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Corsham in Wiltshire, styled by Wood Gen
BLACKMOR É. SIR RICHARD BLACKMORE is one of
those men whose writings have attracted much notice, but of whose life and manners very little has been communicated, and whose lot it has been to be much oftener mentioned by enemies than by friends,
He was the son of Robert Blackmore of
tleman, and supposed to have been an attorney: having been for some time educated in a country-school, he was sent at thirteen to
estminster; and in 1668 was entered at Edmund-Hall in Oxford, where he took the degree of M. A. June 3, 1676, and resided thirteen years; a much longer time than it is usual to spend at the university. He afterwards travelled : at Padua he was made doctor of physic; and, after having wandered about
a year and a half on the Continent, returned home,
In some part of his life, it is not known when, his indigence compelled him to teach a school; an humiliation with which, though it certainly lasted but a little while, his enemies did not forget to reproach him, when he became conspicuous enough to excite malevolence; and let it be remembered for his honour, that to have been once a school-master is the only reproach which all the perspicacity of malice, animated by wit, has ever fixed upon his private life.
When he first engaged in the study of phyfic, he enquired, as he says, of Dr. Sydenham what authors he should read, and was directed by Sydenham to Don Quixote ; which, faid he, is a very good book ; I read it still. The perverseness of mankind makes it often mifehievous in men of eminence to give way to merriment. The idle and the illiterate will long shelter themselves under this foolish apophthegm.
and starts, and in such occasional uncertain bours
adverfaries had recourse, in the engage poetry in the caufe of Virtue. He was not known as a maker of verses, till books, written, as he relates, by such catches
· Whether he rested satisfied with this direction, or sought for better, he commenced physician, and obtained high eminence and extensive practice. He became Fellow of the College of Physicians April 12, 1687, being one of the thirty which, by the new charter of king James, were added to the former Fellows. His residence was in Cheapfide, and his friends were chiefly in the city. In the early part of Blackmore's time, a citizen was a term of reproach; and his place of abode was another topick to which his
of Blackmore therefore was made a poet not by necessity but inclination, and wrote not for a livelihood but for a fame; or, if he may tell his own motives, for a nobler purpose, to I believe it is peculiar to him, that his
publick work was an heroick poem. he published (in 1699) Prince Artbur, in ten
as his profession afforded, and for the greatest part in coffee-houses, or in passing up and down the streets. For the latter part of this apelogy he was accused of writing to the rumbling of his chariot-wbeels. He had read, he fays, but little poetry throughout bis whole life; and for fifteen years before had not written an, hundred verses, except one copy of Latin verses in praise of a friend's book,
He thinks, and with some reason, that from such a performance perfection cannot be expected; but he finds another reason for the severity of his censurers, which he expresses in language such as Cheapside easily furnished. I am not free of the Poets Company, having never kissed the governor's hands : mine is therefore not so much as a permifonpoem, but a downright interloper. Those gentlemen who carry on their poctical trade in a joint stock, would certainly do what they could
fink and ruin an unlicensed adventurer, notwithstanding I disturbed none of their faktories, uor imported any goods they had ever dealt in. He had lived in the city till he had learned its note.