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A MBROSE PHILIPS.

1675-1749.

A Native of Shropshire-Educated at Cambridge Encouraged by the Earl of Dorset—Sides

with tho Whigs His friendship with Addison and Steele-Produces The Distressed Mother,' a Tragedy-The famous Epilogue to his Tragedy-Publishes his Pastorals--His Quarrel with Pope-Joins in 'The Freethinker'-Is patronised by Archbishop BoulterDeath and Burial in Audley Chapel, South Audley Street, London.

Or the birth or early part of the life of AMBROSE PAILIPS I bare not been able to find any account.' His academical education he received at St. Jobu'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 be was employed, or in what station be passed his life, is not yet discovered. He must have published his Pastorals before the year 1708, because they are evidently prior to those of Pope.'

He afterwards (1709) addressed to the universal patron, the Duke of Dorset,' a 'Poetical Letter from Copenhagen,' which was published in The Tatler' (No. 12), and is by Pope in one of his

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1 Ambrosius Philips, fillus Ambrosii P. pannicularii natus Infra Saloplam ibidemqa literis Institutus sub Mro Lloyd, annum agens 18 admissus est subsizator pro Mro Conway, Tutore de fidejussore Mro Nourse. Junii 25, 1698.

Nov. 6. 1698. Ego Ambrosius Phillips Saloplensis furatus et admlssus sum in discipulum bujus collegii pro Domini Fundatrice decessore Gandy.

Electio sociorum Martil 27. 1699.

Admissio Martil 28. 1699. Ego Ambrosius Philips Saloplensis juratus & admissus in perpetuum socium hujus Collegii pro Domini Fundatrice decessore Mro Apperly.Register of St. John's College, Cambridge.

In the 'Graduati Cantabrigienses' his degrees are given :--B A. 1696 (i. 6. 1696–7), M.A. 1700.

. This is inaccurate. (See •Life of Pope,' p. 827.) Philips's 'Pastorals' appeared simultaneously with those of Pope in the sixth and concluding volune o Tonson's 'Miscellany." The volume (8v0., 1709) begins with the · Pastorals 'of Philips, and ends with those of Pope.

* This is a mistake; the witty Lord Dorset was only an Earl. His son Llonel was the Orst Duke.

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first letters 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 to Addison and Steele ; but his ardour seems not to have procured him anything more than kind words ; 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

The book is divided into many 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.

He was employed in promoting the principles of his party, by epitomising Hacket's 'Life of Archbishop Williams.' The origina! 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.

In 1712 he brought upon the stage "The Distressed Mother,' almost å translation of Racine's 'Andromaque.' Sach & 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' 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 saccessful Epilogue that was ever

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• Compare Pope to Cromwell, Oct. 28, 1710. I cannot find the words quoted by Johnson in any letter to Cromwell.

Philips went to Copenhagen with Lord Mark Kerr, and Mr. Mitford has printed in the Aldine edition of Swift two interesting letters from Swift to Philips while abroad. They are very Whiggish. “I wish,” says Swift, " the victory we have got, and the scenes you pass through, would put you into humour of writing a Pastoral to celebrate the Duke of Marlborough, who, I hope, will soon be your General."

The Thousand and One Days, Persian Tales,' vol. 1 8vo.: London, 1714.-Bodleias Catalogue • Spectator,' No. 290, Feb. 1, 1712.

Spectator,'No. 885, March 28, 1719. “Bat pray," says Sir Roger," yon that are a critic, Is this play according to your dramatic rules, as you call them ? Should your people in tragedy always talk to be understood ? Why, there is not a single sentence in this play that I do not know the meaning of."-Spec. No. 888.

8 It was acted at Drury Lane and for the first time on the 17th March, 1712. It ran nize pights.

Spenco.JOHNSON. Ed. Singer, p. 46.

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 Epilogne is still expected, and is still spoken." • The propriety of Epilogues in general, and consequently of this, 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 continúe attention. It may be discovered in the defence, that Prior's Epilogue to Phædra' 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 wretched Budgell, 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.” 1 It was known in Tonson's family, 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 Budgell, that it might add weight to the solicitation which he was then making for a place."

