« PreviousContinue »
much is urged in this apology, to justify many actions that have been represented as culpable, and to palliate the rest, that the reader is reconciled for the greater part ; and it is made very probable that Clarendon was by perşonal enmity disposed to think the worst of Greenville, as Greenville was also very willing to think the worst of Clarendon. These pieces were pubdished at his return to England.
Being now desirous to conclude his labours, and enjoy his reputation, be published (1732) a very beautiful and splendid edition of his works, in which he omitted what he disapproved, and enlarged what seemed deficient.
He now went to Court, and was kindly received by queen Caroline; to whom and to the princess Anne he presented his works, with verses on the blank leaves, with which he concluded his poetical labours.
He died in Hanover-square, Jan. 30, 1735, having a few days before buried his wife, the lady Anne Villers, widow to Mr. Thynne, by whom he had four daughters, but no son.
Writers commonly derive their reputation from their works; but there are works which owe their reputation to the character of the writer. The publick sometimes has its favourites, whoin it rewards for one species of excellence with the honours due to another. From him whom we reverence fo; his beneficence we do not willingly withhold the praise of genius; a man of exalted merit becomes at once an accomplished writer, as a beauty finds no great difficulty in passing for a wit.
Granville was a man illustrious by his birth, and therefore attracted notice : since he is by Pope styled “the polite,” he must be supposed elegant in his manners, and generally loved; he was in times of contest and turbulence steady to his party, and obtained that esteem which is always conferred upon firmness and consistency. With those advantages, having learned the art of versifying, he declared himself a poet; and the claim to the laurel was allowed.
But by a critick of a later generation who takes up his book without any favourable prejudices, the praise already received will be thought sufficient ; for his works do not shew him to have had much.comprehension from nas ture, or illumination from learning. He seems to have had no ambition above the imitation of Waller, of whom he has copied the faults, and very little more. He is for ever amusing bimself with the puerilities of mythology; his King is Jupiter, who, if the Queen brings no children, has a barren Juno. The Queen is compounded of Juno, Venus, and Minerva. His poem on the dutchess of Graston's lawsuit, after having rattled a while with Juno and Pallas, Mars and Alcides, Cassiope, Niobe, and the Propetides, Hercules, Minos, and Rhadamanthus, at last concludes its folly with profáneness.
His verses to Mira, which are most frequently mentioned, have little in them of either art or nature, of the sentiments of a lover, or the language
of a poet : there may be found now-and-then a happier effort ; but they are commonly feeble and unaffecting, or forced and extravagant.
His little pieces are seldom either sprightly or elegant, either keen or weighty. They are trifles written by idleness, and published by vanity, But his Prologues and Epilogues have a just claim to praise.
The Progress of Beauty seems one of his most elaborate pieces, and is not deficient in splendour and gaiety'; but the merit of original thought is wanting. Its highest praise is the spirit with which he celebrates king James's consort, when she was queen no longer."
The Essay.on unnatural Flights in Poetry is not inelegant nor injudicious, and has something of vigour beyond most of his other performances : his precepts are just, and his cautions proper; they are indeed not new, but in a didactic poem novelty is to be expected only in the ornaments and illustrations, His poeţical precepts are accompanied with agreeable and instrucs
The Masque of Peleus and Thetis has here and there a pretty line ; burit is not always melodious, and the conclusion is wretched.
In his British Enchanters be has bidden defiance to all chronology, by confounding the inconsistent manners of different ages; but the dialogue has often the air of Dryden's rhyming plays; and the songs are lively, though not very correct. This is, I think, far the best of his works ; for if it has many faults, it has likewise passages which are at least pretty, though ihry do not rise to any high degree of excellence.
HOMAS YALDEN, the sixth son of Mr. John Yalden of Sussex,
was born in the city. of Exeter in 1671. Having been educated in the grammar-school belonging to Magdalen College in Oxford, he was in 1690, at the age of nineteen, admitted commoner of Magdalen Hall, under the tuition of Josiah Pullen, a man whose name is still remembered in the university. He became next year one of the scholars of Magdalen College, where he was distinguished by a lucky accident.
li was his turn, one day, to pronounce a declamation ; and Dr. Hough, the president, happening to attend, thought the composition too good to be the speaker's. Some time after, the doctor finding him a little irregularly busy in the library, set him an exercise for punishment; and that he might, not be deceived by any artifice, locked the door. Yalden, as it happened, had been lately reading on the subject given, and produced with little difficulty a composition which so pleased the president, that he told him his former suspicions, and promised to favour him.
Among his contemporaries in the college were Addison and Sacheverell, men who were in those times friends, and who both adopted Yalden to their intimacy. Yalden continued, throughout his life, to think as probably he thought at first, yet did not lose the friendship of Addison.
