Infomotions, Inc.The Lives of the Poets of Great Britain and Ireland (1753) Volume II / Cibber, Theophilus, 1703-1758



Author: Cibber, Theophilus, 1703-1758
Title: The Lives of the Poets of Great Britain and Ireland (1753) Volume II
Publisher: Project Gutenberg
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Title: The Lives of the Poets of Great Britain and Ireland (1753)
       Volume II

Author: Theophilus Cibber

Release Date: August 7, 2005 [EBook #16469]

Language: English

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    Preparer's Note: This e-text is taken from a facsimile of the
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                        Anglistica & Americana

A Series of Reprints Selected by Bernhard Fabian, Edgar Mertner, Karl
                     Schneider and Marvin Spevack

                                  17

                    GEORG OLMS VERLAGSBUCHHANDLUNG
                              HILDESHEIM


                          THEOPHILUS CIBBER

         The Lives of the Poets of Great Britain and Ireland

                                (1753)

                               Vol. II


                                 1968

                    GEORG OLMS VERLAGSBUCHHANDLUNG
                              HILDESHEIM


Note

The present facsimile is reproduced from a copy in the possession of
the Library of the University of Goettingen.
Shelfmark: H. lit. biogr. I 8464.

Although the title-page of Volume I announces four volumes, the work
is continued in a fifth volume of the same date. Like Volumes II, III,
and IV, it is by "Mr. CIBBER, and other Hands" and is "Printed for R.
GRIFFITHS".

                                                                  M.S.


          Reprografischer Nachdruck der Ausgabe London 1753
                          Printed in Germany
           Herstellung: fotokap wilhelm weihert, Darmstadt
                          Best.-Nr. 5102040


                                 THE

                                LIVES

                                OF THE

                                POETS

                                  OF

                      GREAT BRITAIN and IRELAND.

 Compiled from ample Materials scattered in a Variety of Books, and
 especially from the MS. Notes of the late ingenious Mr. COXETER and
 others, collected for this Design,

                   By Mr. CIBBER, and other Hands.

                               VOL. II.


                               LONDON:
 Printed for R. GRIFFITHS, at the Dunciad in St. Paul's Church-Yard.
                               MDCCLIII


                              VOLUME II.

                             Contains the

                                LIVES

                                  OF

                 Brewer            Newcastle, Duchess
                 May               Newcastle, Duke
                 Taylour           Birkenhead
                 Habington         Boyle, E. Orrery
                 Goldsmith         Head
                 Cleveland         Hobbs
                 Holiday [sic]     Cokaine
                 Nabbes            Wharton
                 Shirley           Killegrew, Anne
                 Howel             Lee
                 Fanshaw           Butler
                 Cowley            Waller
                 Davenant          Ogilby
                 King              Rochester
                 [Massinger]       Buckingham
                 Stapleton         Smith
                 Main              Otway
                 Milton            [Oldham]
                 Philips           [Roscommon]

                *        *        *        *        *

                          _Just Published,_

In one small Octavo Volume, Price bound in Calf 3s.

A TRANSLATION of the Ingenious Abbe DE MABLY'S _Observations on the_
ROMANS. A learned and curious Performance; wherein the Policy of that
People is set in so clear a Light, and the Characters of their great
Men drawn with such a masterly Pen, as cannot but recommend it to all
Lovers of Classical Learning.

In this Work many new Lights are cast upon the Characters and Conduct
of the following celebrated Personages:

        Romulus,           | Pompey,   | Otho,
        Tarquin the Elder, | Cato,     | Vitellius,
        Servius Tullus,    | Caesar,    | Vespasian,
        Brutus,            | Cicero,   | Titus,
        The Gracchi,       | Antony,   | Domitian,
        Marius,            | Augustus, | Nerva,
        Sylla,             | Tiberius, | Trajan,
        Crassus,           | Caligula, | Antoninus,
        Scipio,            | Claudius, | Marcus Aurelius,
        Hannibal,          | Nero,     | Diocletian,
        Pyrrhus,           | Galba,    | Constantine the Great
                             &c. &c. &c.

          Printed for R. GRIFFITHS, in _Paul's Church-Yard_.

                *        *        *        *        *




                                 THE

                                LIVES

                                OF THE

                                POETS




                           ANTHONY BREWER,


A poet who flourished in the reign of Charles I. but of whose birth
and life we can recover no particulars. He was highly esteemed by some
wits in that reign, as appears from a Poem called Steps to Parnassus,
which pays him the following well turned compliment.

  Let Brewer take his artful pen in hand,
  Attending muses will obey command,
  Invoke the aid of Shakespear's sleeping clay,
  And strike from utter darkness new born day.

Mr. Winstanley, and after him Chetwood, has attributed a play to our
author called Lingua, or the Contention of the Tongue and the Five
Senses for Superiority, a Comedy, acted at Cambridge, 1606; but Mr.
Langbaine is of opinion, that neither that, Love's Loadstone,
Landagartha, or Love's Dominion, as Winstanley and Philips affirm, are
his; Landagartha being written by Henry Burnel, esquire, and Love's
Dominion by Flecknoe. In the Comedy called Lingua, there is a
circumstance which Chetwood mentions, too curious, to be omitted here.
When this play was acted at Cambridge, Oliver Cromwel performed the
part of Tactus, which he felt so warmly, that it first fired his
ambition, and, from the possession of an imaginary crown, he stretched
his views to a real one; to accomplish which, he was content to wade
through a sea of blood, and, as Mr. Gray beautifully expresses it,
shut the Gates of Mercy on Mankind; the speech with which he is said
to have been so affected, is the following,

    Roses, and bays, pack hence: this crown and robe,
  My brows, and body, circles and invests;
  How gallantly it fits me! sure the slave
  Measured my head, that wrought this coronet;
  They lie that say, complexions cannot change!
  My blood's enobled, and I am transform'd
  Unto the sacred temper of a king;
  Methinks I hear my noble Parasites
  Stiling me Caesar, or great Alexander,
  Licking my feet,--&c.

Mr. Langbaine ascribes to Brewer the two following plays,

Country Girl, a Comedy, often acted with applause, printed in 4to.
1647. This play has been revived since the Restoration, under the
title of Country Innocence, or the Chamber-maid turned Quaker.

Love-sick King, an English Tragical History, with the Life and Death
of Cartesmunda, the Fair Nun of Winchester; printed in 4to. London,
1655; this play was likewise revived 1680, and acted by the name of
the Perjured Nun. The historical part of the plot is founded upon the
Invasion of the Danes, in the reign of King Ethelred and Alfred.

This last play of Anthony Brewer's, is one of the best irregular
plays, next to those of Shakespear, which are in our language. The
story, which is extremely interesting, is conducted, not so much with
art, as spirit; the characters are animated, and the scene busy.
Canutus King of Denmark, after having gained the city of Winchester,
by the villainy of a native, orders all to be put to the sword, and at
last enters the Cloister, raging with the thirst of blood, and panting
for destruction; he meets Cartesmunda, whose beauty stops his ruffian
violence, and melts him, as it were, into a human creature. The
language of this play is as modern, and the verses as musical as those
of Rowe; fire and elevation run through it, and there are many strokes
of the most melting tenderness. Cartesmunda, the Fair Nun of
Winchester, inspires the King with a passion for her, and after a long
struggle between honour and love, she at last yields to the tyrant,
and for the sake of Canutus breaks her vestal vows. Upon hearing that
the enemy was about to enter the Cloister, Cartesmunda breaks out into
the following beautiful exclamation:

  The raging foe pursues, defend us Heaven!
  Take virgin tears, the balm of martyr'd saints
  As tribute due, to thy tribunal throne;
  With thy right hand keep us from rage and murder;
  Let not our danger fright us, but our sins;
  Misfortunes touch our bodies, not our souls.

When Canutus advances, and first sees Cartesmunda, his speech is
poetical, and conceived in the true spirit of Tragedy.

  Ha! who holds my conquering hand? what power unknown,
  By magic thus transforms me to a statue,
  Senseless of all the faculties of life?
  My blood runs back, I have no power to strike;
  Call in our guards and bid 'em all give o'er.
  Sheath up your swords with me, and cease to kill:
  Her angel beauty cries, she must not die,
  Nor live but mine: O I am strangely touch'd!
  Methinks I lift my sword, against myself,
  When I oppose her--all perfection!
  O see! the pearled dew drops from her eyes;
  Arise in peace, sweet soul.

In the same scene the following is extremely beautiful.

    I'm struck with light'ning from the torrid zone;
  Stand all between me, and that flaming sun!
  Go Erkinwald, convey her to my tent.
  Let her be guarded with more watchful eyes
  Than heaven has stars:
  If here she stay I shall consume to death,
  'Tis time can give my passions remedy,
  Art thou not gone! kill him that gazeth on her;
  For all that see her sure must doat like me,
  And treason for her, will be wrought against us.
  Be sudden--to our tents--pray thee away,
  The hell on earth is love that brings delay.

                *        *        *        *        *




                             THOMAS MAY,


A Poet and historian of the 17th century, was descended of an ancient,
but decayed family in the county of Sussex, in the reign of Queen
Elizabeth[1], and was educated a fellow commoner in Sidney Sussex
College in Cambridge. He afterwards removed to London, and lived about
the court, where he contracted friendships with several gentlemen of
fashion and distinction, especially with Endymion Porter esquire, one
of the gentlemen of the bedchamber to King Charles I. while [sic] he
resided at court he wrote five plays, which are extant under his name.
In 1622, he published at London, in 8vo. a translation of Virgil's
Georgics with annotations; and in 1635, a Poem on King Edward III. It
was printed under the title of the Victorious Reign of Edward III.
written in seven books, by his Majesty's command. In the dedication to
Charles I. our author writes thus; "I should humbly have craved your
Majesty's pardon for my omission of the latter part of King Edward's
reign, but that the sense of mine own defects hath put me in mind of a
most necessary suit, so beg forgiveness for that part which is here
written. Those great actions of Edward III. are the arguments of this
poem, which is here ended, where his fortune began to decline, where
the French by revolts, and private practices regained that which had
been won from them by eminent and famous victories; which times may
afford fitter observations for an acute historian in prose, than
strains of heighth for an heroic poem." The poem thus begins,

  The third, and greatest Edward's reign we sing,
  The high atchievements of that martial King,
  Where long successful prowesse did advance,
  So many trophies in triumphed France,
  And first her golden lillies bare; who o're
  Pyrennes mountains to that western shore,
  Where Tagus tumbles through his yellow sand
  Into the ocean; stretch'd his conquering hand.

From the lines quoted, the reader will be able to judge what sort of
versifier our author was, and from this beginning he has no great
reason to expect an entertaining poem, especially as it is of the
historical kind; and he who begins a poem thus insipidly, can never
expect his readers to accompany him to the third page. May likewise
translated Lucan's Pharsalia, which poem he continued down to the
death of Julius Caesar, both in Latin and English verse.

Dr. Fuller says, that some disgust was given to him at court, which
alienated his affections from it, and determined him, in the civil
wars to adhere to the Parliament.

Mr. Philips in his Theatrum Poetarum, observes, that he stood
candidate with Sir William Davenant for the Laurel, and his ambition
being frustrated, he conceived the most violent aversion to the King
and Queen. Sir William Davenant, besides the acknowledged superiority
of his abilities, had ever distinguished himself for loyalty, and was
patronized and favoured by men of power, especially the Marquis of
Newcastle: a circumstance which we find not to have happened to May:
it is true, they were both the friends of the amiable Endymion Porter,
esq; but we are not informed whether that gentleman interested himself
on either side.

In the year 1647, was published in London in folio, The History of the
Parliament of England, which began November 3, 1640, with a Short and
Necessary View of some precedent Years, written by Thomas May, Esq;
Secretary to the Parliament, and published by their authority. In 1650
he published in 8vo. A Breviary of the History of the Parliament of
England. Besides these works, Mr. Philips tells us, he wrote a History
of Henry IV. in English verse, the Comedy of the Old Wives Tale, and
the History of Orlando Furioso; but the latter, Mr. Langbaine, who is
a higher authority than Philips, assures us was written before May was
able to hold a pen, much less to write a play, being printed in 4to.
London, 1594. Mr. Winstanley says, that in his history, he shews all
the spleen of a mal-content, and had he been preferred to the Bays, as
he happened to be disappointed, he would have embraced the Royal
interest with as much zeal, as he did the republican: for a man who
espouses a cause from spite only, can be depended upon by no party,
because he acts not upon any principles of honour or conviction.

Our author died suddenly in the year 1652, and was interred near the
tomb of Camden, on the West side of the North isle of Westminster
Abbey, but his body, with several others, was dug up after the
restoration, and buried in a pit in St. Margaret's church yard[2]. Mr.
May's plays are,

1. Agrippina, Empress of Rome, a Tragedy, printed in 12mo. London,
1639. Our author has followed Suetonius and Tacitus, and has
translated and inserted above 30 lines from Petronius Arbiter; this
circumstance we advance on the authority of Langbaine, whose extensive
reading has furnished him with the means of tracing the plots of most
part of our English plays; we have heard that there is a Tragedy on
this subject, written by Mr. Gray of Cambridge, the author of the
beautiful Elegy in a Country Church Yard; which play Mr. Garrick has
sollicited him to bring upon the stage; to which the author has not
yet consented.

2. Antigone, the Theban Princess, a Tragedy, printed in 8vo. London,
1631, and dedicated to Endymion Porter, Esq; Our author in the
contexture of this Tragedy, has made use of the Antigone of Sophocles,
and the Thebais of Seneca.

3. Cleopatra, Queen of Egypt, a Tragedy, acted 1626, and printed in
12mo. London, 1639, and dedicated to Sir Kenelme Digby: The author has
followed the historians of those times. We have in our language two
other plays upon the same subject, one by Shakespear, and the other by
Dryden.

4. Heir, a Comedy, acted by the company of revels, 1620; this play is
much commended by Mr. Thomas Carew, in a copy of verses prefixed to
the play, where, amongst other commendations bestowed on the stile,
and natural working up of the passions, he says thus of the oeconomy
of the play.

  The whole plot doth alike itself disclose,
  Thro' the five Acts, as doth a lock, that goes
  With letters, for 'till every one be known,
  The lock's as fast, as if you had found none.

If this comedy, is no better than these wretched commendatory lines,
it is miserable indeed.

5. Old Couple, a Comedy, printed in 4to; this play is intended to
expose the vice of covetousness.

Footnotes:
1. Langbaine's Lives of the Poets.
2. Wood's Fasti Oxon. vol. i. p. 205.

                *        *        *        *        *




                      JOHN TAYLOUR, Water-Poet,


Was born in Gloucestershire, where he went to school with one Green,
and having got into his accidence, was bound apprentice to a Waterman
in London, which, though a laborious employment, did not so much
depress his mind, but that he sometimes indulged himself in poetry.
Taylour retates [sic] a whimsical story of his schoolmaster Mr. Green,
which we shall here insert upon the authority of Winstanley. "Green
loved new milk so well, that in order to have it new, he went to the
market to buy a cow, but his eyes being dim, he cheapened a bull, and
asking the price of the beast, the owner and he agreed, and driving it
home, would have his maid to milk it, which she attempting to do,
could find no teats; and whilst the maid and her master were arguing
the matter, the bull very fairly pissed into the pail;" whereupon his
scholar John Taylour wrote these verses,

  Our master Green was overseen
    In buying of a bull,
  For when the maid did mean to milk,
    He piss'd the pail half full.

Our Water-poet found leisure to write fourscore books, some of which
occasioned diversion enough in their time, and were thought worthy to
be collected in a folio volume. Mr. Wood observes, that had he had
learning equal to his natural genius, which was excellent, he might
have equalled, if not excelled, many who claim a great share in the
temple of the muses. Upon breaking out of the rebellion, 1642, he left
London, and retired to Oxford, where he was much esteemed for his
facetious company; he kept a common victualling house there, and
thought he did great service to the Royal cause, by writing Pasquils
against the round-heads. After the garrison of Oxford surrendered, he
retired to Westminster, kept a public house in Phaenix Alley near Long
Acre, and continued constant in his loyalty to the King; after whose
death, he set up a sign over his door, of a mourning crown, but that
proving offensive, he pulled it down, and hung up his own picture[1],
under which were these words,

  There's many a head stands for a sign,
  Then gentle reader why not mine?

On the other side,

  Tho' I deserve not, I desire
  The laurel wreath, the poet's hire.

He died in the year 1654, aged 74, and was buried in the church yard
of St. Paul's Covent-Garden; his nephew, a Painter at Oxford, who
lived in Wood's time, informed him of this circumstance, who gave his
picture to the school gallery there, where it now hangs, shewing him
to have had a quick and smart countenance. The following epitaph was
written upon him,

  Here lies the Water-poet, honest John,
  Who row'd on the streams of Helicon;
  Where having many rocks and dangers past,
  He at the haven of Heaven arrived at last.

Footnote:
1. Athen. Oxon. vol. ii. p. 393.

                *        *        *        *        *




                          WILLIAM HABINGTON,


Son of Thomas Habington, Esq; was born at Hendlip in Worcestershire,
on the 4th of November 1605, and received his education at St. Omers
and Paris, where he was earnestly pressed to take upon him the habit
of a Jesuit; but that sort of life not suiting with his genius, he
excused himself and left them[1]. After his return from Paris, he was
instructed by his father in history, and other useful branches of
literature, and became, says Wood, a very accomplished gentleman. This
author has written,

1. Poems, 1683, in 8vo. under the title of Castara: they are divided
into three parts under different titles, suitable to their subject.
The first, which was written when he was courting his wife, Lucia, the
beautiful daughter of William Lord Powis, is introduced by a
character, written in prose, of a mistress. The second are copies to
her after marriage, by the character of a wife; after which is a
character of a friend, before several funeral elegies. The third part
consists of divine poems, some of which are paraphrases on several
texts out of Job, and the book of psalms.

2. The Queen of Arragon, a Tragi-Comedy, which play he shewed to
Philip Earl of Pembroke, who having a high opinion of it, caused it to
be acted at court, and afterwards to be published, the contrary to the
author's inclination.

3. Observations on History, Lond. 1641, 8vo.

4. History of Edward IV. Lond. 1640, in a thin folio, written and
published at the desire of King Charles I. which in the opinion of
some critics of that age, was too florid for history, and fell short
of that calm dignity which is peculiar to a good historian, and which
in our nation has never been more happily attained than by the great
Earl of Clarendon and Bishop Burnet. During the civil war, Mr.
Habington, according to Wood, temporized with those in power, and was
not unknown to Oliver Cromwell; but there is no account of his being
raised to any preferment during the Protector's government. He died
the 30th of November, 1654.

We shall present the readers with the prologue to the Queen of
Arragon, acted at Black-Fryars, as a specimen of this author's poetry.

  Ere we begin that no man may repent,
  Two shillings, and his time, the author sent
  The prologue, with the errors of his play,
  That who will, may take his money and away.
  First for the plot, 'tis no way intricate
  By cross deceits in love, nor so high in state,
  That we might have given out in our play-bill
  This day's the Prince, writ by Nick Machiavil.
  The language too is easy, such as fell
  Unstudied from his pen; not like a spell
  Big with mysterious words, such as inchant
  The half-witted, and confound the ignorant.
  Then, what must needs, afflict the amourist,
  No virgin here, in breeches casts a mist
  Before her lover's eyes; no ladies tell
  How their blood boils, how high their veins do swell.
  But what is worse no baudy mirth is here;
  (The wit of bottle-ale, and double beer)
  To make the wife of citizen protest,
  And country justice swear 'twas a good jest.
  Now, Sirs, you have the errors of his wit,
  Like, or dislike, at your own perils be't.

Footnote:
1. Wood Athen. Oxon. v. 1, p, 100.

                *        *        *        *        *




                          FRANCIS GOLDSMITH.


Was the son of Francis Goldsmith, of St. Giles in the Fields in
Middlesex, Esq; was educated under Dr. Nicholas Grey, in
Merchant-Taylor's School, became a gentleman commoner in
Pembroke-College in the beginning of 1629, was soon after translated
to St. John's College, and after he had taken a degree in arts, to
Grey's-Inn, where he studied the common law several years, but other
learning more[1]. Mr. Langbaine says, that he could recover no other
memoirs of this gentleman, but that he lived in the reign of King
Charles the First, and obliged the World with a translation of a play
out of Latin called, Sophompaneas, or the History of Joseph, with
Annotations, a Tragedy, printed 4to. Lond. 1640, and dedicated to the
Right Hon. Henry Lord Marquis of Dorchester. This Drama was written by
the admirable Hugo Grotius, published by him at Amsterdam 1635, and
dedicated to Vossius, Professor of History and Civil Arts in
Amsterdam. He stiles it a Tragedy, notwithstanding it ends
successfully, and quotes for his authority in so doing, AEschilus,
Euripides, and even Vossius, in his own Art of Poetry. Some make it a
Question, whether it be lawful to found a dramatic Poem on any sacred
subject, and some people of tender consciences have murmured against
this Play, and another of the same cast called Christ's Passion; but
let us hear the opinion of Vossius himself, prefixed to this Play. "I
am of opinion, (says he) it is better to chuse another argument than
sacred. For it agrees not with the majesty of sacred things, to be
made a play and a fable. It is also a work of very dangerous
consequence, to mingle human inventions with things sacred; because
the poet adds uncertainties of his own, sometimes falsities; which is
not only to play with holy things, but also to graft in men's minds
opinions, now and then false. These things have place, especially when
we bring in God, or Christ speaking, or treating of the mysteries of
religion. I will allow more where the history is taken out of the
sacred scriptures; but yet in the nature of the argument is civil, as
the action of David flying from his son Absolom; or of Joseph sold by
his brethren, advanced by Pharaoh to the government of Egypt, and that
dignity adored by, and made known unto his brethren. Of which argument
is Sophompaneas, written by Hugo Grotius, embassador from the Queen of
Sweden to the King of France; which tragedy, I suppose, may be set for
a pattern to him, that would handle an argument from the holy
scriptures." This is the opinion of Vossius, and with him all must
agree who admire the truly admirable Samson Agonistes of Milton.

As we have frequently mentioned Grotius, the short account of so great
a man, which is inserted in Langbaine, will not be unpleasing to the
reader.

"Hugo Grotius, says he, was an honour to his country: he was born in
the year 1583, and will be famous to posterity, in regard of those
many excellent pieces he has published. In some of his writings he
defended Arminianism, for which he suffered imprisonment in the castle
of Louverstein, in the year 1618; at which time his associate
Barnevelt lost his head on the same account. Afterwards Grotius
escaped out of prison, by means of Maria Reigersberg his wife, and
fled into Flanders; and thence into France, where he was kindly
received by Lewis XIII. He died at Rostock in Mecclebourg, Sept. 1,
1645. His life is written at large by Melchoir Adamus, in Latin."

As to our outhor's [sic] translation, which is in heroic verse, it is
much commended by verses from four of his friends.

He also translated Grotius's consolatory oration to his father, with
epitaphs; and also his Catechism into English verse.

Mr. Goldsmith died at Ashton in Northamptonshire, in September 1655,
and was buried there, leaving behind him an only daughter named
Katherine, afterwards the wife of Sir Henry Dacres.

Footnote:
1. Wood Athen. Oxon. v. 2. p. 194.

                *        *        *        *        *




                           JOHN CLEVELAND,


Was the son of a vicar of Hinkley, in Leicestershire, where he was
born, and received his grammatical education, under one Mr. Richard
Vines, a zealous Puritan. After he had compleated his school
education, he was sent to Christ's College in Cambridge, and in a
short time distinguishing himself for his knowledge of the Latin
tongue, and for Oratory, he was preferred to a fellowship in St.
John's-College, in the said university. He continued there about nine
years, and made during that time some successful attempts in poetry.
At length, upon the eruption of the civil war, he was the first who
espoused the Royal cause in verse, against the Presbyterians, who
persecuted him in their turn with more solid severity; for he was
ejected, as soon as the reins of power were in their hands. Dr. Fuller
bestows upon our author the most lavish panegyric: He was (says he) a
general artist, pure latinist, an exquisite orator, and what was his
masterpiece, an eminent poet. Dr. Fuller thus characterizes him, but
as Cleveland has not left remains behind him sufficient to convey to
posterity so high an idea of his merit, it may be supposed that the
Doctor spoke thus in his favour, meerly on account of their agreement
in political principles. He addressed an oration, says Winstanley, to
Charles I. who was so well pleased with it, that he sent for him, and
gave him his hand to kiss, with great expressions of kindness. When
Oliver Cromwell was in election to be member for the town of
Cambridge, as he engaged all his friends and interests to oppose it;
so when it was carried but by one vote, he cried out with much
passion, that, that single vote had ruined church and kingdom[1], such
fatal events did he presage from the success of Oliver. Mr. Cleveland
was no sooner forced from the College, by the prevalence of the
Parliament's interest, but he betook himself to the camp, and
particularly to Oxford the head quarters of it, as the most proper
sphere for his wit, learning and loyalty. Here he began a paper war
with the opposite party, and wrote some smart satires against the
Rebels, especially the Scots. His poem called the Mixt Assembly; his
character of a London Diurnal, and a Committee-man, are thought to
contain the true spirit of satire, and a just representation of the
general confusion of the times. From Oxford he went to the garrison of
Newark, where he acted as judge advocate till that garrison was
surrendered, and by an excellent temperature, of both, says
Winstanley, he was a just and prudent judge for the King, and a
faithful advocate for the Country.

Here he drew up a bantering answer and rejoinder to a Parliament
officer, who had written to him on account of one Hill, that had
deserted their side, and carried off with him to Newark, the sum of
133 l. and 8 d. We shall give part of Mr. Cleveland's answer to the
officer's first letter, by which an estimate may be formed of the
rest.

SIXTHLY BELOVED!

"It is so, that our brother and fellow-labourer in the gospel, is
start aside; then this may serve for an use of instruction, not to
trust in man, or in the son of man. Did not Demas leave Paul? Did not
Onesimus run from his master Philemon? Also this should teach us to
employ our talents, and not to lay them up in a napkin; had it been
done among the cavaliers, it had been just, then the Israelite had
spoiled the Egyptian; but for Simeon to plunder Levi, that--that, &c."

The garrison of Newark defended themselves with much courage and
resolution against the besiegers, and did not surrender but by the
King's special command, after he had thrown himself into the hands of
the Scots; which action of his Majesty's Cleveland passionately
resented, in his poem called, the King's Disguise: Upon some private
intelligence, three days before the King reached them, he foresaw,
that the army would be bribed to surrender him, in which he was not
mistaken. As soon as this event took place, Cleveland, who warmly
adhered to the regal party, was obliged to atone for his loyalty by
languishing in a jail, at Yarmouth, where he remained for some time
under all the disadvantages of poverty, and wretchedness: At last
being quite spent with the severity of his confinement, he addressed
Oliver Cromwell in a petition for liberty, in such pathetic and moving
terms, that his heart was melted with the prisoner's expostulation,
and he ordered him to be set at liberty. In this address, our author
did not in the least violate his loyalty, for he made no concessions
to Oliver, but only a representation of the hardships he suffered,
without acknowledging his sovereignty, tho' not without flattering his
power. Having thus obtained his liberty, he settled himself in
Gray's-Inn, and as he owed his releasement to the Protector, he
thought it his duty to be passive, and not at least to act against
him: But Cleveland did not long enjoy his state of unenvied ease, for
he was seized with an intermitting fever, and died the 29th of April,
1685.

[2]On the first of May he was buried, and his dear friend Dr. John
Pearson, afterwards lord bishop of Chester, preached his funeral
sermon, and gave this reason, why he declined commending the deceased,
"because such praising of him would not be adequate to the expectation
of the audience, seeing some who knew him must think it far below
him."--There were many who attempted to write elegies upon him, and
several performances of this kind, in Latin and English, are prefixed
to the edition of Cleveland's works, in verse and prose, printed in
8vo, in 1677, with his effigies prefixed.

From the verses of his called Smectymnuus, we shall give the following
specimen, in which the reader will see he did not much excel in
numbers.

  Smectymnuus! the goblin makes me start,
  I'th' name of Rabbi-Abraham, what art?
  Syriack? or Arabick? or Welsh? what skilt?
  Up all the brick-layers that Babel built?
  Some conjurer translate, and let me know it,
  'Till then 'tis fit for a West Saxon Poet.
  But do the brotherhood then play their prizes?
  Like murmurs in religion with disguises?
  Out-brave us with a name in rank and file,
  A name, which if 'twere trained would spread a mile;
  The Saints monopoly, the zealous cluster,
  Which like a porcupine presents a muster.

The following lines from the author's celebrated satire, entitled, the
Rebel-Scot, will yet more amply shew his turn for this species of
poetry.

    "Nature herself doth Scotchmen beasts confess,
  Making their country such a wilderness;
  A land that brings in question and suspence
  God's omnipresence; but that CHARLES came thence;
  But that MONTROSE and CRAWFORD'S loyal band
  Aton'd their sin, and christen'd half their land.--
  A land where one may pray with curst intent,
  O may they never suffer banishment!
  Had Cain been Scot, God would have chang'd his doom,
  Not forc'd him wander, but confin'd him home.--

    "Lord! what a goodly thing is want of shirts!
  How a Scotch stomach and no meat converts!
  They wanted food and rayment, so they took
  Religion for their temptress and their cook.--
  Hence then you proud impostors get you gone,
  You Picts in gentry and devotion.
  You scandal to the stock of verse, a race
  Able to bring the gibbet in disgrace.--

    "The Indian that heaven did forswear,
  Because he heard some Spaniards were there,
  Had he but known what Scots in Hell had been,
  He would, Erasmus-like, have hung between."

It is probable that this bitterness against our brethren of
North-Britain, chiefly sprang from Mr. Cleveland's resentment of the
Scots Army delivering up the King to the Parliament.

Footnotes:
[text mark missing]. Wood fasti Oxon. p. 274.
1. Winst. Lives of the Poets
2. Winst. Lives of the Poets.

                *        *        *        *        *




                         Dr. BARTEN HOLYDAY,


Son of Thomas Holyday, a taylor, was born at All Saints parish, within
the city of Oxford, about the latter end of Queen Elizabeth's reign;
he was entered early into Christ Church, in the time of Dr, Ravis, his
relation and patron, by whom he was chosen student, and having taken
his degrees of batchelor and master of arts, he became archdeacon of
Oxfordshire. In 1615, he entered into holy orders[1], and was in a
short time taken notice of as an eloquent or rather popular preacher,
by which he had two benefices confered on him both in the diocese of
Oxford.

In the year 1618 he went as chaplain to Sir Francis Stewart, when he
accompanied to Spain the Count Gundamore, after he had continued
several Years at our court as embassador, in which journey Holyday
behaved in a facetious and pleasant manner, which ingratiated him in
the favour of Gundamore[2].

Afterwards our author became chaplain to King Charles I. and succeeded
Dr. Bridges in the archdeaconry of Oxon, before the year 1626. In 1642
he was by virtue of the letters of the said King, created, with
several others, Dr. of divinity. When the rebellion broke out, he
sheltered himself near Oxford; but when he saw the royal party decline
so much that their cause was desperate, he began to tamper with the
prevailing power; and upon Oliver Cromwell's being raised to the
Protectorship, he so far coincided with the Usurper's interests, as to
undergo the examination of the Friers, in order to be inducted into
the rectory of Shilton in Berks, in the place of one Thomas Lawrence,
ejected on account of his being non compos mentis. For which act he
was much blamed and censured by his ancient friends the clergy, who
adhered to the King, and who rather chose to live in poverty during
the usurpation, than by a mean compliance with the times, betray the
interest of the church, and the cause of their exiled sovereign.

After the King's restoration he quitted the living he held under
Cromwell, and returned to Eisley near Oxon, to live on his
archdeaconry; and had he not acted a temporizing part it was said he
might have been raised to a see, or some rich deanery. His poetry
however, got him a name in those days, and he stood very fair for
preferment; and his philosophy discovered in his book de Anima, and
well languaged sermons, (says Wood) speaks him eminent in his
generation, and shew him to have traced the rough parts, as well as
the pleasant paths of poetry.

His works are,

1. Three Sermons, on the Passion, Resurrection, and Ascension of our
Saviour, Lond. 1626.

2. Two Sermons at Paul's Cross.

3. A Sermon on the Nature of Faith.

4. Motives to a godly Life, in Ten Sermons, Oxon, 1657.

5. Four Sermons against Disloyalty, Oxon, 1661.

Technogamia; or the Marriage of Arts, a Comedy, acted publicly in
Christ's Church Hall, with no great applause 1617. But the Wits of
those times being willing to distinguish themselves before the King,
were resolved, with leave, to act the same comedy at Woodstock,
whereupon (says Wood) the author making some foolish alterations in
it, it was accordingly acted on Sunday night the 26th of August 1621,
but it being too grave for the King, and too scholastic for the
Audience, or as some said, that the actors in order to remove their
timidity, had taken too much wine before, they began, his Majesty
after two acts offered several times to withdraw; at length being
persuaded by some of those who were near to him, to have patience till
it was ended, lest the young men should be discouraged, he sat it out,
tho' much against his will; upon which these Verses were made by a
certain scholar;

  At Christ Church Marriage done before the King
  Lest that those Mates should want an offering,
  The King himself did offer; what I pray?
  He offered twice or thrice to go away.

6. Survey of the World in Ten Books, a Poem, Oxon, 1661, which was
judged by Scholars to be an inconsiderable piece, and by some not to
be his. But being published just before his death, it was taken for a
posthumous work, which had been composed by him in his younger
Days[3].

He translated out of Latin into English the Satires of Persius, Oxon.
1616, in apologizing for the defects of this work, he plays upon the
word _translate_: To have committed no faults in this translation,
says he, would have been to translate myself, and put off man. Wood
calls this despicable pun, an elegant turn.

7. Satires of Juvenal illustrated with Notes, Oxon. folio 1673. At the
end of which is the Fourth Edition of Persius, before mentioned.

8. Odes of Horace, Lond. 1652; this Translation Wood says, is so near
that of Sir Thomas Hawkins, printed 1638, or that of Hawkins so near
this, that to whom to ascribe it he is in doubt.

Dr. Holyday, who according to the same author was highly conceited of
his own worth, especially in his younger Days, but who seems not to
have much reason for being so, died at a Village called Eisley on the
2d day of October 1661, and was three days after buried at the foot of
Bishop King's monument, under the south wall of the [a]isle joining on
the south side to the choir of Christ Church Cathedral, near the
remains of William Cartwright, and Jo. Gregory.

Footnotes:
1. Athen. Oxon. 259. Ed. 1721.
2. Wood ubi supra.
3. Athen. Oxon. p. 260.

                *        *        *        *        *




                            THOMAS NABBES.


A writer, in the reign of Charles I, whom we may reckon, says
Langbaine, among poets of the third rate, but who in strict justice
cannot rise above a fifth. He was patronized by Sir John Suckling. He
has seven plays and masks extant, besides other poems, which Mr.
Langbaine says, are entirely his own, and that he has had recourse to
no preceding author for assistance, and in this respect deserves
pardon if not applause from the critic. This he avers in his prologue
to Covent-Garden.

  He justifies that 'tis no borrowed strain,
  From the invention of another's brain.
  Nor did he steal the fancy. 'Tis the fame
  He first intended by the proper name.
  'Twas not a toil of years: few weeks brought forth,
  This rugged issue, might have been more worth,
  If he had lick'd it more. Nor doth he raise
  From the ambition of authentic plays,
  Matter or words to height, nor bundle up
  Conceits at taverns, where the wits do sup;
  His muse is solitary, and alone
  Doth practise her low speculation.

The reader from the above specimen may see what a poet he was; but as
he was in some degree of esteem in his time, we thought it improper to
omit him.

The following are his plays;

1. The Bride, a Comedy; acted in the Year 1638 at a private House in
Drury-Lane by their Majesty's Servants, printed 4to. 1640.

2. Covent Garden, a Comedy; acted in the Year 1632.

3. Hannibal and Scipio, an Historical Tragedy, acted in the year 1635.

4. Microcosmus, a Moral Masque, represented at a private house in
Salisbury Court, printed 1637.

5. Spring's Glory, Vindicating Love by Temperance, against the Tenet,
Sine Cerere & Baccho friget Venus; moralized in a Masque. With other
Poems, Epigrams, Elegies, and Epithalamiums of the author's, printed
in 4to, London, 1638. At the end of these poems is a piece called A
Presentation, intended for the Prince's Birth day, May 29, 1638,
annually celebrated.

6. Tottenham-Court, a Comedy, acted in the year 1633, at a private
house in Salisbury Court, printed in 4to. 1638.

7. Unfortunate Lovers, a Tragedy, never acted, printed in 4to. London,
1640.

Mr. Philips and Mr. Winstanley, according to their old custom, have
ascribed two other anonymous plays to our author: The Woman Hater
Arraigned, a Comedy, and Charles the First, a Tragedy, which Langbaine
has shewn not to be his.

                *        *        *        *        *




                            JAMES SHIRLEY,


A very voluminous dramatic author, was born in the city of London,
and: was descended from the Shirleys in Suffex or Warwickshire; he was
educated in grammar learning in Merchant Taylors school, and
transplanted thence to St. John's College, but in what station he
lived there, we don't find.

Dr. William Laud, afterwards archbishop of Canterbury, presiding over
that house, conceived a great affection for our author, and was
willing to cherish and improve those promising abilities early
discoverable in him. Mr. Shirley had always an inclination to enter
into holy orders, but, for a very particular reason, was discouraged
from attempting it by Dr. Laud; this reason to some may appear
whimsical and ridiculous, but has certainly much weight and force in
it.

Shirley had unfortunately a large mole upon his left cheek, which much
disfigured him, and gave him a very forbidding appearance. Laud
observed very justly, that an audience can scarce help conceiving a
prejudice against a man whose appearance shocks them, and were he to
preach with the tongue of an angel, that prejudice could never be
surmounted; besides the danger of women with child fixing their eyes
on him in the pulpit, and as the imagination of pregnant women has
strange influence on the unborn infants, it is somewhat cruel to
expose them to that danger, and by these means do them great injury,
as ones fortune in some measure depends upon exterior comeliness[1].
But Shirley, who was resolute to be in orders, left that university
soon after, went to Cambridge, there took the degrees in arts, and
became a minister near St. Alban's in Hertfordshire; but never having
examined the authority, and purity of the Protestant Church, and being
deluded by the sophistry of some Romish priests, he changed his
religion for theirs[2], quitted his living, and taught a grammar
school in the town of St. Alban's; which employment he finding an
intolerable drudgery, and being of a fickle unsteady temper, he
relinquished it, came up to London, and took lodgings in Gray's Inn,
where he commenced a writer for the stage with tolerable success. He
had the good fortune to gain several wealthy and beneficent patrons,
especially Henrietta Maria the Queen Consort, who made him her
servant.

When the civil war broke out, he was driven from London, and attended
upon his Royal Mistress, while his wife and family were left in a
deplorable condition behind him. Some time after that, when the Queen
of England was forced, by the fury of opposition, to sollicit succours
from France, in order to reinstate her husband; our author could no
longer wait upon her, and was received into the service of William
Cavendish, marquis of Newcastle, to take his fortune with him in the
wars. That noble spirited patron had given him such distinguishing
marks of his liberality, as Shirley thought himself happy in his
service, especially as by these means he could at the same time serve
the King.

Having mentioned Henrietta Maria, Shirley's Royal Mistress, the reader
will pardon a digression, which flows from tenderness, and is no more
than an expression of humanity. Her life-time in England was
embittered with a continued persecution; she lived to see the unhappy
death of her Lord; she witnessed her exiled sons, not only oppressed
with want, but obliged to quit France, at the remonstrance of
Cromwel's ambassador; she herself was loaded with poverty, and as
Voltaire observes, "was driven to the most calamitous situation that
ever poor lady was exposed to; she was obliged to sollicit Cromwel to
pay her an allowance, as Queen Dowager of England, which, no doubt,
she had a right to demand; but to demand it, nay worse, to be obliged
to beg it of a man who shed her Husband's blood upon a scaffold, is an
affliction, so excessively heightened, that few of the human race ever
bore one so severe."

After an active service under the marquis of Newcastle, and the King's
cause declining beyond hope of recovery, Shirley came again to London,
and in order to support himself and family, returned his former
occupation of teaching a school, in White Fryars, in which he was
pretty successful, and, as Wood says, 'educated many ingenious youths,
who, afterwards in various faculties, became eminent.' After the
Restoration, some of the plays our author had written in his leisure
moments, were represented with success, but there is no account
whether that giddy Monarch ever rewarded him for his loyalty, and
indeed it is more probable he did not, as he pursued the duke of
Lauderdale's maxim too closely, of making friends of his enemies, and
suffering his friends to shift for themselves, which infamous maxim
drew down dishonour on the administration and government of Charles
II. Wood further remarks, that Shirley much assisted his patron, the
duke of Newcastle, in the composition of his plays, which the duke
afterwards published, and was a drudge to John Ogilby in his
translation of Homer's Iliad and Odysseys, by writing annotations on
them. At length, after Mr. Shirley had lived to the age of 72, in
various conditions, having been much agitated in the world, he, with
his second wife, was driven by the dismal conflagration that happened
in London, Anno 1666, from his habitation in Fleet-street, to another
in St. Giles's in the Fields. Where, being overcome with miseries
occasioned by the fire, and bending beneath the weight of years, they
both died in one day, and their bodies were buried in one grave, in
the churchyard of St. Giles's, on October 29, 1666.

The works of this author

1. Changes, or Love in a Maze, a Comedy, acted at a private house in
Salisbury Court, 1632.

2. Contention for Honour and Riches, a Masque, 1633.

3. Honoria and Mammon, a Comedy; this Play is grounded on the
abovementioned Masque.

4. The Witty Fair One, a Comedy, acted in Drury Lane, 1633.

5. The Traitor, a Tragedy, acted by her Majesty's servants, 1635. This
Play was originally written by Mr. Rivers, a jesuit, but altered by
Shirley.

6. The Young Admiral, a Tragi-Comedy, acted at a private house in
Drury Lane, 1637.

7. The Example, a Tragi-Comedy, acted in Drury Lane by her Majesty's
Servants, 1637.

8. Hyde Park, a Comedy, acted in Drury Lane, 1637.

9. The Gamester, a Comedy, acted in Drury Lane, 1637; the plot is
taken from Queen Margate's Novels, and the Unlucky Citizen.

10. The Royal Master, a Tragi-Comedy, acted at the Theatre in Dublin,
1638.

11. The Duke's Mistress, a Tragi-Comedy, acted by her Majesty's
servants, 1638.

12. The Lady of Pleasure, a Comedy, acted at a private house in Drury
Lane, 1638.

13. The Maid's Revenge, a Tragedy, acted at a private house in Drury
Lane, with applause, 1639.

13 [sic]. Chabot, Admiral of France, a Tragedy, acted in Drury Lane,
1639; Mr. Chapman joined in this play; the story may be found in the
histories of the reign of Francis I.

15. The Ball, a Comedy, acted in Drury Lane, 1639; Mr. Chapman
likewise assisted in this Comedy.

16. Arcadia, a Dramatic Pastoral, performed at the Phaenix in Drury
Lane by the Queen's servants, 1649.

17. St. Patrick for Ireland, an Historical Play, 1640; for the plot
see Bedes's Life of St. Patrick, &c.

18. The Humorous Courtier, a Comedy, presented at a private house in
Drury Lane, 1640.

19. Love's Cruelty, a Tragedy, acted by the Queen's servants, 1640.

20. The Triumph of Beauty, a Masque, 1646; part of this piece seems to
be taken from Shakespear's Midsummer's Night's Dream, and Lucian's
Dialogues.

21. The Sisters, a Comedy, acted at a private house in Black Fryars,
1652.

22. The Brothers, a Comedy, 1652.

23. The Doubtful Heir, a Tragi-Comedy, acted at Black Fryars, 1652.

24. The Court Secret, a Tragi-Comedy, acted at a private house in
Black Fryars, 1653, dedicated to the Earl of Strafford; this play was
printed before it was acted.

25. The Impostor, a Tragi-Comedy, acted at a private house in Black
Fryars, 1653.

26. The Politician, a Tragedy, acted in Salisbury Court, 1655; part of
the plot is taken from the Countess of Montgomery's Urania.

27. The Grateful Servant, a Tragi-Comedy, acted at a private house in
Drury Lane, 1655.

28. The Gentleman of Venice, a Tragi-Comedy, acted at a private house
in Salisbury Court. Plot taken from Gayron's Notes on Don Quixote.

29. The Contention of Ajax and Ulysses for Achilles's Armour, a
Masque, 1658. It is taken from Ovid's Metamorphosis, b. xiii.

30. Cupid and Death, a Masque, 1658.

30 [sic]. Love Tricks, or the School of Compliments, a Comedy, acted by the
Duke of York's servants in little Lincoln's-Inn-Fields, 1667.

31. The Constant Maid, or Love will find out the Way, a Comedy, acted
at the New House called the Nursery, in Hatton Garden, 1667.

33. The Opportunity, a Comedy, acted at the private house in Drury
Lane by her Majesty's servants; part of this play is taken from
Shakespear's Measure for Measure.

34. The Wedding, a Comedy, acted at the Phaenix in Drury Lane.

35. A Bird in a Cage, a Comedy, acted in Drury Lane.

36. The Coronation, a Comedy. This play is printed with Beaumont's and
Fletcher's.

37. The Cardinal, a Tragedy, acted at a private house in Black Fryars.

38. The Triumph of Peace, a Masque, presented before the King and
Queen at Whitehall, 1633, by the Gentlemen of the Four Inns of Court.

We shall present the reader with a quotation taken from a comedy of
his, published in Dodsley's collection of old plays, called A Bird in
a Cage, p. 234. Jupiter is introduced thus speaking,

  Let the music of the spheres,
  Captivate their mortal ears;
  While Jove descends into this tower,
  In a golden streaming shower.
  To disguise him from the eye
  Of Juno, who is apt to pry
  Into my pleasures: I to day
  Have bid Ganymede go to play,
  And thus stole from Heaven to be
  Welcome on earth to Danae.
  And see where the princely maid,
  On her easy couch is laid,
  Fairer than the Queen of Loves,
  Drawn about with milky doves.

Footnotes:
1. Athen. Oxon. p 376
2. Wood, ubi supra.

                *        *        *        *        *




                          JAMES HOWEL, Esq;


Was born at Abernant in Carmarthenshire, the place where his father
was minister, in the year 1594[1]. Howel himself, in one of his
familiar epistles, says, that his ascendant was that hot constellation
of Cancer about the middle of the Dog Days. After he was educated in
grammar learning in the free school of Hereford, he was sent to Jesus
College in the beginning of 1610, took a degree in arts, and then
quitted the university. By the help of friends, and a small sum of
money his father assisted him with, he travelled for three years into
several countries, where he improved himself in the various languages;
some years after his return, the reputation of his parts was so great,
that he was made choice of to be sent into Spain, to recover of the
Spanish monarch a rich English ship, seized by the Viceroy of Sardinia
for his master's use, upon some pretence of prohibited goods being
found in it.

During his absence, he was elected Fellow of Jesus College, 1623, and
upon his return, was patronized by Emanuel, lord Scroop, Lord
President of the North, and by him was made his secretary[2]. As he
resided in York, he was, by the Mayor and Aldermen of Richmond, chose
a Burgess for their Corporation to sit in that Parliament, that began
at Westminster in the year 1627. Four years after, he went secretary
to Robert, earl of Leicester, ambassador extraordinary from England to
the King of Denmark, before whom he made several Latin speeches,
shewing the occasion of their embassy, viz. to condole the death of
Sophia, Queen Dowager of Denmark, Grandmother to Charles I. King of
England.

Our author enjoyed many beneficial employments, and at length, about
the beginning of the civil war, was made one of the clerks of the
council, but being extravagant in his temper, all the money he got was
not sufficient to preserve him from a Jail. When the King was forced
from the Parliament, and the Royal interest declined, Howel was
arrested; by order of a certain committee, who owed him no good-will,
and carried prisoner to the Fleet; and having now nothing to depend
upon but his wits, he was obliged to write and translate books for a
livelihood, which brought him in, says Wood, a comfortable
subsistance, during his stay there; he is the first person we have met
with, in the course of this work, who may be said to have made a trade
of authorship, having written no less than 49 books on different
subjects.

In the time of the rebellion, we find Howel tampering with the
prevailing power, and ready to have embraced their measures; for which
reason, at the reiteration, he was not contin[u]ed in his place of
clerk to the council, but was only made king's historiographer, being
the first in England, says Wood, who bore that title; and having no
very beneficial employment, he wrote books to the last.

He had a great knowledge in modern histories, especially in those of
the countries in which he had travelled, and he seems, by his letters,
to have been no contemptible politician: As to his poetry, it is
smoother, and more harmonious, than was very common with the bards of
his time.

As he introduced the trade of writing for bread, so he also is charged
with venal flattery, than which nothing can be more ignoble and base.
To praise a blockhead's wit because he is great, is too frequently
practised by authors, and deservedly draws down contempt upon them. He
who is favoured and patronized by a great man, at the expence of his
integrity and honour, has paid a dear price for the purchase, a
miserable exchange, patronage for virtue, dependance for freedom.

Our author died the beginning of November, 1666, and was buried on the
North side of the Temple church.

We shall not trouble the reader with an enumeration of all the
translations and prose works of this author; the occasion of his being
introduced here, is, his having written

Nuptials of Peleus and Thetis, consisting of a Masque and a Comedy,
[f]or the Great Royal Ball, acted in Paris six times by the King in
person, the Duke of Anjou, the Duke of York, with other Noblemen; also
by the Princess Royal, Henrietta Maria, Princess of Conti, &c. printed
in 4to. 1654, and addressed to the Marchioness of Dorchester. Besides
this piece, his Dodona's Grove, or Vocal Forest, is in the highest
reputation.

His entertaining letters, many of whom were written to the greatest
personages in England, and some in particular to Ben Johnson, were
first published in four volumes; but in 1737, the tenth edition of
them was published in one volume, which is also now become scarce.
They are interspersed with occasional verses; from one of these little
pieces we shall select the following specimen of this author's
poetical talent.

               On the Author's Valentine, Mrs. METCALF.

  Could I charm the queen of love,
  To lend a quill of her white dove;
  Or one of Cupid's pointed wings
  Dipt in the fair Caftalian Springs;
    Then would I write the all divine
    Perfections of my Valentine.

  As 'mongst, all flow'rs the Rose excells,
  As Amber 'mongst the fragrant'st smells,
  As 'mongst all minerals the Gold,
  As Marble 'mongst the finest mold,
  As Diamond 'mongst jewels bright
  As Cynthia 'mongst the lesser lights[3]:
    So 'mongst the Northern beauties shine,
    So far excels my Valentine.

  In Rome and Naples I did view
  Faces of celestial hue;
  Venetian dames I have seen many,
  (I only saw them, truck'd not any)
  Of Spanish beauties, Dutch and French,
  I have beheld the quintessence[3]:
    Yet saw I none that could out-shine,
    Or parallel my Valentine.

  Th' Italians they are coy and quaint.
  But they grosly daub and paint;
  The Spanish kind, and apt to please,
  But fav'ring of the same disease:
  Of Dutch and French some few are comely,
  The French are light, the Dutch are homely.
    Let Tagus, Po, the Loire and Rhine
    Then veil unto my Valentine.

Footnotes:
1. Langbaine's Lives of the Poets.
2. Athen. Oxon. p. 281. vol. ii.
3. Bad rhimes were uncommon with the poets of Howel's time.

                *        *        *        *        *




                         Sir RICHARD FANSHAW


Was the youngest, and tenth son of Sir Henry Fanshaw of Ware-park in
Hertfordshire; he was born in the year 1607, and was initiated in
learning by the famous Thomas Farnaby. He afterwards compleated his
studies in the university of Cambridge, and from thence went to travel
into foreign countries, by which means he became a very accomplished
gentleman. In 1635 he was patronized by King Charles I. on account of
his early and promising abilities; he took him into his service, and
appointed him resident at the court of Spain[1]. During his embassy
there, his chief business was, to demand reparation and punishment of
some free-booters, who had taken ships from the English, and to
endeavour the restoration of amity, trade and commerce.

When the civil war broke out, he returned to England, having
accomplished the purposes of his embassy abroad, and attached himself
with the utmost zeal to the Royal Standard; and during those
calamitous times was intrusted with many important matters of state.

In 1644, attending the court at Oxford, the degree of Doctor of Civil
Laws was conferred upon him[2], and the reputation of his parts every
day increasing, he was thought a proper person to be secretary to
Charles, Prince of Wales, whom he attended into the Western parts of
England, and from thence into the Isles of Scilly and Jersey.

In 1648 he was appointed treasurer of the navy, under the command of
Prince Rupert, in which office he continued till the year 1650, when
he was created a baronet by King Charles II. and sent envoy
extraordinary to the court of Spain. Being recalled thence into
Scotland, where the King then was, he served there in quality of
secretary of state, to the satisfaction of all parties,
notwithstanding he refused to take the covenant engagements, which
Charles II. forced by the importunity of the Presbyterians, entered
into, with a resolution to break them. In 1651 he was made prisoner at
the battle of Worcester and committed to close custody in London,
where he continued, 'till his confinement introduced a very dangerous
sickness; he then had liberty granted him, upon giving bail, to go for
the recovery of his health, into any place he should chuse, provided
he stirred not five miles from thence, without leave from the
Parliament.

In February, 1659, he repaired to the King at Breda, who knighted him
the April following. Upon his Majesty's reiteration, it was expected,
from his great services, and the regard the King had for him, that he
would have been made secretary of state, but at that period there were
so many people's merits to repay, and so great a clamour for
preferment, that Sir Richard was disappointed, but had the place of
master of requests conferred on him, a station, in those times, of
considerable profit and dignity.

On account of his being a good Latin scholar, he was also made a
secretary for that tongue[3]. In 1661, being one of the burgesses for
the university of Cambridge, he was sworn a privy counsellor for
Ireland, and having by his residence in foreign parts, qualified
himself for public employment, he was sent envoy extraordinary to
Portugal, with a dormant commission to the ambassador, which he was to
make use of as occasion should require. Shortly after, he was
appointed ambassador to that court, where he negotiated the marriage
between his master King Charles II. and the Infanta Donna Catharina,
daughter to King John VI. and towards the end of the same year he
returned to England. We are assured by Wood, that in the year 1662, he
was sent again ambassador to that court, and when he had finished his
commission, to the mutual satisfaction of Charles II. and Alphonso
King of Portugal, being recalled in 1663, he was sworn one of his
Majesty's Privy Council. In the beginning of the year 1644 he was sent
ambassador to Philip IV. King of Spain, and arrived February 29 at
Cadiz, where he met with a very extraordinary and unexpected
salutation, and was received with some circumstances of particular
esteem. It appears from one of Sir Richard's letters, that this
distinguishing respect was paid him, not only on his own, but on his
master's account; and in another of his letters he discovers the
secret why the Spaniard yielded him, contrary to his imperious proud
nature, so much honour, and that is, that he expected Tangier and
Jamaica to be restored to him by England, which occasioned his arrival
to be so impatiently longed for, and magnificently celebrated. During
his residence at this court King Philip died, September 17, 1665,
leaving his son Charles an infant, and his dominions under the regency
of his queen, Mary Anne, daughter of the emperor Ferdinand III. Sir
Richard taking the advantage of his minority, put the finishing hand
to a peace with Spain, which was sufficiently tired and weakened with
a 25 years war, for the recovery of Portugal, which had been
dismembered from the Spanish crown in 1640; the treaty of peace was
signed at Madrid December 6, 1665. About the 14th of January
following, his excellency took a journey into Portugal, where he staid
till towards the end of March; the design of his journey certainly was
to effect an accommodation between that crown and Spain, which however
was not produced till 1667, by the interposition of his Britannic
Majesty. Our author having finished his commission was preparing for
his return to England, when June 4, 1666, he was seized at Madrid with
a violent fever, which put an end to his valuable life, the 16th of
the same month, the very day he intended to set out for England: his
body being embalmed, it was conveyed by his lady, and all his
children, then living, by land to Calais, and so to London, whence
being carried to All Saints church in Hertford, it was deposited in
the vault of his father-in-law, Sir John Harrison. The Author of the
Short Account of his Life, prefixed to his letters, says, 'that he was
remarkable for his meekness, sincerity, humanity and piety, and also
was an able statesman and a great scholar, being in particular a
compleat master of several modern languages, especially the Spanish,
which he spoke and wrote with as much advantage, as if he had been a
native.' By his lady, eldest daughter of Sir John Harrison, he had six
sons, and eight daughters, whereof only one son and four daughters
survived him.

The following is an account of his works,

1. An English Translation in Rhyme, of the celebrated Italian
Pastoral, called Il Pastor Fido, or the Faithful Shepherd, written
originally by Battista Guarini, printed in London, 1644 in 4to. and
1664 8vo.

2. A Translation from English into Latin Verse, of the Faithful
Shepherders, a Pastoral, written originally by John Fletcher, Gent.
London, 1658.

3. In the octavo edition of the Faithful Shepherd, Anno 1664, are
inserted the following Poems of our author, viz. 1st, An Ode upon the
Occasion of his Majesty's Proclamation, 1630, commanding the Gentry to
reside upon their Estates in the Country. 2d, A Summary Discourse of
the Civil Wars of Rome, extracted from the best Latin Writers in Prose
and Verse. 3d, An English Translation of the Fourth Book of Virgil's
AEneid on the Loves of Dido and AEneas. 4th, Two Odes out of Horace,
relating to the Civil Wars of Rome, against covetous, rich Men.

4. He translated out of Portuguese into English, The Lusiad, or
Portugal's Historical Poem, written originally by Luis de Camoens,
London, 1655, &c. folio.

After his decease, namely, in 1671, were published these two
posthumous pieces of his in 4to, Querer per solo Querer, To Love only
for Love's sake, a Dramatic Romance, represented before the King and
Queen of Spain, and Fiestas de Aranjuez, Festivals at Aranjuez: both
written originally in Spanish, by Antonio de Mendoza, upon occasion of
celebrating the Birth-day of King Philip IV. in 1623, at Aranjuez;
they were translated by our author in 1654, during his confinement at
Taukerley-park in Yorkshire, which uneasy situation induced him to
write the following stanzas on this work, which are here inserted, as
a specimen of his versification.

  Time was, when I, a pilgrim of the seas,
  When I 'midst noise of camps, and courts disease,
  Purloin'd some hours to charm rude cares with verse,
  Which flame of faithful shepherd did rehearse.

  But now restrain'd from sea, from camp, from court,
  And by a tempest blown into a port;
  I raise my thoughts to muse on higher things,
  And eccho arms, and loves of Queens and Kings.

  Which Queens (despising crowns and Hymen's band)
  Would neither men obey, nor men command:
  Great pleasure from rough seas to see the shore
  Or from firm land to hear the billows roar.

We are told that he composed several other things remaining still in
manuscript, which he had not leisure to compleat; even some of the
printed pieces have not all the finishing so ingenious an author could
have bestowed upon them; for as the writer of his Life observes,
'being, for his loyalty and zeal to his Majesty's service, tossed from
place to place, and from country to country, during the unsettled
times of our anarchy, some of his Manuscripts falling into unskilful
hands, were printed and published without his knowledge, and before he
could give them the last finishing strokes.' But that was not the case
with his Translation of the Pastor Fido, which was published by
himself, and applauded by some of the best judges, particularly Sir
John Denham, who after censuring servile translators, thus goes on,

  A new and nobler way thou dost pursue
  To make translations and translators too.
  They but preserve the ashes, these the flame,
  True to his sense, but truer to his fame.

Footnotes:
1. Short Account of Sir Richard Fanshaw, prefixed to his Letters.
2. Wood, Fast. ed. 1721, vol. ii. col. 43, 41.
3. Wood, ubi supra.

                *        *        *        *        *




                            ABRAHAM COWLEY


Was the son of a Grocer, and born in London, in Fleet-street, near the
end of Chancery Lane, in the year 1618. His mother, by the interest of
her friends, procured him to be admitted a King's scholar in
Westminster school[1]; his early inclination to poetry was occasioned
by reading accidentally Spencer's Fairy Queen, which, as he himself
gives an account, 'used to lye in his mother's parlour, he knew not by
what accident, for she read no books but those of devotion; the
knights, giants, and monsters filled his imagination; he read the
whole over before he was 12 years old, and was made a poet, as
immediately as a child is made an eunuch.'

