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at most can rise only to elegance. Contending angels may shake the regions of heaven in blank verse; but the flow of equal meafures, and the embellishment of rhyme, must recommend to our attention the art of engrafting, and decide the merit of the red treak and pearmain.
What study could confer, Philips had obtained; but natural deficience cannot be supplied. He seems not born to greatness and elevation. He is never lofty, nor does he often surprise with unexpected excellence; buc perhaps to his last poem may be applied what Tully said of the work of Lucretius, that it is written with much art, though with few blazes of genius.
The following fragment, written by Edmund
Smith, upon the works of Philips, has been transcribed from the Bodleian manue scripts.
“ A prefatory Discourse to the poem on Mr.
Philips, with a character of his writings.
“ It is altogether as equitable some account should be given of those who have distin. guished themselves by their writings, as of those who are renowned for great actions. It is but reasonable they, who contribute so much to the immortality of others, should have some share in it themselves; and fince their genius only is discovered by their works, it is just that their virtues should be recorded by their friends. For no modest men (as the person I write of was in perfection) will write their own panegyricks; and it is very hard that they should go without reputation, only because they the more deserve it. The end of writing Lives is for the imitation of the readers. It will be in the
few to imitate the duke of Marlborough; we must be content with admiring his great qualities and actions, without hopes of following them. The private and social virtues are inore easily transcribed. The Life of Cowley is more instructive, as well as more fine, than any we have in our language. And it is to be wished, fince Mr. Philips had fo many
of the good qualities of that poet, that I had some of the abilities of his historian.
The Grecian philosophers have had their Lives written, their morals commended, and their fayings recorded. Mr. Philips had all the virtues to which most of them only pretended, and all their integrity without any of their affectation.
The French are very just to eminent men in this point; not a learned man nor a poet can die, but all Europe must be acquainted with his accomplishments. They give praise and expect it in their turns: they commend their Patru's and Molieres as well as their Condés and Turennes; their Pellisons, and Racines have their elogies, as well as the prince whom they celebrate; and their poems, their mercuries, and orations, nay their
very gazettes, are filled with the praises of the learned.
I am fatisfied, had they a Philips among them, and known how to value him; had they one of his learning, his temper, but above all of that particular turn of humour; that altogether new genius, he had been an example to their poets, and a subject of their
panegyricks, and perhaps set in competition with the ancients, to whom only he ought to submit.
I shall therefore endeavour to do justice to his
memory, since nobody else undertakes it. And indeed I can assign no cause why so many of his acquaintance (that are as willing and more able than myself to give an account of him) Thould forbear to celebrate the memory of one so dear to them, but only that they look upon it as a work entirely belonging to me.
I shall content myself with giving only a character of the person and his writings, without meddling with the transactions of his life, which was altogether private : I shall only make this known observation of his family, that there was scarcely so many extraordinary men in any one.
I have been acquainted with five of his brothers (of which three are still leaving), all men of fine parts, yet all of a very unļike temper and genius. So that their fruitful mother, like the mother of the gods, seems to have produced a numerous offspring, all of different though unVOL. I.
Of the living, neither their modesty nor the humour of the present age, permits me to speak: of the dead, I may say something
One of them had made the greatest progress in the study of the law of nature and nations of any one I know. He had perfectly inastered, and even improved, the notions of Grotius, and the more refined ones of Puffendorff. He could refute Hobbes with as much folidity as some of greater name, and expose him with as much wit as Echard. That noble study, which requires the greatest reach of reason and nicety of distinction, was not at all difficult to him. 'Twas a national loss to be deprived of one who understood a science fo necessary, and yet so unknown in England. I shall add only, he had the same honesty and sincerity as the person I write of, but more heat : the former was more inclined to argue, the latter to divert : one employed his reason more; the other his imagination : the former had been well qualified for those posts, which the modesty of the latter made him refuse. His other dead brother would have been an ornament to the college of