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One of his essays is upon the Spleen, which is treated by him so much to his own satisfaction, that he has published the same thoughts in the same words; first in the "Lay Monastery;" then in the Essay; and then in the preface.to a Medical Treatise on the Spleen. One passage, which I have found already twice, I will here exhibit, because I think it better imagined, and better expressed, than could be expected from the common tenor of his prose :

"As the several combinations of splenetic madness and folly produce an infinite variety of irregular understanding, so the amicable accommodation and alliance between several virtues and vices produce an equal diversity in the dispositions and manners of mankind; whence it comes to pass, that as many monstrous and absurd productions are found in the moral as in the intellectual world. How surprising is it to observe, among the least culpable men, some whose minds are attracted by heaven and earth with a seeming equal force; some who are proud of humility; others who are censorious and uncharitable, yet self-denying and devout; some who join contempt of the world with sordid avarice; and others who preserve a great degree of piety, with ill-nature and ungoverned passions! Nor are instances of this inconsistent mixture less frequent among bad men, where we often, with admiration, see persons at once generous and unjust, impious lovers of their country and flagitious heroes, good-natured sharpers, immoral men of honour, and libertines who will sooner die than change their religion; and though it is true that repugnant coalitions of so high a degree are found but in a part of mankind, yet none of the whole mass, either good or bad, are entirely exempted from some absurd mixture."

He about this time (Aug. 22, 1716) became one of the Elects of the College of Physicians; and was soon after (Oct. 1) chosen Censor. He seems to have arrived late, whatever was the reason, at his medical honours.

Having succeeded so well in his book on "Creation," by which he established the great principle of all religion, he thought his undertaking imperfect, unless he likewise enforced the truth of revelation; and for that purpose added another poem, on "Redemption." He had likewise written, before his "Creation," three books on the "Nature of Man."

The lovers of musical devotion have always wished for a more happy metrical version than they have yet obtained of the "Book of Psalms." This wish the piety of Blackmore led him to gratify; and he produced (1721) " A new Version of the Psalms of David, fitted to the Tunes used in Churches;" which, being recommended by the archbishops and many bishops, obtained a license for its admission into public worship; but no admission has it yet obtained, nor has it any right to come where Brady and Tate had got possession. Blackmore's name must be added to those of many others who, by the same attempt, have obtained only the praise of meaning well. He was not yet deterred from heroic poetry. There was another monarch of this island (for he did not fetch his heroes from foreign countries) whom he considered as worthy of the epic muse; and he dignified "Alfred" (1723) with twelve books. But the opinion of the nation

was now settled; a hero introduced by Black more was not likely to find either respect or kindness; "Alfred" took his place by "Eliza," in silence and darkness; benevolence was ashamed to favour, and malice was weary of insulting. Of his four epic poems, the first had such reputation and popularity as enraged the critics; the second was at least known enough to be ridiculed; the two last had neither friends nor enemies.

Contempt is a kind of gangrene, which, if it seizes one part of a character, corrupts all the rest by degrees. Blackmore, being despised as a poet, was in time neglected as a physician; his practice, which was once invidiously great, forsook him in the latter part of his life; but being by nature, or by principle, averse from idleness, he employed his unwelcome leisure in writing books on physic, and teaching others to cure those whom he could himself cure no longer. 1 know not whether I can enumerate all the treatises by which he has endeavoured to diffuse the art of healing; for there is scarcely any distemper, of dreadful name, which he has not taught the reader how to oppose. He has written on the small-pox, with a vehement invective against inoculation; on consumption, the spleen, the gout, the rheumatism, the king's evil, the dropsy, the jaundice, the stone, the diabetes, and the plague.

