Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

has diversified his tragick action. By comparing this with his Orphan it will appear that his images were by time become stronger, and his language more energetick. The striking passages are in every mouth”; and the publick seems to judge rightly of the faults and excellencies of this play, that it is the work of a man not attentive to decency nor zealous for virtue; but of one who conceived forcibly and drew originally by consulting nature in his

own breast. 13 Together with those plays he wrote the poems which are in the

late collection, and translated from the French the History of the

Triumvirate. 14 All this was performed before he was thirty-four years old; for

quake.' The Spectator, No. 44. I re- and his poisoning associates in the member how my heart quaked more Rollo of Beaumont and Fletcher, are than fifty years ago, when I saw the pure irrelevant, impertinent discords.' play at Sadler's Wells Theatre. LAMB, Poems, &c. 1888, p. 281.

1. In performance it is purged of The comic scenes are particularly these despicable scenes. Biog. good. It is they alone which account Dram. iii. 377

for, and go near to justify the con* Il est désagréable qu'on ne nous spiracy; for we see in them how ait pas traduit fidèlement cette Venise; utterly unfit for government the on nous a privéd'un sénateur qui mord Senate had become.' GOETHE, les jambes de sa maîtresse, qui fait le quoted in H. C. Robinson's Diary, chien, quiaboie,et qu'on chasse à coups 1869, i. 187. de fouet.' VOLTAIRE,Euvres, xlii.149. ? They are, I think, all forgotten.

Johnson,' writes Northcote, 'in (Yet here and there a line like, his peremptory manner pronounced Angels are painted fair to look that there was not forty good lines like you' (Venice Preserved, i. I), to be found in Venice Preserved. may be said still to live.] Goldsmith asserted that, notwith When, in 1794, the Rev. Wm. standing, it was of all tragedies the Jackson fell in the dock from poison, one nearest equal to Shakespeare. previous to being sentenced to death “ Poh!" said Johnson. “What stuff for high treason, he pressed the hand in these lines !

of his counsel, muttering, “We • What feminine tales hast thou been have deceived the Senate." This, list'ning to

[ache got quoted from Venice Preserved, shows Ofunair'd shirts, catarrhs and tooth the deep impression that powerful Bythin-soled shoes? [Act iii. sc.2]." play had produced. This incident is “True,” said Goldsmith; “to be described in Secret Service under Pitt, sure, that is very like to Shake- p. 192.' N. & . 8 S. vi. 38. They speare."' S. Gwynne's Memorials of are Pierre's dying words in the last act. an Eighteenth Century Painter, p. 97. 'Ours is a trophy which will not Goldsmith, in The Bee, No. 8, calls decay

[Moor, • Otway, next to Shakespeare, the With the Rialto; Shylock, and the greatest genius England ever pro And Pierre, cannot be swept or duced in tragedy.' Works, iii. 127. worn away

• Who sees not that the Grave The keystones of the arch! though digger in Hamlet, the Fool in Lear, all were o'er,

(shore. have a kind of correspondency to, For us repeopled were the solitary and fall in with, the subjects which BYRON, Childe Harold, iv. 4. they seem to interrupt, while the 3 Histoire des deux Triumvirats, comic stuff in Venice Preserved, and by S. de Broé. Otway's translation the doggerel nonsense of the Cook appeared the year after his death.

[ocr errors]

he died April 14, 1685", in a manner which I am unwilling to mention. Having been compelled by his necessities to contract debts, and hunted, as is supposed, by the terriers of the law, he retired to a publick house on Tower-hill, where he is said to have died of want?; or, as it is related by one of his biographers 3, by swallowing, after a long fast, a piece of bread which charity had supplied. He went out, as is reported, almost naked, in the rage of hunger, and, finding a gentleman in a neighbouring coffee-house, asked him for a shilling. The gentleman gave him a guinea, and Otway going away bought a roll, and was choaked with the first mouthful. All this, I hope, is not true; and there is this ground of better hope, that Pope, who lived near enough to be well informed, relates in Spence's memorials that he died of a fever caught by violent pursuit of a thief that had robbed one of his friends“. But that indigence and its concomitants, sorrow and despondency, pressed hard upon him has never been denied, whatever immediate cause might bring him to the grave.

Of the poems which the late collection admits, the longest is 15 The Poet's Complaint of his Muse, part of which I do not understandó; and in that which is less obscure I find little to commend. The language is often gross, and the numbers are harsh. Otway had not much cultivated versification?, nor much replenished his " Ath. Oxon. iv. 170.

had an intimate friend (one Black? In a note at the end of the stone) who was shot; the murderer Tatler, May 9, 1710 (ed. 1789, iii. fled towards Dover, and Otway pur169), is the following :-'At Drury sued him. In his return he drank Lane Theatre on Thursday, May 11, water when violently heated, and so Caius Marius, a Trag. by T. got a fever, which was the death of Otway, acted at the Duke's Theatre. him.' Spence's Anec. p. 44. 4 to. 1680. Its ingenious author, When he died he had about him after suffering severely for his want the copy of a tragedy, which, it seems, of oeconomy, died in a spunging- he had sold for a trifle to Bentley the house on Tower Hill, known by the bookseller. I have seen an advertisesign of a Bull, about five years after ment at the end of one of L'Estrange's the publication of this play at the political papers offering a reward to age of 35.'

any one who should bring it to his Wood wrote of George Peele :- shop.' GOLDSMITH, Works, iii. 128. •When or where he died I cannot He had written four acts only. See tell; for so it is, and always hath ib. n. for a copy of the advertisement been, that most poets die poor and in The Observator of Nov. 27, 1686. consequently obscurely, and a hard 5 Eng. Poets, xv. 175. Printed in matter it is to trace them to their 1680. graves. Ath. Oxon. i. 688.

