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raise terror or merriment. The beginning is too men, that verse has been too little applied to the splendid for jest, and the conclusion too light for purposes of worship, and many attempts have seriousness. The versification is studied, the been made to animate devotion by pious poetry. scenes are diligently displayed, and the images That they have very seldom attained their end artfully amplified; but, as it ends neither in joy is sufficiently known, and it may not be impronor sorrow, it will scarcely be read a second per to inquiro why they have miscarried. time.
Let no pious ear be offended if I advance, in The “Panegyric" upon Cromwell has obtain. opposition to many authorities, that poetical de ed from the public a very liberal dividend of votion cannot often please. The doctrines of praise, which however cannot be said to have religion may, indeed, be defended in a didactic been unjustly lavished; for such a series of verses poem; and he who has the happy power of arhad rarely appeared before in the English lan- guing in verse, will not lose it because his subguage. Of the lines, some are grand, some are ject is sacred. A poet may describe the beauty graceful, and all are musical. There is now and and the grandeur of Nature, the flowers of the then a feeble verse, or a trifling thought, but its Spring, and the harvests of Autumn, the vicissigreat fault is the choice of its hero.
tudes of the tide and the revolutions of the sky, The poem of “The War with Spain” begins and praise the Maker for his works, in lines with lines more vigorous and striking than Wal. which no reader shall lay aside. The subject of ler is accustomed to produce. The succeeding the disputation is not piety, but the motives to parts are variegated with better passages and piety; that of the description is not God, but
There is something too far-fetched in the works of God. the comparison of the Spaniards drawing the Contemplative piety, or the intercourse be English on, by saluting St. Lucar with cannon, tween God and the human soul, cannot be to lambs awakening the lion by bleating. The fate poetical. Man, admitted to implore the mercy of the Marquis and his Lady, who were burned of his Creator, and plead the merits of his Rein their ship, would have moved more, had the deemer, is already in a higher state than poetry poet not made him die like the phenix, because can confer. he had spices about him, nor expressed their The essence of poetry is invention; such inaffection and their end by a conceit at once false vention as, by producing something unexpected, and vulgar:
surprises and delights. The topics of devotion Alive, in equal Names of love they burn'd, are few, and being few are universally known; And now together are to ashes turn'd.
but few as they are, they can be made no more; The verses to Charles, on his return, were they can receive no grace from novelty of sentidoubtless intended to counterbalance the “Pane-ment, and very little from novelty of expression. gyric” on Cromwell. If it has been thought Poetry pleases by exhibiting an idea more inferior to that with which it is naturally com- grateful to the mind than things themselves afpared, the cause of its deficiency has been already ford. This effect proceeds from the display of remarked.
those part of nature which attract, and the conThe remaining pieces it is not necessary to cealment of those which repel, the imagination : examine singly. They must be supposed to but religion must be shown as it is; suppression have faults and beauties of the same kind with and addition equally corrupt it; and such as it the rest. The sacred poems, however, deserve is, it is known already. particular regard ; they were the work of Wal- From poetry the reader justly expects, and ler's declining life, of those hours in which he from good poetry always obtains, the enlargelooked upon the fame and the folly of the time ment of his comprehension and elevation of his past with the sentiments which his great prede- fancy; but this is rarely to be hoped by Chrisceosor, Petrarch, bequeathed to posterity, upon tians from metrical devotion. Whatever is great, his review of that love and poetry which have desirable, or tremendous, is comprised in the given him immortality.