In the 16th year of his age, being still at Westminster school, he
published a collection of poems, under the title of Poetical Blossoms,
in which there are many things that bespeak a ripened genius, and a
wit, rather manly than puerile. Mr. Cowley himself has given us a
specimen in the latter end of an ode written when he was but 13 years
of age. 'The beginning of it, says he, is boyish, but of this part
which I here set down, if a very little were corrected, I should not
be much ashamed of it.' It is indeed so much superior to what might be
expected from one of his years, that we shall satisfy the reader's
curiosity by inserting it here.

                                 IX.

  This only grant me, that my means may lye,
  Too low for envy, for contempt too high:
      Some honour I would have;
  Not from great deeds, but good alone,
  The unknown are better than ill known,
      Rumour can ope the grave:
  Acquaintance I would have, but when 't depends
  Not on the number, but the choice of friends.

                                  X.

  Books should, not business, entertain the light
  And sleep, as undisturbed as death, the night:
      My house a cottage, more
  Than palace, and should fitting be
  For all my use, no luxury:
      My garden painted o'er
  With nature's hand, not art, and pleasures yield,
  Horace might envy in his Sabine Field.

                                 XI.

  Thus would I double my life's fading space,
  For he that runs it well, twice runs his race;
      And in this true delight,
  These unbought sports, that happy state,
  I could not fear; nor wish my fate;
      But boldly say, each night,
  To-morrow let my sun his beams display,
  Or in clouds hide them: I have lived to-day.

It is remarkable of Mr. Cowley, as he himself tells us, that he had
this defect in his memory, that his teachers could never bring him to
retain the ordinary rules of grammar, the want of which, however, he
abundantly supplied by an intimate acquaintance with the books
themselves, from whence those rules had been drawn. In 1636 he was
removed to Trinity College in Cambridge, being elected a scholar of
that house[2]. His exercises of all kinds were highly applauded, with
this peculiar praise, that they were fit, not only for the obscurity
of an academical life, but to have made their appearance on the true
theatre of the world; and there he laid the designs, and formed the
plans of most of the masculine, and excellent attempts he afterwards
happily finished. In 1638 he published his Love's Riddle, written at
the time of his being a scholar in Westminster school, and dedicated
by a copy of verses to Sir Kenelm Digby. He also wrote a Latin Comedy
entitled Naufragium Joculare, or the Merry Shipwreck. The first
occasion of his entering into business, was, an elegy he wrote on the
death of Mr. William Harvey, which introduced him to the acquaintance
of Mr. John Harvey, the brother of his deceased friend, from whom he
received many offices of kindness through the whole course of his
life[3]. In 1643, being then master of arts, he was, among many
others, ejected his college, and the university; whereupon, retiring
to Oxford, he settled in St. John's College, and that same year, under
the name of a scholar of Oxford, published a satire entitled the
Puritan and the Papist. His zeal in the Royal cause, engaged him in
the service of the King, and he was present in many of his Majesty's
journies and expeditions; by this means he gained an acquaintance and
familiarity with the personages of the court and of the gown, and
particularly had the entire friendship of my lord Falkland, one of the
principal secretaries of state.

During the heat of the civil war, he was settled in the family of the
earl of St. Alban's, and accompanied the Queen Mother, when she was
obliged to retire into France. He was absent from his native country,
says Wood, about ten years, during which time, he laboured in the
affairs of the Royal Family, and bore part of the distresses inflicted
upon the illustrious Exiles: for this purpose he took several
dangerous journies into Jersey, Scotland, Flanders, Holland, and
elsewhere, and was the principal instrument in maintaining a
correspondence between the King and his Royal Consort, whose letters
he cyphered and decyphered with his own hand.

His poem called the Mistress was published at London 1647, of which he
himself says, "That it was composed when he was very young. Poets
(says he) are scarce thought free men of their company, without paying
some duties and obliging themselves to be true to love. Sooner or
later they must all pass through that trial, like some Mahometan
monks, who are bound by their order once at least in their life, to
make a pilgrimage to Mecca. But we must not always make a judgment of
their manners from their writings of this kind, as the Romanists
uncharitably do of Beza for a few lascivious sonnets composed by him
in his youth. It is not in this sense that poetry is said to be a kind
of painting: It is not the picture of the poet, but of things, and
persons imagined by him. He may be in his practice and disposition a
philosopher, and yet sometimes speak with the softness of an amorous
Sappho. I would not be misunderstood, as if I affected so much gravity
as to be ashamed to be thought really in love. On the contrary, I
cannot have a good opinion of any man who is not at least capable of
being so."

What opinion Dr. Sprat had of Mr. Cowley's Mistress, appears by the
following passage extracted from his Life of Cowley. "If there needed
any excuse to be made that his love-verses took up so great a share in
his works, it may be alledged that they were composed when he was very
young; but it is a vain thing to make any kind of apology for that
sort of writing. If devout or virtuous men will superciliously forbid
the minds of the young to adorn those subjects about which they are
most conversant, they would put them out of all capacity of performing
graver matters, when they come to them: for the exercise of all men's
wit must be always proper for their age, and never too much above it,
and by practice and use in lighter arguments, they grow up at last to
excell in the most weighty. I am not therefore ashamed to commend Mr.
Cowley's Mistress. I only except one or two expressions, which I wish
I could have prevailed with those that had the right of the other
edition to have left out; but of all the rest, I dare boldly
pronounce, that never yet was written so much on a subject so
delicate, that can less offend the severest rules of morality. The
whole passion of love is intimately described by all its mighty train
of hopes, joys and disquiets. Besides this amorous tenderness, I know
not how in every copy there is something of more useful knowledge
gracefully insinuated; and every where there is something feigned to
inform the minds of wise men, as well as to move the hearts of young
men or women."

Our author's comedy, named the Guardian, he afterwards altered, and
published under the title of the Cutter of Coleman-Street. Langbaine
says, notwithstanding Mr. Cowley's modest opinion of this play, it was
acted not only at Cambridge, but several times afterwards privately,
during the prohibition of the stage, and after the King's return
publickly at Dublin; and always with applause. It was this probably
that put the author upon revising it; after which he permitted it to
appear publickly on the stage under a new title, at his royal highness
the Duke of York's theatre. It met with opposition at first from some
who envied the author's unshaken loyalty; but afterwards it was acted
with general applause, and was esteemed by the critics an excellent
comedy.

In the year 1656 it was judged proper by those on whom Mr. Cowley
depended, that he should come over into England, and under pretence of
privacy and retirement, give notice of the situation of affairs in
this nation. Upon his return he published a new edition of all his
poems, consisting of four parts, viz.

1. Miscellanies.

2. The Mistress; or several copies of love-verses.

3. Pindarique Odes, written in imitation of the stile and manner of
Pindar.

4. Davedeis, a sacred poem of the troubles of David in four books.

"Which, says Dr. Sprat, was written in so young an age, that if we
shall reflect on the vastness of the argument, and his manner of
handling it, he may seem like one of the miracles that he there
adorns; like a boy attempting Goliah. This perhaps, may be the
reason, that in some places, there may be more youthfulness and
redundance of fancy, than his riper judgement would have allowed. But
for the main of it I will affirm, that it is a better instance and
beginning of a divine poem, than ever I yet saw in any language. The
contrivance is perfectly ancient, which is certainly the true form of
an heroic poem, and such as was never yet done by any new devices of
modern wits. The subject was truly divine, even according to God's own
heart. The matters of his invention, all the treasures of knowledge
and histories of the bible. The model of it comprehended all the
learning of the East. The characters lofty and various; the numbers
firm and powerful; the digressions beautiful and proportionable. The
design, to submit mortal wit to heavenly truths. In all, there is an
admirable mixture of human virtues and passions with religious
raptures. The truth is, continues Dr. Sprat, methinks in other matters
his wit exceeded all other men's, but in his moral and divine works it
out-did itself; and no doubt it proceeded from this cause, that in the
lighter kinds of poetry he chiefly represented the humours and
affections of others; but in these he sat to himself, and drew the
figure of his own mind. We have the first book of the Davideis
translated out of English into very elegant Latin by Mr. Cowley
himself." Dr. Sprat says of his Latin poetry, "that he has expressed
to admiration all the numbers of verse and figures of poetry, that are
scattered up and down amongst the ancients; and that there is hardly
to be found in them any good fashion of speech, or colour of measure;
but he has comprehended it, and given instances of it, according as
his several arguments required either a majestic spirit, or
passionate, or pleasant. This he observes, is the more extraordinary,
in that it was never yet performed by any single poet of the ancient
Romans themselves."

The same author has told us, that the occasion of Mr. Cowley's falling
on the pindarique way of writing, was his accidentally meeting with
Pindar's works in a place where he had no other books to direct him.
Having thus considered at leisure the heighth of his invention, and
the majesty of his stile, he tried immediately to imitate it in
English, and he performed it, says the Dr. without the danger that
Horace presaged to the man that should attempt it. Two of our greatest
poets, after allowing Mr. Cowley to have been a successful imitator of
Pindar, yet find fault with his numbers. Mr. Dryden having told us,
that our author brought Pindaric verse as near perfection as possible
in so short a time, adds, "But if I may be allowed to speak my mind
modestly, and without injury to his sacred ashes, somewhat of the
purity of English, somewhat of more sweetness in the numbers, in a
word, somewhat of a finer turn and more lyrical verse is yet wanting;"
and Mr. Congreve having excepted against the irregularity of the
measure of the English Pindaric odes, yet observes, "that the beauty
of Mr. Cowley's verses are an attonement for the irregularity of his
stanzas; and tho' he did nor imitate Pindar in the strictness of his
numbers, he has very often happily copied him in the force of his
figures, and sublimity of his stile and sentiments."

Soon after his return to England, he was seized upon thro' mistake;
the search being intended after another gentleman of considerable note
in the King's party. The Republicans, who were sensible how much they
needed the assistance and coalition of good men, endeavoured sometimes
by promises, and sometimes by threatning, to bring our author over to
their interest; but all their attempts proving fruitless, he was
committed to a severe confinement, and with some difficulty at last
obtained his liberty, after giving a thousand pounds bail, which Dr.
Scarborough in a friendly manner took upon himself. Under these bonds
he continued till Cromwell's death, when he ventured back into France,
and there remained, as Dr. Sprat says, in the same situation as
before, till near the time of the King's return. This account is a
sufficient vindication of Mr. Cowley's unshaken loyalty, which some
called in question; and as this is a material circumstance in the life
of Cowley, we shall give an account of it in the words of the elegant
writer of his life just now mentioned, as it is impossible to set it
in a fairer, or more striking light than is already done by that
excellent prelate. "The cause of his loyalty being called in question,
he tells us, was a few lines in a preface to one of his books; the
objection, says he, I must not pass in silence, because it was the
only part of his life that was liable to misinterpretation, even by
the confession of those that envied his fame.

"In this case it were enough to alledge for him to men of moderate
minds, that what he there said was published before a book of poetry;
and so ought rather to be esteemed as a problem of his fancy and
invention, than as a real image of his judgement; but his defence in
this matter may be laid on a surer foundation. This is the true reason
to be given of his delivering that opinion: Upon his coming over he
found the state of the royal party very desperate. He perceived the
strength of their enemies so united, that till it should begin to
break within itself, all endeavours against it were like to prove
unsuccessful. On the other side he beheld their zeal for his Majesty's
cause to be still so active, that often hurried them into inevitable
ruin. He saw this with much grief; and tho' he approved their
constancy as much as any man living, yet he found their unreasonable
shewing it, did only disable themselves, and give their adversaries
great advantages of riches and strength by their defeats. He therefore
believed it would be a meritorious service to the King, if any man who
was known to have followed his interest, could insinuate into the
Usurper's minds, that men of his principles, were now willing to be
quiet, and could persuade the poor oppressed Royalists to conceal
their affections for better occasions. And as for his own particular,
he was a close prisoner when he writ that against which the exception
is made; so that he saw it was impos[s]ible for him to pursue the ends
for which he came hither, if he did not make some kind of declaration
of his peaceable intentions. This was then his opinon; and the success
of the thing seems to prove that it was not ill-grounded. For
certainly it was one of the greatest helps to the King's affairs about
the latter end of that tyranny, that many of his best friends
dissembled their counsels, and acted the same designs under the
disguises and names of other parties. The prelate concludes this
account with observing, that, that life must needs be very
unblameable, which had been tried in business of the highest
consequence, and practised in the hazardous secrets of courts and
cabinets, and yet there can nothing disgraceful be produced against
it, but only the error of one paragraph, and single metaphor."

About the year 1662, his two Books of Plants were published, to which
he added afterwards four more, and all these together, with his Latin
poems, were printed in London, 1678; his Books on Plants was written
during his residence in England, in the time of the usurpation, the
better to distinguish his real intention, by the study of physic, to
which he applied.

It appears by Wood's Fasti Oxon. that our poet was created Dr. of
Physic at Oxford, December 2, 1657, by virtue of a mandamus from the
then government. After the King's restoration, Mr. Cowley, being then
past the 4Oth year of his age, the greatest part of which had been
spent in a various and tempestuous condition, resolved to pass the
remainder of his life in a studious retirement: In a letter to one of
his friends, he talks of making a voyage to America, not from a view
of accumulating wealth, but there to chuse a habitation, and shut
himself up from the busy world for ever. This scheme was wildly
romantic, and discovered some degree of vanity, in the author; for Mr.
Cowley needed but retire a few miles out of town, and cease from
appearing abroad, and he might have been sufficiently secured against
the intrusion of company, nor was he of so much consequence as to be
forced from his retirement; but this visionary scheme could not be
carried into execution, by means of Mr. Cowley's want of money, for he
had never been much on the road of gain. Upon the settlement of the
peace of the nation, he obtained a competent estate, by the favour of
his principal patrons, the duke of Buckingham, and the earl of St.
Albans. Thus furnished for a retreat, he spent the last seven or eight
years of his life in his beloved obscurity, and possessed (says Sprat)
that solitude, which from his very childhood he so passionately
desired. This great poet, and worthy man, died at a house called the
Porch-house, towards the West end of the town of Chertsey in Surry,
July 28, 1667, in the 49th year of his age. His solitude, from the
very beginning, had never agreed so well with the constitution of his
body, as his mind: out of haste, to abandon the tumult of the city, he
had not prepared a healthful situation in the country, as he might
have done, had he been more deliberate in his choice; of this, he soon
began to find the inconvenience at Barn-elms, where he was afflicted
with a dangerous and lingring fever. Shortly after his removal to
Chertsey, he fell into another consuming disease: having languished
under this for some months, he seemed to be pretty well cured of its
ill symptoms, but in the heat of the summer, by staying too long
amongst his labourers in the meadows, he was taken with a violent
defluxion, and stoppage in his breast and throat; this he neglected,
as an ordinary cold, and refused to send for his usual physicians,
'till it was past all remedy, and so in the end, after a fortnight's
sickness, it proved mortal to him.

He was buried in Westminster Abbey, the 3d of August following, near
the ashes of Chaucer and Spenser. King Charles II. was pleased to
bestow upon him the best character, when, upon the news of his death,
his Majesty declared, that Mr. Cowley had not left a better man behind
him in England. A monument was erected to his memory in May 1675, by
George, duke of Buckingham, with a Latin inscription, written by Dr.
Sprat, afterwards lord bishop of Rochester.

Besides Mr. Cowley's works already mentioned, we have, by the fame
hand, A Proposition for the advancement of Experimental Philosophy. A
Discourse, by way of Vision, concerning the Government of Oliver
Cromwel, and several Discourses, by way of Essays, in Prose and Verse.
Mr. Cowley had designed a Discourse on Stile, and a Review of the
Principles of the Primitive Christian Church, but was prevented by
death. In Mr. Dryden's Miscellany Poems, we find a poem on the Civil
War, said to be written by our author, but not extant in any edition
of his works: Dr. Sprat mentions, as very excellent in their kind, Mr.
Cowley's Letters to his private friends, none of which were published.
As a poet, Mr. Cowley has had tribute paid him from the greatest names
in all knowledge, Dryden, Addison, Sir John Denham, and Pope. He is
blamed for a redundance of wit, and roughness of verification, but is
allowed to have possessed a fine understanding, great reading, and a
variety of genius. Let us see how Mr. Addison characterizes him in his
Account of the great English Poets.

  Great Cowley then (a mighty genius) wrote,
  O'errun with wit, and lavish of his thought;
  His turns too closely on the readers press,
  He more had pleased us, had he pleased us less:
  One glittering thought no sooner strikes our eyes,
  With silent wonder, but new wonders rise.
  As in the milky way, a shining white
  O'erflows the heavens with one continued light;
  That not a single star can shew his rays,
  Whilst jointly all promote the common blaze.
  Pardon, great poet, that I dare to name,
  Th' uncumber'd beauties of thy verse with blame;
  Thy fault is only wit in its' excess,
  But wit like thine, in any shape will please.

In his public capacity, he preserved an inviolable honour and loyalty,
and exerted great activity, with discernment: in private life, he was
easy of access, gentle, polite, and modest; none but his intimate
friends ever discovered, by his discourse, that he was a great poet;
he was generous in his disposition, temperate in his life, devout and
pious in his religion, a warm friend, and a social companion. Such is
the character of the great Mr. Cowley, who deserves the highest
gratitude from posterity, as well for his public as private conduct.
He never prostituted his muse to the purposes of lewdness and folly,
and it is with pleasure we can except him from the general, and too
just, charge brought against the poets, That they have abilities to do
the greatest service, and by misdirecting them, too frequently fawn
the harlot face of loose indulgence, and by dressing up pleasure in an
elegant attire, procure votaries to her altar, who pay too dear for
gazing at the shewy phantom by loss of their virtue. It is no
compliment to the taste of the present age, that the works of Mr.
Cowley are falling into disesteem; they certainly contain more wit,
and good sense, than the works of many other poets, whom it is now
fashionable to read; that kind of poetry, which is known by the name
of Light, he succeeds beyond any of his cotemporaries, or successors;
no love verses, in our language, have so much true wit, and expressive
tenderness, as Cowley's Mistress, which is indeed perfect in its kind.
What Mr. Addison observes, is certainly true, 'He more had pleased us,
had he pleased us less.' He had a soul too full, an imagination too
fertile to be restrained, and because he has more wit than any other
poet, an ordinary reader is somehow disposed to think he had less. In
the particular of wit, none but Shakespear ever exceeded Cowley, and
he was certainly as cultivated a scholar, as a great natural genius.
In that kind of poetry which is grave, and demands extensive thinking,
no poet has a right to be compared with Cowley: Pope and Dryden, who
are as remarkable for a force of thinking, as elegance of poetry, are
yet inferior to him; there are more ideas in one of Cowley's pindaric
odes, than in any piece of equal length by those two great genius's
(St. Caecilia's ode excepted) and his pindaric odes being now
neglected, can proceed from no other cause, than that they demand too
much attention for a common reader, and contain sentiments so
sublimely noble, as not to be comprehended by a vulgar mind; but to
those who think, and are accustomed to contemplation, they appear
great and ravishing. In order to illustrate this, we shall quote
specimens in both kinds of poetry; the first taken from his Mistress
called Beauty, the other is a Hymn to Light, both of which, are so
excellent in their kind, that whoever reads them without rapture, may
be well assured, that he has no poetry in his soul, and is insensible
to the flow of numbers, and the charms of sense.


                               BEAUTY.

                                  I.

      Beauty, thou wild fantastic ape,
  Who dost in ev'ry country change thy shape!
  Here black, there brown, here tawny, and there white;
  Thou flatt'rer which compli'st with every sight!
      Thou Babel which confound'st the eye
  With unintelligible variety!
      Who hast no certain what nor where,
  But vary'st still, and dost thy self declare
  Inconstant, as thy she-professors are.

                                 II.

      Beauty, love's scene and masquerade,
  So gay by well-plac'd lights, and distance made;
  False coin, and which th' impostor cheats us still;
  The stamp and colour good, but metal ill!
      Which light, or base, we find when we
  Weigh by enjoyment and examine thee!
      For though thy being be but show,
  'Tis chiefly night which men to thee allow:
  And chuse t'enjoy thee, when thou least art thou.

                                 III.

      Beauty, thou active, passive ill!
  Which dy'st thy self as fast as thou dost kill!
  Thou Tulip, who thy stock in paint dost waste,
  Neither for physic good, nor smell, nor taste.
      Beauty, whose flames but meteors are,
  Short-liv'd and low, though thou would'st seem a star,
      Who dar'st not thine own home descry,
  Pretending to dwell richly in the eye,
  When thou, alas, dost in the fancy lye.

                                 IV.

      Beauty, whose conquests still are made
  O'er hearts by cowards kept, or else betray'd;
  Weak victor! who thy self destroy'd must be
  When sickness, storms, or time besieges thee!
      Thou unwholesome thaw to frozen age!
  Thou strong wine, which youths fever dost enrage,
      Thou tyrant which leav'st no man free!
  Thou subtle thief, from whom nought safe can be!
  Thou murth'rer which hast kill'd, and devil which would damn me.


                            HYMN to LIGHT.

                                  I.

  First born of Chaos, who so far didst come,
      From the old negro's darksome womb!
      Which when it saw the lovely child,
  The melancholly mass put on kind looks and smiled.

                                 II.

  Thou tide of glory, which no rest dost know,
      But ever ebb, and ever flow!
      Thou golden shower of a true Jove!
  Who does in thee descend, and Heaven to earth make love!

                                 III.

  Hail active nature's watchful life, and health!
      Her joy, her ornament and wealth!
      Hail to thy husband heat, and thee!
  Thou the world's beauteous bride, the lusty bridegroom he!

                                 IV.

  Say from what golden quivers of the sky,
      Do all thy winged arrows fly?
      Swiftness and power by birth are thine,
  From thy great fire they came, thy fire the word divine.

                                  V.

  'Tis I believe this archery to shew
      That so much cost in colours thou,
      And skill in painting dost bestow,
  Upon thy ancient arms, the gaudy heav'nly bow.

                                 VI.

  Swift as light, thoughts their empty career run,
      Thy race is finish'd, when begun;
      Let a Post-Angel start with thee,
  And thou the goal of earth shall reach as soon as he.

                                 VII.

  Thou in the moon's bright chariot proud and gay,
      Dost thy bright wood of stars survey;
      And all the year doth with thee bring
  O thousand flowry lights, thine own nocturnal spring.

                                VIII.

  Thou Scythian-like dost round thy lands above
      The sun's gilt tent for ever move,
      And still as thou in pomp dost go,
  The shining pageants of the world attend thy show.

                                 IX.

  Nor amidst all these triumphs dost thou scorn
      The humble Glow-Worms to adorn,
      And with those living spangles gild,
  (O greatness without pride!) the blushes of the Field.

                                  X.

  Night, and her ugly subjects thou dost fright,
      And sleep, the lazy Owl of night;
      Asham'd and fearful to appear,
  They skreen their horrid shapes, with the black hemisphere.

                                 XI.

  With 'em there hastes, and wildly takes th' alarm,
      Of painted dreams, a busy swarm,
      At the first opening of thine eye,
  The various clusters break, the antick atoms fly.

                                 XII.

  The guilty serpents, and obscener beasts,
      Creep conscious to their secret rests:
      Nature to thee doth reverence pay,
  Ill omens, and ill sights removes out of thy way.

                                XIII.

  At thy appearance, grief itself is said,
      To shake his wings, and rouze his head;
      And cloudy care has often took
  A gentle beamy smile, reflected from thy look.

                                 XIV.

  At thy appearance, fear itself grows bold;
      Thy sun-shine melts away his cold:
      Encourag'd at the sight of thee,
  To the cheek colour comes, and firmness to the knee.

                                 XV.

  Even lust, the master of a harden'd face,
      Blushes if thou be'st in the place,
      To darkness' curtains he retires,
  In sympathizing nights he rolls his smoaky fires.

                                 XVI.

  When, goddess, thou lift'st up thy waken'd head,
      Out of the morning's purple bed,
      Thy choir of birds about thee play,
  And all the joyful world salutes the rising day.

                                XVII.

  The ghosts, and monster spirits, that did presume
      A body's priv'lege to assume,
      Vanish again invisibly,
  And bodies gain again their visibility.

                                XVIII.

  All the world's bravery that delights our eyes,
      Is but thy sev'ral liveries,
      Thou the rich dye on them bestow'st,
  Thy nimble pencil paints this landskip as thou go'st.

                                 XIX.

  A crimson garment in the rose thou wear'st;
      A crown of studded gold thou bear'st,
      The virgin lillies in their white,
  Are clad but with the lawn of almost naked light.

                                 XX.

  The Violet, spring's little infant, stands,
      Girt in thy purple swadling-bands:
      On the fair Tulip thou dost dote;
  Thou cloath'st it in a gay and party-colour'd coat.

                                 XXI.

  With flame condens'd thou dost the jewels fix,
      And solid colours in it mix:
      Flora herself, envies to see
  Flowers fairer than her own, and durable as she.

                                XXII.

  Ah, goddess! would thou could'st thy hand with-hold,
      And be less liberal to gold;
      Didst thou less value to it give,
  Of how much care (alas) might'st thou poor man relieve!

                                XXIII.

  To me the sun is more delightful far,
      And all fair days much fairer are;
      But few, ah wondrous few there be,
  Who do not Gold prefer, O goddess, ev'n to thee.

                                XXIV.

  Thro' the soft ways of Heav'n, and air, and sea,
      Which open all their pores to thee,
      Like a clear river thou dost glide,
  And with thy living stream through the close channels slide.

                                 XXV.

  But where firm bodies thy free course oppose,
      Gently thy source the land overflows;
      Takes there possession, and does make,
  Of colours mingled light, a thick and standing lake.

                                XXVI.

  But the vast ocean of unbounded day
      In th'Empyraean heav'n does stay;
      Thy rivers, lakes, and springs below,
  From thence took first their rise, thither at last must flow.

Footnotes:
1. Wood's Fasti Oxon, vol. ii. col. 120.
2. Essay on himself.
3. Sprat's Account of Cowley.

                *        *        *        *        *




                        Sir WILLIAM DAVENANT.


Few poets have been subjected to more various turns of fortune, than
the gentleman whose memoirs we are now about to relate. He was amongst
the first who refined our poetry, and did more for the interest of the
drama, than any who ever wrote for the stage. He lived in times of
general confusion, and was no unactive member of the state, when its
necessities demanded his assistance; and when, with the restoration,
politeness and genius began to revive, he applied himself to the
promotion of these rational pleasures, which are fit to entertain a
cultivated people. This great man was son of one Mr. John Davenant, a
citizen of Oxford, and was born in the month of February, 1605; all
the biographers of our poet have observed, that his father was a man
of a grave disposition, and a gloomy turn of mind, which his son did
not inherit from him, for he was as remarkably volatile, as his father
was saturnine. The same biographers have celebrated our author's
mother as very handsome, whose charms had the power of attracting the
admiration of Shakespear, the highest compliment which ever was paid
to beauty. As Mr. Davenant, our poet's father, kept a tavern,
Shakespear, in his journies to Warwickshire, spent some time there,
influenced, as many believe, by the engaging qualities of the handsome
landlady. This circumstance has given rise to a conjecture, that
Davenant was really the son of Shakespear, as well naturally as
poetically, by an unlawful intrigue, between his mother and that great
man; that this allegation is founded upon probability, no reader can
believe, for we have such accounts of the amiable temper, and moral
qualities of Shakespear, that we cannot suppose him to have been
guilty of such an act of treachery, as violating the marriage honours;
and however he might have been delighted with the conversation, or
charmed with the person of Mrs. Davenant, yet as adultery was not then
the fashionable vice, it would be injurious to his memory, so much as
to suppose him guilty.

Our author received the first rudiments of polite learning from Mr.
Edward Sylvester, who kept a grammar school in the parish of All
Saints in Oxford. In the year 1624, the same in which his father was
Mayor of the city, he was entered a member of the university of
Oxford, in Lincoln's-Inn College, under the tuition of Mr. Daniel
Hough, but the Oxford antiquary is of opinion, he did not long remain
there, as his mind was too much addicted to gaiety, to bear the
austerities of an academical life, and being encouraged by some
gentlemen, who admired the vivacity of his genius, he repaired to
court, in hopes of making his fortune in that pleasing, but dangerous
element. He became first page to Frances, duchess of Richmond, a lady
much celebrated in those days, as well for her beauty, as the
influence she had at court, and her extraordinary taste for grandeur,
which excited her to keep a kind of private court of her own, which,
in our more fashionable aera, is known by the name of Drums, Routs, and
Hurricanes. Sir William afterwards removed into the family of Sir Fulk
Greville, lord Brooke, who being himself a man of taste and erudition,
gave the most encouraging marks of esteem to our rising bard. This
worthy nobleman being brought to an immature fate, by the cruel hands
of an assassin, 1628, Davenant was left without a patron, though not
in very indigent circumstances, his reputation having increased,
during the time he was in his lordship's service: the year ensuing the
death of his patron, he produced his first play to the world, called
Albovino, King of the Lombards, which met with a very general, and
warm reception, and to which some very honourable recommendations were
prefixed, when it was printed, in several copies of verses, by men of
eminence, amongst whom, were, Sir Henry Blount, Edward Hyde,
afterwards earl of Clarendon, and the honourable Henry Howard. Our
author spent the next eight years of his life in a constant attendance
upon court, where he was highly caressed by the most shining
characters of the times, particularly by the earl of Dorset, Edward
Hyde, and Lord Treasurer Weston: during these gay moments, spent in
the court amusements, an unlucky accident happened to our author,
which not a little deformed his face, which, from nature, was very
handsome. Wood has affirmed, that this accident arose from libidinous
dalliance with a handsome black girl in Axe-yard, Westminster. The
plain fact is this, Davenant was of an amorous complexion, and was so
unlucky as to carry the marks of his regular gallantries in the
depression of his nose; this exposed him to the pleasant raillery of
cotemporary wits, which very little affected him, and to shew that he
was undisturbed by their merriment, he wrote a burlesque copy of
verses upon himself. This accident happened pretty early in his life,
since it gave occasion to the following stanzas in Sir John Suckling's
Sessions of the Poets, which we have transcribed from a correct copy
of Suckling's works.

  Will Davenant ashamed of a foolish mischance,
  That he had got lately travelling in France,
  Modestly hop'd the handsomness of his muse,
  Might any deformity about him excuse.

  Surely the company had been content,
  If they cou'd have found any precedent,
  But in all their records in verse, or prose,
  There was none of a laureat, who wanted a nose.

Suckling here differs from the Oxford historian, in saying that Sir
William's disorder was contracted in France, but as Wood is the
highest authority, it is more reasonable to embrace his observation,
and probably, Suckling only mentioned France, in order that it might
rhime with mischance.

Some time after this, Davenant was rallied by another hand, on account
of this accident, as if it had been a jest that could never die; but
what is more extraordinary, is, that Sir William himself could not
forget the authoress of this misfortune, but has introduced her in his
Gondibert, and, in the opinion of some critics, very improperly. He
brings two friends, Ulfinore the elder, and Goltho the younger, on a
journey to the court of Gondibert, but in this passage to shew, as he
would insinuate the extream frailty of youth, they were arrested by a
very unexpected accident, notwithstanding the wife councils, which
Ulfinore had just received from his father[1]. The lines which have an
immediate reference to this fair enchantress, are too curious to be
here omitted.

                                  I.

  The black-ey'd beauty did her pride display,
  Thro' a large window, and in jewels shone,
  As if to please the world, weeping for day,
  Night had put all her starry jewels on.

                                 II.

  This, beauty gaz'd on both, and Ulfinore
  Hung down his head, but yet did lift his eyes
  As if he fain would see a little more,
  For much, tho' bashful, he did beauty prize.

                              III [sic].

  Goltho did like a blushless statue stare,
  Boldly her practis'd boldness did outlook;
  And even for fear she would mistrust her snare,
  Was ready to cry out, that he was took.

                                 IV.

  She, with a wicked woman's prosp'rous art,
  A seeming modesty, the window clos'd;
  Wisely delay'd his eyes, since of his heart
  She thought she had sufficiently dispos'd.

                                  V.

  Nicely as bridegroom's was her chamber drest,
  Her bed as brides, and richer than a throne;
  And sweeter seem'd than the Circania's nest.
  Though built in Eastern groves of Cinnamon.

                                 VI.

  The price of princes pleasure, who her love,
  (Tho'! but false were) at rates so costly bought,
  The wealth of many, but many hourly prove
  Spoils to some one, by whom herself is caught.

                                 VII.

  She sway'd by sinful beauty's destiny,
  Finds her tyrannic power must now expire,
  Who meant to kindle Goltho in her eye,
  But to her breast has brought the raging fire.

                              IX [sic].

  Yet even in simple love she uses art,
  Tho' weepings are from looser eyes, but leaks;
  Yet eldest lovers scarce would doubt her heart,
  So well she weeps, as she to Goltho speaks.

During our author's attendance at court, he wrote several plays, and
employed his time in framing masques, which were acted by the
principal nobility of both sexes; the Queen herself condescended to
take a share in one of them, which gave very great offence to the
scrupulous moralists, which sprung up in those days; the particular
account of this dramatic piece we shall give in the conclusion of his
life, and now proceed in enumerating the incidents of it.

Upon the death of Ben Johnson, which happened in the year 1637, our
poet succeeded to his laurel, notwithstanding the violent opposition
of his competitor Thomas May, who was so extremely affected with his
disappointment, though he had been a zealous courtier, yet from
resentment to the Queen, by whose interest Davenant was preferred, he
commenced an enemy to the King's party, and became both an advocate
and historian for the Parliament.

As soon as the civil war broke out, Mr. Davenant had an early share in
them and demonstrated his loyalty by speaking and acting for the King.
He was accused by the Parliament for being embarked in a design in May
1641, of seducing the army from their adherence to the parliamentary
authority, and bringing it again under the subjection of the King, and
defence of his person. In this scheme many of Sir William's friends
were engaged, viz. Mr. Henry Piercy, afterwards lord Piercy, Mr.
Goring, Mr. Jermyn, Mr. Ashburnham, Sir John Suckling, and others:
most of these persons, upon their design being discovered, placed
their security in flight, and Mr. Davenant amongst the rest; but a
proclamation being published for apprehending him, he was stopped at
Feversham, sent up to town, and put into the custody of a sergeant at
arms[2]. In the month of July following, our author was bailed, and
not long after finding it necessary, on account of the violence of the
times, to withdraw to France, he had the misfortune to be seized again
in Kent by the Mayor of Canterbury; how he escaped the present danger,
none of his biographers have related, but it appears that he did not,
upon this occasion, suffer long confinement; he at last retired beyond
sea, where he continued for some time, but the Queen sending over a
considerable quantity of military stores, for the use of the earl of
Newcastle's army, Mr. Davenant returned again to England, offered his
service to that noble peer, who was his old friend and patron, and by
him made lieutenant-general of his ordnance: this promotion gave
offence to many, who were his rivals in his lordship's esteem: they
remonstrated, that Sir William Davenant, being a poet, was, for that
very reason, unqualified for a place of so much trust, and which
demanded one of a solid, and less volatile turn of mind, than the sons
of Parnassus generally are. In this complaint they paid but an
indifferent compliment to the General himself, who was a poet, and had
written, and published several plays. That Davenant behaved well in
his military capacity is very probable, since, in the month of
September, 1643, he received the honour of knighthood from the King,
at the siege of Gloucester, an acknowledgment of his bravery, and
signal services, which bestowed at a time when a strict scrutiny was
made concerning the merit of officers, puts it beyond doubt, that
Davenant, in his martial character, was as deserving as in his
poetical. During these severe contentions, and notwithstanding his
public character, our author's muse sometimes raised her voice, in the
composition of several plays, of which we shall give some account when
we enumerate his dramatic performances. History is silent as to the
means which induced Davenant to quit the Northern army, but as soon as
the King's affairs so far declined, as to afford no hopes of a
revival, he judged it necessary to retire into France, where he was
extremely well received by the Queen, into whose confidence he had the
honour to be taken, and was intrusted with the negotiation of matters
of the highest importance, in the summer of the year 1646. Before this
time Sir William had embraced the popish religion, which circumstance
might so far ingratiate him with the queen, as to trust him with the
most important concerns. Lord Clarendon, who had a particular esteem
for him, has given a full account of this affair, though not much to
his advantage, but yet with all the tenderness due to Sir William's
good intentions, and of that long and intimate acquaintance that had
subsisted between them; which is the more worthy the reader's notice,
as it has entirely escaped the observation of all those, who have
undertaken to write this gentleman's Memoirs, though the most
remarkable passage in his whole life.

The King, in retiring to the Scots, had followed the advice of the
French ambassador, who had promised on their behalf, if not more than
he had authority to do, at least, more than they were inclined to
perform; to justify, however, his conduct at home, he was inclined to
throw the weight, in some measure, upon the King, and with this view,
he, by an express, informed cardinal Mazarine, that his Majesty was
too reserved in giving the Parliament satisfaction, and therefore
desired that some person might be sent over, who had a sufficient
degree of credit with the English Monarch, to persuade him to such
compliances, as were necessary for his interest. 'The Queen, says the
noble historian, who was never advised by those, who either
understood, or valued her Husband's interest, consulted those about
her, and sent Sir William Davenant, an honest man, and a witty, but in
all respects unequal to such a trust, with a letter of credit to the
King, who knew the person well enough under another character than was
likely to give him much credit upon the argument, with which he was
entrusted, although the Queen had likewise otherwise declared her
opinion to his Majesty, that he should part with the church for his
peace and security.' Sir William had, by the countenance of the French
ambassador, easy admission to the King, who heard patiently all he had
to say, and answered him in a manner, which demonstrated that he was
not pleased with the advice. When he found his Majesty unsatisfied,
and not disposed to consent to what was earnestly desired by those by
whom he had been sent, who undervalued all those scruples of
conscience, with which his Majesty was so strongly possessed, he took
upon himself the liberty of offering some reasons to the king, to
induce him to yield to what was proposed, and among other things said,
it was the opinion and advice of all his friends; his Majesty asked,
what friends? to which Davenant replied, lord Jermyn, and lord
Colepepper; the King upon this observed, that lord Jermyn did not
understand any thing of the church, and that Colepepper was of no
religion; but, says his Majesty, what is the opinion of the Chancellor
of the Exchequer? to which Davenant answered, he did not know, that he
was not there, and had deserted the Prince, and thereupon mentioned
the Queen's displeasure against the Chancellor; to which the King
said, 'The Chancellor was an honest man, and would never desert him
nor the Prince, nor the Church; and that he was sorry he was not with
his son, but that his wife was mistaken.'

Davenant then offering some reasons of his own, in which he treated
the church with indignity, his Majesty was so transported with anger,
that he gave him a sharper rebuke than he usually gave to any other
man, and forbad him again, ever to presume to come into his presence;
upon which poor Davenant was deeply affected, and returned into France
to give an account of his ill success to those who sent him.

Upon Davenant's return to Paris, he associated with a set of people,
who endeavoured to alleviate the distresses of exile by some kind of
amusement. The diversion, which Sir William chose was of the literary
sort, and having long indulged an inclination of writing an heroic
poem, and having there much leisure, and some encouragement, he was
induced to undertake one of a new kind; the two first books of which
he finished at the Louvre, where he lived with his old friend Lord
Jermyn; and these with a preface, addressed to Mr. Hobbs, his answer,
and some commendatory poems, were published in England; of which we
shall give some further account in our animadversions upon Gondibert.

While he employed himself in the service of the muses, Henrietta
Maria, the queen dowager of England whose particular favourite he was
found out business for him of another nature. She had heard that vast
improvements might be made in the loyal colony of Virginia, in case
proper artificers were sent there; and there being many of these in
France who were destitute of employment, she encouraged Sir William to
collect these artificers together, who accordingly embarked with his
little colony at one of the ports in Normandy; but in this expedition
he was likewise unfortunate; for before the vessel was clear of the
French coast, she was met by one of the Parliament ships of war, and
carried into the Isle of Wight, where our disappointed projector was
sent close prisoner to Cowes Castle, and there had leisure enough, and
what is more extraordinary, wanted not inclination to resume his
heroic poem, and having written about half the third book, in a very
gloomy prison, he thought proper to stop short again, finding himself,
as he imagined under the very shadow of death. Upon this occasion it
is reported of Davenant, that he wrote a letter to Hobbes, in which he
gives some account of the progress he made in the third book of
Gondibert, and offers some criticisms upon the nature of that kind of
poetry; but why, says he, should I trouble you or myself, with these
thoughts, when I am pretty certain I shall be hanged next week. This
gaiety of temper in Davenant, while he was in the most deplorable
circumstances of distress, carries something in it very singular, and
perhaps could proceed from no other cause but conscious innocence; for
he appears to have been an inoffensive good natured man. He was
conveyed from the Isle of Wight to the Tower of London, and for some
time his life was in the utmost hazard; nor is it quite certain by
what means he was preserved from falling a sacrifice to the prevailing
fury. Some conjecture that two aldermen of York, to whom he had been
kind when they were prisoners, interposed their influence for him;
others more reasonably conjecture that Milton was his friend, and
prevented the utmost effects of party rage from descending on the head
of this son of the muses. But by whatever means his life was saved, we
find him two years after a prisoner of the Tower, where he obtained
some indulgence by the favour of the Lord Keeper Whitlocke; upon
receiving which he wrote him a letter of thanks, which as it serves to
illustrate how easily and politely he wrote in prose, we shall here
insert. It is far removed either from meanness or bombast, and has as
much elegance in it as any letters in our language.


My Lord,

"I am in suspense whether I should present my thankfulness to your
lordship for my liberty of the Tower, because when I consider how much
of your time belongs to the public, I conceive that to make a request
to you, and to thank you afterwards for the success of it, is to give
you no more than a succession of trouble; unless you are resolved to
be continually patient, and courteous to afflicted men, and agree in
your judgment with the late wise Cardinal, who was wont to say, If he
had not spent as much time in civilities, as in business, he had
undone his master. But whilst I endeavour to excuse this present
thankfulness, I should rather ask your pardon, for going about to make
a present to you of myself; for it may argue me to be incorrigible,
that, after so many afflictions, I have yet so much ambition, as to
desire to be at liberty, that I may have more opportunity to obey your
lordship's commands, and shew the world how much

"I am,
  "My Lord,
    "Your lordship's most
      "Obliged, most humble,
        "And obedient servant,

          "Wm. Davenant."

Our author was so far happy as to obtain by this letter the favour of
Whitlocke, who was, perhaps, a man of more humanity and gentleness of
disposition, than some other of the covenanters. He at last obtained
his liberty entirely, and was delivered from every thing but the
narrowness of his circumstances, and to redress these, encouraged by
the interest of his friends, he likewise made a bold effort. He was
conscious that a play-house was entirely inconsistent with the
gloominess, and severity of these times; and yet he was certain that
there were people of taste enough in town, to fill one, if such a
scheme could be managed; which he conducted with great address, and at
last brought to bear, as he had the countenance of lord Whitlocke, Sir
John Maynard, and other persons of rank, who really were ashamed of
the cant and hypocrisy which then prevailed. In consequence of this,
our poet opened a kind of theatre at Rutland House, where several
pieces were acted, and if they did not gain him reputation, they
procured him what is more solid, and what he then more wanted, money.
Some of the people in power, it seems, were lovers of music, and tho'
they did not care to own it, they were wise enough to know that there
was nothing scandalous or immoral in the diversions of the theatre.
Sir William therefore, when he applied for a permission called what he
intended to represent an opera; but when he brought it on the stage,
it appeared quite another thing, which when printed had the following
title:

First day's entertainment at Rutland House by declamation and music,
after the manner of the ancients.

This being an introductory piece, it demanded all the author's wit to
make it answer different intentions; for first it was to be so
pleasing as to gain applause; and next it was to be be so remote from
the very appearance of a play, as not to give any offence to that
pretended sanctity that was then in fashion. It began with music, then
followed a prologue, in which the author rallies the oddity of his own
performance. The curtain being drawn up to the sound of slow and
solemn music, there followed a grave declamation by one in a guilded
rostrum, who personated Diogenes, and shewed the use and excellency of
dramatic entertainments. The second part of the entertainment
consisted of two lighter declamations; the first by a citizen of
Paris, who wittily rallies the follies of London; the other by a
citizen of London, who takes the same liberty with Paris and its
inhabitants. To this was tacked a song, and after that came a short
epilogue. The music was composed by Dr. Coleman, Capt. Cook, Mr. Henry
Laws, and Mr. George Hudson.

There were several other pieces which Sir William introduced upon this
stage of the same kind, which met with as much success, as could be
expected from the nature of the performances themselves, and the
temper and disposition of the audience. Being thus introduced, he at
last grew a little bolder, and not only ventured to write, but to act
several new plays, which were also somewhat in a new taste; that is,
they were more regular in their structure, and the language generally
speaking, smoother, and more correct than the old tragedies. These
improvements were in a great measure owing to Sir William's long
residence in France, which gave him an opportunity of reading their
best writers, and hearing the sentiments of their ablest critics upon
dramatic entertainments, where they were as much admired and
encouraged, as at that time despised in England. That these were
really improvements, and that the public stood greatly indebted to Sir
William Davenant as a poet, and master of a theatre, we can produce no
less an authority than that of Dryden, who, beyond any of his
predecessors, contemporaries, or those who have succeeded him,
understood poetry as an art. In his essay on heroic plays, he thus
speaks, "The first light we had of them, on the English theatre (says
he) was from Sir William Davenant. It being forbidden him in the
religious times to act tragedies or comedies, because they contained
some matter of scandal to those good people, who could more easily
dispossess their lawful sovereign, than endure a wanton jest, he was
forced to turn his thoughts another way, and to introduce the examples
of moral virtue written in verse, and performed in recitative music.
The original of this music, and of the scenes which adorned his works,
he had from the Italian opera's; but he heightened his characters, as
I may probably imagine, from the examples of Corneille, and some
French poets. In this condition did this part of poetry remain at his
Majelty's return, when grown bolder as now owned by public authority,
Davenant revived the Siege of Rhodes, and caused it to be acted as a
just drama. But as few men have the happiness to begin and finish any
new project, so neither did he live to make his design perfect. There
wanted the fulness of a plot, and the variety of characters to form it
as it ought; and perhaps somewhat might have been added to the beauty
of the stile: all which he would have performed with more exactness,
had he pleased to have given us another work of the fame nature. For
myself and others who came after him, we are bound with all veneration
to his memory, to acknowledge what advantage we received from that
excellent ground work, which is laid, and since it is an easy thing to
add to what is already invented, we ought all of us, without envy to
him, or partiality to ourselves, to yield him the precedence in it."

Immediately after the restoration there were two companies of players
formed, one under the title of the King's Servants, the other, under
that of the Duke's Company, both by patents, from the crown; the first
granted to Henry Killigrew, Esq; and the latter to Sir William
Davenant. The King's company acted first at the Red Bull in the upper
end of St. John's Street, and after a year or two removing from place
to place, they established themselves in Drury-Lane. It was some time
before Sir William Davenant compleated his company, into which he took
all who had formerly played under Mr. Rhodes in the Cock-Pit in
Drury-Lane, and amongst these the famous Mr. Betterton, who appeared
first to advantage under the patronage of Sir William Davenant. He
opened the Duke's theatre in Lincoln's-Inn-Fields with his own
dramatic performance of the Siege of Rhodes, the house being finely
decorated, and the stage supplied with painted scenes, which were by
him introduced at least, if not invented, which afforded certainly an
additional beauty to the theatre, tho' some have insinuated, that fine
scenes proved the ruin of acting; but as we are persuaded it will be
an entertaining circumstance to our Readers, to have that matter more
fully explained, we shall take this opportunity of doing it.

In the reign of Charles I, dramatic entertainments were accompanied
with rich scenery, curious machines, and other elegant embellishments,
chiefly condufted by the wonderful dexterity of that celebrated
English, architect Inigo Jones. But these were employed only in
masques at court, and were too expensive for the little theatres in
which plays were then acted. In them there was nothing more than a
ouftain of very coarse stuff, upon the drawing up of which, the stage
appeared either with bare walls on the sides, coarsly matted, or
covered with tapestry; so that for the place originally represented,
and all the successive changes in which the poets of those times
freely indulged themselves, there was nothing to help the spectator's
understanding, or to assist the actor's performance, but bare
imagination. In Shakespear's time so undecorated were the theatres,
that a blanket supplied the place of a curtain; and it was a good
observation of the ingenious Mr. Chitty, a gentleman of acknowledged
taste in dramatic excellence, that the circumstance of the blanket,
suggested to Shakespear that noble image in Macbeth, where the
murderer invokes

  Thick night to veil itself in the dunnest smoke of Hell,
  Nor Heaven peep thro' the blanket of the dark
  To cry hold, hold.

It is true, that while things continued in this situation, there were
a great many play-houses, sometimes six or seven open at once. Of
these some were large, and in part open, where they acted by day
light; others smaller, but better fitted up, where they made use of
candles. The plainness of the theatre made the prices small, and drew
abundance of company; yet upon the whole it is doubtful, whether the
spectactors in all these houses were really superior in number, to
those who have frequented the theatres in later times. If the spirit
and judgment of the actors supplied all deficiencies, and made as some
would insinuate, plays more intelligible without scenes, than they
afterwards were with them, it must be very astonishing; neither is it
difficult to assign another cause, why those who were concerned in
play-houses, were angry at the introduction of scenes and decorations,
which was, that notwithstanding the advanced prices, their profits
from that time were continually sinking; and an author, of high
authority in this case, assures us, in an historical account of the
stage, that the whole sharers in Mr. Hart's company divided a thousand
pounds a year a-piece, before the expensive decorations became
fashionable. Sir William Davehant considered things in another light:
he was well acquainted with the alterations which the French theatre
had received, under the auspice of cardinal Rich[e]lieu, who had an
excellent taste; and he remembered the noble contrivances of Inigo
Jones, which were not at all inferior to the designs of the best
French masters. Sir William was likewise sensible that the monarch he
served was an excellent judge of every thing of this kind; and these
considerations excited in him a passion for the advancement of the
theatre, to which the great figure it has since made is chiefly owing.
Mr. Dryden has acknowledged his admirable talents in this way, and
gratefully remembers the pains taken by our poet, to set a work of his
in the fairest light possible, and to which, he ingenuously ascribes
the success with which it was received. This is the hislory of the
life and progress of scenery on our stage; which, without doubt, gives
greater life to the entertainment of a play; but as the best purposes
may be prostituted, so there is some reason to believe that the
excessive fondness for decorations, which now prevails, has hurt the
true dramatic taste. Scenes are to be considered as secondary in a
play, the means of setting it off with lustre, and ought to engross
but little attention; as it is more important to hear what a character
speaks, than to observe the place where he stands; but now the case is
altered. The scenes in a Harlequin Sorcerer, and other unmeaning
pantomimes, unknown to our more elegant and judging fore-fathers,
procure crowded houses, while the noblest strokes of Dryden, the
delicate touches of Otway and Rowe, the wild majesty of Shakespear,
and the heart-felt language of Lee, pass neglected, when put in
competition with those gewgaws of the stage, these feasts of the eye;
which as they can communicate no ideas, so they can neither warm nor
reform the heart, nor answer one moral purpose in nature.

We ought not to omit a cirrumstance much in favour of Sir William
Davenant, which proves him to have been as good a man as a poet. When
at the Restoration, those who had been active in disturbing the late
reign, and secluding their sovereign from the throne, became obnoxious
to the royal party, Milton was likely to feel the vengeance of the
court, Davenant actuated by a noble principle of gratitude, interposed
all his influence, and saved the greatest ornament of the world from
the stroke of an executioner. Ten years before that, Davenant had been
rescued by Milton, and he remembered the favour; an instance, this,
that generosity, gratitude, and nobleness of nature is confined to no
particular party; but the heart of a good man will still discover
itself in acts of munificence and kindness, however mistaken he may be
in his opinion, however warm in state factions. The particulars of
this extraordinary affair are related in the life of Milton.

Sir William Davenant continued at the head of his company of actors,
and at last transferred them to a new and magnificent theatre built in
Dorset-Gardens, where some of his old plays were revived with very
singular circumstances of royal kindness, and a new one when brought
upon the stage met with great applause.

The last labour of his pen was in altering a play of Shakespear's,
called the Tempest, so as to render it agreeable to that age, or
rather susceptible of those theatrical improvements he had brought
into fashion. The great successor to his laurel, in a preface to this
play, in which he was concerned with Davenant, 'says, that he was a
man of quick and piercing imagination, and soon found that somewhat
might be added to the design of Shakespear, of which neither Fletcher
nor Suckling had ever thought; and therefore to put the last hand to
it, he designed the counterpart to Shakespear's plot, namely, that of
a man who had never seen a woman, that by this means, these two
characters of innocence and love might the more illustrate and commend
each other. This excellent contrivance he was pleased to communicate
to me, and to defire my assistance in it. I confess that from the
first moment it so pleased me, that I never wrote any thing with so
much delight. I might likewise do him that justice to acknowledge that
my writing received daily amendments, and that is the reason why it is
not so faulty, as the rest that I have done, without the help or
correction of so judicious a friend. The comical parts of the sailors
were also of his invention and Writing, as may easily be discovered
from the stile.'

This great man died at his house in little Lincoln's-Inn-Fields, April
17, 1668, aged 63, and two days afterwards was interred in
Westminster-Abbey. On his gravestone is inscribed, in imitation of Ben
Johnson's short epitaph,

                     O RARE SIR WILLIAM DAVENANT!

It may not be amiss to observe, that his remains rest very near the
place out of which those of Mr. Thomas May, who had been formerly his
rival for the bays, and the Parliament's historian, were removed, by
order of the ministry. As to the family our author left behind him,
some account of it will be given in the life of his son Dr. Charles
Davenant, who succeeded him as manager of the theatre. Sir William's
works entire were published by his widow 1673, and dedicated to James
Duke of York.

After many storms of adversity, our author spent the evening of his
days in ease and serenity. He had the happiness of being loved by
people of all denominations, and died lamented by every worthy good
man. As a poet, unnumbered evidences may be produced in his favour.
Amongst these Mr. Dryden is the foremost, for when his testimony can
be given in support of poetical merit, we reckon all other evidence
superfluous, and without his, all other evidences deficient. In his
words then we shall sum up Davenant's character as a poet, and a man
of genius.

'I found him, (says he) in his preface to the Tempest, of so quick a
fancy, that nothing was proposed to him on which he could not quickly
produce a thought extreamly pleasant and surprizing, and these first
thoughts of his, contrary to the old Latin proverb, were not always
the least happy, and as his fancy was quick, so likewise were the
products of it remote and new. He borrowed not of any other, and his
imaginations were such as could not easily enter into any other man.
His corrections were sober and judicious, and he corrected his own
writings much more severely than those of another man, bestowing twice
the labour and pain in polishing which he used in invention.'

Before we enumerate the dramatic works of Sir William Davenant, it
will be but justice to his merit, to insert some animadversions on his
Gondibert; a poem which has been the subject of controversy almost a
hundred years; that is, from its first appearance to the present time.
Perhaps the dispute had been long ago decided, if the author's leisure
had permitted him to finish it. At present we see it to great
disadvantage; and if notwithstanding this it has any beauties, we may
fairly conclude it would have come much nearer perfection, if the
story, begun with so much spirit, had been brought to an end upon the
author's plan.

Mr. Hobbes, the famous philosopher of Malmsbury, in a letter printed
in his works, affirms, 'that he never yet saw a poem that had so much
shape of art, health of morality and vigour, and beauty of expression,
as this of our author; and in an epistle to the honourable Edward
Howard, author of the British Princes, he thus speaks. My judgment in
poetry has been once already censured by very good wits for commending
Gondibert; but yet have they not disabled my testimony. For what
authority is there in wit? a jester may have it; a man in drink may
have it, and be fluent over night, and wise and dry in the morning:
What is it? and who can tell whether it be better to have it or no? I
will take the liberty to praise what I like as well as they, and
reprehend what they like.'--Mr. Rymer in his preface to his
translation of Rapin's Reflexions on Aristototle's [sic] Treatise of
Poetry, observes, that our author's wit is well known, and in the
preface to that poem, there appears some strokes of an extraordinary
judgment; that he is for unbeaten tracts, and new ways of thinking,
but certainly in the untried seas he is no great discoverer. One
design of the Epic poets before him was to adorn their own country,
there finding their heroes and patterns of virtue, where example, as
they thought, would have the greater influence and power over
posterity; "but this poet, says Rymer, steers a different course; his
heroes are all foreigners; he cultivates a country that is nothing
a-kin to him, and Lombardy reaps the honour of all. Other poets chose
some action or hero so illustrious, that the name of the poem prepared
the reader, and made way for its reception; but in this poem none can
divine what great action he intended to celebrate, nor is the reader
obliged to know whether the hero be Turk or Christian; nor do the
first lines give any light or prospect into the design. Altho' a poet
should know all arts and sciences, yet ought he discreetly to manage
his knowledge. He must have a judgment to select what is noble and
beautiful, and proper for the occasion. He must by a particular
chemistry, extract the essence of things; without soiling his wit with
dross or trumpery. The sort of verse Davenant makes choice of in his
Gondibert might contribute much to the vitiating his stile; for
thereby he obliges himself to stretch every period to the end of four
lines: Thus the sense is broken perpetually with parentheses, the
words jumbled in confusion, and darkness spread over all; but it must
be acknowledged, that Davenant had a particular talent for the
manners; his thoughts are great, and there appears something roughly
noble thro' the whole." This is the substance of Rymer's observations
on Gondibert. Rymer was certainly a scholar, and a man of discernment;
and tho' in some parts of the criticisms he is undoubtedly right, yet
in other parts he is demonstrably wrong. He complains that Davenant
has laid the scene of action in Lombardy, which Rymer calls neglecting
his own country; but the critic should have considered, that however
well it might have pleased the poet's countrymen, yet as an epic poem
is supposed to be read in every nation enlightened by science, there
can no objections arise from that quarter by any but those who were of
the same country with the author. His not making choice of a pompous
name, and introducing his poem with an exordium, is rather a beauty
than a fault; for by these means he leaves room for surprize, which is
the first excellency in any poem, and to strike out beauties where
they are not expected, has a happy influence upon the reader. Who
would think from Milton's introduction, that so stupendous a work
would ensue, and simple dignity is certainly more noble, than all the
efforts and colourings which art and labour can bestow.

The ingenious and learned Mr. Blackwall, Professor of Greek in the
university of Aberdeen, in his enquiry into the life and writings of
Homer, censures the structure of the poem; but, at the same time pays
a compliment to the abilities of the author. "It was indeed (says he)
a very extraordinary project of our ingenious countryman, to write an
epic poem without mixing allegory, or allowing the smallest fiction
throughout the composure. It was like lopping off a man's limb, and
then putting him upon running races; tho' it must be owned that the
performance shews, with what ability he could have acquitted himself,
had he been sound and entire."

Such the animadversions which critics of great name have made on
Gondibert, and the result is, that if Davenant had not power to begin
and consummate an epic poem, yet by what he has done, he has a right
to rank in the first class of poets, especially when it is considered
that we owe to him the great perfection of the theatre, and putting it
upon a level with that of France and Italy; and as the theatrical are
the most rational of all amusements, the latest posterity should hold
his name in veneration, who did so much for the advancement of
innocent pleasures, and blending instruction and gaiety together.

The dramatic works of our author are,

1. Albovine King of the Lombards, a tragedy. This play is commended by
eight copies of verses. The story of it is related at large, in a
novel, by Bandello, and is translated by Belleforest[3].

2. Cruel Brother, a tragedy.

3. Distresses, a tragi-comedy, printed in folio, Lond. 1673.

4. First Day's Entertainment at Rutland-House, by declamation and
music, after the manner of the ancients. Of this we have already given
some account.

5. The Fair Favourite, a tragi-comedy, printed in folio, 1673.

6. The Just Italian, a tragi-comedy.

7. Law against Lovers, a tragi-comedy, made up of two plays by
Shakespear, viz. Measure for Measure, and Much Ado about Nothing.

8. Love and Honour, a tragi-comedy; which succeeded beyond any other
of our author's plays, both on the theatre at Lincoln's-Inn, and
Dorset-Garden.

9. Man's the Master, a tragi-comedy, acted upon the Duke of York's
theatre.

10. Platonic Lovers, a tragi-comedy.

11. Play House to be Let. It is difficult to say, under what species
this play should be placed, as it consists of pieces of different
kinds blended together, several of which the author wrote in Oliver's
time, that were acted separately by stealth.--The History of Sir
Francis Drake, expressed by instrumental and vocal music, and by art
of perspective scenes, and the cruelty of the Spaniards in Peru, were
first printed in 4to. and make the third and fourth acts of this play.
The second act consists of a French farce, translated from
Mollier[e]'s Ganarelle, ou le Cocu Imaginaire, and purposely by our
author put into a sort of jargon, common to Frenchmen newly come over.
The fifth act consists of tragedy travestie; or the actions of Caesar,
Anthony and Cleopatra in burlesque verse.