6 Rochester calls him 'puzzling 3 Cibber's Lives, ii. 334.

Otway. Ib. xv. 63. * This anecdote is not in the first ? 'Not but the tragic spirit was our edition. Spence had it, not from own, Pope, but Dennis, who was twenty And full in Shakespeare, fair in eight when Otway died. 'Otway Otway shone;

mind with general knowledge. His principal power was in moving the passions, to which Dryden in his latter years left an illustrious testimony'. He appears, by some of his verses, to have been a zealous royalist, and had what was in those times the common reward of loyalty; he lived and died neglected ?. But Otway fail'd to polish or refine, DR. BURNEY, Hist. of Music, 1789, And fluent Shakespeare scarce effac'd iii. 598 n. a line.'

Otway has written but two tragePOPE, Imit. Hor., Epis. ii. 1. 276. dies, out of six, that are pathetic. I * In his preface to Fresnoy's Art believe he did it without much deof Painting. JOHNSON. It was pub- sign; as Lillo has done in his Barn. lished in 1695. Dryden writes of well. 'Tis a talent of nature rather the power of expressing the pas- than an effect of judgment to write sions :-'We call it the gift of our so movingly.' POPE, Spence's Anec. Apollo-not to be obtained by pains p. 215. or study, if we are not born to it; Otway's excellencies lay in paintfor the motions which are studied ing directly from nature, in catching are never so natural as those which every emotion just as it rises from break out in the height of a real the soul, and in all the powers of the passion. Mr. Otway possessed this moving and pathetic.' GOLDSMITH, part as thoroughly as any of the iii. 127. ancients or moderns. Works, xvii. Borrow, joining Otway with Milton 325; post, DRYDEN, 325. For Fres- and Butler, says :-'They have left noy see ib. 146.

a fame behind them which shall Otway in the Preface to Don never die.' Lavengro, 1888, p. 133. Carlos (1676) alludes to Dryden :- Otway, dedicating Venice PreDon Carlos never failed to draw served to the king's mistress, the tears from the eyes of the auditors; Duchess of Portsmouth, wrote:I mean those whose souls were cap- 'When I had enemies, that with able of so noble a pleasure ... though malicious power kept back and shaded a certain writer, that shall be name me from those royal beams whose less (but you may guess at him by warmth is all I have or hope to live what follows), being asked his by, your noble pity and compassion opinion of the play, very gravely found me where I was far cast backcock'd, and cried :-'l'gad, he knew ward from my blessing; down in the not a line in it he would be author rear of fortune; called me up, and of.'". Malone's Dryden, i. 501. placed me in the shine, and I have

Otway has admirably succeeded felt its comfort.' in the tender and melting part of his Hume ends his Hist. of England tragedies.' ADDISON, The Spectator, with the following sentence:-'Otway, No. 39. 'Tender' is the epithet though a professed royalist, could not often applied to Otway. In Gay's even procure bread by his writings; Three Hours after Marriage, 1717, and he had the singular fate of dying pp. 19, 22, the writer of a tragedy literally of hunger. These incidents and a player talk of the tender throw a great stain on the memory Otway'; the tenderness of Otway.' of Charles, who had discernment,

Thomson, in the Prologue to loved genius, was liberal of money, Tancred and Sigismunda, mentions but attained not the praise of true soft Otway's tender woe. Voltaire generosity. twice speaks of him as known in Eng- For the neglect of Butler see ante, land as “le tendre Otway.' Euvres, BUTLER, 18, and of Dr. Hodges xlii. 129, 144. 'I once asked Dr. who, in the height of the Great Plague, Johnson if he did not think Otway continued in London,' see Boswell's a good painter of tender scenes, and Johnson, ii. 341 n. he replied, “Sir, he is all tenderness.”.

WALLER'

LDMUND WALLER was born on the third of March, 1

1605, at Colshill in Hertfordshire?. His father was Robert Waller, Esquire, of Agmondesham in Buckinghamshire, whose family was originally a branch of the Kentish Wallers 3, and his mother was the daughter of John Hampden, of Hampden in the same county, and sister to Hampden, the zealot of rebellion“.

His father died while he was yet an infant, but left him an 2 yearly income of three thousand five hundred pounds s, which, rating together the value of money and the customs of life, we may reckon more than equivalent to ten thousand at the present time.

