LONDON: Printed for T. CADELL, Jun. and W. DAVIES (Successors to Mr. CADELL) in the Strand.



IN the very moment, when I was concluding the Notes to this Elegy, I received an Elegiac Poem on the same subject, by a Gentleman, whose extensive knowledge of Indian Literature, and whose acquaint­ance with its lamented Patron, induced me to peruse his Publication with peculiar eagerness. There is so much poetical merit in the animated and graceful tribute, which Mr. MAURICE has paid to the me­mory of Sir WILLIAM JONES, that, had I seen it before the completion of these Stanzas, it might have induced me to relinquish a subject pre­engaged by a Writer so peculiarly qualified to treat it with success. Yet the literary excellence of Sir WILLIAM JONES appears to require some kind of homage from every man of letters; and by the spirit of Mr. MAURICE'S performance, I am persuaded, that our common regard for the Character we commemorate, is so sincere and ingenuous, that we must rejoice in a multiplicity of offerings to a name so entitled to universal praise.

ELEGY, &c.

SCIENCE of late, with quick maternal eye,
Pensive and kind, with Glory by her side,
Watch'd every sail from INDIA, to descry
That Son's return, whose talents are her pride.
Sudden across the tutelary Queen
Death's Angel pass'd, and shook his potent dart:
Then, in stern triumph, said, Behold a scene
At once to wound, and to console thy heart!
Far off she finds her darling JONES inurn'd;
INDIA'S mild sages, dropping many a tear,
With admiration into anguish turn'd,
Mourn that enlighten'd Judge they joy'd to hear.
The Fane, he rear'd to ASIATIC lore,
On which his mind immortal lustre shed,
Echoing the liberal voice of friendly SHORE,
Sounds the sweet praises of the hero dead;
The Hero! who, in fields of highest fame,
Beyond his peers the dart of conquest hurl'd;
Surpass'd ambitious AMMON'S weaker aim,
And nobly grasp'd the intellectual world.
Thro' every province in that spacious sphere
His dauntless thoughts exulting Genius led;
At whose bold march, thro' deserts deep and drear,
Darkness dispers'd, and Difficulty fled.
O most accomplish'd of the favour'd few,
Who to the heights of Learning's empire climb,
Sharing with her, in prospects ever new,
A calm dominion over space and time!
Early to thee obedient Language brought
Her keys, commanding many a secret store;
Youth, of ingenuous and aspiring thought,
'Tis thine, she said, these treasures to explore;
To thee, reserved in ASIA'S richest spoil,
Fancy and Wisdom will their wealth impart;
Deck with their jewels, won by letter'd toil,
The throne of Virtue in thy steadfast heart!
Glowing with youthful joy in Learning's seats,
Thy mind embrac'd the glorious lot prescrib'd;
And richly redolent of classic sweets,
The mental persumes of the East imbib'd.
As spicy gales wak'd, with delicious power,
The pride of joy in GAMA'S gallant frame,
When to his fervid hope, in happy hour,
They seem'd an earnest of eternal fame;
So, and with stronger breathings of delight,
The Muse of ASIA'S balmy flowers and fruit
Rais'd thy young spirit to pure Rapture's height,
And promised Glory to thy keen pursuit.
How patient Toil and eager Transport join'd,
When Eastern bards awak'd thy kindred fire,
And EUROPE saw thee, with a skill refin'd,
Adapt to ASIAN airs an ATTIC lyre!
How (ere thy mind could rest on Duty's rock)
Thy early vigils patriot zeal evince!
When thy free hand disdain'd not to unlock
A PERSIAN casket for a NORTHERN Prince:
But from thy spirit, with just pride elate,
What generous plaints of indignation burst,
When Wisdom bade thee mark the scholar's fate,
The child of Fancy, by Delusion nurs'd!
The quicksand, covered by a tempting tide,
Thy piercing eyes perceiv'd; that latent snare,
Where many a son of letter'd fame has died,
Dupe of Delight, and victim of Despair!
Thou saw'st, that often, with insidious song,
Sweet Learning, to indulge a Syren's joy,
Lures her fond slave from life's more active throng,
Smiling to cheat, and charming to destroy.
Thy genius soar'd the soft'ning spell above,
With manly vigilance, with noble spleen;
And gave the Muse thy secondary love,
Proclaiming Law thy life's acknowledg'd queen.
Thou would'st be vassal only to the power,
Who bears immutable Dominion's rod,
Ruling the least and loftiest; peace her dower,
Her throne the bosom of her parent, GOD.
She, awful patroness! with love sincere,
Blest her young champion from sweet snares releas'd;
And sent thee to ennoble and endear▪
Her ENGLISH empire in the radiant EAST.
The sciences, the arts, and every power,
That holds o'er earth beneficent controul,
Hail'd thee so entering, in their happiest hour,
A scene adapted to thy fervid soul.
With pensive zeal, and exultation just,
O'er that new scene thy active spirit ran,
From Heav'n receiving, as a glorious trust,
