Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

lish theatre. The three first nights it was recit- | by which he meant to express the talk of goated twice; and not only continued to be demand herds, though it will mean only the talk of goats. ed through the run, as it is termed, of the play, This new name was adopted by subsequent but whenever it is recalled to the stage, where writers, and among others by our Spenser. by peculiar fortune, though a copy from the More than a century afterwards (1498) Man. French, it yet keeps its place, the epilogue is tuan published his Bucolics with such success, still expected, and is still spoken.

that they were soon dignified by Badius with a The propriety of epilogues in general, and comment, and, as Scaliger complained, received consequently of this, was questioned by a cor- into schools, and taught as classical; his comrespondent of “The Spectator," whose letter plaint was vain, and the practice, however injuwas undoubtedly admitted for the sake of the dicious, spread far, and continued long. Mananswer, which soon followed, written with much tuan was read, at least in some of the inferior zeal and acrimony. The attack and the defence schools of this kingdom, to the beginning of the equally contributed to stimulate curiosity and present century. The speakers of Mantuan carcontinue attention. It may be discovered in ried their disquisitions beyond the country, to the defence, that Prior's epilogue to “ Phædra” censure the corruptions of the church; and from had a little excited jealousy; and something of him Spenser learned to employ his swains on Prior's plan may be discovered in the perform- topics of controversy. ance of his rival. Of this distinguished epilogue The Italians soon transferred pastoral poetry the reputed author was the wretched Budgel, into their own language; Sanazzaro wrote “ Arwhom Addison used to denominate* “the man cadia,” in prose and verse ; Tasso and Guarini who calls me cousin ;” and when he was asked wrote “Favole Boschareccie," or sylvan dramas; how such a silly fellow could write so well, re- and all the nations of Europe filled volumes with plied, “The epilogue was quite another thing Thyrsis and Damon, and Thestylis and Phylis. when I saw it first.” It was known in Tonson's Philips thinks it somewhat strange to confamily, and told to Garrick, that Addison was ceive how, in an age so addicted to the Muses, himself the author of it, and that, when it had pastoral poetry never comes to be so much as been at first printed with his name, he came thought upon." His wonder seems very un. early in the morning, before the copies were dis- seasonable ; there had never, from the time of tributed, and ordered it to be given to Budgel, Spenser, wanted writers to talk occasionally of that it might add weight to the solicitation which Arcadia and Strephon; and half the book, in he was then making for a place.

which he first tried his powers, consists of diaPhilips was now high in the ranks of literature. logues on Queen Mary's death, between Tityrus His play was applauded: his translations from and Corydon, or Mopsus and Menalcas. A Sappho had been published in “ The Spectator;" | series or book of pastorals, however, I know not he was an important and distinguished associate that any one had then lately published. of clubs, witty and political ; and nothing was Not long afterwards Pope made the first dis. wanting to his happiness, but that he should be play of his powers in four pastorals, written in a Hure of its continuance.

very different form. Philips had taken Spenser, The work which had procured him the first and Pope took Virgil for his pattern. Philips notice from the public was his six pastorals, endeavoured to be natural, Popo laboured to be which, flattering the imagination with Arcadian elegant. scenes, probably found many readers, and might Philips was now favoured by Addison, and by have long passed as a pleasing amusement, had Addison's companions, who were very willing they not been unhappily too much commended. to push him into reputation. The “Guardian"

T'he rustic poems of Theocritus were so high- gave an account of pastoral, partly critical, and ly valued by the Greeks and Romans, that they partly historical; in which, when the merit of attracted the imitation of Virgil, whose Ec- the modern is compared, Tasso and Guarini are logues seem to have been considered as preclud. censured for remote thoughts and unnatural reing all attempts of the same kind; for no shep- finements; and, upon the whole, the Italians herds were taught to sing by any succeeding and French are all excluded from rural poetry; poet, till Nemesian and Calphurnius ventured and the pipe of the pastoral muse is transmitted their feeble efforts in the lower age of Latin lite- by lawful inheritance from Theocritus to Virgil, rature.

