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apostate, an infidel, an abandoned natural curiosity on bis part, was reprobate. These circumstances entreated to perform this office. prevailed upon Mrs. Turner to alter But there exists a still stronger her will, in which she had left him reason for supposing there must be a very considerable sum of money. some mistake in this matter. Many He had only a legacy of 30l. We of his schoolfellows at Eton stil must now go back to our chrono- survive, and they all affirm, without logical order.

any variation, that when Porson “In the year 1774, when Porson first went to Eton, he was not parwas about fourteen years of age, ticularly distinguished above the and had been under the care of Mr. other boys, either for learning, H. for two years, he had already acquirements, or studious habits. discovered a most extraordinary Further than this, it is said by one quickness of parts.

who is well qualified to judge, that is “ His acquirements, indeed, even by no less a personage than the preat that early period, and his re- sent amiable and learned markable powers of abstraction and that as a boy, he discovered but an of memory, the force of his intel- indifferent taste, and in his comlect in whatever direction it was positions was very fond of mixing excited, induced in the breast of Greek with his Latin, as thus, “ inMr. Norris a desire of extending gemuere Tochon" &c. &c. the scale of his education. It was It may perhaps be the fact, that determined to send him to Eton. there is a little confusion and mis.

“A circumstance relating to this take with regard to dates. Porson event is communicated by his fa- cessarily and officially examils, so much out of the ordinary mined by the Greek Professor, when inode of proceeding in similar cases, he sate, as it is termed, for the that a little suspicion of its accuracy university scholarship ; and he may, without offence, be indulged. might, after his admission at col. It is stated by his relations, ihat lege, and before bis actual residence, previously to his being admitted at go down to Cambridge from Eton, Eton, Mr. Norris sent Porson to or, pot inoprobably in some interval Cambridge, to be examined as to of the holidays, from his friends in his proficiency in the classics, by Norfolk, for this particular purpose. the Greek Professor. This was in “ It is very certain, that his conthe midsummer of 1774. It is temporaries at Eton, with little, very added, that in his examination, he little exception, do not remember displayed so much talent, and such much about him. The following extensive acquirenients, that he was particulars concerning him at this sent to Eton in the following sum- period, may, however, be depended mer, viz, in 1775.

upon, being either communicated “Now, if this really were the fict, by himself, or from authority which it is more than probable that such cannot be doubted. an incident never took place before, -- When at Elon, he wrote two and can only be explained by the dramatic pieces, and acted in them possible circumstance, that the hiinself. All, however, that is reGreek Professor, who was at that membered of either is, that one was periód Dr. was aú intimate more elaborate than the 'other, aod friend of Mr. Norris, and from a indicated more of plot, ingenuity,


was nece


and contrivance. The title of it filial ingratitude, and tell with the was, Out of the Frying-pan into candid mind, more than a hundred the Fire.'

idle stories to his disadvantage. The other was a shorter piece, The writer of this narrative has of less importance, and was oc. also a strong impression, that he casioned by some private circum- used to send clothes and occasional stance, or anecdote, among the presents to his brothers ; though he boys themselves.

certainly did not write to any of the “ It is an extraordinary, but well family, which, of course, they reartesied fact concerning him, that sented. He had, indeed, a very the first book he ever read with great repugnance to writing letters, attention was Chambers's Dictionary, and when he did so, his epistles which he fairly and regularly pe. were concise, stiff, and formal. rused from beginning to end. He A specimen or two will hereafter was always fond of algebra, and was be given. He certainly did not a very skilful algebraist. He want sensibility; though his cold- . taught himself the principles from ness, and reserve of demeanour, the above dictionary.

