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Philips is full of the noblest beauties, and hath | disposal of his friends, whose most rigorous cendone justice to the ashes of that second Milton, sures he even courted and solicited, submitting whose writings will last as long as the English to their animadversions and the freedom they language, generosity, and valour. For him Mr. took with them with an unreserved and prudent Smith had contracted a perfect friendship; a resignation. passion he was most susceptible of, and whose I have seen sketches and rough draughts of laws he looked upon as sacred and inviolable. some poems to be designed set out analytically;
Every subject that passed under his pen had wherein the fable, structure, and connexion, the all the life, proportion, and embellishments, be- images, incidents, moral, episodes, and a great stowed on it, which an exquisite skill, a warm variety of ornaments, were so finely laid out, so imagination, and a cool judgment, possibly could well fitted to the rules of art, and squared so ex, bestow on it. The epic, lyric, elegiac, every sort actly to the precedents of the ancients, that I of poetry he touched upon, (and he touched upon have often looked on these poetical elements a great variety,) was raised to its proper height, with the same concern with which curious men and the differences between each of them ob- are affected at the sight of the most entertaining served with a judicious accuracy. We saw the remains and ruins of an antique figure or buildold rules and new beauties placed in admirable ing. Those fragments of the learned, which order by each other; and there was a predomi- some men have been so proud of their pains in nant fancy and spirit of his own infused, supe-callecting, are useless rarities, without form and rior to what some draw off from the ancients, or without life, when compared with these emfrom poesies here and there culled out of the bryos, which wanted noi spirit enough to premoderns, by a painful industry and servile imita- serve them; so that I cannot help thinking that tion. His contrivances were adroit and magni- if some of them were to come abroad they would ficent;
his images lively and adequate; his sen- be as highly valued by the poets as the sketches timents charming and majestic; his expressions of Julio and Titian are by the painters; though natural and bold; his numbers various and there is nothing in them but a few outlines, as to sounding; and that enamelled mixture of classi- the design and proportion, cal wit, which without redundance and affecta It must be confessed, that Mr. Smith had some tion sparkled through his writings, and were no defects in his conduct, which those are most apt less pertinent and agreeable.
to remember who could imitate him in nothing His “Phædra” is a consummate tragedy, and else, His freedom with himself drew severer the success of it was as great as the most san- acknowledgments from him than all the malice guine expectations of his friends could promise he ever provoked was capable of advancing, and or foresee. The number of nights, and the com- he did not scruple to give even his misfortunes mon method of filling the house, are not always the hard name of faults; but, if the world had the şurest marks of judging what encourage- half his good-nature, all the shady parts would ment a play meets with; but the generosity of be entirely struck out of his character. all the persons of a refined taste about town was A man who, under poverty, calamities, and remarkable on this occasion: and it must not be disappointments, could make so many friends, forgotten how zealously Mr. Addison espoused and those so truly valuable, must have just and his interest, with all the elegant judgment and noble ideas of the passion of friendship, in the diffusive good nature for which that accomplish- success of which consisted the greatest, if not ed gentleman and author is so justly valued by the only happiness of his life. He knew very mankind. But as to “ Phædra,” she has cer- well what was due to his birth, though fortune tainly made a finer figure under Mr. Smith's threw him short of it in every other circumstance conduct upon the English stage, than either in of life. He avoided making any, though perhaps Rome or Athens; and if she excels the Greek reasonable complaints of her dispensations, unand Latin “Phædra,” I need not say she sur- der which he had honour enough to be easy, passes the French one, though embellished with without touching the favours she Aung in his whatever regular beauties and moving softness way when offered to him at a price of a more duRacine himself could give her.
