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his niece or daughter, and a surrender of all her fortune.-- This farce was acted at Pembroke College-Hall, the parlour of which made the Green Room."
In 1747, Smart took the degree of master of arts, and became a candidate for the Seatonian prize, which was adjudged to him for five years, four of them in suc. cession. The subjects of his poems were~The Eternity-March 25, 1750 ;—The Immensity, April 20, 1751 ;–The Omniscience-Nov. 2, 1752 ;–The PowerDec. 5, 1753; and the Goodness of the Supreme Being-Oct. 28, 1755.
It is probable he might have succeeded in the year 1754, but his thoughts were for some time diverted by an important change in his situation. In 1753 he quit. ted college, on his marriage with Miss Ann Maria Cargan, the daughter by a fore mer husband of Mary, wife of the late worthy Mr. John Newbery. He had been introduced to this gentleman's family by Dr. Burney, the celebrated author of the History of Music, who composed several of Smart's songs, and enriched the collection of his works published in 1791, with some original compositions not geperally known to belong to our poct.
Before this time Smart had occasionally visited London, and had relinquished the prospects of any regular profession. In 1751 he published his Seatonian poem on the Immensity of the Supreme Being; and about the same time appears to have been engaged with Newbery in a general scheme of authorship. He had a ready turn for original compositions both in prose and verse, and as Newbery projected many works in the form of periodical miscellanies, must have been an useful co. adjutor. During the years 1750 and 1751, he was a frequent contributor to the Student, or Oxford and Cambridge Miscellany, and carried on at the same time The Midwife, or the Old Woman's Magazine, a small periodical pamphlet, which was published in threepenny numbers, and was afterwards collected into three vo. lumes 12o. Smart and Newbery were almost the sole writers in this last work, which consists of short pieces in prose and verse, mostly of the humorous kind, and generally in a style of humour which in our more polished days would be reckoned somewhat coarse.
During the publication of the Midwife, he wrote the prologue and epilogue to Othello, when acted at Drury-lane theatre by the Delaval family and their friends. of the importaoce of this prologue and epilogue he had so high an opinion, that when he published them in March 1751, he added a solemn notice of their being entered in the hall-book of the Stationers' Company, and threatened to prosecute all persons who should pirate them, or any part of them. As he affected to conceal his share in the Midwife, he permits the old lady to copy these articles “ because a work of merit printed in that magazine is as a brilliant set in gold, and increased not diminished in its lustre.” It would be trifling to notice these little matters, did they not throw some light on the character and pursuits of our author. He was now fast acquiring the various arts of puffing, and he ever preserved a much bigher opinion of his works, than even his best friends could allow to be just.Among other schemes to which it is to be regretted a man of talents should des scend, we find him about the beginning of the year 1752, endeavouring to amuse the town with a kind of farcical performance, called The Old Woman's Oratory, ibtended partly to ridicule Orator Henley's buffooneries, and partly to promote
the sale of the Old Woman's Magazine. In neither of these was he very success.
In 1752, he published a collection of his poems, in 4to. in an elegant and rather expensive form; and although they not only received the raise due to them, but the very flattering decision, that in point of genius he might rank with Gray and Mason, yet as this opinion was qualified by some objections, he immediately became the implacable enemy of reviews and reviewers. He supposed at the same time, what we believe is very improbable, that Dr. afterwards Sir John Hill, was the author of the criticism on his poems, in the Monthly Review, and determined to take his retenge for this and the other offences committed by Hill, by publishing a poem which had bcen written previously to this affair, entitled the Hilliad. Of this Book First made its appearance accordingly in the beginning of the year 1753'.