name of the Supreme Being. Omnipotence canThat natural jealousy which makes every man not be exalted; Infinity cannot be amplified ; unwilling to allow much excellence in another, Perfection cannot be improved. always produces a disposition to believe that The employments of pious meditation are the mind grows old with the body; and that faith, thanksgiving, repentance, and supplicahe, whom we are now forced to confess supe- tion. Faith, invariably uniform, cannot be inrior, is hastening daily to a level with ourselves. vested by fancy with decorations. Thanksgiving, By delighting to think this of the living, we the most joyful of all holy effusions, yet addresslearn to think it of the dead; and Fenton, with ed to a Being without passions, is confined to a all his kindness for Waller, has the luck to few modes, and is to be felt rather than expressmark the exact time when his genius passed the ed. Repentance, trembling in the presence of zenith, which he places at his fifty-fifth year. the Judge, is not at leisure for cadences and This is to allot the mind but a small portion. epithets. Supplication of man to man may Intellectual decay is doubtless not uncommon; diffuse itself through many topics of persuasion; but it seems not to be universal. Newton was but supplication to God can only cry for mercy, in his eighty-fifth year improving his chronology, Of sentiments purely religious, it will be found a few days before his death; and Waller ap- that the most simple expression is the most subpears nci, in my opinion, to have lost at eighty- lime. Poetry loses its lustre and its power, beiwo any part of his poetical power.
cause it is applied to the decoration of something His sacred poems do not please like some of more excellent than itself. All that pious verse his other works; but before the fatal fifty-five, can do is to help the memory, and delight the had he written on the same subjects, his success ear, and for these purposes it may be very usewould hardly have been better.
ful; but it supplies nothing to the mind.' The It has been the frequent lamentation of good ideas of Christian theology are too simple for
eloquence, too sacred for fiction, and too majes- | that Gascoigne, a writer of the sixteenth century, tic for ornament: to recommend them by tropes warns the young poet against affecting it: Shakand figures, is to magnify by a concave mirror speare, in the “Midsummer Night's Dream,” is the sideral hemisphere.
supposed to ridicule it; and in another play the As much of Waller's reputation was owing sonnet of Holofernes fully displays it. to the softness and smoothness of his numbers, He borrows too many of his sentiments and it is proper to consider those minute particulars illustrations from the old mythology, for which it to which a versifier must attend.
is vain to plead the example of ancient poets; He certainly very much excelled in smooth the deities which they introduced so frequently, ness most of the writers who were living when were considered as realities, so far as to be rehis poetry commenced. The poets of Elizabeth ceived by the imagination, whatever sober reahad attained an art of modulation, which was son might even then determine. But of these afterwards neglected or forgotten. Fairfax was images time has tarnished the splendour. A fieaeknowledged by him as his model; and he tion, not only detected but despised, can never might have studied with advantage the poem of afford a solid basis to any position, though some Davies, which, though merely philosophical, times it may furnish a transient allusion, or slight yet seldom leaves the ear ungratified.
illustration. No modern monarch can be much But he was rather smooth than strong: of the exalted by hearing that, as Hercules had his club, full resvunding line, which Pope attributes to he has his navy. Dryden, he has given very few examples. The But of the praise of Waller, though much may critical decision has given the praise of strength be taken away, much will remain; for it cannot to Denham, and of sweetness to Waller. be denied, that he added something to our ele
His excellence of versification has some abate- gance of diction, and something to our propriety ments. He uses the expletive do very frequently; of thought; and to him may be applied what and, though he lived to see it almost universally Tasso said, with equal spirit and justice, of himejected, was not more careful to avoid it in his self and Guarini, when, having perused the last compositions than in his first. Praise had “Pastor Fido,” he cried out, “ If he had not read given him confidence; and finding the world'Aminta,' he had not excelled it.” satisfied, he satisfied himself.
