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of Henry VIII. was tortured in the Tower; concerning which there is reason to wonder that it was not known to the historian of the Reformation. In the Revolution he acquiesced, though he did not promote it. There was once a design of associating him in the invitation of the prince of Orange; but the earl of Shrewsbury discouraged the attempt, by declaring, that Mulgrave would never concur. This king William afterwards told him; and asked what he would have done, if the proposal had been made: “Sir” said he, “I would have discovered it to the king whom I then served.” To which king William replied—“I cannot blame you.” Finding king James irremediably excluded, he voted for the conjunctive sovereignty, upon this principle, that he thought the title of the prince and his consort equal, and it would please the prince, their protector, to have a share in the sovereignty. This vote gratified king William; yet, either by the king's distrust, or his own discontent, he lived some years without employment. He looked on the king with malevolence, and, if his verses or his prose may be credited, with contempt. He was, notwithstanding this aversion or indifference, made marquis of Normanby (1694), but still opposed the court on some important questions; yet, at last, he was received into the cabinet council, with a pension of three thousand pounds. At the accession of queen Anne, whom he is said to have courted when they were both young, he was highly favoured. Before her coronation (1702) she made him lord privy seal, and soon after lord lieutenant of the North-riding of Yorkshire. He was then named commissioner for treating with the Scots about the Union; and was made, next year, first, duke of Normanby, and then of Buckinghamshire, there being suspected to be somewhere a latent claim to the title of Buckingham. Soon after, becoming jealous of the duke of Marlborough, he resigned the privyseal, and joined the discontented Tories in a motion, extremely offensive to the queen, for inviting the princess Sophia to England. The queen courted him back, with an offer no less than that of the chancellorship; which he refused. He now retired from business, and built that house in the Park, which is now the queen's, upon ground granted by the crown. When the ministry was changed (1710), he was made lord chamberlain of the ousehold, and concurred in all transactions of that time, except that he endeavoured to protect the Catalans. After the queen's death, he became a constant opponent of , the court; and, having no public business, is supposed to have amused himself by writing his two tragedies. He died February 24, 1720-21. He was thrice married: by his two first wives he had no children; by his third, who was the daughter of king James by the countess of Dorchester, and the widow - of the earl of Anglesey, he had, besides other children that died early, a son born in 1716, who died in 1735, and put an end to the line of Sheffield. It is observable, that the duke's three wives were all widows. The dutchess died in 1742. His character is not to be proposed as worthy of imitation. His religion he may ; be supposed to have learned from Hobbes; and his morality was such as naturally proceeds from loose opinions. His sentiments with respect to women he picked up in the court of Charles; and his principles concerning property were such as a gaming able supplies. He was censured as covetous, and has been defended by an instance 2 of inattention to his affairs, as if a man might not at once be corrupted by avarice and idleness. He is said, however, to have had much tenderness, and to have been very ready to apologize for his violences of passion. He is introduced into this collection only as a poet; and, if we credit the testimony of his contemporaries, he was a poet of no vulgar rank. But favour and flattery are now at an end; criticism is no longer softened by his bounties, or awed by his splendour; and, being able to take a more steady view, discovers him to be a writer that sometimes glimmers, but rarely shines, feebly laborious, and at best but pretty. His songs are upon common topics; he hopes, and grieves, and repents, and despairs, and rejoices, like any other maker of little stanzas; to be great, he hardly tries; to be gay, is hardly in his power. In the Essay on Satire he was always supposed to have had the help of Dryden. His Essay on Poetry is the great work for which he was praised by Roscommon, Dryden, and Pope; and doubtless by many more, whose eulogies have perished. Upon this piece he appears to have set a high value; for he was all his life-time improving it by successive revisals, so that there is scarcely any poem to be found of which the last edition differs more from the first. Amongst other changes, mention is made of some compositions of Dryden, which were written after the first appearance of the essay. At the time when this work first appeared, Milton's fame was not yet fully established, and therefore Tasso and Spenser were set before him. The two last lines were these, The epic poet, says he, Must above Milton's lofty flights prevail, Succeed where great Torquato, and where greater Spenser, fail. The last line, in succeeding editions, was shortened, and the order of names continued: but now Milton is at last advanced to the highest place, and the passage thus adjusted: Must above Tasso's lofty flights prevail, Succeed where Spenser, and ev'n Milton fail. Amendments are seldom made without some token of a rent: lofty does not suit Tasso so well as Milton.
One celebrated line seems to be borrowed. The essay calls a perfect character A faultless monster which the world ne'er saw.
Scaliger, in his poems, terms Virgil sine labe monstrum. Sheffield can scarcely be supposed to have read Scaliger's poetry; perhaps he found the words in a quotation. Of this essay, which Dryden has exalted so highly, it may be justly said, that the precepts are judicious, sometimes new, and often happily expressed; but there are, after all the emendations, many weak lines, and some strange appearances of negli gence; as, when he gives the laws of elegy, he insists upon connection and coherence without which, says he, 'Tis epigram, 'tis point, 'tis what you will; But not an elegy, nor writ with skill, No Panegyric, nor a Cooper's Hill. Who would not suppose that Waller's Panegyric and Denham's Cooper's Hill wer elegies? His verses are often insipid; but his memoi, are lively and agreeable; he had th perspicuity and elegance of an historian, but not the fire and fancy of a poet.
DRYDEN. verses to load Roscom Mort. How will sweet Ovid's ghost be pleas'd to hear His fame augmented by an English peer? How he embellishes his Helen's love, Outdoes in softness, and his sense improves.
DRYDEN. freface to vincin's Aeneis.
