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He died July 26, 1680, before he had completed his thirtyfourth year; and was so worn away by a long illness, that life went out without a struggle.

Lord Rochester was eminent for the vigour of his colloquial wit, and remarkable for many wild pranks and sallies of extravagance. The glare of his general character diffused itself upon his writings; the compositions of a man whose name was heard so often were certain of attention, and from many readers certain of applause. This blaze of reputation is not yet quite extinguished; and his poetry still retains some splendour beyond that which genius has bestowed.

Wood and Burnet give us reason to believe, that much was imputed to him which he did not write. I know not by whom the original collection was made, or by what authority its genuineness was ascertained. The first edition was published in the year of his death, with an air of concealment, professing in the title-page to be printed at Antwerp.

Of some of the pieces, however, there is no doubt. The imitation of Horace's satire, the verses to Lord Mulgrave, the satire against Man, the verses upon “Nothing," and perhaps some others, are I believe genuine, and perhaps most of those which the collection exhibits.

As he cannot be supposed to have found leisure for any course of continued study, his pieces are commonly short, such as one fit of resolution would produce.

His songs have no particular character; they tell', like other songs, in smooth and easy language, of scorn and kindness, dismission and desertion, absence and inconstancy, with the common-places of artificial courtship. They are commonly smooth and easy; but have little nature, and little sentiment.

His imitation of Horace on Lucilius is not inelegant, or unhappy. In the reign of Charles the Second began that adaptation, which has since been very frequent, of ancient poetry to present times; and perhaps few will be found where the parallelism is better preserved than in this. The versification is indeed sometimes careless, but it is sometimes vigorous and weighty.

The strongest effort of his Muse is his poem upon “Nothing." He is not the first who has chosen this barren topic for the boast of his fertility. There is a poem called “Nihil,” in Latin, by Passerat, a poet and critic of the sixteenth

century in France; who, in his own epitaph, expresses his zeal for good poetry thus:

- Molliter ossa quiescent,

Sint modo carminibus non onerata malis. His works are not common, and therefore I shall subjoin his verses.

In examining this performance, “Nothing" must be considered as having not only a negative but a kind of positive signification; as I need not fear thieves, I have nothing, and nothing is a very powerful protector. In the first part of the sentence it is taken negatively, in the second it is taken positively, as an agent. In one of Boileau's lines it was a ques. tion, whether he should use à rien faire, or à ne rien faire; and the first was preferred because it gave rien a sense in some sort positive. Nothing can be a subject only in its positive sense, and such a sense is given it in the first line:

Nothing, thou elder brother ev'n to shade. In this line, I know not whether he does not allude to a curious book, "De Umbra," by Wowerus, which, having told the qualities of shade, concludes with a poem in which are these lines:

Jam primum terram validis circumspice claustris
Suspensam totam, decus admirabile myndi
Terrasque tractusque maris, camposque liquentes
Aeris et vasti laqueata palatia coli -

Omnibus UMBRA prior. The positive sense is generally preserved with great skill through the whole poem; though, sometimes, in a subordinate sense, the negative nothing is injudiciously mingled. Passerat confounds the two senses.

Another of his most vigorous pieces is his lampoon on Sir Car Scrope, who, in a poem called “The Praise of Satire," had some lines like these: *

Ho who can push into a midnight fray
His brave companion, and then run away,
Leaving him to be murder'd in the street,
Then put it off with somo buffoon conceit:
Him, thus dishonour'd, for a wit you own,
And court him as top fiddler of the town.

• I quote from memory.

This was meant of Rochester, whose buffoon conceit was, I suppose, a saying often mentioned, that every man would be a coward if he durst; and drew from him those furious verses; to which Scrope made in reply an epigram, ending with these lines:

Thou canst hurt no man's fame with thy ill word;

Thy pen is full as harmless as thy sword. Of the satire against “Man," Rochester can only claim what remains when all Boileau's part is taken away.

In all his works there is sprightliness and vigour, and every where may be found tokens of a mind which study might have carried to excellence. What more can be expected from a life spent in ostentatious contempt of regularity, and ended before the abilities of many other men began to be displayed?

Poema Cl. V. JOANNIS PASSERATII,

Regii in Academia Parisiensi Professoris,
Ad ornatissimum virum ERRICUM MEMMIUM.

Janus adest, festæ poscunt sua dona Kalendæ,
Munus abest festis quod possim offerre Kalendis.
Siccino Castalius nobis exaruit humor?
Usque adeo ingenii nostri est exhausta facultas,
Immunem ut videat redeuntis janitor anni?
Quod nusquam est, potius nova per vestigia quæram.

Ecce autem partes dum sese versat in omnes
Invenit mea Musa NIHIL , ne despice munus.
Nam NIHIL est gemmis, NIHIL est pretiosius auro.
Huc animum, huc igitur vultus adverte benignos :
Res nova narratur quæ nulli audita priorum,
Ausonii et Graii dixerunt cætera vates,
Ausoniæ indictum NIHIL est Græcæque Camænd.

