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Tom Otway came next, Tom Shadwell's dear zany, come stronger, and his language more energetic. And swears for heroics he writes best of any; The striking passages are in every mouth; and Don Carlos his pockets so amply had fill’d,
the public seems to judge rightly of the faults That his mange was quite cured, and his lice were
and excellences of this play, that it is the work all kill'd. But Apollo had seen his face on the stage,
of a man not attentive to decency, nor zealous
} for virtue; but of one who conceived forcibly, And prudently did not think fit to engage
and drew originally, by consulting nature in “Don Carlos,” from which he is represented his own breast. as having received so much benefit, was played
Together with those plays he wrote the poems in 1675. It appears, by the lampoon, to have which are in the present collection, and transhad great success, and is said to have been played lated from the French the “History of the thirty nights together. This, however, it is Triumvirate.” reasonable to doubt;* as so long a continuance
All this was performed before he was thirtyof one play upon the stage is a very wide devia- four years old; for he died April 14, 1685, in a tion from the practice of that time; when the manner which I am unwilling to mention. ardour for theatrical entertainments was not Having been compelled by his necessities to con
tract debts, and hunted, as is supposed, by the yet diffused through the whole people, and the audience, consisting of nearly the same persons,
terriers of the law, he retired to a public house could be drawn together only by variety.
on Tower-hill, where he is said to have died of The “ Orphan” was exhibited in 1680. This want; or, as it is related by one of his biograis one of the few plays that keep possession of phers, by swallowing, after a long fast, a piece
of bread which charity had supplied. He went the stage, and has pleased for almost a century, through all the vicissitudes of dramatic fashion out, as is reported, almost naked, in the rage of Of this play nothing new can easily be said. hunger, and, finding a gentleman in a neighIt is a domestic tragedy drawn from middle life. bouring coffee-house, asked him for a shilling.
The gentleman gave him a guinea; and Otway Its whole power is upon the affections; for it is not written with much comprehension of going away bought a roll, and was choked with
the first mouthful. All this, I hope, is not true; thought, or elegance of expression. But if the and there is this ground of better hope, that heart is interested, many other beauties may be Pope, who lived near enough to be well informwanting, yet not be missed. The same year produced “ The History and died of a fever caught by violent pursuit of a
ed, relates in Spence's “ Memorials,” that he Fall of Caius Marius ;” much of which is bor- thief that had robbed one of his friends. But rowed from the “ Romeo and Juliet” of Shak- that indigence, and its concomitants, sorrow and speare. In 16831 was published the first, and next been denied, whatever immediate cause might
despondency, pressed hard upon him, has never years the second, parts of “ The Soldier's For
bring him to the grave. tune,” two comedies now forgotten; and in 16856 his last and greatest dramatic work, mits, the longest is the “ Poet's Complaint of
Of the poems which the present collection ad“ Venice Preserved,” a tragedy which still continues to be one of the favourites of the public, and in that which is less obscure I find little to
his Muse,” part of which I do not understand; notwithstanding the want of morality in the
commend. The language is often gross, and the briginal design, and the despicable scenes of vile numbers are harsh.Otway had not much culomedy|| with which he has diversified his tragic tivated versification, nor much replenished his action. "By comparing this with his “Orphan," mind with general knowledge. His principal it will appear that his images were by time be power was in moving the passions, to which * This doubt is indeed very reasonable. I know testimony. He appears by some of his verses
Dryden* in his latter years left an illustrious not where it is said that “Don Carlos " was acted thirty nights together. Wherever it is said, it is
to have been a zealous loyalist, and had what untrue. Downes, who is perfectly good authority was in those times the common reward of loyalon this point, informs us that it was performed ten ty; he lived and died neglected. days successively.-Malone. + 1681. | 1684.
