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dertaken with so gooa an intention, and executed with so great a mastery, that it deserves to be looked upon as one of the most useful and noble productions in our English verse. The reader cannot but be pleased to find the depths of philosophy, enlivened with all the charms of poetry, and to see so great a strength of reason amidst so beautiful a redundancy of the imagination. The author has shown us that design in all the works of nature, which necessarily leads us to the knowledge of its first cause. In short, he has illustrated, by numberless and uncontestable instances, that divine wisdom which the son of Sirach has so nobly ascribed to the supreme Being in his formation of the world, when he tells us that he created her, and saw her, and numbered her, and poured her out upon all his works." The following lines are a favourable specimen of Sir Richard's "rumbling" versification:
"See how sublime th' uplifted mountains rise,
Sir Richard died at an advanced age, in 1729. If we cannot assign to him a high rank among the poets of his country, we feel warranted in attributing to him the higher praise of being one who never wrote but in the cause of virtue, and that at a time when vice had the countenance of the great, and piety was out of fashion. Duncombe, speaking of Sir Richard Blackmore, says, "this writer, though the butt of the wits, especially of Dryden and Pope, was treated with more contempt than he deserved. In particular, his poem on the creation has much merit. And let it be remembered that the resentment of those wits was excited by Sir Richard's zeal for religion and virtue; by censuring the libertinism of Dryden, and the (supposed) profaneuess of Pope.
Mr Addison appears to have had a great personal regard for Sir Richard Blackmore, and even Mr Pope and our poetical knight were
l Creation, p. 20, 21. b. i. edit. 1718.
upon terms of friendship so late as in the year 1714. This friendship was first broken by Sir Richard's accusing Mr Pope of profaneness and immorality, on a report from Curl, that he was author of a ' Travestie on the first Psalm.' Had it not been for this, all the knight's bad poetry would scarcely have procured him a place in the Dunciad. Perhaps Sir Richard was blameable in taking the fact for granted on so poor an authority as that of Curl. Whoever reads his censure of Mr Pope will not wonder at the severity of that eminent poet's resentment. It was as follows: 'I cannot but here take notice, that one of these champions in vice is the reputed author of a detestable paper, that has lately been handed about in manuscript, and now appears in print, in which the godless author has burlesqued the first psalm of David in so obscene and profane a manner, that perhaps no age ever saw such an insolent affront offered to the established religion of their country, and this, good heaven! with impunity. A sad demonstration this, of the low ebb to which the British virtue is reduced in these degenerate times.3
BoRN A. D. 1680. DIED A. D. 1735.
Thomas Hearne, one of the most enthusiastic and indefatigable antiquaries that ever lived, was the son of George Hearne, parish-clerk of White Waltham, Berkshire. He was born at Littlefield-green in 1680, and received the first elements of instruction from his father, who kept a small school in the vicarage house of White Waltham. The poverty of the father induced him early to seek a menial employment for the son; but his natural abilities recommending him to the notice of his master, Mr Cherry of Shottesbrooke, he was placed by that gentleman at the free school of Bray, where, by dint of steady application, he made excellent progress in Greek and Latin, and in a short time so commended himself to his patron, that he entered him at Oxford under Dr White Kennet of Edmund-hall. Here the bent of his mind was early noticed by Dr Mill, who was at this time employed upon the appendix to his edition of the Greek Testament, and who gladly availed himself of Hearne's assistance in collating manuscripts. His patron, and other friends, also found him a good deal to do in this way.
In 1699 he took his bachelor's degree, and soon afterwards declined a proposal which was made to him by Dr Kennet to go to Maryland as one of Dr Bray's missionaries. He now became a daily visitor at the Bodleian library, where he gradually but rapidly amassed such an extensive and varied acquaintance with books, that, at the suggestion of Dr Hudson the librarian, he was appointed assistant-librarian in that noble repository of learning. Hearne had now nearly reached the summit of his ambition; his subsequent appointment as janitor of the public library crowned his wishes, and left him nothing more to desire of this world's honours. The keys of the library were to him the sceptres of a prouder kingdom than Britain's monarch ruled. His unwearied industry enabled him to make the fullest use of the literary treasures he commanded; and the fruits of his patient toil and massive erudition soon manifested themselves in a series of publications, chiefly of an antiquarian or archaeological character, which he brought out in rapid succession betwixt the years 1702 and 1735.