The bright occasion of befriending man.
Thy country sent thee forth with joyous pride,
Mix'd with maternal fears, and fond concern:
Of mental wealth, Hope's sparkling eye descry'd
The richest freight in thy remote return.
Illusive vision! He whose ample mind
Embrac'd the treasury of ASIAN thought,
He, to whom Science her rich depths consign'd,
He dies, untimely, in the mine he wrought.
No more can Fancy, whom he us'd to chear,
Take from his hand her scattered pearl new strung,
Or Love, or Friendship, hope again to hear
Their songs of sweetness, sweeter from his tongue.
Kind Heav'n yet bids them not too wildly grieve,
Or deem too short the mortal path he trod;
Did he not live to merit, and receive,
Praise from the world, and recompence from God?
Let tender Truth, to temper selfish Grief,
Count the heap'd measure of his merits o'er;
Nor blame the term of harvest as too brief,
When Heav'n with plenitude has blest the store.
Few were thy years, to count their real date,
And quick thy exit prov'd, thou early sage!
But from thy toil's variety and weight,
Thou seem'st to have enjoy'd the longest age.
In thy career, tho' short, all powers we trace
This course of transient being can display;
And no appropriate charm has fail'd to grace
The morn, or noon, or ev'ning of thy day.
Thy life, a scene with pleasing wonder view'd!
A perfect garden on a narrow plot!
Whose bounds unseen the busy thought elude,
While sweet Deception magnifies the spot.
What bright diversities that garden bore
Of all that Art can raise, or Nature grant;
There grew the palm, that conscious virtue wore,
There the Bard's laurel, as an humbler plant.
Oh, all-accomplished JONES! how sweet, how strong
Thy streams of music from the Muses' hill!
Thine the loud torrent of her Epic song,
And thine the murmur of her softest rill.
Love's tender force, and Fancy's sportive fire
Conspir'd to decorate the nuptial strain,
When, fondly re-assum'd, thy rapturous lyre
Usher'd young ALTHORP into HYMEN'S fane.
Alas! mild SPENCER! Learning's fav'rite friend!
In this, her public loss, how large thy part;
Early 'twas thine to value and commend
The Poet's genius, and the Judge's heart.
For long ere THEMIS gave his glory birth,
Or Eastern Muses idoliz'd his name,
Thy well-train'd youth attested all his worth,
Thy friendship was the herald of his fame.
Largely hast thou thy noble mansion grac'd
With volumes minist'ring to mental health;
Thy treasury of books proclaims thy taste
Magnificent in literary wealth.
And thou, whose mental eye on Nature looks,
Hast learn'd, in busy life's contentious state,
To read those rare illuminated books,
The virtuous bosoms of the truly great.
But of the authors, that adorn thy seat,
And of the living hearts, which thou hast read,
In talents and in worth, thou canst not meet
Superiors to thy friend, so early dead.
Wilt thou not, SPENCER, whose exalted mind
Delights to animate each graceful art,
That triumphs over time (by toil refin'd,
Enshrining genius in Affection's heart),
Command chaste Sculpture, with her marble scroll,
Oblivion's torrent for that friend to stem?
Or bid his form, expressive of his soul,
Speak thro' all ages in the deathless gem?
Mem'ry's fond tribute, howsoever paid,
Must please his spirit, from a heart sincere;
But his fame rests upon no single aid,
Not e'en on thine, which taste and truth endear.
Behold, in regions bright with Fancy's beam,
Two more than mortal shapes, by justice sway'd;
Shapes like the two, that in ATOSSA'S dream,
The daring hand of AESCHYLUS pourtray'd!
First, ASIA, mighty queen of gorgeous charms!
Of Art, of Science, the primaeval nurse!
Who gave to Eloquence her earliest arms,
And first saluted Heav'n with sacred verse.
Next, with a younger sister's softer air,
With eyes more piercing, tho' of calmer mien,
EUROPE, of simpler grace, more chastly fair,
Benign improver of each earthly scene!
These kindred powers in kind contention vie
To honour their lost darling, doubly dear;
Each owns his merits with a mutual sigh,
And rival monuments of grief they rear.
Magnific ASIA to her JONES'S name
Bids high in air the mausoleum spread,
And, by its various ornaments, proclaim
The varied powers and virtues of the dead.
See! where in sculptur'd pomp, poetic forms!
The Muse of ARABY, the PERSIC Muse,
The Eastern quire, whose blaze of beauty warms,
Lament the sweet interpreter they lose.
Mark where, like stars of richly blended fire,
The seven selected bards of MECCA stand,
Mourning their western brother of the lyre,
Who raised to new renown their social band.
The SUFI tribe, in fond Devotion's trance,
(Poets, whose higher lays to Heav'n belong!)
Weep their lost friend, whose penetrating glance
Pierc'd the deep moral of their mystic song.
Behold, with mental dignity elate,
Elders of solemn air, and gentle mien!
