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It cannot but be proper to shew what they shall have to catch
and carry :
''Twas now, when flowery lawns the prospect made,
Namur, the prize and mistress of the war?.' 38 The Birth of the Muse’ is a miserable fiction. One good line
it has which was borrowed from Dryden? The concluding verses are these ;
'This said, no more remain’d. Th' ethereal host
He launch'd the world to float in ambient air 4' 39 Of his irregular poems that to Mrs. Arabella Hunt seems to be the best s: his Ode for Cecilia's Day, however, has · Eng. Poets, xxxiv. p. 141.
seems an inversion of Dryden's line . Ib. p. 146.
'The Godhead took a deep consider[This ‘miserable fiction' is full of ing space, semi-echoes from Dryden's poems, (The Hind and the Panther, i. 256). especially recalling his Astraea Yet it is as hard to find any entire Redux, often in a most irritating man line that Congreve may be said to ner from the half imitation of some have here borrowed from Dryden as 'full resounding line' of Dryden. it is to discern Johnson's one good Thus in Congreve's Birth of the Muse: line.'] *The Fates at length the blissful * Eng. Poets, xxxiv. 155. web have spun,
5 16. p. 156. Southey, including And bid it round in endless circles this Ode in his Specimens (i. 271),
run' (Eng. Poets, xxxiv. 151) says :- It is said by Johnson to be recalls
the best of his irregular Pieces. And now Time's whiter series is Johnson, however, did not mean to begun,
[ly run' imply that it was good; it is at least Which in soft centuries shall smooth original, and perhaps incomparable
(Astraea Redux, 11. 292, 293), for absurdity.' and
For an anecdote of Queen Mary, "When deep revolving thoughts the Mrs. Hunt, and Purcell see Johnson's
God retain' (Birth of the Muse, Works, 1787, iii. 169.
• Hymn to Harmony, Eng. Poets,
some lines which Pope had in his mind when he wrote his own.
His imitations of Horace are feebly paraphrastical, and the additions which he makes are of little value. He sometimes retains what were more properly omitted, as when he talks of vervain and gums to propitiate Venus ?.
Of his Translations: the satire of Juvenalo was written very 40 early, and may therefore be forgiven, though it have not the massiness and vigour of the original. In all his versions strength and sprightliness are wanting : his Hymn to Venus 5 from Homer is perhaps the best. His lines are weakened with expletives, and his rhymes are frequently imperfect.
His petty poems are seldom worth the cost of criticism : 41 sometimes the thoughts are false, and sometimes common.
In his verses on Lady Gethin the latter part is an imitation of Dryden's Ode on Mrs. Killigrew?; and Doris, that has been so lavishly flattered by Steele, has indeed some lively stanzas, but the expression might be mended, and the most striking part of the character had been already shewn in Love for Love His Art of Pleasing is founded on a vulgar but perhaps impracticable principle, and the staleness of the sense is not concealed by any novelty of illustration or elegance of diction.
5 lb. p. 305. 6 lb. p. 191.
xxxiv. 185; ante, DRYDEN, 150; Thou tread'st with seraphims the HUGHES, 6.
vast abyss.' * Post, POPE, 320. Dr. Warton DRYDEN, Odé, 1.6; ante, DRYDEN, 278. points out the resemblance between 8 Eng. Poets, xxxiv. 230. "The Congreve's fifth stanza and Pope's most agreeable kind of raillery is second. Pope's Works, 1822, i. 199. when the satire is directed against Eng. Poets, xxxiv. 172.
vice, with an air of contempt of the 3 Post, POPE, 271 N.