$ 1682. || The “ despicable scenes of vile comedy" can be no bar to its being a favourite of the public, as they * In his preface to Fresnoy's “ Art of Painting. Bre always omitted in the representation.-J. B. -Dr. J
EDMUND Waller was born on the third of ly together. In his eighteenth year he wrote March, 1605, at Colshill, in Hertfordshire. His the poem that appears first in his works, on the father was Robert Waller, Esq. of Agmondes- “ Prince's Escape at St. Andero :” a piece ham, in Buckinghamshire, whose family was which justifies the observation made by one of originally a branch of the Kentish Wallers; and his editors, that he attained, by a felicity like his ncother was the daughter of John Hampden, instinct, a style which, perhaps, will never be of Hampden in the same county, and sister to obsolete : and that, “ were we to judge only by Hampden, the zealot of rebellion.
the wording, we could not know what was His father died while he was yet an infant, wrote at twenty, and what at four-score.” His but left him a yearly income of three thousand versification was, in his first essay, such as it five hundred pounds; which, rating together appears in his last performance. By the perusal the value of money and the customs of life, we of Fairfax's translation of " Tasso,” to which, may reckon more than equivalent to ten thou as Dryden* relates, he confessed himself indebtsand at the present time.
ed for the smoothness of his numbers, and by He was educated by the care of his mother, his own nicety of observation, he had already at Eton; and removed afterwards to King's Col- formed such a system of metrical harmony as he lege, in Cambridge. He was sent to parliament never afterwards much needed, or much endeain his eighteenth, if not in his sixteenth, year, voured to improve. Denham corrected his numand frequented the court of James the First, bers by experience, and gained ground gradually where he heard a very remarkable conversation, upon the ruggedness of his age; but what was which the writer of the Life prefixed to his acquired by Denham was inherited by Waller. Works, who seems to have been well informed The next poem, of which the subject seems to of facts, though he may sometimes err in chro- fix the time, is supposed by Mr. Fenton to be nology, has delivered as indubitably certain : the Address to the Queen, which he considers
“ He found Dr. Andrews, bishop of Win- as congratulating her arrival, in Waller's twenchester, and Dr. Neale, bishop of Durham, tieth year. He is apparently mistaken; for the standing behind his Majesty's chair; and there mention of the nation's obligations to her frehappened something extraordinary,” continues quent pregnancy, proves that it was written this writer, “ in the conversation those prelates when she had brought many children. We have had with the King, on which Mr. Waller did therefore no date of any other poetical producoften reflect. His Majesty asked the bishops, tion before that which the murder of the Duke
My Lords, cannot I take my subjects' money of Buckingham occasioned: the steadiness with when I want it, without all this formality of which the King received the news in the chapel parliament ?' The Bishop of Durham readily deserved indeed to be rescued from oblivion. answered, · God forbid, Sir, but you should : Neither of these pieces that seem to carry their you are the breath of our nostrils.' Whereupon own dates could have been the sudden effusion the King turned, and said to the Bishop of Win- of fancy. In the verses on the Prince's escape, chester, Well, my Lord, what say you ?' Sir,' the prediction of his marriage with the Princess replied the Bishop, • I have no skill to judge of of France must have been written after the parliamentary cases.' The King answered, event; in the other, the promises of the King's • No put-offs, my Lord; answer me presently.' kindness to the descendants of Buckinghain, • Then, Sir,' said be, ' I think it is lawful for which could not be properly praised till it had you to take my brother Neale's money; for he appeared by its effects, show that time was taoffers it.' Mr. Waller said, the company was
ken for revision and improvement. It is not pleased with this answer, and the wit of it seem
known that they were published till they aped to affect the King; for, a certain lord coming peared long afterwards with other poems. in soon after, his Majesty cried out, Oh, my who cultivate their minds at the expense of their
Waller was not one of those idolaters of praise Lord, they say you lig with my lady.' Sir,' says his Lordship in confusion ; but I like fortunes. Rich as he was by inheritance, he her company, because she has so much wit.' took care early to grow richer, by marrying Mrs.
Why then,' says the King, do you not lig Banks, a great heiress in the city, whom the in. with my Lord of Winchester there?'" Waller's political and poetical life began near
• Preface to his “ Fables."-Dr. J.
terest of the court was employed to obtain for much more likely that he should amuse himself Mr. Croft. Having brought him a son, who with forming an imaginary scene, than that so died young, and a daughter, who was after- important an incident, as a visit to America, wards married to Mr. Dormer, of Oxfordshire, should have been left floating in conjectural proshe died in childbed, and left him a widower of bability. about five-and-twenty, gay and wealthy, to From his twenty-eighth to his thirty-fifth please himself with another marriage.