from Virgil to Spenser, and from Spenser to At the revival of learning in Italy, it was soon Philips. discovered that a dialogue of imaginary swains With this inauguration of Philips, his rival might be composed with little difficulty; because Pope was not much delighted ; he therefore the conversation of shepherds excludes profound drew a comparison of Philip's performance with or refined sentiment; and for images and descrip- his own, in which, with an unexampled and untions, şatyrs and fauns, and naiads and dryads, equalled artifice of irony, though he has himself were always within call; and woods and mea- always the advantage, he gives the preference to dows, and hills and rivers, supplied variety of Philips. The design of agerandizing himself he matter, which, having a natural power to sooth disguised with such dexterity, that, though Adthe mind, did not quickly cloy it.

dison discovered it, Steele was deceived, and Petrarch entertained the learned men of his was afraid of displeasing Pope by publishing his age with the novelty of modern pastorals in La- paper. Published however it was, (Guard. 40;) tin. Being not ignorant of Greek, and finding and from that time Pope and Philips lived in a nothing in the word eclogue of rural meaning, he perpetual reciprocation of malevolence. supposed it to be corrupted by the copiers, and In poetical powers, of either praise or satire, therefore called his own productions æclogues, there was no proportion between the combat.

ants ; but Philips, though he could not prevail Spencu.

by wit, hoped to hurt Pope with another wea.

pon, and charged him, as Pope thought, with | secretary,* added such preferments as enabled Addison's approbation, as disaffected to the him to represent the county of Armagh in the government

Irish parliameni. Even with this he was not satisfied; for, in- In December, 1726, he was made secretary to deed, there is no appearance that any regard was the Lord Chancellor; and in August, 1733, bepaid to his clamours. He proceeded to grosser came judge of the Prerogative Court. insults, and hung up a rod at Button's, with Afier the death of his patron he continued which he threatened to chastise Pope, who ap- some years in Ireland; but at last longing, as it pears to have been extremely exasperated; for seems, for his native country, he returned (1748) in the first edition of his Letters he calls Philips to London, having doubtless survived most of “rascal,” and in the last charges him with de- his friends and enemies, and among them his taining in his hands the subscriptions for Homer dreaded antagonist Pope. He found however delivered to him by the Hanover Club.

the Duke of Newcastle still living, and to him I suppose it was never suspected that he meant he dedicated his poems, collected into a volume. to appropriate the money; he only delayed, Having purchased an annuity of four hundred and with sufficient meanness, the gratification of pounds, he now certainly hoped to pass some him

by whose prosperity he was pained. years of life in plenty and tranquillity; but his

Men sometimes suffer by injudicious kind- hope deceived him: he was struck with a palsy, ness; Philips became ridiculous, without his and diedt June 18, 1749, in his seventy-eighth year. own fault, by the absurd admiration of his Of his personal character all thai I have heard friends, who decorated him with honorary gar- is, that he was eminent for bravery and skill in lands, which the first breath of contradiction the sword, and that in conversation he was blasted.

solemn and pompous. He had great sensibility When upon the succession of the house of of censure, if judgment may be made by a single Hanover every whig expected to be happy, story which I heard long ago from Mr. Ing, a Philips seems to have obtained too little notice; gentleman of great eminence in Staffordshire. he caught few drops of the golden shower, Philips,” said he, “ was once at table, when I though he did not omit what Hattery could per- asked him, How came thy king of Epirus to form. He was only made a commissioner of the drive oxen, and to say, "I'm goaded on by lottery, (1717,) and, what did not much elevate love ? After which question he never spoke his character, a justice of the peace.

again." The success of his first play must naturally of “The Distrest Mother" not much is predispose him to turn his hopes towards the stage; tended to be his own, and therefore it is no subhe did not however soon commit himself to the ject of criticism; his other two tragedies, I bemercy of an audience, but contented himself lieve, are not below mediocrity, nor above it. with the fame already acquired, till after nine Among the Poems comprised in the late Collecyears he produced (1722) " The Briton,” a tra- tion, the Lelter from Denmark may be justly gedy, which, whatever was its reception, is now praised; the Pastorals, which by the writer of neglected; though one of the scenes, between ihe “Guardian” were ranked as one of the four Vanoc, the British prince, and Valens, the Ro- genuine productions of the rustic muse, cannot man general, is confessed to be written with surely be despicable. That they exhibit a mode great dramatic skill, animated by spirit truly of life which did not exist, nor ever existed, is poetical.

