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"You may remember, Sir, with what reluc
rank might give reason to expect. He was born | when every man, who has the least sense of about 1667, the son of Bernard Greenville, who honour, should be preparing for the field. was entrusted by Monk with the most private transactions of the Restoration, and the grand-tance I submitted to your commands upon Monson of Sir Bevil Greenville, who died in the King's cause, at the battle of Landsdowne.
His early education was superintended by Sir William Ellis; and his progress was such, that before the age of twelve he was sent to Cambridge, where he pronounced a copy of his own verses to the Princess Mary d'Este of Modena, then Dutchess of York, when she visited the University.
At the accession of King James, being now at eighteen, he again exerted his poetical powers, and addressed the new monarch in three short pieces, of which the first is profane, and the two others such as a boy might be expected to produce; but he was commended by old Waller, who perhaps was pleased to find himself imitated in six lines, which, though they begin with nonsense, and end with dulness, excited in the young Author a rapture of acknowledgment.
In numbers such as Waller's self might use.
It was probably about this time that he wrote the poem to the Earl of Peterborough, upon his accomplishment of the Duke of York's marriage with the Princess of Modena, whose charms appear to have gained a strong prevalence over his imagination, and upon whom nothing ever has been charged but imprudent piety, an intemperate and misguided zeal for the propagation of popery.
However faithful Granville might have been to the King, or however enamoured of the Queen, he has left no reason for supposing that he approved either the artifices or the violence with which the King's religion was insinuated or obtruded. He endeavoured to be true at once to the King and to the Church.
Of this regulated loyalty he has transmitted to posterity a sufficient proof, in the letter which he wrote to his father about a month before the Prince of Orange landed.
"Mar, near Doncaster, Oct 6, 1688. "To the Honourable Mr. Barnard Granville, at the Earl of Bathe's, St. James's. "SIR,
"Your having no prospect of obtaining a commission for me can no way alter or cool my desire at this important juncture to venture my life, in some manner or other, for my king and my country.
I cannot bear living under the reproach of lying obscure and idle in a country retirement,
To Trinity College. By the University register it appears that he was admitted to his master's degree in 1679; we must, therefore, set the year of his birth some years back.-H.
mouth's rebellion, when no importunity could prevail with you to permit me to leave the academy: I was too young to be hazarded; but, give me leave to say, it is glorious at any age to die for one's country; and the sooner the nobler the sacrifice.
"I am now older by three years. My uncle Bathe was not so old when he was left among the slain at the battle of Newbury; nor yet yourself, Sir, when you made your escape from your tutor's, to join your brother at the defence of Scilly.
"The same cause has now come round about
again. The King has been misled; let those who have misled him be answerable for it. Nobody can deny but he is sacred in his own person; and it is every honest man's duty to defend it.
"You are pleased to say, it is yet doubtful if the Hollanders are rash enough to make such an attempt; but be that as it will, I beg leave to insist upon it, that I may be presented to his Majesty, as one whose utmost ambition it is to devote his life to his service, and my country's, after the example of all my ancestors.
"The gentry assembled at York, to agree upon the choice of representatives for the county, have prepared an address, to assure his Majesty they are ready to sacrifice their lives and fortunes for him upon this and all other occasions; but at the same time they humbly beseech him to give them such magistrates as may be agreeable to the laws of the land; for, at present, there is no authority to which they can legally submit.
"They have been beating up for volunteers at York and the towns adjacent, to supply the regiments at Hull; but nobody will list.
"By what I can hear, every body wishes well to the King; but they would be glad his ministers were hanged.
"The winds continue so contrary, that no landing can be so soon as was apprehended; therefore I may hope, with your leave and assistance, to be in readiness before any action can begin. I beseech you, Sir, most humbly and most earnestly to add this one act of indulgence more to so many other testimonies which I have constantly received of your goodness; and be pleased to believe me always, with the utmost duty and submission, Sir,
"Your most dutiful son,
Through the whole reign of King William he is supposed to have lived in literary retirement, and indeed had for some time few other pleas
ures but those of study in his power. He was, as the biographers observe, the younger son of a younger brother; a denomination by which our ancestors proverbially expressed the lowest state of penury and dependence. He is said, however, to have preserved himself at this time from disgrace and difficulties by economy, which he forgot or neglected in life more advanced and in better fortune.
About this time he became enamoured of the Countess of Newburgh, whom he has celebrated with so much ardour by the name of Mira. He wrote verses to her before he was three-andtwenty, and may be forgiven if he regarded the face more than the mind. Poets are sometimes in too much haste to praise.
In the time of his retirement it is probable that he composed his dramatic pieces, the "She Gallants" (acted 1696), which he revised and called "Once a Lover and always a Lover;" "The Jew of Venice," altered from Shakspeare's "Merchant of Venice" (1698); "Heroic Love," a tragedy (1701); "The British Enchanters" (1706), a dramatic poem; and "Peleus and Thetis," a mask, written to accompany "The Jew of Venice."