As Waller professed himself to have learned His rhymes are sometimes weak words : so is the art of versification from Fairfax, it has been found to make the rhyme twice in ten lines, and thought proper to subjoin a specimen of his occurs often as a rhyme through his book. work, which, afier Mr. Hoole's translation, will
His double rhymes, in heroic verse, have been perhaps not be soon reprinted. By knowing the censured by Mrs. Phillips, who was his rival in state in which Waller found our poetry, the the translation of Corneille's “Pompey;" and reader may judge how much he improved it. more faults might be found, were not the inquiry below attention. He sometimes uses the obsolete termination
Erminia's eteed (this while) his mistresse bore of verbs, as wereth, affecteth; and sometimes re- Through forests thicke among the shadie treene, tains the final syllable of the preterite, as amazed, Her feeble hand the bridle raines forelore, supposed, of which I know not whether it is not Halse in a swoune she was for feare I weene ; to the detriment of our language that we have to beare her through the desart wootls unseene totally rejected them.
of her strong foes, that chased her through the plaino, Of triplets he is sparing; but he did not wholly And still pursued, but still pursued in vaine. forbear them: of an Alexandrine he has given no example.
U. The general character of his poetry is ele-Like as the wearie hounds at last retire, gance and gayety. He is never pathetic, and Wiudlesse, displeased, from the fruitlegne chace, very rarely sublime. He seems neither to have when the slie beast Tapisht in bush and brire, had a mind much elevated by nature, nor am
No art nor pains can ruwse out of his place : plified by learning. His thoughts are such as a Returned backe, with faint and wearie pace!
The Christian knights so full of shame and ire liberal conversation and large acquaintance with Yet still the fearfull Dame ded, swift as winde, life would easily supply. They had however Nor euer staid, nor euer lookt behinde. then, perhaps, that grace of novelty, which they are now often supposed to want by those who, having already found them in later books, do Through thicke and thinne, all night, all day, she drived, pot know or inquire who produced them first. Withouten comfort, companie, or guide, This trcatment is unjust. "Let not the original Her plaints and teares with euery chonght reuined, author lose by his imitators.
She heard and saw her greefes, but naught beside.
But when the sunne his burning chariot diued Praise, however, should be due before it is In Thetis waue, and wearie teame vntide, given. The author of Waller's Life ascribes to On Jordans sandie banks her course she staid, him the first practice of what Erythræus and At last, there downe she light, and down she laid. some late critics call alliteration, of using in the
IV. same verse mung words beginning with the same letter. But this knack, whaiever be its Her teares, her drinke; her food, her sorrowings; value, was so frequent among early writers, This was her diet that vnhappy right:
But sleepe (that sweet repose and quiet brings
To ease ihe greefes of discontented wigh:) • Sir John Davies, entitled, “Nosce teipsum. This Spred foorth his tender, soft, and nimble winge. oracle expounded in two Elegies : J. Oi Humane Know. In his dull armes foulding the virgin bright: ledge: IL of the Soule of Man and the Immortalitie And loue, his mother, and the graces kept screol, 1743."--R.
Strong watch and warde, while this faire Ladie slept
XII. The birds awakte her with their morning song,
Time was (for each one hath his doating timo, Their warbling musicke pearst her tender care,
These siluer locks were golden tresses than) The murmuring brookes and whistling windes among That countrie lise I hated as a crime, The railing boughes, and leaues, their parts did beare; And from the forrests sweet contentment ran, Her eies vnclosed beheld the groues along,
To Memphis stately pallace would I clime, Or swaines and shepherd groomes that dwellings weare; And there became the mightie Caliphes man,
And that sweet noise, birds, winds, and waters sent, And though I but a simple gardner weare,
Yet could I marke abuses, see, and heare.
