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believe, that the vice of which he has been ac-"Churchyard :" but, in my opinion, Gray has cused was not gross, or not notorious.
the advantage of dignity, variety, and originality, But his prosperity did not last long. His end, of sentiment. He observes, that the story of whatever was its cause, was now approaching. the “Hermit" is in More's' “ Dialogues” and He enjoyed his preferment little more than a Howell's. “Letters,” and supposes it to have year; for in July, 1717, in his thirty-eighth been originally Arabian. year, he died at Chester, on his way to Ire Goldsmith has not taken any notice of the land.
“Elegy to the old Beauty,” which is, perhaps, He seems to have been one of those poets who the meanest; nor of the “ Allegory on Man," take delight in writing. He contributed to the the happiest of Parnell's performances; the hint papers of that time, and probably published of the “Hymn to Contentment" I suspect to more than he owned. He left many composi- have been borrowed from Cleiveland. tions behind him, of which Pope selected those The general character of Parnell is not great which he thought best, and dedicated them to extent of comprehension, or fertility, of mind. the Earl of Oxford. Of these Goldsmith has of the little that appears still less is his own. given an opinion, and his criticism it is seldom His praise must be derived from the easy safe to contradict. He bestows just praise upon sweetness of his diction : in his verses there is “ The Rise of Woman,” “The Fairy Tale,” more happiness than pains; he is sprightly withand “The Pervigilium Veneris ;" but has very out effort, and always delights, though he never properly remarked, that in "The Battle of Mice ravishes ; every thing is proper, yet every thing and Frogs,” the Greek names have not in Eng- seems casual. "If there is some appearance of lish their original effect.
elaboration in the “ Hermit,” the narrative, as He tells us, that “ The Book-Worm” is bor- it is less* airy, is less pleasing. Of his other rowed from Beza ; but he should have added, compositions it is impossible to say whether with modern applications: and, when he disco- they are the productions of nature, so excellent vers that “Gay Bacchus” is translated from as not to want the help of art, or of art so reAugurellus, he ought to have remarked that the fined as to resemble nature. latter part is purely Parnell's. Another
poem, This criticism relates only to the pieces pub. “When Spring comes on,” is, he says, taken lished by Pope. Of the large appendages, which from the French. I would add, that the descrip- I find in the last edition, I can only say, that I tion of barrenness, in his verses to Pope, was know not whence they came, nor have ever inborrowed from Secundus ; but, lately searching quired whither they are going. They stand for the passage, which I had formerly read, I upon the faith of the compilers. could not find it. The “Night-piece on Death" is indirectly preferred by Goldsmith to Gray's * Dr. Warton asks, “ less than what 'n-E.
SAMUEL GARTH was of a good family in Agreeably to this character, the College of PhyYorkshire, and from some school in his own sicians, in July, 1687, published an edict, recountry became a student at Peterhouse, in quiring all the fellows, candidates, and licenCambridge, where he resided till he became doc- tiates, to give gratuitous advice to the neightor of physic on July 7th, 1691. He was ex- bouring poor. amined before the College, at London, on March This edict was sent to the court of aldermen; the 12th, 1691-2, and admitted fellow, June 26th, and, a question being made to whom the appel1693. He was soon so much distinguished by lation of the poor should be extended, the Colhis conversation and accomplishments, as to lege answered, that it should be sufficient to obtain very extensive practice; and, if a pam- bring a testimonial from the clergyman officiatphlet of those times may be credited, had the ing in the parish where the patient resided. favour and confidence of one party, as Radcliffe After a year's experience, the physicians found had of the other.
their charity frustrated by some malignant opHe is always mentioned as a man of bene- position, and made, to a great degree, vain by volence; and it is just to suppose that his desire the high price of physic; they therefore voted, of helping the helpless disposed him to so much in August, 1688, that the laboratory of the Colzeal for the Dispensary; an undertaking, of lege should be accommodated to the preparation which some account, however short, is proper to of medicines, and another room prepared for be given.
