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FENTON.
How some are laid in trains that kindled fly,

Till, having form'd its living house, it rears
In harmless fires by night, above the sky;

Its head, and in a tender plant appears.
How some in winds blow with impetuous forco, Hence springs the oak, the beauty of the grove,
And carry ruin where they bend their course,

Whose stately trunk fierce storms can scarcely move
While some conspire to form a gentle breeze,

Hence grows the cedar, hence the swelling vine
To fan the air and play among the trees;

Does round the elm its purple clusters twine ;
How some, enrag:d, grow turbulent and loud,

Hence painted flowers the smiling gardens bless,
Pent in the bowels of a frowning cloud,

Both with their fragrant scent and gaudy dress.
That cracks, an if the axis of the world [hurld. Hence the white lily in full beauty grows,
Was broke, and heav'n's bright tow'rs were downwards Hence the blue violet, and blushing rose.
He sung how earth's wide ball, at Jove's command, He sung how sunbeams brood upon the earth,
Did in the midst on airy columns stand;

And in the glebe hatch such a numerous birth;
And how the soul of plants, in prison held,

Which way the genial warmth in Summer storms
And bound with sluggish fetters, lies conceal'd,

Turns putrid vapours to a bed of worms;
Till, with the Spring's warm beams, almost releas'd How rain, transform'd by this prolific prwir,
From the dull weight with which it lay oppress’d, Falls from the clouds an animated show'r.
Its vigour spreads, and makes the teeming earth He sung the embryo's growth within the womb,
Heave up, and labour with the sprouting birth : And how the parts their various shapes assume;
The active spirit freedom seeks in vain,

With what rare art the wondrous structure 's wrought
It only works and twists a stronger chain;

From one crude mass to such perfection brought;
Urging its prison's sides to break away,

That no part useless, none misplac'd we see,
It makes that wider where 'tis forc'd to stay;

None are forgot, and more would monstrous be.

[graphic]

The brevity with which I am to write the ac-left the university without a degree ; but I never count of Elijah Fenton is not the effect of in- heard that the enthusiasm of opposition impelled difference or negligence. I have sought intelli- him to separation from the church. gence among his relations in his native country, By this perverseness of integrity he was but have not obtained it.

driven out a commoner of Nature, excluded He was born near Newcastle, in Staffordshire, from the regular modes of profit and prosperity, of an ancient family,* whose estate was very and reduced to pick up a livelihood uncertain considerable ; but he was the youngest of eleven and fortuitous ; but it must be remembered that children, and being, therefore, necessarily des- he kept his name unsullied, and never suffered tined to some lucrative employment, was sent himself to be reduced, like too many of the same first to school, and afterwards to Cambridge ;t sect, to mean arts and dishonourable shifts. but, with many other wise and virtuous men, Whoever mentioned Fenton, mentioned him who, at that time of discord and debate, consult- with honour. ed conscience, whether well or ill-informed,

The life that passes in penury must necessamore than interest, he doubted the legality of rily pass in obscurity. It is impossible to trace the government, and, refusing to qualify him- Fenton from year to year, or to discover what self for public employment by the oaths required, means he used for his support. He was awhile

secretary to Charles, Earl of Orrery, in Flan He was born at Shelton, near Newcastle, May 20, ders, and tutor to his young son, who after1683; and was the youngest of eleven children of John wards mentioned him with great esteem and Fenton, an attorney at law, and one of the coroners of tenderness. He was at one time assistant in the the county of Stafford. His father died in 1694 ; and his school of Mr. Bonwicke, in Surrey; and at antinguished by the following elegant Latin inscription, other kept a school for himself, at Sevenoaks, from the pen of his son:

in Kent, which he brought into reputation; but H.S. E.

was persuaded to leave it (1710) by Mr. St. JOANNES FENTON

John, with promises of a more honourable emde Shelton antiquâ stirpe generosus ;

ployment. juxta reliquias conjugis

His opinions, as he was a nonjuror, seem noz CATHERINE

to have been remarkably rigid. He wrote with formâ, moribus, pietate,

great zeal and affection the praises of Queen optimo viro dignissimæ :

Anne, and very willingly and liberally extolled Qui intemerata in ecclesiam fide,

the Duke of Marlborough, when he was (1707) et virtutibus intaminatis enituit ,

at the height of his glory.
necnon ingenii lepore
honis artibus expoliti,

He expressed still more attention to Marlac animo erga omnes benevolo,

borough and his family, by an elegiac pastoral sibi suisque jucundus vixit.

on the Marquis of Blandford, which couid be Decem annos axori dilectæ superstes prompted only by respect or kindness; for neimagnum sui desiderium bonis omnibus reliquit,

ther the Duke nor Dutchess desired the praise, Anno salitis humanæ 1694,

or liked the cost of patronage.

