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greater body, which lies dispersed in the possession of a numerous acquaintance ; and caunot perhaps be made intire, without, great injustice to him, because few of them had his last hand, and the transcriber was often obliged to take the liberties of a friend. His condolence for the death of Mr. Philips is full of the noblest beauties, and hath done justice to the ashes of that second Milton, whose writings will last as long as the English language, generosity, and valour. . For him Mr. Smith had contracted a perfect friendship; a pas
sion he was most susceptible of, and whose laws he looked upon as sacred and inviolable.
Every subject that passed under his pen had all the life, proportion, and embellishments bestowed on it, which an exquisite skill, a warm imagination, *nd a cool judgement, could possibly bestow cn it. The epique, lyrick, tlegiac, every sort of poetry, he touched upon (and he had touched upon a great variety), was raised to its proper height, and the differences between each of them observed with a judicious accuracy. We saw the old rules and new beauties placed in admirable order by each other; and there was a predominant fancy and spirit of his own infused, superior to what some draw off from the ancients, or from poesies here and there culled out of the moderns, by a painful industry and servile imitation. His contrivances were adroit and magnificent; his images lively and adequate ; his sentinents charming and majestick, his expressions natural and bold; his numbers various and sounding; and that enameled mixture of classical wit, which, without re
dundance and affection, sparkled through his writings, and were no less pertinent and agreeable.
His Phaedra is a consummate tragedy, and the success of it was as great as the most sanguine expectations of his friends could promise or foresee. The number of nights, and the common method of filling the house, are not always the surest marks of judging what encouragement a play meets with : but the generosity of all the persons of a refined taste about town was remarkable on this occasion ; and it must not be forgotten how zealously Mr. Addison espoused his interest, with all the elegant judgement and diffusive good-nature for which that accomplished gentleman and author is so justly valued by mankind. But as to Phaedra, she has certainly made a finer figure under Mr. Smith's conduct, upon the English stage, than cither in Rome or Athens; and if she cycols the Greek and Latin Phaira, I need not say she surpasses the French one, though embellished with whatever regular beauties and moving softness Racine himself could give her.
No man had a juster notion of the difficulty of composing than Mr. Smith, and he sometimes would create greater disficulties than ho had reason to apprehend. Writing with ease, what (as Mr. Wychelley speaks) may be easily written, moved his indignation. When he was writing upon a subject, Vol. I. - K k he he would seriously consider what Demosthenes, Homer, Virgil, or Horace, if alive, would say upon that occasion, which whetted him to exceed himself as well as others. Nevertheless, he could not, or would not, finish several subjects he undertook ; which may be imputed either to the briskness of his fancy, still hunting after new matter, or to an occasional indolence which spleen and lassitude brought upon him, which, of all his foibles, the world was least inclined to forgive. That this was not owing to conceit or vanity, or a fulness of himself (a frailty which has been imputed to no less men than Shakespeare and Johnson), is clear from hence; because he left his works to the entire disposal of his friends, whose most rigorous censures he even courted and solicited ; submitting to their animadversions, and the freedom they took with them, with an unreserved and prudent resignation. o o I have scen sketches and rough draughts of some poems he designed, set cut analytically : wherein the fable, structure, and connexion, the images, incidents, moral, episodes, and a great variety of ornaments, were so finely laid out, so well fitted to the rules of art, and squared so exactly to the precedents of th: ancients, that I have often looked on these poetical elements with the same concern, with which turious men are 2ffected at thr sight of the most entertaining remains and ruins of an antique figure or building. Those fragments of the learned, which some men have been so proud of their pains in collecting, are useless raritics, without form and without life, when compared with these embryos which wanted not spirit enough to preserve them ; so that I cannot help thinking, that, if some of them were to come abroad, they would be as highly valued by the poets, as the sketches of Julio and Titian are by the painters; though there is nothing in them but a few outlines, as to the design and proportion. It must be confessed, that Mr. Smith had some defects in his co-oduct, which those are most apt to remember who could imitate him in nothing else. His freedom with himself drew severe acknowledgements from him than all the malice he ever provoked was capable of advancing, and he did not scruple to give even his misfortunes the hard name of faults: but, if the world had half his good nature, all the shady parts would be entirely struck cut of his character. A man, who, under poverty, calamitics and disappointments, could rooke go many fiends, and those so truly valuable, must have just and of e ideas of the passion of friendship, in the success of which consisted the ; rearest, if not the only happiness of his life. He knew very well what
was due to his birth, though fortune threw him short of it in, cvery ether circumstance of life. He avoided making any, though perhaps reasonable,
coroplaints of her dispensation", under which he had honour eno. a to ir easy, with cut touching the favours she flung in his way who, 2.É.- 3 to him 21
1 at the price of a more durable reputation. He took care to have no deal
lings with mankind, in which he could not be just ; and he desired to be at
no other expence in his pretensions than that of intrinsic merit, which was the only burthen and reproach he ever brought upon his fiends. He cood
say, as Horace did of himself, what I never yet saw translated;
At his coming to town, no man was more surrounded by all those who really had or pretended to wit, or more courted by the great men, who had then a power and opportunity of encouraging arts and sciences, and gave proofs of their fondness for the name of Patron in many instances, which will ever be remembered to their glory. Mr. Smith's character grew upon his friends by intimacy, and out-went the strongest prepossessio:S which had been conceived in his favour. Whatever quarrel a few sour creatures, whose obscurity is their happiness, may possibly have to the age ; yet amidst a studied neglect, and total disuse of all those ceremonial attendances, sashionable equipments, and external recommendations, which are thought necessay introductions into the grande monde, this gentleman was so happy as still to please; and whilst the rich, the gay, the noble, and honourable, saw how much he excested in wit and learning, they easily forgave him all other differences. Hence it was that both his acquaintance and retirements were his own free choice. What Mr. Prior observes upon a very great character, was true of him ; that most of his faults brought their excuses with to ero. Those who blamed him most, understood him least, it being the custom of the vulgar to charge an excess upon the most complaisant, and to form a character by the morals of a few ; who have sometimes spoiled an hour or two in good company. Where only fortune is wanting to make a great name, that single exception can never pass upon the best judges and most equitable observers of mankind; and when the time comes for the world to spare their pity, we may justly enlarge our demands upon them for their admiration. - - a Some few years before his death, he had engaged himself in several considerable undertakings; in all which he had prepared the world to exPect mighty things from him. I have seen about ten sheets of his English Jidar, which exceeded any thing of that kind I could ever, hope for in our own language. He had drawn qut a plan of a tragedy of the Jady }ane Grey, and had gone through several scenes of it. But le could not well have bequeathed that work to better hands than where. I hear, it is at present lodg-d; and the bare mention of two such names may justify
the largest expectations, and is sufficient to make the town an agreeable Invitation.
