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works, with a solemn recommendation to the patronage of Craggs.
To these works he prefixed an elegy on the author, which could owe none of its beauties to the assistance, which might be suspected to have strengthened or embellished his earlier compositions ; but neither he nor Addison ever produced nobler lines than are contained in the third and fourth paragraphs; nor is a more sublime or more elegant funeral-poem to be found in the whole compass of English, literature.
He was afterwards, about 1725, made secretary to the lords justices of Ireland, a place of great honour; in which be continued till 1740, when he died on the twenty-third of April, at Bath.
Of the poems yet unmentioned, the longest is Kensington Gardens, of wbich the versification is smooth and elegant, but the fiction upskilfully compounded of Grecian deities and Gothick fairies. Neither species of those exploded beings could have done much; and when they are brought together, they only make each other contemptible. To Tickell, however, cannot be refused a high place among the minor poets ; nor should it be forgotten that he was one of the contributors to the Spectator. With respect to his personal character, he is said to have been a man of gay conversation, at least a temperate lover of wine and company, and in his domestick relations without censure.
Op Mr. Hammond, though he be well remembered as a man esteemed and caressed by the elegant and great, I was at first able to obtain no other memorials than such as are supplied by a book called Cibber's Lives of the Poets; of which I take this opportunity to testify that it was not written, nor, I believe, ever seen by either of the Cibbers; but was the work of Robert Shiels, a native of Scotland, a man of very acute understanding, though with little scholastick education, who, not long after the publication of his work, died in London of a consumption. His life was virtuous, and his end was pious. Theophilus Cibber, then a prisoner for debt, imparted, as I was told, his name for ten guineas. The manuscript of Shiels is now in my possession.
I have since found that Mr. Shiels, though he was no negligent inquirer, has been misled by false accounts; for he relates that James Hammond, the author of the elegies, was the son of a Turkey merchant, and had some office at the prince of Wales's court, till love of a lady, whose name wns Dashwood, for a time disordered his upderstanding. He was unextinguishably amorous, and his mistress inexorably cruel.
of this narrative, part is true, and part false. He was the second son of Anthony Hammond, a man of note among the wits, poets, and parliamentary orators, in the beginning of this century, who was allied to sir Robert Walpole by marrying his sister'. He was born about 1710, and educated at Westminster-school; but it does not appear that he was of any university". He was equerry to the prince of Wales, and seems to have come
This account is still erroneous. James Hammond, our author, was of a differeut family, the second son of Anthony Hammond, of Somersbam-place, in the county of Huntington, esq. See Gent. Mag. vol. Ivii. p. 780. R.
* Mr. Cole gives him to Cambridge. VSS. Athena Cantab. ia Mus. Brit.
very early into publick notice, and to have been distinguished by those whose friendship prejudiced mankind at that time in favour of the man on whom they were bestowed; for he was the companion of Cobham, Lyttelton, and Chesterfield. He is said to have divided his life between pleasure and books; in his retirement forgetting the town, and in his gaiety losing the student. Of his literary hours all the effects are here exhibited, of which the elegies were written very early, and the prologue not long before his death.
In 1741, he was chosen into parliament for Truro, in Cornwall, probably one of those who were elected by the prince's influence; and died next year in June, at Stowe, the famous seat of lord Cobham. His mistress long outlived him, and, in 1779, died unmarried. The character which her lover bequeathed her was, indeed, not likely to attract courtship.
The elegies were published after his death ; and while the writer's name was remembered with fondness, they were read with a resolution to admire them.
The recommendatory preface of the editor, who was then believed, and is now affirmed by Dr. Maty, to be the earl of Chesterfield, raised strong prejudices in their favour.
But of the prefacer, whoever he was, it may be reasonably suspected that he never read the poems; for he professes to value them for a very high species of excellence, and recommends them as the genuine effusions of the mind, which expresses a real passion in the language of nature. But the truth is, these elegies have neither passion, nature, nor manners. Where there is fiction, there is no passion : he that describes himself as a shepherd, and his Neæra or Delia as a shepherdess, and talks of goats and lambs, feels no passion. He that courts his mistress with Roman imagery deserves to lose her; for she may, with good reason, suspect his sincerity. Hammond has few sentiments drawn from nature, and few images from modern life. He produces nothing but frigid pedantry. It would be hard to find in all his productions three stanzas that deserve to be remembered.
Like other lovers, he threatens the lady with dying; and what then shall follow?
Wilt thou in tears thy lover's corse attend;
With eyes averted light the solemn pyre,
Then, slowly sinking, by degrees espire?
To sooth the hov'ring soul be thine the care,
With plaintive cries to lead the mournful band;
And cull my ashes with thy trembling band :
Panchaia's odours be their costly feast,
And all the pride of Asia's fragrant year,
And, what is still more precious, give thy tear.
Surely no blame can fall upon the nymph who rejected u swain of so little meaning.
Ilin verses are not rugged, but they have no sweetness; they never glide in a stream of melody. Why Hammond
other writers have thought the quatrain of ten syllables elegiack, it is difficult to tell. The character of the elegy IN gentleness and tenuity; but this stanza has been pronounced by Dryden, whose knowledge of English met was not inconsiderable, to be the most magnificent of the measures which our language affords.