rable reputation. He took care to have no dealNo man had a juster notion of the difficulty ings with mankind in which he could not be just: of composing than Mr. Smith; and sometimes and he desired to be at no other expense in his he would create greater difficulties than he had pretensions than that of intrinsic merit, which was reason to apprehend. Writing with ease what the only burden and reproach he ever brought (as Mr. Wycherley speaks) may be easily writ- upon his friends. He could say, as Horace did ten, moved his indignation. When he was writ-of himself, what I never yet saw translated : ing upon a subject, he would seriously consider what Demosthenes, Homer, Virgil, or Horace,
Meo sum pauper in ære. if alive, would say upon that occasion, which At his coming to town, no man was more sur, whetted him to exceed himself as well as others. rounded by all those who really had or pretended Nevertheless, he could not or would not finish to wit, or more courted by the great men who several subjects he undertook : which may be had then a power and opportunity of encouraging imputed either to the briskness of his fancy, still arts and sciences, and gave proofs of their fondhunting after a new matter, or to an occasional ness for the name of patron in many instances, indolence, which spleen and lassitude brought which will ever be remembered to their glory upon him, which, of all his foibles, the world was Mr. Smith's character grew upon his friends by least inclined to forgive. That this was not owing intimacy, and outwent the strongest preposses: to conceit or vanity, or a fulness of himself, (a sions which had been conceived in his favour. frailty which has been imputed to no less men Whatever quarrel a few sour creptures, whose than Shakspeare and Jonson,) is clear from obscurity is their happiness, may possibly have hence; because he left his works to the entire to the age, yet amidst i. stud.co neglect and
total disuse of all those ceremonial attendances, Such is the declamation of Oldigworth, writfashionable equipments, and external recom- ten while his admiration was yet fresh, and his mendation, which are thought necessary intro- kindness warm; and therefore, such as, withductions into the grande monde, this gentleman out any criminal purpose of deceiving, shows a was so happy as still to please; and whilst the strong desire to make the most of all favourable rich, the gay, the noble, and honourable, saw truth. I cannot much commend the performhow much he excelled in wit and learning, they ance. The praise is often indistinct, and the easily forgave him all other differences. Hence sentences are loaded with words of more pomp it was that both his acquaintance and retire-than use. There is little, however, that can be ments were his own free choice. What Mr. contradicted, even when a plainer tale comes to Prior observes upon a very great character was be told. true of him, that most of his faults brought their excuse with them.
Edmund Neale, known by the name of Those who blamed him most understood him Smith, was born at Handley, the seat of the least, it being the custom of the vulgar to charge Lechmeres, in Worcestershire. The year of his an excess upon the most complaisant, and to birth is uncertain.* form a character by the moral of a few, who
He was educated at Westminster. It is known have sometimes spoiled an hour or two, in good to have been the practice of Dr. Busby to de. company. Where only fortune is wanting to tain those youth long at school of whom he had make a great name, that single exception can formed the highest expectations. Smith took never pass upon the best judges and most equi- his master's degree on the 8th of July, 1696; table observers of mankind; and wben the time he therefore was probably admitted into the Unicomes for the world to spare their pity, we may versity in 1689, when we may suppose him justly enlarge our demands upon them for their twenty years old. admiration.
His reputation for literature in his college was Some few years before his death, he had en- such as has been told; but the indecency and gaged himself in several considerable under licentiousness of his behaviour drew upon him, takings; in all which he had prepared the world Dec. 24, 1694, while he was yet only bachelor, to expect mighty things from him. I have seen a public admonition, entered upon record, in about ten sheets of his English Pindar, which order to his expulsion. Of this reproof the effect exceeded any thing of that kind I could ever is not known. He was probably less notorious. hope for in our language. He had drawn out At Oxford, as we all know, much will be fora plan of a tragedy of the Lady Jane Grey, and given to literary merit ; and of that he had exhad gone through several scenes of it
. But he hibited sufficient evidence by his excellent ode could not well have bequeathed that work to on the death of the great orientalist, Dr. Pobetter hands than where, I hear, it is at present cock, who died in 1691, and whose praise must lodged; and the bare mention of two such have been written by Smith when he had been names may justify the largest expectations, and but two years in the University. is sufficient to make the town an agreeable This ode, which closed the second volume of invitation.
