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haps with more knowledge of history than of science. It ranks with the best pieces of biography in sur language.
The same year, he was associated with Thomson in the composition of the Masque of Alfred, which was performed on the ist of August in the gardens of Cliefden, in commemoration of the accession of George I.; and in honour of the birth-day of the Princess of Brunswick. It was afterwards almost wholly changed by Mallet, and brought on the stage, at Drury-Lane, in 1751, but with no great success.
In 1741, he married Miss Elstob, a lady of great merit and beauty; upon which occasion Hill writes hin : “ You have fired my curiosity to see and hear this lady, who has had so frong and swift an influence upon an heart so firm and so impresled as yours was by the memory of a former sweetness. The lustre must be amiably severe and sparkling, that had the power to attract unto itself a flame fo generous as your first, and which your pen delighted to describe with such a manly and unmodifh tenderness.”
Hill afterwards sent him the following verses on his marriage. The thought is borrowed from Bouhours, “ a little poetical stream drawn from a French fountain.”
Taste, said I, and deep discerning,
Grace and virtuc too thrown in,
All are claims not worth a pin.
Fortune lives with none of these ;
Fools are those the works to please.
In our Eljub's bofom bless’d:
Miracles must fand confess’d. From this time he resided at Strand-Green, and afterwards at Putney ; and lived in the style of a gentleman.
In 1747, after a long interval, he published his Amyntor and Theodora ; his greatest work, addressed to Lord Cheiterfield, and prefaced with a beautiful copy of Verses to Mrs. Mallet. He sold this poem to Vaillant the bookseller for 120 1.
After the death of Pope, when it was found that he had clandestinely printed an unauthorised number of Bolingbroke’s “ Idea of a Patriot, King,” &c. his “ guide, philosopher, and friend,” in a Gt of useless fury, resolved to blast his memory, and employed Mallet as the executioner of his vengeance.
Mallet, from his dependence on the Prince, was content to court Bolingbroke, then high in his confidence, by prefixing an Advertisement to the “Idea of a Patriot, King,” and other trads published in 1749; in which he charged Pope with “ having been guilty of a breach of trust, and of having taken upon him further to divide the subject, and to alter and omit passages according to the suggestions of his own fancy."
The charge was enforced with so unfriendly, and so vindi&ive a severity, that Warbutton thought it proper for him to interpose, not indeed to vindicate the action, for breach of trust has always something criminal, but to extenuate it by an apologetical “ Letter to the Editor,” &c. in which he supposes, with great appearance of reason, that the irregularity of Pope's conduct proceeded wholly from his zeal for Bolingbroke, who might perhaps have destroyed the pamphlet, which he thought it his duty to preserve, even without its author's approbation. To this apology an answer was written by Mallet, in a Letter to the most impudent Man living.
For this act, which, it is hoped, Mallet unwillingly performed, he was rewarded, not long after, with the legacy of Bolingbroke's works.
In 1754, by the help of Millar the bookseller, and, in opposition to the remonftrance of Lord Hyde, he published the “ Works” of Bolingbroke, in 5 Vols. 4to.; in which, it seems, he consulted his own profit, which was very much below his expectation, more than his benefactor’s fame, as appears from a presentment of the Grand Jury of Westminster, OA. 16. 1754, of these five volumes, “ as tending, in the general scope of several pieces therein contained, as well as many parti,
cular expressions which had been laid before them, to the subversion of religion, government, and morality; and being also against his Majesty's peace.”
Many of the political pieces had been written during the opposition to Walpole, and given to Franklin the printer, as he supposed in perpetuity. Thesc, among the rest, were claimed by the will. The question was referred to the arbitration of Mr. Draper and Mr. Wotton; but, soon afte: the arbitrators had declared their award, Mallet sent them notice that he retracted and revoked his submission, and that he discharged them from proceeding to make any award. Franklin submitted “ A State of the Cafe,” &c. to the public, in 1754.
