Obrazy na stronie

of Henry VIII. was tortured in the Tower; concerning which there is reason to wonder that it was not known to the historian of the Reformation.

In the Revolution he acquiesced, though he did not promote it. There was once a design of associating him in the invitation of the prince of Orange; but the eart of Shrewsbury discouraged the attempt, by declaring, that Mulgrave would never concur. This king William afterwards told him; and asked what he would have done, if the proposal had been made: “Sir," said he, “I would have discovered it to the king whom I then served." To which king William replied" I cannot blame you."

Finding king James irremediably excluded, he voted for the conjunctive sovereignty, upon this principle, that he thought the title of the prince and his consort equal, and it would please the prince, their protector, to have a share in the sovereignty. This vote gratified king William; yet, either by the king's distrust, or his own discontent, he lived some years without employment. He looked on the king with malevolence, and, if his verses or his prose may be credited, with contempt. He was, notwithstanding this aversion or indifference, made marquis of Normanby (1694), but still opposed the court on some important questions; yet, at last, he was received into the cabinet council, with a pension of three thousand pounds.

At the accession of queen Anne, whom he is said to have courted when they were both young, he was highly favoured. Before her coronation (1702) she made himi lord privy seal, and soon after lord lieutenant of the North-riding of Yorkshire. He was then named commissioner for treating with the Scots about the Union; and was made, next year, first, duke of Normanby, and then of Buckinghamshire, there being suspeeted to be somewhere a latent claim to the title of Buckingham.

Soon after, becoming jealous of the duke of Marlborough, he resigned the privyseal, and joined the discontented Tories in a motion, extremely offensive to the queen, for inviting the princess Sophia to England. The queen courted him back, with an offer no less than that of the chancellorship; which he refused. He now retired from business, and built that house in the Park, which is now the queen's, upon ground granted by the crown.

When the ministry was changed (1710), he was made lord chamberlain of the ousehold, and concurred in all transactions of that time, except that he endeavoured to protect the Catalans. After the queen’s death, he became a constant opponent of the court; and, having no public business, is supposed to have amused himself by sriting his two tragedies. He died February 24, 1720-21.

He was thrice married: by his two first wives he had no children; by his third, who was the daughter of king James by the countess of Dorchester, and the widow of the earl of Anglesey, he had, besides other children that died early, a son born in :1716, who died in 1735, and put an end to the line of Sheffield. It is observable, that the duke's three wives were all widows. The dutchess died in 1742.

His character is not to be proposed as worthy of imitation. His religion he may be supposed to have learned from Hobbes; and his morality was such as naturally proceeds from loose opinions. His sentiments with respect to woinen he picked up in the court of Charles; and his principles concerning property were such as a gaming zable supplies. He was censured as covetous, and has been defended by an instance of inattention to his affairs, as if a man might not at once be corrupted by avarice and idleness. He is said, however, to have had much tenderness, and to have been very ready to apologize for his violences of passion.

He is introduced into this collection only as a poet; and, if we credit the testimony of his contemporaries, he was a poet of no vulgar rank. But favour and flattery are now at an end; criticism is no longer softened by his bounties, or awed by his splendour; and, being able to take a more steady view, discovers him to be a writer that sometimes glimmers, but rarely shines, feebly laborious, and at best but pretty. His songs are upon common topics; he hopes, and grieves, and repents, and despairs, and rejoices, like any other maker of little stanzas; to be great, he hardly tries; to be gay, is hardly in his power.

In the Essay on Satire he was always supposed to have had the help of Dryden. His Essay on Poetry is the great work for which he was praised by Roscommon, Dryden, and Pope; and doubtless by many more, whose eulogies have perished.

Upon this piece be appears to have set a high value; for he was all his life-time improving it by successive revisals, so that there is scarcely any poem to be found of which the last edition differs more from the first. Amongst other changes, mention is made of some compositions of Dryden, which were written after the first appearance

of the essay.

At the time when this work first appeared, Milton's fame was not yet fully established, and therefore Tasso and Spenser were set before him. The two last lines were these, The epic poet, says be,

Must above Milton's lofty flights prevail,

Succeed where great Torquato, and where greater Spenser, fail. The last line, in succeeding editions, was shortened, and the order of names continued: but now Milton is at last advanced to the highest place, and the passage thus adjusted :

Must above Tasso's lofty fights prevail,

Succeed where Spenser, and ev'n Milton fail. Amendments are seldom made without some token of a rent: lofty does not suit Tasso so well as Milton. One celebrated line seems to be borrowed. The essay calls a perfect character

A faultless monster which the world ne'er saw, Scaliger, in his poems, terms Virgil sine labe monstrum. Sheffield can scarcely be supposed to have read Scaliger's poetry; perhaps he found the words in a quotation.

