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ordinary to his Majesty; in 1778 to the Deanery of Carlisle; and in 1782 to the Bishoprick of Dromore in Ireland.
The mitre which made him rich, did not make him idle; for much of the attention hitherto bestowed upon literature, was now devoted to the necessary but unostentatious duties of his diocese. Here, from a feeling of duty he fixed his constant residence, visiting England only occasionally. Ireland, in addition to many other disadvantages, was then thought by no means desirable as a place of abode, from the want of that systematic arrangement in matters of public convenience and internal detail which supply to civilised life some of its chief wants and many of its pleasures. Thus he complains in a letter to Malone (October 17th, 1786) of the negligence of an important public department" I received only three days ago your very obliging favour of September 28th; nor did your former shorter letter which you mention, ever come to hand; a misfortune which I fear often happens to letters to and from me; for our post-office here is not well conducted." And again (July 13th, 1802) "Having reason to believe by some strange irregularity in the post-office that both letters to and from me have miscarried, I begin to suspect that you never received mine of June 18th." Another serious deprivation to a literary man, the effect of imperfect facility of communication, is thus mentioned to the same correspondent (July 3d, 1785) — “I am leaving Dublin
to return for the summer to Dromore, where in a very agreeable situation in all other respects, I only have to regret my great distance from the literary world. I see new publications about as soon as they would reach the East Indies. Although I endeavour to get the Reviews, Magazines, &c. &c., I am often eight months in arrear. But I am endeavouring to open a communication through Liverpool and Newry for a supply of these necessary publications, and if I can accomplish it, will beg leave to inform you of the mode, &c.; for I find it often as difficult to get parcels sent me from Dublin as from London itself. Thus circumstanced I must feel double gratitude for a letter full of literary intelligence like your last."*
Notwithstanding these and other annoyances, inseparable from a less advanced state of social organisation, he did not find his abode in the sister kingdom so irksome a task as many seem to consider it, who deriving their wealth and honours from that country, decline to make it their residence. As an ecclesiastic, he justly considered himself imperatively bound to the spot where his charge was placed, and whence his income was derived. He thus fulfilled the truest duties of such an important station in a temporal as well as spiritual sense; became an example to his neighbourhood, and an ornament to his church.
* From MS. letters to Mr. Malone politely communicated by Dr. H. U. Thomson.
He assisted and instructed the poor of whatever faith, and gained all the respect which such conduct deserves; he was hospitable in his habits; warm, frequently irritable in temper; full of anecdote; and became so impressed towards the decline of life, with the necessity of appropriating every disposable moment to the duties of his calling, as to deem the time devoted to the work on which alone his fame rests, although executed when young, misapplied. When solicited by several correspondents of literary eminence, to prepare a new edition of the Reliques* for the press
* Upon this work it appears Sir Walter Scott formed his ballad taste. The following passage in a letter from Dr. Anderson, Editor of the British Poets, to Bishop Percy will interest the reader; it is dated 21st June, 1800.
"Knowing that your Lordship was to embark for England soon after the date of your letter to me, I intended to offer you my early congratulations on the happiness of being reunited to your family in Northamptonshire, after a long period of separation, anxiety and alarm, imperiously exacted by the high considerations of public duty. I communicated my intention to an ingenious friend here, who wished to avail himself of the opportunity, to submit to your Lordship's inspection one or two of his compositions in the style of the ancient Scottish Ballad; in testimony of his high respect for your character, and of his gratitude to the Editor of the Reliques,' upon which he formed his taste for ballad thinking and expression. He happened soon after to go into the country, where he has been detained till now; when he does himself the honour he intended, by transmitting two ballads The Eve of St. John' and 'Glenfinlass' for your Lordship's opinion, and desires me to offer you the testimony of his sincerest esteem and veneration. The name of my friend is Walter Scott, Esq. a native of Tiviotdale, of the Harden family, an Advocate, Sheriff of
about the year 1800, he peremptorily declined; assigning his sacred calling as utterly incompatible with such an undertaking. The care of it was therefore consigned to a relative.
To find a friend in a worthy man, is some testimony to the merit of him who makes the acquisition; and nothing of more moment than occasional differences of opinion on literary matters, sometimes sufficiently vehement, occurred to interrupt their regard. Goldsmith confessed to have profited by his learning and friendship; and Mr. Percy had too much discernment not to value one whose qualities as a man, and ingenuity and judgment as a writer, had won the esteem of the great literary names of the day.
Willing perhaps to profit by such suggestions as the taste of Goldsmith might throw out, it appears that portions of the Reliques were submitted to him previous to publication, and these by their simplicity and truth ensured his sincere applause. Admiration of the style produced one of its frequent effects, imitation; for to this and to the desire of gratifying the taste of the Countess of Northumberland, we owe the "Hermit," the most
Selkirkshire. He is the translator of Burger's 'Leonore' and 'Earl Walter,' and Goethe's 'Goetz,' and will soon appear as Editor of a collection of Border Ballads, to be entitled 'The Minstrelsy of the Border,' in one vol. printing at Kelso, upon the plan of the Reliques;' which will be followed by two vols. of Illustrations of Border History, Poetry, and Popular Antiquities.'" MS. Correspondence in possession of Mr. Mason.
beautiful ballad in our own, or perhaps in any language.
The minute history of such things being always interesting, it may be mentioned that it was written in 1764; and for the pleasure of perusing it in print rather than in manuscript by the lady who was the immediate cause of its production, a few copies were printed off in the octodecimo form, which are now rarely met with, or even known, among the collectors of scarce tracts in poetry. None is to be found, as a communication on this subject from his Grace the Duke of Northumberland intimates, in the Library of Sion House, nor is it in any of the public libraries of London. A copy however has been procured after a tedious search by the writer of these pages, which belonged to the industrious Isaac Reed*, to whose name, and the date of the year when it appears to have been obtained, 1773, is added the following memorandum" Of this ballad, which is different from the copy printed in Goldsmith's works, a few copies only were printed." The name also differs from that by which it is now known, as appears in the heading or title: "Edwin and Angelina. A Ballad. By Mr. Goldsmith. Printed for the amusement of the Countess of Northumberland."
In this, which forms the original poem, the
* Purchased in the sale of the library of the late Richard Heber, Esq., who had, however, previously lent it for the use of this Work.