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PHILIP DORMER STANHOPE,
EARL OF CHESTERFIELD.
Lord Chesterfield has been too much praised by dancing
masters, who cannot read him; and too much blamed by rigid moralists, who cannnot understand him. His great penetration led him to look deeply into the character of mankind ; and the picture that he draws of it, is so like, that it cannot but provoke a melanchoiy smile. To a very young mind, such a representation may be prejudicial, as tending to destroy that ingenuousness in the outset of life, which dies naturally and gradually by intercourse with the world. A man, therefore, who should begin by acting upon Lord Chesterfield's principles, would now become a consummate hypocrite ; and he who should not acknowledge the truth of his Lordship's observations in the progress of experience, would be a fool; and thus at thirty we should acquiesce in what might shock us at eighteen.
Lord Chesterfield's attempts to lay down rules for behaviour,
are vain attempts; the cautions which he gives upon
7. D. STANHOPE, EARL OF CHESTERFIELD. 53
points of more serious importance, are those of a father, anxious to pour the benefit of his experience upon his
son; an attempt perhaps equally fruitless. He was among the first wits of his time, and filled high
Advice to a Lady in Autumn. Asse's milk, half a pint, take at seven, or before; Then sleep for an hour or two, and no more. At nine stretch your arms, and O! think when
alone, There's no .pleasure in bed.-Mary, bring me my
gown : Slip on that ere you rise; let your caution be such; Keep all cold from your breast, there's already too
much, Your pinners set right, your twicher ty'd on, Your prayers at an end, and your breakfast quite
done; . Retire to some author improving and gay, And with sense like your own, set your mind for
the day. At twelve you may walk, for at this time of
year, The sun, like your wit, is as mild as 'tis clear:
54 P. D. STANHOPE, EARL OF CHESTERFIELD.
But mark in the meadows the ruin of time;
wit : Let this be indulged, and let laughter go round; As it pleases your mind, to your health 'twill re
dound. After dinner two glasses at least, I approve; Name the first to the king, and the last to your
love : Thus cheerful with wisdom, with innocence gay, And calm with your joys gently glide through the
day. The dews of the evening most carefully shun; Those tears of the sky for the loss of the sun. Then in chat, or at play, with a dance, or a song, Let the night, like the day, pass with pleasure
along. All cares, but of love, banish far from your mind; And those you may end, when you please to be
Cunningham's father was a wine-cooper at Dublin, who won
a prize in the Lottery, and was ruined by it, for he com. menced wine-merchant with his new capital, and became a bankrupt. His son, who was then at the grammar-school at Drogheda, was taken from his studies in consequence, and began, like many young mien in hopeless circumstances, to look to the Theatre for support. Voice, figure, manner,-every thing was against him; he became sensible of his own unfitness for this way of life, but there was no alternative; and having made one unsuccessful effort to better himself, by attempting the trade of authorship in London, he returned contentedly to the stage. The places where he was employed were Edinburgh, Newcastle, and Alnwick, where, in spite of his situation, he seems to have been regarded with that respect which his
worth and talents deserved. Cunningham was an interesting man, he had a true love for
the beauties of nature, his life was innocent, and, humble as his lot was, he was contented and happy. His Poemas have obtained considerable popularity, and are not unworthy of it.
O'er the heath the heifer strays
Free (the furrowed task is done) VOL. III.
Now the village windows blaze,
Burnish'd by the setting sun.
Now he hides behind the hill,
Sinking from a golden sky: Can the pencil's mimick skill, : Copy the refulgent dye?
Trudging as the ploughmen go, . To the smoking hamlet bound, Giant-like their shadows grow,
Lengthen'd o'er the level ground.
Where the rising forest spreads
Shelter for the lordly dome, To their high-built airy beds, 5. See the rooks returning home!
As the lark, with varied tune,
Carols to the evening loud, Mark the mild resplendent moon,
Breaking through a parted cloud.
Now the hermit howlet peeps
From the barn, or twisted brake : And the blue mist slowly creeps,
Curling on the silver lake.