year, he wrote his pieces on the reduction of Being too young to resist beauty, and pro- Sallee; on the reparation of St. Paul's; to the bably too vain to think himself resistille, he King on his Navy; the panegyric on the Queenfixed his heart, perhaps half fondly and half am- mother; the two poems to the Earl of Northbitiously, upon the Lady Dorothea Sidney, eldest umberland ; and perhaps others, of which the daughter of the Earl of Leicester, whom he time cannot be discovered. courted by all the poetry in which Sacharissa is When he had lost all hopes of Sacharissa, he celebrated; the name is derived from the Latin looked round him for an easier conquest, and appellation of sugar, and implies, if it means gained a lady of the family of Bresse, or Breaux. any thing, a spiritless mildness, and dull good. The time of his marriage is not exactly known. nature, such as excites rather tenderness than It has not been discovered that this wife was esteem, and such as, though always treated with won by his poetry; nor is any thing told of her, kindness, is never honoured or admired. but that she brought him many children. He
Yet he describes Sacharissa as a sublime pre- doubtless praised some whom he would have been dominating beauty, of lofty charms, and impe- afraid to marry, and perhaps married one whom rious influence, on whom he looks with amaze- he would have been ashamed to praise. Many ment rather than fondness, whose chains he qualities contribute to domestic happiness, upon wishes, though in vain, to break, and whose which poetry has no colours to bestow; and presence is wine that in flames to madness. many airs and sallies may delight imagination,
His acquaintance with this high-born dame which he who flatters them never can approve. gave wit no opportunity of boasting its influ- There are charms made only for distant admience; she was not to be subdued by the powers ration. No spectacle is nobler than a blaze. of verse, but rejected his addresses, it is said, Of his wife, his biographers have recorded with disdain, and drove him away to solace his that she gave him five sons and eight daughters. disappointment with Amoret or Phillis. She During the long interval of parliament, he is married, in 1639, the Earl of Sunderland, who represented as living among those with whom it died at Newberry in the King's cause; and, in was most honourable to converse, and enjoying her old age, meeting somewhere with Waller, an exuberant fortune with that independence asked him when he would again write such and liberty of speech and conduct which wealth verses upon her : “ When you are as young, ought always to produce. He was however Madam,” said he, “and as handsome as you considered as the kinsman of Hampden, and were then.”
was therefore supposed by the courtiers not to In this part of his life it was that he was favour them. known to Clarendon, among the rest of the men When the parliament was called in 1640, it who were eminent in that age for genius and li- appeared that Waller's political character had terature; but known so little to his advantage not been mistaken. The King's demand of a that they who read his character will not much supply produced one of those noisy speeches condemn Sacharissa, that she did not descend which disaffection and discontent regularly dicfrom her rank to his embraces, nor think every tate; a speech filled with hyperbolical complaints excellence comprised in wit.
of imaginary grievances : “ They,” says he, The lady was, indeed, inexorable; but his un “ who think themselves already undone, can common qualifications, though they had no never apprehend themselves in danger; and -power upon her, recommended him to the scho- they who have nothing left can never give freelars and statesmen; and undoubtedly many beau- ly.” Political truth is equally in danger from ties of that time, however they might receive the praises of courtiers, and the exclamation of his love, were proud of his praises. Who they patriots. were, whom he dignifies with poetical names, He then proceeds to rail at the clergy, being cannot now he known. Amoret, according to sure at that time of a favourable audience. His Mr. Fenton, was the Lady Sophia Murray. topic is such as will always serve its purpose; Perhaps by traditions preserved in families more an accusation of acting and preaching only for may be discovered.
preferment: and he exhorts the commons careFrom the verses written at Penshurst, it has fully to provide for their protection against pulbeen collected that he diverted his disappoint-pit law. ment by a voyage ; and his biographers, from It always gratifies curiosity to trace a senti. his poem on the Whales, think it not improba- ment. Waller has in his speech quoted Hooker ble that he visited the Bermudas; but it seems in one passage ; and in another has copied him
without quoting. “ Religien,” says Waller, * " There is no doubt but the sense of what “ought to be the first thing in our purpose and this nation had suffered from the present bishops desires ; but that which is first in dignity is not hath produced these complaints; and the apalways to precede in order of time; for well-prehensions men have of suffering the like in being supposes a being; and the first impedi- time to come, make so many desire the taking ment which men naturally endeavour to re-away of Episcopacy: but I conceive it is posmove, is the want of those things without which sible that we may not now take a right measure they cannot subsist. God first assigned unto of the minds of the people by their petitions ; Adam maintenance of life, and gave him a title for, when they subscribed them, the bishops to the rest of the creatures before he appointed a were armed with a dangerous commission of law to observe.”
