« ZurückWeiter »
WENTWORTH Dillon, Earl of Roscommon, 1 bet:er evidence of a fact cannot easily be found was the son of James Dillon, and Elizabeth than is here offered; and it must be by preserving Wentworth, sister to the Earl of Strafford. He such relations that we may at last judge how was born in Ireland* during the lieutenancy of much they are to be regarded. If we stay to Strafford, who being both his uncle and his god- examine this account, we shall see difficulties father, gave him his own surname. His father, on both sides ; here is the relation of a fact given the third Earl of Roscominon, had been con- by a man who had no interest to deceive, and rerted by t'sher to the protestant religion ;t who could not be deceived himself; and here is, and when the popish rebellion broke out, Straf- on the other hand, a miracle which produces no ford, thinking the family in great danger from effect; the order of nature is interrupted, to disthe fury of the Irish, sent for his godson, and cover not a future but only a distant event, the placed him at his own seat in Yorkshire, where knowledge of which is of no use to him to whom he was instructed in Latin ; which he learned it is revealed. Between these difficulties what so as to write it with purity and elegance, way shall be found ? Is reason or testimony to though he was never able to retain the rules of be rejected ? I believe what Osborne says of an grammar.
appearance of sanctity may be applied to such Such is the account given by ir. Fenton, impulses or anticipations as this: “Do not from whose notes on Waller most of this ac- wholly slight thein, because they may be true; count must be borrowed, though I know not but do not wholly trust them, because they may whether all that he relates is certain. The in- be false.” structor whom he assigns to Roscommon, is one The state both of England and Ireland was Dr. Hall, by whom he cannot mean the famous at this time such, that he who was absent from Hall, then an old man and a bishop.
cithercountry had little temptation to return; When the storm broke out upon Strafford, and therefore Roscommon, when he left Caen, his house was a shelter no longer; and Dillon, travelled into Italy, and amused himself with by the advice of Usher, was sent to Caen, where its antiquities, and particularly with medals, in the protestants had then a university, and con- which he acquired uncommon skill. tinued his studies under Bochart.
At the Restoration, with the other friends of Young Dillon, who was sent to study under monarchy, he came to England, was made capBochart, and who is represented as having al- tain of the band of pensioners, and learned so ready made great proficiency in literature, could much of the dissoluteness of the court, that he not be more than nine years old. Strafford addicted himself immoderately to gaming, by went to govern Ireland in 1633, and was put to which he was engaged in frequent quarrels, and death eight years afterwards. That he was which undoubtedly brought upon him its usual sent to Caen is certain ; that he was a great concomitants, extravagance and distress. scholar may be doubted.
After some time, a dispute about part of his At Caen he is said to have had some preter- estate forced him into Ireland, where he was natural intelligence of his father's death. made by the Duke of Ormond captain of the
* The Lord Roscommon, being a boy of ten guards, and met with an adventure thus related years of age, at Caen, in Normandy, one day by Fenton :was, as it were, madly extravagant in playing, “ He was at Dublin as much as ever distemleaping, getting over the tables, boards, &c. Helpered with the same fatal affection for play, was wont to be sober enough; they sail, God which engaged him in one adventure that well grant this bodes no ill-luck to him! In the heat deserves to be related. As he returned to his of this extravagant fit he cries out, My father lodgings from a gaining-table, he was attacked is dead! A fortnight after, news came from in the dark by three ruflians, who were employed Ireland that his father was dead. This account to assassinate him. The Earl defended himself I had from Mr. Knolles, who was his governor, with so much resolution, that he despatched one and then with him-since secretary to the Earl of the aggressors : whilst a gentleman, accidentof Strafford; and I have heard his Lord ship's | ally passing that way, interposed, and disarmed relations confirm the same.”—Averey's Mis- another : the third secured himself by flight. CZLLANT.