Of this essay, which Dryden has exalted so highly, it may be justly said, that the precepts are judicious, sometimes new, and often happily expressed; but there are, after all the emendations, many weak lines, and some strange appearances of negligence; as, when he gives the laws of elegy, he insists upon connection and coherence; without which, says he,

'Tis epigram, 'tis point, 'tis what you will;
But not an elegy, nor writ with skill,

No Panegyric, nor a Cooper's Hill. Who would not suppose that Waller's Panegyric and Denham's Cooper's Hill were elegies?

His verses are often insipid; but his memoits are lively and agreeable; he had the perspicuity and elegance of an historian, but not the fire and fancy of a poet.

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ous, your words chosen, your expressions strong EARL OF ROSCOMMON.

and manly, your verse flowing; and your turns as

happy as they are easy. If you would set us more ESSAY ON TRANSLATED VERSE.

copies, your example would make all precepts Happy that author! whose correct Essay' needless. In the meantime, that little you have Repairs so well our old Horatian way.

writ is owned, and that particularly by the poets,

(who are a nation not over-lavish of praise to their DRYDEN.

contemporaries) as a particular ornament of our

language: but the sweetest essences are always ABSALOM AXD ACHITOPHEL.

confined in the smallest glasses."
SHARP-JUDGING Adriel, the Muses' friend,
Himself a Museln Sanhedrin's debate,
True to his prince, but not a slave of state.



How great and manly in your lordship is your

contempt of popular applause, and your retired How will sweet Ovid's ghost be pleas'd to hear virtue, which shines only to a few, with whom you His fame augmented by an English peer? live so easily and freely, that you make it evident How he embellishes his Helen's love,

you have a soul which is capable of all the tender Outdoes in softness, and his sense improves. ness of friendship, and that you only retire your

self from those who are not capable of returning DRYDEN.

it! Your kindness, where you have once placed

it, is inviolable; and it is to that only I attribute FREFACE TO VIRCIL'S ÆNEIS.

my happiness in your love. This makes me more Your Essay on Poetry, which was published easily forsake an argriment, on which I could other. without a name, and of which I was not honoured wise delight to dwell; I mean your judgment in with the contidence, I read over and over with your choice of friends, because I have the honour much delight, and as much instruction; and, with. I to be one. After which, I am sure, you will more out flattering you, or making myself more moral easily permit me to be silent in the care you have than I am, not without some envy. I was loth taken of my fortune, which you have rescued, not to be informed how an epic poem should be writ-only from the power of others, but from my worst ten, or how a tragedy should be contrived and of enemies, my own modesty and laziness : which managed in better verse, and with more judginent, favour, had it been employed on a more deserving than I could teach others.

subject, had been an effect of justice in your naI gave the unknown author his due com- ture; but, as placed on me, is only charity. Yet mendation, I must confess ; bụt who can answer withal it is conferred on such a man, as prefers for me, and for the rest of the poets who heard your kindness itself before any of its consequences; me read the poem, whether we should not have and wbo values, as the greatest of your favours, been better pleased to have seen our own names at those of your love, and of your conversation. the bottom of the title-page? Perhaps we com- From this constancy to your friends I might rtamended it the more, that we might seem to be sonably assume, that your resentments would be above the censure,” &c.

as strong and lasting, if they were not restrained

by a nobler principle of good-nature and generosity; DRYDEN.

for certainly it is the same composition of mind, the same resolution and courage, which makes the

greatest friendships and the gr atest enmities. To " Tuurs is but doing justice to my country, part this firmness in all your actions (though you are of shich honour will reflect on your lordship, whose wanting in no other ornaments of mind and thoughts are always just, your numbers harmoni-body, yet to this) I principaily ascribe the interest

vour inerits have acquired you in the royal faEssay on Poetry.

niig. A pripce who is constant to himself, and



steady in all his undertakings; one with whom they

character of Horace will agree :
Si fractus illabatur orbis,

Impavidum ferient ruinæ.

FIRST Mulgrave rose, Roscommon next, like light, Such a one cannot but place an esteem, and red with steady judgment, and in lofty sounds,

To clear our darkness, and to guide our flight: pose a confidence on him, whom no adversity, no change of courts, no bribery of interest, or caball They gave us patterns, and they set us bounds.

The Stagyrite and Horace laid aside, of factions, or advantages of fortune, can remove from the solid foundations of honour and fidelity. Who seek from poetry a lasting name,

Inform'd by them, we need no foreign guide; Ille mcos, primus qui me sibi junxit, amores

May, from their lessons, learn the road to Fame. Abstulit, ille habeat secum, servetque sepulcro. How well your lordship will deserve that praise, 1

PRIOR. Deed no inspiration to foretel. You have already left no room for prophecy: your early under

ALMA, CANT. II. takings have been such, in the service of your Happy the poet! blest the lays ! king and country, when you offered yourself to Which Buckingham has deign'd to praise. the most dangerous employment, that of the sea; when you chose to abandon those delights to which your youth and fortune did invite you, to undergo

the hazards, and, which was worse, the company
of common seamen; that you have made it evi-
dent you will refuse. no opportunity of rendering Now Tyber's streams no courtly Gallus see,
yourself useful to the nation, when either your But smiling Thames enjoys his Normanby.
courage or conduct shall be required.


