Page images

dral. In 1770, he was appointed master author of several plays, now forgotten, of St. John's Hospital, Canterbury, and some miscellaneous poems, and transof that of St. Nicholas, Hartledown, and lations from Ovid's Metamorphoses ; died in 1785. Besides several poems but it is chiefly as an editor of Shaksinserted in the collection of Dodsley | peare, that a permanent place is asand others, and of which The Feminead signed him among authors. is the chief, he wrote several papers in the Bibliotheca Topographica Britan- CAVE, (EDWARD,) the son of a shoenica, and edited a second impression of maker, was born at Newton, in WarGostling's work about Canterbury, wickshire, on the 29th of February, Archbishop Herring's Letters, &c. His 1691, but passed his early years at wife, who was the daughter of High- Rugby, and was there educated. On more, the painter, deserves mention as leaving school, he was placed under a the authoress of the story of Fidelia, collector of Excise, but being employed, published in The Adventurer.

by his master's wife, in menial offices,

he quitted his situation in disgust; and, THEOBALD, (Lewis,) the son of going to London, became apprentice to an attorney, at Sittingbourne, in Kent, a printer. Before the expiration of his was born there about the year 1690, apprenticeship, he married a young and was himself brought up to the law, widow, and atterwards was employed as but soon quitted it for literature. Hé journeyman, with Mr. Barber, a printer engaged in a paper called The Censor, of note, and through whose means he published in Mist's Weekly Journal, became a writer in Mist's Journal. He and exposed himself to the resentment subsequently obtained a situation in the of the wits, by delivering his opinion Post-office, as clerk of the franks; but, somewhat too freely and acrimoniously. in consequence of stopping some letters, He however, praised Pope's Homer in which he considered illegally franked, the most extravagant terms, but after- he was cited before the house of comwards thought proper to abuse it, which, | mons, and deprived of his place. He with other circumstances, induced Pope now resolved to carry into effect his to make him the hero of his Dunciad; | long-cherished scheme of The Gentleand it is not improbable that Theobald's man's Magazine, and the first number publication of a translation of the first of that periodical was accordingly pub. book of the Odyssey, was an additional lished at St. John's Gate, Smithfield, instigation of Pope's virulence. In 1720, in January, 1731. The success which he introduced upon the stage a tragedy, it met with, brought him into immeentitled The Double Falsehood, the diate reputation ; and, being a great greatest part of which he affirmed to be lover of poetry, he proposed a prize of Shakspeare's, though Dr. Farmer assigns £50 for the best contribution to his it to Shirley. Pope insinuated that ihe magazine, referring the decision to the whole or greatest part was his own, universities; no member of which, how. quoting from it the line

ever, would condescend to arbitrate None but thyself can be thy parallel.

upon the occasion. The great emolu

ments which he derived fiom the sale of In 1726, he published Shakspeare Re- his new periodical, are said to have stored, or Specimens of Blunders com- been considerably diminished by a mitted and unamended in Pope's edition variety of unfortunate speculations; but of that author; of which he had the im- he, nevertheless, left a considerable pudence to aver, “that to expose any fortune at his death, which took place on errors in it was impracticable;" and, that the 10th of January, 1754. His friend “ whatever care might, for the future, be and biographer, Dr. Johnson, in refertaken, either by Mr. Pope, or any other ence to Cave's intellectual character, assistants, he would give above five hun-observes, “ he saw liule at a time, but dred emendations that would escape

that little he saw with exactness, and them all.” Theobald died in September, though he was long in finding the right, 1744. He appears to have been a vain he seldom failed to find it at last." man, but not without a portion of both talent and learning; though his appli- SOMERVILLE, (WILLIAM,) the cation exceeded both. He was ihe son of a gentleman of family, whose