His greatest and noblest undertaking was Longinus. He had finished an entire translation of the Sublime, which he sent the reverend Mr. Richard Parker, a friend of his, late of Merton College, an exact critick in the Greek tongue, from whom it came to my hands. The French version of Monsieur Boileau, though truly valuable, was far short of it. He proposed a large addition to this work, of notes and observations of his own, with an entire system of the Art of Poetry, in three books, under the titles of Thought, Diction, and Figure. I saw the last of these perfect, and in a fair copy, in which he shewed prodigious judgement and reading ; and particularly had reformed the art of Rhetorick, by reducing that vast and confused heap of terms, with which along succession of pedantshadencumbered the world, to a very narrow compass, comprehending all that was useful and ornamental in poetry. Under each head and chapter, he intended to make remarks upon all the ancients and moderns, the Greek, Latin, English, French, Spanish, and Italian poets, and to note their several beauties and defects. - -
What remains of his works is left, as I am informed, in the hands of men of worth and judgement, who loved him. It cannot be supposed they would suppress any thing that was his, but out of respect to his memory, and for want of proper hands to finish what so great a genius had begun.
SUCH is the declamation of Oldisworth, written while his admiration was yet fresh, and his kindness warm ; and therefore such as, without any criminal purpose of deceiving, shews a strong desire to make the most of all favourable truth. I cannot much commend the performance. The praise is often indistinct, and the sentences are loaded with words of more pomp. than use. There is little, however, that can be contradicted, even when a plainer tale comes to be told. - - , - .
-EDMUND NEALE, known by the name of Smith, was born at Handley, the seat of the Lechmeres, in Worcestershire. The year of his birth is uncertain * . . .
He was educated at Westminster. It is known to have been the practice of Dr. Busby to detain those youths long at school, of whom he had formed the highest expectations. Smith took his Master's degree on the 8th of July 1696; he therefore was probably admitted into the university in 1689, when we may suppose him twenty years old.
* By his epitaph he appears to have been 43 years old when he diel. He was consequently born in the year 1063. E
* - His
His reputation for literature in his college was such as has been told, but the indecency and licentiousness of his behaviour drew upon him, Dec. 24, 1694, while he was yet only Batchelor, a public admonition, entered upon record, in order to his expulsion. Of this reproof the effect is not known. He was probably less notorious. At Oxford, as we all know, much will be forgiven to literary merit; and of that he had exhibited sufficient evidence by his excellent ode on the death of the great Orientalist, Dr. Pocock, who died in 1691, and whose praise must have been written by Smith, when he had been but two years in the university.
This ode, which closed the second volume of the Musa Anglicana, though perhaps some objections may be made to its Latinity, is by far the best Lyrick composition in that collection; nor do I know where to find it equalled among the modern writers. It expresses, with great felicity, images not classical in classical diction: its digressions and returns have been deservedly recommended by Trapp as models for imitation.
He had several imitations of Cowley :
Testitur hinc tot sermo coloribus *
I will not commend the figure which makes the orator pronounce the colours,
or give to colours memory and delight. I quote it, however, as an imitation of these lines;
So many languages he had in store,
The simile, by which an old man, retaining the fire of his youth, is coinPared to Ætna flaming through the snow, which Smith has used with great Pomp, is stolen from Cowley, however little worth the labour of conveyance. He proceeded to take his degree of Master of Arts, July 8, 1696. Of the exercises which he performed on that occasion, I have not heard any thing memorable. As his years advanced, he advanced in reputation: for he continued to cultivate his mind, though he did not amend his irregularities, by which he gave so much offence, that, April 24, 1700, the Dean and Chapter declared, “the place of Mr. Smith void, he having been convicted of riotous “misbehaviour in the house of Mr. Cole an apothecary ; but it was reserred “ to the Dean when and upon what occasion the sentence should be put in “execution.” * Thus tenderly was he treated: the governors of his college could hardly keep him, and yet wished that he would not force them to drive him away.