making new canons, imposing new oaths, and “ God first assigned Adam,” says Hooker, the like; but now we have disarmed them of “ maintenance of life, and then appointed him a that power. These petitioners lately did look law to observe. True it is that the kingdom upon Episcopacy as a beast armed with horns of God must be the first thing in our purpose and claws; but now that we have cut and pared and desires ; but inasmuch as a righteous life them (and may, if we see cause, yet reduce it presupposeth life, inasmuch as to live virtuously into narrower bounds), it may, perhaps, be it is impossible, except we live; therefore the more agreeable. However, if they be still in first impediment which naturally we endeavour passion, it becomes us soberly to consider the to remove is penury, and want of things with right use and antiquity thereof; and not to comout which we cannot live.”- Book. i. Sect. 9. ply further with a general desire, than may
The speech is vehement; but the great posi- stand with a general good. tion, that grievances ought to be redressed be “ We have already showed, that Episcopacy fore supplies are granted, is agreeable enough to and the evils thereof are mingled like water and law and reason : nor was Waller, if his biogra- oil; we have also, in part, severed them; but I pher may be credited, such an enemy to the believe you will find, that our laws and the King, as not to wish his distresses lightened; present government of the church are mingled for he relates, “ that the King sent particularly like wine and water ; so inseparable, that the abto Waller, to second his demand of some sub-rogation of, at least, a hundred of our laws is desidies to pay off the army ; and Sir Henry Vane sired in these petitions. I have often heard a noble objecting against first voting a supply, because answer of the Lords commended in this House, the King would not accept unless it came up to to a proposition of like nature, but of less conhis proportion, Mr. Waller spoke earnestly to sequence; they gave no other reason of their Sir Thomas Jermyn, comptroller of the house- refusal but this, Nolumus mutare Leges Angliæ : hold, to save his master from the effects of so it was the bishops who so answered then; and bold a falsity: 'for,' he said, 'I am but a coun it would become the dignity and wisdom of this try gentleman, and cannot pretend to know the House to answer the people now, with a NoKing's mind :' but Sir Thomas durst not con- lumus mutare. tradict the secretary; and his son, the Earl of
“ I see some are moved with a number of St. Alban's, afterwards told Mr. Waller, that hands against the bishops ; which, I confess, his father's cowardice ruined the King."
rather inclines me to their defence; for I look In the Long Parliament, which, unhappily upon Episcopacy as a counterscarp, or outfor the nation, met Nov. 3, 1640, Waller re work; which, if it be taken by this assault of presented Agmondesham the third time; and the eople, and withal this mystery once rewas considered by the discontented party as a
vealed, “That we must deny them nothing man sufficiently trusty and acrimonious to be when they ask it thus in troops,' we may, in employed in managing the prosecution of Judge the next place, have as hard a task to defend Crawley, for his opinion in favour of ship- our property, as we have lately had to recover money; and his speech shows that he did not
it from the prerogative. If, by multiplying disappoint their expectations. He was probably hands and petitions, they prevail for an equality the more ardent, as his uncle Hampden had in things ecclesiastical, the next demand, perbeen particularly engaged in the dispute, and, haps, may be Lex Agraria, the like equality in by a sentence which seems generally to be things temporal. thought unconstitutional, particularly injured.
“ The Roman story teils us, ' That when the He was not however a bigot to his party, nor people began to flock about the senate, and were adopted all their opinions. When the great
more curious to direct and know what was done question, whether Episcopacy ought to be abo- than to obey, that commonwealth soon came to Jished, was debated, he spoke against the innova- ruin : their Legem rogare grew quickly to be a tion so coolly, so reasonably, and so firmly, that it is not without great injury to his name that his speech, which was as follows, has been
* This speech has been retrieved, from a paper hitherto omitted in his works :
printed at that time, by the writers of the Parlia. mentary History.-Dr. J.