He was educated by the care of his mother at Eaton, and 3

''Waller,' wrote Johnson, never N. & l. I S. v. 619. The Kentish had any critical examination before.' Wallers were of Groombridge and John. Letters, ii. 68; ante, COWLEY, Speldhurst, near Tunbridge Wells.' I n. Among Johnson's authorities Cunningham's Lives of the Poets,i.219. for this Life are the Life of Waller Hampden's father, William by prefixed to his Poems upon Several name, not John, and Waller's mother Occasions, 1711, and Observations on were children of Griffith Hampden. some of Mr. Waller's Poems in Hampden's mother was a daughter Fenton's Works of Waller, 1729 (my of Sir Henry Cromwell, the Protector's references are to the edition of 1744). grandfather. Hampden therefore was - 'In the Life of Waller, Johnson first cousin to Oliver Cromwell and to gives a distinct and animated narra Edmund Waller. Ath. Oxon. iii. 47 n. tive of publick affairs in that varie Waller derived his poetick witt gated period, with strong yet nice from the Hamdens ; severall of them touches of character; and having have been poets.' AUBREY, Brief a fair opportunity to display his Lives, ii. 279. Johnson in his political principles, does it with an Dictionary defines zealot as 'one unqualified manly confidence, and passionately ardent in any cause. satisfies his readers how nobly he Generally used in dispraise. might have executed a Tory History 5 Life, p. 3. ‘His paternall estate of his country.' Boswell's Johnson, and by his first wife was 3,000 li. per iv. 39.

annum.' Brief Lives, ii. 274. 9He was born at Winchmore- 6 'He sayes that he was bred under hill in the parish of Agmundesham, severall ill, dull, ignorant schoolcommonly called Amersam (now masters, till he went to Mr. Dobson Amersham), in Bucks, on March 13, at [High] Wickham, who was a 1605-6. Ath. Oxon. iii. 46. "Though good schoolmaster, and had been an Coleshill be in Agmundesham 'tis in Eaton scholar. ib. ii. 278. In the the county of Hertford.' Life, p. 3. Life of Waller, p. 7, it is said he Winchmoor Hill is close to Coleshill. went to Eton. It is accepted at "He was baptized on March 9.' Cun- Eton that he was educated there; ningham's Lives of the Poets, i. 219. but, on inquiry, I cannot learn that

3 For his grandfather's will see there is any proof.

removed afterwards to King's College in Cambridge'. He was sent to parliament in his eighteenth, if not in his sixteenth year?, and frequented the court of James the First, where he heard a very remarkable conversation, which the writer of the Life prefixed to his Works, who seems to have been well informed of facts, though he may sometimes err in chronology, has delivered as indubitably certain ? 4. "He found Dr. Andrews, bishop of Winchester, and Dr. Neale, bishop of Durham, standing behind his Majesty's chair; and there happened something (very] extraordinary,' continues this writer, 'in the conversation those prelates had with the king, on which Mr. Waller did often reflect. His Majesty asked the bishops, “ My Lords, cannot I take my subjects money, when I want it, without all this formality of [inparliament ?" The bishop of Durham readily answered, “God forbid, Sir, but you should: you are the breath of our nostrils.” Whereupon the King turned and said to the bishop of Winchester, “Well, my Lord, what say you ?” “Sir," replied the bishop, “I have no skill to judge of parliamentary cases." The King answered, “No put-offs, my Lord; answer me presently.” “ Then, Sir," said he, “I think it is lawful for you to take my brother Neale's money; for he offers it.” Mr. Waller said the company was pleased with this answer, and the wit of it seemed to affect the King; for, a certain lord coming in soon after, his Majesty cried out, “ Oh, my lord, they say you lig with my Lady." "No, Sir," says his Lordship in confusion, “but I like her company, because she has so much wit.” “Why then," says the King, " do you not lig with my Lord of Winchester there?” 5 Waller's political and poetical life began nearly together. In

his eighteenth year he wrote the poem that appears first in his works, on the Prince's Escape at St. Andero 4, a piece which justifies the observation made by one of his editors, that he attained, by a felicity like instinct, a style which perhaps will

• He entered on March 22, 1620; from my childhood in this House.' there is no record of his taking his Fenton's Waller,p. 278. See also post, degree. Dict. Nat. Biog. (He was WALLER, 92. He is reported as having admitted at Lincoln's Inn on July 3, said on Jan. 28, 1677-8:-'I have sat 1622. Linc. Inn Admission Reg. i. here fifty years.' Parl. Hist. iv. 904. 190. There seems to be no record There is no proof that he entered of his being called to the bar, but in before Feb. 1623-4. Dict. Nat. Biog. 1628 the letting of his chambers was 3 Life, p. 8. Hume quotes this before the Benchers. Black Books of anecdote in his History, vi. 75. Linc. Inn, ii. 277.]

* Post, WALLER, 123. Eng. Poets, * Life, p. 5. Pleading for his life xvi. 17. It was on Sept. 12, 1623, before the House of Commons (post, that the prince escaped drowning at WALLER, 60) he said :-'If you look Santander. Gardiner's Hist. of Eng. on my education, it hạth been almost v. 120.

Lord of why then," says thcompany, because his Lordship in

[ocr errors][merged small][merged small]
« AnteriorContinuar »