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criticism is no longer softened by his bounties or awed by his splendour, and, being able to take a more steady view, discovers him to be a writer that sometimes glimmers, but rarely shines, feebly laborious, and at best but pretty ? His songs are upon common topicks; he hopes, and grieves, and repents, and despairs, and rejoices, like any other maker of little stanzas: to be great he hardly tries; to be gay is hardly in his power.
In the Essay on Satire he was always supposed to have had the 23 help of Dryden?. His Essay on Poetry is the great work, for which he was praised by Roscommon *, Dryden, and Pope, and doubtless by many more whose eulogies have perished”.
Upon this piece he appears to have set a high value; for he was 24 all his life improving it by successive revisals, so that there is scarcely any poem to be found of which the last edition differs more from the first 8. Amongst other changes, mention is made of some compositions of Dryden, which were written after the first appearance of the Essay
At the time when this work first appeared, Milton's fame was 25 not yet fully established, and therefore Tasso and Spenser were set before him. The two last lines were these. The Epick Poet,
Must above Milton's lofty flights prevail,
'But let a lord once own the happy “Nature's chief master-piece is lines,
writing well.”' How the wit brightens ! how the
Essay on Criticism, 1. 723. style refines !!
The line quoted is the second in POPE, Essay on Criticism, l. 420. the Essay on Poetry. Eng. Poets, * For Macaulay's estimate of him xxxii. 69. Pope introduces him also see his History, iii. II.
in Prol. Sat. 1. 139: See Appendix DD.
The courtly Talbot, Somers, Sheffield 4 'Happy that author whose correct read.' Essay
[way.' ? See Appendix EE. Repairs so well our old Horatian 8 "Mr. Pope altered some verses ROSCOMMON, Eng. Poets, xv. 79. in it.' Spence's Anec. p. 292. 5 Dryden describes the author as 9 In the first edition of the Lives, 'a poet
and a critic of the first magni written after the Essay.' tude.' Works, xiv. 233. In Absalom The first edition of the poem and Achitophel, 1. 877, he calls him appeared in 1682. Cunningham's
the Muses' friend, Lives of the Poets, ii. 197. It is not Himself a Muse.'
in the Brit. Mus. In the second For Sheffield's sneer at Dryden see edition (1691) Mac Flecknoe and The ante, DRYDEN, 105.
Hind and the Panther are mentioned. 6 Such was the Muse whose rules See also Eng. Poets, xxxii. 74.
and practice tell,
The last line in succeeding editions was shortened, and the order of names continued ; but now Milton is at last advanced to the highest place, and the passage thus adjusted,
* Must above Tasso's losty flights prevail,
Succeed where Spenser, and ev'n Milton fail .' Amendments are seldom made without some token of a rent:
lofty does not suit Tasso so well as Milton. 26 One celebrated line seems to be borrowed. The Essay calls a perfect character
"A faultless monster which the world ne'er saw 3. Scaliger in his poems terms Virgil' sine labe monstrum“! Sheffield can scarcely be supposed to have read Scaliger's poetry; perhaps
he found the words in a quotation. 27 Of this Essay, which Dryden has exalted so highly s, it may be
justly said that the precepts are judicious, sometimes new, and often happily expressed ; but there are, after all the emendations, many weak lines and some strange appearances of negligence; as when he gives the laws of elegy he insists upon connection and coherence, without which, says he,
• 'Tis epigram, 'tis point, 'tis what you will ;
No Panegyrick, nor a Cooper's Hillo
* In the edition of 1691, p. 31: There 's no such thing in nature, ‘Must above Cowley, nay and Milton and you'll draw too prevail,
A faultless monster, which the world Succeed where great Torquato and ne'er saw.' our greater Spenser fail.”
* [I cannot find 'sine labe monIn a copy in the Brit. Mus. dated strum,' but Mr. John Marshall of 1713 bound up with Roscommon's Lewes informs me that in De Virgilii and Duke's Poems, the whole volume inaccessa divinitate, which begins bearing date 1717, p. 3175
Dulcis Virgilius, Latina Siren,' is a 'Must above Milton's lofty flights line prevail,
O monstrum vitio carens.' Succeed where Spenser and Tor- Julii Caesaris Scaligeri Poemata (ed. quato fail.'