12. Siege of Rhodes in two parts. These plays, during the civil war,
were acted in Stilo Recitativo, but afterwards enlarged, and acted
with applause at the Duke's theatre. Solyman the second took this
famous city in the year 1522, which is circumstantially related by
Knolles in his History of the Turks, from whence our author took the
story.

13. Siege, a tragi-comedy.

14. News from Plymouth, a comedy.

15. Temple of Love, presented by Queen Henrietta, wife to King Charles
I and her ladies at Whitehall, viz. The Marchioness of Hamilton; Lady
Mary Herbert; Countess of Oxford; Berkshire; Carnarvon: The noble
Persian Youths were represented by the Duke of Lenox, and the Earls of
Newport and Desmond.

16. Triumphs of the Prince d'Amour, presented by his Highness the
Prince Elector, brother-in-law to Charles I. at his palace in the
Middle Temple. This masque, at the request of this honourable society,
was devised and written by the author in three days, and was presented
by the members thereof as an entertainment to his Highness. A list of
the Masquers names, as they were ranked according to their antiquity,
is subjoined to the Masque.

17. Wits, a comedy; first acted at Black-Fryars, and afterwards at the
Duke of York's theatre. This piece appeared on the stage with
remarkable applause.

These pieces have in general been received with applause on the stage,
and have been read with pleasure by people of the best taste: The
greatest part of them were published in the author's life-time in 4to.
and all since his death, collected into one volume with his other
works, printed in folio, Lond. 1673; and dedicated by his widow to the
late King James, as has been before observed.

Footnotes:
1. Gond. b. iii. cant. 3. stanz. 31.
2. Athen. Oxon. vol. ii, col. 412.
3. Histories Tragiques, Tom. IV. No. XIX.

                *        *        *        *        *




                  HENRY KING, Bishop of Chichester,


The eldest son of Dr. John King lord bishop of London, whom Winstanley
calls a person well fraught with episcopal qualities, was born at
Wornal in Bucks, in the month of January 1591. He was educated partly
in grammar learning in the free school at Thame in Oxfordshire, and
partly in the College school at Westminster, from which last he was
elected a student in Christ Church 1608[1], being then under the
tuition of a noted tutor. Afterwards he took the degrees in arts, and
entered into holy orders, and soon became a florid preacher, and
successively chaplain to King James I. archdeacon of Colchester,
residentiary of St. Paul's cathedral, canon and dean of Rochester, in
which dignity he was installed the 6th of February 1638. In 1641, says
Mr. Wood, he was made bishop of Chichester, being one of those persons
of unblemished reputation, that his Majesty, tho' late, promoted to
that honourable office; which he possessed without any removal, save
that by the members of the Long Parliament, to the time of his death.

When he was young he delighted much in the study of music and poetry,
which with his wit and fancy made his conversation very agreeable, and
when he was more advanced in years he applied himself to oratory,
philosophy, and divinity, in which he became eminent.

It happened that this bishop attending divine service in a church at
Langley in Bucks, and hearing there a psalm sung, whose wretched
expression, far from conveying the meaning of the Royal Psalmist, not
only marred devotion, but turned what was excellent in the original
into downright burlesque; he tried that evening if he could not
easily, and with plainness suitable to the lowest understanding,
deliver it from that garb which rendered it ridiculous. He finished
one psalm, and then another, and found the work so agreeable and
pleasing, that all the psalms were in a short time compleated; and
having shewn the version to some friends of whose judgment he had a
high opinion, he could not resist their importunity (says Wood) of
putting it to the press, or rather he was glad their sollicitations
coincided with his desire to be thought a poet.

He was the more discouraged, says the antiquary, as Mr. George
Sandys's version and another by a reformer had failed in two different
extremes; the first too elegant for the vulgar use, changing both
metre and tunes, wherewith they had been long acquainted; the other as
flat and poor, and as lamely executed as the old one. He therefore
ventured in a middle way, as he himself in one of his letters
expresses it, without affectation of words, and endeavouring to leave
them not disfigured in the sense. This version soon after was
published with this title;

The Psalms of David from the New Translation of the Bible, turned into
Metre, to be sung after the old tunes used in churches, Lond. 1651, in
12mo.

There is nothing more ridiculous than this notion of the vulgar of not
parting with their old versions of the psalms, as if there were a
merit in singing hymns of nonsense. Tate and Brady's version is by far
the most elegant, and best calculated to inspire devotion, because the
language and poetry are sometimes elevated and sublime; and yet for
one church which uses this version, twenty are content with that of
Sternhold and Hopkins, the language and poetry of which, as Pope says
of Ogilvy's Virgil, are beneath criticism.--

After episcopacy was silenced by the Long Parliament, he resided in
the house of Sir Richard Hobbart (who had married his sister) at
Langley in Bucks. He was reinstated in his See by King Charles II. and
was much esteemed by the virtuous part of his neighbours, and had the
blessings of the poor and distressed, a character which reflects the
highest honour upon him.

Whether from a desire of extending his beneficence, or instigated by
the restless ambition peculiar to the priesthood, he sollicited, but
in vain, a higher preferment, and suffered his resentment to betray
him into measures not consistent with his episcopal character. He died
on the first day of October 1669[2], and was buried on the south side
of the choir, near the communion table, belonging to the cathedral
church in Chichester. Soon after there was a monument put over his
grave, with an inscription, in which it is said he was,

   Antiqua, eaque regia Saxonium apud Danmonios in agro Devoniensi,
                          prosapia oriundus,

That he was,

    Natalium Splendore illustris, pietate, Doctrina, et virtutibus
                           illustrior, &c.

This monument was erected at the charge of his widow, Anne daughter of
Sir William Russel of Strensham in Worcestershire, knight and baronet.

Our author's works, besides the version of the Psalms already
mentioned, are as follows;

A Deep Groan fetched at the Funeral of the incomparable and glorious
Monarch King Charles I. printed 1649.

Poems, Elegies, Paradoxes, Sonnets, &c. Lond. 1657.

Several Letters, among which are extant, one or more to the famous
archbishop Usher, Primate of Ireland, and another to Isaac Walton,
concerning the three imperfect books of Richard Hooker's
Ecclesiastical Polity, dated the 13th of November 1664, printed at
London 1665.

He has composed several Anthems, one of which is for the time of Lent.
Several Latin and Greek Poems, scattered in several Books.

He has likewise published several Sermons,

1. Sermon preached at Paul's Cross 25th of November 1621, upon
occasion of a report, touching the supposed apostasy of Dr. John
King--late bishop of London, on John xv. 20, Lond. 1621; to which is
also added the examination of Thomas Preston, taken before the
Archbishop of Canterbury at Lambeth 20th of December 1621, concerning
his being the author of the said Report.

2. David's Enlargement, Morning Sermon on Psalm xxxii. 5. Oxon. 1625.
4to.

3. Sermon of Deliverance, at the Spittal on Easter Monday, Psalm xc.
3. printed 1626, 4to.

4. Two Sermons at Whitehall on Lent, Eccles. xii. 1, and Psalm lv. 6.
printed 1627, in 4to.

5. Sermon at St. Paul's on his Majesty's Inauguration and Birth, on
Ezekiel xxi. 27. Lond. 1661. 4to.

6. Sermon on the Funeral of Bryan Bishop of Winchester, at the Abbey
Church of Westminster, April 24, 1662, on Psalm cxvi. 15. Lond. 1662.
4to.

7. Visitation Sermon at Lewis, October 1662. on Titus ii. 1. Lond.
1663. 4to.

8. Sermon preached the 30th of January, 1664, at Whitehall, being the
Day of the late King's Martyrdom, on 2. Chron. xxxv. 24, 25. Lond.
1665, 4to.

To these Sermons he has added an Exposition of the Lord's Prayer,
delivered in certain Sermons, on Matth. vi. 9. &c. Lond. 1628. 4to.

We shall take a quotation from his version of the 104th psalm.

  My soul the Lord for ever bless:
    O God! thy greatness all confess;
  Whom majesty and honour vest,
    In robes of light eternal drest.

  He heaven made his canopy;
    His chambers in the waters lye:
  His chariot is the cloudy storm,
    And on the wings of wind is born.

  He spirits makes his angels quire,
    His ministers a flaming fire.
  He so did earth's foundations cast,
    It might remain for ever fast:

  Then cloath'd it with the spacious deep,
    Whose wave out-swells the mountains steep.
  At thy rebuke the waters fled,
    And hid their thunder-frighted head.

  They from the mountains streaming flow,
    And down into the vallies go:
  Then to their liquid center hast,
    Where their collected floods are cast.

  These in the ocean met, and joyn'd,
    Thou hast within a bank confin'd:
  Not suff'ring them to pass their bound,
    Lest earth by their excess be drown'd.

  He from the hills his chrystal springs
    Down running to the vallies brings:
  Which drink supply, and coolness yield,
    To thirsting beasts throughout the field.

  By them the fowls of heaven rest,
    And singing in their branches nest.
  He waters from his clouds the hills;
    The teeming earth with plenty fills.

  He grass for cattle doth produce,
    And every herb for human use:
  That so he may his creatures feed,
    And from the earth supply their need.

  He makes the clusters of the vine,
    To glad the sons of men with wine.
  He oil to clear the face imparts,
    And bread, the strength'ner of their hearts.

  The trees, which God for fruit decreed,
    Nor sap, nor moistning virtue need.
  The lofty cedars by his hand
    In Lebanon implanted stand.

  Unto the birds these shelter yield,
    And storks upon the fir-trees build:
  Wild goats the hills defend, and feed,
    And in the rocks the conies breed.

  He makes the changing moon appear,
    To note the seasons of the year:
  The sun from him his strength doth get,
    And knows the measure of his set.

  Thou mak'st the darkness of the night,
    When beasts creep forth that shun the light,
  Young lions, roaring after prey,
    From God their hunger must allay.

  When the bright sun casts forth his ray,
    Down in their dens themselves they lay.
  Man's labour, with the morn begun,
    Continues till the day be done.

  O Lord! what wonders hast thou made,
    In providence and wisdom laid!
  The earth is with thy riches crown'd,
    And seas, where creatures most abound.

  There go the ships which swiftly fly;
    There great Leviathan doth lye,
  Who takes his pastime in the flood:
    All these do wait on thee for food.

  Thy bounty is on them distill'd,
    Who are by thee with goodness fill'd.
  But when thou hid'st thy face, they die,
    And to their dust returned lie.

  Thy spirit all with life endues,
    The springing face of earth renews,
  God's glory ever shall endure,
    Pleas'd in his works, from change secure.

  Upon the earth he looketh down,
    Which shrinks and trembles at his frown:
  His lightnings touch, or thunders stroak,
    Will make the proudest mountains smoak.

  To him my ditties, whilst I live,
    Or being have, shall praises give:
  My meditations will be sweet,
    When fixt on him my comforts meet.

  Upon the earth let sinners rot,
    In place, and memory forgot.
  But thou, my soul, thy maker bless:
    Let all the world his praise express;

Footnotes:
1. Athen. Oxon, vol. ii. p. 431. 1721 Ed.
2. Wood Athen. Oxon, p. 431, vol. 2.

                *        *        *        *        *




                          PHILIP MASSINGER,


A poet of no small eminence, was son of Mr. Philip Massinger, a
gentleman belonging to the earl of Montgomery, in whose service he
lived[1].

He was born at Salisbury, about the year 1585, and was entered a
commoner in St. Alban's Hall in Oxford, 1601, where, though he was
encouraged in his studies (says Mr. Wood) by the earl of Pembroke, yet
he applied his mind more to poetry and romances, than to logic and
philosophy. He afterwards quitted the university without a degree, and
being impatient to move in a public sphere, he came to London, in
order to improve his poetic fancy, and polite studies by conversation,
and reading the world. He soon applied himself to the stage, and wrote
several tragedies and comedies with applause, which were admired for
the purity of their stile, and the oeconomy of their plots: he was
held in the highest esteem by the poets of that age, and there were
few who did not reckon it an honour to write in conjunction with him,
as Fletcher, Middleton, Rowley, Field and Decker did[2]. He is said to
have been a man of great modesty. He died suddenly at his house on the
bank side in Southwark, near to the then playhouse, for he went to bed
well, and was dead before morning. His body was interred in St.
Saviour's church-yard, and was attended to the grave by all the
comedians then in town, on the 18th of March, 1669. Sir Aston
Cokain[e] has an epitaph on Mr. John Fletcher, and Mr. Philip
Massinger, who, as he says, both lie buried in one grave. He prepared
several works for the public, and wrote a little book against
Scaliger, which many have ascribed to Scioppius, the supposed author
of which Scaliger, uses with great contempt. Our author has published
14 plays of his own writing, besides those in which he joined with
other poets, of which the following is the list,

1. The Bashful Lover, a Tragi-Comedy, often acted at a private house
in Black Fryars, by his Majesty's Servants, with success, printed in
8vo. 1655.

2. The Bondman, an ancient Story, often acted at the Cockpit in Drury
Lane, by the Lady Elizabeth's servants, printed in 4to. London, 1638,
and dedicated to Philip, Earl of Montgomery.

3. The City Madam, a Comedy, acted at a private house in Black-fryars,
with applause, 4to. 1659, for Andrew Pennywick one of the actors, and
dedicated by him to Anne, Countess of Oxford.

4. The Duke of Milan, a Tragedy printed in 4to. but Mr. Langbaine has
not been able to find out when it was acted.

5. The Emperor of the East, a Tragi-Comedy, acted at the Black Fryars,
and Globe Playhouse, by his Majesty's Servants, printed in 4to.
London, 1632, and dedicated to John, Lord Mohune, Baron of Okehampton;
this play is founded on the History of Theodosius the younger; see
Socrates, lib. vii.

6. The Fatal Dowry, a Tragedy, often acted at private house in Black
Fryars, by his Majesty's servants, printed in 4to. London, 1632; this
play was written by our author, in conjunction with Nathaniel Field.
The behaviour of Charlois in voluntarily chusing imprisonment to
ransom his father's corpse, that it might receive the funeral rites,
is copied from the Athenian Cymon, so much celebrated by Valerius
Maximus, lib. v. c. 4. ex. 9. Plutarch and Cornelius Nepos,
notwithstanding, make it a forced action, and not voluntary.

7. The Guardian, a comical History, often acted at a private house in
Black Fryars, by the King's Servants, 1665. Severino's cutting off
Calipso's nose in the dark, taking her for his wife Jolantre, is
borrowed from the Cimerian Matron, a Romance, 8vo. the like story is
related in Boccace. Day 8. Novel 7.

7 [sic]. The Great Duke of Florence, a comical History, often
presented with success, at the Phaenix in Drury Lane, 1636; this play
is taken from our English Chronicles, that have been written in the
reign of Edgar.

9. The Maid of Honour, a Tragi-Comedy, often acted at the Phaenix in
Drury Lane, 1632.

10. A New Way to pay Old Debts, a Comedy, acted 1633; this play met
with great success on its first representation, and has been revived
by Mr. Garrick, and acted on the Theatre-Royal in Drury Lane, 1750.

11. Old Law, a New Way to please You, an excellent Comedy, acted
before the King and Queen in Salisbury-house, printed in 4to. London,
1656. In this play our author was assisted by Mr. Middleton, and Mr.
Rowley.

12. The Picture, a Tragi-Comedy, often presented at the Globe and
Black Fryars Playhouse, by the King's servants, printed in London,
1636, and dedicated to his selected friends, the noble Society of the
Inner-Temple; this play was performed by the most celebrated actors of
that age, Lowin, Taylor, Benfield.

13. The Renegado, a Tragi-Comedy, often acted by the Queen's Servants,
at the private Playhouse in Drury Lane, printed in 4to. London, 1630.

14. The Roman Actor, performed several times with success, at a
private house in the Black-Fryars, by the King's Servants; for the
plot read Suetonius in the Life of Domitian, Aurelius Victor,
Eutropius, lib. vii. Tacitus, lib. xiii.

15. Very Woman, or the Prince of Tarent, a Tragi-Comedy, often acted
at a private house in Black Fryars, printed 1655.

16. The Virgin Martyr, a Tragedy, acted by his Majesty's Servants,
with great applause, London, printed in 4to. 1661. In this play our
author took in Mr. Thomas Decker for a partner; the story may be met
with in the Martyrologies, which have treated of the tenth persecution
in the time of Dioclesian, and Maximian.

17. The Unnatural Combat, a Tragedy, presented by the King's Servants
at the Globe, printed at London 1639. This old Tragedy, as the author
tells his patron, has neither Prologue nor Epilogue, "it being
composed at a time, when such by-ornaments were not advanced above the
fabric of the whole work."

Footnotes:
1. Langbaine's Lives of the Poets.
2. Langbaine, ubi supra.

                *        *        *        *        *




                        Sir ROBERT STAPLETON.


This gentleman was the third son of Richard Stapleton, esq; of
Carleton, in Mereland in Yorkshire, and was educated a Roman Catholic,
in the college of the English Benedictines, at Doway in Flanders, but
being born with a poetical turn, and consequently too volatile to be
confined within the walls of a cloister, he threw off the restraint of
his education, quitted a recluse life, came over to England, and
commenced Protestant[1]. Sir Robert having good interest, found the
change of religion prepared the way to preferment; he was made
gentleman usher of the privy chamber to King Charles II. then Prince
of Wales; we find him afterwards adhering to the interest of his Royal
Master, for when his Majesty was driven out of London, by the
threatnings and tumults of the discontented rabble, he followed him,
and on the 13th of September, 1642, he received the honour of
knighthood. After the battle of Edgehill, when his Majesty was obliged
to retire to Oxford, our author then attended him, and was created Dr.
of the civil laws. When the Royal cause declined, Stapleton thought
proper to addict himself to study, and to live quietly under a
government, no effort of his could overturn, and as he was not amongst
the most conspicuous of the Royalists, he was suffered to enjoy his
solitude unmolested. At the restoration he was again promoted in the
service of King Charles II. and held a place in that monarch's esteem
'till his death. Langbaine, speaking of this gentleman, gives him a
very great character; his writings, says he, have made him not only
known, but admired throughout all England, and while Musaeus and
Juvenal are in esteem with the learned, Sir Robert's fame will still
survive, the translation of these two authors having placed his name
in the temple of Immortality. As to Musaeus, he had so great a value
for him, that after he had translated him, he reduced the story into a
dramatic poem, called Hero and Leander, a Tragedy, printed in 4to.
1669, and addressed to the Duchess of Monmouth. Whether this play was
ever acted is uncertain, though the Prologue and Epilogue seem to
imply that it appeared on the stage.

Besides these translations and this tragedy, our author has written

The slighted Maid, a Comedy, acted at the Theatre in Little
Lincoln's-Inn-Fields, by the Duke of York's Servants, printed in
London 1663, and dedicated to the Duke of Monmouth.

Pliny's Panegyric, a Speech in the Senate, wherein public Thanks are
presented to the Emperor Trajan, by C. Plenius Caecilius Secundus,
Consul of Rome, Oxon, 1644.

Leander's Letter to Hero, and her Answer, printed with the Loves; 'tis
taken from Ovid, and has Annotations written upon it by Sir Robert.

A Survey of the Manners and Actions of Mankind, with Arguments,
Marginal Notes, and Annotations, clearing the obscure Places, out of
the History of the Laws and Ceremonies of the Romans, London, 1647,
8vo. with the author's preface before it. It is dedicated to Henry,
Marquis of Dorchester, his patron.

The History of the Low-Country War, or de bello Gallico, &c. 1650,
folio, written in Latin by Famianus Strada. Our author paid the last
debt to nature on the eleventh day of July, 1669, and was buried in
the Abbey of St. Peter at Westminster. He was uncle to Dr. Miles
Stapleton of Yorkshire, younger brother to Dr. Stapleton, a
Benedictine Monk, who was president of the English Benedictines at
Delaware in Lorraine, where he died, 1680.

Footnote:
1. Wood's Fasti, vol. ii. p. 23.

                *        *        *        *        *





                           Dr. JASPER MAIN.


This poet was born at Hatherleigh, in the Reign of King James I. He
was a man of reputation, as well for his natural parts, as his
acquired accomplishments. He received his education at Westminster
school, where he continued 'till he was removed to Christ Church,
Oxon, and in the year 1624 admitted student. He made some figure at
the university, in the study of arts and sciences, and was sollicited
by men of eminence, who esteemed him for his abilities, to enter into
holy orders; this he was not long in complying with, and was preferred
to two livings, both in the gift of the College, one of which was
happily situated near Oxford.

Much about this time King Charles I. was obliged to keep his court at
Oxford, to avoid being exposed to the resentment of the populace in
London, where tumults then prevailed, and Mr. Main was made choice of,
amongst others, to preach before his Majesty. Soon after he was
created doctor of divinity, and resided at Oxford, till the time of
the mock visitation, sent to the university, when, amongst a great
many others, equally distinguished for their loyalty and zeal for that
unfortunate Monarch, he was ejected from the college, and stript of
both his livings. During the rage of the civil war, he was patronized
by the earl of Devonshire, at whose house he resided till the
restoration of Charles II. when he was not only put in possession of
his former places, but made canon of Christ's Church, and arch-deacon
of Chichester, which preferments he enjoyed till his death. He was an
orthodox preacher, a man of severe virtue, a ready and facetious wit.
In his younger years he addicted himself to poetry, and produced two
plays, which were held in some esteem in his own time; but as they
have never been revived, nor taken notice of by any of our critics, in
all probability they are but second rate performances.

The Amorous War. a Tragedy, printed in 4to. Oxon. 1658.

The City Match, a Comedy, acted before the King and Queen in
Whitehall, and afterwards on the stage in Black Fryars, with great
applause, and printed in 4to. Oxon. 1658. These two plays have been
printed in folio, 4to, and 8vo. and are bound together.

Besides these dramatic pieces, our author wrote a Poem upon the Naval
Victory over the Dutch by the Duke of York, a subject which Dryden has
likewise celebrated in his Annus Mirabilis. He published a translation
of part of Lucian, said to be done by Mr. Francis Hicks, to which he
added some dialogues of his own, though Winstanley is of opinion, that
the whole translation is also his. In the year 1646, --47, --52, --62,
he published several sermons, and entered into a controversy with the
famous Presbyterian leader, Mr. Francis Cheynel, and his Sermon
against False Prophets was particularly levelled at him. Cheynel's
Life is written by a gentleman of great eminence in literature, and
published in some of the latter numbers of of the Student, in which
the character of that celebrated teacher is fully displayed. Dr. Main
likewise published in the year 1647 a book called The People's War
examined according to the Principles of Scripture and Reason, which he
wrote at the desire of a person of quality. He also translated Dr.
Donne's Latin Epigrams into English, and published them under the
title of, A Sheaf of Epigrams.

On the 6th of December, 1642, he died, and his remains were deposited
on the North side of the choir in Christ's Church. In his will he left
several legacies for pious uses: fifty pounds for the rebuilding of
St. Paul's; a hundred pounds to be distributed by the two vicars of
Cassington and Burton, for the use of the poor in those parishes, with
many other legacies.

He was a man of a very singular turn of humour, and though, without
the abilities, bore some resemblance to the famous dean of St.
Patrick's, and perhaps was not so subject to those capricious whims
which produced so much uneasiness to all who attended upon dean Swift.
It is said of Dr. Main, that his propension to innocent raillery was
so great, that it kept him company even after death. Among other
legacies, he bequeathed to an old servant an old trunk, and somewhat
in it, as he said, that would make him drink: no sooner did the Dr.
expire, than the servant, full of expectation, visited the trunk, in
hopes of finding some money, or other treasure left him by his master,
and to his great disappointment, the legacy, with which he had filled
his imagination, proved no other than a Red Herring.

The ecclesiastical works of our author are as follow,

1. A Sermon concerning Unity and Agreement, preached at Carfax Church
in Oxford, August 9, 1646. 1 Cor. i. 10.

2. A Sermon against False Prophets, preached in St. Mary's Church in
Oxford, shortly after the surrender of that garrison, printed in 1697.
Ezek. xxii. 28. He afterwards published a Vindication of this Sermon
from the aspersions of Mr. Cheynel.

3. A Sermon preached at the Consecration of the Right Reverend Father
in God, Herbert, Lord Bishop of Hereford, 1662. 1 Tim. iv. 14.

4. Concio ad Academiam Oxoniensem, pro more habita inchoante Jermino,
Maii 27, 1662.

As a specimen of his poetry, we present a copy of verses addressed to
Ben Johnson.

  Scorn then, their censures, who gave't out, thy wit
  As long upon a comedy did fit,
  As elephants bring forth: and thy blots
  And mendings took more time, than fortune plots;
  That such thy draught was, and so great thy thirst,
  That all thy plays were drawn at Mermaid[1] first:
  That the King's yearly butt wrote, and his wine
  Hath more right than those to thy Cataline.
  Let such men keep a diet, let their wit,
  Be rack'd and while they write, suffer a fit:
  When th' have felt tortures, which outpain the gout;
  Such as with less the state draws treason out;
  Sick of their verse, and of their poem die,
  Twou'd not be thy wont scene--

Footnote:
1. A tavern in Bread-street.

                *        *        *        *        *




                             JOHN MILTON.


The British nation, which has produced the greatest men in every
profession, before the appearance of Milton could not enter into any
competition with antiquity, with regard to the sublime excellencies of
poetry. Greece could boast an Euripides, Eschylus, Sophocles and
Sappho; England was proud of her Shakespear, Spenser, Johnson and
Fletcher; but then the ancients had still a poet in reserve superior
to the rest, who stood unrivalled by all succeeding times, and in epic
poetry, which is justly esteemed the highest effort of genius, Homer
had no rival. When Milton appeared, the pride of Greece was humbled,
the competition became more equal, and since Paradise Lost is ours; it
would, perhaps, be an injury to our national fame to yield the palm to
any state, whether ancient or modern.

The author of this astonishing work had something very singular in his
life, as if he had been marked out by Heaven to be the wonder of every
age, in all points of view in which he can be considered. He lived in
the times of general confusion; he was engaged in the factions of
state, and the cause he thought proper to espouse, he maintained with
unshaken firmness; he struggled to the last for what he was persuaded
were the rights of humanity; he had a passion for civil liberty, and
he embarked in the support of it, heedless of every consideration of
danger; he exposed his fortune to the vicissitudes of party
contention, and he exerted his genius in writing for the cause he
favoured.

There is no life, to which it is more difficult to do justice, and at
the same time avoid giving offence, than Milton's, there are some who
have considered him as a regicide, others have extolled him as a
patriot, and a friend to mankind: Party-rage seldom knows any bounds,
and differing factions have praised or blamed him, according to their
principles of religion, and political opinions.

In the course of this life, a dispassionate regard to truth, and an
inviolable candour shall be observed. Milton was not without a share
of those failings which are inseparable from human nature; those
errors sometimes exposed him to censure, and they ought not to pass
unnoticed; on the other hand, the apparent sincerity of his
intentions, and the amazing force of his genius, naturally produce an
extream tenderness for the faults with which his life is chequered:
and as in any man's conduct fewer errors are seldom found, so no man's
parts ever gave him a greater right to indulgence.

The author of Paradise Lost was descended of an ancient family of that
name at Milton, near Abingdon in Oxfordshire. He was the son of John
Milton a money-scrivener, and born the 9th of December, 1608. The
family from which he descended had been long seated there, as appears
by the monuments still to be seen in the church of Milton, 'till one
of them, having taken the unfortunate side in the contests between the
houses of York and Lancaster, was deprived of all his estate, except
what he held by his wife[1]. Our author's grandfather, whose name was
John Milton, was under-ranger, or reaper of the forest of Shotover,
near Halton in Oxfordshire: but a man of Milton's genius needs not
have the circumstance of birth called in to render him illustrious; he
reflects the highest honour upon his family, which receives from him
more glory, than the longest descent of years can give. Milton was
both educated under a domestic tutor, and likewise at St. Paul's
school under Mr. Alexander Gill, where he made, by his indefatigable
application, an extraordinary progress in learning. From his 12th year
he generally sat up all night at his studies, which, accompanied with
frequent head-aches, proved very prejudicial to his eyes. In the year
1625 he was entered into Christ's College in Cambridge, under the
tuition of Mr. William Chappel, afterwards bishop of Ross in Ireland,
and even before that time, had distinguished himself by several Latin
and English poems[2]. After he had taken the degree of master of arts,
in 1632 he left the university, and for the space of five years lived
with his parents at their house at Horton, near Colebrook in
Buckinghamshire, where his father having acquired a competent fortune,
thought proper to retire, and spend the remainder of his days. In the
year 1634 he wrote his Masque of Comus, performed at Ludlow Castle,
before John, earl of Bridgwater, then president of Wales: It appears
from the edition of this Masque, published by Mr. Henry Lawes, that
the principal performers were, the Lord Barclay, Mr. Thomas Egerton,
the Lady Alice Egerton, and Mr. Lawes himself, who represented an
attendant spirit.

The Prologue, which we found in the General Dictionary, begins with
the following lines.

  Our stedfast bard, to his own genius true,
  Still bad his muse fit audience find, tho' few;
  Scorning the judgment of a trifling age,
  To choicer spirits he bequeath'd his page.
  He too was scorned, and to Britannia's shame,
  She scarce for half an age knew Milton's name;
  But now his fame by every trumpet blown,
  We on his deathless trophies raise our own.
  Nor art, nor nature, could his genius bound:
  Heaven, hell, earth, chaos, he survey'd around.
  All things his eye, thro' wit's bright empire thrown,
  Beheld, and made what it beheld his own.

In 1637 Our author published his Lycidas; in this poem he laments the
death of his friend Mr. Edward King, who was drowned in his passage
from Chester on the Irish seas in 1637; it was printed the year
following at Cambridge in 4to. in a collection of Latin and English
poems upon Mr. King's death, with whom he had contracted the strongest
friendship. The Latin epitaph informs us, that Mr. King was son of Sir
John King, secretary for Ireland to Queen Elizabeth, James I. and
Charles I. and that he was fellow in Christ's-College Cambridge, and
was drowned in the twenty-fifth year of his age. But this poem of
Lycidas does not altogether consist in elegiac strains of tenderness;
there is in it a mixture of satire and severe indignation; for in part
of it he takes occasion to rally the corruptions of the established
clergy, of whom he was no favourer; and first discovers his acrimony
against archbishop Laud; he threatens him with the loss of his head, a
fate which he afterwards met, thro' the fury of his enemies; at least,
says Dr. Newton, I can think of no sense so proper to be given to the
following verses in Lycidas;

  Besides what the grim wolf, with privy paw,
  Daily devours apace, and nothing said;
  But that two-handed engine at the door,
  Stands ready to smite once, and smite no more.

Upon the death of his mother, Milton obtained leave of his father to
travel, and having waited upon Sir Henry Wotton, formerly ambassador
at Venice, and then provost of Eaton College, to whom he communicated
his design, that gentleman wrote a letter to him, dated from the
College, April 18, 1638, and printed among the Reliquiae Wottonianae,
and in Dr. Newton's life of Milton. Immediately after the receipt of
this letter our author set out for France, accompanied only with one
man, who attended him thro' all his travels. At Paris Milton was
introduced to the famous Hugo Grotius, and thence went to Florence,
Siena, Rome, and Naples, in all which places he was entertained with
the utmost civility by persons of the first distinction.

When our author was at Naples he was introduced to the acquaintance of
Giovanni Baptista Manso, Marquis of Villa, a Neapolitan nobleman,
celebrated for his taste in the liberal arts, to whom Tasso addresses
his dialogue on friendship, and whom he likewise mentions in his
Gierusalemme liberata, with great honour. This nobleman shewed
extraordinary civilities to Milton, frequently visited him at his
lodgings, and accompanied him when he went to see the several
curiosities of the city. He was not content with giving our author
these exterior marks of respect only, but he honoured him by a Latin
distich in his praise, which is printed before Milton's Latin poems.
Milton no doubt was highly pleased with such extreme condescension and
esteem from a person of the Marquis of Villa's quality; and as an
evidence of his gratitude, he presented the Marquis at his departure
from Naples, his eclogue, entitled Mansus; which, says Dr. Newton, is
well worth reading among his Latin poems; so that it may be reckoned a
peculiar felicity in the Marquis of Villa's life to have been
celebrated both by Tasso and Milton, the greatest poets of their
nation. Having seen the finest parts of Italy, and conversed with men
of the first distinction, he was preparing to pass over into Sicily
and Greece, when the news from England, that a civil war was like to
lay his country in blood, diverted his purpose; for as by his
education and principles he was attached to the parliamentary
interest, he thought it a mark of abject cowardice, for a lover of his
country to take his pleasure abroad, while the friends of liberty were
contending at home for the rights of human nature. He resolved
therefore to return by way of Rome, tho' he was dissuaded from
pursuing that resolution by the merchants, who were informed by their
correspondents, that the English jesuits there were forming plots
against his life, in case he should return thither, on account of the
great freedom with which he had treated their religion, and the
boldness he discovered in demonstrating the absurdity of the Popish
tenets; for he by no means observed the rule recommended to him by Sir
Henry Wotton, of keeping his thoughts close, and his countenance open.
Milton was removed above dissimulation, he hated whatever had the
appearance of disguise, and being naturally a man of undaunted
courage, he was never afraid to assert his opinions, nor to vindicate
truth tho' violated by the suffrage of the majority.

Stedfast in his resolutions, he went to Rome a second time, and stayed
there two months more, neither concealing his name, nor declining any
disputations to which his antagonists in religious opinions invited
him; he escaped the secret machinations of the jesuits, and came safe
to Florence, where he was received by his friends with as much
tenderness as if he had returned to his own country. Here he remained
two months, as he had done in his former visit, excepting only an
excursion of a few days to Lucca, and then crossing the Appenine, and
passing thro' Bologna, and Ferrara, he arrived at Venice, in which
city he spent a month; and having shipped off the books he had
collected in his travels, he took his course thro' Verona, Milan, and
along the Lake Leman to Geneva. In this city he continued some time,
meeting there with people of his own principles, and contracted an
intimate friendship with Giovanni Deodati, the most learned professor
of Divinity, whose annotations on the bible are published in English;
and from thence returning to France the same way that he had gone
before, he arrived safe in England after an absence of fifteen months,
in which Milton had seen much of the world, read the characters of
famous men, examined the policy of different countries, and made more
extensive improvements than travellers of an inferior genius, and less
penetration, can be supposed to do in double the time. Soon after his
return he took a handsome house in Aldersgate-street, and undertook
the education of his sister's two sons, upon a plan of his own. In
this kind of scholastic solitude he continued some time, but he was
not so much immersed in academical studies, as to stand an indifferent
spectator of what was acted upon the public theatre of his country.
The nation was in great ferment in 1641, and the clamour against
episcopacy running very high, Milton who discovered how much inferior
in eloquence and learning the puritan teachers were to the bishops,
engaged warmly with the former in support of the common cause, and
exercised all the power of which he was capable, in endeavouring to
overthrow the prelatical establishment, and accordingly published five
tracts relating to church government; they were all printed at London
in 4to. The first was intitled, Reformation touching Church Discipline
in England, and the Causes that have hitherto hindered it: two books
written to a friend. The second was of Prelatical Episcopacy, and
whether it may be deducted from Apostolical Times, by virtue of those
Testimonies which are alledged to that purpose in some late treatises;
one whereof goes under the name of James Usher archbishop of Armagh.
The third was the Reason of Church Government urged against the
Prelacy, by Mr. John Milton, in two books. The fourth was
Animadversions upon the Remonstrants Defence against Smectymnuus; and
the fifth an Apology for a Pamphlet called, a Modest Confutation of
the Animadversions upon the Remonstrants against Smectymnuus; or as
the title page is in some copies, an Apology for Smectymnuus, with the
Reason of Church Government, by John Milton.

In the year 1643 Milton married the daughter of Richard Powel, Esq; of
Forrest-hill in Oxfordshire; who not long after obtaining leave of her
husband to pay a visit to her father in the country, but, upon
repeated messages to her, refusing to return, Milton seemed disposed
to marry another, and in 1644 published the Doctrine and Discipline of
Divorce; the Judgment of Martin Bucer concerning Divorce, and the year
following his Tetrachordon and Colasterion. Mr. Philips observes, and
would have his readers believe, that the reason of his wife's aversion
to return to him was the contrariety of their state principles. The
lady being educated in loyal notions, possibly imagined, that if ever
the regal power should flourish again, her being connected with a
person so obnoxious to the King, would hurt her father's interest;
this Mr. Philips alledges, but, with submission to his authority, I
dissent from his opinion. Had she been afraid of marrying a man of
Milton's principles, the reason was equally strong before as after
marriage, and her father must have seen it in that light; but the true
reason, or at least a more rational one, seems to be, that she had no
great affection for Milton's person.

Milton was a stern man, and as he was so much devoted to study, he was
perhaps too negligent in those endearments and tender intercourses of
love which a wife has a right to expect. No lady ever yet was fond of
a scholar, who could not join the lover with it; and he who expects to
secure the affections of his wife by the force of his understanding
only, will find himself miserably mistaken: indeed it is no wonder
that women who are formed for tenderness, and whose highest excellence
is delicacy, should pay no great reverence to a proud scholar, who
considers the endearments of his wife, and the caresses of his
children as pleasures unworthy of him. It is agreed by all the
biographers of Milton, that he was not very tender in his disposition;
he was rather boldly honourable, than delicately kind; and Mr. Dryden
seems to insinuate, that he was not much subject to love. "His rhimes,
says he, flow stiff from him, and that too at an age when love makes
every man a rhymster, tho' not a poet. There are, methinks, in
Milton's love-sonnets more of art than nature; he seems to have
considered the passion philosophically, rather than felt it
intimately."

In reading Milton's gallantry the breast will glow, but feel no
palpitations; we admire the poetry, but do not melt with tenderness;
and want of feeling in an author seldom fails to leave the reader
cold; but from whatever cause his aversion proceeded, she was at last
prevailed upon by her relations, who could foresee the dangers of a
matrimonial quarrel, to make a submission, and she was again received
with tenderness.

Mr. Philips has thus related the story.--'It was then generally
thought, says he, that Milton had a design of marrying one of Dr.
Davy's daughters, a very handsome and witty gentlewoman, but averse,
as it is said, to this motion; however the intelligence of this caused
justice Powel's family to let all engines at work to restore the
married woman to the station in which they a little before had planted
her. At last this device was pitched upon. There dwelt in the lane of
St. Martin's Le Grand, which was hard by, a relation of our author's,
one Blackborough, whom it was known he often visited, and upon this
occasion the visits were more narrowly observed, and possibly there
might be a combination between both parties, the friends on both sides
consenting in the same action, tho' in different behalfs. One time
above the rest, making his usual visits, his wife was ready in another
room; on a sudden he was surprized to see one, whom he thought never
to have seen more, making submission, and begging pardon on her knees
before him. He might probably at first make some shew of aversion, and
rejection, but partly his own generous nature, more inclinable to
reconciliation than to perseverance in anger and revenge, and partly
the strong intercession of friends on both sides, soon brought him to
an act of oblivion and a firm league of peace for the future; and it
was at length concluded that she should remain at a friend's house,
till he was settled in his new house in Barbican, and all things
prepared for her reception. The first fruits of her return to her
husband was a brave girl, born within a year after, tho', whether by
ill constitution, or want of care, she grew more and more decrepit.'

Mr. Fenton observes, that it is not to be doubted but the
abovementioned interview between Milton and his wife must wonderfully
affect him; and that perhaps the impressions it made on his
imagination contributed much to the painting of that pathetic scene in
Paradise Lost, b. 10. in which Eve addresses herself to Adam for
pardon and peace, now at his feet submissive in distress.

About the year 1644 our author wrote a small piece in one sheet 4to,
under this title, Education, to Mr. Samuel Hartly, reprinted at the
end of his Poems on several occasions; and in the same year he
published at London in 4to, his Areopagitica, or a speech of Mr. J.
Milton for the liberty of unlicensed printing, to the Parliament of
England.

In 1645 his Juvenile Poems were printed at London, and about this time
his zeal for the republican party had so far recommended him, that a
design was formed of making him adjutant-general in Sir William
Waller's army; but the new modelling the army proved an obstruction to
that advancement. Soon after the march of Fairfax and Cromwell with
the whole army through the city, in order to suppress the insurrection
which Brown and Massey were endeavouring to raise there, against the
army's proceedings, he left his great house in Barbican, for a smaller
in High Holborn, where he prosecuted his studies till after the King's
trial and death, when he published his Tenure of Kings and
Magistrates: His Observations on the Articles of peace between James
Earl of Ormond for King Charles I. on the one hand, and the Irish
Rebels and Papists on the other hand; and a letter sent by Ormond to
colonel Jones governor of Dublin; and a representation of the Scotch
Presbytery at Belfast in Ireland.

He was now admitted into the service of the Commonwealth, and was made
Latin Secretary to the Council of State, who resolved neither to write
nor receive letters but in the Latin tongue, which was common to all
states.

'And it were to be wished,' says Dr. Newton, 'that succeeding Princes
would follow their example, for in the opinion of very wise men, the
universality of the French language will make way for the universality
of the French Monarchy. Milton was perhaps the first instance of a
blind man's possessing the place of a secretary; which no doubt was a
great inconvenience to him in his business, tho' sometimes a political
use might be made of it, as men's natural infirmities are often
pleaded in excuse for their not doing what they have no great
inclination to do. Dr. Newton relates an instance of this. When
Cromwell, as we may collect from Whitlocke, for some reasons delayed
artfully to sign the treaty concluded with Sweden, and the Swedish
ambassador made frequent complaints of it, it was excused to him,
because Milton on account of his blindness, proceeded slower in
business, and had not yet put the articles of treaty into Latin. Upon
which the ambassador was greatly surprized that things of such
consequence should be entrusted to a blind man; for he must
necessarily employ an amanuensis, and that amanuensis might divulge
the articles; and said, it was very wonderful there should be only one
man in England who could write Latin, and he a blind one.'

Thus we have seen Milton raised to the dignity of Latin Secretary. It
is somewhat strange, that in times of general confusion, when a man of
parts has the fairest opportunity to play off his abilities to
advantage, that Milton did not rise sooner, nor to a greater
elevation; he was employed by those in authority only as a writer,
which conferred no power upon him, and kept him in a kind of
obscurity, who had from nature all that was proper for the field as
well as the cabinet; for we are assured that Milton was a man of
confirmed courage.

In 1651 our author published his Pro Populo Anglicano Defensio, for
which he was rewarded by the Commonwealth with a present of a thousand
pounds, and had a considerable hand in correcting and polishing a
piece written by his nephew Mr. John Philips, and printed at London
1652, under this title, Joannis Philippi Angli Responsio ad Apologiam
Anonymi cujusdam Tenebrionis pro Rege & Populo Anglicano
infantissimam. During the writing and publishing this book, he lodged
at one Thomson's, next door to the Bull-head tavern Charing-Cross; but
he soon removed to a Garden-house in Petty-France, next door to lord
Scudamore's, where he remained from the year 1652 till within a few
weeks of the Restoration. In this house, his first wife dying in
child-bed, 1652, he married a second, Catherine, the daughter of
Captain Woodcock of Hackney, who died of a consumption in three months
after she had been brought to bed of a daughter. This second marriage
was about two or three years after he had been wholly deprived of his
sight; for by reason of his continual studies, and the head-ach[e], to
which he was subject from his youth, and his perpetual tampering with
physic, his eyes had been decaying for twelve years before.

In 1654 he published his Defensio Secunda; and the year following his
Defensio pro Se. Being now at ease from his state adversaries, and
political controversies, he had leisure again to prosecute his own
studies, and private designs, particularly his History of Britain, and
his new Thesaurus Linguae Latinae according to the method of Robert
Stevens, the manuscript of which contained three large volumes in
folio, and has been made use of by the editors of the Cambridge
Dictionary, printed 4to, 1693.

In 1658 he published Sir Walter Raleigh's Cabinet Council; and in 1659
a Treatise of the Civil Power in Ecclesiastical Causes, Lond. 12mo.
and Considerations touching the likeliest Means to remove Hirelings
out of the Church; wherein are also Discourses of Tithes, Church-fees,
Church-Revenues, and whether any Maintenance of Ministers can be
settled in Law, Lond. 1659, 12mo.

Upon the dissolution of the Parliament by the army, after Richard
Cromwell had been obliged to resign the Protectorship, Milton wrote a
letter, in which he lays down the model of a commonwealth; not such as
he judged the best, but what might be the readiest settled at that
time, to prevent the restoration of kingly government and domestic
disorders till a more favourable season, and better dispositions for
erecting a perfect democracy. He drew up likewise another piece to the
same purpose, which seems to have been addressed to general Monk; and
he published in February 1659, his ready and easy way to establish a
free Commonwealth. Soon after this he published his brief notes upon a
late sermon, entitled, the Fear of God and the King, printed in 4to,
Lond. 1660. Just before the restoration he was removed from his office
of Latin secretary, and concealed himself till the act of oblivion was
published; by the advice of his friends he absconded till the event of
public affairs should direct him what course to take, for this purpose
he retired to a friend's house in Bartholomew-Close, near
West-Smithfield, till the general amnesty was declared.

The act of oblivion, says Mr. Phillips, proving as favourable to him,
as could be hoped or expected, through the intercession of some that
stood his friends both in Council and Parliament; particularly in the
House of Commons, Mr. Andrew Marvel member for Hull, and who has
prefixed a copy of verses before his Paradise Lost, acted vigorously
in his behalf, and made a considerable party for him, so that together
with John Goodwin of Coleman-Street, he was only so far excepted as
not to bear any office in the Commonwealth; but as this is one of the
most important circumstances in the life of our author, we shall give
an account of it at large, from Mr. Richardson, in his life of Milton,
prefixed to his Explanatory Notes, and Remarks on Paradise Lost.

His words are

'That Milton escaped is well known, but not how. By the accounts we
have, he was by the Act of Indemnity only incapacitated for any public
employment. This is a notorious mistake, though Toland, the bishop of
Sarum, Fenton, &c, have gone into it, confounding him with Goodwin;
their cases were very different, as I found upon enquiry. Not to take
a matter of this importance upon trust, I had first recourse to the
Act itself. Milton is not among the excepted. If he was so
conditionally pardoned, it must then be, by a particular instrument.
That could not be after he had been purified entirely by the general
indemnity, nor was it likely the King, who had declared from Breda, he
would pardon all but whom the Parliament should judge unworthy of it,
and had thus lodged the matter with them, should, before they came to
a determination, bestow a private act of indulgence to one so
notorious as Milton. It is true, Rapin says, several principal
republicans applied for mercy, while the Act was yet depending, but
quotes no authority; and upon search, no such pardon appears on
record, though many are two or three years after, but then they are
without restrictions; some people were willing to have a particular,
as well as a general pardon; but whatever was the case of others,
there was a reason besides what has been already noted, that no such
favour would be shewn to Milton. The House of Commons, June 16, 1660,
vote the King to be moved to call in his two books, and that of John
Goodwin, written in justification of the murder of the King, in order
to be burnt, and that the Attorney General do proceed against them by
indictment. June 27, an Order of Council reciting that Vote of the
16th, and that the persons were not to be found, directs a
Proclamation for calling in Milton's two books, which are here
explained, to be that against Salmasius, and the Eikon Basilike, as
also Goodwin's book; and a Proclamation was issued accordingly, and
another to the same purpose the 13th of August: as for Goodwin he
narrowly escaped for his life, but he was voted to be excepted out of
the Act of Indemnity, amongst the twenty designed to have penalties
inflicted short of death, and August 27, these books of Milton and
Goodwin were burnt by the hangman. The Act of Oblivion, according to
Kennet's Register, was passed the 29th. It is seen by this account,
that Milton's person and Goodwin's are separated, tho' their books are
blended together. As the King's intention appeared to be a pardon to
all but actual regicides, as Burnet says, it is odd, he should assert
in the same breath, almost all people were surprized that Goodwin and
Milton escaped censure. Why should it be so strange, they being not
concerned in the King's blood? that he was forgot, as Toland says,
some people imagined, is very unlikely. However, it is certain, from
what has been shewn from bishop Kennet, he was not. That he should be
distinguished from Goodwin, with advantage, will justly appear
strange; for his vast merit, as an honest man, a great scholar, and a
most excellent writer, and his fame, on that account, will hardly be
thought the causes, especially when it is remembered Paradise Lost was
not produced, and the writings, on which his vast reputation stood,
are now become criminal, and those most, which were the main pillars
of his fame. Goodwin was an inconsiderable offender, compared with
him; some secret cause must be recurred to in accounting for this
indulgence. I have heard that secretary Morrice, and Sir Thomas
Clarges were his friends, and managed matters artfully in his favour;
doubtless they, or some body else did, and they very probably, as
being powerful friends at that time. But still how came they to put
their interest at such a stretch, in favour of a man so notoriously
obnoxious? perplexed, and inquisitive as I was, I at length found the
secret. It was Sir William Davenant obtained his remission, in return
of his own life, procured by Milton's interest, when himself was under
condemnation, Anno 1650. A life was owing to Milton (Davenant's) and
it was paid nobly; Milton's for Davenant, at Davenant's intercession.
The management of the affair in the house, whether by signifying the
King's desire, or otherwise, was, perhaps by those gentlemen named.'

This account Mr. Richardson had from Mr. Pope, who was informed of it
by Betterton, the celebrated actor, who was first brought upon the
stage by Sir William Davenant, and honoured with an intimacy with him,
so that no better authority need be produced to support any fact.

Milton being secured by his pardon, appeared again in public, and
removed to Jewin street, where he married his third wife, Elizabeth,
the daughter of Mr. Minshul of Cheshire, recommended to him by his
friend Dr. Paget, to whom he was related, but he had no children by
her: soon after the restoration he was offered the place of Latin
secretary to the King, which, notwithstanding the importunities of his
wife, he refused: we are informed, that when his wife pressed him to
comply with the times, and accept the King's offer, he made answer,
'You are in the right, my dear, you, as other women, would ride in
your coach; for me, my aim is to live and die an honest man.' Soon
after his marriage with his third wife, he removed to a house in the
Artillery Walk, leading to Bunhill-fields, where he continued till his
death, except during the plague, in 1665, when he retired with his
family to St. Giles's Chalfont Buckinghamshire, at which time his
Paradise Lost was finished, tho' not published till 1667. Mr. Philips
observes, that the subject of that poem was first designed for a
tragedy, and in the fourth book of the poem, says he, there are ten
verses, which, several years before the poem was begun, were shewn to
me, and some others, as designed for the very beginning of the
tragedy. The verses are,

  O thou that with surpassing glory crown'd
  Look'st from thy sole dominion like the god,
  Of this new world; at whose sight all the stars
  Hide their diminish'd heads; to thee I call,
  But with no friendly voice, and add thy name,
  O Sun, to tell thee how I hate thy beams,
  Which brings to my remembrance, from what state
  I fell; how glorious once above thy sphere,
  'Till pride, and worse ambition, threw me down,
  Warring in Heaven, 'gainst Heav'ns matchless King.

Mr. Philips further observes, that there was a very remarkable
circumstance in the composure of Paradise Lost, which, says he, 'I
have particular reason to remember, for whereas I had the perusal of
it from the very beginning, for some years, as I went from time to
time to visit him, in a parcel of ten, twenty, or thirty verses at a
time, which being written by whatever hand came next, might possibly
want correction, as to the orthography and pointing; having, as the
summer came on, not been shewn any for a considerable while, and
desiring the reason thereof, was answered, that his vein never happily
flowed but from the autumnal equinox to the vernal, and that whatever
he attempted at other times, was never to his satisfaction, though he
courted his fancy never so much; so that in all the years he was about
his poem, he may be said to have spent but half his time therein.'[3]
Mr. Toland imagines that Mr. Philips must be mistaken in regard to the
time, since Milton, in his Latin Elegy upon the Approach of the
Spring, declares the contrary, and that his poetic talent returned
with the spring. This is a point, as it is not worth contending, so it
never can be settled; no poet ever yet could tell when the poetic vein
would flow; and as no man can make verses, unless the inclination be
present, so no man, can be certain how long it will continue, for if
there is any inspiration now amongst men, it is that which the poet
feels, at least the sudden starts, and flashes of fancy bear a strong
resemblance to the idea we form of inspiration.

Mr. Richardson has informed us, 'that when Milton dictated, he used to
sit leaning backwards obliquely in an easy chair, with his legs flung
over the elbows of it; that he frequently composed lying a-bed in a
morning, and that when he could not sleep, but lay awake whole nights,
he tried, but not one verse could he make; at other times flowed easy
his unpremeditated verse, with a certain Impetus as himself used to
believe; then at what hour soever, he rung for his daughter to secure
what came. I have been also told he would dictate many, perhaps 40
lines in a breath, and then reduce them to half the number.' I would
not omit, says Mr. Richardson, the least circumstance; these indeed
are trifles, but even such contract a sort of greatness, when related
to what is great.

After the work was ready for the press, it was near being suppressed
by the ignorance, or malice of the licenser, who, among other trivial
objections, imagined there was treason in that noble simile, b. i. v.
594--

  --As when the sun new ris'n
  Looks thro' the horizontal misty air,
  Shorn of his beams; or from behind the moon,
  In dim eclipse, disastrous twilight sheds
  On half the nations, and with fear of change
  Perplexes monarchs.

The ignorance of this licenser, in objecting to this noble simile, has
indeed perpetuated his name, but it is with no advantage; he, no
doubt, imagined, that _Perplexes Monarchs_ was levelled against the
reigning Prince, which is, perhaps, the highest simile in our
language; how ridiculously will people talk who are blinded by
prejudice, or heated by party. But to return: After Milton had
finished this noble work of genius, which does honour to human nature,
he disposed of it to a Bookseller for the small price of fifteen
pounds; under such prejudice did he then labour, and the payment of
the fifteen pounds was to depend upon the sale of two numerous
impressions. This engagement with his Bookseller proves him extremely
ignorant of that sort of business, for he might be well assured, that
if two impressions sold, a great deal of money must be returned, and
how he could dispose of it thus conditionally for fifteen pounds,
appears strange; but while it proves Milton's ignorance, or
inattention about his interest in this affair, it, at the same time,
demonstrates the Bookseller's honesty; for he could not be ignorant
what money would be got by two numerous editions. After this great
work was published, however, it lay some time in obscurity, and had
the Bookseller advanced the sum stipulated, he would have had reason
to repent of his bargain. It was generally reported, that the late
lord Somers first gave Paradise Lost a reputation; but Mr. Richardson
observes, that it was known and esteemed long before there was such a
man as lord Somers, as appears by a pompous edition of it printed by
subscription in 1688, where, amongst the list of Subscribers, are the
names of lord Dorset, Waller, Dryden, Sir Robert Howard, Duke, Creech,
Flatman, Dr. Aldrich, Mr. Atterbury, Sir Roger L'Estrange, lord
Somers, then only John Somers, esq; Mr. Richardson further informs us,
that he was told by Sir George Hungerford, an ancient Member of
Parliament, that Sir John Denham came into the House one morning with
a sheet of Paradise Lost, wet from the press, in his hand, and being
asked what he was reading? he answered, part of the noblest poem that
ever was written in any language, or in any age; however, it is
certain that the book was unknown till about two years after, when the
earl of Dorset recommended it, as appears from the following story
related to Mr. Richardson, by Dr. Tancred Robinson, an eminent
physician in London, who was informed by Sir Fleetwood Sheppard, 'that
the earl, in company with that gentleman, looking over some books in
Little Britain, met with Paradise Lost; and being surprized with some
passages in turning it over, bought it. The Bookseller desired his
lordship to speak in its favour, since he liked it, as the impression
lay on his hands as waste paper. The earl having read the poem, sent
it to Mr. Dryden, who, in a short time, returned it with this answer:
This man cuts us all, and the ancients too.'

Critics have differed as to the source from which our [author] drew
the first hint of writing Paradise Lost; Peck conjectures that it was
from a celebrated Spanish Romance called Guzman, and Dr. Zachary
Pearce, now bishop of Bangor, has alledged, that he took the first
hint of it from an Italian Tragedy, called Il Paradiso Perso, still
extant, and printed many years before he entered on his design. Mr.
Lauder in his Essay on Milton's Use and Imitation of the Moderns, has
insinuated that Milton's first hint of Paradise Lost, was taken from a
Tragedy of the celebrated Grotius, called Adamus Exul, and that Milton
has not thought it beneath him to transplant some of that author's
beauties into his noble work, as well as some other flowers culled
from the gardens of inferior genius's; but by an elegance of art, and
force of nature, peculiar to him, he has drawn the admiration of the
world upon passages, which in their original authors, stood neglected
and undistinguished. If at any time he has adopted a sentiment of a
cotemporary poet, it deserves another name than plagiary; for, as
Garth expresses it, in the case of Dryden, who was charged with
plagiary, that, like ladies of quality who borrow beggars children, it
is only to cloath them the better, and we know no higher compliment
could have been paid to these moderns, than that of Milton's doing
them the honour to peruse them, for, like a Prince's accepting a
present from a subject, the glory is reflected on him who offers the
gift, not on the Monarch who accepts it. But as Mr. Lauder's book has
lately made so great a noise in the world, we must beg leave to be a
little more particular.

Had Mr. Lauder pursued his plan of disclosing Milton's resources, and
tracing his steps through the vast tracts of erudition that our author
travelled, with candour and dispassionateness, the design would have
been noble and useful; he then would have produced authors into light
who were before unknown; have recommended sacred poetry, and it would
have been extreamly pleasing to have followed Milton over all his
classic ground, and seen where the noblest genius of the world thought
proper to pluck a flower, and by what art he was able to rear upon the
foundation of nature so magnificent, so astonishing a fabric: but in
place of that, Mr. Lauder suffers himself to be overcome by his
passion, and instead of tracing him as a man of taste, and extensive
reading, he hunts him like a malefactor, and seems to be determined on
his execution.

Mr. Lauder could never separate the idea of the author of Paradise
Lost, and the enemy of King Charles. Lauder has great reading, but
greater ill nature; and Mr. Douglas has shewn how much his evidence is
invalidated by some interpolations which Lauder has since owned. It is
pity so much classical knowledge should have been thus prostituted by
Lauder, which might have been of service to his country; but
party-zeal seldom knows any bounds. The ingenious Moses Brown,
speaking of this man's furious attack upon Milton, has the following
pretty stanza.

  The Owl will hoot that cannot sing,
  Spite will displume the muse's wing,
    Tho' Phoebus self applaud her;
  Still Homer bleeds in Zoilus' page
  A Virgil 'scaped not the Maevius' rage,
    And Milton has his Lauder.[4]

But if Lauder is hot and furious, his passion soon subsides. Upon
hearing that the grand-daughter of Milton was living, in an obscure
situation in Shoreditch, he readily embraced the opportunity, in his
postscript, of recommending her to the public favour; upon which, some
gentlemen affected with the singularity of the circumstance, and
ashamed that our country should suffer the grand-daughter of one from
whom it derives its most lasting and brightest honour, to languish
neglected, procured Milton's Comus to be performed for her benefit at
Drury Lane, on the 5th of April, 1750: upon which, Mr. Garrick spoke a
Prologue written by a gentleman, who zealously promoted the benefit,
and who, at this time, holds the highest rank in literature.

This prologue will not, we are persuaded, be unacceptable to our
readers.

A PROLOGUE spoken by Mr. GARRICK, Thursday, April 5, 1750. at the
Representation of COMUS, for the Benefit of Mrs. ELIZABETH FOSTER,
MILTON's Grand-daughter, and only surviving descendant.

  Ye patriot crouds, who burn for England's fame,
  Ye nymphs, whose bosoms beat at Milton's name,
  Whose gen'rous zeal, unbought by flatt'ring rhimes,
  Shames the mean pensions of Augustan times;
  Immortal patrons of succeeding days,
  Attend this prelude of perpetual praise!
  Let wit, condemn'd the feeble war to wage
  With close malevolence, or public rage;
  Let study, worn with virtue's fruitless lore,
  Behold this theatre, and grieve no more.
  This night, distinguish'd by your smile, shall tell,
  That never Briton can in vain excel;
  The slighted arts futurity shall trust,
  And rising ages hasten to be just.

