« הקודםהמשך »
With the wit he seems to have shared the dissoluteness of the times; for some of his compositions are such as he must have reviewed with detestation in his later days, when he published those Sermons which Felton has commended.
Perhaps, like some other foolish young men, he rather talked than lived viciously, in an age when he that would be thought a Wit was afraid to say his prayers; and whatever might have been bad in the first part of his life, was surely condemned and reformed by his better judgment.
In 1683, being then Master of Arts, and Fellow of Trinity College in Cambridge, he wrote a poem on the marriage of the Lady Anne with George Prince of Denmark.
He then took orders *; and, being made prebendary of Gloucester, became a proctor in convocation for that church, and chaplain to Queen Anne.
In 1710, he was presented by the bishop of Win chester to the wealthy living of Witney in Oxfordshire, which he enjoyed but a few months. On February 10, 1710-11, having returned from an entertainment, he was found dead the next morning. His death is mentioned in Swift's Journal.
* He was presented to the rectory of Blaby in Leicestershire in 1687-8; and obtained a prebend at Gloucester in 1688. N.
K I N G.
WILLIAM KING was born in London in 1663 ; the son of Ezekiel King, a gentleman. He was allied to the family of Clarendon.
From Westminster-school, where he was a scholar on the foundation under the care of Dr. Busby, he was at eighteen elected to Christ-church, in 1681 ; where he is said to have prosecuted his studies with so much intenseness and activity, that before he was eight years standing he had read over, and made remarks upon, twenty-two thousand odd hundred books and manuscripts *. The books were certainly not very long, the manuscripts not very difficult, nor the remarks very large; for the calculator will find that he dispatched seven a day for every day of his eight years; with a remnant that more than satisfies most other students. He took his degree in the most expensive manner, as a grand compounder ; whence it is inferred that he inherited a considerable fortune.
* This appears by his “ Adversaria," printed in his works, edit. 1776, 3 vols. C.
In 1688, the same year in which he was made master of arts, he published a confutation of Varillas's account of Wickliffe; and, engaging in the study of the Civil Law, became doctor in 1692, and was admitted advocate at Doctors Commons.
He had already made some translations from the French, and written some humourous and satirical pieces; when, in 1694, Molesworth published his Account of Denmark, in which he treats the Danes and their monarch with great contempt; and takes the opportunity of insinuating those wild principles, by which he supposes liberty to be established, and by which his adversaries suspect that all subordination and government is endangered.
This book offended Prince George; and the Danish minister presented a memorial against it. The principles of its author did not please Dr. King; and therefore he undertook to confute part, and laugh at the rest. The controversy is now forgotten : and books of this kind seldom live long, when interest and resentment have ceased.
In 1697, he mingled in the controversy between Boyle and Bentley; and was one of those who tried what Wit could perform in opposition to Learning, on a question which Learning only could decide.
In 1699, was published by him A Journey to London, after the method of Dr. Martin Lister, who had published A Journey to Paris. And, in 1700, he satirised the Royal Society, at least Sir Hans Sloane their president, in two dialogues, intituled The Transactioner.
Though he was a regular advocate in the courts of civil and canon law, he did not love his pro
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 judgments 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, who sued for a divorce, and obtained it.
The expence of his pleasures, and neglect of business, had now lessened his revenues; and he was willing to accept of a settlement in Ireland, where, about 1702, he was made judge of the admiralty, commissioner of the prizes, keeper of the records in Bermingham'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 soon 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 interest, forget his cares, and desert his duty.
Here he wrote Mully of Mountown, a poem; by which, though fanciful readers in the pride of sagacity 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. D
his idleness, and his wit ; and published some essays, called Useful Transactions. His Voyage to the Island of Cujamai 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. Kennett'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 1710. 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. He 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 troublesome; and he would not wait till hurry should be at an end, but impatiently resigned