This generous assistant was a disbanded officer, The present age is very little inclined to fa- of a good fainily and fair reputation ; who, by vour any accounts of this kind, nor will the what we call the partiality of fortune, to avoid name of Aubrey much recommend it to credit ; censuring the iniquities of the times, wanted it ought not, however, to be omitted, because even a plain suit of clothes to make a decent ap
pearance at the Castle. But his Lordship, on
this occasion, presenting him to the Duke of • The Biog. Britan, gays, probably about the year 1632 but this is inconsistent with the date of Strafford's vice! Ormond, with great importunity prevailed with meally in the following page.-C.
his Grace, that he might resign his post of capI was his grandfather, Sir Robert Dillon, second tain of the guards to his friend; which for about Evl of Roscommon, who was converted from propery, three years the gentleman enjoyed, and, upon sle Erzi Earl of Roscommon, as one of the ground of his his death, the Duke returned the commission to crear on.-Volone.
his generous benefactor."
When he had finished his business, he returned | fervent devotion, two lines of his own version of to London : was made master of the horse to “ Dies Irae :". the Dutchess of York ; and married the Lady
My God, my Father, and my Friend, Frances, daughter to the Earl of Burlington, and Do not forsake me in my end. widow ot" Colonel Courteney.*
He died in 1684, and was buried with great He now busied his mind with literary projects, and formed the plan for a society for refining our
pomp in Westminster Abbey.
His poetical character is given by Mr. Fenlanguage and fixing its standard; "in imitation,"
ton:says Fenton, “of those learned and polite societies with which he had been acquainted abroad." the image of a mind which was naturally seri,
“In his writings," says Fenton, “we view In this design his friend Dryden is said to have
ous and solid; richly furnished and adorned assisted him.
The same design, it is well known, was revi- with all the ornaments of learning, unaffectedly ved by Dr. Swift in the ministry of Oxford; but disposed in the most regular and elegant order.
have it has never since been publicly mentioned, fruitful and sprightly, if his judgment had been
probably been more though at that time great expectations were less severe. But that severity (delivered in a formed, by some, of its establishment and its masculine, clear, succinct style) contributed to effects. Such a society might, perhaps, without make him so eminent in the didactical manner, much difficulty, be collected; but that it would that no man, with justice, can affirm he was ever produce
what is expected from it may be doubted. The Italian academy seems to have obtained equalled by any of our nation, without confessits end. The language was refined, and so fixed ing at the same time that he is inferior to none.
In some other kinds of writing, his genius seeins that it has changed but little. The French aca
to have wanted fire to attain the point of perdemy thought that they refined their language, fection ; but who can attain it ?” and doubtless thought rightly; but the event
From this account of the riches of his mind, has not shown that they fixed it; for the French who would not imagine that they had been disof the present time is very different from that of played in large volumes and numerous performthe last century.
ances? Who would not, after the perusal of In this country an academy could be expected this character, be surprised to find that all the to do but little. If an academician's place were profitable, it would be given by interest; if attend proofs of this genius, and knowledge, and judg ance were gratuitous, it would be rarely paid, ment, are not sufficient to form a single book, and no man would endure the least disgust
. the works of some other writer of the same Unanimity is impossible, and debate would se
petty size ?* But thus it is that characters are parate the assembly. But suppose the philological decree made and the rest. The observation, that his imagination
written: we know somewhat, and we imagine promulgated, what would be its authority? In would probably have been more fruitful and absolute governments, there is sometimes a ge- sprightly, if his judgment had been less severe, neral reverence paid to all that has the sanction may be answered by a remarker somewhat in. of power, and the countenance of greatness. clined to cavil, by a contrary supposition, that Flow little this is the state of our country needs his judgment would probably have been less senot be told. We live in an age in which it is a
if his imagination had been more fruitful. kind of public sport to refuse all respect that it is ridiculous to oppose judgment to imaginacannot be enforced. The edicts of an English tion ; for it does not appear that men have academy would probably be read by many, only necessarily less of one as they have more of the that they might be sure to disobey them.