    At length our mighty bard's victorious lays
  Fill the loud voice of universal praise,
  And baffled spite, with hopeless anguish dumb,
  Yields to renown the centuries to come.
  With ardent haste, each candidate of fame
  Ambitious catches at his tow'ring name:
  He sees, and pitying sees, vain wealth bestow:
  Those pageant honours which he scorn'd below;
  While crowds aloft the laureat dust behold,
  Or trace his form on circulating gold.
  Unknown, unheeded, long his offspring lay,
  And want hung threat'ning o'er her slow decay.
  What tho' she shine with no Miltonian fire,
  No fav'ring muse her morning dreams inspire;
  Yet softer claims the melting heart engage,
  Her youth laborious, and her blameless age:
  Hers the mild merits of domestic life,
  The patient suff'rer, and the faithful wife.
  Thus grac'd with humble virtue's native charms
  Her grandsire leaves her in Britannia's arms,
  Secure with peace, with competence, to dwell,
  While tutelary nations guard her cell.
  Yours is the charge, ye fair, ye wife, ye brave!
  'Tis yours to crown desert--beyond the grave!

In the year 1670 our author published at London in 4to. his History of
Britain, that part, especially, now called England, from the first
traditional Beginning, continued to the Norman Conquest, collected out
of the ancientest and best authors thereof. It is reprinted in the
first volume of Dr. Kennet's compleat History of England. Mr. Toland
in his Life of Milton, page 43, observes, that we have not this
history as it came out of his hands, for the licensers, those sworn
officers to destroy learning, liberty, and good sense, expunged
several passages of it, wherein he exposed the superstition, pride,
and cunning of the Popish monks in the Saxon times, but applied by the
sagacious licensers to Charles IId's bishops. In 1681 a considerable
passage which had been suppressed in the publication of this history,
was printed at London in 4to under this title. Mr. John Milton's
character of the Long Parliament and Assembly of Divines in 1651,
omitted in his other works, and never before printed. It is reported,
and from the foregoing character it appears probable, that Mr. Milton
had lent most of his personal estate upon the public faith, which when
he somewhat earnestly pressed to have restored, after a long, and
chargeable attendance, met with very sharp rebbukes; upon which, at
last despairing of any success in this affair, he was forced to return
from them poor and friendless, having spent all his money, and wearied
all those who espoused his cause, and he had not, probably, mended his
circumstances in those days, but by performing such service for them,
as afterwards he did, for which scarce any thing would appear too
great. In 1671 he published at London in 8vo. Paradise Regained, a
Poem in four Books, to which is added Sampson Agonistes: there is not
a stronger proof of human weakness, than Milton's preferring this Poem
of Paradise Regained, to Paradise Lost, and it is a natural and just
observation, that the Messiah in Paradise Regained, with all his
meekness, unaffected dignity, and clear reasoning, makes not so great
a figure, as when in the Paradise Lost he appears cloathed in the
Terrors of Almighty vengeance, wielding the thunder of Heaven, and
riding along the sky in the chariot of power, drawn, as Milton greatly
expresses it, 'with Four Cherubic Shapes; when he comes drest in awful
Majesty, and hurls the apostate spirits headlong into the fiery gulph
of bottomless perdition, there to dwell in adamantine chains and penal
fire, who durst defy the Omnipotent to arms.'

Dr. Newton has dissented from the general opinion of mankind,
concerning Paradise Regained: 'Certainly, says he, it is very worthy
of the author, and contrary to what Mr. Toland relates, Milton may be
seen in Paradise Regained as well as Paradise Lost; if it is inferior
in poetry, I know not whether it is inferior in sentiment; if it is
less descriptive, it is more argumentative; if it does not sometimes
rise so high, neither doth it ever sink below; and it has not met with
the approbation it deserves, only because it has not been more read
and considered. His subject indeed is confined, and he has a narrow
foundation to build upon, but he has raised as noble a superstructure,
as such little room, and such scanty materials would allow. The great
beauty of it is the contrast between the two characters of the tempter
and Our Saviour, the artful sophistry, and specious insinuations of
the one, refuted by the strong sense, and manly eloquence of the
other.' The first thought of Paradise Regained was owing to Elwood the
Quaker, as he himself relates the occasion, in the History of his own
Life. When Milton had lent him the manuscript of Paradise Lost at St.
Giles's Chalfont, and he returned it, Milton asked him how he liked
it, and what he thought of it? 'which I modestly and freely told him
(says Elwood) and after some further discourse about it, I pleasantly
said to him, thou hast said much of Paradise Lost, but what hast thou
to say of a Paradise Found? He made me no answer, but sat some time in
a muse, then broke off that discourse, and fell upon another subject.'
When Elwood afterwards waited upon him in London, Milton shewed him
his Paradise Regained, and in a pleasant tone said to him, 'this is
owing to you, for you put it into my head by the question you put me
at Chalfont, which before I had not thought of.'

In the year 1672 he published his Artis Logicae plenior Institutio ad
Rami methodum concinnata, London, in 8vo. and in 1673, a Discourse
intitled, Of True Religion, Heresy, Schism, Toleration, and what best
Means may be used against the Growth of Popery, London, in 4to. He
published likewise the same year, Poems, &c. on several Occasions,
both English and Latin, composed at several times, with a small
Tractate of Education to Mr. Hartlib, London, 8vo. In 1674 he
published his Epistolarum familiarium, lib. i. & Prolusiones quaedam
Oratoriae in Collegio Christi habitae, London, in 8vo and in the same
year in 4to. a Declaration of the Letters Patent of the King of
Poland, John III. elected on the 22d of May, Anno Dom. 1674, now
faithfully translated from the Latin copy. Mr. Wood tells us[5], that
Milton was thought to be the author of a piece called the Grand Case
of Conscience, concerning the Engagement Stated and Resolved; or a
Strict Survey of the Solemn League and Covenant in reference to the
present Engagement; but others are of opinion that the stile and
manner of writing do not in the least favour that supposition. His
State Letters were printed at London 1676 in 12mo. and translated into
English, and printed 1694, as his Brief History of Muscovy, and of
their less known Countries, lying Eastward of Russia, as far as
Cathay, was in 1682 in 8vo. His Historical, Poetical, and
Miscellaneous Works were printed in three volumes in folio 1698 at
London, though Amsterdam is mentioned in the title page with the life
of the author, by Mr. Toland; but the most compleat and elegant
edition of his prose works was printed in two volumes in folio at
London 1738, by the rev. Mr. Birch, now secretary to the Royal
Society, with an Appendix concerning two Dissertations, the first
concerning the Author of the [Greek: EIKON BASILIKE], the Portraiture
of his sacred Majesty in his solitude and sufferings; and the prayer
of Pamela subjoined to several editions of that book; the second
concerning the Commission said to be given by King Charles I. in 1641,
to the Irish Papists, for taking up arms against the Protestants in
Ireland. In this edition the several pieces are disposed according to
the order in which they were printed, with the edition of a Latin
Tract, omitted by Mr. Toland, concerning the Reasons of the War with
Spain in 1655, and several pages in the History of Great Britain,
expanged by the licensers of the press, and not to be met with in any
former impressions. It perhaps is not my province to make any remarks
upon the two grand disputations, that have subsisted between the
friends and enemies of Charles I. about the author of the Basilike,
and the Commission granted to the Irish Papists; as to the last, the
reader, if he pleases, may consult at the Life of Lord Broghill, in
which he will find the mystery of iniquity disclosed, and Charles
entirely freed from the least appearance of being concerned in
granting so execrable a commission; the forgery is there fully
related, and there is all the evidence the nature of the thing will
admit of, that the King's memory has been injured by so base an
imputation. As to the first, it is somewhat difficult to determine,
whether his Majesty was or was not the author of these pious
Meditations; Mr. Birch has summed up the evidence on both sides; we
shall not take upon us to determine on which it preponderates; it will
be proper here to observe, the chief evidence against the King in this
contention, is, Dr. Gauden, bishop of Exeter, who claimed that book as
his, and who, in his letters to the earl of Clarendon, values himself
upon it, and becomes troublesomely sollicitous for preferment on that
account; he likewise told the two princes that the Basilike was not
written by their father, but by him; now one thing is clear, that
Gauden was altogether without parts; his Life of Hooker, which is the
only genuine and indisputed work of his, shews him a man of no extent
of thinking; his stile is loose, and negligently florid, which is
diametrically opposite to that of these Meditations. Another
circumstance much invalidates his evidence, and diminishes his
reputation for honesty. After he had, for a considerable time,
professed himself a Protestant, and been in possession of an English
bishopric, and discovered an ardent desire of rising in the church,
notwithstanding this, he declared himself at his death a Papist; and
upon the evidence of such a man, none can determine a point in
disputation; for he who durst thus violate his conscience, by the
basest hypocrisy, will surely make no great scruple to traduce the
memory of his sovereign.

In a work of Milton's called Icon Oclastes, or the Image broken, he
takes occasion to charge the king with borrowing a prayer from Sir
Philip Sidney's Arcadia, and placing it in his Meditations without
acknowledging the favour. Soon after the sentence of the Regicides had
been put in execution these Meditations were published, and as Anthony
by shewing the body of murdered Caesar, excited the compassion of
multitudes, and raised their indignation against the enemies of that
illustrious Roman; so these Meditations had much the same effect in
England. The Presbyterians loudly exclaimed against the murder of the
King; they asserted, that his person was sacred, and spilling his
blood upon a scaffold was a stain upon the English annals, which the
latest time could not obliterate. These tragical complaints gaining
ground, and the fury which was lately exercised against his Majesty,
subsiding into a tenderness for his memory, heightened by the
consideration of his piety, which these Meditations served to revive,
it was thought proper, in order to appease the minds of the people,
that an answer should be wrote to them.

In this task Milton engaged, and prosecuted it with vigour; but the
most enthusiastic admirer of that poet, upon reading it will not fail
to discover a spirit of bitterness, an air of peevishness and
resentment to run through the whole. Milton has been charged with
interpolating the prayer of Pamela into the King's Meditations, by the
assistance of Bradshaw, who laid his commands upon the printer so to
do, to blast the reputation of the King's book. Dr. Newton is of
opinion that this fact is not well supported, for it is related
chiefly upon the authority of Henry Hills the printer, who had
frequently affirmed it to Dr. Gill, and Dr. Bernard, his physicians,
as they themselves have testified; but tho' Hills was Cromwell's
printer, yet afterwards he turned Papist in the reign of King James
II. in order to be that King's Printer; and it was at that time he
used to relate this story; so that little credit is due to his
testimony. It is almost impossible to believe Milton capable of such
disingenuous meanness, to serve so bad a purpose, and there is as
little reason for fixing it upon him, as he had to traduce the King
for profaning the duty of prayer, with the polluted trash of romances;
for in the best books of devotion, there are not many finer prayers,
and the King might as lawfully borrow and apply it to his own purpose,
as the apostle might make quotations from Heathen poems and plays; and
it became Milton, the least of all men, to bring such an accusation
against the King, as he was himself particularly fond of reading
romances, and has made use of them in some of the best and latest of
his writings.

There have been various conjectures concerning the cause that produced
in Milton so great an aversion to Charles I. One is, that when Milton
stood candidate for a professorship at Cambridge with his much
esteemed friend Mr. King, their interest and qualifications were
equal, upon which his Majesty was required by his nomination to fix
the professor; his answer was, let the best-natured man have it; to
which they who heard him, immediately replied; 'then we are certain it
cannot be Milton's, who was ever remarkable for a stern ungovernable
man.'--Whether this conjecture is absolutely true, we cannot
determine; but as it is not without probability, it has a right to be
believed, till a more satisfactory one can be given.

In whatever light Milton may be placed as a statesman, yet as a poet
he stands in one point of view without a rival; the sublimity of his
conceptions, the elevation of his stile, the fertility of his
imagination, and the conduct of his design in Paradise Lost is
inimitable, and cannot be enough admired.

Milton's character as a poet was never better pourtray'd than in the
epigram under his picture written by Mr. Dryden.

  Three poets in three distant ages born,
  Greece, Italy, and England, did adorn.
  The first in loftiness of thought surpass'd;
  The next in majesty; in both the last:
  The force of nature could no further go,
  To make a third, she join'd the former two.--

This great man died at his house at Bunhill, Nov. 15, 1674, and was
interred near the body of his father, in the chancel of the church of
St. Giles, Cripplegate. By his first wife he had four children, a son
and three daughters. The daughters survived their father. Anne married
a master-builder, and died in child-bed of her first child, which died
with her; Mary lived single; Deborah left her father when she was
young, and went over to Ireland with a lady, and came to England again
during the troubles of Ireland under King James II. She married Mr.
Abraham Clark, a weaver in Spittal-fields, and died Aug. 24, 1727, in
the 76th year of age. She had ten children, viz. seven sons, and three
daughters, but none of them had any children except one of her sons
named Caleb, and the youngest daughter, whose name is Elizabeth. Caleb
went over to Fort St. George in the East-Indies, where he married and
had two sons, Abraham and Isaac; of these Abraham the elder came to
England with governor Harrison, but returned again upon advice of his
father's death, and whether he or his brother be now living is
uncertain. Elizabeth, the youngest child of Deborah, married Mr.
Thomas Foster, a weaver, and lives now in Hog-lane, Shoreditch, for
whom Comus, as we have already observed, was performed at Drury-Lane,
and produced her a great benefit. She has had seven children, three
sons and four daughters, who are all now dead. This Mrs. Foster is a
plain decent looking Woman. Mr. John Ward, fellow of the Royal
Society, and professor of rhetoric in Gresham-College, London, saw the
above Mrs. Clark, Milton's daughter at the house of one of her
relations not long before her death, when she informed me, says that
gentleman, 'That she and her sisters used to read to their father in
eight languages, which by practice they were capable of doing with
great readiness, and accuracy, tho' they understood no language but
English, and their father used often to say in their hearing, one
tongue was enough for a woman. None of them were ever sent to school,
but all taught at home by a mistress kept for that purpose. Isaiah,
Homer, and Ovid's Metamorphoses were books which they were often
called to read to their father; and at my desire she repeated a great
number of verses from the beginning of both these poets with great
readiness. I knew who she was upon the first sight of her, by the
similitude of her countenance with her father's picture. And upon my
telling her so, she informed me, that Mr. Addison told her the same
thing, on her going to wait on him; for he, upon hearing she was
living sent for her, and desired if she had any papers of her
father's, she would bring them with her, as an evidence of her being
Milton's daughter; but immediately on her being introduced to him, he
said, Madam, you need no other voucher; your face is a sufficient
testimonial whose daughter you are; and he then made her a handsome
present of a purse of guineas, with a promise of procuring for her an
annual provision for life; but he dying soon after, she lost the
benefit of his generous design. She appeared to be a woman of good
sense, and genteel behaviour, and to bear the inconveniencies of a low
fortune with decency and prudence.'

Her late Majesty Queen Caroline sent her fifty pounds, and she
received presents of money from several gentlemen not long before her
death. Milton had a brother, Mr. Christopher Milton who was knighted
and made one of the barons of the Exchequer in King James II's reign,
but he does not appear to have been a man of any abilities, at least
if he had any, they are lost to posterity in the lustre of his
brother's.

There is now alive a grand-daughter of this Christopher Milton, who is
married to one Mr. John Lookup, advocate at Edinburgh, remarkable for
his knowledge of the Hebrew tongue. The lady, whom I have often seen,
is extremely corpulent, has in her youth been very handsome, and is
not destitute of a poetical genius. She has writ several copies of
verses, published in the Edinburgh Magazines; and her face bears some
resemblance to the picture of Milton.

Mr. Wood, and after him Mr. Fenton, has given us the following
description of Milton's person.

"He was of a moderate size, well-proportioned, and of a ruddy
complexion, light brown hair, and had handsome features, yet his eyes
were none of the quickest. When he was a student in Cambridge, he was
so fair and clear, that many called him the Lady of Christ's-College.
His deportment was affable, and his gait erect and manly, bespeaking
courage and undauntedness; while he had his sight he wore a sword, and
was well skilled in using it. He had a delicate tuneable voice, an
excellent ear, could p[l]ay on the organ, and bear a part in vocal and
instrumental music."[6]

The great learning and genius of Milton, have scarcely raised him more
admirers, than the part he acted upon the political stage, has
procured him enemies. He was in his inclination a thorough Republican,
and in this he thought like a Greek or Roman, as he was very
conversant with their writings. And one day Sir Robert Howard, who was
a friend of Milton's, and a well wisher to the liberty of his country,
asked him, how he came to side with the Republicans? Milton answered,
among other things, 'Because theirs was the most frugal government;
for the trappings of a Monarchy might set up an ordinary
Commonwealth.' But then his attachment to Cromwell must be condemned,
as being neither consistent with his republican principles, nor with
his love of liberty. It may be reasonably presumed, that he was far
from entirely approving of Cromwell's proceeding; but considered him
as the only person who could rescue the nation from the tyranny of the
Presbyterians, who he saw, were about to erect a worse dominion of
their own upon the ruins of prelatical episcopacy; for if experience
may be allowed to teach us, the Presbyterian government carries in it
more of ecclesiastical authority, and approaches more to the thunder
of the Vatican, than any other government under the sun. Milton was an
enemy to spiritual slavery, he thought the chains thrown upon the mind
were the least tolerable; and in order to shake the pillars of mental
usurpation, he closed with Cromwell and the independants, as he
expected under them greater liberty of conscience. In matters of
religion too, Milton has likewise given great offence, but infidels
have no reason to glory. No such man was ever amongst them. He was
persuaded of the truth of the christian religion; he studied and
admired the holy scriptures, and in all his writings he plainly
discovers a religious turn of mind.

When he wrote the Doctrine and Discipline of Divorce, he appears to
have been a Calvinist; but afterwards he entertained a more favourable
opinion of Arminius. Some have thought that he was an Arian, but there
are more express passages in his works to overthrow this opinion, than
any there are to confirm it. For in the conclusion of his Treatise on
Reformation, he thus solemnly invokes the Trinity:

'Thou therefore that sittest in light and glory unapproachable, parent
of angels and of men! next thee I implore omnipotent king, redeemer of
that lost remnant, whose nature thou didst assume, ineffable and
everlasting love! and thee the third subsistence of the divine
infinitude, illuminating spirit, the joy and solace of created things!
one tri-personal god-head.'

In the latter part of his life he was not a professed member of any
particular sect of christians; he frequented no public worship, nor
used any religious rite in his family; he was an enemy to all kinds of
forms, and thought that all christians had in some things corrupted
the simplicity and purity of the gospel. He believed that inward
religion was the best, and that public communion had more of shew in
it, than any tendency to promote genuine piety and unaffected
goodness.

The circumstances of our author were never very mean, nor very
affluent; he lived above want, and was content with competency. His
father supported him during his travels. When he was appointed Latin
secretary, his sallary amounted to 200 l. per ann. and tho' he was of
the victorious party, yet he was far from sharing the spoils of his
country. On the contrary, as we learn from his Second Defence, he
sustained great losses during the civil war, and was not at all
favoured in the imposition of taxes, but sometimes paid beyond his due
proportion; and upon a turn of affairs, he was not only deprived of
his place, but also lost 2000 l. which he had for security, put into
the Excise office.

In the fire of London, his house in Bread-street was burnt, before
which accident foreigners have gone out of devotion, says Wood, to see
the house and chamber where he was born. Some time before he died, he
sold the greatest part of his library, as his heirs were not qualified
to make a proper use of it, and as he thought he could dispose of it
to greater advantage, than they could after his death. He died (says
Dr. Newton) by one means or other worth 1500 l. besides his houshold
goods, which was no incompetent subsistence for him, who was as great
a philosopher as a poet.

Milton seems not to have been very happy in his marriages. His first
wife offended him by her elopement; the second, whose love, sweetness,
and delicacy he celebrates, lived not a twelvemonth with him; and his
third was said to be a woman of a most violent spirit, and a severe
step-mother to his children.

'She died, says Dr. Newton, very old, about twenty years ago, at
Nantwich in Cheshire, and from the accounts of those who had seen her,
I have learned that she confirmed several things related before; and
particularly that her husband used to compose his poetry chiefly in
the winter, and on his waking on a morning would make her write down
sometimes twenty or thirty verses: Being asked whether he did not
often read Homer and Virgil, she understood it as an imputation upon
him for stealing from these authors, and answered with eagerness, that
he stole from no body but the muse that inspired him; and being asked
by a lady present who the muse was, she answered, it was God's grace
and holy spirit, that visited him nightly. She was likewise asked,
whom he approved most of our English poets, and answered, Spenser,
Shakespear, and Cowley; and being asked what he thought of Dryden, she
said Dryden used sometimes to visit him, but he thought him no poet,
but a good rhimist.'

The reader will be pleased to observe, that this censure of Milton's
was before Dryden had made any great appearance in poetry, or composed
those immortal works of genius, which have raised eternal monuments to
him, and carried his name to every country where poetry and taste are
known. Some have thought that Dryden's genius was even superior to
Milton's: That the latter chiefly shines in but one kind of poetry;
his thoughts are sublime, and his language noble; but in what kind of
writing has not Dryden been distinguished? He is in every thing
excellent, says Congreve, and he has attempted nothing in which he has
not so succeeded as to be entitled to the first reputation from it.

It is not to be supposed, that Milton was governed by so mean a
principle as envy, in his thus censuring Dryden. It is more natural to
imagine, that as he was himself no friend to rhime, and finding Dryden
in his early age peculiarly happy in the faculty of rhiming, without
having thrown out any thoughts, which were in themselves
distinguishedly great, Milton might, without the imputation of ill
nature, characterise Dryden, as we have already seen.

These are the most material incidents in the life of this great man,
who if he had less honour during the latter part of his life than he
deserved, it was owing to the unfavourable circumstances under which
he laboured. It is always unpleasing to a good man to find that they
who have been distinguished for their parts, have not been equally so
for their moral qualities; and in this case we may venture to assert,
that Milton was good as well as great; and that if he was mistaken in
his political principles, he was honestly mistaken, for he never
deviated from his first resolution; no temptations could excite him to
temporise, or to barter his honour for advantage; nor did he ever once
presume to partake of the spoils of his ruined country. Such qualities
as these are great in themselves, and whoever possesses them, has an
unexceptionable claim to rank with the good.

We might have entered more minutely into the merit of Milton's poems,
particularly the great work of Paradise Lost; but we should reckon it
arrogant as well as superfluous in us, to criticise on a work whose
beauties have been displayed by the hand of Mr. Addison. That critic
has illustrated the most remarkable passages in Paradise Lost; such as
are distinguished by their sublimity; and elevation; such whose
excellence is propriety; others raised by the nobleness of the
language; and those that are remarkable for energy and strong
reasoning.

A later critic, the ingenious author of the Rambler, has animadverted
upon Milton's versification with great judgment; and has discovered in
some measure that happy art, by which Milton has conducted so great a
design, with such astonishing success.

From these two writers may be drawn all the necessary assistances for
reading the Paradise Lost with taste and discernment; and as their
works are in almost in every body's hands, it would be needless to
give any abstract of them here.

Footnotes:
1. Philips's Life of Milton, p. 4. Preface prefixed to the English
   Translation of his Letters of State.
2. Birch's Critical Account of Milton's Life and Writings.
3. Life of Milton, p. 40.
4. Gentleman's Magazine.
5. Fasti Oxon. col. 275.
6. Fasti Oxon. p. 266. Ed. 1721.

                *        *        *        *        *




                       Mrs. KATHERINE PHILIPS,


The celebrated Orinda, was daughter of John Fowles of Bucklersbury, a
merchant in London. She was born in the parish of St. Mary Wool
Church, 1631. Mr. Aubrey tells us, (in a MS. of his in Mr. Ashmole's
study, No. 18. Vol. 23.) that she had the early part of her education
from her cousin Mrs. Blacker. At eight years old she was removed to a
school at Hackney, and soon made great improvements under the care of
Mrs. Salmon; so great that whoever reads the account that Mr. Aubrey
gives of her at that time of her life, will consider her succeeding
progress to be no more than what might be naturally expected from such
indications of genius. He tells us, 'that she was very apt to learn,
and made verses when she was at school; that she devoted herself to
religious duties when she was very young; that she would then pray by
herself an hour together; that she had read the bible through before
she was full five years old; that she could say, by heart, many
chapters and passages of scripture; was a frequent hearer of sermons,
which she would bring away entire in her memory.'

The above is extracted from Mr. Ballard's account of the Ladies of
Great Britain, who have been celebrated for their writings; and serves
to shew the early piety of this amiable lady, who lived to be
distinguished for her ripened understanding.--She became afterwards a
perfect mistress of the French tongue, and learned the Italian under
the tuition of her ingenious and worthy friend Sir Charles Cotterel.
She was instructed in the Presbyterian principles, which it appears by
her writings, she deserted, as soon as her reason was strong enough to
exert itself in the examination of religious points. She warmly
embraced the royal interest, and upon many occasions was a strenuous
advocate for the authority of the established church.

She was married to James Philips of the Priory of Cardigan, Esq; about
the year 1647. By this gentleman she had one son, who died in his
infancy, and one daughter, married to a gentleman of Pembrokeshire.
She proved an excellent wife, not only in the conjugal duties, and
tender offices of love, but was highly serviceable to her husband in
affairs, in which few wives are thought capable of being useful; for
his fortune being much encumbered, she exerted her interest with Sir
Charles Cotterel, and other persons of distinction, who admired her
understanding (for she had few graces of person) in her husband's
favour, who soon extricated him from the difficulties under which he
laboured. It no where appears that the husband of Mrs. Philips was a
man of any abilities, and if he met with respect in the world, it was
probably reflected from his wife. This lady had too much piety and
good sense to suffer her superior understanding to make her insolent;
on the other hand, she always speaks of her husband with the utmost
respect, under the name of Antenor. In a letter to Sir Charles
Cotterel, after having mentioned her husband in the most respectful
terms, and of his willingness to forward her journey to London, in
order to settle his perplexed affairs, she adds

"And I hope God will enable me to answer his expectations, by making
me an instrument of doing some handsome service, which is the only
ambition I have in the world, and which I would purchase with the
hazard of my life. I am extreamly obliged to my lady Cork for
remembering me with so much indulgence; for her great desire to be
troubled with my company; but above all for her readiness to assist my
endeavours for Antenor, which is the most generous kindness can be
done me."

As this lady was born with a genius for poetry, so she began early in
life to improve it, and composed many poems on various occasions for
her amusement, in her recess at Cardigan, and retirement elsewhere.
These being dispersed among her friends and acquaintance, were by an
unknown hand collected together, and published in 8vo. 1663, without
her knowledge or consent. This accident is said to have proved so
oppressive to our poetess, as to throw her into a fit of illness, and
she pours out her complaints in a letter to Sir Charles Cotterel, in
which she laments, in the most affecting manner, the misfortune and
the injuries which had been done to her by this surreptitious edition
of her Poems.

That Mrs. Philips might be displeased that her Poems were published
without her consent, is extremely probable, as by these means they
might appear without many graces, and ornaments which they otherwise
would have possessed; but that it threw her into a fit of illness, no
body who reads the human heart can believe. Surreptitious editions are
a sort of compliment to the merit of an author; and we are not to
suppose Mrs. Philips so much a saint, as to be stript of all vanity,
or that natural delight, which arises from the good opinion of others,
however aukwardly it may be discovered; and we may venture to affirm,
that Mrs. Philips's illness proceeded from some other cause, than what
is here assigned.

The reputation of her abilities procured her the esteem of many
persons of distinction and fashion, and upon her going into Ireland
with the viscountess of Duncannon, to transact her husband's affairs
there, her great merit soon made her known to those illustrious peers,
Ormond, Orrery, and Roscommon, and many other persons of the first
fashion, who shewed her singular marks of their esteem. While Mrs.
Philips remained in that kingdom, at the pressing importunity of the
abovementioned noblemen, but particularly lord Roscommon, she
translated, from the French of Corneille, the tragedy of Pompey, which
was brought upon the Irish stage somewhat against her inclination;
however it was several times acted in the new theatre there, with very
great applause in the years 1663 and 1664, in which last year it was
made public. It was afterwards acted with equal applause at the Duke
of York's theatre, 1678. This play is dedicated to the Countess of
Cork. Lord Roscommon wrote the Prologue, wherein he thus compliments
the ladies and the translator.

  But you bright nymphs, give Caesar leave to woo,
  The greatest wonder of the world, but you;
  And hear a muse, who has that hero taught
  To speak as gen'rously, as e'er he fought;
  Whose eloquence from such a theme deters
  All tongues but English, and all pens but hers.
  By the just fates your sex is doubly blest,
  You conquer'd Caesar, and you praise him best.

She also translated from the French of Corneille, a Tragedy called
Horace; Sir John Denham added a fifth Act to this Play, which was
acted at Court by Persons of Quality. The Duke of Monmouth spoke the
Prologue, in which are these lines.

  So soft that to our shame we understand
  They could not fall but from a lady's hand.
  Thus while a woman Horace did translate,
  Horace did rise above the name of fate.

While Mrs. Philips was in Ireland, she was happy in carrying on her
former intimacy with the famous Jeremy Taylor, the bishop of Down and
Connor, who had some time before done her much honour by writing, and
publishing a Discourse on the Nature, Offices, and Measures of
Friendship, with Rules for conducting it, in a letter addressed to
her. It is probable that this prelate's acquaintance with so
accomplished a lady as Mrs. Philips, might be one reason of his
entertaining so high an opinion of the fair sex in general; it is
certain he was a great admirer of them, by which the good sense, as
well as piety, of that great man is demonstrated; for whoever has
studied life, examined the various motives of human actions, compared
characters, and, in a word, scrutinized the heart, will find that more
real virtue, more genuine and unaffected goodness exist amongst the
female sex, than the other, and were their minds cultivated with equal
care, and did they move in the bustle of life, they would not fall
short of the men in the acute excellences; but the softness of their
natures exempts them from action, and the blushes of beauty are not to
be effaced by the rough storms of adversity: that man is happy who
enjoys in the conjugal state, the endearments of love and innocence,
and if his wife is less acquainted with the world than he, she makes a
large amends, by the artless blandishments of a delicate affection.

We are persuaded our fair readers will not be displeased if we insert
a paragraph from the discourse already mentioned by this worthy
churchman; it appearing to be so sincere a tribute to their merit.
'But by the way, madam, you may see how I differ from the majority of
those cynics, who would not admit your sex into the community of a
noble friendship. I believe some wives have been the best friends in
the world; and few stories can outdo the nobleness and piety of that
lady, that sucked the poisonous purulent matter from the wounds of the
brave Prince in the holy land, when an assassin had pierced him with a
venomed arrow: and if it be told that women cannot retain council, and
therefore can be no brave friends, I can best confute them by the
story of Porcia, who being fearful of the weakness of her sex, stabbed
herself in the thigh to try how she could bear pain; and finding
herself constant enough to that sufferance, gently chid her Brutus for
not trusting her, since now she perceived, that no torment could wrest
that secret from her, which she hoped might be entrusted to her. If
there were no more things to be said for your satisfaction, I could
have made it disputable, which have been more illustrious in their
friendship, men or women. I cannot say that women are capable of all
those excellencies by which men can oblige the world, and therefore a
female friend, in some cases, is not so good a counsellor as a wise
man, and cannot so well defend my honour, nor dispose of relief and
assistances, if she be under the power of another; but a woman can
love as passionately, and converse as pleasantly, and retain a secret
as faithfully, and be useful in her proper ministries, and she can die
for her friend, as well as the bravest Roman knight; a man is the best
friend in trouble, but a woman may be equal to him in the days of joy:
a woman can as well increase our comforts, but cannot so well lessen
our sorrows, and therefore we do not carry women with us when we go to
fight; but in peaceful cities and times, women are the beauties of
society, and the prettinesses of friendship, and when we consider that
few persons in the world have all those excellences by which
friendship can be useful, and illustrious, we may as well allow women
as men to be friends; since they have all that can be necessary and
essential to friendships, and those cannot have all by which
friendships can be accidentally improved.'

Thus far this learned prelate, whose testimony in favour of women is
the more considerable, as he cannot be supposed to have been
influenced by any particular passion, at least for Mrs. Philips, who
was ordinary in her person and was besides a married lady. In the year
1663 Mrs. Philips quitted Ireland, and went to Cardigan, where she
spent the remaining part of that, and the beginning of the next year,
in a sort of melancholy retirement; as appears by her letters,
occasioned, perhaps, by the bad success of her husband's affairs.
Going to London, in order to relieve her oppressed spirits with the
conversation of her friends there, she was seized by the smallpox, and
died of it (in Fleet street,) to the great grief of her acquaintance,
in the 32d year of her age, and was buried June 22, 1664, in the
church of St. Bennet Sherehog[1], under a large monumental stone,
where several of her ancestors were before buried. Mr. Aubrey in his
manuscript abovementioned, observes, that her person was of a middle
stature, pretty fat, and ruddy complexioned.

Soon after her death, her Poems and Translations were collected and
published in a volume in folio, to which was added Monsieur
Corneille's Pompey and Horace, Tragedies; with several other
Translations out of French, London 1667, with her picture, a good
busto, before them, standing on a pedestal, on which is inscribed
Orinda; it was printed again at London 1678. In a collection of
Letters published by Mr. Thomas Brown, in 1697, are printed four
Letters from Mrs. Philips to the Honourable Berenice. Many years after
her death, were published a volume of excellent Letters from Mrs.
Philips to Sir Charles Cotterel with the ensuing title, Letters from
Orinda to Polliarchus, 8vo. London 1705. Major Pack, in his Essay on
Study, inserted in his Miscellanies, gives the following character of
these Letters; 'The best Letters I have met with in our English
tongue, are those of the celebrated Mrs. Philips to Sir Charles
Cotterel; as they are directed all to the same person, so they run all
in the same strain, and seem to have been employed in the service of a
refined and generous friendship. In a word, they are such as a woman
of spirit and virtue, should write to a courtier of honour, and true
gallantry.' The memory of this ingenious lady has been honoured with
many encomiums. Mr. Thomas Rowe in his epistle to Daphne, pays the
following tribute to her fame.

  At last ('twas long indeed!) Orinda came,
  To ages yet to come an ever glorious name;
  To virtuous themes, her well tun'd lyre she strung;
  Of virtuous themes in easy numbers sung.
  Horace and Pompey in her line appear,             }
  With all the worth that Rome did once revere:     }
  Much to Corneille they owe, and much to her.      }
  Her thoughts, her numbers, and her fire the same,
  She soar'd as high, and equal'd all his fame.
  Tho' France adores the bard, nor envies Greece
  The costly buskins of her Sophocles.
  More we expected, but untimely death,
  Soon stopt her rising glories with her breath.

More testimonies might be produced in favour of Mrs. Philips, but as
her works are generally known, and are an indelible testimony of her
merit, we reckon it superfluous. Besides the poetical abilities of the
amiable Orinda, she is said to have been of a generous, charitable
disposition, and a friend to all in distress.

As few ladies ever lived more happy in her friends than our poetess,
so those friends have done justice to her memory, and celebrated her,
when dead, for those virtues they admired, when living. Mr. Dryden
more than once mentions her with honour, and Mr Cowley has written an
excellent Ode upon her death. As this Ode will better shew the high
opinion once entertained of Mrs. Philips, than any thing we can say,
after giving a specimen of her poetry, we shall conclude with this
performance of Cowley's, which breathes friendship in every line, and
speaks an honest mind: so true is the observation of Pope, upon the
supposition that Cowley's works are falling into oblivion,

  Lost is his epic, nay, pindaric art,
  But still I love the language of his heart.

Mrs. Philips's poetry has not harmony of versification, or amorous
tenderness to recommend it, but it has a force of thinking, which few
poets of the other sex can exceed, and if it is without graces, it has
yet a great deal of strength. As she has been celebrated for her
friendship, we shall present the reader with an Ode upon that subject,
addressed to her dearest Lucasia.

                                  I.

  Come my Lucasia, since we see
    That miracles men's faith do move
  By wonder, and by prodigy;
    To the dull angry world lets prove
    There's a religion in our love.

                                 II.

  For tho' we were designed t'agree,
    That fate no liberty destroys,
  But our election is as free
    As angels, who with greedy choice
    Are yet determined to their joys.

                                 III.

  Our hearts are doubled by the loss,
    Here mixture is addition grown;
  We both diffuse, and both engross:
    And we whose minds are so much one,
    Never, yet ever are alone.

                                 IV.

  We court our own captivity,
    Than thrones more great and innocent:
  'Twere banishment to be set free,
    Since we wear fetters whose intent
    Not bondage is, but ornament.

                                  V.

  Divided joys are tedious found,
    And griefs united easier grow:
  We are ourselves, but by rebound,
    And all our titles shuffled so,
    Both princes, and both subjects too.

                                 VI.

  Our hearts are mutual victims laid,
    While they (such power in friendship lies)
  Are altars, priests, and offerings made:
    And each heart which thus kindly dies,
    Grows deathless by the sacrifice.


                    On the DEATH of Mrs. PHILIPS.

                                  I.

  Cruel disease! ah, could it not suffice,
  Thy old and constant spite to exercise
  Against the gentlest and the fairest sex,
  Which still thy depredations most do vex?
      Where still thy malice, most of all
  (Thy malice or thy lust) does on the fairest fall,
  And in them most assault the fairest place,
  The throne of empress beauty, ev'n the face.
  There was enough of that here to assuage,
  (One would have thought) either thy lust or rage;
  Was't not enough, when thou, profane disease,
      Didst on this glorious temple seize:
  Was't not enough, like a wild zealot, there,
  All the rich outward ornaments to tear,
  Deface the innocent pride of beauteous images?
  Was't not enough thus rudely to defile,
  But thou must quite destroy the goodly pile?
  And thy unbounded sacrilege commit
  On th'inward holiest holy of her wit?
  Cruel disease! there thou mistook'st thy power;
      No mine of death can that devour,
  On her embalmed name it will abide
      An everlasting pyramide,
  As high as heav'n the top, as earth, the basis wide.

                                 II.

  All ages past record, all countries now,
  In various kinds such equal beauties show,
      That ev'n judge Paris would not know
  On whom the golden apple to bestow,
  Though goddesses to his sentence did submit,
  Women and lovers would appeal from it:
  Nor durst he say, of all the female race,
      This is the sovereign face.
  And some (tho' these be of a kind that's rare,
  That's much, oh! much less frequent than the fair)
  So equally renown'd for virtue are,
  That is the mother of the gods might pose,
  When the best woman for her guide she chose.
      But if Apollo should design
      A woman Laureat to make,
  Without dispute he would Orinda take,
      Though Sappho and the famous nine
      Stood by, and did repine.
      To be a Princess or a Queen
  Is great; but 'tis a greatness always seen;
  The world did never but two women know,
  Who, one by fraud, th'other by wit did rise
  To the two tops of spiritual dignities,
  One female pope of old, one female poet now.

                                 III.

  Of female poets, who had names of old,
      Nothing is shown, but only told,
  And all we hear of them perhaps may be
  Male-flatt'ry only, and male-poetry.
  Few minutes did their beauties light'ning waste,
  The thunder of their voice did longer last,
      But that too soon was past.
  The certain proofs of our Orinda's wit,
  In her own lasting characters are writ,
  And they will long my praise of them survive,
      Though long perhaps too that may live,
  The trade of glory manag'd by the pen
  Though great it be, and every where is found.
  Does bring in but small profit to us men;
  'Tis by the number of the sharers drown'd.
  Orinda on the female coasts of fame,
  Ingrosses all the goods of a poetic name.
      She does no partner with her see,
  Does all the business there alone, which we
  Are forc'd to carry on by a whole company.

                                 IV.

  But wit's like a luxuriant vine;
      Unless to virtue's prop it join,
      Firm and erect towards Heav'n bound;
  Tho' it with beauteous leaves and pleasant fruit be crown'd,
  It lyes deform'd, and rotting on the ground.
      Now shame and blushes on us all,
      Who our own sex superior call!
  Orinda does our boasting sex out do,
  Not in wit only, but in virtue too.
  She does above our best examples rise,
  In hate of vice, and scorn of vanities.
  Never did spirit of the manly make,
  And dipp'd all o'er in learning's sacred lake,
  A temper more invulnerable take.
  No violent passion could an entrance find,
  Into the tender goodness of her mind;
  Through walls of stone those furious bullets may
      Force their impetuous way,
  When her soft breast they hit, damped and dead they lay.

                                  V.

  The fame of friendship which so long had told
  Of three or four illustrious names of old,
  'Till hoarse and weary with the tale she grew,
      Rejoices now t'have got a new,
      A new, and more surprizing story,
  Of fair Leucasia's and Orinda's glory.
  As when a prudent man does once perceive
  That in some foreign country he must live,
  The language and the manners he does strive
      To understand and practise here,
      That he may come no stranger there;
  So well Orinda did her self prepare,
  In this much different clime for her remove,
  To the glad world of poetry and love.

Footnote:
1. Ballard's Memoirs.

                *        *        *        *        *




                   MARGARET, Duchess of NEWCASTLE,


The second wife of William Cavendish, duke of Newcastle, was born at
St. John's near Colchester in Essex, about the latter end of the reign
of King James I. and was the youngest daughter of Sir Charles Lucas, a
gentleman of great spirit and fortune, who died when she was very
young. The duchess herself in a book intitled Nature's Pictures, drawn
by Fancy's pencil to the life, has celebrated both the exquisite
beauty of her person, and the rare endowments of her mind. This lady's
mother was remarkably assiduous in the education of her children, and
bestowed upon this, all the instructions necessary for forming the
minds of young ladies, and introducing them into life with advantage.
She found her trouble in cultivating this daughter's mind not in vain,
for she discovered early an inclination to learning, and spent so much
of her time in study and writing, that some of her Biographers have
lamented her not being acquainted with the learned languages, which
would have extended her knowledge, corrected the exuberances of
genius, and have been of infinite service to her, in her numerous
compositions.

In the year 1643 she obtained leave of her mother to go to Oxford,
where the court then resided, and was made one of the Maids of Honour
to Henrietta Maria, the Royal Consort of King Charles I. and when the
Queen was forced to leave the arms of her Husband, and fly into
France, by the violence of the prevailing power, this lady attended
her there. At Paris she met with the marquis of Newcastle, whose
loyalty had likewise produced his exile; who, admiring her person and
genius, married her in the year 1645. The marquis had before heard of
this lady, for he was a patron and friend of her gallant brother, lord
Lucas, who commanded under him in the civil wars. He took occasion one
day to ask his lordship what he could do for him, as he had his
interest much at heart? to which he answered, that he was not
sollicitous about his own affairs, for he knew the worst could be but
suffering either death, or exile in the Royal cause, but his chief
sollicitude was for his sister, on whom he could bestow no fortune,
and whose beauty exposed her to danger: he represented her amiable
qualities, and raised the marquis's curiosity to see her, and from
that circumstance arose the marquis's affection to this lady. From
Paris they went to Rotterdam, where they resided six months: from
thence they returned to Antwerp, where they settled, and continued
during the time of their exile, as it was the most quiet place, and
where they could in the greatest peace enjoy their ruined fortune. She
proved a most agreeable companion to the marquis, during the gloomy
period of exile, and enlivened their recess, both by her writing and
conversation, as appears by the many compliments and addresses he made
her on that occasion.

The lady undertook a voyage into England, in order to obtain some of
the marquis's rents, to supply their pressing necessities, and pay the
debts they had been there obliged to contract; and accordingly went
with her brother to Goldsmith's Hall, where, it seems, the committee
of sequestration sat, but could not obtain the smallest sum out of the
marquis's vast inheritance, which, amounted to 20,000 l. per annum;
and had it not been for the generosity and tenderness of Sir Charles
Cavendish (who greatly reduced his own fortune, to support his brother
in distress) they must have been exposed to extreme poverty.

Having raised a considerable sum, by the generosity of her own, and
the marquis's, relations, she returned to Antwerp, where she continued
with her lord, till the restoration of Charles II, upon which, the
marquis, after six years banishment, made immediate preparation for
his return to his native country, leaving his lady behind him to
dispatch his affairs there, who, having conducted them to his
lordship's satisfaction, she soon followed her consort into England.
Being now restored to the sunshine of prosperity, she dedicated her
time to writing poems, philosophical discourses, orations and plays.
She was of a generous turn of mind, and kept a great many young ladies
about her person, who occasionally wrote what she dictated. Some of
them slept in a room, contiguous to that in which her Grace lay, and
were ready, at the call of her bell, to rise any hour of the night, to
write down her conceptions, lest they should escape her memory.

The young ladies, no doubt, often dreaded her Grace's conceptions,
which were frequent, but all of the poetical or philosophical kind,
for though she was very beautiful, she died without issue: she is said
to have been very reserved and peevish, perhaps owing to the
circumstance just mentioned, of having never been honoured with the
name of mother.

Mr. Jacob says, that she was the most voluminous writer of all the
female poets; that she had a great deal of wit, and a more than
ordinary propensity to dramatic poetry; and Mr. Langbaine tells us,
that all the language and plots of her plays were her own, which, says
he, is a commendation preferable to fame built on other people's
foundation, and will very well atone for some faults in her numerous
productions. As the Duchess is said to be negligent, in regard to
chronology in her historical writings, so others have been equally
remiss, in this respect, with regard to her Grace, for, among the many
authors who have taken notice of her, not one has mentioned the year
in which she died, and even her monumental inscription, where one
might reasonably expect it, is silent, both in respect to her age, and
the time of her death. But Mr. Fulman, in the 15th volume of his MS.
collections in the Corpus Christi College Archives, observes, that she
died in London Anno 1673, and was buried at Westminster, January 7,
1673-4, where an elegant monument is erected to her memory, of which,
take the following account given by Dr. Crul in the Antiquities of
that Church. 'Against the skreen of the chapel of St. Michael, is a
most noble spacious tomb of white marble, adorned with two pillars of
black marble, with entablatures of the Corinthian order, embellished
with arms, and most curious trophy works; on the pedestal lye two
images, in full proportion, of white marble in a cumbent posture, in
their robes, representing William Cavendish, duke of Newcastle, and
Margaret his duchess, his second and last wife, being the daughter of
Sir Charles, and the sister of lord Lucas of Colchester; who as she
had deservedly acquired the reputation of a lady of uncommon wit,
learning, and liberality; so the duke her husband had rendered himself
famous for his loyalty, and constant fidelity to the royal family,
during the civil wars in this kingdom and in Scotland. The duke having
caused this stately monument to be erected here to the memory of his
lady, died soon after in the year 1676, aged 84, and was interred
here.'

                     The Epitaph for the Duchess.

"Here lies the loyal Duke of Newcastle and his Duchess, his second
wife, by whom he had no issue. Her name was Margaret Lucas, youngest
sister to the Lord Lucas of Colchester, a noble family, for all the
brothers were valiant, and all the sisters virtuous. This Duchess was
a wise, witty, and learned Lady, which her many books do well testify:
She was a most virtuous, and loving, and careful wife, and was with
her Lord all the time of his banishment and miseries; and when they
came home never parted with him in his solitary retirements."

The following is a catalogue of her works, in which we have taken
pains to be as accurate as possible, in order to do justice to the
poetical character of this lady.

1. The World's Olio.

2. Nature's Picture drawn by Fancy's Pencil to the Life.

In this volume there are several feigned stories of natural
descriptions, as comical, tragical, and tragi-comical, poetical,
romancical, philosophical, and historical, both in prose and verse,
some all verse, some all prose, some mixt; partly prose, and partly
verse; also some morals, and some dialogues, Lond. 1656. folio.

3. Orations of different sorts, on different occasions, Lond. 1662.

4. Philosophical and Physical Opinions, 1633, folio.

5. Observations on Experimental Philosophy; to which is added, the
Description of a New World. Mr. James Bristow began to translate some
of these Philosophical Discourses into Latin.

6. Philosophical Letters; or modest Reflections on some Opinions in
Natural Philosophy, maintained by several famous and learned authors
of this age, expressed by way of letters, Lond. 1664, fol.

7. Poems and Fancies, Lond. 1664, folio.

8. Sociable Letters, 1664, folio.

9. The Life of the Duke of Newcastle her husband, which was translated
into Latin, and is thought to be the best performance of this lady.

10. Observations of the Duke's, with Remarks of her own,

In the Library of the late Mr. Thomas Richardson was the Duchess of
Newcastle's poems, 2 Vol. fol. MS. and in the library of the late
bishop Willis was another MS. of her poems in folio.

Her Dramatic Works are,

1. Apocryphal Ladies, a Comedy; it is not divided into acts.

2. Bell in Campo, a Tragedy, in two parts.

3. Blazing World, a Comedy.

4. Bridals, a Comedy.

5. Comical Hash, a Comedy.

6. Convent of Pleasure, a Comedy.

7. Female Academy, a Comedy.

8. Lady Contemplation, a Comedy, in two parts.

9. Love's Adventure, in two parts, a Comedy.

10. Matrimonial Troubles, in two parts; the second being a Tragedy, or
as the authoress stiles it, a Tragi-comedy.

11. Nature's three Daughters, Beauty, Love, and Wit, a Comedy, in two
parts.

12. Presence, a Comedy.

13. Public Wooing, a Comedy, in which the Duke wrote several of the
suitors speeches.

14. Religious, a Tragi-Comedy.

15. Several Wits, a Comedy.

16. Sociable Companions, or the Female Wits, a Comedy.

17. Unnatural Tragedy. Act II. Scene III. the Duchess inveighs against
Mr. Camden's Britannia.

18. Wit's Cabal, a Comedy, in two parts.

19. Youth's Glory, and Death's Banquet, a Tragedy in two parts.

Mr. Langbaine has preserved part of the general prologue to her plays,
which we shall insert as a specimen of her versification:

  But noble readers, do not think my plays
  Are such as have been writ in former days;
  As Johnson, Shakespear, Beaumont, Fletcher writ,
  Mine want their learning, reading, language, wit.
  The Latin phrases, I could never tell,
  But Johnson could, which made him write so well.
  Greek, Latin poets, I could never read,
  Nor their historians, but our English Speed:
  I could not steal their wit, nor plots out-take;
  All my plays plots, my own poor brain did make.
  From Plutarch's story, I ne'er took a plot,
  Nor from romances, nor from Don Quixote.

                *        *        *        *        *




                          WILLIAM CAVENDISH,


Baron Ogle, viscount Mansfield, earl, marquis, and duke of Newcastle,
justly reckoned one of the most finished gentlemen, as well as the
most distinguished patriot, general, and statesman of his age. He was
son of Sir Charles Cavendish, youngest son of Sir William Cavendish,
and younger brother of the first earl of Devonshire, by Katherine
daughter of Cuthbert lord Ogle[1].

He was born in the year 1592, and discovered in his infancy a
promptness of genius, and a love of literature. His father took care
to have him instructed by the best masters in every science. He no
sooner appeared at the court of King James I. than the reputation of
his abilities drew the attention of that monarch upon him, who made
him a knight of the Bath 1610, at the creation of Henry Prince of
Wales[2].

In 1617 his father died, who left him a great estate; and having
interest at court, he was by letters patent, dated Nov. 3, 1620,
raised to the dignity of a peer of the realm, by the stile and title
of baron Ogle, and viscount Mansfield; and having no less credit with
King Charles I. than he had with his father, in the third year of the
reign of that prince, he was advanced to the higher title of earl of
Newcastle upon Tyne, and at the same time he was created baron
Cavendish of Balsovor. Our author's attendance upon court, tho' it
procured him honour, yet introduced him very early into difficulties;
and it appears by Strafford's letters, that he did not stand well with
the favourite duke of Buckingham, who was jealous of his growing
interest, and was too penetrating not to discover, that the quickness
of his lordship's parts would soon suggest some methods of rising,
independent of the favourite, and perhaps shaking his influence. "But
these difficulties, says Clarendon, (for he was deeply plunged in
debt) tho' they put him on the thoughts of retirement, never in the
least prevented him from demonstrating his loyalty when the King's
cause demanded it."

Notwithstanding the earl's interest was not high with the ministers,
yet he found means so to gain and to preserve the affection of his
Majesty, that in the year 1638, when it was thought necessary to take
the Prince of Wales out of the hands of a woman, his Majesty appointed
the earl his governor, and by entrusting to his tuition the heir
apparent of his kingdoms, demonstrated the highest confidence in his
abilities and honour[3].

In the spring of the year 1639, the troubles of Scotland breaking out,
induced the King to assemble an army in the North, soon after which he
went to put himself at the head of it, and in his way was splendidly
entertained by the earl at his seat at Welbeck, as he had been some
years before when he went into Scotland to be crowned, which in
itself, tho' a trivial circumstance, yet such was the magnificence of
this noble peer, that both these entertainments found a place in
general histories, and are computed by the duchess of Newcastle, who
wrote the life of her lord, to have amounted to upwards of ten
thousand pounds. He invited all the neighbouring gentry to pay their
compliments to his Majesty, and partake of the feast, and Ben Johnson
was employed in fitting such scenes and speeches as he could best
devise; and Clarendon after mentioning the sumptuousness of those
entertainments, observes, that they had a tendency to corrupt the
people, and inspire a wantonness, which never fails to prove
detrimental to morals.

As such an expedition as the King's against the Scots required immense
sums, and the King's treasury being very empty, his lordship
contributed ten thousand pounds, and raised a troop of horse,
consisting of about 200 knights and gentlemen, who served at their own
charge, and was honoured with the title of the Prince's troop[4].

Tho' these instances of loyalty advanced him in the esteem of the
King, yet they rather heightened than diminished the resentment of the
ministers, of which the earl of Holland having given a stronger
instance, than his lordship's patience could bear, he took notice of
it in such a way, as contributed equally to sink his rival's
reputation, and raise his own; and as there is something curious in
the particular manner in which the earl of Holland's character
suffered in this quarrel, we shall upon the authority of the duchess
of Newcastle present it to the reader.

The troop which the earl of Newcastle raised was stiled the Prince's,
but his lordship commanded it as captain. When the army drew near
Berwick, he sent Sir William Carnaby to the earl of Holland, then
general of the horse, to know where his troop should march; his answer
was, next after the troops of the general officers. The earl of
Newcastle sent again to represent, that having the honour to march
with the Prince's colours, he thought it not fit to march under any of
the officers of the field; upon which the general of the horse
repeated his orders, and the earl of Newcastle ordered the Prince's
colours to be taken off the staff, and marched without any. When the
service was over, his lordship sent Mr. Francis Palmer, with a
challenge to the earl of Holland, who consented to a place, and hour
of meeting; but when the earl of Newcastle came thither, he found not
his antagonist, but his second. The business had been disclosed to the
King, by whose authority (says Clarendon) the matter was composed; but
before that time, the earl of Holland was never suspected to want
courage; and indeed he was rather a cunning, penetrating, than a brave
honest man, and was remarkably selfish in his temper.

The earl of Newcastle however found himself hard pressed by the
ministerial faction, and being unwilling to give his Majesty any
trouble about himself, he was generous enough to resign his place as
governor to the Prince, and the marquis of Hertford was appointed in
his room.

His lordship having no more business at court, and being unwilling to
expose himself further to the machinations of his enemies, thought
proper to retire to the country, where he remained quiet till he
received his Majesty's orders to revisit Hull: Tho' this order came at
twelve o'clock at night, yet such was his unshaken loyalty and
affection, that he went directly, and tho' forty miles distant, he
entered the place with only three or four servants early the next
morning. He offered to his Majesty, says Clarendon, to have secured
for him that important fortress, and all the magazines that were in
it; but instead of receiving such a command, he had instructions sent
him to obey the orders of the Parliament, who suspecting his
principles not to be favourable to the schemes of opposition then
engaged in, called him to attend the service of the house; and some
disaffected members formed a design to have attacked him, but his
character being unexceptionable, their scheme proved abortive, and he
had leave to retire again into the country. This he willingly did, as
he saw the affairs of state hastening to confusion and his country
ready to be steeped in blood, and sacrificed to the fury of party. But
when the opposition rose high, and it would have been cowardice to
have remained unactive, he embraced the royal cause, accepted a
commission for raising men, to take care of the town of Newcastle, and
the four adjoining counties, in which he was so expeditious and
successful, that his Majesty constituted him general of all the forces
raised North of Trent; and likewise general and commander in chief of
such as might be raised in the counties of Lincoln, Nottingham,
Chester, Leicester, Rutland, Cambridge, Huntingdon, Norfolk, Suffolk,
and Essex, with power to confer the honour of knighthood, coin money,
print, and set forth such declarations as should seem to him
expedient: of all which extensive powers, tho freely conferred, and
without reserve, his lordship made a very sparing use; but with
respect to the more material point of raising men, his lordship
prosecuted it with such diligence, that in three months he had an army
of eight thousand horse, foot, and dragoons, with which he marched
directly into Yorkshire; and his forces having defeated the enemy at
Pierce Bridge, his lordship advanced to York, where Sir Thomas
Glenham, the governor, presented him with the keys, and the earl of
Cumberland and many of the nobility resorted thither to compliment,
and assist his lordship[5].

In the course of this civil war, we find the earl of Newcastle very
successful in his master's service; he more than once defeated Sir
Thomas Fairfax the general of the Parliament, and won several
important forts and battles; for which his Majesty in gratitude for
his services, by letters patent, dated the 27th of Oct. 1643, advanced
him to the dignity of marquiss of Newcastle; and in the preamble of
his patent, all his services (says Dugdale) are mentioned with
suitable encomiums.

In the year 1644, after Prince Rupert had been successful in raising
the siege of York, and flushed with the prosperity of his arms,
against the consent of the marquis, he risked the battle of Marston
Moor, in which the marquis's infantry were cut to pieces. Seeing the
King's affairs in these counties totally undone, he made the best of
his way to Scarborough, and from thence with a few of the principal
officers of his army took shipping for Hamburgh, and left his estates,
which were valued at upwards of twenty thousand pounds per ann. to be
plundered by the Parliament's forces. After staying six months at
Hamburgh, he went by sea to Amsterdam, and from thence made a journey
to Paris, where he continued for some time, and where, notwithstanding
the vast estate he had when the civil war broke out, his circumstances
were now so bad, that himself and his young wife, were reduced to pawn
their cloaths for sustenance[6]. He removed afterwards to Antwerp,
that he might be nearer his own country; and there, tho' under very
great difficulties, he resided for several years, while the Parliament
in the mean time levied vast sums upon his estate, insomuch that the
computation of what he lost by the disorders of those times, tho' none
of the particulars can be disproved, amount to an incredible sum; but
notwithstanding all these severities of fortune, he never lost his
spirit, and was often heard to say, that if he was not much mistaken,
the clouds of adversity which then hung over his country, would be
dispersed at last by the King's restoration; that rebellion would
entangle itself in its own toils, and after an interval of havock and
confusion, order would return once more by the restoration of an
exiled Prince. Notwithstanding the hardships of an eighteen years
banishment, in which he experienced variety of wretchedness, he
retained his vigour to the last. He was honoured by persons of the
highest distinction abroad, and Don John of Austria and several
princes of Germany visited him[7]. But what comforted him most, was
the company frequently of his young King, who in the midst of his
sufferings bestowed upon him the most noble Order of the Garter. The
gloomy period at last came to an end, and the marquis returned to his
country with his sovereign; and by letters patent dated the 16th of
March 1664, he was advanced to the dignity of earl of Ogle, and duke
of Newcastle. He spent the evening of his days in a country
retirement, and indulged himself in those studies, with which he was
most affected.

This noble person from his earliest youth was celebrated for his love
of the muses, and was the great patron of the poets, in the reign of
King Charles I. This propension has drawn on him, tho' very unjustly,
the censure of some grave men. Lord Clarendon mentions it, with
decency; but Sir Philip Warwick, in his history of the rebellion,
loses all patience, and thinks it sufficient to ruin this great
general's character, that he appointed Sir William Davenant, a poet,
his lieutenant general of the ordnance, insinuating that it was
impossible a man could have a turn for poetry, and a capacity for any
thing else at the same time; in which observation, Sir Philip has
given a convincing proof of his ignorance of poetry, and want of
taste. The example of the glorious Sidney is sufficient to confute
this historian; and did not Mr. Chillingworth combat with great
success, though in other branches of literature, against the Papal
church, by the dint of reason and argument, and at the same time
served as engineer in the royal army with great ability[8]? The truth
is, this worthy nobleman having himself a taste for the liberal arts,
was always pleased to have men of genius about him, and had the
pleasure to rescue necessitous merit from obscurity. Ben Johnson was
one of his favourites, and he addressed to him some of his verses,
which may be seen in his works.

In the busy scenes of life it does not appear that this nobleman
suffered his thoughts to stray so far from his employment, as to turn
author; but in his exile, resuming his old taste of breaking and
managing horses, (than which there cannot be a more manly exercise) he
thought fit to publish his sentiments upon a subject of which he was
perfectly master. The title is, The New Method for managing Horses,
with cuts, Antwerp 1658. This book was first written in English, and
afterwards translated into French, by his lordship's directions.