The elegance of his poetry entitled him to the See Gent. Mag. 1791, vol. LXI. p. 703.-N + He was entered of Jesus College, and took a bache- bleness of his manners made him loved where

company of the wits of his time, and the amislor's degree in 1704; but it appears by the list of Camever he was known. bridge graduates that he removed in 1726 to Trinity Southern and Pope there are lasting monuments.

He published, in 1707, a collection of poems. pable of amendment. To this edition he pro

By Pope he was once placed in a station that fixed a short and elegant account of Milton's might have been of great advantage. Craggs, life, written at once with tenderness and intewhen he was advanced to be secretary of state, grity. (about 1720,) feeling his own want of literature, He published likewise (1729) a very splendid desired Pope to procure him an instructor, by edition of Waller, with notes, often useful, often whose help he might supply the deficiencies of entertaining, but too much extended by long his education. Pope recommended Fenton, in quotations from Clarendon. Illustrations drawn whom Craggs found all that he was seeking. from a book so easily consulted should be made There was now a prospect of ease and plenty, by reference rather than transcription. for Fenton had merit and Craggs had generosi- The latter part of his life was calm and pleaty; but the small-pox suddenly put an end to sant. The relict of Sir William Trumbull inthe pleasing expectation.

vited him, by Pope's recommendation, to eduWhen Pope, after the great success of his cate her son ; whom he first instructed at home, "Niad,” undertook the " Odyssey," being, as it and then attended to Cambridge. The lady seems, weary of translating, he determined to afterwards detained him with her as the auditor engage auxiliaries.-Twelve books he took to of her accounts. He often wandered to London, himself, and twelve he distributed between and amused himself with the conversation of his Broome and Fenton : the books allotted to Fen- friends. ton were the first, the fourth, the nineteenth, He died, in 1730, at Easthamstead, in Berkand the twentieth. It is observable, that he did shire, the seat of Lady Trumbull; and Pope, not take the eleventh, which he had before trans- who had been always his friend, honoured him lated into blank verse ; neither did Pope claim with an epitaph, of which he borrowed the two it, but committed it to Broome. How the two first lines from Crashaw. associates performed their parts is well known Fenton was tall and bulky, inclined to corputo the readers of poetry, who have never been lence, which he did not lessen hy much exercise; able to distinguish their books from those of for he was very sluggish and sedentary, rose Pope.

late, and when he had risen, sat down to his In 1723, was performed his tragedy of “Mari- books or papers. A woman that once waited amne;" to which Southern, at whose house it on him in a lodging told him, as she said, that was written, is said to have contributed such he would “lie a-bed, and be fed with a spoon." hints as his theatrical experience supplied. This, however, was not the worst that might When it was shown to Cibber, it was rejected have been prognosticated; for Pope says, in his by him, with the additional insolence of advis- Letters, that he died of indolence ;" but his ing Fenton to engage himself in some employ- immediate distemper was the gout. ment of honest labour, by which he might obtain Of his morals and his conversation the account that support which he could never hope from his is uniform; he was never named but with praise poetry. The play was acted at the other thea- and fondness, as a man in the highest degree tre; and the brutal petulance of Cibber was con- amiable and excellent. Such was the character futed, though, perhaps, not shamed, by general give him by the Earl of Orrery, his pnpil; applause. Fenton's profits are said to have such is the testimony of Pope ;* and such were amounted to near a thousand pounds, with the suffrages of all who could boast of his acwhich he discharged a debt contracted by his quaintance. attendance at court.

