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31 About this time the Act was passed for licensing plays ', of

which the first operation was the prohibition of Gustavus Vasa, a tragedy of Mr. Brooke, whom the publick recompensed by a very liberal subscription"; the next was the refusal of Edward and Eleonora?, offered by Thomson. It is hard to discover why either play should have been obstructed. Thomson likewise endeavoured to repair his loss by a subscription, of which

I cannot now tell the success 4. 32 When the publick murmured at the unkind treatment of

Thomson, one of the ministerial writers remarked that he had taken a Liberty which was not agreeable to Britannia in any

Season.' 33 He was soon after employed, in conjunction with Mr. Mallet,

he had sent the other day to a par- For Johnson's attack on the Licenticular friend.' Corrected theyconclude sing Act see Boswell's Johnson, i. the Prol. Sat. Pope's Works (E. &C.), 140. iii. 274, X. 30.

This subscription is recommended Warton, in a note on Prol. Sat. in Gent. Mag. March, 1739, p. 146. 1. 15, mentions Pope sending some The play was published in the followlines to Thomson. Warton's Pope's ing May. Ib. May, 1739, p. 276. See Works, iv. 10. Thomson was in also Boswell's Johnson, i. 140. Italy in 1731. Ante, THOMSON, 21. Works, iv. I ; advertised in Gent.

Before the Licensing Act was Mag. May, 1739, p. 276, price 1s. 6d. passed (in 1737) the Master of the • The sentiments are just and noble, Revels licensed plays. “When,' writes the diction strong, smooth, and eleCibber, Richard III (as I altered gant, and the plot conducted with it from Shakespeare) came from his the utmost art, and wrought off in a hands he expunged the whole first most surprising manner.' WESLEY, act. The reason he gave for it was Journal, 1827, iii. 465. that the distresses of Henry VI would According to Biog. Brit. Supple. put weak people too much in mind p. 169, the refusal was due to Court of King James, then living in France. jealousy of one who was in favour We were forced for some few years with the Prince of Wales. The play to let the play take its fate with only was dedicated to the Princess, whose four acts divided into five.' Cibber's husband is likened to Prince Edward, Apology, 1826, p. 159.

as being 'the darling of a great

and Adams said he was sorry to hear free people.' · Works, iv. 4. sermons compared to plays. “Not In Thomson's Works, Preface, p. by me, I assure you," cried the book- 25, it is said that William Patterson, seller; “though I don't know whether Thomson's deputy and successor in the licensing act may not shortly the Surveyorship(post, THOMSON, 35), bring them to the same footing ; but who acted as his amanuensis, himself I have formerly known a hundred wrote a play on Arminius. No guineas given for a play."' Joseph sooner had the censor cast his eyes Andrews, Bk. i. ch. 17.

on the handwriting in which he had This Act led, no doubt, to the seen Edward and Eleonora than he republication of Milton's 'Areopa- cried out, “ Away with it!” gitica (ante, MILTON, 58) with a Of Thomson's

play 3,500 common new preface, price is.' Gent. Mag. and 1,000 fine royal copies were 1738, p. 56. The preface is attributed printed, and of Arminius 2,000 comto Thomson. Johnson's Works, viii. mon and 400 fine copies.' 'N. & l. 372 n.

I S. xii. 218.




to write the masque of Alfred, which was acted before the Prince at Cliefden-house".

His next work (1745) was Tancred and Sigismunda, the most 34 successful of all his tragedies, for it still keeps its turn upon the stage? It may be doubted whether he was, either by the bent of nature or habits of study, much qualified for tragedy 3. It does not appear that he had much sense of the pathetick, and his diffusive and descriptive style produced declamation rather than dialogue *.

His friend Mr. Lyttelton was now in power, and conferred 35 upon him the office of surveyor-general of the Leeward Islands ; from which, when his deputy was paid, he received about three hundred pounds a year o.

The last piece that he lived to publish was The Castle of 36 Indolence, which was many years under his hand, but was at

Post, MALLET, 16. It is advertised * In the 'Advertisement' Thomin Gent. Mag. 1740, p. 416, price is. son states that the play is consider

Last night (Aug. 1, 1740) was ably shortened in the performance.' performed in the Gardens of Cliefden Works, iv. 78. (in commemoration of the Accession Horace Walpole wrote on March of his late Majesty King George, 29, 1745:- The town flocks to a and in Honour of the Birth of the new play of Thomson's. It is very Princess Augusta ...) a new Masque dull; I have read it. I cannot bear ... by Mr. Thomson. The London modern poetry; these refiners of the Daily Post, Aug. 2, 1740, quoted in purity of the stage and of the in. N. Ea l. 2 S. iv. 415. Rule correctness of English verse are most Britannia was sung by a Bard.' The wofully insipid.' Letters, i. 347. music was by Arne. Ib.