might reasonably excite the suspio “ Alter Porson left Eton to reside cion that he was unfeeling. at Cambridge, a very long time “He spent the evening with him elapsed without there being any whose notes now record the fact, intercourse between him and his when the last year of his being perfamily. This circumstance has mitted to retain the benefits of his brought upon him, particularly in fellowship, expired. It could not Norfolk, the severest censure. Yet easily be obliterated from the methat this apparent, and indeed cul- mory. His indignation at not being pable neglect did not entirely arise appointed to a lay fellowship in his from insensibility to the ties of na- college, then vacant; his resentment lure and of blood, is very certain. on perusing the letter which coldly Porson was undoubtedly not de. apologized for giving it to another, ficient in filial reverence. His sister with a recommendation to him, bad not seen her brother for twenty- which he felt as the bitterest insult, two years, when, in 1804, she wrote to take orders; the anguish he exto inform him that her father was pressed at the gloom of his prospects, exceedingly ill, and considered as without a sixpence in the world ; being in great danger. Porson im- his grief; and, finally, his tears ; mediately went down to Norfolk to excited an impression of sympathy see him, and at that time continued which could never be forgotten. for seven weeks with his sister. “ Another proof that he was not The old gentleman recovered; but insensible of kindness, deserves also when seized with his dying illness, to be recorded. He had borrowed, Iwo years afterwards, Porson was on some occasion or other, of our again written to by his sister, and Sexagenarian, a sum of money. Of again replied to her letter by his course, he was never asked for it, presence. This was his last visit nor in the remotest degree reminded into Norfolk, when he passed a of it.' After an interval of more month at Coltishall. Now, it must than four years, he cane one day, be acknowledged, that these facts in the familiar manner to which he demonstrate any thing rather than was accustomed, and said, 'I am


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come to dive, and have brought you family. In one which he often the money I owe you—I suppose visited, there was a little girl of you thought I had forgotten it.' whom he was exceedingly, fond ;

“On his first arrival at college, he often brought her triling prehe of course did not possess a very scnts, wrote in her books, and disexte: sive library, and he used to go tinguished her on every occasion ; to the present Provost of Eton's but she had a brother to whom, for rooms, to read Suidas and Plutarch's no assignable reason, he never spoke, Morals; and even at that early pe- nor would in any respect notice. riod proposed some very curious He was also fond of female society, critical emendations.

and though too frequently negligent A very singular circumstance of his person, was of the most occurred about this period, which obliging manners and behaviour, and there may be some who are able to would read a play, or recite, or do explain—it is not atiempted here. any thing that was required. Some person or other had taken a He was very fond of crab fish, copy of Eustathius from Eton college and on one occasion, where he was library, and had conveyed it to very intimate, asked to bare one Cambridge. It was here lent to for supper ; his friend jocularly Porson, who made excellent use of said, that he should have the finest it. The following paragraph is in St. James's Market, if he would verbatim from our manuscript :- go thither, buy, and bring it honie • The book was afterwards returned himself. He disappeared in an into Eton college, where it now re- stant, and marched unconcerned mains, it is to be hoped, as Buona. through some

of the most gay parte said of the Belvidere Apollo, streets of London with the crab

pour jismais." The expression of triumphantly in his hand. “it is to be hoped," is made use of “ Much has been said of his irbecause the very exiraordinary fact regularities. That odious theme is not long since occurred of some left to others. With all his errors nost rare, curious, and valuable and eccentricities, he wbo wrote books finding their way fro the this, loved hiin much, bowed withi venerable precincts of a Cathedral reverence to his talents, and admilibrary, to the shelves of a private ration to his learning, and acknowcollection. May the fate of this ledged with gratitude the delight Eustathius be different ! At pre- and benefit he received from his sent, at least, whoever pleases may society and conversation. Yet Porsee it in Eton college library, en- son by no means excelled in converriched by a number of notes by sation; he neither wrote nor spoke Porson ju the margin.'

witb facility. His elocution was “ Purson had a very lofty mind, perplexed and embarrassed, except and was tenacious of his proper where he was exceedingly intimate ; dignity. Where he was familiar but there was strong indication of and intimate, he was exceedingly intellect in his countenance, and condescending and good-natured. whatever he said was manifestly He was kind io children, and wculd founded on judgment, sense, aod often play with them, but he was knowledge. Composition was no at no paios to conceal his partiality Irss difficult to him. Upon one where there were several in the occasion, he undertook to write a


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dozen lines upou a subject which “ Porson, when in Norfolk with he had much turne.t in bis mind, his sister, went regularly to church, and with which he was exceedingly nor was he ever prevented from so familiar. But the number of era- doing, except when under the insures and interlineations was fluence of one of the violent pa. great as to render it'hardly legible; roxysms of asthma, to which he was yet, when completed, it was, and subject. These were occasionally is, a memorial of his sagacity, acute- so formidable, that apprehensions ness, and erudition.