This great man died in the possession of the highest honours and
fairest reputation the 25th of December 1676, in the 84th year of his
age. His grace was twice married, but had issue only by his first
lady. His titles descended to his son, Henry earl of Ogle, who was the
last heir male of his family, and died 1691, with whom the title of
Newcastle in the line of Cavendish became extinct.

In his exile he wrote two comedies, viz.

The Country Captain, a Comedy, printed at Antwerp 1649, afterwards
presented by his Majesty's servants at Black-Fryars, and very much
commended by Mr. Leigh.

Variety, a Comedy, presented by his Majesty's Servants at
Black-Fryars, and first printed in 1649, and generally bound with the
Country Captain; it was also highly commended in a copy of verses by
Mr. Alexander Brome.

He likewise has written

The Humourous Lovers, a Comedy, acted by his royal highness's
servants, Lond. 1677, 4to. This was received with great applause, and
esteemed one of the best plays of that time.

The Triumphant Widow; or, the Medley of Humours, a Comedy, acted by
his royal highness's servants, Lond. 1677, 4to. which pleased Mr.
Shadwell so well, that he transcribed a part of it into his Bury Fair,
one of the most taking plays of that poet.

Shadwell says of his grace, that he was the greatest master of wit,
the most exact observer of mankind, and the most accurate judge of
humour, that ever he knew.

Footnotes:
1. Dugdale's Baron. vol. 2.
2. Dugdale vol. 2. p. 421.
3. Dugdale, ubi supra.
4. Rushworth's collection, vol. 1. p. 929.
5. Clarendon, p. 283.
6. Life of the D. of Newcastle, p. 56.
7. Ashmole's order of the garter.
8. See his life by Mr. des Maizeaux.

                *        *        *        *        *




                         Sir JOHN BIRKENHEAD.


Winstanley, in his short account of this gentleman, says, that they
who are ignorant of his works, must plead ignorance of all wit and
learning; but the truth is, though he made some figure in his time,
yet it was not so considerable as to transmit his name with any lustre
to posterity, and Winstanley has been too peremptory, in secluding
those from wit, who should be ignorant of the fame of Birkenhead. This
observation, however, excited us to a search after some particulars
concerning him; for Winstanley himself has given very few, and closes
his life in his usual way, with only informing the readers that he
lived in such a reign. The best account we could find of him, is in
the Athenae Oxon. of Wood. Our author was son of Randal Birkenhead of
Northwich in Cheshire, Sadler, and was born there; he became a
servitor of Oriel College, under the tuition of Humphrey Lloyd,
afterwards lord bishop of Bangor. He continued in the college till he
was made bachelor of arts, and then becoming Amanuensis to Dr. Laud,
afterwards archbishop of Canterbury, who, taking a liking to him for
his ingenuity, did, by his diploma make him master of arts, An. 1639,
and by his letters commendatory thereupon, he was elected probationer
fellow of All-Souls College, in the year following. After the
rebellion broke out, and the King set up his court at Oxford, our
author was appointed to write the Mercurii Aulici, which being very
pleasing to the loyal party, his Majesty recommended him to the
electors, that they would chuse him moral philosophy reader; which
being accordingly done, he continued in that office, with little
profit from it, till 1648, at which time he was not only turned out
thence, but from his fellowship, by the Presbyterian visitors.
Afterwards, in this destitute situation, Wood observes, that he
retired to London, and made shift to live upon his wits; having some
reputation in poetry, he was often applied to by young people in love,
to write epistles for them, and songs, and sonnets on their
mistresses: he was also employed in translating and writing other
little things, so as to procure a tolerable livelihood.

Having, in this manner, supported the gloomy period of confusion, he
was, at his Majesty's restoration, by virtue of his letters, sent to
the university, created doctor of the civil law, and in 1661 he was
elected a Burgess for Wilton, to serve in that Parliament which began
at Westminster the 8th of May, the same year. In 1662, November 14, he
received the honour of knighthood, and January 1663 he was constituted
one of the masters of requests, in the room of Sir Richard Fanshaw,
when he went ambassador into Spain, he being then also master of the
faculties, and a member of the Royal Society. An anonymous writer
tells us, that Sir John Berkenhead was a poor alehouse-keeper's son,
and that he rose by lying, or buffooning at court, to be one of the
masters of requests, and faculty office, and also got by gifts at
court 3000 l. This is a poor reflexion upon him, and indeed rather
raises, than detracts from his reputation, for a man certainly must
have merit, who can rise without the advantage of fortune or birth,
whereas these often procure a fool preferment, and make him eminent,
who might otherwise have lived and died in obscurity. It is said of
Birkenhead, that when an unmannerly Member of Parliament, in opposing
him, took occasion to say, that he was surprized to hear an
alehouse-keeper's son talk so confidently in the House, he coolly
replied, I am an alehouse-keeper's son, I own it, and am not ashamed
of it, but had the gentleman, who upbraided me with my birth, been
thus descended, in all probability he would have been of the same
profession himself; a reply at once, sensible and witty. Mr. Wood,
however, seems to be of opinion, that he was too much given to
bantering, and that if he had thrown less of the buffoon or mimic into
his conversation, his wit would have been very agreeable. He is
charged by Wood with a higher failing, which ought indeed rather to be
construed one of the blackest crimes, that is, ingratitude to those
who assisted him in distress, whom, says he, he afterwards slighted.
This is a heavy charge, and, if true, not a little diminishes his
reputation, but methinks some apology may even be made for his
slighting those who assisted him in distress; we find they were such
persons as could never challenge esteem, young men in love, for whom
he wrote sonnets, and for whom he might have no friendship; it often
happens, that men of parts are so unhappy as to be obliged to such
people, with whom, were their situation otherwise, it would be beneath
them to associate; and it is no wonder when prosperity returns, that
they, in some measure, forget obligations they owed to those of a rank
so much inferior: and something must be allowed to that pride, which a
superior understanding naturally inspires.

Our author's works are

Mercurius Aulicus. Communicating the Intelligence, and the Affairs of
the Court at Oxford to the rest of the Kingdom, the first of these was
published on the 1st of January, 1642, and were carried on till about
the end of 1645, after which time they were published but now and
then. They were printed weekly in one sheet, and sometimes in more, in
4to, and contain, says Wood, a great deal of wit and buffoonery.

News from Pembroke and Montgomery, or Oxford Manchestered, &c. printed
in 1648 in one sheet 4to. It is a feigned speech, as spoken by Philip,
earl of Pembroke, in the Convocation House at Oxford, April 12, 1648,
when he came to visit, and undo the University, as Edward, Earl of
Manchester had done that of Cambridge, while he was Chancellor
thereof. It is exceeding waggish, and much imitating his Lordship's
way of speaking.

Paul's Church-yard; Libri Theologici, Politici, Historici, mundinis
Paulinis (una cum Templo) prostant venales, &c. printed in three
several sheets in 4to. Anno 1649. These Pamphlets contain feigned
Titles of Books, and Acts of Parliaments, and several Questions, all
reflecting on the Reformers, and Men in those times.

The Four Legg'd Quaker, a Ballad, to the Tune of the Dog and Elders
Maid, London 1659, in three columns in one side of a sheet of paper.

A New Ballad of a famous German Prince, without date.

The Assembly Man, written 1647, London 1663, in three sheets in 4to.
The copy of it was taken from the author by those that said they could
not rob, because all was theirs; at length after it had slept several
years, the author published it to avoid false copies; it is also
printed in a Book entitled Wit and Loyalty Revived, in a Collection of
some smart Satires in Verse and Prose, on the late times, London 1682,
said to be written by Cowley, our Author, and the famous Butler; he
hath also scattered Copies of Verses and Translations extant, to which
are vocal Compositions, set by Henry Lawes, such as Anacreon's Ode,
called The Lute.

An Anniversary on the Nuptial of John, Earl of Bridgwater. He has also
wrote a Poem on his staying in London, after the Act of Banishment for
Cavaliers, and another called the Jolt, made upon Cromwel's being
thrown off the Coach-box of his own Coach, which he would drive
through Hyde Park, drawn by six German Horses, sent him as a present
by the Count of Oldenburgh, while his Secretary John Thurloe sat in
the Coach, July 1654. Our author died within the Precincts of
Whitehall, in the year 1679, and was buried in the Church-yard of St.
Martin's in the Fields, leaving behind him a collection of Pamphlets,
which came into the hands of his executors, Sir Richard Mason, and Sir
Muddeford Bramston.

                *        *        *        *        *




                     ROGER BOYLE, Earl of ORRERY,


Was younger brother of Richard earl of Burlington and Cork, and fifth
son of Richard, stiled the great earl of Cork. He was born April 25,
1621, and independent of the advantage of his birth and titles, was
certainly one of the ablest politicians, as well as most accomplished
noblemen of his age. By the influence of his father with lord deputy
Faulkland, he was raised to the dignity of baron Broghill, in the
kingdom of Ireland in 1628, when only seven years old[1]. He received
his education at the college of Dublin, where he studied with so much
diligence as gave great hopes of his future atchievements, and the
rapid progress he made in erudition, induced his father to send him
about 1636 to make the tour of France and Italy, under the care of one
Mr. Marcomes, and in the company of lord Kynalmeaky, his elder
brother; and this method the earl took to perfect all his sons, after
they had gone through the course of a domestic education; and it is
remarkable, that all his children travelled under the same gentleman's
protection, who has no small honour reflected on him from his
illustrious pupils. Upon his return from his travels, he found a war
ready to break out against the Scots, and was pressed by the earl of
Northumberland, the commander in chief of the expedition, to share in
reducing them; but this commotion subsiding, his lordship employed
himself another way. By his father's desire, who loved to settle his
children early in the world, he married lady Margaret Howard, daughter
to the earl of Suffolk, and setting out for Ireland, landed there the
very day the rebellion broke out, viz. Oct. 23, 1641. The post
assigned him in this time of danger, was the defence of his father's
castle of Lismore; in which he gave proofs of the most gallant spirit,
as well as political conduct: The first of which he shewed in the
vigorous sally he made to the relief of Sir Richard Osborn, who was
besieged in his own house by the rebels, till relieved by lord
Broghill, who raised the siege, and saved him and all his family[2];
and a strong proof of the latter, by advising Sir William St. Leger,
then president of Munster, to act vigorously against the Irish,
notwithstanding they produced the King's commission, which he was
penetrating enough to discern to be a forgery.

After the cessation in Ireland, lord Broghill came to Oxford, then the
residence of King Charles I. and paid his duty to that monarch, and
was honoured with many private audiences, when he represented to his
Majesty, the temper and disposition of the Irish Papists, and the
falshood of the pretended Committee they had sent over to mislead his
Majesty, that the King was convinced the Irish never meant to keep the
cessation, and that therefore it was not the interest of the English
subjects to depend upon it.

Now that we have mentioned the Irish Papists, one thing must not be
omitted, as it is both curious in itself, and reflects honour on lord
Broghill. Many years after the reduction of these rebels, his
lordship, who was then earl of Orrery, happened to pay a visit to the
duke of Ormond at Kilkenny, where he met with lord Muskerry, who
headed the insurrection, and produced a false commission for what he
did. Finding Muskerry in an open good humour, he took occasion to
retire with him, and to ask him in a pleasant manner, how he came by
that commission which had so much the appearance of being genuine:
'Lord Muskerry answered, I'll be free, and unreserved with you, my
lord; it was a forged commission drawn up by one Walsh, a lawyer, and
others; who having a writing to which the Great Seal was affixed, one
of the company very dextrously took off the sealed wax from the label
of that writing, and fixed it to the label of the forged commission.
Whilst this was doing another accident happened, which startled all
present; and almost disconcerted the scheme. The forged commision
being finished, while the parchment was handling and turning, in order
to put on the seal, a tame wolf which lay asleep by the fire, awakened
at the crackling of the parchment, and running to it, seized it, and
tore it to pieces, notwithstanding their haste and struggle to prevent
him; so that after all their pains, they were obliged to begin a new,
and write it all over again.'[3] Lord Orrery struck with the daring
wickedness of this action, could not help expressing himself to that
effect, while Muskerry replied merrily, it would have been impossible
to have kept the people together without this device.

'Till the death of King Charles I. we find lord Broghill warm in the
royal interest, and that he abhorred those measures which he foresaw
would distract his country; and as soon as that melancholy event
happened, he quitted his estate[4] as ruined past all hopes, and hid
himself in the privacy of a close retirement. How he came, afterwards
to alter his conduct, and join with a party he before so much
abhorred, we shall endeavour to shew.

Upon his lordship's coming from Ireland, he withdrew to Marston in
Somersetshire, where he had leisure to reflect on the ruined state of
the Kingdom[5]; and when he revolved in his mind its altered and
desperate situation, he was ashamed to think that he should remain an
idle spectator of his country's miseries, being of a different opinion
from Mr. Addison: 'That when vice prevails, and wicked men bear sway,
the post of honour is a private station.' These reflexions roused him
to action, and produced a scheme worthy of himself. He resolved to
attempt something in favour of the King; and accordingly under the
pretence of going to the Spa for his health, he determined to cross
the seas, and apply to Charles II. for a commission to raise forces in
Ireland, in order to restore his Majesty, and recover his own estate.
Having formed this resolution, he desired the earl of Warwick, who had
an interest with the prevailing party, to procure a licence for him to
go to the Spa. He communicated his scheme to some confirmed royalists,
in whom he thought he could confide, and having rais'd a considerable
sum of money, he came up to London to prosecute his voyage. Lord
Broghil[l], however, was betrayed, and the committee, who then took
upon them the government of the realm, threatened him with
destruction. Cromwell interceeded, and being sensible of his
lordship's great abilities, obtained a permission to talk privately
with him before they proceeded to extremities. Cromwell waited upon
Broghill, and reproached him gently for his intention, which his
lordship denied; but Cromwell producing letters of his writing to
several Royalists, in whom he confided, he found it was in vain to
dissemble any longer. The General then told him, that he was no
stranger to his merit, tho' he had never before seen him; and that as
the reduction of Ireland was intrusted to him, he had authority from
the Committee to offer his lordship a command in that war, and
insisted upon his answer immediately, as the Committee were then
sitting, and waiting his return. Lord Broghill was infinitely
surprized at so generous and unexpected an offer from Cromwell: He
thought himself at liberty, by all the rules of honour to serve
against the Irish, whose cruelty and rebellion were equally detested
by the royal party, as by the Parliament; and his life and freedom
being in danger if he refused, he accepted the commission, and
immediately repaired to Bristol to wait there till forces should be
sent him. This story we have from Mr. Morrice, who heard it from lord
Orrery himself; and he adds, that it is very probable his lordship's
design was betrayed out of pure love and affection by his sister
Ranelagh, but how this love and affection enabled her to foresee that
Cromwell would interpose to remove the danger which she exposed him
to, is left by the reverend author unaccounted for. Ever after this
interposition and friendly offer of Cromwell, we find gratitude
binding lord Broghill to a faithfull service in his interest; and in
the course of his ministry to Cromwell, he prevented many shameful
acts of cruelty, which would have been otherwise perpetrated.

No sooner had Broghill arrived in Ireland, but his old friends flocked
round him, and demonstrated the great heig[h]th of popularity to which
he had risen in that kingdom; nor did his accepting this new
commission make him negligent of their interest, for he did all he
could for the safety of their persons and estates. An opportunity soon
presented in which he very remarkably distinguished himself. He
engaged at Macroom (with two thousand horse and dragoons) a party of
Irish, consisting of upwards of five thousand, whom he totally
defeated, and took their general the titular bishop of Ross
prisoner[6]. This battle was fought May 10, 1650. Lord Broghill
offered the bishop his life, if he would order those who were in the
castle of Carigdrog-hid to surrender, which he promised; but when he
was conducted to the place, he persuaded the garrison to defend it to
the last extremity. Upon this lord Broghill caused him to be hanged;
(tho' Mr. Morrice says, the soldiers hanged him without orders) and
then commanded his heavy artillery to be brought up, which astonished
his own army exceedingly, they knowing he had not so much as a single
piece of battering cannon. He caused, however, several large trees to
be cut, and drawn at a distance by his baggage horses; the besieged
judging by the slowness of their motion, they were a vast size,
capitulated before they came up, as his lordship advised, threatening
otherwise to give them no quarter. He relieved Cromwell at Clonmell,
and assisted both him and his father-in-law Ireton in their
expedition; but because he could not moderate the fury of one, and
mitigate the cruelty of the other, he incurred the displeasure of
both; and Ireton was heard to say, that neither he nor Cromwell could
be safe while Broghill had any command. Notwithstanding the aversion
of Ireton to his lordship, yet he took care not to remit any of his
diligence in prosecuting the war, he marched to that general's
assistance at the siege of Limerick, and by his conduct and courage
was the means of that town's falling into the hands of the
Commonwealth; and till Ireland was entirely reduced, he continued
active in his commission.

When Oliver rose to the dignity of Lord Protector, he sent for lord
Broghill, merely to have his advice; and we are told by Oldmixon in
his history of the Stewarts, that he then proposed to Cromwell to
marry his daughter to King Charles II. and that as the Prince was then
in distress abroad, he doubted not but his necessity would make him
comply with the offer; he represented to the Protector the great
danger to which he was exposed by the fickle humour of the English,
who never doat long upon a favourite, but pull that man from eminence
to day, whom they had but yesterday raised out of the dust; that this
match would rivet his interest, by having the lawful prince so nearly
allied to him; and perhaps his grandchild the indisputed heir of the
crown. That he might then rule with more safety, nor dread either the
violence of the Royalists, or the insidious enemies of his own
government. Upon hearing this, Cromwell made a pause, and looking
stedfastly in my lord's face, he asked him if he was of opinion, that
the exiled prince could ever forgive his father's murderer; he
answered as before, that his necessity was great, and in order to be
restored to his crown, would even sacrifice his natural resentment to
his own ease and grandeur; but Cromwell could not be induced to
believe that ever Charles could pardon him.

Whether lord Broghill was serious in this proposal cannot be
determined; but if he was, it is certain, he had a mean opinion of
Charles; to have capitulated upon any terms with Cromwell, would have
been betraying the dignity of his birth, and his right to reign; but
to have stooped so low, as to take to his arms a child of his, who had
murdered his father, and driven him to his exile, would have been an
instance of the most infamous meanness that ever was recorded in
history; and all the blemishes of that luxurious Prince's character,
and the errors of his reign collected, do not amount to any thing so
base, as would have been those nuptials.

In the year 1656 it was proposed to his lordship by the Protector to
go down to Scotland, with an absolute authority, either because he
suspected Monk, or was willing to give the people of that country some
satisfaction, who complained of his severity; but he was very
unwilling to receive the charge, and took it at last upon these
conditions[7]: The first was: that he should be left to himself, and
receive no orders; and the second, that no complaints should find
credit, or procure directions in his absence; and the third, that he
should be recalled in a year. He was very acceptable to the Scotch,
and gained a great influence over them by speaking and acting with
moderation. After his return, he was with Whitlock and Thurloe
admitted into all the confidence that could be expected from a person
in the Protector's circumstances; who if he had any chearful moments,
spent them in their company, where he appeared quite another person
than in the ordinary course of his conduct, which was built on a
policy suited to his condition, the people he had to deal with, and
the critical juncture of the times. Our author stood high in
Cromwell's favour to the last; and it was, no doubt, in some measure
owing to his gratitude, that he attached himself so firmly to his son
and successor Richard. It perhaps will appear strange, but it is
supported by evidence, that Cromwell did not love his own family so
well as lord Broghill did. Being asked upon his death-bed whom he
appointed his successor, he answered, "That in such a closet his will
would be found," in which he named Fleetwood, but one of the
Protector's daughters getting first to the drawer, she took the will
and destroyed it[8].

Thus Richard against his father's intention obtained the government,
which, however, it is very plain he was not fit to hold; for all the
art and industry of Broghill could never so govern his proceedings,
but that some steps either too violent or too remiss were taken, by
which his administration fell into contempt; and doubtless the reason
why Cromwell excluded his son, was, that he discovered his weakness,
and found him without a capacity of reigning. When the oppression of
committees, the general distraction amongst the people, and the
anarchy into which the English affairs had fallen, began to point
towards a restoration, we find lord Broghill declaring early for the
King, going over into Ireland, there sounding the minds of the
officers, and preparing that kingdom for the reception of his Majesty
with open arms.

Thus we have seen him discharge with honour the debt of gratitude he
owed to Cromwell; but notwithstanding the figure he made in the
service, it is by no means clear that ever he was warmly attached to
the republic; he was detected in having drank the King's health in
company with the Protector's children, which Oliver very prudently
thought proper to pass over. After the restoration, Broghill wanted
not enemies, who insinuated things against him to King Charles, and
blamed his tardiness in procuring his Majesty's return; but his
lordship made it clear, that he was the first who declared for him in
Ireland, and the most zealous, as well as the most powerful promoter
of his interest. His Majesty was so well satisfied with his lordship's
proceedings, that he wrote to him with his own hand, and thanked him
for his loyalty[9]. On September 5, 1660, as an incontested proof of
his Majesty's affection for his lordship, he by letters patent
advanced him to the honour of earl of Orrery in the county of
Cork[10]; and Sir Maurice Eustace, a friend of the duke of Ormond's,
being appointed chancellor, Roger earl of Orrery, and Charles Coote,
earl of Montrath, were with him made lords justices, about the close
of that memorable year.

From that time till his death we find lord Orrery in the highest
esteem in the three nations: He was employed by his Majesty to confer
with the earl of Clarendon, whose imperious steps, it seems, had
highly disobliged his master, and when that great man fell, the King
made an offer of the seals to the earl of Orrery, who on account of
his want of bodily vigour, declined it. At the same time he accepted a
most arduous and unpleasing office from the King, and that was, to
expostulate with the duke of York, and bring him to ask pardon for the
haughty and insolent measures he took in supporting the chancellor.

His Majesty warmly pressed him to become a favourer of the French
alliance, and for the reduction of the Dutch; neither of which were at
all agreeable to his notions, and therefore that he might more
concisely express the mischievous consequences he apprehended from
these measures, he reduced his thoughts into a poem; and this was very
well received by the King, who thought to have made some impression on
him, in his turn, in a long audience he gave him for that purpose; but
the earl's duty would not permit him to coincide in his opinion with
the King, when he was sensible that the King's scheme was contrary to
the interest of the nation; and this led him in plain terms to
declare, that he never would concur in counsels to aggrandize France,
which was already too great; or to break the power of the Dutch, which
was barely sufficient for their own defence[11].

There is a particular circumstance in relation to this affair, which
must not be omitted. When lord Orrery came from the audience of his
Majesty, he was met by the earl of Danby, who asked him, whether he
had closed with the King's proposals; to which lord Orrery answered,
no. Then replied the other statesman, "Your lordship may be the
honester man, but you will never be worth a groat." This passage is
the more remarkable, because Danby was of the same opinion with
Orrery, and temporized purely for the sake of power, which cost him
afterwards a long imprisonment, and had very near lost him his life:
So dear do such men often pay for sacrificing honour to interest. In
the year 1679, Oct. 16, this great statesman died in the full
possession of honours and fame: he had lived in the most tumultuous
times; he had embarked in a dangerous ocean, and he had the address to
steer at last to a safe haven. As a man, his character was very
amiable; he was patient, compassionate, and generous; as a soldier, he
was of undaunted courage; as a statesman, of deep penetration, and
invincible industry; and as a poet, of no mean rank.

Before we give an account of his works, it will not be amiss, in order
to illustrate the amiable character of lord Orrery, to shew, that tho'
he espoused the Protector's interest, yet he was of singular service
to the nation, in restraining the violence of his cruelty, and
checking the domineering spirit of those slaves in authority, who then
called themselves the legislature.

The authors of the Biographia Britannica, say, 'that our author
opposed in Parliament, and defeated, the blackest measure Cromwell
ever entered into, which was the passing a law for decimating the
royal party, and his lordship's conduct in this, was by far the
greatest action of his whole life. He made a long and an elaborate
speech, in which he shewed the injustice, cruelty, and folly, of that
truly infamous and Nero-like proposition. Finding that he was likely
to lose the question upon the division, which probably would have
issued in losing his life also; he stood up and boldly observed, "That
he did not think so many Englishmen could be fond of slavery." 'Upon
which so many members rose and followed him, that the Speaker without
telling, declared from the chair the Noes have it, and the bill was
accordingly thrown out. Upon this, he went immediately up to Cromwell,
and said, "I have done you this day as great a service as ever I did
in my life. How? returned Cromwell; by hindring your government,
replied my lord, from becoming hateful, which already begins to be
disliked; for if this bill had passed, three kingdoms would have risen
up against you; and they were your enemies, and not your friends who
brought it in." 'This Cromwell so firmly believed, that he never
forgave nor trusted them afterwards.'

King Charles II. put my lord upon writing plays, which he did, upon
the occasion of a dispute that arose in the Royal presence, about
writing plays in rhime. Some affirmed, that it was to be done, others
that it would spoil the fancy to be so confined; but lord Orrery was
of another opinion, and his Majesty being willing, that a trial should
be made, laid his commands on his lordship, to employ some of his
leisure time that way, which his lordship readily complied with, and
soon after composed the Black Prince.

It is difficult to give a full and accurate account of this nobleman's
compositions; for it must be owned, he was a better statesman than a
poet, and fitter to act upon the wide theatre of life, than to write
representations for the circumscribed theatre of the stage. In the
light of an author he is less eminent, and lived a life of too much
hurry to become proficient in poetry, a grace which not only demands
the most extensive abilities, but much leisure and contemplation. But
if he was not extremely eminent as a poet, he was far removed above
contempt, and deserves to have full mention made of all his writings;
and we can easily forgive want of elegance and correctness in one who
was of so much service to his country, and who was born rather to live
than to write a great part.

According to the least exceptionable account, his works are as follow:

1. The Irish Colours displayed, in a reply of an English Protestant,
to an Irish Roman Catholic, Lond. 1662, 4to.

2. An Answer to a scandalous Letter lately printed and subscribed be a
Peter Walsh, procurator for the Secular and Romish priests of Ireland:
This was the same infamous Walsh who forged the commisssion to act
against the Protestants. In this letter his lordship makes a full
discovery of the treachery of the Irish rebels, Dublin 1662, 4to.
Lond. 1662, 4to.

3. A Poem on his Majesty's Restoration,  presented by the earl himself
to the King.

4. A Poem on the Death of the celebrated Mr. Abraham Cowley, Lond.
1667, fol. reprinted by Dr. Sprat, before his edition of Cowley's
works; also reprinted and much commended by Mr. Budgel.

5. History of Henry V. a tragedy. Lond. 1668, fol. In this play Mr.
Harris who played Henry, wore the Duke of York's coronation suit; and
Betterton, who played Owen Tudor, by which he got reputation, wore the
King's; and Mr. Liliston, to whom the part of the Duke of Burgundy was
given, wore the Earl of Oxford's.

6. Mustapha the Son of Solyman the Magnificent, a Tragedy, Lond. 1667,
fol. This play succeeded tollerably well.

7. The Black Prince, a Tragedy, Lond. 1672, fol. When this play was
begun his lordship lay ill of the gout, and after he had finished two
acts of it, he sent it to the King for his perusal, and at the same
time told his Majesty, that while he laboured under that disorder, he
had done these two acts; and perhaps would do no more till he was
taken ill again; upon which his Majesty pleasantly said, that if it
was not to be compleated till the return of the gout, he wished him a
lusty fit of it[12].

8. Tryphon, a Tragedy, Lond. 1672, fol. These four plays were
collected, and printed in fol. 1690, and make the entire first volume
of the new edition of the earl's Dramatic Works.

9. Parthenissa, a Romance, in three volumes, Lond. 1665, 4to. 1677,
fol. This romance is divided into six parts, the last written at the
desire of, and therefore dedicated to, her royal highness the Princess
Henrietta Maria, Duchess of Orleans, sister to King Charles II.

10. A Dream. This poem has been before mentioned. In it, the genius of
France is introduced, saying every thing the French ministers could
insinuate to inveigle King Charles II. to endeavour at making himself
arbitrary, or to deceive him into a mean and scandalous dependence on
Lewis XIV. to all which the ghost of Charles I. is next brought in,
giving reasons why the sole foundation of a Monarch's power, is the
love and confidence of his people.

11. The Art of War, Lond. 1677, fol. This work he addresses to the
King, in a large dedication, which was but the first part of what he
intended upon the subject; and was so strangely received, that the
second never appeared.

12. Poems on most of the festivals of the church. This work, tho'
printed and published, was never finished by our author. It was
written in the last year of his life, under much weakness of body; and
Budgel observes, very justly, that his poetry in this composition runs
low; and indeed his characteristical fault as a poet, is want of
elevation.

His posthumous works are these;

1. Mr. Anthony, a Comedy, 4to. Lond. 1692.

2. Guzman, a Comedy. 1693, 4to. upon a Spanish plot, and written in
the Spanish manner.

3. Herod the Great, a Tragedy, Lond. 1694, 4to.

4. Altemira a Tragedy, brought upon the stage by Mr. Francis Manning
1702, dedicated to Lionel earl of Orrery, grandson to the author, with
a prologue by lord viscount Bolingbroke. We may add to them his state
letters, which have been lately published in one volume fol. The rest
of his lordship's political papers perished in the flames, when his
house at Charleville was burnt in the year 1690, by a party of King
James's soldiers, with the duke of Berwick at their head.

We shall give a specimen of his lordship's poetry from a speech in
Altemira, in a scene between Altemira and her lover.

  ALTEM. I can forgive you all my Lycidor,
         But leaving me, and leaving me for war,
         For that, so little argument I find,
         My reason makes the fault look more unkind.

  LYCIDOR. You see my griefs such deep impressions give,
         I'd better die than thus afflicted live.
         Yet to those sorrows under which I groan,
         Can you still think it fit to add your own?

  ALTEM. 'Tis only you, have your own troubles wrought,
         For they alas! are not impos'd but sought;
         Did you but credit what you still profess,
         That I alone can make your happiness:
             You would not your obedience now decline,
             But end by paying it, your griefs and mine.

Footnotes:
1. Earl of Cork's True Remembrance.
2. Morrice's Memoirs of E. Orrery, chap. 6.
3. Memoirs of the Earl of Orrery, p. 36.
4. Carte's Life of the Duke of Ormond.
5. Memoirs of the Interregnum, p. 133.
6. Cox's History of Ireland, vol. 2. part 2d. p. 16.
7. Thurloe's State Papers.
8. Morrice's Memoirs chap. 5.
9. Budgel's Memoirs of the family of the Boyles.
10. Collin's peerage, vol. iv. p. 26.
11. Love's Memoirs of the Earl of Orrery.
12. Memoirs of the Earl of Orrery.

                *        *        *        *        *




                             RICHARD HEAD


Was the son of a minister in Ireland, who being killed in the
rebellion there in 1641, amongst the many thousands who suffered in
that deplorable massacre, our author's mother came with her son into
England, and he having, says Winstanley, been trained up in learning,
was by the help of some friends educated at Oxford, in the same
college where his father formerly had been a student; but as his
circumstances were mean, he was taken away from thence, and bound
apprentice to a bookseller in London, but his genius being addicted to
poetry, before his time was expired, he wrote a piece called Venus
Cabinet unlocked; and afterwards he married and set up for himself, in
which condition, he did not long continue, for being addicted to
gaming, he ruined his affairs. In this distress he went over to
Ireland, and composed his Hic & Ubique, a noted comedy; and which
gained him some reputation. He then returned to England, reprinted his
comedy, and dedicated it to the duke of Monmouth, from whom he
received no great encouragement. This circumstance induced him to
reflect, that the life of an author was at once the most dissipated
and unpleasing in the world; that it is in every man's power to injure
him, and that few are disposed to promote him. Animated by these
reflexions, he again took a house, and from author resumed his old
trade of a bookseller, in which, no doubt he judged right; for while
an author (be his genius and parts ever so bright) is employed in the
composition of one book, a bookseller may publish twenty; so that in
the very nature of things, a bookseller without oppression, a crime
which by unsuccessful writers is generally imputed to them, may grow
rich, while the most industrious and able author can arrive at no more
than a decent competence: and even to that, many a great genius has
never attained.

No sooner had Mr. Head a little recovered himself, than we find him
cheated again by the syren alurements of pleasure and poetry, in the
latter of which, however, it does not appear he made any proficiency.
He failed a second time, in the world, and having recourse to his pen,
wrote the first part of the English Rogue, which being too libertine,
could not be licensed till he had expunged some of the most luscious
descriptions out of it.

Mr. Winstanley, p. 208, has informed us, that at the coming out of
this first part, he was with him at the Three Cup tavern in Holborn
drinking a glass of Rhenish, and made these verses upon him,


  What Gusman, Buscan, Francion, Rablais writ,
  I once applauded for most excellent wit;
  But reading thee, and thy rich fancy's store,
  I now condemn what I admir'd before.
  Henceforth translations pack away, be gone,
  No Rogue so well writ, as the English one.

We cannot help observing, that Winstanley has a little ridiculously
shewn his vanity, by informing the world, that he could afford to
drink a glass of Rhenish; and has added nothing to his reputation by
the verses, which have neither poetry nor wit in them.

This English Rogue, described in the life of Meriton Latroon, a witty
extravagant, was published anno 1666, in a very large 8vo. There were
three more parts added to it by Francis Kirkman and Mr. Head in
conjunction.

He also wrote

Jackson's Recantation; or the Life and Death of a notorious
highwayman, then hanging in chains at Hamstead, 1674.

Proteus Redivivus; or, the Art of wheedling, Lond. 1675.

The Floating Island; or a voyage from Lambethanio to Ramalia.

A Discovery of Old Brazil.

The Red Sea.

He wrote a Pamphlet against Dr. Wild, in answer to Wild's letter
directed to his friend, upon occasion of his Majesty's declaration for
liberty of conscience: This he concludes in the following manner, by
which it will be seen that he was but a poor versifier.

  Thus, Sir, you have my story, but am sorry
  (Taunton excuse) it is no better for ye,
  However read it, as your pease are shelling;
  For you will find, it is not worth the telling.
  Excuse this boldness, for I can't avoid
  Thinking sometimes you are but ill employ'd.
  Fishing for souls more fit, than frying fish;
  That makes me throw pease-shellings in your dish.
  You have a study, books wherein to look,
  How comes it then the Doctor turn'd a cook?
  Well Doctor Cook, pray be advised hereafter,
  Don't make your wife the subject of our laughter.
  I find she's careless, and your maid a slut,
  To let you grease your Cassock for your gut.
  You are all three in fault, by all that's blest;
  Mend you your manners first, then teach the rest.

Mr. Winstanley says, that our author met with a great many afflictions
and crosses in his time, and was cast away at sea, as he was going to
the Isle of Wight 1678.

                *        *        *        *        *




THOMAS HOBBS.


This celebrated philosopher was son of Thomas Hobbs, vicar of
Westport, within the Liberty of Malmesbury, and of Charlton in Wilts,
and was born at Westport on the 5th of April 1588[1]. It is related by
Bayle, that his mother being frighted at the rumours of the report of
the Spanish Armada, was brought to bed of him before her time, which
makes it somewhat surprizing that he should live to so great an age.
He had made an extraordinary progress in the languages before he
arrived at his 14th year, when he was sent to Oxford, where he studied
for five years Aristotle's philosophy. In the year 1607 he took the
degree of batchelor of arts, and upon the recommendation of the
principal of the college, he entered into the service of William
Cavendish, baron Hardwicke, soon afterwards earl of Devonshire[2], by
whom being much esteemed for his pleasantry and humour, he was
appointed tutor to his son lord William Cavendish, several years
younger than Hobbs. Soon after our author travelled with this young
nobleman thro' France and Italy, where he made himself master of the
different languages of the countries thro' which he travelled; but
finding that he had in a great measure forgot his Greek and Latin, he
dedicated his leisure hours to the revival of them, and in order to
fix the Greek language more firmly in his mind, upon his return to
England, he set about and accomplished a translation of Thucydides,
who appeared to him preferable to all other Greek historians, and by
rendering him into English he meant to shew his countrymen from the
Athenian history, the disorders and confusions of a democratical
government.

In the year 1628, the earl of Devonshire dying, after our author had
served him 20 years, he travelled again into France with a son of Sir
Gervas Clifton; at which time, and during which preregrination (says
Wood) 'he began to make an inspection into the elements of Euclid, and
be delighted with his method, not only for the theorems contained in
it, but for his art of reasoning. In these studies he continued till
1631, when his late pupil the earl of Devonshire called him home in
order to undertake the education of his son, then only thirteen years
of age, in all the parts of juvenile literature; and as soon as it was
proper for him to see the world, Hobbs again set out for France and
Italy, and directed his young pupil to the necessary steps for
accomplishing his education.

When our author was at Paris, he began to search into the fundamentals
of natural science, and contracted an intimacy with Marius Marsennus a
Minim, conversant in that kind of philosophy, and a man of excellent
moral qualities.

In 1637 he was recalled to England, but finding the civil war ready to
break out, and the Scots in arms against the King, instigated by a
mean cowardice, he deferred his country in distress, and returned to
Paris, that he might without interruption pursue his studies there,
and converse with men of eminence in the sciences. The Parliament
prevailing, several of the Royalists were driven from their own
country, and were obliged to take shelter in France. The Prince of
Wales was reduced likewise to quit the kingdom and live at Paris:
Hobbs was employed to teach the young Prince mathematics, in which he
made great proficiency; and our author used to observe, that if the
Prince's application was equal to the quickness of his parts, he would
be the foremost man in his time in every species of science. All the
leisure hours that Hobbs enjoyed in Paris, he dedicated to the
composition of a book called, The Leviathan, a work by which he
acquired a great name in Europe; and which was printed at London while
he remained at Paris. Under this strange name he means the body
politic. The divines of the church of England who attended King
Charles II. in France, exclaimed vehemently against this performance,
and said that it contained a great many impious assertions, and that
the author was not of the royal party. Their complaints were regarded,
and Hobbs was discharged the court; and as he had extremely provoked
the Papists, he thought it not safe for him to continue longer in
France, especially as he was deprived of the protection of the King of
England. He translated his Leviathan into Latin, and printed it with
an appendix in 1668.

About ten years afterwards, the Leviathan was printed in Low Dutch.
The character of this work is drawn as under, by bishop Burnet.

'His [Hobbs's] main principles were, that all men acted under an
absolute necessity, in which he seemed protected by the then received
doctrine of absolute decrees. He seemed to think that the universe was
god, and that souls were material, Thought being only subtle and
imperceptible motion. He thought interest and fear were the chief
principles of society; and he put all morality in the following that
which was our own private will or advantage. He thought religion had
no other foundation than the laws of the land; and he put all the law
in the will of the Prince, or of the people: For he writ his book at
first in favour of absolute monarchy, but turned it afterwards to
gratify the Republican party.'

Upon his return to England, he lived retired at the seat of the earl
of Devonshire, and applied himself to the study of philosophy; and as
almost all men who have written any thing successfully would be
thought poets, so Hobbs laid claim to that character, tho' his poetry
is too contemptible for crit[i]cism. Dr. White Kennet in his memoirs
of the family of Cavendish informs us, 'That while Mr. Hobbs lived in
the earl of Devonshire's family, his professed rule was to dedicate
the morning to his health, and the afternoon to his studies; and
therefore at his first rising he walked out, and climbed any hill
within his reach; or if the weather was not dry, he fatigued himself
within doors, by some exercise or other till he was in a sweat,
recommending that practice upon his opinion, that an old man had more
moisture than heat; and therefore by such motion heat was to be
acquired, and moisture expelled; after this he took a breakfast, and
then went round the lodgings to wait upon the earl, the countess, and
the children, and any considerable strangers, paying some short
addresses to them all. He kept these rounds till about 12 o'clock,
when he had a little dinner provided for him, which he eat always by
himself without ceremony. Soon after dinner he retired into his study,
and had his candle, with ten or twelve pipes of tobacco laid by him,
then shutting the door he fell to smoaking and thinking, and writing
for several hours.'

He retained a friend or two at court to protect him if occasion should
require; and used to say, it was lawful to make use of evil instruments
to do ourselves good. 'If I were cast (said he) into a deep pit, and
the Devil should put down his cloven foot, I should take hold of it to
be drawn out by it.'

Towards the end of his life he read very few books, and the earl of
Clarendon says, that he had never read much but thought a great deal;
and Hobbs himself used to observe, that if he had read as much as
other philosophers, he should have been as ignorant as they. If any
company came to visit him, he would be free of his discourse, and
behave with pleasantry, till he was pressed, or contradicted, and then
he had the infirmities of being short and peevish, and referring them
to his writings, for better satisfaction. His friends who had the
liberty of introducing strangers to him, made these terms with them
before admission, that they should not dispute with the old man, or
contradict him.

In October 1666, when proceedings against him were depending, with a
bill against atheism and profaneness, he was at Chatsworth, and
appeared extremely disturbed at the news of it, fearing the messengers
would come for him, and the earl of Devonshire would deliver him up,
the two houses of Parliament commit him to the bishops, and they
decree him a heretic. This terror upon his spirits greatly disturbed
him. He often confessed to those about him, that he meant no harm, was
no obstinate man, and was ready to make any satisfaction; for his
prevailing principle and resolution was, to suffer for no cause
whatever.

Under these apprehensions of danger, he drew up, in 1680, an
historical naration of heresy, and the punishments thereof,
endeavouring to prove that there was no authority to determine heresy,
or to punish it, when he wrote the Leviathan.

Under the same fears he framed an apology for himself and his
writings; observing, that the exceptionable things in his Leviathan
were not his opinions, so much as his suppositions, humbly submited to
those who had the ecclesiastical power, and never since dogmatically
maintained by him either in writing or discourse; and it is much to be
suspected, as Dr. Kennet observes, that upon this occasion, he began
to make a more open shew of religion and church communion. He now
frequented the chapel, joined in the service, and was generally a
partaker of the sacrament; and when any strangers used to call in
question his belief, he always appealed to his conformity in divine
service, and referred them to the chaplain for a testimony of it.
Others thought it a meer compliance with the orders of the family; and
observed, he never went to any parish church, and even in the chapel
upon Sundays he went out after prayers, and would not condescend to
hear the sermon, and when any friend asked the reason of it, he gave
no other answer but this, that preachers could tell him nothing but
what he knew. He did not conceal his hatred to the clergy; but it was
visible his aversion proceeded from the dread of their civil power and
interest. He had often a jealousy that the bishops would burn him; and
of all the bench he was most afraid of Dr. Seth Ward, bishop of Sarum,
because he had most offended him. Dr. Kennet further observes, that
his whole life was governed by his fears.

In the first Parliament of 1640, while it seemed to favour the
measures of the court, he wrote a little tract in English wherein he
demonstrated as himself tells us, that all the power and rights
necessary for the peace of the kingdom, were inseparably annexed to
the sovereignty of the King's person. But in the second parliament of
that year, when they proceeded fiercely against those who had written
or preached in defence of the regal power; he was the first that fled,
went over into France, and there continued eleven years. Whether from
the dread of assassination, or as some have thought from the notion of
ghosts and spirits, is uncertain, but he could not endure to be left
in an empty house; whenever the earl of Devonshire removed, he would
accompany him; even in his last stage from Chatsworth to Hardwick,
when in a weak condition, he dared not be left behind, but made his
way upon a feather bed in a coach, tho' he survived the journey but a
few days. He could not bear any discourse of death, and seemed to cast
off all thoughts of it; he delighted to reckon upon longer life. The
winter before he died he had a warm coat made him, which he said must
last him three years, and then he would have such another. A few days
after his removal to Hardwick, Wood says that he was struck with a
dead palsy, which stupified his right side from head to foot,
depriving him of his speech and reason at the same time; but this
circumstance is not so probable, since Dr. Kennet has told us, that in
his last sickness he frequently enquired, whether his disease was
curable; and when it was told him that he might have ease but no
remedy, he used these expressions. 'I shall be glad then to find a
hole to creep out of the world at;' which are reported to be his last
sensible words, and his lying some days following in a state of
stupefaction, seemed to be owing to his mind, more than to his body.
The only thought of death which he appeared to entertain in time of
health, was to take care of some inscription on his grave; he would
suffer some friends to dictate an epitaph, amongst which he was best
pleased with these words:

               "This is the true Philosopher's Stone."

He died at Hardwick, as above-mentioned, on the 4th of Dec. 1679.
Notwithstanding his great age, for he exceeded 90 at his death, he
retained his judgment in great vigour till his last sickness.

Some writers of his life maintain, that he had very orthodox notions
concerning the nature of God and of all the moral virtues;
notwithstanding the general notion of his being a downright atheist;
that he was affable, kind, communicative of what he knew, a good
friend, a good relation, charitable to the poor, a lover of justice,
and a despiser of money. This last quality is a favourable
circumstance in his life, for there is no vice at once more despicable
and the source of more base designs than avarice. His warmest votaries
allow, that when he was young he was addicted to the fashionable
libertinism of wine and women, and that he kept himself unmarried lest
wedlock should interrupt him in the study of philosophy.

In the catalogue of his faults, meanness of spirit and cowardice may
be justly imputed to him. Whether he was convinced of the truth of his
philosophy, no man can determine; but it is certain, that he had no
resolution to support and maintain his notions: had his doctrines been
of ever so much consequence to the world, Hobbs would have abjured
them all, rather than have suffered a moment's pain on their account.
Such a man may be admired for his invention, and the planning of new
systems, but the world would never have been much illuminated, if all
the discoverers of truth, like the philosopher of Malmsbury, had had
no spirit to assert it against opposition. In a piece called the Creed
of Mr. Hobbs examined, in a feigned Conference between him and a
Student of Divinity, London 1670, written by Dr. Tenison, afterwards
archbishop of Canterbury, the Dr. charges Mr. Hobbs with affirming,
'that God is a bodily substance, though most refined, and forceth evil
upon the very wills of men; framed a model of government pernicious in
its consequences to all nations; subjected the canon of scripture to
the civil powers, and taught them the way of turning the Alcoran into
the Gospel; declared it lawful, not only to dissemble, but firmly to
renounce faith in Christ, in order to avoid persecution, and even
managed a quarrel against the very elements of Euclid.' Hobbs's
Leviathan met with many answers, immediately after the restoration,
especially one by the earl of Clarendon, in a piece called a Brief
View and Survey of the dangerous and pernicious Errors to Church and
State, in Mr. Hobbs's Book entitled Leviathan, Oxon. 1676. The
university of Oxford condemned his Leviathan, and his Book de Cive, by
a decree passed on the 21st of July 1638, and ordered them to be
publickly burnt, with several other treatises excepted against.

The following is a catalogue of his works, with as full an account of
them as consists with our plan.

He translated into English the History of the Grecian War by
Thucydides, London 1628, and 1676 in fol. and since reprinted in two
volumes in octavo.

De Mirabilibus Pecci, a Latin Poem, printed at London 1636; it was
translated into English by a person of quality, and the translation
was published with the original at London 1678.

Elementa Philosophica, seu Politica de Cive, id est, de Vita civili &
politica prudenter instituenda, Paris 1642 in 4to. Mr. Hobbs printed
but a few copies of this book, and revised it afterwards, and made
several additions to it, with which improvements it was printed at
Amsterdam, under the direction of Monsieur Forbier, who published a
French translation of it. Dr. John Bramhall, bishop of Derry in
Ireland, in the Preface to his Book entitled a Defence of true
Liberty, from an antecedent and extrinsical Necessity, tells us, 'that
ten years before he had given Mr. Hobbs about sixty exceptions, one
half political, and the other half theological to that book, and every
exception justified by a number of reasons, to which he never yet
vouchsafed any answer.' Gassendus, in a letter to Sorbiere, tells us,
that our author's Book de Cive, deserves to be read by all who would
have a deep insight into the subject. Puffendorf observes, that he had
been much obliged to Mr. Hobbs, whose hypothesis in this book, though
it favours a little of irreligion, is in other respects sufficiently
ingenious and sound.

An Answer to Sir William Davenant's Epistle or Preface to Gondibert,
Paris 1650, 12mo. and afterwards printed with Gondibert. See Davenant.

Human Nature, or the Fundamental Elements of Policy, being a Discovery
of the Faculties, Acts, and Passions of the Soul of Man, from their
original Causes, according to such philosophical Principles as are not
commonly known or asserted.

De Corpore Politico, or the Elements of Law, London 1650.

Leviathan, or the Matter, Power, and Form of a Commonwealth, London
1651 in fol. reprinted again in fol. 1680; a Latin Version was
published at Amsterdam 1666 in 4to; it was likewise translated into
Low Dutch, and printed at Amsterdam 1678 in 4to. To the English
editions is subjoined a Review of the Leviathan.

A Compendium of Aristotle's Rhetoric and Rhamus's Logic.

A Letter about Liberty and Necessity, London 1654 in 12mo. to this
piece several answers were given, especially by Dr. Bernard Laney, and
Dr. Bramhall, bishop of Derry, London 1656 in 4to.

Elementorum Philosophiae sectio prima de Corpore, London 1655 in 8vo;
in English, London 1656 in 4to. sectio secunda, London 1657 in 4to.
Amsterdam 1680 in 4to.

Six Lessons to the Professors of Mathematics of the Institution of Sir
Henry Saville, London 1656 in 4to; this is written against Dr. Seth
Ward, and Dr. John Wallis.

The Remarks of the Absurd Geometry, Rural Language, &c. of Dr. John
Wallis, London 1657 in 8vo. Dr. Wallis having published in 1655 his
Elenchus Geometriae Hobbianae. It occasioned a notable controversy
between these two great men.

Examinatio et Emendatio Mathematicae hodiernae, &c. in sex Dialogis,
London 1660, in 4to. Amsterdam 1668 in 4to.

Dialogus Physicus, sive de Natura Aeris, London 1661 in 4to.

De Duplicatione Cubi, London 1661, 4to. Amsterdam 1668 in 4to.

Problemata Physica, una cum magnitudine Circuli, London 1662, 4to.

De Principiis et Ratiocinatione Geometrarum, contra sastuosum
Professorem Geometrae, Amsterdam 1668 in 4to.

Quadratura Circuli, Cubatio sphaerae, Duplicatio Cubi; una cum
Responsione ad Objectiones Geometriae Professoris Saviliani Oxoniae
editas Anno 1669, London in 4to. 1669.

Rosetum Geometricum, sive Propositiones aliquot frustra antehac
tentatae, cum censura brevi Doctrinae Wallisianae de Motu, London 1671 in
4to. There is an account of this book in the Philosophical
Transactions, Numb. 72, for the year 1671.

Three Papers presented to the Royal Society against Dr. Wallis, with
Considerations on Dr. Wallis's Answer to them, London 1671, 4to.

Lux Mathematica &c.

Censura Doctrinae Wallisianae de Libra.

Rosetura Hobbesii, London 1672 in quarto.

Principia et Problemata aliquot Geometrica ante desperata, nunc
breviter explicata & demonstrata, London 1674, 4to.

Epistola ad Dom. Ant. Wood Authorem Historiae & Antiquitat Universit.
Oxon. dated April 20, 1674; the substance of this letter is to
complain of the figure which Mr. Wood makes him appear in, in that
work; Hobbs, who had an infinite deal of vanity, thought he was
entitled to higher encomiums, and more a minute relation of his life
than that gentleman gave. An Answer was written to it by Dr. Fell, in
which Hobbs is treated with no great ceremony.

A Letter to William, Duke of Newcastle, concerning the Controversy he
had with Dr. Laney, Bishop of Ely, about Liberty and Necessity, London
1670 in 12mo.

Decameron Phisiologicum, or Ten Dialogues on Natural Philosophy,
London 1678, 8vo. To this is added the Proportion of a Straight Line
to hold the Arch of a Quadrant; an account of this book is published
in the Philosophical Transactions, Numb. 138.

His Last Words, and Dying Legacy, printed December 1679, and published
by Charles Blunt, Esq; from the Leviathan, in order to expose Mr.
Hobbs's Doctrine.

His Memorable Sayings in his Books, and at the Table, printed with his
picture before it.

Behemoth, the History of the Civil Wars of England, from 1640 to 1660,
printed London, 1679.

Vita Thomae Hobbs; this is a Latin Poem, written by himself, and
printed in 4to, 1679.

Historical Narration of Heresy, and the Punishment thereof, London
1680, in four sheets and a half in folio, and in 1682 in 8vo. of this
we have already made some mention.

Vita Thomae Hobbs, written by himself in prose, and printed at
Caropolis, i.e. London, and prefixed to Vitae Hobbianae Auctarium 1681
in 8vo. and 1682 in 4to.

A Brief of the Art of Rhetoric, containing the Substance of all that
Aristotle hath written in his three Books on that Subject, printed in
12mo. but without a date.

A Dialogue between a Philosopher and a Student of the Common Law of
England.

An Answer to Archbishop Bramhall's Book called the Catching of the
Leviathan, London 1682 in 8vo.

Seven Philosophical Problems, and two Positions of Geometry, London
1682 in 8vo. dedicated to the King 1662.

An Apology for himself and his Writings, of which we have already
taken notice.

Historia Ecclesiastica carmine elegiaco concinnata, London 1688 in
8vo.

Tractatus Opticus, inserted in Mersennus's Cogitata
Physico-Mathematica, Paris 1644 in 4to.

He translated into English Verse the Voyages of Ulysses, or Homer's
Odysseys. B. ix, x, xi, xii. London 1674 in 8vo.

Homer's Iliads and Odysse[y]s, London 1675, and 1677 in 12mo; to which
is prefixed a Preface concerning Heroic Poetry. Mr. Pope in his
Preface to his Translation of Homer's Iliad, says, 'that Mr. Hobbs, in
his Version, has given a correct explanation of the sense in general,
but for particulars and circumstances, lops them, and often omits the
most beautiful. As for its being a close translation, I doubt not,
many have been led into that error by the shortness of it, which
proceeds not from the following the original line by line, but from
the contractions above mentioned. He sometimes omits whole similes and
sentences, and is now and then guilty of mistakes, into which no
writer of his learning could have fallen but through carelessness. His
poetry, like Ogilby's, is too mean for criticism.' He left behind
likewise several MSS. Mr. Francis Peck has published two original
Letters of our author; the first is dated at Paris October 21, 1634,
in which he resolves the following question. Why a man remembers less
his own face, which he sees often in a glass, than the face of a
friend he has not seen a great time? The other Letter is dated at
Florence, addressed to his friend Mr. Glen 1636, and relates to Dr.
Heylin's History of the Sabbath.

Thus have we given some account of the life and writings of the famous
Philosopher of Malmsbury, who made so great a figure in the age in
which he lived, but who, in the opinion of some of the best writers of
that time, was more distinguished for his knowledge than his morals,
and there have not been wanting those who have declared, that the
lessons of voluptuousness and libertinism, with which he poisoned the
mind of the young King Charles II. had so great an effect upon the
morals of that Prince, that our nation dearly suffered by this
tutorage, in having its wealth and treasure squandered by that
luxurious Monarch. Hobbs seems not to have been very amiable in his
life; he was certainly incapable of true friendship, for the same
cowardice, or false principle, which could instigate him to abandon
truth, would likewise teach him to sacrifice his friend to his own
safety. When young, he was voluptuous, when old, peevish, destitute
alike of resolution and honour. However high his powers, his character
is mean, he flattered the prevailing follies, he gave up virtue to
fashion, and if he can be produced as a miracle of learning, he can
never be ranked with those venerable names, who have added virtue to
erudition, and honour to genius; who have illuminated the world by
their knowledge, and reformed it by example.

Footnotes:
1. Wood, ubi supra.
2. Athen. Oxon. p. 251.

                *        *        *        *        *




                          Sir ASTON COKAINE,


A gentleman who lived in the reign of Charles I. He was son of Thomas
Cokaine, esq; and descended from a very ancient family at Ambourne in
the Peak of Derbyshire; born in the year 1608, and educated at both
the universities[1]. Mr. Langbaine observes, that Sir Aston's
predecessors had some evidence to prove themselves allied to William
the Conqueror, and in those days lived at Hemmingham Castle in Essex.
He was a fellow-commoner at Trinity College in Cambridge, as he
himself confesseth in one of his books. After he had left the
university, he went to the Inns of Court, where continuing awhile for
fashion's sake, he travelled afterwards with Sir Kenelm Digby into
France, Italy, Germany, &c. and was absent the space of twelve years,
an account of which he has written to his son[2], but it does not
appear to have been printed. He lived the greatest part of his time in
a lordship belonging to him called Pooley, in the parish of Polesworth
in Warwickshire, and addicted himself much to books and the study of
poetry. During the civil wars he suffered much for his religion, which
was that of Rome, and the King's cause; he pretended then to be a
baronet, created by King Charles I. after by violence he had been
drawn from the Parliament, about June 10, 1641; yet he was not deemed
so by the officers of the army, because no patent was enrolled to
justify it, nor any mention of it made in the docquet books belonging
to the clerk of the crown in Chancery, where all Patents are taken
notice of which pass the Great Seal. Sir Aston was esteemed by some a
good poet, and was acknowledged by all a great lover of the polite
arts; he was addicted to extravagance; for he wasted all he had,
which, though he suffered in the civil wars, he was under no necessity
of doing from any other motive but profusion.

Amongst our author's other poetical productions, he has written three
plays and a masque, which are in print, which we shall give in the
same order with Mr. Langbaine.

1. A Masque, presented at Bretbie in Derbyshire, on Twelfth-Night
1639. This Entertainment was presented before the Right Honourable
Philip, first Earl of Chesterfield, and his Countess, two of their
sons acting in it.

2. The Obstinate Lady, a Comedy, printed in 8vo. London 1650.
Langbaine observes, that Sir Aston's Obstinate Lady, seems to be a
cousin Jerman to Massinger's Very Woman, as appears by comparing the
characters.

3. The Tragedy of Ovid, printed in 8vo. 1669. 'I know not (says Mr.
Langbaine) why the author calls this Ovid's Tragedy, except that he
lays the scene in Tomos, and makes him fall down dead with grief, at
the news he received from Rome, in sight of the audience, otherwise he
has not much business on the stage, and the play ought rather to have
taken the name of Bassane's Jealousy, and the dismal Effects thereof,
the Murder of his new Bride Clorina, and his Friend Pyrontus.'

4. Trapolin creduto Principe, or Trapolin supposed a Prince, an
Italian Tragi-Comedy, printed in 8vo. London 1658. The design of this
play is taken from one he saw acted at Venice, during his abode in
that city; it has been since altered by Mr. Tate, and acted at the
Theatre in Dorset-Garden; it is now acted under the title of Duke and
No Duke.

He has written besides his plays,

What he calls a Chain of Golden Poems, embellished with Mirth, Wit,
and Eloquence. Another title put to these runs thus: Choice Poems of
several sorts; Epigrams in three Books. He translated into English an
Italian Romance, called Dianea, printed at London 1654.

Sir Aston died at Derby, upon the breaking of the great Frost in
February 1683, and his body being conveyed to Polesworth in
Warwickshire beforementioned, was privately buried there in the
chancel of the church. His lordship of Pooley, which had belonged to
the name of Cokaine from the time of King Richard II. was sold several
years before he died, to one Humphrey Jennings, esq; at which time our
author reserved an annuity from it during life. The lordship of
Ambourne also was sold to Sir William Boothby, baronet. There is an
epigram of his, directed to his honoured friend Major William Warner,
which we shall here transcribe as a specimen of his poetry, which the
reader will perceive is not very admirable.

  Plays, eclogues, songs, a satyr I have writ,
  A remedy for those i' th' amorous fit:
  Love elegies, and funeral elegies,
  Letters of things of diverse qualities,
  Encomiastic lines to works of some,
  A masque, and an epithalamium,
  Two books of epigrams; all which I mean
  Shall in this volume come upon the scene;
  Some divine poems, which when first I came
  To Cambridge, I writ there, I need not name.
  Of Dianea, neither my translation,
  Omitted here, as of another fashion.
  For Heaven's sake name no more, you say I cloy you;
  I do obey you; therefore friend God b'wy you.

Footnotes:
1. Athen. Oxon. p. 756, vol. ii.
2. Wood, ubi supra.

