THE LIVES OF THE POETS OF GREAT BRITAIN and IRELAND. By Mr. CIBBER, and other Hands.

VOL. IV.

LONDON: Printed for R. GRIFFITHS, at the Dunciad in St. Paul's Church-Yard. MDCCLIII

VOLUME IV. Contains the LIVES OF

  • MOTTEUX Page 1
  • Manley Mrs. 4
  • Needler 23
  • Hughes 27
  • Prior 43
  • Centlivre Mrs. 58
  • Brady 62
  • Stepney 72
  • Pack 77
  • Dawes Arch. York 81
  • Congreve 83
  • Vanbrugh 99
  • Steele 112
  • Marvel 124
  • Thomas Mrs. 146
  • Fenton 164
  • Booth 178
  • Sewel 188
  • Hammond 192
  • Eusden 193
  • Eachard 198
  • Oldmixon 200
  • Welsted 205
  • Smyth More 210
  • Dennis 215
  • [Page 2]Granville L. Lansdowne Page 239
  • Gay 250
  • Philip D. Wharton 260
  • Codrington 292
  • Ward 293
  • L'Estrange 295
  • Smith Edmund 303
  • De Foe 313
  • Rowe Mrs. 326
  • Yalden Rowe Tho 342
  • Mitchel 347
  • Ozell 352

Just Published,

Dedicated to the Right Honourable PHILIP Earl of CHESTERFIELD.

Correctly printed in a neat Pocket Volume (Price Bound Three Shillings,)

The Second Edition of LES MOEURS; or, MANNERS. Accurately Translated from the French. Where­in the Principles of Morality, or Social Duties, viz. Piety, Wisdom, Prudence, Fortitude, Justice, Tem­perance, Love, Friendship, Humanity, &c. &c. are described in all their Branches; the Obligations of them shewn to consist in our Nature, and the En­largement of them strongly enforc'd. Here Parents are taught, that, giving Birth to a Child, scarcely entitles them to that honourable Name, without a strict Discharge of Parental Duties; the Friend will find, there are a thousand other Decorums, besides the doing of a Favour, to entitle him to the tender Name of Friend; and the Good-natur'd Man will find, he ought to extend that Quality beyond the Bounds of his own Neighbourhood or Party.

The Whole wrote in a manner entirely New and Entertaining, and enliven'd with real Characters, drawn from lise, and fited to instill the Principles of all Social Virtues into tender Minds.

Printed for W. Johnston at the Golden-Ball in St. Paul's Church-Yard.

[Page] THE LIVES OF THE POETS.

PETER MOTTEAUX,

A French gentleman, born and educated at Rohan, in Normandy. He came over into England, was a con­siderable trader, and resided here many years. He is said to have possessed no inconsiderable share of wit, and humour; and, besides a translation of Don Quixote, several Songs, Pro­logues and Epilogues, together with a Poem on Tea, dedicated to the Spectator, (see Vol. VII. [Page 2] Numb. 552) he is author of the following dramatic pieces.

  • 1. Love's a Jest, a Comedy; acted at the new Theatre, in little Lincoln's-Inn-Fields, 1696. In the two scenes, where love is made a jest, some passages are taken from Italian writers.
  • 2. The Loves of Mars and Venus; a Masque set to Music, performed at the Theatre in Lincoln's-Inn-Fields, 1696; dedicated to colonel Codrington. The story from Ovid.
  • 3. The Novelty, or every Act a Play; consisting of Pastoral, Comedy, Masque, Tragedy, and Farce, after the Italian manner; acted at the Theatre in little Lincoln's-Inn Fields 1697.
  • The model of this play is formed upon Sir William Davenant's Play-House to be let: But neither of them met with much success.
  • 4. Europe's Revels for the Peace, and his Maje­sty's Happy Return, a Musical Interlude, perform­ed at the Theatre in Lincoln's-Inn-Fields, 1697.
  • 5. Beauty in Distress, a Tragedy; acted at the Theatre in Lincoln's-Inn-Fields, 1698. There is some poetry in this play; and in the multiplicity of its incidents, he has followed the example of the British Poets. Before this piece, there is prefixed a discourse on the lawfulness or unlawfulness of plays; written originally in French, by the learned father Caffaro, divinity professor at Paris; sent by a friend to Mr. Motteaux.
  • 6. The Island Princess, or the Generous Portu­gueze; made into an Opera, and performed at the Theatre-Royal 1701. The music by Mr. Daniel Purcell, Mr. Clark, and Mr. Leveridge. The greatest part of the play is taken from Fletch­er's Island Princess. Scene the Spice Island.
  • 7. The Four Seasons, or Love in every Age; a musical Interlude, set to Music by Mr. Jeremiah Clark; printed with the musical Entertainments of the above Opera.
  • [Page 3] 8. Britain's Happiness, a musical Interlude; per­formed at both the Theatres, being part of the en­tertainment, subscribed for by the nobility. Scene a prospect of Dover castle and the sea. This Inter­lude was long before designed, only as an intro­duction to an Opera; which if ever finished was to have been called the Loves of Europe, every act shew­ing the manner of the different nations in their ad­dresses to the fair-sex; of which he has informed us in his prefatory epistle.
  • 9. Thomyris Queen of Scythia, an Opera; trans­lated from the Italian; performed at the Theatre in Lincoln's-Inn-Fields.
  • 10. The Temple of Love, a Pastoral Opera, from the Italian; performed at the Queen's Theatre in the Hay-market, by her majesty's servants, 1706. Scene Arcadia. Time of action, the same with that of the representation.
  • 11. Love Dragoon'd, a Farce.

This gentleman, who seems to have led a very comfortable life, his circumstances being easy, was unfortable in his death; for he lost his life in a disorderly house, in the parish of St. Clement Danes, not without suspicion of having been mur­thered; which accident happened to him, on his birth day in the 58th year of his age, 1718. His body was interred in his own parish church, being that of St. Mary Ax, in the city of London.

Mrs. MANLEY,

THE celebrated authoress of the Atalantis, was born in Hampshire, in one of those islands which formerly belonged to France, of which her fa­ther Sir Roger Manley was governor, who afterwards enjoyed the same post in other places in England. He was the second son of an ancient family; the better part of his estate was ruined in the civil war by his firm adherence to Charles I. He had not the satisfaction of ever being taken notice of, nor was his loyalty acknowledged at the restoration. The governor was a brave gallant man, of great honour and integrity.

He became a scholar in the midst of the camp, having left the university at the age of sixteen, to follow the fortunes of Charles I. His temper had too much of the Stoic in it to attend much to the interest of his family: After a life spent in the civil and foreign wars, he began to love ease and retire­ment, devoting himself to his study, and the charge of his little post, without following the court; his great virtue and modesty, debaring him from sol­liciting favours from such persons as were then at the helm of affairs, his deserts were buried, and forgotten. In this solitude he wrote several tracts for his own amusement, particularly his Latin Commentaries of the Civil Wars of England. He was likewise author of the first volume of that admired work, the Turkish Spy. One Dr. Midgley, an ingenious physician, related to the family by marriage, had the charge of looking over his papers. Amongst them he found [Page 5] that manuscript, which he reserved to his proper use, and by his own pen, and the assistance of some others, continued the work till the eighth volume was finished, without having the honesty to acknowledge the author of the first.

The governor likewise wrote the History of the Rebellion in England, Scotland and Ireland; wherein the most material passages, battles, sieges, policies, and stratagems of war, are impartially related on both sides, from the year 1640, to the beheading of the duke of Monmouth 1688, in three parts, printed in octavo, in the year 1691.

His daughter, our authoress, received an education suitable to her birth, and gave very early disco­veries of a genius, not only above her years, but much superior to what is usually to be found amongst her own sex. She had the misfortune to lose her mother, while she was yet an infant, a circumstance, which laid the foundation of many calamities, which afterwards befell her.

The brother of Sir Roger Manley, who was of principles very opposite to his, joined with the Par­liamentarian party; and after Charles I. had suffered, he engaged with great zeal in the cause of those who were for settling a new form of government, in which, however, they were disappointed by the address of Cromwell, who found means to transfer the govern­ment into his own hands, and in place of institut­ing a republic, restored monarchy under another name, and erected a tyranny as dangerous, perhaps, in its consequences, as that which he had contributed to overthrow. During these heats and divisions, Mr. Manley, who adhered to the most powerful party, was fortunate enough to amass an estate, and purchased a title; but these, upon the restora­tion, reverted back to the former possessor; so that he was left with several small children un­provided for. The eldest of these orphans, Sir Roger Manley took under his protection, bestowed [Page 6] a very liberal education on him, and endeavoured to inspire his mind with other principles, than those he had received from his father. This young gentleman had very promising parts, but under the appearance of an open simplicity, he concealed the most treacherous hypocrisy. Sir Roger, who had a high opinion of his nephew's honour, as well as of his great abilities, on his death­bed bequeathed to him the care of our authoress, and her youngest sister.

This man had from nature a very happy ad­dress, formed to win much upon the hearts of unexperienced girls; and his two cousins respected him greatly. He placed them at the house of an old, out-of-fashion aunt, who had been a keen partizan of the royal cause during the civil wars; she was full of the heroic stiffness of her own times, and would read books of Chivalry, and Romances with her spectacles.

This sort of conversation, much infected the mind of our poetess, and fill'd her imagination with lovers, heroes, and princes; made her think her­self in an inchanted region, and that all the men who approached her were knights errant. In a few years the old aunt died, and left the two young ladies without any controul; which as soon as their cousin Mr. Manley heard, he hasted into the country, to visit them; appeared in deep mourning, as he said for the death of his wife; upon which the young ladies congratulated him, as they knew his wife was a woman of a most turbulent temper, and ill fitted to render the con­jugal life tolerable.

This gentleman, who had seen a great deal of the world, and was acquainted with all the artifices of seducing, lost no time in making love to his cousin, who was no otherwise pleased with it, than as it answered something to the character she had found in those books, which had poisoned and deluded [Page 7] her drawning reason. Soon after these protestations of love were made, the young lady fell into a fever, which was like to prove fatal to her life.

The lover and her sister never quitted the cham­ber for sixteen nights, nor took any other repose than throwing themselves alternately upon a little pallet in the same room. Having in her na­ture a great deal of gratitude, and a very tender sense of benefits; she promised upon her recovery to marry her guardian, which as soon as her health was sufficiently restored, she performed in the pre­sence of a maid servant, her sister, and a gentleman who had married a relation. In a word, she was married, possessed, and ruin'd.

The husband of our poetess brought her to London, fixed her in a remote quarter of it, forbad her to stir out of doors, or to receive the visits of her sister, or any other relations, friends, or acquaintance. This usage, she thought exceed­ing barbarous, and it grieved her the more ex­cessively, since she married him only because she imagined he loved and doated on her to distraction; for as his person was but ordinary, and his age disproportioned, being twenty-years older than she, it could not be imagined that she was in love with him.—She was very uneasy at being kept a prisoner; but her husband's fondness and jealousy was made the pretence. She always loved reading, to which she was now more than ever obliged, as so much time lay upon her hands: Soon after she proved with child, and so perpetually ill, that she implored her husband to let her enjoy the company of her sister and friends. When he could have no relief from her importunity (being assured that in seeing her re­lations, she must discover his barbarous deceit) he thought it was best to be himself the relator of his villany; he fell upon his knees before her, with so much seeming confusion, distress and anguish, that she was at a loss to know what could mould his stub­born heart to such contrition. At last, with a thousand [Page 8] well counterfeited tears, and sighs, he stabb'd her with the wounding relation of his wife's being still alive; and with a hypocrite's pangs conjured her to have some mercy on a lost man as he was, in an o [...]\nstinate, inv [...]\nterate passion, that had no alternative b [...]\nt death, or possession.

He urged, that could he have supported the pain of living without her, he never would have made himself so great a villain; but when the ab­solate qu [...]\nstion was, whether he should destroy him­self, or betray her, self-love had turned the bal­lance, though not without that anguish to his soul, which had poisoned all his delights, and planted dag­gers to stab his peace. That he had a thousand times started in his sleep with guilty apprehensions; the form of her honoured father perpetually haunting his troubled dreams, reproaching him as a traitor to that trust which in his departing moments he had reposed in him; representing to his tortured imagi­nation the care he took of his education, more like a father than an uncle, with which he had rewarded him by effecting the perdition of his favourite daughter, who was the lovely image of his bene­factor.

With this artful contrition he endeavoured to sooth his injured wife: But what soothing could heal the wounds she had received? Horror! amazement! sense of honour lost! the world's opi­nion! ten thousand distresses crowded her distracted imagination, and she cast looks upon the conscious traitor with horrible dismay! Her fortune was in his hands, the greatest part of which was already lavished away in the excesses of drinking and gam­ing. She was young, unacquainted with the world; had never experienced necessity, and knew no arts of redressing it; so that thus forlorn and distressed, to whom could she run for refuge, even from want, and misery, but to the very traitor that had undone her. She was acquainted with none that could or [Page 9] would espouse her cause, a helpless, useless load of grief and melancholy! with child! disgraced! her own relations either unable, or unwilling to relieve her.

Thus was she detained by unhappy circumstances, and his prevailing arts to wear away three wretch­ed years with him, in the same house, though she most solemnly protests, and she has a right to be believed, that no persuasion could ever again reconcile her to his impious arms. Whenever she cast her eyes upon her son, it gave a mortal wound to her peace: The circumstances of his birth glared full on her imagination; she saw him, in future, upbraided with his father's trea­chery, and his mother's misfortunes. Thus for­saken of all the world, in the very morning of her life, when all things should have been gay, and promising, she wore away three wretched years. Mean time her betrayer had procured for himself a considerable employment; the duties of which obliged him to go into the country where his first wife lived. He took leave of his injured innocent, with much seeming tenderness; and made the most sacred protestations, that he would not suffer her, nor her child ever to want.

He endeavoured to persuade her to accompany him into the country, and to seduce, and quiet her conscience, shewed her a celebrated piece written in defence of Polygamy, and Concubinage: When he was gone, he soon relapsed into his former extravagancies, forgot his promise of providing for his child, and its mother; and inhumanly left them a prey to indigence and oppression. The lady was only happy in being released from the killing anguish, of every day having before her eyes the object of her undoing.

When she again came abroad into the world, she was looked upon with cold indifference; that which had been her greatest misfortune, was imputed [Page 10] to her as the most enormous guilt; and she was every where sneered at, avoided, and despised. What pity is it, that an unfortunate, as well as a false st [...]\np, should damn a woman's fame! In what respect was Mrs. Manley to blame? In what particular was she guilty? to marry her cousin, who passionately professed love to her, and who so­lemnly vowed himself a widower, could not be guilt; on the other hand, it had prudence and gra­titude for its basis. Her continuing in the house with him after he had made the discovery, cannot be guilt, for by doing so, she was prevented from being exposed to such necessities as perhaps would have produced greater ruin. When want and beggary stare a woman in the face, especially one accustomed to the delicacies of life, then indeed is virtue in danger; and they who escape must have more than human assistance.

Our poetess now perceived, that together with her [...]\neputation, she had lost all the esteem, that her conversation and abilities might have else procured her; and she was reduced to the de­plorable necessity of associating with those whose fame was bla [...]\ned by their indiscretion, because the more sober and virtuous part of the sex did not care to risk their own characters, by being in company with one so much suspected, and against whom the appearance of guilt was too strong.

Under this dilemma, it is difficult to point out any method of behaviour, by which she would not be exposed to censure: If she had still persisted in solitude, the ill-natured world would have imputed to it a cause, which is not founded on virtue; besides, as the means of support were now removed, by the perfidy of Mr. Manley, she must have perished by this resolution.

In this case, the reader will not be much sur­prized to find our authoress, under the patronage of the duchess of Cleveland, a mistress of king [Page 11] Charles the IId's, who was justly reckoned one of the most celebrated beauties of that age. Mrs. Manley was paying a visit to a lady of her grace's ac­quaintance, when she was introduced into the favour of this royal courtezan; and as the duchess of Cleveland was a woman of parts and genius, she could not but be charmed with the sprightli­ness of her conversation. She was fond of new faces, and immediately contracted the greatest inti­macy with our poetess, and gave her a general in­vitation to her table. The lady at whose house the duchess became acquainted with Mrs. Manley, soon perceived her indiscretion in bringing them together; for the love of novelty so far prevailed on the duchess, that herself was immediately discarded, and the affection formerly bestowed upon her, was lavished on Mrs. Manley.

This procured our poetess an inveterate enemy; and the greatest blow that was ever struck at her reputation, was by that woman, who had been be­fore her friend. She was not content to inform persons who began to know and esteem Mrs. Manley, that her marriage was a cheat; but even endeavour­ed to make the duchess jealous of her new favourite's charms, in respect of Mr. Goodman the player, who at that time had the honour of approaching her grace's person, with the freedom of a gallant.

As the duchess of Cleveland was a woman of a ve­ry fickle temper, in six months time she began to be tired of Mrs. Manley. She was quarelsome, lo­quacious, fierce, excessively fond, or downright rude; when she was disgusted with any person, she never failed to reproach them, with all the bitterness of wit she was mistress of, with such malice, and ill-nature, that she was hated, not on­ly by all the world, but by her own children and servants: The extremes of prodigality, and covet­ousness, of love, and hatred, of dotage, and fond­ness, met in her.

[Page 12] A woman of this temper will be at no loss for the means of effecting any one's ruin, and having now conceived an aversion to our poetess, she was resolved to drive her from her house, with as much reproach as possible; and accordingly gave out, that she had detected Mrs. Manley in an intrigue with her own son, and as she did not care to give encouragement to such amours, she thought pro­per to discharge her. Whether or not there was any truth in this charge, it is impossible for us to determine: But if Mrs. Manley's own word may be taken. in such a case, she was perfectly inno­cent thereof.

When our authoress was dismissed by the duchess, she was sollicited by lieutenant-general Tidcomb, to pass some time with him at his country seat; but she excused herself by telling him, she must be in love with a man, before she could think of residing with him, which she could not, without a violation of truth, profess for him. She told him her love of solitude was improved, by her disgust of the world, and since it was impossible for her to be [...]\nublic with reputation, she was resolved to re­main in it concealed.

It was in this solitude she composed her first tra­gedy, which was much more famous for the lan­guage, fire, and tenderness, than the conduct. Mrs. Barry distinguished herself in it, and the author was often heard to express great surprize, that a man of Mr. Betterton's grave sense, and judgment, should think well enough of the productions of a young woman, to bring it upon the stage, since she herself in a more mature age could hardly bear to read it. But as the play succeeded, she received such unbounded incense from admirers, that her apartment was crowded with men of wit, and gaiety. There is a copy of verses prefixed to her play, said to be written by a very great hand which deserve notice.

[Page 13]
What! all our sex in one sad hour undone?
Lost are our arts, our learning, our renown
Since nature's tide of wit came rolling down.
Keen were your eyes we knew, and sure their darts;
Fire to our soul they send, and passion to our heart!
Needless was an addition to such arms,
When all mankind were vassals to your charms:
That hand but seen, gives wonder and desire,
Snow to the sight, but with its touches fire!
Who sees thy yielding Queen, and would not be
On any terms, the best, the happy he;
Entranc'd we fancy all is extasy.
Quote Ovid, now no more ye am'rous swains,
Delia, than Ovid has more moving strains.
Nature in her alone exceeds all art,
And nature sure does nearest touch the heart.
Oh! might I call the bright discoverer mine,
The whole fair sex unenvied I'd resign;
Give all my happy hours to Delia's charms,
She who by writing thus our wishes warms,
What worlds of love must circle in her arms?

They who had a regard for Mrs. Manley could not but observe with concern, that her conduct was such, as would soon issue in her ruin. No language but flat [...]\nery approached her ear; the Beaux told her, that a woman of her wit, was not to be con­fined to the dull formalities of her own sex, but had a right to assume the unreserved freedom of the male, since all things were pardonable to a la­dy, who knew to give laws to others, yet was not obliged to keep them herself General Tid­comb, who se [...]\nms to have been her sinc [...]\nrest friend, took the privilege of an old acquaincance to cor­rect her ill taste, and the wrong turn she gave her judgment, in admitting adulation from such wretches, [Page 14] whose praise could reflect but little honour, and who would be ready to boast of favours they never received, nor indeed ever endeavoured to obtain.

This salutary council was rejected, she told him, that she did not think fit to reform a conduct, which she reckoned very innocent; and still con­tinued to receive the whispers of flatterers, 'till experience taught her the folly of her behaviour, and she lived to repent her indiscretion.

Her virtue was now nodding, and she was ready to fall into the arms of any gallant, like mellow fruit, without much trouble in the gathering. Sir Thomas Skipwith, a character of gaiety of those times, and, who it seems had theatrical connections, was recommended to her, as being very able to promote her design in writing for the stage. This knight was in the 50th year of his age, and in the 60th of his constitution, when he was first in­troduced to her, and as he had been a long practised gallant, he soon made addresses to her, and whether or no this knight, who was more dangerous to a wo­man's reputation, than her virtue, was favoured by her, the world was so much convinced of it, that her character was now absolutely lost. Sir Thomas was a weak, vain, conceited coxcomb, who de­lighted in boasting of his conquests over women, and what was often owing to his fortune, and sta­tion in life, he imputed to his address, and the ele­gance of his manner, of both which he was to­tally destitute. He even published Mrs. Manley's dis­honour, and from that time our sprightly poetess was considered, by the sober part of the sex, quite abandoned to all shame.

When her affair with this superannuated knight was over, she soon engaged in another intrigue, still more prejudicial to her character; for it was with a married man, one Mr. Tilly, a gentleman of the Law; with whom she lived a considerable time: while he underwent at home many of those [Page 15] fevere lectures, which the just provocation, and jealousy of his wife taught her to read him. Mrs. Tilly at last died, and our gallant was left at his freedom to marry the object of his passion; but unluckily his finances were in such a situation, that he was obliged to repair them by marrying a wo­man of fortune. This was a cruel circumstance; for he really loved, and doated upon Mrs. Manley, and had the felicity of a reciprocal passion. She agreed however, in order to repair his fortune, that he should marry a rich young widow, whom he soon won by the elegance of his address, while our authoress retired into the country to spend her days in solitude and sorrow, and bid an everlasting farewel to the pleasures of love and gallantry. Mr. Tilly did not many years survive this separation: his life was rendered miserable at home by the jea­lousy of his young wife, who had heard of his affair with Mrs. Manley; he lost his senses, and died in a deplorable situation.

During her retirement, our authoress, who had a most confirmed aversion to the Whig mini­stry, wrote her Atalantis, which was meant as a representation of the characters of some of those, who had effected the Revolution. A warrant was granted from the secretary of state's office, to seize the Printer and Publisher of these volumes. This circumstance reduced the writer to a very trou­blesome dilemma; she could not bear the thoughts that innocent people should suffer on her account, and she judged it cruel to remain concealed, while they, who were only inferior instruments, were suffering for her. She consulted, on this occasion, her best friend, general Tidcomb, who, after ral­lying her for exposing people, who had never in particular injured her, he advised her to go into France, and made her an offer of his purse for that purpose. This advice she rejected, and came to a determined resolution, that no person should [Page 16] ever suffer on her account. The general asked her, how she should like to be confined in New­gate? to which she answered, that she would ra­ther lye in a prison, after having discharged her conscience, than riot in a palace under its re­proaches. The general upon this replied, that these things sounded very heroic, but there was a great difference between real and imaginary suf­ferings, ‘'that she had chosen to declare herself for the Tories, a party, who never could keep their own, nor other people's secrets, and were ever forgetful of such as served them; that the most severe critics upon the Tory writings, were the Tories themselves, who never considering the de­sign, or honest intention of the author, would examine the performance only, and that too with as much severity, as they would an enemy's, and at the same time value themselves upon being im­partial against their friends. Then as to grati­tude, or generosity, the Tories did not approach to the Whigs, who never suffered any man to go unrewarded, however dull, or insignificant, provided he declared himself to be for them; whereas the Tories had no general interest, and consequently no particular, each person refusing to contribute towards the benefit of the whole; and if it should happen, that she should perish, through want, in a Jail, they would sooner con­demn her folly, than pity her sufferings.'’

This did not deter our poetess from voluntarily presenting herself before the Court of King's-Bench, as the author of the Atalantis.

When she was examined before the secretary (then lord Sunderland) he was assiduous to know from whom she had got information of some parti­culars, which they imag [...]\nned were above her own intelligence. Her defence was with much humility and sorrow, at the same time denying that any per­sons were concerned with her, or that she had a [Page 17] father design than writing for her own amusement, and diversion in the country, without intending par­ticular reflexions, or characters; when this was not believed, and the contrary urged against her by seve­ral circumstances, she said, ‘'then it must be by inspi­ration, because knowing her own innocence, she could account for it no other way.'’ The secre­tary replied, ‘'that inspiration used to be upon a good account, and her writings were stark naught.'’ She, with an air of penitence, ‘'acknowledged, that his lordship's observation might be true, but that there were evil angels, as well as good, so that nevertheless what she had wrote, might still be by inspiration.'’

In consequence of this examination, our autho­ress was close shut up in a messenger's house, without being allowed pen, ink, and paper. How­ever her council sued out her Habeas Corpus at the King's-Bench Bar, and she was admitted to bail.

Whether those in power were ashamed to bring a woman to her trial, for writing a few amorous trifles, or our laws were defective, as was generally conjectured, because she had disguised her satire under romantic names, and a feigned scene of action, she was discharged, after several times exposing her in person, to cross the court before the Bench of Judges, with her three attendants, the Printer, and two Publishers.

Not long after this a total change of the mi­nistry ensued, the statesmen to whom she had been obnoxious were removed, and consequently all her fears upon that score dissipated; her native gaiety, and good humour returned, and she again employed herself in writing a tragedy for the stage, and resolved never more to deal in politics, as being much out of the natural sphere of a wo­man: she was persuaded it was folly in one in her station, to disoblige any party by a pen equally qualified to divert all.

[Page 18] Being advanced to the autumn of her charms, she conversed with the opposite sex, in a manner very delicate, sensible, and agreeable, and when she felt that time had left his impression upon her brow, she did not court praise and flattery. The greatest genius's of the times conversed freely with her, and gave her daily proofs of esteem, and friendship, except Sir Richard Steele, with whom it seems she was at variance; and indeed Sir Ri­chard sufficiently exposed himself by his manner of taking revenge; for he published to the wo [...]\nld that it was his own fault he was not happy with Mrs. Manley, for which omission he publickly, and gravely asked her pardon.

These are the most material incidents in the life of our poetess; a lady, who was born with high powers from nature, which were afterwards culti­vated by enjoying the brightest conversation; the early part of her life was unfortunate, she fell a sacrifice to a seducer, who laid the soundation for those errors she afterwards committed, and of those sufferings she underwent; she had a high relish for the pleasures of life; she was extremely suscepti­ble of the passion of love, and treated it with a peculiar vivacity.

Her dramatic works are

  • 1. The Lover, or The Jealous Husband; acted at the Theatre-Royal 1696. This play did not succeed in the representation.
  • 2. The Royal Mischief, a Tragedy; acted by his Majesty's Servants in the Theatre in Lincoln's-Inn-Fields 1696. This was exhibited with general applause.
  • 3. Lucius, the First Christian King of Britain, a Tragedy; acted at the Theatre-Royal in Drury-Lane [Page 19] by his Majesty's Servants, and dedicated to Sir Richard Steele.

She has written several poems, and we shall select, as a specimen, an Epistle to the Countess of Bristol, which will shew how much she possessed the power of delicate numbers; she has also in print a volume of Letters, the second edition of which was published in 1713. She died July 11, 1724.

To the Right HONOURABLE the COUNTESS of BRISTOL.
LONG had my mind, unknowing how to soar,
In humble prose been train'd, nor aim'd at more:
Near the fam'd sisters never durst aspire
To sound a verse, or touch the tuneful lyre.
Till Bristol's charms dissolv'd the native cold;
Bad me survey her eyes, and thence be bold.
Thee, lovely Bristol! thee! with pride I chuse,
The first, and only subject of my muse;
That durst transport me like the bird of Jove,
To face th' immortal source of light above!
Such are thy kindred beams—
So blessings, with a bounteous hand they give,
So they create, and make creation live.
When charming Felton, of a beauteous race,
Adorn'd in blooming youth, with ev'ry grace;
First saw the lovely Suffolk Swain her prize,
The noblest conquest of the brightest eyes!
How many wretched nymphs that union made,
What cold despair the warmest hearts invade!
What crouds of lovers, hopeless and undone,
Deplore those charms which brought their ruin on!
Rich in themselves—all excellence they find,
Wit! beauty! wisdom! and a constant mind!
[Page 20] No vain desires of change disturb their joy;
Such sweets, like bliss divine, can never cloy:
I ill'd with that spirit which great souls inflame,
Their wondrous offspring start to early fame.
In their young minds, immortal sparkles rise!
And all their mother flashes from their eyes!
From thence such scenes of beauty charm the sight,
We know not where o fix the strong delight!
Hervey's soft features—next, Eliza bright!
Anna just dawning, like Aurora's light!
With all the smiling train of Cupids round,
Fond little loves, with flowing graces crown'd.
As some fair flowers, who all their bloom dis­close,
The Spanish Jas'min, or the British Rose?
Arriv'd at full perfection, charm the sense,
Whi [...]\nst the young blossoms gradual sweets dispense.
The eldest born, with almost equal pride;
The next appears in fainter colours dy'd:
New op'ning buds, as less in debt to time,
Wait to perform the promise of their prime!
All blest descendants of the beauteous tree,
What now their parent is, themselves shall be.
Oh! could I paint the younger Hervey's mind,
Where wit and judgment, fire and taste refin'd
To match his face, with equal art are join'd:
Oh best belov'd of Jove! to thee alone,
What would enrich the whole, he gives to one!
* In Titian's colours whilst Adonis glows, See fairest Bristol more than Venus shows;
[Page 21] View well the valu'd piece, how nice each part;
Yet nature's hand surpasses Titian's art!
Such had his Venus and Adonis been,
The standard beauty had from thence been seen!
Whose arbitrary laws had fix'd the doom
To Hervey's form, and Bristol's ever bloom!
§ As once Kazeia, now Eliza warms
The kindred-fair bequeath'd her all her charms;
Such were her darts, so piercing and so strong,
Endow'd by Phoebus both, with tuneful song:
But far from thee Eliza be her doom;
Snatch'd hence by death, in all her beauty's bloom.
Long may'st thou live, adorning Bristol's name,
With future heroes to augment his fame.
When haughty Niobe, with joy and pride,
Saw all her shining offspring grace her side;
She view'd their charms, exulting at each line,
And then oppos'd 'em to the race divine!
Enrag'd Latona urg'd the silver bow:
Immortal vengeance laid their beauties low.
No more a mother now—too much she mourn'd,
By grief incessant into marble turn'd.
But lovely Bristol, with a pious mind,
Owns all her blessings are from Heav'n assign'd.
Her matchless Lord—her beauteous numerous race!
Her virtue, modesty, and ev'ry grace!
For these, devoutly, to the gods she bows,
And offers daily praise, and daily vows:
Phoebus, well-pleas'd, the sacrifice regards;
And thus the grateful mother's zeal rewards:
[Page 22] ' Beauty and wit, to all of Bristol's line!
' But each in some peculiar grace shall shine!
' Or to excel in courts, and please the fair!
' Or Conquest gain thro' all the wat'ry war!
' With harmony divine the ear to charm!
' Or souls with more melodious numbers warm!
' By wond'rous memory shall some excel
' In awful senates, and in speaking well!
' To hold Astraea's scales with equal hand,
' And call back justice to that happy land!
' To teach mankind how best the gods to praise!
' To fix their minds in truth's unerring ways!
' Thus all her honours, Bristol's sons shall wear,
' Whilst each his country's good shall make his chiefest care!'

HENRY NEEDLER.

THIS Poet was born at Harley in Surry, in the year 1690, and educated at a private school at Ryegate in the same county*. He was removed from thence in 1705, and in 1708 ac­cepted a small place in a public office; where he continued the remainder of his days.

About this time contracting a friendship with a gentleman of a like taste, who furnished him with proper books, he applied himself at his intervals of leisure, to reading the classics, and to the study of logic, metaphysics, and the mathematics, with which last he was peculiarly delighted. And in a few years by the force of his own happy ge­nius, and unwearied diligence, without the assist­ance of any master, he acquired a considerable knowledge of the most difficult branches of those useful and entertaining studies.

By so close an application, he contracted a violent pain in his head, which notwithstanding the best advice, daily encreased. This, and other unfortu­nate circumstances concurring, so deeply affected him, who had besides in his constitution a strong tincture of melancholy, that he was at last brought under almost a total extinction of reason. In this condition he fell into a fever; and as there were be­fore scarce any hopes of him, it may be said to have happily put an end to the deplorable bondage [Page 24] of so bright a mind, on the 21st of December, 1718, in the 29th year of his age. He was buried in the church of Friendsbury, near Rochester.

Mr. Needler's life was influenced by the prin­ciples of sincere, unaffected piety, and virtue.

On all occasions (says Mr. Duncomb) ‘'he was a strenuous advocate for universal toleration and forbearance in matters of religion; rightly sup­posing that no service can be acceptable to the supreme Being, unless it proceeds from the heart; and that force serves only to make hypocrites, but adds no new lights to the understanding. He was modest to a fault, entertaining the most hum­ble opinion of his own performances; and was always ready to do justice to those of others. His affection for his friends indeed sometimes biassed his judgment, and led him to the com­mending their writings beyond their merit.'’

In the volume of Mr. Needler's works, are printed some familiar Letters, upon moral, and natural subjects. They are written with elegance and taste; the heart of a good man may be traced in them all, and equally abound with pious notions, as good sense, and solid reasoning.—He seems to have been very much master of smooth versification, his subjects are happily chosen, and there is a philosophical air runs through all his writings; as an instance of this, we shall present our readers with a copy of his verses addres­sed to Sir Richard Blackmore, on his Poem, in­titled The Creation.

[Page 25]
Dress'd in the charms of wit and fancy, long
The muse has pleas'd us with her syren song;
But weak of reason, and deprav'd of mind,
Too oft on vile, ignoble themes we find
The wanton muse her sacred art debase,
Forgetful of her birth, and heavenly race;
Too oft her flatt'ring songs to sin intice,
And in false colours deck delusive vice;
Too oft she condescends, in servile lays,
The undeserving rich and great to praise.
These beaten paths, thy loftier strains refuse
With just disdain, and nobler subjects chuse:
Pir'd with sublimer thoughts, thy daring soul
Wings her aspiring flight from Pole to Pole,
Observes the foot-steps of a pow'r divine,
Which in each part of nature's system shine;
Surveys the wonders of this beauteous frame,
And sings the sacred source, whence all things came.
But Oh! what numbers shall I find to tell,
The mighty transports which my bosom swell,
Whilst, guided by thy tuneful voice, I stray
Thro' radiant worlds, and fields of native day,
Wafted from orb, to orb, unwearied fly
Thro' the blue regions of the yielding sky;
See how the spheres in stated courses roll,
And view the just composure of the whole!
Such were the strains, by antient Orpheus sung,
To such, Musaeus' heav'nly lyre was strung;
Exalted truths, in learned verse they told,
And nature's deepest secrets did unfold.
How at th' eternal mind's omnific call,
Yon starry arch, and this terrestrial ball,
The briny wave, the blazing source of light,
And the wane empress of the silent night,
Each in it's order rose and took its place,
And filled with recent forms the vacant space;
[Page 26] How rolling planets trace their destin'd way,
Nor in the wastes of pathless Aether stray;
How the pale moon, with silver beams adorns
Her chearful orb, and gilds her sharpened horns;
How the vast ocean's swelling tides obey
Her distant reign, and own her watr'y sway;
How erring floods, their circling course maintain,
Supplied by constant succours from the main;
Whilst to the sea, the refluent streams restore,
The liquid treasures which she lent before;
What dreadful veil obscures the solar light,
And Phaebe's darken'd face conceals from mortal sight.
Thy learned muse, I with like pleasure hear
The wonders of the lesser world declare,
Point out the various marks of skill divine,
Which thro' its complicated structure shine,
In tuneful verse, the vital current trace,
Thro' all the windings of its mazy race,
And tell how the rich purple tide bestows,
Vigour, and kindly warmth where e'er it flows;
By what contrivance of mechanic art
The muscles, motions to the limbs impart;
How at th' imperial mind's impulsive nod,
Th' obedient spirits thro' the nervous road
Find thro' their fib'rous cells the ready way,
And the high dictates of the will obey;
From how exact and delicate a frame,
The channell'd bones their nimble action claim;
With how much depth, and subtility of thought
The curious organ of the eye is wrought;
How from the brain their root the nerves derive,
And sense to ev'ry distant member give.
Th' extensive knowledge you of men enjoy,
You to a double use of man employ;
Nor to the body, is your skill confin'd,
Of error's worse disease you heal the mind.
No longer shall the hardy atheist praise
Lucretius' piercing wit, and philosophic lays;
But by your lines convinc'd, and charm'd at once,
His impious tenets shall at length renounce,
At length to truth and eloquence shall yield,
Confess himself subdu'd, and wisely quit the field.

JOHN HUGHES.

WILLIAM Duncomb, esq has obliged the world with an entire edition of this author's poetical and prose works, to which he has prefixed some account of his life, written with can­dour and spirit. Upon his authority we chiefly build the following narration; in which we shall endeavour to do as much justice as possible to the memory of this excellent poet.

Our author was the son of a worthy citizen of London, and born at Marlborough in the county of Wilts, on the 29th of January 1677; but received the rudiments of his learning at private schools in London.

In the earliest years of his youth, he applied him­self with ardour to the pursuit of the sister arts, poetry, drawing and music, in each of which by turns, he made a considerable progress; but for the most part pursued these and other polite studies, only as agreeable amusements, under frequent con­finement [Page 28] from indisposition, and a valetudinary state of health. He had some time an employment in the office of ordinance; and was secretary to two or three commissioners under the great-seal, for purchasing lands for the better securing the docks and harbours at Portsmouth, Chatham, and Harwich.

In the year 1717 the lord chancellor Cowper, (to whom Mr. Hughes was then but lately known) was pleased, without any previous sollicitation, to make him his secretary for the commissions of the peace, and to distinguish him with singular marks of his favour and affection: And upon his lordship's laying down the great-seal, he was at his particular re­commendation, and with the ready concurrence of his successor, continued in the same employment under the earl of Macclesfield.

He held this place to the time of his decease, which happened on the 17th of February 1719, the very night in which his tragedy, entitled the Siege of Damascus, was first acted at the Theatre-Royal in Drury-Lane.

He was cut off by a consumption, after a painful life, at the age of 42, when he had just arrived at an agreeable competence, and advancing in fame and fortune. So just is the beautiful re­flexion of Milton in his Lycidas;

Fame is the spur, that the clear spirit doth raise,
(That last infirmity of noble mind)
To scorn delights, and live laborious days;
But the fair guerdon, when we hope to find,
And think to burst out into sudden blaze,
Comes the blind fury with th' abhorred shears,
And slits the thin-spun life.—

He was privately buried in the vault under the chancel of St. Andrew's Church in Holborn.

[Page 29] Mr. Hughes, as a testimony of gratitude to his noble friend, and generous patron, earl Cowper, gave his lordship a few weeks before he died, his picture drawn by Sir Godfrey Kneller, which he himself had received from that masterly painter. The value lord Cowper set upon it will be best shewn, by the letter he wrote upon this occasion to Mr. Hughes. As such a testimony from so eminent a person, was considered by himself as one of the highest honours he was capable of re­ceiving, we shall therefore insert it.

'SIR,

‘'I thank you for the most acceptable present of your picture, and assure you that none of this age can set a higher value on it than I do, and shall while I live, tho' I am sensible posterity will out-do me in that particular.'’

I am with the greatest esteem, and sincerity Your most affectionate, and oblig'd humble servant COWPER.

Mr. Hughes was happy in the acquaintance and friendship of several of the greatest men, and most distinguished genius's of the age in which he lived; particularly of the nobleman just now mentioned, the present lord bishop of Winchester, lord chief baron Gilbert, Sir Godfrey Kneller, Mr. Congreve, Mr. Addison, Sir Richard Steele, Mr. Southern, Mr. Rowe, &c. and might have justly boasted in the words of Horace

—me
Cum magnis vixisse, invita fatebitu usque
Invidia.—

[Page 30] Having given this short account of his life, which perhaps is all that is preserved any where concerning him; we shall now consider him, first, as a poet, and then as a prose writer.

The Triumph of Peace was the earliest poem he wrote of any length, that appeared in public. It was written on occasion of the peace of Ryswick, and printed in the year 1677. A learned gentleman at Cambridge, in a letter to a friend of Mr. Hughes's, dated the 28th of February 1697-8, gives the fol­lowing account of the favourable reception this poem met with there, upon its first publication. I think I never heard a poem read with so much admiration, as the Triumph of Peace was by our best critics here; nor a greater character given to a young poet, at his first appearing; no, not even to Mr. Congreve himself. So nobly elevated are his thoughts, his numbers so harmonious, and his turns so fine and delicate, that we cry out with Tully, on a like occasion, ‘' Nostrae spes altera Romae!’

The Court of Neptune, was written on king William's return from Holland, two years after the peace, in 1699. This Poem was admired for the versification, however, the musical flow of the numbers is its least praise; it rather deserves to be valued for the propriety, and boldness of the figures and metaphors, and the machinery.

The following lines have been justly quoted as an instance of the author's happy choice of metaphors.

As when the golden god, who rules the day,
Drives down his flaming chariot to the sea,
And leaves the nations here, involved in night,
To distant regions he transports his light;
So William's rays by turns, two nations cheer,
And when he sets to them, he rises here.

[Page 31] A friend of Mr. Hughes's soon after the publica­tion of this poem, complimented him upon the choice of his subject, and for the moral sentiments contained in it. ‘'I am sure (says he) virtue is most for the interest of mankind; and those poets have ever obtained the most honour in the world, who have made that the end and design of their works. A wanton Sappho, or Anacreon, among the ancients, never had the same applause, as a Pindar, or Alexis; nor in the judgment of Horace did they deserve it. In the opinion of all posterity, a lewd and debauch'd Ovid, did justly submit to the worth of a Virgil; and, in future ages, a Dryden will never be compared to Milton. In all times, and in all places of the world, the moral poets have been ever the greatest; and as much superior to others in wit, as in virtue. Nor does this seem difficult to be accounted for, since the dignity of their subjects naturally raised their ideas, and gave a grandeur to their sentiments.'’

The House of Nassau, a Pindaric Ode (printed in 1702) was occasioned by the death of king William. ‘'In Pindaric and Lyric Poetry (says Mr. Duncomb) our author's genius shines in its full lustre. Tho' he enjoyed all that fire of ima­gination, and divine enthusiasm, for which some of the ancient poets are so deservedly admired, yet did his fancy never run away with his reason, but was always guided by superior judgment; and the music of his verse is exquisite.'’

The Translation of the third Ode of the third Book of Horace, and the Paraphrase of the twenty­second Ode, of the first book, were both written when he was very young; and the latter of them was his first poetical Essay, which appeared in print. Mr. Hughes, in a private letter sent to one of his friends, gives it as his opinion, that the Odes of [Page 32] Horace, are fitter to be paraphrased, than trans­lated.

The Tenth Book of Lucan, was translated by Mr. Hughes, long before Mr. Rowe undertook that author. The occasion of it was this: Mr. Tonson the bookseller, sollicited a translation of Lucan, by several hands. Mr. Hughes performed his part, but others failing in their promises, the design was dropp'd; and Mr. Rowe was afterwards prevailed upon to undertake the whole, which he performed with great success.

In the year 1709 Mr. Hughes obliged the pub­lick, with an elegant translation of Moliere's cele­b [...]\nat [...]\nd Comedy, the Misantrope. This has been since reprinted, with the other plays of that admirable author, translated by Mr. Ozell; but care is taken to distinguish this particular play.

In the year 1712 his Opera of Calypso and Telemachus, was performed at the Queen's Theatre in the Hay-Market. Perhaps it may be worth while to mention here, one circumstance concerning this Opera, as it relates to the History of Music in England, and discovers the great partiality sh [...]\nwn at that time to Opera's performed in Italian. After many such had been encouraged by large subscriptions, this, originally written, and set in English, after the Italian manner, was prepared with the usual expence of scenes and decorations; and being much crowded and applauded at the rehearsals, a subscription was obtained for it as usual.

This alarmed the whole Italian band, who, ap­prehending that their profession would suffer thereby, procured an order from the duke of Shrewsbury, then lord chamberlain, the day be­fore the performing of this Opera, to take of the subscription for it, and to open the house at the lowest prices, or not at all. This was designed to sink it, but failed of its end. It was per­formed, [Page 33] though under such great discouragement; and was revived afterwards at the theatre in Lincoln's-Inn-Fields. Mr. Addison, in the Spectator, Numb. 405, speaking of the just applause given this opera, by Signior Nicolini (who he says was the greatest performer in dramatic music, that perhaps ever ap­peared upon a stage) has these words,

'The town is highly obliged to that excellent ar­tist, for having shewn us the Italian music in its per­fection, as well as for that generous approbation he gave to an Opera of our own country, in which Mr. Galliard the composer endeavoured to do justice to the beauty of the words, by following that noble example which has been set him by the greatest foreign masters of that art.'

The Ode to the Creator of the World, occasioned by the fragments of Orpheus, was printed in the year 1713, at the particular instance of Mr. Addison; and is mentioned with applause in the Spectator. This, and the Extasy, (published since the death of the author) are justly esteemed two of the noblest Odes in our language. The seventh Stanza of the last mentioned piece, is so sublimely excellent, that it would be denying ourselves, and our poetical readers, a pleasure not to transcribe it. The whole of this Ode is beautifully heightened, and poetically conceived. It furnished a hint to a living Poet to write what he entitles the Excursion, which tho' it has very great merit, yet falls infinitely short of this animated Ode of Mr. Hughes.

After having represented the natural and artificial calamities to which man is doomed, he proceeds,

[Page 34]
But why do I delay my flight?
Or on such gloomy objects gaze?
I go to realms serene, with ever-living light.
Haste, clouds and whirlwinds, haste a raptured bard to raise;
Mount me sublime along the shining way,
Where planets, in pure streams of Aether driven,
Swim thro' the blue expanse of heav'n.
And lo! th' obsequious clouds and winds obey!
And lo! again the nations downward fly;
And wide-stretch'd kingdoms perish from my eye.
Heav'n! what bright visions now arise!
What op'ning worlds my ravish'd sense sur­prize!
I pass Cerulian gulphs, and now behold
New solid globes; their weight self-ballanc'd, bear
Unprop'd amidst the fluid air,
And all, around the central Sun, incircling eddies roll'd.
Unequal in their course, see they advance
And form the planetary dance!
Here the pale Moon, whom the same laws ordain
T' obey the earth, and rule the main;
Here spots no more in shadowy streaks appear;
But lakes instead, and groves of trees,
The wand'ring muse, transported sees,
And their tall heads discover'd mountains rear.
And now once more, I downward cast my sight,
When lo! the earth, a larger moon displays,
Far off, amidst the heav'ns, her silver face,
And to her sister moons by turns gives light!
Her seas are shadowy spots, her land a milky white.

The author of an Essay on Criticism, printed in the year 1728, informs us, that the Tragedy of Cato being brought upon the stage in 1713 was owing to Mr. Hughes. The circumstances recorded [Page 35] by this author are so remarkable, that they deserve to be related; and as they serve to shew the high opinion Mr. Addison entertained of our author's abilities as a Poet, I shall therefore transcribe his own words.—

'It has been often said by good judges, that Cato was no proper subject for a dramatic poem: That the character of a stoic philosopher, is in­consistent with the hurry and tumult of action, and passions which are the soul of tragedy. That the ingenious author miscarried in the plan of his work, but supported it by the dignity, the purity, the beauty, and justness of the sentiments. This was so much the opinion of Mr. Maynwaring, who was generally allowed to be the best critic of our time; that he was against bringing the play upon the stage, and it lay by unfinished many years. That it was play'd at last was owing to Mr. Hughes. He had read the four acts which were finished, and really thought it would be of service to the public, to have it represented at the latter end of queen Anne's reign, when the spirit of liberty was likely to be lost. He en­deavoured to bring Mr. Addison into his opinion, which he did, and consented it should be acted if Mr. Hughes would write the last act; and he offered him the scenery for his assistance, excu­sing his not finishing it himself, upon account of some other avocations. He press'd Mr. Hughes to do it so earnestly, that he was prevailed upon, and set about it. But, a week after, seeing Mr. Addison again, with an intention to communi­cate to him what he thought of it, he was agreeably surprized at his producing some papers, where near half of the act was written by the author himself, who took fire at the hint, that it would be serviceable; and, upon a second re­flexion, went through with the fifth act, not that [Page 36] he was diffident of Mr. Hughes's abilities; but knowing that no man could have so perfect a notion of his design as himself, who had been so long. and so carefully thinking of it. I was told this by Mr. Hughes, and I tell it to shew, that it was not for the love-scenes, that Mr. Addison consented to have his Tragedy acted, but to support public spirit; which in the opi­nion of the author was then declining.'

In the year 1720 the Siege of Damascus was acted at the Theatre-Royal in Drury-Lane, with universal applause. His present majesty honoured it with his presence, and the late queen distinguish­ed it with marks of favour.

Mr. Hughes drew up the dedication of this Tragedy to the late Earl Cowper, about ten days before he died. It is indeed surprising, that he should be able to form a piece so finely turned, and at such an hour; when death was just before him, and he was too weak to transcribe it himself.

Mr Pope, in a letter to Mr. Hughes's brother, written soon after his death, in answer to one re­ceived from him, with the printed copy of the play, has the following pathetic passage.

'I read over again your brother's play, with more concern and sorrow, than I ever felt in the reading any Tragedy. The real loss of a good man may be called a distress to the world, and ought to affect us more, than any feigned distress, how well drawn soever. I am glad of an occasion of giving you under my hand this testimony, both how excellent I think this work to be, and how excellent I thought the author.'

It is generally allowed that the characters in this play are finely varied and distinguished; that the sentiments are just, and well adapted to the cha­racters; that it abounds with beautiful descrip­tions, [Page 37] apt allusions to the manners, and opinions of the times where the scene is laid, and with noble morals; that the diction is pure, unaffected, and sublime; and that the plot is conducted in a sim­ple and clear manner.

Some critics have objected, that there is not a sufficient ground and foundation, for the distress in the fourth and fifth acts. That Phocyas only assists the enemy to take Damascus a few days sooner, than it must unavoidably have fallen into the hands of the Saracens by a capitulation, which was far from dishonourable. If Phocyas is guilty, his guilt must consist in this only, that he performed the same action from a sense of his own wrong, and to preserve the idol of his soul from violation, and death, which he might have performed lauda­bly, upon better principles. But this (say they) seems not sufficient ground for those strong and stinging reproaches he casts upon himself, nor for Eudocia's rejecting him with so much severity. It would have been a better ground of distress, con­sidering the frailty of human nature, and the vio­lent temptations he lay under; if he had been at last prevailed upon to profess himself a Mahome­tan: For then his remorse, and self-condemnation, would have been natural, his punishment just, and the character of Eudocia placed in a more amiable light. In answer to these objections, and in order to do justice to the judgment of Mr. Hughes, we must observe, that he formed his play according to the plan here recommended: but, over-persuaded by some friends, he altered it as it now stands.

When our author was but in the nineteenth year of his age, he wrote a Tragedy, entitled, Amalasont Queen of the Goths, which displays a fertile genius, and a masterly invention. Besides these poetical productions Mr. Hughes is author of several works in prose, particularly,

[Page 38] The Advices from Parnassus, and the Poetical Touchstone of Trajano Boccalini, translated by several hands, were printed in folio 1706. This translation was revised and corrected, and the pre­face to it was written by Mr. Hughes.

Fontenelle's Dialogues of the Dead, translated by our author; with two original Dialogues, pub­lished in the year 1708. The greatest part of this had lain by him for six years.

Fontenelle's Discourse concerning the antients, and moderns, are printed with his conversations with a Lady, on the Plurality of Worlds, translated by Glanville-

The History of the Revolutions in Portugal, written in French, by Monsieur L'Abbé de Vertot, was translated by Mr. Hughes.

The Translation of the Letters of Abelard and Heloise, was done by Mr. Hughes; upon which Mr. Pope has built his beautiful Epistle of Heloise to Abelard.

As Mr. Hughes was an occasional contributor to the Tatler, Spectator, and Guardian, the reader perhaps may be curious to know more particularly what share he had in those papers, which are so justly admired in all places in the world, where taste and genius have visited. As it is the highest honour to have had any concern in works like these, so it would be most injurious to the memory of this excellent genius, not to particularize his share in them.

In the Tatler he writ,

  • Vol. II.
    • Numb. 64. A Letter signed Josiah Couplet.
    • Numb. 73. A Letter against Gamesters, signed William Trusty.

      Mr. Tickell alludes to this Letter, in a Copy of Verses addressed to the Spectator, Vol. VII. No. 532.

      [Page 39]
      From Felon Gamesters, the raw 'squire is free,
      And Briton owes her rescued oaks to thee.
    • Numb. 113. The Inventory of a Beau.

In the Spectator.

  • Vol. I.
    • Numb. 33. A Letter on the Art of improv­ing beauty.
    • Numb. 53. A Second Letter on the same subject.
    • Numb. 66. Two Letters concerning f [...]\nne breeding.
  • Vol. II.
    • Numb. 91. The History of Honoria, or the Rival Mother.
    • Numb. 104. A Letter on Riding-Habits for Ladies.
    • Numb. 141. Remarks on a Comedy, intitled the Lancashire-Witches.
  • Vol. III.
    • Numb. 210. On the immortality of the Soul.
    • Numb. 220. A Letter concerning expe­dients for Wit.
    • Numb. 230. All, except the last Letter.
    • Numb. 231. A Letter on the awe of ap­pearing before public assemblies.
    • Numb. 237. On Divine Providence.
  • Vol. IV.
    • Numb. 252. A Letter on the Eloquence of Tears, and fainting fits.
    • Numb. 302. The Character of Emilia.
    • Numb. 311. A Letter from the Father of a great Fortune.
  • Vol. V.
    • Numb. 57. A Picture of Virtue in Distress.
  • [Page 40] Vol. VII.
    • Numb. 525. On Conjugal Love.
    • Numb. 537. On the Dignity of Human Nature.
    • Numb. 541. Rules for Pronunciation and Action, chiefly collected from Cicero.
  • Vol. VII.
    • Numb. 554. On the Improvement of the Genius, illustrated in the characters of Lord Bacon, Mr. Boyle, Sir Isaac Newton, and Leo­nardo da Vinci.—We have not been able to learn, what papers in the Guardian were written by him, besides Number 37, Vol. 1. which con­tains Remarks on the Tragedy of Othello.

In the year 1715 Mr. Hughes published a very accurate edition of the works of our famous poet Edmund Spenser, in six volumes, 12mo. to this edi­tion are prefixed the Life of Spenser; an Essay on Allegorical poetry; Remarks on the Fairy Queen; on the Shepherd's Calendar, and other writings of Spenser; and a Glossary explaining the Old and obsolete Words.

In 1718 he published a piece called Charon, or The Ferry-Boat, a Vision. This, and Mr. Walsh's Aesculapius, or Hospital of Fools, are perhaps two of the finest dialogues we have in English, as well as the most lively imitations of Lucian.

Sir Richard Steele, in a paper called The Thea­tre, No. 15. has paid a tribute to the memory of Mr. Hughes, with which as it illustrates his ami­able character, we shall conclude his life.

‘'I last night (says he) saw the Siege of Damas­cus, and had the mortification to hear this even­ing that Mr. Hughes, the author of it, departed this life within some few hours after his play was acted, with universal applause. This melancholy [Page 41] circumstance recalled into my thought a speech in the tragedy, which very much affected the whole audience, and was attended to with the greatest, and most solemn instance of approbati­on, and awful silence.'’ The incidents of the play plunge a heroic character into the last extremity; and he is admonished by a tyrant commander to expect no mercy, unless he changes the Christian religion for the Mahometan. The words with which the Turkish general makes his exit from his prisoner are,

Farewel, and think of death.

Upon which the captive breaks into the following soliloquy,

Farewel! and think of death!—was it not so?
Do murtherers then, preach morality?
But how to think of what the living know not;
And the dead cannot, or else may not tell!
What art thou? O thou great mysterious terror!
The way to thee, we know; diseases, famine,
Sword, fire, and all thy ever open gates,
That day and night stand ready to receive us.
But what, beyond them? who will draw that veil?
Yet death's not there.—No, 'tis a point of time;
The verge 'twixt mortal, and immortal Being.
It mocks our thought—On this side all is life;
And when we've reach'd it, in that very instant,
'Tis past the thinking of—O if it be
The pangs, the throes, the agonizing struggle,
When soul and body part, sure I have felt it!
And there's no more to fear.

‘'The gentleman (continues Sir Richard) to whose memory I devote this paper, may be the emulation [Page 42] of more persons of different talents, than any one I have ever known. His head, hand, or heart, was always employed in something worthy imita­tion; his pencil, his bow (string) or his pen, each of which he used in a masterly manner, were al­ways directed to raise, and entertain his own mind, or that of others, to a more chearful prosecution of what is noble and virtuous. Peace be with thy remains, thou amiable spirit! but I talk in the lan­guage of our weakness, that is flown to the regi­ons of immorality, and relieved from the aking engine and painful instrument of anguish and sorrow, in which for many tedious years he panted with a lively hope for his present condition.'’ We shall consign the trunk, in which he was so long imprisoned, to common earth, with all that is due to the merit of its inhabitant*.

