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“ attention. The same disposition formed the most distinguished “ features at an early, and at a late period of his life. A decision 66 of mind, and a strict attachment to virtue, an enthusiastic love of “ liberty, an uniform spirit of philanthropy, were the characteristics 6 of his youth, and of his manhood: he did no act, he used no “ expression, which did not justify these assertions.”
A collection of English poems, composed by Mr. Jones, at Harrow, was presented by him to his friend Parnell, in 1763. The first and longest of the collection, containing more than three hundred and thirty lines, is entitled Prolusions, and is a critique on the various styles of pastoral writers. This was written by Mr. Jones, at the age of fifteen, and is the original of the poem, which he afterwards published under the title of Arcadia*.
The variations between his first attempt and subsequent publication are very considerable. In his earliest composition, he makes Menalcas, who represents Theocritus, the father of pastoral poetry, adopt the language of Chaucer, as the only model he could take for a specimen of the English Doric. Spenser speaks in his own dialect, and, as the poet says,
Masks in the roughest veil the sweetest song:
In the original essay, Mr. Jones gives the prize to Tityrus, or Virgil: but, in the latter, Theocritus divides the kingdom of Arcadia between Virgil and Spenser, and assigns to them his two daughters, Daphne and Hyla, by whom he understands the two sorts of pastoral poetry; the one elegant and polished, the other simple and unadorned, in both which Theocritus excels.
* Works, vol. iv. p. 478.
The The remaining poems in the collection, consist of translations and imitations of Horace, Sophocles, and Theocritus; Saul and David, an Ode; and a Satire on the inordinate Love of Novelty.
A manuscript of these poems, in the hand-writing of Mr. Jones, was presented to Lady Jones, by Sir John Parnell, a few weeks only before his death. I select as a specimen of Mr. Jones's poetical talents, at the age of fourteen, the shortest in the collection, in imitation of a well known Ode of Horace*, and addressed to his friend Parnell:
How quickly fades the vital flow'r!
Steals unperceiv'd away:.
Can zeal, drear Pluto's wrath restrain?
His hallow'd shrine with blood,
To pass the Stygian flood.
In vain, my Parnell, wrapt in ease,
In vain we fly from wars;
How needless are our cares !
Our house, our land, our shadowy grove,
Ah me, we soon must leave!
* Ode 14. lib. ii.
To others shall we then resign
Which, frugal, now we store;
Shall stain the stucco floor.
The new situation of Mr. Jones, at the University, did not at first correspond with his expectations. Under the tuition of a master, who saw with adıniration his capacity and application, who was anxious to assist bis exertions, and rewarded their success with unlimited applause, his ardour for learning had been raised to a degree of enthusiasm : at the University, he expected to find a Sumner or Askew, in every master of arts, and generally the same passion for literature, which he had himself imbibed. It was evident that such extravagant expectations must be disappointed; and from the public lectures, he derived little gratification or instruction; they were much below the standard of his attainments, and, in fact, were considered as merely formal; and, instead of pure principles on subjects of taste, on rhetoric, poetry, and practical morals, he complained that he was required to attend dull comments on artificial ethics, and logic detailed in such barbarous Latin, that he professed to know as little of it as he then knew of Arabic. The only logic then in fashion was that of the schools; and in a memorandum written by himself, which is my authority for these remarks, I find an anecdote related of one of the fellows, who was reading Locke with his own pupils, that he carefully passed over every passage in which that great metaphysician derides the whole system.
With the advice of Dr. Sumner, he was preparing for the press his Greek and Latin compositions, including a Comedy, written in the language and measures of Aristophanes. But his solicitude to appcar as an author, was perhaps prudently checked by the advice of other friends; and the proposed publication from which he expected an increase of reputation, was reluctantly postponed. This comedy, which bears the title of Mormo, still exists, but in a state of such mutilation, from the depredations of worms and time, that it cannot be published without very copious conjectural emendations.
After the residence of a few months at the University, on the 31st of October, 1764, Mr. Jones was unanimously elected one of the four scholars on the foundation of Sir Simon Bennett, to whose munificence he was ever proud to acknowledge his obligations. The prospect of a fellowship, to which he looked with natural impatience, was however remote, as he had three seniors.
His partiality for Oriental literature now began to display itself in the study of the Arabic, to which he was strongly incited by the example and encouragement of a fellow-student, of great worth and abilities, who had acquired some knowledge in that celebrated language, and offered him the use of the best books, with which he was well provided. In acquiring the pronunciation, he was assisted by a native of Aleppo, who spoke and wrote the vulgar Arabic fluently, but was without any pretensions to the character of a scholar. Mr. Jones accidentally discovered him in London, where he usually passed his vacations, and prevailed upon him to accompany him to Oxford, under a promise of maintaining him there. This promise he was obliged exclusively to fulfil for several months, at an expense which his finances could ill afford, being disappointed in the hopes which he had entertained, that some of his brother collegians might be inclined to avail themselves of the assistance of the Syrian, and participate with him in the expense of his maintenance.
The disgust expressed by Mr. Jones after his first introduction into the University soon subsided, and his time now passed with great satisfaction to himself. He found in it, all the means and opportunity of instruction which he could wish; and adopted that respectful attachment to it, which he ever after retained. His college tutors, who saw that all his hours were devoted to improvement, dispensed with his attendance on their lectures, alleging with equal truth and civility, that he could employ his time to more advantage. Their expectations were not disappointed: he perused with great assiduity all the Greek poets and historians of note, and the entire works of Plato and Lucian, with a vast apparatus of commentaries on them; constantly reading with a pen in his hand, making remarks, and composing in imitation of his favourite authors. Some portion of every morning he allotted to Mirza, whom he employed in translating the Arabian tales of Galland into Arabic, writing himself the translation from the mouth of the Syrian. He afterwards corrected the grammatical inaccuracies of the version, by the help of Erpenius and Golius.
In the course of his application to this ancient language, he discovered, what he never before suspected, a near connection between the modern Persic and Arabic, and he immediately determined to acquire the former. He accordingly studied it with attention in the only Persian grammar then extant; and having laboured diligently at the Gulistan of Sadi, assisted by the accurate but inelegant version of Gentius, and at the well chosen praxis at the close of Meninski's grammar, he found his exertions rewarded with rapid success.
His vacations were passed in London, where he daily attended the schools of Angelo, for the purpose of acquiring the elegant accomplishments of riding and fencing. He was always a strenuous