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had a mind much elevated by nature, nor amplified by learning. His thoughts are such as a liberal conversation and large acquaintance with life would easily supply. They had however then, perhaps, that grace of novelty, which they are now often supposed to want by those who, having already found them in later books, do not know or inquire who produced them first. This treatment is unjust. Let not the original author lose by his imitators.
Praise, however, should be due before it is given. The author of Waller's Life ascribes to him the first practice of what Erythræus and some late critics call alliteration, of using in the same verse many words beginning with the same letter. But this knack, whatever be its
But her flit courser spared nere the more,
And still pursued, but still pursued in vaine.
Like as the wearie hounds at last retire,
value, was so frequent among early writers, Through thicke and thinne, all night, all day, she
that Gascoigne, a writer of the sixteenth century, warns the young poet against affecting it: Shakspeare, in the "Midsummer Night's Dream," is supposed to ridicule it; and in another play the sonnet of Holofernes fully displays it.
He borrows too many of his sentiments and illustrations from the old mythology, for which it is vain to plead the example of ancient poets; the deities which they introduced so frequently, were considered as realities, so far as to be received by the imagination, whatever sober reason might even then determine. But of these images time has tarnished the splendour. A fiction, not only detected but despised, can never afford a solid basis to any position, though sometimes it may furnish a transient allusion, or slight illustration. No modern monarch can be much exalted by hearing that, as Hercules had his club, he has his navy.
But of the praise of Waller, though much may be taken away, much will remain; for it cannot be denied, that he added something to our elegance of diction, and something to our propriety of thought; and to him may be applied what Tasso said, with equal spirit and justice, of himself and Guarini, when, having perused the " Pastor Fido," he cried out, "If he had not read Aminta,' he had not excelled it."
As Waller professed himself to have learned the art of versification from Fairfax, it has been thought proper to subjoin a specimen of his work, which, after Mr. Hoole's translation, will perhaps not be soon reprinted. By knowing the state in which Waller found our poetry, the reader may judge how much he improved it.
Erminia's steed (this while) his mistresse bore Through forests thicke among the shadie treene, Her feeble hand the bridle raines forelore, Halfe in a swoune she was for feare I weene;
Withouten comfort, companie, or guide,
Her plaints and teares with euery thought reuiued,
On Iordans sandie banks her course she staid,
Her teares, ner drinke; her food, her sorrowings;
Her plaints were interrupted with a sound,
Sat making baskets, his three sonnes among
Beholding one in shining armes appeare
These dreadfull armes I beare no warfare bring
But father, since this land, these townes and towers,
No thundering drum, no trumpet breakes our sleepe.
Haply iust heau'ns defence and shield of right,
O Pouertie, chefe of the beau❜nly brood,
We little wish, we need but little wealth,
Their fathers flocks, nor servants moe I need:
Time was (for each one hath his doating time,
Entised on with hope of future gaine,
I suffered long what did my soule displease;
But when my youth was spent, my hope was vaine
While thus he spake, Erminia husht and still
To turne her home to her desired Lord.
She said therefore, O shepherd fortunate !
In shepherds life, which I admire and lone;
If gold or wealth of most esteemed deare,
With speeches kinde, he gan the virgin deare
Not those rude garments could obscure, and hide
And milk her goates, and in their folds them place,
He published his poems in 1699; and has been always the favourite of that class of readers, who, without vanity or criticism, seek only their own amusement.
OF Mr. JOHN POMFRET nothing is known but | fatal consequence: the delay constrained his atfrom a slight and confused account prefixed to tendance in London, where he caught the smallhis poems by a nameless friend; who relates, pox, and died in 1703, in the thirty-sixth year of his age. that he was son of the Rev. Mr. Pomfret, rector of Luton, in Bedfordshire; that he was bred at Cambridge;* entered into orders, and was rector of Malden, in Bedfordshire; and might have risen in the church; but that, when he applied to Dr. Compton, bishop of London, for institution to a living of considerable value, to which he had been presented, he found a troublesome obstruction raised by a malicious interpretation of some passage in his " Choice;" from which it was inferred, that he considered happiness as more likely to be found in the company of a mistress than of a wife.
This reproach was easily obliterated; for it had happened to Pomfret as to almost all other men who plan schemes of life; he had departed from his purpose, and was then married.