not to be objected: the supposition of such a He had not been idle, though he had been si- state is allowed to pastoral. In his other poems lent; for he exhibited another tragedy the same he cannot be denied the praise of lines sometimes year, on the story of “Humphrey Duke of elegant; but he has seldom much force or much Gloucester.” This tragedy is only remembered comprehension. The pieces that please best are by its title.

those which, from Pope and Pope's adherents, His happiest undertaking was of a paper call- procured him the name of Namby Pamby; the ed "The Freethinker,” in conjunction with as- poems of short lines, by which he paid his court sociates, of whom one was Dr. Boulier, who, to all ages and characters, from Walpole, the then only minister of a parish in Southwark," steerer of the realm,” to Miss Pulteney in the was of so much consequence to the government, nursery. The numbers are smooth and sprightthat he was made first, bishop of Bristol, and ly, and the diction is seldom faulty. They are afterwards primate of Ireland, where his piety not loaded with much thought, yei, if they had and his charity will be long honoured.

been written by Addison, they would have had It may easily be imagined that what was admirers : little things are not valued but when printed under ihe direction of Boulter would they are done by those who can do greater. have nothing in it indecent or licentious; its In his translations from Pindar he found the title is to be understood as implying only free art of reaching all the obscurity of the Theban dom from unreasonable prejudice. It has been bard, however he may fall below his sublimity; reprinted in volumes, but is little read; nor he will be allowed, if he has less fire, to have can impartial criticism recommend it as worthy more smoke. of revival.

He has added nothing to English poetry, yet Boulter was not well qualified to write diur- at least half his book deserves to be read per. nal essays; but he knew how to practise the li haps he valued most himself that part which the berality of greatness and the fidelity of friend. critic would reject. ship. When he was advanced to the height of ecclcsiastical dignity, he did not forget the com- * The Archbishop's “ Letters,” published in 1769, (the panion of his labours. Knowing Philips to be originals of which are now in Christ Church library, Ox. slenderly supported, he took him to Ireland, as fordy), were collected by Mr. Philips. --c.

At his house in Hanover-street, and was buried in partaker of his fortune ; and, making him his , Audley Chapel.-C.

WEST.

GILBERT West is one of the writers of whom by some who did not know his change of opinion, I regret my inability to give a sufficient account; in expectation of new objections against Chris. the intelligence which my inquiries have obtain- tianity; and as infidels do not want malignity ed is general and scanty.

they revenged the disappointment by calling He was the son of the Rev. Dr. West; per- him a methodist. haps* him who published “Pindar" at Oxford Mr. West's income was not large; and his about the beginning of this century. His mother friends endeavoured, but without success, to obwas sister to Sir Richard Temple, afterwards tain an augmentation. It is reported, that the Lord Cobham. His father, purposing to edu- education of the young prince was offered to cate him for the church, sent him first to Elon, him, but that he required a more extensive and afterwards to Oxford ; but he was seduced power of superintendence than it was thought to a more airy mode of life, by a commission in proper to allow him. a troop of horse, procured him by his uncle. In time, however, his revenue was improved;

He continued some time in the army; though he lived to have one of the lucrative clerkships it is reasonable to suppose that he never sunk of the privy council, (1752;) and Mr. Pitt at last into a mere soldier, nor ever lost the love, or had it in his power to make him treasurer of much neglected the pursuit, of learning; and Chelsea Hospital. afterwards, finding himself more inclined to civil He was now sufficiently rich ; but wealth employment, he laid down his commission, and came too late to be long enjoyed; nor could it engaged in business under the Lord Townshend, secure him from the calamities of life; he lost then secretary of state, with whom he attended (1755) his only son; and the year after (March, the king to Hanover.

