Obrazy na stronie
PDF
ePub

censure from those whom he forsook, and was received by the new ministry as a valuable reinforcement. When the earl of Oxford was told that Dr. Parnell waited among the crowd in the outer room, he went, by the persuasion of Swift, with his treasurer's staff in his hand, to inquire for him, and to bid him welcome ; and, as may be inferred from Pope's dedication, admitted him as a favourite companion to his convivial hours, but, as it seems often to have happened in those times to the favourites of the great, without attention to his fortune, which, however, was in no great need of improvement. Parnell, who did not want ambition or vanity, was desirous to make himself conspicuous, and to show how worthy he was of high preferment. As he thought himself qualified to become a popular preacher, he displayed his elocution with great success in the pulpits of London; but the queen's death putting an end to his expectations, abated his diligence ; and Pope represents him as falling from that time into intemperance of wine. That in his latter life he was too much a lover of the bottle, is not denied ; but I have heard it imputed to a cause more likely to obtain forgiveness from mankind, the untimely death of a darling son ; or, as others tell, the loss of his wife, who died, 1712, in the midst of his expectations. He was now to derive every future addition to his preferments from his personal interest with his private friends, and he was not long unregarded. He was warmly recommended by Swift to archbishop King, who gave him a prebend in 1713; and in May 1716, presented him. to the vicarage of Finglass in the diocese of Dublin, worth four hundred pounds a year. Such notice from such a man inclines me to believe, that the vice of which he has been accused was not gross, or not notorious. But his prosperity did not last long. His end, whatever was its cause, was now approaching. He enjoyed his preferment little more than a year ; for in July, 1717, in his thirty eighth year, he died at Chester on his way to Ireland. He seems to have been one of those poets who take delight in writing. He contributed to the papers of that time, and probably published more than he owned. He left many compositions behind him, of which Pope selected those which he thought best, and dedicated them to the earl of Oxford. Of these Gold

smith has given an opinion, and his criticism it is seldom safe to contradict. He bestows just praise upon The rise of Woman, The Fairy Tale, and the Pervigilium Veneris ; but has very properly remarked that in The Battle of Mice and Frogs, the Greek names have not in English their original effect. He tells us, that The Book Worm is borrowed from Beza : but he should have added, with modern applications; and, when he discovers that Gay Bacchus is translated from Mugurellus, he ought to have remarked that the latter part is purely Parnell's. Another poem, When Shring comes on, is, he says, taken from the French. I would add, that the description of Barrenness, in his verses to Pope, was borrowed from Secundus ; but lately searching for the passage, which I had formerly read, I could not find it. The Wight fliece on Death is indirectly preferred by Goldsmith to Gray's Churchyard ; but, in my opinion, Gray has the advantage of dignity, variety, and originality of sentiment. He observes, that the story of the Hermit is in More's Dialogues and Howell’s Letters, and supposes it to have been originally JArabian. Goldsmith has not taken any notice of the Elegy to the old Beauty, which is perhaps the meanest ; nor of the Allegory on Man, the happiest of Parnell's performances; the hint of the Hymn to Contentment I suspect to have been borrowed from Cleiveland. The general character of Parnell is not great extent of comprehension, or fertility of mind. Of the little that appears still less is his own. His praise must be derived from the easy sweetness of his diction; in his verses there is more happiness than pains; he is sprightly without effort, and always delights, though he never ravishes; every thing is proper, yet every thing seems casual. If there is some appearance of elaboration in the Hermit, the narrative, as it is less” airy, is less pleasing. Of his other compositions it is impossible to say whether they are the productions of nature, so excellent as not to want the help of art, or of art so refined as to resemble nature. This criticism relates only to the pieces published by Pope. Of the large appendages which I find in the last edition, I can only say, that I know not whence they came, nor have ever inquired whither they are going. They stand upon the faith of

the compilers,
* Dr. Warton asks, “less than what?” E.

GARTH.

SAMUEL GARTH was of a good family in Yorkshire, and from some school in his own country became a student at Peterhouse in Cambridge, where he resided till he became doctor of physic on July the 7th. 1691. He was examined before the college at London on March the 12th. 1692, and admitted fellow, July 26th. 1693. He was soon so much distinguished, by his conversation and accomplishments, as to obtain very extensive practice; and, if a pamphlet of those times may be credited, had the favour and confidence of one party, as Radcliffe had of the other. He is always mentioned as a man of benevolence ; and it is just to suppose that his desire of helping the helpless, disposed him to so much zeal for the Disfiensary ; an undertaking, of which some account, however short, is proper to be given. Whether what Temple says be true, that physicians have had more learning than the other faculties, I will not stay to inquire; but, I believe, every man has found in physicians great liberality and dignity of sentiment, very prompt effusion of beneficence, and willingness to exert a lucrative art where there is no hope of lucre. Agreeably to this character, the college of physicians, in July 1687, published an edict, requiring all the fellows, candidates, and licentiates, to give gratuitous advice to the neighbouring poor. This edict was sent to the court of aldermen; and, a question being made to whom the appellation of the floor should be extended, the college answered, that it should be sufficient to bring a testimonial from the clergyman officiating in the parish where the patient resided. t After a year's experience, the physicians found their charity frustrated by some malignant opposition, and made to a great degree vain by the high price of physic; they therefore voted, in August, 1688, that the laboratory of the college should be accommodated to the preparation of medicines, and another room prepared for their reception; and that the contributors to the expense should manage the charity. It was now expected, that the apothecaries would have undertaken the care of providing medicines; but they took another course. Thinking the whole design pernicious to their interest, they endeavoured to raise a faction against it in the college, and found some physicians mean enough to solicit their patronage, by betraying to them the counsels of the college. The greater part, however, enforced by a new edict, in 1694, the former order of 1687, and sent it to the mayor and aldermen, who appointed a committee to treat with the college, and settle the mode of administering the charity. It was desired by the aldermen, that the testimonials of churchwardens and overseers should be admitted; and that all hired servants, and all apprentices to handicraftsmen, should be considered as floor. This likewise was granted by the college. It was then considered who should distribute the medicines, and who should settle their prices. The physicians procured some apothecaries to undertake the dispensation, and offered that the warden and company of the apothecaries should adjust the price. This offer was rejected; and the apothecaries who had engaged to assist the charity were considered as traitors to the company, threatened with the imposition of troublesome offices, and deterred from the performance of their engagements. The apothecaries ventured upon public opposition, and presented a kind of remonstrance against the design to the committee of the city, which the physicians condescended to confute; and at last the traders seem to have prevailed among the sons of trade ; for the proposal of the college having been considered, a paper of approbation was drawn up, but postponed and forgotten. The physicians still persisted; and in 1696 a subscription was raised by themselves, according to an agreement prefixed to the , s dispensary. The poor were, for a time, supplied with medicine; for how long a time, I know not. The medicinal charity, like others, began with ardour, but soon remitted, and at last died gradually away.

« PoprzedniaDalej »