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lived in Australia, caii conceive with what
ease and little expense such rural beauties,
such little paradises, and domestic comforts
can be formed and kept up in that country.
Notwithstanding, however, the beauty of all
this––the variety of flowers––the magnificence
of the creepers–––the stillness and quietness
that reigned around, it must be frankly
confessed there was a certain vacuum that
required filling up. If the animal senses were
gratified, the mind felt somehow dissatisfied.
There was a coldness, a death-like silence,
which hung over the place; there appeared to
be a want of rationality in the thing, for there
seemed to be no human beings to enjoy it,
or not a sufficient number. Yes, this spot of
beauty, to make it a delightful happy home,
required, what one of our favourite poets,
and the poet of nature, calls nature's "noblest
work "–––woman. 'Tis but too true John
"Whitney wanted a wife to make his home a
fit habitation for man. What is John Whitney
without her? He may be an excellent
carpenter, but he is at the same time a desolate,
morose being, incapable of enjoying these
beauties of nature. Poor John Whitney keenly
felt this; and it was the hope alone, warming
and clinging to his heart, that some day he
could call himself the father of a family, that
inspired him to gather all these beauties and
comforts around him.


THE name of Ebenezer Elliott is associated
with one of the greatest and most important
political changes of modern times; with
events not yet sufficiently removed from us,
to allow of their being canvassed in this place
with that freedom which would serve the
more fully to illustrate his real merits.
Elliott would have been a poet, in all that
constitutes true poetry, had the Corn Laws
never existed.

He was born on 25th March, 1781, at the
New Foundry, Masborough, in the parish of
Rotherham, where his father was a clerk
in the employment of Messrs. Walker, with
a salary of £60 or £70 per annum. His
father was a man of strong political tendencies,
possessed of humorous and satiric power,
that might have qualified him for a comic
actor. Such was the character he bore for
political sagacity that he was popularly known
as "Devil Elliott." The mother of the poet
seems to have been a woman of an extreme
nervous temperament, constantly suffering
from ill health, and constitutionally awkward
and diffident.

Ebenezer commenced his early training at
a Dame's school; but shy, awkward, and
desultory, he made little progress; nor did
he thrive much better at the school in which
he was afterwards placed. Here he employed
his comrades to do his tasks for him, and
of course laid no foundation for his future
education. His parents, disheartened by the
lad's apparent stolidity, sent him next to
Dalton School, two miles distant; and here
he certainly acquired something, for he
retained, to old age, the memory of some of the
scenes through which he used to pass on his
way to and from this school. For want of
the necessary preliminary training, he could
do little or nothing with letters: he rather
preferred playing truant and roaming the
meadows in listless idleness, wherever his
fancy led him. This could not last. His
father soon set him to work in the Foundry;
and with this advantage, that the lad stood
on better terms with himself than he had
been for a considerable period, for he
discovered that he could compete with others
in work,––sheer hand-labour,––if he could not
in the school. One disadvantage, however,
arose, as he tells us, from his foundry life;
for he acquired a relish for vulgar pursuits,
and the village alehouse divided his attentions
with the woods and fields. Still a deep
impression of the charms of nature had
been made upon him by his boyish rambles,
which the debasing influences and
associations into which he was thrown could
not wholly wipe out. He would still wander
away in his accustomed haunts, and purify
his soul from her alehouse defilements, by
copious draughts of the fresh nectar of natural
beauty imbibed from the sylvan scenery
around him.

The childhood and youth of the future
poet presented a strange medley of opposites
and antitheses. Without the ordinary measure
of adaptation for scholastic pursuits, he
inhaled the vivid influences of external things,
delighting intensely in natural objects, and
yet feeling an infinite chagrin and remorse at
his own idleness and ignorance. We find
him highly imaginative; making miniature
lakes by sinking an iron vessel filled with
water in a heap of stones, and gazing therein
with wondrous enjoyment at the reflection of
the sun and skies overhead; and exhibiting
a strange passion for looking on the faces of
those who had died violent deaths, although
these dead men's features would haunt his
imagination for weeks afterwards.

He did not, indeed, at this period, possess
the elements of an ordinary education.
A very simple circumstance sufficed to apply
the spark which fired his latent energies, and
nascent poetical tendencies: and he hence-
forward became a different being, elevated far
above his former self. He called one evening,
after a drinking bout on the previous night,
on a maiden aunt, named Robinson, a widow
possessed of about £30 a-year, by whom he
was shown a number of " Sowerby's English
Botany," which her son was then purchasing
in monthly parts. The plates made a
considerable impression on the awkward youth,
and he essayed to copy them by holding them
to the light with a thin piece of paper before
them. When he found he could trace their