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necessary, and owing its reputation wholly to its turn or diction, little notice can be gained but from those who can enjoy the graces of the original. To the dialogues of Fontanelle he added two composed by himself; and, though not only an honest but a pious man, dedicated his works to the earl of Wharton. He judged skilfully enough of his own interest; for Wharton, when he went lord lieutenant to Ireland, offered to take Hughes with him, and establish him ; but Hughes, having hopes or promises from another man in power, of some provision more suitable to his inclination, declined Wharton's offer, and obtained nothing from the other.
He translated the Mifer of Moliere; but never offered it to the Stage; and occasionally amused himself with making versions of favourite scenes in other plays.
Being now received as a wit among the wits, he paid his contributions to literary undertakings, and assisted both the Tatler, Spectator, and Guardian. In 1712 he translated Vertot's History of the Revolution of Portugal; produced an Ode to the Creator of the World, from the Fragments of Orpheus ; and brought upon the Stage an opera called Calypso and Telemachus, intended to sew that the English language might be very happily adapted to musick. This was impudently opposed by those who were employed in the Italian opera; and, what cannot be told without indignation, the intruders had such interest with the duke of Shrewsbury, then lord chamberlain, who had married an Italian, as to obtain an obstruction
of the profits, though not an inhibition of the performance.
There was at this time a project formed by Tonson for a translation of the Pharsalia, by feveral hands; and Hughes englished the tenth book. But this design, as must often happen where the concurrence of many is necessary, fell to the ground; and the whole work was afterwards performed by Rowe.
His acquaintance with the great writers of his time appears to have been very general; but of his intimacy with Addison there is a remarkable proof. It is told, on good authority, that Cato was finished and played by his persuasion. It had long wanted the last act, which he was desired by Addison to supply. If the request was fincere, it proceeded from an opinion, whatever it was, that did not last long; for when Hughes came in a week to shew him his first attempt, he found half the act written by Addison himself.
He afterwards published the works of Spenser, with his Life, a Glossary, and a Discourse on Allegorical Poetry ; a work for which he was well qualified, as a judge of the beauties of writing, but perhaps wanted an antiquary's knowledge of the obsolete words. He did not much revive the curiosity of the publick ; for near thirty years elapsed before his edition was reprinted. The same year produced his Apollo and Daphne, of which the luccess was very earnestly promoted by Steele, who, when the rage of party did not misguide him, seems to been a man of boundless benevolence.
Hughes Hughes had hitherto suffered the mortifications of a narrow fortune ; but in 1717, the lord chancellor Cowper set him at ease, by making him secretary to the Commissions of the Peace; in which he afterwards, by a particular request, desired his successor lord Parker to continue him. He had now affluence; but such is human life, that he had it when his declining health could neither allow him long possession nor quick enjoyment.
His last work was his tragedy, The Siege of Damascus ; after which a Siege became a popular title. This play, which still continues on the Stage, and of which it is unnecessary to add a private voice to such continuance of approbation, is not acted or printed according to the author's original draught, or his settled intention. He had made Phocyas apoftatize from his religion ; after which the abhorrence of Eudocia would have been reasonable, his misery would have been just, and the horrours of his repentance exemplary. The players, however, required that the guilt of Phocyas should terminate in defertion to the enemy; and Hughes, unwilling that his relations should lose the benefit of his work, complied with the alteration.
He was now weak with a lingering consumption, and not able to attend the rehearsal ; yet was so vigorous in his faculties, that only ten days before his death he wrote the dedication to his patron lord Cooper. On February 17, 1719-20, the play was repre
fented, and the author died. He lived to hear that it was well received; but paid no regard to the intelligence, being then wholly employed in the meditations of a departing Christian.
A man of his character was undoubtedly regretted ; and Steele devated an essay, in the paper called The Theatre, to the memory of his virtues. His Life is written in the Biographia with some degree of favourable partiality; and an account of him is prefixed to his works, by his relation the late Mr. Duncombe, a man whose blameless elegance deserved the same respect.
The character of his genius I shall tranfcribe from the correspondence of Swift and Pope.
“ A month ago,” says Swift," was sent “ me over, by a friend of mine, the works “ of John Hughes, Esquire. They are in prose " and verse. I never heard of the man in my “ life, yet I find your name as a subscriber. “ He is too great a poet for me ; and I think “ among the mediocrists, in prose as well as " 'verse."
To this Pope returns: “ To answer your “ question as to Mr. Hughes ; what he “ wanted in genius, he made up as an ho“ nest man; but he was of the class you “ think him.”