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F the birth or early part of the life of AMBROSE PHILIPS
I have not been able to find any account'. His academical education he received at St. John's College in Cambridge, where he first solicited the notice of the world by some English verses, in the Collection published by the University on the death of queen Mary?
From this time how he was employed, or in what station he passed his life, is not yet discovered 3. He must have published his Pastorals before the year 1708", because they are evidently prior to those of Popes.
He afterwards (1709) addressed to the universal patron, the duke of Dorset, A Poetical Letter from Copenhagen, which was published in The Tatler', and is by Pope in one of his first letters
3 In 1700
• In Cibber's Lives, v. 122, no ac which is 'as durable and extensive count is given of Philips's early as the poem itself. Pope's Works life.
(Elwin and Courthope), X. 391. The entry of his admission as sub
was published his sizar at St. John's College on June abridgement of Hacket's Life of 15, 1693, shows that he was eighteen, Williams, post, PHILIPS, 5; and born in Shropshire, 'filius pannicu in 1703 he wrote a poem From Hollarii' [son of a draper). Admissions land to a Friend in England, Eng. to St. John's Coll. 1893, Pt. ii. p.131. Poets, lvii. 43. He was admitted Fellow on March 28, * Eng. Poets, lvii. 5. They appeared 1699. Cunningham's Lives of the with those of Pope in vol. vi (1709) Poets, iii. 259.
of Tonson's Misc. Cunningham's a ''I would have had,' said Johnson, Lives of the Poets, iii. 259. Some of at every coronation and every death them were very possibly in circulation of a King, every. Gaudium and every earlier. For Addison's reference to Luctus, University verses in as many them see, post, PHILIPS, II N. languages as can be acquired.' Bos 5 Ante, POPE, 33. well's Johnson, ii. 371.
• It is entitled to the Earl of For Addison's verses on Queen Dorset, and is dated 'Copenhagen, Mary see ante, ADDISON, 14, and for March 9, 1709. Eng. Poets, lvii. Prior's, see ante, PRIOR, 8. Johnson 45. The Earl was created Duke in was shown Bentham's Luctus on the 1720. Collins's Peerage, i. 785. death of George II. Bentham's Johnson calls Dorset's father the Works, X. 41. Philips's verses are universal patron.' Ante, HALIFAX, not included in his collected poems, 5. In two other places he calls him 1748, or in Eng. Poets. They are Duke of Dorset. Ante, DRYDEN, quoted in The Art of Sinking as an 27; PRIOR, 18. He probably conexample of the Alamode Style,' fused the two men. Addison wrote
mentioned with high praise, as the production of a man who could write very nobly!'
Philips was a zealous Whig, and therefore easily found access 4 to Addison and Steele?; but his ardour seems not to have procured him any thing more than kind words 3, since he was reduced to translate The Persian Tales for Tonson, for which he was afterwards reproached, with this addition of contempt, that he worked for half-a-crown. The book is divided into many
to Philips :—' I think you should find out some moral topic, or reflection, or compliment to Lord Dorset for your conclusion. Addison's Works, v. 376. The advice was not taken, and his Lordship is only mentioned in the line"What present shall the Muse to
Dorset bring?' Swift, who mentions the verses on March 22, 1708-9 (Works, xv. 322), must have seen them in manuscript. They appeared in The Tatler of May 7, 1709, No. xii.
Pope wrote on Oct. 28, 1710:'In the whole I agree with The Tatler (No. x] that we have no better eclogues in our language [than Philips's). This gentleman, if I am not much mistaken in his talent, is capable of writing very nobly, as I guess by a small copy of his on the Danish Winter.' Pope's Works (Elwin and Courthope), vi. 106. On Dec. 21, 1712, Pope wrote :-'Mr. Philips has two lines which seem to me what the French call very picturesque“All hid in snow in bright confusion
lie, And with one dazzling waste fatigue the eye.”
Ib. p. 178. "The opening of this poem is incomparably fine. The latter part is tedious and trifling.'
GOLDSMITH, Works, iii. 436.
Anle, ADDISON, 115; SWIFT, 51 n. When simple Macer, now of high
renown, First sought a poet's fortune in the
town, 'Twas all th' ambition his high soul
could feel, To wear red stockings, and to dine
with Steele.' Warton thought that 'Macer' was
James Moore Smyth (alias James Moore, ante, POPE, 361). Warton's Pope, ii. 319. Philips was almost certainly meant.
In Pope's Barbarous Revenge on Mr. Curll, among the ‘Instructions to a porter how to find Mr. Curll's authors' is the following : At a blacksmith's shop in the Friars, a Pindaric writer 'in red stockings.' Pope's Works (Elwin and Courthope), x. 471.
