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In the latter, the venerable father of Isabella and Imoinda is said to have raised, by his eminence,
The price of prologues and of plays.
For Southerne was the first author that had two benefit-nights, the third and sixth, at the ex
Robert Walpole. Indeed, almost all the men of wit and genius in the kingdom opposed this minister, who in vain paid the enormous sum of above fifty thousand pounds to paltry and dull scribblers in his defence. Soon after Mr. Glover had published his Leonidas, a poem that was eagerly read, and universally admired, he passed some days with Mr. Pope at Twickenham, where they were one evening honoured with the company of the Prince of Wales, attended by Mr. Lyttelton: the latter privately desired Mr. Pope and Mr. Glover, (who himself kindly related to me this fact) that they would join with him in dissuading the Prince from riding à vicious horse he was fond of: and, among other things urged on the subject, Pope said with earnestness to the Prince, “ I hope, Sir, the people of England will not be made miserable by a second horse:” alluding to the accident that befel King William. “I think (added Pope, turning, and whispering to Mr. Glover) this speech was pretty well for me!”
In a letter, dated May, 1737, Swift asks Pope, “ Who is that Mr. Glover, who writ the poem called Leonidas, which is reprinting here, and hath great vogue?” Pope's answer does not appear : it would have been curious to have known his opi, nion concerning a poem that is written in a taste and manner
different from his own, in a style formed in the Grecian school, and with the simplicity of an ancient.
hibition of his comedy, entitled, Sir Anthony Love, 1691. By the custom, which had something illiberal in it, and was first dropt by Addison, of distributing tickets, Southerne gained 7001. for one play. In the year 1722, he received of a bookseller, 1201. for copy-money ; when, the year before, Dr. Young could get no more than fifty pounds for his Revenge. But to drive a bargain, was not the talent of this generous and disinterested man.
The fifteen Epitaphs, which conclude our author's poetical works, do not seem to merit a particular discussion. The three best * are that on Mrs. Corbett, Fenton, and the Duke of Buckingham. They are all, in general, over-run with point and antithesis, and are a kind of panegyrical epigrams. They are, consequently, very different from the simple sepulchral inscriptions of
* As that on Kneller is the worst, in imitation of two wretched lines on Raphaël, which had a much better turn given to them by Mr. W. Harrison, of New College, a favourite of Swift:
Here Raphaël lies, by whose untimely end,
the ancients, of which that of Meleager on his wife, in the Greek Anthology, is a model and master-piece; and in which taste a living author, that must be nameless, has written the following hendecasyllables :
O dulcis puer, O venuste Marce,
As it was the professed intention of these papers to consider Pope as a poet, the observations on his * Prose IVorks will not be long.
The rich vein of humour that runs through the Memoirs of Scriblerus, is heightened by the
* The style of which is certainly not so melodious and voluble as that of Dryden's enchanting prose. Voltaire, it must be owned, writes prose with remarkable elegance, precision, and force.
variety of learning they contain ; and it may be worth observing, that the chief of those who have excelled in works of wit and humour, have been men of extensive learning. We may instance in Lucian, Cervantes, Quevedo, Rabelais, Arbuthnot, Fielding, and Butler; for no work in our language contains more learning than Hudibras. This life of the solemn and absurd pedant, Dr. Scriblerus, is the only imitation we have of the serious manner of Cervantes ;* for it is not easy to say, why Fielding should call his Joseph Andrews, excellent as it is, an imitation of this manner. Arbuthnot, whose humour was exquisite, had a very large share in these Memoirs ; and I should guess that the fifth, sixth, seventh, eighth, tenth and twelfth chap
* Don Quixote is the most original and unrivalled work of modern times. The great art of Cervantes consists in having painted his mad hero with such a number of amiable qualities, as to make it impossible for us totally to despise him. This light and shade in drawing characters, shews the master. It is thus Addison has represented his Sir Roger, and Shakespeare his Falstaff. How great must be the native force of Cervantes's humour, when it can be relished by readers even unacquainted with Spanish manners, with the institution of chivalry, and with the many passages of old romances, and Italian poems, to which it perpetually alludes,
ters are by his hand; as they contain allusions to parts of learning and science, with which Pope was little acquainted.
There are few of the many faults and absurdities, of which modern writers are guilty, but what are well exposed in the Bathos ; particularly in chapters tenth, eleventh, and twelfth; and in the Project for Advancement of the Stage, in c. 16. It is rather singular, that some of the most useful criticism in our language, should be delivered in two ludicrous pieces; the Rehearsal and the Bathos. For there is scarcely a fault or absurdity of which a dramatic poet can be guilty, but what is ridiculed in the Rehearsal.
The familiar gossipping style of Burnet in his history, is ridiculed in the Memoirs of a Parish Clerk. The Discourse on the Office and Creation of the Poet Laureat, might be much enriched by the curious particulars which our author's own translator, the ingenious Abbé Du Resnel, has given us in the 15th vol. of the Memoirs of Literature, in his learned researches on poets Laureat. The eight papers in the Guardian are