Imatges de pàgina

form. For a Fable he gives now and then a Tale, or an abstracted Allégory; and from some, by whatever name they may be called, it will be difficult to cxtract any moral principle. They are, however, told with liveliness; the versification is smooth; and the diction, though now-and-then a little constrained by the measure or the rhyme, is generally happy.

To Trivia may be allowed all that it claims; it is sprightly, various, and pleasant. The subject is of that kind which Gay was by nature qualified to adorn; yet some of his decorations may be justly wished away. An honest black-smith might have done for Patty what is performed by Vulcan. The appearance of Cloacina iš nauseous and superfluous; a shoeboy could have been produced by the casual cohabitation of mere mortals. Horace's rule is broken in both cases; there is no dignus vindice nodus, no difficulty that required any supernatural interposition. A patten may be made by the baniner of a mortal ; and a bastard may be dropped by a human strumpet. On great occasions, and on small, the mind is repelled by useless and apparens falsehood.

Of his little Poems the public judgment seems to be right; they are ndither much esteemed, nor totally despised. The story of the Apparition is borrowed from one of the tales of Poggio. Those that please least are the pieces to which Gulliver gave occasion; for who can much delight in the echo of an unnatural fiction?

Dione is a counterpart to Amynta, and Pastor Fido, and other trifles of the same kind, easily imitated, and unworthy of imitation. What the Italians call comedies from a happy conclusion, Gay calls a tragedy from a mourn ful event; but the style of the Italians and of Gay is equally tragical. There is something in the poetical Arcadia so remote from known reality and speculative possibility, that we can never support its representation through a long work. A Pastoral of an hundred lines may be endured; bụt who will hear of sheep and goats, and myrtle bowers, and purling rivulets, through five acts ? Such scenes please barbarians in the dawn of literature, and children in the dawn of life; but will be for the most part thrown away, aş men grow wice, and nations grow learned.

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F GEORGE GRANVILLE, or as others write Greenville, or

Grenville, afterwards lord Landsdowne of Biddeford in the county of levon, less is known than his naine and rank might give reason to expect. fe was born about 1667, the son of Bernard Greenville, who was entrusted Monk with the most private transactions of the Restoration, and the fandson of Sir Bevil Greenville, who died in the King's cause, at the barof Landsdowne. His early education was superintended by Sir William Ellis ; and his proress was such that before the age of twelve he was sent to Cambridge*, here he pronounced a copy of his own verses to the princess Mary d'Estè Modena, then dutchess of York, when she visited the university, At the accession of king James, being now at eighteen, he again exerted

poetical powers, and addressed the new monarch in three short pieces, fwhich the first is profane, and the two others such as a boy might be exeated to produce; but he was commended by old Waller, who perbaps vas pleased to find himself imitared, in six lines, which, though they bein with nonsense and end with duinese, excited in the young author a rapare of acknowledgment,

In numbers such as Waller's self might use.

It was probably about this time that he wrote the poem to the earl of Peterborough, upon his accomplishment of the duke of York's marriage with the princess of Modena, whose charms appear to have gained a strong preTalence over his imagination, and upon whom nothing ever has been charged but imprudent piety, an intemperate and misguided zeal for the propa

gation of popery.

However faithful Granville might have been to the king, or however enamoured of the Queen, he has left no reason for supposing that he approved * To Trinity College. By the university Register, it appears, that he was admitted to his Master's Degree in 1679: we must, eberefore, set the year of his birch sorge years back. 3 D


Vol. I.


either the artifices or the violence with which the King's religion

insia nuated or obtruded. He endeavoured to be true at once to the King and to the Church.

Of this regulated loyalty he has transmitted to posterity.a, sushcient proof, in the letter which he wrote to his father about a month before the prince of Orange landed.

“ Mar, near Doncaster, Oct. 6, 1688. t. To the honourable Mr Barnard Granville, at the earl of Bathe's, St.

" James's. SIR, “ Your having no prospect of obtaining a commission for me, can no

way alter or cool my desire at this important.juncture to venture my life, " in some manner or other, for my King and my country.

“ I cannot bear living under the reproach of lying obscure and idle in 2

country retirement, when every man who has the least sense of honour " should be preparing for the field.

You may remember, Şir, with what reluctance I submitted to your « commands upon Monmouth's rebellion, when no importunity could pre" vail with you to permit me to leave the Academy: I was too young to be « 'hazarded; but, give me leave to say, it is glorious at any age to die for

one's country, and the sooner the nobler the sacrifice.

“I am now older by three years.' My uncle Bathe was not so old when « he was left among the slain at the battle of Newbury; nor you yourself, “ 'Sir, when you made your escape from your tutor's, to join your brother « at the defence of Scilly:

“ The same cause is now come round about again. The king has been “ misled; let those who have misled him be answerable for it. Nobody

can deny but be is sacred in his own person; and it is every honest man's duty to defend it. “ You are pleased to say, it is yet doubtful if the Hollanders are rask.

enough to make such an attempt; but, be that as it will, I beg leave to “ insist upon it, that I may be presented to his Majesty, as one whose utmost

ambition it is to devate his life to his service, and my country's, ' after “the example of all my ancestors.

