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A colle&tion of his Original Poems and Letters, was printed for the benefit of ibe family, by subscription in A vols. 8vo, 1951; with a poetical dedication to the princess of Wales, by his daughter, M. Urania Fonfon, who seems to have inherited a large portion of his taste, and amiable benevokec.
His dramatic works, including the plays above-mentioned, and Tbe Roman Revenge, a tragedy, 135 Ibe Infolvent, or, Filial Piety, a tragedy, 1758, Merlin in Love, an occasional prelude, Teo Mourning, a comic opera, The Snaểe in the Grass, a dramatic satire, Saul, a tragedy, and Darexe, i tragedy, were printed in 2 vols. 8vo, 1759. A selection from the mass of his miscellancoas carte positions is now, for the first time, received into a collection of classical English poetry.
The character of Hill was in every respect perfectly amiable. His person was, in his youth, e tremely fair and handsome. He was tall, not too thin, yet genteelly made. His eyes were a => blue, bright and penetrating, his hair brown, and his face oval. His counterance was generis animated by a smile. His address was most engagingly affable, yet mingled with a salire s sumed dignity, which rendered him at once respected and admired. His voice was (weet, s his conversation elegant; and fo extensive was his knowledge in all subjects, that scarcely anje occur, on which he did not acquit himself in a most masterly and entertaining manner. His le though naturally warm when roused by injuries, was equally noble in a readiness to forgir and so much inclined was he to repay evil with good, that he frequently exercised tha' esta lesson, to the prejudice of his own circumstances. He was a generous master, a fincere irxas affectionate husband, and an indulgent and tender parent; and, indeed, so benevolent was his e position in general, even beyond the power of the fortune he was bleffed with, that the caseof those he knew, and valued as deserving, affe&ted him more deeply than his own. lo cenka of this he bestowed the profits of many of his works for the relief of his friends, and parties his dramatic pieces, none of which he could ever be prevailed on to accept of a benefic for, eshis Merope, which, at the very close of his life was commanded to be represented for the o-of its author, from those difficulties out of which he had frequently been the generous indre of extricating others. His manner of living was temperate to the greatelt degree, in every tas but that of late hours, which his indefatigable love of itudy frequently drew him into. No to deterred him from the prosecution of any design that appeared to him to be praise-worthy : practicable; nor was it in the power of misfortune, which from his birth he seemed deitmed est counter, to overcome, or even fake his fortitude of mind.
He seems to have lived in perfect harmony with all the writers of his time, except Paper whom he had a short controversy, greatly to his advantage, occafioned by the following line 8 ť Dunciad."
Then H- essay'd; scarce vanish'd out of fight,
And mounts far off among the fwans of Thames. This, though the gentlest picce of satire in the whole poem, and conveying at the fame!s: oblique compliment, he retaliated in his Progress of Wit, which begins with the following lines which Pope's well known disposition is clegantly, yet very severely characterised,
Tuneful Alexis, on the Thanie's fair side,
And wants the soul to spread the worth he loves. The "sneakingly approves" in the last couplet affected Pope extremely; wbo, in ueed, teton the whole controversy, seems rather to express his repentance by denying the offence, ther ta dicate himself, supposing it to have been given.
" That the letters, A. H.” says he, " were applied to you in the papers, I did not kn*W, ** I feldom read them) I heard it only from Mr. Savage, as from your ially and sent my aluat
the contrary. But I don't see how the annotator to the Dunciad could have remified that milako publicly, without particularising your name in a book, where I thought it too good to be inserted, &c."
" I should imagine," he adds, in another place, “ the Dunciad meant yon a real compliment, and so it has been thought by many, who have asked to whom that passage made that oblique panegyric. As to the notes, I am weary of telling a great truth ; which is, that I am not the author of them; though I love truth so well, as fairly to tell you, I think even that note a commendation, and should think myself not ill used to bave the fame words faid of me. -But I ask you not to believe this, except you are vastly inclined to it. I will come closer to the point; would you have the note left out? le Mall. Would you have it expressly said you were not meant ? It shall, if I have any influence on the editors.”