E cælo quacunque Ceres sua prospicit arva,
Aut genitor liquidis orbem complectitur alnis
Oceanus, NIHIL interitus et originis expers.
Immortale NIHIL, NIHIL omni parte beatum.
Quod si hinc majestas et vis divina probatur,
Num quid honore dellm, num quid dignabimus aris?
Conspectu lucis NIHIL est jucundius almæ,
Vere NIHIL, NIHIL irriguo formosius horto,
Floridius pratis, Zephyri clementius aura;
In bello sanctum NIHIL est, Martisque tumultu : ,
Justum in pace NIHIL, NIHIL est in fædere tutum.

Felix cui NIHIL est, (fuerant hæc vota Tibullo)
Non timet insidias : fures, incendia temnit:
Solicitas sequitur nullo sub judice lites
Ille ipse invictis qui subjicit omnia fatis
Zenonis sapiens, NIHIL admiratur et optat.
Socraticique gregis fuit ista scientia quondam,
Scire NIHIL, studio cui nunc incumbitur uni.
Nec quicquam in ludo mavult didicisse juventus,
Ad magnas quia ducit opes, et culmen honorum.
Nosce NIHIL, nosces fertur quod Pythagoreæ
Grano hærere fabæ, cui vox adjuncta negantis.
Multi Mercurio freti duce viscera terræ
Pura liquefaciunt simul, et patrimonia miscent,
Arcano instantes operi, et carbonibus atris,
Qui tandem exhausti damnis , fractique labore,
Inveniunt atque inventum NIHIL usque requirunt
Hoc dimetiri non ulla decempeda possit:
Nec numeret Libycæ numerum qui callet arena:
Et Phobo ignotum NIHIL est, NIHIL altius astris.
Taque, tibi licet eximium sit mentis acumen,
Omnem in naturam penetrans, et in abdita rerum,
Pace tua, Memmi, NIHIL ignorare videris.
Sole tamen NIHIL est, a puro clarius igne.
Tange NIHIL , dices que NIHIL sine corpore tangi.
Cerne NIHIL , cerni dices NIHIL absque colore,
Surdum audit loquiturque NIHIL sine voce, volatque.
Absque ope pennarum, et graditur sine cruribus ullis.
Absque loco motuque NIHIL per inane vagatur.
Humano generi utilius NIHIL arte medendi.
Ne rhombos, igitur, neu Thessala murmura tentet
Idalia vacuum trajectus arundine pectus,
Neu legat Idæo Dictæum in vertice gramen,
Vulneribus sævi NIHIL auxiliatur amoris.
Vexerit et quemvis trans mæstas portitor undas,
Ad superos imo NIHIL hunc revocabit ab orco.
Inferni NIHIL inflectit præcordia regis.
Parcarumque colos, et inexorabile pensum.
Obruta Phlegræis campis Titania pubes
Fulmineo sensit NIHIL esse potentius ictu :
Porrigitur magni NIHIL extra mænia mundi:
Diique NIHIL metuunt. Quid longo carmine plura,
Commemorem ? Virtute NIHIL præstantius ipsa,
Splendidius NIHIL est; NIHIL est Jove denique majus.
Sed tempus finem argutis imponere nugis:
Ne tibi si multa laudem mea carmina charta,
De NIHILO NIHILI pariant fastidia versus.

ROSCOMMON.

WENTWORTH DILLON, Earl of Roscommon, was the son of James Dillon and Elizabeth Wentworth, sister to the Earl of Strafford. He was born in Ireland during the lieutenancy of Strafford, who, being both his uncle and his godfather, gave him his own surname. His father, the third Earl of Roscommon, had been converted by Usher to the protestant religion; and when the popish 'rebellion broke out, Strafford thinking the family in great danger from the fury of the Irish, sent for his godson, and placed him at his own seat in Yorkshire, where he was instructed in Latin; which he learned so as to write it with purity and elegance, though he was never able to retain the rules of grammar.

Such is the account given by Mr. Fenton, from whose notes on Waller most of this account must be borrowed, though I know not whether all that he relates is certain. The instructor whom he assigns to Roscommon, is one Dr. Hall, by whom he cannot mean the famous Hall, then an old man and a bishop.

When the storm broke out upon Strafford, his house was a shelter no longer; and Dillon, by the advice of Usher, was sent to Caen, where the protestants had then an university, and continued his studies under Bochart.

Young Dillon, who was sent to study under Bochart, and who is represented as having already made great proficiency in literature, could not be more than nine years old. Strafford went to govern Ireland in 1633, and was put to death eight years afterwards. That he was sent to Caen is certain: that he was a great scholar may be doubted.

At Caen he is said to have had some preternatural intelligence of bis father's death.

"The Lord Roscommon, being a boy of ten years of age, at Caen, in Normandy, one day was, as it were, madly extravagant in playing, leaping, getting over the tables, boards, &c. He was, wont to be sober enough; they said,

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