The comedies, which he has not printed in his own edition of his works, I never saw; "Once a Lover and always a Lover" is said to be in a great degree indecent and gross. Granville could not admire without bigotry; he copied the wrong as well as the right from his masters, and may be supposed to have learned obscenity from Wycherley, as he learned mythology from Waller.
In his "Jew of Venice," as Rowe remarks, the character of Shylock is made comic, and we are prompted to laughter instead of detestation. It is evident that "Heroic Love" was written and presented on the stage before the death of Dryden. It is a mythological tragedy, upon the love of Agamemnon and Chryseis, and therefore easily sunk into neglect, though praised in verse by Dryden, and in prose by Pope.
It is concluded by the wise Ulysses with this speech:
Fate holds the strings, and men like children move But as they're led; success is from above.
At the accession of Queen Anné, having his fortune improved by bequests from his father, and his uncle the Earl of Bath, he was chosen into parliament for Fowey. He soon after engaged in a joint translation of the "Invectives against Philip," with a design, surely weak and puerile, of turning the thunder of Demosthenes upon the head of Louis.
He afterwards (in 1706) had his estate again augmented by an inheritance from his elder brother, Sir Bevil Grenville, who, as he returned from the government of Barbadoes, died
at sea. He continued to serve in parliament; and in the ninth year of Queen Anne was chosen knight of the shire for Cornwall.
At the memorable change of the ministry (1710) he was made secretary at war, in the place of Mr. Robert Walpole.
Next year, when the violence of party made twelve peers in a day, Mr. Granville became Lord Lansdown Baron Bideford, by a promotion justly remarked to be not invidious, because he was the heir of a family in which two peerages, that of the Earl of Bath and Lord Granville of Potheridge, had lately become extinct. Being now high in the Queen's favour, he (1712) was appointed comptroller of the household, and a privy counsellor, and to his other honours was added the dedication of Pope's "Windsor Forest." He was advanced next year to be treasurer of the household.
Of these favours he soon lost all but his title; for at the accession of King George his place was given to the Earl of Cholmondeley, and he was persecuted with the rest of his party. Having protested against the bill for attainting Ormond and Bolingbroke, he was, after the insurrection in Scotland, seized Sept. 26, 1715, as a suspected man, and confined in the Tower till Feb. 8, 1717, when he was at last released, and restored to his seat in parliament; where (1719) he made a very ardent and animated speech against the repeal of the bill to prevent occasional conformity, which, however, though it was then printed, he has not inserted into his. works.
Some time afterwards, (about 1722) being perhaps embarrassed by his profusion, he went into foreign countries, with the usual pretence of recovering his health. In this state of leisure and retirement he received the first volume of Burnet's History, of which he cannot be supposed to have approved the general tendency, and where he thought himself able to detect some particular falsehoods. He therefore undertook the vindication of General Monk from
some calumnies of Dr. Burnet, and some misThis was representations of Mr. Echard. answered civilly by Mr. Thomas Burnet and Oldmixon; and more roughly by Dr. Colbatch.
His other historical performance is a defence of his relation Sir Richard Greenville, whom Lord Clarendon has shown in a form very unamiable. So 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 personal enmity disposed to think the worst of Greenville, as Greenville was also very willing to thing the worst of Clarendon. These pieces were published at his return to England.
Being now desirous to conclude his labours
and enjoy his reputation, ne published (1782) a | Juno, Venus, and Minerva. His poem on the very beautiful and splendid edition of his works, Dutchess of Grafton's law-suit, after having in which he omitted what he disapproved, and rattled awhile with Juno and Pallas, Mars and enlarged what seemed deficient. Alcides, Cassiope, Niobe, and the Propetides, Hercules, Minos, and Rhadamanthus, at last concludes its folly with profaneness.
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 Villiers, 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 public sometimes has its favourites whom it rewards for one species of excellence with the honour due to another. From him whom we reverence for 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 his claim to the laurel was allowed.
But by a critic 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 show him to have had much comprehension from nature 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 himself with puerilities of mythology; his King is Jupiter; who, if the Queen brings no children, has a barren Juno. The Queen is compounded of
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 witty. 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 gayety; 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 a 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 poetical precepts are accompanied with agreeable and instructive notes.
The Mask of "Peleus and Thetis" has here and there a pretty line; but it is not always melodious, and the conclusion is wretched.
In his "British Enchanters" he 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 his 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 they do not rise to any high degree of excellence.
name is still remembered in the University. He became next year one of the scholars of Magdalen College, where he was distinguished by a
THOMAS YALDEN, the sixth son of Mr. John | under the tuition of Josiah Pullen, a man whose 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 nine-lucky accident. teer, admitted commoner of Magdalen Hall, It was his turn, one day, to pronounce a de
clamation: 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 forfeit the friendship of Addison.