“ As to your oblique panegyric," says Hill, “ I am not under so blind an attachment to the goddess I was devoted to in the Dunciad, but that I knew it was a commendation, though a dirtier one than I wilhed for ; who am neither fond of some of the company in which I was listed, the noble reward for which I was to become a diver, the allegorical muddiness in which I was to try my skill, por the instituter of the games you were so kind to allow me a share in.”
“ Your offer is very kind," he adds, " to prevail on the editor of the Dunciad to leave out the sote, or declare that I was not meant in it; but I am satisfied :-It is over, and deserves no more of your application.”
The controversy ended in a perfect reconciliation; and Pope ever afterwards treated Hill with a legree of resped, that implied a sense of superiority, bordering on reverence. The passage in the Dunciad relating to Hill, stands thus in the later editions :
Then * eslay'd; scarce vanish'd out of sight, &c. W’ith this note under it. “ A gentleman of genius and spirit, who was secretly dipt in some paper's of this kind, on whom our poet bestows a panegyric infead of a satire, as deserving to be better !mployed than in party quarrels, and personal invectives.”
As a great and general writer, Hill must be allowed to stand in a very exalted rank of merit. His tragedies, particularly Zara and Merope, are generally known and admired. His poems seem not to have hitherto obtained so much notice as they deserve. Dr. Warton has unjuflly represented
an affected and fuftian writer," who,“ by some means or other, gained Pope's confidence and friendship.” Although it may be allowed, that the rigid correctness with which he constantly "e-perused his compositions for alteration, the frequent use of compound epithets, fingularity of sen. iment, bold experiments in language, and an ordo verborum peculiar to himself, have justly laid him open to the charge of being, in some places rather too turgid, and in others somewhat fiff and obscure; yet, the nervous power, force, and weight of sentiment, opulence of imagery, and intrinsic lerling sense with which his writings abound, amply atone for the harshness of the style, and the peculiarity of the di&ion. They are evidently the production of a gerius truly poetical; they have an air of originality, which has no resemblance of any contemporary writer; and the versification and sentiments have a cast peculiar to themselves, which cannot be successfully imitated. The images are animated, though sometimes indistind; the descriptions forcible, though sometimes quaint ; the language elevated, though sometimes forced; and the numbers majestic and flowing, though Comctirnes encumbered and Nuggish. His faults are, not want of fire or enthusiasm, of which he has an ample share ; but an elaborate exactoess of language, that rather obscures than heightens the beauty and force of the thought, and a studied refinement of sentiment, supported by the utmost effort of language, which has more magnificence than sublimity, more dignity than grace.
In extenuation of his faults, it ought to be observed, that the versatility of his genius was unfa. Fourable to the attainment of excellence; and that he cultivated poetry only as a relaxation from the Audy of history, criticism, geography, physic, commerce, agriculture, war, law, chemistry, and patural philosophy, to which he devoted the greatest part of his time. tout la all cyents," says he, “ I will be easy, who have no better reason to wish well to poetry,
than my love for a mistress I shall never be married :0; for, whenever I grow ambitious, I fall wish to build higher, and owe my memory to fome occasion of more importance than my writings."
Of the poetical pieces which he at different times composed, the present collectien exhibits bu: a small number.' The epic poem of Gideon, his greatest work, has been omitted, for a reason which he has himself given, in one of his letters to Clio, the poetical name of the celebrated Mrs. Sanson; " It will require a good share of your patience, for it is a very long one. I will have it writ fair, book by book, for your perusal, if you have courage enough to resolve on going through with fo formidable a mortification, as to pick out the fine things of the story from the dull ones of the aother." It has been praised by Savage ; and must be allowed to have fome fine passages ; but the measure is injudiciously chosen, and the story tedious and uninteresting All the riches of poetic diction are to quired to invest epic poetry in suitable splendor ; but it reje&s the variety of measure which is appropriated to lyric composition. The Fanciad is not liable to the same objections; but a copy of it could not be procured. An episode from Gideon, is inserted among his Original Poems, c. but the Fantasia and many of his earlier pieces, are omitted in the collection of his works.
Tive list of his pieces which have been selected for republication, might perhaps have been the mented without any injury to his reputation; but, it is hoped, the selection, imperfect as it à when every deduction is made which criticism requires, will make good his claim to more Botic: than be has hitherto obtained, and justify the revival of his writings.