Grimm in 1763, after mentioning The refrain in the original is Le mariage de vengeance in Gil Blas, * Rule Britannia, rule the waves, bk. iv. ch. 4, continues :- Le célèbre Britons never will be slaves.' poète anglais Thomson en a fait une

Works, iii. 220. tragédie qu'on joue à Londres, sous It is the English King who is thus le titre de Tancrède et Sigismonde. absurdly assured by his Bard that Il y a environ deux mois qu'on a lu Britons never will be slaves.

dans Le Mercure de France une Southey, writing two years after traduction en prose de cette pièce. Trafalgar, calls Rule Britannia 'a M. Saurin vient de la mettre sur le song which will be the political hymn théâtre de Paris, sous le titre de of this country as long as she main- Blanche et Guiscard, tragédie libretains her political power.' Specimens, ment traduite en vers de l'anglais. &c., ii. 107

Mémoires, EC., de Grimm, 1814, ii. * Works, iv. 75. Its publication 229. is advertised in Gent. Mag. Aug. 5 He was made a Lord of the 1745, p. 168, price is. 6d. Garrick Treasury in Dec. 1744. Post, LyTtook the part of Tancred. Pitt at- TELTON, II. tended the rehearsal. Davies's Gar- [According to Murdoch, his friend rick, i. 85. It was some years and biographer, Thomson enjoyed afterwards revived with the highest the Surveyorship the last two years applause. Murphy's Garrick, p. 69. of his life. Works, 1762, Pref. p. II.

In the first edition, 'He seems See also ib. 1793, Pref. p. 39.) not to be either,' &c.

? Works, ii. 185. Published in

last finished with great accuracy. The first canto opens a scene

of lazy luxury, that fills the imagination". 37 He was now at ease, but was not long to enjoy it; for, by

taking cold on the water between London and Kew, he caught a disorder, which, with some careless exasperation ’, ended in a fever that put an end to his life, August 27, 1748 ? He was buried in the church at Richmond, without an inscription ; but a monument has been erected to his memory in Westminster

abbey S. 38 Thomson was of stature above the middle size, and more fat

than bard beseems (,' of a dull countenance, and a gross, unanimated, uninviting appearance; silent in mingled company, but chearful among select friends, and by his friends very tenderly

and warmly beloved. 39 He left behind him the tragedy of Coriolanus ?, which was,

by the zeal of his patron Sir George Lyttelton, brought upon the stage for the benefit of his family, and recommended by May, 1748, price 35. Gent. Mag. 1748, was distributed among his poor rela. p. 240.

tions.' SMOLLETT, Hist. of Eng. : To Thomson's Castle of Indo- v. 383 n. It was erected in 1762. lence Johnson vouchsafed only a line Gent. Mag. 1762, p. 238. Horace of cold commendation.' MACAULAY, Walpole wrote in the same year :Essays, i. 411. I do not see the The Abbey is overstocked, and the coldness. The first canto is rightly most venerable monuments of antiselected for praise. Wordsworth quity are daily removed there to blames Gray for the same coldness. make room for modern. Anecdotes Post, THOMSON, 50 n. 2.

of Painting, iii. 170. [For the tablet a "The fine weather having tempted placed in Richmond Church' by the him once more to expose himself to exertions' of Park, the antiquary, see the evening dews, his fever returned Johnson's Works, 1820, xi. 230 n.) with violence.' Works, Preface, p. 28. A bard here dwelt, more fat than

In Johnson's Dictionary there is bard beseems.' no instance of exasperation in this

Castle of Indolence, i. 68. sense, though there is of exasperate. In a note it is stated that the rest Gent. Mag. 1748, p. 380.

of the stanza was written by a friend • Remembrance oft shall haunt the --probably Lyttelton. Eng. Poets,

When Thames in

Campbell believed that 'Shakewreaths is drest,

speare's Coriolanus was never acted And oft suspend the dashing oar genuinely from 1660 till 1820. ... The

To bid his gentle spirit rest.' elder Sheridan, in 1764, brought out COLLINS, Ode on the death of Mr. a piece in which he jumbled together Thomson, Thomson's Works, Pre- the Coriolanus of Shakespeare with face, p. 36.

that of Thomson.' Kemble preserved s. However he was neglected when

of "Thomson's absurdity.' living his memory has been honoured Campbell's Mrs. Siddons, 1834, ü.154 in an ample subscription for a new 8 He became a baronet in 1751. edition of his works. The profits were Post, LYTTELTON, 13. employed in erecting a monument in According to Smollett he died Westminster Abbey. The surplus in debt. Hist. of Eng. v. 383.


