Imatges de pÓgina
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How some, rais'd higher, sit in secret steams
On the reflected points of bounding beams;
Till, chill'd with cold, they shade th' etherial plain,
Then on the thirsty earth descend in rain.
How some, whose parts a slight contextu re show,
Sink hovering through the air, in fleecy snow.
How part is spun in silken threads, and clings
Entangled in the grass in gluey strings.
How others stamp'd to stones, with rushing sound
Fall from their crystal quarries to the ground.
How some are laid in trains, that kindled fly
In harmiess fires by night, about the sky.
How some in winds blow with impetuous force,
And carry ruin where they bend their course :
While some conspire to form a gentle breeze,
To fan the air, and play among the trees.
How some, enrag'd, grow turbulent and loud,
Pent in the bowels of a frowning cloud;
That cracks, as if the axis of the world
Was broke, and heaven's bright towers were downwards

hurl'd.
He sung how earth's wide ball, at Jove's command,
Did in the midst on airy columns stand;
And how the soul of plants, in prison held,
And bound with sluggish fetters, lies conceald,
Till with the Spring's warm beams, almost releas'd
From the dull weight with which it lay opprest,
Its vigour spreads, and makes the teeming earth
Heave up, and labour with the sprouting birth:
The active spirit freedom seeks in vain,
It only works and twists a stronger chain.
Urging its prison's sides to break a way,
It makes that wider, where 'ris forc'd to stay;
Till, having form’d its living house, it rears
Its head, and in a tender plant appears.
Hence springs the oak, the beauty of the grove,
Whose stately trunk fierce storms can scarcely more.
Hence grows the cedar, hence the swelling vine
Does round the elm its purple clusters twine.
Hence painted flowers the smiling gardens bless,
Both with their fragrant scent and gaudy dress.

Hence the white lily in full beauty grows,
Hence the blue violet, and blushing rose.
He sung how sunbeams brood upon the earth,
And in the glebe hatch such a numerous birth;
Which way the genial warmth in Summer storms
Turns putrid vapours to a bed of worms;
How rain, transform'd by this prolific power
Falls from the clouds an animated shower.
He sung the embryo's growth within the womb,
And how the parts their various shapes assume,
With what rare art the wondrous structure's wrought,
From one crude mass to such perfection brought;
That no part useless, none misplac'd we see,
None are forgot, and more would monstrous be.”

Prince Arthur, book iv.

FENTON. THE brevity with which I am to write the account of

Elijah Fenton is not the efect of indifference or negligence. I have sought intellgence among his relations in his native county, but have not obtained it.

He was born near Newcastle in Staffordshire, of an ancient family, whose estate was very considerable, but he was the youngest of eleven children, and being therefore necessarily destined to some lucrative employment, was sent first to school and afterwards to Cambridge; but, with many other wise and virtuous men, who at that time of discord and debate consulted conscience, whether well or ill informed, more than interest, he doubted the legality of the government, and, refusing to qualify himself for public employment by the oaths required, left the University without a degree; but I never heard that the enthusiasm of opposition impelled him to separation from the Church.

By this perverseness of integrity he was driven out a commoner of nature, excluded from the regular modes of profit and prosperity, and reduced to pick up a livelihood uncertain and fortuitous; but it must be remembered that he kept his name unsullied, and never suffered himself to be reduced, like too many of the same sect, to mean arts and dishonourable shifts. Whoever mentioned Fenton, mentioned him with honour.

The life that passes in penury, must necessarily pass in obscurity. It is impossible to trace Fenton from year to year, or to discover what means he used for his support. He was a while secretary to Charles Earl of Orrery in Flanders, and tutor to his young son, who afterwards mentioned him with great esteem and tenderness. He was at one time assistant in the school of Mr. Bonwicke in Surrey, and at another kept a school for himself at Sevenoaks in Kent, which he brought into reputation, but was persuaded to leave it (1710) by Mr. St. John, with promises of a more honourable employment.

His opinions, as he was a Nonjuror, seem not to have been remarkably rigid. He wrote with great zeal and affection the praises of Queen Anne, and very willingly and liberally extolled the Duke of Marlborough, when he was (1707) at the height of his glory.

He expressed still more attention to Marlborough and his family by an elegiac pastoral on the Marquis of Blandford, which could be prompted only by respect or kindness, for neither the Duke nor Duchess desired the praise, or liked the cost of patronage.

The elegance of his poetry entitled him to the company of the wits of his time, and the amiableness of his manners made him loved wherever he was known. Of his friendship to Southerne and Pope there are lasting monuments.

He published in 1717 a collection of poems.

By Pope he was once placed in a station that might have been of great advantage. Craggs, when he was advanced to be Secretary of State (about 1720), feeling his own want of literature, desired Pope to procure him an instructor, by whose help he might supply the deficiencies of his education. Pope recommended Fenton, in whom Craggs found all that he was seeking. There was now a prospect of ease and plenty, for Fenton had merit and Craggs had generosity; but the small-pox suddenly put an end to the pleasing expectation.

When Pope, after the great success of his “Iliad,” undertook the “Odyssey," being, as it seems, weary of translating, he determined to engage auxiliaries. Twelve books he took to himself, and twelve he distributed between Broome and Fenton; the books allotted to Fenton were the first, the fourth, the nineteenth, and the twentieth. It is observable that he did not take the eleventh, which he had before translated into blank verse, neither did Pope claim it, but committed it to Broome. How the two associates performed their parts is well known to the readers of poetry, who have never been able to distinguish their books from those of Pope.

In 1723 was performed his tragedy of “ Mariamne," to which Southerne, at whose house it was written, is said to have contributed such hints as his theatrical experience supplied. When it was shewn to Cibber it was rejected by him, with the additional insolence of advising Fenton to engage himself in some employment of honest labour, by which he might obtain that support which he could never hope from his poetry. The play was acted at the other theatre, and the brutal petulance of Cibber was confuted, though perhaps not shamed, by general applause. Fenton's profits are

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