their reception; and that the contributors to the Whether what Temple says be true, that phy- expense should manage the charity. sicians have had more learning than the other It was now expected, that the apothecaries faculties, I will not stay to inquire ; but, I be would have undertaken the care of providing lieve, every man has found in physicians great medicines; but they took another course. Think liberality and dignity of sentiment, very prompt ing the whole design pernicious to their interest, effusion of beneficence, and willingness to exert they endeavoured to raise a faction against it in a lucrative art where there is no hope of lucre. I the College, and found some physicians mean
enough to solicit their patronage, by betraying | vernment fell into other hands, he writ to to them the counsels of the College. The Lord Godolphin, on his dismission, a short poem, greater part, however, enforced by a new edict, which was criticised in the “Examiner,” and so in 1694, the former order of 1687, and sent it to successfully either defended or excused by Mr. the mayor and aldermen, who appointed a com- Addison, that, for the sake of the vindication, it mittee to treat with the College, and settle the ought to be preserved. mode of administering the charity.
At the accession of the present family his It was desired by the aldermen that the tes- merits were acknowledged and rewarded. He timonials of churchwardens and overseers should was knighted with the sword of his hero, Marlbe admitted; and that all hired servants, and borough ; and was made physician in ordinary all apprentices to handicraftsmen, should be con to the King, and physician general to the sidered as poor. This likewise was granted by army. the College.
He then undertook an edition of Ovid's “MeIt was then considered who should distribute tamorphoses,” translated by several hands, which the medicines, and who should settle their he recommended by a preface, written with prices. The physicians procured some apothe- more ostentation than ability: his notions are caries to undertake the dispensation, and offered half-formed, and his materials immethodically that the warden and company of the apotheca- confused. This was his last work. He died ries should adjust the price. This offer was Jan. 18, 1717-18, and was buried at Harrow-onrejected; and the apothecaries who had engaged the hill. to assist the charity were considered as traitors His personal character seems to have been to the company, threatened with the imposition social and liberal. He communicated himself of troublesome offices, and deterred from the through a very wide extent of acquaintance; and performance of their engagements. The apo- though firm in a party, at a time when firmness thecaries ventured upon public opposition, and included virulence, yet he imparted his kindness presented a kind of remonstrance against the to those who were not supposed to favour his design to the committee of the city, which the principles. He was an early encourager of Pope, physicians condescended to confute; and at last and was at once the friend of Addison and of the traders seem to have prevailed among the Granville. He is accused of voluptuousness sons of trade; for the proposal of the College and irreligion; and Pope, who says, "that if having been considered, a paper of approbation ever there was a good Christian, without knowwas drawn up, but postponed and forgotten. ing himself to be so, it was Dr. Garth,” seems
The physicians still persisted ; and in 1696 a not able to deny what he is angry to hear, and subscription was raised by themselves, accord- loath to confess. ing to an agreement prefixed to the Dispensary. Pope afterwards declared himself convinced,
The poor were, for a time, supplied with medi- that Garth died in the communion of the cines; for how long a time I know not. The church of Rome, having been privately reconmedicinal charity, like others, began with ar- ciled. It is observed by Lowth, that there is less dour, but soon remitted, and at last died gradu- distance than is thought between skepticism and
popery: and that a mind, wearied with perpeAbout the time of the subscription begins the tual doubt, willingly seeks repose in the bosom aetion of “The Dispensary.” The poem, as its of an infallible church. subject was present and popular, co-operated His poetry has been praised at least equally with the passions and prejudices then prevalent, to its merit.' In “The Dispensary” there is a and with such auxiliaries to its intrinsic merit, strain of smooth and free versification ; but few was universally and liberally applauded. It was lines are eminently elegant. No passages fal} on the side of charity against the intrigues of below mediocrity, and few rise much above it. interest, and of regular learning against the The plan seems formed without just proportion licentious usurpation of medical authority, and to the subject; the means and end have no newas therefore naturally favoured by those who cessary_connexion. Resnel, in his preface to read and can judge of poetry.