estate was at Edston, in Warwickshire, the whole play, it was only in a few was born in 1692, and received his edu- places, where he had, unawares, led cation at Winchester School, and New himself into a poetical luxuriancy, College, Oxford. He inherited a suffi- affecting to be too elevated for the simcient patrimony to enable him to pass a plicity of the subject. Lillo's other life of ease and pleasure, and as he was plays are, The Christian Hero, Elmeric, extremely fond of field sports, he resided Fatal Curiosity, and Arden of Feverchiefly in the country, where he acted sham; but, with the exception of the as a magistrate, and devoted a portion two last, which are occasionally acted of lis time to literary study. Poetry at the minor and provincial theatres, was his favourite pursuit, and, besides and George Barnwell, all his works are his celebrated poem of The Chase, and forgotten. There is little incident in The Splendid Shilling, he composed his tragedies, and a want of vigour, both verses in praise of Marlborough, Addi- | in his diction and characters; but he son, and others of the Whig party; Tales, makes up in pathos what is deficient in and Fables. Convivial and hospitable sublimity, and his scenes are at once habits appear, in the latter part of his natural and affecting. He died on the lite, to have led him into pecuniary 3rd of September, 1739, and was buried embarrassments, and consequent inten;- | in the vault of Shoreditch Church. perance; so that, on his death, in July, 1742, his friend, Shenstone, thus writes : spence, (JOSEPH,) was born in “ I can now excuse all his foibles ; im 1698, and educated for the church at pute them to age, and to distress of New College, Oxford, of which he becircumstances; the last of these con came a fellow. Afier acting, for some siderations wrings my very soul to time, as travelling tutor to Mr. Rudge, think on." As Ör. Johnson observes, he was, in 1728, elected professor of however, “his distresses need not be poetry at the above university; was much pitied,” as he had an estate of subsequently promoted to the living of £1,500 a-year, and lived in celibacy. Great Horwood, in Bucks; and, in The Chase will always have a certain 1754, to a prebendal stall in Durham number of admirers in the lovers of that Cathedral, the extent of his prefer. exercise, which the author described ment. He was found dead, on the with all the enthusiasm of a sportsman, 20th of August, 1768, in a shallow and the imagination of a poet. In the piece of water, in the garden of Mr. latter character he must be allowed the Rudge, into which, it was supposed, praise of accurate description of nature, he had fallen by accident. Spence obin bold and nervous diction, and of tained some literary reputation in his haring successtully handled, in blank time, by his Essay on Pope's Translation verse, a subject least suited to such a of the Odyssey, and a work entitled

Polymetis, or an Inquiry into the Agree

ment between the Works of the Roman LIILO, (GEORGE,) was born in Poets, and the Remains of Ancient London, on the 4th of February, 1693. | Artists. He patronised Stephen Duck, He was a diszenter, and by trade a the poetical thresher, and Blacklock, the jeweller; and all his biographers bear blind poet; and was intimate with Pope, testimony to the excellence of his heart, and other eminent persons, as appears his great good-nature, sound sense, by his Anecdotes, &c., an amusing and and * uncommon share of modesty." ofi-quoted work, published in 1819, by His first piece brought on the stage was Mr. Singer, with a life of the author. an opera, called Silvia, or the Country Burial; followed by The London Mer PITT, (CHRISTOPHER,) the son of chant, or The True Story of George a physician, was born at Blandford, in Barnwell ; which was acted at Drury Dorsetshire, in 1699. He was eduLane, in 1731. It met with great success; cated at Winchester, and at New Coland the royal family, and many persons lege, Oxford ; and having entered into of rank, went specially to witness its holy orders, was presented to the recperformance. The poet Pope expressed tory of Pimpern, in 1722. On his his approbation of the tragedy, and re entrance to the university, he presented marked, if the author had erred through to the examiners two large folios of


manuscript poems, one of which con- Jacobite.” On taking his seat, however, tained an entire translation of Lucan. in the Irish house of peers, he defended This was, however, never published; government with so much zeal, that he a circumstance which Dr. Johnson re- was soon created a duke ; but his subgrets, though, for what reason, does not sequent defence of Bishop Atterbury, appear. In 1724, he graduated M. A., | in the English parliameni, proved he and shortly afterwards translated Vida's was not long to be relied on.

To give Art of Poetry, in which he displayed more publicity to his sentiments, he great skill and elegance. In 1727, he published a paper called The True published a volume of Miscellaneous Briton, in which he attacked the Poems, which was succeeded by his ad- ministry with equal wit and virumirable translation, in verse, of The lence. His extravagance having inÆneid. He died on the 13th of April, volved his estate, it fell into the hands 1748; and is recorded, on his tombsione of trustees, who allowed him £1,200 a at Blandford, to have been very eminent year, with which he went abroad a for his talents in poetry, and yet more second time; and, losing his wife in for the universal candour of his mind, 1726, he shortly afterwards married and the primitive simplicity of his man- Mademoiselle Obern, one of the maids ners. In comparing his iranslation of of honour to the Queen of Spain. He Virgil with that of Dryden, Johnson ob- then joined the troops of that country, serves, that Dryden leads the reader at the siege of Gibraltar, and took such forward by his general vigour and a part in foreign politics, as ultimately sprightliness, whilst Pitt often stops him subjected him to an indictment for high to contemplate the excellence of a single treason in England. An offer of incouplet : that Dryden's faults are forgot demnification, however, and of restorain the hurry of delight, and that Piit's tion to his estate, was, it is said, made beauties are neglected in the languor of a to him by Sir Robert Walpole; but, not cold and listless perusal; that Pitt pleases consenting to the conditions, the duke the critics, and Dryden the people; that returned to Spain, and, after a series of Pitt is quoted, and Dryden read. adventures, equally subversive of his

