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was exact, and he noted beauties and faults with very nice discernment; his imagination, as the "Dacian Battle" proves, was vigorous and active, and the stores of knowledge were large by which his fancy was to be supplied. His ear was well tuned, and his diction was elegant and copious, but his devotional poetry is, like that of others, unsatisfactory. The paucity of its topics enforces perpetual repetition, and the sanctity of the matter rejects the ornaments of figurative diction. It is sufficient for Watts to have done better than others what no man bas done well.
His poems on other subjects seldom rise higher than might be expected from the amusements of a man of letters, and have different degrees of value as they are more or less laboured, or as the occasion was more or less favourable to invention. He writes too often without regular measures, and too often in blank verse; the rhymes are not always sufficiently correspondent. He is particularly unhappy in coining names expressive of characters. His lines are commonly smooth and easy, and his thoughts always religiously pure; but who is there that, to so much piety and innocence, does not wish for a greater measure of sprightliness and vigour! He is at least one of the few poets with whom youth and ignorance may be safely pleased; and happy will be that reader whose mind is disposed, by his verses or As a poet, had he been only a poet, he would his prose, to imitate him in all but his nonconprobably have stood high among the authors with formity, to copy his benevolence to man, and his whom he is now associated. For his judgment I reverence to God.
His character, therefore, must be formed from the multiplicity and diversity of his attainments, rather than from any single performance; for it would not be safe to claim for him the highest rank in any single denomination of literary dignity; yet perhaps there was nothing in which he would not have excelled, if he had not divided his powers to different pursuits.
He continued many years to study and to preach, and to do good by his instruction and example; till at last the infirmities of age disabled him from the more laborious part of his ministerial functions, and, being no longer capable of public duty, he offered to remit the salary appendant to it; but his congregation would not accept the resignation.
By degrees his weakness increased, and at last confined him to his chamber and his bed; where he was worn gradually away without pain, till he expired, Nov. 25, 1743, in the seventy-fifth year of his age.
Few men have left behind such purity of character, or such monuments of laborious piety. He has provided instruction for all ages, from those who are lisping their first lessons, to the enlightened readers of Malbranche and Locke; he has left neither corporeal nor spiritual nature unexamined; he has taught the art of reasoning, and the science of the stars.
Or the birth or early part of the life of AM-1 to many sections, for each of which if he received BROSE PHILIPS I have not been able to find any half-a-crown, his reward, as writers then were account. His academical education he received paid, was very liberal; but half-a-crown had a at St. John's College, in Cambridge, where he mean sound. first solicited the notice of the world by some English verses, in the collection published by the university on the death of Queen Mary.
He was employed in promoting the principles of his party, by epitomising Hacket's "Life of Archbishop Williams." The original book is From this time how he was employed, or in written with such depravity of genius, such mixwhat station he passed his life, is not yet dis-ture of the fop and pedant, as has not often adcovered. He must have published his Pastorals peared. The epitome is free enough from affecbefore the year 1708, because they are evidently tation, but has little spirit or vigour.† prior to those of Pope.
He afterwards (1709) addressed to the universal patron, the Duke of Dorset, a "Poetical Letter from Copenhagen," which was published in the "Tatler," and is by Pope in one of his first letters mentioned with high praise, as the production of a man "who could write very nobly."
In 1712 he brought upon the stage "The Distrest Mother," almost a translation of Racine's "Andromaque." Such a work requires no uncommon powers; but the friends of Philips exerted every art to promote his interest. Before the appearance of the play, a whole Spectator, none indeed of the best, was devoted to its praise; while it yet continued to be acted, another Spectator was written, to tell what impression it made upon Sir Roger; and on the first night a select audience, says Pope,‡ was called together to applaud it.