liv. 231.





a Prologue, which Quin, who had long lived with Thomson in fond intimacy, spoke in such a manner as shewed him to be,' on that occasion, 'no actor".' The commencement of this benevolence is very honourable to Quin, who is reported to have delivered Thomson, then known to him only for his genius, from an arrest, by a very considerable present'; and its continuance is honourable to both, for friendship is not always the sequel of obligation?. By this tragedy a considerable sum was raised, of which part discharged his debts, and the rest was remitted to his sisters, whom, however removed from them by place or condition, he regarded with great tenderness, as will appear by the following letter, which I communicate with much pleasure, as it gives me at once an opportunity of recording the fraternal kindness of Thomson, and reflecting on the friendly assistance of Mr. Boswell, from whom I received it *.

'Hagley in Worcestershire, 40

October the 4th, 1747. My dear Sister, 'I thought you had known me better than to interpret my silence into a decay of affection, especially as your behaviour has always been such as rather to increase than diminish it. Don't imagine, because I am a bad correspondent, that I can ever prove an unkind friend and brothers. I must do myself the justice to tell you, that my affections are naturally very fixed and constant; and if I had ever reason of complaint against you (of which by the bye I have not the least shadow), I am conscious of so many defects in myself, as dispose me to be not a little charitable and forgiving. ''He lov'd his friends (forgive this Satan, in Paradise Lost, iv. 52, felt gushing tear ;

'The debt immense of endless gratiAlas! I feel I am no actor here), tude, He lov'd his friends with such a So burthensome, still paying, still warmth of heart,' &c.

to owe.' Thomson's Works, iv. 181. 'Gratitude,' wrote Chesterfield, ‘is 'The tears gushed from Mr. Quin's a burthen upon our imperfect nature.' eyes. The beautiful break in these Letters to his Godson, p. 167. lines had a fine effect in speaking. 4 Boswell had two more of ThomHe never appeared a greater actor son's letters to his sister. Boswell's than at this instant when he declared Johnson, ii. 64, iii. 360. himself none.' Cibber's Lives, v. 216. In one of his letters to his sister

. Works, Preface, p. 16. At the he says :—“All my friends who know end of Anstey's New Bath Guide me know how backward I am to Quin's kindness to Thomson is cele- write letters; and never impute the brated.

negligence of my hand to the cold3 For Reynolds's observation about ness of my heart.” 1b. iii. 360. This being relieved from a burthen of backwardness has made his autogratitude’see Boswell's Johnson, i.246. graphs very rare.

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41 'It gives me the truest heart-felt satisfaction to hear you have

a good kind husband, and are in easy contented circumstances ; but were they otherwise, that would only awaken and heighten my tenderness towards you. As our good and tender-hearted parents did not live to receive any material testimonies of that highest human gratitude I owed them (than which nothing could have given me equal pleasure), the only return I can make them now is by kindness to those they left behind them: would to God poor Lizy had lived longer, to have been a farther witness of the truth of what I say, and that I might have had the pleasure of seeing once more a sister, who so truly deserved my esteem and love. But she is happy, while we must toil a little longer here below : let us however do it chearfully and gratefully, supported by the pleasing hope of meeting yet again on a safer shore, where to recollect the storms and difficulties of life will not perhaps be inconsistent with that blissful state. You did right to call your daughter by her name ; for you must needs have had a particular tender friendship for one another, endeared as you were by nature, by having passed the affectionate years of your youth together; and by that great softner and engager of hearts, mutual hardship. That it was in my power to ease it a little, I account one of the most exquisite pleasures of my life.—But enough of this melancholy

though not unpleasing strain. 42 'I esteem you for your sensible and disinterested advice to

Mr. Bell, as you will see by my Letter to him : as I approve entirely of his marrying again, you may readily ask me why I don't marry at all. My circumstances have hitherto been so variable and uncertain in this fluctuating world, as induce to keep me from engaging in such a state: and now, though they are more settled, and of late (which you will be glad to hear) considerably improved, I begin to think myself too far advanced in

I life for such youthful undertakings, not to mention some other petty reasons that are apt to startle the delicacy of difficult old batchelors. I am, however, not a little suspicious that was I to pay a visit to Scotland (which I have some thoughts of doing soon)' I might possibly be tempted to think of a thing not easily repaired if done amiss. I have always been of opinion that none make better wives than the ladies of Scotland; and yet, who more forsaken than they, while the gentlemen are continually running abroad all the world over? Some of them, it is true, are wise enough to return for a wife. You see I am beginning to make interest already with the Scots ladies. But no more of this infectious subject.— Pray let me hear from you now and then ; and though I am not a regular correspondent,


''He never returned to Scotland.' Boswell's Johnson, iii. 117.

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