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be impras very lite obtaine
the height the vainest and most imperious nature could be contented with; that it preserved and won his life from those who were most resolved to take it, and on an' occasion in which he ought to have been ambitious to have lost it; and then preserved him again from the reproach and contempt that was due to him for so preserving it, and for vindicating it at such a price, that it had power to reconcile him to those whom he had most offended and provoked; and continued to his old age with that rare felicity, that his company was acceptable when his spirit was odious; and he was at least pitied, where he was most detested."
Such is the account of Clarendon ; on which it may not be improper, says Dr. Johnson, to make some remarks, ☆ He was very little known till he had obtained a rich wife in the city." He obtained a rich wife about the age of three-and-twenty ; an age, before which few men are con, spicuous much to their advantage. He was known, however, in parliament and at court; and, if he spent part of his time in privacy, it is not unreasonable to suppose that he endeavoured the improvement of bis mind as well as of his fortune. That Clarendon might misjudge the motive of his retirement is the more probable, because he has evi, dently mistaken the commencement of his poetry, which he supposes him not to have attempted before thirty. As his first pieces were perhaps not printed, the succession of his compositions was not known; and Clarendon, who · cannot be imagined to have been very studious of poetry, did not rectify his first opinion by consulting Waller's book, Clarendon observes also, that he was introduced to the wits of the age by Dr. Morley; but the writer of his Life relates that he was already among them, wlien, hearing a noise in the street, and inquiring the cause, they found á son of Ben Jonson under an arrest. This was Morley, whom Waller set free at the expence of 1001. took him into the country as director of his studies, and then procured him admission into the company of the friends of literature. But of this fact, says Johnson, Clarendon had a nearer knowledge than the biographer, and is therefore more to be credited.
Of the laxity of his political principles, and the weakness of his resolution, he experienced the natural effect, þy losing the esteem of every party. From Cromwell he
had only his recall; and from Charles the Second, who delighted in his company, be obtained only the pardon of his relation Hampden, and the safety of Hampden's son. As far as conjecture can be made from the whole of his writing, and his conduct, he was habitually and deliberately a friend to monarchy. His deviation towards demo. cracy proceeded from his connection with Hampden, for whose sake he prosecuted Crawley with great bitterness; and the invective which he pronounced on that occasion was so popular, that twenty thousand copies are said by his biographer to have been sold in one day. It is confessed that his faults still left him many friends, at least many companions. His convivial power of pleasing is universally acknowledged; but those who conversed with him intimately, found bin not only passionate, especially in his old age, but resentful; so that the interposition of friends was sometimes necessary. His wit and his poetry naturally connected him with the polite writers of his time; he was joined with lord Buckhurst in the translation of Corneille's Pompey; and is said to have added his help ta that of Cowley in the original draught of the Rehearsal.
The care of his fortune, which Clarendon imputes to him in a degree little less than criminal, was either not constant or not successful; for, having inherited a patrimony of three thousand five hundred pounds a year in the time of James the First, and augmented it at least by one wealthy marriage, he left, about the time of the revolution, an income of not more than twelve or thirteen hundred ; which, when the different value of money is reckoned, will be found perbaps not more than a fourth part of what he once possessed. Of this diminution, part was the conse. quence of the gifts which he was forced to scatter, and the fine which he was condemned to pay at the detection of his plot; and if his estate, as is related in his Life, was sequestered, he had probably contracted debts when he lived in exile; for we are told, that at Paris he lived in splendor, and was the only Englishman, except the lord St. Alban's, that kept a table. His unlucky plot compelled him to sell a thousand a year; of the waste of the rest there is no account, except that he is confessed by his biographer to have been a bad æconomist. He seems to have deviated from the common practice; to have been a hoarder in his first years, and a squanderer in his last.
Of his course of studies, or choice of books, nothing is known inore than that he professed himself unable to read Chapman's translation of Homer without rapture, His opinion concerning the duty of a poet is contained in his declaration, that "he would blot from bis works any line, that did not contain some motive to virtue.” For his merit as a poet, we may refer with confidence to Johnson, whose life of Waller we have generally followed in the preceding sketch, and on which he appears to have bestowed more than usual pains, and is in his facts more than usually accurate. English versification, it is universally allowed, is greatly indebted to Waller, and he is every where elegant and gay. To his contemporaries he must have appeared more rich in invention, than modern critics are disposed to allow, because, as Johnson observes, they have found his novelties in later books, and do not know or inquire who produced them first, Dr. Warton thinks it remarkable that Waller never mentions Milton, whose Comus, and smaller poems, preceded his own; and be ac. counts for this by Milton's poetry being unsuitable to the French taste on which Waller was formed *.