other. That our language is in perpetual danger of We must allow of Roscommon, what Fenton corruption cannot be denied; but what preven- has not mentioned so distinctly as he ought, and tion can be found? The present manners of the what is yet very much to his honour, that he is, nation would deride authority; and therefore perhaps, the only correct writer in verse before nothing is left but that every writer should criti-Addison : and that, if there are not so many or cise himself. All hopes of new literary institutions were of some contemporaries, there are at least fewer
so great beauties in his compositions as in those quickly suppressed by the contentious turbulence faults. Nor is this his highest praise ; for Mr. of King James's reign ; and Roscommon, fore- Pope has celebrated him as the only moral wriseeing that some violent concussion of the state ter of King Charles' reign :was at hand, purposed to retire to Rome, alle
Unhappy Dryden! in all Charles' days, ging, that "it was best to sit near the chimney Roscommon only boasts unspoued lays, when the chamber smoked ;" a sentence, of which the application seems not very clear.
His great work is his “Essay on Translated His departure was delayed by the gout; and face to his “Miscellanies :"
Verse;" of which Dryden writes thus in his prehe was so impatient, either of hinderance or of
“It was my Lord Roscommon's “Essay on pain, that he submitted himself to a French empiric, who is said to have repelled the disease
* They were published, together with those of Duke, into his bowels.
in an octavo volume, in 1717. The editor, whocver he At the moment which he expired, he uttered was, professes to have taken great care to procure and with an energy of voice that expressed the most insert of all his Lordship's poeins that are truly genuine. Translated Verse,'" says Dryden," which made Having disentangled himself from the diffi. me uneasy, till I tried whether or no I was ca- culties of rhyme, he may justly be expected to pable of following his rules, and of reducing the give the sense of Horace with great exactness, speculation into practice. For many a fav: pie- and to suppress no subtlety of sentiment for the cepe in poetry is like a seeming demonstration difficulty of expressing it. This demand, how in mathematics, very specious in the diagram, ever, his translation will not satisfy; what he but failing in the mechanic operation. I think found obscure, I do not know that he has ever Thave generally observed his instructions: I am cleared. sure my reason is sufficiently convinced, both of Among his smaller works the “Eclogue oi their truth and usefulness; which, in other Virgil” and the “Dies Irze" are well translated; words, is to confess no less a vanity than to pre- though the best line in the “ Dies Irue" is bortind that I have, at least in some places, made rowed from Dryden. In return, succeeding examples to his rules."
The truth of this agsertion is flatly denied by the author of an account of Mr. John Pomiret, prefixed to his re.
mains; who asserts, that the Prospect of Death was writ. * He was married to La Frances Boyle, in April, ten by that person many years after Lord Roscommon's 1662. By this lady he had no issue. He married se decease; as, also, that the paraphrase of the Prayer o con lly, 10th Nov. 1674, Isabella, daughter of Matthew Jeremy was written by a gentleman of the nams. Boynton, of Barmston, in Yorkshire.- Malone,
Southcourt, living in the year 1724.-H.
poets have borrowed from Roscommon. This declaration of Dryden will, I am afraid, In the verses on the Lap-dog, the pronouna be found little more than one of those cursory thou and you are offensively confounded; and civilities which one author pays to another; for the turn at the end is from Waller. when the sum of Lord Roscommon's precepts His versions of the two odes of Horace are is collected, it will not be easy to discover how made with great liberty, which is not recomthey can qualify their reader for a better per- pensed by much elegance or vigour. formance of translation than might have been His political verses are sprightly, and when attained by his own reflections.