the “Musæ Anglicanæ,” though perhaps some His greatest and noblest undertaking was objections may be made to its Latinity, is by far Longinus. He had finished an entire transla- the best lyric composition that collection; tion of the “Sublime,” which he sent to the nor do I know where to find it equalled among Reverend Mr. Richard Parker, a friend of his, the modern writers. It expresses, with great late of Merton College, an exact critic in the felicity, images not classical in classical diction; Greek tongue, from whom it came to my hands. its digressions and returns have been deservedly The French version of Monsieur Boileau, though recommended by Trapp as models for imitatruly valuable, was far short of it. He pro
tion. posed a large addition to this work, of notes and He had several imitations from Cowley : observations of his own, with an entire system of the Art of Poetry, in three books, under the
Quot lu, Pococki, dissimilis lui titles of Thought, Diction, and Figure. I saw
Orator effers, quot vicissim the last of these perfect, and in a fair copy, in
Te memores celebrare gaudent. which he showed prodigious judgment and I will not commend the figure which makes reading; and particularly had reformed the the orator pronounce the colours, or give to coArt of Rhetoric, by reducing that vast and con- lours memory and delight. I quote it, however, fused heap of terms, with which a long succes as an imitation of these lines : sion of pedants had cncumbered the world, to a
So many languages he had in store, very narrow compass, comprehending all that That only Fame shall speak of him in more. was useful and ornamental in poetry. Under each head and chapter he intended to make the fire of his youth, is compared to Átna flam
The simile, by which an old man, retaining remarks upon all the ancients and moderns, ing through the snow, which Smith has used with the Greek, Latin, English, French, Spanish, and great pomp, is stolen from Cowley, however Italian poets, and to note their several beauties little worth the labour of conveyance. and defects.
He proceeded to take his degree of master of What remains of his works is left, as I am arts, July 8, 1696. Of the exercises which he informed, in the hands of men of worth and performed on that occasion, I have not heard any judgment, who loved him. It cannot be sup- thing memorable. posed they would suppress any thing that was his, but out of respect to his memory, and for want of proper hands to finish what so great a years old when he died. He was consequently born in
By his epitaph he appears to have been forty-iwo genius had begun.
the year 1668.-R.
Testitur hinc tot sermo coloribus
As his years advanced, he advanced in repu- | violent conflict of parties, had a prologue and tation : for he continued to cultivate his mind, epilogue from the first wits on either side. though he did not amend his irregularities : by But learning and nature will now and then which he gave so much offence, that, April 24, take different courses. His play pleased the 1700, the Dean and Chapter declared "the place critics, and the critics only. It was, as Addison of Mr. Smith void, he having been convicted of has recorded, hardly heard the third night. riotous behaviour in the house of Mr. Cole, an Smith had indeed trusted entirely to his merit, apothecary; but it was referred to the Dean had ensured no band of applauders, nor used when and upon what occasion the sentence any artifice to force success, and found that nashould be put into execution.”
tive excellence was not sufficient for its own Thus tenderly was he treated : the governors support. of his college could hardly keep him, and yet The play, however, was bought by Lintot, wished that he would not force them to drive who advanced the price from fifty guineas, the him away
current rate, to sixty; and Halifax, the general Some time afterwards he assumed an appear- patron, accepted the dedication. Smith's indoance of decency: in his own phrase, he whitened lence kept him from writing the dedication, till himself
, having a desire to obtain the censorship, Lintot, after fruitless importunity, gave notice an office of honour and some profit in the cols that he would publish the play without it. Now, lege; but, when the election came, the prefer therefore, it was written ; and Halifax expected ence was given to Mr. Foulkes his junior; the the Author with his book, and had prepared to same, I suppose, that joined with Freind in an reward him with a place of three hundred pounds edition of part of Demosthenes. The censor is a-year. Smith, by pride, or caprice, or indoa tutor; and it was not thought proper to trust lence, or bashfulness, neglected to attend him, the superintendence of others to a man who though doubtless warned and pressed by his took so little care of himself.
friends, and at last missed his reward by not From this time Smith employed his malice going to solicit it. and his wit against the dean, Dr. Aldrich, whom Addison has, in the “Spectator,” mentioned he considered as the opponent of his claim. Of the neglect of Smith's tragedy as disgraceful to his lampoon upon him, I once heard a single line the nation, and imputes it to the fondness for too gross to be repeated.
operas then prevailing. The authority of AddiBut he was still a genius and a scholar, and son is great; yet the voice of the people, when Oxford was unwilling to lose him; he was en- to please the people is the purpose, deserves redured, with all his pranks and his vices, two gard. In this question, I cannot but think the years longer ; but, on Dec. 20, 1705, at the in- people in the right. The fable is mythological, stance of all the canons, the sentence declared a story which we are accustomed to reject as five years before was put in execution.
