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those base affociates, he wandered about for many weeks without any habitation, or any means of fubfistence, but the casual donations which his wretched appearance extorted from the humanity of those to whom he prefented mean petitions. In this situation he meditateď a vifit to London, and wrote some abusive and fcurrilous verfes upon that country which had so long tolerated and supported his vices by its liberal and long-fuffering munifi

In his drunken fits he was twice enlisted by a crimping serjeant, and twice set at liberty by his friends; but, upon falling into this scrape for the third time, it was judged proper by Lord Moira and his other patrons, that he should be allowed to remain, for some time at least, in the ranks, to try whether military difcipline might not effect that reformation which had proved impracticable by any other method.

For a considerable time there feemed to be good ground for hoping that this experiment would prove successful ;-he was promoted to be a serjeant for good behaviour, and at last, upon the sailing of the English army for Flanders, was appointed by Lord Moira second lieutenant to a waggon corps, and served abroad, with no discredit or remarkable irregularity, for the long period of four years. On the reduction of this army, he was put upon half-pay, which fecured him a regular annuity of 321.

The beneficence of the Earl of Moira now induced him to provide for his accommodation, and put him in the way of literary advancement ; but he squandered the liberal supplies of his protector, and returning to the pursuits of low debauchery, was very foon reduced to prison, from which he was only released by the kindness of his patron. He was no sooner at liberty, than all thoughts of reformation vanifhed ;-he mortgaged his half-pay, boarded himself with a drunken Irish cobler in Westmintter, and spent his days and nights in the most offensive intemperance with him and his affociates. Lord Moira, though he never deserted him entirely, was now forced to abandon the idea of bringing him forward to public notice.

In 1800 he published a collection of his poems; but he was now twenty-five years of age ; and the public, that had clapped and shouted the infant poet, did not find any subject for rapturous admiration in the improved production of the man. He was foon naked and deftitute again, and then applied to Sir James Bland Burges. Sir James gave him a draught on his banker for ten pounds; and as soon as he had got home, Dermody wrote a letter, stating that he had lost the draught by the way, and requesting to have another of equal value. On sending to the banker, Sir James found that the first draught had been prefented and paid to the poet, who makes a most awkward apology for the impofition, and is again received into favour. By the

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intercession of this new patron, he was now recommended to the consideration of the Literary Fund; and received a fupply of money and clothes, that seemed to put him, for a time at least, beyond the reach of exposure. Our readers, however, will perceive, from the following extract, how greatly kis misconduct exceeded all ordinary calculation.

• As he was now well drest, apparently relieved from his embarrafsments, and with favourable prospects opening to him, his friends entertained a hope that he would have discretion enough to make a good use of his prosperity. But this expectation was very short-lived. Within a week after he had appeared in his new clothes, as Sir James Burges was fita ting in the evening in his library, he heard a loud noise and a violent altercation in his hall. On going out to inquire the cause of such an unusual tumult, he found Dermody ftruggling with two of his servants, who endeavoured to prevent him from forcing his way into the house. And, indeed, his appearance was such as completely to justify them for he was literally in rags, was covered with mud (in which it appeared that he had been juft rolled), had a black eye, and a fresh wound on his head from which the blood trickled down his breast; and, to crown the whole, was so drunk as to be hardly able to stand or speak. As soon as Sir James could recognize him, he released him from the hands of his fervants, and conducting him into his library, inquired the reason of his appearing in fuch a condition. Dermody accounted for his being so ill drelt, by saying that he had pawned his new clothes. As for his dirt and wounds, he faid he had been arreted and carried to a spunginghouse, where he had been drinking with the bailiffs, and writing a poem which he wished to take to Sir James, but they would not let him; so that he had watched his opportunity, and sipped off; but had been overtaken by them, and obliged to fight his way.' II. 169-70.

The compassion of Sir James withstood this exhibition, and he perfisted in his attention to this devoted bacchanal, till his repeated mifconduct and shameless solicitations at last wearied out his benevolence, and shut his ears to his entreaties. The way in which he now lived, may be judged of from the following passages.

At one time be might be seen in his garret in company with his hosts the cobler and his wife, and some attic lodger of equal consequence, regaling on a goose which his industry had roasted by a string in his own apartment, while the pallet-bed, which food in a corner, was ftrewed with various vegetables; the fire-fide decorated with numerous foaming pots of porter ; and the cobler's work-stool, boot-leg, Jap-stone, &c. were conmmodionly placed as seats. On another occafion, in fome neighbouring aļehouse, entertaining the fame personages with the various rarities whrich resorts of this description generally afford; where, as the astonished guests, enveioped in clouds of smoke, fat listening with rapture to the eloquence of Dermody, the host was to be discovered in the back ground applauding with one hand, while his other dexterously scored an additional iten to the bill..' 11. 223-4.

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• At another time, his biographer having occafion to call for him, on entering the house his ears were affailed by violent plaudits and huzzas, which appeared to issue from the attic storey. Having little curiosity to inquire into the cause of these extraordinary rejoicings, he only requested to see Dermody. The good woman of the house quick, ly despatched a messenger to give the proper information ; and the author was foon ushered into a room, at the top of which sat Dermody in a new suit of clothes, surrounded by half a score of the landlord's smoking acquaintances; the table strewed with tobacco, pipes, and a plentiful flow of wine and spirits; and the sideboard loaded with bottles, the late contents of which had left the members of this elevated society in a state of equal jollity and confusion.'

11. 225-6. We add but one trait more.

