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as its subject was present and popular, cooperated with passions and prejudices then prevalent, and, with such auxiliaries to its intrinsick merit, was universally and liberally applauded. It was on the side of cha• rity against the intrigues of interest, and of regular learning against licentious usurpation of medical authority, and was therefore naturally favoured by those who read and can judge of poetry.
In 1697, Garth spoke that which is now called the Harveian Oration ; which the authors of the Biographia mention with more praise than the passage quoted in their notes will fully justify. Garth, speaking of the mischiefs done by quacks, has these expressions: “ Non tamen telis vulnerat ista “ agyrtarum coluvies, fed theriacâ quadam “ magis perniciosa, non pyrio, fed pulvere “ nescio quo exotico certat, non globulis “plumbeis, sed pilulis æque lethalibus in“ terficit.” This was certainly thought fine by the author, and is still admired by his biographer. In October 1702 he became one of the cenfors of the College. · Garth, being an active and zealous Whig, was a member of the Kit-cat club, and by consequence familiarly known to all the great men of that denomination. In 1710, when the government fell into other hands, he writ to lord Godolphin, on his dismisfion, a short poem, which was criticised in the Examiner, and so successfully either defended or excused by Mr. Addison, that, for the sake of the vindication, it ought to be preserved.
At the accession of the present family his merits were acknowledged and rewarded. He was knighted with the sword of his hero, Marlborough; and was made physician in ordinary to the king, and physician-general to the army.
He then undertook an edition of Ovid's Metamorphoses, translated by severalhands; which he recommended by a Preface, written with more oftentation than ability: his notions are half-formed, and his materials immethodically confused. This was his last work. He died Jan. 18, 1717-18, and was buried at Harrow-on-the-Hill.
His personal character seems to have been social and liberal. He communicated himself through a very wide extent of acquaintance; and though firm in a party, at a time when firmness included virulence, yet he VOL. II.
imparted his - kindness to those who were not supposed to favour his principles. He was an early encourager of Pope, and was at once the friend of Addison and of Granville. He is accused of voluptuousness and irreligion; and Pope, who says, that “ if “ ever there was a good Christian, without 6 knowing himself to be so, it was Dr. “ Garth," seems not able to deny what he is angry to hear and loth to confess.
Pope afterwards declared himself convinced that Garth died in the communion of the Church of Rome, having been privately reconciled. It is observed by Lowth, that there is less distance than is thought between scepticism and popery; and that a mind, wearied with perpetual doubt, willingly seeks repose in the bosom of an infallible church.
His poetry has been praisedat least equally to its merit. In the Dispensary there is a strain of smooth and free versification; but few lines are eminently elegant. No pasfages fall below mediocrity, and few rise much above it. The plan foems formed without just proportion to the subject; the means and end have no necessary connec5
- tion. Resnel, in his Preface to Pope's Ef
say, remarks, that Garth exhibits no difcrimination of characters; and that what any one says might with equal propriety have been said by another. The general design is perhaps open to criticism; but the composition can seldom be charged with inaccuracy or negligence. The author never flumbers in felf-indulgence; his full vigour is always exerted; fcarcely a line is left unfinished, nor is it easy to find an expression used by constraint, or a thought imperfectly expressed. It was remarked by Pope, that the Dispensary had been corrected in every edition, and that every change was an improvement. It appears, however, to want something of poetical ardour, and something of general delectation; and therefore, since it has been no longer supported by accidental and intrinsick popularity, it has been scarcely able to support itself.
JICHOLAS ROWE was born at Little TV Beckford, in Bedfordshire, in 1673His family had long possessed a considerable estate, with a good house, at Lambertoun* in Devonihire. The ancestor from whom he descended in a direct line received the arms borne by his descendants for his bravery in the Holy War. His father, John Rowe, who was the first that quitted his paternal acres to practise any art of profit, professed the law, and published Benlow's and Dallison's Reports in the reign of James the Second, when, in opposition to the notions, then diligently propagated, of dispensing power, he ventured to remark how low his authors rated the prerogative. He was made a ferjeant, and died April 30, 1692. He was buried in the Temple church.
* In the Villare, Lamerton. Olig. Edit.