false ; and the manners are so distant from our The execution was, I believe, silent and ten- own, that we know them not from sympathy, der; for one of his friends, from whom I learned but by study; the ignorant do not understand much of his life, appeared not to know it. the action; the learned reject it as a schoolboy's
He was now driven to London, where he as- tale; incredulus odi. What I cannot for a mosociated himself with the whigs, whether be- ment believe, I cannot for a moment behold with cause they were in power, or because the tories interest or anxiety. The sentiments thus remote had expelled him, or because he was a whig by from life are removed yet farther by the diction, principle, may perhaps be doubted. He was, which is too luxuriant and splendid for dialogue, however, caressed by men of great abilities, and envelopes the thoughts rather than displays whatever were their party, and was supported them. It is a scholar's play, such as may please by the liberality of those who delighted in his the reader rather than the spectator; the work conversation.
of a vigorous and elegant mind, accustomed to There was once a design, hinted at by Oldis- please itself with its own conceptions, but of worth, to have made him useful. One evening, little acquaintance with the course of life. as he was sitting with a friend at a tavern, he Dennis tells us, in one of his pieces, that he was called down by the waiter; and, having had once a design to have written the tragedy of stayed some time below, came up thoughtful, “Phædra ;" but was convinced that the action After a pause, said he to his friend, “He that was too mythological. wanted me below was Addison, whose business In 1709, a year after the exhibition of “Phæ. was to tell me that a history of the Revolution dra,” died John Philips, the friend and fellowwas intended, and to propose that I should un-collegian of Smith, who, on that occasion, wrote dertake it. I said, 'What shall I do with the a poem, which justice must place among the character of Lord Sunderland ?" and Addison best elegies which our language can show, an immediately returned, “When, Rag, were you elegant mixture of fondness and admiration, of drunk last " and went away."
dignity and softness. There are some passages Captain Rag was a name which he got at Ox- too ludicrous; but every human performance ford by his negligence of dress.
has its faults. This story I heard from the late Mr. Clark, of This elegy it was the mode among his friends Lincoln's Inn, to whom it was told by the friend to purchase for a guinea ; and as his acquaint, of Smith
ance was numerous, it was a very profitable poem. ! Such scruples might debar him from some Of his Pindar, mentioned by Oldisworth, I profitable employments; but as they could not have never otherwise heard. His Longinus he deprive him of any real esteem, they left him intended to accompany with some illustrations, many friends; and no man was ever better in- and had selected his instances of the false sub troduced to the theatre than he, who, in that lime from the works of Blackmore.
. He resolved to try again the fortune of the He had great readiness and exactness of cristage with the story of Lady Jane Grey. It is ticism, and by a cursory glance over a new not unlikely that his experience of the inefficacy composition would exactly tell all its faults and and incredibility of a mythological tale might beauties. determine him to choose an action from the He was remarkable for the power of reading English history, at no great distance from our with great rapidity, and of retaining, with great own times, which was to end in a real event, fidelity, what he so easily collected. produced by the operation of known characters. He therefore always knew what the present
A subject will not easily occur that can give question required ; and, when his friends exmore opportunities of informing the understand. pressed their wonder at his acquisitions, made ing, for which Smith was unquestionably quali in a state of apparent negligence and drunkenfied, or for moving the passions, in which I sus ness, he never discovered his hours of reading or pect him to have had less power.
method of study, but involved himself in affected Having formed his plan and collected mate- silence, and fed his own vanity with their adrials, he declared that a few months would com- miration. plete his design; and, that he might pursue his One practice he had, which was easily obwork with less frequent avocations, he was, in served: if any thought or image was presented June, 1710, invited by Mr. George Ducket to to his mind that he could use or improve, he did his house at Gartham, in Wiltshire. Here he not suffer it to be lost : but, amidst the jollity of found such opportunities of indulgence as did a tavern, or in the warmth of conversation, very not much forward his studies, and particularly diligently committed it to paper, some strong ale, too delicious to be resisted. Thus it was that he had gathered two quires He ate and drank till he found himself pletho- of hints for his new tragedy ; of which Rowe, ric; and then, resolving to ease himself by eva- when they were put into his hands, could make, cuation, he wrote to an apothecary in the neigh- as he says, very little use, but which the collector bourhood a prescription of a purge so forcible, considered as a valuable stock of materials. that the apothecary thought it his duty to delay When he came to London, his way of life it till he had given notice of its danger. Smith, connected him with the licentious and dissolute; not pleased with the contradiction of a shopman, and he affected the airs and gayety of a man of and boastful of his own knowledge, treated the pleasure : but his dress was always deficient; notice with rude contempt, and swallowed his scholastic cloudiness still hung about him; and own medicine, which, in July, 1710, brought him his merriment was sure to produce the scorn of to the grave. He was buried at Gartham. his companions.