MATTHEW PRIOR, Esq

THIS celebrated poet was the son of Mr. George Prior, citizen of London, who was by profession a Joiner. Our author was born in 1664. His father dying when he was very young, left him to the care of an uncle, a Vintner near Charing-Cross, who discharged the trust that was reposed in him, with a tenderness truly pa­ternal, as Mr. Prior always acknowledged with the highest professions of gratitude. He received part of his education at Westminster school, where he distinguished himself to great advantage, but was afterwards taken home by his uncle in order to be bred up to his trade. Notwithstanding this mean employment, to which Mr. Prior seemed now doomed, yet at his leisure hours he prosecuted his study of the classics, and especially his favourite Horace, by which means he was soon taken notice of, by the polite company, who resorted to his uncle's house. It happened one day, that the earl of Dorset being at his Tavern, which he often fre­quented with several gentlemen of rank, the dis­course turned upon the Odes of Horace; and the company being divided in their sentiments a­bout a passage in that poet, one of the gentlemen said, I find we are not like to agree in our criti­cisms, but, if I am not mistaken, there is a young [Page 44] fellow in the house, who is able to set us all right: upon which he named Prior, who was immediately sent for, and desired to give his opi­nion of Horace's meaning in the Ode under con­sideration; this he did with great modesty, and so much to the satisfaction of the company, that the earl of Dorset, from that moment, determined to remove him from the station in which he was, to one more suited to his genius; and according­ly procured him to be sent to St. John's College in Cambridge, where he took his degree in 1686, and afterwards became fellow of the College.

During his residence in the university, he con­tracted an intimate friendship with Charles Monta­gue, esq afterwards earl of Hallifax, in conjunc­tion with whom he wrote a very humorous piece, entitled The Hind and Panther transversed to the story of the Country Mouse, and the City Mouse, printed 1687 in 4to. in answer to Mr. Dryden's Hind and the Panther, published the year before.

Upon the revolution Mr. Prior was brought to court by his great patron the earl of Dorset, by whose interest he was introduced to public em­ployment, and in the year 1690 was made se­cretary to the earl of Berkley, plenipot [...]\nntiary to King William and Queen Mary at the Congress at the Hague.

In this station he acquitted himself so well, that he was afterwards appointed secretary to the earls of Pembroke, and Jersey, and Sir Joseph William­son, ambassadors, and plenipotentiaries, at the treaty of Ryswick 1697, as he was likewise in 1698 to the earl of Portland, ambassador to the court of France. While he was in that kingdom, one of the officers of the French King's houshold, shew­ing him the royal apartments, and curiosities at [Page 45] Versailles, especially the paintings of Le Brun, wherein the victories of Lewis XIV. are describ­ed, asked him, whether King William's actions are to be seen in his palace? ‘'No Sir, replied Mr. Prior, the monuments of my master's actions are to be seen every where, but in his own house.'’

In the year 1697 Mr. Prior was made secre­tary of state for Ireland, and in 1700 was cre­ated master of arts by Mandamus, and appointed one of the lords commissioners of trade and plan­ta [...]\nions, upon the resignation of Mr. Locke. He was also Member of Parliament for East-Grinstead in Sussex. In 1710 he was supposed to have had a share in writing the Examiner, and particularly a Criticism in it upon a Poem of Dr. Garth to the earl of Godolphin, taken notice of in the life of Garth.

About this time, when Godolphin was defeat­ed by Oxford, and the Tories who had long been eclipsed by the lustre of Marlborough, began again to hold up their heads, Mr. Prior and Dr. Garth espoused opposite interests; Mr. Prior wrote for, and Garth against the court. The Dr. was so far honest, that he did not desert his patron in distress; and notwithstanding the cloud which then hung upon the party, he addressed verses to him, which, however they may fail in the poetry, bear strong the marks of gratitude, and honour.

While Mr. Prio [...]\n was thus very early initi­ated in public business, and continued in the hur­ry of affairs for many years, it must appear not a little surprizing, that he should find sufficient op­portunities to cultivate his poetical talents, to the amazing heighth he raised them. In his preface to his poems, he says, that poetry was only the product of his leisure hours; that he had commonly business enough upon his hands, and, as he mo­destly [Page 46] adds, was only a poet by accident; but we must take the liberty of differing from him in the last particular, for Mr. Prior seems to have received from the muses, at his nativity, all the graces they could well bestow on their greatest favourite.

We must not omit one instance in Mr. Prior's conduct, which will appear very remarkable: he was chosen a member of that Parliament which impeached the Partition Treaty, to which he him­self had been secretary; and though his share in that transaction was consequently very considera­ble, yet he joined in the impeachment upon an honest principle of conviction, that exceptionable measures attended it.

The lord Bolingbroke, who, notwithstanding ma­ny exceptions made both to his conduct, and senti­ments in other instances, yet must be allowed to be an accomplished judge of fine talents, entertained the highest esteem for Mr. Prior, on account of his shining abilities. This noble lord, in a letter dated September 10, 1712, addressed to Mr. Prior, while he was the Queen's minister, and plenipotentiary at the court of France, pays him the following compliment; ‘'For God's sake, Matt. hide the nak­edness of thy country, and give the best turn thy fertile brain will furnish thee with, to the blunders of thy countrymen, who are not much better politicians, than the French are poets.'’ His lordship thus concludes his epistle; ‘'It is near three o' clock in the morning, I have been hard at work all day, and am not yet enough reco­vered to bear much fatigue; excuse therefore the confusedness of this scroll, which is only from Harry to Matt, and not from the secretary to the minister. Adieu, my pen is ready to drop out of my hand, it being now three o'clock in [Page 47] the morning; believe that no man loves you bet­ter, or is more faithfully yours, &c. BOLINGBROKE.'’

There are several other letters from Bolingbroke to Prior, which, were it necessary, we might insert as evidences of his esteem for him; but Mr. Prior was in every respect so great a man, that the esteem even of lord Bolingbroke cannot add much to the lustre of his reputation, both as a statesman, and a poet. Mr. Prior is represented by those who knew, and have wrote concerning him, as a gen­tleman, who united the elegance and politeness of a court, with the scholar, and the man of ge­nius. This representation, in general, may be just, yet it holds almost invariably true, that they who have risen from low life, still retain some traces of their original. No cultivation, no genius, it seems, is able entirely to surmount this: There was one particular in which Mr. Prior verified the old pro­verb.

The same woman who could charm the waiter in a tavern, still maintained her dominion over the embassador at France. The Chloe of Prior, it seems, was a woman in this station of life; but he never forsook her in the heighth of his re­putation. Hence we may observe, that associa­tions with women are the most lasting of all, and that when an eminent station raises a man above many other acts of condescension, a mistress will maintain her influence, charm away the pride of greatness, and make the hero who fights, and the patriot who speaks, for the liberty of his coun­try, a slave to her. One would imagine however, that this woman, who was a Butcher's wife, must either have been very handsome, or have had some­thing about her superior to people of her rank: but it seems the case was otherwise, and no better [Page 48] reason can be given for Mr. Prior's attachment to her, but that she was his taste. Her husband suf­fered their intrigue to go on unmolested; for he was proud even of such a connexion as this, with so great a man as Prior; a singular instance of good nature.

In the year 1715 Mr. Prior was recalled from France, and upon his arrival was taken up by a warrant from the House of Commons; shortly af­ter which, he underwent a very strict examination by a Committee of the Privy Council. His poli­tical friend, lord Bolingbroke, foreseeing a storm, took shelter in France, and secured Harry, but le [...]\nt poor Matt. in the lurch.

On the 10th of June Robert Walpole, esq mov­ed the House against him, and on the 17th Mr. Prior was ordered into close custody, and no per­son was admitted to see him without leave from the Speaker. For the particulars of this procedure of the Parliament, both against Mr. Prior, and many others concerned in the public transactions of the preceding reign, we refer to the histories of that time. In the year 1717 an Act of Grace was passed in favour of those who had opposed the Hano­verian succession, as well as those who had been in o­pen rebellion, but Mr. Prior was excepted out of it. At the close of this year, however, he was dis­charged from his confinement, and retired to spend the residue of his days at Downhall in Essex.

The severe usage which Mr. Prior met with, per­haps was the occasion of the following beautiful lines, addressed to his Chloe;

From public noise, and factious strife,
From all the busy ills of life,
[Page 49] Take me, my Chloe, to thy breast;
And lull my wearied soul to rest:
For ever, in this humble cell,
Let thee, and I my fair one dwell;
None enter else, but Love—and he
Shall bar the door, and keep the key.
To painted roofs, and shining spires
(Uneasy seats of high desires)
Let the unthinking many croud,
That dare be covetous, and proud;
In golden bondage let them wait,
And barter happiness for state:
But oh! my Chloe when thy swain
Desires to see a court again;
May Heav'n around his destin'd head
The choicest of his curses shed,
To sum up all the rage of fate,
In the two things I dread, and hate,
May'st thou be false, and I be great.

In July 1721, within two months of his death, Mr. Prior published the following beautiful little tale on the falshood of mankind, entitled The Con­versation, and applied it to the truth, honour, and justice of his grace the duke of Dorset.

The CONVERSATION. A Tale.
It always has been thought discreet
To know the company you meet;
And sure, there may be secret danger
In talking much before a stranger.
Agreed: what then? then drink your ale;
I'll pledge you, and repeat my tale.
No matter where the scene is fix'd,
The persons were but odly mix'd,
[Page 50] When sober Damon thus began:
(And Damon is a clever man)
I now grow old; but still from youth,
Have held for modesty and truth,
The men, who by these sea-marks steer,
In life's great voyage, never err;
Upon this point I dare defy
The world: I pause for a reply.
Sir, either is a good assistant,
Said one, who sat a little distant:
Truth decks our speeches, and our books,
And modesty adorns our looks:
But farther progress we must take;
Not only born to look and speak,
The man must act. The Stagyrite
Says thus, and says extremely right:
Strict justice is the sovereign guide,
That o'er our actions should preside:
This queen of virtue is confess'd
To regulate and bind the rest.
Thrice happy, if you can but find
Her equal balance poise your mind:
All diff'rent graces soon will enter,
Like lines concurrent to their center.
'Twas thus, in short, these two went on,
With yea and nay, and pro and con,
Thro' many points divinely dark,
And Waterland assaulting Clarke;
'Till, in theology half lost,
Damon took up the Evening-Post;
Confounded Spain, compos'd the North,
And deep in politics held forth.
Methinks, we're in the like condition,
As at the treaty of partition;
[Page 51] That stroke, for all King William's care,
Begat another tedious war.
Matthew, who knew the whole intrigue,
Ne'er much approv'd that mystic league;
In the vile Utrecht treaty too,
Poor man! he found enough to do.
Sometimes to me he did apply;
But downright Dunstable was I,
And told him where they were mistaken,
And counsell'd him to save his bacon:
But (pass his politics and prose)
I never herded with his foes;
Nay, in his verses, as a friend,
I still found something to commend.
Sir, I excus'd his Nut-brown maid;
Whate'er severer critics said:
Too far, I own, the girl was try'd:
The women all were on my side.
For Alma I return'd him thanks,
I lik'd her with her little pranks;
Indeed, poor Solomon, in rhime,
Was much too grave to be sublime.
Pindar and Damon scorn transition,
So on he ran a new division;
'Till, out of breath, he turn'd to spit:
(Chance often helps us more than wit)
T'other that lucky moment took,
Just nick'd the time, broke in, and spoke:
Of all the gifts the gods afford
(If we may take old Tully's word)
The greatest is a friend, whose love
Knows how to praise, and when reprove;
From such a treasure never part,
But hang the jewel on your heart:
And pray, sir (it delights me) tell;
You know this author mighty well—
Know him! d'ye question it? ods fish!
Sir, does a beggar know his dish?
[Page 52] I lov'd him, as I told you, I
Advis'd him—here a stander-by
[...] Damon gently by the cloke,
And thus unwilling silence broke:
Damon, 'tis time we should retire,
The man you talk with is Matt. Prior.
Patron, thro' life, and from thy birth my friend,
Dorset, to thee this fable let me send:
With Damon's lightness weigh thy solid worth;
The [...]ll is known to set the diamond forth:
Let the feign'd tale this real moral give,
How many Damons, how few Dorsets live!

Mr. Prior, after the fatigue of a length of years past in various services of action, was desirous of spending the remainder of his days in rural tran­quility, which the greatest men of all ages have been fond of enjoying: he was so happy as to succeed in his wish, living a very retired, and con­templative life, at Down [...]\nall in Essex, and found, as he expressed himself, a more solid, and innocent satisfaction among woods, and meadows, than he had enjoyed in the hurry, and tumults of the world, the courts of Princes, or the conducting fo­reign negotiations; and where as he melodiously sings,

The remnant of his days he safely past,
Nor found they lagg'd too slow, nor flew too fast;
He made his wish with his estate comply,
Joyful to live, yet not afraid to die.

This great man died on the 18th of September, 1721, at Wimple in Cambridgshire, the seat of the earl of Oxford, with whose friendship he had been honoured for some years. The death of so distinguished a person was justly esteemed [Page 53] an irreparable loss to the polite world, and his memory will be ever dear to those, who have any relish for the muses in their softer charms. Some of the latter part of his life was employed in collecting materials for an History of the Tran­sactions of his own Times, but his death unfortu­nately deprived the world of what the touches of so masterly a hand, would have made exceeding va­luable.

Mr. Prior, by the suffrage of all men of taste, holds the first rank in poetry, for the delicacy of his numbers, the wittiness of his turns, the acute­ness of his remarks, and, in one performance, for the amazing force of his sentiments. The stile of our author is likewise so pure, that our language knows no higher authority, and there is an air of original in his minutest performances.

It would be superfluous to give any detail of his poems, they are in the hands of all who love poetry, and have been as often admired, as read. The performance however, for which he is most distinguished, is his Solomon; a Poem in three Books, the first on Knowledge, the second on Pleasure, and the third on Power. We know few poems to which this is second, and it justly established his reputation as one of the best wri­ters of his age.

This sublime work begins thus,

Ye sons of men, with just regard attend,
Observe the preacher, and believe the friend,
Whose serious muse inspires him to explain,
That all we act, and all we think is vain:
That in this pilgrimage of seventy years,
O'er rocks of perils, and thro' vales of tears
Destin'd to march, our doubtful steps we tend,
Tir'd of the toil, yet fearful of its end:
[Page 54] That from the womb, we take our fatal shares,
Of follies, fashions, labours, tumults, cares;
And at approach of death shall only know,
The truths which from these pensive numbers flow,
That we pursue false joy, and suffer real woe.

After an enquiry into, and an excellent de­scription of the various operations, and effects of nature, the system of the heavens, &c. and not be­ing fully informed of them, the first Book con­cludes,

How narrow limits were to wisdom given?
Earth she surveys; she thence would measure Heav'n:
Thro' mists obscure, now wings her tedious way;
Now wanders dazl'd, with too bright a day;
And from the summit of a pathless coast
Sees infinite, and in that fight is lost.

In the second Book the uncertainty, disappoint­ment, and vexation attending pleasure in ge­neral, are admirably described; and in the cha­racter of Solomon is sufficiently shewn, that no­thing debases majesty, or indeed any man, more than ungovernable passion.

When thus the gath'ring storms of wretched love
In my swoln bosom, with long war had strove;
At length they broke their bounds; at length their force
Bore down whatever met its stronger course:
Laid all the civil bounds of manhood waste,
And scatter'd ruin, as the torrent past.

The third Book treats particularly of the trou­ble and instability of greatness and power, consi­ders [Page 55] man through the several stages and conditi­ons of life, and has excellent reasoning upon life and death. On the last are these lines;

Cure of the miser's wish, and cowards fear,
Death only shews us, what we knew was near.
With courage therefore view the pointed hour;
Dread not death's anger, but expect its power;
Nor nature's laws, with fruitless sorrow mourn;
But die, O mortal man! for thou wast born.

The poet has likewise these similies on life;

As smoke that rises from the kindling fires
Is seen this moment, and the next expires:
As empty clouds by rising winds are tost,
Their fleeting forms no sooner found than lost:
So vanishes our state; so pass our days;
So life but opens now, and now decays;
The cradle, and the tomb, alas! so nigh;
To live is scarce distinguished from to die.

We shall conclude this account of Mr. Prior's life with the following copy of verses, written on his Death by Robert Ingram, esq which is a very suc­cessful imitation of Mr. Prior's manner.

1.
Mat. Prior!—(and we must submit)
Is at his journey's end;
In whom the world has lost a wit,
And I, what's more, a friend.
2.
Who vainly hopes long here to stay,
May see with weeping eyes;
Not only nature posts away,
But e'en good nature dies!
3.
Should grave ones count these praises light,
To such it may be said:
A man, in this lamented wight,
Of business too is dead.
4.
From ancestors, as might a fool!
He trac'd no high-fetch'd stem;
But gloriously revers'd the rule,
By dignifying them.
5.
O! gentle Cambridge! sadly say,
Why fates are so unkind
To snatch thy giant sons away,
Whilst pigmies stay behind?
6.
Horace and he were call'd, in haste,
From this vile earth to heav'n;
The cruel year not fully past,
Aetatis, fifty seven.
7.
So, on the tops of Lebanon,
Tall cedars felt the sword,
To grace, by care of Solomon,
The temple of the Lord.
8.
A tomb amidst the learned may
The western abbey give!
Like theirs, his ashes must decay,
Like theirs, his fame shall live.
9.
Close, carver, by some well cut books,
Let a thin busto tell,
In spite of plump and pamper'd looks,
How scantly sense can dwell!
10.
No epitaph of tedious length
Should overcharge the stone;
Since loftiest verse would lose its strength,
In mentioning his own.
11.
At once! and not verbosely tame,
Some brave Laconic pen
Should smartly touch his ample name,
In form of—O rare Ben!

Mrs. SUSANNA CENTLIVRE.

THIS lady was daughter of one Mr. Free­man, of Holbeack in Lincolnshire. There was formerly an estate in the family of her fa­ther, but being a Dissenter, and a zealous parlia­mentarian, he was so very much persecuted at the restoration, that he was laid under a necessity to fly into Ireland, and his estate was confiscated; nor was the family of our authorcss's mother free from the severity of those times, they being like­wise parliamenta [...]\nia [...]\ns. Her education was in the country, and her father dying when she was but three years of age, and her mother not living 'till she was twelve, the improvements our poetess made were merely by her own industry and applica­tion. She was married before the age of fifteen, to a nephew of Sir Stephen Fox. This gentleman living with her but a year, she afterwards married Mr. Carrol, an officer in the army, and survived him likewise in the space of a year and a half. She afterwards married Mr. Joseph Centlivre, yeoman of the mouth to his late Majesty. She gave early discoveries of a genius for poetry, and Mr. Jacob in his Lives of the Poets tells us, that she composed a song before she was seven years old. She is the author of fifteen plays; her ta­lent is comedy, particularly the contrivance of the plots, and incidents. Sir Richard Steele, in one [Page 59] of his Tatlers, speaking of the Busy Body, thus recommends it. ‘'The plot, and incidents of the play, are laid with that subtilty, and spirit, which is peculiar to females of wit, and is very seldom well performed by those of the other sex, in whom craft in love is an act of invention, and not as with women, the effect of nature, and instinct.'’

She died December 1, 1723; the author of the Political State thus characterizes her. ‘'Mrs. Cent­hvre, from a mean parentage and education, after several gay adventures (over which we shall draw a veil) she had, at last, so well improved her natural genius by reading, and good con­versation, as to attempt to write for the stage, in which she had as good success as any of her sex before her. Her first dramatic performance was a Tragi-Comedy, called The Perjured Hus­band, but the plays which gained her most re­putation were, two Comedies, the Gamester, and the Busy Body. She wrote also several copies of verses on divers subjects, and occasions, and ma­ny ingenious letters, entitled Letters of Wit, Po­litics, and Morality, which I collected, and pub­lished about 21 years ago*.'’

Her dramatic works are,

  • 1. The Perjured Husband, a Comedy; acted at the Theatre-Royal 1702, dedicated to the late Duke of Bedford. Scene Venice.
  • 2. The Beau's Duel, or a Soldier for the Ladies, a Comedy; acted at the Theatre in Lincoln's-Inn-Fields, 1703; a Criticism was written upon this play in the Post-Angel for August.
  • [Page 60] 3. The Stolen Heiress, or The Salamancha Doctor Out-plotted; a Comedy; acted at the The­atre in Lincolns-Idn-Fields 1704. The scene Palermo.
  • 4. The Gamester, a Comedy; acted at the The­atre in Lincolns-Inn-Fields 1704, dedicated to George Earl of Huntingdon. This play is an im­proved translation of one of the same title in French. The prologue was written by Mr. Rowe.
  • 5. The Basset Table, a Comedy; acted at the Theatre-Royal in Drury-Lane, dedicated to Ar­thur Lord Altham, 4to. 1706.
  • 6. Love's Contrivance, or Le Medicin Malgre lui; a Comedy; acted at Drury-Lane 1705, dedi­cated to the Earl of Dorset. This is a translation from Moliere.
  • 7. Love at a Venture, a Comedy; acted at Bath, 4to. 1706, dedicated to the Duke of Beaufort.
  • 8. The Busy Body, acted at the Theatre-Royal 1708, dedicated to Lord Somers. This play was acted with very great applause.
  • 9. Marplot, or the Second Part of the Busy Body; acted at the Theatre-Royal 1709, dedicat­ed to the Earl of Portland.
  • 10. The Perplex'd Lovers, a Comedy; acted at the Theatre-Royal 1710, dedicated to Sir Henry Furnace.
  • 11. The Platonic Lady, a Comedy; acted at the Theatre-Royal 1711.
  • [Page 61] 12. The Man's Bewitch'd, or The Devil to do about Her; a Comedy; acted at the Theatre in the Haymarket 1712, dedicated to the Duke of Devonshire.
  • 13. The Wonder a Woman keeps a Secret, a Comedy; acted at the Theatre-Royal in Drury-Lane. This play was acted with success.
  • 14. The Cruel Gift, or The Royal Resentment; a Tragedy; acted ot the Theatre-Royal 1716, for the story of this play, consult Sigismonda and Guiscarda, a Novel of Boccace.
  • 15. A Bold Stroke for a Wife, a Comedy; act­ed at the Theatre in Lincoln's-Inn-Fields 1717, de­dicated to the Duke of Wharton.

Besides these plays Mrs. Centlivre has written three Farces; Bickerstaff's Burying, or Work for the Upholders. The Gotham Election. A Wife well Managed.

Dr. NICHOLAS BRADY.

THIS revd. gentleman was son of Nicho­las Brady, an officer in the King's army, in the rebellion 1641, [...]ing lineally descended from Hugh Brady, the first Protestant bishop of Meath*. He was born as Bandon in the county of Cork, on the 28th of October 1659, and edu­cated in that county till he was 12 years of age, when he was removed to Westminster school, and from thence elected student of Christ's Church, Oxford. After continuing there about four years, he went to Dublin, where his father resided, at which university he immediately commenced ba­chelor of arts. When he was of due standing, his Diploma for the degree of doctor of divinity was, on account of his uncommon merit, presented to him from that university, while he was in Eng­land, and brought over by Dr. Pratt, then senior travelling-fellow, afterwards provost of that col­lege. His first ceclesiastical preferment was to a pre­bend, in the Cathedral of St. Barry's in the city of Cork, to which he was collated by bishop Wet­tenhal, to whom he was domestic chaplain. He was a ze [...]\nous promot [...]\nr of the revolution, and suffered for it in consequence of his zeal. In 1690, when the troubles broke out in Ireland, by his interest with King James's general, Mac Carty, [Page 63] he thrice prevented the burning of Bandon town, after three several orders given by that Prince to destroy it. The same year, having been deputed by the people of Bandon, he went over to Eng­land to petition the Parliament, for a redress of some grievances they had suffered, while King James was in Ireland. During his stay here, and to the time of his death, he was in the highest esteem among all ranks of persons in this king­dom, for his eminent attachment to the true in­terest of his country. Having quitted his prefer­ments in Ireland, he settled in London, where he, being celebrated for his abilities in the pulpit, was elected minister of St. Catherine-Cree Church, and lecturer of St. Michael's Woodstreet. He afterwards became minister of Richmond in Surry, and Stratford upon Avon in Warwickshire, and at length, rector of Clapham in the county above­mentioned; which last, together with Richmond, he held to the time of his death. He was also chaplain to the duke of Ormond's troop of Horse­guards, as he was to their Majesties King William, and Queen Anne. He died on the 20th of May 1726, in the 67th year of his age, leaving be­hind him the reputation of a good man; he was of a most obliging, sweet, affable temper, a polite gentleman, an excellent preacher, and no incon­siderable poet.

His compositions in poetry are chiefly these,

1. A New Version of the Psalms of David, per­formed by him, in conjunction with Mr. Tate, soon after he settled in London; now sung in most churches of England, and Ireland, instead of that obsolete and ridiculous Version made by Sternhold; and Hopkins, in the reign of King Edward VI. As the 104th Psalm is esteemed one of the most sublime in the whole book, we shall [Page 64] present the reader with the two first Parts of his Version of that Psalm, as a specimen. There have not been less than forty differ [...]nt Vers [...]ons, and Paraphrases of this Psalm, by po [...] of very considerable eminence, who seem to have vied with one another for the superiority Of all these attempts, if we may tru [...] our own judgment, none have succeeded so happily as Mr. Blackc [...]ock, a young gentleman now resident at Dumfries in Scotland. This Paraphrase is the more extra­ordinary, as the author of it has been blind from his cradle, and now labours under that calamity; it carries in it such elevated strains of poetry, such picturesque descriptions, and such a mel­lifluent flow of numbers, that we are persuaded, the reader cannot be displeased at finding it inserted here.

Dr. Brady also translated the Aeneid of Virgil, which were published by subscription in four volumes octavo, the last of which came out in 1726, a little before the author's death.

He also published in his sife-time three Volumes of Sermons in 8vo. each consisting of 14, all print­ed in London; the first in 1704, the second in 1706, and the third in 1713. After the Dr's. death, his eldest son, who is now a clergyman, published three other Volumes of his father's Ser­mons, each also consisting of 14, printed in Lon­don 1730, 8vo. Amongst his sermons there is one preached on St. Cecilia's day, in vindication of Church-music, first printed in 1697, in 4to.

[Page 65]
PSALM CIV.
BLESS God, my soul; thou, Lord alone,
Possessest empire without bounds:
With honour thou art crown'd, thy throne
Eternal Majesty surrounds.
W [...]\nth light thou dost thy self enrobe,
And glory for a garment take;
Heav'n's curtain stretch'd beyond the globe,
The canopy of state to make.
God builds on liquid air, and forms
His palace-chambers in the skies:
The clouds his chariots are, and storms
The swift-wing'd steeds with which he flies.
As bright as flame, as swift as wind
His ministers Heav'ns palace fill;
To have their sundry tasks assign'd,
All proud to serve their Sovereign's will.
Earth on her center fix'd he set,
Her face with waters over spread;
Not proudest mountains dar'd as yet
To lift above the waves their head!
But when thy awful face appear'd,
Th'insulting waves dispers'd; they fled
When once thy thunder's voice they heard,
And by their haste confess'd their dread.
Thence up by secret tracts they creep,
And gushing from the mountain's side,
Thro' vallies travel to the deep;
Appointed to receive their tide.
There hast thou fix'd the ocean's mounds,
The threat'ning surges to repel:
That they no more o'erpass their bounds,
Nor to a second deluge swell.
PART II.
Yet, thence in smaller parties drawn,
The sea recovers her lost hills:
And starting springs from every lawn,
Surprize the vales with plenteous rills.
The fields tame beasts are thither led
Weary with labour, faint with drought,
And asses on wild mountains bred,
Have sense to find these currents out.
There shady trees from scorching beams,
Yield shelter to the feather'd throng:
They drink, and to the bounteous streams
Return the tribute of their song.
His rains from heav'n parch'd hills recruit,
That soon transmit the liquid store:
'Till earth is burthen'd with her fruit,
And nature's lap can hold no more.
Grass for our cattle to devour,
He makes the growth of every field:
Herbs, for man's use, of various pow'r,
That either food or physic yield.
With cluster'd grapes he crowns the vine
To cheer man's heart oppress'd with cares:
Gives oil that makes his face to shine.
And corn that wasted strength repairs.
[Page 67]
PSALM CIV. imitated by THOMAS BLACKCLOCK.
Arise my soul! on wings seraphic rise!
And praise th' Almighty sov'reign of the skies!
In whom alone essential glory shines,
Which not the Heav'n of Heav'ns, nor boundless space confines!
When darkness rul'd with universal sway,
He spoke, and kindled up the blaze of day;
First fairest offspring of th' omnific word!
Which like a garment cloath'd it's sovereign lord.
He stretch'd the blue expanse, from pole to pole,
And spread circumfluent aether round the whole.
Of liquid air he bad the columns rise,
Which prop the starry concave of the skies.
Soon as he bids, impetuous whirlwinds fly,
To bear his sounding chariot thro' the sky:
Impetuous whirlwinds the command obey,
Sustain his flight, and sweep th' aerial way.
Fraught with his mandates from the realms on high,
Unnumber'd hosts of radiant heralds fly;
From orb to orb, with progress unconfin'd,
As lightn'ing swift, resistless as the wind.
His word in air, this pondr'ous ball sustain'd.
" Be fixt, he said.'—And fix'd the ball remain'd.
Heav'n, air, and sea, tho' all their stores combine,
Shake not its base, nor break the law Divine.
At thy almighty voice, old ocean raves,
Wakes all his force, and gathers all his waves;
Nature lies mantled in a watry robe,
And shoreless ocean rolls around the globe;
O'er highest hills, the higher surges rise,
Mix with the clouds, and leave the vaulted skies.
But when in thunder, the rebuke was giv'n,
That shook th' eternal firmament of heav'n,
[Page 68] The dread rebuke, the frighted waves obey,
They fled, confus'd, along th' appointed way,
Impetuous rushing to the place decreed,
Climb the steep hill, and sweep the humble mead:
And now reluctant in their bounds subside;
Th' eternal bounds restrain the raging tide:
Yet still tumultuous with incessant roar,
It shakes the caverns, and assaults the shore.
By him, from mountains, cloth'd in livid snow,
Thro' verdant vales, the mazy fountains flow.
Here the wild horse, unconscious of the rain,
That revels boundless, o'er the wide champaign,
Imbibes the silver stream, with heat opprest
To cool the fervour of his glowing breast.
Here verdant boughs adorn'd with summer's pride,
Spread their broad shadows o'er the silver tide:
While, gently perching on the leafy spray,
Each feather'd songster tunes his various lay:
And while thy praise, they symphonize around,
Creation ecchoes to the grateful sound.
Wide o'er the heav'n's, the various bow he bends.
Its tincture brightens, and its arch extends:
At the glad sign, aërial conduits flow,
The hills relent, the meads rejoice below:
By genial fervour, and prolific rain.
Gay vegetation cloaths the fertile plain:
Nature profusely good, with bliss o'er-flows,
And still she's pregnant, tho' she still bestows:
Here verdant pastures, far extended lie,
And yield the grazing herd a rich supply!
Luxuriant waving in the wanton air,
Here golden grain rewards the peasant's care!
Here vines mature, in purple clusters glow,
And heav'n above, diffuses heav'n below!
Erect and tall, here mountain cedars rise,
High o'er the clouds, and emulate the skies!
[Page 69] Here the winged crowds, that skim the air,
With artful toil, their little dams prepare,
Here, hatch their young, and nurse their rising care!
Up the steep-hill ascends the nimble doe,
While timid conies scour the plains below;
Or in the pendent rock's elude the scenting foe,
He bade the silver majesty of night,
Revolve her circle, and increase her light.
But if one moment, then thy face should'st hide,
Thy glory clouded, or thy smiles denied,
Then widow'd nature veils her mournful eyes,
And vents her grief, in universal cries!
Then gloomy death, with all his meagre train;
Wide o'er the nations spreads his iron reign!
Sea, earth, and air, the bounteous ravage mourn,
And all their hosts to native dust return!
Again thy glorious quickning influence shed,
The glad creation rears its drooping head:
New rising forms, thy potent smiles obey,
And life re-kindles at the genial ray;
United thanks replenished nature pays,
And heaven, and earth resound their maker's praise.
When time shall in eternity be lost,
And hoary nature languish into dust,
Forever young, thy glories shall remain,
Vast as thy being, endless as thy reign!
Then from the realms of everlasting day,
See'st all thy works, at one immence survey!
Pleas'd at one view, the whole to comprehend,
Part join'd to part, concurring to one end.
If thou to earth, but turn'st thy wrathful eyes,
Her basis trembles, and her offspring dies.
Thou smites the hills, and at th' almighty blow,
Their summits kindle, and their entrails glow.
While this immortal spark of heavenly flame,
Distends my breast, and animates my frame,
To thee my ardent praises shall be born,
On the first breeze, that wakes the blushing morn:
The latest star shall hear the pleasing sound,
And nature, in full choir shall join around!
When full of thee, my soul excursive flies,
Thro' earth, air, ocean or thy regal skies,
From world, to world, new wonders still I find!
And all the Godhead bursts upon my mind!
When, wing'd with whirlwinds, vice shall take flight,
To the wide bosom of eternal night,
To thee my soul shall endless praises pay;
Join! men and angels! join th' exalted day!
Assign'd a province to each rolling sphere,
And taught the sun to regulate the year.
At his command wide hov'ring o'er the plain,
Primaeval night resumes her gloomy reign.
Then from their dens impatient of delay,
The savage monsters bend their speedy way,
Howl thro' the spacious waste and chase the frighted prey.
Here walks the shaggy monarch of the wood,
Taught from thy providence to ask his food:
To thee O Father! to thy bounteous skies,
He rears his main, and rolls his glaring eyes.
He roars, the desarts tremble wide around!
And repercusive hills repeat the sound.
Now purple gems, the eastern skies adorn,
And joyful nature hails th' opening morn;
The rovers conscious of approaching day,
Fly to their shelters, and forget their prey.
Laborious man, with moderate slumber blest,
Springs chearful to his toil, from downy rest;
Till grateful ev'ning with her silver train,
Bid labour cease, and ease the weary swain!
Hail, sovereign Goodness! All productive mind!
[Page 71] On all thy works, thyself inscribed we find!
How various all! how variously endow'd
How great their number! and each part how good!
How perfect then must the great parent shine!
Who with one act of energy divine,
Laid the vast plan, and finish'd the design.
Where e'er the pleasing search my thoughts pur­sue,
Unbounded goodness opens to my view.
Nor does our world alone, its influence share;
Exhaustless bounty, and unwearied care,
Extend thro' all th' infinitude of space,
And circle nature with a kind embrace.
The wavy kingdoms of the deep below,
Thy power, thy wisdom, and thy goodness shew.
Here various beings without number stray,
Croud the profound, or on the surface play.
Leviathan here, the mightiest of the train,
Enormous! sails incumbent o'er the the main.
All these thy watchsul providence supplies;
To thee alone, they turn their waiting eyes.
For them thou open'st thy exhaustless store,
Till the capacious wish can grasp no more.

GEORGE STEPNEY, Esq

THIS poet was descended of the family of the Stepneys of Pindigrast in Pembroke­shire, but born in Westminster in the year 1693. He received the rudiments of his education in Westminster school, and after making some pro­gress in literature there, he was removed to Tri­nity College in Cambridge, where he was co­temporary with Charles Montague, esq afterwards earl of Hallifax; and being of the same college with him, a very strict friendship was contracted between them. To this lucky accident of being early known to Mr. Montague, was owing all the preferment Mr. Stepney afterwards enjoyed, for he seems not to have had parts sufficien [...]\n to have risen to any distinction, without the immediate patronage of so great a man, as the lord Hallifax. When Stepney first set out in life, he was perhaps attached to the Tory interest, for one of the first poems he wrote, was an Address to king James the Second, on his Accession to the Throne. In this little piece, in which there is as little po­etry, he compares that monarch to Hercules, but with what propriety let the reader judge. Soon after the accession of James II. when Monmouth's rebeliion broke out, the university of Cambridge, to demonstrate their zeal for the King, thought proper to burn the picture of that rash Prince, who [Page 73] had formerly been their chancellor. Upon this occasion Stepney wrote some good verses, in an­swer to this question;

——Sed quid
Turba Remi? sequitur fortunam, ut semper et odit damnatos.

Upon the revolution he embraced another in­terest, and procured himself to be nominated for several foreign embassies. In the year 1692 he went to the elector of Brandenburgh's court in quality of envoy, and, in the year following, to the Impe­rial court in the same character. In 1694 he was sent to the elector of Saxony, and two years after to the electors of Mentz, Cologn, &c. and the con­gress at Francfort. He was employed in several other embassies, and in the year 1706 Queen Anne sent him envoy to the States General. He was very successful in his negotiations, which occasion­ed his constant employment in the most weighty affairs. At his leisure hours he composed several other pieces of poetry besides those already men­tioned; which are chiefly these,

  • An Epistle to the Earl of Hallifax, on his Ma­jesty's Voyage to Holland.
  • A Translation of the Eighth Satire of Juvenal.
  • To the Earl of Carlisle upon the Death of his Son.
  • Some Imitations of Horace's Odes.
  • The Austrian Eagle.
  • The Nature of Dreams.
  • A Poem to the Memory of Queen Mary.

These performances are not very long, nor are the subjects upon which they are written very consi­derable. It seems probable that the eminence to which Stepney rose, must have been more owing to [Page 74] some personal kindness lord Hallifax had for him, than to his merit as a writer. In raising Step­ney, his lordship might act as the friend of the man, but not as a patron of the poet. Friend­ship, in many respects, participates of the nature of love; it begins, we know not how, it strength­ens by imperceptible degrees, and grows into an established firmness. Such might be the regard lord Hallifax had for Stepney, but we may ven­ture to assert, from his lordship's exquisite taste in poetry, that he never could highly admire the pretty trifles which compose the works of this au­thor; and which are printed amongst the works of the Minor Poets, published some years ago by Mr. Tonson in two volumes 12mo.*

Our author died at Chelsea in the year 1707, and was buried in Westminster-Abbey, where a fine mo­nument is erected over him, with the following in­scription upon the pedestal;‘H. S. E.
GEORGIUS STEPNEIUS, Armiger,
viz.
Oh Ingenii acumen,
Literarum Scientiam,
Morum Suavitatem,
Rerum Usum,
Virorum Amplissimorum Consuetudinem,
Linguae, Styli ac Vitae Elegantiam,
Praeclara Officia cum Britanniae tum Europae
Praestita,
Suâ aetate multum celebratus,
Apud Posteros semper celebrandus;
Plurimas Legationes obiit
Ea Fide, Diligentiâ, & Felicitate,
Ut Augustissimorum Principum
[Page 75] GULIELMI & ANNAE
Spem in illo repositam
Nunquam fefellerit,
Haud raro superavit.
Post longum honorum Cursum
Brevi Temporis spatio confectum,
Cum Naturae parvae Fama satis vixerat,
Animam ad altiora aspirantem placide efflavit.’
On the left hand.‘G. S.
EX Equestri Familia STEPNEIORUM,
De PENDEGRAST, in Comitatu
PEMBROCHIENSI ORIENDUS,
WESTMONASTERII natus est, A. D. 1663.
Electus in Collegium
Sancti PETRI WESTMONAST. A. 1676.
Sanctae TRINITATIS CANTAB. 1682.
Consiliariorum quibus Commercii
Cura commissa est 1697.
CHELSEIAE mortuus, & Comitante
Magna Procerum
Frequentiâ huc elatus, 1707.’

On the right hand is a particular account of all his employments abroad.

As a specimen of Mr. Stepney's poetry, we shall quote the following lines on the Nature of Dreams,

At dead of night imperial reason sleeps,
And fancy with her train loose revels keeps:
Then airy phantoms a mixt scene display,
Of what we heard, or saw, or wish'd by day;
For memory those images retains
Which passion form'd, and still the strongest reigns.
[Page 76] Huntsmen renew the chase they lately run;
And generals fight again their battles won.
Spectres and furies haunt the murth'rers dreams;
Grants, or disgraces, are the courtiers themes.
The miser spies a thief, or some new hoard,
The cit's a knight, the sycophant a lord.
Thus fancy's in the wild distraction lost
With what we most abhor, or covet most.
But of all passions that our dreams controul,
Love prints the deepest image in the soul;
For vigorous fancy, and warm blood dispense
Pleasures so lively, that they rival sense.
Such are the transports of a willing maid,
Not yet by time and place to act betray'd.
Whom spies, or some faint virtue force to fly
That scene of joy, which yet she dies to try.
'Till fancy bawds, and by mysterious charms
Brings the dear object to her longing arms;
Unguarded then she melts, acts fierce delight,
And curses the returns of envious light.
In such bless'd dreams Biblis enjoys a flame;
Which waking she detests, and dares not name.
Ixion gives a loose to his wild love,
And in his airy visions cuckolds Jove.
Honours and state before this phantom fall;
For sleep, like death its image, equals all.

Our author likewise wrote some political pieces in prose, particularly and Essay on the present In­terest of England, 1701. To which are added, The Proceedings of the House of Commons in 1677, upon the French King's Progress in Flanders. This piece is reprinted in Cogan's Collection of Tracts, called Lord Somers's Collection.

Major RICHARDSON PACK.

THIS gentleman was the son of John Pack, of Stocke-Ash in Suffolk, esq who in the year 1697 was high sheriff of that county. He had his early education at a private country school, and was removed from thence to Merchant Taylor's, where he received his first taste of letters; for he always reckoned that time which he spent at the former school as lost, since he had only con­tracted bad habits, and was obliged to unlearn what had been taught him there.

At the age of sixteen he was removed to St. John's College in Oxford. About eighteen his fa­ther entered him of the Middle Temple, design­ing him for the profession of the Law; and by the peculiar indulgence of the treasurer, and bench­ers of that honourable society, he was at eight Terms standing admitted barrister, when he had not much exceeded the age of 20. But a seden­tary, studious life agreeing as ill with his health, as a formal one with his inclinations, he did not long pursue those studies. After some wavering in his thoughts, he at last determined his views to the army, as being better suited to the gaiety of his temper, and the sprightliness of his genius, and where he hoped to meet with more freedom, as well as more action. His first command was that of a company of foot in March 1705.

[Page 78] In November 1710 the regiment in which he served was one of those two of English foot, that were with the marshal Staremberg at the battle of Villa Viciosa, the day after general Stanhope, and the troops under his command were taken at Brighuega*, where the major being killed, and our author's behaviour being equal to the occasi­on on which he acted, his grace the duke of Ar­gyle confirmed his pretensions to that vacancy, by giving him the commission of the deceased major, immediately on his arrival in Spain. It was this accident which first introduced our gallant soldier to the acquaintance of that truly noble and ex­cellent person, with whose protection and patro­nage he was honoured during the remaining part of his life.

The ambition he had to celebrate his grace's heroic virtues (at a time when there subsisted a jealousy between him and the duke of Marlbo­rough, and it was fashionable by a certain party to traduce him) gave birth to some of the best of his performances.

What other pieces the major has written in verse, are, for the most part, the unlaboured re­sult of friendship, or love; and the amusement of those few solitary intervals in a life that seldom wanted either serious business, or social pleasures, of one kind or other, entirely to fill up the circle. They are all published in one volume, together with a translation of the Life of Miltiades and Cymon, from Cornelius Nepos; the first edition was in 1725.

The most considerable of them are the following,

  • 1. The Muse's Choice, or the Progress of Wit.
  • 2. On Friendship. To Colonel Stanhope.
  • [Page 79] 3. To Mr. Addison, occasioned by the news of the victory obtained over the Rebels in Scotland, by his Grace the Duke o [...]\n Argyle.
  • 4. To Lady Catherine Manners.
  • 5. The Lovers Parting.
  • 6. The Retreat.
  • 7. An Epistle from a Half-pay Officer in the Country, to his Friend in Town.
  • 8. Upon Religious Solitude; occasioned by reading the Inscription on the Tomb of Casimir King of Poland, who abdicated his Crown, and spent the remainder of his life in the Abbey of St. Germains, near Paris, where he lies interred.
  • 9. A Pastoral in Imitation of Virgil's Second Eclogue.
  • 10. The 2d, 3d, and 4th Elegies of the Fourth Book of Tibullus.
  • 11. Elegy. Sylvia to Amintor, in Imitation of Ovid. After Sylvia is enjoyed, she gives this Ad­vice to her sex.
    Trust not the slight defence of female pride,
    Nor in your boasted honour much confide;
    So still the motion, and so smooth the dart,
    It steals unfelt into the heedless heart.

A Prologue to the Tragedy of Sir Walter Ra­leigh, and an Epilogue to Mr. Southern's Spartan Dame. In the former he has the following beauti­ful lines on Ambition;

[Page 80]
Ambition is a mistress few enjoy!
False to our hopes, and to our wishes coy;
The bold she bafflles, and defeats the strong;
And all are ruined who pursue her long;
Yet so bewitching are her fatal charms,
We think it heav'n to die within her arms.

Major Pack obliged the world with some Me­moirs of the Life of Mr. Wycherley, which are prefixed to Theobald's edition of that author. Mr. Jacob mentions a piece of his which he saw in MS. entitled Religion and Philosophy, which, says he, with his other works, demonstrate the author to be a polite writer, and a man of wit and gal­lantry.

This amiable gentleman died at Aberdeen in Scotland, in the month of September 1728, colo­nel Montague's regiment, in which he was then a major, being quartered there.

Sir WILLIAM DAWES, Baronet (Archbishop of YORK.)

THIS revd. prelate was descended from an ancient, and honourable family in the coun­ty of Essex; he was educated at Merchant-Tay­lor's school, London, and from thence elected to St. John's College in Oxford, of which he was af­terwards fellow.

He was the youngest of four brothers, three of whom dying young, the title, and estate of the family fell to him. As soon as he had taken his first degree in arts, and upon the family e­state devolving to him, he resigned his fellow­ship, and left Oxford. For some time he gave his attention to the affairs of his estate, but find­ing his inclination lead him more to study, than rural affairs, he entered into holy orders. Sir William did not long remain in the church without preferment; his fortune, and family as­sisted him to rise; for it often happens that these advantages will do much more for a man, as well in the ecclesiastical, as in other classes of life, than the brightest parts without them. Before he was promoted to the mitre, he was made master of Catherine Hall in Cambridge, chaplain to Queen Anne, and dean of Bocking.

In the year 1708 he was consecrated bishop of Chester, and in 1713 was translated to the arch­bishopric [Page 82] of York. While he was at the uni­versity, before he went into orders, he wrote the Anatomy of Atheism, a Poem, dedicated to Sir George Darcy Bart. printed in the year 1701, 8vo.

The design of this piece, as his lordship de­clares in the preface, ‘'is to expose the folly of those men, who are arrived at that pitch of im­pudence and prophaneness, that they think it a piece of wit to deny the Being of a God, and to laugh at that which they cannot argue a­gainst.'’ Such characters are well described in the following lines,

See then our Atheist all the world oppose,
And like Drawcansir make all men his foes.
See with what saucy pride he does pretend,
His miser father's nations to amend,
Huffs Plutarch, Plato, Pliny, Seneca,
And bids even Cicero himself give way.
Tells all the world, they follow a false light,
And he alone, of all mankind is right.
Thus, like a madman, who when all alone,
Thinks himself King, and every chair a throne,
Drunk with conceit, and foolish impudence,
He prides himself in his abounding sense.

This prelate is said to have united the gentleman, and the divine, which both shone out with equal lustre in him. He was esteemed in his time a very popular preacher; his piety was great, and conspi­cuous; his charity and benevolence equalled by few, and his good nature, and humanity the most extensive.

Our author died in the 53d year of his age, April 30, 1724. We have no account of any o­ther of his grace's poetical works, probably the [Page 83] business of his high station diverted his mind from the amusements of poetry.

The archbishop has written several sermons up­on the Eternity of Hell Torments, a doctrine which he has laboured to vindicate; also sermons upon various other subjects.

WILLIAM CONGREVE, Esq

THIS gentleman was descended from the an­cient house of Congreve in Staffordshire, but authors differ as to the place of his birth; some contend that he was born in Ireland*, others that he drew his first breath at the village of Bardsa, near Leeds in Yorkshire, which was the estate of a near relation of his by his mother's side. Mr. Jacob, in his preface to the Lives of the Poets, has in­formed us, that he had the advice and assistance of Mr. Congreve in that work, who communicat­ed to him many particulars of the lives of cotem­porary writers, as well as of himself, and as Mr. Congreve can hardly be thought ignorant of the place of his own birth, and Mr. Jacob has asserted it to be in England, no room is left to doubt of it. The learned antiquary of Ireland, Sir James Ware, has reckoned our author amongst his own country worthies, from the relation of [Page 84] Southern; but Mr. Congreve's own account, if Ja­cob may be relied on, is more than equal to that of Southern, who possibly might be mistaken.

About the year 1671, or 1672, our author was born, and his father carried him, when a child, into Ireland, where he then had a command in the army, but afterwards was entrusted with the management of a considerable estate, belonging to the noble family of Burlington, which fixed his residence there*. Mr. Congreve received the first tincture of letters in the great school of Kilken­ny, and, according to common report, gave early proofs of a poetical genius; his first attempt in poetry was a copy of verses on the death of his master's Mag [...]\nye.

He went from the school of Kilkenny to the university of Dublin, where under the direction of Dr. George Ash, he acquired a general knowledge of the classics. His father, who was desirous that his studies should be directed to a profitable em­ployment, sent him over to England a little after the revolution, and placed him as a stud [...]\nnt in the Middle-Temple. But the severe study of the Law was so ill adapted to the sprightly genius of Con­greve. that he never attempted to reconcile himself to a way of life, for which he had the greatest aver­sion. But however he disappointed his friends with respect to the proficiency they expected him to make in the Law; yet it is certain he was not negligent in those studies to which his genius led him.

Mr. Congreve's first performance, written when b [...]\nt a youth of seventeen, was a Novel, dedicat­ed to Mrs. Katherine I eveson, which gave proof, not only of a great vivacity of wit, but al­so a fluency of stile, and a solid judgment. He was conscious that young men in their early producti­ons generally aimed at a florid stile, and enthusi­astic [Page 85] descriptions, without any regard to the plot, fable, or subserviency of the parts; for this rea­son he formed a new model, and gave an exam­ple how works of that kind should be written. He pursued a regular plan, observed a general moral, and carried on a connexion, as well as distinction, between his characters.

This performance is entitled Incognita, or Love and Duty Reconciled; it has been asserted that this is a real history, and though the scene is laid in Italy, the adventures happened in England; it is not our business to enter into the secret history of this entertaining piece, or to attempt giving the reader a key to what the writer took so much pains to conceal. It appears from this piece, that Mr. Congreve aimed at perfection from the very beginning, and his design in writing this novel, was to shew, how novels ought to be writ­ten. Let us hear what he says himself, and from thence we shall entertain a higher opinion of his abilities, than could possibly be raised by the warm­est commendations. After very judiciously ob­serving, that there is the same relation between romances and novels as between tragedy and comedy, he proceeds thus: ‘'Since all traditions must indisputably give glace to the drama, and since there is no possibility of giving that life to the writing, or repetition of a story, which it has in the action; I resolved in another beauty to imitate dramatic writing, namely, in the de­sign, contexture, and result in the plot. I have not observed it before in a novel. Some I have seen begin with an unexpected accident, which has been the only surprizing part of the story, cause enough to make the sequel look flat, tedious, a [...]\nd insipid; for 'tis but reasonable the reader should expect, if not to rise, at least, to keep upon a level in the entertainment, for so he may be kept on, in hopes, that some time, [Page 86] or other, it may mend; but the other is such a baulk to a man, 'tis carrying him up stairs to shew him the dining room, and afterwards force him to make a meal in the kitchen. This I have not only endeavoured to avoid, but also have used a method for the contrary purpose. The design of this novel is obvious, after the first meeting of Aurelian and Hippolito, with Incognita, and Leonora; the difficulty is in bringing it to pass, maugre all apparent obsta­cles within the compass of two days. How ma­ny probable casualties intervene, in opposition to the main design, viz. of marrying two couple so oddly engaged in an intricare amour, I leave the reader at his leisure to consider; as also whether every obstacle does not, in the progress of the story, act as subservient to that purpose, which at first it seems to oppose. In a comedy this would be called the unity of action, here it may pretend to no more than an unity of contri­vance. The scene is continued in Florence from the commencement of the amour, and the time from first to last, is but three days.'’

Soon after Mr. Congreve's return to England, he amused himself, during a slow recovery from a fit of sickness, with writing a comedy. Captain Southern, in conjunction with Mr. Dryden, and Arthur Manwayring, esq revised this performance, which was the Old Batchelor; of which Mr. Dry­den said, he never saw such a first play in his life, adding, that the author not being acquainted with the stage, or the town, it would be pity to have it miscarry for want of a little assistance. Mr. Tho­mas Davenant, who had then the direction of the Theatre-Royal in Drury-Lane, had so high a sense of the merit of the piece, and was so charmed with the author's conversation, that he granted him the freedom of the house before his play came on, which, according to the maxims [Page 87] of theatrical government, was not only an unusu­al, but an unprecedented favour. In 1693 the Old Batchelor was acted before a numerous, and polite audience. The play was received with such general applause, that Mr. Congreve was then con­sidered as a prop to the declining stage, and a ris­ing genius in dramatic poetry. It was this play, and the singular success which attended it upon the stage, that introduced our author to the acquain­tance of the earl of Hallifax, who was then the professed patron of men of wit; and who, being desirous to raise a man of so promising a genius, above the necessity of too hasty productions, made him one of the commissioners for licensing Hackney coaches. The earl bestowed upon him soon after a place in the Pipe-Office, and gave him likewise a post in the Custom-House, to the value of 600 l. per annum.

In the following year Mr. Congreve brought upon the stage the Double Dealer, which met not with so good a reception as the former.

Mr. Congreve has informed us in the dedication of this play, to Charles Montague, esq that he was very assiduous to learn from the critics what objections could be found to it; but, says he, ‘'I have heard nothing to provoke an answer. That which looks most like an objection, does not re­late in particular to this play, but to all; or most that ever have been written, and that is soliloquy; therefore I will answer it, not only for my own sake, but to save others the trouble to whom it may be hereafter objected. I grant, that for a man to talk to himself, appears absurd, and unnatural, and indeed it is so in most cases, but the circumstances which may at­tend the occasion, makes great alteration. It often happens to a man to have designs, which require him to himself, and in their nature can­not admit of a confident. Such for certain [Page 88] is all villainy, and other less mischievous inten­tions may be very improper to be communicated to a second person. In such a case, therefore the audience must observe, whether the person up­on the stage takes any notice of them at all, or no: for if he supposes any one to be by, * when he talks to himself, it is monstrous and ridicu­lous to the last degree; nay not only in this case, but in any part of a play, if there is ex­pressed any knowledge of an audience it is in­sufferable. But otherwise, when a man in a so­liloquy reasons with himself, and pro's and con's, and weighs all his designs, we ought not to ima­gine that this man either talks to us, or to him­self; he is only thinking, and thinking such mat­ter, as it were inexcusable folly in him to speak. But, because we are concealed spectators of the plot in agitation, and the poet finds it necessa­ry to let us know the whole mystery of his contrivance, he is willing to inform us of this person's thoughts, and to that end is forced to make use of the expedient of speech, no other, or better way being yet invented for the communi­cation of thought.'’

Towards the close of the same year Queen Mary died. Upon that occasion Mr. Congreve pro­duced an elegiac Pastoral, a composition which the admirers of this poet have extolled in the most lavish terms of admiration, but which seems not to merit the [...]\ncense it obtained.

When Mr. Betterton opened the new house at Lincoln's-Inn, Congreve took part with him, and gave him his celebrated comedy of Love for Love, then introduced upon the stage, with the most ex­traordinary [Page 89] success. This comedy, with some more of our author's, was smartly criticised by the ngeni­ous Mr. Collier, as containing lessons of immora­lity, and a representation of loose characters, which can never, in his opinion, appear on a stage with­out corrupting the audience.

Messrs. Congreve, Dennis, and Dryden, engaged in a vigorous defence of the English stage, and en­deavoured to shew the necessity of such characters being introduced in order to be exposed, and laughed at. To all their defences Mr. Collier re­plied, and managed the point with so much learn­ing, wit, and keenness, that in the opinion of many, he had the better of his antagonists, especially Mr. Congreve, whose comedies it must be owned, though they are admirably written, and the cha­racters strongly marked, are so loose, that they have given great offence: and surely we pay too dear for pleasure, when we have it at the expence of morality.

The same year he distinguished himself in ano­ther kind of poetry, viz. an irregular Ode on the taking Namure, which the critics have allowed to contain fine sentiments, gracefully expressed. His reputation as a comic poet being sufficiently established, he was desirous of extending his fame, by producing a tragedy. It has been alledged, that some, who were jealous of his growing reputation, put him upon this task, in order, as they imagined, to diminish it, for he seemed to be of too gay and lively a disposition for tragedy, and in all likeli­hood would miscarry in the attempt. However,

In 1697, after the expectation of the town had been much raised, the Mourning Bride appeared on the New Theatre in Lincoln's-Inn-Fields: few plays ever excited so great an ardour of expecta­tion as this, and very few ever succeeded to such an extravagant degree. There is something new in the management of the plot; after moving the [Page 90] passions of the audience to the greatest commisera­tion, he brings off his principal characters, pu­rishes the guilty, and makes the play conclude happily.

