« VorigeDoorgaan »
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 Regii in Academia Parisiensi Professoris,
Pura liquefaciunt simul, et patrimonia miscent, AD ORNATISSIMUM VIRUM ERRICUM MEMMIUM. Arcano instantes operi, et carbonibus atris, Janus adest, festæ poscunt sua dona Kalendæ,
Qui tandem exhausti damnis, fractique labore,
Inveniunt atque in ventum nihil usque requirunt. Munus abest festis quod possim offerre Kalendis.
Hoc dimetiri non ulla decempeda possit:
Nec numeret Libycæ numerum qui callet arenæ: Immunem ut videat redeuntis janitor anni?
Et Phoebo ignotum nihil est, nihil altius astris. Quod nusquam est, putius nova per vestigia quæram. Tuque, tibi licet eximium sit mentis acumen, Ecce autem partes dum sese versat in omnes
Omnein in naturam penetrans, et in abdita rerum, Invenit mea Musa nihil, ne despice wunus.
Pace tua, Memmi, nihil ignorare videris. Nam nihil est gemmis, nihil est pretiosius auro.
Sole tamen nihil est, a puro clarius igne. Huc animum, huc igitur vultus adrerte berigaos:
Tange nikil, dicesque nihil sine corpore tangi. Res nova narratur quæ nulli audita priorum,
Cerne nihil, cerni dices nihil absque colore. Ausonii et Graii dixerunt cætera vates,
Surdum audit loquiturque nihil sine voce, volatque Ausoniæ indictum nihil est Græcæque Camoenä. Absque ope pennarum, et graditur sine cruribus ullis
E coelo quacunque Ceres sua prospicit arva, Ahsque loco motuque nihil per inane vagatur. Aut genitor liquidis orbem complectitur ulois
Humano generi utilius nihil arte medendi. Oceanus, nihil interitus et originis expers.
Ne rhombos, igitur, neu Thessala murmura tentet Immortale nihil, nihil omni parte beatum.
Idalia vacuum trajectus arundine pectus, Quod si hinc majestas et vis divina probatur, Neu legat Idæo Dictæum in vertice gramen. Num quid honore deum, num quid dignabimur aris ? Vulneribus sævi nihil auxiliatur amoris. Conspectu lucis nihil est jucundius almæ,
Vexerit et quemvis trans moestas portitor undas, Vere nihil, nihil irriguo formosius horto,
Ad superos imo nihil hunc revocabit ab orco.
Inferni nihil inflectit præcordia regis.
Fulmineo sensit nihil esse potentius ictu :
Forrigitur magni nihil extra moenia mundi: Solicitas sequitur nullo sub judice lites.
Diique nihil metuuut. Quid longo carmine plura Ille ipse invictis qui subjicit omnia fatis
Commemorem? Virtute nihil præstantius ipsa, Zenonis sapiens, nihil admiratur et optat.
Splendidius nihil est; nihil est Jove denique majus. Socraticique gregis fuit ista scientia quondam,
Sed tempus finem argutis imponere nugis Scire nihil, studio cui nunc incumbitur uni.
Ne tibi si multa laudem mea carmina charta, Nec quicquam in ludo mavult didicisse juventus, De nihilo nihili pariant fastidia versus.
WENTWORTH D LLON, Earl of Roscommon, / and when the popish rebellion broke out, Strafwas the son of James Dillon, and Elizabeth ford thinking the family in great danger from Wentworth, sister to the Earl of Strafford. He the fury of the Irish, sent for his godson, and was born in Ireland * during the lieutenancy of placed him at his own seat in Yorkshire, where Strafford, who being both his uncle and his god- he was instructed in Latin ; which he learned father, gave him his own surname. His father, so as to write it with purity and elegance, the third Earl of Roscommon, had been con- though he was never able to retain the rules of verted by Usher to the protestant religion; t grammar.
Such is the account given by Mr. Fenton, • The Biog. Britan. says, probably about the year from whose notes on Waller most of this ac1632 ; but this is inconsistent with the date of Straf- count must be borrowed, though I know not ford's viceroyalty in the following page.-C.