Pope's Essay, remarks, that Garth exhibits no In 1697, Garth spoke that which is now called discrimination of characters; and that what any the Harveian Oration ; which the authors of the one says might, with equal propriety, have been “ Biographia” mention with more praise than said by another. The general design is, perthe passage quoted in their notes will fully haps, open to criticism; but the composition can justify. Garth, speaking of the mischiefs done seldom be charged with inaccuracy or negli by quacks, has these expressions :—“Non ta- gence. The Author never slumbers in self-in men telis vulnerat ista agyrtarum colluvies, sed dulgence; his full vigour is always exerted; theriaca quadam magis perniciosa, non pyrio, scarcely a line is left unfinished; nor is it easy sed pulvere nescio quo exotico certat, non glo- to find an expression used by constraint, or å bulis plumbeis, sed pilulis æque lethalibus inter- thought imperfectly expressed. It was remark ficit." This was certainly thought fine by the ed by Pope, that “The Dispensary” had been author, and is still admired by his biographer. corrected in every edition, and that every change In October, 1702, he became one of the censors was an improvement. It appears, however, to of the College.
want something of poetical ardour, and someGarth, being an active and zealous whig, was thing of general delectation; and, therefore, a member of the Kit-cat club, and, by conse- since it has been no longer supported by acciquence, familiarly known to all the great men dental and intrinsic popularity, it has been of that denomination. In 1710, when the go- scarcely able to support itself.
Nicholas Rowe was born at Little Beckford, occasional praise. “Tamerlane” has for a long in Bedfordshire, in 1673. His family had long time been acted only once a year, on the night possessed a considerable estate, with a good when King William landed. Our quarrel with house, at Lambertoun, in Devonshire.* His Lewis has been long over; and it now gratifies ancestor, from whom he descended in a direct neither zeal nor malice to see him painted with line, received the arms borne by his descend- aggravated features, like a Saracen upon a sign. ants for his bravery in the Holy War. His “The Fair Penitent,” his next production, father, John Rowe, who was the first that quit (1703,) is one of the most pleasing tragedies on ted his paternal acres to practise any part of the stage, where it still keeps its turns of approfit, professed the law, and published Ben-pearing, and probably will long keep them, for low's and Dallison's “Reports” in the reign of there is scarcely any work of any poet at once James the Second, when in opposition to the so interesting by the fable, and so delightful by notions, then diligently propagated, of dispens- the language. The story is domestic, and thereing power, be ventured to remark how low his fore easily received by the imagination, and asauthors rated the prerogative. He was made a similated to common life; the diction is exsergeant, and died April 30, 1692. He was quisitely harmonious, and soft or sprightly as buried in the Temple church.
occasion requiries. Nicholas was first sent to a private school, at The character of Lothario seems to have Highgate ; and, being afterwards removed to been expanded by Richardson into Lovelace; Westminster, was, at iwelve years, chosen one but he has excelled his original in the moral ef of the King's scholars. His master was Busby, fect of the fiction. Lothario, with gayety which who suffered none of his scholars to let their cannot be hated, and bravery which cannot be powers lie useless; and his exercises in several despised, retains too much of the spectator's languages are said to have been written with kindness. It was in the power of Richardson uncommon degrees of excellence, and yet to have alone to teach us at once esteem and detestacost him very little labour.
tion, to make virtuous resentment overpower all At sixteen he had, in his father's opinion, the benevolence which wit, elegance, and cou. made advances in learning sufficient to qualify rage naturally excite; and to lose at last the hero him for the study of law, and was entered a stu- in the villain. dent of the Middle Temple, where for some time The fifth act is not equal to the former; the he read statutes and reports with proficiency events of the drama are exhausted, and little reproportionate to the force of his mind, which mains but to talk of what is past. It has been was already such that he endeavoured to com- observed, that the title of the play does not sufprehend law, not as a series of precedents, or ficiently correspond with the behaviour of Cacollection of positive precepts, but as a system lista, who at last shows no evident signs of reof rational government, and impartial justice. pentance, but may be reasonably suspected of
When he was nineteen, he was, by ihe death feeling pain from detection rather than from of his father, left more to his own direction, and guilt, and expresses more shame than sorrow, probably from that time suffered law gradually and more rage than shame. to give way to poetry. At twenty-five he pro His next (1706) was “Ulysses ;" which, with duced “The Ambitious Step-mother,” which the common fate of mythological stories, is now was received with so much favour, that he de- generally neglected. We have been too early voted himself from that time wholly to elegant acquainted with the poetical heroes, to expect literature.