When Namur was taken by king William, Yalden made an ode. There was never any reign more celebrated by the poets than that of William, who had
very little regard for song himself, but happened to employ ministers who pleased themselves with the praise of patronage.
Of this ode mention is made in an humorous poem of that time, called The Oxford Laureat; in which, after many claims had been made and rejected, Yalden is represented as demanding the laurel, and as being called to his trial, instead of receiving a reward.
His crime was for being a felon in verse,
And presenting his theft to the king ;
But the last was an impudeat thing :
Yet what he had stol'n was so little worth stealing,
They forgave him the damage and cost :
They had fired him but ten-pence at most.
In 1710 he became fellow of the college ; and next year, entering into orders, was presented by the society with a living in Warwickshire, consistent with the fellowship, and chosen lecturer of moral philosophy, a very honourable office.
On the accession of queen Anne he wrote another poem ; and is said, by the author of the Biographia, to have declared himself of the party who had the honourable distinction of High-churchmea.
In 1706 he was received into the family of the duke of Beaufort. Next year he became doctor in divinity, and soon after resigned his fellowship and lecture; and, as a token of his gratitude, gave the college a picture of their founder,
He was made rector of Chalton and Cleanville, two adjoining towns and benefices in Hertfordshire; and had the prebends, or sinecures, of Deere Hains, and Pendles, in Devonshire. He had before * been chosen, in 1698 preacher of Bridewell Hospital, upon the resignation of Dr. Atterbury .
From this time he seems to have led a quiet and inoffensive life, till the clamour was raised about Atterbury's plot. Every loyal eye was on the watch for abettors or partakers of the horrid conspiracy; and Dr. Yalden having some acquaintance with the bishop, and being familiarly conversan with Kelly his secretary, fell under suspicion, and was taken into custody.
Upon his examination he was charged with a dangerous correspondence with Kelly. The correspondence he acknowledged, but maintained, tas it had no treasonable tendency. His papers were seized; but nothing was found that could fix a crime upon him, except two words in his pocket-books thorough-paced doctrine. This expression the imagination of his examines had impregnated with treason, and the doctor was enjoined to explain then, Thus pressed, he told them that the words had lain unheeded in his pocker book from the time of queen Anne, and that he was ashamed to give acccunt of them: but the truth was, that he had gratified his curiosity one day, by hearing Damel Burgess in the pulpit, and those words was a me morial hint of a remarkable sentence by which he warned his congregation to“ beware of” thorough-paced doctrine, " that doctrine which coming “ in at one ear, paces through the head, and goes out at the other."
* Nor till long after. N.
+ Ds. Artertarý tersired the office of preacher at Brideswell, till his promotion to the Bishoprick or Rocbester. , Dz. Yalden succeeded him as prescher in June, 1713. N.
Nothing worse than this appearing in his papers, and no evidence arising igainst him, he was set at liberty.
It will not be supposed that a man of this character attained high digniies in the church ; but he still retained the friendship, and frequented the zonversation, of a very numerous and splendid set of acquaintance. He fied July 16, 1736, in the 66th year of his age,
of his poems, many are of that irregular kind, which, when he formed nis poetical character, were supposed to be Pindarick. Having fixed his ttention on Cowley as a model, he has attempted in some sort to rival him, and has written a Hymn to Darkness, evidently as a counter-part to Cowley's Hymn to Light.
This hymn scems to be his best performance, and is for the most part, imagined with great vigour, and expressed with great propriety. I will not fanscribe it. The seven first stanzas are good; but the third, fourth, and eventh, are the best; the eighth seems to involve a contradiction; the tenth exquisitely beautiful; the thirteenth, fourteenth, and fifteenth, are part
mytholgoical, and partly religious, and therefore not suitable to each ther; he might better have made the whole merely philosophical. There are two stanzas in this poem where Yalden may be suspected, hough hardly convicted, of having consulted the Hyninus ad Umbram of cwerus, in the sixth stanza, which answers in some sort to these lines :
Illa suo præest nocturnis numine sacris.-
Sub noctem, et questu notos complete penates.
Ilía suo seniilm secludit corpore toto
Et prisco imperio rursus dominabitur.UMBRA, His Hymn to Light is not equal to the other. He seems to think that there is an East absolute and positive where the Morning rises.
In the last stanza, having mentioned the sudden eruption of new-created Light, he says,
A while th' Almighty wondering stood. He ought to have remembered that Infinite Knowledge can never wonder. All wonder is the effect of novelty upon ignorance,
Of his other, poems it is sufficient to say that they deserve perusal, though they are not always exactly polished, though the Thymes are sometimes veTy ill sorted, and though his faults seem tacher che omissions of idlenes3 than the negligences of enthusiasm. • Vol. I. 3 E