« PreviousContinue »
the operations of Whiggism; and he bestowed some strictures upon Dr. Kennet's adulatory sermon at the funeral of the duke
of Devonshire". 14 The History of the Heathen Gods, a book composed for schools,
was written by him in 1711? The work is useful; but might have been produced without the powers of King. The same year he published Rufinus, an historical essay 3, and a poem", intended to dispose the nation to think as he thought of the duke
of Marlborough and his adherents. 15 In 1711 competence, if not plenty, was again put into his power.
He was, without the trouble of attendance or the mortification of a request, made gazetteer. Swift, Freind, Prior, and other men of the same party brought him the key of the gazetteer's offices. He was now again placed in a profitable employment, and again threw the benefit away. An Act of Insolvency made his business at that time particularly troublesome"; and he Prior. King is thought to have Yet still not heeding what your
heart written Nos. II and 12. Swift wrote can teach, every number from 13 to 45. Swift's You go to church to hear these Works, iii. 185, 251-509; King's
flatt'rers preach. Works, Preface, p. 21; post, PRIOR,
Imit. Hor. Epis. ii. 2. 220. 22; SWIFT, 39.
It was this third Duke whom Johni The Duke died in 1707. The son praised for his 'dogged veracity.' adulation mainly lay in Kennet's Boswell's Johnson, iii. 186, 378. praise of the Duke as a patriot. ? An Historical Account of the Measured by the standard of the day Heathen Gods and Heroes. 1710. the sermon was not adulatory. Ken- Rufinus, or an Historical Essay net, writes Hearne, ‘had published on the Favourite Ministry, Works, a History full of whiggism, trifling ii. 28o. Grub Street matter, and base reflec- Rufinus, or The Favourite. Imitions out of his way. Hearne's Re- tated from Claudian, ib. iii. 218. mains, i. 114. In his Ecclesiastical 5 King's Remains, p. 161. Swift Synods, &c., ‘he had,' says Burnet, wrote on Jan. 8, 1711-12:—'I have
laid Atterbury open in a thread of got poor Dr. King to be Gazetteer, ignorance that run through his whole which will be worth £250 per annum book' on Convocation. Hist. of my to him, if he be diligent and sober, own Time, iii. 310. In 1718 he was for which I am engaged.' Works, rewarded with the Bishopric of Peter- xv. 487. See also ib. ii. 444. borough. For his description of
"The Gazetteer is one of the low Swift at court see post, POPE, 107. appendices to the Secretary of State's
Some years after Kennet's death office; and his business is to write Pope, to insult the third Duke of the Government's newspaper, pubDevonshire, renewed the attack:- lished by authority.' WARBURTON, "When servile chaplains cry, that Pope's Works, iv. 302. Warburton birth and place
quotes Steele, who had held the post, Indue a peer with honour, truth and as saying that the rule observed by grace,
all ministers was to keep the paper Look in that breast, most dirty very innocent and very insipid.' D*** [Duke]! be fair,
Barber, the printer of the Gazette, Say, can you find out one such obliged him to sit up till three or lodger there?
four in the morning of those days it
would not wait till hurry should be at an end, but impatiently resigned it, and returned to his wonted indigence and amusements.
One of his amusements at Lambeth, where he resided, was to 16 mortify Dr. Tennison, the archbishop, by a publick festivity, on the surrender of Dunkirk to Hill?; an event with which Tennison's political bigotry did not suffer him to be delighted. King was resolved to counteract his sullenness, and at the expence of a few barrels of ale filled the neighbourhood with honest merriment3.
In the Autumn of 1712 his health declined; he grew weaker 17 by degrees, and died on Christmas-day. Though his life had not been without irregularity' his principles were pure and orthodox, and his death was pious 5.
After this relation it will be naturally supposed that his poems 18 were rather the amusements of idleness than efforts of study; that he endeavoured rather to divert than astonish; that his thoughts seldom aspired to sublimity; and that, if his verse was easy and his images familiar, he attained what he desired. His purpose is to be merry; but perhaps, to enjoy his mirth, it may be sometimes necessary to think well of his opinions 6. was published to correct the errors of event being looked on as the certain the press. The Act [10 Anne, C. 20) forerunner of a peace.”_Swift. Ib. discharged many thousand prisoners. v. 196. In this joy Tenison, as a There were single advertisements that Whig, did not share. contained 700 names, every one of
3 King, hearing the Archbishop which paid one shilling at least.' had ordered his gates to be shut, King's Remains, p. 162. By the Act gave the watermen and others of of 1737 each debtor had to give Lambeth two or three barrels of beer notice in the Gazette of his intention in Three Cony Walk. King's Reto take the benefit of the Act, 'for mains, p. 164. which he shall pay one penny to the * 'I remember,' writes Pope, ' Dr. printer.' Gent. Mag. 1737, p. 367. King would write verses in a tavern In 1748, 'at the Quarterly Sessions three hours after he could not speak.' for Surrey alone 460 prisoners were Pope's Works (E. & C.), x. 207. discharged by the late Insolvent Act.' King's Remains, p. 166. 16. 1748, p. 330. For these Acts see 6 Hearne recorded a few days after Blackstone's Comm. ii. 484.