The in+ It was his grandfather, Sir Robert Dillon, second whether all that he relates is certain. Earl of Roscommon, who was converted from po- structor whom he assigns to Roscommon, is one pery, and his conversion is recited in the patent of Dr. Hall, by whom he cannot mean the fanious Sir James, the first Earl of Roscommon, as one of the Hall, then an old man and a bishop. prounds of his creation.-MALONE,
When the storm broke out upon Strafford,
his house was a shelter no longer; and Dillon, tain of the band of pensioners, and learned so by the advice of Usher, was sent to Caen, where much of the dissoluteness of the court, that he the protestants had then a university, and con addicted himself immoderately to gaming, by tinued his studies under Bochart.
which he was engaged in frequent quarrels, and Young Dillon, who was sent to study under which undoubtedly brought upon him its usual Bochart, and who is represented as having al concomitants, extravagance and distress. ready made great proficiency in literature, could After some time, a dispute about part of his not be more than nine years old. Strafford estate forced him into Ireland, where he was went to govern Ireland in 1633, and was put to made by the Duke of Ormond captain of the death eight years afterwards. That he was sent guards, and met with an adventure thus related to Caen is certain ; that he was a great scholar by Fenton :may be doubted.
“ He was at Dublin as much as ever distemAt Caen he is said to have had some preter- pered with the same fatal affection for play, natural intelligence of his father's death. which engaged him in one adventure that well
“ The Lord Roscommon, being a boy of ten deserves to be related. As he returned to his Fears of age, at Caen, in Normandy, one day lodgings from a gaming-table, he was attacked was, as it were, madly extravagant in playing, in the dark by three ruffians, who were employleaping, getting over the tables, boards, &c. He ed to assassinate him. The Earl defended himwas wont to be sober eu ough; they said, God grant self with so much resolution, that he despatched this bodes no ill-luck to him! In the heat of one of the aggressors: whilst a gentleman, accithis extravagant fit he cries out, “My father is dentally passing that way, interposed, and disdead !' A fortnight after, news came from Ire- armed another : the third secured himself by land that his father was dead. This account flight. This generous assistant was a disbanded I had from Mr. Knolles, who was his governor, officer, of a good family and fair reputation; and then with him since secretary to the Earl who, by what we call the partiality of fortune, of Strafford; and I have heard his Lordship’s to avoid censuring the iniquities of the times, relations confirm the same.”-AUBREY's Mis- wanted even a plain suit of clothes to make a
decent appearance at the Castle. But his LordThe present age is very little inclined to fa- ship, on this occasion, presenting him to the vour any accounts of this kind, nor will the Duke of Ormond, with great importunity prename of Aubrey much recommend it to credit ; vailed with his Grace, that he might resign his it ought not, however, to be omitted, because post of captain of the guards to his friend; better evidence of a fact cannot easily be found which for about three years the gentleman enthan is here offered; and it must be by preserv- joyed, and, upon his death, the Duke returned ing such relations that we may at last judge how the commission to his generous benefactor.” much they are to be regarded. If we stay to When he had finished his business, he returnexamine this account, we shall see difficulties on ed to London: was made master of the horse to both sides; here is the relation of a fact given by the Dutchess of York; and married the Lady a man who had no interest to deceive, and who Frances, daughter to the Earl of Burlington, could not be deceived himself; and here is, on and widow of Colonel Courteney. * the other hand, a miracle which produces no He now busied his mind with literary proeffect; the order of nature is interrupted, to dis-jects, and formed the plan for a society for refincover not a future but only a distant event, the ing our language and fixing its standard; “ in knowledge of which is of no use to him to whom imitation,” says Fenton, “ of those learned and it is revealed. Between these difficulties what polite societies with which he had been acquaintway shall be found? Is reason or testimony ed abroad. In this design his friend Dryden to be rejected? I believe what Osborne says of is said to have assisted him. an appearance of sanctity may be applied to such The same design, it is well known, was reimpulses or anticipations as this: “Do not vived by Dr. Swift in the ministry of Oxford ; wholly slight them, because they may be true; but it has never since been publicly mentioned, but do not wholly trust them, because they may though at that time great expectations were be false.”
formed by some of its establishment and its efThe state both of England and Ireland was fects. Such a society might, perhaps, without at this time such, that he who was absent from much difficulty, be collected; but that it would either country had very little temptation to re- produce what is expected from it may be doubtturn; and therefore Roscommon, when he ed. left Caen, travelled into Italy, and amused himself with its antiquities, and particularly with medals, in which he acquired uncommon
* He was married to Lady Frances Boyle, in April, skill.