The malice of his enemies had however a very
His "Choice" exhibits a system of life adapted to common notions and equal to common expectations; such a state as affords plenty and tranquillity, without exclusion of intellectual pleasures. Perhaps no composition in our language has been oftener perused than Pomfret's " Choice."
In his other poems there is an easy volubility, the pleasure of smooth metre is afforded to the ear, and the mind is not oppressed with ponderous or entangled with intricate sentiment. He pleases many; and he who pleases many must have some species of merit.
Of the EARL of DORSET the character has been drawn so largely and so elegantly by Prior, to whom he was familiarly known, that nothing can be added by a casual hand; and, as its author is so generally read, it would be useless officiousness to transcribe it.
CHARLES SACKVILLE was born January 24, 1637. Having been educated under a private tutor, he travelled into Italy, and returned a little before the Restoration. He was chosen into the first parliament that was called, for East Grinstead, in Sussex, and soon became a favourite of Charles the Second; but undertook no public employment, being too eager of the riotous and licentious pleasures which young
*He was of Queen's College there, and, by the University register, appears to have taken his bachelor's degree in 1884, and his master's, 1098. H. -His father was of Trinity.-C.
men of high rank, who aspired to be thought wits, at that time imagined themselves entitled to indulge.
One of these frolics has, by the industry of Wood, come down to posterity. Sackville, who was then Lord Buckhurst, with Sir Charles Sedley and Sir Thomas Ogle, got drunk at the Cock, in Bow-street, by Covent-garden, and, going into the balcony, exposed themselves to the populace in very indecent postures. At last, as they grew warmer, Sedley stood forth naked, and harangued the populace in such profane language, that the public indignation was awakened; the crowd attempted to force the door, and, being repulsed, drove in the performers with stones, and broke the windows of the house.
For this misdemeanour they were indicted, and Sedley was fined five hundred pounds: what was the sentence of the others is not known. Sedley employed Killigrew and ano
ther to procure a remission from the King; but (mark the friendship of the dissolute!) they beg ged the fine for themselves, and exacted it to the ast groat.
In 1665, Lord Buckhurst attended the Duke of York as a volunteer in the Dutch war; and was in the battle of June 3, when eighteen great Dutch ships were taken, fourteen others were destroyed, and Opdam, the admiral, who engaged the Duke, was blown up beside him, with all his crew.
On the day before the battle, he is said to have composed the celebrated song, "To all you ladies now at land," with equal tranquillity of mind and promptitude of wit. Seldom any splendid story is wholly true. I have heard, from the late Earl of Orrery, who was likely to have good hereditary intelligence, that Lord Buckhurst had been a week employed upon it, and only retouched or finished it on the memorable evening. But even this, whatever it may subtract from his facility, leaves him his courage.
He was soon after made a gentleman of the bed-chamber, and sent on short embassies to France.
In 1674, the estate of his uncle James Cranfield, Earl of Middlesex, came to him by its owner's death, and the title was conferred on him the year after. In 1677, he became, by the death of his father, Earl of Dorset, and inherited the estate of his family.
In 1684, having buried his first wife of the family of Bagot, who left him no child, he married a daughter of the Earl of Northampton, celebrated both for beauty and understanding.
He received some favourable notice from King James; but soon found it necessary to oppose the violence of his innovations, and, with some other lords, appeared in Westminster Hall to countenance the bishops at their trial.
As enormities grew every day less supportable, he found it necessary to concur in the Revolution. He was one of those lords who sat
every day in council to preserve the public peace, after the King's departure; and, what is not the most illustrious action of his life, was employed to conduct the Princess Anne to Nottingham with a guard, such as might alarm the populace as they passed, with false apprehensions of her danger. Whatever end may be designed, there is always something despicable in a trick.
He became, as may be easily supposed, a favourite of King William, who, the day after his accession, made him lord-chamberlain of the household, and gave him afterwards the garter. He happened to be among those that were tossed with the King in an open boat sixteen hours, in very rough and cold weather, on the coast of Holland. His health afterwards declined; and, on January 19, 1705-6, he died at Bath.