• A few days previous to writing this letter, Dermody had dined in Piccadilly ; when the author, perceiving his shoes and stockings to be in a very bad condition, sent and purchased a pair of each, which Dermody put into his pocket with the intention of wearing them the following morning. The next evening, however, he made his appearance without either shoes, stockings, hat, neckcloth, or waistcoat ; and in a state of intoxication not to be endured. He had pledged the shoes and ftockings, got drunk with the money, and in a fray in the Atreets had loft his other necessariez. He entered the house in this state, told his tale, threw on the floor the duplicate of the articles he bad pledged, demanded other apparel, was refused, swore a few oaths, threatened to destroy a fideboard of glass, alarmed the whole family, was turned out of doors, and during the remainder of the night took shelter in a shed fitted up for forne cattle in one of the fields leading from Westminster to Chelsea.' Vol. 11. Note, p. 229-30.

His last patron was Lord Sidmouth, who enabled him to bring out another volume of poetry in 1802, and contributed liberally to his comfort and relief. But no admonitions could withhold Dermody many hours from the pot-house, and no money could keep him many days from the gaol. His constitution at last gave way under the pressure of fo many irregularities; he ran from his creditors and benefactors, to a miserable cottage in the village of Sydenham, where he expired, in July 1802, at the age

of 27.

Such is the history of Thomas Dermody; whose adventures are chronicled in these volumes with as much minuteness as if he had been a paragon of worth and accomplishment, and whose genius is trumpeted forth as if it had outhone that of all his poetical predecessors. We confess that we do not perceive the utility of such a publication, and that we look with some ciegree of disapprobation on the patronage and indulgence which was lavished upon such a wretch as Dermody. Of his poetical productions, we know nothing more than is contained in these volumes; but

they they are sufficient to satisfy us that his talents were of an inferior description. He has considerable sweetness of versification, and à copious and easy flow of expression ; but we find little original in his conceptions: he is a great copyist; and, where he does not give way to a vein of puerile parody, or vulgar mock heroic, seems generally contented with amplifying, in loose and declamatory language, the ideas which he borrows from our most popular authors. After all, it is by no means so difficult to write tolerable poetry, as the world appears to imagine ; nor is the merit of this kind of labour fo great, in our apprehension, as to atone for the want of common decency, or to monopolize the charity on which virtuous misfortune has so much stronger a claim. There are quantities of poetry as good as most of Dermody's, which pass quietly to oblivion every six months, whithout ever being missed by the world ; and when his name ceases to be heard of, which will happen, we doubt not, in four or five years, in {pite of the stir occafioned by his eccentricities, we rather think that the state of our poetical readers will be more gracious than that of the present generation. In short, we cannot help sufpecting that it is more to our national vanity, and our taste for monsters of all descriptions, than to any tender sympathies for the sufferings of genius, that we should ascribe the profuse and unmerited bounty which was poured into the purse of this prodigy of verse and debauchery. For our own parts, we think it would have been quite as well for the world, and much better for himself, if he had been allowed to follow out his natural progress, from the house of correction to the gallows; or, at any rate, if he had been left under the wholesome discipline of the serjeants and drummers in the ranks of Lord Granard's regiment of foot.

ART. XIV. Paradis Perdu. Traduit par Jacques De Lille, &c.

Paris et Londres. · 1805.

MR
R De LILLE, the most famous of living poets, has, in the de-

cline of life, undertaken a tranflation of the most celebrated of English poems. The merits of Paradise Lost, indeed, are not confined to England alone ; they have been so universally felt and acknowledged throughout Europe, that many critics have gone the length of comparing the author with the most illustrious poets of antiquity; and few have scrupled to place him on the same pedestal with the great Italian poets of the middle age.

In attempting to lay before the public our remarks on this translation, we are aware that we may appear to have undertaken a

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task of great delicacy. Fortunately however, some of those cir. cumstances, which at first sight seem to threaten us with the most formidable obstacles, on a nearer approach produce a very contrary effect. The established reputation of Milton considerably alleviates our labours. His excellences and his defects have been fo frequently and so ably canvafsed, and his merits as an epic poet have been fo accurately ascertained, that it would be superfluous to attempt to add to the numerous criticisms on this subject that are already in the possession of the public. Mr De Lille's reputation, too, as a poet, is very generally understood. •Multa virum meritis fuftentat fama tropais. The work, however, immediately under our consideration, differs materially from any that he has hitherto fent forth into the world, since it is in this that he has for the first time deserted his ordinary style of poetry, and has attempted to foar, on a loftier and more adventurous wing, into regions he had never penetrated before. It remains, therefore, for us to examine, how far he was qualified for this attempt, and how he has succeeded in the execution of it.

It is scarcely necessary, we trust, to say that we are actuated by no illiberal prejudice, when we state the style and character of French poetry to be among the greatest difficulties Mr De Lille had to encounter. Differing, as the French language does from our own, it is still the fair and honourable rival of it. Each has its characteriftic excellences, each its characteristic defects; and, whatever may be our opinion of their comparative merits, it would be abfurd * deny the excellence of that language, which, with the single exception of England, is more or less the language of polished society throughout all the countries of Europe. This general diffusion, indeed, may be partly owing to the extended power and political interest of the French nation ; but it must in still greater part be attributed to its own intrinsic merit, and to its delicacy and perspicuity, which fo peculiarly adapt it to the purposes of conversation and business. It is not with conversation or business, however, that we are now concerned ; and we shall not be accused, we believe, of any national injustice to the poetical merits of the French, if we aflert that it is not so well calculated for the loftier flights of poetry as the Spanish, the Italian, or the English. Much may be said, certainly, for the lan. guage

of a Corneille, a Racine, and a Voltaire; and all that we seriously pretend to maintain is, that the fiyle and character of French poetry is not only very different from the style and character of English poetry, but that it is peculiar to the nation to which it belongs. Neither Italy nor England, we admit, have ever produced an author exaatly of the fame calibre as Racine ; and France, on the other hand, never has, and probably never will, pro

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