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fession, nor indeed any kind of business which interrupted his voluptuary dreams, or forced him to rouse from that indulgence in which only he could find delight. His reputation as a civilian was yet maintained by his judgements in the courts of Delegates, and raised very high by the address and knowledge which he discovered in 1700, when he defended the earl of Anglesea against his lady, afterwards dutchess of Buckinghamshire, whợ sued for a divorce, and obtained it.
The expence of his pleasures, and neglect of businefs, had now lessened his revenues; and he was willing to accept of a fettlement in Ireland, where, about 1702, he was made judge of the admiralty, commissioner of the prizes, keeper of the records in Birmingham's tower, and vicar-general to Dr. Marsh, the primate.
But it is vain to put wealth within the reach of him who will not stretch out his hand to take it. King foon found a friend, as idle and thoughtless as himself, in Upton, one of the judges, who had a pleasant house called Mountown, near Dublin, to which King frequently retired; delighting to neglect his intereft, forget his cares, and desert his duty.
Here he wrote Mully of Mountown, a poem ; by which, though fanciful readers in the pride of fagacity have given it a poetical interpretation, was meant originally no more than it expressed, as it was dictated only by the author's delight in the quiet of Mountown.
In 1708, when lord Wharton was sent to govern Ireland, King returned to London, with his poverty, Vol. X.
his idleness, and his wit; and published some essays, called Useful Tranfa&tions. His Voyage to the Island of Cajamai is particularly commended. He then wrote the Art of Love, a poem remarkable, notwithstanding its title, for purity of sentiment; and in 1709 imitated Horace in an Art of Cookery, which he published, with some letters to Dr. Lister.
In 1710, he appeared as a lover of the Church, on the side of Sacheverell ; and was supposed to have concurred at least in the projection of The Examiner. His eyes were open to all the operations of Whiggism; and he bestowed some strictures upon Dr. Kennet's adulatory sermon at the funeral of the duke of Devonshire,
The History of the Heathen Gods, a book composed for schools, was written by him in 1711. The work is useful; but might have been produced without the powers of King. The same year, he published Rufinus, an historical essay; and a poem, intended to dispose the nation to think as he thought of the duke of Marlborough and his adherents.
In 1711, competence, if not plenty, was again put into his power. Fie was, without the trouble of attendance, or the mortification of a request, made gazetteer. Swift, Freind, 'Prior, and other men of the same party, brought him the key of the gazetteer's office. He was now again placed in a profitable employment, and again threw the benefit away. An Act of Insolvency made his business at that time particularly troublesomne ; and he would not wait till hurry should be at an end, but impatiently resigned
it, and returned to his wonted indigence and amusements.
One of his amusements at Lambeth, where he res sided, was to mortify Dr. Tenison, the archbishop, by a publick festivity, on the surrender of Dunkirk to Hill; an event with which Tenison's political bigotry did not suffer him to be delighted. King was resolved to counteract his fullenness, and at the expence of a few barrels of ale filled the neighbourhood with honest merriment.
In the autumn of 1712, his health declined; he grew weaker by degrees, and died on Christmas-day. Though his life had not been without irregularity, his principles were pure and orthodox, and his death was pious.
After this relation, it will be naturally supposed that his poems were rather the amusements of idleness than efforts of study; that he endeavoured rather to divert than astonish; that his thoughts sel. dom aspired to sublimity; and that, if his verse was easy and his images familiar, he attained what he desired. His purpose is to be merry; but perhaps, to enjoy his mirth, it may be sometimes necessary to think well of his opinions.
THOMAS SPRAT was born in 1636, at Talla. ton in Devonshire, the son of a clergyman; and having been educated, as he tells of himself, not at Westminster or Eton, but at a little school by the church-yard fide, became a commoner of Wadham College in Oxford in 1651 ; and, being chosen scholar next year, proceeded through the usual academia cal course; and, in 1657, became master of arts, He obtained a fellowship, and commenced poet. . In 1659, his poem on the death of Oliver was published, with those of Dryden and Waller. In his dedication to Dr. Wilkins, he appears a very willing and liberal encomiast, both of the living and the dead. He implores his patron's excuse of his verses, both as falling “ so infinitely below the full “ and sublime genius of that excellent poet who “ made this way of writing free of our nation,” and being “ so little equal and proportioned to the re“ nown of a prince on whom they were written; $ such great actions and lives deserving to be the
* fubject of the noblest pens and most divine phan“fies.”. He proceeds: “ Having so long expe*6 rienced your care and indulgence, and been “ formed, as it were, by your own hands, not to en“ title you to any thing which my meanness pro• duces would be not only injustice, but facrilege."
He published, the same year, a poem on the Plague of Athens ; a subject of which it is not easy to say what could recommend it. To these he added afterwards a poem on Mr. Cowley's death.
After the Restoration he took orders, and by Cowa ley's recommendation was made chaplain to the duke of Buckingham, whom he is said to have helped in writing the Rebearsal. He was likewise chaplain to the king.
As he was the favourite of Wilkins, at whose house began those philofophical conferences and enquiries which in time produced the Royal Society, he was consequently engaged in the same studies, and became one of the fellows: and when, after their incorporation, something seemed necessary to reconcile the publick to the new institution, he undertook to write its history, which he published in 1667. This is one of the few books which selection of sentiment and elegance of diction have been able to preserve, though written upon a subject flux and transitory. The Hiftory of the Royal Society is now read, not with the wish to know what they were then doing, but how their Transactions are exhibited by Sprat.
In the next year he published Observations on Sorbiere's Voyage into England, in a Letter to Mr. Wren.