Of those books, if I had read them, it could not be expected that I should be able to give a critical account. I have been told that there is something in them of vexation and discontent, discovered by a perpetual attempt to degrade physic from its sublimity, and to represent it as attainable without much previous or concomitant learning. By the transient glances which I have thrown upon them, I have observed an affected contempt of the ancients, and a supercilious derision of transmitted knowledge. Of this indecent arrogance the following quotation from his preface to the "Treatise on the Smallpox" will afford a specimen: in which, when the reader finds, what I fear is true, that, when he was censuring Hippocrates, he did not know the difference between aphorism and apophthegm, he will not pay much regard to his determinations concerning ancient learning.

"As for his book of Aphorisms, it is like my Lord Bacon's of the same title, a book of jests, or a grave collection of trite and trifling observations; of which though many are true and certain, yet they signify nothing, and may afford diversion, but no instruction; most of them being much inferior to the sayings of the wise men of Greece, which yet are so low and mean, that we are entertained every day with more valuable sentiments at the table conversation of ingenious and learned men."

I am unwilling, however, to leave him in total disgrace, and will therefore quote from another preface a passage less reprehensible.

"Some gentlemen have been disingenuous and unjust to me, by wresting and forcing my meaning, in the preface to another book, as if I condemned and exposed all learning, though they knew I declared that I greatly honoured and esteemed all men of superior literature and erudition; and that I only undervalued false or superficial learning, that signifies nothing for the service of mankind; and that as to physic,

I expressly affirmed that learning must be joined with native genius to make a physician of the first rank; but if those talents are separated, I asserted, and do still insist, that a man of native sagacity and diligence will prove a more able and useful practiser than a heavy notional scholar, encumbered with a heap of confused ideas." He was not only a poet and a physician, but produced likewise a work of a different kind, "A true and impartial History of the Conspiraey against King William, of glorious Memory, in the Year 1695." This I have never seen, but suppose it at least compiled with integrity. He engaged likewise in theological controversy, and wrote two books against the Arians: "Just Prejudices against the Arian Hypothesis;" and "Modern Arians unmasked." Another of his works is "Natural Theology, or Moral Duties considered apart from Positive; with some Observations on the Desirableness and Necessity of a supernatural Revelation." This was the last book that he published. He left behind him "The Accomplished Preacher, or an Essay upon Divine Eloquence;" which was printed after his death by Mr. White, of Nayland, in Essex, the minister who attended his death-bed, and testified the fervent piety of his last hours. He died on the eighth of October, 1729.

BLACKMORE, by the unremitted enmity of the wits, whom he provoked more by his virtue than his dulness, has been exposed to worse treatment than he deserved. His name was so long used to point every epigram upon dull writers, that it became at last a by-word of contempt; but it deserves observation, that malignity takes hold only of his writings, and that his life passed without reproach, even when his boldness of reprehension naturally turned upon him many eyes desirous to espy faults, which many tongues would have made haste to publish. But those who could not blame could at least forbear to praise, and therefore of his private life and domestic character there are no memorials.

As an author he may justly claim the honours of magnanimity. The incessant attacks of his enemies, whether serious or merry, are never discovered to have disturbed his quiet or to have lessened his confidence in himself; they neither awed him to silence nor to caution; they neither provoked him to petulance nor depressed him to complaint. While the distributors of literary fame were endeavouring to depreciate and degrade him, he either despised or defied them, wrote on as he had written before, and never turned aside to quiet them by civility or repress them by confutation.

He depended with great security on his own powers, and perhaps was for that reason less diligent in perusing books. His literature was, I think, but small. What he knew of antiquity I suspect him to have gathered from modern compilers; but, though he could not boast of much critical knowledge, his mind was stored with general principles, and he left minute researches to those whom he considered as little minds.

With this disposition he wrote most of his poems. Having formed a magnificent design, he was careless of particular and subordinate elegancies; he studied no niceties of versification, he waited for no felicities of fancy, but caught

his first thoughts on the first words in which they were presented; nor does it appear that he saw beyond his own performances, or had ever elevated his views to that ideal perfection which every genius born to excel is condemned always to pursue, and never overtake. In the first suggestions of his imagination he acquiesced; he thought them good, and did not seek for better. His works may be read a long time without the occurrence of a single line that stands prominent from the rest.