One sage as SOLON, one as SHAKESPEAR great,
MENU and CALIDASA grace the scene.
The bard, whom ASIAN age and wisdom cite,
Seems to his heart a foreign book to press;
Caressing, with a parent's proud delight,
His SACONTALA in an ENGLISH dress.
In triumph see the Legislator stand,
With such grief-temper'd pride, such fond applause,
Viewing the lustre that an ENGLISH hand
Gave to the code of his benignant laws!
To JONES alike they boast their pleasing debt,
Skill'd equal fame from different founts to draw!
Him Art and Science must alike regret;
His language poetry; his conduct law.
Our light is sunk, the mourning INDIANS say;
Protection perish'd with his parting breath;
His fost'ring care was like the beam of day,
And Knowledge dies by his untimely death.
But hark! Imperial ASIA, who presides
O'er all th' attendants at his Eastern tomb,
In her own voice, that warm Devotion guides,
Thus speaks her feelings on her darling's doom.
JONES was a pearl, that might have deck'd a throne,
Pure as the eye of judgment e'er explore'd:
But GOD, who deem'd its worth not duly known,
Soon to its parent shell the gem restored.
So ASIA mourns.—With sorrow more intense,
EUROPE, in love more tenderly sublime,
Of her deep loss to shew a mother's sense,
Calls her accomplish'd sons from every clime.
These who may count?—Yet one to Friendship known,
Whom fav'ring Art will fix on Glory's roll,
One whose firm studies have, like JONES'S, shewn
Genius and virtue blended in his soul;
One even here (forgive me, modest friend!)
My truth-devoted verse delights to name;
Pleas'd the congenial sculptor to commend,
As fit to minister to JONES'S fame!
FLAXMAN! thy energy of thought benign,
Thy feelings, tender as the mournful dove,
Teach stone to breathe those charms of chaste design,
That best may soothe the pangs of widow'd love.
In Fancy's fond anticipating eyes,
Marble already, by thy quick'ning touch,
Appears the man we mourn; and Nature cries:
"Such his endearing form! his spirit such!
"So justly social, and benignly sage,
"He searched what INDIAN wisdom could produ [...]
"So hoards of knowledge from the lips of Age
"He drew, and fashion'd for the public use."
But scarce, excelling friend! can all thy skill,
Or Sculpture's self, with all her fondest care,
Image his mind, and what conspir'd to sill
So rich a temple of endowments rare.
His were those graces, who to life impart
A lustre like the star that gilds the pole;
Freedom, the prime ennobler of the heart!
And Piety, the guardian of the soul!
What power, that strengthens, or adorns the mind,
Its settled passion, or excursive sport,
Awake to excellence of every kind,
Did his unwearied spirit fail to court?
That spirit, wreckless of unfriendly time,
Clasp'd a new science with a lover's zeal;
When the hurt body, by the sickly clime,
Was doom'd a load of languid pain to feel.
Bright Genius! worthy of unclouded Health!
Thou shouldst have lived upon her fav'rite hills,
Where genial air, kind Nature's genuine wealth,
Annihilates the train of nervous ills.
Fond, fruitless thought! is there on earth a spot
Where Sickness never strikes, who strikes around?
And has thy mourner scap'd, whose humbler lot
Heav'n kindly cast on this fair ENGLISH ground?
In these dear native scenes, to Pain a prey,
Year after year he drew unvalue'd breath;
And view'd the vital spark in dull decay,
On a drear confine betwixt life and death.
Weak in his frame, as a dismantled tower,
And his crush'd mind (a partner in the fall!)
Robb'd of its little lustre, use, and power,
A broken dial in a mould'ring wall!
But in o'erclouded Health's uncertain light,
When for her suffering votary alarm'd,
My silent Muse was banish'd from my sight,
Thy numbers chear'd me, and thy spirit charm'd.
Thou feeling Daughter of a sainted sire!
Meek heir of mitred SHIPLEY'S modest worth!
In its probation for the Seraph quire,
Thy soul must bear the sharpest pangs of earth.
Yet e'en in sorrow there's a virtuous pride,
Tempering its anguish, that would else destroy;
The very pangs, by which thy soul is tried,
Thou would'st not change for apathy or joy.
Thou feel'st, that Heav'n thy gratitude may claim,
That thou hast liv'd a blameless happy wife,
The cherish'd partner of as clear a name,
As e'er won glory in the toil of life.
For him, if darkling mortals may presume
To judge the feelings of the blest above,
E'en there, he deems thy heart his richest tomb,
His sweetest eulogy thy lasting love.
There, Heav'n's tried servant, and in service pure,
His God he blesses for a kind decree,
That makes him still thy guardian, and secure
To share his bright beatitude with thee.
Just mourner! if too weak this plaintive song
Duly to honour whom our grief reveres,
Pardon!—I add, as conscious of the wrong,
To failing language more expressive tears.


