Imágenes de páginas

roner has no minutes of the melancholy bufiness, and is unable to call any of the circumstances, at this distance of time, to his memory. The witnesses before the Inqueft, as appears by his memorandum, were Frederick Angell, Mary Foster, William Hamsley: none of whom I have been able to find out. That his despair should fix on August, that it should not have staid, at least, till the gloomier months of wind. ter, muft surprize those who are sensible of the influence of such a climate as ours. RecolJecting what Mrs. Newton fays of the effect the moon had upon her brother, I fearched for the moon's changes in August, 1770. Much cannot be presumed from them. The moon was at the full on the 6th, and in the last quarter the 14th. The 20th, at 11 at night, there was a new moon. The fatal day was the 24th.

--But who can bear to dwell upon, or argue about, the self-destruction of such a being as Chatterton ? The motives for every thing he did are past finding out.

His room, when it was broke open, after his death, was found, like the room he quitted


• known.” Now, the manner is certainly known; the cause (real indigence) is not. Can any one be sure he was not determined to seal his secret with his death?

at Mr. Walmsley's, covered with little scraps of paper. What a picture would he have made, with the fatal cup by his bedside, destroying plans of future Ellas and Godwins, and unfinished books of the battle of Hastings? M. I have had the---(call it what you will) to spend half an hour in this room. It was half an hour of most exquisite sensations. My visit of devotion was paid in the morning, I remember; but I was not myself again all day. To look round the room ; to say to myself, here stood his bed; there the poison was fet; in that

; window he loitered for some hours before he retired to his fast rest, envying the meanest pafsenger, and wishing he could exchange his own feelings, and intellects, for their manual powers and insensibility! Then, abhorrence of his death, abhorrence of the world, and I know not how many different and contradictory, but all distracting ideas! Nothing should tempt me to undergo such another half-hour.

Bristol, stand forth! Toojust are even these rhymes
Without a trial to condemn thy crimes.
Come forward, answer to thy cursed name!
Stand, if thou dare, before the bar of fame.
Bristol, hold up thine hand, that damned hand
Which scatters misery over half a land,
The land of Genius!-

But my indignation cannot stay for rhyme, yet it must vent itself.

Tell me, Bristol, where is Savage ?* Whither didst thou drive Hume?+ Where haft thou hid the body of murdered Chatterton ? Where are his mother and his sister ? Could not the female hand of charity I spare one mite to the starving


* Johnson's life of Savage.

+ “ In 1734," says Hume, in his life, “ I went to Brifa “ tol, with some recommendations to eminent merchants; “ but, in a few months, I found that scene totally unsuit« able to me.” In his history, speaking of Naylor the mad quaker, who fancied himself transformed into Christ, we are told, “ he entered Bristol, mounted on a horse ;" I suppose,” adds Hume, « from the difficulty in that “ place of finding an ass.4to edition, 1770. vol. 7. P. 350,

| The following is a list of the late Mrs. Peloquin's public donations, who died at Bristol. To the chamber of the City of Bristol, for the

benefit of the poor not receiving alms 19500 OO To the Bristol Infirmary

5000 0 0 To the Bath Hospital

SCOOO To St. Stephen's Church

400 Oo For the propagation of the Gospel

500 0 0 For promoting Christian Knowledge

500 OO

[merged small][ocr errors]

child of Genius! Miserable Hamlet !* as Chatterton calls thee. Unworthy such a treasure ! Much more unworthy his guardian care! For, canst thoủ be sure, ungrateful city, the spirit of neglected Chatterton does not still beft dez light to haunt the place which gave him birth ? Canst thou be certain his watchful providence did not lately extinguish the threatening flames of treason ? + Perhaps, while I write, his fpirit protects your commerce ;

Or; in black armour, stalks around

Embattled Bristol, once his ground,
And glows, ardurous, on the castle stairs ;

Or, fiery, round the mynster glares.

Perhaps for Bristol still he cares ;
Guards it from foemen and consuming fire ;

Like Avon's stream ensyrkes it round,

Nor lets a fame enharm the ground,
Till in one flame all the whole world expire. I

But the feelings of the moment have hurried me away. Bristol is not culpable. She may be proud that fhe produced C. and need not, perhaps, blush for his death. Had he remained in


* See his second letter to his mother. † John the Painter. I See the conclusion of the “ Song of Ælla.".

the miserable hamlet,Rowley must inevitably have worked his way in the world. “ Sir Charles Bawdin" and the “ song of Ælla," were already known to fame. Rowley's other poems must soon have blazed out-they could not, cold as was the age, have been kept much longer, even by the chilling hand of pewter patronage, from kindling a flame in the literary world, which haply might have cheered their author and Chatterton might, now. (distracting reflexion!); might, nine years ago ; might, before he was twice nine years old ; have been considered as the most extraordinary prodigy of genius the world ever saw. Nay, had he continued at Bristol only a few weeks longer, had he continued in the world only a few days longer, he might have been preserved, For, oh my M. I have been assured that the late amiable Dr. Fry, head of St. John's in Oxford, went to Bristol the latter end of August 1770, in order to search into the history of Rowley and Chatterton, and to patronize the latter if he turned out to be the former, or to deserve assistance-when, alas ! all the intelligence he could pick up about either was, that Chatterton, had, within a few days, destroyed himself,


« AnteriorContinuar »