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“ Mr. Hughes could hardly ever be said to have enjoyed health : if those who are sparing of giving praise to any virtue without extenuation of it, should say that his youth was chastised into the severity, and preserved in the innocence, for which he was conspicuous, from the infirmity of his constitution, they will be under new difficulty when they hear that he had none of those faults to which an ill state of health ordinarily subjects the rest of mankind. His incapacity for more frolicsome diversions never made him peevish or sour to those whoni be saw in them; but his humanity was such that he could partake of those pleasures he beheld others enjoy, without repining that he himself could not join in them. His intervals of ease were employed in drawing, designing, or else in music and poetry ; for he had not only a taste, but an ability of performance to a great excellence, in those arts which entertain the mind within the rules of the severest morality, and the strictest dictates of religion. He did not seem to wish for more than he possessed, even as to his health, but to contemn sensuality as a sober man does drunkenness; he was so far from envying that he pitied the jollities that were enjoyed by a more happy constitution. He could converse with the most sprightly without peevishness, and sickness itself had no other effect upon him than to make him look upon all violent pleasures as evils he had escaped without the trouble of avoiding.”
HENRY GROVE was born on the 4th of January, 1683, at Taunton, Somerset. He was descended from families of high respectability in Wiltshire and Devonshire, conspicuous for their attachment to the cause of religious freedom. His parents early inculcated in him an ardent love of religion, and bestowed on him the valuable addition of a classical education. At the age of fourteen he entered upon a course of academical study under the Rev. Mr. Warren, of Taunton ; and, on its conclusion, removed to London to prosecute his literary career under his near relation, the Rev. Thomas Rowe. Here he acquired a thorough acquaintance with the systems of Descartes and Newton, and a knowledge of the Hebrew Language, which enabled him to peruse the Old Testament in the original ; he likewise contracted a friendship with Dr. Watts, which continued during his life.
After two years' residence in London he returned home, and, at the age of twenty-two, became a preacher. For this office he was well qualified, and he soon obtained great popularity :-attracting the notice of Mrs. Singer (afterwards Mrs. Rowe), she expressed her friendship and esteem for him by addressing to him, “An Ode on Death."
In 1706, at the age of twenty-three (being then married), he was nominated to succeed Mr. Warren, as Tutor to the Academy at Taunton, in conjunction with two other gentlemen of established reputation. His departments were Ethics and Pneumatology. He removed to Taunton in order to fulfil the duties of this appointment, and adopted two small congregrations in the neighbourhood, to whom, for eighteen years, he preached upon a salary of £ 20 per annum.
His auditors were few, and probably of the lower class ; nevertheless, his sermons were carefully composed, and emphatically delivered, and, as one of his biographers says, adapted to the improvement of the meanest understanding, while they were calculated to please and edify the most polite and judicious hearers."
Mr. Grove's first published production was “ An Essay on the regulation of Diversions,” written for his pupils, in 1708. He entered into a controversy with Dr. Clarke, upon a deduction propounded in the Doctor's “ Discourse on the Being and Attributes of God ;" which, though it failed to convince either party, terminated in (what is not very usual with disputants) mutual expressions of respect and good-will. In 1714 his first paper in the
"Spectator” appeared ; and in 1718 he published “ An Essay towards a Demonstration of the Soul's Immateriality.” The eloquence he displayed in the pulpit excited great admiration among the Dissenters, and he received many invitations from populous and important places, which his love for retirement induced him to decline. He wisely abstained from participating in the disputes relative to the doctrine of the Trinity, which at that time engendered so much heat and animosity among his brethren.
In 1723 he published “A Discourse on Secret Prayer, in several Sermons ;” a production highly valuable for its powerful argument and persuasive energy. Two years after, on the
death of Mr. James, his associate in the Academy, he undertook his duties as Divinity Tutor, and succeeded to his pastoral charge at Fulwood, near Taunton.
Indefatigable both in public and in private, he continued to give the world Sermons, and various other productions, all useful and meritorious, until the year 1736; when the loss of his wife (who had lingered under a most distressing nervous disorder, attended with alienation of mind), though borne with fortitude and resignation, deeply affected his health and spirits. He survived her little more than a year, dying of fever on the 27th of February, 1737-8.
His death was universally lamented by all who knew him; and one of his congregation thus expressed himself. “Our sorrow for Mr. Grove's sickness was not like our concern for other friends when dying, whom we pity and lament; but a sorrow arising as from the apprehension of the removal of one of the higher order of beings who had condescended to live on earth for a while to teach us the way to heaven, and was now about to return to his native place.”
ALEXANDER POPE was born in Lombard-street, London, on May 22, 1688. His parents were Roman Catholics : his father retired from his business of a Linen-draper, with a fortune of £20,000; his mother was the daughter of William Turner, Esq., of York. Two of her brothers died in the service of Charles I., and a third was a General in the Spanish Army.
- To the high respectability of bis family connections he alludes with complacency in the “ Prologue his Satires :
“Of gentle blood (part shed in honour's cause,)
Each Parent sprung." When eight years of age he was placed under the tuition of Taverner, a priest, who taught him the rudiments of the Greek and Latin Languages at the same time. After having made considerable progress, he was sent to a Catholic Academy at Twyford, near Winchester; where, in consequence of his writing a lampoon on his master, he did not remain long, but was removed to a school near Hyde Park. By this time he had read with great delight “Ogilby's Homer," and "Sandys's Ovid ;' and, having acquired a partiality for theatrical performances, had arranged a part of the “Iliad” as a drama, and acted it in conjunction with his school-fellows. He was about twelve years old when his father left London, and took up his residence at Binfield, adjoining Windsor Forest, taking his son with him, for whom a second private tutor was procured. But Pope was soon sensible that his improvement was by no means equal to his aspirations; and, throwing off all restraint, he formed for himself a plan of study, and persevered in it with great diligence. He read every book that came in his way with avidity, particularly Poetry, and speedily became intimate with, and capable of appreciating, the writings of the most eminent of his predecessors. He preferred Dryden before all others, and made him his model ; and his enthusiastic admiration of him was such that he persuaded a friend to take him to Button's Coffee-house, that he might, even though as a stranger, have the gratification of beholding that illustrious inan. “ How proud,” it has been observed, “must Dryden have felt, could he have known the value of the homage thus paid him !"
Destined to neither Trade nor Profession, Pope had now full opportunity of improving and wuaturing his genius, which was already rapidly developing itself. He had, at twelve years of age, written “ An Ode to Solitude ;” two years afterwards he translated the first book of Statius's “ Thebais,” and Ovid's “ Epistle of Sappho to Phaon ;” and had modernised Chaucer's “January and May," and the “Prologue to the Wife of Bath’s Tale.” These were followed by his “ Pastorals,” which were not, however, published until 1709. His “ Essay on Criticism,” was written in 1709, and published in 1711:-it was advertised in No. 65 of the “Spectator.” In 1712 he contributed to the “Spectator” his magnificent Poem, " The Messiah ;” which is, perhaps, the only instance that can be referred to wherein the sublimity of the Prophetic Writings has been heightened, rather than debased, by modern transfusion. The “ Elegy on the death of an Unfortunate Lady,” is said to have originated in circumstances of deep interest to the Poet:-a lady named Withinbury, anniable and beautiful in feature, but, like himself, deformed in person, had conceived a strong affection for