1662. By this lady he had no issue. He married seAt the Restoration, with the other friends of condly, 10th Nov. 1674, Isabella, daughter of Matthew monarchy, he came to England, was made cap- Boynton, of Barmston, in Yorkshire.-Malone.
The Italian academy seems to have obtained disposed in the most regular and elegant order. its end. The language was refined, and so fixed His imagination might have probably been more that it has changed but little. The French aca- fruitful and sprightly, if his judgment had been demy thought that they refined their language, less severe. But that severity (delivered in a and doubtless thought rightly; but the event masculine, clear, succinct style) contributed to has not shown that they fixed it; for the French make him so eminent in the didactical manner, of the present time is very different from that of that no man, with justice, can affirm he was the last century.
ever equalled by any of our nation, without conIn this country an academy could be expected fessing at the same time that he is inferior to to do but little. If an academician's place were
In some other kinds of writing his geprofitable, it would be given by interest; if at- nius seems to have wanted fire to attain the point tendance were gratuitous, it would be rarely of perfection; but who can attain it?” paid, and no man would endure the least dis From this account of the riches of his mind, gust.
Unanimity is impossible, and debate who would not imagine that they had been diswould separate the assembly.
played in large volumes and numerous performBut suppose the philological decree made and ances? Who would not, after the perusal of promulgated, what would be its authority? In this character, be surprised to find that all the absolute governments, there is sometimes a ge- proofs of this genius, and knowledge, and judgneral reverence paid to all that has the sanction ment, are not sufficient to form a single book, or of power, and the countenance of greatness. to appear otherwise than in conjunction with How little this is the state of our country needs the works of some other writer of the same petty not be told. We live in an age in which it is a size ?* But thus it is that characters are writkind of public sport to refuse all respect that ten: we know somewhat, and we imagine the cannot be enforced. The edicts of an English rest. The observation, that his imagination academy would probably be read by many, only would probably have been more fruitful and that they might be sure to disobey them. sprightly, if his judgment had been less severe,
That our language is in perpetual danger of may be answered by a remarker somewhat incorruption cannot be denied ; but what preven- clined to cavil, by a contrary supposition, that tion can be found ? The present manners of the his judgment would probably have been less senation would deride authority; and therefore vere, if his imagination had been more fruitful. nothing is left but that every writer should cri- It is ridiculous to oppose judgment to imaginaticise himself.
tion; for it does not appear that men have neAll hopes of new literary institutions were cessarily less of one as they have more of tho quickly suppressed by the contentious turbulence other. of King James's reign; and Roscommon, fore We must allow of Roscommon, what Fenton seeing that some violent concussion of the state has not mentioned so distinctly as he ought, and was at hand, purposed to retire to Rome, alleg- what is yet very much to his honour, that he is, ing, that “it was best to sit near the chimney perhaps, the only correct writer in verse before when the chamber smoked;" a sentence, of Addison : and that, if there are not so many of which the application seems not very clear. so great beauties in his compositions as in those
His departure was delayed by the gout; and of some contemporaries, there are at least fewer he was so impatient either of hinderance or of faults. Nor is this his highest praise ; for Mr. pain, that he submitted himself to a French em- Pope has celebrated him as the only moral writpiric, who is said to have repelled the disease er of King Charles's reign :: into his bowels.
At the moment in which he expired, he utter Unhappy Dryden! in all Charles's day., ed, with an energy of voice that expressed the
Roscommon only boasts unspotted lays. most fervent devotion, two lines of his own version of “ Dies Iræ :
His great work is his “ Essay on Translated
My God, my Father, and my Friend,
* They were published, together with those of
Duke, in an octavo volume, in 1717. The editor, He died in 1684, and was buried with great whoever he was, professes to have taken great care pomp in Westminster Abbey.
to procure and insert all of his Lordship's poems
that are truly genuine. The sruth of this assertion is His poetical character is given by Mr. Fen- flatly denied by the author of an account of Mr. John
Pomfret, prefixed to his remains; who asserts, that ton:
the Prospect of Death was written by that person “ In his writings,” says Fenton, " we view
many years after Lord Roscommon's decease; as, the image of a mind which was naturally seri- also, that the paraphrase of the Prayer of Jeremy ous and solid; richly furnished and adorned
was written by a gentleman of the name of Southwith all the ornaments of learning, unaffectedly court, living in the year 1724.-H.