The life of the Duke of Marlborough having been left unwritten by Lord Molesworth, who had been his favourite in Flanders, and Steele, to whom the papers supposed to contain the necessary information, had been successively delivered, the old Duchefs, in her will, assigned the task to Glover and Mallet, with a reward of 1000 l. and a prohibition to insert any verses. Glover rejected the legacy, and devolved the whole work upon Mallet, who had a pension from the late Duke, to promote his industry, and who talked much of the discoveries which he made in Holland, and of the diligence he was exerting upon this work; but left not, when he died, the smallest vestige of any historical labour behind him.
In 1755, his Masque of Britannia was acted at Drury-Lane, with success. The prologue, in the character of a drunken sailor reading a play-bill, was written in conjunction with Garrick, and spoken by the latter, with so much applause, that it was called for, and insisted on by the audience many nights in the season, when the piece itself was not persormed.
In 1756, when the nation was exasperated by the ill success of the war against France, he was employed to turn the public vengeance upon Byng, and wrote a letter of accusation, under the character of a Plain Man. The paper was circulated and dispersed with great industry; and he, for his seasonable intervention, had a considerable penfion bestowed upon him, which he retained to his death.
In 1759, he published a collection of his Works, in Prose and Verfe, in 3 vols. Izmo. with a dedication to Lord Mansfield.
The same year, he published a poem, called Tyburn, to the Marine Society, a supposed remonstrance of the gallows at Tyburn, to that patriotic institution, on account of the service which it had redered the nation since the commencement of the French war.
In 1760, he published his beautiful ballad of Edwin and Emma, which was elegantly printed at Birmingham, by Baskerville, in 4to. The profits arising from the sale were intended for a charitable usc.
In 1762, he published a small collection of Poems on Several Occasions, with a dedication to the Duke of Marlborough, in which he “ hopes foon to present his Grace with something inore solid, more deserving his attention, in the “ Life of the first Duke of Marlborough ;” which has not yet appeared.
In the political disputes which commenced at the beginning of the present reign, he took part with his countryman Lord Bute, to serve whom, he published Trutb in Rbyme, in 1762; and wrote his tragedy of Elvira, in imitation of De la Motte's tragedy, founded on a Portuguefe story, taken from the “ Lusiad” of Camoens, which was acted at Drury-Lane, in 1763, with little success, as it was brought on at a critical time, and looked upon by many as a ministerial play. He was rewarded with the office of Keeper of the Book of Entries for Ships in the Port of London, to which he was appointed in 1763.
Towards the latter end of his life, he went with his wife to France; but after a while, finding his health declining, he returned alone to England, and dicd in April 1765.
He was twice married; and, by his first wife, had several children. One daughter, who married a Genoese gentleman named Celesia, who formerly resided in London in a publie charader; wrote a tragedy called “ Almida," acted at Drury-Lane, 1771; and “ Indolence," a poem, 4to. 1772. His second wife was the daughter of a nobleman's steward, who had a considerable fortune, which she took care to retain in her own hands.
His Plays and Poems have been frequently reprinted; and his poems were collected in the fifty third volume of the “ Works of the English Poets," 1779.
'The character of Mallet has been variously represented by his friends, and by his enemies. According to Hill, who knew him well, his manners were as amiable as his abilities were respectable. With Young, Pope, Thomson, and Lyttleton, he lived in habits of familiar intimacy; and, it is but justice to add, that no man maintained his share in conversation more happily than Mallet. His behaviour to Pope after his death has drawn upon him the universal accusation of ingratitude; but, if he had not virtue, or had not fpirit to refuse the office assigned him by Bolingbroke, it ought to be remembered that Pope was not innocent, and that he had some dependence on the favour of Bolingbroke, a man whose pride and petulance made his kindness difficult to gain, or keep. He is said to have adopted the peculiar sentiments of his patron with regard to religion ; but of this there is no better evidence than the publication of his posthumous works, in which he seems to have acted from considerations of gain rather than zeal for the propagation of his opinions. His integrity in business and in life is unimpeached. Vanity, the most innocent species of pride, seems to have been his predominant paflion. Pathos was a quality which he conceived to be so much the characteristic of his own poetry, that he once quarrelled with Jones, author of the “ Earl of Essex,” for pretending to it. The dispute ended by his turning the poor bricklayer out of the room where they were spending the evening together. As a political writer, he seems to have been of that numerous class of men of letters, who think it no dishonour to be ministerial hirelings.