The controversy we have just now mentioned, was thought to have occasioned a dislike in Mr. Congreve towards the stage; yet he afterwards pro­duced another comedy called The Way of the World, which was so just a picture of the world, that, as an author prettily says, ‘The world could not bear it.’

The reception this play met with, compleated our author's disgust to the theatre; upon which Mr. Dennis, who was a warm friend to Congreve, made this fine observation, ‘'that Mr. Congreve quitted the stage early, and that comedy left it with him.'’

It is said that when Congreve found his play met with but indifferent success, he came in a passion on the stage, and desired the audience to save them­selves the trouble of shewing their dislike; for he never intended to write again for the Theatre, nor submit his works to the censure of impotent critics. In this particular he kept his word with them, and as if he had foreseen the fate of his play, he took an ample revenge, in his Epilogue, of the race of Little Snarlers, who excited by envy, and supported by false ideas of their own importance, dared to constitute themselves judges of wit, without any just pretensions to it. This play has long ago tri­umphed over its enemies, and is now in great es­teem amongst the best judges of Theatrical Enter­tainments.

Though Mr. Congreve quitted the stage, yet did not he give up the cause of poetry; for on the death of the marquis of Blandford, the only son of the duke of Marlborough, which happened in [Page 91] 1705, we find him composing a pastoral to soften the grief of that illustrious family, which he ad­dressed to the lord treasurer Godolphin.

About the same time, the extraordinary success of the duke of Marlborough's arms, furnished him with materials for an Ode to Queen Anne. In another Pindaric Ode he celebrates the lord Godol­phin; taking occasion from that nobleman's delight in horse-racing to imitate the Greek Poet in his favourite manner of writing, by an elegant digres­sion; to which he added a criticism on that spe­cies of poetry.

As in the early part of his life, Mr. Congreve had received favours from people of a less exalted stati­on, so of these he was highly sensible, and never let slip any opportunity of shewing his gratitude. He wrote an Epilogue to his old friend Southern's Tragedy of Oroonoko; and Mr. Dryden has ac­knowledged his assistance in the translation of Virgil: He contributed by his Version of the eleventh Sa­tire of Juvenal, to the translation of that poet, published also by Mr. Dryden, to whom Mr. Con­greve wrote a copy of Verses on his Translation of Persius. He wrote likewise a Prologue for a Play of Mr. Charles Dryden's, full of kindness for that young gentleman, and of respect for his father.

But the noblest testimony he gave of his filial re­gard to the memory of his poetical father, Mr. John Dryden, was the Panegyric he wrote upon his works, contained in the dedication of Dryden's plays to the duke of Newcastle.

Mr. Congreve translated the third Book of Ovid's Art of Love; some favourite passages from the Iliad, and writ some Epigrams, in all which he was not unsuccessful, though at the same time he has been ex­ceeded by his cotemporaries in the same attempts.

The author of the elegant Letters, not long ago published under the name of Fitz. Osborne, has taken some pains to set before his readers the ver­sion [Page 92] of those parts of Homer, translated by our au­thor, and the same passages by Pope and Tickell, in which comparison the palm is very deserved­ly yielded to Pope.

Our author wrote a Satire called Doris, celebrated by Sir Richard Steele, who was a warm friend to Mr. Congreve. He also wrote the Judgment of Paris, a Masque; and the Opera of Semele; of these, the former was acted with great applause, and the latter is finely set to music by Mr. Eccles. The last of his Poetical Works, is his Art of Pleasing, addressed to Sir Richard Temple, the late viscount Cobham. He has written many Prose Epistles, dis­persed in the works of other writers, and his Essay on Humour in Comedy, published in a Collection of Dennis's Letters, is an entertaining, and cor­rect piece of criticism: All his other Letters are written with a great deal of wit and spirit, a fine flow of language; and are so happily inter­mixt with a lively and inoffensive raillery, that it is impossible not to be pleased with them at the first reading: we may be satisfied from the perusal of them, that his conversation must have been ve­ry engaging, and therefore we need not wonder that he was caressed by the greatest men of his time, or that they courted his friendship by every act of kindness in their power.

It is said of Mr. Congreve, that he was a particu­lar favourite with the ladies, some of whom were of the first distinction. He indulged none of those reveries, and affected absences so peculiar to men of wit: He was sprightly as well as elegant in his manner, and so much the favourite of Henrietta duchess of Marlborough, that even after his death, she caused an image of him to be every day placed at her toilet-table, to which she would talk as to the living Mr. Congreve, with all the freedom of the most polite and unreserved conversation. [Page 93] Mrs. Bracegirdle likewise had the highest venera­tion for our author, and joined with her Grace in a boundless profusion of sorrow upon his death. Some think, he had made a better figure in his Last Will, had he remembered his friendship he professed for Mrs. Bracegirdle, whose admirable performance added spirit to his dramatic pieces; but he forgot her, and gratified his vanity by chusing to make a rich duchess his sole legatee, and executrix.

Mr. Congreve was the son of fortune, as well as of the muses. He was early preferred to an affluent situation, and no change of ministry ever affected him, nor was he ever removed from any post he en­joyed, except to a better.

His place in the custom-house, and his office of secretary in Jamaica, are said to have brought him in upwards of 1200 l. a year; and he was so far an oeconomist, as to raise from thence a competent estate. No man of his learning ever pass'd thro' life with more ease, or less envy; and as in the dawn of his reputation he was very dear to the greatest wits of his time, so during his whole life he preserved the utmost respect of, and re­ceived continual marks of esteem from, men of genius and letters, without ever being involved in any of their quarrels, or drawing upon himself the least mark of distaste, or, even dissatisfaction. The greatest part of the last twenty years of his life were spent in ease and retirement, and he gave himself no trouble about reputation. When the celebrated Voltaire was in England, he waited upon Congreve, and pass'd some compliments upon him, as to the reputation and merit of his works; Congreve thanked him, but at the same time told that inge­nious foreigner, he did not chuse to be considered as an author, but only as a private gentleman, and in that light expected to be visited. Voltaire [Page 94] answered, ‘'That if he had never been any thing but a private gentleman, in all probability, he had never been troubled with that visit.'’

Mr. Voltaire upon this occasion observes, that he was not a little disgusted with so unseasonable a piece of vanity:—This was indeed the highest instance of it, that perhaps can be produced. A man who owed to his wit and writings the reputation, as well as the fortune, he acquired, pretending to divest himself of human nature to such a degree, as to have no consciousness of his own merit, was the most absurd piece of vanity that ever entered into the heart of man; and of all vanity, that is the greatest which masks itself under the appearance of the opposite quality.

Towards the close of his life, he was much troubled with the gout; and for this reason, in the summer of the year 1728, he made a tour to Bath, for the benefit of the waters, where he had the misfortune to be overturned in his chariot, from which time he complained of a pain in his side, which was supposed to arise from some in­ward bruise. Upon his return to London, he perceived his health gradually decline, which he bore with fortitude and resignation.

On January the 19th, 1728-9, he yielded his last breath, about five o'clock in the morning, at his house in Surrey-street in the Strand, in the fif­ty-seventh year of his age. On the sunday fol­lowing, January 26, his corpse lay in state in the Jerusalem-Chamber, from whence the same evening, between the hours of nine and ten, it was carried with great decency and solemnity to Henry the VIIth's Chapel; and after the funeral service was performed, it was interred in the Abbey. The pall was supported by the duke of Bridge­water, earl of Godolphin, lord Cobham, lord Wil­mington, [Page 95] the honourable George Berkley, Esq and Brigadier-general Churchill; and colonel Congreve followed his corpse as chief mourner; some time after, a neat and elegant monument was erected to his memory, by Henrietta duchess of Marlbo­rough.

Mr. Congreve's reputation is so extensive, and his works so generally read, that any specimen of his poetry may be deemed superfluous. But find­ing an epistle of our author's in the Biographia Brittannica, not inserted in his works, it may not be improper to give it a place here. It is addressed to the lord viscount Cobham, and the ingenious authors inform us, that they copied it from a MS. very correct.

As in this poem there is a visible allusion to the measures, which the writer thought were too complaisant to the French, it is evident it must have been penned but a very small time before his death.

Of improving the present time.
Sincerest critic of my prose, or rhyme.
Tell how thy pleasing Stowe employs thy time.
Say, Cobham, what amuses thy retreat?
Or stratagems of war, or schemes of state?
Dost thou recall to mind, with joy or grief,
Great Marlbro's actions? that immortal chief,
Whose highest trophy, rais'd in each campaign,
More than suffic'd to signalize a reign.
Does thy remembrance rising, warm thy heart
With glory past, where thou thyself had'st part;
Or do'st thou grieve indignant, now to see
The fruitless end of all thy victory?
To see th' audacious foe, so late subdu'd,
Dispute those terms for which so long they su'd,
As if Britannia now were sunk so low,
To beg that peace she wanted to bestow.
[Page 96] Be far, that guilt! be never known that shame!
That England should retract her rightful claim!
Or ceasing to be dreaded and ador'd,
Stain with her pen the lustre of her sword.
Or dost thou give the winds, a far to blow,
Each vexing thought, and heart-devouring woe,
And fix thy mind alone on rural scenes,
To turn the levell'd lawns to liquid plains;
To raise the creeping rills from humble beds,
And force the latent springs to lift their heads;
On watry columns capitals to rear,
That mix their flowing curls with upper air?
Or dost thou, weary grown, late works neglect,
No temples, statues, obelisks erect;
But catch the morning breeze from fragrant meads.
Or shun the noon-tide ray in wholesome shades;
Or lowly walk along the mazy wood,
To meditate on all that's wise and good:
For nature, bountiful, in thee has join'd,
A person pleasing, with a worthy mind,
Not giv'n the form alone, but means and art,
To draw the eye, or to allure the heart.
Poor were the praise, in fortune to excel,
Yet want the way to use that fortune well.
While thus adorn'd, while thus with virtue crown'd,
At home in peace; abroad, in arms renown'd;
Graceful in form, and winning in address,
While well you think, what aptly you express;
With health, with honour, with a fair estate,
A table free, and elegantly neat.
What can be added more to mortal bliss?
What can he want that stands possest of this?
What can the fondest wishing mother more,
Of heav'n attentive, for her son implore?
And yet, a happiness remains unknown,
Or to philosophy reveal'd alone;
[Page 97] A precept which, unpractis'd, renders vain
Thy flowing hopes, and pleasure turns to pain.
Shou'd hope and fear thy heart alternate tear,
Or love, or hate, or rage, or anxious care,
Whatever passions may thy mind infest,
(Where is that mind which passions ne'er molest?)
Amidst the pangs of such intestine strife,
Still think the present day the last of life;
Defer not 'till to-morrow to be wise,
To-morrow's sun to thee may never rise;
Or shou'd to-morrow chance to chear thy sight,
With her enliv'ning, and unlook'd-for light.
How grateful will appear her dawning rays!
Its favours unexpected doubly please.
Who thus can think, and who such thoughts pursues,
Content may keep his life, or calmly lose.
All proofs of this, thou may'st thyself receive,
When leisure from affairs will give thee leave.
Come, see thy friend retir'd, without regret,
Forgetting care, or striving to forget,
In easy contemplation, soothing time
With morals much, and now and then with rhyme;
Not so robust in body as in mind,
And always undejected, tho' declin'd;
Not wond'ring at the world's new wicked ways,
Compar'd with those of our fore-father's days:
For virtue now is neither more or less,
And vice is only vary'd in the dress:
Believe it, men have ever been the same,
And OVID's GOLDEN AGE is but a dream.

We shall conclude the life of this eminent wit, with the testimony of Mr. Pope in his favour, from the close of his postscript to the transla­tion of Homer: It is in every respect so honour­able, that it would be injurious to Mr. Congreve [Page 98] to omit it.—His words are—

'Instead of en­deavouring to raise a vain monument to myself, let me leave behind me a memorial of my friend­ship with one of the most valuable men, as well as the finest writers of my age and country. One who has tried, and knows by his own experience, how hard an undertaking it is to do justice to Homer, and one who I'm sure sincerely rejoices with me at the period of my labours. To him therefore, having brought this long work to a conclusion, I desire to dedicate it, and have the honour and satisfaction of placing together in this manner, the names of Mr. Congreve and of

A. POPE.

Sir JOHN VANBRUGH.

THIS Gentleman was descended from an antient family in Cheshire, which came ori­ginally from France; though by the name it would appear to be of Dutch extraction. He received a very liberal education, and became eminent for his poetry, and skill in architecture, to both which he discovered an early propension. It is somewhat remarkable in the History of Poetry, that when the spirit of Tragedy, in a great measure, declined, when Otway and Lee were dead, and Dryden was approaching to old age, that Comedy should then begin to flourish; at an Aera, which one would not have expected to prove auspicious to the cause of mirth.

Much about the same time rose Mr. Congreve, and Sir John Vanbrugh; who, without any invidious reflection on the genius of others, gave a new life to the stage, and restored it to reputation, which before their appearance had been for some time sinking. Happy would it have been for the world, and some advantage to the memory of these comic writers, if they had discovered their wit, without any mixture of that licentiousness, which while it pleased, tended to corrupt the audi­ence.

[Page 100] The first step our author made into life, was in the character of an ensign in the army. He was possessed of a very ready wit, and an agreeable elocution. He happened somewhere in his winter quarters, to contract an acquaintance with Sir Thomas Skipwith, and received a particular obligation from him. He had very early dis­covered a taste for dramatic writing, to improve which he made some attempts in that way, and had the draft or out-lines of two plays lying by him, at the time his acquaintance commenced with Sir Thomas. This gentleman possessed a large share in a Theatrical Patent, though he very little concerned himself in the conduct of it; but that he might not appear altogether remiss, he thought to procure some advantage to the stage, by having our author's play, called the Relapse, to be acted upon it. In this he was not disappointed, for the Relapse succeeded beyond the warmest expecta­tion, and raised Vanbrugh's name very high a­mongst the writers for the stage.

Tho' this play met with greater applause, than the author expected, yet it was not without its enemies. These were people of the graver sort, who blam­ed the looseness of the scenes, and the unguarded freedom of the dialect. These complaints induced Vanbrugh to make some observations upon them in his preface, which he thus begins,

'To go about to excuse half the defects this abortive brat is come into the world with, would be to provoke the town with a long useless preface, when 'tis, I doubt, sufficiently sour'd already, by a tedious play.'

'I do therefore, with all the humility of a re­penting sinner, confess it wants every thing—but length, and in that I hope the severest critics will be pleased to acknowledge, I have not been [Page 101] wanting. But my modesty will sure attone for every thing, when the world shall know it is so great, I am even to this day insensible of those two shining graces, in the play (which some part of the town is pleased to compliment me with) blasphemy and bawdy. For my part I cannot find them out; if there were any obscene ex­pressions upon the stage, here they are in print; for I have dealt fairly, I have not sunk a syllable, that could be ranged under that head, and yet I believe with a steady faith, there is not one woman of real reputation in town, but when she has read it impartially over in her closet, will find it so innocent, she'll think it no affront to her prayer book, to lay it upon the same shelf.'

Being encouraged by the success of the Relapse, he yielded to the sollicitation of lord Hallifax, who had read some of the loose sheets of his Pro­vok'd Wife, to finish that piece; and after throw­ing them into a proper form, gave the play to the Theatre in Lincoln's-Inn-Fields. Though Sir John had a greater inclination to serve the other com­pany, yet the request of lord Hallifax, so eminent a patron of the poets, could not be resisted. Sir Thomas Skipwith was not offended at so reasonable a compliance, and the Provok'd Wife was acted 1698, with success. Some critics likewise object­ed against this, as a loose performance; and that it taught the married women how to revenge themselves on their husbands, who should offend them.

The play has indeed this moral, that such hus­bands as resemble Sir John Brute, may expect that neglected beauty, and abused virtue, may be provoked to yield to the motives of revenge, [Page 102] and that the forcible sollicitations of an agreeable person, who not only demonstrates a value, but a passion for what the possessor slights, may be suf­ficiently prevalent with an injured wife to forfeit her honour.

Though this event may often fall out, that the brutality of a husband produces the insidelity of a wife, yet it need not be shewn upon the stage; women are not generally so tame in their natures, [...]to bear neglect with patience, and the natural resentments of the human heart will without any other monitor point out the method of revenge. Be­sides, every husband ought not to be deemed a brute, because a too delicate, or ceremonious wife, shall, in the abundance of her caprice, bestow upon him that appellation. Many women who have beheld this representation, may have been stimulated to imitate lady Brute in her method of revenge, without hav­ing suffered her provocation. This play verifies the observation of Mr. Pope,

That Van wants grace, who never wanted wit.

The next play which Sir John Vanburgh intro­duced upon the stage was Aesop, a Comedy; in two Parts, acted at the Theatre-Royal in Drury-Lane 1698. This was originally written in French, by Mr. Boursart, about six years before; but the scenes of Sir Polidorus Hogstye, the Players, the Senator, and the Beau, were added by our author. This performance contains a great deal of gene­ral satire, and useful morality; notwithstanding which, it met with but a cold reception from the audi­ence, and its run terminated in about 8 or 9 days. This seemed the more surprising to men of taste, as the French comedy from which it was taken, was played to crowded audiences for a month together. [Page 103] Sir John has rather improved upon the original by adding new scenes, than suffered it to be diminish­ed in a translation, but the French and the Eng­lish taste was in that particular very different. We cannot better account for the ill success of this excellent piece, than in the words of Mr. Cib­ber's Apology for his own Life, when speak­ing of this play, he has the following observation; ‘'The character that delivers precepts of wisdom, is, in some sort, severe upon the auditor, for shewing him one wiser than himself; but when folly is his object, he applauds himself for be­ing wiser than the coxcomb he laughs at, and who is not more pleased with an occasion to commend, than to accuse himself?'’

Sir John Vanbrugh, it is said, had great facility in writing, and is not a little to be admired for the spirit, ease, and readiness, with which he pro­duced his plays. Notwithstanding his extraordina­ry expedition, there is a clear and lively simpli­city in his wit, that is equally distant from the pedantry of learning, and the lowness of scurrili­ty. As the face of a fine lady, with her hair undressed, may appear in the morning in its bright­est glow of beauty; such were the productions of Vanbrugh, adorned with only the negligent graces of nature.

Mr. Cibber observes, that there is something so catching to the ear, so easy to the memory in all he wrote, that it was observed by the actors of his time, that the stile of no author whatsoever gave the memory less trouble than that of Sir John Vanbrugh, which he himself has confirmed by a pleasing experience. His wit and humour was so little laboured, that his most entertaining scenes seemed to be no more than his common conversation committed to paper. As his concep­tions [Page 104] were so full of life and humour, it is not much to be wondered at, if his muse should be sometimes too warm to wait the slow pace of judgment, or to endure the drudgery of forming a regular Fable to them.

That Sir John was capable of a great force of thinking, appears abundantly clear from that scene between Aesop and a country gentleman, who comes to complain of the bad conduct of those in power. The dialogue is at once sensible and anima­ted. Aesop shews him what he reckoned the op­pressions of the administration, flowed from the prejudices of ignorance, contemplated through the medium of popular discontent. In the interview between the Beau and the Philosopher, there is the following pretty fable. The Beau observes to Aesop, ‘'It is is very well; it is very well, old spark; I say it is very well; because I han't a pair of plod shoes, and a dirty shirt, you think a woman won't venture upon me for husband.—Why now to shew you, old father, how little you philosophers know the ladies.—I'll tell you an adventure of a friend of mine.'’

A Band, a Bob-wig and a Feather
Attack'd a lady's heart together,
The band in a most learned plea,
Made up of deep philosophy,
Told her, if she would please to wed
A reverend beard, and take instead
Of vigorous youth,
Old solemn truth,
With books, and morals into bed,
How happy she would be.
The Bob, he talk'd of management,
What wond'rous blessings Heav'n sent
[Page 105] On care, and pains, and industry;
And truly he must be so free,
To own he thought your airy beaux,
With powdered wigs, and dancing shoes,
Were good for nothing (mend his soul)
But prate and talk, and play the fool.
He said, 'twas wealth gave joy, and mirth,
And that to be the dearest wife,
Of one who laboured all his life,
To make a mine of gold his own,
And not spend sixpence when he'd done
Was Heaven upon earth.
When these two blades had done, d'ye see,
The Feather (as it might be me)
Steps out sir from behind the skreen,
With such an air and such a mien,
Look you, old gentleman, in short,
He quickly spoil'd the statesman's sport.
It prov'd such sunshine weather,
That you must know at the first beck
The lady leapt about his neck,
And off they went together.

The reputation which Sir John gained by his comedies was rewarded with greater advantages, than what arise from the usual profits of writ­ing for the stage. He was appointed Claren­cieux King at Arms, a place which he some time held, and at last disposed of. In August 1716 he was appointed surveyor of the works at Green­wich Hospital; he was likewise made comptrol­ler-general of his Majesty's works, and surveyor of the gardens and waters, the profits of which places, collectively considered, must amount to a very considerable sum.

[Page 106] In some part of our author's life (for we can­not justly ascertain the time) he gratified an inclination of visiting France. As curiosity no doubt induced him to pass over to that country, he lost no time in making such observations as could enable him to discern the spirit, and genius of that polite people. His taste for architecture excited him to take a survey of the sortifications in that kingdom; but the ardour of his curiosity dre [...]\n him into a snare, out of which he found great difficulty to escape. When he was one day sur­veying some sortifications with the strictest atten­tion, he was taken notice of by an Engineer, se­cured by authority, and then carried prisoner to the Bastile in Paris. The French were con­firmed in suspicions of his design, by several plans being found in his possession at the time he was seized upon; but as the French, except in cases of Heresy, use their prisoners with gentle­ness and humanity, Sir John found his confine­ment so endurable, that he amus'd himself in drawing rude draughts of some comedies. This cir­cumstance raising curiosity in Paris, several of the noblesse visited him in the Bastile, when Sir John, who spoke their language with fluency and ele­gance, insinuated himself into their favour by the vivacity of his wit, and the peculiarity of his hu­mour. He gained so much upon their affections, that they represented him to the French King in an innocent light, and by that means procured his liberty some days before the sollicitation came from England.

Sir John Vanbrugh formed a project of build­ing a stately theatre in the Hay-market, for which he had interest enough to raise a subscription of thirty persons of quality at 100 l. each, in consi­deration whereof, every subscriber for his own life, should be admitted to whatever entertain­ments [Page 107] should be publickly performed there, with­out farther payment for entrance.

On the first stone that was laid in this theatre, were inscribed the words LITTLE WHIG, as a com­pliment to a lady of extraordinary beauty, then the celebrated toast, and pride of that party. In the year 1706 when this house was finished, Mr. Betterton and his copartners put themselves un­der the direction of Sir John Vanbrugh and Mr. Congreve; imagining that the conduct of two such eminent authors would restore their ruined affairs; but they found their expectations were too san­guine, for though Sir John was an expeditious writer, yet Mr. Congreve was too judicious to let any thing come unfinished out of his hands; be­sides, every proper convenience of a good the­atre had been sacrificed to shew the audience a vast triumphal piece of architecture, in which plays, by means of the spaciousness of the dome, could not be successfully represented, because the actors could not be distinctly heard.

Not long before this time the Italian Opera began to steal into England, but in as rude a dis­guise, and as unlike itself as possible; notwith­standing which the new monster pleased, though it had neither grace, melody, nor action to recom­mend it. To strike in therefore with the pre­vailing fashion, Vanbrugh and Congreve opened their New Theatre in the Hay-market, with a translated Opera, set to Italian music, called The Triumph of Love, but it met with a cold recep­tion, being performed only three days, to thin houses.

Immediately upon the failure of the Opera, Vanbrugh produced his comedy called The Con­federacy, greatly improved from the Bourgois à la mode of Dancour. The success of this play was not equal to its merit; for it is written in an uncommon vein of humour, and abounds with the [Page 108] most lively strokes of raillery. The prospects of gain from this theatre were so very u promising, that Congreve, in a few months, gave up his share and interest in the government wholly to Sir John Vanbrugh; who being now sole proprietor of the house, was under a necessity to exert himself in its support. As he had a happier talent for throwing the English spirit into his translations of French plays, than any former author who had borrowed from them, he, in the same season, gave the public three more of that kind, viz.

  • 1. The Cuckold in Conceit, from the Cocu ima­ginaire of Moliere.
  • 2. Squire Treelooby, from his Monsieur do Pourceaugnac.
  • 3. The Mistake, from the Depit Amoureux of the same Author*.

However well executed these pieces were, yet they came to the ear in the same undistinguished utterance, by which almost all their plays had e­qually suffered; for as few could plainly hear, it was not likely a great many would applaud.

In this situation it appears, that nothing but the union of the two companies could restore the stage to its former reputation.

Sir John Vanbrugh therefore, tired of thea­trical management, thought of disposing of his whole farm to some industrious tenant, that might put it into better condition. It was to Mr. Owen Swiny, that in the exigence of his affairs, he made an offer of his actors under such agreements of [Page 109] salary as might be made with them; and of his house, cloaths, and scenes, with the Queen's li­cense to employ them, upon payment of the ca­sual rent of five pounds every acting day, and not to exceed 700 l. per annum. With this proposal Mr. Swiny complied, and governed that stage till another great theatrical revolution.

There are two plays of our author not yet mentioned, viz. The False Friend, a Comedy; acted in 1698, and A Journey to London, a Comedy; which he left unfinished. This last piece was finished by Mr. Cibber to a very great advantage, and now is one of the best co­medies in our language. Mr. Cibber, in his pro­logue, takes particular notice of our author's vir­tucus intention in composing this piece, which, he says, was to make some amends for those loose scenes, which in the fire of his youth he had with more regard to applause, than virtue, exhibited to the public: but this design will be best understood by inserting the prologue.

PROLOGUE.
This play took birth from principles of truth,
To make amends for errors past, of youth.
A bard that's now no more, in riper days,
Conscious review'd the licence of his plays:
And tho' applause his wanton muse had fir'd,
Himself condemn'd what sensual minds ad­mir'd.
At length he own'd that plays should let you see
Not only what you are, but ought to be:
Though vice was natural, 'twas never meant,
The stage should shew it, but for punishment!
Warm with that thought his muse once more took flame,
Resolv'd to bring licentious life to shame.
[Page 110] Such was the piece, his latest pen design'd,
But left no traces of his plan behind.
Luxurious scenes, unprun'd, or half contriv'd;
Yet, through the mass, his native fire surviv'd:
Rough as rich oar, in mines the treasure lay,
Yet still 'twas rich, and forms at length a play.
In which the bold compiler boasts no merit,
But that his pains have sav'd you scenes of spi­rit.
Not scenes that would a noisy joy impart,
But such as hush the mind, and warm the heart.
From praise of hands, no sure account he draws,
But fix'd attention is, sincere applause.
If then (for hard you'll own the task) his art
Can to those Embrion-scenes new life impart;
The living proudly would exclude his lays,
And to the buried bard resign the praise.

Sir John indeed appears to have been oft­en sensible of the immorality of his scenes; for in the year 1725 when the company of comedians was called upon, in a manner that could not be resisted, to revive the Pro­vok'd Wife, the author, who was conscious how justly it was exposed to censure, thought proper to substitute a new scene in the fourth act, in place of another, in which, in the wantonness of his wit and humour, he had made a Rake talk like a Rake, in the habit of a Clergyman. To avoid which of­fence, he put the same Debauchee into the Un­dress of a Woman of Quality; for the cha­racter of a fine lady, it seems, is not reckon­ed so indelibly sacred, as that of a Church­man. Whatever follies he exposed in the pet­ticoat kept him at least clear of his former im­puted [Page 111] prophaneness, and appeared now to the audience innocently ridiculous.

This ingenious dramatist died of a quinsey at his house in Whitehall, on the 26th of March 1726. He was a man of a lively imagination, of a facetious, and engaging humour, and as he lived esteemed by all his acquaintance, so he died without leaving one enemy to reproach his memory; a felicity which few men of public employments, or possessed of so distinguished a genius, ever enjoyed. He has left behind him monuments of fame, which can never perish but with taste and politeness.

Sir RICHARD STEELE, Knt.

THIS celebrated genius was born in Ireland. His father being a counsellor at law, and private secretary to James duke of Ormond, he went over with his grace to that kingdom, when he was raised to the dignity of lord lieutenant*. Our author when but very young, came over into England; and was educated at the Charter-House school in London, where Mr. Addison was his school-fellow, and where they contracted a friend­ship which continued firm till the death of that great man.

His inclination leading him to the army, he rode for some time privately in the guards; in which station, as he himself tells us, in his Apology for his Writings, he first became an author, a way of life in which the irregularities of youth are consider­ed as a kind of recommendation.

Mr. Steele was born with the most violent pro­pension to pleasure, and at the same time was master of so much good sense, as to be able to discern the extreme folly of licentious courses, their moral un­fitness, and the many calamities they naturally pro­duce. He manintained a perpetual struggle between reason and appetite. He frequently fell into indul­gencies, which cost him many a pang of remorse, and under the conviction of the danger of a vicious life, he wrote his Christian Hero, with a design to [Page 113] fix upon his own mind a strong impression of virtue and religion. But this secret admonition to his conscience he judged too weak, and therefore in the year 1701 printed the book with his name pre­fixed, in hopes that a standing evidence against him­self in the eyes of the world, might the more forci­bly induce him to lay a restraint upon his desires, and make him ashamed of vice, so contrary to his own sense and conviction.

This piece was the first of any note, and is esteem'd by some as one of the best of Mr. Steele's works; he gained great reputation by it, and recommended himself to the regard of all pious and good men. But while he grew in the esteem of the religious and worthy, he sunk in the opinion of his old com­panions in gaiety: He was reckoned by them to have degenerated from the gay, sprightly compa­nion, to the dull disagreeable pedant, and they mea­sured the least levity of his words and actions with the character of a Christian Hero. Thus he found himself slighted, instead of being encouraged for his declarations as to religion; but happily those who held him in contempt for his defence of piety and goodness were characters, with whom to be at variance is virtue. But Mr. Steele, who could not be content with the suffrage of the Good only, without the concurrence of the Gay, set about recovering the favour of the latter by innocent means: He introduced a Comedy on the stage, called Grief A-la-Mode, in which, tho' full of incidents that move laughter, and inspire chearfulness, virtue and vice appear just as they ought to do. This play was acted at the Theatre in Drury Lane 1702, and as nothing can make the town so fond of a man, as a successful play; so this, with some other particulars enlarged on to his advantage, recommended him to king William, and his name to be provided for was in the last table-book worn by his majesty.

[Page 114] He had before this time procured a captain's commission in the lord Lucas's regiment, by the in­terest of lord Cutts, to whom he dedicated his Christian Hero, and who likewise appointed him his secretary: His next appearance as a writer, was in the office of Gazetteer, in which he observes in the same apology for himself, he worked faith­fully, according to order, without ever erring against the rule observed by all ministers, to keep that paper very innocent, and insipid. The reproaches he heard every Gazette-day against the writer of it, inspired him with a fortitude of being remark­ably negligent of what people said, which he did not deserve. In endeavouring to acquire this ne­gligence, he certainly acted a prudent part, and gained the most important and leading advantage, with which every author should set out.

Whoever writes for the public, is sure to draw down envy on himself from some quarter or other, and they who are resolved never to be pleased, consider him as too assuming, and discover their resentment by contempt. How miserable is the state of an author! It is his misfortune in com­mon with the fair sex,‘To please too little, or to please too much.’

If he happens to be a successful writer, his friends who become then proud of his acquaintance, flatter him, and by soothing his vanity teach him to over­rate his importance, and while he grasps at univer­sal same, he loses by too vigorous an effort, what he had acquired by diligence and application: If he pleases too little, that is, if his works are not read, he is in a fair way of being a great loser by his attempt to please.

[Page 115] Mr. Steele still continued to write plays. In the year 1703 his Comedy, entitled the Tender Husband, or the Accomplished Fools, was acted at the Theatre in Drury-Lane; as his Comedy of the Lying-Lovers, or the Ladies Friendship, was like­wise the year following, both with success; so that his reputation was now fully established.

In the year 1709 he began the Tatler, the first of which was published on Tuesday April the 12th, and the last on Tuesday January the 2d, 1710-11. This paper greatly increasing his fame, he was pre­ferred to be one of the commissioners of the stamp office. Upon laying down the Tatler, he set up, in concert with Mr. Addison, the Spectator, which was continued from March the 1st, 1710-11, to Decem­ber the 6th 1712; and resumed June 18th 1714, and continued till December the 20th, the same year.

The Guardian was likewise published by them, in 1713, and in the October of the same year, Mr. Steele began a political paper, entitled the Englishman.

In the Spectator, Mr. Steele's papers are marked with the letter T. and in them are contained the most picturesque descriptions of low life, of which he was perfect master. Humour was his talent, though not so much confined to that cast of writing to be incapable of painting very tender scenes; witness his Conscious Lovers, which never fails to draw tears; and in some of his Spectators he has written in so feeling a manner, that none can read them without emotion.

He had a strong inclination to find out the humours of low life, and to make himself master of them. When he was at Edinburgh, as one of the commissioners on the forfeited estates, he one day made a very splendid feast, and while his servants were surprized at the great prepara­tions, [Page 116] and were expecting every moment to carry out his invitations to the company for whom they imagined it was prepared, he commanded them to go out to the street, and pick up whatever beggars, and poor people they saw, and invite them to his house: The servants obeyed, and Sir Richard soon saw himself at the head of 40 or 50 beggars, to­gether with some poor decay'd tradesmen. After dinner he plied them with punch and wine, and when the frolic was ended, he declared, that be­sides the pleasure of feeding so many hungry per­sons, he had learned from them humour enough for a good comedy.

Our author was a man of the highest benevo­lence; he celebrates a generous action with a warmth that is only peculiar to a good heart; and however he may be blamed for want of oeconomy, &c. yet was he the most agreeable, and if we may be allowed the expression, the most inno­cent rake, that ever trod the rounds of indulgence.

He wrote several poetical pieces, particularly the Englishman's thanks to the duke of Marlbo­rough, printed in 1711; a letter to Sir Miles Whar­ton, concerning Occasional Peers, dated March 5th, 1713. The Guardian of August the 7th, 1713; and the importance of Dunkirk considered, in de­fence of that Guardian, in a letter to the bailiff of Stockbridge: The French Faith represented in the present state of Dunkirk: The Crisis, a Letter to a Member of Parliament, concerning the bill to prevent the present Growth of Schism, dated May 28, 1714; and his Apology for himself and his Writings.

These pieces shew how much he was displeased with the last measures of Queen Anne, and were written to combat the Tory ministry; to oppose [Page 117] which he set about procuring a seat in Parliament; for which purpose he resigned his place of commis­sioner of the stamp-office, in June 1713, in a letter to the earl of Oxford, lord high treasurer, and was chosen member of the House of Commons, for the Borough of Stockbridge. But he did not long enjoy his seat in that house before he was expelled, on the 18th of March 1713, for writing the Englishman, being the close of the paper so called; and the Crisis*.

In 1714 he published the Romish Ecclesiastical History of late years, and a paper intitled The Lover; the first of which appeared Thursday Fe­bruary 25, 1714, and another intitled the Reader, which began on Thursday April 22, the same year. In the sixth Number of this last paper, he gave an account of his design of writing the History of the Duke of Marlborough, from proper materials in his custody: the relation to commence from the date of his grace's commission, as captain-general, and plenipotentiary; and to end with the expiration of these commissions. But this noble design he lived not to execute, and the materials were after­wards returned to the duchess of Marlborough, who left them to Mr. Mallet, with a handsome gratuity for the execution of Sir Richard's design.

Soon after the accession of king George the Ist to the throne, Mr. Steele was appointed surveyor of the royal stables at Hampton-Court, and governor of the royal company of Comedians, by a patent, dated January 19, 1714-15. He was likewise put into the commission of the peace for the county of Middlesex; and in April 1715 received the ho­nour of knighthood from his majesty. In the first [Page 118] parliament of that king, he was chosen for Borough­brigg in Yorkshire; and after the suppressing the Re­bellion in the North, was appointed one of the com­missioners of the forfeited estates in Scotland, where he received from several of the nobility and gentry of that part of the united kingdom the most distinguishing marks of respect. He contracted a friendship while in Scotland, with one Hart, a Presbyterian minister in Edinburgh, whom he after­wards honoured with his correspondence: This Hart he used merrily to stile the Hangman of the Gospel, for though he was a facetious good-natur'd man, yet he had fallen into a peculiar way of preaching what he called the Terrors of the Law, and denounced anathemas from the pulpit without reserve.

Sir Richard held frequent conversations with Hart, and other ministers, concerning the re­storation of episcopacy, the antient church-govern­ment of that nation, and often observed that it was pity, when the two kingdoms were united in lan­guage, in dress, in politics, and in all essential points, even in religion, should yet be divided in the ecclesiastical adminisration, which still serves to maintain a kind of alienation between the people. He found many of the Scots well disposed towards prelacy; but the generality, who were taught to contemplate the church of England, with as much horror as that of Rome, could not soon be prevailed upon to return to it.

Sir Richard wished well to the interests of religion, and as he imagined that Union would promote it, he had some thoughts of proposing it at court, but the times were unfavourable. The Presbyterians had lately appeared active against the rebels, and were not to be disobliged; but such is now the good understanding between the episcopal and presbyterian parties, that a few concessions on the one side, and not many advances on the other, possibly might produce [Page 119] an amicable coalition, as it is chiefly in form, rather than in articles of religion, in which they differ.

In the year 1715 he published an account of the state of the Roman Catholic Religion throughout the World, translated from an Italian manuscript, with a dedication to the Pope, giving him a very particular account of the state of religion amongst the Protestants, and several other matters of im­portance, relating to Great-Britain; but this dedi­cation is supposed to be written by another very eminent hand, more conversant in subjects of that nature than Sir Richard.

The same year our author published a Letter from the earl of Marr to the king, before his ma­jesty's arrival in England; with some remarks on my lord's subsequent conduct; and the year follow­ing a second volume of the Englishman, and in 1718 an account of a Fish-Pool, which was a project of his for bringing fish to market alive, for which he obtained a patent.

In 1719 he published a pamphlet called the Spinster, and a Letter to the Earl of Oxford, con­cerning the Bill of Peerage, which bill he opposed in the House of Commons. Some time after, he wrote against the South-Sea-Scheme; his Crisis of posterity; and another piece intitled, A Nation a Family; and on Saturday January the 2d, 1719-20, he began a paper called the Theatre, during the course of which his patent of governor of the Royal Company of Comedians, being suspended by his majesty, he published, The State of the Case.

In the year 1722, he brought his Conscious Lovers on the stage, with prodigious success. This is the last and most finished of all Sir Richard's Comedies, and 'tis doubtful if there is upon the stage, any more instructing; that tends to con­vey a finer moral, or is better conducted in its design. We have already observed, that it is impos­sible to witness the tender scenes of this Comedy [Page 120] without emotion; that is, no man of feeling and humanity, who has experienced the delicate soli­citudes of love and affection, can do it. Sir Ri­chard has told us, that when one of the players told Mr. Wilks, that there was a General weeping for Indiana; he politely observed, that he would not fight the worse for that; and indeed what a noble school of morality would the stage be, if all those who write for it would observe such delicate chastity; they would then inforce an honourable and virtuous deportment, by the most insinuating and easy means; they would so allure the audience by the amiable form of goodness re­presented in her native loveliness, that he who could resist her charms, must be something more than wicked.

When Sir Richard finished this Comedy, the parts of Tom and Phillis were not then in it: He read it to Mr. Cibber, who candidly told him, that though he liked his play upon the whole, both in the cast of the characters and execution of them; yet, that it was rather too grave for an Eng­lish audience, who want generally to laugh at a Comedy, and without which in their opinion, the end is not answered. Mr. Cibber then proposed the addition of some comic characters, with which Sir Richard agreed, and saw the propriety and force of the observation. This comedy (at Sir Richard's re­quest) received many additions from, and were greatly improved by Mr. Cibber.—Our author dedicated this work to the king, who made him a present of 500l.

Some years before his death, he grew paralytic, and retired to his seat at Langunner, near Caermarthen in Wales, where he died September the 1st, 1729; and was privately interred according to his own de­sire, in the church of Caermarthen.

Besides his writings above-mentionened, he began on Saturday the 17th of December, a weekly paper in quarto, called the Town-Talk, in a letter to [Page 121] a lady in the country; and another, intitled the Tea-Table: He had likewise planned a comedy which he intended to call The School of Action.—As Sir Richard was beloved when living, so his loss was sincerely regretted at his death. He was a man of undissembled, and extensive be­nevolence; a friend to the friendless, and as far as his circumstances would permit, the father of every orphan: His works are chaste, and man­ly, he himself admired virtue, and he drew her as lovely as she is: of his works it may be said, as Sir George Lyttleton in his prologue to Coriola­nus observes of Thomson, that there are not in them

One corrupted, one immoral thought,
A line which dying he could wish to blot.

He was a stranger to the most distant appearance of envy or malevolence, never jealous of any man's growing reputation, and so far from arrogating any praise to himself, from his conjunction with Mr. Addison, that he was the first who desired him to distinguish his papers in the Spectator, and af­ter the death of that great man was a faithful ex­ecutor of his fame, notwithstanding an aspersion which Mr. Tickell was so unjust to throw upon him. Sir Richard's greatest error was want of oeco­nomy, as appears from the two following instances related by the elegant writer of Mr. Savage's Life, to whom that gentleman communicated them.

‘'Savage was once desired by Sir Richard, with an air of the utmost importance, to come very early to his house the next morning. Mr. Savage came as he had promised, found the chariot at the door, and Sir Richard waiting for him ready to go out. What was intended, and whither they [Page 122] were to go, Savage could not conjecture, and was not willing to inquire; but immediately seated himself with Sir Richard: The coachman was ordered to drive, and they hurried with the utmost expedition to Hyde-Park Corner, where they stopped at a petty tavern, and retired to a private room. Sir Richard then informed him, that he intended to publish a pamphlet, and that he desired him to come thither, that he might write for him. They soon sat down to the work, Sir Richard dictated, and Savage wrote, till the dinner which had been ordered, was put upon the table. Savage was surprised at the meanness of the entertainment, and after some hesitation, ventured to ask for wine, which Sir Richard, not without reluctance ordered to be brought. They then finished their dinner, and proceeded in their pamphlet, which they concluded in the afternoon. Mr. Savage then imagined his task over, and expected that Sir Richard would call for the reckoning and return home; but his expectations deceived him, for Sir Richard told him he was without money and that the pamphlet must be sold before the dinner could be paid for; and Savage was therefore obliged to go and offer their new production to sale for two guineas, which with some difficulty he obtained. Sir Richard then returned home, having retired that day only to avoid his creditors, and com­posed the pamphlet only to discharge his rec­koning.'’ As Savage has said nothing to the contrary, it is reasonable to conjecture that he had Sir Richard's permission to use his name to the Bookseller, to whom he made an offer of it for two guineas, otherwise it is very improbable that the pamphlet should be sold at all in so short a time.

The other instance is equally uncommon with the former;

[Page 123] Sir Richard having invited to his house a great number of persons of the first quality, they were surprized at the number of liveries which surrounded the table; and after dinner, when wine and mirth had set them free from the observation of rigid ceremony, one of them enquired of Sir Richard, how such an expensive train of domestics could be consistent with his fortune? Sir Richard frankly confessed, that they were fellows of whom he would very willingly be rid. And being then asked why he did not discharge them; he declared that they were Bailiffs who had introduced them­selves with an execution, and whom, since he could not send them away, he had thought it con­venient to imbellish with liveries, that they might do him credit whilst they staid.

His friends were diverted with the expedient, and by paying the debt, discharged the attendance, having obliged Sir Richard to promise that they should never find him again graced with a retinue of the same kind.

He married to his first wife a gentlewoman of Barbadoes, with whom he had a valuable Planta­tion there on the death of her brother, who was taken by the French at Sea as he was coming to England, and died in France. This wife dying without issue, he married Mary, the daughter of Jonathan Scurlock of Langunnoc in Carmarthan­shire, esq by whom he had one son, Eugene, who died young: of his two daughters, one only is liv­ing; which lady became sole heiress to a handsome estate in Wales. She was married, when young, to the hon. John Trevor, esq one of the judges of the principality of Wales; who since, by the death of his brother, has taken his seat in the House of Lords, as Baron Trevor, &c.

ANDREW MARVEL, Esq

THIS ingenious gentleman was the son of Mr. Andrew Marvel, Minister and School­master of Kingston upon Hull in Yorkshire, and was born in that town in the year 1620*. He was admitted into Trinity College in Cambridge December 14, 1633, where he had not been long before his studies were interrupted by the follow­ing accident:

Some Jesuits with whom he familiarly con­versed, observing in him a genius beyond his years, used their utmost efforts to proselyte him to their faith, which they imagined they could more easi­ly accomplish while he was yet young. They so far succeeded as to seduce him from the college, and carry him to London, where, after some months absence, his father found him in a Book­seller's shop, and prevailed upon him to return to the college.

He afterwards pursued his studies with the most indefatigable application, and in the year 1638, took the degree of bachelor of arts, and the same year was admitted scholar of the house, that is, [Page 125] of the foundation at Trinity College. We have no farther account of him for several years after this, only that he travelled through the most polite parts of the world, but in what quality we are not certain, unless in that of secretary to the embassy at Constantinople.

While our author was in France, he wrote his poem entitled Cuidam, qui legendo Scripturam, de­scripsit Formam, Sapientiam, Sortemque Authoris. Illustrissimo Viro Domino Lanceloto Josepho de Maniban Grammatomanti.

The person to whom he addresses these verses was an Abbot, famous for entering into the qua­lities of those whom he had never seen, and prognosticating their good, or bad fortune from an inspection of their hand-writing.

During the troubles of the Republic we find him tutor to one Mr. Dutton, a young gentleman; as appears from an original letter of his to Oliver Cromwel. This letter sent to so extraordinary a person by a man of Mr. Marvel's consequence, may excite the reader's curiosity, with which he shall be gratified. It carries in it much of that stiffness and pedantry peculiar to the times, and is very different from the usual stile of our author.

'May it please your LORDSHIP,

'It might perhaps seem fit for me to seek out words to give your excellence thanks for myself. But indeed the only civility, which it is fit for me to practise with so eminent a person, is to obey you, and to perform honestly this work which you have set me about. Therefore I shall use the time that your lordship is pleased to allow me for [Page 126] writing, only to that purpose for which you have given me it, that is, to render you some account of Mr. Dutton. I have taken care to examine him several times in the presence of Mr. Oxen­bridge*, as those who weigh and tell over mo­ney, before some witnesses e'er they take charge of it; for I thought that there might be possibly some lightness in the coin, or error in the telling, which hereafter I might be bound to make good. There­fore Mr. Oxenbridge is the best to make your ex­cellence an impartial relation thereof; I shall on­ly say, that I shall strive according to my best un­derstanding to increase whatsoever talent he may have already. Truly he is of a gentle, and waxen disposition; and, God be praised, I cannot say that he hath brought with him any evil impression; and I hope to set nothing upon his spirit, but what shall be of a good scuipture. He hath in him two things, which make youth most easily to be managed, modesty, which is the bridle to vice, and emulation, which is the spurto virtue. And the care which your excellency is pleased to take of him, is no small encouragement, and shall be represented to him; but above all, I shall labour to make him sensible of his duty to God, for then we begin to serve faithfully, when we consider that he is our master; and in this both he and I owe infinitely to your lordship, for having placed in so godly a family as that of Mr. Oxenbridge, whose doctrine and example are like a book and a map, not only instructing the ear, but demon­strating to the eye which way we ought to travel. I shall upon occasion henceforward inform your ex­cellency of any particularities in our little affairs. I have no more at present but to give thanks to [Page 127] God for your lordship, and to beg grace of him, to approve myself

* * *.'
*
Mr. John Oxenbridge, who was made fellow of Eton College during the civil war, but ejected at the Restoration; he died in New England, and was a very enthusiastic person.

Mr. Marvel's first appearance in public business at home, was, in being assistant to Milton as La­tin secretary to the Protector. He himself tells us, in a piece called The Rehearsal Transposed, that he never had any, not the remotest relation to public matters, nor correspondence with the per­sons then predominant, until the year 1657, when indeed, says he, ‘'I entered into an employment, for which I was not altogether improper, and which I considered to be the most innocent, and inoffensive towards his Majesty's affairs of any in that usurped, and irregular government, to which all men were then exposed; and this I accordingly discharged, without disobliging any one person, there having been opportunities, and endeavours since his Majesty's happy rerurn, to have discovered, had it been otherwise.'’

A little before the Restoration, he was chosen by his native town, Kingston upon Hull, to sit in that Parliament which began at Westminster April 25, 1660, and again after the Restoration for that which began at the same place May 8, 1661. In this station our author discharged his trust with the utmost sidelity, and always shewed a peculiar re­gard for those he represented; for he constantly sent the particulars of every proceeding in the House, to the heads of the town for which he was elected; and to those accounts he always joined his own opinion. This respectful behaviour gain­ed so much on their affections, that they allowed him an honourable pension to his death, all which time he continued in Parliament.

[Page 128] Mr. Marvel was not endowed with the gift of elo­quence, for he seldom spoke in the house; but was however capable of forming an excellent judgment of things, and was so acute a discerner of cha­racters, that his opinion was greatly valued, and he had a powerful influence over many of the Members without doors. Prince Rupert particu­larly esteemed him, and whenever he voted agree­able to the sentiments of Mr. Marvel, it was a saying of the opposite party, he has been with his tutor. The intimacy between this illustrious foreigner, and our author was so great, that when it was unsafe for the latter to have it known where he lived, on account of some mischief which was threatened him, the prince would frequently visit him in a disguised habit. Mr. Marvel was often in such danger of assassination, that he was obliged to have his letters directed to him in an­other name, to prevent any discovery that way. He made himself obnoxious to the government, both by his actions, and writings; and notwith­standing his proceedings were all contrary to his private interest, nothing could ever shake his re­solution, of which the following is a notable instance, and transmits our author's name with lustre to posterity.

One night he was entertained by the King, who had often been delighted with his company: his Majesty next day sent the lord treasurer Danby to find out his lodging; Mr. Marvel, then rent­ed a room up two pair of stairs, in a little court in the Strand, and was writing when the lord treasurer opened the door abruptly upon him. Surprized at the fight of so unexpected a visitor, Mr. Marvel told his lordship, that he believed he had mistaken his way; the lord Danby replied, not now I have found Mr. Marvel: telling him that he came with a message from his Majesty, which was to know what he could do to serve [Page 129] him? his answer was, in his usual facetious man­ner, that it was not in his Majesty's power to serve him: but coming to a serious explanation of his meaning, he told the lord treasurer, that he well knew the nature of courts, and that whoever is distinguished by a Prince's favour, is certainly ex­pected to vote in his interest. The lord Danby told him, that his Majesty had only a just sense of his merits, in regard to which alone, he de­sired to know whether there was any place at court he could be pleased with. These offers, though urged with the greatest earnestness, had no effect upon him; he told the lord treasurer, that he could not accept it with honour, for he must ei­ther be ungrateful to the King by voting against him, or betray his country by giving his voice a­gainst its interest, at least what he reckoned so. The only favour therefore which he begged of his Majesty, was, that he would esteem him as duti­ful a subject as any he had, and more in his pro­per interest in rejecting his offers, than if he had embraced them. The lord Danby finding no ar­guments would prevail, told him, the King had ordered a thousand pounds for him, which he hoped he would accept, 'till he could think what farther to ask of his Majesty. This last tempta­tion was resisted with the same stedfastness of mind as the first.

The reader must have already taken notice that Mr. Marvel's chief support was the pension allowed him by his constituents, that his lodgings were mean, and consequently his circumstances at this time could not be affluent. His resist­ing these temptations therefore in such a situa­tion, was perhaps one of the most heroic in­stances of patriotism the Annals of England can fur­nish. But his conduct will be still heightened into a more amiable light, when it is related, that as soon as the lord treasurer had taken his leave, he [Page 130] was obliged to send to a friend to borrow a guinea.

As the most powerful allurements of riches, and honour, could never seduce him to re­linquish the interest of his country, so not even the most immense dangers could deter him from pursuing it. In a private letter to a friend from Highgate, in which he mentions the insuperable hatred of his foes to him, and their design of murthering him, he has these words; Praeterea magis occidere metuo quam occidi, non quod vi­tam tanti aestimem, sed ne imparatus moriar, i. e. ‘'Besides, I am more apprehensive of killing, than being killed, not that I value life so much, but that I may not die unprepared.'’ Mr. Marvel did not remain an unconcerned member of the state, when he saw encroachments made upon it both by the civil, and ecclesiastical powers. He saw that some of the bishops had formed an idea of protestantism very different from the true one, and were making such advances towards popery, as would soon issue in a reconciliation. Amongst these ecclesiastics, none was so forward as Dr. Samuel Parker, who published at London 1672 in 8vo. bishop Bramhal's Vindication of himself, and the Episcopal Clergy, from the Presbyterian charge of Popery, as it is managed by Mr. Baxter in his Treatise on the Grotian Religion. Dr. Parker likewise preached up the doctrine of Non-resist­ance, which slavish principle is admirably calcu­lated to prepare the people for receiving any yoke. Marvel, whose talent consisted in drollery, more than in serious reasoning, took his own me­thod of exposing those opinions. He wrote a piece called The Rehearsal Transposed, in which he ve­ry successfully ridiculed Dr. Parker. This ludi­crous essay met with several answers, some seri­ous, and others humorous; we shall not here enu­merate all the Rejoinders, Replies, and Animad­versions upon it. Wood himself confesses, who [Page 131] was an avowed enemy to Marvel, ‘'that Dr. Parker judged it more prudent rather to lay down the cudgels, than to enter the lists again, with an untowardly combatant, so hugely well versed, and experienced, in the then newly refined art of sporting, and jeering buffoonery.'’ And bishop Burnet tells us in the History of his own Time, ‘'That Dr. Parker, after he had for some years entertained the nation with several virulent books, was attacked by the liveliest droll of the age, who wrote in a burlesque stile, but with so peculiar, and entertaining a conduct, that from the King down to the tradesman, his book was read with great pleasure. This not only hum­bled Parker, but the whole party, for the author of The Rehearsal Transposed, had all the men of wit on his side.'’ Dr. Swift likewise in his Apology for the Tale of a Tub, speaking of the usual fate of common answerers to books, and how short-lived their labours are, observes, ‘'That there is indeed an exception, when any great ge­nius thinks it worth his while to expose a fool­ish piece; so we still read Marvel's answer to Parker with pleasure, though the book it an­swers be sunk long ago.'’

The next controversy in which we find Mr. Marvel engaged, was with an antagonist of the pious Dr. Croft, bishop of Hereford, who wrote a discourse entitled The Naked Truth, or A True State of the Primitive Church: By an humble Moderator. Dr. Turner, fellow of St. John's College, wrote Animadversions upon this book; Mr. Marvel's answer to these Animadversions, was entitled Mr. Smirk, or The Divine in Mode; being certain Annotations upon the Animadversi­ons on The Naked Truth, together with a Short Historical Essay concerning General Councils, [Page 132] Creeds, and Impositions in Matters of Religion, printed 1676.

Our author's next work was An Account of the Growth of Popery, and Arbitrary Govern­ment in England; more particularly from the long prorogation of November 1675, ending February 15, 1676, 'till the meeting of Parliament July 15, 1677, printed in folio 1678. Our author in a letter dated June 10, 1678, wrote thus; ‘'There came out about Christmas last here, a large book concerning the Growth of Popery, and Arbi­trary Government. There have been great re­wards offered in private, and considerable, in the Gazette, to any, who would inform of the author, and Printer, but not yet discovered. Three or four printed books since have describ­ed (as near as was proper to go, the man be­ing a member of Parliament) Mr. Marvel to be the author, but if he had, he surely could not have escaped being questioned in Parliament, or some other place.'’ This book was so offensive to the court at that time, that an order was published in these words,

'Whereas there have been lately printed, and published several seditious, and scandalous libels against the proceedings of both Houses of Par­liament, and other his Majesty's Courts of Justice, to the dishonour of his Majesty's government, and the hazard of the public peace; these are to give notice, that what person soever shall discover un­to one of the secretaries of state, the printer, pub­lisher, author, or hander to the press of any of the said libels, so that full evidence may be made thereof to a Jury, without mentioning the in­former, especially one libel, entitled An Account of the Growth of Popery; and another called A Reasonable Argument to all the Grand Juries, &c. the discoverer shall be rewarded as follows; he shall have fifty pounds for such discovery as [Page 133] aforesaid, of the printer or publisher of it from the press, and for the hander of it to the press, one hundred pounds.'

Mr. Marvel begins this book with a panegyric on the constitution of the English government, shewing how happy the people are under such wholesome laws, which if faithfully observed, must make a people happy, and a monarch great. He observes, that the king and the subject are equally under the laws; and that the former is no longer king than he continues to obey them. ‘'So that, says he, the kings of England, are in nothing in­ferior to other princes, save in being more abridg'd from injuring their own subjects, but have as large a field as any of external felicity, wherein to exercise their own virtue, and to reward and encourage it in others. In short there is nothing that comes nearer the divine perfection, than when the monarch, as with us, enjoys a capacity of doing all the good imaginable to mankind, under a disability of all that is evil.'’