When Namur was taken by King William, Yalden made an ode. There never was 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 a 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,
Yet what he had stolen was so little worth stealing,
They had fined him but ten-pence at most.
The poet whom he was charged with robbing was Congreve.
He wrote another poem, on the death of the Duke of Gloucester.
In 1700 he became fellow of the College; and next year, entering into orders, was presented by the society with a living in Warwickshire,* consistent with his 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-churchmen.
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 Deans, Hains, and Pendles, in Devonshire. He had before+ been chosen, in 1698, preacher of Bridewell Hospital, upon the resig→ nation 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 conversant 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 that 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-book, thorough-paced doctrine. This expression the imagination of his examiners had impregnated with treason, and the Doctor was enjoined to explain them. Thus pressed, he told them that the words had lain unheeded in his pocket-book from the time of Queen Anne, and that he was ashamed to give an account of them; but the truth was, that he had gratified his curiosity one day, by hearing Daniel Burgess in the pulpit, and those words were a mehe warned his congregation to “beware of morial hint of a remarkable sentence by which thorough-paced doctrine, that doctrine which, coming in at one ear, passes through the head, and goes out at the other."
Nothing worse than this appearing in his papers, and no evidence arising against him, he was set at liberty.
It will not be supposed that a man of this character attained high dignities in the church; but he still retained the friendship and frequented the conversation of a very numerous and splended set of acquaintance. He died July 16, 1736, in the 66th year of his age.
Of his poems, many are of that irregular kind which, when he formed his poetical character, was supposed to be Pindaric. Having fixed his attention on Cowley as a model, he has attempted in some sort to rival him, and has
This preferment was given him by the Duke of Beaufort.-N.
+ Not long after.
Dr. Atterbury retained the office of preacher at Bridewell till his promotion to the bishopric of
* The vicarage of Willoughby, which he resigned Rochester. Dr. Yalden succeeded him as preacher,
in June, 1713.-N.
written a "Hymn to Darkness," evidently as a counterpart to Cowley's "Hymn to Light."
This Hymn seems to be his best performance, and is, for the most part, imagined with great vigour and expressed with great propriety. I will not transcribe it. The seven first stanzas are good; but the third, fourth, and seventh, are the best; the eighth seems to involve á contradiction; the tenth is exquisitely beautiful; the thirteenth, fourteenth, and fifteenth, are partly mythological and partly religious, and therefore not suitable to each other: he might better have made the whole merely philosophical.
There are two stanzas in this poem where Yalden may be suspected, though hardly convicted, of having consulted the "Hymnus ad Umbram" of Wowerus, in the sixth stanza, which answers in some sort to these lines:
Illa suo præest nocturnis numine sacrisPerque vias errare novis dat spectra figuris, Manesque excitos medios ululare per agros Sub noctem, et questu notos complere penates.
And again, at the conclusion:
Illa suo senium secludit corpore toto Haud numerans jugi fugientia secula lapsu, Ergo ubi postremum mundi compage solut Hanc rerum molem suprema absumpserit hora Ipsa leves cineres nube amplectetur opaca, 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 irruption of new-created light, he says,
Awhile the 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 rhymes are sometimes very ill sorted, and though his faults seem rather the omissions of idleness than the negli gences of enthusiasm.
THOMAS TICKELL, the son of the Reverend Richard Tickell, was born in 1686, at Bridekirk, in Cumberland; and in April, 1701, became a member of Queen's College, in Oxford; in 1708 he was made master of arts; and, two years afterwards, was chosen fellow; for which, as he did not comply with the statutes by taking orders, he obtained a dispensation from the crown. He held his fellowship till 1726, and then vacated it, by marrying, in that year, at Dublin.
Tickell was not one of those scholars who wear away their lives in closets; he entered early into the world, and was long busy in public affairs, in which he was initiated under the patronage of Addison, whose notice he is said to have gained by his verses in praise of "Rosamond."
To those verses it would not have been just to deny regard, for they contain some of the most elegant encomiastic strains; and, among the innumerable poems of the same kind, it will be hard to find one with which they need to fear a comparison. It may deserve observation, that, when Pope wrote long afterwards in praise of Addison, he has copied, at least has resembled, Tickell:
Let joy salute fair Rosamonda's shade,
Nor longer that relentless doom bemoan,
Then future ages with delight shall see Or in fair series laurelled bards be shown, How Plato's, Bacon's, Newton's, looks agree; A Virgil there, and here an Addison.
He produced another piece of the same kind at the appearance of "Cato," with equal skill, but not equal happiness.
When the ministers of Queen Anne were negotiating with France, Tickell published" The Prospect of Peace," a poem, of which the tendency was to reclaim the nation from the pride of conquest to the pleasures of tranquillity. How far Tickell, whom Swift afterwards mentioned as Whiggissimus, had then connected himself with any party, I know not; this poem certainly did not flatter the practices or promote