soon followed by

23. The British MERCHANT, OR COMMERCE PRESERVED. Both these papers are noticed in the following advertisement at the close of No 129 of the Guardian, dated August 8th, 1713. “ This day is published, The British Merchant, or Commerce Preserved, No 1, to be

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