“ His ftature," says Dr. Johnson, “ was diminutive; but he was regularly formed; his appear-, ance, till he grew corpulent, was agreeablc, and he suffered it to want no recommendation that dress could give it. His conversation was elegant and easy. The rest of his character may, without in. jury to his memory, sink into silence.” This last observation cannot be generally allowed; his gratitude to Mr. Ker, his kindness to his brother, his services to Hill and Thomson, his benefience to Derrick (Letters, 2 vols. 1767), and his exemplary tenderness in the discharge of the relative duties of husband and parent, command our esteem for his character, and conser a lasting honour on his memory.
As a poet, though he may not be altogether secure from the objections of the critic, he has very little to fear from the strictest moral or religious censure; his works are not only the productions of a genius truly poetical; but they are friendly to the best interests of morality and liberty; they inspire virtue, truth, and patriotism; and inculcate the necessity of goodness to the present and suture happiness of mankind. His compofitions are characterized by elegance of diction, and corredness of judgment, rather than vigour of expression or sublimity of sentiment, neither of which are wanting. His powers have had every aid that laborious cultivation, that useful and polite learning could give; he poffeffes a judgment critically exact, but has not an highly creative imagination. He is an elegant and pleasing writer, a smooth and corre&t versifier, but not a first-rate poet.
His Excursion is not devoid of poetical spirit and piduresque description. Many of the images are striking, and many of the passages are elegant. He observes clearly, and describes forcibly; but he errs by endeavouring to impress his subject on the mind with a pomp and reduplication of expression. In his Verbal Criticism, there is more pertness than wit, and more confidence than know, ledge. Horace and Shakspeare are skilfully delineated. The three concluding couplets are excellent. The versification is tolerable, nor can criticism allow it a higher praise. Amyrtor and Theodora, his most elaborate performance, though somewhat tedious and diffuse, abounds in striking images, pathetic incidents, and moral reflections. “ The nauseous affectation of expressing every thing pompoully,” says Dr. Warton, “is no were more visible than in a poem lately published, intitled Amyntor and Theodora. The following infiance may be alleged, among many others. Amyntor having a pathetic tale to discover, being choked with sorrow, and at a loss for utterance, uses these orna: mental unnatural images:
O could I steal
All nature smiling round-
U u iij
that there is in this poem copiousness and elegance of language, vigour of sentiment, and imagery well adapted to take possession of the fancy. His poem on the Deatb of Lady Anson, addressed to her father, Lord Harwicke, deferves great praise. It is serious, pathetic, and poetical in the highest degree. The distress of Cicero for the death of Tullia, is happily introduced, and rendered · very applicable by a fimilitude of some circumstances. None of his poems do him greater honour, or give us a higher idea of his poetical powers.
His Truth in Rhyme is a pretty court compliment, in which his patron, Lord Bute, makes almost as good a figure as his Majesty. It is chiefly remarkable for the extraordinary instance of vanity in the imprima!ur prefixed to it.
It has no faults, or I no faults can spy;
Imprimatur, meo periculo, CHESTERFIELD.