fault, but no ill-will to the criminal. * Sat. xi; Eng. Poets, xxxiv. 195. Mr. Congreve's Doris is a master
piece in this kind. It is the character
of a woman utterly abandoned, but 1 Whether around the throne eternal her impudence by the finest piece of hymns
raillery is made only generosity.' She sings amid the choir of sera The Spectator, No. 422. See also phims;
the Dedication of Steele's Miscellany. Or some refulgent star informs 'Doris is, in truth, very acutely and and guides,
pleasantly written, and, to this day, Where she, the blest intelligence, not a little startling.' LEIGH HUNT,
presides.' CONGREVE, ib. p. 192. Wycherley, &c., p. 42. "Whether, adopted to some neigh In the scene between Scandal bouring star,
and Mrs. Foresight in Act iv. Thou roll'st above us in thy wander 10 All rules of pleasing in this one ing race;
Affect not anything in Nature's Or, called to more superior bliss, spite.' Eng. Poets, xxxiv. 271.
42 This tissue of poetry, from which he seems to have hoped
a lasting name", is totally neglected, and known only as it is
appended to his plays. 43
While comedy or while tragedy is regarded his plays are likely to be read; but, except what relates to the stage, I know not that he has ever written a stanza that is sung or a couplet that is quoted. The general character of his Miscellanies is that
they shew little wit and little virtue 3. 44 Yet to him it must be confessed that we are indebted for the
correction of a national error, and for the cure of our Pindarick madness 4. He first taught the English writers that Pindar's odes were regulars; and though certainly he had not the fire requisite for the higher species of lyrick poetry, he has shewn us that enthusiasm has its rules, and that in mere confusion there is neither grace nor greatness.
* He thus ends the Epistle to Hali well's Johnson, ii. 227. At Ashbourne fax:
he listened to the tune set to 'Let And Poets have unquestion'd right ambition fire thy mind.' Ib. iii. 197. to claim,
[The song is in Congreve's Judgment If not the greatest, the most lasting of Paris. For Dr. Crotch playing,
name.' Eng. Poets, xxxiv, 131. when a child, this old tune, see Ann. • The coupletin The Beggar's Reg: xxii. pt. 2, p. 79.] Opera (Air liii) :
Johnson at first wrote 'no virtue.' One wife is too much for most Boswell's Johnson, iv. 56. husbands to hear,
Ante, COWLEY, 143; PRIOR, 77. But two at a time there's no mortal 5 In his Discourse on the Pindaric can bear'
Ode. It is prefixed to a regular is imitated from Congreve's Judg- Pindaric Ode. Eng. Poets, xxxiv. ment of Paris :
279. See also Mitford's Gray, iii. 'Apart let me view then each heavenly 1997 fair,
The true Pindaric (as far as metre For three at a time there's no mortal goes) had been set with pedantic can bear.'
nicety by Ben Jonson.' LEIGH HUNT, Johnson once quoted him. Bos Wycherley, &c., p. 40.
RICHARD BLACKMORE is one of those men whose 1
writings have attracted much notice, but of whose life and manners very little has been communicated, and whose lot it has been to be much oftener mentioned by enemies than by friends.
He was the son of Robert Blackmore of Corsham in Wiltshire, 2 styled by Wood ? Gentleman, and supposed to have been an attorney +: having been for some time educated in a country-school he was sent at thirteen to Westminster, and in 1668 was entered at Edmund-Hall in Oxford, where he took the degree of M.A. June 3, 16765, and resided thirteen years, a much longer time than it is usual to spend at the university 6; and which he seems to have passed with very little attention to the business of the place, for in his poems the ancient names of nations or places which he often introduces are pronounced by chance?. He afterwards travelled : at Padua he was made doctor of physick 8 ; and, after having wandered about a year and a half on the Continent, returned home.
In some part of his life, it is not known when, his indigence 3 compelled him to teach a school; an humiliation with which, though it certainly lasted but a little while, his enemies did not
* Blackmore was included in the Quack Maurus, though he never Collection on Johnson's recommenda took degrees tion. Post, WATTS, I. Southey ap In either of our universities.' proved of this inclusion. Cowper's 6 In the first edition the sentence Works, ii. 140. Of his poems The ends here. He was fourteen when Creation alone is given in the English he matriculated (Alum. Oxon.), so Poets. No specimen is given in that he was born in 1654. Campbell's British Poets. He is in Hearne, who was of St. Edmund's Cibber's Lives, v. 177.