any pleasure from their revival ; to show them, His next tragedy (1702) was “Tamerlane," as they have already been shown, is to disgust in which, under the name of Tamerlane, he in- by repetition; to give them new qualities, or tended to characterize King William, and Lewis new adventures, is to offend by violating rethe Fourteenth under Bajazet. The virtues of ceived notions. Tamerlane seem to have been arbitrarily as “ The Royal Convert” (1709) seems to have signed him by his poet, for I know not that his- a better claim to longevity. The fable is drawn tory gives any other qualities than those which from an obscure and barbarous age, to which make a conqueror. The fashion, however, of fictions are more easily and properly adapted; the time was, to accumulate upon Lewis all that for when objects are imperfecily seen, they can raise horror and detestation; and whatever easily take forms from imagination. The scene good was withheld from him, that it might not lies among our ancestors in our own country, be thrown away, was bestowed upon King Wil- and therefore very easily catches attention. Róliam.
dogune is a personage truly tragical, of high This was the tragedy which Rowe valued spirit and violent passions, great with temmost, and that which probably, by the help of pestuous dignity, and wicked with a soul that political auxiliaries, excited most applause; but would have been heroic if it had been virtuous. occasional poetry must often content itself with The motto seems to tell that this play was not
successful. • In the Villare, Lamerton.--Orig. Edit.
Rowe does not always remember what his He was not elected till 1699.-N.
characters require. In Tamerlane” there is
some ridiculous mention of the God of Love; | berry was secretary of state, and afterwards and Rodogune, a savage Saxon, talks of Venus, applied to the Earl of Oxford for some public and the eagle that bears the thunder of Jupiter. employment.f Oxford enjoined him to study
The play discovers its own date by a predic- Spanish; and when, some time afterwards, he tion of the Union, in imitation of Cranmer's came again, and said that he had mastered it, prophetic promises to Henry the Eighth. The dismissed him with this congratulation : "Then, anticipated blessings of union are not very na- Sir, I envy you the pleasure of reading 'Don turally introduced, nor very happily expressed. Quixote' in the original.”
He once (1706) tried to change his hand. He This story is sufficiently attested; but why ventured on a comedy, and produced “The Oxford, who desired to be thought a favourer of Biter;" with which, though it was unfavourably literature, should thus insult a man of acknowtreated by the audience, he was himself delight- ledged merit; or how Rowe, who was so keen a ed; for he is said to have sat in the house whig, that he did not willingly converse with men laughing with great vehemence, whenever he of the opposite party, could ask preferment from had, in his own opinion, produced a jest. But, Oxford, it is not now possible to discover. Pope, I finding that he and the public had no sym- who told the story, did not say on what occa. pathy of mirth, he tried at lighter scenes no sion the advice was given, and, though he owned
Rowe's disappointment, doubted whether any inAfter “The Royal Convert” (1714) appeared jury was intended him, but thought it rather Lord « Jane Shore," written, as its author professes, Oxford's odd way. in imitation of Shakspeare's style. In what he It is likely that he lived on discontented through. thought himself an imitator of Shakspeare, it is the rest of Queen Anne's reign ; but the time not easy to conceive. The numbers, the diction, came at last when he found kinder friends. At the sentiments, and the conduct, every thing in the accession of King George he was made poetwhich imitation can consist, are remote in the laureat; I am afraid by the ejection of poor utmost degree from the manner of Shakspeare, Nahum Tate, who (1716) died in the Mint, whose dramas it resembles only as it is an Eng- where he was forced to seek shelter by extreme lish story, and as some of the persons have their poverty. He was made likewise one of the names in history. This play, consisting chiefly land-surveyors of the customs of the port of of domestic scenes and private distress, lays London. The Prince of Wales chose him clerk hold upon the heart. The wife is forgiven of his council ; and the Lord Chancellor Parker, because she repents, and the husband is ho- as soon as he received the seals, appointed him, noured because he forgives. This, therefore, is unasked, secretary of the presentations. Such one of those pieces which we still welcome on an accumulation of employments undoubtedly the stage.