It was concluded with the most successful epilogue that was ever yet spoken on the Eng
Philips was a zealous whig, and therefore easily found access to Addison and Steele; but his ardour seems not to have procured him any thing more than kind words; since he was reduced to translate the "Persian Tales" for Tonson, for which he was afterwards reproached, with this addition of contempt, that he worked for half-a-crown. The book is divided in-lished in 1700, when he appears to have obtained a fel This ought to have been noticed before. It was pub
lowship of St. John's.-C.
• He took his degrees, A. B. 1696, A. M. 1700.-C.
ed twice; and not only continued to be demanded through the run, as it is termed, of the play, but whenever it is recalled to the stage, where by peculiar fortune, though a copy from the French, it yet keeps its place, the epilogue is still expected, and is still spoken.
lish theatre. The three first nights it was recit- | by which he meant to express the talk of goatherds, though it will mean only the talk of goats. This new name was adopted by subsequent writers, and among others by our Spenser.
More than a century afterwards (1498) Mantuan published his Bucolics with such success, that they were soon dignified by Badius with a comment, and, as Scaliger complained, received into schools, and taught as classical; his complaint was vain, and the practice, however inju dicious, spread far, and continued long. Mantuan was read, at least in some of the inferior schools of this kingdom, to the beginning of the present century. The speakers of Mantuan carried their disquisitions beyond the country, to censure the corruptions of the church; and from him Spenser learned to employ his swains on topics of controversy.
The propriety of epilogues in general, and consequently of this, was questioned by a correspondent of "The Spectator," whose letter was undoubtedly admitted for the sake of the answer, which soon followed, written with much zeal and acrimony. The attack and the defence equally contributed to stimulate curiosity and continue attention. It may be discovered in the defence, that Prior's epilogue to "Phædra" had a little excited jealousy; and something of Prior's plan may be discovered in the performance of his rival. Of this distinguished epilogue the reputed author was the wretched Budgel, whom Addison used to denominate* "the man who calls me cousin ;" and when he was asked how such a silly fellow could write so well, replied, "The epilogue was quite another thing when I saw it first." It was known in Tonson's family, and told to Garrick, that Addison was himself the author of it, and that, when it had been at first printed with his name, he came early in the morning, before the copies were distributed, and ordered it to be given to Budgel, that it might add weight to the solicitation which he was then making for a place.
The Italians soon transferred pastoral poetry into their own language; Sanazzaro wrote "Arcadia," in prose and verse; Tasso and Guarini wrote "Favole Boschareccie," or sylvan dramas ; and all the nations of Europe filled volumes with Thyrsis and Damon, and Thestylis and Phylis.
Philips thinks it "somewhat strange to conceive how, in an age so addicted to the Muses, pastoral poetry never comes to be so much as thought upon." His wonder seems very unseasonable; there had never, from the time of Spenser, wanted writers to occasionally of Arcadia and Strephon; and half the book, in which he first tried his powers, consists of dialogues on Queen Mary's death, between Tityrus and Corydon, or Mopsus and Menalcas. A series or book of pastorals, however, I know not that any one had then lately published.
Philips was now high in the ranks of literature. His play was applauded: his translations from Sappho had been published in "The Spectator;" he was an important and distinguished associate of clubs, witty and political; and nothing was wanting to his happiness, but that he should be sure of its continuance.
Not long afterwards Pope made the first display of his powers in four pastorals, written in a very different form. Philips had taken Spenser, and Pope took Virgil for his pattern. Philips endeavoured to be natural, Pope laboured to be elegant.
The work which had procured him the first notice from the public was his six pastorals, which, flattering the imagination with Arcadian scenes, probably found many readers, and might have long passed as a pleasing amusement, had they not been unhappily too much commended. The rustic poems of Theocritus were so highly valued by the Greeks and Romans, that they attracted the imitation of Virgil, whose Eclogues seem to have been considered as precluding all attempts of the same kind; for no shepherds were taught to sing by any succeeding poet, till Nemesian and Calphurnius ventured their feeble efforts in the lower age of Latin lite
At the revival of learning in Italy, it was soon discovered that dialogue of imaginary swains might be composed with little difficulty; because the conversation of shepherds excludes profound or refined sentiment; and for images and descriptions, satyrs and fauns, and naiads and dryads, were always within call; and woods and meadows, and hills and rivers, supplied variety of matter, which, having a natural power to sooth the mind, did not quickly cloy it.