After slightly tracing popery from earlier times, he begins with the Dutch war in 1665; but dwells most upon the proceedings at Rome, from Novem­ber 1675, to July 1677. He relates the occasion of the Dutch war, shews that the papists, and the French in particular, were the true springs of all our councils; and draws the following picture of popery.

'It is such a thing, as cannot but for want of a word [...]\no express it, be called a religion; nor is it to be mentioned with that civility, which is other­wise decent to be used in speaking of the differ­ences of human opinions about divine matters; were it either open Juadism, or plain Turkery, or honest Paganism, there is yet a certain Bona [Page 134] Fides in the most extravagant belief, and the sin­cerity of an erroneous profession may render it more pardonable: But this is a compound of all the three, an extract of whatever is most ridiculous or impious in them, incorporated with more pecu­liar absurdities of its own, in which those were deficient; and all this deliberately contrived, and knowingly carried on, by the solid imposture of priests, under the name of Christianity.'

This great man died, not without strong suspicions of being poisoned, August 16, 1678, in the 58th year of his age, and was interred in the church of St. Giles's in the Fields; and in the year 1688 the town of Kingston upon Hull contributed a sum of money to erect a monument over him, in St. Giles's church, for which an epitaph was composed by an able hand; but the minister of that church, piously forbad both the inscription and monument to be placed there.

Mr. Wood tells us, that in his conversation, he was very modest, and of few words; and Mr. Cooke observes, ‘'that he was very reserved among people he did not very well know; but a most delightful, and improving companion amongst his friends.'’

In the year 1680, his miscellaneous poems were published, to which is prefixed this advertisement.

'These are to certify every ingenious reader, that all these poems, as also the other things in this book contained, are printed according to the exact copies of my late dear husband, under his own hand writing, both found since his death, among his other papers.

Witness my hand, MARY MARVEL.

[Page 135] But Mr. Cooke informs us, 'that these were pub­lished with a mercenary view; and indeed not at all to the honour of the deceased, by a woman with whom he lodged, who hoped by this stratagem to share in what he left behind him.'

He was never married, and the same gentleman observes in another place, that in the editions of 1681, there are such gross errors, especially in the Latin Poems, as make several lines unintelligible; and that in the volume of Poems on Affairs of State, the same mistakes are as frequent; and in those, some pieces are attributed to our author, which he never wrote. Most of his Poems printed in Dryden's Miscellanies are so imperfect, that whole stanzas are omitted in many places.

These Mr. Cooke has restored in his edition of the works of Andrew Marvel, Esq printed at Lon­don 1726, in two volumes, and corrected such faults as in either of the two former editions ob­scure the sense: in this edition are also added, some poems from original manuscripts. Great care has likewise been taken by Mr. Cooke, to retrench such pieces as he was sure were not genuine.

Mr. Marvel, considered as a statesman, makes a more conspicuous figure than any of the age in which he lived, the preceeding, or the subsequent: He possessed the first quality of a statesman, that is, inviolable integrity, and a heart so confirmed against corruption, that neither indigence, a love of pomp, or even dangers the most formidable, could move his settled purpose, to pursue in every respect, the interest of his country.

That Marvel understood the true interest of his country, is abundantly clear, from the great re­verence paid to his opinion, by such persons as were most able to discern, and most disposed to promote its welfare.

[Page 136] He has succeeded to a miracle in the droll way of writing; and when he assumes a severity, and writes seriously, his arguments and notions are far removed from imbecility.

As a poet, I cannot better delineate his character than in the words of Mr. Cooke,

'There are few of his poems (says he) that have not something very pleasing in them, and some he must be al­lowed to have excelled in; most of them seem to be the effect of a lively genius, and manly sense, but at the same time seem to want that correctness he was capable of making. His most finished pieces are upon Milton's Paradise Lost, and upon Blood's stealing the crown; the latter of which is very satirical.'
On BLOOD's stealing the Crown.
WHEN daring Blood, his rent to have re­gain'd,
Upon the English diadem distrain'd;
He chose the cassoc, circingle, and gown,
The fittest mask for one that robs the crown:
But his lay-pity underneath prevail'd,
And, while he sav'd the keeper's life, he fail'd.
With the priest's vestment had he but put on
The prelate's cruelty, the crown had gone.

'In his state Poems, is contained much of the secret history of king Charles the IId, in which time they were all written. They were composed on various occasions, and chiefly to expose a cor­rupt ministry, and the violence of those who were for persecuting all who differed from them in opinion. He has several Poems in Latin, some of which he t [...]\nanslated into English, and one in Greek. They have each their proper merit; he discovers a great facility in writing the Latin tongue.'

[Page 137] There are some sinall pieces of his in prose, which ought not to escape observation. From his letter to Sir John Trott, there seems to have been a friendly correspondence between him and that gentleman. By his Familiar Letters, we may easily judge what part of his works are laboured, and what not. But of all his pieces in Prose, the King's Mock-Speech to both Houses of Parliament, has most of spirit, and humour. As it will furnish the best spe­cimen of Mr. Marvel's genius for drollery, as well as the character of that prince and ministry, we shall here insert it, as a performance of the most exqui­site humour we have ever seen.

His Majesty's most gracious Speech to both Houses of Parliament.

My Lords and Gentlemen,

'I Told you, at our last meeting, the winter was the fittest time for business, and truly I thought so, till my lord treasurer assured me the spring was the best season for sallads and subsidies. I hope therefore, that April will not prove so unnatural a month, as not to afford some kind showers on my parched exchequer, which gapes for want of them. Some of you, perhaps, will think it dangerous to make me too rich; but I do not fear it; for I pro­mise you faithfully, whatever you give me I will always want; and although in other things my word may be thought a slender authority, yet in that, you may rely on me, I will never break it.

My Lords and Gentlemen,

I can bear my straits with patience; but my lord treasurer does protest to me, that the revenue, as it now stands, will not serve him and me too. One of us must suffer for it, if you do not help me. I must speak freely to you, I am under bad circum­stances, [Page 138] for besides my harlots in service, my Re­formado Concubines lie heavy upon me. I have a passable good estate, I confess, but, God's-fish, I have a great charge upon't. Here's my lord trea­surer can tell, that all the money designed for next summer's guards must, of necessity, be applyed to the next year's cradles and swadling-cloths. What shall we do for ships then? I hint this only to you, it being your business, not mine. I know, by ex­perience. I can live without ships. I lived ten years abroad without, and never had my health better in my life; but how you will be without, I leave to yourselves to judge, and therefore hint this only by the by: I do not insist upon it. There's another thing I must press more earnestly, and that is this: It seems, a good part of my revenue will expire in two or three years, except you will be pleased to continue it. I have to say for't; pray why did you give me so much as you have done, unless you re­solve to give as fast as I call for it? The nation hates you already for giving so much, and I'll hate you too, if you do not give me more. So that if you stick not to me, you must not have a friend in England. On the other hand, if you will give me the revenue I desire, I shall be able to do those things for your religion and liberty, that I have had long in my thoughts, but cannot effect them with­out a little more money to carry me through. Therefore look to't, and take notice, that if you do not make me rich enough to undo you, it shall lie at your doors. For my part, I wash my hands on't. [...]\nut that I may gain your good opinion, the best way is to acquaint you what I have done to de­serve it, out of my royal care for your religion and your property. For the first, my proclamation is a true picture of my mind. He that cannot, as in a glass, see my zeal for the church of England, does not deserve any farther satisfaction, for I declare him willful, abominable, and not good. Some [Page 139] may, perhaps, be startled, and cry, how comes this sudden change? To which I answer, I am a changling, and that's sufficient, I think. But to convince men farther, that I mean what I say, there are these arguments.

First, I tell you so, and you know I never break my word.

Secondly, my lord treasurer says so, and he never told a lye in his life.

Thirdly, my lord Lauderdale will undertake it for me; and I should be loath, by any act of mine, he should forfeit the credit he has with you.

If you desire more instances of my zeal, I have them for you. For example, I have converted my natural sons from Popery; and I may say, without vanity, it was my own work, so much the more peculiarly mine than the begetting them. 'Twould do one's heart good to hear how prettily George can read already in the Psalter. They are all fine chil­dren, God bless 'em, and so like me in their under­standings! But, as I was saying, I have, to please you, given a pension to your favourite, my lord Lauderdale; not so much that I thought he wanted it, as that you would take it kindly. I have made Carwel duchess of Portsmouth, and marry'd her sister to the earl of Pembroke. I have, at my bro­ther's request, sent my lord Inchequin into Barbary, to settle the Protestant religion among the Moors, and an English interest at Tangier. I have made Crew bishop of Durham, and, at the first word of my lady Portsmouth, Prideaux bishop of Chichester. I know not, for my part, what factious men would have; but this I am sure of, my predecessors never did any thing like this, to gain the good-will of their subjects. So much for your religion, and now for [Page 140] your property. My behaviour to the bankers is a public instance; and the proceedings between Mrs. Hyde and Mrs. Sutton, for private ones, are such convincing evidences, that it will be needless to say any more to't.

I must now acquaint you, that, by my lord trea­surer's advice, I made a considerable retrenchment upon my expences in candles and charcoal, and do not intend to stop there, but will, with your help, look into the late embezzlements of my dripping­pans and kitchenstuff; of which, by the way, upon my conscience, neither my lord treasurer, nor my lord Lauderdale, are guilty. I tell you my opinion; but if you should find them dabling in that business, I tell you plainly, I leave 'em to you; for, I would have the world to know, I am not a man to be cheated.

My Lords and Gontlemen,

I desire you to believe me as you have found me; and I do solemnly promise you, that whatsoever you give me shall be specially managed with the same conduct, trust, fincerity, and prudence, that I have ever practised, since my happy restoration.'

In order to shew the versification of Mr. Marvel, we shall add a beautiful dialogue between the re­solved soul, and created pleasure. It is written with a true spirit of poetry, the numbers are vari­ous, and harmonious, and is one of the best pieces, in the serious way, of which he is author.

A DIALOGUE between the Resolved SOUL and Created PLEASURE.

COURAGE, my Soul, now learn to weild
The weight of thine immortal shield.
Close on thy head thy helmet bright;
Ballance thy sword against the fight.
See where an army, strong as fair,
With silken banners spreads the air.
Now, if thou be'st that thing divine,
In this day's combat let it shine;
And shew that nature wants an art
To conquer one resolved heart.
PLEASURE.
Welcome the creation's guest,
Lord of earth, and heaven's heir;
Lay aside that warlike crest,
And of nature's banquet share:
Where the Souls of fruits and flow'rs,
Stand prepar'd to heighten yours.
SOUL.
I sup above, and cannot stay,
To bait so long upon the way.
PLEASURE.
On these downy pillows lye,
Whose soft plumes will thither fly:
On these roses, strew'd so plain
Lest one leaf thy side should strain.
SOUL.
[Page 142]
My gentler rest is on a thought,
Conscious of doing what I ought.
PLEASURE.
If thou be'st with perfumes pleas'd,
Such as oft the gods appeas'd,
Thou in fragrant clouds shalt show
Like another god below.
SOUL.
A Soul that knows not to presume,
Is heaven's, and its own, perfume.
PLEASURE.
Every thing does seem to vye
Which should first attract thine eye:
But since none deserves that grace,
In this crystal view thy face.
SOUL.
When the creator's skill is priz'd,
The rest is all but earth disguis'd.
PLEASURE.
Hark how music then prepares,
For thy stay, these charming airs;
Which the posting winds recall,
And suspend the river's fall.
SOUL.
[Page 143]
Had I but any time to lose,
On this I would it all dispose.
Cease Tempter. None can chain a mind,
Whom this sweet cordage cannot bind.
CHORUS.
Earth cannot shew so brave a sight,
As when a single Soul does fence
The batt'ry of alluring sense,
And Heaven views it with delight.
Then persevere; for still new charges sound;
And if thou overcom'st thou shalt be crown'd.
PLEASURE.
All that's costly, fair, and sweet,
Which scatteringly doth shine,
Shall within one beauty meet,
And she be only thine.
SOUL.
If things of sight such heavens be,
What heavens are those we cannot see?
PLEASURE.
Wheresoe'er thy foot shall go
The minted gold shall lye;
Till thou purchase all below,
And want new worlds to buy.
SOUL.
[Page 144]
Wer't not for price who'd value gold?
And that's worth nought that can be sold.
PLEASURE.
Wilt thou all the glory have
That war or peace commend?
Half the world shall be thy slave,
The other half thy friend.
SOUL.
What friends, if to my self untrue?
What slaves, unless I captive you?
PLEASURE.
Thou shalt know each hidden cause;
And see the future time:
Try what depth the centre draws;
And then to heaven climb.
SOUL.
None thither mounts by the degree
Of knowledge, but humility.
CHORUS.
Triumph, triumph, victorious Soul;
The world has not one pleasure more:
The rest does lye beyond the pole,
And is thine everlasting store.

[Page 145] We shall conclude the life of Mr. Marvel, by presenting the reader with that epitaph, which was intended to be inscribed upon his tomb, in which his character is drawn-in a very masterly manner.‘Near this place
Lieth the body of ANDREW MARVEL, Esq
A man so endowed by nature,
So improved by education, study, and travel,
So consummated, by experience and learning;
That joining the most peculiar graces of wit
With a singular penetration and strength of judgment,
And exercising all these in the whole course of his life,
With unalterable steadiness in the ways of virtue,
He became the ornament and example of his age,
Beloved by good men, fear'd by bad, admired by all,
Tho' imitated, alas! by few;
And scarce paralleled by any.
But a tombstone can neither contain his character,
Nor is marble necessary to transmit it to posterity.
It is engraved in the minds of this generation,
And will be always legible in his inimitable writings.
Nevertheless
He having served near twenty-years successively in
parliament,
And that, with such wisdom, integrity, dexterity,
and courage,
As became a true patriot,
The town of Kingston upon Hull,
From whence he was constantly deputed to that
Assembly,
Lamenting in his death the public loss,
Have erected this monument of their grief and
gratitude,
1688.
He died in the 58th year of his age
On the 16th day of August 1678.
Heu fragile humanum genus! heu terrestria vana!
Heu quem spectatum continet urna virum!’

Mrs. ELIZABETH THOMAS.

THIS lady, who is known in the world by the poetial name of Corinna, seems to have been born for misfortunes; her very bitterest ene­mies could never brand her with any real crime, and yet her whole life has been one continued scene of misery*. The family from which she sprung was of a rank in life beneath envy, and above contempt. She was the child of an anci­ent, and infirm parent, who gave her life when he was dying himself, and to whose unhappy con­stitution she was sole heiress. From her very birth, which happened 1675, she was afflicted with fe­vers and defluxions, and being over-nursed, her constitution was so delicate and tender, that had she not been of a gay disposition, and possessed a vigorous mind, she must have been more unhappy than she actually was. Her fa­ther dying when she was scarce two years old, and her mother not knowing his real circum­stances, as he was supposed from the splendour of his manner of life to be very rich, some incon­veniencies were incurred, in bestowing upon him a pompous funeral, which in those times was [Page 147] fashionable. The mother of our poetess, in the bloom of eighteen, was condemned to the arms of this man, upwards of 60, upon the suppositi­on of his being wealthy, but in which she was soon miserably deceived. When the grief, which so young a wife may be supposed to feel for an aged husband, had subsided, she began to enquire into the state of his affairs, and found to her un­speakable mortification, that he died not worth one thousand pounds in the world. As Mrs. Tho­mas was a woman of good sense, and a high spirit, she disposed of two houses her husband kept, one in town, the other in the county of Es­sex, and retired into a private, but decent coun­try lodging. The chambers in the Temple her husband possessed, she sold to her brother for 450 l. which, with her husband's books of accounts, she lodged in her trustee's hands, who being soon af­ter burnt out by the fire in the paper buildings in the Temple (which broke out with such vio­lence in the dead of night, that he saved nothing but his life) she lost considerably. Not being able to make out any bill, she could form no regu­lar demand, and was obliged to be determined by the honour of her husband's clients, who, though persons of the first fashion, behaved with very little honour to her. The deceased had the reputation of a judicious lawyer, and an accomplished gen­tleman, but who was too honest to thrive in his profession, and had too much humanity ever to be­come rich. Of all his clients, but one lady be­haved with any appearance of honesty. The coun­tess dowager of Wentworth having then lost her only daughter the lady Harriot (who was reputed the mistress of the duke of Monmouth) told Mrs. Thomas, ‘'that she knew she had a large reckoning with the deceased, but, says she, as you know not what to demand, so I know not what to pay; come, madam, I will do better for you than a [Page 148] random reckoning, I have now no child, and have taken a fancy to your daughter; give me the girl, I will breed her as my own, and pro­vide for her as such when I die.'’ The widow thank'd her ladyship, but with a little too much warmth replied, ‘'she would not part with her child on any terms;'’ which the countess resented to such a degree, that she would never see her more, and dying in a few years, left 1500 l. per annum inheritance, at Stepney, to her chambermaid.

Thus were misfortunes early entailed upon this lady. A proposal which would have made her opulent for life, was defeated by the unreason­able fondness of her mother, who lived to suf­fer its dismal consequences, by tasting the bitterest distresses. We have already observed, that Mrs. Thomas thought proper to retire to the coun­try with her daughter. The house where she board­ed was an eminent Cloth-worker's in the county of Surry, but the people of the house proved ve­ry disagreeable. The lady had no conversation to divert her; the landlord was an illiterate man, and the rest of the family brutish, and unmannerly. At last Mrs. Thomas attracted the notice of Dr. Glysson, who observing her at church very splen­didly dressed, sollicited her acquaintance. He was a valuable piece of antiquity, being then, 1684. in the hundredth year of his age. His person was tall, his bones very large, his hair like snow, a venerable aspect, and a complexion, which might shame the bloom of fifteen. He enjoyed a sound judgment, and a memory so tenacious, and clear, that his company was very engaging. His visits greatly alleviated the solitude of this lady. The last visit he made to Mrs. Thomas, he drew on, with much attention, a pair of rich Spa­nish leather gloves, embost on the backs, and tops with gold embroidery, and fringed round with gold plate. The lady could not help expressing her [Page 149] curiosity, to know the history of those gloves, which he seemed to touch with so much respect. He answered, ‘'I do respect them, for the last time I had the honour of approaching my mi­stress, Queen Elizabeth, she pulled them from her own Royal hands, saying, here Glysson, wear them for my sake. I have done so with venera­tion, and never drew them on, but when I had a mind to honour those whom I visit, as I now do you; and since you love the memory of my Royal mistress, take them, and preserve them carefully when I am gone.'’ The Dr. then went home, and died in a few days.

This gentleman's death left her again without a companion, and an uneasiness hung upon her, visible to the people of the house; who guessing the cause to proceed from solitude, recommended to her acquaint­ance another Physician, of a different cast from the former. He was denominated by them a conjurer, and was said to be capable of raising the devil. This circumstance diverted Mrs. Thomas, who imagin­ed, that the man whom they called a conjurer, must have more sense than they understood. The Dr. was invited to visit her, and appeared in a greasy black Grogram, which he called his Scho­lar's Coat, a long beard, and other marks of a philosophical negligence. He brought all his little mathematical trinkets, and played over his tricks for the diversion of the lady, whom, by a private whispher, he let into the secrets as he performed them, that she might see there was nothing of magic in the case. The two most remarkable articles of his performance were, first lighting a candle at a glass of cold water (performed by touching the brim before with phosphorus, a chymical fire which is preserved in water and burns there) and next reading the smallest print by a candle of six in the pound, at a hundred yards distance in the open air, and darkest night. This [Page 150] was performed by a large concave-glass, with a deep pointed focus, quick-silvered on the back­side, and set in tin, with a socket for a candle, sconce fashion, and hung up against a wall. While the flame of the candle was diametrically opposite to the centre, the rays equally diverging, gave so powerful a light as is scarce credible; but on the least variation from the focus, the charm ceased. The lady discerning in this man a genius which might be improved to better pur­poses than deceiving the country people, desired him not to hide his talents, but to push himself in the world by the abilities of which he seemed pos­sessed. ‘'Madam, said he, I am now a fiddle to asses, but I am finishing a great work which will make those asses fiddle to me.'’ She then asked what that work might be? He replied, ‘'his life was at stake if it took air, but he found her a lady of such uncommon candour, and good sense, that he should make no difficulty in com­mitting his life and hope to her keeping.'’ All women are naturally fond of being trusted with secrets; this was Mrs. Thomas's failing: the Dr. found it out, and made her pay dear for her cu­riosity. ‘'I have been, continued he, many years in search of the Philosopher's Stone, and long master of the smaragdine-table of Hermes Tris­megistus; the green and red dragons of Raymond Lully have also been obedient to me, and the illustrious sages themselves deign to visit me; yet is it but since I had the honour to be known to your ladyship, that I have been so fortunate as to obtain the grand secret of projection. I transmuted some lead I pulled off my window last night into this bit of gold.'’ Pleased with the sight of this, and having a natural propension to the study, the lady snatched it out of the philo­sopher's hand, and asked him why he had not made more? He replied, ‘'it was all the lead I could [Page 151] find.'’ She then commanded her daughter to bring a parcel of lead which lay in the closet, and giving it to the Chymist, desired him to trans­mute it into gold on the morrow. He undertook it, and the next day brought her an ingot which weighed two ounces, which with the utmost so­lemnity he avowed was the very individual lead she gave him, transmuted to gold.

She began now to engage him in serious discourse; and finding by his replies, that he wanted money to make more powder, she enquired how much would make a stock that would maintain itself? He replied, one fifty pounds after nine months would produce a million. She then begged the ingot of him, which he protested had been trans­muted from lead, and flushed with the hopes of success, hurried to town to examine whether the ingot was true gold, which proved fine beyond the standard. The lady now fully convinced of the truth of the empyric's declaration, took fifty pounds out of the hands of a Banker, and entrusted him with it.

The only difficulty which remained, was, how to carry on the work without suspicion, it being strictly prohibited at that time. He was there­fore resolved to take a little house in another county, at a few miles distance from London, where he was to build a public laboratory, as a professed Chymist, and deal in such medi­cines as were most vendible, by the sale of which to the apothecaries, the expence of the house was to be defrayed during the operation. The widow was accounted the housekeeper, and the Dr. and his man boarded with her; to which she added this precaution, that the laboratory, with the two lodging rooms over it, in which the Dr. and his man lay, was a different wing of the building from that where she and her little daughter, and maid-servant resided; and as she knew some time [Page 152] must elapse before any profit could be expected, she managed with the utmost frugality. The Dr. mean time acted the part of a tutor to miss, in Arithmetic, Latin, and Mathematics, to which she discovered the strongest propensity. All things be­ing properly disposed for the grand operation, the vitriol furnace was set to work, which requiring the most intense heat for several days, unhappily set fire to the house; the stairs were consumed in an instant, and as it surprized them all in their first sleep, it was a happy circumstance that no life perished. This unlucky accident was 300 l. loss to Mrs. Thomas: yet still the grand project was in a fair way of succeeding in the other wing of the building. But one misfortune is often fol­lowed by another. The next Sunday evening, while she was reading to, and instructing her little family, a sudden, and a violent report, like a dis­charge of cannon was heard; the house being tim­ber, rocked like a cradle, and the family were all thrown from their chairs on the ground. They looked with the greatest amazement on each o­ther, not guessing the cause, when the operator pre­tending to revive, fell to stamping, tearing his hair, and raving like a madman, crying out un­done, undone, lost and undone for ever. He ran directly to the Athanor, when unlocking the door, he found the machine split quite in two, the eggs broke, and that precious amalgamum which they contained was scattered like sand among the ashes. Mrs. Thomas's eyes were now sufficiently opened to discern the imposture, and, with a very serene countenance, told the empyric, that accidents will happen, but means might be fallen upon to repair this fatal disappointment. The Dr. observing her so serene, imagined she would grant him more money to compleat his scheme, but she soon dis­appointed his expectation, by ordering him to be gone, and made him a present of five guiueas, [Page 153] lest his desperate circumstances should induce him to take some violent means of providing for himself.

Whether deluded by a real hope of finding out the Philosopher's Stone, or from an innate princi­ple of villainy, cannot be determined, but he did not yet cease his pursuit, and still indulged the golden delusion. He now found means to work upon the credulity of an old miser, who, upon the strenght of his pretensions, gave him his daughter in marriage, and embarked all his hoarded treasure, which was very considerable, in the same chimerical adventure. In a word, the miser's stock was also lost, the empyric himself, and the daughter reduced to beggary. This unhappy affair broke the miser's heart, who did not many weeks sur­vive the loss of his cash. The Dr. also put a miserable end to his life by drinking poison, and left his wife with two young children in a state of beggary. But to return to Mrs. Thomas.

The poor lady suffered on this occasion a great deal of inward anguish; she was ashamed of hav­ing reduced her fortune, and impoverished her child by listening to the insinuations of a mad­man. Time and patience at last overcame it; and when her health, which by this accident had been impaired, was restored to her, she began to stir amongst her husband's great clients. She took a house in Bloomsbury, and by means of good oeconomy, and an elegant appearance, was sup­posed to be better in the world than she really was. Her husband's clients received her like one risen from the dead: They came to visit her, and pro­mised to serve her. At last the duke of Montague advised her to let lodgings, which way of life she declined, as her talents were not suited for dealing with ordinary lodgers; but added she, ‘'if I knew any family who desired such a conveniency, I would readily accommodate them.'’ I take you at your word, replied the duke, ‘'I will become [Page 154] your sole tenant: Nay don't smile, for I am in earnest, I love a little freedom more than I can enjoy at home, and I may come some­times and eat a bit of mutton, with four or five horest fellows, whose company I delight in.'’ The bargain was bound, and proved matter of fact, though on a deeper scheme than drinking a bottle: And his lordship was to pass in the housc for Mr. Freeman of Hertfordshire.

In a few days he ordered a dinner for his be­loved sriends, Jack and Tom, Will and Ned, good honest country-fellows, as his grace called them. They came at the time appointed; but how surprized was the widow, when she saw the duke of Devonshire, the lords Buckingham, and Dorset, and a certain viscount, with Sir William Dutton Colt, under these feign'd names. After several times meeting at this lady's house, the no­ble persons, who had a high opinion of her in­tegrity, entrusted her with the grand secret, which was nothing less than the project for the Revolu­tion.

Tho' these meetings were held as private as possible, yet suspicions arose, and Mrs. Thomas's house was narrowly watched; but the messengers, who were no enemies to the cause, betrayed their trust, and suffered the noblemen to meet unmo­lested, or at least without any dread of apprehen­sion.

The Revolution being effected, and the state eame more settled, that place of ren [...]vous was quitted: The noblemen took leave of the lady, with promises of obtaining a pension, or some place in the houshold for her, as her zeal in that cause highly merited; besides she had a very good claim to some appointment, having been ruined by shutting up the Exchequer. But alas! court promises proved an aerial foundation, and these noble peers never thought of her more. The duke [Page 155] of Montague indeed made offers of service, and being captain of the band of pensioners, she asked him to admit Mr. Gwynnet, a gentleman who had made love to her daughter, into such a post. This he promised, but upon these terms, that her daughter should ask him for it. The widow thanked him, and not suspecting that any design was covered under this offer, concluded herself sure of success: But how amazed was she to find her daughter (whom she had bred in the most passive subjection) and who had never discovered the least instance of disobedience, absolutely refuse to ask any such favour of his grace. She could be pre­va [...]\nled upon neither by flattery, nor threatning, and continuing still obstinate in her resolution; her mo­ther obliged her to explain herself, upon the point of her refusal. She told her then, that the duke of Montague had already made an attack upon her, that his designs were dishonourable; and that if she submitted to ask his grace one favour, he would reckon himself secure of another in return, which he would endeavour to accomplish by the basest means. This explanation was too satisfactory: Who does not see the meanness of such an ungene­rous conduct? He had made use of the mother as a tool, for carrying on political designs; he found her in distress, and as a recompence for her services, and under the pretence of mending her fortune, at tempted the virtue of her daughter, and would pro­vide for her, on no other te [...]\nms, but at the price of her child's innocence.

In the mean time, the young Corinna, a po [...]ti­cal name given her by Mr. Dryden, continued to improve her mind by reading the politest authors▪ Such extraordinary advances had she made, that upon her sending some poems to Mr. Dryden, entreating his perusal, and impartial sentiments there­on, he was pleased to write her the following letter.

Fair CORINNA,

‘'I have sent your two poems back again, after having kept them so long from you: They were I thought too good to be a woman's; some of my friends to whom I read them, were of the same opinion. It is not very gallant I must confess to say this of the fair sex; but, most certain it is, they generally write with more softness than strength. On the contrary, you want neither vigour in your thoughts, nor sorce in your expres­sion, nor harmony in your numbers; and me­thinks, I find much of Orinda in your manner, (to whom I had the honour to be related, and also to be known) but I am so taken up with my own studies, that I have not leisure to descend to particulars, being in the mean time, the fair Corinna's’

'Most humble, and Most faithful servant JOHN DRYDEN

Our amiable poetess, in a letter to Dr. Talbot, Bishop of Durham, has given some farther particu­lars of her life. We have already seen that she was addressed upon honourable terms, by Mr. Gwynnet, of the Middle Temple, son of a gentleman in Gloucestershire. Upon his first discovering his pas­sion to Corinna, she had honour enough to remon­strate to him the inequality of their fortune, as her affairs were then in a very perplexed situation. This objection was soon surmounted by a lover, especi­ally as his father had given him possession of the greatest part of his estate, and leave to please him­self. Mr. Gwynnet no sooner obtained this, than he came to London, and claimed Corinna's promise of marriage: But her mother being then in a very weak [Page 157] condition, she could not abandon her in that dis­tress, to die among strangers. She therefore told Mr. Gwynnet, that as she had not thought sixteen years long in waiting for him, he could not think six months long in expectation of her. He replied, with a deep sigh, ‘'Six months at this time, my Corinna, is more than sixteen years have been; you put it off now, and God will put it off for ever.'’—It proved as he had foretold; he next day went into the country, made his will, sickened, and died April the 16th, 1711, leaving his Corinna the bequest of six-hundred pounds; and adds she, ‘'Sorrow has been my food ever since.'’

Had she providentially married him, she had been secure from the insults of poverty; but her duty to her parent was more prevalent than considera­tions of convenience. After the death of her lover, she was barbarously used: His brother, stifled the will, which compelled her to have re­course to law; he smothered the old gentle­man's conveyance deed, by which he was en­abled to make a bequest, and offered a large sum of money to any person, who would undertake to blacken Corinna's character; but wicked as the world is, he found none so compleatly abandoned, as to perjure themselves for the sake of his bribe. At last to shew her respect to the memory of her deceased lover, she consented to an accom­modation with his brother, to receive 2001. down, and 2001. at the year's end. The first payment was made, and distributed instantly amongst her mother's creditors; but when the other became due, he bid her defiance, stood suit on his own bond, and held out four terms. He carried it from one court to another, till at last it was brought to the bar of the House of Lords; and as that is a tribunal, where the chicanery of lawyers can have no weight, he thought proper to pay the money without a hearing. The gentlemen of the long­robe [Page 158] had made her sign an instrument, that they should receive the money and pay themselves: After they had laid their cruel hands upon it, of the 2001. the poor distressed lady received but 131. 16s. which reduced her to the necessity of absconding from her creditors, and starving in an obscure cor­ner, till she was betrayed by a false friend, and hurried to jail.

Besides all the other calamities of Corinna, she had ever a bad state of health, occasioned by an accident too curious to be omitted.

In the year 1730 her case was given into the college of physicians, and was reckoned a very sur­prizing one. It is as follows.

'In April 1711 the patient swallowed the mid­dle bone of the wing of a large fowl, being above three inches long; she had the end in her mouth, and speaking hastily it went forcibly down in the act of inspiration. After the first surprize, feel­ing no pain she thought no more of it; in a few days after, she complained what she eat or drank lay like a stone in her stomach, and little or no­thing pass'd through her. After three weeks ob­struction, she fell into a most violent bloody flux, attended with a continual pain at the pit of her stomach, convulsions, and swooning fits nor had she any ease but while her stomach was distended with liquids, such as small beer, or gruel: She continued in this misery, with some little intervals, till the Christmass following, when she was seized with a malignant fever, and the convulsions en­creased to so high a degree, that she crowed like a cock, and barked like a dog, to the affright­ment of all who saw her, as well as herself. Dr. Colebatch being called to her relief, and seeing the almost incredible quantity of blood she voided, said it was impossible she could live, having voided [Page 159] all her bowels. He was however prevailed with to use means, which he said could only be by fetching off the inner coat of her stomach, by a very strong vomit; he did so, and she brought the hair-veel in rolls, fresh and bleeding; this dislodged the bone, which split length ways, one half pass'd off by siege, black as jet, the cartila­ginous part at each end consumed, and sharp on each side as a razor; the other part is still lodged within her. In this raw and extream weak con­dition, he put her into a salivation, unknown to her mother or herself, to carry off the other part, which shocked them to such a degree, that they sent for Dr. Garth, who with much difficulty, and against his judgment, was prevailed on to take it off, and using a healing galenical method, she began to recover so much strength as to be turned in her bed, and receive nourishment: But she soon after was seized with the Iliac Passion, and for eleven days, her excrements came up­wards, and no passage could be forced through her, till one day by Dr. Garth, with quick-silver. After a few weeks it returned again, and the same medicine repeated, upon which she recovered, and for some months was brought to be in a tole­rable state of health, only the region of the spleen much swelled; and at some times, when the the bone moved outwards, as it visibly did to sight and touch, was very painful—In July 1713, on taking too strong a purge, a large impost­hume bag came away by stool, on which it was supposed, the cystus, which the bone had worked for itself, being come away, the bone was voided also; but her pains continued so extraordinary, she willingly submitted to the decree of four surgeons, who agreed to make an incision in the left side of the abdomen, and extract the bone; but one of the surgeons utterly rejecting the opera­tion, as impracticable, the bone being lodged in [Page 160] the colon, sent her to Bath, where she found some relief by pumping, and continued tolerably well for some years, even to bear the fatigue of an eight years suit at law, with an unjust executor; save that in over-walking, and sudden passion, she used to be pained, but not violent; and once or twice in a year a discharge of clean gall, with some portions of a skin, like thin kid leather, tinged with gall, which she felt break from the place, and leave her sore within; but the bone never made any attempt out-wards after the first three years. Being deprived of a competent for­tune, by cross accidents, she has suffered all the extremities of a close imprisonment, if want of all the necessaries of life, and lying on the boards for two-years may be termed such, during which time she never felt the bone. But on her recovering liberty, and beginning to use exercise, her stomach, and belly, and head swelled to a monstrous degree, and she was judged in a gal­loping dropsy; but no proper medicines taking place, she was given over as incurable, when nature unexpectedly helped itself, and in twelve hours time by stool, and vomit, she voided about five gallons of dirty looking water, which greatly relieved her for some days, but gathered again as the swelling returned, and always abounded with a hectic, or suffocating asthma in her stomach, and either a canine appetite or loathing. She has lately voided several extraneous membranes dif­ferent from the former, and so frequent, that it keeps her very low, some of which she has preserved in spirits, and humbly implores your honours judgment thereon.'

Under all these calamities, of which the above is a just representation, did poor Corinna labour; and it is difficult to produce a life crouded with greater evils. The small fortune which her father left [Page 161] her, by the imprudence of her mother, was soon squandered: She no sooner began to taste of life, than an attempt was made upon her innocence. When she was about being happy in the arms of her amiable lover Mr. Gwynnet, he was snatched from her by an immature fate. Amongst her other misfortunes, she laboured under the displea­sure of Mr. Pope, whose poetical majesty she had innocently offended, and who has taken care to place her in his Dunciad. Mr. Pope had once vouchsafed to visit her, in company with Henry Cromwel, Esq whose letters by some accident fell into her hands, with some of Pope's answers. As soon as that gentleman died, Mr. Curl found means to wheedle them from her, and immediately commit­ted them to the press. This so enraged Pope, that tho' the lady was very little to blame, yet he never forgave her.

Not many months after our poetess had been re­leased from her gloomy habitation, she took a small lodging in Fleet street, where she died on the 3d of February 1730, in the 56th year of her age, and was two days after decently interred in the church of St. Bride's.

Corinna, considered as an authoress, is of the second rate, she had not so much wit as Mrs. Behn, or Mrs. Manley, nor had so happy a power of in­tellectual painting; but her poetry is soft and deli­cate, her letters sprightly and entertaining. Her Poems were published after her death, by Curl; and two volumes of Letters which pass'd between her and Mr. Gwynnet. We shall select as a specimen of her poetry, an Ode addressed to the duchess of Somerset, on her birth-day.

[Page 162]
An ODE, &c.
I.
GREAT, good, and fair, permit an humble muse,
To lay her duteous homage at your feet:
Such homage heav'n itself does not refuse,
But praise, and pray'rs admits, as odours sweet.
II.
Blest be forever this auspicious day,
Which gave to such transcendent virtue birth:
May each revolving year new joys display,
Joys great as can supported be on earth.
III.
True heiress of the Finch and Hatton line,
Formed by your matchless parents equal care
(The greatest statesman he, yet best divine,
She bright example of all goodness here).
IV.
And now incircled in the dearest tye,
To godlike Seymour, of connubial love;
Seymour illustrious prince, whose family
Did heretofore the kingly race improve.
V.
Adorns the nation still, and guards the throne,
In noble Somerset, whose generous breast,
Concenters all his ancestors in one,
That were in church, and state, and arms profest.
VI.
Yet 'midst the plaudits of a grateful land,
His heaven-born soul reviews his pristine state;
And in obedience to divine command,
Numberless poor are feasted at his gate.
VII.
Thrice happy greatness, true philosophy,
That does so well the use of riches know,
And can by charity transpire the sky,
Encompass'd round with splendour here below.
VIII.
O may posterity from such a pair,
Enjoy a progeny almost divine,
Great as their sire, and as their mother fair;
And good as both, till last extent of time.

ELIJAH FENTON.

THIS worthy gentleman was born at Shelton, near Newcastle under the Line, in Stafford­shire*. In this county, though there are several families of the name of Fenton, yet they are all branches from one stock, which is a very antient and opulent family: Our author's mother being immediately descended from one Mare, an officer in William the Conqueror's army.

Our poet was the youngest of twelve children, and was intended by his parents for the ministry: He was sent to the university of Cambridge, where he embraced the principles very opposite to the go­vernment, by which he became disqualified for en­tering into holy orders. We find him soon after his quitting the university, secretary to the earl of Orrery, but how long he remained in that station we cannot ascertain. After he quitted the service of this noble peer, it was his custom to perform a visit annually to his eldest brother's house in the country, who possessed an estate of 1000 l. per annum. He was caressed in the country, by all his relations, to whom he endeared himself, by his affable and gen­teel behaviour. Mr. Fenton was a man of the most tender humanity, and discovered it upon every pro­per occasion: A gentleman resident in that county, who has transmitted to us some account of Mr. Fen­ton, [Page 165] has given us the following instance of his hu­mane disposition.

He had a great number of sisters, some of whom were less happy in their marriages than others; one in particular was exposed to many misfortunes, by the indiscretion and extravagance of her husband. It is the custom of some people to make very great distinctions between their rich and poor relations; Mr. Fenton's brother was of this stamp, and it seems treated his unfortunate sister with less ceremony than the rest. One day, while Mr. Fenton, was at his brother's house, he observed the family going to dinner without this sister, who was in town, and had as good a right to an invitation, as any of the rest who dined there as a compliment to him. He could not help discovering his displeasure at so unnatural a distinction, and would not sit down to table till she was sent for, and in consequence of this slight shewn her by the rest of the family, Mr. Fenton treated her with more tenderness and complaisance than any of his sisters.

Our author carried through life a very fair repu­tation, he was beloved and esteemed by Mr. Pope, who honoured him with a beautiful epitaph. Mr. Fenton after a life of ease and tranquility, died at East-Hampstead-Park, near Oakingham, the 13th of July 1730, much regretted by all men of taste, not being obnoxious to the resentment even of his brother writers.

In the year 1723, Mr. Fenton introduced upon the stage his Tragedy of Mariamne, built upon the story related of her in the third volume of the Spec­tator, Numb. 171, which the ingenious author col­lected out of Josephus. As this story so fully displays the nature of the passion of jealousy, and discovers so extraordinary a character as that of Herod, we shall here insert it, after which we shall consider with what success Mr. Fenton has managed the plot.

[Page 166] In a former paper, the author having treated the paffion of jealousy in various lights, and marked its progress through the human mind, concludes his animadversions with this story, which he says may serve as an example to whatever can be said on that subject.

'Mariamne had all the charms that beauty, birth, wit, and youth could give a woman, and Herod all the love that such charms are able to raise in a warm and amorous disposition. In the midst of his fondness for Mariamne, he put her brother to death, as he did her father not many years after. The barbarity of the action was repre­sented to Mark Anthony, who immediately sum­moned Herod into Egypt, to answer for the crime that was laid to his charge. Herod attributed the summons to Anthony's desire of Mariamne, whom therefore before his departure, he gave into the cus­tody of his uncle Joseph, with private orders to put her to death, if any such violence was offered to himself. This Joseph was much delighted with Mariamne's conversation, and endeavoured with all his art and rhetoric to set out the excess of Herod's passion for her; but when he still found her cold and incredulous, he inconsiderately told her, as a certain instance of her lord's affection, the private orders he had left behind him, which plainly shewed, according to Joseph's interpreta­tion, that he could neither live nor die without her. This barbarous instance of a wild unreason­able passion quite put out for a time those little remains of affection, she still had for her lord: Her thoughts were so wholly taken up with the cruelty of his orders, that she could not consider the kindness which produced them; and there­fore represented him in her imagination, rather under the frightful idea of a murderer, than a lover.'

[Page 167] 'Herod was at length acquitted, and dismiss'd by Mark Anthony, when his soul was all in flames for his Mariamne; but before their meeting he was not a little alarmed at the report he had heard of his uncle's conversation and familiarity with her in his absence. This therefore was the first discourse he entertained her with, in which she found it no easy matter to quiet his suspicions. But at last he appeared so well satisfied of her innocence; that from reproaches, and wranglings, he fell to tears and embraces. Both of them wept very tenderly at their reconciliation, and Herod pour'd out his whole soul to her in the warmest protestations of love and constancy; when amidst all his sighs and languishings, she asked him, whether the private orders he left with his uncle Joseph were an instance of such an enflamed affection? The jealous king was immediately roufed at so unexpected a question, and concluded his uncle must have been too familiar with her, before he would have discovered such a secret. In short he put his uncle to death, and very diffi­cultly prevailed on himself to spare Mariamne.'

'After this he was forced on a second journey into Egypt, when he committed his lady to the care of Sohemus, with the same private orders he had before given his uncle, if any mischief befel himself: In the mean time Mariamne had so won upon Sohemus, by her presents and obliging be­haviour, that she drew all the secret from him, with which Herod had entrusted him; so that after his return, when he flew to her, with all the transports of joy and love, she received him coldly with sighs and tears, and all the marks of indif­ference and aversion. This reception so stirred up his indignation, that he had certainly slain her with his own hands, had not he feared he him­self [Page 168] should become the greater sufferer by it. It was not long after this, when he had another violent return of love upon him; Mariamne was therefore sent for to him, whom he endeavoured to soften and reconcile with all possible conjugal caresses, and endearments; but she declined his embraces, and answered all his fondness, with bit­ter invectives for the death of her father and her brother.'

'This behaviour so incensed Herod, that he very hardly refrained from striking her; when in the heat of their quarrel, there came in a witness, suborned by some of Mariamne's ene­mies, who accused her to the king of a design to poison him. Herod was now prepared to hear any thing in her prejudice, and immediately or­dered her servant to be stretched upon the rack; who in the extremity of his tortures confest, that his mistresses aversion to the king arose from something Sohemus had told her; but as for any design of poisoning, he utterly disowned the least knowledge of it. This consession quickly proved fatal to Sohemus, who now lay under the same suspicions and sentence, that Joseph had before him, on the like occasion. Nor would Herod rest here; but accused her with great vehemence of a design upon his life, and by his authority with the judges had her publickly condemned and executed.'

'Herod soon after her decease grew melancholy and dejected, retiring from the public administra­tion of affairs, into a solitary forest, and there abandoned himself to all the black considerations, which naturally arise from a passion made up of love, remorse, pity and despair. He used to rave for his Mariamne, and to call upon her in his dis­tracted fits; and in all probability, would have [Page 169] soon followed her, had not his thoughts been seasonably called off from so sad an object, by public storms, which at that time very nearly threatened him.'

Mr. Fenton in the conduct of this design, has shewn himself a very great master of stage propriety. He has softened the character of Herod, well knowing that so cruel a tyrant as the story makes him, could not be born upon the English stage. He has altered the character of Sohemus, from an honest confident, to a crafty enterprising statesman, who to raise his master to the throne of Judea, mur­thered the natural heir. He has introduced in his drama, a character under the name of Salome, the king's sister, who bore an implacable hatred to Mariamne; and who in league with Sohemus pur­sues her revenge, at no less a price than that of her brother's and the queen's life.

After the wars, which had subsisted between Caesar and Anthony, had subsided, and the world fell to the share of the former; Herod is represented as having just returned from Rome, where, as an hos­tage to the emperor, he has stipulated to send his younger son there, and Flaminius, a noble Roman accompanies him into Jewry, to carry off the young prince. The day in which this dramatic action begins, is upon a grand festival, appointed in ho­nour of Herod's safe return from Rome, and be­ing still permitted to enjoy his kingdom. The hard condition of sending the prince to Rome, greatly affects the heart of the queen, whom the poet has drawn a most tender mother. This throws a cloud over the ceremony, and furnishes an oppor­tunity for Sohemus and Salome, to set their in­fernal engines at work; who, in conjunction with Sameas the king's cup bearer, contrive to poison the king and queen at the feast. But the poisoned cup is first tasted by Hazeroth, a young lord re­lated [Page 170] to the queen, and the sudden effect which it has upon him discovers the villainy.

The queen's absence from the feast proves a fatal circumstance, and as managed by Sohemus, fixes the appearance of guilt upon her. While Herod was absent at Rome, Sohemus made addresses to Arsinoe, a Roman lady, confidant to Mariamne; to whom in the ardour of his passion he revealed the secret entrusted to him by Herod, of putting Mariamne to death, in case he by any calamitous accident should lose his life. Arsinoe from a mo­tive of affection communicated this to Mariamne; as an instance of the violent passion which Herod had for her. This she did immediately before her departure for Rome, with Flaminius the Roman envoy, who proved to be the lord of her wishes, whom she imagined to have been killed in fighting against Mark Anthony. Mariamne thrown into this imminent danger, orders Arsinoe to be intercepted, whose return clears up her innocence, as she de­clares that no correspondence had ever been carried on between the queen and Sohemus, of whom he was now jealous, as Mariamne had upbraided him with his cruel resolutions of putting her to death, entrusted to that minister. Herod is satisfied of her innocence, by the evidence of Arsinoe; but as he had before given the cruel orders for putting the queen to death, she, to prevent the execution of such barbarity. drank poison. The Queen is conducted in by the high priest in the agonies of death, which gives such a shock to Herod, that not able to survive her, he dies in the sight of the audience.

Sohemus, who knew what tortures would be re­served for him, kills himself, after having sacrificed Sameas, by whose treachery the plot was discovered, and who in his falling stabs Salome to the heart, as the last effort of his revenge.

As the plan of this play is regular, simple, and interesting, so are the sentiments no less masterly, [Page 171] and the characters graphically distinguished. It contains likewise many beautiful strokes of poetry.

When Narbal, a lord of the queen's party, gives an account to Flaminius the Roman general, of the queen's parting with her son; he says,

—A while she stood,
Transform'd by grief to marble, and appear'd
Her own pale monument;

Flaminius consistent with his character as a sol­dier, answers,

Give me, ye gods! the harmony of war,
The trumpet's clangor, and the clash of arms,
That concert animates the glowing breast,
To rush on death; but when our ear is pierc'd
With the sad notes which mournful beauty yields;
Our manhood melts in symphathising tears.

The character of Sameas the king's cup-bearer, is one of the most villainous ever shewn upon a stage; and the poet makes Sohemus, in order to give the audience a true idea of him, and to prepare them for those barbarities he is to execute, relate the following instance of his cruelty.

—Along the shore
He walk'd one evening, when the clam'rous rage
Of tempests wreck'd a ship: The crew were sunk,
The master only reach'd the neighb'ring strand,
Born by a floating fragment; but so weak
With combating the storm, his tongue had lost
The faculty of speech, and yet for aid
He faintly wav'd his hand, on which he wore
A fatal jewel. Sameas, quickly charm'd
Both by its fize, and lustre, with a look
Of pity stoop'd, to take him by the hand;
[Page 172] Then cut the finger off to gain the ring,
And plung'd him back to perish in the waves;
Crying, go dive for more.—I've heard him boast
Of this adventure.

In the 5th act, when Herod is agitated with the rage of jealousy, his brother Pheroras thus addresses him,

Sir, let her crime
Erase the faithful characters which love
Imprinted on your heart,
HEROD.
Alas! the pain
We feel, whene'er we dispossess the soul
Of that tormenting tyrant, far exceeds
The rigour of his rule.
PHERORAS.
With reason quell
That haughty passion; treat it as your slave:
Resume the monarch.

The observation, which Herod makes upon this, is very affecting. The poet has drawn him so tor­tured with his passion, that he seems almost suffici­ently punished, for the barbarity of cutting off the father and brother of Mariamne,

HEROD.
Where's the monarch now?
The vulgar call us gods, and fondly think
That kings are cast in more than mortal molds;
Alas! they little know that when the mind
Is cloy'd with pomp, our taste is pall'd to joy;
But grows more sensible of grief or pain.
The stupid peasant with as quick a sense
Enjoys the fragrance of a rose, as I;
And his rough hand is proof against the thorn,
Which rankling in my tender skin, would seem
A viper's tooth. Oh blissful poverty!
[Page 173] Nature, too partial! to thy lot assigns
Health, freedom, innocence, and downy peace,
Her real goods; and only mocks the great
With empty pageantrics! Had I been born
A cottager, my homely bowl had flow'd
Secure from pois'nous drugs; but not my wife!
Let me, good heav'n! forget that guilty name,
Or madness will ensue.

Some critics have blamed Mariamne, for yield­ing her affections to Herod, who had embrued his hands in her father and brother's blood; in this perhaps she cannot be easily defended, but the poet had a right to represent this as he literally found it in history; and being the circumstance upon which all the others depended. Tho' this play is one of the most beautiful in our language, yet it is in many places exposed to just criticism; but as it has more beauties chan faults, it would be a kind of violence to candour to shew the blemishes.

The life of Fenton, like other poets who have never been engaged in public business, being bar­ren of incidents, we have dwelt the longer on his works, a tribute which his genius naturally de­manded from us.

Mr. Fenton's other poetical works were published in one volume 1717, and consist chiefly of the fol­lowing pieces.

  • An Ode to the Sun, for the new year 1707, as a specimen of which we shall quote the three follow­ing stanza's.
    I.
    Begin celestial source of light,
    To gild the new revolving sphere;
    And from the pregnant womb of night;
    Urge on to birth the infant year.
    [Page 174] Rich with auspicious lustre rise,
    Thou fairest regent of the skies,
    Conspicuous with thy silver bow!
    To thee, a god, 'twas given by Jove
    To rule the radiant orbs above,
    To Gloriana this below.
    II.
    With joy renew thy destin'd race,
    And let the mighty months begin:
    Let no ill omen cloud thy face,
    Thro' all thy circle smile serene.
    While the stern ministers of fate
    Watchful o'er the pale Lutetia wait,
    To grieve the Gaul's perfidious head;
    The hours, thy offspring heav'nly fair,
    Their whitest wings should ever wear,
    And gentle joys on Albion shed.
    III.
    When Ilia bore the future fates of Rome,
    And the long honours of her race began,
    Thus, to prepare the graceful age to come,
    They from thy stores in happy order ran.
    Heroes elected to the list of fame,
    Fax'd the sure columns of her rising state:
    'Till the loud triumphs of the Julian name
    Render'd the glories of her reign compleat,
    Each year advanc'd a rival to the rest,
    In comely spoils of war, and great atchievements drest.
  • Florelio, a Pastoral, lamenting the death of the marquis of Blandford.
  • Part of the fourteenth chapter of Isaiah Para­phrased.
  • [Page 175] Verses on the Union.
  • Cupid and Hymen.
  • Olivia, a small Poem of humour against a Prude.
  • The Fair Nun, a Tale.
  • An Epistle addressed to Mr. Southern, written in the year 1711.
  • The eleventh Book of Homer's Odyssey, trans­lated in Milton's stile.
  • The Widow's Will; a Tale.
  • A-La-Mode, a very humorous representation of a fond, doating Husband, injured by his Wife.
  • Sappho to Phaon. A Love Epistle, translated from Ovid.
  • Phaon to Sappho.
  • A Tale devised in the pleasant manner of Chau­cer; in which the Poet imitates that venerable old Bard, in the obsolete Language of his Verse.
  • Verses addressed to Mr. Pope.
  • The Platonic Spell.
  • Marullus de Neaera.
  • Marullus imitated.
  • Joannis Secundi Basium I.
  • Kisses. Translated from Secundus. I know not if all poetry ever exceeded the smoothness and delicacy of those lines. They flow with an irre­siftable enchantment, and as the inserting them will shew the spirit both of the original and translation, we shall make no further apology for doing it.
    When Venus, in the sweet Idalian shade,
    A violet couch for young Ascanius made;
    Their op'ning gems, th' obedient roses bow'd
    And veil'd his beauties with a damask cloud:
    While the bright goddess with a gentle show'r,
    Of nectar'd dews, perfum'd the blissful bow'r.
    Of sight insatiate, she devours his charms.
    'Till her soft breast re-kindling ardour warms:
    [Page 176] New joys tumul [...]\nuous in her bosom rowl,
    And all Adoris rusheth on her soul.
    Transported with each dear resembling grace,
    She cries, Adonis!—Sure I see thy sace!
    Then stoops to clasp the beauteous form, but fears
    He'd wake too soon, and with a sigh forbears;
    Yet. fix'd in silent rapture, stands to gaze,
    Kissing each flow'ring bud that round him plays.
    Swell'd with the touch, each animated rose
    Expands; and strait with warmer purple glows:
    Where infant kisses bloom, a balmy store!
    Redoubling all the bliss she felt before.
    Sudden, her swans career along the skies,
    And o'er the globe the fair celestial flies.
    Then, as where Ceres pass'd, the teeming plain,
    Yellow'd with wavy crops of golden grain;
    So fruitful kisses fell where Venus flew;
    And by the power of genial magic grew:
    A plenteous harvest! which she deign'd t'impart
    To sooth an agonizing love-sick heart.
    All hail, ye Roseat kisses! who remove
    Our cares, and cool the calenture of love.
    Lo! I your poet in melodious lays,
    Bless your kind pow'r; enamour'd of your praise:
    Lays! form'd to last, 'till barb'rous time invades
    The muses hill, and withers all their shades,
    Sprung from the Guardian* of the Roman name,
    In Roman numbers live secure of same.
  • Joannis Secundi Basum IId. translated.
  • An Epistle to Thomas Lambard Esq
  • An Ode to the right hon. John lord Gower.
[Page 177]
An EPITAPH On Mr. ELIJAH FENTON, At EAST-HAMPSTEAD in BERKS, 1730.
This modest stone, what few vain marbles can.
May truly say, here lies an honest man:
A Poet, bless'd beyond a Poet's fate,
Whom Heav'n kept sacred from the proud and great:
Foe to loud praise, and friend to learned ease,
Content with science in the vale of peace.
Calmly he look'd on either life, and here
Saw nothing to regret, or there to fear;
From nature's temp'rate feast rose satisfy'd
Thank'd Heav'n, that he had liv'd, and that he died.

BARTON BOOTH, Esq

IT is but justice to the memory of this great actor to give him a place among the poets, if he had been less considerable in that province than he really was; for he appears early to have understood the Latin classics, and to have succeed­ed in occasional pieces, and little odes, beyond many persons of higher name in poetry. Mr. Booth was descended from a very ancient, and ho­nourable family, originally seated in the County Palatine of Lancaster. His father, John Booth, esq was a man of great worth and honour; and though his fortune was not very considerable, he was ex­tremely attentive to the education of his children, of whom Barton (the third) was born in 1681.

When about nine years of age, he was put under the tuition of the famous Dr. Busby, head-master of Westminster school, under whom some of the ablest men have been educated, that in the last and present age have done honour to the nation. The sprightliness of Booth's parts early recommended him to the notice of Dr. Bus­by: he had a strong passion for learning, and a peculiar turn for Latin poetry, and by studying the best authors in it, he fixed many of the finest passages so firmly in his memory, that he was a­ble to repeat them with such propriety, and grace­ful action, with so fine a tone of voice, and pe­culiar* [Page 179] emphasis, that it was taken notice of by the whole school.

In consequence of this happy talent, when, ac­cording to the custom of the school, a Latin play was to be acted, a considerable part thereof was given to young Booth, who drew by the melody of his voice, and the gracefulness of his action, the applause of all the spectators, a circumstance which first fired him with theat [...]\nical ambition, much against the inclination of his father, who intended him for the church, and was therefore careful of his education. This propension in our young Roscius, recommended him still more to the favour of Dr. Busby, who bestowed the most lavish encomiums upon him: Busby was himself a great admirer of theatrical elocution, and admirably fit­ted by nature for the stage; when he was young he obtained great applause in a part he perform­ed in a play of Cartwright's, and from that mo­ment held theatrical accomplishments in the high­est esteem.

