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Kneel down at the couch of departing faith,
TO C. WITH A LOCK OF HIS MOTHER'S HAIR.
Brother, dear brother, take this precious gift,
Her beaming smile dispelled not. She had gone!
in her. Years have gone by,
Art. XIII.—Memoirs and Poetical Remains of the late Jane
Taylor; with Extracts from her Correspondence. By Isaao Taylor. Boston. 1826. pp. 316. JANE Taylor belonged to a very worthy family, well known to the public, by several publications, mostly of a moral and practical character. She is always to be spoken of with respect as one, who uniformly consecrated her powers, originally far from ordinary, to what she deemed the cause of truth, of virtue, and human happiness; whose highest ambition was to render herself useful, and merit the esteem of the few she loved and valued, and whose success was sufficient to gratify, at least, diffidence and modest wishes. If the present volume, especially the poetical part of it, adds nothing to her fame, or fails, in certain respects, of answering the hopes awakened by some of her former productions, it will be regarded with interest on account of the biographical notices it contains, and the copious extracts it gives from her correspondence.
The Memoir, by her brother, which occupies nearly half the volume, appears to be an honest and faithful narrative, tolerably free from extravagant panegyric, the common fault of writings of this class. It exhibits no extraordinary ability, but may be regarded, on the whole, as quite a reputable performance, somewhat perplexed and clumsy, however, in arrangement, and not without occasional inaccuracies of language, and numerous repetitions both of thought and expression. of the author's style, in general, we should say, that it is less distinguished for simplicity, ease, and light and graphical narrative, than for a sort of drowsy dignity, stiffness, and constraint. He does not quite satisfy us in other respects. We think that he has been a little too scrupulous on certain points, and in his attempts to separate the personal history of his sister from that of her family' as far as possible, bas embarrassed bimself with needless difficulties, and kept back facts and incidents important to the complete illustration of his subject. We give him full credit for bis motives, a fear of subjecting himself to the charge of egotism, and respect for the feelings of survivers, who seem entitled to an exemption from the demands of that curiosity, which it is usual to gratify, relative to the dead, who have occupied a place in public esteem.' But he has carried the point of delicacy a little too far; he has some overrefined notions, in a word, a kind of squeamishness, which has led him to make suppressions, which mar the texture, and in some degree impair the interest of his performance. As one example of the defect to which we allude, we would mention a certain air of reserve and mystery he has attempted to throw over almost every thing, that relates to the parents of the subject of his Memoir. He seems to set out with the sturdy resolution to withhold all information concerning their rank and occupation. This resolution, it is true, he is compelled to abandon in the course of the narrative, and by degrees, though rather awkwardly, by insinuation and periphrasis, discloses, what had been much better told us without reserve in the beginning. Their calling was an honest one, and we see no reason, therefore, for all this hesitation and shuffling.
The narrative commences with the following clumsily constructed sentence. Jane, their second daughter, was born September 23, 1783, while her parents resided in London.'Her father, we are told, was an artist,' or, as it afterwards ap
pears, an engraver. Her constitution was originally delicate, and her hold on life, for some time, seemed precarious, but in her fourth year, her father having removed to Lavenham in Suffolk, she suddenly acquired health and spirits. She is described as exhibiting from infancy, remarkable vivacity, fertility of invention, and a quick and active fancy; she entered with eagerness into all the childish diversions provided for her, and was never at a loss in furnishing amusement for herself and her companions. I can remember,' says her sister, that Jane was always the saucy, lively, entertaining little thing, the amusement and the favorite of all that knew her. At the baker's shop she used to be placed on the kneading board, in order to recite, preach, narrate, &c. to the great entertainment of his many visiters. And at Mr Blackadder's she was the life and fun of the farmer's hearth.' - She was the presenter of every petition for holidays and special favors, and the spirited foremost in every youthful plan.' In short, she was generally spoken of as a most diverting little
6 thing;' she was sought after, caressed, and flattered; and was in a fair way, we should say, of becoming a spoiled child. But she seems to have escaped with little injury, being preserved by a native timidity and diffidence. The fears of her parents
a too were awakened, and so far as it was possible to prevent it, Jane was restrained from thus furnishing amusement to the neighbourhood, at so great hazard to her simplicity. At eight years of age, or earlier, she began to write verses, and two pieces are preserved in the Memoir, one written at the age of ten, and the other of eleven, both well enough, perhaps, viewed as mere childish efforts.
Both she and her sister were indebted for their education, with the exception of a few of the lighter accomplishments, to the personal instruction of their parents, passing part of every
with their father, and a considerable part with their moth who from the first, made her daughters her companions, treating them, and conversing with them as reasonable beings.' The writer proceeds to give some account of the plan of education adopted by these careful parents, after stating, that the father about this time, 1796, was induced to comply with the wishes of a dissenting congregation at Colchester, to become their minister ;' to wbich place he immediately removed with his family. Of the circumstances, which led to this change, and the preparation for it, nothing is said. The plan alluded to we shall give in the author's own words.
• The course of his children's instruction was soon resumed by
father after his settlement at Colchester. He aimed less to impart those shreds of information, which serve for little except to deck out ignorance with the show of knowledge, than to ex. pand the mind by a general acquaintance with all the more important objects of science ; so that, in whatever direction in after life, his children might pursue their studies, they might find the difficulties attending the first steps on unknown ground already overcome. It was also in his view, a principal object to prevent the formation of a narrow and exclusive taste for particular pursuits, by exciting, very early, a lively interest on subjects of every kind. The influence of this comprehensive system on Jane's tastes, was very apparent in after life. For though, by the conformation of her mind, she most frequented the regions of imagination, and of moral sentiment; she always retained so genuine a taste for pursuits of an opposite kind, as at once to impart a spirit of liberality to her mind, and to become the source of richness and variety in her writings. pp. 38, 39.
Here the narrative is interrupted by an episode on the four lovely daughters' of a Dr S-of Colchester, in the course of which the writer exbibits, to use the mildest term, a degree of disingenuousness, we deem highly deserving of reprehension. Of the propriety of giving to the public, minute personal history of this kind, strong doubts may be justly entertained. For ourselves, we consider the practice wholly unauthorized. It is not merely a piece of impertinence; it is unfeeling and cruel. We feel compelled strongly to protest against it. Dr. S--- was a physician esteemed for the excellence of his private character, as well as for his professional ability.'
• He died, observes the narrator, ‘about the time of which I am speaking ; leaving a widow, four daughters, and a son, who alone survives.'—'Those who may still remember Mira S-, will allow that they have rarely seen united so much intelligence and sweetness of disposition, and loveliness of manners and of person. Her charm was that of blended dignity and gentleness. Not long after the commencement of my sister's intimacy with this family, Mira exhibited symptoms of the malady of which, in the course of a few years, herself and her sisters, were the victims, and died at Exeter, after spending two or three years in frequent, but hopeless changes of scene, among her friends in Ireland, and the West of England. Bythia, the second daughter, though less lovely in person, and less gentle in