* Youn Essay on Poetry, which was published without a name, and of which I was not honoured with the confidence, I read over and over with much delight, and as much instruction; and, without flattering you, or making myself more moral than 1 am, not without some envy. I was loth to be informed how an epic poem should be written, or how a tragedy should be contrived and managed in better verse, and with more judgment, than I could teach others.
“I gave the unknown author his due commendation, I must confess; but who can answer for me, and for the rest of the poets who heard me read the poem, whether we should not have beca better pleased to have seen our own names at the bottom of the title-page? Perhaps we counmended it the more, that we might seem to be above the censure,” &c.
ous, your words chosen, your expressions strong and manly, your verse flowing, and your turns as happy as they are easy. If you would set us more copies, your example would make all precepts needless. In the meantime, that little you have writ is owned, and that particularly by the poets, (who are a nation not over-lavish of praise to their contemporaries) as a particular ornament of our language: but the sweetest essences are always confined in the smallest glasses.”
DEDICATION to aurenczebe.
How great and manly in your lordship is your contempt of popular applause, and your retired virtue, which shines only to a few, with whom you live so easily and freely, that you make it evident you have a soul which is capable of all the tenderness of friendship, and that you only retire yourself from those who are not capable of returning it ! ... Your kindness, where you have once placed it, is inviolable; and it is to that only I attribute my happiness in your love. This makes me more easily forsake an argument, on which I could otherwise delight to dwell; I mean your judgment in your choice of friends, because I have the honour to be one. After which, I am sure, you will more easily permit me to be silent in the care you have taken of my fortune, which you have rescued, not only from the power of others, but from my worst of enemics, my own modesty and laziness: which favour, had it been employed on a more deserving subject, had been an effect of justice in your nature; but, as placed on me, is only charity. Yet withal it is conferred on such a man, as prefers your kindness itself before any of its consequences; and who values, as the greatest of your favours, those of your love, ini of your conversation. From this constancy to your friends I might reasonably assume, that your resentments would be as strong and lasting, if they were not restrained by a nobler principle of good-nature and generosity; for certainly it is the same composition of mind, the same resolution and courage, which makes the greatest friendships and the gratest enmities. To this firmness in all your actions (though you are wanting in no other ornaments of mind and body, yet to this) I principally ascribe the interest vour inerits have acquired you in the royal fa
'nity. A prace who is constant to himself, and steady in all his undertakings; one with whom the character of Horace will agree: Sifractus illabatur orbis, Impavidum ferient ruinae.
Such a one cannot but place an esteem, and repose a confidence on him, whom no adversity, no change of courts, no bribery of interest, or cabal of factions, or advantages of fortune, can remove from the solid foundations of honour and fidelity. Ille meos, primus qui me sibijunxit, amores Abstulit, ille habeat secum, servetgue sepulcro.
How well your lordship will deserve that praise, I need no inspiration to foretel. You have already ieft no room for prophecy: your early undertakings have been such, in the service of your king and country, when you offered yourself to the most dangerous employment, that of the sea; when you chose to abandon those delights to which your youth and fortune did invite you, to undergo the hazards, and, which was worse, the company of common seamen; that you have made it evident you will refuse, no opportunity of rendering yourself useful to the nation, when either your courage or conduct shall be required.
Essay on UNNArural flights, &c. First Mulgrave rose, Roscommon next, like light, To clear our darkness, and to guide our flight: With steady judgment, and in lofty sounds, They gave us patterns, and they set us bounds. The Stagyrite and Horace laid aside, Inform'd by them, we need no foreign guide; Who seek from poetry a lasting name, May, from their lessons, learn the road to Fame.
ALMA, CANT. II.
Harry the poet! blest the lays'
Now Tyber's streams no courtly Gallus see, But smiling Thames enjoys his Normanby.
Essay on criticism.
Yet some there were among the soul:der few,
Muse, 'tis enough; at length thy labour ends,
DUICE OF BUCICINGHAMSHIRE,
THE TEMPLE OF DEATH.
IN 1.Mitation of the FRENch.
Is those cold climates, where the Sun appears Unwillingly, and hides his face in tears, A dismal vale lies in a desert isle, On which indulgent Heaven did never simile, There a thick grove of aged cypress trees, Which none, without an awful horrour, sees, Into its wither'd arms, depriv'd of leaves, Whole flocks of ill-presaging birds receives: Poisons are all the plants that soil will bear, And winter is the only season there t Millions of graves o'erspread the spacious field, And springs of blood a thousand rivers yield; Whose streams, oppress'd with carcasses and bones, hnstead of gentle murmurs, pour forth groans. Within this vale a famous temple stands, Old as the world itself, which it commands; Round is its figure, and four iron gates Divide mankind, by order of the Fates: Thither in crowds come, to one common grave, The young, the old, the monarch, and the slave, Old Age and Pains, those evils man deplores, Are rigid keepers of th' eternal doors; All clad in mournful blacks, which sadly load The sacred walls of this obscure abode; And tapers, of a pitchy substance made, With clouds of smoke, increase the dismal shade. A monster, void of reason and of sight, The goddess is, who sways this realm of night; Her power extends o'er all things that have breath, A cruel tyrant, and her name is Death. The fairest object of our wondering eyes was newly offer'd up her sacrifice; Th’ adjoining places where the altar stood, ret blushing with the fair Almeria's blood, When griev'd Orontes, whose unhappy flame 's known to all who e'er converse with Fame, His mind possess'd by Fury and Despair, Within the sacred temple made this prayer: “ Great deity who in thy hands dost bear That iron sceptre which poor mortals fear; Who wanting eyes thyself, respectest none, And neither spar'st the laurel nor the crown!
O thou, whom all mankind in vain withstand,