Our language is now certainly properer and of those who less presum'd, and better knew,

Yet some there were among the sour:der few, more natural than it was formerly, chiefly since Who durst assert the juster ancient cause, the correction that was given by the Rehearsal ; And here restord Wit's fundamental laws: and it is to be hoped, that the Essay on Poetry. Such was the Muse, whose rules and practice tell, which may be well matched with the best pieces

Nature's chief master-piece is writing well." of its kind that even Augustus's age procluced, will have a more powerful operation, if clear sense, joined with home but gentle reproofs, can work

POPE. more on our writers, than that unmerciful exposing of them has done.

Muse, 'tis enough ; at length thy labour ends, ADDISON.

And thou shalt live, for Buckingham commends.

Let crowds of critics now my verse assail,

Let Dennis write, and nameless numbers rail : We have three poems in our tongue, which are This more than pays whole years of thankless pain, of the same nature, and each of them a master-Time, health, and fortune, are not lost in vain; piece in its kind: the Essay on Translated Verse, Sheffield approves, consenting Phæbus bends, the Essay on Poetry, and the Essay on Criticism. And I and Malice from this hour are friends,






O thou, whom all mankind in vain withstand, THE TEMPLE OF DEATH.

Fach of whose blood must one day stain thy hand! IN IMITATION OF THE PRENCH.

O thou, who every eye that sees the light

Closest for ever in the shades of night!
Is those cold climates, where the Sun appears Goddess attend, and hearken to my grief,
Unwillingly, and hides his face in tears,

To which thy power alone can give relief.
A dismal vale lies in a desert isle,

Alas ! I ask not to defer my fate,
On which indulgent Heaven did never smile. But wish my hapless life a shorter date;
There a thick grove of aged cypress trees,

And that the Earth would in its bowels hide Which none, without an awful horrour, sees, A wretch, whom Heaven invades on every side : Into its wither'd arms, depriv'd of leaves,

That from the sight of day I could remove, Whole flocks of ill-presaging birds receives : And might have nothing left me but my love. Poisons are all the plants that soil will bear, “ Thou only comforter of minds opprest, And winter is the only season there :

The port where wearied spirits are at rest;
Millions of graves o'erspread the spacious field, Conductor to Elysium, take my life,
And springs of blood a thousand rivers yield; My breast I offer to thy sacred knife;
Whose streams, oppress’d with carcasses and bones, So just a grace rrfuse not, nor despise
Instead d gentle murmurs, pour forth groans. A willing, though a worthless sacrifice.
Within this vale a famous temple stands,

Others (their frail and mortal state forgot)
Old as the world itself, which it commands; Before thy altars are not to be brought
Round is its figure, and four iron gates

Without constraint; the noise of dying rage, Divide mankind, by order of the Fates:

Heaps of the slain of every sex and age, Thither in crowds come, to one cominon grave, The blade all reeking in the gore it shed, The young, the old, the monarch, and the slave, With sever'd heads and arms confus'dly spread; Old Age and Pains, those evils man deplores, The rapid flames of a perpetual fire, Are rigid keepers of th' eternal doors ;

The groans of wretches ready to expire: All clad in mournful blacks, which sadly load This tragic scene in terrour makes them live, The sacred walls of this obscure abode;

Till that is forc'd which they should freely give; And tapers, of a pitchy substance made,

Yielding unwillingly what Heaven will have, With clouds of smoke, increase the dismal shade. Their fears eclipse the glory of their grave: A monster, void of reason and of sight,

Before thy face they make indecent moan, The goddess is, who sways this realm of night ; And feel a hundred deaths in fearing one : Her power extends o'er all things that have breath, Thy flame becomes unhallow'd in their breast, A cruel tyrant, and her name is Death.

And he a murderer who was a priesto Tbe fairest object of our wondering eyes

But against me thy strongest forces call, Was newly offer'd up her sacrifice;

And on my head let all the tempest fall ; TH' adjoining places where the altar stood, No mean retreat shall any weakness show, Yet blushing with the fair Almeria's blood, But calmly I'll expect the fatal blow; When grier'd Orontes, whose unhappy fame My limbs not trembling, in my mind no fear, is known to all who e'er converse with Fame, Plaints in my mouth, nor in my eyes a tear, His mind possess'd by Fury and Despair,

Think not that Time, our wonted sure relief, Within the sacred temple made this prayer: That universal cure for every grief,

“ Great deity! who in thy hands dost bear Whose aid so many lovers oft' have found, Taat iron sceptre which poor mortals fear; With like success can ever heal my wound: Who wanting eyes thyself, respectest none, Too weak the power of Nature, or of Art, And neither sparist the laurel nor the crown! Nothing but Death can ease a broken heart:

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