« הקודםהמשך »
- Franca per Mantoua. .' .. « Sept. the 3d, our stzle.
* Dear Sons, * Being now at Sir William Bowyer's in the country, I cannot write å "large, because I find myself somewhat indisposed with a cold, andam thick *f hearing, rather worse than I was in town. I am glad to find, by your 55 letter of July 26th, your style, that you are both in health; but wondet - you should think me so negligent as to forget to give you an account of - the ship in which your parcel is to come. I have written to yqu tvo OP " three letters concerning it, which I have sent by safe hands, as I told you, iso and doubt not but you have them before this can arrive to you. Being << out of town, I have forgotten the ship's name, which your mother wil “ enquire, and put it into her letter, which is joined with mine. But the " master's name I remember: he is called Mr. Ralph Thorp ; the ship is « bound to Leghorn, consigned to Mr. Peter and Mr: Tho. Ball, merchants.. “ I am of your opinion, that by Tonson's means almost ail our letters have “ miscarried for this last year. But, however, he has missed of his design s in the Dedication, though he had prepared the book for it; for in every “ figure of 'Eneas he has caused him to be drawn like King William, with “ a hooked nose. After my return to town, I intend to alter a play of " Sir Robert Howard's written long since, and lately put into my hands : € 'tis called The Conquest of China by the Tartars. It will cost me six weeks “study, with the problable benefit of an hundred pounds. In the mean time "I am writing a song for St. Cecilia's Feast, who, you know, is the pa" troness of musick. This is troublesome, and no way beneficial; but I 166 could not deny the Stewards of the feast, who came in a body to me to “ desire that kindness, one of them being Mr. Bridgman, whose parents es are your mother's friends. I hope to send you thirty guineas between * Michaelmass and Christmass, of which I will give you an account when " I come to town. I remember the counsel you give me in your letter; * but dissembling, though lawful in some cases, is not my talent'; yet, for - your sake, I will struggle with the plain openess of my nature, and keep*6 in my just resentments against that degeneratę order. In the mean time, 56 I flatter not myseif with any manner of hopes, but do my duty; and suffer, tc for God's sake ; being assured, before hand, never to be rewarded, though “ the times should alter. Towards the latter end of this month, September, ... Charles will begin to recover his perfect health, according to his nativity, " which, casting ii myself, I am sure is true, and all things hitherto have « happened accordingly to the very time that I predicted them: I hope at " the same time to recover more health, according to my age. Remem. ( ber me to poor Harry, whose prayers I earnt sily desire. My Virgil suc“ ceeds in the world beyond its desert or my expectation. You know the
Pectation. My Virgilema
" profits might have been more ; but neither my conscience nor my honour " wobtd suffer me to take them: but I never can repent of my constancy, < since I am thoroughly persuaded of the justice of the cause for which I. 66 suffer. It has pleased God to rise up many friends to me amongst my so enemics, though they who ought to have been my friends are negli« gent of me. I am called to dinner, and cannot go on with this letter, 6 which I desire you to excuse; and am ,
« Your most affectionate father,
" Jonx DRYDEN,"
T DMUND SMITH is one of those lucky writers who have, without U much labour, attained high reputation, and who are mentioned with reverence rather for the possession than the exertion of uncommon abilities,
Of his life little is known ; and that little claims no praise but what can be given to intellectual excellence, seldom employed to any virtuous purpose, His character, as given by Mr. Oldisworth, with all the partiality of friendship, which is said by Dr. Burton to show “ what fine things one man of “ parts can say to another," and which, however, comprises great part of what can be known of Mr. Smith, it is better to transcribe at once, than to také by pięces. I shall subjoin such little memorials as accident has enabled me to collect.
Mr. EDMUND SMITH was the only son of an eminent merchant, one Mr. Neale, by a daughter of the famous baron Lecbmere. Some misfortunes of his father, which were soon followed by his death, were the occasion of the son's being left very young in the hands of a near relation (one who married Mr. Neale's sister), whose name was Smith.
