Page images
PDF
EPUB

of Parliament, spake of the same to other members of Parliament; who fpake thereof unto the Peers of the Realm. Lo! thus did our counsels enter into the

hearts of our Generals and our Law-givers ; and from Chris henceforth, even as we devised, thus did they :

[ocr errors]

in After this, the whole book is turned on a sudde:1, from

bis own Life, to a History of all the publick Transactions Fry of Europe, compiled from the News-papers of thofe times. 21, I could not comprehend the meaning of this, till I fer

ceived at last (to my no small Astonishment) that all the Measures of the four last years of the Queen, together with the peace at Utrecht which have been usually attributed to the

E o f 0- , D- of O- , Lords H- and B-, and other great men; do here 3 moff plainly appear, to have been wholly owing to Robert

Jenkins, Amos Turner, George Pilcocks, Thomas White, -, but above all, to P. P.

[ocr errors]

The reader may be sure I was very inquisitive after this extraordinary writer, whose work I have here abftracted. I took a journey into the Country on purpose ; but could not find the least trace of him: tiil by accident 1 met an old Clergyman, wbo faid he could not be positive, out thought it might be one Paul Philips, who had been dead about twelve years. And upon enquiry, all he could

arn of that person from the neighbourhood, was, That he had been taken notice of for swallowing Loaches,

and remembered by some people by a black and white Cur with one Ear, that confiantly followed him.

In the Church-yard, I read his Epitaph, said to be written by himself.

O Reader, if that thou canst read,

Look down upon this Stone;
Do all we can, Death is a man,

That never spareth none.

OF THE

POET LAUREATE.

November 19, 1729.

THE time of the election of Poet Laureate be

1 ing now at hand, it may be proper to give some account of the rites and ceremonies anciently used at that Solemnity, and only discontinued through the neglect and degeneracy of later times. These we have extracted from an historian of undoubted cre. dit, a reverend bishop, the learned Paulus Jovius ; and are the same that were practised under the pontificate of Leo X. the great restorer of learning.

As we now see an age and a court, that for the en. couragement of poetry rivals, if not exceeds, that of this famous Pope, we cannot but with a restoration of all its honours to poesy; the rather, since there are so many parallel circumstances in the person who was. then honoured with the laurel, and in him, who (in all probability) is now to wear it.

I shall translate my author exactly as I find it in the 82d chapter of his Elogia Vir. Doct. He be| gins with the character of the poet himself, who

was the original and father of all Laureates, and cal. La led Camillo. He was a plain country-man of Apu- . lia, (whether a slepherd or thresher, is not material.) This man (says Jovius) excited by the fame of the great encouragement given to poets at court, and “ the high honour in which they were held, came to “ the city, bringing with him a strange kind of lyre

' in his hand, and at least some twenty thousand of verses. All the wits and critics of the court flocked “ about him, delighted to see a clown, with a ruddy, 1 .. “ hale complexion, and in his own long hair, lo top “ full of poetry; and at the first sight of him all a“ greed he was born to be Poet Laureatea. He had habe “a most hearty welcome in an island of the river Life “ Tiber (an agreeable place, not unlike our Richa kafe “ mond) where he was first made to eat and drink plentifully, and to repeat his verses to every body. The “ Then they adorned him with a new and elegan "garland, composed of vine-leaves, laurel, and bral. fica (a sort of cabbage) fo composed, says my as “ thor, emblematically, Ut tam fales quam lepide ejus | temulentia, braficæ remedio cobibenda, notaretur. “ He was then faluted by common consent with “ title of archi-poeta, or arch.poet, in the style of those “ days, in ours, Poet Laureate. This honour the “poor man received with the most sensible demon

[ocr errors]

de river

a Apulus præpingui vultu alacer, et prolixe comatus, om dignus fefta laurea videretur,

“ strations of joy, his eyes drunk with tears and glad“ nefs b. Next, the public acclamation was ex- . “ pressed in a canticle, which is transmitted to us, in “ follows:

Salve, brafficea virens corona,
Et lauro, archipoeta, pampinoque !
Dignus principis auribus Leonis.

All hail, arch-poet, without peer!
Vine, bay, or cabtage, fit to wear,
And worthy of the prince's ear.

From hence he was conducted in pomp to the Ca-pitol of Rome, mounted on an elephant, thro' the fouts of the populace, where the ceremony ended.

The historian tells us further, “ That at his in“troduction to Leo, he not only poured forth ver“ses, innumerable, like a torrent, but also sung them “ with open mouth. Nor was he cnly once introdu“ced, or on frated'days (like our Laureates) but " made a companion to his mafier, and entertained as “one of the instruments of his most elegant pleasures. “ When the prince was at table, the poet had his “ place at the window. When the prince had half “eaten his meat, he gave with his own hands the rest to the poet. When the poet drank, it was

Semesis opsoniis,

b Manantibus præ gaudio oculise Vol. VII.

« PreviousContinue »