Page images

sir hundred* distinct Treatises (in Prose and Verse) written with his own Hand; and is an entire Colection of all his Writings, both in Manuscript and such as were formerly printed. To which is added, Dunton's Farewell to Printing, in some serious Thoughts on those Words of Solomon, Of making many Books there is no End; and much Study is a Weariness of the Flesh.' With the Author's Effigies, to distinguish the original and true Copies from such as are false and imperfect. Take care also of being cheated by Wooden Cuts: the right is that which is drawn and 'graved by those two celebrated Artists, Knight and Vander "Gucht. To this work is prefixed an Heroick Poem upon Dunton's Projects, written by the Athenian Society; with an Alphabetical Table of the several Projects, Questions, Novelties, Poems, and Characters in

Dutch Gazetteer as one of the best pens in England. Mr. Dunton hath been longer and more conversant in books than any of the three, as well as more voluminous in his productions: however, having employed his studies in so great a variety of other subjects, he hath, I think, but lately turned his genius to politicks. His famous tract, intituled Neck or Nothing, must be allowed to be the shrewdest piece, and written with the most spirit, of any which hath appeared from that side since the change of the Ministry: it is indeed a most cutting satire upon the Lord Treasurer and Lord Bolingbroke ; and I wonder none of our friends ever undertook to answer it. I confess, I was at first of the same opinion with several good judges, who from the style and manner suppose it to have issued from the sharp pen of the Earl of Nottingham; and I am still apt to think it might receive his Lordship's last hand.”

Dunton was certainly a most voluminous writer, as he seems to have had his pen always ready, and never to have been at a loss for a subject to exercise it upon. Though he generally put his name to what he wrote, it would be a difficult task to get together a complete collection of his various publications. As containing notices of many persons and things not to be found elsewhere, they certainly have their use; and his accounts are ofter entertaining.

* This dipper into a thousand books formed ten thousand projects, six hundred of which he appears to have thought he had completely methodized. His mind seemed to be like some tables, where the victuals have been ill-sorted, and worse dressed.


serted in this Volume. Printed by Thio. Darrack ; and sold by John Morphew. 1710."

In the Preface to this volume, which breathes all the pride of self-consequence, he informs his readers, that he does not write to flatter, or for hire.

As a specimen of the better parts of this performancet, take the characters of three eminent Divines, of whom some memoirs have been given already *.

“Wise as the best, will the learn'd Stanhopeseem,
But in St. Lawrence' pulpit picture him;
For, Dunton, there you'll find the Seraphim.
Devotion is the imprese in bis breast,
Learning and Zeal below divide the rest ;
He loaths the fools that dare to preach in jest.
His temper is harmonious as the spheres,
Copious his wit, yet sparkling as the stars.
Athens and Pome, when Learning flourish'd most,
Could never such a famous Preacher boast;
Whose matchless beauties in the English tongue
Have even rival'd the fam'd Tillotson.
Judgment does some to reputation raise,
And for Invention others wear the bays:
Stanhope has both, with such a talent still
As shews not only force of wit, but skill:
So faultless are his works, 'tis hard to know,
If he does more to Art or Nature owe.

* Other subjects are, 1. “The Funeral of Mankind, à paradox, proving we are all dead and buried.” 2. “The Spiritual Helge hog; or, a new and surprising Thought.” 3.“ The Double Life, or a new way to redeem Time, by living over to-morrow before it comes." 4.“ Dunton preaching to himself; or every man his own Parson.” 5. His “ Creed, or the Religion of a Bookseller," in imitation of Browne's Religio Medici, has some humour and merit. This he dedicated to the Stationers Company.

† As a Satirist, he appears to most advantage in his Poems, intituled, “ The Beggar mounted;" “ The Dissenting Doctors;' “Parnassus hoa! or Frolics in verse;" “ Dunton's Shadow, or the character of a Summer Friend." Throughout the whole of his writings, however, he is exceedingly prolix and tedious, and sometimes obseure. His “ Case is altered, or Dunton's Remarriage to his own Wife,” has some singular notions, but very little merit in the composition.


[ocr errors]

Read where you will, he's musick all along,
And his sense easy as his thought is strong.
Some, striving to be clear, fall flat and low;
And, when they think to mount, obscure they grow.
He is not darker for his lofty flight,
Nor does his easiness depress his height;
But still perspicuous wheresoe'er he fly,
And, like the Sun, is brightest when he's high.
He's dignify'd by all the books he writes ;
And so distinguish'd by his learned flights,
His mere translations shine, and far excel
What others write, though an original.
Some men a luckless imitation try;
And, whilst they soar, and whilst they venture high,
Flutter and Aounce, but have not wing to Ay.
Some in loose words their einpty fancies bind,
Which whirl about like chaff before the wind.
Here brave conceits in the expression fail,
There big the words, but with no sense at all.
Still Stanhope's sense might Stanhope's language trust,
Both pois’d, and always bold, and always just.
None e'er may reach that strange felicity,
Where thoughts are easy, words so sweet and free,
Yet not descend one step from majesty.
I'll add but this, lest, while I think to raise
His fame, I kindly injure him with praise.
Spotless his Pulpit, and his Sermons quaint,
A finish'd Preacher, and an equal Saint.”