It consists of pieces in various kinds of composition, serious, sentimental, humorous, satiria! descriptive, and amatory, which have all their brighter passages; but require no diftind confider tion, nor particular criticism.
On the character of Hill, it is unnecessary to enlarge, as the testimonies to his merit, by Balisz hroke, Pope, Chesterfield, Voltaire, Thooison, Mallet, Savage, Richardson, Sewell, Dyer, Field ing, Viðor, and Garrick, are sufficiently known to the general readers of English poetry. The following coniplimentary epigram by Richardson does not appear extravagant; and it is hopedis article will not be thought too long, when it is remembered that Hill, however neglected in later days, was celebrated by the most eloquent of his poetical contemporaries, and commended by excellent auchor of " Clariffa,” and “ Sir Charles Grandison."
When noble thoughts with language pure unitc,
Devoted fancy vows itself her own :
THE WORKS OF HILL.
| Transports the list’ning foul --engrosses praise ;
Yec humbly wishes --an immortal name.
Oh! that I could but live, till that lace day
When Clio's unremember'd name shall die! to this em Slow, thy sweet force, my stubborn mind dilarms, 'Till ev'n ambition bends beneath thy (way.
Then should I hope full leisure to display What hall I do to free my struggling soul,
Thosc unborn deeds which in my bolom lie, Bow'd to the sofe’ning bias of thy fong!
Bat, as it is, our fleeting lands so fast As circling straws in whirlwinds driving roll,
Ebb to their end, and lead us to decay, So are my hurry'd passions swept aloog.
That ere we learn to see, our daylight's pat, ob Pool as I was!-I fele thy distant fire,
And, like a melting mist, life thrinks away. E'er from those eyes it flash'd undying flame;
TO MR. POPE.
Pale ewinklers of an hour, provoke my rage; So the light cork that on the Thames' smooth fide in each dark hedge we start an infea fire,
Which lives by night and must at dawn expire. Embay'd, glides buoyant, and just kims the
Yet such their nuniber, that their specks combine, sore, Edges, ambitious, to the rapid tide,
And the unthinking vulgar swear they shine. And ruling down the liream returns no more.
Pocts are prodigies, so greatly rare,
They seem the tasks of heaven, and built with care, Late my free thoughts, unbounded as the air, (lky; Like funs unguench’d, unrivall'd, and fublime,
Could, with an eye beam's swiftness, scale the They roll immortal o'er the wastes of time : Wander in starry worlds, and busy'd there, Ages in vain close round, and fnatch in fame,
From human cares and human paflions fly. High over all ftill shines the poet's name : Down to dark earth's deep centre could I roam,
Lords of a life, that scorns the bounds of breath, And through her chalmy lab'rinths wind my They stretch existence and awaken death.
Pride of their envy'd climes! they plant renown, See gold unripen d in its dulky home,
That fhades the monarch's by the muse's crown: And mark how Springs in veiny bendings stray. To say that Virgil with Augustus shin'd, of a th' alarming trumpet fruck my car, Crofe, Does honour to the lord of halt mankind. Or the big drun's dead beat hoarde-thuna'ring And Pope is faid to've liv'd when George bore
So, when three thousand years have wan'd away, My fummor'd foul sprung out to war's wish'd
iway, sphere, And plung'd me in the ranks of fancy'd fues.
Millions thall lend the king the poet's fame,
And blelo, implicit, the supported name.
STUNG BY A NETTLE.
REVENGE, you see, is sure, though sometimes flow:
Take this is all the pain I'd havo you know ! Clio was then unseen, unread, unknown -
There's odds enough yet left betwixt our imart, Now, lovely tyrani, the ufurps my mind; I fting your fingers, and you fting my heart. And my whole thought is to one theme confin’d.
OF A DECEASED LADY,
Though scorn'd-you see I can do service ftill! At Ifrael's call, th' Almighty's thunder horld, Some good lics hid in every seeming ill.
From Paran's summit fhook the aftonih'd world; And hence let fortune's fav'rites learn to know, The flaming heav'ns blaze dreadful through the That virtue's virtue though in rags it go.