Petrarch entertained the learned men of his age with the novelty of modern pastorals in Latin. Being not ignorant of Greek, and finding nothing in the word eclogue of rural meaning, he supposed it to be corrupted by the copiers, and therefore called his own productions aclogues,
Philips was now favoured by Addison, and by Addison's companions, who were very willing to push him into reputation. The "Guardian" gave an account of pastoral, partly critical, and partly historical; in which, when the merit of the modern is compared, Tasso and Guarini are censured for remote thoughts and unnatural refinements; and, upon the whole, the Italians and French are all excluded from rural poetry; and the pipe of the pastoral muse is transmitted by lawful inheritance from Theocritus to Virgil, from Virgil to Spenser, and from Spenser to Philips.
With this inauguration of lips, his rival Pope was not much delighted; he therefore drew a comparison of Philip's performance with his own, in which, with an unexampled and unequalled artifice of irony, though he has himself always the advantage, he gives the preference to Philips. The design of aggrandizing himself he disguised with such dexterity, that, though Addison discovered it, Steele was deceived, and was afraid of displeasing Pope by publishing his paper. Published however it was, (Guard. 40 ;) and from that time Pope and Philips lived in a perpetual reciprocation of malevolence.
In poetical powers, of either praise or satire, there was no proportion between the combatants; but Philips, though he could not prevail by wit, hoped to hurt Pope with another wea
secretary,* added such preferments as enabled him to represent the county of Armagh in the Irish parliament.
In December, 1726, he was made secretary to the Lord Chancellor; and in August, 1733, became judge of the Prerogative Court.
After the death of his patron he continued some years in Ireland; but at last longing, as it seems, for his native country, he returned (1748) to London, having doubtless survived most of his friends and enemies, and among them his dreaded antagonist Pope. He found however the Duke of Newcastle still living, and to him he dedicated his poems, collected into a volume. Having purchased an annuity of four hundred pounds, he now certainly hoped to pass some years of life in plenty and tranquillity; but his
I suppose it was never suspected that he meant to appropriate the money; he only delayed, and with sufficient meanness, the gratification of him by whose prosperity he was pained. Men sometimes suffer by injudicious kind-hope deceived him: he was struck with a palsy, ness; Philips became ridiculous, without his and diedt June 18, 1749, in his seventy-eighth year. own fault, by the absurd admiration of his friends, who decorated him with honorary garlands, which the first breath of contradiction blasted.
Of his personal character all that I have heard is, that he was eminent for bravery and skill in the sword, and that in conversation he was solemn and pompous. He had great sensibility of censure, if judgment may be made by a single story which I heard long ago from Mr. Ing, a gentleman of great eminence in Staffordshire.
Philips," said he, was once at table, when I asked him, How came thy king of Epirus to drive oxen, and to say, I'm goaded on by love?' After which question he never spoke again."
Of "The Distrest Mother" not much is pretended to be his own, and therefore it is no subject of criticism; his other two tragedies, I believe, are not below mediocrity, nor above it. Among the Poems comprised in the late Collection, the Letter from Denmark may be justly praised; the Pastorals, which by the writer of the "Guardian" were ranked as one of the four genuine productions of the rustic muse, cannot surely be despicable. That they exhibit a mode of life which did not exist, nor ever existed, is not to be objected: the supposition of such a state is allowed to pastoral. In his other poems he cannot be denied the praise of lines sometimes elegant; but he has seldom much force or much comprehension. The pieces that please best are those which, from Pope and Pope's adherents,
His happiest undertaking was of a paper call-procured him the name of Namby Pamby; the ed "The Freethinker," in conjunction with as- poems of short lines, by which he paid his court sociates, of whom one was Dr. Boulter, who, to all ages and characters, from Walpole, the then only minister of a parish in Southwark," steerer of the realm," to Miss Pulteney in the was of so much consequence to the government, nursery. The numbers are smooth and sprightthat he was made first, bishop of Bristol, and ly, and the diction is seldom faulty. They are afterwards primate of Ireland, where his piety not loaded with much thought, yet, if they had and his charity will be long honoured. been written by Addison, they would have had admirers: little things are not valued but when they are done by those who can do greater.