26) a stroke of the palsy brought to the grave His adherence to Lord Townshend ended in one of the few poets to whom the grave might nothing but a nomination (May 1729) to be be without its terrors. clerk-extraordinary of the privy council, which Of his translations I have only compared the produced no immediate profit; for it only placed first Olympic ode with the original, and found him in a state of expectation and right of suc- my expectation surpassed, both by its elegance cession, and it was very long before a vacancy and its exactness. He does not confine himself admitted him to profit.

to his author's train of stanzas, for he saw that Soon afterwards he married, and settled him the difference of the languages required a differself in a very pleasant house at Wickham, inent mode of versification. The first strophe is Kent, where he devoted himself to learning and eminently happy; in the second he has a little to piety. Of his learning the late Collection strayed from Pindar's meaning, who says, " if exhibits evidence, which would have been yet thou, my soul, wishest to speak of games, look fuller, if the dissertations which accompany his not in the desert sky for a planet hotter than the version of Pindar had not been improperly sun; nor shall we tell of nobler games than omitted. Of his piety the influence has, I hope, those of Olympia." He is sometimes too parabeen extended far by his “Observations on the phrastical. Pindar bestows upon Hiero an epiResurrection,” published in 1747, for which the ihet, which, in one word, signifies delighting in university of Oxford created him a doctor of horses; a word which, in the translation, genelaws by diploma, (March 30, 1748,) and would rates these lines: doubtless have reached yet further, had he lived to complete what he had for some time meditat

Hiero's royal brows, whose care

Tends the courser'g noble breed, ed, the evidences of the truth of the “New Tes- Pleas'd to nurse the pregnant mare, tament.” Perhaps it may not be without effect Pleas'd to train the youthful steed. to tell, that he read the prayers of the public liturgy every morning to his family, and that on Pindar says of Pelops, that “ he came alone in Sunday evening he called his servants into the the dark to the White Sea ;” and West, parlour, and read to them first a sermon and

Near the billow-beaten side then prayers. Crashaw is now not the only Of the foam-besilver'd main, maker of verses to whom may be given the two Darkling, and alone, he stood: venerable names of poet and saint.

He was very often visited by Lyttelton and which however is less exuberant than the former Pitt, who, when they were weary of faction and passage. debates, used at Wickham to find books and

A work of this kind must, in a minute examiquiet, a decent table, and literary conversation. nation, discover many imperfections ; but West's There is at Wickham a walk made by Pitt; version, so far as I have discovered it, appears to and, what is of far more importance, at Wick- be the product of great labour and great abilities. ham Lyttelton received that conviction which

His Institution of the Garter (1742) is written produced his “Dissertation on St. Paul."

with sufficient knowledge of the manners that These two illustrious friends had for a while prevailed in the age to which it is referred, and listened to the blandishments of infidelity; and with great elegance of diction; but, for want of when West's book was published, it was bought a process of events, neither knowledge nor ele

gance preserves the reader from weariness. . Certainly him. It was published in 1697.--C. His Imitations of Spen ser are very successfully performed, both with respect to the metre, the those of which the effect is coextended with ralanguage, and the fiction; and being engaged at tional nature, or at least with the whole circle of once by the excellence of the sentiments, and polished life, what is less than this can be only the artifice of the copy, the mind has two amuse- pretty, the plaything of fashion, and the amusements together. But such compositions are not ment of a day. to be reckoned among the great achievements of intellect, because their effect is local and tempo- THERE is in the “ Adventurer” a paper of rary ; they appeal not to reason or passion, but verses given to one of the authors as Mr.

West's, to memory, and presuppose an accidental or ar- and supposed to have been written by him. It tificial state of mind. An imitation of Spenser is should not be concealed, however, that it is nothing to a reader, however acute, by whom printed with Mr. Jago's name in Dodsley's ColSpenser has never been perused. Works of lection, and is mentioned as his in a letter of this kind may deserve praise, as proofs of Shenstone's. Perhaps West gave it without great industry, and great nicety of observation : naming the author; and Hawkesworth, receiving but the highest praise, the praise of genius, they it from him, thought it his ; for his he thought it, cannot claim. The noblest beauties of art are l as he told me, and as he tells the public.