From Aubrey, quoted in the preceding notes, we may select a few more particulars of Waller. Speaking of his plot, he says, “ He had much ado then to save his life; and in order to it, sold his estate, in Bedfordshire, about 1300l. per ann. to Dr. Wright, M. D. for 10,000l. (much under value) which was procured in twenty-fours time, or else he had been hanged. With this money he bribed the House, which was the first time a House of Commons was ever bribed." “ His intellectuals are very good yet (1680), but he growes feeble. He is somewhat above a middle stature, thin body, not at all robust : fine thin skin, bis face somewhat of an olivaster : his hayre frized, of a brownish colour; full eie, popping out and workinge, ovall faced, his forehead high and full of wrinkles. His head but small, braine very hott, and apt to be cholerique. Quanto doctius, eo iracundior. Cic. He is somewhat magisteriall, and hath received a great mastership of the EngJish language. He is of admirable elocution, and graceful, and exceeding ready.”—“ Notwithstanding his great witt and maisteresse in rhetorique, &c. he will oftentimes be guilty of mispelling in English. He writes a lamentable hand, as bad as the scratching of a hen."}
* Some light is thrown on this sab- “ Mr. Waller has praised Chaucer, ject by bishop Atterbury, who was the aod borrowed a fine allusion to prince editor of the edition of Waller's Poems Arthur's Shield, aud the name of Gloprinted in 1690, and speaks thus in riana, from Spenser ; but he was not the preface :
much conversant in or beholding to “Waller commends no poet of bis either. Milton's Poem came not forth times that was in any degree a rival till Mr. Waller was above sixty years to him, neither Denham, nor Cowley, old, and, as I suppose, he had no taste por Dryden, nor Fairfax himself, to for his manner of writing. whose versification he owes so much, “ There are but few things in Waller and upon whose turn of vesse he that shew his acquaintance with the founded his own. Sir John Suckling Latin ; fewer still that would make one he writes against, and seems pleased think bim acquainted with the Greek in exposing the many false thoughts poets. Somewhat of the Mythology there are in his copy of verses “ Against he knew; but that might be no deeper Fruition;" and, besides, he well knew than Ovid's Metamorphoses. Some the advantage he bad of sir John ; par- allusions to several parts of the Æneid, ticularly in that sort of serse and man- the story of it I mean, for as to the ner of writing. He has copies in praise language he has copied little of it. of the translator of Gratius, Mr. Wase Had he been a perfect master of Vir(I think), sir William Davenant, Mr. gil, his Latiu phrase would have crept Sandys, and Mr. Evelyn : he knew every where into Waller's English ; as their reputation would not hurt his own. we see it does in Drydeo's writings Ben Jonson and Fletcher he commends (who yet was far from being a perfect in good earnest; their dramatic works master of bim). As for his cloud-comgave him no pain; that sort of writing pelling, and two or three more com he never pretended to. Denham's high pound words, I believe he went not to compliment to Waller in bis “ Cooper's ibe original for them, but to some Hill" deserved some return,
translation, perhaps Chapman's."
WALLER (SIR WILLIAM), an eminent parliamentary general, was born in 1597. He was descended, as well as the preceding poet, from the ancient family of the Wallers of Spendhurst, in the county of Kent; and received at Magdalen-ball and Hart-hall, Oxford, his first education, which he afterwards completed at Paris. He began his military career in the service of the confederate princes against the emperor, in which he acquired the reputation of a good soldier, and upon his return home, was distinguished with the honour of knighthood. He was three times married; first to Jane, daughter and heiress of sir Richard Reynell, of Ford in Devonshire, by whom he had one daughter, Margaret, married to sir William Courtenay of Powderham castle, ancestor of the present lord viscount Courtenay ; secondly, to the lady Anne Finch, daughter of the first earl of Winchelsea, by whom he had one son, William, who was afterwards an active magistrate for the county of Middlesex, and a strenuous opposer of all the measures of king Charles the Second's government; and
| Fenton's Life.-Johnson's Poets. Biog. Brit. ---Letters by Eminent Persons.—Buroel's owo Times.-Clarendon's Life and History,Noble's Memoirs of Cromwell, vol. II. p. 66.
one daughter, Anne, married to sir Pbilip Harcourt, from wbom is descended the present earl of that name. Of the family of sir William's third wife, we are not informed.
Sir William Waller was elected a member of the long parliament for Andover; and having suffered under the severity of the star-chamber, on the occasion of a private quarrel with one of his wife's relations, as well as imbibed in the course of his foreign service early and warm prejudices in favour of the presbyterian discipline, he became a determined opponent of the court. While employed at the head of the parliamentary forces, under the earl of Essex, he was deputed to the command of the expedition against Portsmouth, when colonel Goring, returning to his duty, declared a resolution of holding that garrison for his majesty. In this enterprise, sir William conducted himself with such vigour and ability, that be reduced the garrison in a shorter time and upon better terms than could have been expected ; and afterwards obtained the direction of several other expeditions, in which he likewise proved remarkably successful. After many signal advantages, however, he sustained some defeats by the king's forces, particularly at Roundway Down near the Devizes, and at Cropready-bridge in Oxfordshire. On each of those occasions, the blame was thrown by him on the jealousy of other officers; and neither the spirit nor the judgment of his own operations were ever questioned. The independents, who were becoming the strongest party, both in the army and the parliament, had wished him to become their general, on terms which, either from conscience or military honour, he could not comply with. By the famous self-denying ordinance he was removed from his command, but still maintained so great an influence and reputation in the army, as rendered him not a little formidable to the rising party; and he was thenceforth considered as a leader of the presbyterians against the designs of the independents. He was one of the eleven members impeached of high treason by the army. This forced him to withdraw for some time; but be afterwards resumed his seat in parliament, until, in 1648, with fifty others, he was expelled by the army, and all of them committed to different prisons, on suspicion of attachment to the royal cause. He was afterwards committed to custody on suspicion of being engaged in sir George Booth’s insurrection, in Aug. 1658, but in November was released upon bail,