Edinburgh Bookshelf

Kay's Originals Vol. 1


46 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES. PTO. XVIII. FRANCIS GROSE, ESQ., F.A.S. OF LONDON AND PERTH. THIS Print of the celebrated antiquary, Captain Grose, A fine fat fodgel wig& of stature short, but genius bright, represents him in the act of copying an inscription upon an ancient ruin, and was done during his visit to Edinburgh in 1789. He was exceedingly corpulent, and used to rally himself with the greatest good humour on the singular rotundity of his figure. The following epigram, written in a moment of festivity by the celebrated Robert Eurns, the Ayrshire bard, was so much relished by Grose, that he made it serve as an excuse for prolonging the convivial occasion that gave it birth to a very late hour :- The Devil got notice that Grose waa adying, So whip ! at the 8ummona, old Satan came flying ; But when he approach’d where poor FrancLs lay moaning, And saw each bed-post with its burthen a-groaning, Astonished, confounded, cries Satan, ‘ -, I’d want him, ere take such a -lo ad.” It may be noticed that Grose acknowledges his obligations to the poet in the following terms, in his Anfiquitks of Scotland:-“To my ingenious friend, Mr, Robert Burns, I have been variously obligated : he not only was at the pains of making out what was most worthy of notice in Ayrshire, the county honoured by his birth, but he also wrote, expressly for this work, the pretty tale annexed to Alloway Church.” This “pretty tale ” is Burns’s inimitable ‘‘ Tam 0’ Shanter.” Captain Grose was born in the year 1731, and was the son of Mr, Francis Grose of Richmond, jeweller, who fitted up the coronation crown of George the Second, and died in 1769. By his father he was left an independent fortune. In early life he entered the Surrey militia, of which he became Adjutant and Paymaster; but so careless was he that he kept no vouchers either of his receipts or expenditure. He used himself to say he had only two books of accounts, viz. the right and left hand pockets. The results may easily be anticipated, and his fortune suffered severely for his folly. His losses on this occasion roused his latent talents ;-with a good classical education, a fine taste for drawing, encouraged by his friends, and impelled by his situation, he commenced the Antiquities of England and Wah, the first number of which was published in 1773, and the fourth volume completed in 1776. In 1777 he resumed his pencil, and added two lpore volumes to his English Views, in which he included the islands of Guernsey and Jersey, in 237 views, with
Volume 8 Page 62
  Shrink Shrink   Print Print