And earth's dark regions gleam beneath his eye. TO A SATIRICAL YOUNG LADY. High, in his undetermin'd hands, he bore [store; FORBEAR, loud thing! to live in laugh and jest,
Judgment's heap'd horn, and mercy's struggles Wit is like love--the softest is the best!
Meagre before him, death, palc horror, trod If thou, by this, wouldît lively thought proclaim, And, grioning shadowy, watch'd the Almigten
nod: If empty praise is thy wild fancy's aim ; A while this falt may season single life,
Gath'ring beneath his feet flafh'd light'nings breke, But no man's taste approves a piquant wife.
And the aw'd mountain Shonk, conceal'd in (nok Be wise, and match, and charm by judgment's aíd,
He stood; and, while the measur'd earth he ey's Or witty, and defpis'd, and die-a maid.
The starting nations dropp'd their conscious prita So the thin razors which young learoers please,
High-boasting Cushan struck her tents, in hane, Grow notch'd and edgeless, by unmark'd degrees,
And Midian groan'd bencath repented fame. Till worn and blunted, by too frequent use,
He mov'd; and, from their old foundations rent, Th' experienc'd hand detects the steel's abuse;
The everlasting hills before him bent; Then cheaply thrown afide, they gather dust,
He sept; and all th' uprising mountains stray Like thee neglected, till consum'd by sult.
And roll in earthquakes, to escape his way:
From their enormous charms, with roaring tide, TO THE EXCELLENT DAUGHTERS
Earth-cleaving rivers fprut, and deluge wide:
And in outrageous triumph swept the sky.
Conscious of wrath divine, the sun grew pale, And a weak body to a sickly mind?
And o'er his radiance drew a gloomy veil. Could but your pious grief recal her breath,
Thus did my God (to fave th' endanger'd lanc) Or tears of duty win her back from death, March forth, indigwant, with vindi&ive hand; We would not blame the passion you express,
This, when I hear, chill blafls my soul o'erspread, But share it with you, if'twould make it less ! And my lips quiver with the riling dread:
But oh! when certain death's uncertain hour Trembling all o'er, my limbs ! faintly draw, Exerts his known, his unrelifted pow'r;
And my boncs crumble with ideal awe. When we are summon'd from our cares below, Now, though the fig-tree ne'er should blolar To joys which living merit must not know; Though sterile coldness curse th' unrip'ning fiel; When souls, like your dear mother's, quit their Though vines and olives fail their loady cheer; clay,
Nor fainting herds out-lire the pining year; change
my in God's aid , These humbler regions, which themselves once
tun'd voice. knew.
[kind, And sweil'd with thoughts, which make the angels Pity the pledges they have left behind.
MUSE'S EXPOSTULATION WITH A LADY, 'Tis true, the loss you mourn is vastly great, But in that loss your country shares your fate; Wbo denied berself the freedom of Friendsbip, freert The public good her wishes would have done, delicate an apprebenfror of the World's mifiaten Cenfurt. Made ev'ry man in ev'ry land her fon : Thence, lovely mourners! give us leave to prove, Shut from
whose presence 'were a pain to live!
O Born to pity woes, yet form'd to give, We ought to fhare your grief, who fhar'd your who make all converse tedious but your own;
mother's love. Yet may all parties make their sorrow less,
And, that withheld, leave the forsaken done. And you, and we, concern enough express;
Urg'd by what motives would you wish to thun You may with comfort calm your rufled mind,
The fight and voice of him whose foul you won! To think your mother left ħer cares behicd;
On what false fears does this cold fight depend! And we, though losers, fould be thankful too,
What fancy'd foe does prudence apprehend? Since we are ftill left rich, pofsefling you,
When bodies only are to bodies dear,
The danger there consists in being dear;
And when the fair the soft contagion spy.
Discretion calls 'em--and 'ris wise to fly.
But where associate spirits catch the flame,
Flight is a cruel, and a fruitless aim.
Parting is dying, to set fancy free.
Nor let mifaken virtue wrong the breaf And my soul burds shy terrors to unfold ! That opens kindly to so sweet a gach :
from their birt-circled beats, perhaps, they view And earth? High Soufreigte daime my heart