                *        *        *        *        *





                          Sir GEORGE WHARTON


Was descended of an ancient family in Westmoreland, and born at
Kirby-Kendal in that county, the 4th of April 1617, spent some time at
Oxford, and had so strong a propensity to the study of astronomy and
mathematics, that little or no knowledge of logic and philosophy was
acquired by him[1]. After this, being possesed of some patrimony, he
retired from the university, and indulged his genius, till the
breaking out of the civil wars, when he grew impatient of sollitude,
and being of very loyal principles turned all his inheritance into
money, and raised for his Majesty a gallant troop of horse, of which
he himself was captain.

After several generous hazards of his person, he was routed, about the
21st of March 1645, near Stow on the Would in Glouceste[r]shire, where
Sir Jacob Astley was taken prisoner, and Sir George himself received
several scars of honour, which he carried to his grave[2]. After this
he retired to Oxford the then residence of the King, and had in
recompence of his losses an employment conferred upon him, under Sir
John Heydon, then lieutenant-general of the ordnance, which was to
receive and pay off money, for the service of the magazine, and
artillery; at which time Sir Edward Sherborne was commissary-general
of it. It was then, that at leisure hours he followed his studies, was
deemed a member of Queen's-College, being entered among the students
there, and might with other officers have had the degree of master of
arts conferred on him by the members of the venerable convocation, but
neglected it. After the surrender of the garrison of Oxford, from
which time, the royal cause daily declined, our author was reduced to
live upon expedients; he came to London, and in order to gain a
livelihood, he wrote several little things, which giving offence to
those in power, he was seized on, and imprisoned, first in the
Gatehouse, then in Newgate, and at length in Windsor Castle, at which
time, when he expected the fevered stroke of an incensed party to fall
upon him, he found William Lilly, who had formerly been his
antagonist, now his friend, whose humanity and tenderness, he amply
repaid after the restoration, when he was made treasurer and paymaster
of his Majesty's ordnance, and Lilly stood proscribed as a rebel. Sir
George who had formerly experienced the calamity of want, and having
now an opportunity of retrieving his fortune, did not let it slip, but
so improved it, that he was able to purchase an estate, and in
recompence of his stedfast suffering and firm adherence to the cause
of Charles I. and the services he rendered Charles II. he was created
a baronet by patent, dated 31st of December 1677.

Sir George was esteemed, what in those days was called, a good
astrologer, and Wood calls him, in his usual quaint manner, a thorough
paced loyalist, a boon companion, and a waggish poet. He died in the
year 1681, at his house at Enfield in Middlesex, and left behind him
the name of a loyal subject, and an honest man, a generous friend, and
a lively wit.

We shall now enumerate his works, and are sorry we have not been able
to recover any of his poems in order to present the reader with a
specimen. Such is commonly the fate of temporary wit, levelled at some
prevailing enormity, which is not of a general nature, but only
subsists for a while. The curiosity of posterity is not excited, and
there is little pains taken in the preservation of what could only
please at the time it was written.

His works are

Hemeroscopions; or Almanacks from 1640 to 1666, printed all in octavo,
in which, besides the Gesta Britannorum of that period, there is a
great deal of satirical poetry, reflecting on the times.

Mercurio-caelico Mastix; or an Anti caveat to all such as have had the
misfortune to be cheated and deluded by that great and traiterous
impostor, John Booker, in answer to his frivolous pamphlet, entitled,
Mercurius Caelicus; or, a Caveat to the People of England, Oxon. 1644,
in twelve sheets in 4to.

England's Iliads in a Nutshell; or a Brief Chronology of the Battles,
Sieges, Conflicts, &c. from December 1641, to the 25th of March 1645,
printed Oxon. 1645.

An Astrological Judgment upon his Majesty's present March, begun from
Oxon. 7th of May 1645 printed in 4to.

Bellum Hybernicale; or Ireland's War, Astrologically demonstrated from
the late Celestial Congress of two Malevolent Planets, Saturn and
Mars, in Taurus, the ascendant of that kingdom, &c. printed 1647, 40.

Merlini Anglici Errata; or the Errors, Mistakes, &c. of Mr. William
Lilly's new Ephemeris for 1647, printed 1647.

Mercurius Elenictus; communicating the unparallelled Proceedings at
Westminster, the head quarters, and other places, printed by stealth
in London.

This Mercury which began the 29th of October came out sheet by sheet
every week in 4to. and continuing interruptedly till the 4th of April
1649, it came out again with No. 1, and continued till towards the end
of that year. Mr. Wood says, he has seen several things that were
published under the name of Mercurius Elenictus; particularly the
Anatomy of Westminster Juncto; or a summary of their Designs against
the King and City, printed 1648 in one sheet and a half, 4to. and also
the first and second part of the Last Will and Testament of Philip
Earl of Pembroke, &c. printed 1649; but Mr. Wood is not quite positive
whether Wharton is the author of them or no.

A Short Account of the Fasts and Festivals, as well of the Jews as
Christians, &c.

The Cabal of the Twelve Houses astrological, from Morinus, written
1659; and approved by William Oughtred.

A learned and useful Discourse teaching the right observation, and
keeping of the holy feast of Easter, &c. written 1665.

Apotelesma; or the Nativity of the World, and revolution thereof.

A Short Discourse of Years, Months, and Days of Years.

Something touching the Nature of Eclipses, and also of their Effects.

Of the Crises in Diseases, &c.

Of the Mutations, Inclinations, and Eversions, &c.

Discourse of the Names, Genius, Species, &c. of all Comets.

Tracts teaching how Astrology may be restored from Marinus.

Secret Multiplication of the Effects of the Stars, from Cardan.

Sundry Rules, shewing by what laws the Weather is governed, and how to
discover the Various Alterations of the same.

He also translated from Latin into English the Art of divining by
Lines and Signatures, engraven in the Hand of Man, written by John
Rockman, M.D. Lond. 1652, 8vo.

This is sometimes called Wharton's Chiromancy.

Most of these foregoing treatises were collected and published
together, anno 1683, in 8vo, by John Gadbury; together with select
poems, written and published during the civil wars.

Footnotes:
1. Wood Athen Oxon. v. ii.
2. Wood, ubi supra.

                *        *        *        *        *




                           ANNE KILLEGREW.


This amiable young lady, who has been happy in the praises of Dryden,
was daughter of Dr. Henry Killegrew, master of the Savoy, and one of
the prebendaries of Westminster. She was born in St. Martin's-Lane in
London, a little before the restoration of King Charles II. and was
christened in a private chamber, the offices of the Common prayer not
being then publickly allowed. She gave the earliest discoveries of a
great genius, which being improved by the advantage of a polite
education, she became eminent in the arts of poetry and painting, and
had her life been prolonged, she might probably have excelled most of
the prosession in both[1]. Mr. Dryden is quite lavish in her praise;
and we are assured by other cotemporary writers of good probity, that
he has done no violence to truth in the most heightened strains of his
panegyric: let him be voucher for her skill in poetry.

  Art she had none, yet wanted none,
  For nature did that art supply,
  So rich in treasures of her own,
  She might our boasted stores defy;
  Such noble vigour did her verse adorn,
  That it seem'd borrow'd, where 'twas only born.

That great poet is pleased to attribute to her every poetical
excellence. Speaking of the purity and chastity of her compositions,
he bestows on them this commendation,

  Her Arethusian stream remains unsoil'd,               }
  Unmix'd with foreign filth and undefil'd;             }
  Her wit was more than man, her innocence a child.     }

She was a great proficient in the art of painting, and drew King James
II, and his Queen; which pieces are also highly applauded by Mr.
Dryden. She drew several history pieces, also some portraits for her
diversion, exceeding well, and likewise some pieces of still life.

Those engaging and polite accomplishments were the least of her
perfections; for she crowned all with an exemplary piety, and
unblemished virtue. She was one of the maids of honour to the Duchess
of York, and died of the small-pox in the very flower of her age, to
the unspeakable grief of her relations and acquaintance, on the 16th
day of June 1685, in her 25th year.

On this occasion, Mr. Dryden's muse put on a mournful habit, and in
one of the most melting elegiac odes that ever was written, has
consigned her to immortality.

In the eighth stanza he does honour to another female character, whom
he joins with this sweet poetess.

  Now all those charms, that blooming grace,
  The well-proportion'd shape, and beauteous face,
  Shall never more be seen by mortal eyes;
  In earth, the much lamented virgin lies!
    Not wit, nor piety could fate prevent;
    Nor was the cruel destiny content
    To finish all the murder at a blow,
    To sweep at once her life, and beauty too;
    But like a hardened felon took a pride
    To work more mischievously flow,
    And plundered first, and then destroy'd.
    O! double sacrilege, on things divine,
    To rob the relique, and deface the shrine!

              But thus Orinda died;

    Heav'n by the same disease did both translate,
    As equal was their souls, so equal was their fate.

Miss Killegrew was buried in the chancel of St. Baptist's chapel in
the Savoy hospital, on the North side of which is a very neat monument
of marble and free-stone fixed in the wall, with a Latin inscription,
a translation of which into English is printed before her poems.

The following verses of Miss Killegrew's were addressed to Mrs.
Philips.

  Orinda (Albion, and her sex's grace)
  Ow'd not her glory to a beauteous face.
  It was her radiant soul that shone within,
  Which struck a lustre thro' her outward skin;
  That did her lips and cheeks with roses dye,
  Advanc'd her heighth, and sparkled in her eye.
  Nor did her sex at all obstruct her fame.
  But high'r 'mongst the stars it fixt her name;
  What she did write, not only all allow'd,
  But evr'y laurel, to her laurel bow'd!

Soon after her death, her Poems were published in a large thin quarto,
to which Dryden's ode in praise of the author is prefixed.

Footnote:
1. Ballard's Memoirs of Learned Ladies.

                *        *        *        *        *




                              NAT. LEE.


This eminent dramatic poet was the son of a clergyman of the church of
England, and was educated at Westminster school under Dr. Busby. After
he left this school, he was some time at Trinity College, Cambridge;
whence returning to London, he went upon the stage as an actor.

Very few particulars are preserved concerning Mr. Lee. He died before
he was 34 years of age, and wrote eleven tragedies, all of which
contain the divine enthusiasm of a poet, a noble fire and elevation,
and the tender breathings of love, beyond many of his cotemporaries.
He seems to have been born to write for the Ladies; none ever felt the
passion of love more intimately, none ever knew to describe it more
gracefully, and no poet ever moved the breasts of his audience with
stronger palpitations, than Lee. The excellent Mr. Addison, whose
opinion in a matter of this sort, is of the greatest weight, speaking
of the genius of Lee, thus proceeds[1]. "Among our modern English
poets, there is none who was better turned for tragedy than our
author; if instead of favouring the impetuosity of his genius, he had
restrained it, and kept it within proper bounds. His thoughts are
wonderfully suited for tragedy; but frequently lost in such a cloud of
words, that it is hard to see the beauty of them. There is an infinite
fire in his works, but so involved in smoke, that it does not appear
in half its lustre. He frequently succeeds in the passionate part of
the tragedy; but more particularly where he slackens his efforts, and
eases the stile of those epithets and metaphors in which he so much
abounds."

It is certain that our author for some time was deprived of his
senses, and was confined in Bedlam; and as Langbaine observes, it is
to be regretted, that his madness exceeded that divine fury which Ovid
mentions, and which usually accompany the best poets.

             Est Deus in nobus agitante calescimus illo.

His condition in Bedlam was far worse; in a Satire on the Poets it is
thus described,

  There in a den remov'd from human eyes,
  Possest with muse, the brain-sick poet lies,
  Too miserably wretched to be nam'd;
  For plays, for heroes, and for passion fam'd:
  Thoughtless he raves his sleepless hours away
  In chains all night, in darkness all the day.
  And if he gets some intervals from pain,           }
  The fit returns; he foams and bites his chain,     }
  His eye-balls roll, and he grows mad again.        }

The reader may please to observe, the two last lines are taken from
Lee himself in his description of madness in Caesar Borgia, which is
inimitable. Dryden has observed, that there is a pleasure in being
mad, which madmen only know, and indeed Lee has described the
condition in such lively terms, that a man can almost imagine himself
in the situation,

  To my charm'd ears no more of woman tell,
  Name not a woman, and I shall be well:
  Like a poor lunatic that makes his moan,
  And for a while beguiles his lookers on;
  He reasons well.--His eyes their wildness lose
  He vows the keepers his wrong'd sense abuse.
  But if you hit the cause that hurt his brain,            }
  Then his teeth gnash, he foams, he shakes his chain,     }
  His eye-balls roll, and he is mad again.                 }

If we may credit the earl of Rochester, Mr. Lee was addicted to
drinking; for in a satire of his, in imitation of Sir John Suckling's
Session of the Poets, which, like the original, is destitute of wit,
poetry, and good manners, he charges him with it.

The lines, miserable as they are, we shall insert;

  Nat. Lee stept in next, in hopes of a prize;
  Apollo remembring he had hit once in thrice:
  By the rubies in's face, he could not deny,
  But he had as much wit as wine could supply;
  Confess'd that indeed he had a musical note,
  But sometimes strain'd so hard that it rattled in the throat;
  Yet own'd he had sense, and t' encourage him for't
  He made him his Ovid in Augustus's court.

The testimony of Rochester indeed is of no great value, for he was
governed by no principles of honour, and as his ruling passion was
malice, he was ready on all occasions to indulge it, at the expence of
truth and sincerity. We cannot ascertain whether our author wrote any
of his plays in Bedlam, tho' it is not improbable he might have
attempted something that way in his intervals.

Mad people have often been observed to do very ingenious things. I
have seen a ship of straw, finely fabricated by a mad ship-builder;
and the most lovely attitudes have been represented by a mad statuary
in his cell.

Lee, for aught we know, might have some noble flights of fancy, even
in Bedlam; and it is reported of him, that while he was writing one of
his scenes by moon-light, a cloud intervening, he cried out in
ecstasy, "Jove snuff the Moon;" but as this is only related upon
common report, we desire no more credit may be given to it, than its
own nature demands. We do not pretend notwithstanding our high opinion
of Lee, to defend all his rants and extravagancies; some of them are
ridiculous, some bombast, and others unintelligible; but this
observation by no means holds true in general; for tho' some passages
are too extravagant, yet others are nobly sublime, we had almost said,
unequalled by any other poet.

As there are not many particulars preserved of Lee's life, we think
ourselves warranted to enlarge a little upon his works; and therefore
we beg leave to introduce to our reader's acquaintance a tragedy which
perhaps he has not for some time heard of, written by this great man,
viz. Lucius Junius Brutus, the Father of his country.

We mention this tragedy because it is certainly the finest of Lee's,
and perhaps one of the most moving plays in our language. Junius
Brutus engages in the just defence of the injured rights of his
country, against Tarquin the Proud; he succeeds in driving him out of
Rome. His son Titus falls in love, and interchanges vows with the
tyrant's daughter; his father commands him not to touch her, nor to
correspond with her; he faithfully promises; but his resolutions are
baffled by the insinuating and irresistible charms of Teraminta; he is
won by her beauties; he joins in the attempt to restore Tarquin; the
enterprize miscarries, and his own father sits in judgment upon him,
and condemns him to suffer.

The interview between the father and son is inexpressibly moving, and
is only exceeded by that between the son and his Teraminta. Titus is a
young hero, struggling between love and duty. Teraminta an amiable
Roman lady, fond of her husband, and dutiful to her father.

There are throughout this play, we dare be bold to affirm, as
affecting scenes as ever melted the hearts of an audience. Why it is
not revived, may be difficult to account for. Shall we charge it to
want of taste in the town, or want of discernment in the managers? or
are our present actors conscious that they may be unequal to some of
the parts in it? yet were Mr. Quin engaged, at either theatre, to do
the author justice in the character of Brutus, we are not wanting in a
Garrick or a Barry, to perform the part of Titus; nor is either stage
destitute of a Teraminta. This is one of those plays that Mr. Booth
proposed to revive (with some few alterations) had he lived to return
to the stage: And the part of Brutus was what he purposed to have
appeared in.

As to Lee's works, they are in every body's hands, so that we need not
trouble the reader with a list of them.

In his tragedy of the Rival Queens, our author has shewn what he could
do on the subject of Love; he has there almost exhausted the passion,
painted it in its various forms, and delineated the workings of the
human soul, when influenced by it.

He makes Statira thus speak of Alexander.

  Not the spring's mouth, nor breath of Jessamin,
  Nor Vi'lets infant sweets, nor op'ning buds
  Are half so sweet as Alexander's breast!
  From every pore of him a perfume falls,
  He kisses softer than a Southern wind
  Curls like a Vine, and touches like a God!
  Then he will talk! good Gods! how he will talk!
  Even when the joy he sigh'd for is possess'd,
  He speaks the kindest words, and looks such things,
  Vows with such passion, swears with so much grace
  That 'tis a kind of Heaven to be deluded by him.
  If I but mention him the tears will fall,
  Sure there is not a letter in his name,
  But is a charm to melt a woman's eyes.

His Tragedy of Theodosius, or the Force of Love, is the only play of
Lee's that at present keeps possession of the stage, an argument, in
my opinion, not much in favour of our taste, that a Genius should be
so neglected.

It is said, that Lee died in the night, in the streets, upon a frolic,
and that his father never assisted him in his frequent and pressing
necessity, which he was able to do. It appears that tho' Lee was a
player, yet, for want of execution, he did not much succeed, though
Mr. Cibber says, that he read excellently, and that the players used
to tell him, unless they could act the part as he read it, they could
not hope success, which, it seems, was not the case with Dryden, who
could hardly read to be understood. Lee was certainly a man of great
genius; when it is considered how young he died, he performed
miracles, and had he lived 'till his fervour cooled, and his judgment
strengthened, which might have been the consequence of years, he would
have made a greater figure in poetry than some of his contemporaries,
who are now placed in superior rank.

Footnote:
1. Spectator. No. 39, vol. 1st.

                *        *        *        *        *




                            SAMUEL BUTLER,


The celebrated author of Hudibras, was born at Strensham in
Worcestershire, 1612; His father, a reputable country farmer,
perceiving in his son an early inclination to learning, sent him for
education to the free-school of Worcester, under the care of Mr. Henry
Bright, where having laid the foundation of grammar learning, he was
sent for some time to Cambridge, but was never matriculated in that
university[1]. After he had resided there six or seven years, he
returned to his native county, and became clerk to Mr. Jefferys of
Earl's-Croom, an eminent justice of the peace for that county, with
whom he lived for some years, in an easy, though, for such a genius,
no very reputable service; during which time, through the indulgence
of a kind master, he had sufficient leisure to apply himself to his
favourite studies, history and poetry, to which, for his diversion, he
added music and painting.

The anonymous author of Butler's Life tells us, that he had seen some
pictures of his drawing, which were preserved in Mr. Jefferys's
family, which I mention not (says he) 'for the excellency of them, but
to satisfy the reader of his early inclination to that noble art; for
which also he was afterwards entirely loved by Mr. Samuel Cooper, one
of the most eminent Painters of his time.' Wood places our poet's
improvement in music and painting, to the time of his service under
the countess of Kent, by whose patronage he had not only the
opportunity of consulting all kinds of books, but conversing also with
the great Mr. Selden, who has justly gained the epithet of a living
library of learning, and was then conversant in that lady's family,
and who often employed our poet to write letters beyond sea, and
translate for him. He lived some time also with Sir Samuel Luke, a
gentleman of a good family in Bedfordshire, and a famous commander
under Oliver Cromwel.

Much about this time he wrote (says the author of his Life) 'the
renowned Hudibras; as he then had opportunities of conversing with the
leaders of that party, whose religion he calls hypocrisy, whose
politics rebellion, and whose speeches nonsense;' he was of an
unshaken loyalty, though he was placed in the house of a rebel, and it
is generally thought, that under the character of Hudibras, he
intended to ridicule Sir Samuel Luke. After the restoration of Charles
II. he was made secretary to the earl of Carbury, lord president of
the principality of Wales, who appointed him steward of Ludlow Castle,
when the court was revived there; and about this time he married one
Mrs. Herbert, a gentlewoman of very good family. Anthony Wood says,
she was a widow, and that Butler supported himself by her jointure;
for though in his early years he had studied the common law, yet he
had made no advantage by the practice of it; but others assert, that
she was not a widow, and that though she had a competent fortune, it
proved of little or no advantage to Butler, as most of it was
unfortunately lost by being put out on bad security. Mr. Wood likewise
says, that he was secretary to the duke of Buckingham, when that lord
was chancellor of the university of Cambridge, and the life writer
assures us he had a great kindness for him: but the late ingenious
major Richardson Pack tells a story, which, if true, overthrows both
their assertions, and as it is somewhat particular, we shall give it a
place here. Mr. Wycherley had taken every opportunity to represent to
his grace the duke of Buckingham, how well Mr. Butler had deserved of
the Royal Family, by writing his inimitable Hudibras, and that it was
a reproach to the court, that a person of his loyalty and wit should
languish in obscurity, under so many wants. The duke seemed always to
hearken to him with attention, and, after some time, undertook to
recommend his pretentions to his Majesty. Mr. Wycherly, in hopes to
keep him steady to his word, obtained of his Grace to name a day, when
he might introduce that modest, unfortunate poet to his new patron; at
last an appointment was made, Mr. Butler and his friend attended
accordingly, the duke joined them. But, as the devil would have it
(says the major) 'the door of the room, where he sat, was open, and
his Grace, who had seated himself near it, observing a pimp of his
acquaintance (the creature too was a knight) trip by with a brace of
ladies, immediately quitted his engagement to follow another kind of
business, at which he was more ready, than at doing good offices to
men of desert, though no one was better qualified than he, both in
regard to his fortune, and understanding to protect them, and from
that hour to the day of his death, poor Butler never found the least
effect of his promise, and descended to the grave oppressed with want
and poverty.'

The excellent lord Buckhurst, the late earl of Dorset and Middlesex,
was a friend to our poet, who, as he was a man of wit and parts
himself, knew how to set a just value on those who excelled. He had
also promises of places and employment from lord chancellor Clarendon,
but, as if poor Butler had been doomed to misfortunes, these proved[2]
meer court promises. Mr. Butler in short, affords a remarkable
instance of that coldness and neglect, which great genius's often
experience from the court and age in which they live; we are told
indeed by a gentleman, whose father was intimate with Butler, Charles
Longueville, Esq; that Charles II. once gave him a gratuity of three
hundred pounds, which had this compliment attending it, that it passed
all the offices without any fee, lord Danby being at that time high
treasurer, which seems to be the only court favour he ever received; a
strange instance of neglect! when we consider King Charles was so
excessive fond of this poem of Hudibras; that he carried it always in
his pocket, he quoted it almost on every occasion, and never mentioned
it, but with raptures.

This is movingly represented in a poem of our author's, published in
his remains called Hudibras at Court. He takes occasion to justify his
poem, by hinting its excellences in general, and paying a few modest
compliments to himself, of which we shall transcribe the following
lines.

  Now you must know, sir Hudibras,
  With such perfections gifted was,
  And so peculiar in his manner,
  That all that saw him did him honour;
  Amongst the rest, this prince was one,
  Admired his conversation:
  This prince, whose ready wit, and parts
  Conquer'd both men and women's hearts;
  Was so o'ercome with knight and Ralph,
  That he could never claw it off.
  He never eat, nor drank, nor slept,
  But Hudibras still near him kept;
  Nor would he go to church or so,
  But Hudibras must with him go;
  Nor yet to visit concubine,
  Or at a city feast to dine,
  But Hudibras must still be there,
  Or all the fat was in the fire.
  Now after all was it not hard,
  That he should meet with no reward,
  That fitted out the knight and squire,
  This monarch did so much admire?
  That he should never reimburse
  The man for th' equipage and horse,
  Is sure a strange ungrateful thing
  In any body, but a King.
  But, this good King, it seems was told
  By some, that were with him too bold,
  If e'er you hope to gain your ends,
  Caress your foes, and trust your friends.
  Such were the doctrines that were taught,
  'Till this unthinking King was brought
  To leave his friends to starve and die;
  A poor reward for loyalty.

After having lived to a good old age, admired by all, though
personally known but to few, he died September 25, 1680, and was
buried at the expence of his good friend Mr. Longueville of the
Temple, in the church-yard of St. Paul's Covent-Garden. Mr.
Longueville had a strong inclination to have him buried in Westminster
Abbey, and spoke with that view to several persons who had been his
admirers, offering to pay his part, but none of them would contribute;
upon which he was interred privately, Mr. Longueville, and seven or
eight more, following him to the grave. Mr. Alderman Barber erected a
monument to Butler in Westminster-Abbey.

The poem entitled Hudibras, by which he acquired so high a reputation,
was published at three different times; the first part came out in
1668 in 8vo. afterwards came out the second part, and both were
printed together, with several additions, and annotations; at last,
the third and last part was published, but without any annotations, as
appears by the printed copy 1678. The great success and peculiarity of
manner of this poem has produced many unsuccessful imitations of it,
and some vain attempts have been made to translate some parts of it
into Latin. Monsieur Voltaire gives it a very good character, and
justly observes, that though there are as many thoughts as words in
it, yet it cannot be successfully translated, on account of every
line's having some allusion to English affairs, which no foreigner can
be supposed to understand, or enter into. The Oxford antiquary
ascribes to our author two pamphlets, supposed falsely, he says, to be
William Prynne's; the one entitled Mola Asinaria, or the Unreasonable
and Insupportable Burthen pressed upon the Shoulders of this Groaning
Nation, London 1659, in one sheet 4to. the other, Two Letters: One
from John Audland, a Quaker, to William Prynne; the other, Prynne's
Answer, in three sheets fol. 1672. The life writer mentions a small
poem in one sheet in 4to. on Du Val, a notorious highwayman, said to
be written by Butler. These pieces, with a great many others, are
published together, under the title of his Posthumous Works. The life
writer abovementioned has preserved a fragment of Mr. Butler's, given
by one whom he calls the ingenious Mr. Aubrey, who assured him he had
it from the poet himself; it is indeed admirable, and the satire
sufficiently pungent against the priests.

  No jesuit e'er took in hand
  To plant a church in barren land;
  Nor ever thought it worth the while
  A Swede or Russ to reconcile.
  For where there is no store of wealth,
  Souls are not worth the charge of health.
  Spain in America had two designs:
  To sell their gospel for their mines:
  For had the Mexicans been poor,
  No Spaniard twice had landed on their shore.
  'Twas gold the Catholic religion planted,
  Which, had they wanted gold, they still had wanted.

Mr. Dryden[3] and Mr. Addison[4] have joined in giving testimony
against our author, as to the choice of his verse, which they condemn
as boyish and being apt to degenerate into the doggrel; but while they
censure his verse, they applaud his matter, and Dryden observes, that
had he chose any other verse, he would even then have excelled; as we
say of a court favourite, that whatever his office be, he still makes
it uppermost, and most beneficial to him.

We cannot close the life of this great man, without a reflection on
the degeneracy of those times, which suffered him to languish in
obscurity; and though he had done more against the Puritan interest,
by exposing it to ridicule, than thousands who were rioting at court
with no pretensions to favour, yet he was never taken notice of, nor
had any calamity redressed, which leaves a stain on those who then
ruled, that never can be obliterated. A minister of state seldom fails
to reward a court tool, and a man of pleasure pays his instruments for
their infamy, and what character must that ministration bear, who
allow wit, loyalty and virtue to pass neglected, and, as Cowley
pathetically expresses it,

  'In that year when manna rained on all, why
      should the muses fleece be only dry.'

The following epigram is not unworthy [of] a place here.

  Whilst Butler, needy wretch, was yet alive,
  No gen'rous patron would a dinner give;
  But lo behold! when dead, the mould'ring dust,
  Rewarded with a monumental bust!
  A poet's fate, in emblem here is shewn,
  He ask'd for bread, and he received--a stone.

Footnotes:
1. Life of Butler, p 6.
2. Posthumous Works of Wycherly, published by Mr. Theobald.
3. Juv. Ded.
4. Spect. No. 6. Vol. i.

                *        *        *        *        *




                          EDMUND WALLER Esq;


Was descended of a family of his name in Buckinghamshire, a younger
branch of the Wallers of Kent. He was born March 3, 1605 at Coleshill,
which gives Warwickshire the honour of his birth. His father dying
when he was very young, the care of his education fell to his mother,
who sent him to Eton School, according to the author of his life, but
Mr. Wood says, 'that he was mostly educated in grammaticals under one
Dobson, minister of Great Wycombe in Bucks, who had been educated in
Eton school,' without mentioning that Mr. Waller had been at all at
Eton school: after he had acquired grammar learning, he was removed to
King's college in Cambridge, and it is manifest that he must have been
extremely assiduous in his studies, since he acquired so fine a taste
of the ancients, in so short a time, for at sixteen or seventeen years
of age, he was chosen into the last Parliament of King James I. and
served as Burgess for Agmondesham.

In the year 1623, when Prince Charles nearly escaped being cast away
in the road of St. Andre, coming from Spain, Mr. Waller wrote a Poem
on that occasion, at an age when, generally speaking, persons of the
acutest parts just begin to shew themselves, and at a time when the
English poetry had scarce any grace in it. In the year 1628 he
addressed a Poem to his Majesty, on his hearing the news of the duke
of Buckingham's death, which, with the former, procured him general
admiration: harmony of numbers being at that time so great a novelty,
and Mr. Waller having, at once, so polished and refined versification,
it is no wonder that he enjoyed the felicity of an universal applause.
These poems recommended him to court-favour, and rendered him dear to
persons of the best taste and distinction that then flourished. A
Writer of his life observes, as a proof of his being much caressed by
people of the first reputation, that he was one of the famous club, of
which the great lord Falkland, Sir Francis Wainman, Mr. Chillingworth,
Mr. Godolphin, and other eminent men were members. These were the
immortals of that age, and to be associated with them, is one of the
highest encomiums which can possibly be bestowed, and exceeds the most
laboured strain of a panegyrist.

A circumstance related of this club, is pretty remarkable: One
evening, when they were convened, a great noise was heard in the
street, which not a little alarmed them, and upon enquiring the cause,
they were told, that a son of Ben Johnson's was arrested. This club
was too generous to suffer the child of one, who was the genuine son
of Apollo, to be carried to a Jail, perhaps for a trifle: they sent
for him, but in place of being Ben Johnson's son, he proved to be Mr.
George Morley, afterwards bishop of Winchester. Mr. Waller liked him
so well, that he paid the debt, which was no less than one hundred
pounds, on condition that he would live with him at Beconsfield, which
he did eight or ten years together, and from him Mr. Waller used to
say, that he learned a taste of the ancient poets, and got what he had
of their manner. But it is evident from his poems, written before this
incident of Mr. Morley's arrest, that he had early acquired that
exquisite Spirit; however, he might have improved it afterwards, by
the conversation and assistance of Mr. Morley, to whom this adventure
proved very advantageous.

It is uncertain, at what time our author was married, but, it is
supposed, that his first wife Anne, daughter and heir of Edward Banks,
esq; was dead before he fell in love with lady Dorothy Sidney,
daughter to the earl of Leicester, whom he celebrates under the name
of Sacharissa. Mr. Waller's passion for this lady, has been the
subject of much conversation; his verses, addressed to her, have been
renowned for their delicacy, and Sacharissa has been proposed, as a
model to succeeding poets, in the celebration of their mistresses. One
cannot help wishing, that the poet had been as successful in his
Addresses to her, as he has been in his love-strains, which are
certainly the sweetest in the world. The difference of station, and
the pride of blood, perhaps, was the occasion, that Sacharissa never
became the wife of Waller; though in reality, as Mr. Waller was a
gentleman, a member of parliament, and a person of high reputation, we
cannot, at present, see so great a disproportion: and, as Mr. Waller
had fortune, as well as wit and poetry, lord Leicester's daughter
could not have been disgraced by such an alliance. At least we are
sure of one thing, that she lives for ever in Waller's strains, a
circumstance, which even her beauty could not have otherwise procured,
nor the lustre of the earl of Sunderland, whom she afterwards married:
the countess of Sunderland, like the radiant circles of that age, long
before this time would have slept in oblivion, but the Sacharissa of
Waller is consigned to immortality, and can never die but with poetry,
taste, and politeness.

Upon the marriage of that lady to lord Spenser, afterwards earl of
Sunderland, which was solemnized July 11, 1639, Mr. Waller wrote the
following letter to lady Lucy Sidney, her sister, which is so full of
gallantry, and so elegantly turned, that it will doubtedly give
pleasure to our readers to peruse it.

MADAM,

'In this common joy at Penshurst[1], I know, none to whom complaints
may come less unseasonable than to your ladyship, the loss of a
bedfellow, being almost equal to that of a mistress, and therefore you
ought, at least, to pardon, if you consent not to the imprecations of
the deserted, which just Heaven no doubt will hear. May my lady
Dorothy, if we may yet call her so, suffer as much, and have the like
passion for this young lord, whom she has preferred to the rest of
mankind, as others have had for her; and may his love, before the year
go about, make her taste of the first curse imposed upon womankind,
the pains of becoming a mother. May her first born be none of her own
sex, nor so like her, but that he may resemble her lord, as much as
herself. May she, that always affected silence and retirement, have
the house filled with the noise and number of her children, and
hereafter of her grand-children; and then may she arrive at that great
curse, so much declined by fair ladies, old age; may she live to be
very old, and yet seem young; be told so by her glass, and have no
aches to inform her of the truth; and when she shall appear to be
mortal, may her lord not mourn for her, but go hand in hand with her
to that place, where we are told there is neither marrying, nor giving
in marriage, that being there divorced, we may all have an equal
interest in her again! my revenge being immortal, I wish all this may
befall her posterity to the world's end, and afterwards! To you,
madam, I wish all good things, and that this loss may, in good time,
be happily supplied, with a more constant bedfellow of the other sex.
Madam, I humbly kiss your hands, and beg pardon for this trouble, from

'Your ladyship's
  'most humble servant,
    'E. WALLER.'

He lived to converse with lady Sunderland when she was very old, but
his imprecations relating to her glass did not succeed, for my lady
knew she had the disease which nothing but death could cure; and in a
conversation with Mr. Waller, and some other company at lady
Wharton's, she asked him in raillery, 'When, Mr. Waller, will you
write such fine verses upon me again?' 'Oh Madam,' said he, 'when your
ladyship is as young again.'

In the year 1640, Mr. Waller was returned Burgess for Agmondesham, in
which Parliament he opposed the court measures. The writer of his life
observes[2], 'that an intermission of Parliaments for 12 years
disgusted the nation, and the House met in no good humour to give
money. It must be confessed, some late proceedings had raised such
jealousies as would be sure to discover themselves, whenever the King
should come to ask for a supply; and Mr. Waller was one of the first
to condemn those measures. A speech he made in the House upon this
occasion, printed at the end of his poems, gives us some notion of his
principles as to government.' Indeed we cannot but confess he was a
little too inconstant in them, and was not naturally so steady, as he
was judicious; which variable temper was the cause of his losing his
reputation, in a great measure, with both parties, when the nation
became unhappily divided. His love to poetry, and his indolence, laid
him open to the insinuations of others, and perhaps prevented his
fixing so resolutely to any one party, as to make him a favourite with
either. As Mr. Waller did not come up to the heighths of those who
were for unlimited monarchy, so he did not go the lengths of such as
would have sunk the kingdom into a commonwealth, but had so much
credit at court, that in this parliament the King particularly sent to
him, to second his demands of some subsidies to pay the army; and Sir
Henry Vane objecting against first voting a supply, because the King
would not accept it, unless it came up to his proportion; Mr. Waller
spoke earnestly to Sir Thomas Jermyn, comptroller of the houshold, to
save his master from the effects of so bold a falsity; for, says he, I
am but a country gentleman, and cannot pretend to know the King's
mind: but Sir Thomas durst not contradict the secretary; and his son
the earl of St. Alban's, afterwards told Mr. Waller, that his father's
cowardice ruined the King.

In the latter end of the year 1642, he was one of the commissioners
appointed by the Parliament, to present their propositions for peace
to his Majesty at Oxford. Mr. Whitelocke, in his Memorials, tells us,
that when Mr. Waller kissed the King's hand in the garden at Christ's
Church, his Majesty said to him, 'though you are last, yet you are not
the worst, nor the least in our favour.' The discovery of a plot,
continues Mr. Whitelocke, 'then in hand in London to betray the
Parliament, wherein Mr. Waller was engaged, with Chaloner, Tomkins,
and others, which was then in agitation, did manifest the King's
courtship of Mr. Waller to be for that service.'

In the beginning of the year 1643, our poet was deeply engaged in the
design for the reducing the city of London, and the Tower, for the
service of his Majesty, which being discovered, he was imprisoned, and
fined ten thousand pounds. As this is one of the most memorable
circumstances in the life of Waller, we shall not pass it slightly
over, but give a short detail of the rise, progress, and discovery of
this plot, which issued not much in favour of Mr. Waller's reputation.

Lord Clarendon observes[3], 'that Mr. Waller was a gentleman of very
good fortune and estate, and of admirable parts, and faculties of wit
and eloquence, and of an intimate conversation and familiarity with
those who had that reputation. He had, from the beginning of the
Parliament, been looked upon by all men, as a person of very entire
affections to the King's service, and to the established government of
church and state; and by having no manner of relation to the court,
had the more credit and interest to promote the service of it. When
the ruptures grew so great between the King, and the two houses, that
many of the Members withdrew from those councils, he, among the rest,
absented himself, but at the time the standard was set up, having
intimacy and friendship with some persons now of nearness about the
King, with his Majesty's leave he returned again to London, where he
spoke, upon all occasions, with great sharpness and freedom, which was
not restrained, and therefore used as an argument against those who
were gone upon pretence, that they were not suffered to declare their
opinion freely in the House; which could not be believed, when all men
knew what liberty Mr. Waller took, and spoke every day with impunity,
against the proceedings of the House; this won him a great reputation
with all people who wished well to the King; and he was looked upon as
the boldest champion the crown had in either House, so that such Lords
and Commons who were willing to prevent the ruin of the kingdom,
complied in a great familiarity with him, at a man resolute in their
ends, and best able to promote them; and it may be, they believed his
reputation at court so good, that he would be no ill evidence there of
other men's zeal and affection; so all men spoke their minds freely to
him, both of the general distemper, and of the passions and ambition
of particular persons, all men knowing him to be of too good a
fortune, and too wary a nature, to engage himself in designs of
hazard.'

Mr. Tomkins already mentioned, had married Waller's sister, and was
clerk of the Queen' council, and of very good fame for honesty and
ability; great interest and reputation in the city, and conversed much
with those who disliked the proceedings of the Parliament, from whom
he learned the dispositions of the citizens on all accidents, which he
freely communicated to his brother Waller, as the latter imparted to
him whatever observations he made from those with whom he conversed.
Mr. Waller told him, that many lords and commons were for a peace. Mr.
Tomkins made the same relation with respect to the most substantial
men of London, which Mr. Waller reported to the well affected members
of both houses; and Mr. Tomkins to the well affected citizens; whence
they came to a conclusion, that if they heartily united in the mutual
assistance of one another, they should be able to prevent those
tumults which seemed to countenance the distractions, and both parties
would be excited to moderation. The lord Conway at that time coming
from Ireland incensed against the Scotch, discontented with the
Parliament here, and finding Waller in good esteem with the earl of
Nor[t]humberland, and in great friendship with the earl of Portland,
entered into the same familiarity; and being a soldier, in the
discourses they had, he insinuated, it was convenient to enquire into
the numbers of the well affected in the city, that they might know
whom they had to trust to. Mr. Waller telling Mr. Tomkins this, the
latter imparted it to his confidents there; and it was agreed, that
some trusty persons in every ward and parish about London should make
a list of all the inhabitants, and by guessing at their several
affections, compute the strength of that party which opposed an
accommodation, and that which was for it.

Lord Clarendon declares, that he believes this design, was to beget
such a combination among the well affected parties, that they would
refuse to conform to those ordinances of the twentieth part, and other
taxes for the support of the war; and thereby or by joint petitioning
for peace, and discountenancing the other who petitioned against it,
to prevail with the Parliament to incline to a determination of the
war, 'but that there ever was, says the earl, 'any formed design
either of letting the King's army into London, which was impossible to
be effected, or raising an army there, and surprizing the Parliament,
or any person of it, or of using any violence in, or upon the city, I
could never yet see cause to believe.' But it unluckily happened, that
while this combination was on foot, Sir Nicholas Crisp procured a
commission of array to be sent from Oxford to London, which was
carried by the lady Aubigny, and delivered to a gentleman employed by
Sir Nicholas to take it of her; and this being discovered at the same
time Mr. Waller's plot was, the two conspiracies were blended into
one; tho' the earl of Clarendon is satisfied that they were two
distinct designs. His lordship relates the discovery of Mr. Waller's
plot in this manner: 'A servant of Mr. Tomkins, who had often
cursorily overheard his master and Mr. Waller discourse of the subject
which we are upon, placed himself behind the hangings, at a time when
they were together; and there whilst either of them discovered the
language and opinion of the company which they kept, overheard enough
to make him believe, that his information and discovery could make him
welcome to those whom he thought concerned, and so went to Mr. Pym,
and acquainted him with all he had heard, or probably imagined. The
time when Mr. Pym was made acquainted with it, is not known; but the
circumstance of publishing it was such as filled all men with
apprehensions.'

'It was on Wednesday the 31st of May, their solemn fast day, when
being all at their sermon in St. Margaret's church, Westminster,
according to their custom, a letter or message was brought privately
to Mr. Pym; who thereupon with some of the most active members rose
from their seats, and after a little whispering together, removed out
of the church. This could not but exceedingly affect those who stayed
behind. Immediately they sent guards to all the prisons, at
Lambeth-house, Ely-house, and such places where malignants were in
custody, with directions to search the prisoners, and some other
places which they thought fit should be suspected. After the sermon
was ended, the houses met, and were only then told, that letters were
intercepted going to the King and the court at Oxford, which expressed
some notable conspiracy in hand, to deliver up the Parliament and the
city into the hands of the Cavaliers; and that the time for the
execution of it drew near. Hereupon a committee was appointed to
examine all persons they thought fit, and to apprehend some nominated
at that time; and the same night this committee apprehended Mr. Waller
and Mr. Tomkins, and the next day such as they suspected.'

The Houses were, or seemed to be, so alarmed with the discovery of the
plot, that six days after they took a sacred vow and covenant, which
was also taken by the city and army, denouncing war against the King
more directly than they had done before. The earl of Portland and lord
Conway were imprisoned on Mr. Waller's accusation, and often
confronted with him before the committee, where they as peremptorily
denying, as he charging them, and there being no other witness but him
against them, they were kept a while in restraint, and then bailed.
Mr. Waller, after he had had 'says the earl of Clarendon, with
incredible dissimulation, acted such a remorse of conscience, that his
trial was put off out of christian compassion, till he should recover
his understanding (and that was not till the heat and fury of the
prosecutors was abated by the sacrifices they had made) and by drawing
visitants to himself of the most powerful ministers of all factions,
had by his liberality and penitence, his receiving vulgar and vile
sayings from them with humility and reverence, as clearer convictions,
and informations than in his life he had ever had; and distributing
great sums to them for their prayers and ghostly council, so satisfied
them, that they satisfied others; was brought at his suit to the bar
of the House of Commons on on the 4th of July 1643, where being a man
in truth very powerful in language, and who, by what he spoke, and the
manner of speaking it, exceedingly captivated the good will, and
benevolence of his hearers, with such flattery, as was most exactly
calculated to that meridian, with such a submission as their pride
took delight in, and such a dejection of mind and spirit, as was like
to couzen the major part. He laid before them, their own danger and
concernment if they should suffer one of their body, how unworthy and
monstrous soever, to be tried by the soldiers, who might thereby grow
to such power hereafter, that they would both try those they would not
be willing should be tried, and for things which they would account no
crime, the inconvenience and insupportable mischief whereof wise
commonwealths had foreseen and prevented, by exempting their own
members from all judgments but their own. He prevailed, not to be
tried by a Council of War, and thereby preserved his dear-bought life;
so that in truth he did as much owe the keeping his head to that
oration, as Cataline did the loss of his to those of Tully; and having
done ill, very well, he by degrees drew that respect to his parts,
which always carries some companion to the person, that he got leave
to compound for his transgression and them to accept of ten thousand
pounds for his liberty; whereupon he had leave to recollect himself in
another country (for his liberty was to be banishment) how miserable
he had made himself in obtaining that leave to live out of his own.
And there cannot be a greater evidence of the inestimable value of his
parts, than that he lived in the good affection and esteem of many,
the pity of most, and the reproach and scorn of few, or none.'

After this storm had subsided, Mr. Waller travelled into France, where
he continued several years. He took over his lady's jewels to support
him, and lived very hospitably at Paris, and except that of lord
Jermyn, afterwards earl of St. Alban's, who was the Queen of England's
prime minister when she kept her court there, there was no English
table but Mr. Waller's; which was so costly to him, that he used to
say, 'he was at last come to the Rump Jewel.' Upon his return to
England, such was the unsteadiness of his temper, he sided with those
in power, particularly the Lord Protector, with whom he lived in great
intimacy as a companion, tho' he seems not to have acted for him. He
often declared that he found Cromwell very well acquainted with the
Greek and Roman story; and he frequently took notice, that in the
midst of their discourse, a servant has come to tell him, that such
and such attended; upon which Cromwell would rise and stop them;
talking at the door, where Mr. Waller could over-hear him say, 'The
lord will reveal, the lord will help,' and several such expressions;
which when he returned to Mr. Waller, he excused, saying, 'Cousin
Waller, I must talk to these men after their own way.'

In 1654 he wrote a panegyric on Oliver Cromwell, as he did a poem on
his death in 1658. At the restoration he was treated with great
civility by King Charles II, who always made him one of his party in
his diversions at the duke of Buckingham's, and other places, and gave
him a grant of the provostship of Eaton-College; tho' that grant
proved of no effect. He sat in several Parliaments after the
restoration, and wrote a panegyric upon his Majesty's return, which
however, was thought to fall much short of that which he before had
wrote on Cromwell. The King one day asked him in raillery, 'How is it
Waller, that you wrote a better encomium on Cromwell than on me.' May
it please your Majesty, answered the bard, with the most admirable
fineness, 'Poets generally succeed best in fiction.' Mr. Waller
continued in the full vigour of his genius to the end of his life; his
natural vivacity bore up against his years, and made his company
agreeable to the last; which appears from the following little story.

King James II having ordered the earl of Sunderland to desire Mr.
Waller to attend him one afternoon; when he came, the King carried him
into his closet, and there asked him how he liked such a picture?
'Sir, says Mr. Waller, my eyes are dim, and I know not whose it is.'
The King answered, 'It is the Princess of Orange;' and says Mr.
Waller, 'she is like the greatest woman in the world.' 'Whom do you
call so, said the King,' 'Queen Elizabeth, said he.' 'I wonder, Mr.
Waller, replied the King, you should think so; but I must confess, she
had a wise council;' and Sir, said Mr. Waller, 'did you ever know a
Fool chuse a wise one.'

Mr. Waller died of a dropsy October 21, 1687. Finding his distemper
encrease, and having yielded all hopes of recovery, he ordered his
son-in-law Dr. Peter Birch, to desire all his children to join with
him, and give him the sacrament. He at the same time professed himself
a believer in revealed religion with great earnestness, telling them,
that he remembered when the duke of Buckingham, once talked profanely
before King Charles, he told him, 'My lord, I am a great deal older
than your grace, and I believe I have heard more arguments for
atheism, than ever your grace did; but I have lived long enough to
see, there was nothing in them, and so I hope will your grace.' It is
said, that had Mr. Waller lived longer, he would have inclined to the
revolution, which by the violent measures of James II. he could
foresee would happen. He was interred in the church-yard of
Beaconsfield, where a monument is erected to his memory, the
inscriptions on it were written by Mr. Thomas Rymer.

He left several children behind him: He bequeathed his estate to his
second son Edmund, his eldest, Benjamin, being so far from inheriting
his father's wit, that he had not a common portion. Edmund, the second
Son, used to be chosen member of Parliament for Agmondesham, and in
the latter part of his life turned Quaker. William, the third son, was
a merchant in London, and Stephen, the fourth, a civilian. Of the
daughters, Mary was married to Dr. Peter Birch, prebendary of
Westminster; another to Mr. Harvey of Suffolk, another to Mr. Tipping
of Oxfordshire.

These are the most material circumstances in the life of Mr. Waller, a
man whose wit and parts drew the admiration of the world upon him when
he was living, and has secured him the applause of posterity. As a
statesman, lord Clarendon is of opinion, he wanted steadiness, and
even insinuates, that he was deficient in point of honour; the earl at
least construes his timidity, and apparent cowardice, in a way not
very advantageous to him.

All men have honoured him as the great refiner of English poetry, who
restored numbers to the delicacy they had lost, and joined to
melifluent cadence the charms of sense. But as Mr. Waller is
unexceptionally the first who brought in a new turn of verse, and gave
to rhime all the graces of which it was capable, it would be injurious
to his fame, not to present the reader with the opinions of some of
the greatest men concerning him, by which he will be better able to
understand his particular excellencies, and will see his beauties in
full glow before him. To begin with Mr. Dryden, who, in his dedication
to the Rival Ladies, addressed to the earl of Orrery, thus
characterizes Waller.

'The excellency and dignity of rhime were never fully known till Mr.
Waller sought it: He first made writing easily an art; first shewed us
to conclude the sense most commonly in distichs, which in the verses
of those before him, runs on for so many lines together, that the
reader is out of breath to overtake it.'

Voltaire, in his letters concerning the English nation, speaking of
British poets, thus mentions Waller. 'Our author was much talked of in
France. He had much the same reputation in London that Voiture had in
Paris; and in my opinion deserved it better. Voiture was born in an
age that was just emerging from barbarity; an age that was still rude
and ignorant; the people of which aimed at wit, tho' they had not the
least pretensions to it, and sought for points and conceits instead of
sentiments. Bristol stones are more easily found than diamonds.
Voiture born with an easy and frivolous genius, was the first who
shone in this Aurora of French literature. Had he come into the world
after those great genius's, who spread such glory over the age of
Lewis XIV, he would either have been unknown, would have been
despised, or would have corrected his stile. Waller, tho' better than
Voiture, was not yet a finished poet. The graces breathe in such of
Waller's works as are wrote in a tender strain; but then they are
languid thro' negligence, and often disfigured with false thoughts.
The English had not at this time attained the art of correct writing;
but his serious compositions exhibit a strength and vigour, which
could not have been expected from the softness and effeminacy of his
other pieces.'

The anonymous author of the preface to the second part of our author's
poems, printed in the year 1690, has given his character at large, and
tells us; 'That Waller is a name that carries every thing in it that
is either great, or graceful in poetry. He was indeed the parent of
English verse, and the first who shewed us our tongue had beauty and
numbers in it. The tongue came into his hands like a rough diamond; he
polished it first, and to that degree, that artists since have admired
the workmanship without pretending to mend it. He undoubtedly stands
first in the list of refiners; and for ought I know the last too; for
I question whether in Charles II's reign; the English did not come to
its full perfection, and whether it had not had its Augustan age, as
well as the Latin.' Thus far this anonymous author. If I may be
permitted to give my opinion in so delicate a point as the reputation
of Waller, I shall take the liberty to observe, that had he, in place
of preceding, succeeded those great wits who flourished in the reign
of Charles II, he could never have rose to such great reputation, nor
would have deserved it: No small honour is due to him for the harmony
which he introduced, but upon that chiefly does his reputation stand.
He certainly is sometimes languid; he was rather a tender than a
violent lover; he has not that force of thinking, that amazing reach
of genius for which Dryden is renowned, and had it been his lot to
have appeared in the reign of Queen Anne, I imagine, he would not have
been ranked above the second class of poets. But be this as it may,
poetry owes him the highest obligations for refining it, and every
succeeding genius will be ready to acknowledge, that by copying
Waller's strains, they have improved their own, and the more they
follow him, the more they please.

Mr. Waller altered the Maid's Tragedy from Fletcher, and translated
the first Act of the Tragedy of Pompey from the French of Corneille.
Mrs. Katharine Philips, in a letter to Sir Charles Cotterell, ascribes
the translation of the first act to our author; and observes, that Sir
Edward Filmer did one, Sir Charles Sidley another, lord Buckhurst
another; but who the fifth, says she, I cannot learn.

Mrs. Philips then proceeds to give a criticism on this performance of
Waller's, shews some faults, and points out some beauties, with a
spirit and candour peculiar to her.

The best edition of our author's works is that published by Mr.
Fenton, London 1730, containing poems, speeches, letters, &c. In this
edition is added the preface to the first edition of Mr. Waller's
poems after the restoration, printed in the year 1664.

As a specimen of Mr. Waller's poetry, we shall give a transcript of
his Panegyric upon Oliver Cromwell.

A Panegyric to my Lord PROTECTOR, of the present greatness and joint
interest of his Highness and this Nation.

                          In the YEAR 1654.

  While with a strong, and yet a gentle hand
  You bridle faction, and our hearts command,
  Protect us from our selves, and from the foe,
  Make us unite, and make us conquer too;

  Let partial spirits still aloud complain,
  Think themselves injur'd that they cannot reign,
  And own no liberty, but where they may
  Without controul upon their fellows prey.

  Above the waves as Neptune shew'd his face
  To chide the winds, and save the Trojan race;
  So has your Highness, rais'd above the rest,
  Storms of Ambition tossing us represt.

  Your drooping country, torn with civil hate,
  Restor'd by you, is made a glorious state;
  The feat of empire, where the Irish come,
  And the unwilling Scotch, to fetch their doom.

  The sea's our own, and now all nations greet,
  With bending sails, each vessel of our fleet.
  Your pow'r extends as far as winds can blow,
  Or swelling sails upon the globe may go.

  Heav'n, that hath plac'd this island to give law,
  To balance Europe, and her states to awe,
  In this conjunction doth on Britain smile;
  The greatest leader, and the greatest isle.

  Whether this portion of the world were rent
  By the rude ocean from the Continent,
  Or thus created, it was sure design'd
  To be the sacred refuge of mankind.

  Hither th' oppressed shall henceforth resort
  Justice to crave, and succour at your court;
  And then your Highness, not for our's alone,
  But for the world's Protector shall be known.

  Fame swifter than your winged navy flies
  Thro' ev'ry land that near the ocean lies,
  Sounding your name, and telling dreadful News
  To all that piracy and rapine use.

  With such a chief the meanest nation blest,
  Might hope to lift her head above the rest:
  What may be thought impossible to do
  By us, embraced by the seas, and you?

  Lords of the world's great waste, the ocean, we
  Whole forests send to reign upon the sea,
  And ev'ry coast may trouble or relieve;
  But none can visit us without your leave.

  Angels and we have this prerogative,
  That none can at our happy seats arrive;
  While we descend at pleasure to invade
  The bad with vengeance, and the good to aid.

  Our little world, the image of the great,
  Like that, amidst the boundless ocean set,
  Of her own growth hath all that nature craves,
  And all that's rare, as tribute from the waves.

  As AEgypt does not on the clouds rely,
  But to the Nile owes more than to the sky;
  So what our Earth and what our heav'n denies,
  Our ever-constant friend the sea, supplies.

  The taste of hot Arabia's spice we know,
  Free from the scorching sun that makes it grow;
  Without the worm in Persian silks we shine,
  And without planting drink of ev'ry vine.

  To dig for wealth we weary not our limbs.
  Gold (tho' the heaviest Metal) hither swims:
  Our's is the harvest where the Indians mow,
  We plough the deep, and reap what others sow.

  Things of the noblest kind our own soil breeds;
  Stout are our men, and warlike are our steeds;
  Rome (tho' her eagle thro' the world had flown)
  Cou'd never make this island all her own.

  Here the third Edward, and the Black Prince too,
  France conq'ring Henry flourish'd, and now you;
  For whom we staid, as did the Grecian state,
  Till Alexander came to urge their fate.

  When for more world's the Macedonian cry'd,
  He wist not Thetys in her lap did hide
  Another yet, a word reserv'd for you,
  To make more great than that he did subdue.

  He safely might old troops to battle lead
  Against th' unwarlike Persian, and the Mede;
  Whose hasty flight did from a bloodless field,
  More spoils than honour to the visitor yield.

  A race unconquer'd, by their clime made bold,
  The Caledonians arm'd with want and cold,
  Have, by a fate indulgent to your fame,
  Been from all ages kept for you to tame.

  Whom the old Roman wall so ill confin'd,
  With a new chain of garrisons you bind:
  Here foreign gold no more shall make them come,
  Our English Iron holds them fast at home.

  They that henceforth must be content to know
  No warmer region than their hills of snow,
  May blame the sun, but must extol your grace,
  Which in our senate hath allow'd them place.

  Preferr'd by conquest, happily o'erthrown,
  Falling they rise, to be with us made one:
  So kind dictators made, when they came home,
  Their vanquish'd foes free citizens of Rome.

  Like favour find the Irish, with like fate
  Advanc'd to be a portion of our state:
  While by your valour, and your bounteous mind,
  Nations, divided by the sea, are join'd.

  Holland, to gain your friendship, is content
  To be our out-guard on the continent:
  She from her fellow-provinces wou'd go,
  Rather than hazard to have you her foe.

  In our late fight, when cannons did diffuse
  (Preventing posts) the terror and the news;
  Our neighbour princes trembled at their roar:
  But our conjunction makes them tremble more.

  Your never-failing sword made war to cease,
  And now you heal us with the acts of peace
  Our minds with bounty and with awe engage,
  Invite affection, and restrain our rage.

  Less pleasure take brave minds in battles won,
  Than in restoring such as are undone:
  Tygers have courage, and the rugged bear,
  But man alone can whom he conquers, spare.

  To pardon willing; and to punish, loath;
  You strike with one hand, but you heal with both.
  Lifting up all that prostrate lye, you grieve
  You cannot make the dead again to live.

  When fate or error had our Age mis-led,
  And o'er this nation such confusion spread;
  The only cure which cou'd from heav'n come down,
  Was so much pow'r and piety in one.

  One whose extraction's from an ancient line,
  Gives hope again that well-born men may shine:
  The meanest in your nature mild and good,
  The noble rest secured in your blood.

  Oft have we wonder'd, how you hid in peace
  A mind proportion'd to such things as these;
  How such a ruling sp'rit you cou'd restrain,
  And practise first over your self to reign.

  Your private life did a just pattern give
  How fathers, husbands, pious sons shou'd live;
  Born to command, your princely virtues slept
  Like humble David's while the flock he kept:

  But when your troubled country call'd you forth,
  Your flaming courage, and your matchless worth
  Dazling the eyes of all that did pretend,
  To fierce contention gave a prosp'rous end.

  Still as you rise, the state, exalted too,
  Finds no distemper while 'tis chang'd by you;
  Chang'd like the world's great scene, when without noise
  The rising sun night's vulgar lights destroys.

  Had you, some ages past, this race of glory
  Run, with amazement we shou'd read your story;
  But living virtue, all atchievements past,
  Meets envy still to grapple with at last.

  This Caesar found, and that ungrateful age,
  With losing him, went back to blood and rage.
  Mistaken Brutus thought to break their yoke,
  But cut the bond of union with that stroke.

  That sun once set, a thousand meaner stars
  Gave a dim light to violence and wars,
  To such a tempest as now threatens all,
  Did not your mighty arm prevent the fall.

  If Rome's great senate cou'd not wield that sword
  Which of the conquer'd world had made them lord,
  What hope had our's, while yet their pow'r was new,
  To rule victorious armies, but by you?

  You, that had taught them to subdue their foes,
  Cou'd order teach, and their high sp'rits compose:
  To ev'ry duty you'd their minds engage,
  Provoke their courage, and command their rage.

  So when a lion shakes his dreadful mane,
  And angry grows; if he that first took pain
  To tame his youth, approach the haughty beast,
  He bends to him, but frights away the rest.

  As the vext world, to find repose, at last
  Itself into Augustus' arms did cast:
  So England now doth, with like toil opprest,
  Her weary head upon your bosom rest.

  Then let the muses, with such notes as these,
  Instruct us what belongs unto our peace;
  Your battles they hereafter shall indite,
  And draw the image of our Mars in fight;

  Tell of towns storm'd, of armies overcome,
  Of mighty kingdoms by your conduct won,
  How, while you thunder'd, clouds of dust did choak
  Contending troops, and seas lay hid in smoke.

  Illustrious acts high raptures do infuse,
  And ev'ry conqueror creates a muse;
  Here in low strains your milder deeds we sing,
  But there, my lord, we'll bays and olive bring,

  To crown your head; while you in triumph ride
  O'er vanquish'd nations, and the sea beside:
  While all your neighbour princes unto you,
  Like Joseph's sheaves, pay reverence and bow.