When Booth had reached the age of eighteen, and the time approached when he was to have been sent to the university, he resolved to run any risk, rather than enter upon a course of life incon­sistent with the liveliness of his temper, and the natural bent of his inclinations. It happened that there was then in London one Mr. Ashbury, who had been long master of a company at Dub­lin, with whom young Booth became acquainted, and finding that under his direction there was no danger of his getting a livelihood, he quitted all other views, stole away from school, and went o­ver to Ireland with Mr. Ashbury in 1698*.

He very soon distinguished himself on the stage at Dublin, where he had great natural advantages over most of his cotemporaries, especially in tra­gedy; [Page 180] he had a grave countenance, a good person, an air of dignity, a melodious voice, and a very manly action. He spoke justly, his cadence was grateful to the ear, and his pronunciation was scholastically correct and proper. He so far insi­nuated himself into the favour of English gentle­men in Ireland, and found his reputation growing to so great a heighth, that he returned home in 1701, to make a trial of his talents on the British stage. He accordingly applied to lord Fitzhard­ing, of the bedchamber to Prince George of Den­mark, and was by him recommended to Mr. Bet­terton, who took him under his care, and gave him all the assistance in his power, of which Mr. Booth greatly profited.

Never were a tutor and pupil better met; the one was capable of giving the best instructions in his own performance, and the other had a prompt­ness of conception, a violent propensity, and a great genius. The first part Booth performed in London was Maximus in Valentinian, a play of Beaumont and Fletcher's originally, but altered, and brought upon the stage by the earl of Ro­chester. The reception he met with exceeded his warmest hopes, and the favour of the town had a happy effect upon him, in inspiring him with a proper degree of confidence without vanity. The Ambitious Step mother, a tragedy written by Mr. Ro [...]\ne, in which that author has thrown out more fire, and heat of poetry, than in any other of his plays, was about this time introduced upon the stage; the part of Artaban was assigned to Booth, in which he raised his character to such a heighth, as to be reckoned only second to his great master.

In the year 1704 he married Miss Barkham, daughter to Sir William Barkham of Norfolk, bart. who lived with him six years, and died with­out issue.

[Page 181] In the theatrical revolutions which happened in those days, Mr. Booth, notwithstanding his great capacity, and reputation with the town, had ve­ry little share. He adhered constantly to Mr. Betterton, while he could be of any service to him, and when his tutor retired from the manage­ment of the stage, he trusted to his merit, and the taste of the public, in which he was never de­ceived.

Mr. Booth was particularly turned for tragedy, he never could bear those parts which had not strong passion to inspire him; and Mr. Cibber ob­serves, that he could not so well melt in the lov­er, as rage in the jealous husband. Othello was his master-piece, but in all his parts he was oft­en subject to a kind of indolence, which some people imagined he affected, to shew that even in his lazy fits he was superior to every body upon the stage; as if secure of all beholders hearts, ne­glecting he could take them *. The late ingenious Mr. Whitingham, who perfectly understood theatri­cal excellence, and who was, beyond any man I ever knew, distinct, and accurate in his relations of things, often told me, that such was the dignity of Booth's appearance, such his theatrical ease, and gracefulness, that had he only crossed the stage without uttering a word, the house would be in a roar of applause.

We come now to that period of time, when Mr. Booth's sole merit raised him to the great­est height, and procured for him that reward he had long deserved. The tragedy of Cato, which had been written in the year 1703, or at least four acts of it, was brought upon the stage in 1712, chiefly on a political prin­ciple; the part of Cato was given to Booth, for the managers were very well satissied that nobody else could perform it. As party prejudice never ran higher than at that time, the excellency of the [Page 182] play was distinguished by the surprizing contests between both factions, which should applaud it most, so the merit of the actor received the same marks of approbation, both parties taking care to shew their satisfaction, by bestowing upon him most liberal presents, the particulars of which are already inserted in the life of Addison. The run of Cato being over at London, the managers thought fit to remove to Oxford in the summer, where the play met with so extraordinary a recep­tion, that they were forced to open the doors at noon, and the house was quite full by one o'clock. The same respect was paid it for three days to­gether, and though the universal applause it met with at London, surpassed any thing that had been remembered of that kind, yet the tribute of praise it received from this famous university, surpassed even that. Booth, whose reputation was now at its heighth, took the advantage of it, and making his application to lord Bolingbroke, then at the head of the ministry, he procured a new licence, recalling all former ones, and Mr. Booth's name was added to those of Cibber, Dogget, and Wilks. Tho' none of the managers had occasion to be pleased with this act of justice done to Booth's merit, at the expence of, what they deemed, their property, yet none of them carried their resentment so high as Mr. Dogget, who absolutely refused to accept of any con­sideration for his share in the scenes and clothes; this obstinacy had however no other effect, than de­priving him of his share, which brought him in 1000 l. a year; though Mr. Cibber informs us, that this was only a pretence, and that the true reason of quitting the stage, was, his dislike to another of the managers, whose humour was be­come insupportable. This person we conjecture to have been Mr. Wilks, who, according to Cibber's account, was capricious in his temper, though be had otherwise great merit as a player, and was [Page 183] a good man, morally considered; some instances of the generosity and noble spirit of Wilks, are taken notice of in the life of Farquhar.

A few years after Mr. Booth rose to the digni­ty of manager, he married the celebrated Miss Santlowe, who, from her first appearance as an actress in the character of the Fair Quaker of Deal, to the time she quitted the stage, had al­ways received the strongest marks of public ap­plause, which were repeated when after a retreat of some years, she appeared there again. By her prudence in managing the advantages that arose to her from her reputation as an actress, and her great diligence in her profession, she acquired a considerable fortune, which was very useful to Mr. Booth, who, from the natural turn of his temper, though he had a strict regard to justice, was not much inclined to saving.

During the few years they lived together, there was the greatest harmony between them, and af­ter the death of Booth, his disconsolate widow, who is yet alive, quitted the stage, and devoted her­self entirely to a private course of life. By degrees the health of Mr. Booth began to decline, so that it was impossible for him to continue to act with so much diligence as usual, but at whatever time he was able to return to the stage, the town de­monstrated their respect for him by crowding the house. Being attacked by a complication of dis­tempers, he paid the debt to nature May 10, 1733. A copy of his Will was printed in the London Magazine for 1733, p. 126, in which we find he testified his esteem for his wife, to whom he left all his fortune, for reasons there assigned, which he declared amounted to no more than two thirds of what he had received from her on the day of marriage. His character as an actor, has been celebrated by the best judges, and was never que­stioned by any.

[Page 184] And here we cannot resist the opportunity of shewing Mr. Booth in that full, and commanding light in which he is drawn by the late ingenious Aaron Hill, esqwho had long experience in the affairs of the stage, and could well distinguish the true merits of an actor. His words are,

'Two advantages distinguished him in the strongest light from the rest of his fraternity: he had learning to understand perfectly what it was his part to speak, and judgment to know how far it agreed, or disagreed with his cha­racter. Hence arose a peculiar grace, which was visible to every spectator, though few were at the pains of examining into the cause of their pleasure. He could soften, and slide over, with a kind of elegant negligence, the improprieties in the part he acted, while, on the contrary, he would dwell with energy upon the beauties, as if he exerted a latent spirit which had been kept back for such an occasion, that he might alarm, awaken, and transport in those places on­ly, where the dignity of his own good sense could be supported by that of his author. A little reflexion upon this remarkable quality, will teach us to account for that manifest lan­guor which has sometimes been observed in his action, and which was generally, though I think falsly, imputed to the natural indolence of his temper. For the same reason, though in the customary round of his business, he would con­descend to some parts in comedy; he seldom ap­peared in any of them with much advantage to his character. The passions which he found in comedy, were not strong enough to excite his fire, and what seemed want of qualification, was only the absence of impression. He had a talent at discovering the passions where they lay hid in some celebrated parts, by the injudi­cious practice of other actors; when he had dis­covered, [Page 185] he soon grew able to express them; and his secret of his obtaining this great lesson of the theatre, was an adaption of his look to h [...]\ns voice, by which artful imitation of nature, the variations in the sound of his words, gave propriety to every change in his countenance, so that it was Mr. Booth's peculiar felicity to be heard and seen the same, whether as the pleased, the grieved, the pitying, the reproachful, or the angry. One would be almost tempted to borrow the aid of a very bold figure, and to express this excellence more significantly, beg permission to affirm, that the blind might have seen him in his voice, and the deaf have heard him in his visage. His gesture, or as it is commonly called his action, was but the result, and ne­cessary consequence of his dominion over his voice and countenance; for having by a con­currence of two such causes, impressed his ima­gination with such a stamp, and spirit of pas­sion, he ever obeyed the impulse by a kind of natural dependency, and relaxed, or braced suc­cessively into all that fine expressiveness with which he painted what he spoke, without re­straint, or affectation.'

But it was not only as a player that Mr. Booth excelled; he was a man of letters also, and an au­thor in more languages than one. He had a taste for poetry which we have observed discovered it­self when he was very young, in translations of some Odes of Horace; and in his riper years he wrote several songs, and other original poems, which did him honour. He was also the author of a masque, or dramatic entertainment, called Dido and Aeneas, which was very well received upon the stage, but which however did not excite him to produce any thing of the same kind after­wards. His master-piece was a Latin inscrip­tion to the memory of a celebrated actor, Mr. [Page 186] William Smith, one of the greatest men of his pro­fession, and of whom Mr. Booth always spoke in raptures. It is a misfortune that we can give no particular account of the person this excellent in­scription referred to, but it is probable he was of a good family, since he was a Barrister at Law of Gray's-Inn, before he quitted that profession for the stage.

The inscription is as follows,‘Scenicus eximius
Regnante Carolo secundo:
Bettertono Coaetaneus & Amicus,
Necnon propemodum Aequalis.
Haud ignobili stirpe oriundus,
Nec literarum rudis humaniorum.
Rem senicam
Per multos feliciter annos administravit;
Justoque moderamine & morum suavitate,
Omnium intra Theatrum
Observantiam, extra Theatrum Laudem,
Ubique benevolentiam & amorem sibi conciliavit.’
In English thus;‘An excellent player
In the reign of Charles the Second;
The cotemporary, and friend of Betterton,
and almost his equal.
Descended of no ignoble family,
Nor destitute of polite learning.
The business of the stage
He for many years happily managed,
And by his just conduct, and sweetness of manners
Obtained the respect of all within the theatre,
The applause of those without,
And the good will, and love of all mankind.’

[Page 187] Such the life and character of Mr. Booth, who deservedly stood very high in the esteem of mankind, both on account of the pleasure which he gave them, and the native goodness of heart which he possessed. Whether considered as a private gentleman, a player, a scholar, or a poet, Mr. Booth makes a very great figure, and his extraordinary excellence in his own profession, while it renders his memory dear to all men of taste, will ever secure him applause amongst those happy few, who were born to instruct, to please, and reform their countrymen.

Dr. GEORGE SEWEL.

THIS ingenious gentleman was the eldest son of Mr. John Sewel, treasurer, and chapter­clerk of the college of Windsor, in which place our poet was born. He received his education at Eton school, was afterwards sent to the uni­versity of Cambridge, and took the degree of bachelor of physic at Peter-house College. He then passed over to Leyden, and studied under the famous Boerhaave, and afterwards returned to London, where for several years he practised as a Physician. He had a strong propension for po­etry, and has favoured the world with many per­formances much applauded. In the year 1719 he introduced upon the stage his tragedy of Sir Walter Raleigh, taken from the historical account of that great man's fate. He was chiefly con­cerned in writing the fifth volume of the Tatler, and the ninth of the Spectator. He translated, with some other gentlemen, the Metamorphoses of Ovid, with very great success, and rendered the Latin poems of Mr. Addison into English. Dr. Sewel made an attempt, which he had not leisure to execute, of translating Quillet's Callipedia, which was afterwards done by Rowe. He is the author of several miscellanous poems, of which the following is as accurate an account as we could possibly obtain.

  • [Page 891]On Conscience, Beauty, the Force of Music, Song of Troilus, &c. dedicated to the Duke of Newcastle.
  • To his Grace the Duke of Marlborough, upon his going into Germany 1712. This poem begins thus,
    Go, mighty prince, and those great nations see,
    Which thy victorious arms made free;
    View that fam'd column, where thy name's en­grav'd,
    Shall tell their children who their empire sav'd.
    Point out that marble where thy worth is shewn
    To every grateful country but thy own.
  • A Description of the Field of Battle, after Cae­sar was Conqueror at Pharsalia, from the Seventh Book of Lucan.
  • The Patriot.
  • Translations from Lucan, occasioned by the Tra­gedy of Cato.
  • The Fifth Elegy of the First Book of Tibullus, translated, and addressed to Delia.
  • An Apology for Loving a Widow.
  • The Fifth Psalm Paraphrased.
  • A Poetical Epistle, written from Hampstead to Mr. Thornhill, upon Mr. Addison's Cato.
  • An Epistle to Mr. Addison on the Death of the Earl of Hallifax. This poem begins thus,
    And shall great Hallifax resign to fate,
    And not one bard upon his ashes wait?
    Or is with him all inspiration fled,
    And lye the muses with their patron dead?
    Convince us, Addison, his spirit reigns,
    Breathing again in thy immortal strains:
    To thee the list'ning world impart [...]\nal bends,
    Since Hallifax and envy now are friends.
  • [Page 190] Cupid's Proclamation, or a Defence of Women; a Poem from Chaucer.

Dr. Sewel, in his state principles, was inclined to the cause of the Tories, and takes every occa­sion to combat with the bishop of Salisbury, who had so eminently appeared in the cause of the Whigs.

The following is a list of his prose works, in which there are some letters addressed to, and ani­madversions upon that eminent prelate's works.

  • The Clergy, and the Present Ministry defended; being a Letter to the Bishop of Salisbury, occa­sioned by his Lordship's new Preface to his Pasto­ral Case, Svo. 1713, third Edition that year. In a fourth Edition (same date) this is called Mr. Sew­el's First Letter to the Bishop of Salisbury, the Clergy, &c.
  • A Second Letter to the Bishop of Salisbury, up­on the Publication of his new Volume of Sermons, wherein his Lordship's Preface concerning the Re­volution, and the Case of the Lord Russel are ex­amined, &c. 8vo. 1713.
  • Remarks upon a Pamphlet entitled Observati­ons upon the State of the Nation 1712-13, third Edition; to which is added a Postscript to the Vin­dicator of the Earl of Nottingham, 8vo. 1714.
  • An Introduction to the Life and Writings of G—t Lord Bishop of S—m, &c. being a Third Letter to the Bishop of Salisbury, 8vo. 1716.
  • A Vindication of the English Stage, exemplified in the Cato of Mr. Addison. In a Letter to a Nobleman, 8vo. 1716.
  • [Page 191] Schism destructive of the Government, both in Church and State; being a Defence of the Bill intitled An Act to prevent the Growth of Schism; wherein all the Objections against it, and particu­larly those in 'Squire Steele's Letter are fully Re­futed. Humbly offered to the Consideration of the House of Lords, 8vo. 1714, second Edition.
  • More News from Salisbury, viz. 1. An Exami­nation of some Parts of the Bishop of Sarum's Ser­mon and Charge, &c. 8vo. 1714.
  • The Reasons for writing against the Bishop of Salisbury, 8vo. 1714.
  • The Life of Mr. John Philips, Author of the Poem on Cyder.

Dr. Sewel died at Hampstead in Middlesex, where, in the latter part of his life, he had prac­tised physic, on the 8th of February 1726, and was buried there. He seems to have been a man of an amiable disposition, and to have possessed a very considerable genius.

ANTHONY HAMMOND, Esq

THIS gentleman was descended from a good family, of Somersham-Place, in the county of Huntingdon, and was born in the year 1668*. When he arrived at a proper age, he was chosen member of Parliament, and did not remain long in the house before he disti [...]\nguished himself as a very eminent speaker. Having espoused the court interest, his zeal and merit recommended him to very considerable public employments, particularly that of being one of the commissioners of the royal navy, which place he quitted in the year 1712. The ingenious Mr. Southern in his dedication of his Innocent Adultery, to Mr. Hammond, speaks thus of him. ‘'If generosity with friendship, learn­ing with good sense, true wit and humour, with good-nature, be accomplishments to qualify gentleman for a patron, I am sure I have hit right in Mr. Hammond.'’

Our author obliged the public with a Miscellany of Original Poems, by the Most Eminent Hands; in which himself had no small share. In this mis­cellany are several poetical performances of Mrs. Martha Fowkes, a l [...]\ndy of exquisite taste in the belle accomplishments.

[Page 193] As to Mr. Hammond's own pieces, he acknow­leges in his preface, that they were written at very different times, and particularly owned by him, lest they should afterwards be ascribed to other persons; as the Ode on Solitude, was falsely ascribed to the earl of Roscommon, and other pieces of his, were likewise given to other authors.

This author wrote the Life of Walter Moyle, Esq prefixed to his works.—Mr. Hammond died about the year 1726.

The Revd. Mr. LAWRENCE EUSDEN.

THIS gentleman was descended from a very good family in the kingdom of Ireland, but received his education at Trinity-college in Cambridge. He was honoured with the encourage­ment of that eminent patron of the poets the earl of Halifax, to whom he consecrated the first product of his Muse. He enjoyed likewise the patronage of the duke of Newcastle, who being lord chamberlain, at the death of Mr. Rowe, preferred him to the Bays.

Mr. Eusden was for some part of his life chaplain to Richard lord Willoughby de Brook: In this peaceful situation of life, one would not expect Mr. Eusden should have any enemies, either of the literary, or any other sort. But we find he has had many, amongst whom Mr. Pope is the most [Page 194] formidable both in power and keenness. In his Dunciad, Book I. Line 101. where he represents Dulness taking a view of her sons, he says

She saw old Prya, in restless Daniel shine,
And Eusden eke out Blackmore's endless line.

Mr. Oldmixon likewise in his Art of Logic and Rhetoric, page 413, affirms, ‘'That of all the Galimatias he ever met with, none comes up to some verses of this poet, which have as much of the ridiculum and the fustian in them, as can well be jumbled together, and are of that sort of non­sense, which so perfectly confounds all ideas, that there is no distinct one left in the mind. Fur­ther he says of him, that he hath prophesy'd his own poetry shall be sweeter than Catullus, Ovid and Tibullus; but we have little hope of the ac­complishment of it from what he hath lately published.'’ Upon which Mr. Oldmixon has not spared a ressexion, that the placing the laurel on the head of one who wrote such verses, will give posterity a very lively idea of the justice and judgment of those who bestowed it.

Mr. Oldmixon no doubt by this reflexion insinu­ates, that the laurel would have better become his own brows than Eusden's; but it would per­haps have been more decent for him to ac­quiesce in the opinion of the duke of Bucking­ham (Shefileld) who in his Session of the Poets thus mentions Eusden.

—In rush'd Eusden, and cry'd, who shall have it,
But I the true Laureat to whom the king gave it?
Apollo begg'd pardon, and granted his claim,
But vow'd that till then, he ne'er heard of his name.

[Page 195] The truth is, Mr. Eusden wrote an Epithalamium on the marriage of his grace the duke of New­castle, to the right honourable the lady Henrietta Godolphin; which was considered as so great a compliment by the duke, that in gratitude for it, he preferred him to the laurel. Nor can I at pre­sent see how he could have made a better choice: We shall have occasion to find, as we enumerate his writings, that he was no inconsiderable versisier, and though perhaps he had not the brightest parts; yet as we hear of no moral blemish imputed to him, and as he was dignified with holy-orders, his grace acted a very generous part, in providing for a man who had conferred an obligation on him. The first rate poets were either of principles very different from the government, or thought them­selves too distinguished to undergo the drudgery of an annual Ode; and in this case Eusden seems to have had as fair a claim as another, at least a better than his antagonist Oldmixon. He succeeded indeed a much greater poet than himself, the inge­nious Mr. Rowe, which might perhaps draw some ridicule upon him.

Mr. Cooke, in his Battle of the Poets, speaks thus of our author.

Eusden, a laurel'd bard, by fortune rais'd
By very few was read, by fewer prais'd.

A fate which some critics are of opinion must befall the very poet himself, who is thus so ready to expose his brother.

The chief of our author's poetical writings are these,

  • To the lord Hallifax, occasioned by the translat­ing into Latin his lordship's Poem on the Battle of the Boyne.
  • [Page 196] On the duke of Marlborough's victory at Oude­ [...]\nard.
  • A Letter to Mr. Addison.
  • On the king's accession to the throne.
  • To the reverend doctor Bentley, on the opening of Trinity-College Chapel, Cambridge.
  • On a Lady, who is the most beautiful and witty when she is angry.

    This poem begins with these lines.

    Long had I known the soft, inchanting wiles,
    Which Cupid practised in Aurelia's smiles.
    Till by degrees, like the fam'd Asian taught,
    Safely I drank the sweet, tho' pois'nous draught.
    Love vex'd to see his favours vainly shown,
    The peevish Urchin murthered with a frown.
  • Verses at the last public commencement at Cam­bridge, spoken by the author.
  • The Court of Venus, from Claudian.
  • The Speech of Pluto to Proserpine.
  • Hero and Leander, translated from the Greek of Musaeus.

    This Piece begins thus,

    Sing Muse, the conscious torch, whose mighty flame,
    (The shining signal of a brighter dame)
    Thro' trackless waves, the bold Leander led,
    To taste the dang'rous joys of Hero's bed:
    Sing the stol'n bliss, in gloomy shades conceal'd,
    And never to the blushing morn reveal'd.
  • A Poem on the Marriage of his grace the duke of Newcastle to the right honourable Henrietta Godolphin, which procured him, as we have ob­saved already, the place of laureat.
  • [Page 197] The lord Roscommon's Essay on translated verse, rendered into Latin.
  • An Epistle to Sir Robert Walpole.
  • Three Poems; I. On the death of the late king; II. On the Accession of his present majesty. III. On the Queen.
  • On the arrival of Prince Frederic.
  • The origin of the Knights of the Bath, inscribed to the Duke of Cumberland.
  • An Ode for the Birth-Day, in Latin and English, printed at Cambridge.

He died at his rectory at Conesby in Lincolnshire, the 27th of September, 1730.

The Revd. Mr. LAWRENCE EACHARD.

THIS Gentleman, who has been more dis­tinguished as an historian than a poet, was the son of a clergyman, who by the death of his elder brother, became master of a good estate in Suffolk.

He received his education at the university of Cambridge, entered into holy-orders, and was pre­sented to the living of Welton and Elkington in Lincolnshire, where he spent above twenty years of his life; and acquired a name by his writings, es­pecially the History of England. This history was attacked by Dr. Edmund Calamy, in a letter to the author; in which, according to the Dr. the true principles of the Revolution, the Whigs and the Dissenters are vindicated; and many persons of distinction cleared from Mr. Eachard's aspersions.

Mr. John Oldmixon, who was of very opposite principles to Eachard, severely animadverted upon him in his Critical History of Eng­land, during the reigns of the Stuarts; but as Old­mixon was a hireling, and a man strongly biassed by party prejudices, little credit is due to his testimony: Which is moreover accompanied with a perpetual torrent of abuse. Mr. Eachard's ge­neral Ecclesiastical History, from the nativity of Christ to the first establishment of Christianity by human laws, under the emperor Constantine the Great, has been much esteemed.

[Page 199] Our author was in the year 1712 installed archdeacon of Stowe, and prebend of Lin­coln. He published a translation of Terence's Comedies, translated by himself and others; but all revised and corrected by him and Sir Roger L'Estrange: To which is prefixed the life of Terence. Besides these, Mr. Eachard has translated three Co­medies from Plautus, viz.

  • AMPHITRYON.
  • EPIDICUS.
  • RUDENS.

With critical remarks upon each play. To which he has prefixed a judicious parallel between Terence and Plautus; and for a clearer decision of the point, that Terence was the more polite writer of Comedy, he produces the first act of Plautus's Aul [...]\nlaria, and the first act of his Miles Gloriosus, against the third act of Terence's Eunuch. It ought to be observed (says Mr. Eachard) ‘'That Plautus was somewhat poor, and made it his principal aim to please, and tickle the common people; and since they were almost always delighted with something new, strange, and unusual, the better to humour them, he was not only frequently extravagant in his ex­pressions, but likewise in his characters too, and drew them often more vicious, more cov [...]\ntous, and more soolish than they really were, and this so set the people a gazing and wondering. With these sort of characters many of our modern Comedies abound, which makes them too much degenerate into farce, which seldom fails of ple [...]\n­sing the mob.'’

Mr. Eachard has, in justice to Mr. Dryden, given us some instances of his improvement of Amphi­tryon, [Page 200] and concludes them with this just remark in compliment to our nation; ‘'We find that many fine things of the antients, are like seeds, that when planted on English ground, by a poet's skil­ful hand, thrive and produce excellent fruit.'’

These three plays are printed in a pocket-volume, dedicated to Sir Charles Sodley; to which is pre­fixed a recommendatory copy of verses, by Mr. Tate.

Mr. Eachard died in the year 1730.

Mr. JOHN OLDMIXON

WAS descended from the antient family of the Oldmixons, of Oldmixon near Bridgewater in Somersetshire*. We have no account of the education of this gentleman, nor the year in which he was born. The first production we meet with of his was Amyntas, a pastoral, acted at the Theatre-Royal, taken from the Amynta of Tasso. The preface informs us, that it met with but ill success, for pastoral, though never so well written, is not fit for a long entertainment on the English Theatre: But the original pleased in Italy, where the perform­ance of the musical composer is generally more re­garded than that of the poet. The Prologue was written by Mr. Dennis.

[Page 201] Mr. Oldmixon's next piece was entitled the Grave, or Love's Paradise; an Opera represented at the Theatre-Royal in Drury-Lane, 1700. In the pre­face, the author acquaints the critics ‘'That this play is neither translation, nor parody; that the story is intirely new; that 'twas at first intended for a pastoral, tho' in the three last acts the dig­nity of the character raised it into the sorm of a tragedy.'’ The scene a Province of Italy, near the Gulph of Venice. The Epilogue was written by Mr. Farquhar.

Our author's next dramatic piece is entitled; The Governor of Cyprus, a Tragedy, acted at the Theatre-Royal in Lincoln's-Inn-Fields, dedicated to her grace the duchess of Bolton.

Mr. Oldmixon, in a Profe Essay on Criticism, unjustly censures Mr. Addison, whom also, in his imitation of Pouhour's Arts of Logic and Rhetoric, he misrepresents in plain matter of fact: For in page 45 he cites the Spectator, as abusing Dr. Swift by name, where there is not the least hint of it; and in page 304 is so injurious as to suggest, that Mr. Addison himself wrote that Tatler, Numb. XLIII. which says of his own simile, ‘'That it is as great as ever entered into the mind of man.'’ This simile is in Addison's poem, entitled the Campaign. Where, says the author of the Letter, ‘'The simile of a ministering Angel, sets forth the most sedate, and the most active courage, engaged in an uproar of nature, a con­fusion of elements, and a scene of divine venge­ance.'’

'Twas then great Marlbro's mighty soul was prov'd,
That, in the shock of charging hosts unmov'd,
Amidst confusion, horror, and despair,
Examin'd all the dreadful scenes of war;
[Page 202] In peaceful thought, the field of death survey'd
To fainting squadrons sent the timely aid,
Inspir'd repuls'd battalions to engage,
And taught the doubtful battle where to rage.
So when an Angel by divine command,
With rising tempests shakes a guilty land,
Such as of late. o'er pale Britannia past,
Calm and serene, he drives the furious blast,
And, pleas'd th' Almighty's orders to perform,
Rides in the whirlwind, and directs the storm.

That this letter could not be written by Mr. Ad­dison, there is all the evidence the nature of the thing will admit, to believe; for first, Sir Richard Steele avow'd, it to be his, and in the next place, it is not probable that Mr. Addison himself had so high an opinion of this simile, as to call it as great as ever entered into the thought of man; for it has in reality no uncommon greatness in it. The image occurs a thousand times in the book of Psalms: so that it has not novelty to recommend it, and the manner of its being expressed, is no way extraordi­nary. The high terms in which it is celebrated, is the language of friendship, not of judgment. It is very probable Sir Richard Steele, warm'd with a fa­vourite subject, and zealous for the fame of Addison, might express himself thus hyperbolically concerning it; but Mr. Addison was too judicious a critic, to think or speak of it in these terms, and was besides too cau­tious to run the risk of doing it himself in so public a manner. In a word, Mr. Oldmixon was an en­vious man, and we have seen with how little ground of resentm [...]\nnt he railed against Eusden, because that gentleman was preferred to the Laurel.

Mr. Oldmixon joined the general cry of the under­ling writers against Mr. Pope; and wrote many let­ters in the Flying Post, with an intention to reduce his reputation, with as little success as his other [Page 203] antagonists had done. In his prose Essay on Criti­cism, and in the Arts of Logic and Rhetoric, he frequently reflects on Pope, for which he has re­ceived a place in his Dunciad.

When that eminent satyrist in his second Book, line 270, represents the Dunces diving for the Prize of Dulness, he in a particular manner dignifies Old­mixon, for he makes him climb a lighter, that by leaping from it, he may sink the deeper in the mud.

In naked majesty Oldmixon stands,
And, Milo-like, surveys his arms and hands,
Then sighing thus: ' And am I now threescore?
' Ah why, ye Gods! should two and two make four?
He said and climb'd a stranded lighter's height,
Shot to the black abyss, and plung'd down-right.
The Senior's judgment all the crowd admire,
Who but to sink the deeper, rose the higher.

Mr. Oldmixon wrote a history of the Stuarts in folio, and a Critical History of England, in two volumes octavo. The former of these pieces was undertaken to blacken the family of the Stuarts. The most impartial writers and candid critics, on both sides, have held this work in con­tempt, for in every page there breathes a malevolent spirit, a disposition to rail and calumniate: So far from observing that neutrality and dispassionate even­ness of tempe [...]\n, which should be carefully attended to by every historian, he suffers himself to be tran­sported with anger: He reviles, wrests particular passages, and frequently dra [...]\ns forced conclusions. A history written in this spirit has no great claim to a reader's faith. The reigns of the Stuarts in England were no doubt chequer'd with many evils; and yet it is certainly true, that a man [Page 204] who can sit deliberately down to search for errors only, must have a strong propension to calumny, or at least take delight in triumphing over the weak­ness of his fellow-creatures, which is surely no in­dication of a good heart.

Mr. Oldmixon, being employ'd by bishop Kennet. in publishing the Historians in his collection, he I erverted Daniel's Chronicle in numberless places. Yet this very man, in the preface to the first of these, advanced a particular fact, to charge three eminent persons of interpolating the lord Clarendon's History; which fact has been disproved by the bishop of Rochester, Dr. Atterbury, then the only survivor of then.; and the particular part he pretend­ed to be falsified produced since, after almost ninety years, in that noble author's own hand.

He was all his life a virulent Party-Writer, and received his reward in a small post in the revenue at I iverpool, where he died in an advanced age, but in what year we cannot learn.

Mr. Oldmixon, besides the works we have mentioned, was author of a volume of Poems, pub­lished in 1714.

  • The Life of Arthur Maynwaring, Esq prefixed to the works of that author. by Mr. Oldmixon.
  • England's Historical Epistles (Drayton's revived.)
  • The Life of queen Anne.

LEONARD WELSTED, Esq

THIS gentleman was descended from a very good family in Leicestershire, and received the rudiments of his education in Westminster school. We are informed by major Cleland, author of a Panegyric on Mr. Pope, prefixed to the Dunciad, that he was a member of both the universities.

In a piece said to have been written by Mr. Wel­sted, called The Characters of the Times, print­ed in 8vo. 1728, he gives this account of himself; ‘'Mr. Welsted had in his youth raised so great expectations of his future genius, that there was a kind of struggle between the two universities, which should have the honour of his educa­tion; to compound this, he civilly became a member of both, and after having passed some time at the one, he removed to the other. From thence he returned to town, where he became the darling expectation of all the polite writers, whose encouragement he ac­knowledged in his occasional poems, in a man­ner that will make no small part of the fame of his protectors. It also appears from his works, that he was happy in the patronage of the most illustrious characters of the present age. Encouraged by such a combination in his fa­vour, he published a book of poems, some in the Ovidian, some in the Horatian manner, in [Page 206] both which the most exquisite judges pronounced he even rivalled his masters. His love verses have rescued that way of writing from contempt. In his translations he has given us the very soul and spirit of his author. His Odes; his Epistles; his Verses; his Love Tales; all are the most perfect things in all poetry.'’

If this representation of our author's abilities were just, it would seem no wonder, if the two universities should strive with each other for the honour of his education, but it is cer­tain the world have not coincided with this opinion of Mr. Welsted; who, by the way, can hardly be thought the author of such an extrava­gant self-appiobation, unless it be an irony, which does not seem improbable.

Our author, however, does not appear to have been a mean poet; he had certainly from nature an exceeding fine genius, but after he came to town he became a votary to pleasure, and the applauses of his friends, which taught him to overvalue his talents, perhaps slackened his diligence, and by making him trust solely to na­ture, slight the assistance of art.

In the year 1718 he wrote the Triumvirate, or a Letter in Verse from Palemon to Celia from Bath, which was meant as a satire against Mr. Pope. He wrote several other occasional pieces against this gentleman, who, in recompence of his enmity, has mentioned him twice in his Dunciad. In book ii. l. 200. where he represents the poets flattering their patrens with the fulsome strains of panegyric, in order to procure from them that which they very much wanted, viz. money, he shews Welsted as unsuccessful.

But Welsted most the poet's healing balm,
Strives to extract from hi [...] [...] giving palm;
Unlucky Welsted! thy [...]ling master,
The more thou tic [...]est, gripes his fist the faster.

[Page 207] Mr. Welsted was likewise characterised in the Treatise of the Art of Sinking, as a Didapper, and after as an Eel. He was likewise described under the character of another animal, a Mole, by the au­thor of the following simile, which was handed about at the same time.

Dear Welsted, mark in dirty hole
That painful animal a Mole:
Above ground never born to go,
What mighty stir it keeps below?
To make a molehill all this strife!
It digs, pokes, undermines for life.
How proud a little dirt to spread!
Conscious of nothing o'er its head.
'Till lab'ring on, for want of eyes,
It blunders into light—and dies.

But mentioning him once was not enough for Mr. Pope. He is again celebrated in the third book, in that famous Parody upon Denham's Cooper's Hill,

O could I flow like thee, and make thy stream
My great example, as it is my theme;
Tho' deep, yet clear; tho' gentle, yet not dull;
Strong without rage; without o'er flowing full.
Denham.

Which Mr. Pope has thus parodied;

Flow Welsted, flow; like thine inspirer, beer,
Tho' stale, not ripe; tho' thin, yet never clear;
So sweetly mawkish, and so smoothly dull;
Heady, not strong; and foaming, tho' not full.

How far Mr. Pope's insinuation is true, that Mr. Welsted owed his inspiration to beer, they who [Page 208] read his works may determine for themselves. Poets who write satire often strain hard for ridiculous circumstances, in order to expose their antagonists, and it will be no violence to truth to say, that in search of ridicule, candour is fre­quently lost.

In the year 1726 Mr. Welsted brought upon the stage a comedy called The Dissembled Wanton, or My Son get Money. He met with the patronage of the duke of Newcastle, who was a great encourager of polite learning; and we find that our author had a very competent place in the Ordnance-Office.

His poetical works are chiefly these,

  • The Duke of Marlborough's Arrival, a Poem; printed in fol. 1709, inscribed to the Right Hon. the Earl of Dorset and Middlesex.
  • A Poem to the Memory of Mr. Philips, in­scribed to Lord Bolingbroke, printed in fol. 1710.
  • A Discourse to the Right Hon. Sir Robert Wal­pole; to which is annexed Proposals for Translat­ing the whole Works of Horace, with a Speci­men of the Performance, viz. Lib. Ist. Ode 1, 3, 5 and 22, printed in 4to. 1727.
  • An Ode to the Hon. Major General Wade, on Occasion of his disarming the Highlands, imi­tated from Horace.
  • To the Earl of Clare, on his being created Duke of Newcastle. An Ode on the Birth-Day of his Royal Highness the Prince of Wales. To the Princess, a Poem. Amintor and the Nightingale, [Page 209] a Song. These four were printed together in 1716.
  • Of False Fame, an Epistle to the Right Hon. the Earl of Pembroke, 8vo. 1732.
  • A Letter to his Grace the Duke of Chandois.
  • To the Duke of Buckingham, on his Essay on Poetry.
  • Several small pieces in the Free Thinker.
  • Epistles, Odes, &c. written on several Subjects; with a Dissertation concerning the Perfection of the English Language.

Mr. Welsted has translated Longinus's Treatise on the Sublime.

JAMES MORE SMYTH, Esq

THIS gentleman was son of Arthur More, esq one of the lords commissioners of trade, in the reign of Queen Anne; his mother was the daughter of Mr. Smyth, a man of considerable fortune, who left this his grandson a handsome estate, on which account he obtained an Act of Parliament to change his name to Smyth.

Cur author received his education at Oxford, and while he remained at the university he wrote a comedy called The Rival Modes, his only dra­matic performance. This play was condemned in the representation, but he printed it in 1727, with the following motto, which the author of the Notes to the Dunciad, by way of irony, calls modest. ‘Hic coestus, artemque repono.’

Upon the death of our author's grandfather, he enjoyed the place of paymaster to the band of gentlemen-pensioners, in conjunction with his younger brother, Arthur More; of this place his mother procured the reversion from his late Majesty during his father's lifetime. Being a man of a gay disposition, he insinuated himself into the favour of his grace the duke of Wharton, and being like him, destitute of prudence, he joined with that volatile great man in writing a paper called the Inquisitor, which breathed so much the spirit of Jacobitism, that the publisher [Page 211] thought proper to sacrifice his profit to his safe­ty, and discontinue it.

By using too much freedom with the character of l'ope, he provoked that gentleman, who with great spirit stigmatized him in his Dunciad. In his second book Mr. Pope places before the eyes of the dunces the phantom of a poet. He seems willing to give some account of the possibility of dulness making a wit which can be done no otherwise than by chance. The lines which have relation to Mr. More are so elegantly satyric, that it probably will not displease our readers to find them inserted here.

A poet's form she plac'd before their eyes,
And bad the nimblest racer seize the prize;
No meagre muse-rid mope, adust and thin,
In a dun night-gown of his own loose skin,
But such a bulk as no twelve bards could raise,
Twelve starv'ling bards of these degenerate days.
All as a partridge plump, full-fed, and fair,
She form'd this image of well-bodied air,
With pert, flat eyes, she window'd well its head,
A brain of feathers, and a heart of lead,
And empty words she gave, and sounding strain,
But senseless, lifeless! idol void and vain!
Never was dash'd out at one lucky hit,
A fool so just a copy of a wit;
So like, that critics said, and courtiers swore,
A wit it was, and call'd the phantom More.

Though these lines of Pope are sufficiently sa­tirical, yet it seems they very little affected Mr. More. A gentleman intimately acquainted with him informs us, that he has heard Mr. More several times repeat those lines, without discover­ing [Page 212] any chagrin; and he used to observe, that he was now secure of being transmitted to posterity: an honour which, says he, I could never have arrived at, but by Pope's means. The cause of the quarrel between this gentleman and that great poet seems to have been this.

In a letter published in the Daily Journal March 18, 1728, written by Mr. More, he has the fol­lowing words, ‘'Upon reading the third volume of Pope's Miscellanies, I found five lines which I thought excellent, and happening to praise them, a gentleman produced a modern comedy, the Rival Modes, published last year, where were the same verses to a tittle. These gentlemen are undoubtedly the first plagiaries that pretend to make a reputation, by stealing from a man's works in his own life-time, and out of a public print.'’ But it is apparent from the notes to the Dunciad, that Mr. More himself borrowed the lines from Pope; for in a letter dated January 27, 1726, addressed to Mr. Pope, he observes, ‘'That these verses which he had before given him leave to insert in the Rival Modes, would be known for his, some copies being got abroad. He desires, neverthe­less, that since the lines in his comedy have been read to several, Mr. Pope would not deprive it of them.'’

As a proof of this circumstance, the testimony of lord Bolingbroke is adduced, and the lady of Hugh Bethel, esq to whom the verses were ori­ginally addressed, who knew them to be Mr. Pope's long before the Rival Modes was composed.

Our author further charges Mr. Pope with being an enemy to the church and state. ‘'The Me­moirs of a Parish Clerk, says he, was a very dull, and unjust abuse of the bishop of Sarum (who wrote in defence of our religion and consti­tution) who has been dead many years.'’ ‘'This [Page 213] also, continues the author of the Notes to the Dunciad, is likewise untrue, it being known to divers, that these Memoirs were written at the seat of the lord Harcourt in Oxfordshire, before the death of bishop Burnet, and many years be­fore the appearance of that history, of which they are pretended to be an abuse. Most true it is that Mr. More had such a design, and was himself the man who pressed Dr. Arbuth­not, and Mr. Pope to assist him therein; and that he borrowed those Memoirs of the latter, when that history came forth, with intent to turn them to such abuse; but being able to ob­tain from Pope but one single hint, and either changing his mind, or having more mind than a­bility, he contented himself to keep the said Memoirs, and read them as his own to all his acquaintance. A noble person there is, into whose company Pope once chanced to introduce him, who well remembered the conversation of Mr. More to have turned upon the contempt he had for that reverend prelate, and how full he was of a design he declared himself to have of exposing him; this noble person is the earl of Peterborough.'’

Thus Mr. Pope was obliged to represent this gen­tleman as a plagiary, or to pass for one himself. His case indeed, as the author of the notes to the Dunciad observes, was like that of a man who, as he was sitting in company, perceived his next neighbour had stolen his handkerchief. ‘'Sir, said the thief, finding himself detected, do not expose me, I did it for mere want; be so good but to take it privately out of my pocket again, and say nothing.' The honest man did so, but the other cried out, See, gentlemen! what a thief we have among us! look, he is stealing my handkerchief.'’

[Page 214] The plagiarism of this person gave occasion to the following epigram;

More always smiles whenever he recites;
He smiles (you think) approving what he writes;
And yet in this no vanity is shown;
A modest man may like what's not his own.

The smaller pieces which we have heard attri­buted to this author, are, An Epigram on the Bridge at Blenheim, by Dr. Evans; Cosmelia, by Mr. Pitt, Mr. Jones, &c. The Saw-Pit, a Simile, by a Friend; and some unowned Letters, Adver­tisements, and Epigrams against Mr. Pope in the Daily Journal. He died in the year 1734, and as he wrote but one comedy unsuccessfully, and no other pieces of his meeting with any applause, the reader will probably look upon him as a man of little genius; he had a power however of rendering his conversation agreeable by a facetious and gentle­man-like manner, without any of the stiffness of the scholar, or the usual petulance of a poet. He always lived in affluent circumstances, and by mixing with genteel company, his habit of ele­gance was never lost, a fate which too frequent­ly happens to those, who, notwithstanding the brightest parts, are excluded the circle of polite­ness by the oppressions of poverty. In this light Mr. Pope must have considered him, or he, who was one of the politest men of the age, as well as the greatest poet, would never have intro­duced him to the earl of Peterborough. It does not appear that Mr. More had parts otherwise sufficient to entitle him to the notice of Pope, and therefore he must have considered him only as a gentleman. Had he possessed as much pru­dence, as politeness, he would have avoided by all [Page 215] means incurring the displeasure of Pope, who, as he was the warmest friend, was likewise a very powerful and implacable enemy. In this contro­versy, however, it is evident enough that Mr. Moore was the aggressor, and it is likewise certain that his punishment has been equal to his offence.

He died October 18, 1734, at Whister, near Isleworth in Middlesex, for which county he was a justice of peace.

Mr. JOHN DENNIS.

THIS celebrated critic was born in Lon­don in the year 1657, his father being a Sadler, and an eminent citizen*.

He received his early education at Harrow on the Hill, under the pious and learned Dr. William Horn, having for his schoolfellows many young noblemen, who afterwards made a considerable figure in the state. He removed from Harrow to Caius College in Cambridge, where he was ad­mitted January 13, 1675, in the 18th year of his age. In due time Mr. Dennis took the degree of bachelor of arts, and after quitting the universi­ty he indulged a passion which he had entertain­ed for travelling, and set out for France and [Page 216] taly. In the course of his travels he, no doubt, made such observations upon the government and genius of the people whom he visited, as enabled him to make a just comparison between foreign states and his own country. In all probability, while he was in France and Italy, he conceived an abhorrence of despotic government, the ef­fects of which he then had an opportunity more intimately to discern, for he returned home still more confirmed in Whig principles, by which his political conduct was ever governed.

Our author in his early years became acquaint­ed with some of the brightest geniuses which then illuminated the regions of wit, such as Dry­den, Wycherly, Congreve, and Southern. Their conversation was in itself sufficient to divert his mind from the acquisition of any profitable art, or the exercise of any profession. He ranked him­self amongst the wits, and from that moment held every attainment in contempt, except what relat­ed to poetry, and taste.

Mr. Dennis, by the instances of zeal which he gave for the Protestant succession in the reign of King William, and Queen Anne, obtained the pa­tronage of the duke of Marlborough, who pro­cured him the place of one of the Queen's wait­ers in [...]\ne Custom-house, worth 120 l. per annum, which Mr. Dennis held for six years. During the time [...]\n attended at the Custom-house, he lived so profusely, and managed his affairs with so little oeconomy, that in order to discharge some pressing demands, he was obliged to dispose of his place. When the earl of Hallifax, with whom he had the honour of being acquainted, heard of Mr. Dennis's design, he sent for him, and in the most friendly manner, expostulated with him upon the folly, and rashness of disposing of his place, by which (says his lordship) you will soon become a beggar. Mr. Dennis represented [Page 217] his exigences, and the pressing demands that were then made upon him: which did not however sa­tisfy his lordship, who insisted if he did sell it, it should be with some reversion to himself for the space of forty years, a term which the earl had no notion Mr. Dennis could exceed. But he was mistaken in his calculation upon our poet's constitution, who out-lived the term of forty years stipulated when he sold his place, and fulfilled in a very advanced age, what his lordship had pro­phesied would befal him. This circumstance our author hints at in his dedication of his poem on the Battle of Ramellies, to lord Hallifax, ‘'I have lately, says he, had very great obligations to your lordship, you have been pleased to take some care of my fortune, at a time when I most wanted it, and had the least reason to expect it from you.'’ This poem on the Battle of Ramel­lies is a cold unspirited performance; it has nei­ther fire, nor elevation, and is the true poetical sister of another poem of his, on the Battle of Blenheim, addressed to Queen Anne, and for which the duke of Marlborough rewarded him, says Mr. Coxeter, with a present of a hundred guineas. In these poems he has introduced a kind of machine­ry; good and bad angels interest themselves in the action, and his hero, the duke of Marlborough, enjoys a large share of the coelestial protection.

Mr. Dennis had once contracted a friendship* with Sir Richard Steele, whom he afterwards se­verely attacked. Sir Richard had promised that he would take some opportunity of mentioning his works in public with advantage, and endea­vour to raise his reputation. When Sir Richard [Page 218] engaged in a periodical paper, there was a fair occasion of doing it, and accordingly in one of his Spectators he quotes the following couplet, which he is pleased to call humorous, but which however is a translation from Boileau.

One fool lolls his tongue out at another,
And shakes his empty noddle at his brother.

The citation of this couplet Mr. Dennis imagin­ed, was rather meant to affront him, than pay a compliment to his genius, as he could discover nothing excellent in the lines, and if there was, they being only a translation, in some measure abated the merit of them. Being fired with resentment at this affront, he immediately, in a spirit of fury, wrote a letter to the Spectator, in which he treat­ed him with very little ceremony, and informed him, that if he had been sincere in paying a com­pliment to him, he should have chosen a quotation from his poem on the Battle of Ramellies; he then points out a particular passage, of which he himself had a very high opinion, and which we shall here insert as a specimen of that performance.

A coelestial spirit visits the duke of Marlborough the night before the battle, and after he has said several other things to him, goes on thus,

A wondrous victory attends thy arms,
Great in itself, and in its sequel vast;
Whose ecchoing sound thro' all the West shall run,
Transporting the glad nations all around,
Who oft shall doubt, and oft suspend their joy,
And oft imagine all an empty dream;
The conqueror himself shall cry amaz'd,
'Tis not our work, alas we did it not;
The hand of GOD, the hand of GOD is here!
[Page 219] For thee, so great shall be thy high renown,
That fame shall think no music like thy name;
Around the circling globe it shall be spread,
And to the world's last ages shall endure;
And the most losty, most aspiring man,
Shall want th' assurance in his secret prayers
To ask such high felicity and fame,
As Heav'n has freely granted thee; yet this
That seems so great, so glorious to thee now,
Would look how low, how vile to thy great mind,
If I could set before th' astonish'd eyes,
Th' excess of glory, and th' excess of bliss
That is prepar'd for thy expiring soul,
When thou arriv'st at everlasting day.

The quotation by Mr. Dennis is longer, but we are persuaded the reader will not be displeased that we do not take the trouble to transcribe the whole, as it does not improve, but rather grows more languid. How strangely are people deceiv­ed in their own productions! In the language of sincerity we cannot discover a poetical conception, one striking image, or one animated line in the a­bove, and yet Mr. Dennis observes to Sir Richard Steele, that these are the lines, by quoting which, he would really have done him honour.

But Mr. Dennis's resentment did not terminate here; he attempted to expose a paper in the Specta­tor upon dramatic conduct, in which the author en­deavours to shew that a poet is not always obliged to distribute poetical justice on this very reasonable ac­count, that good and evil happen alike to all men on this side the grave. To this proposition our critic objects, ‘'that it is not only a very false, but a dangerous assertion, that we neither know what men really are, nor what they suffer. Besides, says he, let it be considered, that a man is a creature, who is created immortal, and a crea­ture [Page 220] consequently that will find a compensation in futurity, for any seeming inequality in his destiny here; but the creatures of a poetical creator, are imaginary, and transitory; they have no longer duration than the representation of their respective fables, and consequently if they offend, they must be punished during that repre­sentation, and therefore we are very far from pretending, that poetical justice is an equal re­presentation of the justice of the Almighty.'’ In support of this opinion our critic produces the example of Euripides, and the best poets amongst the ancients, who practised it, and the authority of Aristotle, who established the rule. But nature, or Shakespear, which is another word for nature, is by no means in favour of this equal distribu­tion. No character can be represented in trage­dy absolutely perfect, as no such character ex­ists; but a character which possesses more vir­tues than vices, may be upon the whole amia­ble, and yet with the strictest propriety may be made the chief sufferer in the drama. If any pas­sion strongly predominates in the heart of man, it will often expose him to such snares, entangle him in such difficulties, and oppress him with such wants, that in the very nature of things, he must sink under the complicated weight of misery. This may happen to a character extremely ami­able, the passion which governs him may be termed unhappy, but not guilty, or if it should partake the nature of guilt, fallible creatures cannot al­ways combat with success against guilty passions.

The drama being an imitation of nature, the poet causes a composition of characters formed in his imagination to be represented by players; these characters charm, or displease, not only for what they do; during the representation of the fable, but we love, or hate them for what they have done before their appearance; and we dread, or [Page 221] warmly expect the consequences of their resoluti­ons after they depart the stage. The illusion would not be sufficiently strong, if we did not sup­pose the dramatic persons equa [...]\nly accountable to the powers above us, as we are ourselves. This Shakespear has taken care forcibly to impress upon his audience, in making the ghost of the murthered king of Denmark, charge his son not to touch his mother's life, but leave her to heaven; and the re­flexions of her own conscience to goad and sting her.

Mr. Dennis's reasoning, upon the whole amounts to this, that no perfect character should suffer in the drama; to which it may be answered, that no per­fect character ever did suffer in the drama; because no poet who draws from nature, ever introduced one, for this very good reason, that there are none in existence.

Mr. Dennis, who was restless in attacking those writers, who met with success, levelled some more criticisms against the Spectators; and amongst the rest endeavoured to expose Mr. Addison's Illustra­tions of the Old Ballad, called Chevy Chace; of which we shall only say, that he performed this task m [...]\nre successfully than he executed his Animad­versions upon Poetical Justice.

We have already taken notice of the warm at­tachment Mr. Dennis always had to the Whig-In­terest, and his particular zeal for the Hanoverian succession. He wrote many letters and pamphlets, for the administration of the earl of Godolphin, and the duke of Marlborough, and never failed to lash the French with all the severity natural to him.

When the peace (which the Whigs reckoned the most inglorious that ever was made) was about to be ratified, Mr. Dennis, who certainly over-rated his importance, took it into his imagination, that when [Page 222] the terms of peace should be stipulated, some per­sons, who had been most active against the French, would be demanded by that nation as hostages; and he imagined himself of importance e­nough to be made choice of, but dreaded his being given up to the French, as the greatest evil that could befall him. Under the influence of this strong delusion. he actually waited on the duke of Mariborough. and begg'd his grace's interposition, that he might not be sacrificed to the French, for says he, ‘'I have always been their enemy.'’ To this strange request. his grace very gravely replied, ‘'Do not fear, Mr. Dennis, you shall not be given up to the French; I have been a greater enemy to them than you, and you see I am not afraid of being sacrificed, nor am in the least disturbed.'’ Mr. Dennis upon this retired. well satisfied with his grace's answer, but there still remained upon his spirits a dread of his becoming a prey to some of the enemies of Great Britain.

He soon after this retired into the country, to spend some time at a friend's house. While he was walking one day by the sea side, he saw a ship in fall sail approaching towards the shore, which his distracted imagination dictated, was a French ship sent to carry him off. He hur [...]\nied to the gen­tleman's house with the utmost precipitation, up­braided him with treachery, as being privy to the attempts of the French against his life, and without ceremony quitted his house, and posted to London, as fast as he could.

Mr. Dennis, who never cared to be an unconcern­ed spectator, when any business of a public or im­portant nature was in agitation, entered the lists with the celebrated Mr. Sacheverel, who in the year 1702 published at Oxford a piece called the Political Union, the purport of which was to shew, that the Church and the State are invariably con­nected, and that the one cannot subsist without the [Page 223] other. Mr. Dennis in answer to this, in a letter to a member of parliament, with much zeal, force of argument, and less ferocity than usual, endeavours to overthrow the proposition, and shew the danger of priestcraft, both to religion and government.

In this letter he very sensibly observes, ‘'That since the very spirit of the christian religion, is the spirit of union and charity, it follows by con­sequence, that a spirit of division, is a spirit of malice, and of the Devil. A true son of the church, is he who appears most for union, who breathes nothing but charity; who neglects all worldly greatness to bear his master's yoke; and who has learned of him to be meek and lowly of heart.'’

He shews that the moderate part of the Church of England are the truest church; and that violent party which differs from the moderate ought to be called Dissenters, because they are at a greater dis­tance from charity, which is the characteristic of a true church, than any Dissenters. By which, says he, ‘'It appears that Mr. Sacheverel has made a rod to whip himself, for if only the true Church of England is to remain, and if the moderate part is the true church, the most violent ought the least to be tolerated, because they differ from charity; and consequently are more ready to disturb the pub­lic peace.'’

In 1703 he published proposals for putting a speedy end to the war, by ruining the com­merce of the French and Spaniards, and securing our own without any add [...]\ntional expence to the na­t [...]\non. This was thought a very judicious, and well designed plan.

In 1706 our author published an Essay on the Italian Opera, in which, with an irresistable force, he shews the extreme danger that a generous nation is exposed to, by too much indulging effeminate [Page 224] music. In the preface he quotes a passage from Boileau, in which that satirist expresses himself with much severity against emasculating diversions; and the Italian music in particular.

He observes, ‘'That the modern Italians have the very same sun and soil with the antient Romans, and yet are their manners directly opposite. Their men are neither virtuous, wise, or valiant, and they who have reason to know their women, never trust them out of their sight. 'Tis impossible to give any reason for so great a difference between the antient Romans, and the modern Italians, but only luxury; and the reigning luxury of modern Italy, is that soft and effeminate music, which abounds in the Opera.'’

In this Essay Mr. Dennis remarks, that en­tertainments entirely made up of music can ne­ver instruct the mind, nor promote one excellent purpose in human nature. ‘'Perhaps, says he, the pride and vanity that is in mankind, may determine the generality to give into music, at the expence of poetry. Men love to enjoy their pleasures entirely, and not to have them restrained by awe, or curbed by mortification. Now there are but few judicious spectators at our dramatic representations, since none can be so, but who with great endowments of nature have had a very generous education; and the rest are fre­quently mortified, by passing foolish judgments: But in music the case is vastly di [...]\nerent; to judge of that requires only use, and a fine ear, which the footman oft has a great deal finer than his master. In short, a man without common sense may very well judge of what a man writes with­out common sense, and without common sense composes.'’ He then inquires what the conse­quence will be if we banish poetry, which is, that taste, politeness, erudition and public spirit will fall with it, and all for a Song.

[Page 225] The declension of poetry in Greece and Rome was soon followed by that of liberty and empire; according to Roscommon in his Essay on Translated Verse.

True poets are the guardians of a state,
And when they fail, portend approaching fate:
For that which Rome to conquest did in [...]\npire,
Was not the Vestal. but the Muses fire;
Heav'n joins the blessings, no declining age
E'er felt the raptures of poetic rage.

