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proved that scientific lecturing may be made sufficiently attractive to excite general attention and command personal attendance, without the exhibition of any pretty pictures, or even without the aid of illustrative machinery; though I would by no means disparage the introduction of either on suitable occasions."
Notwithstanding the importance and multiplicity of Mr. Good's occupations, professional and literary, he continued to indulge through life, his early-formed habit of expressing his feelings in short poetical effusions. The commencement of a new pursuit, the recurrence of a birth-day, the departure of a friend who had been visiting his family, a hasty visit of his own to a friend in the country, the perusal of a book, a striking political event, every thing, in short, which, while it produced a new train of thought, tended to excite his feelings, was calculated to give birth to a metrical essay.
Sometimes the effort would be sprightly, sometimes burlesque and humorous, and, as he advanced in life, usually pious and devotional. The reader is here presented with a very few of these little pieces, which I select, not because of their poetical excellency, but because they assist in unfolding the entire character of the author's mind, and evince the facility with which he could express his sentiments in pleasing verse.* Those poetical compositions which tend principally to mark the development of his religious character, are intentionally reserved for the third section of these Memoirs.
* Making an adequate allowance for the difference between a spontaneous effort to express one's own feelings, or to gratify friends, withou any view to publication, and a more elaborate production intended to excite the admiration of the world, and therefore composed for the public eye ;
Written on the back of a Title-page of a Collection of Poems
published by the Rev. Charles Stuart, under the title of “Trifles in Verse."
If, thinking wit or worth to view,
This book throughout you rifle;
Which says 'tis all a Trifle.
But though a truth, this title-pa
"Twere better, sure, to stifle, Than boast, at forty years of age,
I've only lived to trifle.
the following remarks of Dr. Johnson are more or less applicable to all occasional poetry, and may serve to moderate the expectation of often meeting with what is splendid or sublime in this class of compositions.
“ In an occasional performance no height of excellence can be expected from any mind, however fertile in itself, and however stored with acquisitions. He, whose work is general and arbitrary, has the choice of his matter, and takes that which his inclination and his studies have best qualified him to display and decorate.
“The occasional poet is circumscribed by the narrowness of his subject. Whatever can happen to man has happened so often, that little remains for fancy or invention. We have been all born ; we have most of us been married ; and so many have died before us, that our deaths can supply but few materials for a poet. In the fate of princes, the public has an interest ; and what happens to them of good or evil, the poets have always considered as business for the muse. But after so many inauguratory gratulations, nuptial hymns, and funeral dirges, he must be highly favoured by nature, or by fortune, who says any thing not said before. Even war and conquest, however splendid, suggest no new images.
“Not only matter, but time is wanting. The poem must not be delayed till the occasion is forgotten. The lucky moments of animated imagination cannot be suspended ; elegances and illustrations cannot be multiplied by gradual accumulation ; the composition must be despatched while conversation is yet busy and admiration fresh; and haste is to be made, lest some other event should lay hold upon mankind. .
“Occasional compositions, however, may secure to a writer the praise of learning, of elegance, and facility; for they cannot be the effect of long study, and must be furnished immediately from the treasures of the mind."
Life of Dryden.
To Miss Lindoe, on her Journey into Devonshire.
Amidst the Wishes wished by all
And truly wish'd, no doubt,
T attend thee through thy route.
But since, so numerous are thy friends,
So large the love of each,
Now left me to beseech.
I wish thee, Margaret, from my heart,
Throughout thine envied course,
Confirm'd in all its force.
BIRDBROOK PARSONAGE, IN ESSEX,
AUGUST 15th, 1805.
Form'd by himself, this house, these shades,
May Walton long adorn;
rose without a thorn."
* Dr. Walton, rector of Birdbrook, was a highly esteemed relative of Dr. Good, Mrs. Walton and Mrs. Good being sisters. Whenever Dr. Good could snatch a few days of leisure from bis multifarious engagements, it was his great delight to visit Birdbrook Parsonage, and his valued friends Mr. and Mrs. Walker of Gestingthorpe Hall, the subject of the next little effusion. The sentiments excited in these hasty visits
, were often expressed in a verse or two, written currente calamo, and left on his dressing table.
May heav'n his sacred toils approve;
His fock their priest revere; And Judith, with perpetual love,
Each blameless hour endear.
GESTING THORPE, ESSEX,
Sweet shades! where peace and virtue dwell,
And heav'n an altar finds,
And taste his wild walk winds :
Sweet, lovely scenes! as Eden fair,
As Eden free from taint;
Th' enameli'd landscape paint:
Mansion ! where ready Friendship turns
His hospitable hinge;
The London bow and cringe:
Sick of the world's fantastic sway,
Its nonsense and its noise,– O! for one solitary day,
Be mine your gentler joys;
Here let me cool my maddening brain,
Here purify my heart;
TO MY DEAR SUSANNA ON HER BIRTH-DAY,
March 26th, 1808.
Just nineteen years ago I first survey'd
Thy baby form, and felt myself a sire; Faintly thy mother own'd her pangs o'erpaid,
Clasp'd thy fresh limbs, nor ask'd a transport higher.
Though fill'd with present pleasure, fancy wild,
Oft as my busy knee to hush thee strove, Would still unlock the future of my child,
And, from the baby to the woman, rove :
And, warm with hope, would from the rainbow steal
Each precious tint to deck thy growing hours; A gentle form, beloved by all, reveal
A heart well-tun'd, a mind of active powers.
Fancy and Hope ! delusive, dangerous pair !
To sapient age delusive, as to youthAccept my thanks—for flatterers as ye are,
Through nineteen years ye then foretold me truth.
From the egg of yonder cloud
What is this that bursts to day? Nature wakes, as fresh endowed
'Tis the infant-form of May.
Suns return, and tempests sleep,
All is carol, dance, and play; Earth and ether and the deep
Hail the infant-form of May.