“ The gentry assembled at York, to agree upon the choice of represen« tatives for the county, have prepared an address, to assure his majesty " they are ready to sacrifice their lives and fortunes for him upon this and " all other occasions; but at the same time they humbly beseech him to “ give them such magistrates as may be żgrécable to the laws of the land; for,

at present, there is no authority to which they can legally submit. “ They have been beating up for volunteers ar Tork, and the towns acjacent, to supply the regiments at Hull; but nobody will list:

** By what I can hear, every body wishes well to the King; but they “ would be glad his ministers were hanged.

« The winds continue so contrary, that no landing can be so soon as was

apprehended; therefore I may hope with your leave and assistance, to « be in readiness before any action can begin. I beseech you, Sir, most

humbly and most earnestly, to add this one act of indulgence more to só

many other testimonies which I have constantly received of your goodness; and bé pleased to believe me always with the utmost duty and submission, Sir,

ce Your most dutiful son,
"s and most obedient servant,


Through the whole reign of king William he is supposed to have lived in literary retirement, and indeed had for some time few other pleasures but those of study in his power. He was, as the biographers observe, the younger son of a younger brother; a denomination by which our ancestors proverbially expressed the lowest state of penury and dependance. He is said, however, to have preserved himself at this time from disgrace and difficulties by economy, which he forgot or neglected in life more advanced, and in better fortune.

About this time he became enamoured of the countess of Newburgh, whom he has celebrated with so much ardour by the name of Mira. He wrote verses to her before he was three-and-twenty, and may be forgiven if ihe regarded the face more than the mind. Poets are sometimes in too much haste to praise.

In the time of his retirement it is probable that he composed his dramatiek pieces, the She-Gallants (acted 1696), which he revised, and called Once a Lover, and always a Lover; The Jew of Venice, altered from Shakespeare's Merchant of Venice (1698); Heroic Love; a tragedy (1701); The British Enchanters (1706), a dramatiek poem; and Peleus and Thetis, a .masque, written to accompany The Few of Venice.

The comedies, which he has not printed in his own edition of his works, I never saw. Once a Lover, and always a Louer, is said to be in a great des gree indecent and gross. Granville could not admire without bigotry; he copied the wrong as well as the right from his masters, and may be supposed to have learned obscenity from Wycherley, as he learned mythology from Waller.

In his Jew of Venice, as Rowe remarks, the character of Shylock is made comick, and we are prompted to laughter instead of detestation.

It is evident that Heroic Love was written, and presented on the stage, before the death of Dryden. It is a mythological tragedy, upon the love of Agamemnon and Chryseis, and therefore easily sunk into neglect, thougla graised in verse by Dryden, and in prose by Pope 3 D 2


It is concluded by the wise Uiysses with this speech:

Fate holds the strings, and men like children move
But as they're led; success is from above.

At the accession of queen Anne, having bis fortune improved by bequests from his father, and his uncle the earl of Bathe, he was chosen into para liament for Fowey, He soon after engaged in a joint translation of the Invectives against Philip, with a design, surely weak and puerile, of turning the thunder of Demosthenes upon the head of Lewis.

He afterwards fin 1706) had bis estate again augmented by an inheritance from his elder brother, Sir Bevil Granville, who, as he returned from the government of Barbadoes, died at sea. He continued to serve in parliament; and in the ninth year of queen Anne was chosen knight of the shire for Cornwall.

At the memorable change of the ministry (1710), he was made secretary at war, in the place of Mr. Robert Walpole.

Next year, when the violence of party made twelve peers in a day, Mt. Granville became Lord Landsdowne, Baron Biddeford, by a promotion justly temarked to be not invidious, because he was the heir or a family in which two peerages, that of the earl of Bath and lord Granville of Potheridge, had lately become extinct. Being now high in the Queen's favour, he (1712) was appointed comptroller of the household, and a privy counsellor ; and to his other honours were added the dedication of Pope's Windor Forest. He was advanced next year to be treasurer of the household,

Of these favours he soon lost all but his title; for at the accession of king George his place was given to the earl of Cholmondeley, and he was persécuted with the rest of his party. Having protested against the bill for attainting Ormond and Bolingbroké, he was, after the insurrection in Scotland, seized Sept. 26, 1715, as a suspected man, and confined in the Tower till Feb. 8, 1717, when he was at last released, and restored to his seat in parliament; •where (1719) he made a very ardent and animated speech against the repeal of the bill to prevent Occasional Conformity, which, however, though it was then printed, lie has not inserted it into his works.

Some time afterwards (about 1722), being perhaps embarrassed by his profusion, he went into foreign countries, with the usual pretence of recovering his health. In this state of leisure and retirement, he received the first volume of Lurnet's History, of which he cannot be supposed to hawę approved the general tendency, and where he thought hijnself able to detect some particular falsehoods. He therefore undertook the vindication of general Monk from some calumnies of Dr. Burnet, and some misrepresentations of Mr. Echard. This was answered civilly by Mr. Thomas Burnet and Oldmixon; and more roughly by Dr. Colbatch,

His other historical performance is a defence of his relation Sir Richard Grcenville, whoin lord Clarendon has shewn in a form very unamiable. So


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