In 1711 Mr. Dennis published an Essay upon Public Spirit, being a satire in prose, upon the Manners and Luxury of the Times, the chief sources of our present Parties and Divisions. This is one of the most finished performances of our au­thor; the intention is laudable, and the execution equal to the goodness of the design. He begins the Essay. with a definition of the love of our country, shews how much the phrase has been pros­tituted, and how seldom understood, or practised in its genuine sense. He then observes how destruc­tive it is to indulge an imitation of fo [...]\neign fashions; that fashions are often followed by the manners of a people from whom they are borrowed; as in the beginning of king Charles the IId's reign. After the general distraction which was immedi­ately consequent upon the Restoration, lord Halifax informs us, the people began to shake off their slavery in point of dress, and to be ashamed of their servility in that particular; ‘'and that they might look the more says his lordship, like a distinct people, they threw off their fashions, and put on vests: The French did not like this independence, this sl [...]\nght shewn to their taste, as they thought it portended no good to their politics, considering that it is a natural introduction, first to make the world their asses, that they may afterwards make [Page 226] them their slaves. They sent over the duchess of Portsmouth, who, besides many other commissions, bore one to laugh us out of our vests, which she performed so effectually, that in a moment we were like so many footmen, who had quitted their masters livery, we took it again, and returned to our old service. So that the very time of doing thi [...] gave a very critical advantage to France, since it looked like an evidence of returning to their interests, as well as their fashions.'’

After giving this quotation from the marquis of Halifax, he proceeds to inveigh against the various kinds of luxury, in which people of fashion indulge themselves.

He observes that luxury has in a particular man­ner been destructive to the ladies: ‘'That artific [...]al dainties raise in their constitutions fierce ebulli­tions, and violent emotions, too rude for the de­licate texture of their fibres; and for half the year together, they neither take any air, nor use any exercise to remove them. From hence distempers of body and mind; from hence an in­finity of irregular desires, unlawful amours, in­trigues, vapours, and whimsies, and all the nu­merous, melancholy croud of deep hysterical symptoms; from hence it comes to pass that the fruit of their bodies lie in them like plants in hot-beds; from hence it proceeds that our British maids, who in the time of our Henrys, were not held marriageable till turned of twenty, are now become falling ripe at twelve, and forced to pre­matureness, by the heat of adventitious fire. Nor has luxury only changed our natures, but trans­f [...]rmed our sexes: We have men t [...]\nat are more soft, more languid, and more passive than women. On the other side we have women, who, as it [Page 227] were in revenge, are masculine in their desires, and masculine in their practices.'’

In a pretty advanced age Mr. Dennis, who then laboured under severe necessities, published two volumes of Letters, by subscription, which are by far the most entertaining part of his writ­ings. They have more sprightliness and force in them than, from reading his other works, we would be disposed to imagine. They are addressed to persons distinguished by their fortune, ge­nius, and exalted station; the duke of Marlborough, the lord Lansdowne, earl of Godolphin, earl of Halifax, Mr. Dryden, Mr. Prior, Mr W [...]\ncherley, Henry Cromwel, Esq Walter Moyle, Esq and Sir Richard Blackmore. He entitles them Letters, Moral and Critical. The Critical are chi [...]\nfly imployed upon Mr. Addison's Cato, which he cen­sures in some places with great justice, and critical propriety: In other places he only discovers spleen, and endeavours to burlesque noble passages, merely from resentment to the author.

There is likewise published amongst these letters, an enquiry into the genius and writings of Shake­spear. He contends for Shakespear's ignorance of the antients, and observes, that it would derogate much from his glory to suppose him to have read, or understood them, because if he had, his not prac­tising their art, and not restraining the luxuriance of his imagination would be a reproach to him. After bestowing the highest panegyric upon Shake­spear, he says, ‘'That he seems to have been the very original of our English tragical harmony; that is the harmony of blank verse, diversified often by dissyllable and trisyllable terminations. For that diversity distinguishes it from heroic har­mony, and bringing it nearer to common use, makes it more proper to gain attention, and more fit for action, and dialogue. Such verses we [Page 228] make when we are writing prose, we make such verse in common conversation.'’

One of the reasons Mr. Dennis assigns for Shakespear's want of learning, is, that Julius Caesar, in the play which goes by his name, makes but a third-rate figure, and had he (says the author) consulted the Latin writers, he could not have been guilty of such an error; but this is far from being conclusive, which might as well be ow­ing to his having a contempt for Caesar's character, and an enthusiastic admiration for those of Brutus and Cassius.

Another prose Essay of Mr. Dennis's, which does him very great honour, is his Grounds of Cri­ticism in Poetry. Amongst many masterly things, which he there advances, is the following. ‘'The antient poets (says he) derived that advantage which they have over the moderns, to the con­stituting their subjects after a religious manner; and from the precepts of Longinus, it appears that the greatest sublimity is to be derived from religious ideas.'’

Mr. Dennis then observes, that one of the prin­cipal reasons, that has made the modern poetry so cont [...]\nptible, is, that by divesting itself of religion, it is fallen from its dignity, and its original nature and excellence; and from the greatest production in the mind of man, it is dwindled to an extravagant, and vain amusement. When subjects are in them­selves great, the ideas of the writer must likewise be great; and nothing is in its nature so dignified as religion. This he illustrates by many examples from Milton, who when he raises his voice to hea­ven, and speaks the language of the divinity, then does he reach the true sublime; but when he de­scends to the more trifling consideration of human things, his wing is necessarily depressed, and his strains are less transporting.

[Page 229] We shall now take a view of Mr. Dennis, in that part of his life and writings, in which he makes a less considerable figure, by exposing himself to the resentment of one so much his superior; and who; after a long provocation, at last let loose his rage against him, in a manner that no time can oblite­rate. Mr. Dennis we have already observed, waged a perpetual war with successful writers, except those few who were his friends; but never engaged with so much fury, and less justice, against the writings of any poet, as those of Mr. Pope.

Some time after the death of Dryden, when Pope's reputation began to grow, his friends who were sanguine in his interest, were impr [...]\ndent enough to make comparisons, and really assert, that Pope was the greatest poet of the two: Dennis, who had made court to Dryden, and was respected by him, heard this with indignation, and immedi­ately exerted all the criticism and force of which he was master, to reduce the character of Pope. In this attempt he neither has succeeded, nor did he pursue it like a gentleman.

In his reflexions on Pope's Essay on Criticism, he uses the following unmannerly epithets. ‘'A young squab, short gentleman, whose outward form tho' it should be that of a downright monkey, would not differ so much from human shape, as his un­thinking, immaterial part does from human un­derstanding.—He is as stupid and as venemous as an hunch-backed toad.—A book through which folly and ignorance, those brethren so lame, and impotent, do ridiculously look very big, and very dull, and strut, and hobble cheek by jowl, with their arms on kimbo, being led, and sup­ported, and bully-backed, by that blind Hector impudence.'’ The reasons which our critic gives for this extraordinary fury are equally ridiculous.

[Page 230] ‘'I regard him (says he) as an enemy, not so much to me, as to my king, to my country, and to my religion. The epidemic madness of the times has given him reputation, and reputation is power; and that has made him dangerous. Therefore I look on it as my duty to king George, and to the liberties of my country, more dear than life to me, of which I have now been 40 years a constant assertor, &c. I look upon it as my duty I say to do,—Reader observe what,—To pull the lion's skin from this little ass, which po­pular error has thrown round him, and shew that this little author, who has been lately so much in vogue, has neither sense in his thoughts, nor English in his expressions. See his Remarks on Homer, Pref. p. 2. and p. 91.'’

Speaking of Mr. Pope's Windsor-Forrest, he says, ‘'It is a wretched rhapsody, impudently writ in emulation of Cooper's-Hill. The author of it is obscure, is ambiguous, is affected, is temerarious, is barbarous.'’

After these provocations, it is no wonder that Pope should take an opportunity of recording him in his Dunciad; and yet he had some esteem for our author's learning and genius. Mr. Dennis put his name to every thing he wrote against him, which Mr. Pope considered as a circumstance of candour. He pitied him as a man subject to the dominion of invidious passions, than which no severer sensations can tear the heart of man.

In the first Book of his Dunciad, line 103, he re­presents Dullness taking a view of her sons; and thus mentions Dennis,

She saw slow Philips creep like Tate's poor page,

And all the mighty mad in Dennis rage.

[Page 231] He mentions him again slightly in his second Book, line 230, and in his third Book, line 165, taking notice of a quarrel between him and Mr. Gildon, he says,

Ah Dennis! Gildon ah! what ill-starr'd rage
Divides a friendship long confirm'd by age?
Blockheads, with reason, wicked wits abhor,
But fool with fool, is barbr'ous civil war,
Embrace, embrace, my sons! be foes no more!
Nor glad vile poets, with true critic's gore.

Our author gained little by his opposition to Pope, in which he must either have violated his judgment, or been under the influence of the strongest prejudice that ever blinded the eyes of any man; for not to admire the writings of this excellent poet, is an argument of a total deprava­tion of taste, which in other respects does not ap­pear to be the case of Mr. Dennis.

We shall now take a view of our author in the light of a dramatist. In the year 1697 a comedy of his was acted at the Theatre-Royal in Drury-Lane, called A Plot and No Plot, dedicated to the Earl of Sunderland. The scope of this piece is to ridicule the credulity and principles of the Jacobites, the moral of which is this, ‘'That there are in all parties, persons who find it their in­terest to deceive the rest, and that one half of every faction makes a property in fee-simple of the other, therefore we ought never to believe any thing will, or will not be, because it is a­greeable, or contrary to our humours, but because it is in itself likely, or improbable. Credulity in men, engaged in a party, proceeds oftner from pride than weakness, and it is the hardest thing in the world to impose upon a humble man.'’

[Page 232] In 1699 a tragedy called Rinaldo and Armida was acted at the Theatre in Lincoln's-Inn-Fields, dedicated to the Duke of Ormond. Scene the top of a mountain in the Canaries. The hint of the chief characters is owing to Tasso's Gierusalemme, but the manners of them being by our author thought unequal in that great Italian, he has tak­en the liberty to change them, and form his cha­racters more agreeable to the subject. The rea [...]\nons for doing it are expressed in the preface and pro­logue to the play.

Our author's next tragedy was upon the subject of Iphigenia, daughter to Agamemnon King of Argos, acted at the Theatre in Lincoln's-Inn 1704. Iphigenia was to have been sacrificed by her fa­ther, who was deluded by the fraud of Calchas, who proclaimed throughout the Grecian fleet, that the of [...]\nended gods demanded of Agamemnon the sacrifice of his daughter to Lucina, and 'till that oblation was offered, the fleet would remain wind-bound. Accordingly, under pretence of m [...]\nr­rying her to Achilles, she was betrayed from Ar­gos, but her mother, Clytemnestra, discovering the cheat, by a stratagem prevented its execution, and effected her rescue without the knowledge of a­ny one but he [...]\n husband Agamemnon. A Grecian virgin being sacrificed in her place, Iphigenia is afterwards wrecked on the Coast of Scythia, and made the Priestess of Diana. In five years time her brother Orestes, and his friend Pylades, are wrecked on the same shore, but saved from slaughter by the Queen of Scythia, because she loved Orestes. Orestes, on the other hand, falls in love with the Priestess of Diana; they attempt an escape, and to carry off the image of the Godde [...]\ns, but are prevented. The Queen then dooms Orestes to the altar, but Pylades, from his great friendship, personates Orestes, and [Page 233] disconcerts the design. The story and incidents of this play are interesting and moving, but Mr. Dennis has not wrought the scenes much in the spi­rit of a tragedian: This was a subject admira­bly suited for the talents of Otway. The disco­very of Orestes's being the brother of Iphigenia is both surprizing and natural, and though the subject is not well executed, yet is this by far the most affecting tragedy of our author; it is almost impossible to read it without tears, though it abounds with bombast.

The fourth play introduced upon the stage by Mr. Dennis, 1704, was, a tragedy called Liberty Asserted, dedicated to Anthony Henley, esq to whom he says he was indebted for the happy hint upon which it was formed. Soon after this he wrote another tragedy upon the story of Ap­pius and Virginia, which Mr. Maynwaring, in a letter to Mr. Dennis, calls one of our best modern tragedies; it is dedicated to Sidney Earl of Godol­phin.

He altered Shakespear's Merry Wives of Wind­sor, and brought it on the stage under the title of The Comical Gallant. Prefixed to this, is a large account of Taste in Poetry, and the Causes of its Degeneracy addressed to the Hon. George Granville, Esq afterwards Lord Lans­downe.

Our author's next dramatic production was Co­riolanus, the Invader of his Country, or the Fa­tal Resentment, a Tragedy; altered from Shake­spear, and acted at the Theatre-Royal in Drury-Lane. This piece met with some opposition the first night; and on the fourth another play was given out. The second [...]\n night's audience was ve­ry small, though the play was exceedingly well acted. The third night had not the charges in money; the fourth was still worse, and then ano­ther play was given out, not one place being taken [Page 234] in the boxes for any ensuing night. The ma­nagers were therefore obliged to discontinue it.

This usage Mr. Dennis highly resented; and in his dedication to the duke of Newcastle, then lord chamberlain, he makes a formal complaint against the managers. To this play Mr. Colley Cibber took the pains to write an epilogue, which Mrs. Oldfield spoke with universal applause, and for which poor peevish, jealous Dennis, abused them both.

Mr. Dennis happened once to go to the play, when a tragedy was acted, in which the machinery of thunder was introduced, a new artificial method of producing which he had formerly communicated to the managers. In­censed by this circumstance, he cried out in a transport of resentment, ‘'That is my thun­der by G—d; the villains will play my thunder, but not my plays.'’ This gave an alarm to the pit, which he soon explained. He was much subject to these kind of whimsical transports, and suffered the fervor of his imagination often to subdue the power of his reason; an instance of which we shall now relate.

After he was worn out with age and poverty, he resided within the verge of the court, to pre­vent danger from his creditors. One Saturday night he happened to saunter to a public house, which he discovered in a short time was out of the verge. He was sitting in an open drinking room, and a man of a suspicious appearance hap­pened to come in. There was something about the man which denoted to Mr. Dennis that he was a Bailiff: this struck him with a panic; he was a­fraid his liberty was now at an end; he sat in the utmost solicitude, but durst not offer to stir, left he should be seized upon. After an hour or two had passed in this painful anxiety, at last the clock struck twelve, when Mr. Dennis, in an ex­tasy, [Page 235] cried out, addressing himself to the suspect­ed person, ‘'Now sir, Bailiff, or no Bailiff, I don't care a farthing for you, you have no oower now.'’ The man was astonished at this behavi­our, and when it was explained to him, he was so much affronted with the suspicion, that had not Mr. Dennis found his protection in age, he would have smarted for his mistaken opinion of him.

In the year 1705 a comedy of Mr. Dennis's called Gibraltar, or The Spanish Adventure, was aded unsuccessfully at Drury-Lane Theatre. He was also author of a masque called Orpheus and Euridice.

Mr. Dennis, considered as a dramatic writer, makes not so good a figure as in his critical works; he understood the rules of writing, but it is not in the power of every one to carry their own theory into execution. There is one error which he endeavoured to reform, very material for the interest of dramatic poetry. He saw, with concern, that love had got the entire possession of the tragic stage, contary to the authority of the ancients, and the example of Shakespear. He resolved therefore to deviate a little from the reigning practice, and not to make his heroes such whining slaves in their amours, which not only debases the majesty of tragedy, but confounds most of the principal characters, by making that passion the predominant quality in all. But he did not think it safe at once to shew his principal characters wholly ex­empt from it, lest so great and sudden a transi­tion should prove disagreeable. He rather chose to steer a middle course, and make love appear violent, but yet to be subdued by reason, and give way to the influence of some other more noble passion; as in Rinaldo, to Glory; in Iphigenia, to Friendship; and in Liberty Asserted, to the Public Good. He thought by these means an audience [Page 236] might be entertained, and prepared for greater alterations, whereby the dignity of tragedy might be supported, and its principal characters justly distinguished.

Besides the works which we have already men­tioned, Mr. Dennis is author of the following pieces, mostly in the Pindaric way.

  • Upon our Victory at Sea, and burning the French Fleet at La Hogne in 1692.
  • Part of the Te Deum Paraphrased, in Pindaric Verse.
  • To Mr. Dryden, upon his Translation of the Third Book of Virgil's Georgics. Pindaric Ode.
  • A Pindaric Ode on the King, written in the be­gining of August 1691; occasioned by the Victory at Aghrim.
  • To a Painter drawing a Lady's Picture, an Epi­gram.
  • Prayer for the King's Safety in the Summer's Expedition in 1692, an Epigram.
  • The Court of Death, a Pindaric Poem; dedi­cated to the Memory of her Most Sacred Majesty Queen Mary.
  • The Passion of Byblis, made English from the Ninth Book of Ovid's Metamorphosis.
  • The Monument, a Poem; sacred to the Memo­ry of the best, and greatest of Kings, William III.
  • Britannia Triumphans, or A Poem on the Battle of Blenheim; dedicated to Queen Anne.
  • On the Accession of King George to the Impe­rial Crown of Great Britain.

The following specimen, which is part of a Paraphrase on the Te Deum, serves to shew, that Mr. Dennis wrote with more el [...]\ngance in Pindaric odes, than in blank verse.

[Page 237]
Now let us sing a loftier strain,
Now let us earth and earthly things disdain,
Now let our souls to Heaven repair,
Direct their most aspiring flight,
To fields of uncreated light,
And dare to draw empyreal air.
'Tis done, O place divinely bright!
O Sons of God divinely fair!
O fight! unutterable fight!
O unconceivable delight!
O joy which only Gods can bear!
Heark how their blissful notes they raise,
And sing the Great Creator's praise!
How in extatic song they cry,
Lo we the glorious sons of light,
So great, so beautiful, so bright,
Lo we the brightest of created things,
Who are all flame, all force, all spirit, and all eye,
Are yet but vile, and nothing in thy fight!
Before thy feet O mighty King of kings,
O Maker of this bounteous all!
Thus lowly reverent we fall.

After a life exposed to vicissitudes, habituated to many disappointments, and embroiled in unsuc­cessful quarrels, Mr. Dennis died on the 6th of January 1733, in the 77th year of his age. We have observed that he outlived the reversion of his place, after which he fell into great distress, and as he had all his life been making enemies, by the ungovernable fury of his temper, he found few persons disposed to relieve him. When he was near the close of his days, a play was acted for his benefit. This favour was procured him by the joint interest of Mr. Thomson, Mr. Martin, Mr. Mallet, and Mr. Pope. The play was given by the company then acting at the little Theatre in the Hay-market, under the direction of Mr. [Page 238] Mills sen. and Mr. Cibber jun. the latter of whom spoke a prologue on the occasion, written by Mr. Pope.

Mr. Dennis was less happy in his temper, than his genius; he possessed no inconsiderable erudition, which was joined to such natural parts, as if ac­companied with prudence, or politeness, might have raised him, not only above want, but even to eminence. He was happy too in having very powerful patrons, but what could be done for a man, who declared war against all the world? Den­nis has given evidence against himself in the ar­ticle of politeness; for in one of his letters he says, he would not retire to a certain place in the country, lest he should be disturbed in his studies by the ladies in the house: for, says he, I am not over-fond of the conversation of women. But with all his foibles, we cannot but consider him as a good critic, and a man of genius.

His perpetual misfortune was, that he aimed at the empire of wit, for which nature had not suffi­ciently endowed him; and as his ambition prompt­ed him to obtain the crown by a furious opposition to all other competitors, so, like Caesar of old, his ambition overwhelmed him.

G. GRANVILLE, L. LANSDOWNE,

WAS descended from an illustrious family, which traced their ancestry from Rollo, the first duke of Normandy. He was second son of Bernard Granville, and grandson of the famous Sir Bevil Granville, killed at the battle of Lansdowne 1643. This nobleman received the first tincture of his education in France, under the tuition of Sir William Ellis, a gentleman, who was eminent afterwards in many public employments.

When our author was but eleven years of age, he was sent to Trinity College in Cambridge, where he remained five years, but at the age of thirteen was admitted to the degree of master of arts, having, before he was twelve years old, spok­en a copy of English verses, of his own compo­sition, to the Duchess of York, when her Royal Highness paid a visit to that university.

At the time when the nation was embroiled by the public distractions, occasioned by the efforts of King James II. to introduce Popery, lord Lansdowne did not remain an unconcerned spec­tator. He had early imbibed principles of loyal­ty, and as some of his forefathers had fallen in the cause of Charles I. he thought it was his duty to sacrifice his life also, for the interest of his [Page 240] Sovereign. However mistaken he might be in this furious zeal for a Prince, the chief scope of whose reign was to overthrow the law, and intro­duce absolute dominion, yet he appears to be per­fectly sincere. In a letter he wrote to his father upon the expected approach of the Prince of Orange's fleet, he expresses the most ardent desire to serve the King in person*. This letter we shall insert, but beg our readers patience to make a digresson, which will justify what we have said con­cerning James II.

The genuine mark of a tyrant is cruelty, and it is with concern we can produce an instance of the most inhuman barbarity in that Prince, which ever stained the Annals of any reign. Cruelty should be the badge of no party; it ought to be equally the abhorrence of all; and whoever is taint­ed with it, should be set up to view, as a terror to the world, as a monster, whom it is the interest of mankind to destroy.

After the suppression of Monmouth's rebellion, many of the unfortunate persons engaged in it fled to London, and took shelter there, 'till the Act of Indemnity should be published. They who afforded them shelter, were either of the Mon­mouth faction, or induced from principles of hu­manity, to administer to their safety: what would become of the world, if our friends were always to forsake us in distress? There lived then in Lon­don an amiable lady, attached to no party, who enjoyed a large fortune, which she spent in the exercise of the most extensive beneficence. She made it her business to visit the Jails, and the prisoners who were most necessitous and deserving, she relieved. Her house was an asylum for the poor; she lived but for charity, and she bad every [Page 241] hour the prayers of the widow and orphan poured out to her. It happened that one of the rebels found shelter in her house; she suffered him to be screened there; she fed and cloathed him. The King had often declared that he would ra­ther pardon those who were found in arms a­gainst him, than the people who harboured, or secretly encouraged them. This miscreat, who sometimes ventured out at night to a public house, was informed, that the King had made such a declaration, and it entered into his base heart to betray his benefactress. He accordingly went be­fore a magistrate, and lodged an information, upon which the lady was secured, brought to a trial, and upon the evidence of this ungrateful villain, cast for her life. She suffered at a stake with the most resigned chearfulness, for when a woman is convicted of treason, it seems, she is fentenced to be burnt*. The reader will easily judge what sort of bowels that King must have, who could permit such a punishment to take place upon a woman so compleatly amiable, upon the evidence of a villain so consummately infamous, and he will, we are persuaded, be of opinion that had his Majesty possessed a thousand kingdoms, he deserved to lose them all for this one act of ge­nuine barbarity.

Lord Lansdowne, who did not consider, or was not then capable of discovering, the dangers to which this prince exposed his people, wrote the following letter to his father, earnestly pressing him to permit his entering voluntarily into king James's service.

'SIR,

‘'Your having no prospect of obtaining a com­mission for me, can no way alter, or cool my desire at this important juncture, to venture my life, in some manner or other, for my King and country. I cannot bear to live under the re­proach of lying obscure and idle in a country retirement, when every man, who has the least sense of honour, should be preparing for the field. You may remember, sir, with what re­luctance I submitted to your commands upon Monmouth's rebellion, when no importunity could prevail with you to permit me to leave the aca­demy; I was too young to be hazarded; but give me leave to say, it is glorious, at any age, to die for one's country; and the sooner, the robler sacrifice; I am now older by three years. My uncle Bath was not so old, when he was left among the slain at the battle of Newberry, nor you yourself, sir, when you made your escape from your Tutors, to join your brother in the defence of Scilly. The same cause is now come round about again. The King has been misled, let those who misled him be answerable for it. Nobody can deny but he is sacred in his own person, and it is every honest man's duty to de­fend it. You are pleased to say it is yet doubt­ful, if the Hollanders are rash enough to make such an attempt. But be that as it will, I beg leave to be presented to his Majesty, as one, whose utmost ambition is to devote his life to his service, and my country's, after the example of all my ancestors. The gentry assembled at York, to agree upon the choice of representa­tives for the county, have prepared an Address to assure his Majesty they are ready to sacrifice their lives and fortunes for him upon this, and [Page 243] all other occasions, but at the some time they humbly beseech him to give them such magi­strates as may be agreeable to the laws of the land, for at present there is no authority to which they can legally submit. By what I can hear, every body wishes well to the King, but would be glad his ministers were hanged. The winds continue so contrary, that no land­ing can be so soon as was apprehended, there­fore I may hope, with your leave and assistance, to be in readiness before any action can begin; I beseech you, sir, most humbly, and most earnestly, to add this one act of indulgence more, to so many testimonies I have so constantly re­ceived of your goodness, and be pleased to be­lieve me always with the utmost duty and sub­mission,'’

'Yours, &c.'

We are not told whether his father yielded to his importunity, or whether he was presented to his Majesty; but if he really joined the army, it was without danger to his person, for the revolu­tion was effected in England without one drop of blood. In the year 1690 Lord Lansdowne wrote a copy of verses addressed to Mrs. Eliza­beth Higgins, in answer to a poetical Address sent him by that lady in his retirement. The verses of the lady are very elegant, and are only exceetled by the polite compliments his lordship wrote in answer to them. They both deserve a place here,

I.
Why Granville is thy life to shades confin'd,
Thou whom the Gods design'd
In public to do credit to mankind?
[Page 244] Why sleeps the noble ardour of thy blood.
Which from thy ancestors so man ages past,
From Rollo down to Bevil flowed,
And then appeared again at last,
In thee when thy victorious lance,
Bore the disputed prize from all the youth of France,
II.
In the first trials which are made for same,
Those to whom fate success denies,
If taking council from their shame,
They modestly retreat are wise;
But why should you, who still succeed,
Whether with graceful art you lead
The fiery barb, or with a graceful motion tread
In shining balls where all agree
To give the highest praise to thee?
Such harmony in every motion's found,
As art could ne'er express by any sound.
III.
So lov'd and prais'd whom all admire,
Why, why should you from courts and camps re­tire?
If Myra is unkind, if it can be
That any nymph can be unkind to thee;
If pensive made by love, you thus retire,
Awake your muse, and string your lyre;
Your tender song, and your melodious strain
Can never be address'd in vain;
She needs must love, and we shall have you back again.

[Page 245]His lordship's Answer thus begins.

Cease, tempting syren, cease thy flattering strain,
Sweet is thy charming song, but sung in vain:
When the winds blow, and loud the tempests roar,
What fool would trust the waves, and quit the shore?
Early and vain into the world I came,
Big with false hopes and eager after fame:
Till looking round me, e'er the race began,
Madmen and giddy fools were all that ran!
Reclaimed betimes, I from the lists retire,
And thank the Gods, who my retreat inspire.
In happier times our ancestors were bred,
When virtue was the only path to tread.
Give me, ye Gods, but the same road to fame,
Whate'er my father's dar'd, I dare the same.
Changed is the scene, some baneful planet rules
An impious world contriv'd for knaves and fools.

He concludes with the following lines

Happy the man, of mortals happiest he,
Whose quiet mind of vain desires is free;
Whom neither hopes deceive, nor fears torment,
But lives at peace, within himself content,
In thought or act accountable to none
But to himself, and to the Gods alone.
O sweetness of content, seraphic joy!
Which nothing wants, and nothing can destroy.
Where dwells this peace, this freedom of the mind?
Where but in shades remote from human kind;
In flow'ry vales, where nymphs and shepherds meet,
But never comes within the palace-gate.
Farewel then cities, courts, and camps farewel,
Welcome ye groves, here let me ever dwell.
[Page 246] From care and bus'ness, and mankind remove,
All but the Muses, and inspiring love:
How sweet the morn, how gentle is the night!
How calm tho evening, and the day how bright!
From thence, as from a hill, I view below
The crowded world, a mighty wood in shew,
Where several wand'rers travel day and night,
By different paths, and none are in the right.

In 1696 his Comedy called the She Gallants was acted at the Theatre-Royal * in Lincoln's-Inn-Fields. He afterwards altered this Comedy, and published it among his other works, under the title of Once a Lover and Always a Lover, which, as he observes in the preface, is a new building up­on an old foundation.

'It appeared first under the name of the She-Gallants, and by the preface then prefixed to it, is said to have been the Child of a Child. By taking it since under examination, so many years after, the author flatters himself to have made a correct Comedy of it; he found it regular to his hand; the scene constant to one place, the time not exceeding the bounds prescribed, and the action entire. It remained only to clear the ground, and to plant as it were fresh flowers in the room of those which were grown into weeds or were faded by time; to retouch and vary the characters; enliven the painting, retrench the superfluous; and animate the action, where it appeared the young author seemed to aim at more than he had strength to perform.'

The same year also his Tragedy, intitled Heroic Love, was acted at the Theatre Mr. Gildon ob­serves, ‘'that this Tragedy is written after the man­ner of the antients, which is much more natural [Page 247] and easy, than that of our modern Dramatists.'’ Though we cannot agree with Mr. Gildon, that the antient model of Tragedy is so natural as the modern; yet this piece must have very great merit, since we find Mr. Dryden addressing verses to the author upon this occasion, which begin thus,

Auspicious poet, wert thou not my friend,
How could I envy, what I must commend!
But since 'tis nature's law, in love and wit,
That youth should reign, and with'ring age submit,
With less regret, those laurels I resign,
Which dying on my brow, revive on thine.

Our author wrote also a dramatic poem, called the British Enchanters*, in the preface to which he observes, ‘'that it is the first Essay of a very in­fant Muse, rather as a task at such hours as were free from other exercises, than any way meant for public entertainment. But Mr. Bet­terton having had a casual fight of it, many years after it was written, begged it for the stage, where it met with so favourable a reception as to have an uninterrupted run of upwards of forty nights. To this Mr. Addison wrote the Epilogue.'’ Lord Lansdowne altered Shakespear's Merchant of Venice, under the title of the Jew of Venice, which was acted with applause, the pro­fits of which were designed for Mr. Dryden, but upon that poet's death were given to his son.

In 1702 he translated into English the second Olynthian of Demosthenes. He was returned mem­ber for the county of Cornwall, in the parliament which met in November 1710, and was soon after made secretary of war, next comptroller of the houshold, and then treasurer, and sworn one of the [Page 248] privy council. The year following he was created baron Lansdowne of Biddeford in Devonshire*.

In 1719 he made a speech in the house of lords against the practice of occasional con­formity, which is printed among his works, and among other things, he says this. ‘'I always un­derstood the toleration to be meant as an indul­gence to tender consciences, not a licence for har­dened ones; and that the act to prevent occasional conformity was designed only to correct a parti­cular crime of particular men, in which no sect of dissenters was included, but these followers of Judas, which came to the Lord's-Supper, from no other end but to sell, and betray him. This crime however palliated and defended, by so many right reverend fathers in the church, is no less than making the God of truth, as it were in person subservient to acts of hypocrisy; no less than sacrificing the mystical Blood and Body of our Saviour to worldly and sinister purposes, an impiety of the highest nature! which in justice called for protection, and in charity for preven­tion. The bare receiving the holy Eucharist, could never be intended simply as a qualification for an office, but as an open declaration, an un­dubitable proof of being, and remaining a sincere member of the church. Whoever presumes to receive it with any other view profanes it; and may be said to seek his promotion in this world, by eating and drinking his own damnation in the next.'’

This accomplished nobleman died in February, Anno 1735. By his lady, Mary, widow of Thomas [Page 249] Thynne, Esq (father of Thomas lord viscount Weymouth) and daughter of Edward Villiers, earl of Jersey, he had issue, four daughters, Anne, Mary, Grace and Elizabeth.

His lady died but a few days before him.

Mr. Pope, with many other poets of the first eminence, have celebrated lord Lansdowne, who seems to have been a good-natur'd agreeable nobleman. The lustre of his station no doubt pro­cured him more incense, than the force of his ge­nius would otherwise have attracted; but he appears not to have been destitute of fine parts, which were however rather elegantly polished, than great in themselves.

Lord Landsdowne likewise wrote a Masque, called Peleus and Thetis. His lordship's works have been often printed both in quarto and in duo­d [...]\nmo.

Mr. JOHN GAY.

THIS eminent Wit was descended of an an­cient family in Devonshire, and educated at the free-school of Barnstaple in the same county, under the care of Mr. William Rayner, an excel­lent master*.

Mr. Gay had a small fortune at his disposal, and was bred, says Jacob, a Mercer in the Strand; but having a genius for high excellences, he considered such an employment as a degradation to it, and relinquished that occupation to reap the laurels of poetry.

About the year 1712 he was made secretary to the duchess of Monmouth, and continued in that station 'till he went over to Hanover, in the be­ginning of the year 1714, with the earl of Cla­rendon, who was sent there by Queen Anne; up­on whose death he returned to England, and lived in the highest esteem and friendship with persons of the first quality and genius. Upon Mr. Gay's arrival from Hanover, we find among Mr. Pope's letters one addressed to him dated September 23, 1714, which begins thus,

Dear GAY,

‘'Welcome to your native soil! welcome to your friends, thrice welcome to me! whether returned [Page 151] in glory, blessed with court-interest, the love and familiarity of the great, and filled with agreea­ble hopes; or melancholy with dejection, con­templative of the changes of fortune, and doubt­ful for the future. Whether returned a trium­phant Whig, or a desponding Tory, equally all hail! equally beloved and welcome to me! If happy, I am to share in your elevation; if un­happy, you have still a warm corner in my heart, and a retreat at Binfield in the worst of times at your service. If you are a Tory, or thought so by any man, I know it can proceed from no­thing but your gratitude to a few people, who endeavoured to serve you, and whose poli­tics were never your concern. If you are a Whig, as I rather hope, and as I think your principles and mine, as brother poets, had ever a bias to the side of liberty, I know you will be an honest man, and an inoffensive one. Up­on the whole, I know you are incapable of be­ing so much on either side, as to be good for nothing. Therefore, once more, whatever you are, or in whatever state you are, all hail!'’

In 1724 his tragedy entitled the Captives, which he had the honour to read in MS. to Queen Caroline, then Princess of Wales, was act­ed at the Theatre-Royal in Drury Lane.

In 1726 he published his Fables, dedicated to the Duke of Cumberland, and the year following he was offered the place of gentleman usher to one of the youngest Princesses, which, by reason of some slight shewn him at court, he thought proper to refuse. He wrote several works of hu­mour with great success, particularly The Shep­herd's Week, Trivia, The What d'ye Call It, and The Beggars Opera, which was acted at the The­atre in Lincoln's-Inn-Fields 1728. *

[Page 252] The author of the Notes on this line of the Dunciad, b. iii. 1. 326.

Gay dies unpensioned with a hundred friends;

observes hat this opera was a piece of satire, which hits all tastes and degrees of men, from those of the highest quality to the very rabble. ‘"That verse of HoracePrimores populi arripuit populumque tributim, could never be so justly applied as in this case. The vast success of it was unprecedented, and al­most incredible. What is related of the wonder­ful effects of the ancient music, or tragedy, hard­ly came up to it. Sophocles and Euripides were less followed and famous; it was acted in London sixty three days uninterrupted, and renewed the next season with equal applause. It spread into all the great towns of England, was played in many places to the thirtieth and fortieth time; at Bath and Bristol fifty. It made its progress into Wales, Scotland and Ireland, where it was perform­ed twenty-four days together. It was lastly acted in Minorca. The fame of it was not confined to the author only; the ladies carried about with them the favourite songs of it in fans; and houses were furnished with it in screens. The girl who acted Polly, 'till then obscure, became all at once the favourite of the town, her pictures were en­graved, and sold in great numbers; her life writ­ten; books of letters and verses to her published; and pamphlets made even of her sayings and jests. Furthermore, it drove out of England, for that sea­son, the Italian Opera, which had carried all be­fore it for ten years; that idol of the nobility and the people, which Mr. Dennis by the labours [Page 253] and outcries of a whole life, could not overthrow, was demolished by a single stroke of this gentle­man's pen."’

Dr. Swift in his Intelligencer Numb. 3. has giv­en us a vindication of Mr. Gay, and the Beggars Opera; he observes, ‘'that though an evil taste be very apt to prevail both in Dublin and in Lon­don; yet, there is a point which whoever can rightly touch, will never fail of pleasing a very great majority; so great that the dislikers, out of dullness, or affectation, will be silent, and forced to fall in with the herd; the point I mean is, what we call humour, which, in its perfection, is allowed to be much preferable to wit, if it be not rather the most useful, and agreeable species of it.—Now I take the comedy, or farce (or whatever name the critic will allow it) called The Beggar's Opera, to excel in this article of humour, and upon that merit to have met with such prodigious success, both here and in Eng­land.'’ The dean afterwards remarks, ‘'that an opinion obtained, that in this opera, there ap­pears to be some reflexions on courtiers and statesmen. It is true indeed (says he) that Mr. Gay hath been somewhat singular in the course of his fortunes, attending the court with a large stock of real merit, a modest and agreeable con­versation, a hundred promises, and five hundred friends, hath failed of preferment, and upon a very weighty reason; he lay under the suspicion of having written a Libel, or Lampoon, against a great minister, it is true that great minister was demonstratively convinced, and publickly owned his conviction, that Mr. Gay was not the author, but having laid under the suspicion, it seemed very just that he should suffer the pu­nishment, because in this most reformed age the virtues of a great minister are no more to be suspected, than the chastity of Caesar's wife.'’

[Page 254] The dean then tells us, that our author in this piece has, by a turn of humour entirely new, placed vices of all kinds in the strongest, and most odi­ous light, and thereby done eminent service both to religion and morality. ‘'This appears from the unparalleled success he has met with; all ranks, parties, and denominations of men, either crowd­ing to see his Opera, or reading it with de­light in their closets; even ministers of state, whom he is thought most to have offended, appearing frequently at the Theatre, from a consciousness of their own innocence, and to convince the world how unjust a parallel, ma­lice, envy and disaffection to the government have made.—In this happy performance of Mr. Gay, all the characters are just, and none of them carried beyond nature, or hardly beyond practice. It discovers the whole system of that commonwealth, or that imperium in imperio of iniquity established among us, by which, neither our lives, nor our properties are secure, either in highways, or in public assemblies, or even in our own houses; it shews the miserable lives and constant fate of those abandoned wretches; for how small a price they sell their souls, be­trayed by their companions, receivers, and pur­chasers of those thefts and robberies. This co­medy contains likewise a satire, which though it doth by no means affect the present age, yet might have been useful in the former, and may possibly be so in ages to come, I mean where the author takes occasion of comparing those common robbers of the public, and their several stratagems of betraying, undermining, and hang­ing each other, to the several arts of politicians in the time of corruption. This comedy like­wise exposes, with great justice, that unnatural taste for Italian music among us, which is whol­ly unsuitable to our Northern climate, and the [Page 255] genius of the people, whereby we are overrun with Italian effeminacy. An old gentleman said to me many years ago, when the practice of an unnatural vice grew so frequent in London, that many were prosecuted for it; he was sure it would be the forerunner of Italian operas and singers, and then we should want nothing but stabbing, or poisoning, to make us perfect Italians. Upon the whole I deliver my judg­ment; that nothing but servile attachment to a party, affectation of singularity, lamentable dull­ness, mistaken zeal, or studied hypocrisy, can have any objection against this excellent moral performance of Mr. Gay*.'’

The astonishing success of the Beggar's Opera induced our author to add a second part, in which, however, he was disappointed, both in profit and fame. His opera entitled Polly, designed as a sequel of the former, was prohibited by the lord chamberlain from being represented on the stage, when every thing was ready for the rehearsal of it, but was soon after printed in 4to. to which the author had a very large subscription. In the pre­face Mr. Gay gives a particular account of the whole affair in the following manner;

'On Thurs­day December 12 (says he) I received this an­swer from the chamberlain, that it should not be allowed to be acted, but suppressed. This was told me in general without any reasons as­ [...]\ngned, or any charge against me of my having given any particular offence. Since this prohi­bition I have been told, that I am accused, in general terms, of having written many disaffect­ed libels, and seditious pamphlets. As it hath ever been my utmost ambition (if that word may be used upon this occasion) to lead a quiet and ino [...]\nnsive life, I thought my innocence in this [Page 256] particular would never have needed a justifica­tion, and as this kind of writing is what I ever detested, and never practiced, I am per­suaded so groundless a calumny can never be believed, but by those who do not know me. But when general aspersions of this sort have been cast upon me, I think myself called upon to declare my principles, and I do with the strictest truth affirm, that I am as loval a sub­ject, and as firmly attached to the present happy establishment, as any of those who have the greatest places or pensions. I have been inform­ed too, that in the following play I have been charged with writing immoralities; that it is filled with slander and calumny against particular great persons, and that Majesty itself is endeavoured to be brought into ridicule and contempt.'

'As I know that every one of these charge, was in every point absolutely false, and without the least grounds, at first I was not at all affect­ed by them; but when I found they were still insisted upon, and that particular passag [...]\ns which were not in the play were quoted, and pr [...]\npa­gated to support what had been suggested, I could no longer bear to lye under those false accusations; so by printing it, I have submitted, and given up all present views of profit, which might accrue from the stage, which will un­doubtedly be some satisfaction to the worthy gentlemen, who have treated me with so much candour and humanity, and represented me in such favourable colours. But as I am conscious to myself, that my only intention was to lash in general the reigning and fashionable vices, and to recommend, and set virtue in as amiable a light as I could; to justify and vindicate my own character, I thought myself obliged to print the opera without delay, in the manner I have done.'

[Page 257] The large subscription Mr. Gay had to print it, amply recompens'd any loss he might receive from it's not being acted. Tho' this was called the Sequel to the Beggar's Opera, it was allowed by his best friends, searce to be of a piece with the first part, being in every particular, infinitely beneath it.

Besides the works which we have already men­tioned, Mr. Gay wrote several poems, printed in London in 2 vol. 12mo.

  • A Comedy called The Wife of Bath, first acted 1715, and afterwards revived, altered, and repre­sented at the Theatre Royal in Lincoln's-Inn-Fields.
  • Three Hours after Marriage, a Comedy; acted at the Theatre-Royal, in which he was assisted by Pope and Arbuthnot, but had the mortification to see this piece very ill received, if not damned the first night.

He wrote likewise Achilles, an Opera; acted at the Theatre in Covent-Garden. This was brought on the stage after his death, and the profits were given to his Sisters.

After experiencing many vicissitudes of fortune, and being for some time chiefly supported by the liberality of the duke and duchess of Queensberry, he died at their house in Burlington Gardens, of a violent inflammatory fever, in December 1732, and was interred in Westminster, by his noble benefactors just mentioned, with the follow­ing epitaph written by Mr. Pope, who had the since [...]\nest friendship for him on account of his ami­able qualities.

[Page 258]
Of manners gentle, of affections mild;
In wit a man, simplicity a child;
Above temptation in a low estate,
And uncorrupted even amongst the great;
A safe companion, and an easy friend,
Unblamed thro' life, lamented in thy end:
These are thy honours! not that here thy bust
Is mix'd with heroes, or with kings thy dust,
But that the worthy and the good shall say,
Striking their pensive bosoms—here lies GAY;

Then follows this farther inscription,‘Here lie the ashes of Mr. John Gay;
The warmest friend;
The most benevolent man:
Who maintained
Independency
In low circumstances of fortune;
Integrity
In the midst of a corrupt age;
And that equal serenity of mind,
Which conscious goodness alone can give
Thro' the whole course of his life.

Favourite of the muses
He was led by them to every elegant art;
Refin'd in taste,
And fraught with graces all his own:
In various kinds of poetry
Superior to many,
Inferior to none,
His works continue to inspire
What his example taught,
Contempt of folly, however adorned;
Detestation of vice, however dignified;
Reverence of virtue, however disgraced.’

[Page 259] Charles and Catherine, duke and duchess of Queensberry, who loved this excellent man living, and regret him dead, have caused this monument to be erected to his memory.

Mr. Gay's moral character seems to have been very amiable. He was of an affable, sweet dis­position, generous in his temper, and pleasant in his conversation. His chief failing was an ex­cessive indolence, without the least knowledge of oeconomy; which often subjected him to wants he needed not otherwise have experienced. Dean Swift in many of his letters entreated him, while money was in his hands, to buy an annuity, lest old age should overtake him unprepared; but Mr. Gay never thought proper to comply with his ad­vice, and chose rather to throw himself upon patro­nage, than secure a competence, as the dean wisely advised. As to his genius it would be superfluous to say any thing here, his works are in the hands of every reader of taste, and speak for themselves; we know not whether we can be justified in our opi­nion, but we beg leave to observe, that of all Gay's performances, his Pastorals seem to have the highest finishing; they are perfectly Doric; the characters and dialogue are natural and rurally simple; the language is admirably suited to the persons, who appear delightfully rustic.

PHILIP Duke of WHARTON.

THE unhappy nobleman, the memoirs of whose life we are now about to relate, was en­dowed by nature with all those shining qualifications by which a great man can be formed. He pos­sessed a most extensive memory, a strong and lively imagination, and quick and ready apprehension.

By the immediate authority of his father, our noble author's studies were confined to one particu­lar branch of learning; with a view, no doubt, that his son's uncommon genius might make the greater progress, and shine with a superior lustre in that species of erudition he had made choice of for him. On this account it was, that the earl his fa­ther would not permit the young lord to go to pub­lic or private schools, or to any college, or univer­sity, but had him carefully instructed by domestic tutors; and as he gave an early display of the most astonishing parts, the earl bent all his thoughts how to improve them in the best manner, for his son's future advantage.

As soon at this sprightly genius, had laid a suffi­cient foundation in classical learning, he studied his­tory, particularly that of his own country, by which he was able to discern the principles of the consti­tution, the revolutions it has undergone, the variety of accidents by which it may be endangered, and the true policy by which it can be preserved. While he thus read history, he became a politician; [Page 261] and as he did not neglect other sciences, he acquir­ed a general knowledge both of life and things, be­fore most other persons of distinction begin to read, or think at all.

By his not receiving an academical education, he escaped that stiffness and moroseness of temper frequently contracted by those who have been for some time condemned to a collegiate obscurity. Neither had he the least tincture of a haughty supe­riority, arising from the nobleness of his birth, and the lustre of his abilities. His conversation was easy, pleasant, and instructive, always suited to his company, of whatever quality, humour, or capacity they were.

As it was the earl of Wharton's view, to qualify his son to fill that high station, in which his birth would one day place him with advantage to his country; his great care was to form him a com­pleat orator. For this purpose some of the princi­pal parts in the best English Tragedies were assign'd him at times to study, particularly those of Shake­spear, which he used to repeat before a private au­dience. Sometimes his father gave him speeches which had been uttered in the house of peers, and which the young lord got by heart, and delivered with all the graces of action and elocution; with so much propiety of expression, emphasis of voice, and pronunciation wherever it was re­quisite, as shewed his lordship was born for this arduous province. Nor did the excellency of these performances receive a small additional beauty from the gracefulness of his person, which was at once soft and majestic.

Thus endowed by nature to charm and persuade, what expectations might not have been formed on him? A youth of a noble descent, who added to that advantage the most astonishing parts ever man possessed, improved by an uncommon and well re­gulated education. What pity is it, this illustrious [Page 262] young man, born to have dictated to the senate, and directed the business of a state, with the eyes of a people fixed upon him, should fall so exceedingly short of those fair hopes, he had so justly raised in every breast. He wanted one quality, without which birth, fortune, and abilities, suffer a con­siderable diminution. That quality is prudence; of which the duke of Wharton was so destitute, that all his parts were lost to the world, and the world lost to him.

The first prelude to his misfortunes, may just­ly be reckoned his falling in love, and privately marrying a young lady, the daughter of major ge­neral Holmes; a match by no means suited to his birth, fortune and character; and far less to the ambitious views his father had of disposing of him in such a marriage, as would have been a consider­able addition to the fortune and grandeur of his il­lustrious family. However disappointed the earl of Wharton might be, in his son's marrying beneath his quality; yet that amiable lady who became his daughter-in-law deserved infinitely more felicity than she met with by an alliance with his family; and the young lord was not so unhappy through any misconduct of hers, as by the death of his father, which this precipitate marriage is thought to have hastened. The duke being so early freed from paternal restraints, plunged himself into those numberless excesses, which became at last fatal to him; and he proved, as Pope expresses it,

A tyrant to the wife his heart approv'd;
A rebel to the very king he lov'd.

The young lord in the beginning of the year 1716 indulged his desire of travelling and finishing his education abroad; and as he was designed to be instructed in the strictest Whig principles, Geneva was judged a proper place for his residence. On [Page 263] his departure from England for this purpose, he took the rout of Holland, and visited several courts of Germany, and that of Hanover in particular.

Though his lordship was now possessed of his fa­mily estate, as much as a minor could be; yet his trustees very much limited his expences, and made him too moderate remittances, for a person of his rank and spirit. This gave him great uneasiness, and embarrassed him much in his way of living, which ill suited with the profusion of his taste. To remove these difficulties, he had recourse to mortgaging, and by premiums and large interest paid to usurers, supplied his present necessities, by rendering his affairs still worse.

The unhappy divisions which reigned in England at the time this young peer made his first entry into public life, rendered it almost impossible for him to stand neuter, and on whatever side he should declare himself, still there was danger. The world gene­rally expected he would follow the steps of his father, who was one of the first English gentlemen who joined the prince of Orange, and continued firm to the Revolution principles, and consequently approv­ed the Hanoverian succession, upon whose basis it was built. But whatever motives influenced the young marquis (for king William had bestowed this title on his father) he thought proper to join the contrary party. The cause of his abandoning the principles of the Whigs is thought to be this.

The marquis being arrived at Geneva, he con­ceived so great a disgust at the dogmatical precepts of his governor, the restraints he endeavoured to lay upon him, and the other instances of strict dis­cipline exercised in that meridian of Presbyterianism, that he fell upon a scheme of avoiding these intole­rable incumbrances; so, like a torrent long confined within its bounds by strong banks, he broke loose, and entered upon engagements, which, together with the natural impetuosity of his temper, threw him [Page 264] into such inconveniencies, as rendered the remain­ing part of his life unhappy.

His lordship, as we have already observed, being very much disgusted with his governor, left him at Geneva, and as if he had been flying from a pesti­lence, set out post for Lyons, where he arrived about the middle of October 1716.

The author of the duke of Wharton's life has informed us, that the reason of his lordship's leaving his governor so abruptly, was on account of the freedom with which that gentleman treated him, a circumstance very disgustful to a person of his qua­lity. He took leave of him in the following manner.

His lordship somewhere in his travels had picked up a bear's cub, of which he was very fond, and carried it about with him; but when he was deter­mined to abandon his tutor, he left the cub be­hind him, with the following note addressed to him.

'Being no longer able to bear with your ill-usage, I think proper to be gone from you; however, that you may not want company, I have left you the bear, as the most suitable companion in the world, that could be picked out for you.'

When the marquis was at Lyons he took a very strange step, little expected from him. He wrote a letter to the Chevalier de St. George, then residing at Avignon, to whom he presented a very fine stone-horse. Upon receiving this present, the Chevalier sent a man of quality to the marquis, who carried him privately to his court, where he was received with the greatest marks of esteem, and had the title of duke of Northumberland conferred upon him. He remained there however but one day, and then returned post to Lyons; from whence he set out for Paris. He likewise made a visit [Page 265] to the queen dowager of England, consort to king James the IId, then residing at St. Germains, to whom he paid his court, pursued the same rash measures as at Avignon.

During his stay at Paris, his winning address, and astonishing parts; gained him the esteem and ad­miration of all British subjects of both parties who happened to be there. The earl of Stair, then em­bassador at the court of France from the king of Great Britain, notwithstanding all the reports to the marquis's disadvantage, thought proper to shew some respect to the representative of so great a fa­mily, which had so resolutely supported the present administration, especially as he was a young man of such great personal accomplishments, both natural and acquired, and blest with a genius so capable of serving his country even in the most eminent station.

These considerations induced lord Stair, who was a prudent, discerning minister, to countenance the young marquis, give him frequent invitations to his table, and to use him with distinguishing civility. The earl was likewise in hopes, by these gentle mea­sures, and this insinuating behaviour, to win him to his party, which he had good reason to think he hated. His excellency never failed to lay hold of every opportunity, to give him some admonitions, which were not always agreeable to the vivacity of his temper, and sometimes provoked him to great indiscretions. Once in particular, the ambassador extolling the merit, and noble behaviour of the marquis's father, added, ‘'That he hoped he would follow so illustrious an example of fidelity to his prince, and love to his country, by treading in the same steps.'’—Upon which the marquis im­mediately answered, ‘'That he thanked his ex­cellency for his good advice, and as his excellency had also a worthy and deserving father, he hoped he would likewise copy so bright an original and tread in all his steps.'’

[Page 266] This was a severe sarcasm, as the ambassador's father had betrayed his master in a manner that was quite shameful. He acted the same part in Scotland which Sunderland did in England. They pushed on king James the IId. to take violent and uncon­stitutional measures, to make his ruin certain: They succeeded in their scheme, and after the Revolution, boasted their conduct as meritorious; but however necessary it might be for king William, upon prin­ciples of policy to reward the betrayers, he had yet too good a heart to approve the treachery.—But to return to the marquis, we shall mention another of his juvenile f [...]\nghts, as an instance to what ex­travagant and unaccountable excesses, the inconstancy of his temper would sometimes transport him.

A young English surgeon, who went to Paris, to improve himself in his business, by observing the practice in the celebrated hospitals, passing by the embassador's house on the 10th of June at night, took the liberty to break his excellency's windows because there was no bonfire before his door. Up­on this outrage he was seized and committed prisoner to Fort L'Eveque. This treatment of the young surgeon was resented by the marquis; but he sought for no other satisfaction than to break the ambassador's windows a second time. Accordingly his lordship proposed it to an Irish lieutenant-general, in the ser­vice of [...]\nrance, a gentleman of great honour and of the highest reputation for abilities in military affairs, desiring his company and assistance therein. The general could not help smiling at the extra­vagance of the proposal, and with a great deal of good-nature advised his lordship by all means not to make any such attempts; ‘'but if he was reso­lutely bent upon it, he begg'd to be excused from being of the party, for it was a method of making war to which he had never been ac­customed.'’

[Page 267] We might here enumerate more frolics of the same kind which he either projected, or engaged in, but we chuse rather to omit them as they reflect but little honour on the marquis.—We shall only observe, that before he left France, an English gentleman of distinction expostulating with him, for swerving so much from the principles of his father and his whole family, his lordship answered, ‘'That he had pawned his principles to Gordon the Pretender's banker for a considerable sum; and till he could repay him, he must be a Jacobite, but that when that was done he would again return to the Whigs.'’

About the latter end of December 1716, the marquis arrived in England, where he did not re­main long, till he set out for Ireland; in which kingdom, on account of his extraordinary qualities, he had the honour done him of being admitted, though under age, to take his seat in that august assembly of the house of peers, to which he had a right as earl of Rathfarnam, and marquis of Ca­therlough. Here he espoused a very different in­terest from that which he had so lately embraced. He distinguished himself on this occasion as a vio­lent partizan for the ministry; and acted in all other respects, as well in his private as public capacity, with the warmest zeal for the government. The speeches which he made in the house upon many occasions, uttered with so much force of expression, and propriety of emphasis, were an irresistable de­monstration of his abilities, and drew upon him the admiration of both kingdoms. The marquis's ar­guments had very great influence on which side of the question soever he happened to be.—No noble­man, either in that or the English house of peers, ever acquitted himself with greater reputation, or behaved with a more becoming dignity than he did during this session of the Irish parliament.

[Page 268] In consequence of this zeal for the new govern­ment, shewn at a time when they stood much in need of men of abilities, and so little expected from the young marquis, the king who was no stranger to the most refined rules of policy, created him a duke, the highest degree of a subject.

In the preamble to his patent, after a detail of the merit of his father, and his services to the go­vernment are illustrated, his lordship's behaviour in Ireland and his early endowments are thus men­tioned.

'When we see the son of that great man, form­ing himself by so worthy an example, and in every action exhibiting a lively resemblance of his fa­ther; when we consider the eloquence he has ex­erted with so much applause in the parliament of Ireland, and his turn and application, even in early youth to the serious and weighty affairs of the public, we willingly decree him honours which are neither superior to his merits, nor earlier than the expectation of our good subjects.'

As soon as the duke of Wharton came of age, he was introduced to the house of lords in England, with the like blaze of reputation, and raised jealou­sies in the breasts of the most consummately artful, and best qualified in the house of peers. A little before the death of lord Stanhope, his grace, who was constant in nothing but inconstancy, again changed sides, opposed the court, and endeavoured to defeat all the schemes of the ministry.

He appeared one of the most forward and vigor­ous in the defence of the bishop of Rochester, and [Page 269] in opposing the bill for inflicting pains and penal­ties on that prelate.

The judicious observations he made on the trial of the bishop, and the manner in which he sum­med up and compared a long and perplexed kind of evidence, with inimitable art and per [...]\np [...]\nuity, may be seen in the duke's speech upon that extraordinary occasion, which is a lasting proof of his amazing abilities in the legislative capacity, as well as of his general knowledge of public business.

He, however, did not confine this spirit of oppo­sition to the house of lords, but [...] it both in city and country, promoting in all kinds of elections such persons as were supposed to be no fautors of the court. Such was the hatred he now conceived to the ministry, and such his desire of becoming eminent; that he even pushed himself into the city of London; was invested with the rights and pri­vileges of a citizen, and was entered a member of the wax-chandler's company; by virtue of which he appeared at all meetings, charmed all societies, and voted in his own right upon all occasions.