they were written must have been very popular, He that can abstract his mind from the ele. Of the scene of “Guarini” and the prologue gance of the poetry, and confine it to the sense of “Pompey,” Mrs. Philips, in her letters to Sir of the precepts, will find no other direction than Charles Cotterel, has given the history. that the author should be suitable to the trans- “ Lord Roscommon,” says she, “is certainly lator's genius ; that he should be such as may one of the most promising young noblemen in deserve a translation ; that he who intends to Ireland. He has paraplırased a psalm admiratranslate him should endeavour to understand bly; and a scene of “Pastor Fido" very finely, him; that perspicuity should be studied, and in some places much better than Sir Richard unusual and uncouth names sparingly inserted; Fanshaw. This was undertaken merely in comand that the style of the original should be co- pliment to me, who happened to say that it was pied in its elevation and depression. These are the best scene in Italian, and the worst in Eng. the rules that are celebrated as so definite and lish. He was only two hours about it. It be. important; and for the delivery of which to gins thus:-mankind so much honour has been paid. Ros
"Dear happy groves, and you the dark retreat common has indeed deserved his praises, had of silent horror, Rest's eternal seat.” they been given with discernment, and bestowed not on the rules themselves, but the art with mended, it appears that he did not think a work
From these lines, which are since somewhat which they are introduced, and the decorations of two hours fit to endure the eye of criticism with which they are adorned.
without revisal. The “ Essay,” though generally excellent, is not without its faults. The story of the Quack, dies that had seen her translation of "Pompey,"
When Mrs. Philips was in Ireland, some laborrowed from Boileau, was not worth the im- resolved to bring it on the stage at Dublin ; and, portation; he has confounded the British and to promote their design, Lord Roscommon gave Saxon mythology :
them a prologue, and Sir Edward Dering an I grant that from gome mossy idol oak,
epilogue ; “which,” says she, “ are the best Io double rhymes, our Thor and Woden spoke. The oak, as I think Gildon has observed, be performances of those kinds I ever saw.” If this
is not criticisin, it is at least gratitude. The longed to the British drui«ls, and Thor and Wo- thought of bringing Cæsar and Pompey into den were Saxon deities. Of the double rhymes, Ireland, the only country over which Cæsar which he so liberally supposes, he certainly had
never had any power, is lucky. .30 knowledge.
Of Roscommon's works the judgment of the His interposition of a long paragraph of blank public seems to be right. He is elegant, but not verses is unwarrantably licentious. Latin poets great ; he never labours after exquisite beauties, might as well have introduced a series of iam- and he seldom falls into gross faults. His versibics among their heroics. His next work is the translation of the “ Art rhymes are remarkably exact. He improved
fication is smooth, but rarely vigorous, and his of Poetry;" which has received, in my opinion, taste, if he did not enlarge knowledge, and may not loss praise than it deserves. Blank verse, be numbered among the benefactors to English left merely to its numbers, has little operation literature.* either on the ear or mind : it can hardly support itself without bold figures and striking images. A poem frigidly didactic, without rhymne, is so
* This Life was originally written by Dr. Johnson in near to prose, that the reader only scorns it for the “Gentleman's Magazine for May, 1748. It then pretending to be verse.
had notes, which are now incorporated with the text.-C
Of Thomas OTWAY, one of the first names in in himself, those whom Otway frequented had the English drama, little is known; nor is there no purpose of doing more for him ihan to pay any part of that little which his biographer can lis reckoning. They desired only to drink and take pleasure in relating.
laugh: their fondness was without benevolence, He was born at Trottin, in Sussex, March 3, and their familiarity without friendship. Men 1651, the son of Mr. Humphry Otway, rector of of wit, says one of Otway's biographers, reWoolbeding. From Winchester-school, where ceived at that time no favour from the great, but he was educated, he was entered, in 1669, a to share their riots ; " from which they were commoner of Christ-church; but left the univer- dismissed again to their own narrow circumsity without a degree, whether for want of mo- stances. Thus they languished in poverty, with ney, or from impatience of academical restraint, out the support of eminence." or mere eagerness to mingle with the world, is Some exception, however, must be made. not known.