health and reputation, died at a convent, WHARTON, (Philip, Duke of,) in the mountains of Catalonia, on the son of the marquess of that name, was 31st of May, 1731. In the same year, born in 1699. He received a private his poems, speeches, and letters were education ; and, at an early age, de- published in two volumes; besides veloped strong passions and superior which he wrote a tragedy on the story abilities. When scarcely fifteen, he of Mary, Queen of Scots, and a paper married the daughter of Major-general in Misi's Journal, under the title of Holmes, and, shortly afterwards, lost An Account of Mirevais and Sultan his father, whose death is said to have | Ezref. The character of Wharton has been accelerated by this ill-timed union. been admirably described hy Pope, who In 1716, he travelled, in the company concludes his sketch of it in the followof his tutor, to Geneva, from whom, ing lines :however, he soon parted, impatient of a fool, with more of wit than half mankind, restraint on his principles, or control Too rash for thought, for action too refined ; over his conduct. . Having picked up a A tyrant to the wife bis heart approves ; bear in the course of his travels, he And rebel to the very king he loves ; told his tutor on quitting him," he had

He dies, sad out-cast of each church and state,

And, harder still: flagitious, yet not girat. left him the animal, as the best com

Ask you why Wharton broke thro'ev'ry rule? panion that could be selected for him."

Twas all for fear the knaves should call him fool Before his return to England, he visited the court of the Pretender, at Avignon, DYER,(JOHN,) the son of an attorney who conferred on him the title of Duke of Aberglasney, in Caermarthenshire, of Northumberland. Being remon- was born in 1700, and received his edus strated with, at Paris, for swerving so cation at Westminster School. He was much from his father's principles, he at first articled to his father, but, on his answered, "that he had pawned his death, disliking the law, studied painting principle to the Pretender's banker; and, under Richardson, and is said to have till he could repay him, he must be a wandered about Wales, for some time,


as an itinerant artist, with indifferent Drury Lane, but met with no applause.

In 1727, his poem of Grongar In 1733, he published his poem on Hill appeared in Lewis's Miscellany; Verbal Criticisms, a pert and preand, some time afterwards, he travelled sumptuous effusion, written, as Wharton to Italy for professional improvement. says, to gratify Pope, by abusing On his return, he published, in 1740, a Bentley. He was shortly afterwards poem, called The Ruins of Rome; and, appointed under-secretary to the Prince entering into holy orders, he, in 1741, of Wales, with a salary of £200 a year; was presented to the living of Calthorp, and, in 1734, in recompense for some in Lincolnshire, and, about the same verses on the visit of the Prince of time, he married a Miss Enson. He Orange to Oxford, he was created M. A. was subsequently appointed to two In 1739, he produced, with success, his other livings, worth, together, about tragedy of Mustapha; and, in the fol£250 per annum, and died July the lowing year, he, in conjunction with 24th, 1758. His longest poem


ap Thomson, received the commands of peared, the preceding year, under the the prince to write the Masque of Alfred. title of The Fleece ; " of which," says In 1740, he wrote the life of Bacon, to Johnson, “I will not suppress a ludi- be prefixed to a new edition of that great crous story. Dodsley, the bookseller, man's works, and of which, though was, one day, mentioning it to a critical written with elegance, Warburton said, visitor, with more expectation of success when Mallet afterwards undertook the than the other could easily admit. In life of Marlborough, that he might the conversation, the author's age was perhaps forget that Marlborough was a asked, and being represented as ad- general, as he had forgotten that Bacon vanced in life, he will,' said the critic, was a philosopher, In 1747, he published 'be buried in woollen."" The subject his Hermit, or Amyntor and Theodora ; of The Fleece admits little scope for a poem now forgotten, but displaying poetry, and is, accordingly, tedious and many of the highest attributes of poetry, repulsive ; yet Akenside is reported to and for which he received £120. Not have said that he would regulate his long afterwards, he was employed by opinion of the reigning taste by the fate Lord Bolingbroke to blast the memory of Dyer's Fleece; for, if that were ill of Pope, on his discovering that the received, he should not think it any | latter had clandestinely printed an longer reasonable to expect fame from unauthorized number of his Patriot excellence.The merit of Grongar King; in an advertisement to which, Hill is universally allowed; there are Mallet stigmatized the conduct of Pope few poems that suggest more pleasing with merciless severity, in return for images to the eye, or more welcome which Bolingbroke bequeathed him the reflections to the mind.