The Hilliad, which is perhaps one of the most bitter satirés ever published, would afford a very unfavourable opinion of our author's character, had it not been an attack on a man who had rendered himself ridiculous and contemptible by practising with unblushing effrontery every species of literary and medical quackery. Ac. cording to Smart, IIill gave the first public provocation in one of his Inspectors, where he accuses Smart of ingratitude. Hill alleged that he had been the cause of Smart's being brought up to town: that he had been at all times his friend, and had supported his character; and, that long before he appcared as Inspector, he spoke well of those pieces, on the merit of which Smart's fortunc at that time depended : he hints also among other favours, that he had been the mcans of introducing him to Newbery ; and for all this, the only return Smart made was by an abusive poem, " a long elaborate work, which he has read at alehouses ard cyder cellárs, and if any bookseller will run the risk, will publish.”
To this heavy accusation, Smart pleaded not guilty in toto, solemnly declaring in an advertisement in the Daily Gazetteer, that he never received the least favour from Hill, directly or indirectly, unless an invitation to dinner which he never accepted, might be reckoned such. He denied at the same time ever having been in his company but twice, the first time at Mr. Newbery's, the second at Vauxhall gårdens; and assorts that Hill had been his enemy as much as it was in his power, particularly iw the Impertinent, another of his papers, in which he abuses
3 Abont tbe end of 1759, be published the Seatonian prize on the Omniscience.C. 4 Inspector, Dec, 7, 1752. $ This paper went to farther than one number.-C.
not only Smart, but Fielding, who was his particularfriend. This declaration was corroborated by an advertisement from honest Newbery, who adds that he in. troduced Smart to Hill, six months after the fornier had engaged with himself (Newbery) in business, when they met as perfect strangers. With respect to Hill's assertion that he had been the means of introducing Smart to Mr. Newbery, the latter declares it to be an absolute falsehood.
The truth was, that IIill pretended to take the part of our poet in the Inspector, which he was known to write, while he abused bim in the Impertinent, the author of which, he flattered himself, was not known. But it was among the misfortunes of this archquack, although advantageous to the public, that whatever disguise he put on was always too thin to elude the penetration of his contemporaries. This trick in particular had been discovered by the reviewer of books in the Gentleman's Magazine, five months before the Inspector appeared, in which he accused Smart of ingratitude. We are not therefore to wonder that the discovery of such malignant Aypocrisy stimulated Smart to write the Hilliad, which it appears he first read or circulated in manuscript among his friends. But whatever praise they bestowed on the genius displayed in this satire, they were not pleased that he had involved himself in a war of obloquy with one whom to conquer was to exceed in the worst part of his charactér; and Smart probably listened to their opinions, for he pub. lished no more of the Hilliad 6. IIill had the credit of writing a Smartiad, which served no other purpose than to set off the merit of the other.
In 1754, Smart published the Seatonian prize poem on the Power, and in 1756, that on the Goodness of the Supreme Being?; and in the same year his Hymn to the Supreme Being, on recovery from a dangerous fit of illness; which illness, if I mis. take not, filled up the space between the years 1754 and part of 1756. “ Though the fortunc,” says his biographer, “as well as the constitution of Mr. Smart require ed the utmost care, he was equally negligent in the management of both, and his various and repeated embarrassments acting upon an imagination uncommonly fervid, produced temporary alienations of mind; which at last were attended with paroxysms so violent and continued as to render confinement necessary. In this melancholy state, his family, for he had now two children, must have been much embarrassed in their circumstances, but for the kind friendship and assistance of Mr. Newbery. Many other of Mr. Smart's acquaintance were likewise forward in their services; and particularly Dr. Samuel Johnson, who on the first approaches of Mr. Smart's malady, wrote several papers for a periodical publication in which that gentleman was concerned, to secure his claim to a share in the profits of it."
The publication alluded to was the Universal Visitor and Memorialist, published by Gardner, a bookseller in the Strand. Smart and Rolt, a much inferior writer, are said to have entered into an engagement to write for this magazine, and for no other work whatever; for this they were to have a third of the profits, and the contract was to be binding for ninety nine years. In Boswell's Life of John. son, we find this contract discussed with more gravity than it seems to deserve. It was probably a contrivance of Gardner's to secure the services of two irregular men for a certain period. Johnson, however, wrote a few papers for our poet; 66 not then,” he added,“ knowing the terms on which Smart was engaged to write, and thinking I was doing him good. I hoped his wits would soon return to him. Mine returned to me, and I wrote in the Universal Visitor no longer." The pube lication ceased in about two years from its commencement.