The Earl of Plymouth, one of King Charles' It seems likely that he was in hope of being natural sons, procured for him a cornet's combusy and conspicuous; for he went to London, mission in some troops then sent into Flanders. and commenced player ; but found himself un- But Otway did not prosper in his military cha, able to gain any reputation on the stage.* racter : for he soon left his commission behind
This kind of inability he shared with Shak- him, whatever was the reason, and came back to speare and Jonson, as he shared likewise some London in extreme indigence ; which Rochester of their excellencies. It seems reasonable to mentions with merciless insolence in the “Sesexpect that a great dramatic poet should without sion of the Poets :"difficulty become a great actor ; that he who can Tom Otway came next, Tom Shadwell's dear zany, feel, could express; that he who can excite pas- and swears for heroics he writes best of any; sion, should exhibit with great readiness its ex
Don Carlos his pockets so amply had fillid,
That his mange was quite cur’d, and his lice were all ternal modes: but since experience has fully proved, that of these powers, whatever be their But Apollo had seen his face on the stage, affinity, one may be possessed in a great degree The seum of a play-house, for the prop of an age. by him who has very little of the other; it must be allowed that they depend upon different fa
“Don Carlos," from which he is represented culties, or on different use of the same faculty ; in 1675. It appears, by the lampoon, to have
as having received so much benefit, was played that the actor must have a pliancy of mien, a had great success, and is said to have been flexibility of countenance, and a variety of tones, which the poet may be easily supposed to want; it is reasonable to doubt it as so long a continu
played thirty nights together. This, however, or that the attention of the poet and the player have been differently employed : the one has ance of one play upon the stage is a very wide been considering thought, and the other action ; the ardour for theatrical entertainments was not
deviation from the practice of that time ; when one has watched the heart, and the other contemplated the face.
yet diffused through the whole people, and the Though he could not gain much notice as a could be drawn together only by variety
audience, consisting nearly of the same persons, player, he felt in himself such powers as might qualify for a dramatic author; and in 1675, his is one of the few plays that keep possession of
The “Orphan" was exhibited in 1650. This twenty-fifth year, produced Alcibiades," a tra- the stage, and has pleased for almost a century, gedy; whether from the Alcibiade of Palaprat, through all the vicissitudes of dramatic fashion. i have not means to inquire
. Langbaine, the Of this play nothing new can easily be said.lt great detector of plagiarism, is silent. In 1677, he published “Titus and Berenice,"
is a domestic tragedy drawn from middle life. translated from Rapin, with the “Cheats of Its whole power is upon the affections ; for it is Scapin,” from Moliere; and in 1678, “Friend- not written with much comprehension of thought, ship in Fashion,” a comedy, which, whatever or elegance of expression. But if the heart is might be its first reception, was, upon its revi- interested, many other beauties may be wanting, val at Drury-lane, in 1749, hissed off the stage
yet not be missed. for immorality and obscenity.
The same year produced “The History and Want of morals
, or of decency, did not in Fall of Caius Marius ;” much of which is borthose days exclude any man from the
rowed from the “Romeo and Juliet” of Shak.
company of the wealthy and the gay, if he brought with speare. him any powers of entertainment ; and Otway is year|| the second, parts of “The Soldier's For
In 16831 was published the first, and next gaid to have been at this time a favourite companion of the dissolute wits. But as he who
two comedies now forgotten; and in desires no virtue in his companion has no virtue 1685ş his last and greatest dramatic work, * In “ Roscius Anglicanus,” by Downes the prompter.
+ This doubt is indeed very reasonable.
I know not
where it is said that “Don Carlos” was acted thirty p. 31, we learn that it was the character of the King, in nights together. Wherever it is said, it is untrue. Mrs. Behn's "Forced Marriage, or the Jealous Bride Downes, who is perfectly good authority on this point, groom,” which Mr. Olway attempted to perform, and informs us that it was performed ien days successiveThis crent appears to have happened in the ly,-- Malone.
* Venice Preserved," a tragedy which still con- of lead which charity had supplied. He went tinues to be one of the favourites of the public, out, as is reported, almost naked, in the raye of notwithstanding the want of morality in the ori- hunger, and, finding a gentleman in a neighginal design, and the despicable scenes of vile bouring cotre-house, asked him for a shilling. cornedy* with which he has diversified his tragic The gentleman gave him a guinea ; and Otaction. By comparing this with his " Orphan," way going away bought a roll, and was choked it will appear that his images were by time be with the first niouthal. All this, I hope, is not corne stronger, and his language more energetic, true; and there is this ground of betier hope, The striking passages are in every mouth; and that Pope, who lived ncar enough to be well inthe public seems to judge rightly of the faults forned, relates in Spence's “Memorials,” that and excellencies of this play, that it is the work he died of a fever caught by violent pursuit of a of a man not attentive to decency, nor zealous thief that had robbed one of his friends. But for virtue ; but of one who conceived forcibly, that indigence, and its concomitants, sorrow and drew originally, by consulting nature in his and despondency, pressed hard upon him, has own breast.
