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Keep in mind that in nothing can a high degree of excellence be attained without self-denial; and that to be and do any thing worthy, you must constantly strive, with all your might, against indolence, procrastination, idle reverie, and every other species of self-indulgence.
In your intercourse with others, put the most favorable construction upon their conduct and motives. In regard to the faults and errors of those with whom you associate, make the most liberal allowance for their peculiarities of temperament, circumstances, education, &c.—but never claim the same indulgence for yourself.. Do not judge of the character of others merely by their treatment of you, or their known opinion of your character. Never hurt the feelings of your friends by telling them of their mistakes, when the information is too late to do them
It is about time to draw my remarks to a conclusion. Yet, a few words more. Do every thing in season. Do all in the best manner. Do, every moment, what is most important, Attend seasonably and thoroughly to petty duties, that you may have a free and undisturbed spirit for more weighty matters. And let your life be such that, whatever others may think or say of your course, you may be able, each day and hour, to answer satisfactorily to your own conscience, that mo. mentous question, “ What am I living for ?” Farewell, for the present. If this desultory chapter of advice should be well received, I will send you another before long.
THE TWILIGHT HOUR.
An hour that rules with magic sway;
And kindly sheds a softening ray.
That warms and lightens all below;
Smiles on the earth, with fresh’ning glow.
When gloom enshrouds with sable pall;
Entombs the earth, and buries all.
Are lightly touching hill and glade ;
Throws on our world a tempered shade.
On days and joys forever fled ;
That like the sun have quickly sped.
LITERARY NOTICE. The Autobiography, Times, Opinions, and Contemporaries of Sir Egerton
Brydges, Bart. : (per legem terræ) Baron Chandos of Sudeley, etc. 2 vols. 8vo. London: Cochrane & M'Crone. 1834.
We notice this work merely for the purpose of making some extracts from it, as it has not been re-published in this country, and is probably known to but few of our readers.
Who is Sir Egerton Brydges ? and what are his claims to public notice? These questions will naturally arise in the minds of those whose attention is now for the first time called to this autobiography; and we shall endeavor to answer them satisfactorily, by extracts from these volumes. Our knowledge of this author has been drawn from this work alone. Previous to its publication, about thirty volumes which he had written, and as many which he had edited, were before the public, but we are entirely unacquainted with them. We will now collect and place before our readers, those passages of Sir Egerton's Autobiography in which he narrates the principal events in his life, and gives an account of his various literary pursuits. If any reader should discover a want of orderly arrangement in our extracts, we can only say in excuse that, in the work itself, there is not the slightest regard to order or connection.
H I was born 301h November, 1762 ; the eighth child and second surviving son of a country gentleman. The spot of my nativity was the manor-house of Wootton, between Canterbury and Dover. I derived my baptismal name from my mother's first-cousin, Samuel Egerton, Esq. of Talton Park, in Cheshire, many years M. P. for that county:- In July, 1771, I was sent to Maidstone school; and in July, 1775, removed to Canterbury school, where I remained till August, 1780. In October of the same year, I went to Queen's College, Cambridge, where I kept my terms till Christmas, 1782; and then removed to the Middle Temple, by which society I was called to the bar in Michaelmas Term, 1787, at the age of twenty-five."
“My sensitiveness from childhood was the source of the most morbid sufferings, as well as of the most intense pleasures. It unfitted me for concourse with other boys, and took away all self-possession in society, It also produced ebbs and flows in my spirits, and made me capricious and humorsome; and
the opinions formed of me were most opposite; some thinking well of my faculties, others deeming me little above an idiot. I was so timid on entering into school, and my spirits were so broken by separation from home, and the rudeness of my companions, that in my first schoolboy years I never enjoyed a moment of ease or cheerfulness. But I was perfect in my lessons, and never was punished during the nine years of my pupilage, for I got into no mischief or scrapes.”—“Many of those feelings which I should now consider as necessarily associated to a poetical temperament, I then painfully concealed, lest they should subject me to ridicule: but I always entertained the resolution and the hope, some day, to break into notice.”—“I remember that, from childhood, I had an aversion to all company, and that visitors put me into agonies. My delight was in the fields and woods; in making bowers, and benches, and little gardens; and in watching the hay-makers, the harvest, the plough, and the woodman's axe. I grieved when evening came, and prayed for the dawn of the next day. My temper was always eager, impatient, and enthusiastic.”— "I was never, after the age of fourteen, very fond of bodily exercise. As my love of books increased, my habits became sedentary; and long rides, and especially long walks, fatigued me. My fondness for books was an inordinate passion.”—