Entised on with hope of future gaine, That seem'd from thickest bushes to proceed,
I suffered long what did my soule displease ; Some jolly shepherd sang a lastie round,
But when my youth was spent, my hope was ruino, And to his voice had tund his oaten reed;
I felt my native strength ai last decrease; Thither she went, an old man there she found
I gan my losse of lustie yeeres complaine, (Al whose right hand his little flock did feed)
And wish I had enjoy'd the countrie's peace : Sat making baskets, his three sonnes among,
I bod the court farewell, and with content
While thus he spake, Erminia husht and still The seelie man and his were sore dismaid ;
His wise discourses heard, with great attention, But sweet Erminia comforted their feare,
His speeches graue those idle sancies kill, Her ventall vp, her visage open laid,
Which is her troubled soule bred such dissention ; You happy folke, of heau'n beloued deare,
After much thought reformed was her will, Work on (quoth she) upon your harmless traid,
Within those woods to dwell was her intention, These dreadfull armes I leare no warfare bring
Till fortune should occasion new afford, То your sweet toile, nor thosc sweet lunes you sing. To turne her home to her desired Lord.' VIII
xv. But father, since this land, there fownes and towers, She said therefore, O shepherd fortunate ! Distroied are with sword, with tiro and spoile,
That troubles some didst whilom feel and proue, How may it be, unhurt that you and yours
Yet lieust now in this contented state, In safetie thus, applie your harmlesse toile ?
Let my mishap thy thoughts to pitie moue, My sonne (quoth he) this pore estate of ours
To entertaine me as a willing mate Is euer safe from storm of warlike broile;
In shepherds life, which I admire and loue; This wilderness doth vs in saftie keepe,
Within these pleasant groues perchance my hart No thundering drum, no trumpet breakes our sleepe. or her discomforts may vnload some part. IX.
XVI. Haply iust heau'ns defence and shield of light,
If gold or wealth of most esteemed deare, Doth loue the innocence of simple swains.
If iewels rich, thou diddest hold in prise, The thunderboles en highest mountains light,
Such store thereof, such plentie haue I seen, And seld or neuer strike the lower plaines :
As to a greedie minde might well suffice: So kings have cause to feare Pellonces might,
With that downe trickled many a siluer teare, Not they whose sweat and wile their dinner galue. Two christall streames fell from her watrie eier : Nor euer greedie soldier was entised
Part of her sad misfortunes than she told, By pouerlie, neglected and despised.
And wept, and with her wept that shepherd old X.
XVII. O Pouertie, chefe of the heau’nly brond,
With speeches kinde, he gan the virgin dearo Dearer to me than wealth or kingly crowne !
Towards his cottage gently home to guide; No wish for honour, thirst of others good,
His aged wife there made her homely cheare, Can move my heart contented with my owne:
Yet welcomde her, and plast her by her side. We quench our thirst with water of this flood,
The Princesse dond a poore pastoraes geare, Nor fear we poison should therein be throwne:
A kerchicle course vpon her head she tide; These little locks of sheepe and tender goates
But yet her gestures and her lookes (I gesse) Giue milke for food, and wool to make us coates. Were such, as ill beseem'd a shepherdesse. XI.
XVIII. We little wish, we need but little wealth,
Not those rude garments could obscure, and hido From cold and hunger vs to cloath and feed;
The heau’uly beautie or her angels facé, These are my sonnes, their care preserues from stealth Nor was her princely ofspring dannifide, Their fathers focks, nor servants moe I need :
Or ought disparag'de, by those labours bace; Amid these groues I walke oft for my health
Her liule flocks to pasture would she guide, nd to the fishes, birds, and beastes giue heed,
And milk her goates, and in their folds them place, How they are led, in forrest, spring, and lake,
Both cheese and butter could she make, and frame And their conteniment for ensample take.
Her selle to please the shepherd and his danie
OF Mr. JOHN POMFRET nothing is known fatal consequence: the delay constrained his but from a slight and confused account prefixed attendance in London, where he caught the to his poems by a nameless friend; who relates, small-pox, and died in 1703, in the thirty-sixth that he was son of the Rev. Mr. Pomfret, rector year of his age. of Luton, in Bedfordshire; that he was bred at He published his poems in 1699 ; and has Cambridge ;* entered into orders, and was rec- been always the favourite of that class of read tor of Malden, in Bedfordshire; and might have ers, who, without vanity or criticism, seek only risen in the church, but that, when he applied their own amusement. to Dr. Compton, bishop of London, for institu- His “Choice” exhibits a system of life adapttion to a living of considerable value, to which ed to common notions and equal to commoa he had been presented, he found a troublesome expectations, such a state as affords plenty and obstruction raised by a malicious interpretation tranquillity, without exclusion of intellectual of some passage in his “Choice;" from which it pleasures. Perhaps no composition in our lanwas inferred, that he considered happiness as guage has been oftener perused than Pomfret's more likely to be found in the company of a mis- “Choice." tress than of a wife.