were often entertained that he " It remains to record a few would expire in the presence of his anecdotes of him, some of wbich, friends. On his first visit to Norat leist, do him the highest honour. folk, in 1804, he accompanied his During the whole period of his re- brother-in-law to the adjoining sidence in Norfolk wiih his sister, village church of Horstead. Porson which altogether amounted to cle- found that preparations were made ven weeks, he never drank more to administer the sacrament. When than two glasses of wine after the usual service of prayers and dinner, and never touched a single sermon was ended, and they were drop of spirits. He was most fre- about to leave the church, Porson quently satisfied with one glass of stopped suddenly, and asked Mr. wine. He talked familiarly with Hawes, if in his opinion there the family, joined them in their would be any impropriety in his walks, and principally amused him receiving the sacrament. Mr. self with a Greek manuscript be- Hawes instantly replied, longing 10 Dr. Clark, which that tainly not. Upon this, they both traveller had brought home with turned back, and received the comhim from Grerce or Syria.

munion together. He was, from his childhood, a “This was an extraordinary fact; very bad sleeper; and it is to be and on the part of Porson suggests feared, for it is no unusual case, a singular question. Perhaps he that be may have been led to oc- might feel some hesitation from the casional indulgences with regard to circumstance of his being a total wine, with the view of procuring stranger to the clergyman who ofsleep. But he was also of a very ficiated; or perhaps it might hare social disposition, and the universal reference to the consciousness of desire of his company might eventu.

bis avowed non-conformity to the ally cause this to be imposed upon. articles. The matter most remain One thing, it is believed, may po- undecided. sitively be insisted upon, that he “ Singular as it may seem, it is was never guilty of any intempe- nevertheless true, that Porson did rance in solitude; and his behaviour pot hold

in so bigb a when under his sister's roof, shows degree of estimation as might bave that he could easily accommodate been expected from the exalted himself to the disposition and man- station, which this venerable perners of the people among whom sonage bas invariably enjoyed in he was thrown.

the kingdom of letters. It would “ The anecdote next about to be be invidious, as it is quite unnecesrelated will perhaps excite surprize sary, to be circumstantial; but the in many, but its authenticity cannot fact was so. be disputed.

“On oue occasion, when this per


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sonage was enjoying his afternoon's his pride allow him either to con. pipe, he turned triumphantly to the fess, or retract his fault. The Greek Professor, and remarked, writer of this article once pointed Porson, with all your learning, I out to him a very great error in his do not think you well versed in translation of the New Testament; metaphysics." “I presume you he acknowledged it at the time, but mean your metaphysics,” was the the second edition appeared, and reply.

the same error was repeated : be "At another time when some- might possibly have forgotten it. thing which this gentleman bad Porson, on the contrary, never de written and published much inter- . clared or formed his critical opiested the public attention, and oc- nions (for of such we are now casioned many squibs, and para- speaking) hastily. He paciently graphs, and controversial letters in examined, seriously deliberated, and the newspapers, Porson wrote the

was generally correct in bis decifollowing epigram:

sions; nevertheless, be quietly lisi

ened to the arguments of opponents, Perturbed spirits, spare your ink, and was neitber irrilable nor perti

And beat your stupid brains no longer, pacious. How erroneous an estiThen to oblivion soon would sink Your persecuted -monger.”

mate Wakefield had formed of Por

son, is sufficiently apparent from « On the other hand, it is to be the posthumous letters between bim observed, that tbis eminent man, and Mr. Fox. for so he was, invariably spoke of W. appears to tell that eminent Porson io terms of the highest ad- statesman, with a sort of ill. natured miration and regard.

exultation, that nine hundred errors " Whatever might be the case had been detected in the edition of with respect to the person above Heyne's Virgil, corrected, as he is alluded to, l'orson as never at any pleased to call it, by Porson. The pains to conceal his extreme con. fact is not so. The errors were certempt for Wakefield. There was tainly very numerous; but the at one time a seeming sort of friendly office of press corrector was far be· communication ; but whilst Wake- neath the dignity of Porson, and field aimed at being thought on what mistakes there are, are prinlevel with Porson in point of at- cipally confined to the notes, which tainments, the latter must unavoida. a single glance from a critical reader bly bave felt the consciousness of will in a moment detect and amend. his own great superiority.--Indeed, The errors of the text, which is of the difference between them was more matérial importance, did not immense. Witbout disparagement exceed twenty in all the four voto Wakefield, his warmest advocates lumes. must acknowledge, that although Again, at p. 99, of the work be formed his opinions bastily, he above quoted, Mr. Wakefield is never failed to vindicate them with pleased thus to express himself : peremptory decision.

In conse

after assigning two reasons for not quence of this eagerness and haste, having more frequent intercourse his criticisms were frequently erro- with Porson, he gives as a third : neous, and his conclusions false; “ The uninteresting insipidity of neither, if detected in error, would his society, as it is impossible to



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