"From eight years old, I was passionately fond of reading, and had always a propensity to poetry, at least from the age of fourteen. I do not believe the theory promulgated by Johnson, in his Life of Cowley, that the literary bent a man iakes is accidental. I am convinced that it entirely arises from the inborn structure of his mind. I cannot be mistaken in saying that Nature gave me extraordinary sensitiveness of impressions; and thai these impressions remained sufficiently long on my mind to enable me to reflect on them, and by degrees make pictures of my own from them, on which it delighted me to dwell. This necessarily led me to love poetry, and to attempt to write it. To write it well is another affair, but as little dependent on accident or art : perhaps it may be partly the result of toil,-of a mind attentive to its own internal movements; but the toil will not avail, if the character of the involuntary movements be noi poetical.”—“My eldest sister was fourteen years and a half older than me; she had an exquisite taste for poetry, and could almost repeat the chief English poets by heart, especially Milton, Pope, Collins, Gray, and the poetical passages of Shakspeare; and she composed easy verses herself with great facility. It is probable that her conversation and example contributed greatly to my early bent to poetry. Two versifications from Isaiah and Jeremiah, which I wrote for school-tasks at Christmas, 1777, my age fifteen, and which gained great applause, fixed my ambition to write verses for life.”—“ At an early age, Buchanan's Latin poetry was a great and intimate favorite with me, and I got Milton's juvenile poems almost by heart. I generally carried these little volumes (the Elzevir of Buchanan) in my pocket. I read them on stiles, on banks, and under hedges, when the season allowed, as well as by the winter fire, when the weather kept me in-doors. From fourteen or fifteen, I dreamed of authorship, and never afterwards gave up the ambition. Collins also was one of the earliest objects of my enthusiastic admiration. Enthusiasm is an inseparable part of my nature. Be calm,' those around me used to say ; 'do things with more moderation ; do not be so run away with ; admire, if you will, but admire coolly; husband your energies; proceed gently, and you will sooner reach your end. ''Throw cold water on the boiling caldron,' I answered, “and see what you will gain by it. The heat will spend itself best in its own unobstructed way.'"
"From the 'Biographia Britannica,' I began at eight or nine years old to contract my passion for biography. I had the work constantly in my hands during the holidays, which I almost invariably spent at home. The volumes always lay in one of the windows of the common parlour at Wootton; and how often have I rejoiced, when the rain and snow came, to keep me by the winter fireside, instead of mounting my pony, to follow all the morning my uncle's harriers ! and when I was out, how I counted the hours till I could return to my beloved books! The moment dinner was over, I drew my chair round to the fire, and one of these large volumes was opened upon my knees. I grew peevish if any one interrupted me; and was so totally absorbed in myself, that I was lost to all that was passing around me. At that time, I was much more
AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF SIR EGERTON BRYDGES.
delighted with this work than with all the books of poetry that offered themselves to me. With me it set imagination at work, instead of merely loading my memory. I was not an unapt scholar, but was rather pleased with matter than words; and have, from the time I grew up, been very impatient at learning languages."--"I am not sure that I have not loved biography almost as much as poetry: many say that I have succeeded better in it. I should be unwilling to admit this; because, however instructive, it is of an inferior order to poetry,--though it cannot be well written without eloquence and the light of imagination.”—“I was fond of bibliography from the age of thirteen, and began at school to collect editions of Horace.”—“A variety of accidental circumstances led me early to a fondness for genealogy and antiquities; and especially to the history of the English peerage.”—“I never met with one who seemed to have the same overruling passion for literature as I have always had. A thousand others have pursued it with more principle, reason, method, fixed purpose, and effect : mine I admit to have been pure, blind, unregulated love. The fruit has been such as mere passion generally produces of little use and no fame."
“ On my arrival at Cambridge, October, 1780, I gave myself up to English poetry. I had, in studying Milton's noble sonnets,-noble in defiance of Johnson, --convinced myself of the force and majesty of plain language ; and I resolved never to be seduced into a departue from it. The consequence was, that my first poems were coldly received, though praised in ‘Maty's Review' of May, 1785. I would not change my system ; but this coldness chilled and blighted me for some years; and from 1785 to 1791, I wrote no more poetry.”—“The years from twenty-two to twenty-nine ought to have been the most vigorous period of life: with me it was a fall of faculties which I cannot contemplate without deep debasement. I remember how I pored over 'Dugdale's Baronage' during that time, and transcribed pedigrees from the British Museum ! The consequence was, that I sunk in the estimation of the few who knew me into the character of a mere compiler. I suspect that I did so even in my own estimation. I can scarcely account for the spell that broke through this superincumbence. It was a mist that broke it too !-a walk of an October morning through the thickest gray vapours I ever encountered. Then it was that the outline of the tale of Mary de Clifford' darted upon me; and I went home and wrote the first sheet, and sent it to the printer in London by that post. Seven years of dulness had not rendered my pen unpliable when I thus took it up. Thought, sentiment, poetry, language, flowed as quick as I could write. The Monthly Review' had said that there was a stiffness in my first poems, 1785 : no one will accuse of stiffness the language of 'Mary de Clifford.'”. " This little novel, published anonymously in January, 1792, immediately obtained some popularity, and is not yet, after forty-one years, entirely forgotten. It was written with a fervid rapidity, which no one seems to believe; and the sheets sent to the press by the post as fast as they were scribbled. It found its way without name, advertisements, or the smallest interference on my part; and after a few months, the publisher soliciting to buy the copy-right of me, i sold it to him for a mere trifle, happy to release myself from the expense of the printing and paper, but not getting enough to pay the cost of the two etchings executed by Morris, a pupil of Woollet.”—
“But the success of this tale only reassured me for a moment. I relapsed for six years more; but not into the same abasement. I made several vain efforts to get into Parliament, and I accepted a troop in a regiment of fencible cavalry, which I held for two years, from 1795 to 1797. During all this time, my elder brother's claim to the barony of Chandos was going on, which began in October, 1789, and ended (unsuccessfully) in June, 1803."