* Sir Richard Blackmore's Essays, vol. ii. p. 270.
In 1712 he became second keeper in the Bodleian library, and in 1713 was offered the place of librarian to the Royal society, and the keepership of the museum, which he declined, alleging that his circumstances did not permit him to leave Oxford. In 1714 he was elected architypographus, and esquire-beadle of civil law, in the university; but this appointment he soon afterwards resigned, on account of his conscientious objections which he had formed to the oaths which it required him to subscribe. For the same honourable reason he also, at the same time, resigned his under librarianship. His behaviour in this respect subjected him to the imputation of a secret leaning towards popery, but of this there is not the slightest evidence. He was a conscientious single-minded man, who loved the truth for its own sake so dearly, that he was equally ready to adhere to it in small as well as in great things. He died at the comparatively early age of fifty-five, in consequence of a severe cold and succeeding fever, brought on through imprudent excess of exertion in his favourite pursuits; so that it was truly said of him, he died "a martyr to antiquities."
Hearne was a man of very considerable attainments, and of unchanging devotion to studies of one particular class. It would be doing his memory great injustice to affect to represent him as a mere compiler of catalogues, and index-maker,—though he executed some most laborious works of the kind,—or a mole-eyed antiquarian, whose only delight was to burrow in worm-eaten parchments, and drag again into light the well-forgotten lumber of past ages. He brought a mind well-stored with the literature of antiquity to his task, and a judgment by no means despicable or greatly perverted. He directed his attention to many objects of real value, and has laid succeeding generations under obligation to his industry, to an extent of which few perhaps are aware. Still it must be confessed that the path of literature which he chose for himself, is by no means that which a truly great mind, conscious of its powers, and desirous of asserting them, would have selected. Yet Hearne was a man of talent in the real sense of the word, and it is astonishing with what an intensity of feeling he cherished his passion for antiquities. Among his papers in the Bodleian library, the following pious thanksgiving occurs foi success vouchsafed to the author in his favourite researches: "O most gracious and merciful Lord God, wonderful in thy providence, I return all possible thanks to thee for the care Thou hast always taken of me. I continually meet with most signal instances of this thy providence, and one act yesterday, when I unexpectedly met with three old MSS.; for which, in a particular manner, I return my thanks, beseeching Thee to continue the same protection to me, a poor helpless sinner, and that for Jesus Christ his sake." A passion so ardent as this, for every thing bearing the stamp of antiquity, would of course blind its possessor to the due proportion, and even moral complexion of some things: hence we find Hearne severely censuring Henry VIII. for his sacrilegious attack on the property of the monks, and finding fault also with Bishop Burnet for insinuating any thing against the morals of these most respectable gentry of a bygone age. It was enough for this simple-hearted man, that the monks and monasteries of England had become, even in his days, things of the past, to insure for them his utmost veneration, and excite him to save them from obscurity, or vindicate them from aspersion. In the same spirit of entire devotedness to his one pursuit, he wished to have his grave distinguished after his death, only as the last resting-place of one "who studied and preserved antiquities."
He left his MS. collections to William Bedford of London, of whom Dr Rawlinson purchased them, and at his death bequeathed them with his own MSS. to the Bodleian library. His diary, which is preserved in that library, fills about a hundred and eighty small paper volumes. Many of Hearne's works have become scarce, and now bring high prices. His edition of Livy, in six volumes 8vo. Oxford, 1716, is praised by Dr Harwood. Of some of his works, such as his edition of the Itinerary of Sir John Leland, of the Collectanea of the same author, of John Ross's history of the Aluredi Annales, &c. only a very limited edition was printed. They are therefore highly prized by book-fanciers. Heming's chartulary, Oxford, 1723, 8vo. and the Textus Roffensis, Oxford, 1720, 8vo. are valuable ecclesiastical collections.