COLLINS.

WILLIAM COLLINS was born at Chichester, on this occasion recourse was had to the book. the twenty-fifth day of December, about 1720. sellers, who, on the credit of a translation of His father was a hatter of good reputation. He Aristotle's Poetics, which he engaged to write was in 1733, as Dr.Warburton has kindly inform- with a large commentary, advanced as much ed me, admitted scholar of Winchester College, money as enabled him to escape into the counwhere he was educated by Dr. Burton. His try. He showed me the guineas safe in his English exercises were better than his Latin. hand. Soon afterwards his uncle, Mr. Martin,

He first courted the notice of the public by a lieutenant-colonel, left him about two thousome verses to “ A Lady Weeping,” published sand pounds; a sum which Collins could in “ The Gentleman's Magazine."

scarcely think exhaustible, and which he did In 1740, he stood first in the list of the scholars not live to exhaust. The guineas were then to be received in succession at New College, repaid, and the translation neglected. but unhappily there was no vacancy. This was But man is not born for happiness. Collins, the original 'misfortune of his life. He became who, while he studied to live, felt no evil but poa commoner of Queen's College, probably with verty, no sooner lived to study than his life was a scanty maintenance; but was, in about half assailed by more dreadful calamities, disease a year, elected a demy of Magdalen College, and insanity. where he continued till he had taken a bache- Having formerly written his character,* while lor's degree, and then suddenly left the univer- perhaps it was yet more distinctly impressed sity; for what reason I know not that he told. upon my memory, I shall insert it here.

He now (about 1744) came to London a “Mr. Collins was a man of extensive litera. literary adventurer, with many projects in his ture, and of vigorous faculties. He was achead, and very little money in his pockets. He quainted not only with the learned tongues, but designed many works; but his great fault was with the Italian, French, and Spanish languages. irresolution ; or the frequent calls of immediate He had employed his mind chiefly upon works necessity broke his scheme, and suffered him to of fiction, and subjects of fancy; and, by indulgpursue no settled purpose. A man doubtful of ing some peculiar habits of thought, was emihis dinner, or trembling at a creditor, is not nently delighted with those flights of imaginamuch disposed to abstracted meditation, or re- tion which pass the bounds of nature, and to mote inquiries. He published proposals for a which the mind is reconciled only by a passive history of the Revival of Learning; and I have acquiescence in popular traditions. He loved heard him speak with great kindness of Leo the fairies, genii, giants, and monsters; he delighted Tenth, and with keen resentment of his taste- to rove through the meanders of enchantment, less successor.

But probably not a page of his to gaze on the magnificence of golden palaces, history was ever written. He planned several to repose by the water-falls of Elysian gardens. tragedies, but he only planned them. He wrote “This was however the character rather of now and then odes and other poems, and did his inclination than his genius ; the grandeur of soinething, however little.

wildness, and the novelty of extravagance, were About this time I fell into his company. His always desired by him, but not always attained. appearance was decent and manly, his know-| Yet, as diligence is never wholly lost, if his ledge considerable, his views extensive, his con- efforts sometiines caused harshness and obscuversation elegant, and his disposition cheerful. rity, they likewise produced in happier moments By degrees I gained his confidence; and one day was admitted to him when he was immured by

• In the "Poetical Calendar,” a collection of poems by a bailiff, that was prowling in the street. On Fawkes and Woty, in several volumes, 1763, &c.-C.

sublimity and splendour. This idea which he once delighted to converse, and whom I yet rehad formed of excellence led him to oriental fic member with tenderness. tions and allegorical imagery, and perhaps, while He was visited at Chichester, in his last ill. he was intent upon description, he did not suffi- ness, by his learned friends Dr. Warton and his ciently cultivate sentiment. His poems are the brother, to whom he spoke with disapprobation production of a mind not deficient in fire, nor of his Oriental Eclogues, as not sufficiently exunfurnished with knowledge either of books or pressive of Asiatic manners, and called them his life, but somewhat obstructed in its progress by Irish Eclogues. He showed them, at the same deviation in quest of mistaken beauties. time, an ode inscribed to Mr. John Hume, on

