網頁圖片
PDF
ePub 版

rally welcome, a soft and civil companion. Whoever is apt to hope good from others is diligent to please them; but he that believes his powers strong enough to force their own way, commoniy tries only to please himself.

He had been simple enough to ima gine that those who laughed at the What d'ye call it would raise the fortune of its author; and finding nothing done, sunk into dejection. His friends endeavoured to divert him. The earl of Burlington sent him (1716) into Devonshire; the year after, Mr. Pulteney took him to Aix; and in the following year lord Harcourt invited him to his seat, where, during his visit, the two rural lovers

were

were killed with lightning, as is particularly told in Pope's Letters.

Being now generally known, he published (1720) his Poems by subscription with such success, that he raised a thousand pounds; and called his friends to a consultation, what use might be best made of it. Lewis, the steward of lord Oxford, advised him to intrust it to the funds, and live upon the interest; Arbuthnot bad him intrust it to Providence, and live upon the principal; Pope directed him, and was seconded by Swift, to purchase an annuity.

Gay in that disastrous year * had a present froin young Craggs of fome Southsea-stock, and once supposed himself to be master of twenty thousand pounds. . * Spence.

His

His friends persuaded him to sell his: Thare; but he dreamed of dignity and splendour, and could not bear to ob-struct his own fortune. He was then importuned to sell as much as would purchase an hundred a year for life,, which, says Fenton, will make you sure of a clean shirt and a shoulder of mutton every day. This counsel was rejected; the profit and principal were loft, and Gay funk under the calamity so low that his life became in danger

By the care of his friends, among whom Pope appears to have shewn particular tenderness, his health was restored; and, returning to his studies, he wrote a tragedy called The Captives, which he was invited to read before the

me

princess of Wales. When the hour came, he saw the princess and her ladies all in expectation, and advancing with reverence, too great for any other attention, stumbled at a stool, and falling forwards, threw down a weighty Japan fcreen. The princess started, the ladies screamed, and poor Gay after all the difturbance was still to read his play.

The fate of The Captives * I know not; but he now thought himself in favour, and undertook (1726) to write a volume of Fables for the improvement of the young duke of Cumberland. For this he is said to have been promised a reward, which he had doubtless magnified with all the wild expectations of indigence and vanity. * It was acted at Drury-Lane in 1723.

Next

ce

'. Next year the Prince and Princess became King and Queen, and Gay was to be great and happy; but upon the settlement of the household he found himself appointed gentleman usher to the princess Louisa. By this offer he thought himself insulted, and sent a message to the Queen, that he was too old for the place. There seem to have been many machinations employed afterwards in his favour, and diligent court was paid to Mrs. Howard, afterwards countess of Suffolk, who was much beloved by the King and Queen, to engage her interest for his promotion; but solicitations, verses, and flatteries were thrown away ; the lady heard them, and did nothing.

[ocr errors]
« 上一頁繼續 »