Hall, says that he was a great tutor, ? 'Johnson said the critics had and much respected, as I have often done too much honour to Blackmore heard.' Remains, ii. 169. by writing so much against him.' 8 Ath. Oxon. iv. 792. Evelyn, in Boswell's Johnson, ii. 107.
1645, described Padua as'this flourish3 Ath. Oxon. iv. 791.
ing and ancient university.' Diary, * Cibber's Lives, v. 177. For John- i. 217. Gibbon, in 1765, spoke of it as son's sarcasms against attorneys see 'a dying taper.' Memoirs, p. 166. It Boswell's Johnson, ii. 126.
was perhaps at Padua that Goldsmith 5 Dryden perhaps only alluded to received his degree. Forster's Goldmedical degrees when he wrote of smith, i. 71. For Johnson's resolve to him (Works, viii. 482)
go there see Boswell's Johnson, i. 73.
forget to reproach him, when he became conspicuous enough to excite malevolenceand let it be remembered for his honour that to have been once a school-master is the only reproach which all the perspicacity of malice, animated by wit, has ever
fixed upon his private life. 4 When he first engaged in the study of physick he enquired, as
he says, of Dr. Sydenham what authors he should read, and was directed by Sydenham to Don Quixote ; 'which,' said he, 'is a very good book; I read it still ?' The perverseness of mankind makes it often mischievous in men of eminence to give way to merriment. The idle and the illiterate will long shelter them
selves under this foolish apophthegm. 5 Whether he rested satisfied with this direction or sought for
better, he commenced physician, and obtained high eminence and extensive practice. He became Fellow of the College of Physicians, April 12, 1687, being one of the thirty which, by the new charter of king James, were added to the former Fellows ?. His residence was in Cheapside, and his friends were chiefly in the citys. In the early part of Blackmore's time a citizen was a term of reproach"; and his place of abode was another
'By nature form’d, by want a pedant Blackmore was not adapted by nature made,
to the study of physic, and that Blackmore at first set up the whip whether he should read Cervantes ping trade ;
or Hippocrates he would be equally Next quack' commenc'd; then unqualified for practice.' See also
fierce with pride he swore ROWE, 19. That tooth-ache, gout and corns 3 According to Dodsley's London, should be no more.
v. 190, the original number of Fellows In vain his drugs as well as birch was thirty. It was raised by Charles he tried;
II to forty and by James II to eighty. His boys grew blockheads and his 4 He had a house also at Earl's patients died.'
Court. There Hughes visited him in DR. DRAKE, quoted in Cibber's 1719. Hughes Corres. i. 224. Lives, v. 177. See also ante, MIL • Blackmore himself, for any grand TON, 36.
effort, 2 Blackmore says that Sydenham, Would drink and doze at Tooting or on the close of the Civil Wars, 'being Earl's Court." a disbanded officer, entered upon the POPE, Imit. Hor., Epis, ji. 2. 112. profession without any learning pro
5 At Dick's and Batson's, and through perly preparatory for it.' The advice Smithfield prais'd.' he gave was 'to shew what con
SMITH, Eng. Poets, xxv. 112. tempt he had for writings in physic.' "You limp, like Blackmore, on a Lord A Treatise upon the Small-Pox, 1723, Mayor's horse.' Preface, p. II.
POPE, Imit. Hor., Epis. i. 1. 16. Johnson, in his Life of Sydenham "The fame of this heavy poet was (Works, vi. 407), says that Syden- universally received in the city.' ham might perhaps mean, either WARBURTON, Pope's Works, iv, 102. seriously or in jest, to insinuate that • It was the stronghold of the