Verse;" of which Dryden writes thus in his not less praise than it deserves. Blank verse, preface to his “ Miscellanies :"
left merely to its numbers, has little operation “ It was my Lord Roscommon's • Essay on either on the ear or mind : it can hardly supTranslated Verse,' says Dryden, “ which port itself without bold figures and striking imainade me uneasy, till I tried whether or no ges. A poem frigidly didactic, without rhyme, I was capable of following his rules, and of is so near to prose, that the reader only scorns reducing the speculation into practice. For it for pretending to be verse. many a fair precept in poetry is like a seeming Having disentangled himself from the diffidemonstration in mathematics, very specious in culties of rhyme, he may justly be expected to the diagram, but failing in the mechanic opera- give the sense of Horace with great exactness, tion. I think I have generally observed his in- and to suppress no subtlety of sentiment for the structions: I am sure my reason is sufficiently difficulty of expressing it. This demand, howconvinced both of their truth and usefulness; ever, his translation will not satisfy; what he which, in other words, is to confess no less a found obscure, I do not kpow that he has ever vanity than to pretend that I have, at least, in cleared. some places, made examples to his rules.”
Among his smaller works the “Eclogue of This declaration of Dryden will, I am afraid, Virgil” and the “ Dies Iræ” are well translated; be found little inore than one of those cursory though the best line in the “ Dies Iræ" is borcivilities which one author pays to another; for rowed from Dryden. In return, succeeding when the sum of Lord Roscommon's precepts poets have borrowed from Roscommon. is collected, it will not be easy to discover how In the verses on the Lap-dog, the pronouns they can qualify their reader for a better per- thou and you are offensively confounded; and formance of translation than might have been the turn at the end is from Waller. attained by his own reflections.
His versions of the two odes of Horace are Ile that can abstract his mind from the ele- made with great liberty, which is not recomgance of the poetry, and confine it to the sense pensed by much elegance or vigour. of the precepts, will find no other direction than
His political verses are sprightly, and when that the author should be suitable to the trans- they were written must have been very po lator's genius; that he should be such as may
pular. deserve a translation ; that he who intends to
Of the scene of “ Guarini" and the prologue translate him should endeavour to understand of “ Pompey,” Mrs. Philips, in her letters to him; that perspicuity should be studied, and Sir Charles Cotterel, has given the history. unusual and uncouth names sparingly inserted;
“ Lord Roscommon,” says she, “is certainly and that the style of the original should be copied in its elevation and depression. These are
one of the most promising young noblemen in the rules that are celebrated as so definite and Ireland. He has paraphrased a psalm admiraimportant; and for the delivery of which to bly; and a scene of “ Pastor Fido" very finely, mankind so much honour has been paid. Ros
in some places much better than Sir Richard common has indeed deserved his praises, had Fanshaw. This was undertaken merely in comthey been given with discernment, and bestowed pliment to me, who happened to say that it was not on the rules themselves, but the art with the best scene in Italian, and the worst in Engwhich they are introduced, and the decorations lish. He was only two hours about it. It bewith which they are adorned.
gins thus :The “ Essay,” though generally excellent, is
“Dear happy groves, and you the dark retreat not without its faults.' The story of the Quack,
Cf silent horror, Rest's eternal seat." borrowed from Boileau, was not worth the importation; he has confounded the British and
From these lines, which are since somewhat Saxon mythology :
mended, it appears that he did not think a work I grant that from some mossy idol oak,
of two hours fit to endure the eye of criticisma Iu double rhymes, our Thor and Woden spoke.
When Mrs. Philips was in Ireland, some laThe oak, as I think Gildon has observed, be- dies that had seen her translation of “ Pompey?! longed to the British druids, and Thor and Wo- resolved to bring it on the stage at Dublin; and, den were Saxon deities. Of the double rhymes, to promote their design, Lord Roscommon gave which he so liberally supposes, he certainly had them a prologue, and Sir Edward Dering an no knowledge.