1600), p. 597.] 2 Eng. Poets, xxxii. 81.
s Your Essay of Poetry I read *That admirable verse,' Dryden over and over with much delight and calls it, misquoting it by substituting as much instruction, and, without knew for saw. Works, xvii. 303. flattering you, or making myself more The lines run (Eng. Poets, xxxii. moral than I am-not without some 77):
envy.' DRYDEN, Works, xiv. 140. 'Reject that vulgar error which ap Eng. Poets, xxxii. 73. pears
| Ante, WALLER, 128. So fair, of making perfect characters; Ante, DENHAM, 20.
His verses are often insipid, but his memoirs are lively and $8 agreeable ; he had the perspicuity and elegance of an historian, but not the fire and fancy of a poet".
APPENDIX AA (PAGE 172)
In a note on Johnson's Works, vii. 482, it is stated that 'in the earliest editions of the Duke's Works he is styled Duke of Buckingham; and Walpole, in his Catalogue of Noble Authors (Works, i. 436), mentions a wish, cherished by Sheffield, to be confounded with his predecessor in the title; “but he would more easily,” remarks Walpole sarcastically, “have been mistaken with the other Buckingham if he had not written at all.” Burnet also, and other authorities, speak of him under the title of Duke of Buckingham. His epitaph, being in Latin, will not settle the point. It is to be regretted therefore that Johnson adduced no better evidence for his doubt than his own unsupported assertion.'
Johnson's assertion is not unsupported. Salmon, in his Chronological Historian, 1733, p. 278, enters under March 9, 1702:—John Sheffield, Marquis of Normanby, created Duke of the County of Bucks and of Normanby. The same title is given him in Cockayne's Hist. Peerage. Crull, in The Antiquities of St. Peter's, ii. 48, says that at the Duke's funeral Garter King at Arms proclaimed his title as Duke of Buckinghamshire. In An Account of the Pedigree of the Sheffield Family in the Duke's Works, ii. 351, he is so styled, though he signed his will Buckingham. Ib. p. 366. In the list of Peers in 1715 in Parl. Hist. vii. 28, he is entered as Duke of Buckinghamshire and Normanby. Bolingbroke, in 1722, wrote of him as Duke of Buckinghamshire (Swift's Works, xvi. 378), and so did Pope in 1723. SHEFFIELD, 28 n. Jacob, in 1720, so described the Duke in dedicating to him his Poetical Register. In Macky's Characters (1733) the first Duke is so described. Swift's Works, xii. 224. In Brit. Mus. Cata, the same title is given at the head of the article. The title expired in 1735. See also SHEFFIELD, 21 n.
In Dodsley's London, ii. 41, is a letter of the Duke's describing
· Pope wrote to Caryl in 1722:-- of putting that vile thing a trick upon 'I have the care of overlooking the you, in being the procurer of your Duke of Buckingham's papers, and licence to the Duke of Buckinghamcorrecting the press. That will be a shire's book. ... I now think myself very beautiful book.' Pope's Works obliged to assure you that I never (Elwin and Courthope), vi. 280. look'd into those papers, or was privy
Lord Carteret on April 18, 1722, to the contents of them, when that * signed a royal licence to protect licence was procured by Mr. Barber, the copyright of the Duke's Works. to secure his own property.' Ib. viii. Before the book appeared the minis 191, X. 139. See also ib. v. 193, X. ters learnt that it contained passages 198. in favour of the Pretender. The In the copy of this edition in the impression was seized and the ob British Museum these passages are noxious leaves cut out.' Pope wrote not cut out. The edition of 1729 to Carteret on Feb. 16, 1722–3:-'I contains 'The Castrations' in an am told ... that I've been suspected Appendix. LIVES OF POETS. 11
Buckingham House. From the roof there is 'a far distant prospect of hills and dales, and a near one of parks and gardens.'