He was a man whose elegance and judgment were universally confessed, and whose bounty to the learned and witty was generally known. To the indulgent affection of the public, Lord Rochester bore ample testimony in this remark— "I know not how it is, but Lord Buckhurst may do what he will, yet is never in the wrong." If such a man attempted poetry, we cannot wonder that his works were praised. Dryden, whom, if Prior tells truth, he distinguished by his beneficence, and who lavished his blandishments on those who are not known to have so well deserved them, undertaking to produce authors of our own country superior to those of antiquity, says, "I would instance your Lordship in satire, and Shakspeare in tragedy." Would it be imagined that, of this rival to antiquity, all the satires were little personal invectives, and that his longest composition was a song of eleven stanzas?
The blame, however, of this exaggerated praise falls on the encomiast, not upon the author; whose performances are, what they pretend to be, the effusions of a man of wit; gay, vigorous, and airy. His verses to Howard show great fertility of mind; and his Dorinda has been imitated by Pope.
minster, where he passed six years in the Col
GEORGE STEPNEY, descended from the Stepneys | ceived the first part of his education at Westof Pendigrast, in Pembrokeshire, was born at Westminster, in 1663. Of his father's condition or fortune I have no account.* Having re
• It has been conjectured that our Poet was either son or grandson of Charles, third son of Sir John
Stepney, the first baronet of that family. See Granger's History, vol. ii. p. 396, edit. 8vo. 1775. Mr. Cole says, the Poet's father was a grocer. Cole's MSS. in Brit. Mus.-C.
lege, he went at nineteen to Cambridge, where he continued a friendship begun at school with Mr. Montague, afterwards Earl of Halifax. They came to London together, and are said to have been invited into public life by the Earl of Dorset.
His qualifications recommended him to many foreign employments, so that his time seems to have been spent in negociations. In 1692, he was sent envoy to the Elector of Brandenburgh; in 1693, to the Imperial Court; in 1694, to the Elector of Saxony; in 1696, to the Electors of Mentz and Cologne, and the Congress at Francfort; in 1698, a second time to Brandenburgh; in 1699, to the King of Poland; in 1701, again to the Emperor; and in 1706, to the Statesgeneral. In 1697, he was made one of the commissioners of trade. His life was busy, and not long. He died in 1707; and is buried in Westminster Abbey, with this epitaph, which Jacob transcribed::
H. S. E.
GEORGIUS STEPNEIUS, Armiger,
Ob Ingenii acumen,
Virorum Amplissimorum Consuetudinem, Linguæ, Styli, ac Vita Elegantiam, Præclara Officia cum Britanniæ tum Europæ præstita,
Suå ætate multum celebratus,
Ea Fide, Diligentiâ, ac Felicitate,
Post longum honorum Curfum Brevi Temporis Spatio confectum, Cum Naturæ parum, Famæ satis vixerat, Animam ad altiora aspirantem placidè efflavit. On the left hand.
Ex Equestri Familia Stepneiorum,
Sancti Petri Westmonast. A. 1676.
Frequentiâ, huc elatus, 1707.
It is reported that the juvenile compositions of Stepney made grey authors blush. I know not whether his poems will appear such wonders to the present age. One cannot always easily find the reason for which the world has sometimes conspired to squander praise. It is not very unlikely that he wrote very early as well as he ever wrote; and the performances of youth have many favourers, because the authors yet lay no claim to public honours, and are therefore not considered as rivals by the distributors of fame.
He apparently professed himself a poet, and added his name to those of the other wits in the version of Juvenal; but he is a very licentious translator, and does not recompense his neglect of the author by beauties of his own. In his original poems, now and then, a happy line may perhaps be found, and now and then a short composition may give pleasure. But there is, in the whole, little either of the grace of wit, or the vigour of nature.
JOHN PHILIPS was born on the 30th of Decem- told by Dr. Sewel, his biographer, he was soon ber, 1676, at Bampton, in Oxfordshire; of distinguished by the superiority of his exercises; which place his father, Dr. Stephen Philips, and what is less easily to be credited, so much archdeacon of Salop, was minister. The first part of his education was domestic; after which he was sent to Winchester, where, as we are
endeared himself to his schoolfellows, by his civility and good-nature, that they, without murmur or ill-will, saw him indulged by the master with particular immunities. It is related, that when he was at school, he seldom
* He was entered of Trinity College, and took his mingled in play with the other boys, but retired master's degree in 1689.-H.
to his chamber; where his sovereign pleasure