By a former writer of his life a story is told Fenton seems to have had some peodliar sys- which ought not to be forgotten. He used, in tem of versification. « Mariamne" is written in the latter part of his time, to pay his relations in lines of ten syllables, with few of those redun- the country a yearly visit. At an entertainment dant terminations which the drama not only made for the family by his elder brother, he obadmits, but requires, as more nearly approach- served, that one of his sisters, who had married ing to real dialogue.' The tenor of his verse is unfortunately, was absent; and found, upon in. so uniform that it cannot be thought casual; and quiry, that distress had made her thought unyet upon what principle he so constructed'it, is worthy of invitation. As she was at no great disdifficult to discover.

tance, he refused to sit at the table till she was The mention of his play brings to my mind a called, and when she had taken her place was very triding occurrence. Fenton was one day careful to show her particular attention. in the company of Broome, his associate, and His

collection of poems is now to be considerPord, a clergyman, at that time too well known, ed. The “Ode to the Sun” is written upon a whose abilities, instead of furnishing convivial common plan, without uncommon sentiments ; merriment to the voluptuous and dissolute, but its greatest fault is its length. No poeni might have enabled him to excel among the vir- should be long, of which the purpose is only to timus and the wise. They determined all to see strike the fancy, without enlightening the un “The Merry Wives of Windsor," which was derstanding by precept, ratiocination, or narraacted that night; and Fenton, as a dramatic tive. A blazé first pleases and then tires the poet, took them to the stage-door, where the sight. door-keeper, inquiring who they were, was told Of "Florelio" it is sufficient to say, that it that they were three very necessary, men, Ford is an occasional pastoral, which implies some Broome, and Fenton. The name in thở play thing neither natural nor artificial, neither cowhich Pope restored to Brook was then Broome. mic nor serious.

It was perhaps after this play that he" under: The next ode is irregular, and therefore defec took to revise the punctuation of Milton's poems, tive. As the sentiments are pious, they cannot which, as the author neither wrote the original copy por corrected the press, was supposed ca

• Spence:

easily be new; for what can be added to topics great modesty wch you know was natural to on which successive ages have been employed ? him, and ye great Contempt he had for all sorts

Of the “Paraphrase on Isaiah” nothing very of Vanity and Parade, never appeared more favourable can be said. Sublime and solemo than in his last moments: He had a conscious prose gains little by a change to blank verse ; Satisfaction (no doubt) in acting right, in feeling and the paraphrast has deserted his original, himself honest, true, and unpretending to more by admitting images not Asiatic, at least noi than was his own. So he died, as he lived, Judaical;

with that secret, yet sufficient, Contentment.

As to any Papers left behind him, I dare say
Returning Peace,
Dove-ey'd, and rob'd in whito

they can be but few; for this reason, he never

wrote out of Vanity, or thought much of the Of his petty poems some are very trifling, Applause of men. I know an instance where without any thing to be praised, either in the he did his utmost to conceal his own merit that thought or expression. He is unlucky in his way; and if we join to this his natural Love of competitions ; he tells the same idle tale with Ease, I fancy we must expect little of this sort ; Congreve, and does not tell it so well. He trans- at least I hear of none except some few further lates from Ovid the same epistle as Pope; but I remarks on Waller (wch his cautious integrity am afraid not with equal happiness.

made him leave an order to be given to Mr. To examine his performances one by one Tonson) and perhaps, tho' 'tis many years since would be tedious. His translation from Homer I saw it, a Translation of ye first Book of Opinto blank verse will find few readers, while an. pian. He had begun a tragedy of Dion, but other can be had in rhyme. The piece addressed made small progress in it. to Lambarde is no disagreeable specimen of As to his other Affairs, he died poor, but hoepistolary poetry, and his ode to Lord Gower nest, leaving no Debts, or Legacies; except of was pronounced by Pope the next ode in the a few pds to Mr. Trumbull and my Lady, in English language to Dryden's “Cecilia.” Fen- token of respect, Gratefulness, and mutual Éston may be justly styled an excellent versifier teem. and a good poet.

I shall with pleasure take upon me to draw Whatever I have said of Fenton is confirmed this amiable, quiet, deserving, unpretending by Pope in a letter, by which he communicated Christian and Philosophical character, in his to Broome an account of his death.