In Biog. Brit. p. 3661 it is stated that through his gaming a good part of the garden came into the hands of a person who insultingly grazed his sheep and oxen close under his Grace's window.'
The house (the site of Buckingham Palace) was bought by George III in 1761, and settled on Queen Charlotte. It was in the library that Johnson met the King. Boswell's Johnson, ii. 33 n.
APPENDIX BB (PAGE 173) The Duke of Buckingham thought that the interests of the Catalans were too much sacrificed to the peace with Spain. He thought no sort of terms ought to be agreed on without first securing the lives and liberties of those poor people, who had entirely relied on England for protection.' Works, ïi. 338.
In 1705, in the War of the Succession in Spain, Catalonia had risen against Philip V in favour of the Archduke Charles. Macaulay's Essays, ii. 73. In 1712, in the stipulations of the Peace of Utrecht, they were neglected. Swift, in The Public Spirit of the Whigs, answering Steele's Crisis, writes :
-Having mentioned the Catalonians Mr. Steele puts the question, "Who can name the Catalonians without a tear?” That can I.' Swift's Works, iv. 262. See also Parl. Hist. vi. 1308, for Steele's quotation of this passage in his Apology. Their abandonment made the sixth article in the impeachment of the Earl of Oxford in 1715. Parl. Hist. vii. 124.
APPENDIX CC (Page 174)
For the Duke of Buckingham's lines On Mr. Hobbes and his Writings see Eng. Poets, xxxii. 94. In his will he directed the following lines to be put on his monument :-'In one place :
“Pro Rege saepe, Pro Republica semper.” In another place
“Dubius, sed non improbus, vixi,
Ens entium, miserere mei.”' Works, ii. 364.
* I like the Duke's epitaph,' wrote Erasmus Darwin. C. Darwin's Life of E. Darwin, 1887, p. 15. For Prior's epigram On Bishop Atterbury's Burying the Duke of Buckingham see Eng. Poets, xxxiv. 63.
APPENDIX DD (PAGE 175)
The Essay on Satire is included in Dryden's Works, xv. 200, and Eng. Poets, xviii. 124, where it is attributed to both poets. It is in Sheffield's Works, 1729, i. 111: Wood says that after a time Sheffield 'was generally thought to be the author. Ath. Oxon. iv. 210.
Dean Lockier, who first met Dryden in 1685, said that “Sheffield's Essay was a good deal corrected by Dryden. Could anything,' he continues, "be more impudent than his publishing that satire, for writing which Dryden was beat in Rose Alley (and which was known as the Rose Alley Satire), as his own? He made, indeed, a few alterations in it first; but these were only verbal.' Spence's Anec. p. 63. Lockier seems to say that Dryden and Sheffield corrected the poem of some unknown author.
Malone shows that the defective versification proves that it is not Dryden's. 'If it be compared with the first copy of the Essay on Poetry, which is Sheffield's, a great similarity may be observed between them.' Malone's Dryden, i. 129. See ante, DRYDEN, 105.
APPENDIX EE (PAGE 175)
Rochester praised him in An Epistolary Essay: Eng. Poets, xv. 38. Walsh described him as a great modern critic. Ib. xvii. 338.
Garth, in the first edition of The Dispensary, paid him a compliment which he afterwards suppressed:
"The Tiber now no courtly Gallus sees,
Pope's Works (Elwin and Courthope), ii. 8o. Addison, in The Spectator, No. 253, calls the Essay 'a masterpiece.'
The Hon. Simon Harcourt (post, POPE, 401) begins his lines To Mr. Pope :
'He comes, he comes ! bid every bard prepare
Pope's Works (Elwin and Courthope), i. 30. Prior exclaims in Alma, ii. 305
'Happy the poet, blest the lays,
Which Buckingham has deigned to praise.'
'Sheffield, who knows to strike the living lyre,
Pope's Works (Elwin and Courthope), v. 174. Goldsmith writes of the Essay It is enrolled among our great English productions. The precepts are sensible, the poetry not indifferent, but it has been praised more than it deserves.' Works, iii. 439.