In his translations from Pindar he found the
It may easily be imagined that what was printed under the direction of Boulter would have nothing in it indecent or licentious; its title is to be understood as implying only free-art of reaching all the obscurity of the Theban dom from unreasonable prejudice. It has been bard, however he may fall below his sublimity; reprinted in volumes, but is little read; nor he will be allowed, if he has less fire, to have can impartial criticism recommend it as worthy more smoke. of revival.
He has added nothing to English poetry, yet Boulter was not well qualified to write diur- at least half his book deserves to be read: pernal essays; but he knew how to practise the li-haps he valued most himself that part which the berality of greatness and the fidelity of friend. critic would reject. ship. When he was advanced to the height of ecclesiastical dignity, he did not forget the companion of his labours. Knowing Philips to be slenderly supported, he took him to Ireland, as partaker of his fortune; and, making him his
pon, and charged him, as Pope thought, with Addison's approbation, as disaffected to the government.
Even with this he was not satisfied; for, indeed, there is no appearance that any regard was paid to his clamours. He proceeded to grosser insults, and hung up a rod at Button's, with which he threatened to chastise Pope, who appears to have been extremely exasperated; for in the first edition of his Letters he calls Philips "rascal," and in the last charges him with detaining in his hands the subscriptions for Homer delivered to him by the Hanover Club.
When upon the succession of the house of Hanover every whig expected to be happy, Philips seems to have obtained too little notice; he caught few drops of the golden shower, though he did not omit what flattery could perform. He was only made a commissioner of the lottery, (1717,) and, what did not much elevate his character, a justice of the peace.
The success of his first play must naturally dispose him to turn his hopes towards the stage; he did not however soon commit himself to the mercy of an audience, but contented himself with the fame already acquired, till after nine years he produced (1722) "The Briton," a tragedy, which, whatever was its reception, is now neglected; though one of the scenes, between Vanoc, the British prince, and Valens, the Roman general, is confessed to be written with great dramatic skill, animated by spirit truly poetical.
He had not been idle, though he had been silent; for he exhibited another tragedy the same year, on the story of "Humphrey Duke of Gloucester." This tragedy is only remembered by its title.
The Archbishop's "Letters." published in 1769, (the originals of which are now in Christ Church library, Oxford,) were collected by Mr. Philips.-C.
At his house in Hanover-street, and was buried ir,
GILBERT WEST is one of the writers of whom I regret my inability to give a sufficient account; the intelligence which my inquiries have obtained is general and scanty.
He was the son of the Rev. Dr. West; perhaps him who published "Pindar" at Oxford about the beginning of this century. His mother was sister to Sir Richard Temple, afterwards Lord Cobham. His father, purposing to educate him for the church, sent him first to Eton, and afterwards to Oxford; but he was seduced to a more airy mode of life, by a commission in a troop of horse, procured him by his uncle.
He continued some time in the army; though it is reasonable to suppose that he never sunk into a mere soldier, nor ever lost the love, or much neglected the pursuit, of learning; and afterwards, finding himself more inclined to civil employment, he laid down his commission, and engaged in business under the Lord Townshend, then secretary of state, with whom he attended the king to Hanover.