King's death :-'He was a man of • Patrick is gone to the burial of excellent natural parts, which he an Irish footman, who was Dr. King's employed in writing little trivial servant; he died of a consumption, things to his dying day, insomuch a fit death for a poor starving wit's that though he had a good estate, footman, The Irish servants always was student of Christ Church forclub to bury a countryman.' SWIFT, merly, and a few years since Judge Works, ii. 434.
Advocate in Ireland, yet he was so * John Hill, brother to Mrs. Ma- addicted to the buffooning way, that sham, the Queen's favourite. On the he neglected his proper business, news 'that Mr. Hill had taken grew very poor, and so died in a sort possession of Dunkirk a universal of contemptible manner.' Hearne's joy spread over the kingdom ; this Remains, i. 271.
1 HOMAS SPRAT was born in 1636, at Tallaton in Devon
shire, the son of a clergyman”; and having been educated, as he tells of himself, not at Westminster or Eaton, but at a little school by the churchyard side 3, became a commoner of Wadham College in Oxford in 1651, and, being chosen scholar next year, proceeded through the usual academical course, and in 1657 became master of arts. He obtained a fellowship, and commenced
poet. 2 In 1659 his poem on the death of Oliver was published, with
those of Dryden and Wallers. In his dedication to Dr. Wilkins he appears a very willing and liberal encomiast, both of the living and the dead. He implores his patron's excuse of his verses, both as falling 'so infinitely below the full and sublime [lofty] genius of that excellent poet who made this way of writing free of our nation,' and being so little proportioned and equal to the renown of the [that] prince on whom they were written ; such great actions and lives deserving to be the subject [subjects] of the noblest pens and most divine phansies.' He proceeds: 'Having so long experienced your care and indulgence, and been formed, as it were, by your own hands?, not to entitle you to
Sprat is not included in Campbell's British Poets.
2 'He was born in 1635 at Beaminster in Dorset, son of Thomas Sprat, minister of the parish.' Dict. Nat. Biog. liii. 419. See also N. & l. I S. x. 84.
'Sprat in his last will and testament gives God thanks that he, who had been bred neither at Eton nor Westminster, but at a little country school by the church-yard side, should at last come to be a Bishop.' WARBURTON, Pope's Works, iv. 157.
Sprat's words are:-'From an obscure birth and education in a far distant country, where I was the son of a private minister, God brought me to stand before Princes.'
Some Account of the Life of Thomas
* In 1657. Dict. Nat. Biog. liii. 419.
Ante, WALLER, 67; DRYDEN, 7; Eng. Poets, xxvi. 213. He ends his poem by comparing Oliver Cromwell to Moses and Richard Cromwell to Joshua. In his History of the Royal Society, p. 152, speaking of Charles l’s ‘suffering virtues' he says: —'In them he was only exceeded by the divine example of our Saviour.'
Cowley. The poem is an imitation of his' Pindarique Odes. Ante, COWLEY, 124.
? In the original :—'Having been a long time the object of your care and indulgence towards the advan
any thing which my meanness produces, would be not only injustice but sacrilege.'
He published the same year a poem on the Plague of Athens"; 3 a subject of which it is not easy to say what could recommend it. To these he added afterwards a poem on Mr. Cowley's death”.
After the Restoration he took orders, and by Cowley's 4 recommendation was made chaplain to the Duke of Buckingham?, whom he is said to have helped in writing The Rehearsal“. He was likewise chaplain to the king 5.
As he was the favourite of Wilkins, at whose house began those 5 philosophical conferences and enquiries, which in time produced the Royal Society, he was consequently engaged in the same studies, and became one of the fellows; and when, after their incorporation, something seemed necessary to reconcile the publick to the new institution, he undertook to write its history, which he published in 1667. This is one of the few books which selection of sentiment and elegance of diction have been able to preserve, though written upon a subject flux and transitory. The History of the Royal Society is now read, not with the wish to know what they were then doing, but how their transactions are exhibited by Sprat.