“On retiring from my military occupation to Denton, which manor house and estate I had bought in 1792, I gave myself up to literature, as far as distracted affairs would permit me. I compiled a new edition of Phillips's Theatrum Poetarum' with great additions, and collected 'Memoirs of the Peers of James I. I also wrote my novel of 'Arthur Fitzalbini,' 1798; of which all the copies were instantly sold ; and which gave great offence to some of my country neighbors, who supposed their characters alluded to.”
"My life at Denton, from 1797 to 1810,—that is, from my thirty-fifth to my forty-eighth year, was a life of mingled pleasure and extreme anxiety. I loved its quiet scenery, its solitude, its books, and literary occupations; but it would
have required a gigantic strength, or obduracy of mind, to have suffered its interposing persecutions, without the deepest disturbance of spirits. I married at the early age of twenty-iwo,-much too early--without an income adequate to my habits, unless with great economy, and I had no economy. I could not sift bills, cast up accounts, examine prices, and make bargains. There was therefore every kind of mismanagement; and I soon became involved. In short, mine was a sort of 'Castle Rack-rent,' in which all was disorder, and all was waste, while those that plundered me most, and lived on me most, abused me most. Confusion grew upon confusion ; and every day it became a more tremendous task to look into things. My bitterest enemy cannot condemn the utter thoughtlessness of worldly affairs in which I then lived, more than I do. It was a sort of infatuation, which, having once been plunged into, I had not the courage to extricate myself from.”–* I had a large family of children, and saw but little company, except my own alliances.- I could not have fixed on a spot more unpropitioas than that where I placed my abode. It was full of local jealousies and enmi. ties, and the habits of the country gentlemen were not literary, nor were those of the surrounding clergy more so."
“ In 1801, my novel of Le Forester,' in three volumes, was published. As it was not supposed to contain the same personalities as Fitz-Albini,' it was thought less attractive, and had but a dull sale.—In 1806, I began the Censura Literaria,' which was carried on ten volumes; this was followed by the 'British Bibliographer,four volumes ; and Restituta,' four volumes; which last ended in 1816; so that I was engaged ten years in the conduct of a montbly periodical, which it is admitted has revived much curious matter of our old literature, then buried in scarce books. There was not much mind in all this; it was principally manual labor. How much more I might have done in liverature, if I had been in a state of less mental turbulence, I cannot venture to calculate: situated as I was, I never could command my faculties, nor collect them together.”—“Men must work progressively and uninterruptedly,—not by fits,—to find the extent of their own powers; and they who are diffident work only by fits, when some momentary impulse overcomes their fears. Thus I passed at least forty years of my life. How different would have been the effect of perseverance in a regular, unchecked plan !"
For want of room, we must close this article abruptly. We intend giving our readers other and more interesting extracts from these volumes, in our next number. For that we reserve, also, the few comments we have to make upon the work.
TO OUR READERS. We have several literary notices written, which we designed to insert in this number of the Microcosm; but on looking them over, we found they did not amount to very much, and so came to the conclusion, that the space we had allotted to them would be better filled by extracts from the “ Antobiography of Sir Egerton Brydges.” The works which we intended to notice, are Pellico's “Prisons" and Maroncelli's “ Additions” thereto, Degerando's “ Visitor of the Poor," and Miss Sedgwick's" Poor Rich Man and Rich Poor Man :” and this is the “sum and substance" of the page or two we have written about them,that the volumes of Pellico and Maroncelli are the most attractive and truly delightful books that we have seen for some time; that the “ Visitor of the Poor,” translated by a lady of Boston, and published in that place, in 1832, is a good book, and deserves to be widely circulated ; and that those of our readers who are not acquainted with “ The Poor Rich Man,", are advised to procure and read it forthwith. In regard to this last work, we will add, for the benefit of those very orthodox people who have discovered all manner of heresy in it, that we are inclined to think their marvellous discoveries may be accounted for in very few wordseven in these—“He that seeketh, findeth.”
We are again obliged to apologize for the delay of our magazine. After the publication of the
next number, we hope to issue the work on or before the fifteenth of each month.