His adherence to Lord Townshend ended in nothing but a nomination (May 1729) to be clerk-extraordinary of the privy council, which produced no immediate profit; for it only placed him in a state of expectation and right of succession, and it was very long before a vacancy admitted him to profit.
by some who did not know his change of opinion, in expectation of new objections against Christianity; and as infidels do not want malignity they revenged the disappointment by calling him a methodist.
Mr. West's income was not large; and his friends endeavoured, but without success, to obtain an augmentation. It is reported, that the education of the young prince was offered to him, but that he required a more extensive power of superintendence than it was thought proper to allow him.
In time, however, his revenue was improved; he lived to have one of the lucrative clerkships of the privy council, (1752;) and Mr. Pitt at last had it in his power to make him treasurer of Chelsea Hospital.
He was now sufficiently rich; but wealth came too late to be long enjoyed; nor could it secure him from the calamities of life; he lost (1755) his only son; and the year after (March 26) a stroke of the palsy brought to the grave one of the few poets to whom the grave might be without its terrors.
Of his translations I have only compared the first Olympic ode with the original, and found my expectation surpassed, both by its elegance and its exactness. He does not confine himself to his author's train of stanzas, for he saw that the difference of the languages required a different mode of versification. The first strophe is eminently happy; in the second he has a little strayed from Pindar's meaning, who says, "if thou, my soul, wishest to speak of games, look not in the desert sky for a planet hotter than the sun; nor shall we tell of nobler games than those of Olympia." He is sometimes too paraphrastical. Pindar bestows upon Hiero an epithet, which, in one word, signifies delighting in horses; a word which, in the translation, generates these lines:
Soon afterwards he married, and settled himself in a very pleasant house at Wickham, in Kent, where he devoted himself to learning and to piety. Of his learning the late Collection exhibits evidence, which would have been yet fuller, if the dissertations which accompany his version of Pindar had not been improperly omitted. Of his piety the influence has, I hope, been extended far by his “Observations on the Resurrection," published in 1747, for which the university of Oxford created him a doctor of laws by diploma, (March 30, 1748,) and would doubtless have reached yet further, had he lived to complete what he had for some time meditated, the evidences of the truth of the "New Testament." Perhaps it may not be without effect to tell, that he read the prayers of the public liturgy every morning to his family, and that on Sunday evening he called his servants into the parlour, and read to them first a sermon and then prayers. Crashaw is now not the only maker of verses to whom may be given the two venerable names of poet and saint.
He was very often visited by Lyttelton and Pitt, who, when they were weary of faction and debates, used at Wickham to find books and
which however is less exuberant than the former passage.
A work of this kind must, in a minute examination, discover many imperfections; but West's version, so far as I have discovered it, appears to
quiet, a decent table, and literary conversation. There is at Wickham a walk made by Pitt; and, what is of far more importance, at Wick-be the product of great labour and great abilities. ham Lyttelton received that conviction which produced his "Dissertation on St. Paul."
These two illustrious friends had for a while listened to the blandishments of infidelity; and when West's book was published, it was bought
His Institution of the Garter (1742) is written with sufficient knowledge of the manners that prevailed in the age to which it is referred, and with great elegance of diction; but, for want of a process of events, neither knowledge nor elegance preserves the reader from weariness.
Certainly him. It was published in 1697.-C.
His Imitations of Spenser are very successfully
Hiero's royal brows, whose care
Tends the courser's noble breed,
Pindar says of Pelops, that "he came alone in the dark to the White Sea;" and West,
Near the billow-beaten side
performed, both with respect to the metre, the language, and the fiction; and being engaged at once by the excellence of the sentiments, and the artifice of the copy, the mind has two amusements together. But such compositions are not to be reckoned among the great achievements of intellect, because their effect is local and temporary; they appeal not to reason or passion, but to memory, and presuppose an accidental or artificial state of mind. An imitation of Spenser is nothing to a reader, however acute, by whom Spenser has never been perused. Works of this kind may deserve praise, as proofs of great industry, and great nicety of observation: but the highest praise, the praise of genius, they cannot claim. The noblest beauties of art are
those of which the effect is coextended with rational nature, or at least with the whole circle of polished life; what is less than this can be only pretty, the plaything of fashion, and the amusement of a day.
