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LITERATURE IN SOUTHAMPTON.
thoughts, I cannot recall anything in them the suggestion or origin of which is clearly to be attributed to the Hampshire port. In any case, even in the absence of direct testimony, we may fairly, in the face of her long residence here, claim Miss Austen as indeed more of a Southamptonian than any other personage in literature, with the exception of Watts and Dibdin.
That I am not attaching undue importance to this connection I would show by recalling to your mind the opinion of Lord Macaulay, whose mature judgment—a judgment formed by the study of everything great that Aryan Literature had to show —was that Miss Austen's writings approached as nearly to perfection as human productions could possibly do ; and also, that of the great Wizard of the North, Sir Walter, who said that while he himself could do the great bow-wow as well as any of them ; yet in the finer, clearer, sharper, more delicate and discriminating touches he could not approach Miss Austen. It was in this especially that she was akin to Shakspere, and while the English Language remains her writing will delight the reader alike by the interest and the vividness of her portraits, and the ease, lucidity and vivacity of her style.
I cannot refrain from expressing the opinion that Southampton would honour itself by suitably recording- its connection with one of the great names of English Literature.
Of those other great writers whose names are by some casual circumstance connected with the Town or its neighbourhood I do not feel justified in treating at any length. I cannot see that their visits to this locality give Southampton any real connection with Pope, Swift, Voltaire, or Cowper: not so much indeed as it could claim with John Iveble—great part of whose life was spent at H ursley; or with Sir Isaac Newton who long lived at Cranbury. Shakspere may have come here to see his patron the Earl of Southampton and doubtless there are few of the great men of English Literature, from Chaucer downward, who have not at least been to the Town. Bobert Pollok, the Scotch poet, died here and was buried in Mill-brook old Churchyard. In the celebration of the hundredth anniversary of his birth and the subsequent erection of a memorial to him near his birth place at Newton Mearns in Renfrewshire, our Town had some part; and as his tomb is still with us, though sadly, I think, neglected, a word or two respecting him may not be out of place. Like Burns, a son of the soil, he was born in 1798 and died herein 1827. As a student he wrote three tales, still popular, and known as " Tales of the Covenanters " ; but the work by which he is chiefly known is a long poem in blank verse of some 9,000 lines, entitled "The Course of Time." The great thing which strikes one in reading this work is the possibility which it seems to show that, if the writer had lived, he might have produced much good poetry ; but that as it stands it is a frank imitation of Paradise Lost. Metre
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