whole of his manuscripts. The legacy,

however, involved him in a suit with MALLET, (DAVID,) was born about Franklin, the printer, which terminated 1700, at Crief, in Perthshire, Scotland; to his disadvantage, and he ultimately where his father kept a public-house, gained a very small profit from the under the name of James Malloch. publication of his lordship's works. On Of his education little is known, but, as the prosecution of Byng, he was emJohnson says, " he surmounted the ployed to turn the odium of the people disadvantages of his birth and fortune;" from the ministry against that unfor when the Duke of Montrose applied fortunate admiral, and, for that purpose, to the college of Edinburgh for a tutor wrote a letter of accusation, under the to his sons, Mallet was recommended. character of a Plain Man, for which he After having made the tour of Europe was rewarded with a pension. Nothing with his pupils, he returned to England, was heard of him during the next six and published, in 1724, his ballad of years, except a dedication of his poems William and Margaret ; of which, says to the late Duke of Marlborough, in Dr. Johnson, though it contains nothing which he talks of dedicating also to his striking," he has been envied the re grace, A Life of his Illustrious Ancestor; putation.” In 1728, appeared his poem a promise which ended not very hoof The Excursion; and, in 1731, his nourably to himself, for, though he had tragedy of Eurydice was produced at received £1,000 for the purpose, he died

without having written a line towards it. brought upon the stage, and met with In 1763, in order to turn the popular such success, that Dodsley gained profit favour towards Lord Bute, he wrote a enough to open a bookseller's shop in political tragedy, called Elvira, and was Pall Mall. Continuing, however, his rewarded by his lordship with a place in career as an author, he produced, in the Customs. Towards the close of his addition to other dramatic pieces, the career he visited France; after which, farce of The King and the Miller of he returned to England, and died of | Mansfield, and a sequel to it, entitled a decline, on the 21st of April, 1765. Sir John Cockle at Court; which were Mallet appears to have written with succeeded by his niost important prose ease ; and, in both his poetry and prose, production, called The Economy of there is a predominance of elegance of Huinan Life. Much of the celebrity style. Of his character as a man, there of this work arose, at the time, from is much to blame and nothing to praise. its being supposed to be written by He was twice married, and had several | Lord Chesterfield, though its subsechildren by his first wife ; bis second quent popularity has proved that its one brought him a fortune of £10,000. own merits were sufficient to justify the

immediate applause with which it was HOOKE, (NATHANIEL,) of whose received. In 1758, he wrote his trahistory little is known, is supposed to gedy of Cleone, which the acting of have been born about the vear 1700. Mrs. Bellanıy as the heroine, rendered He was a zealous Roman catholic, and highly successful; and, in 1760, he tried to convert to popery many of the published his Select Fables of Æsop, distinguished persons with whom he is with an ingenious essay on fable. said to have been acquainted. On this Dodsley also framed the design of The account, he lost the friendship of Saralı, Precepior, published a collection of old Duchess of Marlborough, who had pre- plays, and also of poems, by different viously presented him with £5,000, for hands; one of the most valuable of its assisting her in compiling the memoirs kind; the poems of Shenstone, and others of her own life. His celebrated Roman of eininence, having been first given 10 History, from its earliest period, to the the world in this collection. The subsettlement of the empire under Octa- ject of our memoir, who acquired a vius, was first published in four quarto large fortune, and was highly respected volumes, in 1733, 1745, 1764 (the year in private life, died at Durham, in 1764. of Hooke's death), and 1771. He also published a translation of lamsay' PEGGE, (SAMUEL,) born in 1704, Travels of Cyrus, and Observations on was a native of Chesterfield, and reFour Pieces upon the Roman Senate, ceived his education at St. John's in which he attempted to invalidate the College, Cambridge, where he obtained historical authority of Dionysius of a fellowship. Having taken holy orders, Halicarnassus. As a historian, Hooke he was presented to the livings of Godis entitled to the praise of accuracy and mersham, near Canterbury, in 1731, and precision in the detail of facts, and of in 1751, to those of Brindle, in Lanconsiderable critical acumen in the de- cashire, and Whittington, in Staffordscription of conflicting evidence and shire. He died, in 1796, with the authority. His style is clear and easy ; | reputation of one of the most learned and though, perhaps, he has rather a and industrions antiquaries of his time. leaning to the democratical party, he is, Besides numerous papers inserted in upon the whole, candid and impartial. The Gentleman's Magazine, under the

signature of Paul Gemage, and also in DODSLEY, (ROBERT,) was born in the Archæologia, he wrote A History 1703, and, whilst in the humble station of Beanchief Abbey ; Anonyame; An of footman to a lady of fashion, acquired Essay on Ancient British Coins, at the a faste for literature, and published, by time of Cunobelinus, or Cymbeline; sub cription, a collection of poems, en- another on Ancient English Cookery ; titled The Muse in Livery. A satirical on Anglo-Saxon Remains, &c.; and diamatic piece, cailed The Toy Shop, the Lives of Grossetete, Bishop of Lin

his next performance, which, coln, and Roger de Weschami, Bishop through the influence of Pope, was of Lichfield.


[blocks in formation]
« PreviousContinue »