Footnotes:
1. The ancient seat of the Sydneys family in Kent; now in the
   possession of William Perry, esq; whose lady is niece to the late
   Sydney, earl of Leicester. A small, but excellent poem upon this
   delightful seat, was published by an anonymous hand, in 1750,
   entitled, PENSHURST. See Monthly Review, vol. II. page 331.
2. Life, p. 8, 9.
3. History of the Rebellion, Edit. Oxon. 1707, 8vo.

                *        *        *        *        *




                             JOHN OGILBY,


This poet, who was likewise an eminent Geographer and Cosmographer,
was born near Edinburgh in the year 1600[1]. His father, who was of an
ancient and genteel family, having spent his estate, and being
prisoner in the King's Bench for debt, could give his son but little
education at school; but our author, who, in his early years
discovered the most invincible industry, obtained a little knowledge
in the Latin grammar, and afterwards so much money, as not only to
procure his father's discharge from prison, but also to bind himself
apprentice to Mr. Draper a dancing master in Holbourn, London. Soon
after, by his dexterity in his profession, and his complaisant
behaviour to his master's employers, he obtained the favour of them to
lend him as much money as to buy out the remaining part of his time,
and set up for himself; but being afterwards appointed to dance in the
duke of Buckingham's great Masque, by a false step, he strained a vein
in the inside of his leg, which ever after occasioned him to halt. He
afterwards taught dancing to the sisters of Sir Ralph Hopton, at
Wytham in Somersetshire, where, at leisure, he learned to handle the
pike and musket. When Thomas earl of Strafford became Lord Lieutenant
of Ireland, he was retained in his family to teach the art of dancing,
and being an excellent penman, he was frequently employed by the earl
to transcribe papers for him.

In his lordship's family it was that he first gave proofs of his
inclination to poetry, by translating some of AEsop's Fables into
English verse, which he communicated to some learned men, who
understood Latin better than he, by whose assistance and advice he
published them. He was one of the troop of guards belonging to the
earl, and composed an humourous piece entitled the Character of a
Trooper. About the time he was supported by his lordship, he was made
master of the revels for the kingdom of Ireland, and built a little
theatre for the representation of dramatic entertainments, in St.
Warburgh's street in Dublin: but upon the breaking out of the
rebellion in that kingdom, he was several times in great danger of his
life, particularly when he narrowly escaped being blown up in the
castle of Rathfarnam. About the time of the conclusion of the war in
England, he left Ireland, and being shipwrecked, came to London in a
very necessitous condition. After he had made a short stay in the
metropolis, he travelled on foot to Cambridge, where his great
industry, and love of learning, recommended him to the notice of
several scholars, by whose assistance he became so compleat a master
of the Latin tongue, that in 1646 he published an English translation
of Virgil, which was printed in large 8vo. and dedicated to William
marquis of Hereford. He reprinted it at London 1654 in fol. with this
title; The Works of Publius Virgilius Maro, translated and adorned
with Sculptures, and illustrated with Annotations; which, Mr. Wood
tells us, was the fairest edition, that till then, the English press
ever produced. About the year 1654 our indefatigable author learned
the Greek language, and in four year's time published in fol. a
translation of Homer's Iliad, adorned with excellent sculptures,
illustrated with Annotations, and addressed to King Charles II. The
same year he published the Bible in a large fol. at Cambridge,
according to the translation set forth by the special command of King
James I. with the Liturgy and Articles of the Church of England, with
Chorographical Sculptures. About the year 1662 he went into Ireland,
then having obtained a patent to be made master of the revels there, a
place which Sir William Davenant sollicited in vain. Upon this
occasion he built a theatre at Dublin, which cost him 2000 l. the
former being ruined during the troubles. In 1664 he published in
London, in fol. a translation of Homer's Odyssey, with Sculptures, and
Notes. He afterwards wrote two heroic poems, one entitled the Ephesian
Matron, the other the Roman Slave, both dedicated to Thomas earl of
Ossory. The next work he composed was an Epic Poem in 12 Books, in
honour of King Charles I. but this was entirely lost in the fire of
London in September 1666, when Mr. Ogilby's house in White Fryars was
burnt down, and his whole fortune, except to the value of five pounds,
destroyed. But misfortunes seldom had any irretrievable consequences
to Ogilby, for by his insinuating address, and most astonishing
industry, he was soon able to repair whatever loss he sustained by any
cross accident. It was not long till he fell on a method of raising a
fresh sum of money. Procuring his house to be rebuilt, he set up a
printing-office, was appointed his Majesty's Cosmographer and
Geographic Printer, and printed many great works translated and
collected by himself and his assistants, the enumeration of which
would be unnecessary and tedious.

This laborious man died September 4, 1676, and was interred in the
vault under part of the church in St. Bride's in Fleet-street. Mr.
Edward Philips in his Theatrum Poetarum stiles him one of the
prodigies, from producing, after so late an initiation into
literature, so many large and learned volumes, as well in verse as in
prose, and tells us, that his Paraphrase upon AEsop's Fables, is
generally confessed to have exceeded whatever hath been done before in
that kind.

As to our author's poetry, we have the authority of Mr. Pope to
pronounce it below criticism, at least his translations; and in all
probability his original epic poems which we have never seen, are not
much superior to his translations of Homer and Virgil. If Ogilby had
not a poetical genius, he was notwithstanding a man of parts, and made
an amazing proficiency in literature, by the force of an unwearied
application. He cannot be sufficiently commended for his virtuous
industry, as well as his filial piety, in procuring, in so early a
time of life, his father's liberty, when he was confined in a prison.

Ogilby seems indeed to have been a good sort of man, and to have
recommended himself to the world by honest means, without having
recourse to the servile arts of flattery, and the blandishments of
falshood. He is an instance of the astonishing efficacy of
application; had some more modern poets been blessed with a thousandth
part of his oeconomy and industry, they needed not to have lived in
poverty, and died of want. Although Ogilby cannot be denominated a
genius, yet he found means to make a genteel livelihood by literature,
which many of the sons of Parnassus, blessed with superior powers,
curse as a very dry and unpleasing soil, but which proceeds more from
want of culture, than native barrenness.

Footnote:
1. Athen Oxon. vol. ii. p. 378.

                *        *        *        *        *




                      WILMOT, Earl of ROCHESTER.


It is an observation founded on experience, that the poets have, of
all other men, been most addicted to the gratifications of appetite,
and have pursued pleasure with more unwearied application than men of
other characters. In this respect they are indeed unhappy, and have
ever been more subject to pity than envy. A violent love of pleasure,
if it does not destroy, yet, in a great measure, enervates all other
good qualities with which a man may be endowed; and as no men have
ever enjoyed higher parts from nature, than the poets, so few, from
this unhappy attachment to pleasure, have effected so little good by
those amazing powers. Of the truth of this observation, the nobleman,
whose memoirs we are now to present to the reader, is a strong and
indelible instance, for few ever had more ability, and more frequent
opportunities, for promoting the interests of society, and none ever
prostituted the gifts of Heaven to a more inglorious purpose. Lord
Rochester was not more remarkable for the superiority of his parts,
than the extraordinary debauchery of his life, and with his
dissipations of pleasure, he suffered sometimes malevolent principles
to govern him, and was equally odious for malice and envy, as for the
boundless gratifications of his appetites.

This is, no doubt, the character of his lordship, confirmed by all who
have transmitted any account of him: but if his life was supremely
wicked, his death was exemplarily pious; before he approached to the
conclusion of his days, he saw the follies of his former pleasures, he
lived to repent with the severest contrition, and charity obliges all
men to believe that he was as sincere in his protestations of
penitence, as he had been before in libertine indulgence. The apparent
sorrow he felt, arising from the stings and compunctions of
conscience, entitle him to the reader's compassion, and has determined
us to represent his errors with all imaginable tenderness; which, as
it is agreeable to every benevolent man, so his lordship has a right
to this indulgence, since he obliterated his faults by his penitence,
and became so conspicuous an evidence on the side of virtue, by his
important declarations against the charms of vice.

Lord Rochester was son of the gallant Henry lord Wilmot, who engaged
with great zeal in the service of King Charles I. during the civil
wars, and was so much in favour with Charles II. that he entrusted his
person to him, after the unfortunate battle of Worcester, which trust
he discharged with so much fidelity and address, that the young King
was conveyed out of England into France, chiefly by his care,
application and vigilance. The mother of our author was of the ancient
family of the St. Johns in Wiltshire, and has been celebrated both for
her beauty and parts.

In the year 1648, distinguished to posterity, by the fall of Charles
I. who suffered on a scaffold erected before the window of his own
palace, our author was born at Dichley, near Woodstock, in the same
county, the scene of many of his pleasures, and of his death. His
lordship's father had the misfortune to reap none of the rewards of
suffering loyalty, for he died in 1660, immediately before the
restoration, leaving his son as the principal part of his inheritance,
his titles, honours, and the merit of those extraordinary services he
had done the crown; but though lord Wilmot left his son but a small
estate, yet he did not suffer in his education by these means, for the
oeconomy of his mother supplied that deficiency, and he was educated
suitable to his quality. When he was at school (it is agreed by all
his biographers) he gave early instances of a readiness of wit; and
those shining parts which have since appeared with so much lustre,
began then to shew themselves: he acquired the Latin to such
perfection, that, to his dying day, he retained a great relish for the
masculine firmness, as well as more elegant beauties of that language,
and was, says Dr. Burnet, 'exactly versed in those authors who were
the ornaments of the court of Augustus, which he read often with the
peculiar delight which the greatest wits have often found in those
studies.' When he went to the university, the general joy which
over-ran the nation upon his Majesty's return, amounted to something
like distraction, and soon spread a very malignant influence through
all ranks of life. His lordship tasted the pleasures of libertinism,
which then broke out in a full tide, with too acute a relish, and was
almost overwhelmed in the abyss of wantonness. His tutor was Dr.
Blandford, afterwards promoted to the sees of Oxford and Worcester,
and under his inspection he was committed to the more immediate care
of Phinehas Berry, fellow of Wadham College, a man of learning and
probity, whom his lordship afterwards treated with much respect, and
rewarded as became a great man; but notwithstanding the care of his
tutor, he had so deeply engaged in the dissipations of the general
jubilee, that he could not be prevailed upon to renew his studies,
which were totally lost in the joys more agreeable to his inclination.
He never thought of resuming again the pursuit of knowledge, 'till the
fine address of his governor, Dr. Balfour, won him in his travels, by
degrees, to those charms of study, which he had through youthful
levity forsaken, and being seconded by reason, now more strong, and a
more mature taste of the pleasure of learning, which the Dr. took care
to place in the most agreeable and advantageous light, he became
enamoured of knowledge, in the pursuit of which he often spent those
hours he sometimes stole from the witty, and the fair. He returned
from his travels in the 18th year of his age, and appeared at court
with as great advantage as any young nobleman ever did. He had a
graceful and well proportioned person, was master of the most refined
breeding, and possessed a very obliging and easy manner. He had a vast
vivacity of thought, and a happy flow of expression, and all who
conversed with him entertained the highest opinion of his
understanding; and 'tis indeed no wonder he was so much caressed at a
court which abounded with men of wit, countenanced by a merry prince,
who relished nothing so much as brilliant conversation.

Soon after his lordship's return from his travels, he took the first
occasion that offered, to hazard his life in the service of his
country.

In the winter of the year 1665 he went to sea, with the earl of
Sandwich, when he was sent out against the Dutch East India fleet, and
was in the ship called the Revenge, commanded by Sir Thomas Tiddiman,
when the attack was made on the port of Bergen in Norway, the Dutch
Ships having got into that port. It was, says Burnet, 'as desperate an
attempt as ever was made, and during the whole action, the earl of
Rochester shewed as brave and resolute a courage as possible. A person
of honour told me he heard the lord Clifford, who was in the same
ship, often magnify his courage at that time very highly; nor did the
rigour of the season, the hardness of the voyage, and the extreme
danger he had been in, deter him from running the like the very next
occasion; for the summer following he went to sea again, without
communicating his design to his nearest relations. He went aboard the
ship commanded by Sir Edward Spragge, the day before the great
sea-fight of that year; almost all the volunteers that went in that
ship were killed. During the action, Sir Edward Spragge not being
satisfied with the behaviour of one of the captains, could not easily
find a person that would undertake to venture through so much danger
to carry his command to the captain; this lord offered himself to the
service, and went in a little boat, through all the shot, and
delivered his message, and returned back to Sir Edward, which was much
commended by all that saw it.' These are the early instances of
courage, which can be produced in favour of lord Rochester, which was
afterwards impeached, and very justly, for in many private broils, he
discovered a timid pusillanimous spirit, very unsuitable to those
noble instances of the contrary, which have just been mentioned.

The author of his life prefixed to his works, which goes under the
name of M. St. Evremond, addressed to the Duchess of Mazarine, but
which M. Maizeau asserts not to be his, accounts for it, upon the
general observation of that disparity between a man and himself, upon
different occasions. Let it suffice, says he, 'to observe, that we
differ not from one another, more than we do from ourselves at
different times.' But we imagine another, and a stronger reason may be
given, for the cowardice which Rochester afterwards discovered in
private broils, particularly in the affair between him and the earl of
Mulgrave, in which he behaved very meanly[1]. The courage which lord
Rochester shewed in a naval engagement, was in the early part of his
life, before he had been immersed in those labyrinths of excess and
luxury, into which he afterwards sunk. It is certainly a true
observation, that guilt makes cowards; a man who is continually
subjected to the reproaches of conscience, who is afraid to examine
his heart, lest it should appear too horrible, cannot have much
courage: for while he is conscious of so many errors to be repented
of, of so many vices he has committed, he naturally starts at danger,
and flies from it as his greatest enemy. It is true, courage is
sometimes constitutional, and there have been instances of men, guilty
of every enormity, who have discovered a large share of it, but these
have been wretches who have overcome all sense of honour, been lost to
every consideration of virtue, and whose courage is like that of the
lion of the desart, a kind of ferocious impulse unconnected with
reason. Lord Rochester had certainly never overcome the reproaches of
his conscience, whose alarming voice at last struck terror into his
heart, and chilled the fire of the spirits.

Since his travels, and naval expeditions, he seemed to have contracted
a habit of temperance, in which had he been so happy as to persevere,
he must have escaped that fatal rock, on which he afterwards split,
upon his return to court, where love and pleasure kept their perpetual
rounds, under the smiles of a prince, whom nature had fitted for all
the enjoyments of the most luxurious desires. In times so dissolute as
these, it is no wonder if a man of so warm a constitution as
Rochester, could not resist the too flattering temptations, which were
heightened by the participation of the court in general. The uncommon
charms of Rochester's conversation, induced all men to court him as a
companion, tho' they often paid too dear for their curiosity, by being
made the subject of his lampoons, if they happened to have any
oddities in their temper, by the exposing of which he could humour his
propensity to scandal. His pleasant extravagancies soon became the
subject of general conversation, by which his vanity was at once
flattered, and his turn of satire rendered more keen, by the success
it met with.

Rochester had certainly a true talent for satire, and he spared
neither friends nor foes, but let it loose on all without
discrimination. Majesty itself was not secure from it; he more than
once lampooned the King, whose weakness and attachment to some of his
mistresses, he endeavoured to cure by several means, that is, either
by winning them from him, in spite of the indulgence and liberality
they felt from a royal gallant, or by severely lampooning them and him
on various occasions; which the King, who was a man of wit and
pleasure, as well as his lordship, took for the natural sallies of his
genius, and meant rather as the amusements of his fancy, than as the
efforts of malice; yet, either by a too frequent repetition, or a too
close and poignant virulence, the King banished him [from] the court
for a satire made directly on him; this satire consists of 28 stanzas,
and is entitled The Restoration, or the History of the Insipids; and
as it contains the keenest reflexions against the political conduct,
and private character of that Prince, and having produced the
banishment of this noble lord, we shall here give it a place, by which
his lordship's genius for this kind of writing will appear.

The RESTORATION, or The History of INSIPIDS, a LAMPOON.

                                  I.

  Chaste, pious, prudent, Charles the second,
    The miracle of thy restoration,
  May like to that of quails be reckon'd,
    Rain'd on the Israelitish nation;
  The wish'd for blessing from Heaven sent,
  Became their curse and punishment.

                                 II.

  The virtues in thee, Charles, inherent,
    Altho' thy count'nance be an odd piece,
  Prove thee as true a God's Vicegerent,
    As e'er was Harry with his cod-piece:
  For chastity, and pious deeds,
  His grandsire Harry Charles exceeds.

                                 III.

  Our Romish bondage-breaker Harry,
    Espoused half a dozen wives.
  Charles only one resolv'd to marry,
    And other mens he never ----;
  Yet has he sons and daughters more
  Than e'er had Harry by threescore.

                                 IV.

  Never was such a faith's defender;
    He like a politic Prince, and pious,
  Gives liberty to conscience tender,
    And does to no religion tie us;
  Jews, Christians, Turks, Papists, he'll please us
  With Moses, Mahomet, or Jesus.

                                  V.

  In all affairs of church or state
    He very zealous is, and able,
  Devout at pray'rs, and sits up late
    At the cabal and council-table.
  His very dog, at council-board,
  Sits grave and wise as any lord.

                                 VI.

  Let Charles's policy no man flout,
    The wisest Kings have all some folly;
  Nor let his piety any doubt;
    Charles, like a Sov'reign, wise and holy,
  Makes young men judges of the bench,
  And bishops, those that love a wench.

                                 VII.

  His father's foes he does reward,
    Preserving those that cut off's head;
  Old cavaliers, the crown's best guard,
    He lets them starve for want of bread.
  Never was any King endow'd
  With so much grace and gratitude.

                                VIII.

  Blood, that wears treason in his face,
    Villain compleat in parson's gown,
  How much is he at court in grace,
    For stealing Ormond and the crown!
  Since loyalty does no man good,
  Let's steal the King, and out-do Blood.

                                 IX.

  A Parliament of knaves and sots
    (Members by name you must not mention)
  He keeps in pay, and buys their votes,
    Here with a place, there with a pension:
  When to give money he can't cologue 'em,
  He does with scorn prorogue, prorogue 'em.

                                  X.

  But they long since, by too much giving,
    Undid, betray'd, and sold the nation,
  Making their memberships a living,
    Better than e'er was sequestration.
  God give thee, Charles, a resolution
  To damn the knaves by dissolution.

                                 XI.

  Fame is not grounded on success,
    Tho' victories were Caesar's glory;
  Lost battles make not Pompey less,
    But left him stiled great in story.
  Malicious fate does oft devise
  To beat the brave, and fool the wise.

                                 XII.

  Charles in the first Dutch war stood fair
    To have been Sov'reign of the deep,
  When Opdam blew up in the air,
    Had not his Highness gone to sleep:
  Our fleet slack'd sails, fearing his waking,
  The Dutch had else been in sad taking.

                                XIII.

  The Bergen business was well laid,
    Tho' we paid dear for that design;
  Had we not three days parling staid,
    The Dutch fleet there, Charles, had been thine:
  Tho' the false Dane agreed to fell 'em,
  He cheated us, and saved Skellum.

                                 XIV.

  Had not Charles sweetly chous'd the States,
    By Bergen-baffle grown more wise;
  And made 'em shit as small as rats,
    By their rich Smyrna fleet's surprise:
  Had haughty Holmes, but call'd in Spragg,
  Hans had been put into a bag.

                                 XV.

  Mists, storms, short victuals, adverse winds,
    And once the navy's wise division,
  Defeated Charles's best designs,
    'Till he became his foes derision:
  But he had swing'd the Dutch at Chatham,
  Had he had ships but to come at 'em.

                                 XVI.

  Our Black-Heath host, without dispute,
    (Rais'd, put on board, why? no man knows)
  Must Charles have render'd absolute
    Over his subjects, or his foes:
  Has not the French King made us fools,
  By taking Maestricht with our tools?

                                XVII.

  But Charles, what could thy policy be,
    To run so many sad disasters;
  To join thy fleet with false d'Estrees
    To make the French of Holland masters?
  Was't Carewell, brother James, or Teague,
  That made thee break the Triple League?

                                XVIII.

  Could Robin Viner have foreseen
    The glorious triumphs of his master;
  The Wool-Church statue Gold had been,
    Which now is made of Alabaster.
  But wise men think had it been wood,
  'Twere for a bankrupt King too good.

                                 XIX.

  Those that the fabric well consider.
    Do of it diversly discourse;
  Some pass their censure on the rider,
    Others their judgment on the horse.
  Most say, the steed's a goodly thing,
  But all agree, 'tis a lewd King.

                                 XX.

  By the lord mayor and his grave coxcombs,
    Freeman of London, Charles is made;
  Then to Whitehall a rich Gold box comes,
    Which was bestow'd on the French jade[2]:
  But wonder not it should be so, sirs,
  When Monarchs rank themselves with Grocers.

                                 XXI.

  Cringe, scrape no more, ye city-fops,
    Leave off your feasting and fine speeches;
  Beat up your drums, shut up your shops,
    The courtiers then will kiss your breeches.
  Arm'd, tell the Popish Duke that rules,
  You're free-born subjects, not French mules.

                                XXII.

  New upstarts, bastards, pimps, and whores,
    That, locust-like, devour the land,
  By shutting up th'Exchequer-doors,
    When there our money was trapann'd,
  Have render'd Charles's restoration
  But a small blessing to the nation.

                                XXIII.

  Then, Charles, beware thy brother York,
    Who to thy government gives law;
  If once we fall to the old sport,
    You must again both to Breda;
  Where, spite of all that would restore you,
  Grown wise by wrongs, we should abhor you.

                                XXIV.

  If, of all Christian blood the guilt
    Cries loud of vengeance unto Heav'n,
  That sea by treach'rous Lewis spilt,
    Can never be by God forgiv'n:
  Worse scourge unto his subjects, lord!
  Than pest'lence, famine, fire, or sword.

                                 XXV.

  That false rapacious wolf of France,
    The scourge of Europe, and its curse,
  Who at his subjects cries does dance,
    And studies how to make them worse;
  To say such Kings, Lord, rule by thee,
  Were most prodigious blasphemy.

                                XXVI.

  Such know no law, but their own lust;
    Their subjects substance, and their blood,
  They count it tribute due and just,
    Still spent and spilt for subjects good.
  If such Kings are by God appointed,
  The devil may be the Lord's anointed.

                                XXVII.

  Such Kings! curs'd be the pow'r and name,
    Let all the world henceforth abhor 'em;
  Monsters, which knaves sacred proclaim,
    And then, like slaves, fall down before 'em.
  What can there be in Kings divine?
  The most are wolves, goats, sheep, or swine.

                               XXVIII.

  Then farewel, sacred Majesty,
    Let's pull all brutish tyrants down;
  Where men are born, and still live free,
    There ev'ry head doth wear a crown:
  Mankind, like miserable frogs,
  Prove wretched, king'd by storks and dogs.

Much about this time the duke of Buckingham was under disgrace, for
things of another nature, and being disengaged from any particular
attachment in town, he and lord Rochester resolved, like Don Quixote
of old, to set out in quest of adventures; and they met with some that
will appear entertaining to our readers, which we shall give upon the
authority of the author of Rochester's Life, prefixed to his works.
Among many other adventures the following was one:

There happened to be an inn on New-market road to be lett, they
disguised themselves in proper habits for the persons they were to
assume, and jointly took this inn, in which each in his turn
officiated as master; but they soon made this subservient to purposes
of another nature.

Having carefully observed the pretty girls in the country with whom
they were most captivated, (they considered not whether maids, wives,
or widows) and to gain opportunities of seducing them, they invited
the neighbours, who had either wives or daughters, to frequent feasts,
where the men were plied hard with good liquor, and the women
sufficiently warmed to make but as little resistance as would be
agreeable to their inclinations, dealing out their poison to both
sexes, inspiring the men with wine, and other strong liquors, and the
women with love; thus they were able to deflower many a virgin, and
alienate the affections of many a wife by this odd stratagem; and it
is difficult to say, whether it is possible for two men to live to a
worse purpose.

It is natural to imagine that this kind of life could not be of long
duration. Feasts so frequently given, and that without any thing to
pay, must give a strong suspicion that the inn-keepers must soon
break, or that they were of such fortune and circumstances, as did not
well suit the post they were in.--This their lordships were sensible
of, but not much concerned about it, since they were seldom found long
to continue in the same sort of adventures, variety being the life of
their enjoyments. It was besides, near the time of his Majesty's going
to Newmarket, when they designed, that the discovery of their real
plots, should clear them of the imputation of being concerned in any
more pernicious to the government. These two conjectures meeting, they
thought themselves obliged to dispatch two important adventures, which
they had not yet been able to compass.--There was an old covetous
miser in the neighbourhood, who notwithstanding his age, was in
possession of a very agreeable young wife. Her husband watched her
with the same assiduity he did his money, and never trusted her out of
his sight, but under the protection of an old maiden sister, who never
had herself experienced the joys of love, and bore no great
benevolence to all who were young and handsome. Our noble inn-keepers
had no manner of doubt of his accepting a treat, as many had done, for
he loved good living with all his heart, when it cost him nothing; and
except upon these occasions he was the most temperate and abstemious
man alive; but then they could never prevail with him to bring his
wife, notwithstanding they urged the presence of so many good wives in
the neighbourhood to keep her company. All their study was then how to
deceive the old sister at home, who was set as a guardian over that
fruit which the miser could neither eat himself, nor suffer any other
to taste; but such a difficulty as this was soon to be overcome by
such inventions. It was therefore agreed that lord Rochester should be
dressed in woman's cloaths, and while the husband was feasting with my
lord duke, he should make trial of his skill with the old woman at
home. He had learned that she had no aversion to the bottle when she
could come secretly and conveniently at it. Equipped like a country
lass, and furnished with a bottle of spiritous liquors, he marched to
the old miser's house. It was with difficulty he found means to speak
with the old woman, but at last obtained the favour; where perfect in
all the cant of those people, he began to tell the occasion of his
coming, in hopes she would invite him to come in, but all in vain; he
was admitted no further that the porch, with the house door a-jar: At
last, my lord finding no other way, fell upon this expedient. He
pretended to be taken suddenly ill, and tumbled down upon the
threshold. This noise brings the young wife to them, who with much
trouble persuades her keeper to help her into the house, in regard to
the decorum of her sex, and the unhappy condition she was in. The door
had not been long shut, till our imposter by degrees recovers, and
being set on a chair, cants a very religious thanksgiving to the good
gentlewoman for her kindness, and observed how deplorable it was to be
subject to such fits, which often took her in the street, and exposed
her to many accidents, but every now and then took a sip of the
bottle, and recommended it to the old benefactress, who was sure to
drink a hearty dram. His lordship had another bottle in his pocket
qualified with a Opium, which would sooner accomplish his desire, by
giving the woman a somniferous dose, which drinking with greediness,
she soon fell fast asleep.

His lordship having so far succeeded, and being fired with the
presence of the young wife, for whom he had formed this odd scheme,
his desires became impetuous, which produced a change of colour, and
made the artless creature imagine the fit was returning. My lord then
asked if she would be so charitable as to let him lie down on the bed;
the good-natured young woman shewed him the way, and being laid down,
and staying by him at his request, he put her in mind of her
condition, asking about her husband, whom the young woman painted in
his true colours, as a surly, jealous old tyrant. The rural innocent
imagining she had only a woman with her, was less reserved in her
behaviour and expressions on that account, and his lordship soon found
that a tale of love would not be unpleasing to her. Being now no
longer able to curb his appetite, which was wound up beyond the power
of restraint, he declared his sex to her, and without much struggling
enjoyed her.

He now became as happy as indulgence could make him; and when the
first transports were over, he contrived the escape of this young
adultress from the prison of her keeper. She hearkened to his
proposals with pleasure, and before the old gentlewoman was awake, she
robbed her husband of an hundred and fifty pieces, and marched off
with lord Rochester to the inn, about midnight.

They were to pass over three or four fields before they could reach
it, and in going over the last, they very nearly escaped falling into
the enemy's hands; but the voice of the husband discovering who he
was, our adventurers struck down the field out of the path, and for
the greater security lay down in the grass. The place, the occasion,
and the person that was so near, put his lordship in mind of renewing
his pleasure almost in sight of the cuckold. The fair was no longer
coy, and easily yielded to his desires. He in short carried the girl
home and then prostituted her to the duke's pleasure, after he had
been cloyed himself. The old man going home, and finding his sitter
asleep, his wife fled, and his money gone, was thrown into a state of
madness, and soon hanged himself. The news was soon spread about the
neighbourhood, and reached the inn, where both lovers, now as weary of
their purchase as desirous of it before, advised her to go to London,
with which she complied, and in all probability followed there the
trade of prostitution for a subsistance.

The King, soon after this infamous adventure, coming that way, found
them both in their posts at the inn, took them again into favour, and
suffered them to go with him to Newmarket. This exploit of lord
Rochester is not at all improbable, when his character is considered;
His treachery in the affair of the miser's wife is very like him; and
surely it was one of the greatest acts of baseness of which he was
ever guilty; he artfully seduced her, while her unsuspecting husband
was entertained by the duke of Buckingham; he contrived a robbery, and
produced the death of the injured husband; this complicated crime was
one of those heavy charges on his mind when he lay on his death-bed,
under the dreadful alarms of his conscience.

His lordship's amours at court made a great noise in the world of
gallantry, especially that which he had with the celebrated Mrs.
Roberts, mistress to the King, whom she abondoned for the possession
of Rochester's heart, which she found to her experience, it was not in
her power long to hold. The earl, who was soon cloyed with the
possession of any one woman, tho' the fairest in the world, forsook
her. The lady after the first indignation of her passion subsided,
grew as indifferent, and considered upon the proper means of
retrieving the King's affections. The occasion was luckily given her
one morning while she was dressing: she saw the King coming by, she
hurried, down with her hair disheveled, threw herself at his feet,
implored his pardon, and vowed constancy for the future. The King,
overcome with the well-dissembled agonies of this beauty, raised her
up, took her in his arms, and protested no man could see her, and not
love her: he waited on her to her lodging, and there compleated the
reconciliation. This easy behaviour of the King, had, with many other
instances of the same kind, determined my lord Hallifax to assert,
"That the love of King Charles II, lay as much as any man's, in the
lower regions; that he was indifferent as to their constancy, and only
valued them for the sensual pleasure they could yield."

Lord Rochester's frolics in the character of a mountebank are well
known, and the speech which he made upon the occasion of his first
turning itinerant doctor, has been often printed; there is in it a
true spirit of satire, and a keenness of lampoon, which is very much
in the character of his lordship, who had certainly an original turn
for invective and satirical composition.

We shall give the following short extract from this celebrated speech,
in which his lordship's wit appears pretty conspicuous.

"If I appear (says Alexander Bendo) to any one like a counterfeit,
even for the sake of that chiefly ought I to be construed a true man,
who is the counterfeit's example, his original, and that which he
employs his industry and pains to imitate and copy. Is it therefore my
fault if the cheat, by his wit and endeavours, makes himself so like
me, that consequently I cannot avoid resembling him? Consider, pray,
the valiant and the coward, the wealthy merchant and the bankrupt; the
politician and the fool; they are the same in many things, and differ
but in one alone. The valiant man holds up his hand, looks confidently
round about him, wears a sword, courts a lord's wife, and owns it; so
does the coward. One only point of honour, and that's courage, which
(like false metal, one only trial can discover) makes the distinction.
The bankrupt walks the exchange, buys bargains, draws bills, and
accepts them with the richest, whilst paper and credit are current
coin; that which makes the difference is real cash, a great defect
indeed, and yet but one, and that the last found out, and still till
then the least perceived.--Now for the politician; he is a grave,
diliberating, close, prying man: Pray are there not grave,
deliberating, close, prying fools? If therefore the difference betwixt
all these (tho' infinite in effect) be so nice in all appearance, will
you yet expect it should be otherwise between the false physician,
astrologer, &c. and the true? The first calls himself learned doctor,
sends forth his bills, gives physic and council, tells, and foretells;
the other is bound to do just as much. It is only your experience must
distinguish betwixt them, to which I willingly submit myself."

When lord Rochester was restored again to the favour of King Charles
II, he continued the same extravagant pursuits of pleasure, and would
even use freedoms with that Prince, whom he had before so much
offended; for his satire knew no bounds, his invention was lively, and
his execution sharp.

He is supposed to have contrived with one of Charles's mistress's the
following stratagem to cure that monarch of the nocturnal rambles to
which he addicted himself. He agreed to go out one night with him to
visit a celebrated house of intrigue, where he told his Majesty the
finest women in England were to be found. The King made no scruple to
assume his usual disguise and accompany him, and while he was engaged
with one of the ladies of pleasure, being before instructed by
Rochester how to behave, she pick'd his pocket of all his money and
watch, which the king did not immediately miss. Neither the people of
the house, nor the girl herself was made acquainted with the quality
of their visitor, nor had the least suspicion who he was. When the
intrigue was ended, the King enquired for Rochester, but was told he
had quitted the house, without taking leave. But into what
embarassment was he thrown when upon searching his pockets, in order
to discharge the reckoning, he found his money gone; he was then
reduced to ask the favour of the Jezebel to give him credit till
tomorrow, as the gentleman who came in with him had not returned, who
was to have pay'd for both. The consequence of this request was, he
was abused, and laughed at; and the old woman told him, that she had
often been served such dirty tricks, and would not permit him to stir
till the reckoning was paid, and then called one of her bullies to
take care of him. In this ridiculous distress stood the British
monarch; the prisoner of a bawd, and the life upon whom the nation's
hopes were fixed, put in the power of a ruffian. After many
altercations the King at last proposed, that she should accept a ring
which he then took off his finger, in pledge for her money, which she
likewise refused, and told him, that as she was no judge of the value
of the ring, she did not chuse to accept such pledges. The King then
desired that a Jeweller might be called to give his opinion of the
value of it, but he was answered, that the expedient was
impracticable, as no jeweller could then be supposed to be out of bed.
After much entreaty his Majesty at last prevailed upon the fellow, to
knock up a jeweller and shew him the ring, which as soon as he had
inspected, he stood amazed, and enquired, with eyes fixed upon the
fellow, who he had got in his house? to which he answered, a
black-looking ugly son of a w----, who had no money in his pocket, and
was obliged to pawn his ring. The ring, says the jeweller, is so
immensely rich, that but one man in the nation could afford to wear
it; and that one is the King. The jeweller being astonished at this
accident, went out with the bully, in order to be fully satisfied of
so extraordinary an affair; and as soon as he entered the room, he
fell on his knees, and with the utmost respect presented the ring to
his Majesty. The old Jezebel and the bully finding the extraordinary
quality of their guest, were now confounded, and asked pardon most
submissively on their knees. The King in the best natured manner
forgave them, and laughing, asked them, whether the ring would not
bear another bottle.

Thus ended this adventure, in which the King learned how dangerous it
was to risk his person in night-frolics; and could not but severely
reprove Rochester for acting such a part towards him; however he
sincerely resolved never again to be guilty of the like indiscretion.

These are the most material of the adventures, and libertine courses
of the lord Rochester, which historians and biographers have
transmitted to posterity; we shall now consider him as an author.

He seems to have been too strongly tinctured with that vice which
belongs more to literary people, than to any other profession under
the fun, viz. envy. That lord Rochester was envious, and jealous of
the reputation of other men of eminence, appears abundantly clear from
his behaviour to Dryden, which could proceed from no other principle;
as his malice towards him had never discovered itself till the
tragedies of that great poet met with such general applause, and his
poems were universally esteemed. Such was the inveteracy he shewed to
Mr. Dryden, that he set up John Crown, an obscure man, in opposition
to him, and recommended him to the King to compose a masque for the
court, which was really the business of the poet laureat; but when
Crown's Conquest of Jerusalem met with as extravagant success as
Dryden's Almanzor's, his lordship then withdrew his favour from Crown,
as if he would be still in contradiction to the public. His malice to
Dryden is said to have still further discovered itself, in hiring
ruffians to cudgel him for a satire he was supposed to be the author
of, which was at once malicious, cowardly, and cruel: But of this we
shall give a fuller account in the life of Mr. Dryden.

Mr. Wolsely, in his preface to Valentinian, a tragedy, altered by lord
Rochester from Fletcher, has given a character of his lordship and his
writings, by no means consistent with that idea, which other writers,
and common tradition, dispose us to form of him.

'He was a wonderful man, says he, whether we consider the constant
good sense, and agreeable mirth of his ordinary conversation, or the
vast reach and compass of his inventions, and the amazing depth of his
retired thoughts; the uncommon graces of his fashion, or the
inimitable turns of his wit, the becoming gentleness, the bewitching
softness of his civility, or the force and fitness of his satire; for
as he was both the delight, the love, and the dotage of the women, so
was he a continued curb to impertinence, and the public censure of
folly; never did man stay in his company unentertained, or leave it
uninstructed; never was his understanding biassed, or his pleasantness
forced; never did he laugh in the wrong place, or prostitute his sense
to serve his luxury; never did he stab into the wounds of fallen
virtue, with a base and a cowardly insult, or smooth the face of
prosperous villany, with the paint and washes of a mercenary wit;
never did he spare a sop for being rich, or flatter a knave for being
great. He had a wit that was accompanied with an unaffected greatness
of mind, and a natural love to justice and truth; a wit that was in
perpetual war with knavery, and ever attacking those kind of vices
most, whose malignity was like to be the most dissusive, such as
tended more immediately to the prejudice of public bodies; and were a
common nusance to the happiness of human kind. Never was his pen drawn
but on the side of good sense, and usually employed like the arms of
the ancient heroes, to stop the progress of arbitrary oppression, and
beat down the brutishness of headstrong will: to do his King and
country justice, upon such public state thieves as would beggar a
kingdom to enrich themselves: these were the vermin whom to his
eternal honour his pen was continually pricking and goading; a pen, if
not so happy in the success, yet as generous in the aim, as either the
sword of Theseus, or the club of Hercules; nor was it less sharp than
that, or less weighty than this. If he did not take so much care of
himself as he ought, he had the humanity however, to wish well to
others; and I think I may truly affirm he did the world as much good
by a right application of satire, as he hurt himself by a wrong
pursuit of pleasure.'

In this amiable light has Mr. Wolsely drawn our author, and nothing is
more certain, than that it is a portraiture of the imagination, warmed
with gratitude, or friendship, and bears but little or no resemblance
to that of Rochester; can he whose satire is always levelled at
particular persons, be said to be the terror of knaves, and the public
foe of vice, when he himself has acknowledged that he satirized only
to gratify his resentment; for it was his opinion, that writing
satires without being in a rage, was like killing in cold blood. Was
his conversation instructive whose mouth was full of obscenity; and
was he a friend to his country, who diffused a dangerous venom thro'
his works to corrupt its members? in which, it is to be feared he has
been but too successful. Did he never smooth the face of prosperous
villainy, as, Mr. Wolsely expresses it, the scope of whose life was to
promote and encourage the most licentious debauchery, and to unhinge
all the principles of honour?--Either Mr. Wolsely must be strangely
mistaken? or all other writers who have given us accounts of Rochester
must be so; and as his single assertions are not equal to the united
authorities of so many, we may reasonably reject his testimony as a
deviation from truth.

We have now seen these scenes of my lord Rochester's life, in which he
appears to little advantage; it is with infinite pleasure we can take
a view of the brighter side of his character; to do which, we must
attend him to his death-bed. Had he been the amiable man Mr. Wolsely
represents him, he needed not have suffered so many pangs of remorse,
nor felt the horrors of conscience, nor been driven almost to despair
by his reflexions on a mispent life.

Rochester lived a profligate, but he died a penitent. He lived in
defiance of all principles; but when he felt the cold hand of death
upon him, he reflected on his folly, and saw that the portion of
iniquity is, at last, sure to be only pain and anguish.

Dr. Burnet, the excellent bishop of Sarum (however he may be reviled
by a party) with many other obligations conferred upon the world, has
added some account of lord Rochester in his dying moments. No state
policy in this case, can well be supposed to have biased him, and when
there are no motives to falsehood, it is somewhat cruel to discredit
assertions. The Dr. could not be influenced by views of interest to
give this, or any other account of his lordship; and could certainly
have no other incentive, but that of serving his country, by shewing
the instability of vice, and, by drawing into light an illustrious
penitent, adding one wreath more to the banners of virtue.

Burnet begins with telling us, that an accident fell out in the early
part of the Earl's life, which in its consequences confirmed him in
the pursuit of vicious courses.

"When he went to sea in the year 1665, there happened to be in the
same ship with him, Mr. Montague, and another gentleman of quality;
these two, the former especially, seemed persuaded that they mould
never return into England. Mr. Montague said, he was sure of it; the
other was not so positive. The earl of Rochester and the last of these
entered into a formal engagement, not without ceremonies of religion,
that if either of them died, he should appear and give the other
notice of the future state, if there was any. But Mr. Montague would
not enter into the bond. When the Day came that they thought to have
taken the Dutch fleet in the port of Bergen, Mr. Montague, tho' he had
such a strong presage in his mind of his approaching death, yet he
bravely stayed all the while in the place of the greatest danger. The
other gentleman signalized his courage in the most undaunted manner,
till near the end of the action; when he fell on a sudden into such a
trembling, that he could scarce stand: and Mr. Montague going to him
to hold him up, as they were in each other; arms, a cannon ball
carried away Mr. Montague's belly, so that he expired in an hour
after."

The earl of Rochester told Dr. Burnet, that these presages they had in
their minds, made some impression on him that there were separate
beings; and that the soul either by a natural sagacity, or some secret
notice communicated to it, had a sort of divination. But this
gentleman's never appearing was a snare to him during the rest of his
life: Though when he mentioned this, he could not but acknowledge, it
was an unreasonable thing for him to think that beings in another
state were not under such laws and limits that they could not command
their motion, but as the supreme power should order them; and that one
who had so corrupted the natural principles of truth as he had, had no
reason to expect that miracles should be wrought for his conviction.

He told Dr. Burnet another odd presage of approaching death, in lady
Ware, his mother-in-law's family. The chaplain had dreamed that such a
day he should die; but being by all the family laughed out of the
belief of it, he had almost forgot it, till the evening before at
supper; there being thirteen at table, according to an old conceit
that one of the family must soon die; one of the young ladies pointed
to him, that he was the person. Upon this the chaplain recalling to
mind his dream, fell into some disorder, and the lady Ware reproving
him for his superstition, he said, he was confident he was to die
before morning; but he being in perfect health, it was not much
minded. It was saturday night, and he was to preach next day. He went
to his chamber and set up late as it appeared by the burning of his
candle; and he had been preparing his notes for his sermon, but was
found dead in his bed next morning.

These things his lordship said, made him incline to believe that the
soul was of a substance distinct from matter; but that which convinced
him of it was, that in his last sickness, which brought him so near
his death, when his spirits were so spent he could not move or stir,
and did not hope to live an hour, he said his reason and judgment were
so clear and strong, that from thence he was fully persuaded, that
death was not the dissolution of the soul, but only the separation of
it from matter. He had in that sickness great remorse for his past
life; but he afterwards said, they were rather general and dark
horrors, than any conviction of transgression against his maker; he
was sorry he had lived so as to waste his strength so soon, or that he
had brought such an ill name upon himself; and had an agony in his
mind about it, which he knew not well how to express, but believed
that these impunctions of conscience rather proceeded from the horror
of his condition, than any true contrition for the errors of his life.

During the time Dr. Burnet was at lord Rochester's house, they entered
frequently into conversation upon the topics of natural and reveal'd
religion, which the Dr. endeavoured to enlarge upon and explain in a
manner suitable to the condition of a dying penitent; his lordship
expressed much contrition for his having so often violated the laws of
the one, against his better knowledge, and having spurned the
authority of the other in the pride of wanton sophistry. He declared
that he was satisfied of the truth of the christian religion, that he
thought it the institution of heaven, and afforded the most natural
idea of the supreme being, as well as the most forcible motives to
virtue of any faith professed amongst men.

'He was not only satisfied (says Dr. Burnet) of the truth of our holy
religion, merely as a matter of speculation, but was persuaded
likewise of the power of inward grace, of which he gave me this
strange account. He said Mr. Parsons, in order to his conviction, read
to him the 53d chapter of the prophesies of Isaiah, and compared that
with the history of our Saviour's passion, that he might there see a
prophesy concerning it, written many ages before it was done; which
the Jews that blasphemed Jesus Christ still kept in their hands as a
book divinely inspired. He said, as he heard it read, he felt an
inward force upon him, which did so enlighten his mind and convince
him, that he could resist it no longer, for the words had an authority
which did shoot like rays or beams in his mind, so that he was not
only convinced by the reasonings he had about it, which satisfied his
understanding, but by a power, which did so effectually constrain him
that he ever after firmly believed in his Saviour, as if he had seen
him in the clouds.'

We are not quite certain whether there is not a tincture of enthusiasm
in this account given by his lordship, as it is too natural to fly
from one extreme to another, from the excesses of debauchery to the
gloom of methodism; but even if we suppose this to have been the case,
he was certainly in the safest extreme; and there is more comfort in
hearing that a man whose life had been so remarkably profligate as
his, should die under such impressions, than quit the world without
one pang for past offences.

The bishop gives an instance of the great alteration of his lordship's
temper and dispositions (from what they were formerly) in his
sickness. 'Whenever he happened to be out of order, either by pain or
sickness, his temper became quite ungovernable, and his passions so
fierce, that his servants were afraid to approach him. But in this
last sickness he was all humility, patience, and resignation. Once he
was a little offended with the delay of a servant, who he thought made
not haste enough, with somewhat he called for, and said in a little
heat, that damn'd fellow.' Soon after, says the Dr. I told him that I
was glad to find his stile so reformed, and that he had so entirely
overcome that ill habit of swearing, only that word of calling any
damned which had returned upon him was not decent; his answer was, 'O
that language of fiends, which was so familiar to me, hangs yet about
me, sure none has deserved more to be damned than I have done; and
after he had humbly asked God pardon for it, he desired me to call the
person to him that he might ask him forgiveness; but I told him that
was needless, for he had said it of one who did not hear it, and so
could not be offended by it. In this disposition of mind, continues
the bishop, all the while I was with him four days together; he was
then brought so low that all hope of recovery was gone. Much purulent
matter came from him with his urine, which he passed always with pain,
but one day with inexpressible torment; yet he bore it decently,
without breaking out into repinings, or impatient complaints. Nature
being at last quite exhausted, and all the floods of life gone, he
died without a groan on the 26th of July 1680, in the 33d year of his
age. A day or two before his death he lay much silent, and seemed
extremely devout in his contemplations; he was frequently observed to
raise his eyes to heaven, and send forth ejaculations to the searcher
of hearts, who saw his penitence, and who, he hoped, would forgive
him.'

Thus died lord Rochester, an amazing instance of the goodness of God,
who permitted him to enjoy time, and inclined his heart to penitence.
As by his life he was suffered to set an example of the most abandoned
dissoluteness to the world; so by his death, he was a lively
demonstration of the fruitlessness of vicious courses, and may be
proposed as an example to all those who are captivated with the charms
of guilty pleasure.

Let all his failings now sleep with him in the grave, and let us only
think of his closing moments, his penitence, and reformation. Had he
been permitted to have recovered his illness, it is reasonable to
presume he would have been as lively an example of virtue as he had
ever been of vice, and have born his testimony in favour of religion.

He left behind him a son named Charles, who dying on the 12th of
November, was buried by his father on the 7th of December following:
he also left behind him three daughters. The male line ceasing,
Charles II. conferred the title of earl of Rochester on Lawrence
viscount Killingworth, a younger son of Edward earl of Clarendon.

We might now enumerate his lordship's writings, of which we have
already given some character; but unhappily for the world they are too
generally diffused, and we think ourselves under no obligations to
particularize those works which have been so fruitful of mischief to
society, by promoting a general corruption of morals; and which he
himself in his last moments wished he could recal, or rather that he
never had composed.

Footnotes:
1. See the Life of Sheffield Duke of Buckingham.
2. The Duchess of Portsmouth.

                *        *        *        *        *




                 GEORGE VILLIERS, Duke of BUCKINGHAM.


Son and heir of George, duke, marquis, and earl of Buckingham,
murdered by Felton in the year 1628. This nobleman was born at
Wallingford-House in the parish of St. Martin's in the Fields on the
30th of January 1627, and baptized there on the 14th of February
following, by Dr. Laud, then bishop of Bath and Wells, afterwards
archbishop of Canterbury.

Before we proceed to give any particulars of our noble author's life,
we must entreat the reader's indulgence to take a short view of the
life of his grace's father, in which, some circumstances extremely
curious will appear; and we are the more emboldened to venture upon
this freedom, as some who have written this life before us, have taken
the same liberty, by which the reader is no loser; for the first duke
of Buckingham was a man whose prosperity was so instantaneous, his
honours so great, his life so dissipated, and his death so remarkable,
that as no minister ever enjoyed so much power, so no man ever drew
the attention of the world more upon him. No sooner had he returned
from his travels, and made his first appearance at court, than he
became a favourite with King James, who, (says Clarendon) 'of all wise
men he ever knew, was most delighted and taken with handsome persons
and fine cloaths.'

He had begun to be weary of his favourite the earl of Somerset, who
was the only one who kept that post so long, without any public
reproach from the people, till at last he was convicted of the horrid
conspiracy against the life of Sir Thomas Overbury, and condemned as a
murderer. While these things were in agitation, Villiers appeared at
court; he was according to all accounts, the gayest and handsomest man
in his time, of an open generous temper, of an unreserved affability,
and the most engaging politeness.

In a few days he was made cup-bearer to the King, by which he was of
course to be much in his presence, and so admitted to that
conversation with which that prince always abounded at his meals. He
had not acted five weeks on this stage, to use the noble historian's
expression, till he mounted higher, being knighted, and made gentleman
of the bed-chamber, and knight of the most noble order of the garter,
and in a short time a baron, a viscount, an earl, a marquis, and lord
high-admiral of England, lord warden of the cinque ports, master of
the horse, and entirely disposed all the favours of the King, acting
as absolutely in conferring honours and distinctions, as if he himself
had wore the diadem.

We find him soon after making war or peace, according to humour,
resentment, or favour. He carried the prince of Wales into Spain to
see the Infanta, who was proposed to him as a wife; and it plainly
enough appears, that he was privy to one intrigue of prince Charles,
and which was perhaps the only one, which that prince, whom all
historians, whether friends or enemies to his cause; have agreed to
celebrate for chastity, and the temperate virtues. There is an
original letter of prince Charles to the duke, which was published by
Mr. Thomas Hearne, and is said once to have belonged to archbishop
Sancroft. As it is a sort of curiosity we shall here insert it,

"STENNY,

"I have nothing now to write to you, but to give you thankes both for
the good councell ye gave me, and for the event of it. The King gave
mee a good sharpe potion, but you took away the working of it by the
well relished comfites ye sent after it. I have met with the partie,
that must not be named, once alreddie, and the culler of wryting this
letter shall make mee meet with her on saturday, although it is
written the day being thursday. So assuring you that the bus'ness goes
safely onn, I rest

  "Your constant friend
    "CHARLES.

"I hope you will not shew the King this letter, but put it in the safe
custody of mister Vulcan."

It was the good fortune of this nobleman to have an equal interest
with the son as with the father; and when prince Charles ascended the
throne, his power was equally extensive, and as before gave such
offence to the House of Commons and the people, that he was voted an
enemy to the realm, and his Majesty was frequently addressed to remove
him from his councils. Tho' Charles I. had certainly more virtues, and
was of a more military turn than his father, yet in the circumstance
of doating upon favourites, he was equally weak. His misfortune was,
that he never sufficiently trusted his own judgment, which was often
better than that of his servants; and from this diffidence he was
tenacious of a minister of whose abilities he had a high opinion, and
in whose fidelity he put confidence.

The duke at last became so obnoxious, that it entered into the head of
an enthusiast, tho' otherwise an honest man, one lieutenant Felton,
that to assassinate this court favourite, this enemy of the realm,
would be doing a grateful thing to his country by ridding it of one
whose measures in his opinion, were likely soon to destroy it.--

The fate of the duke was now approaching, and it is by far the most
interesting circumstance in his life.

We shall insert, in the words of the noble historian, the particular
account of it.

'John Felton, an obscure man in his own person, who had been bred a
soldier, and lately a lieutenant of foot, whose captain had been
killed on the retreat at the Isle of Ree, upon which he conceived that
the company of right ought to have been conferred upon him; and it
being refused him by the duke of Buckingham, general of the army, had
given up his commission and withdrawn himself from the army. He was of
a melancholic nature, and had little conversation with any body, yet
of a gentleman's family in Suffolk, of a good fortune, and reputation.
From the time that he had quitted the army he resided at London; when
the House of Commons, transported with passion and prejudice against
the duke, had accused him to the House of Peers for several
misdemeanors and miscarriages, and in some declarations had stiled him
the cause of all the evils the kingdom suffered, and an enemy to the
public.

'Some transcripts of such expressions, and some general invectives he
met with amongst the people, to whom this great man was not grateful,
wrought so far upon this melancholic gentleman, that he began to
believe he should do God good service if he killed the duke. He chose
no other instrument to do it than an ordinary knife, which he bought
of a common cutler for a shilling, and thus provided, he repaired to
Portsmouth, where he arrived the eve of St. Bartholomew. The duke was
then there, in order to prepare and make ready the fleet and the army,
with which he resolved in a few days to transport himself to the
relief of Rochelle, which was then besieged by cardinal Richelieu, and
for the relief whereof the duke was the more obliged, by reason that
at his being at the Isle of Ree, he had received great supplies of
victuals, and some companies of their garrison from the town, the want
of both which they were at this time very sensible of, and grieved at.

'This morning of St. Bartholomew, the duke had received letters, in
which he was advertised, that Rochelle had relieved itself; upon which
he directed that his breakfast might be speedily made ready, and he
would make haste to acquaint the King with the good news, the court
being then at Southwick, about five miles from Portsmouth. The chamber
in which he was dressing himself was full of company, and of officers
in the fleet and army. There was Monsieur de Soubize, brother to the
duke de Rohan, and other French gentlemen, who were very sollicitous
for the embarkation of the army, and for the departure of the fleet
for the relief of Rochelle; and they were at that time in much trouble
and and perplexity, out of apprehension that the news the duke had
received that morning might slacken the preparations of the voyage,
which their impatience and interest, persuaded them was not advanced
with expedition; and so they held much discourse with the duke of the
impossibility that his intelligence could be true, and that it was
contrived by the artifice and dexterity of their enemies, in order to
abate the warmth and zeal that was used for their relief, the arrival
of which relief, those enemies had much reason to apprehend; and a
longer delay in sending it, would ease them of that terrible
apprehension; their forts and works towards the sea, and in the
harbour being almost finished.

'This discourse, according to the natural custom of that nation, and
by the usual dialect of that language, was held with such passion and
vehemence, that the standers-by who understood not French, did believe
they were angry, and that they used the duke rudely. He being ready,
and informed that his breakfast was ready, drew towards the door,
where the hangings were held up; and in that very passage turning
himself to speak with Sir Thomas Fryer, a colonel of the army, who was
then speaking near his ear, he was on a sudden struck over his
shoulder upon the breast with a knife; upon which, without using any
other words, than that the villain has killed me, and in the same
moment pulling out the knife himself, he fell down dead, the knife
having pierced his heart. No man had ever seen the blow, or the man
who gave it; but in the confusion they were in, every man made his own
conjecture, and declared it as a thing known, most agreeing, that it
was done by the French, from the angry discourse they thought they had
heard from them, and it was a kind of miracle, that they were not all
killed that instant: The sober sort that preserved them from it,
having the same opinion of their guilt, and only reserving them for a
more judicial examination, and proceeding.

'In the crowd near the door, there was found upon the ground a hat, in
the inside whereof, there was sewed upon the crown a paper, in which
were writ four or five lines of that declaration made by the House of
Commons, in which they had stiled the duke an enemy to the kingdom;
and under it a short ejaculation towards a prayer. It was easily
enough concluded, that the hat belonged to the person who had
committed the murder, but the difficulty remained still as great, who
that person should be; for the writing discovered nothing of the name;
and whosoever it was, it was very natural to believe, that he was gone
far enough not to be found without a hat. In this hurry, one running
one way, another another way, a man was seen walking before the door
very composedly without a hat; whereupon one crying out, here's the
fellow that killed the duke, upon which others run thither, every body
asking which was he; to which the man without the hat very composedly
answered, I am he. Thereupon some of those who were most furious
suddenly run upon the man with their drawn swords to kill him; but
others, who were at least equally concerned in the loss and in the
sense of it, defended him; himself with open arms very calmly and
chearfully exposing himself to the fury and swords of the most
enraged, as being very willing to fall a sacrifice to their sudden
anger, rather than be kept for deliberate justice, which he knew must
be executed upon him.

'He was now enough known, and easily discovered to be that Felton,
whom we mentioned before, who had been a lieutenant in the army; he
was quickly carried into a private room by the persons of the best
condition, some whereof were in authority, who first thought fit, so
far to dissemble, as to mention the duke only grievously wounded, but
not without hopes of recovery. Upon which Felton smiled, and said, he
knew well enough he had given him a blow that had determined all their
hopes. Being then asked at whose instigation he had performed that
horrid, wretched act, he answered them with a wonderful assurance,
That they should not trouble themselves in that enquiry; that no man
living had credit or power enough with him to have engaged or disposed
him, to such an action, that he had never entrusted his purpose or
resolution to any man; that it proceeded from himself, and the impulse
of his own conscience, and that the motives thereunto will appear if
his hat were found. He spoke very frankly of what he had done, and
bore the reproaches of them that spoke to him, with the temper of a
man who thought he had not done amiss. But after he had been in prison
some time, where he was treated without any rigour, and with humanity
enough; and before and at his tryal, which was about four months
after, at the King's Bench, he behaved himself with great modesty, and
wonderful repentance; being as he said convinced in his conscience
that he had done wickedly, and asked pardon of the King and Duchess,
and all the Duke's servants, whom he acknowledged he had offended, and
very earnestly besought the judges that he might have his hand struck
off, with which he had performed that impious act before he should be
put to death.'

This is the account lord Clarendon gives in the first volume of his
history, of the fall of this great favourite, which serves to throw a
melancholy veil over the splendor of his life, and demonstrates the
extreme vanity of exterior pomp, and the danger those are exposed to
who move on the precipice of power. It serve[s] to shew that of all
kind of cruelty, that which is the child of enthusiasm is the word, as
it is founded upon something that has the appearance of principles;
and as it is more stedfast, so does it diffuse more mischief than that
cruelty which flows from the agitations of passion: Felton blindly
imagined he did God service by assassination, and the same unnatural
zeal would perhaps have prompted him to the murder of a thousand more,
who in his opinion were enemies to their country.

The above-mentioned historian remarks, that there were several
prophecies and predictions scattered about, concerning the duke's
death; and then proceeds to the relation of the most astonishing story
we have ever met with.

As this anecdote is countenanced by so great a name, I need make no
apology for inserting it, it has all the evidence the nature of the
thing can admit of, and is curious in itself.

'There was an officer in the King's wardrobe in Windsor-Castle of a
good reputation for honesty and discretion, and then about the age of
fifty years, or more. This man had been bred in his youth in a school
in the parish where Sir George Villiers the father of the Duke lived,
and had been much cherished and obliged in that season of his age, by
the said Sir George, whom afterwards he never saw. About six months
before the miserable end of the duke of Buckingham, about midnight,
this man, being in his bed at Windsor, where his office was, and in
very good health, there appeared to him, on the side of his bed, a man
of very venerable aspect, who fixing his eyes upon him, asked him, if
he knew him; the poor man half dead with fear, and apprehension, being
asked the second time, whether he remembered him, and having in that
time called to his memory, the presence of Sir George Villiers, and
the very cloaths he used to wear, in which at that time he used to be
habited; he answered him, That he thought him to be that person; he
replied, that he was in the right, that he was the same, and that he
expected a service from him; which was, that he should go from him to
his son the duke of Buckingham, and tell him, if he did not somewhat
to ingratiate himself to the people, or at least, to abate the extreme
malice they had against him, he would be suffered to live but a short
time, and after this discourse he disappeared, and the poor man, if he
had been at all waking, slept very well till the morning, when he
believed all this to be a dream, and considered it no otherwise.

'Next night, or shortly after, the same person appeared to him again
in the same place, and about the same time of the night, with an
aspect a little more severe than before; and asking him whether he had
done as he required him? and perceiving he had not, he gave him very
severe reprehensions, and told him, he expected more compliance from
him; and that if he did not perform his commands, he should enjoy no
peace of mind, but should be always pursued by him: Upon which he
promised to obey him.