THERE is in the "Adventurer" a paper of verses given to one of the authors as Mr. West's, and supposed to have been written by him. It should not be concealed, however, that it is printed with Mr. Jago's name in Dodsley's Collection, and is mentioned as his in a letter of Shenstone's. Perhaps West gave it without naming the author; and Hawkesworth, receiving it from him, thought it his; for his he thought it, as he told me, and as he tells the public.
WILLIAM COLLINS was born at Chichester, on this occasion recourse was had to the bookthe twenty-fifth day of December, about 1720. sellers, who, on the credit of a translation of His father was a hatter of good reputation. He Aristotle's Poetics, which he engaged to write was in 1733, as Dr. Warburton has kindly inform-with a large commentary, advanced as much ed me, admitted scholar of Winchester College, money as enabled him to escape into the counwhere he was educated by Dr. Burton. His try. He showed me the guineas safe in his English exercises were better than his Latin. hand. Soon afterwards his uncle, Mr. Martin, a lieutenant-colonel, left him about two thousand pounds; a sum which Collins could scarcely think exhaustible, and which he did not live to exhaust. The guineas were then repaid, and the translation neglected.
He first courted the notice of the public by some verses to "A Lady Weeping," published in “The Gentleman's Magazine.'
In 1740, he stood first in the list of the scholars to be received in succession at New College, but unhappily there was no vacancy. This was the original misfortune of his life. He became a commoner of Queen's College, probably with a scanty maintenance; but was, in about half a year, elected a demy of Magdalen College, where he continued till he had taken a bachelor's degree, and then suddenly left the university; for what reason I know not that he told.
But man is not born for happiness. Collins, who, while he studied to live, felt no evil but poverty, no sooner lived to study than his life was assailed by more dreadful calamities, disease and insanity.
He now (about 1744) came to London a literary adventurer, with many projects in his head, and very little money in his pockets. He designed many works; but his great fault was irresolution; or the frequent calls of immediate necessity broke his scheme, and suffered him to pursue no settled purpose. A man doubtful of his dinner, or trembling at a creditor, is not much disposed to abstracted meditation, or remote inquiries. He published proposals for a history of the Revival of Learning; and I have heard him speak with great kindness of Leo the Tenth, and with keen resentment of his tasteless successor. But probably not a page of his history was ever written. He planned several tragedies, but he only planned them. He wrote now and then odes and other poems, and did something, however little.
About this time I fell into his company. His appearance was decent and manly; his knowledge considerable, his views extensive, his conversation elegant, and his disposition cheerful. By degrees I gained his confidence; and one day was admitted to him when he was immured by a bailiff, that was prowling in the street. On
Having formerly written his character,* while perhaps it was yet more distinctly impressed upon my memory, I shall insert it here.
"Mr. Collins was a man of extensive literature, and of vigorous faculties. He was acquainted not only with the learned tongues, but with the Italian, French, and Spanish languages. He had employed his mind chiefly upon works of fiction, and subjects of fancy; and, by indulging some peculiar habits of thought, was eminently delighted with those flights of imagination which pass the bounds of nature, and to which the mind is reconciled only by a passive acquiescence in popular traditions. He loved fairies, genii, giants, and monsters; he delighted to rove through the meanders of enchantment, to gaze on the magnificence of golden palaces, to repose by the water-falls of Elysian gardens. "This was however the character rather of his inclination than his genius; the grandeur of wildness, and the novelty of extravagance, were always desired by him, but not always attained. Yet, as diligence is never wholly lost, if his efforts sometimes caused harshness and obscurity, they likewise produced in happier moments
In the "Poetical Calendar," a collection of poems by Fawkes and Woty, in several volumes, 1763, &c.-C.