In his other poems there is an easy volubility, This reproach was easily obliterated; for it the pleasure of smooth metre is afforded to the had happened to Pomfret as to almost all other ear, and the mind is not oppressed with pondermen who plan schemes of life ; he had departed ous, or entangled with intricate, sentiment. He from his purpose, and was then married. pleases many; and he who pleases many must
The malice of his enemies had, however, a very I have some species of merit.
Or the EARL OF Dorset the character has as they grew warmer, Sedley stood forth paked been drawn so largely and so elegantly by Prior, and harangued the populace in such profane lanto whom he was familiarly known, that nothing guage, thal the public indignation was awaken can be added by a casual hand; and, as its au- ed; the crowd attempted to force the door, and, thor is so generally read, it would be useless offi- being repulsed, drove in the performers with ciousness to transcribe it.
stones, and broke the windows of the house. CHARLES SACKVILLE was born January 24, For this misdemeanour they were indicted, 1637. Having been educated under a private and Sedley was fined five hundred pounds: what tutor, he travelled into Italy, and returned a was the sentence of the others is not known. little before the Restoration. He was chosen Sedley employed Killigrew and another to pro into the first parliament that was called, for East cure a remission from the King; but (mark the Grinstead, in Sussex, and soon became a favour friendship of the dissolute !) they begged the ite of Charles the Second ; but undertook no fine for themselves, and exacted it to the last public employment, being too eager of the riotous groat. and licentious pleasures which young men of In 1665, Lord Buckburst attended the Duke high rank, who aspired to be thought wits, at of York as a volunteer in the Dutch war; and that time imagined themselves entitled to in- was in the battle of June 3, when eighteen great dulge.
Dutch ships were taken, fourteen others were One of these frolics has, by the industry of destroyed, and Opdam, the admiral, who engaged Wood, come down to posterity. Sackville, who the Duke, was blown up beside him, with all his was then Lord Backhurst, with Sir Charles Sed crew. ley and Sir Thomas Ogle, got drunk at the On the day before the battle, he is said to have Cock, in Bow-street, by Covent-garden, and, composed the celebrated song, “To all you going into the balcony, exposed themselves to ladies now at land,” with equal tranquillity of The populace in very indecent postures. At last, mind and promptitude of wit.
splendid story is wholly true. I have heard, • He was of Queen's College there, and, by the Uni- from the late Earl of Orrery, who was likely versity register, appears to have taken his bachelor's to have good hereditary intelligence, that Lord vegree in 1634, and his master's, 1698. H.-His father Buckhurst had been a week employed upon ita was of Trivity.-.C
and only retouched or finished it on the menor
able evening. But even this, whatever it may accession, made him lord-chamberlain of the subtract from his facility, leaves him his courage. household, and gave him afterwards the garter.
He was soon after made a gentleinan of the He happened to be among those that were tossed bed-chamber, and sent on short embassics to with the King in an open boat sixteen bours, in France.
