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BRO O M E.
Born at Haslington, in Cheshire-Educated at Eton and Cambridge Enters into Holy Orders -Introduced to Pope-Assists Pope in the Notes to the Iliad— Assists him in translating the Odyssey-His Quarrel with Pope—His Miscellany Poems—Marries—Death and Burial in Bath Abbey Church-Works and Character,
WILLIAM BROOME was born in Cheshire, as is said, of very mean parents. Of the place of his birth, or the first part of his life, I have not been able to gain any intelligence. He was educated upon the foundation at Eton, and was captain of the school a whole year, without any vacancy, by which he might have obtained a scholarship at King's College. Being by this delay, such as is said to have happened very rarely,' superannuated, he was sent to St. John's College (Cambridge] by the contributions of his friends, where he obtained a small exhibition.'
At his College he lived for some time in the same chamber with the well-known Ford,' by whom I have formerly heard him described as a contracted scholar and a mere versifier, anacquainted with life, and unskilful in conversation. His addiction to metre was then such, that his companions familiarly called him Poet. When he bad opportunities of mingling with mankind, he cleared himself, as Ford likewise owned, from great part of his scholastic rust.
He appeared early in the world as a translator of the “Iliads', into prose, in conjunction with Ozell and Oldisworth, How their several parts were distributed is not known. This is the translation of which Ozell boasted as superior, in Toland's opinion, to that of Pope : it has long since vanished, and is now in no danger from the critics.
1 He was born at Haslington, in the parish of Barthomley and county of Chester, about the year 1689. His father (Randle Broome) was a farmer. See Barlow's 'Memoir of Broome, 12m0., 1864, p. 7. On his portrait before his 'Poems '-D. Heins, p. 1725, G. Vertue, sculp.-Is this inscription : " William Broome, ætat. xxxvi. 1726." He was therefore born in 1688 Or 1689, and consequently of the same age as Pope.
It happened but four times in 160 years, viz., in 1619, 1658, 1707, 1766.-Gent.'s Nag. for 1780, p. 269.
• He was matriculated a sizar the 10th of July, 1709, took his B.A. degree in January, 1711 -12, and his A.M. degree in 1716.— BARLOW's Broomo, p. 7.
• See Johnson's Lifo of Fenton, p. 66, and Mr. Croker's note in Boswell, ed. 1847,
He was introduced to Mr. Pope, who was then visiting Sir John Cotton at Madingley near Cambridge, and gained so much of his esteem, that he was employed, I believe, to make extracts from Eustathius for the notes to the translation of the Iliad ; and in the volumes of poetry published by Lintot, commonly called Pope's Miscellanies,' many of his early pieces were inserted.
Pope and Broome were to be yet more closely connected. When the success of the 'Iliad' gave encouragement to a version of the Odyssey,' Pope, weary of the toil, called Fenton and Broome to his assistance ; and taking only half the work upon himself, divided the other balf between his partners, giving four books to Fenton, and eight to Broome. Fenton's books I have enumerated in his Life; to the lot of Broome fell the second, sixth, eighth, eleventh, twelfth, sixteenth, eighteenth, and twenty-third, together with the burthen of writing all the notes.'
As this translation is a very important event in poetical history, the reader has a right to know upon what grounds I establish my narration. That the version was not wholly Pope's, was always known; he had mentioned the assistance of two friends in his Pro
; posals,' and at the end of the work some account is given by Broome
. In an advertisement of 20th September, 1729, in a paper called "The Weekly Medley.' Pope transferred the advertisement to his edition of "The Dunciad,' 1736, 12mo. p. 111.
• In the first ed., 1 vol. 8vo., 1712, he has five poems. In the fourth ed., 2 vols, 12mo. 1722, he has twelve poems. In the sixth ed , 2 vols. 12mo., 1782, his former poems are omitted, and two new ones (those to Pope) inserted instead.
? Before Broome's . Poems,' 8vo., 1739, is the following 'Advertisement :-"The author has not inserted into this collection any part of his Translation of the eight books of the Odyssey published by Mr. Pope: he thought it an imposition on the public to swell this volume with verses taken from a work that is in the hands of almost every reader.” And in the Pre face to the same volume he describes himself, p. xli., as "The Annotator in part upon the Iliad, and entirely upon the Oùyssey."
• Dated 10th January, 1724–5. “The benefit of this proposal is not solely for my own use, but for that of two of my friends, who have assisted me in this work. One of them enjoins me to conceal his name; the other is the Reverend Mr. Broome, whose assistance I have formerly acknowledged in many of the notes and extracts annexed to my translation of the Iliad."
of their different parts, which, however, mentions only five books as written by the coadjutors; the fourth and twentieth by Fenton ; the sixth, the eleventh, and eighteenth by himself ; though Pope, in an advertisement prefixed afterwards to a new volume of his works, claimed only twelve. A natural curiosity, after the real conduct of so great an undertaking, incited me once to inquire of Dr. Warburton, who told me, in his warm language, that he thonght the relation given in the note "a lie;" but that he was not able to ascertain the several shares. The intelligence which Dr. Warburton could not afford me, I obtained from Mr. Langton, to whom Mr. Spence had imparted it."
The price at which Pope purchased this assistance was three hundred pounds paid to Fenton, and five hundred to Broome," with as many copies as he wanted for his friends, which amounted to one hundred more. The payment made to Fenton I know not but by hearsay ; Broome's is very distinctly told by Pope in the notes to • The Dunciad.' 18
It is evident that, according to Pope's own estimate, Broome was unkindly treated. If four books could merit three hundred pounds, eight and all the potes, equivalent at least to four, had certainly a right to more than six.
