Imatges de pÓgina

admitted; and that all hired fervants, and all ap prentices to handicraftsmen, fhould be confidered as poor. This likewife was granted by the College.

It was then confidered who should distribute the medicines, and who fhould fettle their prices. The phyficians procured fome apothecaries to undertake the difpenfation, and offered that the Warden and Company of the Apothecaries fhould adjuft the price. This offer was rejected; and the apothe caries who had engaged to affift the charity were confidered as traytors to the company, threatened with the impofition of troublesome offices, and deterred from the performance of their engagements. The apothecaries ventured upon publick oppofition, and prefented a kind of remonftrance against the defign to the committee of the city, which the phyficians condefcended to confute: and at laft the traders feem to have prevailed among the fons of trade; for the propofal of the College having been confidered, a paper of appro bation was drawn up, but poftponed and forgotten.

The phyficians ftill perfifted; and in 1696 a fubfcription was raised by themselves, according to an agreement prefixed to the Difpenfary. The poor were for a time fupplied with medicines; for how long a time, I know not. The medical charity, like others, began with ardour, but foon remitted, and at laft died gradually away.

About the time of the fubfcription begins the action of the Difpenfary. The Poem, as its fubject was present and popular, co-operated with paffions and prejudices then prevalent, and, with fuch auxiliaries to its intrinfick merit, was univer


fally and liberally applauded. It was on the fide of charity against the intrigues of intereft, and of regular learning against licentious ufurpation of medical authority, and was therefore naturally favoured by thofe who read and can judge of poetry.

In 1697, Garth fpoke that which is now called the Harveian Oration; which the authors of the Biographia mention with more praife than the paffage quoted in their notes will fully juftify. Garth, fpeaking of the mifchiefs done by quacks, has thefe expreffions: "Non tamen telis vulnerat "ifta agyrtarum coluvies, fed theriacâ quadam magis perniciofâ, non pyrio, fed pulvere nefcio quo exotico certat, non globulis plumbeis, fed "pilulis æque lethalibus interficit." This was certainly thought fine by the author, and is ftill admired by his biographer. In October 1702 he became one of the cenfors of the College.

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Garth, being an active and zealous Whig, was a member of the Kit-cat club, and by confequence familiarly known to all the great men of that denomination. In 1710, when the government fell into other hands, he writ to lord Godolphin, on his difmiffion, a fhort poem, which was criticifed in the Examiner, and fo fuccefs fully either defended or excufed by Mr. Addifon, that, for the fake of the vindication, it ought to be preferved.

At the acceffion of the prefent family his merits were acknowledged and rewarded. He was knighted with the fword of his hero, Marlborough; and was made phyfician in ordinary to the king, and phyfician-general to the army.


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He then undertook an edition of Ovid's Metamorphofes, tranflated by feveral hands; which he recommended by a Preface, written with more oftentation than ability: his notions are halfformed, and his materials immethodically confufed. This was his laft work. He died Jan. 18, 1717-18, and was buried at Harrow-on-the-Hill.

His perfonal character feems to have been focial and liberal. He communicated himfelf through a very wide extent of acquaintance; and though firm in a party, at a time when firmnefs included virulence, yet he imparted his kindness to thofe who were not fuppofed to favour his principles. He was an early encourager of Pope, and was at once the friend of Addifon and of Granville. He is accused of voluptuoufnefs and irreligion; and Pope, who fays, that if ever there was a good "Chriftian, without knowing himfelf to be fo, "it was Dr. Garth," feems not able to deny what he is angry to hear, and loth to confefs.

Pope afterwards declared himfelf convinced that Garth died in the communion of the Church of Rome, having been privately reconciled. It is obferved by Lowth, that there is lefs diftance than is thought between fcepticism and popery; and that a mind, wearied with perpetual doubt, willingly feeks repofe in the bofom of an infallible church.

His poetry has been praised at least equally to its merit. In the Difpenfary there is a ftrain of fmooth and free verfification; but few lines are eminently elegant. No paffages fall below mediocrity, and few rife much above it. The plan feems formed without juft proportion to the fubject; the means and end have no neceffary connection. Refnel, in his Preface to Pope's Effay, remarks, that Garth VOL. II. exhibits


exhibits no difcrimination of characters; and that what any one fays might with equal propriety have been faid by another. The general defign is perhaps open to criticifm; but the compofition can feldom be charged with inaccuracy or negligence. The author never flumbers in felf-indulgence; his full vigour is always exerted; fcarcely a line is left unfinished, nor is it easy to find an expreffion used by constraint, or a thought imperfectly expreffed. It was remarked by Pope, that the Difpenfary had been corrected in every edition, and that every change was an improvement. It appears, however, to want fomething of poetical ardour, and fomething of general delectation; and therefore, fince it has been no longer fupported by accidental and intrinfick popularity, it has been scarcely able to fupport itself.


NICHOLAS ROWE was born at Little Beckford, in Bedfordshire, in 1673. His family had long poffeffed a confiderable eftate, with a good houfe, at Lambertoun in Devonshire. The ancestor from whom he defcended in a direct line received the arms borne by his defcendants for his

* In the Villare, Lamerton. Orig. Edit.


His father, John

bravery in the Holy War. Rowe, who was the firft that quitted his paternal acres to practife any art of profit, profeffed the law, and publifhed Benlow's and Dallifon's Reports in the reign of James the Second, when, in oppofition to the notions, then diligently propagated, of difpenfing power, he ventured to remark how low his authors rated the prerogative. He was made a ferjeant, and died April 30, 1692. He was buried in the Temple church.

Nicholas was firft fent to a private fchool at Highgate; and, being afterwards removed to Westminster, was at twelve years* chofen one of the king's scholars. His mafter was Bulby, who fuffered none of his fcholars to let their powers lie ufelefs; and his exercifes in feveral languages are faid to have been written with uncommon degrees of excellence, and yet to have coft him very little labour.

At fixteen he had, in his father's opinion, made advances in learning fufficient to qualify him for the study of the law, and was entered a student of the Middle Temple, where for fome time he read ftatutes and reports with proficiency proportionate to the force of his mind, which was already fuch that he endeavoured to comprehend law, not as a series of precedents, or collection of pofitive precepts, but as a fyftem of rational government, and impartial justice.

When he was nineteen, he was by the death of his father left more to his own direction, and probably from that time fuffered law gradually to give way to poetry. At twenty-five he produced the

* He was not elected till 1688. N.

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