very rough and cold weather, on the coast of In 1674, the estate of his uncle, James Cran- Holland. His health afterwards declined; and, field, Earl of Middlesex, came to liim by its on January 19, 1705-6, he died at Baih. owner's death, and the title was conferred on him He was a man whose elegance and judgment the year after. In 1677, he became, by the death were universally confessed, and whose bounty of his father, Earl of Dorset, and inherited the to the learned and witły was generally known. estate of his family:
To the indulgent affection of the public, Lord In 1684, having buried his first wife of the Rochester bore ample testimony in this remarkfamily of Bagot, who left him no child, he mar- "I know not how it is, but Lord Buckhurst may ried a daughter of the Earl of Northampton, do what he will, yet is never in the wrong." celebrated both for beauty and understanding: If such a man attempted poetry, we cannot
He received some favourable notice from King wonder that his works were praised. Dryden, James; but soon found it necessary to oppose whom, if Prior tells truth, he distinguished by the violence of his innovations, and, with some his beneficence, and who lavished his blandishother lords, appeared in Westminster Hall to ments on those who are nog known to have so countenance the bishops at their trial.
well deserved them, undertaking to produce auAs enormilies grew every day less supportable, thors of our own country superior to those of he found it necessary to concur in the Revolu- antiquity, says, “I would instance your Lordship tion. He was one of those lords who sat every in satire, and Shakspeare in tragedy.” Would it day in council to preserve the public peace, after be imagined that, of this rival to antiquity, all the the King's departure; and, what is not the most satires were little personal invectives, and that his illustrious action of his life, was employed to longest composition was a song of eleven stanzas ? conduct the Princess Anne io Nottingham with The blame, however, of this exaggerated a gnard, such as might alarm the populace as praise falls on the encomiast, not upon the authey passed, with false apprehensions of her thor; whose performances are, what they predanger. Whatever end may be designed, there tend to be, the effusions of a man of wit; gay, is always something despicable in a trick. vigorous, and airy. His verses to Howard show
He became, as may be easily supposed, a sa- great fertility of mind; and his Dorinda has been vourite of King William, who, the day after his imitated by Pope.
GEORGE STEPNEY, descended from the Step-| burgh ; in 1099, to the King of Poland ; in 1701 neys of Pendigrast, in Pembrokeshire, was born again to the Emperor; and in 1706, to the at Westminster, in 1663. Of his father's condi- States-general. In 1697, he was made one of tion or fortune I have no account.* Having the commissioners of trade. His life was busy, received the first part of his education at West- and not long. He died in 1707 ; and is buried minster, where he passed six years in the Col- in Westminster Abbey, with this epitaph, which lege, he went at nineteen to Cambridge, where Jacob transcribed : he continued a friendship begun at school with
H. S. E. Mr. Montague, afterwards Earl of Halifax.
Georgius Stepneius, Armiger, They came to London together, and are said to
Vir have been invited into public life by the Earl of
Ob Ingenii acumen, Dorset.
Morum Suavitatem, His qualifications recommended him to many
Rerum Usum, foreign employments, so that his time seems to Virorum Amplissimorum Consuetudinem, have been spent in negotiations. In 1692, he
Lingua, Styli, ac Vitr Elegantiam, was sent envoy to the elector of Brandenburgh ;
Præclara Oficia cum Britanniæ tum Europa
præstita, in 1693, to the Imperial Court; in 1694, to the
Sui ætate multum celebratus, Elector of Saxony; in 1696, to the Electors of Apud posteros semper celebrandus; Mentz and Cologne, and the Congress at
Plurimas Legationes obiit
Ea Fide, Diligentiâ, ac Felicitate,
Gulielmj et Anne * It has been conjectured that our Poet was either son
Spem in illo repositam or grandson of Charles, thiru son or Sir John Stepney,
Nunquam fefellerit, the first baronet of that family. See Granger's History,
Llaud rarò superaverit. vol. ii. p. 95, edit. Svo. 1775. Mr. Cole says, the Poet's
Post Jongum honorum Curfum father was a grecer. Cole's MSS. in Bril. Mus.-C.
Brevi Temporis Spatio confectum, t He was entered of Trinity College, and took his mas
Cum Naturæ parum, Fame satis vixerat, ter's degree in 1689.-H.
Animam ad altiora aspirantem placide efflavit