If Chesterfield, so justly celebrated for the elegance of his taste and wit, ftill retained so much of the courtier as to give such a testimony to this poem, as no poem ever deserved, Mallet ought not ta have been so far transported by it as publicly to triumph in so extravagant a compliment, even admitting that it was fincere, which may be reasonably doubted. Zepbyr, or the Stratagem, is a tale in the manner of Prior, told with ease and humour. There is some wit and spirit in it; but it is unfit for a modest ear. Cupid and Hymen, the Discovery, the Reward, are written with ease and sprightliness, and may be read with pleasure. His Prologue to Thomson's “ Agamemnon” is superior to that which he received from Thomson for Mufapba. His Funeral Hymn opens with a becoming solemnity and grandeur of expression ; but is totally spoiled by a number of short rhymes, which are so far from conveying any idea suitable to the solemn dignity of a funeral hymn, that they turn the whole into a burlesque. The Fragment, beginning, Fair morn ascends, &c. is remarkably fine. It is of a strain more exalted than any of his other pieces. He has no where discovered more poetical enthusiasm. His Epitapbs deserve particular commendation. His ballads of W:lliam and Margaret, Edwin and Emma, and The Birks of Endermay, rank with the best compositions of that kind in our language. William and Margaret is fully entitled to the favourable reception it met with. It is the most pleasing of all his poetical compositions. It is plaintive, pathetic, and fimplc ; both the sentiment and the expression are equally captivating. Dr. Johnson is almost fingular in thinking that " it contains nothing very striking or difficult.” Edwin and Emma is an imitation of William and Margaret ; though certainly not altogether equal to it. An unfortunate amour is the subject of both. The story of the hapless pair is added in profe, and averred to be matter of fact. The father of Edwin is described in the following passage, by a simile immediately arising from the subject itself, which conveys a direct and unequivocal illustration, with a concicness and expression truly admirable :
The father too, a sordid man,
Who love por pity knew,
From wbence bis ricbes grew.
His character, as given by Dr. Johnson, cannot be generally allowed, without doing great injustice to his literary and poctical merit.
“ As a writer, he cannot be placed in any high class. There is no species of composition in which he was eminent. His dramas had their day, a sort day, and are forgotten; his blank verfe seema to my ear the echo of Thomson. His Life of Bacon is known, as it is appended to Bacon's volumes, but it is no longer mentioned. His works are such as a writer bustling in the world, showing himself in public, and emerging occasionally from time to time into notice, might keep alive by his personal influence; but which conveying little information, and giving no great pleasure, must foort give way, as the succession of things produces new topics of conversation, and other modes of 2 mufcment'
No man, in ancient Rome, my Lord, would have without vanity; because it is equally in every been surprised, I believe, to see a poet inscribe man's power. Of all that I have written, on any his works, either to Cicero, or the younger Pliny ; occasion, there is not a line, which I am afraid to not to mention any more amongfi her most cele- own, either as an honest man, a good subject, or brated names. They were both, it is true, public a true lover of my country. magistrates of the firit distinction, and had apphed I have thus, my Lord, dedicated some few mo. themselves severely to the study of the laws; in ments, the firft day of this new year, to send which both eminently excelled. They were, at you, according to good old custom, a present. An the same time, illustrious orators, and employed humble one, I confess it is; and that can have littheir eloquence in the service of their clients and tle other value but what arises from the difpofi. their country. But, as they had both embellish. tion of the sender. On that account, perhaps, it ed their other talents by early cultivating the may not be altogether upacceptable ; for it is ina firer arts, and which has tpread, we fee, a peculiar deed an offering rather of the heart than the light and grace over all their productions; no head; an effusion of those sentiments, which great species of polite literature could be foreign to merit, employed to the belt purposes, naturally their taste or patronage. And, in effect, we find creates they were the friends and protectors of the best May you enjoy, my Lord, through the whole poets their respective ages produced.
course of this and many more years, that sound It is from a parity of character, my Lord, and health of mind and body, which your important which will occur obviously to every eye, that I am labours for the public lo much want, and to justly induced to place your name at the head of this merit! And may you foon bave the satisfaction to collection, such as it is, of the different things I fee, what I know you so ardently wish, this dehave written,
structive war, however necessary on our part, con
cluded by a safe and lasting peace! Then, and “ Nec Phæbo gratior ulla
not till then, all the noble arts, no less uteful than Quam fibiquæ Vari præfcripfit pagina nomen.' ornamental to human lite, and that now languilh,
may again flourish, under the eye and encourageAnd were I as fure, my Lord, that it is deserving ment of those few, who think and feel as you do, of your regard, as I am that these verses were not
for the advantage and honour of Great Britajo, applied with more propriety at first than they are I am, with the fincerelt attachment, now; the public would universally justify my ambition in presenting it to you. But, of that, the public only must and will judge, in the last ap
My Lord, peal. There is but one thing, to bespeak their
Your most faithful favour and your friendship, that I dare be pofitive in: without which, you are the last person in
humble servant. Britain to whom I thould have thought of addieffing it. And this any man may affirm of himielt,