Steele wrote to Swift on Oct. 8, 1709 :-'Mr. Philips is still a shepherd, and walks very lonely through this unthinking crowd in London.' Swift's Works, XV. 332. On Dec. 15, 1710, when the Tories were in power, Swift wrote to Stella :—' Addison is soliciting me to make another of his friends Queen's Secretary at Geneva ; and I will do it if I can; it is poor Pastoral Philips.' Ib. ii. 111. On June 30, 1711, he wrote:-I will do nothing for Philips; I find he is more a puppy than ever.' Ib. p. 291. See also ib. iii. 8o. For an anecdote of Philips and the bailiff see ante, SAVAGE, 35 n.
* The Thousand and one Days. Persian Tales. Translated from the French of La Croix, 1709. Lady M. W. Montagu wrote to Pope from Belgrade in 1717 :- I pass for a great scholar with him (a learned Turk], by relating to him some of the Persian tales, which I find are genuine. At first he believed I understood Persian. Montagu's Letters, 1837, i. 349. 5.The Bard whom pilfer'd Pastorals
renown, Who turns a Persian tale for half-a-crown.'
POPE, Prol. Sat. I. 179. 'Pope accuses him of poverty in a
sections, for each of which if he received half-a-crown his reward, as writers then were paid, was very liberal'; but half-a-crown had a mean sound ?. 5 He was employed in promoting the principles of his party by
epitomising Hacket's Life of Archbishop Williams. The original book is written with such depravity of genius, such mixture of the fop and pedant, as has not often appeared. The Epitome is
free enough from affectation, but has little spirit or vigour 3. 6 In 1712 he brought upon the stage The Distrest Mother, almost
a translation of Racine's Andromaquet. Such a work requires no uncommon powers ; but the friends of Philips exerted every art to promote his interest. Before the appearance of the play a whole Spectator, none indeed of the best, was devoted to its praise ; while it yet continued to be acted another Spectator
couplet wherein a falsehood is told good won.' Wentworth Papers, p. in bad English.' SOUTHEY, Speci- 280. mens, ii. 112.
Pope, a year later, in his Prologue * The Introduction and the first to Cato said :'Ten Days' fill seventy pages of a •Your scene precariously subsists too duodecimo in fair type. Johnson, who long
wrote 48 octavo pages of the Life of On French translation and Italian Savage at a sitting (ante, SAVAGE, song.' App.FF), could have probably earned On this Warton remarks:- He his eleven half-crowns for translating glances obliquely at The Distrest these eleven sections. Pope, in 1739,
Mother.' Warton's Pope's Works, described Johnson as'choosing rather to die upon the road (on his way to In Macer Pope describes how Dublin) than be starved to death in Philips translating for booksellers.' Boswell's
ventur'd on the town, Johnson, i. 133.
And with a borrow'd play out-did In Joseph Andrews, Bk. iii. ch. 3,
Crowne.' a gentleman says that he had by John Crowne, a dramatist, was translating 'in half a year writ him notorious for plagiarism. Pope's self almost blind, and half-worked Works (Elwin and Courthope), iv. and half-starved himself to death.' 467. : 'Thus at the bar the booby Bettes Philips told me,' said Garrick, worth,
'that during his writing the madThough half-a-crown o'er-pays his scene he was so carried away by his sweat's worth.'
enthusiastic rapture, that when Mr. SWIFT, Works, xii. 417. Addison came into the room he did Among the satirists it is the sum not know him, and that, as soon as given to a woman of the town. See he recovered from his fit, he said to
him :-“What, Joe, is it you?” See Appendix P.
“ That,” said Quin, “was to let you Lady Strafford wrote on March 25, know how familiar he was with Mr. 1712:- Here is a new play which Addison." Davies's Dram. Misc. has taken extremly, call’d the distrest
iii. 284. mothere. I had not seen it tell last No. 290, Feb. 1, 1711-12, by night, for I dont much love Traidys Steele. (tragedies), but I think it's a very
ib. ix. 230.
was written, to tell what impression it made upon Sir Roger'; and on the first night a select audience, says Pope, was called together to applaud it?.
It was concluded with the most successful Epilogue that was 7 ever yet spoken on the English theatre. The three first nights it was recited twice, and not only continued to be demanded through the run, as it is termed, of the play, but whenever it is recalled to the stage, where by peculiar fortune, though a copy from the French, it yet keeps its place, the Epilogue is still expected, and is still spoken.