Many years afterwards, Ducket communi With all his carelessness and all his vices, he cated to Oldmixon, the historian, an account, was one of the murmurers at fortune; and wonpretended to have been received from Smith, that dered why he was suffered to be poor, when Clarendon's History was, in its publication, cor- Addison was caressed and preferred; nor would rupted by Aldrich, Smalridge, and Atterbury; a very little have contented him; for he estiand that Smith was employed to forge and insert mated his wants at six hundred pounds a year. the alterations.
In his course of reading, it was particular that This story was published triumphantly by he had diligently perused, and accurately rememOldmixon, and may be supposed to have been bered, the old romances of knight-errantry. eagerly received; but its progress was soon He had a high opinion of his own merit, and checked: for, finding its way into the Journal of was something contemptuous in his treatment Trevoux, it féll under the eye of Atterbury, then of those whom he considered as not qualified to an exile in France, who immediately denied the oppose or contradict him. He had many frailcharge, with this remarkable particular, that he ties; yet it cannot but be supposed that he had never in his whole life had once spoken to Smith ;* great merit, who could obtain to the same play a his company being, as must be inferred, not ac- prologue from Addison and an epilogue from cepted by those who attended to their characters. Prior; and who could have at once the patron
The charge was afterwards very diligently re- age of Halifax and the praise of Oldisworth. futed by Dr. Burton of Eton, a man eminent for For the power of communicating these minute literature ; and, though not of the same party memorials, I am indebted to my conversation with Aldrich and Atterbury, too studious of with Gilbert Walmsley, late registrar of the ece truth to leave them burdened with a false clesiastical court of Lichfield, who was acquaintcharge. The testimonies which he has collected ed both with Smith and Ducket; and declared, have convinced mankind that either Smith or that, if the tale concerning Clarendon were Ducket was guilty of wilful and malicious false- forged, he should suspect Ducket of the falsehood.
hood; for Rag was a man of great veracity. This controversy brought into view those parts Or Gilbert Walmsley, thus presented to my of Smith's life, which, with more honour to his mind, let me indulge myself in the remembrance. name, might have been concealed.
I knew him very early, he was one of the first Of Smith I can yet say a little more. He was friends that literature procured me, and I hope a man of such estimation among his companions, that at least my gratitude made me worthy of that the casual censures or praises which he his notice. dropped in conversation were considered, like He was of an advanced age, and I was only those of Scaliger, as worthy of preservation. not a boy; yet he never received my notions with
contempt. He was a whig, with all the virulence
and malevolence of his party; yet difference of * See Bishop Alierbury's “Epistolary Correspondence," 1799, vol. III. p. 126. 123. In the same work, vol: opinion did not keep us apart. Í honoured him, 1. p. 325, it appears that Smith was at one time suspected and he endured me. to have been author of the “ Tale of a Tub."--N. He had mingled with the gay world, without
cxemption from its vices or its follies, but had ( aliquando oden hanc ad te mitto sublimem, tenever neglected the cultivation of his mind; his neram, flebilem, suavem, qualem demum divinus belief of Revelation was unshaken ; his learn- (si Musis vacaret) scripsisset Gastrellus: adeo ing preserved his principles; he grew first regu- scilicet sublimem ut inter legendum dormire, lar, and then pious.