“ His morals were pure, and his opinions the superstitions of the Highlands; which they pious: in a long continuance of poverty, and thought superior to his other works, but which long habits of dissipation, it cannot be expected no search has yet found.* that any character should be exactly uniform. His disorder was not alienation of mind, but There is a degree of want by which the freedom general laxity and feebleness, a deficiency rather of agency is almost destroyed; and long asso- of his vital than his intellectual powers.' What ciation with fortuitous companions will at last he spoke wanted neither judgment nor spirit; relax the strictness of truth, and abate the fer- but a few minutes exhausted him, so that he vour of sincerity. That this man, wise and vir- was forced to rest upon the couch, till a short tuous as he was, passed almost unentangled cessation restored his powers, and he was again through the snares of life, it would be prejudice able to talk with his former vigour. and temerity to affirm; but it may be said that The approaches of this dreadful malady he at least he preserved the source of action unpol- began to feel soon after his uncle's death; and, luted, that his principles were never shaken, with the usual weakness of men so diseased, that his distinctions of right and wrong were he eagerly snatched that temporary relief with never confounded, and that bis faults had no- which the table and the bottle flatter and seduce. thing of malignity or design, but proceeded from But his health continually declined, and he grew some unexpected pressure, or casual temptation. more and more burdensome to himself.

“ The latter part of his life cannot be remem- To what I have formerly said of his writings bered but with pity and sadness. He languish may be added, that his diction was often harsh, ed some years under that depression of mind unskilfully laboured, and injudiciously selected. which enchains the faculties without destroying He affected the obsolete when it was not worthy them, and leaves reason the knowledge of right of revival; and he puts his words out of the comwithout the power of pursuing it. These clouds mon order, seeming to think, with some later which he perceived gathering on his intellects, candidates for same, that not to write prose is he endeavoured to disperse by travel, and passed certainly to write poetry. His lines commonly into France; but found hinself constrained to are of slow motion, clogged and impeded with yield 10 his malady, and returned. He was for clusters of consonants. As men are often ese some time confined in a house of lunatics, and teemed who cannot be loved, so the poetry of afterwards retired to the care of his sister in Chi-Collins may sometimes extort praise when it chester, where death, in 1756, came to his relief. gives little pleasure.

“After his return from France, the writer of Mr. Collins's first production is added here this character paid him a visit at Islington, where from the “Poetical Calendar." he was waiting for his sister, whom he had directed to meet him: there was then nothing of

TO MISS AURELIA C-R, disorder discernible in his mind by any but him

ON HER WEEPING AT HER SISTER'S WEDDING. self; but he had withdrawn from study, and

Cease, fair Aurelia, cease to mourn; travelled with no other book than an English

Lament unt Hannah's happy slate i Testament, such as children carry to the school:

You may be happy in your turn,

And seize the treasure you regret when his friend took it into his hand, out of cu

With love united Hymen stands, riosity to see what companion a man of letters

And sojily whispers to your charms, had chosen, 'I have but one book,' said Collins,

"Meet but your lover in my bands, .but that is the best.' »

You'll find your sister in his arms." Such was the fate of Collins, with whom I * It is printed in the late Collection.-R.

D Y ER.

John Deer, of whom I have no other account the care of Dr. Freind, and was then called home to give than his own letters, published with to be instructed in his father's profession. But Hughes's correspondence, and the notes added his father died soon, and he took no delight in by the editor, have afforded me, was born in the study of the law; but, having always amused 1700, the second son of Robert Øyer, of Aber- himself with drawing, resolved to turn painter, glasney in Caermarthenshire, a solicitor of great and became pupil to Mr. Richardson, an artist capacity and note.

then of high reputation, but now better known He passed throngh Westminster-school under | by his books than by his pictures.

« ZurückWeiter »