"Echoing the liberal voice of friendly Shore."

THE honourable Sir JOHN SHORE, who succeeded Sir WIL­LIAM JONES as president of the Asiatic society, delivered, in his first address to that assembly, a very just and eloquent eulogium on his accomplished predecessor.—Some lines in the preceding stanza allude to the following passage in the discourse of Sir JOHN SHORE.

‘The Pandits, who were in the habit of attending him (Sir WM. JONES) when I saw them after his death, at a public Durbar, could neither suppress their tears for his loss, nor find terms to express their admiration at the wonderful progress he had made in their sciences.’

I shall embrace with pleasure every opportunity of illustrating this poem, and of honouring the justly lamented personage, whom it aspires to celebrate, by unreserved quotation of the manly and graceful panegyric, from which I have transcribed the preceding paragraph.

"Early to thee obedient Language brought."

THE erudition of Sir WILLIAM JONES was admirable not only from its extraordinary extent, but from having been acquired, to an astonishing degree, at a very early period of life. ‘Before the expiration of his twenty-second year (says his friend and eulo­gist) he had compleated his Commentaries on the Poetry of the Asiatics, although a considerable time afterwards elapsed before their publication.’ Sir JOHN proceeds to commend this work very justly, as a compleat proof of the Author's consummate skill in a variety of languages, and as a juvenile monument of taste, ta­lents, and application, without example. Let me add, that this early production discovers also a heart full of gentle affections, and a mind that already conceived and expressed its ideas with singular energy and freedom. I allude particularly to the very pathetic tri­bute of gratitude and praise, which the Author paid, in his Prooe­mium, to his friend and instructor, then recently deceased, (RO­BERT SUMNER, the master of Harrow school) and to the two fol­lowing passages of the book; in the first he is speaking of satire, in the second of heroic poetry. ‘Atqui ut aperte dicam quod sentio, valde invitus in poetarum chorum satyricos, ut vocan­tur, ascribo. Nolo mansuetiarum musarum desiderari bene­volentiam.’ Poeseos Asiat. Comment. cap. 17.

‘Quid de legibus poeticis sentiam, quibusque causis adductus eas pro nihilo putem, commodiorem inveniam exponendi lo­cum.’ cap. 12.

"The pride of joy in Gama's gallant frame."

WHEN the Portugueze Admiral, VASCO DE GAMA, was pro­ceeding on his great enterprize, the discovery of the East Indies, after he had weathered the tremendous storms, that assailed him [Page 25] near the Cape, he is said to have exulted in that omen and assur­ance of success, which he found in the odours wafted to him from an invisible shore; odours thus finely described by Milton with local exactitude:

To them who sail
Beyond the Cape of Hope, and now are past
Mozambic, off at sea north-east winds blow
Sabean odours from the spicy shore
Of Araby the Blest; with such delay
Well pleas'd they slack their course; and many a league,
Chear'd with the grateful smell, old Ocean smiles.
Paradise Lost, Book IV. ver. 159.

"A Persian casket for a Northern Prince."

