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mance in his Essay on the Sublime and Beautiful. Notwithstanding he appears to have read the poets with all the enthusiasm of a warm imagination, yet it does not appear that he ever invoked the Muses. At one time, it is said, he could repeat all Young's Night Thoughts by rote; in a copy of this work, which he used to carry in his pocket, the two following lines in his hand-writing were found some years since on a blank leaf.
“ Jove claiin'd the verse old Homer fung,
“ But God himself inspired Young." Several of his witticisms have been repeated by his schoolfellows, but as they are all unworthy of fo great a genius, even in bud, we shall pass them over, with this fingle observation, that the shafts of his wit were not always winged with the feather of a dove. His filial piety was truly exemplary, and his affection for Mr. Shackelton, his master, was evinced on many occasions. When the good old man visited him in London, he received him as a father, introduced him to many of his friends, particularly to Mr. Benjamin West, the painter of posterity, and what is still greater, one of the best of men. He also mentioned him with great respect and veneration in one of his speeches on the Test A&. Having passed a proper time at Balitore Academy, he was transplanted to Trinity College, Dublin, as may appear from the following transcription from the admillion book of that university:
1743, April 14, Edmundus Burke, Pens. filius Johannis Gen. annum agens 16, natus Dublinii, edu. catus fub ferulâ M. Shakelton. Tut. D. Pelifier."
Elected a scholar of the House 26th of May, 1746, commenced A. B. 23d February, 1747-8. He does not appear to have been elected a native.*
* This term, in the Irish University, is applied to a student, who, having obtained a scholarship, is entitled to an annual ftipend after a certain standing.
Doctor M. Kearney, senior Fellow of the Univer. fity, shone as the rival of Mr. Burke, in every
class of the college course. The strictest friendship, however, fubfifted between them, and when separated, they continued to correspond with each other till within a few weeks of Mr. Burke's diffolution.
Mr. Burke's father was an attorney, of some eminence in his profession, very highly respected for the integrity of his character. Having completed his academic studies, it is said that he offered himself as a candidate to fill the moral chair in the University of Glasgow, vacant by the death of his countryman Mr. Hutcheson. Mr. Reid, however, was raised to that situation, which induced Mr. Burke to turn his attention to the bar. For this purpose he came to London, and entered his name on the books of the Middle Temple. What a transition! he that had devoted the most charming season of life in culling the fairelt flowers of imagination, in tracing the pleasing labyrinths of science, to be obliged to waste the midnight oil in poring over Coke on Lyttleton. He was not, however, to be dismayed; the entrance was 'barren and rugged, but it promised a golden harvest, and ambition was not the least of Mr. Burke's pafsions. With such eagerness did he fit down to these new studies, that sometimes he almost a forgot himself to stone.” His constitution was not equal to the task. His health began to decline; he was advised to consult his friend and
and countryman, Doctor Nugent, who had practised many years with great success at Bath. The Doctor was fo benevolent a man, that it is said of him by those who knew him beit, that if he had the misfortune to lose a patient, he felt as if he had lost a child.
In addition to this, he was so highly charmed with the conversation and opening talents of Mr. Burke, that he was resolved, if possible, to preserve them to the world. For this purpose, he ailigued him apartments in his own house, where he treated him with all the affection of an indulgent parent. Miss Nugent, the Doctor's only daughter, evinced, by her attention, how deeply she was interested in the recovery of his health, and what at first assumed the name of friendship, changed into that of love. In short, Mr. Burke was made happy in the poffeffion of a hand that bestowed at the same time one of the gentlest of hearts.
His studies became more diversified, and the success of some pens induced him to turn his attention to some work that might raise his fame as a writer. His success in this line was equal, nay, Superior to his expectation, but he foon found that “ fondness of fame was avarice of air," in consequence of which hé procured a letter of introduction to the late Earl of Bath, the Mecænas of the day. His Lordship received him with the utmost politeness, lamented that it was not in his power to render him any fervice, as he was no longer in power. The impression which this unexpected intelligence made on Mr. Burke did not escape his Lordship's eye; he felt for the situation of the young man, and after a pause, “ I will give you a letter, said he, to the Earl of Bute, though I don't know that I am entitled to take that liberty." The proposition revived Mr. Burke's drooping fpirits, and he waited, without loss of time, on Lord Bute, who professed his forrow that it was likewise out of his power to render him any service, as he had refigned all his employments that very morning, adding, that his influence with his Majesty was greatly over-rated; anxious, however, that a man of genius and talent should not pine in the shade, he would take one step, he said, which he did not know he ought to take, but he would venture, and if crowned with success, it would yield him great pleasure. As Lord Halifax had been appointed to assume the vice-regal government of Ireland, perhaps in that situation, he would be able to render Mr. Burke some fervice in his native country:
The Earl accordingly wrote to
Lord Halifax, and recommended the bearer of it as
Having now cursorily traced Mr. Burke to his first
MY DEAR MICHAEL,
Balzac having once cfcaped from a company,
plication. You'll expect some short account of my journey to this great city; to tell you the truth, I made very
few remarks as I rolled along, for my mind was occupied with many thoughts, and my eyes often filled with tears when I reflected on all the dear friends I left behind; yet the prospects could not fail to attract the attention of the most indifferent; country feats sprinkled round on every fide, fome in the modern taste, others in the stile of old de Coverley Hall, all smiling on the neat, but humble cottage. Every village as gay and compact as a beehive, resounding with the bulý hum of industry, and inns like palaces. What a contrast between our poor country, where you'll scarce find a cottage ornamented with a chimney. But what pleased me most of all was the progress of agriculture, my favourite ftudy, and my favourite pursuit, if Providence had blessed me with a few paternal acres. A description of London and its nations would fill a volume. The buildings are very fine, it may be called the fink of vice, but her hospitals and charitable inftitutions, whose turrets pierce the skies, like so many electrical conductors, avert the very wrath of Hea..
The inhabitants may be divided into two classes, the undoers and the undone, generally so, I fay, for I am persuaded there are many men of honesty and women of virtue in every street. An Englishman is cold and distant at first; he is very cautious even in forming an acquaintance, he must know you well before he enters into friendship with you, but if he does, he is not the first to diffolve that facred band; in short, a real Englishman is one that performs more than he promises; in company he is rather silent, extremely prudent in his expressions, even in politics, his favourite topic. The women are not quite fo reserved ; they consult their glasses to the greatest advantage, and as nature is very liberal in her gifts to their persons, and even mind, it is not easy for a young man to escape their glances, or to shut his