Epitaph. There truth may be spoken in a few

words: as for Flourish, & Oralory, & Poetry, I To the Revd. Mr. BROOME.

| leave them to younger and more lively Writers, At Pulham, near Harlstone

such as love writing for writing sake, and wd Nor

rather shew their own Fine Parts, yn Report [By Beccles Bag.)

Suffolke. the valuable ones of any other man. So the Dr Sir,

Elegy I renounce. I INTENDED to write to you on this melan- I condole with you from my heart on the loss choly subject, the death of Mr. Fenton, before of so worthy a man, and a Friend to us both. yrs came; but stay'd to have informed myself | Now he is gone, I must tell you he has done you and you of ye circumstances of it. All I hear many a good office, and set your character in ye is, that he felt a Gradual Decay, tho' so early in Cairest light to some who either mistook you, or Life, and was declining for 5 or 6 months. It knew you not. I doubt not he has done the same was not, as I apprehended, the Gout in his Sto- for me. mach, but I believe rather a Complication first Adieu: Let us love his memory, and profit by of Gross Humours, as he was naturally corpu- his example. I am very sincerely lent, not discharging themselves, as he used no

Dr Sir, sort of Exercise. No man better bore ye ap

Your affectionate proaches of his Dissolution (as I am told) or

& real Servant with less ostentation yielded up his Being. The Aug. 29th, 1730.

A. POPE

GAY,

John Gay, descended from an old family, that without prospect of hereditary riches, he was had been long in possession of the manor of sent to London in his youth, and placed appren. Goldworthy,* in Devonshire, was born in 1638, tice with a silk-mercer. at or near Barnstaple, where he was educated by How long he continued behind the counter, or Mr. Luck, who taught the school of that town with what degree of softness and dexterity he with good reputation, and a little before he re- received and accommodated the ladies, as he tired from it, published a volume of Latin and probably took no delight in telling is, is not English verses. Under such a master he was known. The report is, that he was soon weary likely to form a taste for poetry. Being born of either the restraint or servility of his occu

pation, and easily persuaded his master to disGoldworthy does not appear in the Villare.-Dr. J. charge him. Holdsworthy is probably meaui.-C.

The Dutchess of Monmouth, remarkable for inflexible perseverance in her demand to be|Princess of Wales, he wrote a poem, and obse treated as a princess, in 1712 took Gay into her tained so much favour, that both ihe Prince and service as secretary: by quitting a shop for such Princess went to see his " What d'ye call it,” service he might gain leisure, but he certainly a kind of mock tragedy, in which the images advanced little in the boast of independence. were comic, and the action grave: so that, as of his leisure he made so good use, that he Pope relates, Mr. Cromwell, who could not hear published next year a poem on “Rural Sports,” what was said, was at a loss how to reconcile and inscribed it to Mr. Pope, who was then the laughter of the audience with the solemnity rising fast into reputation. Pope was pleased of the scene. with the honour; and, when he became ac- of this performance the value certainly is but quainted with Gay, found such attractions in his little; but it was one of the lucky trifies that manners and conversation, that he seems to have give pleasure by novelty, and was so much fareceived him into his inmost confidence; and a voured by the audience, that envy appeared friendship was formed between them which last- against it in the form of criticism ; and Griffin, ed to their separation by death, without any a player, in conjunction with Mr. Theobald, a known abatement on either part. Gay was the man afterwards more remarkable, produced a general favourite of the whole association of pamphlet called "The Key to the What d'ye wits; but they regarded him as a playfellow call it ;" which, says Gay, "calls me a block. rather than a partner, and treated him with more head, and Mr. Pope a knave.”. fondness than respect.