In the next year he published Observations on Sorbière's 6 Voyage into England, in a Letter to Mr. [Dr.] Wren. This is a work not ill performed ; but perhaps rewarded with at least its full proportion of praise ?.
In 1668 he published Cowley's Latin poems, and prefixed in 7 Latin the Life of the Author; which he afterwards amplified, and placed before Cowley's English works, which were by will committed to his care
Ecclesiastical benefices now fell fast upon him. In 1668 he 8 became a prebendary of Westminster, and had afterwards the
tage of my studies and fortune, hav- any concern for religion, but as it ing been moulded, as it were, by is a piece of grandeur something your own hands, and formed under above keeping a coach.'
SOUTH, your own government,' &c. Eng. Sermons, iv. 136. Poets, xxvi. 212.
Ante, DRYDEN, 94. " Ib. p. 229.
5 In 1676. Cunningham's Lives of · For his poem Upon the Poems the Poets, ii. 74. of Mr. Cowley see ib. p. 264. There See Appendix B. is not one on his death.
? See Appendix C. 3 Hurd's Cowley, i. 18; The Re- 8 Ante, COWLEY, 1; Hurd's Cowhearsal, p: 9. "Some keep Chaplains, not out of In Feb. 1668-9 he became Canon
LIVES OF POETS. II
church of St. Margaret, adjoining to the Abbey'. He was in 1680 made canon of Windsor?, in 1683 dean of Westminster, and in
1684 bishop of Rochester. 9 The court having thus a claim to his diligence and gratitude,
he was required to write the History of the Ryehouse Plot, and in 1685 published A true Account and Declaration of the horrid Conspiracy against the late King, his present Majesty, and the present Government ; a performance which he thought convenient,
after the Revolution, to extenuate and excuse *. 10 The same year, being clerk of the closets to the king, he was
made dean of the chapel-royal“; and the year afterwards received the last proof of his master's confidence, by being appointed one of the commissioners for ecclesiastical affairs?. On the critical day, when the Declaration distinguished the true sons of the church of England, he stood neuter, and permitted it to be read at Westminster, but pressed none to violate his conscience';
i in 1679. Ib. "Nov. 23, 1679. I went to St. Paul's to hear that great wit, Dr. Sprat, now newly succeeding Dr. Outram in the cure of St. Margaret's. His talent was a great memory, never making use of notes, a readiness of expression in a most pure and plain style of words, full of matter, easily delivered. EVELYN, Diary, ii. 145.
? In Jan. 1680-1. Dict. Nat. Biog.
3 In the original' against the Government.'
* In one passage (p. 121) he slanders Tillotson, who was afterwards his archbishop, and Burnet, who was
afterwards his brother bishop. Speaking of the paper Lord Russell left at his death he writes :
It was such as rather became the subtlety, artifice and equivocation of some crafty hypocritical confessor, or Presbyterian casuist, than the noble plainness and simplicity of a gentleman. Tillotson and Burnet, who had attended Russell on the scaffold, were called before the Council about his dying speech. Burnet's Hist. ii. 178. See also Birch's Life of Tillotson, 1752, p. 121.
Earl of Dorset, dated March 26, 1689, says he had written the Aco count 'at the request, or rather the command, of King Charles II,' and that he was 'over persuaded.' He continues :-T lamented my Lord Russell's fall, after I was fully convinced by discourse with the Dean of Canterbury [Tillotson) of that noble gentleman's great probity.' Two Letters to the Earl of Dorset, 1711, pp. 11-13.
Sprat’s Relation, &c., p. 53.
According to Macaulay (History, ii. 350) Crewe, Bishop of Durham, was made Dean.
? For the new Court of High Commission see post, SHEFFIELD, 13; Burnet's Hist. ii. 298; Macaulay's Hist. ii. 348, iii. II.
The critical day' was May 20, 1688, when the clergy of London were ordered to read aloud in their churches the King's Declaration of Indulgence._'Sprat officiated in the Abbey as Dean. As soon as he began to read the Declaration murmurs and the noise of people crowding out of the choir drowned his
Sprat, in his Second Letter to the
He trembled so violently that men saw the paper shake in his hand.' MACAULAY, Hist. of. Eng. iii. 79. 90.
9 Two Letters, &c., p. 18.