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1696 to the Electors of Mentz and Cologne, and the Congress at Francfort; in 1698 a second time to Brandenburgh; in 1699 to the King of Poland ; in 1701 again to the Emperor; and in 1706 to the States General. In 1697 he was made one of the commisfioners of trade. His life was busy, and not long. He died in 1707 ; and is buried in Westminster-Abbey, with this epitaph, which Jacob transcribed :
H. S. E.
Linguæ, Styli, ac Vitæ Elegantiam,
Plurimas Legationes obiit
Gulielmi & Annæ
Haud raro superaverit.
Brevî Temporis Spatio confe&tum,
On the Left Hand,
Electus in Collegium
Sancti Trinitatis Cantab. 1682.
Cura commiffa eft 1697.
Frequentia, huc elatus, 1707. It is reported that the juvenile compositions of Stepney made grey authors blush. I know not whether his poems will appear such wonders to the present
age. One cannot always easily find the reason for which the world has sometimes conspired to squander praise. It is not very unlikely that he wrote very early as well as he ever wrote; and the performances of youth have many favourers, because the authors yet lay no claim to publick honours, and are therefore not considered as rivals by the distributors of fame.
He apparently professed himself a poet, and added his name to those of the other wits in the version of Juvenal; but he is a very licentious translator, and does not recompense his neglect of the author by beauties of his own. In his original poems, now and then, a happy line may perhaps be found, and now and then a short compofition may give pleasure. But there is, in the whole, little either of the grace of wit, or the vigour of na
OHN PHILIPS was born on the zoth of De
cember, 1676, at Bampton in Oxfordshire; of which place his father Dr. Stephen Philips, archdeacon of Salop, was minister. The first part of his education was domestick, after which he was sent to Winchester, where, as we are told by Dr. Sewel, his biographer, he was soon distinguished by the superiority of his exercises; and, what is less easily to be credited, so much endeared hiinself to his schoolfellows, by his civility and good-nature, that they, without murmur or ill-will, saw him indulged by the master with particular iminunities. It is related, that when he was at school, he seldom mingled in play with the other boys, but retired to his chamber; where his sovereign pleasure was to fit, hour after hour, while his hair was combed by somebody, whose service he found means to procure
* Tfaac Voffius relates that he also delighted in having his hair, combed when he could have it done by barbers or other persons
what is gourdi
At school he became acquainted with the poets ancient and modern, and fixed his attention particularly on Milton.
In 1694 he entered himself at Christ-church; a college at that time in the highest reputation, by the transınillion of Busby's scholars to the care first of Fell, and afterwards of Aldricb. Here he was distinguished as a genius eminent among the eminent, and for friendfhip particularly intimate with Mr. Smith, the author of Phædra and Hippolytus. The profession which he in. tended to follow was that of Physick; and he took much delight in natural history, of which botany was his favourite part.
His reputation was confined to his friends and to the university; till about 1703 he extended it to a wider circle by the Splendid Shilling, which struck the publick attention with a mode of writing new and unexpected.
This performance raised him so high, that when Europe resounded with the victory of Blenheim, he was, probably with an occult opposition to Addison, employed to deliver the acclamation of the Tories. It is said that he would willingly have declined the task,
skilled in the rules of prosody. Of the passage that contains this ridiculous fancy, the following is a translation : “ Many people “take delight in the rubbing of their limbs, and the combing of “their hair, but these exercises would delight much more, if the fer. 6. vants at the baths, and of the barbers, were so skilful in this art, " that they could express any measures with their fingers. I re“ member that more than once I have fallen into the hands of men “ of this fort, who could imitate any measure of fongs in combing " the hair, so as fometimes to express very intelligibly lambics, Tros chees, Dactyls, &c. from whence there arose to me no small de“ light." See his Treatise De Poematum cantu & viribus Rythmi, Oxon. 1673, p. 62.
but that his friends urged it upon him. It appears
The next year
He then grew probably more confident of his own abilities, and began to meditate a poem on the Last day; a subject on which no mind can hope to equal expectation.
This work he did not live to finish; his diseases, a
His Epitaph at Hereford :
Ætat. suæ 32.
Si Tumulum desideras,