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Such praise claims the bard, nor shall candour
I love native worth, and will ever enthrone it: Ne’ertheless, in their plaudits, some friends over
The dictates of reason wou'd fain take by storm ;
Such critics as boldly advanc'd potent reasons, To prove Farmer's Boy vied with Thomson's fam'd
(t) Mr. Capel Loft, the annotator of the Farmer's Boy, has not only lavished the most unqualified praises upon this work, but, in imitation of Messrs. Malone, Steevens, Chalmers, and such laborious commentators, enlisted, as his auxiliaries, the Greek and Latin poets, in order to prove that Mr. Bloomfield, having eyes, could sometimes see, form his opinions, and express
himself in terms not dissimilar to the style of those antique gentlemen. By this scientific research the public is favoured with a volume containing twice the quantum of paper and print which the poem itself would expend; and for which every purchaser of course must pay, although not one in five hundred ever takes the trouble of wading through notes which only tend to confuse the text of a writer whose excellence consists in the simplicity of his tale, and the perspicuity of style which characterizes the effusion of his Muse.
Productions that never can parallel chime,
And if any opinion of mine is worthy consideration, I most freely give it in his favour.
Long vers’d in the flights of Apollo, I hail
(*) This poet is now, alas! equally insensible to censure and to praise. While this proof was passing through the press, I read the account of his death in the public papers, which took place on the 4th of October, near Birmingham. He was a man of genuine benevolence. His character as an author has been variously appreciated.
Great Shakespeare himself from sublime could
descend, And bathos with pathos at intervals blend. (v)
(v) Public characters of every description, but more particularly those of a literary stamp, are peculiarly subject to the attacks of virulence and ill nature : it is therefore little to be wondered at that Mr. Pratt, in the progress of his long career, should have felt the lash of malice and ill nature. As I am far from desirous of interfering with the private characters of individuals, I shall refrain from adverting to any of these insidious attacks, and content myself with referring to the literary requisites of this author, which, however chequered by inequalities, are, upon the whole, far above mediocrity. Mr. Pratt has certainly indulged too much in the flimsy Della Cruscan style; nor do any compositions of that description display the real talent of this writer, who never pleases so much as when eliciting the unsophisticated effusions of the heart. He has been by far too exuberant in his encomiums upon individuals; and the frequency of this strain of eulogy has, in too many instances, prompted our author to become a plagiarist upon himself, by committing a poetical felo de se. With all his literary lapses, however, Mr. Pratt is, in many instances, deserving the meed of approbation, Neither have his efforts to procure relief for the suffering been unattended by success; although the most ill natured construcTime was, when, O Pratt! I beheld thee oft feast
That vase far renown'd by the name of Bath
tion has been put upon this gentleman's motives for such humane interposition.
As a specimen of Mr. Pratt's extempore, the subjoined lines are transcribed from the fly leaf of the first volume of his works, in 22 volumes, presented to a friend.
“ As books, and of the lighter kind,
villa fam'd design'd;
I have above stated that Mr. Pratt has been too much