The poem on "Creation" has, however, the appearance of more circumspection; it wants neither harmony of numbers, accuracy of thought, nor elegance of diction; it has either been written with great care, or, what cannot be imagined of so long a work, with such felicity as made care less necessary.

Its two constituent parts are ratiocination and description. To reason in verse is allowed to be difficult; but Blackmore not only reasons in verse, but very often reasons poetically, and finds the art of uniting ornament with strength, and ease with closeness. This is a skill which Pope might have condescended to learn from him, when he needed it so much in his "Moral Essays."

In his descriptions, both of life and nature, the poet and the philosopher happily co-operate; truth is recommended by elegance, and elegance sustained by truth.

In the structure and order of the poem, not only the greater parts are properly consecutive, but the didactic and illustrative paragraphs are so happily mingled, that labour is relieved by pleasure, and the attention is led on through a long succession of varied excellence to the ori ginal position, the fundamental principle of wisdom and of virtue.

As the heroic poems of Blackmore are now little read, it is thought proper to insert, as a specimen from "Prince Arthur," the song of Mopas, mentioned by Molineux :

But that which Arthur with most pleasure heard, Were noble strains, by Mopas sung, the bard,

Who to his harp in lofty verse began,
And through the secret maze of Nature ran.
He the Great Spirit sung, that all things fill'd,
Whose nod dispos'd the jarring seeds to peace,
That the tumultuous waves of Chaos still'd;
And made the wars of hostile atoms cease.
All beings we in fruitful nature find,
Proceeded from the Great Eternal mind;
Streams of his unexhausted spring of pow'r,
And, cherish'd with his influence, endure.
He spread the pure cerulean fields on high,
And arch'd the chambers of the vaulted sky,
Which he, to suit their glory with their height,
Adorn'd with globes that reel, as drunk with light.
His hand directed all the tuneful spheres,
He turn'd their orbs, and polish'd all the stars.
He fill'd the Sun's vast lamp with golden light,
And bid the silver Moon adorn the night.
He spread the airy ocean without shores,
Where birds are wafted with their feather'd oars.
Then sung the bard how the light vapours rise
From the warm earth, and cloud the smiling skies;
He sung how some, chill'd in their airy flight,
Fall scatter'd down in pearly dew by night;
How some rais'd higher, sit in secret steams
On the reflected points of bounding beams,
Till, chill'd with cold, they shape the ethereal plain.
Then on the thirsty earth descend in rain;
How some, whose parts a slight contexture show,
Sink, hovering through the air, in fleecy snow;
How part is spun in si ken threads, and clings

How others stamp to stones, with rushing sound
Entangled in the grass in glewy strings;
all from their crystal quarries to the ground;

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THE brevity with which I am to write the account of ELIJAH FENTON is not the effect of indifference or negligence. I have sought intelligence among his relations in his native country, but have not obtained it.

left the university without a degree; but I never heard that the enthusiasm of opposition impelled him to separation from the church.

He was born near Newcastle, in Staffordshire, of an ancient family, whose estate was very considerable; but he was the youngest of eleven children, and being, therefore, necessarily destined to some lucrative employment, was sent first to school, and afterwards to Cambridge ;t but, with many other wise and virtuous men, who, at that time of discord and debate, consult ed conscience, whether well or ill-informed, more than interest, he doubted the legality of the government, and, refusing to qualify himself for public employment by the oaths required,

He was born at Shelton, near Newcastle, May 20, 1633; and was the youngest of eleven children of John Fenton, an attorney at law, and one of the coroners of the county of Stafford. His father died in 1694; and his grave, in the churchyard of Stoke upon Trent, is distinguished by the following elegant Latin inscription,

from the pen of his son:

H. S. E.
JOANNES FENTON
de Shelton
antiquâ stirpe generosus;
juxta reliquias conjugis
CATHERINE

formâ, moribus, pietate,
optimo viro dignissimæ :
Qui
intemeratâ in ecclesiam fide,
et virtutibus intaminatis enituit,
necnon ingenii lepore
bonis artibus expoliti,

ac animo erga omnes benevolo,
sibi suisque jucundus vixit.
Decem annos uxori dilecte superstes
magnum sui desiderium bonis

omnibus reliquit,

salutis humanæ 1694, ætatis suæ 56. See Gent. Mag. 1791, vol. LXI. p. 703.-N

Anno {

He was entered of Jesus College, and took a bachelor's degree in 1704; but it appears by the list of Cambridge graduates that he removed in 1726 to Trinity

Hall.-N.

By this perverseness of integrity he was driven out a commoner of Nature, excluded from the regular modes of profit and prosperity, and reduced to pick up a livelihood uncertain and fortuitous; but it must be remembered that he kept his name unsullied, and never suffered himself to be reduced, like too many of the same sect, to mean arts and dishonourable shifts. Whoever mentioned Fenton, mentioned him with honour.

The life that passes in penury must necessarily pass in obscurity. It is impossible to trace Fenton from year to year, or to discover what means he used for his support. He was awhile secretary to Charles, Earl of Orrery, in Flanders, and tutor to his young son, who afterwards mentioned him with great esteem and tenderness. He was at one time assistant in the school of Mr. Bonwicke, in Surrey; and at another kept a school for himself, at Sevenoaks, in Kent, which he brought into reputation; but was persuaded to leave it (1710) by Mr. St. John, with promises of a more honourable employment.

His opinions, as he was a nonjuror, seem not to have been remarkably rigid. He wrote with great zeal and affection the praises of Queen Anne, and very willingly and liberally extolled the Duke of Marlborough, when he was (1707) at the height of his glory.

He expressed still more attention to Marlborough and his family, by an elegiac pastoral on the Marquis of Blandford, which could be prompted only by respect or kindness; for neither the Duke nor Dutchess desired the praise, or liked the cost of patronage.

The elegance of his poetry entitled him to the bleness of his manners made him loved wherecompany of the wits of his time, and the amiaever he was known. Of his friendship to Southern and Pope there are lasting monuments.

He published, in 1707, a collection of poems. By Pope he was once placed in a station that might have been of great advantage. Craggs, when he was advanced to be secretary of state, (about 1720,) feeling his own want of literature, desired Pope to procure him an instructor, by whose help he might supply the deficiencies of his education. Pope recommended Fenton, in whom Craggs found all that he was seeking. There was now a prospect of ease and plenty, for Fenton had merit and Craggs had generosity; but the small-pox suddenly put an end to the pleasing expectation.

When Pope, after the great success of his "Iliad," undertook the "Odyssey," being, as it seems, weary of translating, he determined to engage auxiliaries.-Twelve books he took to himself, and twelve he distributed between Broome and Fenton: the books allotted to Fenton were the first, the fourth, the nineteenth, and the twentieth. It is observable, that he did not take the eleventh, which he had before translated into blank verse; neither did Pope claim it, but committed it to Broome. How the two associates performed their parts is well known to the readers of poetry, who have never been able to distinguish their books from those of Pope.

In 1723, was performed his tragedy of "Mariamne;" to which Southern, at whose house it was written, is said to have contributed such hints as his theatrical experience supplied. When it was shown to Cibber, it was rejected by him, with the additional insolence of advising Fenton to engage himself in some employ-immediate distemper was the gout. ment of honest labour, by which he might obtain that support which he could never hope from his poetry. The play was acted at the other theatre; and the brutal petulance of Cibber was confuted, though, perhaps, not shamed, by general applause. Fenton's profits are said to have amounted to near a thousand pounds, with which he discharged a debt contracted by his attendance at court.