But fortune has always been inconstan:. Next year he published “The Shepherd's Not long afterwards (1717) he endeavoured to Week,” six English pastorals, in which the entertain the town with « Three hours after images are drawn from real life, such as it ap- Marriage;" a comedy written, as there is sufpears among the rustics in parts of England re- ficient reason for believing, by the joint assistmote from London. Steele, in some papers of ance of Pope and Arbuthnot. One purpose of “The Guardian," had praised Ambrose Philips, it was to bring into contempt Dr. Woodward, as the pastoral writer that yielded only to Theo- the Fossilist, a man not really or justly concritus, Virgil, and Spenser. Pope, who had also temptible. It had the fate which such outpublished pastorals, not pleased to be overlooked, rages deserve; the scene in which Woodward drew up a comparison of his own compositions was directly and apparently ridiculed, by the inwith those of Philips, in which he covertly gave troduction of a mummy and a crocodile, dishimself the preference, while he seemed to dis- gusted the audience, and the performance was own it. Not content with this, he is supposed driven off the stage with general condemnation. to have incited Gay to write “The Shepherd's Gay is represented as a man easily incited to Week ;" to show, that if it be necessary io copy hope, and deeply depressed when his hopes were nature with minuteness, rural life must be exhi-disappointed." This is not the character of a bited such as grossness and ignorance have made hero; but it may, naturally imply something it. So far the plan was reasonable: but the pas- more generally welcome, a soft and civil comlorals are introduced by a proeme, written with panion. Whoever is apt to hope good from such imitation as they could obtain of obsolete others is diligent to please them; but he that language, and by consequence in a style that believes his powers strong enough to force their was never spoken nor written in any age or in own way, commonly tries only to please himany place.

self. But the effect of reality and truth became con- He had been simple enough to imagine that spicuous, even when the intention was to show those who laughed at the “What d'ye call it" them grovelling and degraded. These Pastorals would raise the fortune of its Author; and, became popular, and were read with delight, as finding nothing done, sunk into dejection. His just representations of rural manners and occu- friends endeavoured to divert him. The Earl of pations, by those who had no interest in the ri- Burlington sent him (1716) into Devonshire; valry of the poets, nor knowledge of the critical the year after, Mr. Pulteney took him to Aix; dispute.

and in the following year Lord Harcourt invited In 1713 he brought a comedy called “The him to his seat, where, during his visit, the two Wife of Bath" upon the stage, but it received rural lovers were killed with lightning, as is no applause; he printed it, however, and seven- particularly told in Pope's Letters. teen years after having altered it, and, as he Being now generally known, he published thought, adapted it more to the public taste, he (1720) his poems by subscription, with such offered it again to the town: but, though he was success, that he raised a thousand pounds; and Aushed with the success of the “Beggars' Ope- called his friends to a consultation, what use ra,” had the mortification to see it again re might he best made of it. Lewis, ihe steward jected.

of Lord Oxford, advised him to intrust it to the In the last year of Queen Anne's life, Gay funds, and live upon the interest ; Arbuthnot was made secretary to the Earl of Clarendon, bade him to intrust it to Providence, and live ambassador to the court of Hanover. This was upon the principal ; Pope directed him, and was a station that naturally gave him hopes of kind- seconded by Swift, to purchase an annuity. ness from every party ; but the Queen's death Gay in that disastrous year * had a present put an end to her favours, and he had dedicated from young Craggs of some South-sea stock, his “ Shepherd's Week” to Bolingbroke, which and once supposed himself to be master of Swift considered as the crime that obstructed all twenty thousand pounds. His friends persuaded kindness from the house of Hanover.

him to sell his share; but he dreamed of dignity He did not, however, omit to improve the and splendour, and could not bear to obstruct right which his office had given him io the norice of the royal family. On the arrival of the

• Spence.

his own fortune. He was then importuned to 1 of us, and we now and then gave a correction, sell as much as would purchase a hundred a or a word or two of advice; but it was wholly year for life," which,” says Fenton,“ will make of his own writing.-When it was done, nei. you sure of a clean shirt and a shoulder of mut-ther of us thought it would succced. We ton every day.” This counsel was rejected; showed it to Congreve, who, after reading it the profit and principal were lost, and Gay sunk over, said, it would either take greatly, or be under the calamity so low that his life became damned confoundedly.—We were all

, at the in danger.

first night of it, in great uncertainty of the event; By the care of his friends, among whom Pope till we were very much encouraged by overhear. appears to have shown particular tenderness, ing the Duke of Argyle, who sat in the next box his health was restored ; and, returning to his to us, say, 'It will do-it must do! I see it in studies, he wrote a tragedy called “The Cap- the eyes of them.' This was a good while betives," which he was invited to read before the fore the first act was over, and so gave us ease Princess of Wales. When the hour came, he soon; for that duke (besides his own good saw the Princess and her ladies all in expecta- taste) has a particular knack, as any one now tion, and advancing with reverence too great living, in discovering the taste of the public. for any other attention, stumbled at a stool, and He was quite right in this as usual; the good falling forwards, threw down a weighty ja- nature of the audience appeared stronger and pan screen. The Princess started, the ladies stronger every act, and ended in a clamour of screamed, and poor Gay, after all the distur- applause." bance, was still to read his play.

