Edinburgh Bookshelf

Kay's Originals Vol. 1


BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES. 221 During the brief period of Mr. Rylance’s sojourn in Edinburgh, Mr. Constable found employment for his pen in various minor literary matters,-among others, in the compilation of an analytical catalogue of all the works previously published in his then extensive establishment, and of which a large impression was thrown off and circulated. The following newspaper sarcasm, which first appeared in the Moining ChrmicZe after the publication, in 1815, of Sir Walter (then Mr.) Scott’s poem, The Field of Waterloo, is from Rylance’s pen :- ‘‘ The corps of many a hero slain Graced Waterloo’s ensanguined plain ; But none, by sabre or by shot, Fell half so flat as Walk Scott I ” To which, after remonstrance, and in a better mood, he added- ‘‘ Yet none, by magic sword and shield, More nobly fought on Flodden Field. ” Mr. Rylance died at London in 1834. The following tribute to his memory is, we believe, from the pen of his friend Mr. Jerdan :- “Died, on the 6th of June, aged 52, Mr. Ralph Rylance, a gentleman of great talents and varied acquirements. By Messrs. Longman and Co. his abilities, information, and industry were well known and justly appreciated. His pen had been employed by them for many years ; and he was the author or translator of a multitude of publications, although to no one of them, we believe, is his name attached. He was not so distinguished in the literary world as he ought to have been. “ Mr, Rylance was a native of Bolton in Lancashire. His early boyhood was passed in Liverpool, where he was honoured by the special notice of the late Mr. Roscoe ; of whose kindness he always spoke with the warmest gratitude, and who put him to school under the celebrated Mr. Lempriere. Here he acquired the classical languages with extraordinary facility ; and afterwards became so accomplished a linguist, that he could read, write, and speak with fluency no fewer than eighteen languages; and, not long before his death, was closely studying the Welsh and Celtic, for the purpose of composing an ethnic essay on the affinities of all languages. With ancient history and literature he was profoundly acquainted ; and his racy English style was evidently formed on that of the age of Elizabeth. In politics he was a liberal Whig; and in religion, although differing from some of his nearest and dearest connections, he was steadily and faithfully attached to the Church of England. Two of his most recent productions were, ‘ An Explanation of the Doctrines of Christianity ;’ and ‘ An Exposition of the Lord‘s Prayer,’-both of which have been mentioned in the Literary Gazette with the commendations which the rational piety of their author, and the simplicity and clearness of his statements, arguments, and illustrations deserved. Of the excellent qualities of his heart, the filial tenderness
Volume 8 Page 312
  Shrink Shrink   Print Print