THE life of NADER SHAH, an Eastern Manuscript, brought to England by the King of Denmark. It was translated into French, at the request of that monarch, by Sir WILLIAM JONES, who at first declined the task, ‘alledging for his excuse the length of the book, the dryness of the subject, the difficulty of the style, &c.:’ but he was at last induced to undertake it by the most liberal motives; and chiefly by the following consideration, expressed in his own words, ‘That it would be a reflection upon this country, if the King should be obliged to carry the manu­script into France.’ The French version, executed by our in­comparable linguist, was published in 1770, when the translator had attained only his 24th year.

"What generous plaints of indignation burst."

THIS verse alludes to the following passage, towards the close of an admirable Preface to the Life of NADER SHAH, new modelled for the benefit of the English reader, and published in 1773:

[Page 26] It is a painful consideration, that the profession of Literature, by far the most laborious of any, leads to no real benefit or true glory whatsoever. Poetry, Science, Letters, when they are not made the sole business of life, may become its ornaments in pros­perity, and its most pleasing consolation in a change of fortune; but if a man addicts himself entirely to learning, and hopes by that either to raise a family, or to acquire, what so many wish for, and so few ever attain, an honourable retirement in his declining age, he will find, when it is too late, that he has mistaken his path; that other labours, other studies are neces­sary; and that unless he can assert his own independence in active life, it will avail him little to be favoured by the learned, esteemed by the eminent, or recommended even by kings.

These reflections can hardly be suggested too frequently to the consideration of those ingenuous youths, who happen to have con­ceived a very ardent passion for literature. It was happy for our great Orientalist, that his own peculiar energy of mind enabled him to form such reflections at an early period of life, before the gates of professional prosperity were barred against his laudable ambition; otherwise it is but too probable, that with unexampled hoards of erudition, united to a most benevolent temper, he might have pined in a state of neglect and mortification, instead of rising to be one of the most conspicuous and most useful characters in the polished age, which his writings have contributed to enlighten and adorn.

I cannot close this note without remarking, that the Preface to the English Life of NADER SHAH, which gave rise to it, contains many excellent remarks on historical writing. It was the custom of our universal scholar to delineate, in a philosophic and masterly survey, the province of literature, to which the object of his im­mediate labour belonged. Thus to his volume of Asiatic Poems he has added two admirable Essays on Poetry; and his translation of ISAEUS is elucidated by a prefatory discourse, and a commentary [Page 27] replete with legal and classical information. As a writer, both of verse and prose, his consummate knowledge of languages enabled him to vary and adapt his style to his subject with all the graces of exquisite propriety.

"Proclaiming Law thy life's acknowledg'd Queen."

AN allusion to the following elegant Latin verses, in which Sir WILLIAM JONES bade adieu to the Muse, and devoted himself to his profession.

Vale, Camena, blandacultrix ingeni,
Virtutis altrix, mater eloquentiae,
Linquenda alumno est laurus et chelys tuo.
At, O dearum dulcium dulcissima,
Sea Suada mavis, sive Pitho dicier,
A to receptus in tua vivam side:
Mihi sit, oro, non inutilis toga,
Nec indiserta lingua, nec turpis manus.

An interesting address! which proved, as Sir JOHN SHORE affec­tionately observes, most truly prophetic!

"Her throne the bosom of her parent, God."

THE ideas and language of this stanza are partly borrowed from the sublime panegyric on law, with which the celebrated HOOKER concludes the first book of his Ecclesiastical Polity.

"With pensive zeal, and exultation just."

THESE lines allude to the following very pleasing description, which Sir WILLIAM JONES has given of his approach to India, in his first public discourse as President of the Asiatic Society.

[Page 28] "When I was at sea last August, on my voyage to this country, which I had long and ardently desired to visit, I found one even­ing, on inspecting the observations of the day, that India lay be­fore us, and Persia on our left, while a breeze from Arabia blew nearly on our stern. A situation so pleasing in itself, and to me so new, could not fail to awaken a train of reflections in a mind, which had early been accustomed to contemplate with delight the eventful histories, and agreeable fictions of this Eastern world. It gave me inexpressible pleasure to find myself in the midst of so noble an amphitheatre, almost encircled by the vast regions of Asia, which has ever been esteemed the nurse of sciences, the in­ventress of delightful and useful arts, the scene of glorious actions, fertile in the productions of human genius, abounding in natural wonders, and infinitely diversified in the forms of religion and go­vernment, in the laws, manners, customs, and languages, as well as in the features and complexions of men; I could not help remark­ing how important and extensive a field was yet unexplored, and how many solid advantages unimproved."—Asiatick Researches, vol. i. p. 9.