This gentleman and his lady treated him as their own child, and put him to Westminster-school under the care of Dr. Busby; whence, after the loss of his faithful and generous guardian (whose ne me he assumed and retained), he was removed to Christ-church in Oxford, and there by his aunt handsomely maintained till her death ; after wbich he continued a member of that learned and ingenious society, till within five years of his own; though, some time before his leaving Christ-chu.ch he was sent for by his mother to Worcester, and owned and acknowledged as her legitimate son ; which had not been mentioned, but to wipe off the aspersions that were ignorantly cast by some on his birth. It is to be remembered for our author's honour, that, when at Wesminster election he stood a candidate for one of the universities, he so signally distinguished himself by his conspicuous performances,
thar that there arose no small contention between the representative electors of Trinity-college in Cambridge and Christ-church in Oxon, which of those two royal societies should adopt him as their own. But the electors of Trinity-college having the preference of choice that year, they resolutely elected him; who yet, being invited at the same time to Christ-church, chose to accept of a studentship there. Mr. Smith's perfections, as well natural as acquired, seem to have been formed upon Horace's plan, who says, in his Art of Poetry.
He was endowed by Nature with all those excellent and necessary qualifiçations which are previous to the accomplishment of a great man. His mes mory was large and tenacious, yet by a curious felicity chiefly susceptible of the finest impressions it received from the best authors he read, which it always preserved in their primitive strength and amiable order. ...
He had a quickness of apprehension, and vivacity of understanding, which easily took in and surmounted the most subtle and knotty parts of mathema ticks and metaphysicks. His wit was prompt and flowing, yet solid and piercing ; his taste delicate, his head clear, and his way of expressing his thouhgts perspicuous and engaging. I shall say nothing of his person, which yet was so well turned, that no neglect of himself in his dress could render it disagreeable; insomuch that the fair sex, who observed and esteemed him, at once commended and reproved him by the name of the handsome sloven. An eager but generous and noble emulation grew up with him; which (as it were a rational sort of instinct) pushed him upon striving to excel in every art and science that could make him a credit to his college, and that col. lege the ornament of the most learned and polite university ; and it was his happiness to have several contemporaries and fellow-students who exercised and excited this virtue in themselves and others, thereby becoming so deservedly in favour with this age, and so good a proof of its nice discernment. His judgement, naturally good, soon ripened into an exquisite fineness and distinguishing sagacity, which as it was active and busy, so it was vigorous and manly, keeping even paces with a rich and strong imagination, always upon the wing, and never tired with aspiring. Hence it was, that, though he writ as young as Cowley, he had no puerilities; and his earliest productions were so far from having any thing in them mean and trifling, that like the junior compositions of Mr. Stepney, they may make grey authors blush. There are many of his first essays in oratory, in epigrain, elegy, and epique, still handed about the university in manuscript, wbich shew a masterly händ; and thoughi maimed and injured by feequent 'tran scribing, make their way into our most celebrated miscellanies, where they shine with uncommon lustré. Besides those verses in the Oxford books, which he could not help setting his name to, several of his compositions, came abroad under other names, which his own singulár, modesty, and faithful silence, strove in vain to conceal. The Enconia and public Col: lections of the University upon State Subjects were never in such estecmi either for elegy and congratulation, as when he contributed most largely to them: and it was natural for those, who knew his peculiar way of writing, to turn to his share in the work, as by far the most relish'ing part of the entertainment. As his parts were extraordinary, so he well knew how to improve them; and not only to polish the diamond, but enchase it in the most solid and durable metal. Though he was an academick the greatest part of his life, yet he contracted ňo sourness of temper, no spice of pedantry, no itch of disputation, or obstinate contention for the old or new philosophy, no assuming way of dictating to others; which are faults (though excusabie) which some are insensibly led into, who are constrained to dwell long within the walls of a private college. His conversation was pleasant and instructive's and what Horace said of Plotius, Varius, 'and Virgil, might justly be applied to him :
“ Nil ego contulerim jacundo sanus Amico."
Sat. v. l. 1.
As correct a writer as he was in his most elaborate pieces, he read the works of others with candour, and reserved his greatest severity for his own compositions ; being readier to cherish and advance, than damp or depressa rising genius, and as patient of being excelled himself (if any, could excel him) as industrious to excel others. . 'Twere to be wished he had confined himself to a particular profession, who tras capable of surpassing in any ; but in this, his want of application was in a great measure owing to his want of due encouragement. - He passed through the exercises of the college and university with unusual applause ; and though he often suffered his friends to call him off from his retirements, and to lengthen out those jovial avocations, yet his return to his studies were so much the more passionate, and his intention upon those refined pleasures of reading and thinking so vehement (to which his facetious and unbended intervals bore no proportion), that the habit grew upon him, and the series of meditation and reflection being kept up whole weeks together, he could better sort his ideas, and take in the sundry parts of a science at one view, without interruption or confusion. Some indeed of his acquaintance, who were pleased to distingnish between the wit and the scbolar,