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enough, did not convince the brothers of their mistake, yet, like the present system of colonelling, (as if you could turn a man's brains in a vice) it made them bold : and such, I am afraid, is the object of the present swell and commotion : for I am convinced the Grumbletonians are not many; and what signifies stopping a man's mouth if his eyes are to remain open ? Indeed I think, on every consideration, this muzzling system a very bad one; for till people are born without reasoning faculties, or, having them, till you have found out a method of giving the coup de grace to the powers of thinking, men will ruminate; and if their thoughts are inflammatory, to prevent their being violent, you should allow them a vent. I would say much more on this subject, if I could hear any argument advanced why a man should not speak his thoughts; and I think still no man will ever suffer in this country for delivering his sentiments in decent and sober language.

Having no news to communicate, I could be very profuse on this subject, but have no time. Much I wish to see you in town. Do you accompany my brother in the spring, or do you come before? The muses I have almost forgot, though I shall have something to say to you on the subject. If want of the irritamenta malorum should check your otherwise well-disposed thoughts to a trip to town, let not that stop you: I have at present some few shots in the locker. Your lines, addressed to a fair botanist, make me acquainted with the subject. The specimen you sent I liked much. (in the language of kings) salutes you, as does your affectionate brother,

“ John TOBIN." Ecce signum.

The poem alluded to was addressed to a lady on commencing the study of botany at the Hot Wells; and is submitted to the reader's judgment. Ere yet, she bends her steps to yonder hills, Where wide the purple heath with fragrance fills

The gladsome gales that waft in conscious pride The wealth of distant worlds on Avon's tide. Descend, ( Muse, to guard the fair one's fate, And tell the dangers that her steps await -Say, shall the god possess with restless fears, That heart ne'er soften’d but with pity's tears Shall that fair bosom, where no troubles dwell, With love's deep sighs and raging tempests swell ? Yet, as o'er Flora's varied stores you bend, Those hidden ills upon your steps attend. Soon as the spring the verdant scene displays, And Sol uprises with redoubled rays, All Nature smiling, seems with joy to move, And hails the presence of prolific love. Where Rosa a blushes 'midst the num'rous train Who woo the fair one, and not woo in vain, There spreads the little god his treacherous snare, There bends that bow, so fatal to the fair, Or gently hovers 'neath the cooling shade, Where six bold youths b attend a modest maid, Where Lelia's cheek reclines with love oppress’d, Whiter than falling snow or Anna's breast : Where, too, great Ulmus lifts his massy limbs, While clasping ivy round his body climbs; Where coy Silene spurns the sun-bright ray, Or Helianthus d meets the blaze of day:

a The rose of the class Polyandria, or many males. b Lelia, of the class Hexandria, or six males. c Closes at the sun's approach. d Helianthus moves with the sun.

Where fair Nymphea e rises from the flood;
Where white Hibiscus f dies imbrued with blood;
Where short-liv'd Cistus & quits the burning plain,
Or bold Nigella h seeks her captive swains.
Here, too, the loves their lawless revels hold,
Where Vitis i arms in many a twining fold,
Clasp the tall Thyrsus, and inflame the soul
Of each fond youth who tastes the madd’ning bowl.
E'en on the craggy rock’s aspiring height,
Lost in the rolling cloud from human sight,
· The ardent Muschus k seeks his little mate,
And there, regardless of the storms of fate,
Tells his soft tale beneath the mountain's snow,
Nor envies nobler swains their loves below.
Aug. 1792.

There can be no doubt that the subject alluded to in the foregoing letter was no other than the drama, to which the younger Tobin began to fix his vacillating attention. The fondness which he almost in infancy imbibed for theatrical amusements, had

Nymphea, the water-lilly. : * Hibiscus, whose petals, before they fall, change to a fine red. $ Cistus, whose petals fall in a few hours.

In the Nigella, the females bend forward alternately, i Vitis, the vine. * Muschus, the moss.

D . .


acquired the energy of a ruling passion. But it was no longer as a simple recreation that he attended the first representation of every new play; or ransacked libraries, public and private, for dramatic volumes; or devoured with avidity every anecdote illustrating the habits and studies of dramatic authors. Convinced that he could never arrive at eminence in his profession, he sought to occupy, his mind with some literary pursuit more congenial to his talents and inclinations. As his judgment ripened, he became sensible that he could not obtain a distinguished place in the walks of didactic or heroic poetry: he discovered that satire was not his forte; and that his simple and almost spontaneous lyrics were better calculated to inspire delight, than his more ambitious compositions. He had repeatedly exercised his flexible powers on a variety of subjects; and the result of these experiments allowed him not to doubt, that his real

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