adeo flebilem ut ridere velis. Cujus elegantiam His studies had been so various, that I am not ut melius inspicias, versuum ordinem et materiam able to name a man of equal knowledge. His breviter referam. Imus. versus de duobus præacquaintance with books was great ; and what liis decantatis. 2dus. et 3us. de Lotharingio, cuhe did not immediately know, he could at least niculis subterraneis, saxis, ponto, hostibus, et tell where to find. Such was his amplitude of Asiâ. 4tus. et 5tus. de catenis, subdibus, uncis, learning, and such his copiousness of communi- draconibus, tigribus, et crocodilis. 6us. 7us. Sus. cation, that it may be doubted, whether a day 9us. de Gomorrha, de Babylone, Babele, et quonow passes in which I have not some advantage dam domi suæ peregrino. "10us. aliquid de quofrom his friendship:
dam Pocockio. 11us. 12us. de Syriâ, Solymâ. At this man's table I enjoyed many cheerful | 13us. 14us. de Hoseå, et quercu, et de juvene and instructive hours, with companions such as quodam valde sene. 15us. 16us. de Ætna, et are not often found; with one who has length- quomodo Ætna Pocockio fit valde similis. 17us. ened and one who has gladdened life; with Dr. 18us. de tubå, astro, umbrâ, flammis, rotis, PoJames, whose skill in physic will be long remem-cockio non neglecto. Cætera de Christianis, bered, and with David Garrick, whom I hoped to Ottomanis, Babyloniis, Arabibus, et gravissima have gratified with this character of our common agrorum melancholiâ ; de Cæsare Flacco,* Nesfriend: but what are the hopes of man! I am tore, et miserando juvenis cujusdam florentissimi disappointed by that stroke of death which has fato, anno ætatis suæ centesimo præmaturè abeclipsed the gayety of nations, and impoverished repti. Quæ omnia cum accuratè expenderis, the public stock of harmless pleasure.
necesse est ut oden hanc meam admirandå planè In the library at Oxford is the following ludi- varietate constare fatearis. Subitò ad Batavos crous Analysis of Pocockius :
proficiscor, lauro ab illis donandus. Prius verò Pembrochienses voco ad certamen Poeticum.
Vale. (Sent by the Author to Mr. Urry.)
Illustrissima tua deosculor crura. OPUSCULUM hoc, Halberdarie amplissime, in
E. SMITH lucem proferre hactenus distuli, judicii tui acumen subveritus magis quam bipennis. Tandem Marone.
* Pro Flacco, animo paulo attentiore, scripsissem
Of Mr. RICHARD Duke I can find few memo- he rather talked than lived viciously, in an age rials. He was bred at Westininster* and Cam- when he that would be thought a wit was bridge; and Jacob relates, that he was some afraid to say his prayers; and, whatever might time tutor to the Duke of Richmond.
have been bad in the first part of his life, was He appears from his writings to have been surely condemned and reformed by his better not ill qualified for poetical compositions; and, judgment. being conscious of his powers, when he left the In 1683, being then master of arts and fellow University, he enlisted himself among the wits. of Trinity College, in Cambridge, he wrote a He was the familiar friend of Otway; and was poem on the marriage of the Lady Anne with engaged, among other popular names, in the George, Prince of Denmark. translations of Ovid and Juvenal. In his “Re He then took orders ;£ and, being made preview,” though unfinished, are some vigorous bendary of Gloucester, became a proctor in conlines. His poems are not below mediocrity; vocation for that church, and chaplain to Queen nor have I found much in them to be praised. I Anne.
With the wit he seems to have shared the dis In 1710, he was presented by the Bishop of soluteness of the times; for some of his com- Winchester to the wealthy living of Witney, in positions are such as he must have reviewed Oxfordshire, which he enjoyed but a few months. with detestation in his later days, when he pub-On February 10, 1710-11, having returned from lished those sermons which Felton has com an entertainment, he was found dead the next mended.
morning. His death is mentioned in Swift's Perhaps, like some other foolish young men, Journal.
* He was admitted there in 1670; was elected to Tri. Poetry; but were first published in Dryden's Miscellany, nity College, Cambridge, in 1675; and took his master's as were most, if not all, of the poems in that collecdegree in 1682.-N.
tion.-H. They make a part of a volume published by Tonson | He was presented to the rectory of Blaby, in Leiin 9vo. 1717, containing the poems of the Earl of Roscestershire, in 1697-8; and obtained a prebend at Glou. common, and the Duke of Buckingham's Essay on I cester, in 1688.-N.