'But the next morning waking exceedingly perplexed with the lively
representation of all that had passed, he considered that he was a
person at such a distance from the duke, that he knew not how to find
any admittance into his presence, much less any hope to be believed in
what he should say, so with great trouble and unquietness he spent
some time in thinking what he should do. The poor man had by this time
recovered the courage to tell him, That in truth he had deferred the
execution of his commands, upon considering how difficult a thing it
would be for him to get access to the duke, having acquaintance with
no person about him; and if he could obtain admission to him, he would
never be able to persuade him that he was sent in such a manner, but
he should at best be thought to be mad, or to be set on and employed
by his own or the malice of other men to abuse the duke, and so he
should be sure to be undone. The person replied, as he had done
before, that he should never find rest, till he should perform what he
required, and therefore he were better to dispatch it; that the access
to his son was known to be very easy; and that few men waited long for
him, and for the gaining him credit, he would tell him two or three
particulars, which he charged him never to mention to any person
living, but to the duke himself; and he should no sooner hear them,
but he would believe all the rest he should say; and so repeating his
threats he left him.

'In the morning the poor man more confirmed by the last appearance,
made his journey to London, where the court then was. He was very well
known to Sir Ralph Freeman, one of the masters of the requests, who
had married a lady that was nearly allied to the duke, and was himself
well received by him. To him this man went; and tho' he did not
acquaint him with all the particulars, he said enough to him to let
him see there was somewhat extraordinary in it, and the knowledge he
had of the sobriety and discretion of the man, made the more
impression on him. He desired that by his means he might be brought to
the duke, to such a place, and in such a manner as should be thought
fit; affirming, that he had much to say to him; and of such a nature
as would require much privacy, and some time and patience in the
hearing. Sir Ralph promised he would speak first to the duke of him,
and then he should understand his pleasure, and accordingly on the
first opportunity he did inform him of the reputation and honesty of
the man, and then what he desired, and all he knew of the matter. The
duke according to his usual openness and condescension told him, that
he was the next day, early, to hunt with the King; that his horses
should attend him to Lambeth Bridge, where he would land by five
o'Clock in the morning, and if the man attended him there at that
hour, he would walk and speak with him as long as should be necessary.
Sir Ralph carried the man with him next morning, and presented him to
the duke at his landing, who received him courteously, and walked
aside in conference near an hour, none but his own servants being at
that hour near the place, and they and Sir Ralph at such a distance,
that they could not hear a word, though the duke sometimes spoke, and
with great commotion, which Sir Ralph the more easily perceived,
because he kept his eyes always fixed upon the duke; having procured
the conference, upon somewhat he knew, there was of extraordinary; and
the man told him in his return over the water, that when he mentioned
those particulars, which were to gain him credit, the substance
whereof he said he durst not impart to him, the duke's colour changed,
and he swore he could come by that knowledge only by the devil, for
that those particulars were known only to himself, and to one person
more, who, he was sure, would never speak of it.

'The duke pursued his purpose of hunting, but was observed to ride all
the morning with great pensiveness, and in deep thoughts, without any
delight in the exercise he was upon, and before the morning was spent,
left the field, and alighted at his mother's lodgings at Whitehall,
with whom he was shut up for the space of two or three hours, the
noise of their discourse frequently reaching the ears of those who
attended in the next rooms and when the duke left her, his countenance
appeared full of trouble, with a mixture of anger: a countenance that
was never before observed in him in any conversation with her, towards
whom he had a profound reverence, and the countess herself was, at the
duke's leaving her, found overwhelmed in tears, and in the highest
agony imaginable; whatever there was of all this, it is a notorious
truth, that when the news of the duke's murder (which happened within
a few months) was brought to his mother, she seemed not in the least
degree surprized, but received it as if she had foreseen it, nor did
afterwards express such a degree of sorrow, as was expected from such
a mother, for the loss of such a son.'

This is the representation which lord Clarendon gives of this
extraordinary circumstance, upon which I shall not presume to make any
comment; but if ever departed spirits were permitted to interest
themselves with human affairs, and as Shakespear expresses it, revisit
the glimpses of the moon, it seems to have been upon this occasion: at
least there seems to be such rational evidence of it, as no man,
however fortified against superstition, can well resist.

But let us now enter upon the life of the son of this great man; who,
if he was inferior to his father as a statesman, was superior in wit,
and wanted only application to have made a very great figure, even in
the senate, but his love of pleasure was immoderate, which embarrassed
him in the pursuit of any thing solid or praise-worthy.

He was an infant when his father's murder was perpetrated, and
received his early education from several domestic tutors, and was
afterwards sent to the university of Cambridge: when he had finished
his course there, he travelled with his brother lord Francis, under
the care of William Aylesbury, esquire. Upon his return, which was
after the breaking out of the civil wars, he was conducted to Oxford,
and presented to his Majesty, then there, and entered into Christ
Church. Upon the decline of the King's cause, the young duke of
Buckingham attended Prince Charles into Scotland, and was present in
the year 1651 at the battle of Worcester, where he escaped beyond sea,
and was soon after made knight of the garter. He came afterwards
privately into England, and, November 19, 1657, married Mary, the
daughter and heir of Thomas lord Fairfax, by whose interest he
recovered all or most of his estate, which he had lost before. After
the restoration, at which time he is said to have possessed an estate
of 20,000 l. per annum, he was made one of the lords of the King's
bed-chamber, and of the privy council, lord lieutenant of Yorkshire,
and, at last, master of the horse.

In the year 1666, being discovered to have maintained secret
correspondence by letters, and other transactions, tending to raise
mutinies among some of his Majesty's forces, and stir up sedition
among his people, and to have carried on other traiterous designs and
practices, he absconded, upon which a proclamation was issued the same
year for apprehending him. Mr. Thomas Carte, in his Life of the Duke
of Ormond[1], tells us, 'that the duke's being denied the post of
president of the North, was probably the reason of his disaffection to
the King; and, that just before the recess of the Parliament, one Dr.
John Heydon was taken up for treasonable practices, in sowing a
sedition in the navy, and engaging persons in a conspiracy to seize
the Tower. The man was a pretender to great skill in astrology, but
had lost much of his reputation, by prognosticating the hanging of
Oliver to his son Richard Cromwel and Thurloe, who came to him in
disguise, for the calculation of nativities, being dressed like
distressed cavaliers. He was for that put into prison, and continued
in confinement sixteen months, whilst Cromwel outlived the prediction
four years. This insignificant fellow was mighty great with the duke
of Buckingham, who, notwithstanding the vanity of the art, and the
notorious ignorance of the professor of it, made him cast not only his
own, but the King's nativity; a matter of dangerous curiosity, and
condemned by a statute which could only be said to be antiquated,
because it had not for a long time been put in execution. This fellow
he had likewise employed, among others, to excite the seamen to
mutiny, as he had given money to other rogues to put on jackets to
personate seamen, and to go about the country begging in that garb,
and exclaiming for want of pay, while the people oppressed with taxes,
were cheated of their money by the great officers of the crown. Heydon
pretended to have been in all the duke's secrets, for near four years
past, and that he had been all that time designing against the King
and his government, that his grace thought the present reason
favourable for the execution of his design, and had his agents at work
in the navy and in the kingdom, to ripen the general discontents of
the people, and dispose them to action, that he had been importuned by
him to head the first party he could get together, and engage in an
insurrection, the duke declaring his readiness to appear and join in
the undertaking, as soon as the affair was begun. Some to whom Heydon
unbosomed himself, and had been employed by him to carry letters to
the duke of Buckingham, discovered the design. Heydon was taken up,
and a serjeant at arms sent with a warrant by his Majesty's express
order to take up the duke, who, having defended his house by force,
for some time at least, found means to escape. The King knew
Buckingham to be capable of the blackest designs, and was highly
incensed at him for his conduct last sessions, and insinuating that
spirit into the Commons, which had been so much to the detriment of
the public service. He could not forbear expressing himself with more
bitterness against the duke, than was ever dropped from him upon any
other occasion. When he was sollicited in his behalf, he frankly said,
that he had been the cause of continuing the war, for the Dutch would
have made a very low submission, had the Parliament continued their
first vigorous vote of supplying him, but the duke's cabals had
lessened his interest both abroad and at home, with regard to the
support of the war. In consequence of this resentment, the King put
him out of the privy council, bedchamber, and lieutenancy of York,
ordering him likewise to be struck out of all commissions. His grace
absconding, a proclamation was issued out, requiring his appearance,
and surrender of himself by a certain day.'

Notwithstanding this appearance of resentment against him, yet
Charles, who was far from being of an implacable temper, took
Buckingham again into favour, after he had made an humble submission;
he was restored to his place in the council, and in the bedchamber in
1667, and seemed perfectly confirmed in the good graces of the King,
who was, perhaps, too much charmed with his wit to consider him as an
enemy.

In the year 1670, the duke was supposed to be concerned in Blood's
attempt on the life of the duke of Ormond. This scheme was to have
conveyed that nobleman to Tyburn, and there to have hanged him; for
which purpose he was taken out of his coach in St. James's Street, and
carried away by Blood and his son beyond Devonshire House, Piccadilly,
but then rescued. Blood afterwards endeavoured to steal the crown out
of the Tower, but was seized; however, he was not only pardoned, but
had an estate of five hundred pounds a year given him in Ireland, and
admitted into an intimacy with the King. The reason of Blood's malice
against the duke of Ormond was, because his estate at Sorney was
forfeited for his treason in the course of government, and must have
been done by any lord lieutenant whatever. This, together with the
instigation of some enemy of the duke of Ormond's at court, wrought
upon him so, that he undertook the assassination. Mr. Carte supposes,
that no man was more likely to encourage Blood in this attempt, than
the duke of Buckingham, who, he says was the most profligate man of
his time, and had so little honour in him, that he would engage in any
scheme to gratify an irregular passion. The duke of Ormond had acted
with some severity against him, when he was detected in the attempt of
unhinging the government, which had excited so much resentment, as to
vent itself in this manner. Mr. Carte likewise charges the duchess of
Cleveland with conspiring against Ormond, but has given no reasons why
he thinks she instigated the attempt. The duchess was cousin to the
duke of Buckingham, but it appears in the Annals of Gallantry of those
times, that she never loved him, nor is it probable she engaged with
him in so dangerous a scheme.

That Buckingham was a conspirator against Ormond, Mr. Carte says,
there is not the least doubt; and he mentions a circumstance of his
guilt too strong to be resisted. That there were reasons to think him
the person who put Blood upon the attempt of the duke of Ormond, (says
he) 'cannot well be questioned, after the following relation, which I
had from a gentleman (Robert Lesly of Glaslough, in the county of
Monaghan, esquire) whose veracity and memory, none that knew him, will
ever doubt, who received it from the mouth of Dr. Turner, bishop of
Ely. The earl of Ossory came in one day, not long after the affair,
and seeing the duke of Buckingham standing by the King, his colour
rose, and he spoke to this effect; My lord, I know well, that you are
at the bottom of this late attempt of Blood's upon my father, and
therefore I give you fair warning, if my father comes to a violent end
by sword or pistol, or the more secret way of poison, I shall not be
at a loss to know the first author of it; I shall consider you as the
assassin; I shall treat you as such, and wherever I meet you, I shall
pistol you, though you stood behind the King's chair, and I tell it
you in his Majesty's presence, that you may be sure I shall keep my
word.' I know not whether this will be deemed any breach of decorum to
the King, in whose presence it was said, but, in my opinion, it was an
act of spirit and resentment worthy of a son, when his father's life
was menaced, and the villain (Blood) who failed in the attempt, was so
much courted, caressed, and in high favour immediately afterwards.

In June 1671, the duke was installed chancellor of the university of
Cambridge, and the same year was sent ambassador to the King of
France; who being pleased with his person and errand, entertained him
very nobly for several days together; and upon his taking leave, gave
him a sword and belt set with Pearls and Diamonds, to the value of
40,000 pistoles. He was afterwards sent to that King at Utrecht in
June 1672, together with Henry earl of Arlington, and George lord
Hallifax. He was one of the cabal at Whitehall, and in the beginning
of the session of Parliament, February 1672, endeavoured to cast the
odium of the Dutch war from himself, upon lord Arlington, another of
the cabal. In June 1674, he resigned the chancellorship of Cambridge.
About this time he became a great favourer of the Nonconformists.
February 16, 1676, his grace, and James earl of Salisbury, Anthony
earl of Shaftsbury, and Philip lord Wharton, were committed to the
Tower by order of the House of Lords, for a contempt, in refusing to
retract what they had said the day before, when the duke, immediately
after his Majesty had ended his speech to both Houses, endeavoured to
shew from law and reason, that the long prorogation was nulled, and
the Parliament was consequently dissolved.

The chief of our author's works is,

The Rehearsal, a Comedy, first acted on December 7, 1671. It is said
that the duke was assisted in writing this play, by his Chaplain Dr.
Thomas Sprat, Martin Clifford, esquire, master of the Charterhouse,
and Mr. Samuel Butler, author of Hudibras. Jacob, in his Lives of the
Poets, observes, 'that he cannot exactly learn when his grace began
this piece; but this much, says he, we may certainly gather from the
plays ridiculed in it, that it was before the end of 1663, and
finished before 1664, because it had been several times rehearsed, the
players were perfect in their parts, and all things in readiness for
its acting, before the great plague in 1665, and that then prevented
it, for what was then intended, was very different from what now
appears. In that he called his poet Bilboa, by which name Sir Robert
Howard was the person pointed at. During this interval, many plays
were published, written in heroic rhime, and on the death of Sir
William Davenant 1669, whom Mr. Dryden succeeded in the laurel, it
became still in greater vogue; this moved the duke to change the name
of his poet, from Bilboa to Bayes.'

This character of Bayes is inimitably drawn; in it the various foibles
of poets (whether good, bad or indifferent) are so excellently blended
as to make the most finished picture of a poetical coxcomb: 'Tis such
a master-piece of true humour as will ever last, while our English
tongue is understood, or the stage affords a good comedian to play it.
How shall I now avoid the imputation of vanity, when I relate, that
this piece, on being revived (when I[2] first appeared in the part of
Bayes) at the Theatre-Royal in Covent-Garden in the year 1739, was, in
that one season (continued to 1740) played upwards of forty nights, to
great audiences, with continued mirthful applause. As this is a truth,
I give it to the candid; and let the relation take its chance, though
it should not be thought by some (who may not abound in good nature)
that I only mean by this, to pay due regard to the merit of the piece,
though it speaks for itself; for, without extraordinary merit in the
writing, it could never have gained such an uncommon run, at the
distance of fourscore years from its being first written, when most of
those pieces were forgot which it particularly satirises; or, if
remembered, they were laughed into fame by the strong mock-parodies
with which this humorous piece of admirable burlesque abounds.

Mr. Dryden, in revenge for the ridicule thrown on him in this piece,
exposed the duke under the name of Zimri in his Absalom and
Achitophel. This character, drawn by Dryden, is reckoned a
masterpiece; it has the first beauty, which is truth; it is a striking
picture, and admirably marked: We need make no apology for inserting
it here; it is too excellent to pass unnoticed.

  In the first rank of these did Zimri stand:
  A man so various that he seemed to be
  Not one, but all mankind's epitome.
  Stiff in opinions, always in the wrong;
  Was every thing by starts, and nothing long;
  But, in the course of one revolving moon,
  Was Chymist, fidler, statesman, and buffoon:
  Then all for women, painting, rhiming, drinking;
  Besides ten thousand freaks that died in thinking.
  Blest madman, who could every hour employ,
  In something new to wish, or to enjoy!
  Railing, and praising were his usual themes,
  And both, to shew his judgment, in extremes;
  So over violent, or over civil,
  That every man with him was God, or devil.
  In squandering wealth was his peculiar art;
  Nothing went unrewarded but desert.
  Beggar'd by fools, whom still he found too late,
  He had his jest, and they had his estate.
  He laught himself from court, then sought relief,
  By forming parties, but could ne'er be chief.
  Thus wicked, but in will, of means bereft,
  He left not faction, but of that was left.

It is allowed by the severest enemies of this nobleman, that he had a
great share of vivacity, and quickness of parts, which were
particularly turned to ridicule; but while he has been celebrated as a
wit, all men are silent as to other virtues, for it is no where
recorded, that he ever performed one generous disinterested action in
his whole life; he relieved no distressed merit; he never shared the
blessing of the widow and fatherless, and as he lived a profligate, he
died in misery, a by-word and a jest, unpitied and unmourned.

He died April 16, 1687, Mr. Wood says, at his house in Yorkshire, but
Mr. Pope informs us, that he died at an inn in that county, in very
mean circumstances. In his Epistle to lord Bathurst, he draws the
following affecting picture of this man, who had possessed an estate
of near 50,000 l. per annum, expiring,

  In the worst inn's worst room, with mat half hung
  The floors of plaister, and the walls of dung,
  On once a flock-bed, but repair'd with straw,
  With tape-ty'd curtains, never meant to draw,
  The George and Garter dangling from that bed,
  Where tawdry yellow, strove with dirty red,
  Great Villiers lies--alas! how chang'd from him
  That life of pleasure, and that foul of whim!
  Gallant and gay, in Cliveden's proud alcove,
  The bow'r of wanton Shrewsbury[3] and love;
  Or just as gay in council, in a ring
  Of mimick'd statesmen and their merry king.
  No wit to flatter left of all his store!
  No fool to laugh at, which he valued more;
  There, victor of his health, of fortune, friends,
  And fame, this lord of useless thousands ends.
  His grace's fate, sage Cutler could foresee,
  And well (he thought) advised him, 'live like me.'
  As well, his grace replied, 'like you, Sir John!
  That I can do, when all I have is gone:'

Besides the celebrated Comedy of the Rehearsal, the duke wrote the
following pieces;

1. An Epitaph on Thomas, Lord Fairfax, which has been often reprinted.

2. A Short Discourse upon the Reasonableness of Men's having a
Religion or Worship of God. This Piece met with many Answers, to
which, the Duke wrote Replies.

3. A Demonstration of the above Duty.

4. Several Poems, particularly, Advice to a Painter to draw my Lord
Arlington. Timon, a Satire on several Plays, in which he was assisted
by the Earl of Rochester; a Consolatory Epistle to Julian Secretary to
the Muses; upon the Monument; upon the Installment of the Duke of
Newcastle; the Rump-Parliament, a Satire; the Mistress; the Lost
Mistress; a Description of Fortune.

5. Several Speeches.

Footnotes:
1. B. vi. vol. ii. p. 347.
2. T.C.
3. The countess of Shrewsbury, a woman abandoned to gallantries. The
   earl her husband was killed by the duke of Buckingham; and it has
   been said that, during the combat, she held the duke's horses in
   the habit of a page.

                *        *        *        *        *




                       MATTHEW SMITH, Esquire.

_(The following Account of this Gentleman came to our Hands too late
to be inserted in the Chronological Series.)_


This gentleman was the son of John Smith, an eminent Merchant at
Knaresborough in the county of York, and descended from an ancient
family of that name, seated at West-Herrington and Moreton House in
the county pal. of Durham. Vide Philpot's Visitation of Durham, in the
Heralds Office, page 141.

He was a Barrister at Law, of the Inner-Temple, and appointed one of
the council in the North, the fifteenth of King Charles I. he being a
Loyalist, and in great esteem for his eminence and learning in his
profession; as still further appears by his valuable Annotations on
Littleton's Tenures he left behind him in manuscript. He also wrote
some pieces of poetry, and is the author of two dramatical
performances.

1. The Country Squire, or the Merry Mountebank, a Ballad Opera of one
Act.

2. The Masquerade du Ciel, a Masque, which was published the year that
he died, 1640, by John Smith of Knaresborough, Esq; (eldest son and
heir to this Matthew, by Anne his wife, daughter of Henry Roundell,
esq; who dedicated it to the Queen. He was a person of the greatest
loyalty, and very early addicted to arms, which made him extreamly
zealous and active during the civil wars, in joining with the
Royalists, particularly at the battle of Marston-Moor 1644, when he
personally served under Prince Rupert, for which he and his family
were plundered and sequestered. He also fined twice for Sheriff, to
avoid the oaths in those days.)

                *        *        *        *        *




                            THOMAS OTWAY.


This excellent poet was not more remarkable for moving the tender
passions, than for the variety of fortune, to which he was subjected.
We have some where read an observation, that the poets have ever been
the least philosophers, and were always unhappy in a want of firmness
of temper, and steadiness of resolution: of the truth of this remark,
poor Mr. Otway is a lively instance; he never could sufficiently
combat his appetite of extravagance and profusion, to live one year in
a comfortable competence, but was either rioting in luxurious
indulgence, or shivering with want, and exposed to the insolence and
contempt of the world. He was the son of Mr. Humphry Otway, rector of
Wolbeding in Sussex, and was born at Trottin in that county, on March
3, 1651. He received his education at Wickeham school, near
Winchester, and became a commoner of Christ Church in Oxford, in the
beginning of the year 1669. He quitted the university without a
degree, and retired to London, though, in the opinion of some
historians, he went afterwards to Cambridge, which seems very
probable, from a copy of verses of Mr. Duke's to him, between whom
subsisted a sincere friendship till the death of Mr. Otway. When our
poet came to London, the first account we hear of him, is, that he
commenced player, but without success, for he is said to have failed
in want of execution, which is so material to a good player, that a
tolerable execution, with advantage of a good person, will often
supply the place of judgment, in which it is not to be supposed Otway
was deficient.

Though his success as an actor was but indifferent, yet he gained upon
the world by the sprightliness of his conversation, and the acuteness
of his wit, which, it seems, gained him the favour of Charles Fitz
Charles, earl of Plymouth, one of the natural sons of King Charles II.
who procured him a cornet's Pommission in the new raised English
forces designed for Flanders. All who have written of Mr. Otway
observe, that he returned from Flanders in very necessitous
circumstances, but give no account how that reverse of fortune
happened: it is not natural to suppose that it proceeded from actual
cowardice, or that Mr. Otway had drawn down any disgrace upon himself
by misbehaviour in a military station. If this had been the case, he
wanted not enemies who would have improved the circumstance, and
recorded it against him, with a malicious satisfaction; but if it did
not proceed from actual cowardice, yet we have some reason to
conjecture that Mr. Otway felt a strong disinclination to a military
life, perhaps from a consciousness that his heart failed him, and a
dread of misbehaving, should he ever be called to an engagement; and
to avoid the shame of which he was apprehensive in consequence of such
behaviour, he, in all probability, resigned his commission, which
could not but disoblige the earl of Plymouth, and expose himself to
necessity. What pity is it, that he who could put such masculine
strong sentiments into the mouth of such a resolute hero as his own
Pierre, should himself fail in personal courage, but this quality
nature withheld from him, and he exchanged the chance of reaping
laurels in the field of victory, for the equally uncertain, and more
barren laurels of poetry. The earl of Rochester, in his Session of the
Poets, has thus maliciously recorded, and without the least grain of
wit, the deplorable circumstances of Otway.

  Tom Otway came next, Tom Shadwell's dear Zany,
  And swears for heroics he writes best of any;
  Don Carlos his pockets so amply had filled,
  That his mange was quite cured, and his lice were all killed.
  But Apollo had seen his face on the stage,           }
  And prudently did not think fit to engage            }
  The scum of a playhouse, for the prop of an age.     }

Mr. Otway translated out of French into English, the History of the
Triumvirate; the First Part of Julius Caesar, Pompey and Crassus, the
Second Part of Augustus, Anthony and Lepidus, being a faithful
collection from the best historians, and other authors, concerning the
revolution of the Roman government, which happened under their
authority, London 1686 in 8vo. Our author finding his necessities
press, had recourse to writing for the stage, which he did with
various success: his comedy has been blamed for having too much
libertinism mixed with it; but in tragedy he made it his business, for
the most part, to observe the decorum of the stage. He has certainly
followed nature in the language of his tragedy, and therefore shines
in the passionate parts more than any of our English poets. As there
is something familiar and domestic in the fable of his tragedy, he has
little pomp, but great energy in his expressions; for which reason,
though he has admirably succeeded in the tender and melting parts of
his tragedies, he sometimes falls into too great a familiarity of
phrase in those, which, by Aristotle's rule, ought to have been raised
and supported by the dignity of expression. It has been observed by
the critics, that the poet has founded his tragedy of Venice
Preservcd, on so wrong a plot, that the greatest characters in it are
those of rebels and traitors. Had the hero of this play discovered the
same good qualities in defence of his country, that he shewed for his
ruin and subversion, the audience could not enough pity and admire
him; but as he is now represented, we can only say of him, what the
Roman historian says of Catiline, that his fall would have been
glorious (si pro Patria sic concidisset) had he so fallen, in the
service of his country.

Mr. Charles Gildon, in his Laws of Poetry, stiles Mr. Otway a Poet of
the first Magnitude, and tells us, and with great justice, that he was
perfect master of the tragic passions, and draws them every where with
a delicate and natural simplicity, and therefore never fails to raise
strong emotions in the soul. I don't know of a stronger instance of
this force, than in the play of the Orphan; the tragedy is composed of
persons whose fortunes do not exceed the quality of such as we
ordinarily call people of condition, and without the advantage of
having the scene heightened by the importance of the characters; his
inimitable skill in representing the workings of the heart, and its
affection, is such that the circumstances are great from the art of
the poet, rather than from the figure of the persons represented. The
whole drama is admirably wrought, and the mixture of passions raised
from affinity, gratitude, love, and misunderstanding between brethren,
ill usage from persons obliged slowly returned by the benefactors,
keeps the mind in a continual anxiety and contrition. The sentiments
of the unhappy Monimia are delicate and natural, she is miserable
without guilt, but incapable of living with a consciousness of having
committed an ill act, though her inclination had no part in it. Mrs.
Barry, the celebrated actress, used to say, that in her part of
Monimia in the Orphan, she never spoke these words, Ah! poor Castalio,
without tears; upon which occasion Mr. Gildon observes, that all the
pathetic force had been lost, if any more words had been added, and
the poet would have endeavoured, in vain, to have heightened them, by
the addition of figures of speech, since the beauty of those three
plain simple words is so great by the force of nature, that they must
have been weakened and obscured by 'the finest flowers of rhetoric.

The tragedy of the Orphan is not without great blemishes, which the
writer of a criticism on it, published in the Gentleman's Magazine,
has very judiciously and candidly shewn. The impetuous passion of
Polydore breaks out sometimes in a language not sufficiently delicate,
particularly in that celebrated passage where he talks of rushing upon
her in a storm of love. The simile of the bull is very offensive to
chaste ears, but poor Otway lived in dissolute times, and his
necessity obliged him to fan the harlot-face of loose desire, in
compliance to the general corruption. Monimia staying to converse with
Polydor, after he vauntingly discovers his success in deceiving her,
is shocking; had she left him abruptly, with a wildness of horror,
that might have thrown him under the necessity of seeking an
explanation from Castalio, the scene would have ended better, would
have kept the audience more in suspence, and been an improvement of
the consequential scene between the brothers; but this remark is
submitted to superior judges.

Venice Preferred is still a greater proof of his influence over our
passions, and the faculty of mingling good and bad characters, and
involving their fortunes, seems to be the distinguished excellence of
this writer. He very well knew that nothing but distressed virtue can
strongly touch us with pity, and therefore, in this play, that we may
have a greater regard for the conspirators, he makes Pierre talk of
redressing wrongs, and repeat all the common place of male contents.

  To see the sufferings of my fellow-creatures,
  And own myself a man: to see our senators
  Cheat the deluded people with a shew
  Of Liberty, which yet they ne'er must taste of!
  They say by them our hands are free from fetters,
  Yet whom they please they lay in basest bonds;
  Bring whom they please to infamy and sorrow;
  Drive us like wrecks down the rough tide of power
  Whilst no hold's left, to save us from destruction:
  All that bear this are villains, and I one,
  Not to rouse up at the great call of nature,
  And check the growth of these domestic spoilers,
  Who make us slaves, and tell us 'tis our charter.

Jaffier's wants and distresses, make him prone enough to any desperate
resolution, yet says he in the language of genuine tenderness,

  But when I think what Belvidera feels,
  The bitterness her tender spirit tastes of,
  I own myself a coward: bear my weakness,
  If throwing thus my arms about thy neck,
  I play the boy, and blubber in thy bosom.

Jaffier's expostulation afterwards, is the picture of all who are
partial to their own merit, and generally think a relish of the
advantages of life is pretence enough to enjoy them.

  Tell me, why good Heaven
  Thou mad'st me what I am, with all the spirit,
  Aspiring thoughts, and elegant desires
  That fill the happiest man? ah rather why
  Didst thou not form me, sordid as my fate,
  Base minded, dull, and fit to carry burdens.

How dreadful is Jaffier's soliloquy, after he is engaged in the
conspiracy.

  I'm here; and thus the shades of night surround me,
  I look as if all hell were in my heart,
  And I in hell. Nay surely 'tis so with me;
  For every step I tread, methinks some fiend
  Knocks at my breast, and bids it not be quiet.
  I've heard how desperate wretches like myself
  Have wandered out at this dead time of night
  To meet the foe of mankind in his walk:
  Sure I'm so curst, that though of Heaven forsaken,
  No minister of darkness, cares to tempt me.
  Hell, hell! why sleep'st thou?

The above is the most awful picture of a man plunged in despair, that
ever was drawn by a poet; we cannot read it without terror: and when
it is uttered as we have heard it, from the late justly celebrated
Booth, or those heart-affecting actors Garrick, and Barry, the flesh
creeps, and the blood is chilled with horror.

In this play Otway catches our hearts, by introducing the episode of
Belvidera. Private and public calamities alternately claim our
concern; sometimes we could wish to see a whole State sacrificed for
the weeping Belvidera, whose character and distress are so drawn as to
melt every heart; at other times we recover again, in behalf of a
whole people in danger. There is not a virtuous character in the play,
but that of Belvidera, and yet so amazing is the force of the author's
skill in blending private and public concerns, that the ruffian on the
wheel, is as much the object of pity, as if he had been brought to
that unhappy fate by some honourable action.

Though Mr. Otway possessed this astonishing talent of moving the
passions, and writing to the heart, yet he was held in great contempt
by some cotemporary poets, and was several times unsuccessful in his
dramatic pieces. The merits of an author are seldom justly estimated,
till the next age after his decease; while a man lives in the world,
he has passion, prejudice, private and public malevolence to combat;
his enemies are industrious to obscure his fame, by drawing into light
his private follies; and personal malice is up in arms against every
man of genius.

Otway was exposed to powerful enemies, who could not bear that he
should acquire fame, amongst whom Dryden is the foremost. The enmity
between Dryden and Otway could not proceed from jealousy, for what
were Otway's, when put in the ballance with the amazing powers of
Dryden? like a drop to the ocean: and yet we find Dryden declared
himself his open enemy; for which, the best reason that can be
assigned is, that Otway was a retainer to Shadwell, who was Dryden's
aversion. Dryden was often heard to say, that Otway was a barren
illiterate man, but 'I confess, says he, he has a power which I have
not;' and when it was asked him, what power that was? he answered,
'moving the passions.' This truth was, no doubt, extorted from Dryden,
for he seems not to be very ready in acknowledging the merits of his
cotemporaries. In his preface to Du Fresnoy's Art of Painting, which
he translated, he mentions Otway with respect, but not till after he
was dead; and even then he speaks but coldly of him. The passage is as
follows, 'To express the passions which are seated on the heart by
outward signs, is one great precept of the painters, and very
difficult to perform. In poetry the very same passions, and motions of
the mind are to be expressed, and in this consists the principal
difficulty, as well as the excellency of that art. This (says my
author) is the gift of Jupiter, and to speak in the same Heathen
language, is the gift of our Apollo, not to be obtained by pains or
study, if we are not born to it; for the motions which are studied,
are never so natural, as those which break out in the heighth of a
real passion. Mr. Otway possessed this part as thoroughly as any of
either the ancients or moderns. I will not defend every thing in his
Venice Preserved, but I must bear this testimony to his memory, that
the passions are truly touched in it, though, perhaps, there is
somewhat to be desired, both in the grounds of them, and the heighth
and elegance of expression; but nature is there, which is the greatest
beauty.' Notwithstanding our admiration of Dryden, we cannot, without
some indignation, observe, how sparing he is in the praises of Otway,
who, considered as a tragic writer, was surely superior to himself.
Dryden enchants us indeed with flow'ry descriptions, and charms us
with (what is called) the magic of poetry; but he has seldom drawn a
tear, and millions of radiant eyes have been witnesses for Otway, by
those drops of pity which they have shed. Otway might be no scholar,
but that, methinks, does not detract from the merit of a dramatist,
nor much assist him in succeeding. For the truth of this we may appeal
to experience. No poets in our language, who were what we call
scholars, have ever written plays which delight or affect the
audience. Shakespear, Otway and Southern were no scholars; Ben
Johnson, Dryden and Addison were: and while few audiences admire the
plays of the latter, those of the former are the supports of the
stage.

After suffering many eclipses of fortune, and being exposed to the
most cruel necessities, poor Otway died of want, in a public house on
Tower-hill, in the 33rd year of his age, 1685. He had, no doubt, been
driven to that part of the town, to avoid the persecution of his
creditors and as he durst not appear much abroad to sollicit
assistance, and having no means of getting money in his obscure
retreat, he perished. It has been reported, that Mr. Otway, whom
delicacy had long deterred from borrowing small sums, driven at last
to the most grievous necessity ventured out of his lurking place,
almost naked and shivering, and went into a coffee-house on
Tower-hill, where he saw a gentleman, of whom he had some knowledge,
and of whom he sollicited the loan of a shilling. The gentleman was
quite shocked, to see the author of Venice Preserved begging bread,
and compassionately put into his hand a guinea.

Mr. Otway having thanked his benefactor, retired, and changed the
guinea to purchase a roll; as his stomach was full of wind by excess
of fasting, the first mouthful choaked him, and instantaneously put a
period to his days.

Who can consider the fate of this gentleman, without being moved to
pity? we can forgive his acts of imprudence, since they brought him to
so miserable an end; and we cannot but regret, that he who was endowed
by nature with such distinguished talents, as to make the bosom bleed
with salutary sorrow, should himself be so extremely wretched, as to
excite the same sensations for him, which by the power of his
eloquence and poetry, he had raised for imaginary heroes. We know,
indeed, of no guilty part of Otway's life, other than those
fashionable faults, which usually recommend to the conversation of men
in courts, but which serve for excuses for their patrons, when they
have not a mind to provide for them. From the example of Mr. Otway,
succeeding poets should learn not to place any confidence in the
promises of patrons; it discovers a higher spirit, and reflects more
honour on a man to struggle nobly for independance, by the means of
industry, than servilely to wait at a great man's gate, or to sit at
his table, meerly to afford him diversion: Competence and independence
have surely more substantial charms, than the smiles of a courtier,
which are too frequently fallacious. But who can read Mr Otway's
story, without indignation at those idols of greatness, who demand
worship from men of genius, and yet can suffer them to live miserably,
and die neglected?

The dramatic works of Mr. Otway are,

1. Alcibiades, a Tragedy, acted at the Duke of York's Theatre, 1675,
dedicated to Charles, Earl of Middlesex. The story of this play is
taken from Cor. Nepos, and Plutarch's Life of Alcibiades.

2. Titus and Berenice, a Tragedy, acted at the Duke's Theatre, 1677,
dedicated to John, Earl of Rochester. This play consists of but three
Acts, and is a translation from M. Racine into heroic verse; for the
story see Suetonius, Dionysius, Josephus; to which is added the Cheats
of Scapin, a Farce, acted the same year. This is a translation from
Moliere, and is originally Terence's Phormio.

3. Friendship in Fashion, a Comedy, acted at the Duke's Theatre, 1678,
dedicated to the Earl of Dorset and Middlesex. This play was revived
at the Theatre-Royal in Drury-Lane, 1749, and was damned by the
audience, on account of the immorality of the design, and the
obscenity of the dialogue.

4. Don Carlos, Prince of Spain, a Tragedy, acted at the Duke of York's
Theatre, 1679. This play, which was the second production of our
author, written in heroic verse, was acted with very great applause,
and had a run of thirty nights; the plot from the Novel called Don
Carlos.

5. The Orphan, or the Unhappy Marriage, a Tragedy, acted at the Duke
of York's Theatre, 1680, dedicated to her Royal Highness the Duchess.
It is founded on the History of Brandon, and a Novel called the
English Adventurer. Scene Bohemia.

6. The History and Fall of Caius Marius, a Tragedy, acted at the
Duke's Theatre, 1680, dedicated to Lord Viscount Falkland. The
characters of Marius Junior and Lavinia, are borrowed literally from
Shakespear's Romeo and Juliet, which Otway has acknowledged in his
Prologue.

7. The Soldier's Fortune, a Comedy, acted at the Duke's Theatre, 1681.
This play is dedicated to Mr. Bentley his Bookseller; for the copy
money, as he tells us himself, see Boccace's Novels, Scarron's
Romances.

8. The Atheist, or the Second Part of the Soldier's Fortune, a Comedy,
acted at the Duke of York's Theatre, 1684, dedicated to Lord Eland,
the eldest son to the Marquis of Hallifax.

9. Venice Preserved, or a Plot Discovered, a Tragedy, acted at the
Duke's Theatre, 1685, dedicated to the Duchess of Portsmouth. Of this
we have already given some account, and it is so frequently acted,
that any enlargement would be impertinent. It is certainly one of the
most moving plays upon the English stage; the plot from a little book,
giving an account of the Conspiracy of the Spaniards against Venice.

Besides his plays, he wrote several poems, viz.

The Poet's Complaint to his Muse, or a Satire against Libels, London;
1680, in 4to.

Windsor Castle, or a Monument to King Charles the Second.

Miscellany Poems, containing a New Translation of Virgil's Eclogues,
Ovid's Elegies, Odes of Horace, London 1864. He translated likewise
the Epistle of Phaedra to Hyppolitus, printed in the Translation of
Ovid's Epistles, by several hands. He wrote the Prologue to Mrs.
Bhon's City Heiress. Prefixed to Creechis Lucretius, there is a copy
of verses written by Mr. Otway, in praise of that translation.

                *        *        *        *        *




                             JOHN OLDHAM.


This eminent satyrical poet, was the son of the reverend Mr. John
Oldham, a nonconformist minister, and grandson to Mr. John Oldham,
rector of Nun-Eaton, near Tedbury in Gloucestershire. He was born at
Shipton (where his father had a congregation, near Tedbury, and in the
same county) on the 9th of August 1653. He was educated in grammar
learning, under the care of his father, till he was almost fitted for
the university; and to be compleatly qualified for that purpose, he
was sent to Tedbridge school, where he spent about two years under the
tuition of Mr. Henry Heaven, occasioned by the earnest request of
alderman Yeats of Bristol, who having a son at the same school, was
desirous that Mr. Oldham should be his companion, which he imagined
would much conduce to the advancement of his learning. This for some
time retarded Oldham in the prosecution of his own studies, but for
the time he lost in forwarding Mr. Yeat's son, his father afterwards
made him an ample amends. Mr. Oldham being sent to Edmund Hall in
Oxford, was committed to the care of Mr. William Stephens: of which
hall he became a bachelor in the beginning of June 1670. He was soon
observed to be a good latin scholar, and chiefly addicted himself to
the study of poetry, and other polite acquirements[1]. In the year
1674, he took the degree of bachelor of arts, but left the university
before he compleated that degree by determination, being much against
his inclination compelled to go home and live for some time with his
father. The next year he was very much afflicted for the death of his
dear friend, and constant companion, Mr. Charles Mervent, as appears
by his ode upon that occasion. In a short time after he became usher
to the free-school at Croyden in Surry. Here it was, he had the honour
of receiving a visit from the earl of Rochester, the earl of Dorset,
Sir Charles Sedley, and other persons of distinction, meerly upon the
reputation of some verses which they had seen in manuscript. The
master of the school was not a little surprized, at such a visit, and
would fain have taken the honour of it to himself, but was soon
convinced that he had neither wit nor learning enough to make a party
in such company. This adventure was no doubt very happy for Mr.
Oldham, as it encreased his reputation and gained him the countenance
of the Great, for after about three years continuance at Croyden
school, he was recommended by his good friend Harman Atwood, Esq; to
Sir Edward Thurland, a judge, near Rygate in the same county, who
appointed him tutor to his two grandsons. He continued in this family
till 1680. After this he was sometime tutor to a son of Sir William
Hicks, a gentleman living within three or four miles of London, who
was intimately acquainted with a celebrated Physician, Dr. Richard
Lower, by whose peculiar friendship and encouragement, Mr. Oldham at
his leisure hours studied physic for about a year, and made some
progress in it, but the bent of his poetical genius was too strong to
become a proficient in any school but that of the muses. He freely
acknowledges this in a letter to a friend, written in July 1678.

  While silly I, all thriving arts refuse,      }
  And all my hopes, and all my vigour lose,     }
  In service of the worst of jilts a muse.      }
         *       *       *       *       *
  Oft I remember, did wise friends dissuade,
  And bid me quit the trifling barren trade.
  Oft have I tryed (heaven knows) to mortify
  This vile and wicked bent of poetry;
  But still unconquered it remains within,
  Fixed as a habit, or some darling sin.
  In vain I better studies there would sow;
  Oft have I tried, but none will thrive or grow.
  All my best thoughts, when I'd most serious be,
  Are never from its foul infection free:
  Nay God forgive me when I say my prayers,
  I scarce can help polluting them with verse.
  The fab'lous wretch of old revers'd I seem,
  Who turn whatever I touch to dross of rhime.

Our author had not been long in London, before he was found out by the
noblemen who visited him at Croyden, and who now introduced him to the
acquaintance of Mr. Dryden. But amongst the Men of quality he was most
affectionately caressed by William Earl of Kingston, who made him an
offer of becoming his chaplain; but he declined an employment, to
which servility and dependence are so necessarily connected. The
writer of his life observes, that our author in his satire addressed
to a friend, who was about to quit the university, and came abroad
into the world, lets his friend know, that he was frighted from the
thought of such an employment, by the scandalous sort of treatment
which often accompanies it. This usage deters men of generous minds
from placing themselves in such a station of life; and hence persons
of quality are frequently excluded from the improving, agreeable
conversation of a learned and obsequious friend. In this satire Mr.
Oldham writes thus,

  Some think themselves exalted to the sky,
  If they light on some noble family.
  Diet and horse, and thirty-pounds a year,
  Besides the advantage of his lordship's ear.
  The credit of the business and the state,
  Are things that in a youngster's sense found great.
  Little the unexperienced wretch does know,
  What slavery he oft must undergo;
  Who tho' in silken stuff, and cassoc drest,
  Wears but a gayer livery at best.
  When diner calls, the implement must wait,
  With holy words to consecrate the meat;
  But hold it for a favour seldom known,
  If he be deign'd the honour to sit down.
  Soon as the tarts appear, Sir Crape withdraw,
  Those dainties are not for a spiritual maw.
  Observe your distance, and be sure to stand
  Hard by the cistern, with your cap in hand:
  There for diversion you may pick your teeth,
  Till the kind voider comes for your relief,
  For meer board wages, such their freedom sell,
  Slaves to an hour, and vassals to a bell:
  And if th' employments of one day be stole,
  They are but prisoners out upon parole:
  Always the marks of slavery remain,
  And they tho' loose, still drag about their chain.
  And where's the mighty prospect after all,
  A chaplainship serv'd up, and seven years thrall?
  The menial thing, perhaps for a reward,
  Is to some slender benefice prefer'd,
  With this proviso bound that he must wed,     }
  My lady's antiquated waiting maid,            }
  In dressing only skill'd, and marmalade.      }
  Let others who such meannesses can brook,
  Strike countenance to ev'ry great man's look:
  Let those, that have a mind, turn slave to eat,
  And live contented by another's plate:
  I rate my freedom higher, nor will I,
  For food and rayment track my liberty.
  But if I must to my last shift be put,
  To fill a bladder, and twelve yards of gut,
  Richer with counterfeited wooden leg,
  And my right arm tyed up, I'll choose to beg.
  I'll rather choose to starve at large, than be,
  The gaudiest vassal to dependancy.

The above is a lively and animated description of the miseries of a
slavish dependance on the great, particularly that kind of
mortification which a chaplain must undergo. It is to be lamented,
that gentlemen of an academical education should be subjected to
observe so great a distance from those, over whom in all points of
learning and genius they may have a superiority. Tho' in the very
nature of things this must necessarily happen, yet a high spirit
cannot bear it, and it is with pleasure we can produce Oldham, as one
of those poets who have spurned dependence, and acted consistent with
the dignity of his genius, and the lustre of his profession.

When the earl of Kingston found that Mr. Oldham's spirit was too high
to accept his offer of chaplainship, he then caressed him as a
companion, and gave him an invitation to his house at Holmes-Pierpont,
in Nottinghamshire. This invitation Mr. Oldham accepted, and went into
the country with him, not as a dependant but friend; he considered
himself as a poet, and a clergyman, and in consequence of that, he did
not imagine the earl was in the least degraded by making him his bosom
companion. Virgil was the friend of Maecenas, and shone in the court of
Augustus, and if it should be observed that Virgil was a greater poet
than Oldham, it may be answered, Maecenas was a greater man than the
Earl of Kingston, and the court of Augustus much more brilliant than
that of Charles II.

Our author had not been long at the seat of this Earl, before, being
seized with the small pox, he died December 9, 1683, in the 30th year
of his age, and was interred with the utmost decency, his lordship
attending as chief mourner, in the church there, where the earl soon
after erected a monument to his memory.--Mr. Oldham's works were
printed at London 1722, in two volumes 12mo. They chiefly consist of
Satires, Odes, Translations, Paraphrases of Horace, and other authors;
Elegiac Verses, Imitations, Parodies, Familiar Epistles, &c.--Mr.
Oldham was tall of stature, the make of his body very thin, his face
long, his nose prominent, his aspect unpromising, and satire was in
his eye. His constitution was very tender, inclined to a consumption,
and it was not a little injured by his study and application to
learned authors, with whom he was greatly conversant, as appears from
his satires against the Jesuits, in which there is discovered as much
learning as wit. In the second volume of the great historical,
geographical, and poetical Dictionary, he is stiled the Darling of the
Muses, a pithy, sententious, elegant, and smooth writer: "His
translations exceed the original, and his invention seems matchless.
His satire against the Jesuits is of special note; he may be justly
said to have excelled all the satirists of the age." Tho' this
compliment in favour of Oldham is certainly too hyperbolical, yet he
was undoubtedly a very great genius; he had treasured in his mind an
infinite deal of knowledge, which, had his life been prolonged, he
might have produced with advantage, for his natural endowments seem to
have been very great: But he is not more to be reverenced as a Poet,
than for that gallant spirit of Independence he discovered, and that
magnaninity [sic] which scorned to stoop to any servile submissions
for patronage: He had many admirers among his contemporaries, of whom
Mr. Dryden professed himself one, and has done justice to his memory
by some excellent verses, with which we shall close this account.

  Farewel too little, and too lately known,
  Whom I began to think, and call my own;
  For sure our souls were near allied, and thine
  Cast in the same poetic mould with mine.
  One common note on either lyre did strike,
  And knaves and tools were both abhorred alike.
  To the same goal did both our studies drive,
  The last set out, the soonest did arrive,
  Thus Nisus fell upon the slippery place,
  While his young friend perform'd and won the race.
  O early ripe! to thy abundant store,
  What could advancing age have added more?
  It might, what nature never gives the young,
  Have taught the numbers of thy native tongue.
  But satire needs not those, and wit will shine,
  Thro' the harsh cadence of a rugged line:
  A noble error, and but seldom made,
  When poets are by too much force betray'd.
  Thy gen'rous fruits, tho' gather'd e'er their prime,       }
  Still shewed a quickness; and maturing time                }
  But mellows what we write to the dull sweets of rhime.     }
  Once more, hail and farewel: Farewel thou young,
  But ah! too short, Marcellus of our tongue;
  Thy brows with ivy, and with laurels bound,
  But fate, and gloomy night encompass thee around.

Footnote:
1. Life of Mr. Oldham, prefixed to his works, vol. i. edit. Lond.
   1722.

                *        *        *        *        *





               (DILLON) (WENTWORTH) Earl of ROSCOMMON,


This nobleman was born in Ireland during the lieutenancy of the earl
of Strafford, in the reign of King Charles I. Lord Strafford was his
godfather, and named him by his own surname. He passed some of his
first years in his native country, till the earl of Strafford
imagining, when the rebellion first broke out, that his father who had
been converted by archbishop Usher to the Protestant religion, would
be exposed to great danger, and be unable to protect his family, sent
for his godson, and placed him at his own seat in Yorkshire, under the
tuition, of Dr. Hall, afterwards bishop of Norwich; by whom he was
instructed in Latin, and without learning the common rules of grammar,
which he could never retain in his memory, he attained to write in
that language with classical elegance and propriety, and with so much
ease, that he chose it to correspond with those friends who had
learning sufficient to support the commerce. When the earl of
Strafford was prosecuted, lord Roscommon went to Caen in Normandy, by
the advice of bishop Usher, to continue his studies under Bochart,
where he is said to have had an extraordinary impulse of his father's
death, which is related by Mr. Aubrey in his miscellany, 'Our author
then a boy of about ten years of age, one day was as it were madly
extravagant, in playing, getting over the tables, boards, &c. He was
wont to be sober enough. They who observed him said, God grant this
proves no ill luck to him. In the heat of this extravagant fit, he
cries out my father is dead. A fortnight after news came from Ireland,
that his father was dead. This account I had from Mr. Knowles who was
his governor, and then with him, since secretary to the earl of
Strafford; and I have heard his Lordship's relations confirm the
same.'

The ingenious author of lord Roscommon's life, publish'd in the
Gentleman's Magazine for the month of May, 1748, has the following
remarks on the above relation of Aubrey's.

'The present age is very little inclined to favour any accounts of
this sort, nor will the name of Aubrey much recommend it to credit; it
ought not however to be omitted, because better evidence of a fact is
not easily to be found, than is here offered, and it must be, by
preserving such relations, that we may at least judge how much they
are to be regarded. If we stay to examine this account we shall find
difficulties on both sides; here is a relation of a fact given by a
man who had no interest to deceive himself; and here is on the other
hand a miracle which produces no effect; the order of nature is
interrupted to discover not a future, but only a distant event, the
knowledge of which is of no use to him to whom it is revealed. Between
these difficulties what way shall be found? Is reason or testimony to
be rejected? I believe what Osborne says of an appearance of sanctity,
may be applied to such impulses, or anticipations. "Do not wholly
slight them, because they may be true; but do not easily trust them,
because they may be false."'

Some years after he travelled to Rome, where he grew familiar with the
most valuable remains of antiquity, applying himself particularly to
the knowledge of medals, which he gained in great perfection, and
spoke Italian with so much grace and fluency, that he was frequently
mistaken there for a native. He returned to England upon the
restoration of King Charles the IId, and was made captain of the band
of pensioners, an honour which tempted him to some extravagancies. In
the gaieties of that age (says Fenton) he was tempted to indulge a
violent passion for gaming, by which he frequently hazarded his life
in duels, and exceeded the bounds of a moderate fortune. This was the
fate of many other men whose genius was of no other advantage to them,
than that it recommended them to employments, or to distinction, by
which the temptations to vice were multiplied, and their parts became
soon of no other use, than that of enabling them to succeed in
debauchery.

A dispute about part of his estate, obliging him to return to Ireland,
he resigned his post, and upon his arrival at Dublin, was made captain
of the guards to the duke of Ormond.

When he was at Dublin he was as much as ever distempered with the same
fatal affection for play, which engaged him in one adventure, which
well deserves to be related. 'As he returned to his lodgings from a
gaming table, he was attacked in the dark by three ruffians, who were
employed to assassinate him. The earl defended himself with so much
resolution, that he dispatched one of the aggressors, while a
gentleman accidentally passing that way interposed, and disarmed
another; the third secured himself by flight. This generous assistant
was a disbanded officer of a good family and fair reputation; who by
what we call partiality of fortune, to avoid censuring the iniquities
of the times, wanted even a plain suit of clothes to make a decent
appearance at the castle; but his lordship on this occasion presenting
him to the duke of Ormond, with great importunity prevailed with his
grace that he might resign his post of captain of the guards to his
friend, which for about three years the gentleman enjoyed, and upon
his death, the duke returned the commission to his generous
benefactor.'[1]

His lordship having finished his affairs in Ireland, he returned to
London, was made master of the horse to the dutchess of York, and
married the lady Frances, eldest daughter of the earl of Burlington,
and widow of colonel Courtnay.

About this time, in imitation of those learned and polite assemblies,
with which he had been acquainted abroad; particularly one at Caen,
(in which his tutor Bochartus died suddenly while he was delivering an
oration) he began to form a society for refining and fixing the
standard of our language. In this design, his great friend Mr. Dryden
was a particular assistant; a design, says Fenton, of which it is much
more easy to conceive an agreeable idea, than any rational hope ever
to see it brought to perfection. This excellent design was again set
on foot, under the ministry of the earl of Oxford, and was again
defeated by a conflict of parties, and the necessity of attending only
to political disquisitions, for defending the conduct of the
administration, and forming parties in the Parliament. Since that time
it has never been mentioned, either because it has been hitherto a
sufficient objection, that it was one of the designs of the earl of
Oxford, by whom Godolphin was defeated; or because the statesmen who
succeeded him have not more leisure, and perhaps less taste for
literary improvements. Lord Roscommon's attempts were frustrated by
the commotions which were produced by King James's endeavours to
introduce alterations in religion. He resolved to retire to Rome,
alledging, 'it was best to sit next the chimney when the chamber
smoaked.'

It will, no doubt, surprize many of the present age, and be a just
cause of triumph to them, if they find that what Roscommon and Oxford
attempted in vain, shall be carried into execution, in the most
masterly manner, by a private gentleman, unassisted, and unpensioned.
The world has just reason to hope this from the publication of an
English Dictionary, long expected, by Mr. Johnson; and no doubt a
design of this sort, executed by such a genius, will be a lasting
monument of the nation's honour, and that writer's merit.

Lord Roscommon's intended retreat into Italy, already mentioned, on
account of the troubles in James the IId's reign, was prevented by the
gout, of which he was so impatient, that he admitted a repellent
application from a French empyric, by which his distemper was driven
up into his bowels, and put an end to his life, in 1684.

Mr. Fenton has told us, that the moment in which he expired, he cried
out with a voice, that expressed the most intense fervour of devotion,

  My God! my father, and my friend!
  Do not forsake me, at my end.

Two lines of his own version of the hymn, Dies irae, Dies illa.

The same Mr. Fenton, in his notes upon Waller, has given Roscommon a
character too general to be critically just. 'In his writings, says
he, we view the image of a mind, which was naturally serious and
solid, richly furnished, and adorned with all the ornaments of art and
science; and those ornaments unaffectedly disposed in the most regular
and elegant order. His imagination might have probably been fruitful
and sprightly, if his judgment had been less severe; but that severity
(delivered in a masculine, clear, succinct stile) contributed to make
him so eminent in the didactical manner, that no man with justice can
affirm he was ever equalled by any of our nation, without confessing
at the same time, that he is inferior to none. In some other kinds of
writing his genius seems to have wanted fire to attain the point of
perfection: but who can attain it?'

From this account of the riches of his mind, who would not imagine
that they had been displayed in large volumes, and numerous
performances? Who would not, after the perusal of this character, be
surprized to find, that all the proofs of this genius, and knowledge
and judgment, are not sufficient to form a small volume? But thus it
is, that characters are generally written: We know somewhat, and we
imagine the rest. The observation that his imagination would have
probably been more fruitful and sprightly, if his judgment had been
less severe; might, if we were inclined to cavil, be answer'd by a
contrary supposition, that his judgment would have been less severe,
if his imagination had been more fruitful. It is ridiculous to oppose
judgment and imagination to each other; for it does not appear, that
men have necessarily less of the one, as they have more of the other.

We must allow, in favour of lord Roscommon, what Fenton has not
mentioned so distinctly as he ought, and what is yet very much to his
honour, That he is perhaps the only correct writer in verse before
Addison; and that if there are not so many beauties in his
composition, as in those of some of his contemporaries, there are at
least fewer faults. Nor is this his highest praise; for Mr. Pope has
celebrated him as the only moral writer in Charles the IId's reign.

  Unhappy Dryden--in all Charles's days,
  Roscommon only boasts unspotted lays.

Mr. Dryden speaking of Roscommon's essay on translated verse, has the
following observation: 'It was that, says he, that made me uneasy,
till I tried whether or no I was capable of following his rules, and
of reducing the speculation into practice. For many a fair precept in
poetry, is like a seeming demonstration in mathematics: very specious
in the diagram, but failing in mechanic operation. I think I have
generally observed his instructions. I am sure my reason is
sufficiently convinced both of their truth and usefulness; which in
other words is to confess no less a vanity, than to pretend that I
have at least in some places made examples to his rules.'

This declaration of Dryden will be found no more than one of those
cursory civilities, which one author pays to another; and that kind of
compliment for which Dryden was remarkable. For when the sum of lord
Roscommon's precepts is collected, it will not be easy to discover how
they can qualify their reader for a better performance of translation,
than might might have been attained by his own reflexions.

They are however here laid down:


  'Tis true composing is the nobler part,
  But good translation is no easy art:
  For tho' materials have long since been found,
  Yet both your fancy and your hands are bound;
  And by improving what was writ before,
  Invention labours less, but judgment more.
    Each poet with a different talent writes,
  One praises, one instructs, another bites.
  Horace did ne'er aspire to epic bays
  Nor lofty Maro stoop to lyric lays.
  Examine how your humour is inclin'd,
  And watch the ruling passion of your mind.
  Then seek a poet, who your way does bend.
  And chuse an author, as you chuse a friend.
  United by this sympathetic bond,
  You grow familiar, intimate, and fond;
  Your thoughts, your words, your stiles, your souls agree,
  No longer his interpreter, but he.
    Take then a subject, proper to expound
         *       *       *       *       *
  But moral, great, and worth a poet's voice,
  For men of sense, despise a trivial choice:
  And such applause, it must expect to meet
  As would some painter busy in the street;
  To copy bulls, and bears, and every sign
  That calls the staring sots to nasty wine.
    Take pains the genuine meaning to explore,
  There sweat, there strain, tug the laborious oar:
  Search every comment, that your care can find.
  Some here, some there, may hit the poet's mind.
  Yet, be not blindly guided by the throng,
  The multitude is always in the wrong.
  When things appear unnatural, or hard,
  Consult your author, with himself compar'd.
  Who knows what blessings Phaebus may bestow,
  And future ages to your labours owe?
  Such secrets are not easily found out,
  But once discovered leave no room for doubt.
  Truth stamps conviction in your ravish'd breast,
  And peace and joy attend the glorious guest.
    They who too faithfully on names insist;
  Rather create, than dissipate the mist:
  And grow unjust by being over nice,
  (For superstition, virtue turns to vice)
  Let Crassus ghost, and Labienus tell
  How twice in Parthian plains their legions fell,
  Since Rome hath been so jealous of her fame,
  That few know Pacorus, or Monaeses name.
    And 'tis much safer to leave out than add
         *       *       *       *       *
  Abstruse and mystic thoughts, you must express,           }
  With painful care, but seeming easiness;                  }
  For truth shines brightest, thro' the plainest dress,     }
  Your author always will the best advise,
  Fall when he falls, and when he rises, rise.

Nothing could have induced us to have laboured thro' so great a number
of cold unspirited lines, but in order to shew, that the rules which
my lord has laid down are meerly common place, and must unavoidably
occur to the mind of the most ordinary reader. They contain no more
than this; that the author should be suitable to the translator's
genius; that he should be such as may deserve a translation; that he
who intends to translate him, should endeavour to understand him; that
perspicuity should be studied, and unusual or uncouth names, sparingly
inserted; and that the stile of the original should be copied in its
elevation and depression. These are the common-place rules delivered
without elegance, or energy, which have been so much celebrated, but
how deservedly, let our unprepossess'd readers judge.

Roscommon was not without his merit; he was always chaste, and
sometimes harmonious; but the grand requisites of a poet, elevation,
fire, and invention, were not given him, and for want of these,
however pure his thoughts, he is a languid unentertaining writer.

Besides this essay on translated verse, he is the author of a
translation of Horace's Art of poetry; with some other little poems,
and translations published in a volume of the minor poets.

Amongst the MSS. of Mr. Coxeter, we found lord Roscommon's translation
of Horace's Art of Poetry, with some sketches of alterations he
intended to make; but they are not great improvements; and this
translation, of all his lordship's pieces, is the most unpoetical.

Footnote:
1. Fenton.




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