These reflections led Sir WILLIAM, by degrees, to the founda­tion of the Asiatic Society, and never was a man more happily qualified, by nature and education, to be the founder and the guide of such a respectable institution; since, in addition to his own sin­gular talents for the rapid acquisition and ready communication of knowledge, he was distinguished by such engaging manners as en­abled him most happily to call forth and encourage the faculties of all around him. His unrivalled erudition was so far from ren­dering him dogmatical or repulsive, that no man ever spoke with more genuine modesty of his own merit; no man could exert more candour and liberality in estimating the merit of others. In his writings, the rare extent of his knowledge is always accom­panied by an equally rare sweetness and generosity of spirit, which give a peculiar charm to his composition, whenever he has occa­sion [Page 29] to mention an author distinguished in the branch of literature immediately before him. A striking instance of this spirit occurs to my recollection in his Essay on the Law of Bailments, where he describes the legal treatises of a venerable French professor and judge, M. Pothier, in a strain of applause uncommonly animated and graceful.

"But from thy toil's variety and weight."

A YOUNG Student may find a most pleasing incentive to mental exertion, in contemplating the very wonderful literary acquisitions and atchievements of Sir WILLIAM JONES; a regular and minute enumeration and estimate of these we may hope to see from the leisure of some accomplished individual among his many Asiatic friends, whom an intimate acquaintance with his extensive labours, and an equal affection for his endearing virtues, may engage in the office of his Biographer. The Memorial of Sir JOHN SHORE is an excellent prelude to such a work. Sir JOHN, after mention­ing his predecessor's most remarkable productions, inserts in his discourse a paper entitled "Desiderata," a list of 23 curious and important projected works, relating to India, Arabia, China, and Tartary. On this paper of his departed friend he makes the fol­lowing observation:

"We are not authorized to conclude, that he had himself form­ed a determination to compleat the works which his genius and knowledge had thus sketched; the task seems to require a period beyond the probable duration of any human life; but we, who had the happiness to know Sir WILLIAM JONES, who were wit­nesses of his indefatigable perseverance in the pursuit of know­ledge, and of his ardour to accomplish whatever he deemed im­portant: who saw the extent of his intellectual powers, his won­derful attainments in literature and science, and the facility with [Page 30] which all his compositions were made, cannot doubt, if it had pleased Providence to protract the date of his existence, that he would have ably executed much of what he had so extensively planned.

It cannot be deemed useless or superfluous to enquire, by what arts or method he was enabled to attain to a degree of know­ledge almost universal, and apparently beyond the powers of man, during a lise little exceeding forty-seven years.

"The faculties of his mind, by nature vigorous, were improved by constant exercise, and his memory, by habitual practice, had acquired a capacity of retaining whatever had been once impressed upon it. To an unextinguished ardour for universal knowledge, he joined a perseverance in the pursuit of it, which subdued all obstacles; his studies began with the dawn, and during the inter­mission of professional duties, were continued throughout the day. Reflection and meditation strengthened and confirmed what indus­try and investigation had accumulated. It was a fixt principle with him, from which he never voluntarily deviated, not to be deterred, by any difficulties that were surmountable, from prose­cuting to a successful termination, what he had once deliberately undertaken.

"But what appears to me to have enabled him to employ his ta­lents so much to his own and the public advantage, was the regu­lar allotment of his time to particular occupations, and a scrupu­lous adherence to the distribution which he had fixed; hence all his studies were pursued without interruption or confusion. Nor can I here omit remarking, what may probably have attracted your observation as well as mine, the candour and complacency with which he gave his attention to all persons, of whatsoever quality, talent, or education: he justly concluded, that curious or important information might be gained from the illiterate; and wherever it was to be obtained, he sought and seized it."

[Page 31] In the very brief list of eminent men, who have compleatly united the opposite advantages arising from a life of business and a life of meditation, perhaps Cicero is the personage, who may be most properly compared with Sir WILLIAM JONES. The great Roman has been often considered as without a parallel in the di­versity and magnitude of his mental accomplishments; yet who will now hesitate to declare, that, in extent of erudition, in elegance and energy of mind, and above all in the tenderness and integrity of his private and public life, he was far from being superior to our accomplished countryman.

"Thine the loud torrent of her Epic song."