Fenton seems to have had some peculiar system of versification. "Mariamne" is written in lines of ten syllables, with few of those redundant terminations which the drama not only admits, but requires, as more nearly approaching to real dialogue. The tenor of his verse is so uniform that it cannot be thought casual; and yet upon what principle he so constructed it, is difficult to discover.

pable of amendment. To this edition he prefixed a short and elegant account of Milton's life, written at once with tenderness and integrity.

He published likewise (1729) a very splendid edition of Waller, with notes, often useful, often entertaining, but too much extended by long quotations from Clarendon. Illustrations drawn from a book so easily consulted should be made by reference rather than transcription.

The latter part of his life was calm and pleasant. The relict of Sir William Trumbull invited him, by Pope's recommendation, to educate her son; whom he first instructed at home, and then attended to Cambridge. The lady afterwards detained him with her as the auditor of her accounts. He often wandered to London, and amused himself with the conversation of his friends.

He died, in 1730, at Easthamstead, in Berkshire, the seat of Lady Trumbull; and Pope, who had been always his friend, honoured him with an epitaph, of which he borrowed the two first lines from Crashaw.

Fenton was tall and bulky, inclined to corpulence, which he did not lessen by much exercise; for he was very sluggish and sedentary, rose late, and when he had risen, sat down to his books or papers. A woman that once waited on him in a lodging told him, as she said, that he would "lie a-bed, and be fed with a spoon." This, however, was not the worst that might have been prognosticated; for Pope says, in his Letters, that "he died of indolence;" but his

The mention of his play brings to my mind a very trifling occurrence. Fenton was one day in the company of Broome, his associate, and Ford, a clergyman, at that time too well known, whose abilities, instead of furnishing convivial merriment to the voluptuous and dissolute, might have enabled him to excel among the virtuous and the wise. They determined all to see "The Merry Wives of Windsor," which was acted that night; and Fenton, as a dramatic poet, took them to the stage-door, where the door-keeper, inquiring who they were, was told that they were three very necessary men, Ford Broome, and Fenton. The name in the play which Pope restored to Brook was then Broome. It was perhaps after this play that he undertook to revise the punctuation of Milton's poems, which, as the author neither wrote the original copy nor corrected the press, was supposed ca

Of his morals and his conversation the account is uniform; he was never named but with praise and fondness, as a man in the highest degree amiable and excellent. Such was the character given him by the Earl of Orrery, his pupil; such is the testimony of Pope;* and such were the suffrages of all who could boast of his acquaintance.

By a former writer of his life a story is told which ought not to be forgotten. He used, in the latter part of his time, to pay his relations in the country a yearly visit. At an entertainment made for the family by his elder brother, he observed, that one of his sisters, who had married unfortunately, was absent; and found, upon inquiry, that distress had made her thought unworthy of invitation. As she was at no great distance, he refused to sit at the table till she was called, and when she had taken her place was careful to show her particular attention.

His collection of poems is now to be considered. The "Ode to the Sun" is written upon a common plan, without uncommon sentiments; but its greatest fault is its length. No poem should be long, of which the purpose is only to strike the fancy, without enlightening the understanding by precept, ratiocination, or narrative. A blaze first pleases and then tires the sight.

Of "Florelio" it is sufficient to say, that it is an occasional pastoral, which implies something neither natural nor artificial, neither comic nor serious.

The next ode is irregular, and therefore defective. As the sentiments are pious, they cannot

* Spence.

Of the "Paraphrase on Isaiah" nothing very favourable can be said. Sublime and solemn prose gains little by a change to blank verse; and the paraphrast has deserted his original, by admitting images not Asiatic, at least not Judaical;

easily be new; for what can be added to topics | great modesty wch you know was natural to on which successive ages have been employed?him, and ye great Contempt he had for all sorts of Vanity and Parade, never appeared more than in his last moments: He had a conscious Satisfaction (no doubt) in acting right, in feeling himself honest, true, and unpretending to more than was his own. So he died, as he lived, with that secret, yet sufficient, Contentment.