produced a very considerable revenue. His last tragedy (1715) was “Lady Jane Having already translated some parts of LuGrey.” This subject had been chosen by Mr. can's “Pharsalia,” which had been published in Smith, whose papers were put into Rowe's the Miscellanies, and doubtless received many hands such as he describes them in his preface. praises, he undertook a version of the whola This play has likewise sunk into oblivion. work, which he lived to finish, but not to publish. From this time he gave nothing more to the It seems to have been printed under the care of stage.
Dr. Welwood, who prefixed the author's life, in Being, by a competent fortune, exempted from which is contained the following character: any necessity of combating his inclination, he "As to his person, it was grateful and well never wrote in distress, and therefore does not made; his face regular, and of a manly beauty, appear to have ever written in haste. His As his soul was well lodged, so its rational and works were finished to his own approbation, animal faculties excelled in a high degree. He and bear few marks of negligence or hurry. It had a quick and fruitful invention, a deep peneis remarkable, that his prologues and epilogues tration, and a large compass of thought, with are all his own, though he sometimes sup- singular dexterity and easiness in making his plied others; he afforded help, but did not thoughts to be understood. He was master of solicit it.
most parts of polite learning, especially the classiAs his studies necessarily made him acquaint- cal authors, both Greek and Latin; understood ed with Shakspeare, and acquaintance produced the French, Italian, and Spanish languages; veneration, he undertook (1709) an edition of and spoke the first fluently, and the other iwo his works, from which he neither received much tolerably well. praise, nor seems to have expected it; yet, I
“He had likewise read most of the Greek and believe, those who compare it with former copies Roman histories in their original languages, and will find that he has done more than he pro- most that are written in English, French, Italian, mised; and that, without the pomp of notes or and Spanish. He had a good taste in philosoboasts of criticism, many passages are happily phy; and, having a firm impression of religion restored. He prefixed
a life of the author, such upon his mind, he took great delight in divinity as tradition, then almost expiring, could supply, and ecclesiastical history, in both which he made and a preface ;* which cannot be said to disco great advances in the times he retired into the ver much profundity or penetration. He at least country, which were frequent. He expressed, contributed to the popularity of his author.
on all occasions, his full pursuasion of the truth He was willing enough to improve his fortune of revealed religion ; and, being a sincere memby other arts than poetry. He was under-se- ber of the established church himself, he pitied, cretary for three years when the Duke of Queens- but condemned not, those that dissented from it.
He abhorred the principle of persecuting men Mr. Rowe's preface, however, is not distinct, as it might be supposed from this passage, from the life.-R.
upon the account of their opinions in religion ; “Rowe, in Mr. Pope's opinion, maintained a and, being strict in his own, he took it not upon decent character, but had no heart. Mr. Addison him to censure those of another persuasion. His was justly offended with some behaviour which conversation was pleasant, witty, and learncd, arose from that want, and estranged himself without the least tincture of affectation or pedan: from him ; which Rowe felt very severely. Mr. try; and his inimitable manner of diverting and Pope, their common friend, knowing this, took enlivening the company, made it impossible for an opportunity, at some juncture of Mr. Addiany one to be out of humour when he was in son's advancement, to tell him how poor Rowe it.' Envy and detraction seemed to be entirely was grieved at his displeasure, and what satisforeign to his constitution ; and whatever provo- faction he expressed at Mr. Addison's good cations he met with at any time, he passed them fortune, which he expressed so naturally, that over without the least thought of resentment or he (Mr. Pope) could not but think him sincere. revenge. As Homer had a Ziolus, so Mr. Rowe Mr. Addison replied, 'I do not suspect that he had sometimes his; for there were not wanting feigned; but the levity of his heart is such, that malevolent people, and pretenders to poetry too, he is struck with any new adventure; and it that would now and then bark at his best per- would affect him just in the same manner, if he formances; but he was conscious of his own heard I was going to be hanged.'—Mr. Pope genius, and had so much good nature as to for- said he could not deny but Mr. Addison under give them ; nor could he ever be tempted to re- stood Rowe well." turn them an answer.