The propriety of epilogues in general, and consequently of this, 8 was questioned by a correspondent of The Spectator, whose Letter was undoubtedly admitted for the sake of the Answer, which soon followed, written with much zeal and acrimony'. The attack and the defence equally contributed to stimulate curiosity and continue attention. It may be discovered in the defence that Prior's Epilogue to Phædraó had a little excited jealousy; and something of Prior's plan may be discovered in the performance of his rival.
Of this distinguished Epilogue the reputed author was the 9 wretched Budgel, whom Addison used to denominate the man who calls me cousin?'; and when he was asked how such a silly fellow could write so well, replied, “The Epilogue was quite another thing when I saw it first 8.' It was known in Tonson's family,
* No. 335, March 25, 1712, by Addison. It was puffed also, more or less directly, in Nos. 334, 338, 341.
Many days, writes Cibber (Apology, p. 283), had our house [Drury Lane Theatre] been filled by the influence of Steele's pen.'
2 'An audience was laid for The Distrest Mother. POPE, Spence's Anec. p. 46; ante, ADDISON, 59.
3 • It never fails bringing tears into the eyes of a sensible audience, and will, perhaps, ever continue to be a stock play on the lists of the theatres.' Biog. Dram. ii. 167.
It was in the part of Orestes in this play that Macready, in 1816, first appeared on a London stage. Macready's Reminiscences, i. 125.
In Brit. Mus. Cata. sixteen editions —the last in 1883-are mentioned.
Johnson's authority for the early
success of the Epilogue is The Spectator, No. 341. I have seen a marginal note by Mrs. Piozzi on this Spectator, where she says :- What I cannot comprehend at all is that since my time-nay since Mrs. Siddon's time—the Gallery always will call for this Epilogue, which is now unreservedly given to Addison; but how the Gallery people came to know its value so well I guess not.'
For the Epilogue see Addison's Works, v. 228. 5 Nos. 338, 341.
Ante, SMITH, 46; PRIOR, 60. ? See Appendix Q.
8 When somebody said he won. dered how so silly a fellow could blunder upon so good a thing, Addison said :-“Oh, Sir, it was quite another thing when first it was brought to me."' POPE, Spence's Anec.p.257.
and told to Garrick, that Addison was himself the author of it, and that when it had been at first printed with his name, he came early in the morning, before the copies were distributed, and ordered it to be given to Budgel, that it might add weight to the
solicitation which he was then making for a place'. 10 Philips was now high in the ranks of literature. His play was
applauded; his translations from Sappho had been published in The Spectator'; he was an important and distinguished associate of clubs witty and political ; and nothing was wanting to his
happiness, but that he should be sure of its continuance. 11 The work which had procured him the first notice from the
publick was his six Pastorals, which, flattering the imagination with Arcadian scenes, probably found many readers, and might have long passed as a pleasing amusement had they not been
unhappily too much commended. 12 The rustick Poems of Theocritus were so highly valued by the
Greeks and Romans that they attracted the imitation of Virgil, whose Eclogues seem to have been considered as precluding all attempts of the same kind; for no shepherds were taught to sing by any succeeding poet till Nemesian and Calphurnius ventured
their feeble efforts in the lower age of Latin literature *. 13 At the revival of learning in Italy it was soon discovered that
a dialogue of imaginary swains might be composed with little difficulty, because the conversation of shepherds excludes profound
* Johnson's wife had heard much pleasure and contempt, an eclogue the same story from 'Draper, Ton which was composed on the accession son's partner.' Boswell's Johnson, iii. of the Emperor Carus.' In a note he 46. Warton had it from Garrick, adds :- See the first eclogue of who had it from some of the Tonsons. Calphurnius.' The Decline and Fall, Essay on Pope, ii. 303.
ed. 1897, i. 338. Budgell did not get a place till theac Of Numerian, the son of Carus, he cession of George I. Dict. Nat. Biog. says that 'in an age very far from * Nos. 223, 229; Eng. Poets, lvii.108. being destitute of poetical merit he
You have an admirable contended for the prize with the most hand at a sheep-crook,' Addison celebrated of his contemporaries. ... wrote to him. Works, v. 383*. He won all the crowns from Neme
For Blake's 'twenty drawings to sianus, with whom he vied in didactic illustrate Philips's Pastorals. see poetry. Ib. p. 347. Gilchrist's Blake, i. 273.
According to Professor Bury, 'Cal* Gibbon, writing of the year A.D. purnius wrote under Nero. Some of 282, says :—'The voice of congratu the idylls which were ascribed to him lation and flattery was not however were written by Nemesianus.' Ib. p. silent; and we may still peruse, with
311 n. * This letter is conjecturally dated 'Dublin Castle, August, 1710.' The Pastorals, first printed in Tonson's Misc. 1709, were published independently in 1710.
3 16. p. 5.