Legem ferre ; and after, when their legions had least in my favour.” Whitlock, who, being found that they could make a dictator, they another of the commissioners, was witness of never suffered the senate to have a voice any this kindness, imputes it to the King's knowmore in such election.'
ledge of the plot, in which Waller appeared af“ If these great innovations proceed, I shall terwards to have been engaged against the par expect a flat and level in learning too, as well liament. Fenton, with equal probability, beas in church preferments: Honos alit Artes. lieves that this attempt to promote the royal And though it be true that grave and pious men cause arose from his sensibility of the King's do study for learning sake, and embrace virtue tenderness. Whitlock says nothing of his for itself; yet it is true that youth, which is the behaviour at Oxford: he was sent with several season when learning is gotten, is not without others to add pomp to the commission, but was ambition ; nor will ever take pains to excel in not one of those to whom the trust of treating any thing, when there is not some hope of ex was imparted. celling others in reward and dignity.
The engagement, known by the name of Wal“ There are two reasons chiefly alleged against ler's plot, was soon afterwards discovered. Walour church-government.
ler had a brother-in-law, Tomkyns, who was “ First, Scripture, which, as some men think, clerk of the Queen's council, and at the same points out another form.
time had a very numerous acquaintance, and “Second, The abuses of the present superiors. great influence, in the city. Waller and he,
“ For Scripture, I will not dispute it in this conversing with great confidence, told both their place; but I am confident that, whenever an own secrets and those of their friends; and, equal division of lands and goods shall be desired, surveying the wide extent of their conversation, there will be as many places in Scripture found imagined that they found in the majority of all out, which seem to favour that, as there are ranks great disapprobation of the violence of the now alleged against the prelacy or preferment Commons, and unwillingness to continue the of the church. And, as for abuses, where you war. They knew that many favoured the are now in the remonstrance told what this and King, whose fear concealed their loyalty; and that poor man hath suffered by the bishops, you many desired peace, though they durst not opmay be presented with a thousand instances of pose the clamour for war; and they imagined poor men that have received hard measure that, if those who had these good intentions from their landlords; and of worldly goods could be informed of their own strength, and abused, to the injury of others, and disadvan- enabled by intelligence to act together, they tage of the owners.
might overpower the fury of sedition, by refus“ And therefore, Mr. Speaker, my humble ing to comply with the ordinance for the motion is, That we may settle men's minds twentieth part, and the other taxes levied for the : herein; and, by a question, declare our resolu- support of the rebel army, and by uniting great tion, to reform, that is, not to abolish Episcopacy.' numbers in a petition for peace. They proceed
It cannot but be wished that he, who could ed with great caution. Three only met in one speak in this manner, had been able to act with place, and no man was allowed to impart the spirit and uniformity.
plot to more than two others; so that, if any When the Commons began to set the royal should be suspected or seized, more than three authority at open defiance, Waller is said to could not be endangered. have withdrawn from the House, and to have Lord Conway joined in the design, and, returned with the King's permission; and, Clarendon imagines, incidentally mingled, as he when the King set up his standard, he sent was a soldier, some martial hopes or projects, him a thousand broad pieces. He continued, which however were only mentioned, the main however, to sit in the rebellious conventicle; design being to bring the loyal inhabitants to but "spoke,” says Clarendon, “with great the knowledge of each other; for which purpose sharpness and freedom, which, now there was there was to be appointed one in every district, no danger of being outvoted, was not restrained; to distinguish the friends of the King, the adand therefore used as an argument against those herents to the parliament, and the neutrals. who were gone upon pretence that they were How far they proceeded does not appear; the not suffered to deliver their opinion freely in result of their inquiry, as Pym declared, * was, the House, which could not be believed, when that within the walls, for one that was for the all men knew what liberty Mr. Waller took, royalists, there were three against them ; but and spoke every day with impunity against the that without the walls, for one that was against sense and proceedings of the House."
them, there were five-for them. Whether this Waller, as he continued to sit, was one of the was said from knowledge or guess, was perhaps commissioners nominated by the parliament to never inquired. treat with the King at Oxford ; and when they were presented, the King said to him, “ Though you are the last, you are not the lowest nor the * Parliamentary History, Vol. xi.--Dr. J.