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form. For a Fable he gives now and then a Tale, or an abstracted Allegory; 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 is 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 haminer 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 apparent
falsehood. Of his little Poems the public judgment seems to be right; they are nei
ther 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 o
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 1. a long work. A Pastoral of an hundred lines may be endured; but who
will hear of sheep and goats, and myrtle bowers, and purling rivulets, through five acts P 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, as men grow wice, and nations grow learned.
F GEORGE GRAN VI E L E, or as others write Greenville, or Grenville, afterwards lord Landsdowne of Biddeford in the county of Devon, less is known than his name and rank might give reason to expect. He was born about 1667, the son of Bernard Greenville, who was entrusted by Monk with the most private transactions of the Restoration, and the grandson of Sir Bevil Greenville, who died in the King's cause, at the battle of Landsdowne. His early education was superintended by Sir William Ellis; and his progress was such that before the age of twelve he was sent to Cambridge*, where he pronounced a copy of his own verses to the princess Mary d'Este of Modena, then dutchess of York, when she visited the university. At the accession of king James, being now at eighteen, he again exerted his poetical powers, and addressed the new monarch in three short pieces, of which the first is profane, and the two others such as a boy might be expected to produce; but he was commended by old Waller, who perhaps was pleased to find himself imitated, in six lines, which, though they begin with nonsense and end with dulness, excited in the young author a rapture 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 preValence over his imagination, and upon whom nothing ever has been charged but imprudent piety, an intemperate and misguided zeal for the propagation 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 spproved either the artifices or the violence with which the King's religion was insi. 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 sufficient proof, in the letter which he wrote to his father about a month before the prince of Orange landed. . . * - - * - - “ Mar, near Doncaster, Oct. 6, 1683. ** To the honourable Mr Barnard Granville, at the earl of Bathe's, St. “James's. * * *
* To Trinity College. By the university Register, it appears, that he was admitted to his Master's Possein 1679; we must, therefore, set the year of his birth some years back. .H.,
Wol. I. - 3 D either
“s I R, “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 a
“ country retirement, when every man who has the least sense of honour “should be preparing for the field. “You may remember, Sir, with what reluctance I submitted to you: 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 he 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 doubtsul if the Hollanders are rash “ 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 devote his life to his service, and my country's, after “ the example of all my ancestors. - - * . . . . . . “The gentry assembled at York, to agree pron 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 then such magistrates as may be agreeable to the laws of the land; for, at present, there is no authority to which they can Hegally submit.” " “They have been beating up for volunteers at York, and the towns ad
jacent, to supply the regiments at Hull; but nobody will list.
- - -- By
# * 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 so many other testimonies which I have constantly received of your goodoness; and be pleased to believe me always with the utmost duty and submission, Sir, - - - * *
Through the whole reign of king William he is supposed to have lived gliterary retirement, and indeed had for some time few other pleasures but hose of study in his power. He was, as the biographers observe, the founger son of a younger brother; a denomination by which our ancestors onverbially expressed the lowest state of penury and dependance. He is sid, however, to have preserved himself at this time from disgrace and difkulties by occonomy, which he forgot or neglected in life more advanced, ind in better fortune. -, * About this time he became enamoured of the countess of Newburgh, ... rhom he has celebrated with so much ardour by the name of Mira. He prote verses to her before he was three-and-twenty, and may be forgiven if he 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 dramatick pieces, the She-Gallants (acted 1696), which he revised, and called Once a Lover, and always a Lover; The jew of Penice, altered from Shakespeare's Merchant of Venice (1698); Heroic Love, a tragedy (1701); The British Enchanters (1706), a dramatick poem; and Peleus and Thetis, a masque, whitten to accompany The jew of Penice. . The comedies, which he has not printed in his own edition of his works, ineversaw. Once a Lover, and always a Lower, is said to be in a great degree 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 Skylock is made comick, and we are prompted to laughter instead of detectation. 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, though praised in verse by Drydon , and in prose by Pope, . . . . * = 3 D 2 It
It is concluded by the wise Ulysses with this speech:
- - 1 Fate holds the strings, and men like children move - - But as they're led; success is from above. a
At the accession of queen Anne, having his fortune improved by bequests from his father, and his uncle the earl of Bathe, he was chosen into par
liament for Fowey. He soon after engaged in a joint translation of the In
vectives against Philip, with a design, surely weak and puerile, of turning the thunder of Demosthenes upon the head of Lewis.
He afterwards (in 1706) had his 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 parlia
ment; 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 seeretary
at war, in the place of Mr. Robert Walpole. Next year, when the violence of party made twelve peers in a day, Mr. Granville became Lord Landsdowne, Baron Biddeford, by a promotion justly
remarked to be not invidious, because he was the heir of a family in which wo 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 persecuted with the rest of his party. Having protested against the bill for attainting Ormond and Bolingbroke, 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, he 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 have approved the general tendency, and where he thought hiaself able to detect some particular falsehoods. He the refore undertook the vindication of general Monk from some calumnies of Dr. Burnet, and some misrepresentations of Mr. Echord. This was answered civilly by Mir. Thomas Burnet and Oldmixon; and more roughly by Dr. Colbatch. His other historical performance is a defence of his relation Sir Richard Grcenville, whom lord Clarendon has shown in a form very unamiable. So much