This censure time has not left us the power of “ The love of learning and poetry made him confirming or refuting; but observation daily not the less fit for business, and nobody applied shows that much stress is not to be laid on himself closer to it, when it required his attend- hyperbolical accusations, and pointed sentences, ance. The late Duke of Queensberry, when he which even he that utters them desires to be was secretary of state, made him his secretary applauded rather than credited. Addison can for public affairs; and when that truly great man hardly be supposed to have meant all that he said. came to know him well, he was never so pleased Few characters can bear the microscopic scruas when Mr. Rowe was in his company. After tiny of wit, quickened by anger; and perhaps the Duke's death all avenues were stopped to his the best advice to authors would be, that they preferment; and, during the rest of that reign, should keep out of the way of one another. he passed his time with the muses and his books, Rowe is chiefly to be considered as a tragic and sometimes the conversation of his friends. writer and a translator. In his attempt at comedy
“When he had just got to be easy in his he failed so ignominiously, that his “Biter” is fortune, and was in a fair way to make it better, not inserted in his works; and his occasional death swept him away, and in him deprived the poems and short compositions are rarely worthy world of one of the best men as well as one of of either praise or censure; for they seem the the best geniuses of the age. He died like a casual sports of a mind seeking rather to amuse Christian and a philosopher, in charity with all its leisure than to exercise its powers. mankind, and with an absolute resignation to In the construction of his dramas, there is not the will of God. He kept up his good humour much art: he is not a nice observer of the unito the last ; and took leave of his wife and friends ties. He extends time and varies place as his immediately before his last agony, with the convenience requires. To vary the place is not, same tranquillity of mind, and the same indif- in my opinion, any violation of nature, if the ference for life, as though he had been upon change be made between the acts; for it is no taking but a short journey. He was twice less easy for the spectator to suppose himself at married ; first to a daughter of Mr. Parsons, one Athens in the second act, than at Thebes in the of the auditors of the revenue; and afterwards first ; but to change the scene, as is done by to a daughter of Mr. Devenish, of a good family Rowe, in the middle of an act, is to add more in Dorsetshire. By the first he had a son; and acts to the play, since an act is so much of the by the second a daughter, married afterwards business as is transacted without interruption. to Mr. Fane. He died the 6th of December, Rowe, by this license, easily extricates himself 1713, in the forty-fifth year of his age ; and was from difficulties; as, in “Jane Grey," when we buried the nineteenth of the same month in have been terrified with all the dreadful pomp of Westminster Abbey, in the aisle where many public execution, and are wondering how the of our English poets are interred, over against heroine or the poet will proceed, no sooner has Chaucer, his body being attended by a select Jane pronounced some prophetic rhymes, thannumber of his friends, and the Dean and choir pass and be gonethe scene closes, and Pem officiating at the funeral.”
broke and Gardiner are turned out upon the To this character, which is apparently given stage. with the fondness of a friend, may be added the I know not that there can be found in his testimony of Pope, who says in a letter to plays any deep search into nature, any accurate Blount, “Mr. Rowe accompanied me, and pass- discriminations of kindred qualities, or nice dised a week in the Forest. I need not tell you play of passion in its progress : all is general how much a man of his turn entertained me; but and undefined. Nor does he much interest or I must acquaint you, there is a vivacity and affect the auditor, except in “Jane Shore," who gayety of disposition almost peculiar to hinn, is always seen and heard with pity. Alicia is a which makes it impossible to part from him with character of empty noise, with no resemblance out that lineasiness which generally succeeds all to real sorrow or to natural madness. our pleasure."
Whence, then, has Rowe his reputation ? Pope has left behind him another mention of From the reasonableness and propriety of some his companion, less advantageous, which is thus of his scenes, from the elegance of his diction, reported by Dr. Warburton.
and the suavity of his verse. He seldom moves