As to any Papers left behind him, I dare say they can be but few; for this reason, he never wrote out of Vanity, or thought much of the Applause of men. I know an instance where he did his utmost to conceal his own merit that way; and if we join to this his natural Love of Ease, I fancy we must expect little of this sort; at least I hear of none except some few further remarks on Waller (wch his cautious integrity made him leave an order to be given to Mr. Tonson) and perhaps, tho' 'tis many years since I saw it, a Translation of ye first Book of Oppian. He had begun a tragedy of Dion, but made small progress in it.

As to his other Affairs, he died poor, but honest, leaving no Debts, or Legacies; except of a few pds to Mr. Trumbull and my Lady, in token of respect, Gratefulness, and mutual Esteem.

I shall with pleasure take upon me to draw this amiable, quiet, deserving, unpretending Christian and Philosophical character, in his Epitaph. There truth may be spoken in a few words: as for Flourish, & Óratory, & Poetry, I leave them to younger and more lively Writers, such as love writing for writing sake, and wd rather shew their own Fine Parts, yn Report the valuable ones of any other man. So the Elegy I renounce.

I condole with you from my heart on the loss of so worthy a man, and a Friend to us both. Now he is gone, I must tell you he has done you many a good office, and set your character in ye fairest light to some who either mistook you, or knew you not. I doubt not he has done the same for me. us love his memory, and profit by I am very sincerely Dr Sir,

Adieu: Let
his example.

Your affectionate
& real Servant

Aug. 29th, 1730.

-Returning Peace,
Dove-ey'd, and rob'd in white-

Of his petty poems some are very trifling, without any thing to be praised, either in the I thought or expression. He is unlucky in his competitions; he tells the same idle tale with Congreve, and does not tell it so well. He translates from Ovid the same epistle as Pope; but I am afraid not with equal happiness.

To examine his performances one by one would be tedious. His translation from Homer into blank verse will find few readers, while another can be had in rhyme. The piece addressed to Lambarde is no disagreeable specimen of epistolary poetry; and his ode to Lord Gower was pronounced by Pope the next ode in the English language to Dryden's "Cecilia." Fenton may be justly styled an excellent versifier and a good poet.

Whatever I have said of Fenton is confirmed by Pope in a letter, by which he communicated to Broome an account of his death.

To the Revd. Mr. BROOME.
At Pulham, near Harlstone
Nor

[By Beccles Bag.]

Suffolke.

Dr Sir,

I INTENDED to write to you on this melancholy subject, the death of Mr. Fenton, before yrs came; but stay'd to have informed myself and you of ye circumstances of it. All I hear is, that he felt a Gradual Decay, tho' so early in Life, and was declining for 5 or 6 months. It was not, as I apprehended, the Gout in his Stomach, but I believe rather a Complication first of Gross Humours, as he was naturally corpulent, not discharging themselves, as he used no sort of Exercise. No man better bore ye approaches of his Dissolution (as I am told) or with less ostentation yielded up his Being. The

GAY.

A. POPE.

without prospect of hereditary riches, he was sent to London in his youth, and placed appren. tice with a silk-mercer.

How long he continued behind the counter, or with what degree of softness and dexterity he

JOHN GAY, descended from an old family, that had been long in possession of the manor of Goldworthy,* in Devonshire, was born in 1688, at or near Barnstaple, where he was educated by Mr. Luck, who taught the school of that town with good reputation, and a little before he re-received and accommodated the ladies, as he fired from it, published a volume of Latin and probably took no delight in telling it, is not English verses. Under such a master he was known. The report is, that he was soon weary likely to form a taste for poetry. Being born of either the restraint or servility of his occu pation, and easily persuaded his master to discharge him.

The Dutchess of Monmouth, remarkable for

Goldworthy does not appear in the Villare.-Dr. J. Holdsworthy is probably meant.-C.

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