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unknown in England. I shall add only, he had the same honesty and sincerity as the person I write of, but more heat: the former was more inclined to argue, the latter to divert: one employed his reason more; the other his imagination : the former had been well qualified for those posts, which the modesty of the latter made him refuse. His other dead brother would have been an ornament to the college of which he was a member. He had a genius either for poetry or oratory; and, though very young, composed several very agreeable pieces. In all probability he would have written as finely as his brother did nobly. 'He might have been the Waller, as the other was the Milton, of his time. The one might celebrate Marlborough, the other his beautiful offspring. This had not been so fit to delcribe the actions of heroes as the virtues of private men. In a word, he had been fitter for my place; and, while his brother was writing upon the greatest men that any age ever produced, in a style equal to them, he might have served as a panegyrist on him.
This is all I think necessary to say of his family. I shall proceed to himself and his writings; which I shall first treat of, because I know they are censured by some out of envy, and more out of ignorance.
The Splendid Shilling, which is far the least confiderable, lias the more general reputation, and perhaps hinders the character of the rest. The style agreed so well with the burlesque, that the ignorant thought it could become nothing else. Every body is pleased with that work. But to judge rightly of the cther requires a perfect mastery of poetry and criticism, a just contempt of the little turns and Vol. IX.
witticisms now in vogue, and, above all, a perfect understanding of poetical diction and description.
All that have any taste of poetry will agree, that the great burlesque is much to be preferred to the low. It is much easier to make a great thing appear little, than a little one great: Cotton and others of a very low genius have done the former ; but Philips, Garth, and Boileau, only the latter.
A picture in miniature is every painter's talent; but a piece for a cupola, where all the figures are enlarged, yet proportioned to the eye, requires a master's hand.
It must still be more acceptable than the low burlesque, because the images of the latter are mean and filthy, and the language itself entirely unknown to all men of good breeding. The style of Billingsgate would not make a very agreeable figure at St. James's. A gentleman would take but little pleasure in language, which he would think it hard to be accosted in, or in reading words which he could not pronounce without blushing. The lofty burlesque is the more to be adınired, because, to write it, the author must be master of two of the most different t3lents in nature. A talent to find out and expose what is ridiculous, is very different from that which is to raise and elevate. We must read Virgil and Milton for the one, and Horace and Hudibras for the other. We know that the authors of excellent comedies have often failed in the grave style, and the tragedian as often in comedy. Admiration and Laughter are of such opposite natures, that they are feldom created by the fame person. The man of mirth is always observing the follies and weaknesses, the
ferious serious writer the virtues or crimes, of mankind; one is pleased with contemplating a beau, the other a hero: even from the same object they would draw different ideas : Achilles would appear in very different lights to Thersites and Alexander; the one would admire the courage and greatness of his soul; the other would ridicule the vanity and rashness of his temper. As the satyrist says to Hanibal:
1, curre per Alpes,
The contrariety of style to the subject pleases the more strongly, because it is more surpriling; the expectation of the reader is pleasantly deceived, who expects an humble style froin the 'subject, or a great subject from the style. It pleases the more universally, because it is agrecable to the taste both of the grave and the merry; but more particularly so to those who have a relith of the best writers, and the noblest sort of poetry. I shall produce only one parsage out of this poet, which is the misfortune of his Galligaskins:
My Galligaskins, which have long withitood
This is admirably pathetical, and shews very well the vicissitudes of sublunary things. The rest goes on to a prodigious height; and a man in Greenland could hardly have made a more pathetick and terrible complaint. Is it not surprising that the lubject should be so mean, and the verse so pompons, that the least things in his poetry, as in a microscope, should grow
great and formidable to the cye; especially confidering that, not understanding French, he had no model for his style ? that he should have no writer to imitate, and himself be inimitable? that he should do all this before he was twenty? at an age which is usually pleased with a glare of falle thoughts, little turns, and unnatural fultian? at an age, at which Cowley, Dryden, and I had alınost said Virgil, were inconsiderable ? So foon was his imagination at its full strength, his judgement ripe, and his humour complete.
This poem was written for his own diversion, without any design of publication. It was communicated but to me; but foon spread, and fell into the hands of pirates. It was put out, vilely mangled, by Ben Bragge; and impudently said to be corrected by the author. This grievance is now grown more epidemical; and no man now has a right to his own thoughts, or a title to his own writings. Xenophon answered the Persian, who demanded his arms, “ We have “ nothing now left but our arms and our valour: if 66 we surrender the one, how shall we make use of " the other?” Poets have nothing but their wits and their writings; and if they are plundered of the latter, I don't see what good the former can do them. To pirate, and publicly own it, to prefix their names to the works they steal, to own and avow the theft, I believe, was never yet heard of but in England. It will found oddly to posterity, that, in a polite nation, in an enlightened age, under the direction of the most wise, mott learned, and most generous encouragers of knowledge in the world, the property of a mechanick ihould be better fucured than that of a fcholar! that the poorest manual operations should
be more valued than the noblest products of the brain! that it should be felony to rob a cobler of a pair of shoes, and no crime to deprive the best author of his whole subsistence! that nothing ihould make a man a sure tiile to his own writings but the stupidity of them! that the works of Dryden should meet with less encouragement than those of his own Flecknoe, or Blackmore! that Tillorson and St. George, Tom Thumb and Temple, should be set on an equal foot! This is the reason why this very Paper has bein so long delayed; and, while the most impudent and scandalous libels are publickly vended by the pirates, this innocent work is forced to steal abroad as if it were a libel.
Our present writers are by these wretches reduced to the same condition Virgil was, when the centurion seized on his eftate. But I don't doubt but I can fix upon the Mæcenas of the present age. that will retrieve them from it. But, whatever effect this piracy may have upon us, it contributed very much to the advantage of Mr. Philips; it helped him to a reputation which he neitlier desired nor expected, and to the lionour of being put upon a work of which he did not think himself capable ; but the event thewed his modelty. And it was reasonable to hope, that he, who could raise mean subjects so high, should still be more elerated on greater thenies; that he, that could draw fuch noble ideas from a fhilling, could not fail upon such a subject as the Duke of Marlborough, which is capable of heighiening even the mos low and trifling gellius. And, indeed, inost of the great works which have been produced in the world have been owing less to the poet than the