Notwithstanding his astonishing activity in oppo­sition to the court, he was not yet satisfied that he had done enough. He could not be in all places, and in all companies at once. As much an orator as he was, he could not talk to the whole na­tion, and therefore he printed his thoughts twice a week, in a paper called the True-Briton, several thousands of which being dispersed weekly, the duke was pleased to find the whole kingdom giving attention to him, and admiring him as an author, though they did not at all approve his reasoning.

Those political papers, which were reckoned by some the standard of good sense, and elegant writ­ing, [Page 270] were collected together in his life-time, and reprinted by his order, with a preface, in which he gives his reasons for engaging in an undertak­ing so uncommon to a person of his distinction.

Here it will not be improper to remark, that notwithstanding all those instances of the duke's zeal, his sincerity in opposing the mi­nistry was yet suspected, as his former beha­vio [...]\nr was so very inconsistent with it; but he never fa [...]\nled to ju [...]\nify himself throughout the dif­ferent and contrary courses of his conduct, pre­tending always to have acted consistently with the honour and interest of the [...]\nealm. But he never was able in this particular to obtain the public judgment in his favour.

It is impossib [...]\ne to reconcile all the various ac­tions of this noble-man. He was certainly too much governed by whim and accident. From this time forward, however, though he might deviate from the strict rules of a moral life, he cannot be said to have done so with respect to his politics. The same principles on which he set out, he carried to his grave, with steadine [...]\ns through all the events of fortune, and underwent such necessities, as few of his quality ever experienced, in a cause, the revival and success of which had long been despe­rate, before he engaged in it.

The duke's boundless profusion had by this time so burthened his estate, that a decree of chancery took hold on it, and vested it in the hands of trustees for the payment of his debts, but not without making a provision of 1200 l. per annum for his subsistence. This allowance not being suf­ficient to support his title with suitable dignity at home, he proposed to go abroad for some years, 'till his estate should clear itself of incum­brances. His friends, for his own sake, were [Page 271] pleased with this resolution, and every body con­sidered this course as the most prudent, that in such circumstances could be taken. But in this the world was deceived, for he went abroad from no such prudent motive, oeconomy being a vir­tue of which he never had the least notion in any part of his life. His business at Vienna was to execute a private commission, not in savour of the English ministry, nor did he ever shine to greater advantage, as to his personal character, than at the Imperial court.

From Vienna his grace made a tour to the court of Spain, where his arrival alarmed the English minister so much, that two expresses were sent from Madrid to London, upon the apprehension that his grace was received there in the character of an ambassador, upon which the duke received a summons under the Privy Seal to return home. His behaviour on this occasion was a sufficient indication that he never designed to return to Eng­land, whilst affairs remained in the same state; and the administration in the same hands they then were in. This he often declared from his going abroad the second time, which, no doubt, was the occasion of his treating that solemn order with so much indig­nity, and endeavouring to enflame the Spanish court, not only against the person who delivered the warrant, but against the court of Great Brit [...]\nin it­self, for exercising an act of power, as he was pleased to call it, within the juri [...]\ndiction of his Catholic Majesty. After this he acted openly in the service of the Pretender, and appeared at his court, where he was received with great marks of favour.

While his grace was thus employed abroad, his duchess, who had been neglected by him, died in England, on the 14th of April 1726, and left no issue behind her. The lady's death gave the duke no great shock. He was disencumbered of her [Page 272] and had now an opportunity of mending his for­tune by marriage.

Soon after this, the duke fell violently in love with Mademciselle Obern, a beautiful young lady at the Spanish court, who was then one of the maids of honour to the Queen of Spain. She was daughter of an Irish colonel in that service, who being dead, her mother lived upon a pension the King allowed her, so that this lady's fortune consisted chiefly in her personal accomplishments. Many arguments were used by their friends on both sides to dissuade them from the marriage. The Queen of Spain, when the duke asked her consent, represented to him in the most lively terms, that the consequence of the match would be misery to both, and absolutely refused her consent.

Having now no hopes of obtaining her, he fell into a violent melancholy, which introduced a lin­gering fever, of which he languished 'till he was almost ready to drop into the ground. This cir­cumstance reaching her Majesty's ear, she was mov­ed with his distress. and sent him word to endea­vour the recovery of his health, and as soon as he was able to appear abroad, she would speak to him in a more favourable manner, than at their last interview. The duke upon receiving this news, imag [...]\nned it the best way to take the advantage of the kind disposition her Majesty was in; and summoning to his assistance his little remain­ing strength, he threw himself at her Majesty's feet, and begged of her either to give him Ma­d [...]\nmoi [...]\nelle [...]\nbern, or not to order him to live, assering her, in the language of tragedy, that she was to pronounce the sentence of his life, or death. The Queen consented, but told him he would soon repent it, and the young lady being dazzled with the lustre of a ducal title, and be­sides [Page 273] having a real value for her lover, they were soon united by an indissoluble bond.

After the solemnization of his marriage, he passed some time at Rome, where he accepted of a blue garter, affected to appear with the title of duke of Northumberland, and for a­while enjoyed the confidence of the exiled Prince. But as he could not always keep him­self within the bounds of the Italian gravity, and having no employment to amuse his active tem­per, he ran into his usual excesses, which giving offence, it was thought proper for him to remove from that city for the present, lest he should fall into actual disgrace. Accordingly the duke quit­ted Rome, and went by sea to Barcelona, where hearing that the trenches were opening before Gibraltar, he resolved upon a new scene of life, which few suspected he would ever engage in. He wrote a letter to the King of Spain, acquainting him, ‘'That he designed to take up arms in his Majesty's service, and apprehending that his forces were going to reduce the town of Gi­braltar under his obedience, he hoped he should have his permission to assist at the siege as a volunteer.'’

This done, he went to the camp, taking his duchess along with him, and was received with all the marks of respect due to his quality. The Conde de la Torres, who commanded there, de­livered him an obliging letter from the King his master, thanking him for the honour he intended him, by serving in his troops, and during that siege, appointed him his aid-de-camp, by which post the duke was to give an account of all transactions to his Majesty himself, which obliged him to be often in the trenches, and to expose his person to imminent danger. During this siege want of courage was never imputed to him; on the contrary, he was often guilty of the most im­prudent [Page 274] rashness. One evening he went close to the walls, near one of the posts of the town, and threatened the soldiers of the garrison. They asked who he was? he readily answered, the duke of Wharton; and though he appeared there as an enemy, they suffered him to return to the trench­es without firing one shot at him.

This siege was ended, and the duke received no other hurt, than a wound in his foot by the burst­ing of a grenade, and when nothing more was to be done in the camp, he went to court, where he was held in the utmost respect by the princi­pal nobility. The King likewise, as a mark of his favour, was pleased to give him a com­mission of Colonel Agregate (that was the term) to one of the Irish regiments, called Hibernia, and commanded by the marquis de Castelar.

Could the duke have been satisfied with that state of life, and regulated his expences according to his income, he had it then in his power to live, if not affluently, at least easily. But in a short time he was for changing the scene of action; he grew weary of Madrid, and set his heart on Rome. In consequence of this resolution, he wrote a letter to the Chevalier de St. George, full of respect and submission, expressing a desire of visiting his court; but the Chevalier returned for answer, that he thought it more advisable for his grace to draw near England, than make a tour to Rome, that he might be able to accom­modate matters with the government at home, and take some care of his personal estate. The Che­valier very prudently judged, that so wretched an oeconomist as the duke, would be too great a burden to a person, whose finances were not in a much better condition than his own. Be that as it may, the duke seemed resolved to follow his advice, and accordingly set out for France, in [Page 275] company with his duchess, and attended by two or three servants, arrived at Paris in May 1728. He sent a letter to Mr. Walpole then embassador there, to let him know he designed to visit him. That gentleman returned the duke a civil answer, importing, ‘'that he should be glad to see his grace at his own time, if he intended it a pub­lic visit; if a private one, they would agree upon an hour, that should be most convenient.'’ The duke declared that he would come publicly, which he did next day, and his discourse with that minister was suitable to the usual gaiety of his temper; for though he spoke of returning home, it was in such an undetermined way, that Mr. Walpole could not guess his real intentions. He received the duke however with his usual com­plaisance, and with a respect agreeable to his qua­lity, but was not a little surprized, when, at par [...]\n­ing, his grace told him, he was going to dine with the bishop of Rochester. Mr. Walpole answered, ‘'That if he had a design of making that prelate a visit, there was no manner of occasion for tell­ing him of it.'’ Thus they parted, and never a­gain had another interview.

The duke made little stay at Paris, but pro­ceeded to Rouen in his way, as some imagined, to England; but there he stopt, and took up his re­sidence, without reflecting in the least on the business that brought him to France. He was so sar from making any concession to the government in or­der to make his peace, that he did not give himself the least trouble about his personal estate, or any other concern in England. The duke had about 600 l. in his possession, when he arrived at Rouen, where more of his servants joined him from Spain. There he formed his houshold, and made a calculation, in which there appeased to be but one mistake, that is, he proportioned his expences, not according to his income, but quali­ty; [Page 276] and though every argument was used to con­ [...]\nince him of this error, at once so obvious and fatal. yet he would hearken to no admonition while he had one crown left.

At Rouen, as in every other place, the duke charmed all those who conversed with him; he was warmly received by persons of the first di­stincti [...]\nn in that province, with whom he took the diversion of hunting twice a week, 'till some news arrived, which would have given interrupti­on to the mirth of any other man; but the alte­ration was scarce to be perceived in him.

This was a Bill of Indictment preferred against Philip duke of Wharton, for high treason. The fact laid to his charge was, appearing in arms before, and firing off cannon against, his Majesty's town of Gibraltar. Here we cannot omit an anecdote, from which the reader may draw what conclusion he pleases. During the time the pro­ceedings against the duke were at a stand in the long vacation, a gentleman of character, intimate­ly acquainted with the duke, and also with his af­fairs in England; one who enjoyed the sunshine of court favour, and was a Member of Parlia­ment, went over to Rouen to visit his grace, in company with another gentleman. These two visitants took a great deal of pains to persuade him to submit to the government, and re­turn to his estate, which they assured him he might do, by writing a letter to the King, or the mi­nistry. This alone, without any other pretensions to favour, was to re-establish him, and leave him the free enjoyment of his estate, which, notwith­standing all the reductions, would even then have yielded 6000 l. a year. This point they sollicited incessantly, and their words of honour were given, to remove all scruples his grace might have about the performance of the conditions. Their interpositi­ons were however in vain; he refused to submit [Page 277] to the ministry, or write to the King, and thought it beneath him to ask a favour.

This conduct of the duke may be imputed, by some, to pride and obstinacy, but a more natural construction is, that he was afraid of treachery. He could not discover upon what motives, two persons whom he looked upon as creatures of the court, would give themselves the trouble to come to Rouen, in order to persuade him to act for his own interest, unless they had some concealed views of such a nature, perhaps, as would prove fatal to him, should he submit.

He soon after this received advice from Eng­land, that his trustees could remit him no more of his annuity, on account of the indictment pre­ferred against him. There was now a dreadful prospect before him; his money was wasted; all future supplies cut off; and there was a large fa­mily to support, without any hopes of relief. He began now to feel the effects of the indictment, which he before held in so much contempt; he complained of it as a rigorous proceeding, because it laid him under a necessity of asking a favour, and receiving it in a public manner, which he fancied neither consistent with his honour, or re­putation. Thus exasperated against the govern­ment, he wrote the memorable paper which he con­trived to get printed in Mist's Journal, under the colour of an account of Mirevais and Sultan Ezref, which contained severe reflexions on the administration. Mean time the duke's credit at Rouen began to sink; he was attended every morning with a considerable levee, confisting of the tradesmen of that city, who came with im­portunate faces to demand payment of their bills, which he discharged by quitting Rouen, leaving his horses and equipage to be sold, and the money to be divided among them.

[Page 278] The duke, before this event, had thrown himself at the feet of the Chevalier de St. George, as the only possible resource he had left. Accordingly he wrote him a most moving letter, giving him a detail of his present sufferings, very pathetically represent­ing the distress to which he was reduced, and hum­bly imploring his protection, with what little assist­ance might be necessary to enable him to support such a burthen of calamities, as he found otherwise too heavy to bear.

The duke having now returned to Paris, made a considerable reformation in his houshold affairs, and placed himself in a private family, while the duchess went to a relation's at St. Germains. In the mean while the answer of the letter sent to Rome came in its proper time, in which his imprudent conduct was represented; but at the same time was touched with so light and delicate a hand, that it gave the duke but little uneasiness. No hopes were given him, that he should be gratified in his extravagancies, or flattered in his levities; on the contrary he was told, ‘'That as his past conduct had not merited any favour, nothing but his future behaviour could recommend him to it.'’ The duke had sufficient penetration to discover by this hint, that he was not likely to be abandoned, which was consolation enough to one of his sanguine temper, in the then desperate situation of his affairs.—The Chevalier de St. George soon after sent him 2000 l. for his support, of which he was no sooner in pos­session, than he squandered it away in a course of extravagance. In reality, money seemed to be such a burthen to him, that he bent all his thoughts to get rid of it as fast as possible; and he was as un­willing his companions should be troubled with it as himself. As a proof of this strange temper we [Page 279] shall quote one instance amongst many in the words of the writer of his life, which will serve to shew the heedless profusion of that unaccountable noble­man.

'A young Irish lord of the duke's acquaintance, of a sweet obliging and generous disposition, hap­pening to be at St. Germains, at the time his grace was paying a visit to his lady; the duke came to him one night, with an air of business, and told his lordship that an affair of importance called him instantly to Paris, in which no time was to be lost, wherefore he begged the favour of his lordship's coach. The young nobleman lent it very readily, but as the duke was stepping into it, he added, that he should reckon it an additi­onal obligation, if his lordship would give him, his company: As the duke was alone, the young lord either could not, or would not, refuse him. They went together for Paris, where they arrived about midnight. The duke's companion then supposing his grace's business might demand pri­vacy, offered to leave him and come again, when it should be finished; but he assured his lordship it was not necessary; upon which they went upon the following frolic together. The first thing to be done, was to hire a coach and four horses; the next to find out the music belonging to the Opera, six or eight of which his grace engaged at a set price: The young lord could not imagine in what this would end; till they returned to St. Germains, which was at five the next morning; when the duke marching directly with his troop to the castle, ordered them to strike upon the stairs. Then the plot broke out into execution, being no more than to serenade some young ladies, near whose apartments they then were.'

'This piece of extravagant gallantry being over, the duke persuaded the young lord to go about a mile off, to Poissy, where an English gentleman [Page 280] of their acquaintance lived: His lordship consent­ing, the duke took with him a pair of trumpets, and a kettle-drum, to give the music a more mar­tial air: But to this the Op [...]\nra music made an objection at first, because as they should be want­ed that night in their posts, they should forfeit half a louis d'or each, for non-appearance. Half a louis d'or! says his grace, follow the duke of Wharton, and all your forfeitures shall be paid. They did so, and entered Poissy in such a musical manner, that they alarmed the whole town, and their friend did not know whether he had best keep his house, or fly for it; but the affair was soon explained, and the musical troop was enter­tained by the gentleman their friend, in a very handsome manner. This frolic being now finished, there was one thing more absolutely necessary, viz. to discharge the reckoning, upon which oc­casion the duke in a very laconic manner addressed himself to the young lord.' My lord, says he, ‘'I have not one livre in my pocket, wherefore I must desire you to pay these fellows, and I'll do as much for you whenever I am able. Upon this his lordship with great chearfulness, paid all de­mands, amounting to 25 louis d'ors.'’

It may seem a strange observation, but it is cer­tainly true, that the brute creation differs not more from the rational in many respects, than a man from himself: That by suffering passions to usurp the dominion of the soul, human nature is stript of its dignity, debased to the beasts that perish, and still rendered more ignominious by the complica­tions of guilt. We have already seen the duke of Wharton set up as the idol of an admiring people; an august senate listened to the enchantments of his eloquence; a powerful ministry dreading his reso­lutions; he was courted, flattered, feared, and obeyed. View him now, and the scene is shifted. [Page 281] Observe him descending to the most abject trifling, stooping to the meanest expedients, and the orator and statesman transformed to the vagabond and the wanderer.

No incident in this nobleman's life has been re­presented more to his disadvantage, and is in itself more interesting than the following. The account which is here inserted was sent to a friend by the duke's express order.

A Scots peer with whom both the duke, and the duchess lived in great intimacy in Italy, happening to come to Paris, when the duke was there, they renewed their acquaintance and friendship, and for some time continued with mutual freedom, till the duke had reason to believe from what he heard from others, that the peer had boasted favours from the duchess of Wharton.

This instance of wanton vanity, the duke could not help resenting, though he often declared since the quarrel, that he never had the least suspicion of the duchess's honour. He resolved therefore very prudently to call the Scots lord to an account, without letting him know it was for the duchess or so much as mentioning her name; accordingly he took occasion to do it in this manner.

It happened that the duke of Wharton and his lordship me: at a lady's whom they mutually visited, and the duke dropping his glove by chance, his lordship took it up. and returned it to the duke; who thereupon ask [...]\nd him if he would take it up in all it's forms? To which his lordship answered, yes, my lord, in all its forms.

Some days after, the duke gave a ball at St. Germains, to which he invited the Scots nobleman, and some person indiscretely asked his grace whether he had forbid the duchess's dancing with lord C—. This gave the duke fresh reason to believe that the Scots peer had been administring new grounds for his resentment, by the wantonness of calumny. He [Page 282] dissembled his uneasiness for the present, and very politely entertained the company till five o'clock in the morning, when he went away without the ceremony of taking leave; and the next news that was heard of him was from Paris, from whence he sent a challenge to lord C—d, to follow him to Flanders.

The challenge was delivered by his servant, and was to this effect: ‘'That his lordship might re­member his saying he took up his glove in all its forms, which upon mature reflexion, his grace looked upon to be such an affront, as was not to be born, wherefore he desired his lordship to meet him at Valenciennes, where he would expect him with a friend and a pair of pistols; and on failure of his lordship's coming his grace would post him, &c.'’

The servant who delivered the letter, did not keep its contents a secret; and lord C—d was taken into custody, when he was about setting out to meet his grace. All that remained then for his. lordship to do, was to send a gentleman into Flan­ders, to acquaint the duke with what happened to him. His grace upon seeing the gentleman, i­magining him to be his lordship's second, spoke to him in this manner; ‘'Sir, I hope my lord will favour me so far as to let us use pistols, because the wound I received in my foot before Gibraltar, in some measure disables me from the sword.'’Hereupon the gentleman replied with some emotion, ‘'My lord duke, you might chuse what you please; my lord C—d will fight you with any weapon, from a small pin to a great cannon; but this is not the case, my lord is under an arrest, by order of the duke of Berwick.'’

His grace being thus disappointed in the duel, and his money being almost spent, he returned to Paris, and was also put under an arrest till the af­fair was made up by the interposition of the duke [Page 283] of Berwick, under whose cognizance it properly came as Marshal of France.

The duke's behaviour on this occasion, so far from being reproachable, seems to be the most manly action of his whole life. What man of spirit would not resent the behaviour of another, who should boast of favours from his wife, especial­ly when in all probability he never received any?

His grace's conducting the quarrel, so as to save the reputation of his duchess, by not so much as having her name called in question, was at once prudent, and tender; for whether a lady is guilty or no, if the least suspicion is once raised, there are detractors enough in the world ready to fix the stain upon her. The Scots lord deserved the severest treatment, for living in strict friendship with two persons of quality, and then with an insidious cruelty endeavouring to sow the seeds of eternal discord be­tween them, and all to gratify a little vanity: Than such a conduct nothing can be more reproachable.

Not long after this adventure, a whim seized the duke of going into a convent, in order to prepare for Easter; and while he was there, he talked with so much force and energy upon all points of religion, that the pious fathers beheld him with admiration. Mankind were for some time in suspence, what would be the issue of this new course of life; but he soon put an end to their speculations by appear­ing again in the world, and running headlong into as wild courses of vice and extravagance, as he had ever before done. He had for a companion, a gentleman for whom he entertained a very high esteem; but one who was as much an enemy as possible to such a licentious behaviour. In another situation, our noble author would have found it a happiness to be constantly attended by a person of his honour, probity, and good sense; but the duke's [Page 284] strange and unaccountable conduct, rendered the best endeavours to serve him ineffectual. In a letter which that gentleman wrote to a friend in London, he concludes with a melancholy representation of the duke's present circumstances;

'—However, notwithstanding what I have suffered, and what my brother madman has done to undo himself, and every body who was so un­lucky as to have the least concern with him, I could not help being sensibly m [...]\nved on so extra­ordinary a vicissitude of fortune, to see a great man fallen from that shining light, in which I have beheld him in the house of lords, to such a de­gree of obscurity, that I have beheld the meanest commoner here decline his company; and the Jew he would sometimes fasten on, grow tired of it, for you know he is a bad orator in his cups, and of late he has been seldom sober. A week before he left Paris, he was so reduced, that he had not one single crown at command, and was forced to thrust in with any acquaintance for a lodging: Walsh and I have had him by turns, all to avoid a crowd of duns, which he had of all sizes, from 1400 livres to 4, who hunted him so close, that he was forced to retire to some of the neighbouring villages for safety. I, sick as I was, hurried about Paris to get him money, and to St. Cermains to get him linen. I bought him one shirt and a cravat. which, with 500 livres, his whole stock, he and his duchess, at­tended by one servant, set out for Spain. All the news I have heard of him since, is, that a day or two after he sent for captain Brierly, and two or three of his domestics to follow him; but none but the captain obeyed the summons. Where they are now I cannot tell, but I fear they must be in great distress by this time, if he [Page 285] has had no other supplies; and so ends my melan­choly story.'

In this deplorable situation did the duke leave Paris, an instance indeed of the strange reverse of fortune, but for which he could not blame the severity of providence, or the persecution of ene­mies, but his own unbounded profusion, a slave to which he seems to have been born. As a long journey did not very well suit with his grace's fi­nances, so he went for Orleans, thence fell down the river Loire to Nantz in Britany, and there he stopt some time 'till he got a remittance from Pa­ris, which was squandered almost as soon as re­ceived. At Nantz some of his ragged servants re­joined him, and from thence he took shipping with them from Bilboa, as if he had been carry­ing recruits to the Spanish regiment. From Bil­boa he wrote a humorous letter to a friend at Paris, such as his fancy, not his circumstances, dictated, giving a whimsical account of his voyage, and his manner of passing away his time. But at the end, as if he had been a little affected with his late misconduct, he concludes thus, ‘'notwith­standing what the world may say of me,' Be kind to my remains, and O! defend, ' Against your judgment, your departed friend*.'

When the duke arrived at Bilboa, he had neither friends, money, nor credit, more than what the reputation of his Spanish commission procured him. Upon the strength of that he left his duchness and servant there, and went to his regiment, where he was obliged to sup­port himself upon the pay of 18 pistoles a month, but could get no relief for the poor la­dy and family he left behind him. The distress [Page 286] of the duchess was inexpressible, nor is it easy to conceive what would have been the conse­quence, if her unhappy circumstances had not reached the ear of another exiled nobleman at Madrid, who could not hear of her sufferings without relieving her. This generous exile, touch­ed with her calamities, sent her a hundred Spa­nish pistoles, which relieved her grace from a kind of captivity, and enabled her to come to Ma­drid, where she lived with her mother and grand­mother, while the duke attended his regiment. Not long after this, the duke's family had a great loss in the death of his lady's mother, by which they were deprived of a pension they before en­joyed from the crown of Spain; but this was for­tunately repaired by the interest of a nobleman at court, who procured the duchess's two sisters to be minuted down for Maids of Honour to the Queen of Spain, whenever a vacancy should hap­pen, but to enter immediately upon the salary of these places. Her Majesty likewise took the du­chess to attend her person.

There have been many instances of people, who have sustained the greatest shocks which adversity can inflict, through a whole life of suffering, and yet at last have yielded to the influence of a tri­fling evil: something like this was the case of the duke of Wharton, which the following story will illustrate.

He was in garrison at Barcelona, and coming from a ball one night, in company with some ladies, a man in a masque, whom he did not know, was guilty of some rudeness to him. The duke enquired who he was, and being informed that he was valet de chambre to the marquis de Ri­sbourg, governour of Catalonia, he suffered him­self to be transported by the first motions of his passion, and caned him. The fellow complained of this usage to his master, who at first took no [Page 287] notice of it, imagining his grace would make some excuse to him for such a procedure; but whether the duke thought it beneath his quality to make any apology for beating a menial ser­vant, who had been rude to him, or would not do it upon another account, he spoke not a word about it. The marquis resenting this behaviour, two days after ordered the duke to prison. He obeyed, and went to Fort Montjuich: as soon as he arrived there, the marquis fent him word, he might come out when he pleased; the duke an­swered, he scorned to accept liberty at his hands, and would not stir without an order from the court, imagining they would highly condemn the governour's conduct; but the marquis had too much credit with the minister, to suffer any di­minution of his power on that account; he received only a sharp rebuke, and the duke had orders to repair to his quarters, without entering again into Barcelona. This last mortification renewed the remembrance of all his misfortunes; he sunk be­neath this accident, and giving way to melancho­ly, fell into a deep consumption. Had the duke maintained his usual spirit, he would probably have challenged the marquis, and revenged the affront of the servant upon the master, who had made the quarrel his own, by resenting the valet's de­served correction.

About the beginning of the year 1731 he de­clined so fast, being in his quarters, at Lerida, that he had not the use of his limbs, so as to move without assistance; but as he was free from pain, he did not lose all his gaiety. He continued in this ill state of health for two months, when he gained a little strength, and found some be­nefit from a certain mineral water in the moun­tains of Catalonia; but his constitution was too much spent to recover the shocks it had received. He relapsed the May following at Terragana, whi­ther [Page 288] he removed with his regiment; and going to the above mentioned waters, the benesit whereof he had already experienced, he fell into one of those fainting fits, to which he had for some time been subject, in a small village, and was utterly destitute of all the necessaries of life, 'till some charitable fathers of a Bernardine convent, offer­ed him what assistance their house afforded. The duke accepted their kind proposal, upon which they removed him to their convent, and admini­stered all the relief in their power. Under this hospitable roof, after languishing a week, died the duke of Wharton, without one friend, or acquain­tance to close his eyes. His funeral was perform­ed in the same manner in which the fathers inter those of their own fraternity.

Thus we have endeavoured to exhibit an a­dequate picture of the duke of Wharton, a man whose life was as strongly chequered with the vicissitudes of fortune, as his abilities were various and astonishing. He is an instance of the great imbecility of intellectual powers, when once they spurn the dictates of prudence, and the maxims of life. With all the lustre of his under­standing, when his fortune was wasted, and his circumstances low, he fell into contempt; they who formerly worshipped him, fied from him, and despised his wit when attended with poverty. So true is it that,

Wants is the scorn of every wealthy fool,
And wit in rags is turn'd to ridicule.

The duke of Wharton seems to have lived as if the world should be new modelled for him; for he would conform to none of the rules, by which the little happiness the world can yield, is to be attained. But we shall not here enlarge on his character, as we can present it to the reader, drawn in the most lively manner, by the master­ly [Page 289] touches of Pope, who in one of his familiar epistles, thus characterizes him.

POPE's Epistle on the KNOWLEDGE and CHARACTERS of MEN.
Wharton, the scorn and wonder of our days,
Whose darling passion was the lust of praise:
Born with whate'er could win it from the wise,
Women and fools must like him, or he dies;
Tho' wond'ring senates hung on all he spoke,
The club must hail him master of the joke.
Shall parts so various aim at nothing new?
He'll shine a Tully and a Wilmot too;
Then turns repentant, and his God adores,
With the same spirit that he drinks and whores;
Enough if all around him but admire,
And now the Punk applaud, and now the Friar.
Thus with each gift of nature and of art,
And wanting nothing but an honest heart;
Grown all to all, from no one vice exempt;
And most contemptible, to shun contempt;
His passion still to covet gen'ral praise,
His life, to forfeit it a thousand ways;
A constant bounty which no friend has made;
An angel tongue which no man can persuade;
A fool, with more of wit than half mankind,
Too rash for thought, for action too refin'd:
A tyrant to the wife his heart approves;
A rebel to the very King he loves;
He dies, sad out-cast of each church and state,
And, harder still! flagitious, yet not great.
Ask you why Wharton broke thro' ev'ry rule?
'Twas all for fear the Knaves should call him Fool.
Pope's Works, Vol. III.

[Page 290] The duke is author of two volumes of poems, of which we shall select the fo [...]\nlowing as a specimen.

The FEAR of DEATH.
Say, sov'reign queen of awful night,
Dread tyrant say!
Why parting throes this lab'ring frame distend,
Why dire convulsions rend,
And teeming horrors wreck th' aslonish'd fight?
Why shrinks the trembling soul,
Why with amazement [...]ll
Pines at thy rule, and sickens at thy sway?
Why low'rs the thunder of thy brew,
Why livid angers glow,
Mistaken phantom, say?
Far hence exert thy awsul reign,
Where tutelary shrines and solemn busts
Inclose the hallow'd dust:
Where feeble tapers shed a gloomy ray,
And statues pity feign;
Where pale-ey'd griefs their wasting vigils keep,
There brood with sullen state, and nod with downy sleep.
Advance ye lurid ministers of death!
And swell the annals of her reign:
Crack every nerve, sluice every vein;
And choak the avenues of breath.
Freeze, freeze, ye purple tides!
Or scorch with seering flames,
Where nature flows in tepid streams,
And life's maeanders glide.
Let keen despair her icy progress make,
And slacken'd nerves their task forsake;
Years damp the vital fire.
[Page 291] Yawn all ye horrors of the flood;
And curl your swelling surges higher.
Survey the road!
Where desolating storms, and vengeful fates,
The gawdy scene deface;
Ambition in its widest havock trace
Thro' widow'd cities, and unpeopl'd states.
And is this all!
Are these the threaten'd terrors of your reign?
O dream of fancy'd power!
Quit, quit, th' affected shew,
This pageantry of grief, and labour'd pomp of woe.
Draw the pleasing scene,
Where dreadful thunders never rowl, nor giddy tempests low'r.
Scenes delighting!
Peace inviting,
Passions sooth'd, and tumult dying;
Aera's rowling,
Fears controuling,
Always new, and always flying.
We dread we know not what, we fear we know not why,
Our cheated fancy shrinks, nor sees to die
Is but to slumber into immortality.
All reconciling name!
In space unbounded as in power;
Where fancy limits cannot frame;
Nor reason launch beyond the shore:
An equal state from all distinction free,
Spread like the wide expanse of vast immensity.
Seditious tumults there obey,
And feuds their zeal forget:
Debated empires own one common sway,
There learn'd disputes unite;
Nor crowded volumes the long war maintain:
There rival chiefs combine
To fill the gen'ral chorus of her reign.
[Page 292] So streams from either pole,
Thro' diff'rent tracks their wat'ry journies rowl;
Then in the blending ocean lose their name,
And with consenting waves and mingl'd tides for­ever flow the same.

Colonel CODRINGTON.

THIS gentleman was of the first rank of wit and gallantry. He received his edu­cation at All Souls College in the university of Oxford, to which he left a donation of 30,000 l. by his will, part of which was to be appropri­ated for building a new library*. He was many years governour of the Leeward Islands, where he died, but was buried at Oxford. He is mention­ed here, on account of some small pieces of po­etry, which he wrote with much elegance and po­liteness. Amongst these pieces is an epilogue to Mr. Southern's tragedy called The Fate of Capua, in which are the following verses;

Wives still are wives, and he that will be billing,
Must not think cuckoldom deserves a killing.
What if the gentle creature had been kissing,
Nothing the good man married for was missing.
Had he the secret of her birth-right known,
'Tis odds the faithful Annals would have shewn
The wives of half his race more lucky than his own.

EDWARD WARD,

A MAN of low extraction, and who never received any regular education. He was an imitator of the famous Butler, and wrote his Re­formation, a poem, with an aim at the same kind of humour which has so remarkably distinguished Hudibras. ‘'Of late years, says Mr. Jacob, he has kept a public house in the city, but in a gen­teel way.'’ Ward was, in his own droll manner, a violent antagonist to the Low Church Whigs, and in consequence of this, drew to his house such people as had a mind to indulge their spleen against the government, by retailing little stories of treason. He was thought to be a man of strong natural parts, and possessed a very agreeable plea­santry of temper. Ward was much affronted when he read Mr. Jacob's account, in which he men­tions his keeping a public house in the city, and in a book called Apollo's Maggot, declared this account to be a great falsity, protesting that his public house was not in the City, but in Moor­fields*.

The chief of this author's pieces are,

  • Hudibras Redivivus, a political Poem.
  • Don Quixote, translated into Hudibrastic Verse.
  • Ecclesiae & Fastio, a Dialogue between Bow-stee­ple Dragon, and the Exchange Grashopper.
  • [Page 294] A Ramble through the Heavens, or The Revels of the Gods.
  • The Cavalcade, a Poem.
  • Marriage Dialogues, or A Poetical Peep into the State of Matrimony.
  • A Trip to Jamaica.
  • The Sots Paradise, or The Humours of a Derby Alehouse.
  • A Battle without Bloodshed, or Military Disci­pline Bussoon'd.
  • All Men Mad, or England a Great Bedlam, 4to. 1704.
  • The Double Welcome, a Poem to the Duke of Marlborough.
  • Apollo's Maggot in his Cups, or The Whimsi­cal Creation of a Little Satirical Poet; a Lyric Ode, dedicated to Dickey Dickenson, the witty, but deformed Governor of Scarborough Spaw, 8vo. 1729.
  • The Ambitious Father, or The Politician's Ad­vice to his Son; a Poem in five Cantos, 1733, the last work he left finished.

Mr. Ward's works, if collected, would amount to five volumes in 8vo. but he is most distinguished by his London Spy, a celebrated work in prose.

Sir ROGER L'ESTRANGE.

THIS gentleman was second son of Sir Hammon L'Estrange of Hunston in Nor­folk, knt. and was born anno 1617*. In the year 1644 Sir Roger having obtained a commission from King Charles I. for reducing Lynne in Nor­folk, then in possession of the Parliament, his de­sign was discovered to colonel Walton the gover­nour, and his person seized. Upon the failing of this enterprize he was tried by a court-martial at Guildhall, London, and condemned to lose his life as a spy, coming from the King's quarters without drum, trumpet, or pass; but was afterwards reprieved, and continued in Newgate several years. Sir Roger in a work of his, called Truth and Loyalty Vindicated, has informed us, that, when he received sentence of death, which was pro­nounced against him by Dr. Mills, then judge ad­vocate, and afterwards chancellor to the bishop of Norwich, he was cast into Newgate, where he was visited by Mr. Thorowgood and Mr. Arrowsmith, two members of the assembly of divines, who kind­ly offered him their utmost interest if he would make some petitionary acknowledgment, and sub­mit to take the covenant, which he refused. But [Page 296] that he might obtain a reprieve, he wrote several letters to the earl of Northumberland, the earl of Stamford, and others of the nobility, from whom he received favours. In the House of Commons he was particularly obliged to Sir John Corbet, and Sir Henry [...]\nholmondley. He was reprieved in order to a further hearing; but after almost thirty months spent in vain endeavours, either to come to a hearing, or to put himself into an exchangeable condition, he printed a state of his case, as an Appeal from the Court-martial to the Parliament, dated at Newgate in 1647.

After almost four years imprisonment, with his keeper's privity, he slipt into Kent, and then with much difficulty got beyond sea. About the latter end of August 1653, upon the dissolution of the Long Par­liament, by Cromwel, he returned into England, and presently acquainted the council, then sitting at Whitehall, that finding himself within the Act of Indemnity, he thought it his duty to give them notice of his return. Soon after this he was served with the following order,

Ordered,

That Roger L'Estrange be sent unto, to attend the committee of this council for examination.

JOHN THURLOE, Secretary.

This order laid him under a necessity of attend­ing for his discharge, but perceiving his business to advance very slowly, and his father at that time lying upon his death-bed, he was sollicitous to have his discharge as much hastened as possible, that he might pay his duty to his father, whom he had not seen for many years before. Mr. Strick­land was one of the commissioners appointed to [Page 297] examine him, and the person from whom, in the judgment of his friends, he was to expect the least favour. Mr. L'Estrange therefore to render him more propitious to his purpose, paid him the com­pliment of a visit, telling him frankly that he was returned upon the invitation of the Act of Indem­nity; and laying before him how much it con­cerned him, both in comfort and interest, to see his dying father. Mr. Strickland, in place of complying with Mr. L'Estrange's proposition, an­swered, that he would find himself mistaken, and that his case was not included in that Act. Mr. L'Estrange's reply to him was, ‘'that he might have been safe among the Turks upon the same terms;'’ and so he left him. From that time matters be­ginning to look worse and worse, he considered it, as his last expedient, to address Cromwel himself. After several disappointments, for want of oppor­tunity, he spoke to him at last in the Cock-pit, and the sum of his desire was, either a speedy ex­amination, or that it might be deferred 'till he had seen his father. Cromwel remonstrated against the restlessness of his party, observed, ‘'that rigour was not his inclination, but that he was but one man, and could do little by himself; and that Mr. L'Estrange's party would do well to give some better testimony of their quiet, and peaceable in­tentions.'’ Mr. L'Estrange told him, ‘'that every man was to answer for his own actions, at his own peril;'’ and so Cromwel took his leave. Some time after this Mr. L'Estrange was called, and Mr. Strickland, with another gentleman, were his ex­aminers; but the latter pressed nothing against him. Mr. Strickland indeed insisted upon his condem­nation, and would have deprived him of the benefit of the Act of Indemnity, telling him at last, ‘'that he had given no evidence of the change of his mind, and consequently was not to be trusted.'’ Mr. L'Estrange's final answer was to this effect, ‘'that [Page 298] it was his interest to change his opinion, if he could, and that whenever he found reason so to do, he would obey the sense of his own mind.'’ Some few days after this he was discharged*. ‘'During the dependency of this affair (says Mr. L'Estrange) I might well be seen at Whitehall, but that I spake to Cromwel on any other business than this, that I either sought, or pretended to, any privacy with him, or that I ever spake to him after this time, I absolutely disown. Con­cerning the story of the fiddle, this I suppose might be the rise of it: being in St. James's Park, I heard an organ touched in a little low room of one Mr. Henckson's; I went in, and found a private company of some five or six persons. They desired me to take up a Viol, and bear a part. I did so, and that part too, not much advance to the reputation of my cunning. By and by, without the least colour of design, or expectation, in comes Cromwel. He found us playing, and, as I remember, so he left us.—As to bribing of his attendants, I disclaim it. I never spake to Thurloe, but once in my life, and that was about my discharge. Nor did I ever give bribe, little or great, in the family.'’

The above declaration Sir Roger was obliged to make, as some of his enemies wanted to turn those circumstances of favour he received from the Oliverian government to his disadvantage, and pre­vent his rising in court distinction.

Sir Roger having little paternal fortune, and being a man rather profuse than oeconomical, he had recourse to writing for bread. After the re­storation he set up a news paper, which was con­tinued 'till the Gazette was first set on foot by Sir Joseph Williamson, under secretary of state, [Page 299] for which, however, the government allowed Mr. L'Estrange a consideration. Mr. Wood informs us, that our author published his paper twice every week in 4to. under the title of The Public Intelligence and News; the first of which came out August the 31st, 1663, and the other September the 3d, the same year ‘'These continued till the 9th of Ja­nuary 1665, at which time Mr. L'Estrange desist­ed, because in the November before, there were other News-Papers published twice every week, in half a sheet in folio. These were called The Oxford Gazettes, and commenced the 7th of No­vember, 1665, the king and queen, with their courts being then at Oxford. These for a little while were written by one Henry Muddeman; but when the court removed to London, they were called the London Gazette. Soon after Mr. Joseph Williamson, under secretary of State, pro­cured the writing of them for himself; and there­upon employed Charles Perrot, M. A. and fellow of Oriel College in Oxford, who had a good command of his pen, to do that office under him, and so he did, though not constantly, till about 1671; after which time they were constantly written by under secretaries, belonging to those that are principal, and do continue so to this day.'’

Soon after the popish plot, when the Tories be­gan to gain the ascendant over the Whigs, Mr. L'Estrange became a zealous promoter of the Tory interest. He set up a paper called the Observator, in which he defended the court, and endeavoured to invalidate those evidences which were given by Oates's party against the Jesuits. He likewise wrote a pamphlet, in which he attempts to prove, that Sir Edmundbury Godfrey's murther, for which so many suffered, and so great a flame was raised in the nation, was really perpetrated by himself. He attempts to shew that Sir Edmundbury was a melancholy enthu­siastic [Page 300] man; that he was weak in his understanding, and absurd in his conduct. The activity he discovered in Oates's plot, had raised him to such reputation, that he was unable to bear it, and therefore the na­tural enthusiasm of his temper prompted him to make himself a sacrifice, from a view of advancing the Protestant cause, as he knew his murther would be charged upon the Papists.

Mr. L'Estrange's reasoning, being only conjec­tural, and very improbable, is therefore far from conclusive: It is certain that there never was a more intricate affair than this. We have read the trials of all those who suffered for this murther, chiefly upon the evidence of one Prance, and one Bedloe, who pretended to have been accomplices; but their relation is so inconsistent; their characters so very infamous, and their reward for being evidences sup­posed to be so considerable, that the most candid en­quirer after truth, can determine nothing positively concerning it. All who suffered for the popish plot, denied their knowledge of it; the four men who were executed, as being the perpetrators persisted to the last in protesting their innocence of it. After all, the murther of Sir Edmundbury Godfrey is per­haps one of those secrets, which will ever remain so, till the hearts of all men are laid open.

The services, which Mr. L'Estrange rendered the court, procured him the honour of knighthood; and he served as a member for Winchester, in the par­liament called by king James the IId. 1685. But things taking quite a different turn in that prince's reign, in point of liberty of conscience, to what most people expected, our author's Observators were dropt, as not being suitable to the times. However he continued licenser of the press 'till the ac­cession of the prince of Orange to the throne; in whose reign, on account of his Tory principles, and his attachment to his late master, he met with some troubles. He was suffered however to descend [Page 301] to the grave in peace, though he had in a manner survived his understanding. He died December 12, 1705, in the 88th year of his age.

* Besides his Observators, which make three volumes in folio, he published a great number of poetical and other works. Winstanley, in his Lives of the Poets, says, ‘'That those who shall consider the number and greatness of his books, will ad­mire he should ever write so many; and those who have read them, considering the skill and method they are written in, will admire he should write so well. Nor is he less happy in verse than prose, which for elegance of language, and quick­ness of invention, deservedly entitles him to the honour of a poet.'’

The following are the titles of some of his works, viz. Collections in Defence of the King. Tolera­tion Discussed. Relapsed Apostate. Apology for Protestants. Richard against Baxter. Tyranny and Popery. Growth and Knavery. Reformed Catholic. Free-born Subjects. The Case Put. Seasonable Memorials. Answer to the Appeal. L'Estrange no Papist; in answer to a Libel, intitled L'Estrange a Papist, &c. with Notes and Animadversions upon Miles Prance, Silver-Smith, cum multis aliis. The Shammer Shamm'd. Account Cleared. Reforma­tion Reformed. Dissenters Sayings, in two Parts. Notes on Colledge, the Protestant Joiner. Citizen and Bumpkin, in two Parts. Further Discovery in the Plot. Discovery on Discovery. Narrative of the Plot. Zekiel and Ephraim. Appeal to the King and Parliament. Papist in Masquerade. An­swer to the second Character of a Popish Successor. Considerations upon a Printed Sheet intitled, The Speech of Lord Russel to the Sheriffs: Together with the Paper delivered by him to them at the place of execution, on July 1683.

[Page 302] These pieces with many more, were printed in quarto; besides which he wrote the following, viz. The History of the Plot in Folio. Caveat to the Cavaliers. He translated into English Cicero's Offices; Seneca's Morals, Erasmus's Colloquies; Quevedo's Visions; Bona's Guide to Eternity; Five Love Letters from a Nun to a Cavalier; Josephus's Works; Aesop's Fables.

Mr. Gordon, author of the Independent Whig, and translator of Tacitus, has very freely censured L'Estrange. He bestows very freely upon him the epithet of a buffoon, an ignorant droll, &c.—He charges him with having no knowledge of the Latin tongue; and says, he is unfit to be read by any person of taste. That his stile is full of technical terms, and of phrases picked up in the streets, from apprentices and porters.

Sir Roger L'Estrange translated the third Book of Tacitus, an author of whom Mr. Gordon made an entire translation. To raise the reputation of his own performance, he has abused that of L'Estrange, in terms very unfit for a gentleman to use, supposing the censure had been true. Sir Roger's works in­deed are often calculated for the meanest capacities, and the phrase is consequently low; but a man must be greatly under the influence of prejudice, who can discover no genius in his writings; nor an intimate acquaintance with the state of parties, human life, and manners.

Sir Roger was but ill-rewarded by the Tories, for having been their champion; the latter part of his life was clouded with poverty, and though he de­scended in peace to the grave, free from political turmo ls, yet as he was bowed down with age and distress, he cannot be said to have died in comfort. [Page 303] He had seen much of the world, examined many characters, experienced the vicissitudes of fortune, and was as well instructed as any man that ever lived, in the important lesson of human life, viz. That all things are vanity.

Mr. EDMUND SMITH.

THIS distinguished poet was son of an emi­nent merchant, one Mr. Neal, by a daughter of baron Lechemere*. Some misfortunes of his father, which were soon followed by his death, oc­casioned our author's being left very young in the care of a near relation (one who married Mr. Neal's mother, whose name was Smith).

This gentleman treated him with as much tender­ness as if he had been his own child, and placed him at Westminster-school, under the care of Dr. Busby. After the death of his generous guardian (whose name in gratitude he thought proper to assume) he was removed to Christ's Church in Ox­ford, and was there by his aunt handsomely sup­ported till her death; after which he continued a member of that learned society, till within five years of his own. Some time before his leaving Christ-Church, he was sent for by his mother to [Page 304] Worcester, and acknowledged by her as a legiti­mate son. We chuse to mention this circumstance, in order to wipe off the aspersion which folly and ignorance cast upon his birth*.

In honour to Mr. Smith it should be remembered, that when he stood a candidate for one of the uni­versities, at the Westminster election, he so peculi­arly distinguished himself by his conspicuous per­formances, that there arose no small contention be­tween the representative electors of Trinity-College in Cambridge, and Christ-Church College in Oxon, which of those two i [...]\nlustrious societies should adopt him as their own. But the electors of Trinity Col­lege having the preference of choice that year, they resolutely elected him; but being invited at the same time to Christ-Church, Mr. Smith chose to accept of a studentship there.

He passed through the exercises of the college, and the university, with unusual applause; and tho' he often suffered his friends to call him off from his retirement; yet his return to his studies was so much the more passionate, and his love of reading and thinking being so vehement, the habit grew upon him, and the series of meditation and reflexion being kept up whole weeks together, he could bet­ter arrange his ideas, and take in sundry parts of a science at one view, without interruption or confusion. Some of his acquaintance, who were pleased to distinguish between the wit and the scholar, extoll'd him altogether on account of the first of these ex­cellencies; but others, who were more candid, ad­mired him as a prodigy in both. He had acquired reputation in the schools, both as a philosopher and polemic of extensive knowledge, and deep penetration, and went through all the courses with a proper regard to the dignity, and importance of each science.

[Page 305] Mr. Smith had a long and perfect intimacy with all the Greek and Latin Classics; with whom he had industriously compared whatever was worth pe­rusing in the French, Spanish, and Italian, and all the celebrated writers in his own country. He con­sidered the antients and moderns, not as parties, or rivals for fame, but as architects upon one and the same plan, the Art of Poetry. If he did not always commend the compositions of others, it proceeded not from ill-nature (for that was foreign to his temper) but a strict regard to justice would not suffer him to call a few flowers elegantly adorned, without much art, and less genius, by so distinguished a name as poetry. He was of Ben Johnson's opinion, who could not admire,

—Verses, as smooth and soft as cream,
In which their was neither depth nor stream.

Mr. Smith's Bodleian Oration, printed with his other works, though taken from a remote and im­perfect copy, has shewn the world, how great a master he was of Ciceronian Eloquence. Since Temple and Roscommon (says Mr. Oldisworth) ‘'No man understood Horace better, especially as to his happy diction, rolling numbers, beautiful imagery, and alternate mixture of the soft and sublime. His friend Mr. Philips's Ode to Mr. St. John, after the manner of Horace's Lusory, or Amatorian Odes, is certainly a master-piece: But Mr. Smith's Pocockius is of the sublimer kind; though like Waller's writings upon Crom­well, it wants not the most delicate and surprizing turns, peculiar to the person praised.'’

He was an excellent judge of humanity, and so good a historian, that in familiar conversation, he would talk over the most memorable facts in anti­quity; [Page 306] the lives, actions, and characters of cele­brated men, with amazing facility and accuracy. As he had carefully read and distinguished Thuanus's works, so he was able to copy after him: And his talent in this kind was so generally confess'd, that he was made choice of by some great men, to write a history, which it was their interest to have execut­ed with the utmost art, and dexterity; but this de­sign was dropp'd, as Mr. Smith would not sacrifice truth to the caprice, and interested views of a party.

Our author's Poem, condoling the death of Mr. Philips, is full of the noblest beauties, and pays a just tribute to the venerable ashes of that great man. Mr. Smith had contracted for Mr. Philips the most perfect friendship, a passion of which he was very sasceptible, and whose laws he considered as sacred and inviolable.

In the year 1707 Mr. Smith's Tragedy called Phae­dra and Hippolitus was acted at the Theatre-Royal. This play was introduced upon the stage, at a time when the Italian Opera so much engrossed the at­tention of the polite world, that sense was sacrificed to sound. It was dress'd and decorated, at an ex­traordinary expence:—and inimitably perform'd in all its parts, by Betterton, Booth, Barry, and Oldfield. Yet it brought but few, and slender audi­ences.—To say truth, 'twas a fine Poem; but not an extraordinary Play. Notwithstanding the intrinsic merit of this piece, and the countenance it met with from the most ingenious men of the age, yet it lan­guished on the stage, and was soon neglected. Mr. Addison wrote the Prologue, in which he rallies the vitiated taste of the public, in preferring the unideal entertainment of an Opera, to the genuine sense of a British Poet.

[Page 307]
The PROLOGUE.
Long has a race of Heroes fill'd the stage,
That rant by note, and thro' the gamut rage;
In songs, and airs, express their martial fire,
Combat in trills, and in a feuge expire;
While lull'd by sound, and undisturb'd by wit,
Calm and serene, you indolantly sit;
And from the dull fatigue of thinking free,
Hear the facetious fiddle's rapartee;
Our home-spun authors must forsake the field,
And Shakespear to the soft Scarlatti yield.
To your new taste, the poet of this day,
Was by a friend advis'd to form his play;
Had Valentini musically coy,
Shun'd Phaedra's arms, and scorn'd the proffer'd joy,
It had not mov'd your wonder to have seen,
An Eunuch fly from an enamour'd queen.
How would it please, should she in English speak,
And could Hippolitus reply in Greek?

We have been induced to transcribe these lines of Mr. Addison, in order to have the pleasure of pro­ducing so great an authority in favour of the English drama, when placed in contradistinction to an en­tertainment, exhibited by Eunuchs and Fidlers, in a language, of which the greatest part of the audi­ence are ignorant; and from the nature of which no moral instruction can be drawn.

The chief excellence of this play certainly con­sists in the beauty and harmony of the versification. The language is luxuriantly poetical. The passion of Phaedra for her husband's son has been consider­ed by some critics as too unnatural to be shewn on the stage; and they have observed that the poet would have written more successfully if he had con­verted [Page 308] the son into a brother. Poetical justice is carefully distributed; Phaedra and Lycon are justly made the sufferers, while Hippolitus and Ismena escape the vengeance of Theseus. The play is not destitute of the pathetic, tho' much more regard is paid to the purity and elegance of the language, than a poet more acquainted with the workings of the heart would have done. We shall give an example to illustrate this observation. When Theseus reproaches Hippolitus for his love to Ismena, and at the same time dooms him as the victim of his revenge and jealousy, he uses these words,

Canst thou be only clear'd by disobedience,
And justified by crimes?—What! love my foe!
Love one descended from a race of tyrants,
Whose blood yet reeks on my avenging sword!
I'm curst each moment I delay thy fate:
Haste to the shades, and tell the happy Pallas,
Ismena's flames, and let him taste such joys
As thou giv'st me; go tell applauding Minos,
The pious love you bore his daughter Phaedra;
Tell it the chatt'ring ghosts, and hissing furies,
Tell it the grinning fiends, till Hell sound nothing
To thy pleas'd ears, but Phaedra and Ismena.

We cannot suppose that a man wrought up to fury, by the flame of jealousy, and a sense of a­fronted dignity, could be so particular in giving his son directions how to behave in hell, and to whom he should relate the story of his fate. When any passion violently overwhelms the soul, the person who feels it, always speaks sententiously, avoids repetitions, and is not capable of much recollection, at least of making a minute detail of circumstances. In how few words, and with greater force would Shakespear have conducted this speech of Theseus. An example will prove it: when Othello is inform­ed that Cassio is slain, he replies,

[Page 309]
Had all his hairs been lives,
My great revenge had stomach for them all.

When Phaedra is made acquainted with the ruin of Hyppolitus, the poet makes her utter the following beautiful speech, which, however, is liable to the same objection as the former, for it seems rather a studied declamation, than an expression of the most agonizing throes she is then supposed to experience.

What's life? Oh all ye Gods! can life attone
For all the monstrous crimes by which 'tis bought?
Or can I live? when thou, O Soul of honour!
O early hero! by my crimes art ruin'd.
Perhaps even now, the great unhappy youth,
Falls by the sordid hands of butchering villains;
Now, now he bleeds, he dies,—O perjur'd traitor!
See his rich blood in purple torrents flows,
And nature sallies in unbidden groans;
Now mortal pangs distort his lovely form,
His rosy beauties fade, his starry eyes
Now darkling swim, and fix their closing beams;
Now in [...]\nhort gasps his lab'ring spirit heaves,
And weakly flutters on his falt'ring tongue,
And struggles into sound. Hear, monster hear,
With his last breath, he curses purjured Phaedra:
He summons Phaedra to the bar of Minos;
Thou too shalt there appear; to torture thee
Whole Hell shall be employ'd, and suff'ring Phaedra
Shall find some care to see the still more wretched.

No man had a juster notion of the difficulty of composing, than Mr. Smith, and he sometimes would create greater difficulties than he had rea­son to apprehend. Mr. Smith had, indeed, some defects in his conduct, which those are more apt to remember, who could imitate him in nothing else. Amongst the blemishes of an innocent kind, [Page 310] which attended Mr. Smith, was his extreme care­lessness in the particular of dress; this oddity pro­cured him the name of Captain Ragg. His per­son was so well formed, and he possessed so much natural gracefulness, that notwithstanding the dis­advantage of his appearance, he was called, by the Ladies, the Handsome Sloven.

It is to be wondered at (says Mr. Oldisworth) that a man under poverty, calamities, and dis­appointments, could make so many friends, and those so truly valuable. He had, indeed, a noble idea of the passion of friendship, in the success of which, consisted the greatest, if not the only hap­piness of his Life. He was serene and chearful under the dispensations of providence; he avoided having any dealings with mankind in which he could not be just, and therefore refused to em­brace some opportunities of amending his fortune.

Upon Mr Smith's coming to town, no man was more surrounded by all those who really had, or pretended to wit, or more courted by the great men, who had then a power and opportunity of encouraging arts and sciences. Mr. Smith's cha­racter grew upon his friends by intimacy, and ex­ceeded the strongest prepossessions which had been conceived in his favour. A few years before his death, Mr. Smith engaged in some considerable Undertakings; in all which he raised expectations in the world, which he lived not to gratify. Mr. Oldis­worth observes, that he had seen about ten sheets of Pindar translated into English, which, he says, exceeded any thing of that kind, he could ever hope for in our language. He had drawn out a plan for a tragedy of Lady Jane Grey, and had written several scenes of it: a subject after­wards nobly executed by Mr. Rowe. His great­est undertaking was Longinus, which he executed in a very masterly manner. He proposed a large addition to this work, of notes and observations [Page 311] of his own, with an intire system of the art of poetry in three books, under the title of Thoughts, Action, and Figure; in this work he proposed to reform the art of Rhetoric, by reducing that confused heap of Terms, with which a long suc­cession of Pedants had incumbered the world, to a very narrow compass; comprehending all that was useful and ornamental in poetry under each head, and chapter. He intended to make remarks upon all the ancients and moderns, the Greek, Latin, English. French, Spanish, and Italian po­ets, and to anamadvert upon their several beauties and defects.

Mr. Smith died in the year 1710, in the 42d of his age, at the seat of George Ducket esq called Hartham, in Wiltshire; and was buried in the parish church there. We shall give the cha­racter of this celebrated poet in the words of Mr. Oldisworth:—

"He had a quickness of apprehen­sion and vivacity of understanding, which easily took in, and surmounted, the most knotty parts of methematics and metaphysics. His wit was prompt and flowing, yet solid and piercing; his taste delicate, his head clear, and his manner of expressing his thoughts perspicuous, and en­gaging; an eager, but generous, emulation grew up in him, which push'd him upon striving to excel in every art and science, that could make him a credit to his college: and it was his happiness to have several cotemporaries, and fellow students, who exercised and excited this virtue in themselves and others: his judg­ment naturally good, soon ripened into an ex­quifite fineness, and distinguishing sagacity, which as it was active and busy, so it was vigo­rons and manly, keeping even pace with a rich and strong imagination, always on the wing, and never tired with aspiring; there are many of his first essays in oratory, in epigram, [Page 312] elegy and epic, still handed about the universi­ty in manuscript, which shew a masterly hand, and though maimed and injured by frequent transcribing, make their way into our most celebrat­ed miscellanies, where they shine with uncom­mon lustre. As his parts were extraordinary, so he well knew how to improve them; and not only to polish the diamond, but enchase it in the most solid and durable metal."

