Page images
PDF
EPUB

Imagination will pine and fade away j and if a third was to employ his Memory only, which I fear watf too far the Cafe of Magliabechi, his Judgment, by being neglected, would grow weak and powerless. This, by the Way, has made me so often wonder at the Practice that prevails in most of our Schools y in some of which the Masters exercise the Memory of their Boys almost perpetually, and scarce ever find out any Employ for their Judgments: Of which strange Mistake; I have heard that gre'at Genius and Poet frequently complain, who fays so happily, as he did every thing, in one of his Poems j

As on the Land, while here the Ocean gainsi
In other Parts it leaves wide sandy Plains?
Thus in the Soul •while Memory prevails.
The solid Power of Understanding fails;
Where Beams of warm Imagination piay,
The Memory's soft Figures melt away [/].

That it was thus in a great Measure with Alaglidbechi, his own Admirers are not unapt to acknowledge. One of whom gave me his Character in* these Words; " That he was a Man of no Ge"nius, and an infinite Memory:" And another asserts, " That he could'not talk on any Subject, "as other learned Men usually do; so that it "was a common Saying of him in his own Time -f "that he was a learned Man among the Book"sellers, and a Bookseller among the learned."

Mr, Pest'} Essay on Criticism, ver, 58,

fiowever, However, this must still be allowed him that he had sorted Things, which is a Part of Judgment, as well as remembered them, from his giving his Answer so readily to all who came to consult him on so many various Subjects. Yet after all* his Knowledge in general was only litterary Knowledge; and his Mind was only, as it was called, a universal Index of Titles and Matter: And if one could suppose a Mind annexed to the Catalogue of the Bodleian Library, for Instance* in the whimsical Manner Dr. Swift has done in his Battle of the Books, which should have an Idea of all the Words and Subjects in the fame Order as they are there arranged; it would, perhaps* be but too like to the Mind of Signor Magliabethi.

To come to the Points in which they are unlike, as well as those in which they agree, [Which is Plutarch's usual way too] the Facilities of Mr. Hilts Mind are not so much absorpt in that single one of Memory, as Magliabechi's were: Nor was his Mind so undistinguishing in its Pursuits. Magliabechi seems to have had no Taste for any one Science more than another [q] j Whereas Mr. Hill's first Aim Was, the getting of Languages ; and his most favorite Study since, has been critical Learning, the

f?] This is what is genetally said of him; and Salitini himself says so; " Non era legato ad alcuna forte di studi, in particulare." But then he immediately adds, in a parenthesis; " Se non voleslimo *' dire delle cognizione della lingua santo, e delle controversie Eccle"siaitiche le quali egli sapeva profondamente." Or. Fun. p. 14. If the latter was really the Cafe, how much would it strengthen the Parallel between him and Mr. Hills

Vol.. II. A a under

understanding his Bible, and his Religion. In short, I really begin to suspect, that he is fitter to be a Clergyman, than a Taylor.

Hill seems to have been the better Citizen, in marrying three times; and Magliabechi, perhaps, was the wiser Student, in not marrying at all.

Hill has the greater Merit too, in undergoing so much Labour and such Fatigues, with a very weakly Constitution; whereas, Magliabechi s must have been a very strong one [rj.

In Reputation, there is no Comparison to be made between them: Magliabechi's was spread all over Europe in his life Time; or rather if we may believe Cardinal Norris, all over the World: And Hill's has little to do out of Buckingham* and a Circle of scare ten Miles round it; and even there he is not much known, except perhaps to about half a dozen Clergymen and Gentlemen, who are glad to see him; and give him some Encouragement, now, and then, to go on with his Studies.

When some of the Authors above cited speak of Magliabechi's Civility and Humanity, it must be, as has been observed before, only meaned of his Readiness in answering the Questions releasing to

[r] " Non lasciando passare alcum minuizole di tempo, die egli f no' 1 virtuosamente impiegasse: Al che fare molto gli confer! la V sua vita sobrla, e la compleflione robusta." Sdlvini; Or Fun. p . |7. ■ Robusto, inde/effu." U.f. ty.

2 Leajrning, Learning, that were so often put to him. By his being compared sometimes to Diogenes, one should be apt to think that he was rather Churlish, than Polite or Humane. In his general Turn, from what his great Encomiast says of him, we may conclude that he was not apt to shew any lively Emotions [s], either of Compassion for the Sufferings, or of Joy on the Happiness of his Fellow-Creatures. Hill has very quick Feelings for both ; And I observed in particular, that he had that Tenderness of Heart, which I should imagine to be one of the greatest Pleasures, that People of the most generous Minds are the most capble of; and which, perhaps, is one of the finest Sensations allowed us, on this Side of Heaven. I was telling him one Day of the sudden Happiness of the famous Monsieur Pascal's Father, on discovering what a wonderful Progress his Son had made in the Study of Geometry, without the Help either of Books, or any Master: On turning to him, I saw his Eyes were flooded ; the Tears, at last, streamed down his Cheeks, and he could not for some Moments recover his Voice enough to express the Joy he felt on so happy a Surprize, to so good a Father.

I am very sorry that there is still one Point remaining, in which Hill is as much unlike Magliabechi as in any of the preceding. Magliabcchi lived and died, as has been already said, in very great

[1] He sayi he was, " Sciolto da tutte qualitati umane ; tutto dato, ** destitute, dedicato, e per dir cosi, consacrato alle lettere, a i libri." Or. Fan. f. I».

A a 2 Affluence j Affluence; he abounded in Money, and his Expenccs were very small, except for Books; which he regarded as his truest Treasure: Whereas poor Mr. Hill has generally lived in Want, and lately more than ever. The very high Price even Of the most necessary Provisions for this and the last Year, have net only made it often difficult for him to provide Bread for himself and his Family; but have in Part stppt Up even the Sources for it, in lessening his Business. Buckingham is no rich Place £t best; and even there his Business lies chiefly among the lower Sort of People; and when these are not able to purchase the Food that is necessary for them, they cannot think of buying new Cloaths. This has reduced him so very low, that I have been informed, that be has past many and many whole Days in this and the former Year, without tasting any thing but Water and Tobacco. He has a Wife and four small Children, the eldest of them not above eight Years old: And what Bread they could get, he often spared from his own Hunger, to help towards satisfying theirs. People that live ajways at their Ease, do not know, and can scarce conceive the Difficulties our Poor have been forced to undergo in these late hard Times. He himself assured me, upon my mentioning this Particular to him, that it was too truej "But, alas !" added he, " it is not only my Cafe, but has been that of M hundreds in the Town and Neighbourhood of »« Buckingham, in the last, and for the former Part £.« of this Year; and I fear, we must make many

.** mor^

« PreviousContinue »