THE commentaries on Asiatic poetry contain a very spirited Latin version of a passage from the Persian Heroic Poem of FER­DUSI, whom the poetical Commentator describes as a rival of Homer. ‘Nullum est ab Europaeis scriptum poema, quod ad Homeri dignitatem et quasi caelestem ardorem proprius acce­dat.’ A large portion of FERDUSI has since appeared in an English dress, but, I fear, without obtaining in England, either for the Persian Homer, or the English Poet his translator, the admi­ration due to original genius, or the just recompence of elegant labour. Let me add, however, that JONES'S specimen of the Per­sian Epic Poetry attracted the notice, and obtained the praise of learned foreigners: it is inserted by the Abate TODERINI, in his copious and entertaining work, entitled, Letteratura Turchesea, with the following commendation:

"Ferdusi maraviglioso poeta epico, onor della Persiana poesia, nel suo libro Sha Nama eroicamente descrive le geste degli eroi [...] dei re Persiani. Il Jones ne tradusse un lungo tratto Omeriano [...] bellissimo in versi Latini, che sentono della maniera Virgiliana; con cui adorno questo mio libro."—Toderini, tome 1, p. 213.

"Usher'd young Althorp into Hymen's fane."

A SPRIGHTLY and graceful ode, entitled "The Muse recalled," occasioned by the nuptials of Lord Viscount ALTHORP (the pre­sent Earl SPENCER) and Miss LAVINIA BINGHAM, eldest daughter of CHARLES Lord LUCAN, was printed at Strawberry Hill 1781.

"Thy well train'd youth attested all his worth."

IN addressing his noble young friend on the most joyous occa­sion, the high toned spirit of the Poet led him to blend indignant sentiments of public virtue with the gaiety of a nuptial song. The ode contains a manly strain of freedom, united to the ele­gance and delicacy with which it celebrates the peculiar talents of the lovely bride—

"Each morn, reclin'd on many a rose,
"Lavinia's pencil shall disclose
"New forms of dignity and grace,
"Th' expressive air, th' empassioned face." &c.

May I be allowed to express a wish, that the pencil so justly praised may employ itself in honouring the memory of him, who spoke in these friendly verses his perfect sense of its power?

"The daring hand of Aeschylus pourtray'd."

[Page 33] [...],
Aeschili Persae, ver. 181.
Methought two women stood before my eyes
Gorgeously vested; one in Persian robes
Adorn'd, the other in the Doric garb;
With more than mortal majesty they moved:
Of peerless beauty, sisters too they seemed,
Tho' distant each from each they chanc'd to dwell,
In Greece the one, on the Barbaric coast
The other—. Potter's Translation.

"Who raised to new renown their social band."

THE seven Arabian Poems, which were suspended on the Tem­ple at Mecca, were translated and published by our Author in 1783, with an argument to each poem, and the original annexed in Roman letters. This publication is peculiarly endeared to those who love the memory of Sir WILLIAM JONES, by contain­ing his portrait, well engraved by HALL, from a picture of REY­NOLDS.

"Pierc'd the deep moral of their mystic song."

IN the third volume of the Asiatic Researches, the President inserted an admirable Dissertation on the Mystical Poetry of the Persians and Hindus.

"Menu and Calidasa, grace the scene."

FROM an ardent and truly noble desire to befriend the natives of that country, where he was appointed to administer justice, Sir WILLIAM JONES was led "to suggest to government a work of national utility and importance, the compilation of a copious digest of Hindu and Mahommedan laws, from Sanscrit and Arabic originals, with an offer of his services to superintend the compi­lation, and with a promise to translate it.—To the superinten­dance of this work, which was immediately undertaken at his suggestion, he assiduously devoted those hours, which he could spare from his professional duties.

"During the course of this compilation, and as auxiliary to it, he was led to study the works of MENU, reputed by the Hindus to be the oldest and holiest of legislators, and finding them to com­prize a system of religious and civil duties, and of law in all its branches, so comprehensive and minutely exact, that it might be considered as the institutes of Hindu law, he presented a transla­tion of them to the government of Bengal."—Sir John Shore's Dis­course.

When Sir WILLIAM JONES enquired of "a very sensible Brah­man which of the Indian dramas was most universally esteemed, he answered without hesitation Sacontala, supporting his opinion, as usual among the Pandits, by a couplet to this effect:

"The Ring of Sacontala, in which the 4th act, and four stanzas of that act are eminently brilliant, displays all the rich ex­uberance of Calidasa's genius."