“ Let pious Hoadly next his station find,
Grown man in body now, but more in mind;
His looks are in the mother's beauty drest,
And Moderation * has inform'd his breast.
He preach'd—(when he did railing fools detest).
But here, John Dunton, is thy skill confin'd,
Thou canst not paint his grave polemic mind,
That task is for wise Calamy assign'd.
The Painter's pencil cannot make a draught
Of things unseen, nor dares he paint a thought:


* “ He lately published a Sermon upon that subject." Vol. V. G


[ocr errors]


"Tis neither Art nor Nature can amend him, I should but wrong him if I should commend him; I'll only add, that Hoadly ’s dignify'd By wit, and grace, and han't one spark of pride. Nierit has made him great, and spread his fame, He is distinguish'd by a life that's clean, - His answering Blackall is his only stain.”

“ If these famod Preachers have thy art refin'd,
Dunton, draw Moss, that's dazzling yet behind;
Paint sweetness in his eyes at once, and awe,
And make his looks preach Piety and Law;
No pulpit-notes, or Angel ever sung,
More harmony than dwells upon his tongue :
Happy in preaching, dignity, and parts ;
And (which is strange) the Lawyers he converts *
Who, all men know, have seared, stony hearts.
But, by his pulpit art and eloquence,
. These stones are fleshd, and fools made men of

His voice sure is by nightingales advanc'd!
He does but speak, and all men are entranc'd.
Being thus distinguish'd for a man of sense,
Tho' not my Lord, yet, as he serves his Prince,
We'll callehim Bishop in the future tense *."

This volume, on the whole, is a strange mixture of sense and folly; containing some good articles in prose and verse, a few of a licentious turn, and some deeply tinctured with insanity; a misfortune under which Dunton appears to have long laboured.

12. Dunton published, after this, “An Appeal to Her Majesty, with a List of his Political Pamphlets ;” of which a copy is in the British Museum.


# Dr. Moss was Preacher at Gray's Inn. See vol. IV. p. 223. + Ezekiel ii. 19.

In like manner he describes “the most eminent Conformists” of his age; and, after some advice to the Clergy; adds,

“ These preaching rules will make you grave and neat:
But that you may be fam’d and more complete,
Mind Talbot, Lucas, and a thousand more,
Who preach like Angels, and like them adore.
Read Glanvil, South, Dove, Culverwel, and Scot,
Whose matcldless Sermons ne'er will be forgot."

I find no farther particulars of him till Oct. 17, 1723, when he advertised the volume * noticed below; which I have never seen. He survived till 1733; and died at the


of 74.

* Upon this Moment depends Eternity: or, Mr. John Dunton's serious Thoughts upon the present and future State, in a Fit of Sickness that was judged mortal; in which many new Opinions are started and proved ; in particular this, That the sincere practice of known Duties, or dying daily to this Life and World, would of itself resolve the most ignorant Person in all the abstruse Points of the Christian Religion-being a new Directory for holy living and dying; composed of the Author's own Experience in Religion, Politicks, and Morals, from his Childhood to his Sixty-third Year (but more especially during his dangerous Disease in Ireland in the Year Ninety-eight, when his Life was despaired of); and completed in Twenty Essays upon such nice and curious points in Divinity as were never handled before. To which is added, the Sick Man's Passing-Bell, to remind all Men of that Death and Eternity to which they are hastening. Containing, 1. God be merciful to me a Sinner; or, Dunton at Confession; in which he discovers the secret Sins of his whole Life; with his Resolution in what penitent Manner (by the help of God) he'll spend the short Time he has yet to live. 2. Dunton's Legacy to his native Country; or, a dying Farewell to the most remarkable Persons and Things both in Church and State; with his last Prayer (or those very Petitions to Almighty God) with which he hopes to expire. 3. A living Man following his own Corpse to the Grave: or, Dunton represented as dead and buried, in an Essay upon his own Funeral. To which is added (for the Oddness and Singularity of it) a Copy of his last Will and Testament. His living Elegy, wrote with his own Hand; and the Epitaph designed for his Tombstone in the new Buryingplace. Together with, 4. The real Period of Dunton's Life; or, a Philosophical Essay upon the Nature of that Grand Climacteric Year Sixty-three, in which (as few Persons outlive that fatal Time) he expects to be actually buried with the best of Wives Mrs. Elizabeth Annesley alias Dunton; with their Reasons for sleeping together in the same Grave till the general Resurrection ; as contained in two Letters that passed between Mr. Dunton and his Wife a few Days before she died. The whole Directory and Passing-Bell submitted to the impartial Censure of the Right Reverend Father in God William Lord Bishop of Ely. By Mr. John Dunton, a Member of the Athenian Society, and Author of the Essay intituled, “The Hazard of a Death-bed Repentance."

We are all seiz'd with the Athenian Itch,

News, and New Things do the World bewitch. Dr. Wild. Printed for S. Popping in Paternoster-row, price 14. 62."


« PreviousContinue »