Its reception is thus recorded in the notes to "The fate of “The Captives,” which was acted the “Dunciad:” at Drury Lane in 1723-4, I know not;* but he “This piece was received with greater apnow thought himself in favour, and undertook plause than was ever known. Besides being (1726) to write a volume of Fables for the im- acted in London sixty-three days without interprovement of the young Duke of Cumberland. ruption, and renewed the next season with equal For this he is said to have been promised a re- applause, it spread into all the great towns of ward, which he had doubtless magnified with England; was played in many places to the all the wild expectations of indigence and va- thirtieth and fortieth time; at Bath and Bristol nity.

fifty, &c. It made its progress into Wales, Next year the Prince and Princess became Scotland, and Ireland, where it was performed King and Queen, and Gay was to be great and twenty-four days successively. The ladies car. happy; but upon the setilement of the house- ried about with them the favourite songs of it hold he found himself appointed gentleman-in fans, and houses were furnished with it in usher to the Princess Louisa. By this offer he screens. The fame of it was not confined to thought himself insulted, and sent a message to the Author only. The person who acted Polly, the Queen, that he was too old for the place. till then obscure, became all at once the favour There seem to have been many inachinations ite of the town; her pictures were engraved, and employed afterwards in his favour ; and diligent sold in great numbers; her life written, books court was paid to Mrs. Howard, afterwards of letters and verses to, her published, and Countess of Suffolk, who was much beloved by pamphletş made even of her sayings and jests. the King and Queen, to engage her interest for Furthermore, it drove out of England (for that his promotion; but solicitations, verses, and season) the Italian opera, which had carried all Hatteries, were thrown away; the lady heard before it for ten years.” them, and did nothing:

Of this performance, when it was printed, the All the pain which he suffered from the ne- reception was different, according to the

differglect, or as he perhaps termed it, the ingratitude ent opinion of its readers. Swift commended of the court, may be supposed to have been it for the excellence of its morality, as a piece driven away by the unexampled success of the that "placed all kinds of vice in the strongest "Beggars' Opera." This play, written in ridi- and most odious light;" but others, and among cule of the musical Italian drama, was first of them Dr. Herring, afterwards Archbishop of fered to Cibber and his brethren at Drury Lane, Canterbury, censured it as giving encourageand rejected; it being then carried to Rích, had ment not only to vice, but to crimes, by making the effect, as was ludicrously said, of making a highwayman the hero, and dismissing him at Gay rich, and Rich gay.

last unpunished. It has been even said, that Of this lucky piece, as the reader cannot but after the exhibition of the “Beggars' Opera," wish to know the original and progress, I have the gangs of robbers were evidently multiplied. inserted the relation which Spence has given in

Both these decisions are surely exaggerated. Pope's words.

The play, like many others, was plainly written "Dr. Swift had been observing once to Mr. only to divert, without any moral purpose, and Gay, what an odd pretty sort of a thing a New. is therefore not likely to do good; nor can it be gate pastoral might make. Gay was inclined conceived, without more speculation than life to try at such a thing for some time ; but after requires or admits, to be productive of much wards thought it would be better to write a co- evil

. Highwaymen and housebreakers seldom medy on the same plan. This was what gave frequent the playhouse, or mingle in any elegant rise to the 'Beggars' Opera.' He began on it; diversion; nor is it possible for any one to and when first he mentioned it to Swift, the imagine that he may rob with safety, because Doctor did not much like the project. As he he sees Mackheath reprieved upon the stage. carried it on, he showed what he wrote to both

'This objection, however, or some other, ra

ther political than moral, obtained such preva * It was acted seven nights. The Author's third night lence, that when Gay produced a second part was by command of teir Royal Highnesses. -R. under the name of “Polly," it was prohibited

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