A life of Hearne, from his own manuscript, was published by Mr Huddesford in 1772.
BoRN A. D. 1667.—DIED A. D. 1735.
Lord Lansdowne was descended from an illustrious family, which traced their ancestry from Rollo, the first duke of Normandy. He was second son of Bernard Granville, and grandson of the famous Sir Bevil Granville, killed at the battle of Lansdowne, 1643. This nobleman received the first tincture of his education in France, under the tuition of Sir William Ellis, a gentleman who was eminent afterwards in many public employments. When but eleven years of age he was sent to Trinity college, Cambridge, where he remained five years, but at the age of thirteen was admitted to the degree of master of arts, having, before he was twelve years old, spoken a copy of English verses of his own composition, to the duchess of York, when her royal highness paid a visit to that university.
At the time when the nation was embroiled by the public distractions, occasioned by the efforts of King James II. to introduce popery, Lord Lansdowne did not remain an unconcerned spectator: he had early imbibed principles of loyalty, and as some of his forefathers had fallen in the cause of Charles I. he thought it was his duty to sacrifice his life also for the interest of his sovereign. However mistaken he might be in this furious zeal for a prince, the chief scope of whose reign was to overthrow the law and introduce absolute dominion, yet he appears to have been perfectly sincere. In a lettter he wrote to his father upon the expected approach of the prince of Orange's fleet, he
1 Bodleian Letters, No. CI. London: 1813.
expresses the most ardent desire to serve the king in person. We are not told whether his father yielded to his importunity, or whether he was presented to his majesty.
In 1696 his comedy called 'The She Gallants' was acted at the Theatre Royal in Lincolns-inn Fields. He afterwards altered this comedy, and published it among his other works under the title of 'Once a Lover and always a Lover,' which, as he observes in the preface, is a new building upon an old foundation. "It appeared first under the name of ' The She Gallants,' and, by the preface then prefixed to it, it is said to have been the child of a child. By taking it since under examination so many years after, the author flatters himself to have made a correct comedy of it; he found it regular to his hand; the scenes constant to one place, the time not exceeding the bounds prescribed, and the action entire. It remained only to clear the ground, and to plant, as it were, fresh flowers in the room of those which were grown into weeds or were faded by time, to retouch and vary the characters, enliven the painting, retrench the superfluous, and animate the action, where it appeared the young author seemed to aim at more than he had strength to perform." The same year also his tragedy, entitled ' Heroic Love,' was acted at the theatre, on which occasion we find Dryden addressing verses to the author, which begin thus:
Auspicious poet 1 wert thou not my friend,
How could I envy what I must commend?
But since 'tis nature's law, in lore and wit,
That youth should reign, and with'ring age submit,
With less regret those laurels I resign,
Which, dying on my brow revive, on thine.
Lord Lansdowne wrote also a dramatic poem, called 'The British Enchanters,' in the preface to which he observes, "that it is the firi>t essay of a very infant muse, rather as a task at such hours as were free from other exercises than any way meant for public entertainment. But Mr Betterton having had a casual sight of it many years after it was written, begged it for the stage, where it found so favourable a reception as to have an uninterrupted run of at least forty days." To this Mr Addison wrote the epilogue.
Lord Lansdowne, partaking of the presumptuous folly of some of his betters, altered Shakspeare's 'Merchant of Venice,' under the title of 'The Jew of Venice.' The piece thus altered was acted with applause ; the profits were designed for Mr Dryden, but upon that poet's death were given to his son. Jn 1702 he translated into English 'The Second Olynthian of Demosthenes.' He was returned member for the county of Cornwall in the parliament which met in November, 1710, and was soon after made secretary of war, next, comptroller of the household, and then treasurer, and sworn one of the privy-council. The year following he was created Baron Lansdowne of Bideford in Devonshire.
On the accession of George I. in 1714, he was removed by the prince from his treasurer's place; the next year he entered his protest against the bills for attainting Lord Bolingbroke and the duke of Ormond, and entered deeply into the scheme for raising an insurrection in the west of England, of which Lord Bolingbroke says, he was at the head, and represents him as possessed of the same political fire and