"Though he was an academic the greatest part of his lite, yet he contracted no sourness of tem­per, no tincture of pedantry, no itch of dispu­tation, or obstinate contention for the old, or new philosophy, no assuming way of dictating to o­thers, which are faults which some are insensibly led into, who are constrained to dwell within the walls of a private college."

Thus far Mr. Oldisworth, who has drawn the character of his deceased friend, with a laudable fondness. Mr. Smith, no doubt, possessed the highest genius for poetry; but it is certain he had mixed but too lit­tle in life. His language, however luxuriously po­etical, yet is far from being proper for the drama, and there is too much of the poet in every speech he puts in the mouths of his characters, which pro­duces an uniformity, that nothing could teach him to avoid, but a more general knowledge of real life and characters. It is acknowledged that Mr. Smith was much inclined to intemperance, though Mr. Oldis­worth has glossed it over with the hand of a friend; nor is it improbable, that this disposition sunk him in that vis inertiae, which has been the bane of many of the brightest geniuses of the world. Mr. Smith was, upon the whole, a good natured man, a great poet, a finished scholar, and a discerning critic.

DANIEL DE FOE.

THIS gentleman acquired a very confi­derable name by his political and poetical works; his early attachment to the revolution in­terest, and the extraordinary zeal and ability with which he defended it. He was bred, says Mr. Ja­cob, a Hosier, which profession he forsook, as un­worthy of him, and became one of the most en­terprizing authors this, or any other age, ever pro­duced. The work by which he is most distinguish­ed, as a poet, is his True Born Englishman, a Sa­tire, occasioned by a poem entitled Foreigners, written by John Tutchin, esq *. This gentleman (Tutchin) was of the Monmouth faction, in the reign of King Charles II. and when that unhap­py prince made an attempt upon his uncle's crown, Mr. Tutchin wrote a political piece in his favour, for which, says Jacob, he was so severely handled by Judge Jeffries, and his sentence was so very uncommon, and so rigorously executed, that he petitioned King James to be hanged.

Soon after the revolution, the people, who are restless in their inclinations, and loath that, to-day, for which they would yesterday have sacrificed their lives, began to be uneasy at the partiality [Page 314] their new King discovered to his countrymen. The popular discontent rose to such a heighth, that King William was obliged to dismiss his Dutch guards, and though he died in possession of the crown of England, yet it proved to him a crown of thorns, and he spent fewer peaceful moments in his regal station, than before his head was envi­roned with an uneasy diadem. De Foe, who seems to have had a very true notion of civil liberty, engaged the enemies of the new government, and levelled the force of his satire against those, who valued themselves for being true-born English­men. He exposes the fallacy of that prepossession, by laying open the sources from whence the English have sprung. ‘'Normans, Saxons, and Danes, says he, were our forefathers; we are a mixed people; we have no genuine origin; and why should not our neighbours be as good as we to derive from? and I must add*, that had we been an unmixed nation, I am of opinion, it had been to our disadvantage: for to go no farther, we have three nations about us clear from mixture of blood, as any in the world, and I know not which of them we could wish ourselves to be like; I mean the Scotch, Welsh, and Irish, and if I were to write a reverse to the satire, I would examine all the nations of Europe, and prove, that these nations which are the most mixed, are the best, and have least of barbarism and bruta­lity amongst them.'’ Mr. De Foe begins his sa­tire with the following lines,

Wherever God erects a house of pray'r,
The devil always builds a chapel there:
And 'twill be found upon examination,
The latter has the largest congregation.

[Page 315] After passing a general censure on the surround­ing nations, Italy, Germany, France, &c. he then takes a view of England, which he charges with the black crime of ingratitude. He enumerates the several nations from whence we are derived, Gauls, Saxons, Danes, Irish, Scots, &c. and says,

From this amphibious ill-born mob began
That vain ill natur'd thing, an Englishman.

This satire, written in a rough unpolished manner, without art, or regular plan, contains some very bold and masculine strokes against the ridiculous vanity of valuing ourselves upon descent and pedigree. In the conclusion he has the follow­ing strong, and we fear too just, observation.

Could but our ancestors retrieve their fate,
And see their offspring thus degenerate;
How we contend for birth, and names unknown,
And build on their past actions, not our own;
They'd cancel records, and their tombs deface,
And openly disown the vile degenerate race:
For fame of families is all a cheat,
'Tis pers'nal virtue only makes us great.

The next satire of any consequence which De Foe wrote, was entitled Reformation of Manners, in which some private characters are severely at­tacked. It is chiefly aimed at some persons, who being vested with authority to suppress vice, yet rendered themselves a disgrace to their country, en­couraging wickedness by that very authority they have to suppress it.

Poetry was far from being the talent of De Foe. He wrote with more perspicuity and strength in prose, and he seems to have understood, as well [Page 316] as any man, the civil constitution of the kingdom, which indeed was his chief study.

In the first volume of his works there is a prose essay, which he entitles The Original Power of the Collective Body of the People of England, Exa­mined and Asserted; this was intended to refute a very ridiculous opinion, which politicians, more zealous than wise, had industriously propagated, viz. ‘'That the representatives of the people, i. e. the House of Commons had a right to enact what­ever laws, and e [...]\ner into whatever measures they please, without any dependence on, or even con­sulting the opinion of, their constituents; and that the collective body of the people have no right to call them to an account, or to take a­ny cognizance of their conduct.'’ In answer to which Mr. De Foe very sensibly observes, ‘'that it is possible for even a House of Commons to be in the wrong. They may be missed by factions and parties, and it is as ridiculous to suppose them in­fallible, as to suppose the Pope of Rome, or the Popish conclave infallible, which have more than once determined against one another. It is possible (says he) for them to be bribed by pensions and places, and by either of those extremes to betray their trust, and abuse the people who entrust them; and if the people should have no redress in such a case, then would the nation be in hazard of being ruined by their own representatives. And it is a wonder to find it asserted in a certain treatise, That it is not to be supposed, that ever the House of Commons can injure the people who entrust them. There can be no better way to demon­strate the possibility of a thing, than by proving that it has been already; and we need go no further back than to the reign of King Charles II. in which we have seen lists of 180 mem­bers, who received private pensions from the [Page 317] court; and if any body should ask whether that parliament preserved the ballance of power in the three branches of our constitution, in the due distribution some have mentioned? I am not a­fraid to answer in the negative. And why, even to this day, are gentlemen so fond of spending their estates to fit in the House, that ten thou­sand pounds have been spent at a time to be cho­sen, and now that way of procuring elections is at an end, private briberies, and clandestine con­trivances are made use of to get into the House? No man would give a groat to sit, where he can­not get a groat himself for sitting, unless there were either parties to gratify, profits to be made, or interest to support. In this case it is plain a people may be ruined by their representatives, and the first law of nature, self-preservation, give the people a right to resent public encroach­ments upon their valuable liberties.'’

In the same volume is a tract entitled The Shortest Way with the Dissenters, which contained reflexions against some ecclesiastics in power, for breathing too much a spirit of persecution. He be­came obnoxious to the ministry on this account, and was obliged to justify himself by writing an explanation of it. Mr. De Foe in his preface to the second volume of his works, collected by himself, takes occasion to mention the severe hardships he laboured under, occasioned by those Printers, more industrious than himself, who make a practice of pirating every work attended with success. As an instance of this kind of oppression, he mentions the True Born Englishman, by which, had he en­joyed the full profit of his own labours, he must have gained near a thousand pounds; for besides nine editions which passed under his own inspec­tion, this poem was twelve times pirated: but the insolence of those fraudulent dealers did not stop [Page 318] here. A Printer of a bad reputation collected a spurious and erroneous copy of several pieces of De Foe, and entitled them The Works of the Au­thor of the True Born Englishman; and though he was then embroiled with the government for one of the pamphlets which this collection con­tained, yet had this man the impudence to print amongst them the same pamphlets, presuming so far upon the partiality of the public resentment, that he should pass with impunity for publishing that very thing for which the author was to be pro­secuted with the utmost severity. This, however, was an irresistible testimony, that the resentment shewn to the author was on some other, and less justifiable account, than the publication of that book; so was it a severe satire on the unwariness of the ministry, who had not eyes to discern their justice plainly exposed, and their general proceed­ings bantered by a Printer, for publishing in de­fiance of them that same book for which another man stood arraigned.

Mr. De Foe, who possessed a resolute temper, and a most confirmed fortitude of mind, was never awed by the threats of power, nor deterred from speaking truth by the insolence of the great. Wherever he found vice he lashed it, and frequent­ly, as Pope says, he

Dash'd the proud gam'ster from his gilded car,
Bar'd the mean breast that lurk'd beneath a star.

For some vigorous attacks against the measures of a prevailing party, which Mr. De Foe reckoned unconstitutional and unjust, he was prosecuted, and received sentence to stand on the pillory; which punishment he underwent.

At the very time he was in the hands of the mi­nistry, to shew the invincible force of his mind, [Page 319] he wrote a Hymn to the Pillory, as a kind of de­fiance of their power. ‘'The reader (says he)* is desired to observe this poem was the author's declaration, even when in the cruel hands of a merciless, as well as unjust ministry; that the treatment he had from them was unjust, exor­bitant, and consequently illegal.'’ As the mini­stry did not think proper to prosecute him for this fresh insult against them, that forbearance was construed a confession of guilt in their former pro­ceedings.

In the second volume of our author's works, is a piece entitled More Reformation, a satire upon himself. We have already taken notice of a sa­tire of his called Reformation of Manners, in which some personal characters are stigmatized, which drew much odium on Mr. De Foe. This satire called More Reformation, is a kind of supplement to the former. In the preface he complains of the severe usage he had met with, but, says he,

'that the world may discern that I am not one of those who practise what they reprove, I began this satire with owning in myself those sins and mis­fortunes which I am no more exempted from, than other men; and as I am far from pretend­ing to be free from human frailties, but forward­er to confess any of the errors of my life, than any man can be to accuse me; I think myself in a better way to reformation, than those who excuse their own faults by reckoning up mine.'

'Some that have heard me complain of this hard usage, have told me, there is something of a retaliation of providence in it, for my be­ing so very free with the characters of other men in a late satire called The Reformation of [Page 320] Manners. To this I answer, first, in that satire, or any other I ever wrote, I have always care­fully avoided lashing any man's private infirmi­ties, as being too sensible of my own, but if I have singled out any man by character, it has either been such, as intending to reform others, and execute the laws against vice, have been the greatest examples, and encouragers of it in their own practice; or such as have been entrusted with the executive power of justice, and having been called upon by the laws to reform us, have been a public reproach to the magistracy of this nation, and ought to be punished by the laws they have been protected by.'

'Secondly, I have never made any man's dis­asters, or misfortunes, the subject of my satire. I never reproached any man for having his house burnt, ships cast away, or his family ruined. I never lampooned a man because he could not pay his debts, or for his being a cuckold.'

'Thirdly, I never reproached any man for his opinion in religion, or esteemed him the worse for differing in judgment from me.'

'If therefore the scandalous treatment I have re­ceived is just on me, for abusing others, I must ask such, who is the man? Where is the cha­racter I have given that is not just? and where is the retaliation of providence, that these men en­title themselves to in loading me with falsities and lies, as a just punishment for my speaking truth.'

'But p—x on him, said a certain sober gentle­man, he is a Whig, and what need he have med­dled with his own party, could not he have left them out, there were characters enough on the other side?'

[Page 321] 'Why really I must own, I know no Whig or Tory in vice; the vicious and the virtuous are the only two parties I have to do with; if a vi­cious, lewd, debauched magistrate happened to be a Whig, what then? let him mend his man­ners, and he may be a Whig still, and if not, the rest ought to be ashamed of him.'

We have been induced to make this extract, as it seems to shew the genius and spirit of the author in a more advantageous light, than we could have otherwise done. Though he was a resolute assert­er of Whig principles, and a champion for the cause of liberty, yet was he never blinded by par­ty prejudice, but could discern designing, and self­ish men, and strip them of their disguises, though joined with him in the same political contests.

In the conclusion of the Hymn to the Pillory, which is written with great strength of expression, he assigns the reasons for his being doomed to that ignominy.

Thou Bugbear of the law stand up and speak,
Thy long misconstru'd silence break,
Tell us, who 'tis upon thy ridge stands there,
So full of fault, and yet so void of fear;
And from the paper in his hat,
Let all mankind be told for what.
Tell them it was because he was too bold,
And told those truths which should not ha' been told.
Extol the justice of the land
Who punish what they will not understand;
Tell them that he stands there
For speaking what we would not hear;
And yet he might ha' been secure,
Had he said less, or would he ha' said more.
Tell them that it was his reward,
And worse is yet for him prepar'd,
[Page 322] Because his foolish virtue was so nice
As not to fell his friends, according to his friends advice.
And thus he's an example made,
To make men of their honesty afraid,
That from the time to come they may
More willingly their friends betray,
Tell them the ministers that plac'd him here,
Are scandal to the times,
Are at a loss to find his guilt,
And can't commit his crimes.

There are in the same volume many other poe­tical pieces, and political, and polemical tracts, the greatest part of which are written with great force of thought, though in an unpolished irregu­lar stile. The natural abilities of the author (for he was no scholar) seem to have been very high. He had a great knowledge of men and things, particularly what related to the government, and trade of these kingdoms. He wrote many pam­phlets on both, which were generally well receiv­ed, though his name was never prefixed. His imagination was fertile, strong, and lively, as may be collected from his many works of fancy, par­ticularly his Robinson Crusoe, which was written in so natural a manner, and with so many proba­ble incidents, that, for some time after its publi­cation, it was judged by most people to be a true story. It was indeed written upon a model en­tirely new, and the success and esteem it met with, may be ascertained by the many editions it has sold, and the sums of money which have been gained by it. Nor was he less remarkable in his writings of a serious and religious turn, witness his Religious Courtship, and his Family Instructor; both of which strongly inculcate the worship of God, the relative duties of husbands, [Page 323] wives, parents, and children, not in a dry dogma­tic manner, but in a kind of dramatic way, which excites curiosity, keeps the attention awake, and is extremely interesting, and pathetic.

We have already seen, that in his political capa­city he was a declared enemy to popery, and a bold defender of revolution principles. He was held in much esteem by many great men, and though he never enjoyed any regular post under the government, yet he was frequently employed in matters of trust and confidence, particularly in Scotland, where he several times was sent on af­fairs of great importance, especially those relative to the union of the kingdoms, of which he was one of the negotiators.

It is impossible to arrive at the knowledge of half the tracts and pamphlets which were writ­ten by this laborious man, as his name is not pre­fixed, and many of them being temporary, have perished like all other productions of that kind, when the subjects upon which they were written are forgot. His principal performances, perhaps, are these,

  • A Plan of Commerce, an esteemed Work, in one large vol. 8vo. of which a new edition was lately published.
  • Memoirs of the Plague, published in 1665.
  • Religious Courtship.
  • Family Instructor. Two Volumes.
  • History of Apparitions (under the name of More­ton.)
  • Robinson Crusoe. Two Volumes.
  • Political History of the Devil.
  • History of Magic.
  • Caledonia, a Poem in praise of Scotland.
  • De Jure Divino, a Poem.
  • English Tradesman, &c.
  • History of Colonel Jack.
  • Cleveland's Memoirs, &c. are also said to be his.

[Page 324] Considered as a poet, Daniel De Foe is not so eminent, as in a political light: he has taken no pai [...]\ns in versification: his ideas are masculine, his expressions coarse, and his numbers generally rough. He seems rather to have studied to speak truth, by probing wounds to the bottom, than, by em­bellishing his versification, to give it a more ele­gant keenness. This, however, seems to have proceeded more from carelessness in that particu­lar, than want of ability: for the following lines in his True Born Englishman, in which he makes Britannia rehearse the praises of her hero, King William, are harmoniously beautiful, and elegant­ly polished.

BRITANNIA.
The fame of virtue 'tis for which I sound,
And heroes with immortal triumphs crown'd.
Fame built on solid virtue swifter flies,
Than morning light can spread my eastern skies.
The gath'ring air returns the doubling sound,
And long repeating thunders force it round:
Ecchoes return from caverns of the deep;
Old Chaos dreamt on't in eternal sleep,
Time helps it forward to its latest urn,
From whence it never, never shall return;
Nothing is heard so far, or lasts so long;
'Tis heard by ev'ry ear, and spoke by ev'ry tongue.
My hero, with the sails of honour furl'd,
Rises like the great genius of the world.
By fate, and fame, wisely prepared to be
The soul of war, and life of victory.
He spreads the wings of virtue on the throne,
And every wind of glory fans them on.
Immortal trophies dwell upon his brow,
Fresh as the garlands he has won but now.

[Page 325] What provocation De Foe had given to Pope we cannot determine, but he has not escaped the lash of that gentleman's pen. Mr. Pope in his second book of his Duciad thus speaks of him;

Earless on high stood unabash'd De Foe,
And Tutchin flagrant from the scourge below.

It may be remarked that he has joined him with Tutchin, a man, whom judge Jeffries had or­dered to be so inhumanly whipt through the market towns, that, as we have already observed, he petitioned the King to be hanged. This seve­rity soured his temper, and after the deposition and death of King James, he indulged his re­sentment in insulting his memory. This may be the reason why Pope has stigmatized him, and perhaps no better a one can be given for his attack­ing De Foe, whom the author of the Notes to the Dunciad owns to have been a man of parts. De Foe can never, with any propriety, be ranked a­mongst the dunces; for whoever reads his works with candour and impartiality, must be convinced that he was a man of the strongest natural powers, a lively imagination, and solid judgment, which, joined with an unshaken probity in his moral conduct, and an invincible integrity in his political sphere, ought not only to screen him from the petulant attacks of satire, but transmit his name with some degree of applause to posterity.

De Foe, who enjoyed always a competence, and was seldom subject to the necessities of the poets, died at his house at Islington, in the year 1731. He left behind him one son and one daughter. The latter is married to Mr. Henry Baker, a gentleman well known in the philosophical world.

Mrs. ELIZABETH ROWE.

THIS lady was born at Ilchester in So­merfetshire September 11, 1674, being the eldest of three daughters of Mr. Walter Singer, a gentleman of good family, and Mrs. Elizabeth Portnel, both persons of great worth and piety. Her father was not a native of Ilchester, nor an inhabitant, before his imprison­ment there for non-conformity in the reign of King Charles II. Mrs. Portnel, from a principle of tenderness, visited those who suffered on that account, and by this accident an acquaintance commenced, which terminated in the nuptial uni­on. They who were acquainted with the lady, who is the subject of this article, in her early years, perhaps observed an uncommon display of genius as prophetic of that bright day which afterwards ensued.

There is so great a similitude between painting and poetry, that it is no ways surprising, a per­son, who possessed the latter of these graces in so high a degree, should very easily discover an in­clination to the former, which has often the same admirers. Accordingly we find Mrs. Rowe discover a taste for painting; she attempted to carry her taste into execution, when she had hardly steadiness of hand sufficient to guide the pencil. Her father perceiving her sondness for this art, was at the ex­pence of a master to instruct her in it; and she ne­ver failed to make it an amusement 'till her death. Every one acquainted with her writings, and ca­pable of relishing the melifluent flow of her num­bers, will naturally suppose, that she had a genius [Page 327] for music, particularly that of a grave and solemn kind, as it was best suited to the grandeur of her sentiments, and the sublimity of her devotion. But her most prevailing propension was to poetry. This superior grace was indeed the most favourite employment of her youth, and in her the most di­stinguished excellence. So powerful was her geni­us in this way, that her prose hath all the charms, of verse without the fetters; the same fire and ele­vation; the same richness of imagery, bold figures, and flowing diction.

It appears by a life of Mrs. Rowe, prefixed to the first volume of her miscellaneous works, that in the year 1696, the 22d of her age, a Collection of her Poems on various Occasions was published at the desire of two of her friends, which we sup­pose did not contain all she had by her, since the ingenious author of the preface, Mrs. Elizabeth Johnson, gives the reader room to hope, that Mrs. Rowe might, in a little while, be prevailed upon to oblige the world with a second part, no way inferior to the former.

Mrs. Rowe's Paraphrase on the 38th Chapter of Job was written at the request of bishop Kenn, which gained her a great reputation. She had no other tutor for the French and Italian languages than the honourable Mr. Thynne, son to the lord viscount Weymouth, and father to the right honourable the countess of Hertford, who willing ly took the task upon himself, and had the plea­sure to see his fair scholar improve so fast by his lessons, that in a few months she was able to read Tasso's Jerusalem with ease. Her shining merit, with the charms of her person and conversation, had procured her many admirers: among others, the celebrated Mr. Prior made his addresses to her; so that allowing for the double licence of the po­et and the lover, the concluding lines in his An­swer to Mrs. Singer's Pastoral on Love and Friend­ship, [Page 328] were not without foundation in truth; but Mr. Thomas Rowe, a very ingenious and learned gentleman, was the person destined to fill the arms of this amiable poetess.

As this gentleman was a poet of no inconsider­able rank, a man of learning and genius, we shall here give some account of him, in place of assign­ing him a particular Article, as the incidents of his life will be more naturally blended with that of his wife.—He was born at London, April the 25th, 1687, the eldest son of the revd. Mr. Rowe: who with a very accurate judg­ment, and a considerable stock of useful learning, joined the talents in preaching and a most lively and engaging manner in conversation. He was of a genteel descent, both on his father▪s and mother's side; but he thought too justly to value himself on such extrinsic circumstances. His superior genius, and insatiable thirst after knowledge were conspicu­ous in his earliest years. He commenced his ac­quaintance with the Classics at Epsom, while his father resided there, and by the swift advances in this part of learning, quickly became the delight of his master, who treated him with very parti­cular indulgence, in spight of the natural rugged­ness and severity of his temper.

When his father removed to London, he accom­panied him, and was placed under the famous Dr. Walker, master of the Charter-House-School. His exercises here never failed of being distinguished even among those who had the approbation of that excellent master, who would fain have persuaded his father to place him at one of our English uni­versities; but how honourably soever Mr. Rowe might think of the learning of those noble seats of the Muses, yet not having the same advantageous no­tions of their political principles, he chose to enter him in a private academy in London, and some time be­fore his death sent him to Leyden: Here he studied [Page 329] Jeuriel's Antiquities, civil law, the Belles Lettres, and experimental philosophy; and established a re­putation for capacity, application, and an obliging deportment, both among the professors and students. He returned from that celebrated seat of literature, with a great accession of knowledge, entirely incor­rupt in his morals, which he had preserved as in­violate, as he could have done under the most vigi­lant eye, though left without any restraints but those of his own virtue and prudence.

The love of liberty had always been one of Mr. Rowe's darling passions. He was very much con­firmed therein, by his familiar acquaintance with the history and noble authors of Greece and Rome, whose very spirit was tranferred into him: By re­siding so long at a Republic, he had continual ex­amples of the inestimable value of freedom, as the parent of industry, and the universal source of social happiness. Tyranny of every kind he sincerely de­tested; but most of all ecclesiastical tyranny, deem­ing the slavery of the mind the most abject and ig­nominious, and in its consequences more pernicious than any other.

He was a perfect master of the Greek, Latin and French languages; and, which is seldom known to happen, had at once such a prodigious memory, and unexhaustible fund of wit, as would have singly been admired, and much more united. These qua­lities, with an easy fluency of speech, a frankness, and benevolence of disposition, and a communica­tive temper, made his company much sollicited by all who knew him. He animated the conversation, and instructed his companions by the acuteness of his observations.

He had formed a design to compile the lives of all the illustrious persons of antiquity, omitted by Plutarch; and for this purpose read the antient his­torians with great care. This design he in part ex­ecuted. Eight lives were published since his de­cease, [Page 330] in octavo, by way of Supplement to that admired Biographer; in which though so young a guide, he strikes out a way like one well acquaint­ed with the dark and intricate paths of antiunity. The stile is perfectly easy, yet concise, and nervous: The reflections just, and such as might be expected from a lover of truth and of mankind.

Besides these Lives, he had finished for the press, the Life of Thrasybulus, which being put into the hands of Sir Richard Steele, for his revisal, was unhappily lost, and could never since be recovered.

The famous Mr. Dacier, having translated Plu­tarch's Lives into French, with Remarks Historical and Critical, the Abbé Bellenger added in 1734 a ninth tome to the other eight, consisting of the Life of Hannibal, and Mr. Rowe's Lives made French by that learned Abbé: In the Preface to which version, he transcribes from the Preface to the Eng­lish edition, the character of the author with visible approbation; and observes, that the Lives were written with taste; though being a posthumous work, the author had not put his last hand to it.

Such is the character of Mr. Rowe, the husband of this amiable lady; and when so accomplished a pair meet in conjugal bonds, what great expecta­tions may not be formed upon them! A friend of Mr. Rowe's upon that occasion wrote the following beautiful Epigram,

No more proud Gallia, bid the world revere
Thy learned pair, Le Fevre and Dacier:
Britain may boast, this happy day unites,
Two nobler minds, in Hymen's sacred rites.
What these have sung, while all th' inspiring nine,
Exalt the beauties of the verse divine,
Those (humble critics of th' immortal strain,)
Shall bound their fame to comment and explain.

[Page 331] Mr. Rowe being at Bath, in the year 1709, was introduced into the company of Miss Singer, wholived in a retirement not far from the city. The idea he had conceived of her from report and her writ­ings, charmed him; but when he had seen and con­versed with her, he felt another kind of impression, and the esteem of her accomplishments was heighten­ed into the rapture of a lover. During the court­ship, he wrote a poetical Epistle to a friend, who was a neighbour of Mrs. Singer, and acquainted with the family, in which were the following lines.

Youth's liveliest bloom, a never-fading grace,
And more than beauty sparkles in her face.
How soon the willing heart, her empire feels?
Each look, each air, each melting action kills:
Yet the bright form creates no loose desires;
At once she gives and purifies our fi [...]\nes,
And passions chaste, as her own soul inspires.
Her soul, heav'n's noblest workmanship design'd,
To bless the ruined age, and succour lost man-kind,
To prop abandon'd virtue's sinking cause,
And snatch from vice its undeserv'd applause.

He married her in the year 1710, and Mrs. Rowe's exalted merit, and amiable qualities, could not fail to inspire the most generous and lasting passion. Mr. Rowe knew how to value that treasure of wit, softness and virtue, with which heaven had blessed him; and made it his study to repay the felicity with which she crowned his life. The esteem and tenderness he had for her is inex­pressible, and possession seems never to have abated the fondness and admiration of the lover; a circum­stance which seldom happens, but to those who are [Page 332] capable of enjoying mental intercourse, and have a relish for the ideal transports, as well as those of a less elevated nature. It was some considerable time after his marriage, that he wrote to her a very ten­der Ode, under the name of Delia, full of the warmest sentiments of connubial friendship and af­fection. The following lines in it may appear re­markable, as it pleased Heaven to dispose events, in a manner so agreeable to the wishes expressed in them,

—So long may thy inspiring page,
And bright example bless the rising age;
Long in thy charming prison mayst thou stay,
Late, very late, ascend the well-known way,
And add new glories to the realms of day!
At least Heav'n will not sure, this prayer deny;
Short be my life's uncertain date,
And earlier long than thine, the destin'd hour of fate!
When e'er it comes, may'st thou be by,
Support my sinking frame, and teach me how to die;
Banish desponding nature's gloom,
Make me to hope a gentle doom,
And fix me all on joys to come.
With swimming eyes I'll gaze upon thy charms,
And clasp thee dying in my fainting arms;
Then gently leaning on thy breast;
Sink in soft slumbers to eternal rest.
The ghastly form shall have a pleasing air,
And all things smile, while Heav'n and thou art there.

This part of the Ode which we have quoted, con­tains the most tender breathings of affection, and has as much delicacy and softness in it, as we re­member ever to have seen in poetry.

[Page 333] As Mr. Rowe had not a robust constitution, so an intense application to study, beyond what the delicacy of his frame could bear, might contribute to that ill state of health which allayed the happi­ness of his married li [...]\ne, during the greater part of it. In the latter end of the year 1714, hi [...]\n weak­ness encreased, and he seemed to labour under all the symptoms of a consumption; which distemper, after it had confined him some months, put a period to his most valuable life, at Hampstead, in 1715, when he was but in the 28th year of his age. The exquisite grief and af [...]\nliction, which his amiable wife selt for the loss of so excellent a husband, is not to be expressed.

She wrote a beautiful Elegy on his death, and continued to the last moments of her life, to express the highest veneration and affection for his memory, and a particular regard and esteem for his relations. This Elegy of Mrs. Rowe, on the death of her much lamented husband, we shall here insert.

An ELEGY, &c.
In what soft language shall my thoughts get free,
My dear Alexis, when I talk of thee?
Ye Muses, Graces, all ye gentle train,
Of weeping loves, O suit the pensive strain!
But why should I implore your moving art?
'Tis but to speak the dictates of my heart;
And all that knew the charming youth will join,
Their friendly sighs, and pious tears to mine;
For all that knew his merit, must confess,
In grief for him, there can be no excess.
His soul was form'd to act each glorious part
Of life, unstained with vanity, or art,
No thought within his gen'rous mind had birth,
But what he might have own'd to Heav'n and Earth.
[Page 334] Practis'd by him, each virtue grew more bright,
And shone with more than its own native light.
Whatever noble warmth could recommend
The just, the active, and the constant friend,
Was all his own—But Oh! a dearer name,
And softer ties my endless sorrow claim.
Lost in despair, distracted, and forlorn,
The lover I, and tender husband mourn.
Whate'er to such superior worth was due,
Whate'er excess the fondest passion knew;
I felt for thee, dear youth; my joy, my care.
My pray'rs themselves were thine, and only where
Thou wast concern'd, my virtue was sincere.
When e'er I begg'd for blessings on thy head,
Nothing was cold or formal that I said;
My warmest vows to Heav'n were made for thee,
And love still mingled with my piety.
O thou wast all my glory, all my pride!
Thro' life's uncertain paths my constant guide;
Regardless of the world, to gain thy praise
Was all that could my just ambition raise.
Why has my heart this fond engagement known?
Or why has Heav'n dissolved the tye so soon?
Why was the charming youth so form'd to move?
Or why was all my soul so turn'd for love?
But virtue here a vain defence had made,
Where so much worth and eloquence could plead.
For he could talk—'Twas extacy to hear,
'Twas joy! 'twas harmony to every ear.
Eternal music dwelt upon his tongue,
Soft, and transporting as the Muses song;
List'ning to him my cares were charm'd to rest.
And love, and silent rapture fill'd my breast:
Unheeded the gay moments took their flight,
And time was only measur'd by delight.
[Page 335] I hear the lov'd, the melting accents still,
And still the kind, the tender transport feel.
Again I see the sprightly passions rise,
And life and pleasure sparkle in his eyes.
My fancy paints him now with ev'ry grace,
But ah! the dear delusion mocks my fond em­brace;
The smiling vision takes its hasty flight,
And scenes of horror swim before my sight.
Grief and despair in all their terrors rise;
A dying lover pale and gasping lies,
Each dismal circumstance appears in view,
The fatal object is for ever new.
* * * * * * * * * * * * *
For thee all thoughts of pleasure I forego,
For thee my tears shall never cease to flow:
For thee at once I from the world retire,
To feed in silent shades a hopeless fire.
My bosom all thy image shall retain;
The full impression there shall still remain.
As thou hast taught my constant heart to prove;
The noblest height and elegance of love;
That sacred passion I to thee confine;
My spotless faith shall be for ever thine.

After Mr. Rowe's decease, and as soon as her affairs would permit, our authoress indulged her inconquerable inclination to solitude, by retiring to Froome in Somersetshire, in the neighbourhood of which place the greatest part of her estate lay. When she forsook the town, she determined to re­turn no more but to spend the remainder of her life in absolute retirement; yet upon some few oc­casions she thought it her duty to violate this reso­lution.

[Page 336] In compliance with the importunate request of the honourable Mrs. Thynne, she passed some months with her at London, after the death of her daughter the lady Brooke, and upon the decease of Mrs. Thynne herself, she could not dispute the commands of the countess of Hert­ford, who earnestly desired her company, to soften the severe affliction of the loss of so excellent a mother, and once or twice more, the power which this lady had over Mrs. Rowe, drew her, with an obliging kind of violence, to spend a few months with her in the country. Yet, even on these occa­sions she never quitted her retreat without sincere regret, and always returned to it, as soon as she could with decency disengage herself from the im­portunity of her noble friends. It was in this recess that she composed the most celebrated of her works, in twenty Letters from the Dead to the Living; the design of which is to impress the notion of the soul's immortality, without which all virtue and religion, with their temporal and eternal good consequences must fall to the ground.

Some who pretend to have no scruples about the being of a God, have yet doubts about their own eternal existence, though many authors have established it, both by christian and moral proofs, beyond reasonable contradiction. But since no means should be left untried, in a point of such awful im­portance, a virtuous endeavour to make the mind familiar with the thoughts of immortality, and con­tract as it were unawares, an habitual persuasion of it, by writings built on that foundation, and addressed to the affections, and imagination, cannot be thought improper, either as a doctrine or amusement: A­musement, for which the world makes so large a demand, and which generally speaking is nothing but an art of forgetting that immortality, the form, [Page 337] belief, and advantageous contemplation, of which this higher amusement would recommend.

In the year 1736, the importunity of some of Mrs. Rowe's acquaintance who had seen the History of Joseph in MS. prevailed on her to print it. The publication of this piece did not long precede the time of her death, to prepare for which had been the great business of her life; and it stole upon her according to her earnest wishes, in her beloved recess. She was favoured with a very uncommon strength of constitution, and had pass'd a long series of years with scarce any indisposition, severe enough to confine her to bed.—But about half a year before her decease, she was attacked with a distemper, which seemed to herself as well as others, attended with danger. Tho' this disorder found her mind not quite so serene and prepared to meet death as usual; yet when by devout contemplation, she had fortified herself against that fear and diffidence, from which the most exalted piety does not always secure us in such an awful hour, she experienced such divine satisfaction and transport, that she said with tears of joy, she knew not that she ever felt the like in all her life, and she repeated on this occa­sion Pope's beautiful soliloquy of the dying Christian to his soul.

The dying CHRISTIAN to his Soul.
I.
Vital spark of heav'nly flame!
Quit, oh quit this mortal frame;
Trembling, hoping, lingr'ing, flying;
Oh the pain, the bliss of dying!
Cease, fond nature, cease thy strife,
And let me languish into life.
II.
Hark! they whisper; Angels say,
Sister spirit, come away!
What is this absorbs me quite,
Steals my senses, shuts my sight,
Drowns my spirits, draws my breath?
Tell me, my soul, can this be death?
III.
The world recedes; it disappears!
Heav'n opens on my eyes! my ears
With founds seraphic ring;
Lend, lend your wings! I mount! I fly!
O grave! where is thy victory?
O death! where is thy sting?

She repeated the above, with an air of intense pleasure. She felt all the elevated sentiments of pious extasy and triumph, which breath in that ex­quisite piece of sacred poetry. After this threat­ning illness she recovered her usual good state of health; and though at the time of her decease she was pretty far advanced in years, yet her exact temperance, and the calmness of her mind, undis­turbed with uneasy cares, and turbulent passions, encouraged her friends to hope a much longer enjoy­ment of so valuable a life, than it pleased heaven to allow them. On the day when she was seized with that distemper, which in a few hours proved mortal, she seemed to those about her to be in perfect health and vigour. In the evening about eight o'clock she conversed with a friend, with her usual vivacity, mixed with an extraordinary chearfulness, and then retired to her chamber. About 10 her servant [Page 339] hearing some noise in her mistres's room, ran in­stantly into it, and found her fallen off the chair on the floor, speechless, and in the agonies of death. She had the immediate assistance of a physician and surgeon, but all the means used were without suc­cess, and having given one groan she expired a few minutes before two o'clock, on Sunday morning, February the 20th, 1736-7: Her disease was judged to be an apoplexy. A pious book was found lying open by her, as also some loose papers, on which she had written the following devout ejaculations,

O guide, and council, and protect my soul from sin!
O speak! and let me know thy heav'nly will.
Speak evidently to my list'ning soul!
O fill my soul with love, and light of peace,
And whisper heav'nly comfort to my soul!
O speak coelestial spirit in the strain
Of love, and heav'nly pleasure to my soul.

In her cabinet were found letters to several of her friends, which she had ordered to be delivered to the persons to whom they were directed immediately after her decease.

Mrs. Rowe lived in friendship with people of the first fashion and distinction in life, by whom she was esteemed and respected. To enumerate them would be needless; let it suffice to remark, that her life was honoured with the intimacy, and her death la­mented with the tears, of the countess of Hertford. Many verses were published to celebrate her memory, amongst which a copy written by Mrs. Elizabeth Carter are the best.

Thus lived honoured, and died lamented, this excellent poetess, whose beauty, though not her [Page 340] highest excellence, yet greatly contributed to set off her other more important graces to advantage; and whose piety will ever shine as a bright example to posterity, and teach them how to heighten the natural gifts of understanding, by true and unaffected devo­tion.—The conduct and behaviour of Mrs. Rowe might put some of the present race of females to the blush, who rake the town for infamous adventures to amuse the public. Their works will soon be for­gotten, and their memories when dead, will not be deemed exceeding precious; but the works of Mrs. Rowe can never perish, while exalted piety and genuine goodness have any existence in the world. Her memory will be ever honoured, and her name dear to latest posterity.

Mrs. Rowe's Miscellaneous Works were published a few years ago at London, in octavo, and her De­votions were revised and published by the reverend Dr. Watts, under the title of Devout Exercises, to which that worthy man wrote a preface; and while he removes some cavils that wantonness and sensu­ality might make to the stile and manner of these Devotions, he shews that they contain the most sub­lime sentiments, the most refined breathings of the soul, and the most elevated and coelestial piety.

Mrs. Rowe's acquaintance with persons of fashion had taught her all the accomplishments of good-breeding, and elegance of behaviour, and with­out formality or affectation she practised in the most distant solitude, all the address and politeness of a court.

She had the happiest command over her passions, and maintained a constant calmness of temper, and sweetness of disposition, that could not be ruffled by adverse accidents.

[Page 341] She was in the utmost degree an enemy to ill-na­tured satire and detraction; she was as much un­acquainted with envy, as if it had been impossible for so base a passion to enter into the human mind.

She had few equals in conversation; her wit was lively, and she expressed her thoughts in the most beautiful and flowing eloquence.

When she entered into the married state, the high­est esteem and most tender affection appeared in her conduct to Mr. Rowe, and by the most gentle and obliging manner, and the exercise of every social and good natured virtue; she confirmed the empire she had gained over his heart. In short, if the most cultivated understanding, if an imagination lively and extensive, a character perfectly moral, and a soul formed for the most exalted exercises of de­votion, can render a person amiable, Mrs. Rowe has a just claim to that epithet, as well as to the admi­ration of the lovers of poetry and elegant compo­sition.

The Revd. Dr. THOMAS YALDEN.

THIS Gentleman was born in the city of Exeter, and the youngest of six sons of Mr. John Yalden of Sussex. He received his education at a Grammar-school, belonging to Magdalen-Col­lege in Oxford. * In the year 1690 he was ad­mitted a commoner of Magdalen-Hall, under Mr. John Pullen, who was esteemed an excellent tutor, and a very great master of logic, and the following year he was chosen scholar of Magdalen-College. Here he became a fellow-pupil with the celebrated Mr. Addison and Dr. Henry Sacheverel, and early contracted a particular friendship with those two gentlemen. This academical affection Mr. Addison preserved not only abroad in his travels, but also on his advancement to considerable employments at home, and kept the same easy and free correspon­dence to the very last, as when their fortunes were more on a level. This preservation of affection is rendered more singular, by Mr. Yalden's having espoused a very opposite Interest to that of Mr. Ad­dison, for he adhered to the High-Church party, and was suspected of an attachment to an exiled family, for which he afterwards was brought into very great trouble.

In the year 1700 he was admitted actual and per­petual fellow of Magdalen-College, and qualified [Page 343] himself the next year, by taking orders, as the founder's statutes require. After his admission he received two public marks of favour from that so­ciety: The first was a presentation to a living in Warwickshire, consistent with his fellowship; and the other, his being elected moral philosophy-reader, an office for life, endowed with a handsome stipend, and peculiar privileges.

In 1706 he was received into the family of his noble and kind patron the duke of Beaufort; with whom he was in very great favour, having in many instances experienced his bounty and generosity. In the following year he compleated his academical degrees, by commencing doctor in divinity: He pre­sented to the society their founder's picture in full length, which now hangs up in the public-hall; and afterwards he delivered in to the president a voluntary resignation of his fellowship, and moral philosophy-lecture. He was afterwards preferred to be rector of Chalten in Cleanville, two adjoining towns and rectories in Hampshire. He was elected by the president and governors of Bridewell, preacher of that hospital, upon the resignation of Dr. Atter­bury, afterwards lord bishop of Rochester.

Having mentioned this prelate, it will be proper here to observe, that upon a suspicion of Dr. Yalden's being concerned with him, in a plot to restore the exiled family; and for which the bishop was afterwards banished, he was seized upon by authority, and committed to prison. When he was examined before the council, concerning hi [...]\n correspondence and intimacy with Mr. Kelley the bishop's secretary; he did not deny his knowledge of, and correspondence with, him, but still persisted in asserting, that no measures contrary to the consti­tution were ever canvassed between them.

[Page 344] There was found in his pocket book, a copy of verses reflecting on the reigning family, and which might well bear the construction of a libel; but when he was charged with them, he denied that he ever composed such verses, or that the hand-writing was his own, and asserted his innocence in every circumstance relating to the plot. The verses in all probability were put into his pocket-book, by the same person, who with so much dexterity placed a treasonable paper in bishop Atterbury's close-stool, and then pretending to be the discoverer of it, pre­ferred it against his lordship, as an evidence of h [...]\n disaffection. The particulars of that memorable tryal are recorded in the Life of Atterbury, writ­ten by the authors of Biographia Britannica.—The heats raised by Atterbury's tryal subsiding, those who were suspected of being concerned with him, as no evidence appeared strong enough to convict them, were released.

Dr. Yalden was still favoured with the patronage of the generous duke of Beaufort, and his residence in that noble family recommended him to the ac­quaintance of many of the first quality and cha­racter in the kingdom, and as he was of a chear­ful temper, and of a pleasing and instructive con­versation, he retained their friendship and esteem till his death, which happened the 16th of July, 1736, in the 66th year of his age.

His poetical works are chiefly these.

  • On the Conquest of Namure; A Pindaric Ode, inscribed to his most sacred and victorious majesty, folio 1695.
  • The Temple of Fame; a Poem to the memory of the most illustrious Prince, William Duke of Gloucester, folio 1700.
  • [Page 345] On the late Queen's Accession to the Throne, a Poem.
  • Aesop at Court, or State Fables.
  • An Essay on the Character on Sir Willoughby Ashton, a Poem. Fol. 1704.
  • On the Mines of Sir Carbery Price, a Poem; occasioned by the Mine-adventure Company.
  • On the Death of Mr. John Partridge, Professor in Leather, and Astrologer.
  • Advice to a Lover.
  • To Mr. Watson, on his Ephemeris on the Cae­lestial Motions, presented to Queen Anne.
  • Against Immoderate Grief.
  • The Force of Jealousy.
  • An Ode for St. Cecilia's Day, 1693, set to rhusic by Dr. Purcel.
  • A Hymn to the Morning in Praise of Light.

We shall extract the following stanza from this Hymn, as a specimen of his poetry.

Parent of day! whose beauteous beams of light
Spring from the darksome womb of night,
And midst their native horrors show
Like gems adorning of the negro's brow.
Not Heaven's fair bow can equal thee,
In all its gawdy drapery:
Thou first essay of light, and pledge of day!
Rival of shade! eternal spring! still gay!
From thy bright unexhausted womb
The beauteous race of days and seasons come.
Thy beauty ages cannot wrong,
But 'spite of time, thou'rt ever young.
Thou art alone Heav'n's modest virgin light.
Whose face a veil of blushes hide from humansight.
At thy approach, nature erects her head;
The smiling universe is glad;
The drowsy earth and seas awake
And from thy beams new life and vigour take.
[Page 346] When thy more chearful rays appear,
Ev'n guilt and women cease to fear;
Horror, despair, and all the sons of night
Retire before thy beams, and take their hasty flight.
Thou risest in the fragrant east,
Like the fair Phoenix from her balmy nest;
But yet thy fading glories soon decay,
Thine's but a momentary stay;
Too soon thou'rt ravish'd from our sight,
Borne down the stream of day, and overwhelm'd with night.
Thy beams to thy own ruin haste,
They're fram'd too exquisite to last:
Thine is a glorious, but a short-liv'd state;
Pity so fair a birth should yield so soon to fate.

Besides these pieces, this reverend gentleman has translated the second book of Ovid's Art of Love, with several other occasional poems and translations published in the third and fourth volumes of Ton­son's Miscellanies.

The Medicine, a Tale in the second Volume of the Tatlers, and Mr. Partridge's Appeal to the Learn­ed World, or a Further Account of the Manner of his Death, in Prose, are likewise written by him.

Mr. JOSEPH MITCHEL.

THIS gentleman was the son of a Stone­cutter in Scotland, and was born about the year 1684. He received an university education while he remained in that kingdom, and having some views of improving his fortune, repaired to the metropolis. We are not able to recover ma­ny particulars concerning this poet, who was ne­ver sufficiently eminent to excite much curiosity concerning him. By a dissipated imprudent beha­viour he rendered those, who were more inti­mately acquainted with him, less sollicitous to preserve the circumstances of his life, which were so little to his advantage. We find him enjoy­ing the favour of the earl of Stair, and Sir Robert Walpole, to whom he addresses some of his poems. He received so many obligations from the latter, and was so warm in his interest, that he obtained the epithet of Sir Robert Walpole's Poet, and for a great part of his life had an en­tire dependence on the bounty of that munificent statesman. Mr. Mitchel, who was a slave to his pleasures, and governed by every gust of irregular appetite, had many opportunities of experiencing the dangerous folly of extravagance, and the ma­ny uneasy moments which it occasions. Notwith­standing this, his conduct was never corrected, e­ven when the means of doing it were in his pow­er. At a time when Mr. Mitchel laboured under severe necessities, by the death of his wife's un­cle several thousand pounds devolved to him, [Page 348] of which he had no sooner got possession, than he planned schemes of spending it, in place of dis­charging the many debts he had contracted. This behaviour, as it conveyed to his creditors no high idea of his honesty, so it obliged him to be per­petually skulking, and must consequently have em­bittered even those, hours which he falsly dedi­dicated to pleasure; for they who live under a perpetual dread of losing their liberty, can en­joy no great comfort even in their most careless moments.

Of the many poems which Mr. Mitchel wrote, but few succeeded to any degree, nor indeed much deserved it. At a time when the politicians were engaged in settling the Land-Tax, and various o­pinions were offered concerning the ability of that branch of the commonwealth, so that a proper medium or standard might be fixed; he versified the Totness Address, much about the time of his present Majesty's accession to the throne; in which it is humourously proposed, that the land­ed interest should pay twenty shillings in the pound. This poem having a reference to a fashion­able topic of conversation, was better received than most of his other pieces.

There was likewise a poem of Mr. Mitchel's, called The Shoe-heel, which was much read on account of the low humour it contains. He has addressed to Dr. Watts a poem on the subject of Jonah in the Whale's Belly. In the dedication he observes, ‘'That it was written for the advance­ment of true virtue and reformation of manners; to raise an emulation amongst our young poets to attempt divine composures, and help to wipe off the censures which the numerous labours of the muses are justly charged with. If (says he) [Page 349] it shall serve any of these purposes, I shall be satisfied, though I gain no reputation by it a­mong those who read a new poem with no o­ther view, than to pass a judgment on the abi­lities of the author.'’ When the antagonists of Pope were threatened with the publication of the Dunciad, Mr. Mitchel had some suspicion that he himself was to be stigmatized in it: conscious that he had never offended Mr. Pope, he took an op­portunity to write to him upon that subject. He informed him, that he had been an admirer of his writings; that he declined all connexion with those men, who combined to reduce his reputati­on, and that when no offence was given, no re­sentment should be discovered. Mr. Pope, upon receiving this letter from Mitchel, protesting his innocence as to any calumny published against him, was so equitable as to strike him out of his Danciad, in which, by misrepresentation he had assigned him a place.

Mr. Mitchel lived in good correspondence with many of the most eminent wits of the time, and was particularly honoured with the friendship of Aaron Hill, esq a gentleman of so amiable a disposition, that wh [...]\never cultivated an intimacy with him, was sure to be a gainer. Once, when Mr. Mitchel was in distress, Mr. Hill, who could not perhaps conveniently relieve him by pe­cuniary assistance, gave him a higher instance of friendship, than could be shewn by money. He wrote a beautiful dramatic piece in two acts, call­ed The Fatal Extravagant, in which he exposed the hideous vice of gaming. This little dramatic work is planned with such exquisite art, wrought up with so much tenderness, and the scenes are so natural, interesting and moving, that I know not if Mr. Hill has any where touched the passi­ons with so great a mastery. This play met the [Page 350] success it deserved, and contributed to relieve Mr. Mitchel's necess [...]\nties, who had honour enough, how­ever, to undeceive the world, and acknowledge his obligations to Mr. Hill, by making mankind ac­quainted with the real author of he Fatal Extrava­gant. As this was a favour never to be forgot­ten, so we find Mr. Mitchel taking every proper occasion to express his gratitude, and celebrate his patron. Amongst the first of his poems, is An Ode, addressed to Mr. Hill, which is one of the best of his compositions. The two last stanza's are as follow,

Heedless of custom, and the vulgar breath,
I toil for glory in a path untrod,
Or where but few have dared to combat death,
And few unstaggering carry virtue's load.
Thy muse, O Hill, of living names,
My first respect, and chief attendance claims.
Sublimely fir'd, thou look'st disdainful down
On trifling subjects, and a vile renown.
In ev'ry verse, in ev'ry thought of thine,
There's heav'nly rapture and design.
Who can thy god-like Gideon view*,
And not thy muse pursue,
Or wish, at least, such miracles to do?
Sure in thy breast the ancient Hebrew fire
Reviv'd, glows hot, and blazes forth,
How strong, how fierce the flames aspire!
Of thy interior worth,
When burning worlds thou sett'st before our eyes,
And draw'st tremendous judgment from the skies!
O bear me on thy seraph wing,
And teach my weak obsequious muse to sing.
[Page 351] To thee I owe the little art I boast;
Thy heat first melted my co-genial frost.
Preserve the sparks thy breath did fan,
And by thy likeness form me into true poetic man.

Mr. Mitchel died in the year 1738. He seems to have been a poet of the third rate; he has sel­dom reached the sublime; his humour, in which he more succeeded, is not strong enough to last; his versification holds a state of mediocrity; he pos­sessed but little invention, and if he was not a bad rhimester, he cannot be denominated a fine poet, for there are but few marks of genius in his writ­ings. His poems were printed in two vol. 8vo. in the year 1729.

He wrote also, The Union of the Clans; or the Highland-Fair. A Scot's Opera. 'Twas acted at the Theatre-Royal in Drury-Lane, about the year 1730; but did not succeed.

Mr. JOHN OZELL.

THIS gentleman added considerably to the republic of letters by his numerous transla­tions. He received the rudiments of his educa­tion from Mr. Shaw, an excellent grammarian, master of the free school at Ashby De la Zouch in Leicestershire: he finished his grammatical learn­ing under the revd. Mr. Mountford of Christ's Hospital, where having attained the Latin, Greek, and Hebrew tongues, he was designed to be sent to the university of Cambridge, to be trained up for holy Orders. But Mr. Ozell, who was averse to that confinement which he must expect in a college life, chose to be sooner settled in the world, and be placed in a public office of ac­counts, having previously qualified himself by at­taining a knowledge of arithmetic, and writing the necessary hands. This choice of an occupa­tion in our author, could no other reasons be ad­duced, are sufficient to denominate him a little tine­tured with dulness, for no man of genius ever yet made choice of spending his life behind a desk in a compting-house.

He still retained, however, an inclination to eru­dition, contrary to what might have been expect­ed, and by much conversation with travellers from abroad, made himself master of most of the liv­ing languages, especially the French, Italian, and Spanish, from all which, as well as from the La­tin and Greek, he has favoured the world with a [Page 353] great * many translations, amongst which are the following French plays;

  • 1. Britannicus and Alexander the Great. Two Tragedies from Racine.
  • 2. The Litigant, a Comedy of 3 Acts; translat­ed from the French of M. Racine, who took it from the Wasps of Aristophanes, 8vo. 1715. Scene in a city of Lower Nornandy.
  • 3. Manlius Capitolinus, a Tragedy from the French of M. La Fosse, 1715. When the earl of Portland was ambassador at the French court, this play was acted at Paris threescore nights running; the subject is related by Livy. This French au­thor studied some time at Oxford, and, upon his return home, applied himself to dramatic poetry, in which he acquired great reputation. He died a­bout the year 1713.
  • 4. The Cid, a Tragedy from Corneille.
  • 5. Cato of Utica, a Tragedy from M. Des Champs; acted at the Theatre in Lincoln's-Inn-Fields 1716, dedicated to Count Volkra his Ex­cellency the Imperial Ambassador: to which is added a Parallel between this Play and Mr. Ad­dison's Cato.

Besides these, Mr. Ozell has translated all Mo­liere's plays, which are printed in 6 vol. 12mo. and likewise a collection of some of the best Spanish and Italian plays, from Calderon, Aretin, Ricci, and Lopez de Vega. Whether any of these plays, translated from the Spanish, were ever printed, we cannot be positive. Mr. Ozell's translation of Moliere is far from being excel­lent, for Moliere was an author to whom none, but a genius like himself, could well do justice.

[Page 354] His other works are

  • The History of Don Quixote, translated by se­veral hands, published by Peter Motteux; revised and compared with the best edition, printed at Ma­drid, by Mr. Ozell, 5th edition, 1725.
  • Reflexions on Learning, by M. de Fenelon, Archbishop of Cambray, made English from the Paris Edition 12mo. 1718.
  • Common Prayer, not Common Sense, in several Places of the Portugueze, Spanish, Italian, French, Latin, and Greek Translations of the English Li­turgy; Being a Specimen of the Manifold Omis­sions, &c. in all, or most of the said Translations, some of which were printed at Oxford, and the rest at Cambridge, or London, 1722.
  • Vertot's Revolutions of Rome, translated by Mr. Ozell.
  • Logic, or the Art of Thinking; from the French of M. Nicole, 1723.

Mr. Ozell finished a Translation from the Por­tugueze, begun by Dr. Geddes, of the most ce­lebrated, popish, ecclesiastical Romance; being the the Life of Veronica of Milan, a book certified by the heads of the university of Conimbra in Por­tugal, to be revised by the Angels, and approved of by God.

These are the works of Mr. Ozell, who, if he did not possess any genius, has not yet lived in vain, for he has rendered into English some very useful pieces, and if his translations are not ele­gant; they are generally pretty just, and true to their original.

Mr. Ozell is severely touched by Mr. Pope in the first book of the Dunciad, on what account we cannot determine; perhaps that satyrist has only in­troduced him to grace the train of his Dunces. [Page 355] Ozell was incensed to the last degree by this usage, and in a paper called The Weekly Med­ley, September 1729, he published the following strange Advertisement* ‘'As to my learning, this envious wretch-knew, and every body knows, that the whole bench of bishops, not long ago, were pleased to give me a purse of guineas for dis­covering the erroneous translations of the Common Prayer in Portugueze, Spanish, French, Italian, &c. As for my genius, let Mr. Cleland shew better verses in all Pope's works, than Ozell's version of Boileau's Lutrin, which the late lord Hallifax was so well pleased with, that he com­plimented him with leave to dedicate it to him, &c. &c. Let him shew better and truer poetry in The Rape of the Lock, than in Ozell's Rape of the Bucket, which, because an ingenious au­thor happened to mention in the same breath with Pope's, viz.‘' Let Ozell sing the Bucket, Pope the Lock,’'the little gentleman had like to have run mad; and Mr. Toland and Mr. Gildon publicly declared Ozell's Translation of Homer to be, as it was prior, so likewise superior, to Pope's.—Surely, surely, every man is free to deserve well of his country!' JOHN OZELL.’

This author died about the middle of October 1743, and was buried in a vault of a church be­longing to St. Mary Aldermanbury. He never ex­perienced any of the vicissitudes of fortune, which have been so frequently the portion of his inspired brethren, for a person born in the same county with him, and who owed particular obligations to his family, left him a competent provision: be­sides, he had always enjoyed good places. He [Page 356] was for some years auditor-general of the city and Bridge accounts, and, to the time of his decease, auditor of the accounts of St. Paul's Cathedral, and St. Thomas's Hospital. Though, in reality, Ozell was a man of very little genius, yet Mr. Coxeter asserts, that his conversation was surpriz­ingly pleasing, and that he had a pretty good knowledge of men and things. He possibly pos­sessed a large share of good nature, which, when joined with but a tolerable understanding, will render the person, who is blessed with it, more amiable, than the most flashy wit, and the highest genius without it.

End of the Fourth Volume.

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