Epilogue ; “which," says she, “ are the best His interposition of a long paragraph of blank performances of those kinds I ever saw. If 'verses is unwarrantably licentious. Latin poets this is not criticism, it is at least gratitude. The might as well have introduced a series of iambics thought of bringing Cæsar and Pompey into among their heroics.
Ireland, the only country over which Cæsar His next work is the translation of the “ Art never had any power, is lucky. of Poetry;" which has received, in my opinion, Of Roscommun's works the judgment of the
public seems to be right. He is elegant, but and his rhymes are remarkably exact. He im not great; he never labours after exquisite proved taste, if he did not enlarge knowledge, beauties, and he seldom falls into gross faults. and may be numbered among the benefactors to His versification is smooth, but rarely vigorous; English literature.
OF THOMAS OTWAY, one of the first names in player, he felt in himself such powers as might the English drama, little is known; nor is there qualify for a dramatic author; and in 1675, his any part of that little which his biographer can twenty-fifth year, produced “ Alcibiades,” a take pleasure in relating.
tragedy; whether from the Alcibiade of PalaHe was born at Trottin, in Sussex, March 3, prat, I have not means to inquire. Langbaine, 1651, the son of Mr. Humphry Otway, recter the great detector of plagiarism, is silent. of Woolbeding. From Winchester-school, where In 1677, he published · Titus and Berenice," he was educated, he was entered, in 1669, a translated from Rapin, with the “ Cheats of commoner of Christ-church; but left the uni- Scapin," from Moliere; and in 1678, “ Friendversity without a degree, whether for want of ship in Fashion,” a comedy, which, whatever money, or from impatience of academical re- might be its first reception, was, upon its revival straint, or mere eagerness to mingle with the at Drury-lane, in 1749, hissed off the stage for world, is not known.
immorality and obscenity. It seems likely that he was in hope of being Want of morals, or of decency, did not in busy and conspicuous; for he went to London, those days exclude any man from the company and commenced player; but found himself un- of the wealthy and the gay, if he brought with able to gain any reputation on the stage.f him any powers of entertainment; and Otway
This kind of inability he shared with Shak- is said to have been at this time a favourite speare and Jonson, as he shared likewise some companion of the dissolute wits. But as ho of their excellences. It seems reasonable to ex who desires no virtue in his companion has no pect that a great dramatic poet should without virtue in himself, those whom Otway frequentdifficulty become a great actor; that he who ed had no purpose of doing more for him than can feel, could express; that he who can excite to pay his reckoning. They desired only to passion, should exhibit with great readiness its drink and laugh : their fondness was without external modes : but since experience has fully benevolence, and their familiarity without proved, that of those powers, whatever be their friendship. Men of wit, says one of Otway's affinity, one may be possessed in a great degree biographers, received at that time no favour by him who has very little of the other; it must from the great, but to share their riots ; " from be allowed that they depend upon different fa
which they were dismissed again to their own culties, or on different use of the same faculty;
narrow circumstances. Thus they languished that the actor must have a pliancy of mien, a flexibility of countenance, and a variety of tones,
in poverty, without the support of eminence."
Some exception, however, must be made. which the poet may be easily supposed to want; The Earl of Plymouth, one of King Charles or that the attention of the poet and the player natural sons, procured for him a cornet's com. have been differently employed : the one has been considering thought, and the other action; But Otway did not prosper in his military
mission in some troops then sent into Flanders. one has watched the heart, and the other contemplated the face.
character : for he soon left his commission beThough he could not gain much notice as a
hind him, whatever was the reason, and came back to London in extreme indigence; which
Rochester mentions with merciless insolence in + Io “Roscias Anglicanus,” by Downes the promp. the “ Session of the Poets:"ter, p. 34, we learn that it was the character of the King, in Mrs. Behn's" Forced Marriage, or the Jea
* This Life was originally written by Dr. Johnson lous Bridegroom,” which Mr. Otway attempted to in the “Gentleman's Magazine” for May, 1748. It perform, and failed in. This event appears to have then bad notes, which are now incorporated with the happened in the year 1672.-R.