never been denied, whatever immediate cause Together with those plays he wrote the poems might bring him to the grave. which are in the present collection, and trans- Of the poems which the present collection ad. lated from the French the “ History of the Tri- mits, the longest is the “Poet's Complaint of umvirate."
his Muse," part of which I do not understand; All this was performed before he was thirty- and in that which is less obscure, I find little to four years old; for he died April 14, 1635, in a commend. The language is often gross, and manner which I am unwilling to mention. Ha- the numbers are harsh. Otway had not much ving been compelled by his necessities to con- cultivated versification, nor much replenished tract debts, and hunted, as is supposed, by the his mind with general knowledge. His princiterriers of the law, he retired to a public-house pal power was in moving the passions, to which on Tower-hill, where he is said to have died of Drydent in his latter years 'left an illustrious want; or, as it is related by one of his biogra- testimony. He appears by some of his verses to phers, by swallowing, after a long fast, a piece have been a zealous loyalist, and had what was
in those times the common reward of loyalty ;
he lived and died neglected. The "despicable scenes of vile comedy" can be no bar to its being a favourite of the public, as they are al. ways omitted in the representation.–J. B.
tin his preface to Fresnoy's" Art of Painting."-Dr.J
W ALL ER.
EDMUND WALLER was born on the third of King, on which Mr. Waller did often reflect. March, 1605, at Colshill, in Hertfordshire. His His majesty asked the bishops, "My Loris, father was Robert Waller, Esq. of Agmondes- cannot I take my subjects' money when I want bun, in Buckinghamshire, whose family was it, without all this formality of parliament ? originally a branch of the Kentish Wallers; and The Bishop of Durham readily answered, 'God his in ther was the daughter of John Hampden, forbid, Sir, but you should: you are the breath of Hampden in the same county, and sister to of our nostrils. Whereupon the King turned Hampden, the zealot of rebellion.
and said to the Bishop of Winchester, : Well, His father died while he was yet an infant, my Lord, what say you?''Sir,' replied the hat left him a yearly income of three thousand Bishop, “I have no skill to judge of parliamentfire hundred pounds; which, rating together the ary cases.' The King answered, “No put-offs, value of money and the customs of life, we may my Lord; answer me presently.' Then, Sir, reckon more than equivalent to ten thousand at said he, 'I think it is lawful for you to take my the present time.
brother Ncale's money; for he offers it.' Mr. He was educated by the care of his mother, at Waller said, the company was pleased with this Eton; and removed afterwards to King's Col- answer, and the wit of it seemed to affect the lege, in Cumbridge. He was sent to parliament King; for, a certain lord coming in coon after, in his eighteenth, if not in his sixteenth, year, his Majesty cried out. “Oh, my Lord, they say and frequented the court of James the first, you lig with my lady.' “No, Sir,' says his where he heard a very remarkable conversation, Lordship in confusion; 'but I like her
compa which the writer of the Life prefixed to his ny, because she has so much wit.' 'Why then, Works, who seems to have been well informed says the King, 'do you not lig with my Lord of of frets, though he may sometimes err in chro- Winchester there ?) in nology, has delivered as indubitably certain :-) Waller's political and poetical life began nearly
“He found Dr. Andrews, bishop of Winches together. In his eighteenth year he wrote the ter, and Dr. Neale, bishop of Durham, standing poem that appears first in his works, on the behind his majesty's chair; and there happened Prince's Escape at St. Andero :" a piece which something extraordinary,” continues this writer, justifies the observation made by one of his ** in the conversation those prelates had with the editors, that he attained, by a felicity like in