In his letter prefixed to the Hilliad, he intimates that he liad no intention of carrying it further; and adds that he would rather be commended to posterity by the elegant and amiable muses, than by the satiric sister.-C.
1 llis biographer informs us that he delayed so long to undertake this poem, that there was barely opportunity to write it upon paper, and send it to Cambridge by the most expeditious conveyance, within the time limited for receiving the compositions.ac.
Smart's madness, according to Dr. Johnson's account, discovered itself chiefly in unnecessary deviations from the usual modes of the world, in things that are not improper in themselves. He would fall upon his knees and say his prayers in the street, or in any unusual place, and insisted on people praying with him. His habits were also remarkably slovenly: but he had not often symptoms of dangerous lunacy, and the principal reason of his confinement was to give his constitution a chance of recovering from the effects of intemperance.
After his release, when his mind appeared to be in some measure restored, he took a pleasant lodging in the neighbourhood of St. James's Park, and conducted his affairs for some time with prudence. He was maintained partly by his litc. rary occupations, and partly by the generosity of his friends, receiving among other benefactions, fifty pounds a year from the Treasury, but by whose interest his biographer was not able to discover. In 1757, he published a prose translation of the works of Horace. From this performance he could derive little fame. He professes, indeed, that he had been encouraged to think that such a translation would be useful to those who are desirous of acquiring or recovering a competent knowledge of the Latio tongue, but the injury done to learners by literal translations was at this time too generally acknowledged to allow him the full force of this apology. His sentiments on the undertaking, when he came to reflect more seriously, will appear hereafter in a letter from Dr. Hawkesworth.
In what manner he lived for some time after this, we are not told. It was in 1759 that Garrick gave him the profits of a benefit before mentioned, when it appears that he was again involved in pecuniary distresses. In 1763, he published a song to Da. vid, in which there are some passages of more majestic animation than in any of his former pieces, and others in which the expression is mean, and the sentiments un. worthy of the poet or the subject. These inequalities will not, however, surprize the reader when he is told that this piece was composed by him during his confinement, when he was debarred the use of pen, ink and paper, and was obliged to indent his lines with the end of a key, upon the wainscot. This poem was not admitted into the edition of his works published in 1791, but the grandeur and originality of the following thoughts will apologize for my introducing in this place the only part of it, I have been able to recover, and for which I am in. debted to the Monthly Review.
“ Sublime - invention ever young,
Of vast conception, tow'ring tongue,
To God th' eternal theme;
For all the pangs that rage:
Th’ Abishag of his age.
On which all strength depends;
Commences, reigns, and ends.
Dale, champaign, grove and hill :
And wisdom hides her skill.
And, smitten to the heart,
Replied, “O Lord, THOU ART.”
In the same year he published a smaller miscellany of poems on several occasions, at the conclusion of which he complains again of the Reviewers, and betrays that irritability of self conceit which is frequently observed to precede, and sometimes to accompany derangement of mind. In other respects these poems added little to his fame, and except one or two have not been reprinted..
In 1764, he published Hannah, an oratorio, the music of which was composed by Worgan, and soon after in the same year an Ode to the Earl of Northumbera land, on his being appointed lord lieutenant of Ireland, with some other pieces. In all these his imagination, although occasionally fine, went often into wild ex. cesses, and evinced that his mind had never recovered its sober tone. The fol-5 lowing letter from Dr. Hawkesworth, already mentioned, to Mrs. Hunter, one of Smart's sisters, affords an interesting display of his general conduct and sentiments at this time.
« Dear Madam,
“ I am afraid that you have before now secretly accused me, and I confess that appearances are against me: I did not, however, delay to call upon Mr. Smart, but I was unfortunate enough twice to miss him. I was the third day of my being in town seized with a fever that was then epidemic, from which I am but just recovered. I bare since my being in towo this second time called on my