Broome probably considered himself as injured, and there was for some time more than coldness between him and his employer. He always spoke of Pope as too much a lover of money, and Pope pursued him with avowed hostility; for he not only named him disrespectfully in “The Danciad,'" but quoted him more than once in the Bathos,' as a proficient in the "Art of Sinking ;" and in his enumeration of the different kinds of poets distinguished for the profound, he reckons Broome among "the parrots who repeat another's words in such a hoarse odd voice as makes them seem their own.” 16 I have been told that they were afterwards reconciled; but I am afraid their peace was without friendship.“
• Advertisement to the second volume of his works in folio, quarto, and duodecimo, 1785.
10 By the note Johnson means the Postscript to “The Odyssey,' in which the statement there made by Pope is certainly a lie.
11 See Johnson's Letter to Joseph Warton on this subject in Boswell by Croker, p. 647, ed. 1848.
19 The only statement on this subject in Spence is, that Fenton had 2401., and Broome 6001. ("Spence by Singer,' p. 326.) Broome, in a letter to Pope, of 29th October, 1785, says, “ You paid me 5001. ; that is, 1001, for the notes, and 4001. for eight books of the verse translation, and Mr. Fenton in proportion for his four books."—(Unpublished Letter in Mr. Croker's possession.) From this it would appear that Broome believed that Fenton's remuneration was the same as his own, which it appears now was not the case.
18 And also in his famous letter to Lord Hervey. “What he gave him was five hundred pounds : his receipt can be produced to your Lordship." Sir Henry Bunbury has large extracts in Broome's handwriting, from his portion of the 'Odyssey,' and from his poem on the “War in Flanders,' which he had probably sent to Sir Thomas (Hanmer) for approbation and patronage. Sir Henry also possesses “a memorandum of the respective shares borne by Pope, Fenton, and Broome in the translation of the 'Odyssey,' which corresponds with the state ments already published."-Hunmer Correspondence, 8vo., 1888, p. 218.
14 Johnson should have said in the early editions of 'The Dunciad.'
Hibernian politics, 0 Swift, thy doom;
And Pope's, translating three whole years with Broome. Where also this note occurs: “He concludes his irony with a stroke upon himsell; for whoever imagines this a sarcasm on the other ingenious person is surely mistaken.” Broome, however, was not satisfied, and in the edition 12mo., 1786, we read:
Hibernian politics, 0 Swift, thy fate ;
Subsequently altered to ten. The leaf of the edition of 1786 in which the alteration occurs was sent by Pope to Broome in a letter, dated 12th Jan. 1785-6, and is now in Mr. Croker's possession.
16 But the passage in "The Art of Sinking' which occasioned the greatest annoyance to Broome is that in Chapter VII. : “Another author (there are no Initials), describing a poet that shines forts amidst a circle of critics
Thus Phæbus through the Zodiac takes his way,
What a peculiarity is here of invention !" &c. This couplet is by Broome, and Broome wrote
Notes upon Homør.
And by his envy lost the Poet's name.
Eclipse the sun to whom she owes her light.)
To swell our sorrows or exalt our joys !
The Daily Journal, Oct. 2, 1798. 1. Thelr reconciliation took place in 1785, on Broome's transmitting to Pope a letter of the 22nd July, 1788, from Curll, applying for any letter he might wish to publish, addressed to blm by Pope. Broome did not even answer Curll's letter.(Unpublished Letters in Mr. Croker's possession.)
He afterwards  published a Miscellany of Poems, which is inserted, with corrections," in the late compilation.
He never rose to a very high dignity in the church. He was some time rector of Sturston in Suffolk, where he married (1716) " & wealthy widow; and afterwards, when the King" visited Cambridge (1728), became Dr. of Laws. He was (1733) presented by the Crown to the rectory of Pulham in Norfolk, which he held with Oakley Magna in Suffolk, given him by the Lord Cornwallis, to whom he was chaplain, and who added the vicarage of Eye in Suf
he then resigned Pulham, and retained the other two." Towards the close of his life he grew again poetical, and amused himself with translating Odes of Anacreon, which he published [1739–40] in 'The Gentleman's Magazine,' ander the name of Chester."
He died at Bath, November 16, 1745, and was buried in the Abbey Cbarch."
Of Broome, though it cannot be said that he was a great poet, it would be unjust to deny that he was an excellent versifier; his lines are smooth and sonorous, and his diction is select and elegant.” His rnymes are sometimes unsaitable : in his Melancholy,' he makes
" breath rhyme to birth in one place, and to earth iu another. Those fanlts occur but seldom ; and he had such power of words and numbers as fitted him for translation ; but, in his original works, recollection seems to have been his business more than invention. His
17 " The second Edition, with large alterations and additions," was publlshed in svo., 1750, " for Henry Lintot." In Bernard Lintot's Book of Accounts, under the name Broome, is the following entry :
Feb. 22, 1726–7 ... Misc. Poems, £85. 18 1716. William Broome, clerk and rector of this parish, and Mrs. Elizabeth Clarke, widow, were married with license July ye 22nd, by me, James Oldfield, rector of Bromo.-Parisk Register of Sturston (Barlow's Broome, p. 11).
1: George II.
20 This is not the case. He died rector of Pulham, and so describes himsell la his will, dated a month before he died.
91 That is, Charles Chester, M.D.
22 Dr. Gooch, Bishop of Norwich, read the service. Ils grave is not marked, and the date of his burial in the register is the date of his death. He left an only son, Charles John Broome, who died 1747, an under-graduate of St. John's College, Cambridge. The poet's widow died in 1750.
33 Christopher Pitt, the poet, who has a right to be heard on a poetical question, praises particularly " the charming translation of the Eleventh Book of the 'Odyuey.'"-MS. Lotler to Broome,