« הקודםהמשך »
· A man, who, under poverty, calamities, and disappointments, could make fo many friends, and those so truly valuable, must have just and noble ideas of the passion of friendship, in the success of which confifted the greatest, if not the only, happinefs of his life. He knew very well what was due to his birth, though Fortune threw him fhort of it in every other circumstance of life. He avoided making any, though perhaps reasonable, complaints of her difpenfations, under which he had honour enough to be easy, without touching the favours fhe flung in his way when offered to him at a price of a more durable reputation. He took care to have no dealings with mankind, in which he could not be juft ; and he desired to be at no other expence in his pretensions than that of intrinfick merit, which was the only burthen and reproach he ever brouglit upon his friends. He could say, as Horace did of himself, what I never yet faw translated : .. .“ Meo fum pauper in ære."
At his coming to town, no man was more fur. rounded by all those who really had or pretended to wit, or more courted by the great men, who had then a power and opportunity of encouraging arts and sciences, and gave proofs of their fondness for the naine of Patron in many instances, which will ever be remembered to their glory. Mr. Smith's character grew upon his friends by intimacy, and out-went the strongest prepossessions which had been conceived in his favour. Whatever quarrel a few sour creatures, whose obscurity is their happiness, inay possibly have to the age; yet amidst a studied
neglect, neglect, and total disuse of all those ceremonial attendances, fashionable equipments, and external recommendation, which are thought necessary introductions into the grande monde, this gentleman was so happy as still to please ; and whilst the rich, the gay, the noble, and honourable, saw how much he excelled in wit and learning, they easily forgave him all other differences. Hence it was that both his acquaintance and retirements were his own free choice. What Mr. Prior observes upon a very great character was true of him, that most of his faults brought their excuse with them. · Those who blamed him most understood him least, it being the custom of the vulgar to charge an excess upon the most complaisant, and to form a character by the morals of a few, who have sometimes spoiled an hour or two in good company. Where only fortune is wanting to make a great name, that single exception can never pass upon the best judges and most equitable observers of mankind; and when the time comes for the world to spare their pity, we may justly enlarge our demands upon them for their admiration,
Some few years before his death, he had engaged himself in several considerable undertakings ; in all which he had prepared the world to expect mighty things from him. I have seen about ten sheets of his English Pindar, which exceeded any thing of that kind I could ever hope for in our own language. He had drawn out a plan of a tragedy of the Lady Jane Grey, and had gone through several scenes of it. But he could not well have bequeathed that work to better hands than where, I hear, it is at pre2
fent lodged ; and the bare mention of two such names may justify the largest expectations, and is sufficient to make the town an agreeable invitation.
His greatest and noblest undertaking 'was Longinus. He had finished an entire translation of the Sublime, · which he sent to the reverend Mr. Richard Parker,
a friend of his, late of Merton College, an exact critick in the Greek tongue, from whom it came to my hands. The French version of Monsieur Boileau, though truly valuable, was far short of it. He proposed a large addition to this work, of notes and observations of his own, with an entire system of the Art of Poetry, in three books, under the titles of Thought, Diction, and Figure. I saw the last of these perfect, and in a fair copy, in which he Thewed prodigious judgement and reading; and particularly had reformed the Art of Rhetorick, by reducing that vast and confused heap of terms, with which a long fuccession of pedants had encumbered the world, to a very narrow compass, comprehending all that was useful and ornamental in poetry. Under each head and chapter; he intended to make remarks upon all the ancients and moderns, the Greek, Latin, English, French, Spanish, and Italian poets, and to note their feveral beauties and defects. . What remains of his works is left, as I am informed, in the hands of men of worth and judgement, who loved him. It cannot be supposed they would suppress any thing that was his, but out of respect to his memory, and for want of proper hands to finish what so great a genius had begun..
SUCHI SUCH is the declamation of Oldifworth, writteri while his admiration was yet fresh, and his kindnefs warm; and therefore such as, without any criminal purpose of deceiving, shews a strong desire to make the most of all favourable truth. I cannot much commend the performance. The praise is often indistinct, and the sentences are loaded with words of more pomp than use. There is little, however, that can be contradicted, even when a plainer tale comes to be told.
EDMUND NEALE, known by the name of Smith, was born at Handley, the seat of the Lechmeres, in Worcestershire. The year of his birth is uncertain *.
He was educated at Westminster. It is known to have been the practice of Dr. Busby to detain those youth long at school, of whom he had formed the highest expectations. Smith took his mafter's degree on the 8th of July, 1696 ; he therefore was probably admitted into the university in 1689, when we may fuppofe him twenty years old.
His reputation for literature in his college was fuch as has been told ; but the indecency and licentiousness of his behaviour drew upon him, Dec. 24, 1694, while he was yet only Bachelor, a public admonition, entered upon record, in order to his expulfion. Of this reproof the effect is not known. He was probably less notorious. At Oxford, as we all know, much will be forgiven to literary merit ;
* By his epitaph he appears to have been 42 years old when he died. He was consequently born in the year 1668. R.
and and of that he had exhibited sufficient evidence by his excellent ode on the death of the great Orientalist, Dr. Pocock, who died in 1691, and whose praise must have been written by Smith when he had been but two years in the university.
This ode, which closed the second volume of the Musa Anglicanæ, though perhaps some objections may be made to its Latinity, is by far the best Lyrick composition in that collection : nor do I know where to find it equalled among the modern writers. It expreffes, with great felicity, images not classical in classical diction : its digressions and returns have been deservedly recommended by Trapp as models for imitation:
He had several imitations from Cowley :
Teftitur hinc tot fermo coloribus
I will not commend the figure which makes the orator pronounce the colours, or give to colours memory and delight. I quote it, however, as an imitation of these lines
So many languages he had in store, , - That only Fame Thall speak of him in more. .
i The fimile, by which an old man, retaining the fire of his youth, is compared to Ætna flaming through the snow, which Smith has used with great pomp, is stolen from Cowley, however little worth the labour of conveyance.