This circumstance induced our great Orientalist to peruse and translate Sacontala, which he has given to the public, to use his own very just expressions, "as a most pleasing and authentic pic­ture of old Hindu manners, and one of the greatest curiosities that [Page 35] the literature of Asia has yet brought to light." I presume most English readers are familiar with the merits of this singular and admirable drama, as it has lately been reprinted in a pocket volume.

"Soon to its parent shell the gem restored."

THIS stanza is a free translation of an Asiatic eulogy on a cele­brated Vizir, of whose benevolent and philosophic character the reader may find a pleasing anecdote in POCOCK'S edition of ABUL FEREGE.—In the Commentaries on Asiatic Poetry this little spe­cimen of Eastern elegy is thus rendered in Latin verse:

Illustris fuit ille margarita
Purâ luce nitens, colore puro,
Quam, gemmae pretium latere questus,
Conchae restituit Deus parenti.

THERE is, I trust, no impropriety in applying to Sir WILLIAM JONES an Oriental encomium, which he particularly admired, and which, I believe, no individual, in any quarter of the globe, could more truly deserve.

"He drew, and fashion'd for the public use."

I HAVE presumed, without the knowledge of my friend, to al­lude in this stanza to a monumental drawing of Mr. FLAXMAN, in which he has represented Sir WILLIAM JONES collecting informa­tion from the Pandits to settle the Digest of Hindu and Mahom­medan Law.

"Clasp'd a new science with a lever's zeal."

"HIS last and favourite pursuit (says Sir JOHN SHORE) was the study of Botany, which he originally began under the confine­ment of a severe and lingering disorder, which with most minds would have proved a disqualification from any application. It constituted the principal amusement of his leisure hours. In the arrangement of Linnaeus he discovered system, truth, and science, which never failed to captivate and engage his attention, and from the proofs, which he has exhibited of his progress in Bo­tany, we may conclude that he would have extended the disco­veries in that science. The last composition, which he read to this Society, was a description of select Indian plants."

"On a drear confine betwixt life and death."

A WRITER, who has experienced great favour from the public, may be thought, I hope, to discover more of gratitude than of vanity in thus touching upon a personal misfortune, that con­demned him to a long period of mental inactivity.

"I fondly greeted with fraternal praise."

MAY I be permitted to remark, that the Essay on Epic Poetry, first published in 1782, contains the lines relating to the ever esteemed subject of this publication:

O thou bright Spirit, whom the Asian Muse
Had fondly steeped in all her fragrant dews▪
And o'er whose early song, that mental feast,
She breath'd the sweetness of the rifled East,
Since independent honours high controul
Detach'd from poesy thy ardent soul,
To seek, with better hopes, Persuasion's seat,
Blest be those hopes, and happy that retreat,
Which with regret all British bards must see,
And mourn a brother lost in losing thee.

"Temper'd the judge, and dignified the bard."

A MILD and rational piety may be regarded as the crowning excellence of a character compleatly accomplished. This excel­lence was possessed, in a very happy degree, by the incomparable personage, to whose honour this imperfect memorial is affection­ately devoted. I cite with peculiar pleasure, on this article, the tes­timony of his intelligent and worthy eulogist (Sir JOHN SHORE) who, having mentioned the marvellous variety and extent of his predecessor's mental powers, observes, that "from the most renowned poets and philosophers of Greece, Rome, and Asia, he could turn, with equal delight and knowledge, to the sublime spe­culations of BARROW and NEWTON. With them also he professed his conviction of the truth of the Christian religion; and he justly deemed it no inconsiderable advantage, that his researches had cor­roborated the multiplied evidence of revelation, by confirming the Mosaic account of the primitive world."

Let me add, that it is possible he may have rendered infinitely greater services to religion by the admirable suggestion in the close of his Discourse on the Gods of Greece, Italy, and India. He [Page 38] there points out what occurred to him as the only promising mode of converting the Musulmans and Hindus to Christianity; and perhaps the most worthy honour, which the Asiatic Society could pay to the memory of Sir WILLIAM JONES, would be to resume and realize his idea: the experiment is easy, and should it succeed in any degree, that success will form the noblest eulogy of the beneficent spirit, by whom it was suggested.


New Editions of the following have been lately published by CADELL, Junior, and DAVIES.

1. POEMS and PLAYS, by WILLIAM HAYLEY, Esq. in six Volumes Price £. 1. 1 s. bound.

2. A Philosophical, Historical, and Moral ESSAY on OLD MAIDS—By a FRIEND to the SISTERHOOD. Three vols. with Frontispieces, 10 s. 6 d. in boards.

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