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UF Mr. JOHN POMFRET, nothing is known but from a slight and confused account prefixed to his poems by a nameless friend : who relates, that he was the son of the Rev. Mr. Pomfret, rector of Luton in Bedfordshire; that he was bred at Cambridge, entered into orders, and was rector of Malden in Bedfordshire, and might have risen in the Church; but that, when he applied to Dr. Compton, bishop of London, for institution to a living of considerable value, to which he had been presented, he found a troublesome obstruction raised by a malicious interpretation of some passage in his Choice; from which it was inferred, that he considered happiness as more likely to be found in the company of a mistress than of a wife.
This reproach was easily obliterated : for it had happened to Pomfret as to almost all other men who plan schemes of life; he had departed from his purpose, and was then married.
The malice of his enemies had however a very fatal consequence: the delay constrained M m 2
his attendance in London, where he caught the small-pox, and died in 1703, in the thirtyfixth year of his age.
He published his poems in 1600 ; and has been always the favourite of that class of readers, who, without vanity or criticism, seek only their own amusement.
His Choice exhibits a fystem of life adapted to common notions, and equal to common expectations ; such a state as affords plenty and tranquility, without exclusion of intellectual pleasures. Perhaps no composition in our language has been oftener perused than Pomfret's Choice.
In his other poems there is an easy volubility; the pleasure of smooth metre is afforded to the ear, and the mind is not oppressed with ponderous or entangled with intricate sentiment. He pleases many, and he who pleases many must have merit."
HU G H E S.
JOHN HUGHES, the son of a tizen of London, and of Anne Burgess, of an ancient family in Wiltshire, was born at Marlborough, July 29, 1677. He was educated at a private school; and though his advances in literature are in the Biographia very oftentatiously displayed, the name of his master is somewhat ungratefully concealed.
At nineteen he drew the plan of a tragedy ; and paraphrased, rather too diffusely, the ode of Horace which begins Integer Vite. To poetry he added the science of musick, in which he seems to have attained considerable skill, together with the practice of design, or rudiments of painting.
His studies did not withdraw him wholly from business, nor did business hinder him from study. He had a place in the office of ordnance, and was secretary to several commissions for purchasing lands necessary to secure the royal docks at Chatham and Portsmouth; yet found time to acquaint himself with modern languages.
In 1697 he published a poem on the Peace of Ryswick; and in 1699 another piece, called the Court of Neptune, on the return of king William, which he addressed to Mr. Montague, the general patron of the followers of the Muses. The same year he produced a fung on the duke of Gloucester's birth-day.
He did not confine himself to poetry, but cultivated other kinds of writing with great success; and about this time shewed his knowledge of human nature by an Essay on the pleafure of being deceived. In 1702 he published, on the death of king William, a Pindarick ode called the House of Nallau ; and wrote another paraphrase on the Otium Divos of Horace.
In 1703 his ode on Musick was performed ât Stationer's Hall; and he wrote afterwards fix cantatas, which were set to musick by the greatest master of that time, and feem intended to oppose or exclude the Italian opera, an exotick and irrational entertainment, which has been always combated, and always has prevailed.
His reputation was now so far advanced, that the publick began to pay reverence to his · name; and he was folicited to prefix a preface to the translation of Boccalini, a writer whose satirical vein cost him his life in Italy; but who never, I believe, found many readers in this country, even though introduced by such powerful recommendation,
He translated Fontanelle's Dialogues of the Dead; and his version was perhaps read at that time, but is now neglected; for by a book not