10 The Epilogue to 'The Distressed Mother' was spoken no less than nine times by Mrs. Oldfield the three first nights. The Distressed Mother' was acted, and is still constantly called for by the audience whenever that play is represented on the stage. Lord Halifat sent for Mr. Budgell, then a stranger to him, and told him that from thenceforward he must be acquainted with him, and desired to be ranked among the number of his friends.-BUDGELL : Bee, vol. Il. p. 858.

Till then it was usual to discontinue an epilogue after the sixth night. But this was called for by the audience, and continued for the whole run of this play. Budgell did not scruple to sit in the pit and call for it himself.-CIBBER: Lives of the Poets, v. 8.

11 Spectatot,' No. 888, March 28, 1712. 12 Spectator,' No. 841, April 1, 1712.

13 Spence. --JOHNSON. Ed. Singer, p. 161. * 1* Pope In Spence by Singer, p. 237.

16 He (Johnson) told us [26th April, 1776) that Addison wrote Budgell's papers in Tho Spectator,' at least mended them so much that he made them almost his own; and thr! Draper, Tonson's partner, assured Mrs. Johnson that the much-admired Epilogue to The Di tressed Mother," which came out fn Budgell's name, was in reality written by Addison. Boswell by Croker, ed. 1847, p. 509.

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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.

The work which had procured him the first notice from the public 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.

The rustic 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.

At the revival of learning in Italy, it was soon discovered that a dialogue of imaginary swaing might be composed with little difficulty : because the conversation of shepherds excludes profound or refined sentiment ; and, for images and descriptions, satyrs and fauns, naiads and dryads, were always within call; and woods and meadows, and hills and rivers, supplied variety of matter, which, having a natural power to soothe the mind, did not quickly cloy it.

Petrarch entertained the learned men of his age with the novelty of modern Pastorals in Latin. Being not ignorant of Greek, and finding nothing in the word Eclogue of rural meaning, he sapposed it to be corrupted by the copiers, and therefore called his own productions Æglogues, by which he meant to express the talk of goatherds, though it will mean only the talk of goats. This new name was adopted by subsequent writers, and amongst others by or Spenser.

More than a century afterwards (1498) Mantuan published his Bucolics with such success, that they were soon dignified by Badias with a comment, and, as Scaliger complained, received into schools, and taught as classical ; his complaint was vain, and the practice, however injudicious, spread far, and continued long. Mantuan was read, at least in some of the inferior schools of this kingdom, to the beginning of the present century. The speakers of Mantuan car

I bave heard Mr. Garrick say that Addison wrote the celebrated Epilogue published in the Dame of Budgell; that this was a fact he received from somo of the Tonsona.-WARTOS : Essay on Pope, vol. II. p. 240.

16 Spectator,' No. 228, of Nov. 16, 1711, and 'Spectator,' No. 229, Nov. 22, 1711. Joseple Warton was of opinion that in these exquisite fragments Philips recelyed assistance from Addison.--Essay on Popo, 1. 800.

. ried their disquisitions beyond the country, to censure the corraptions of the Church ; and from him Spenser learned to employ his swains on topics of controversy.

The Italians soon transferred Pastoral poetry into their own language: Sannazaro wrote · Arcadia' in prose and verse ; Tasso and Guarini wrote ‘Favole Boschareccie,' or Sylvan Dramas ; and all nations of Europe filled volumes with Thyrsis and Damon, and Thestylis and Phyllis.

Philips thinks it “somewhat strange to conceive how, in an age 80 addicted to the Muses, Pastoral Poetry never comes to be so much as thought apon." His wonder seems very unseasonable : there had never, from the time of Spenser, wanted writers to talk occasionally of Arcadia and Strephon; and half the book in which he first tried his powers consists of dialogues on Queen Mary's death, between Tityrus and Corydon, or Mopsus and Menalcas. A series or book of Pastorals, however, I know not that any one had then lately published."

Not long afterwards'' Pope made the first display of his powers in four Pastorals, written in a very different form. Philips bad taken Spenser, and Pope took Virgil for his pattern. Philips endeavoured to be natural, Pope laboured to be elegant.

Philips was now favoured by Addison, and by Addison's companions, who were very willing to push him into reputation. The Guardian' gave (April 1713] an account of Pastoral, partly critical, and partly historical ; in which, when the merit of the modern is compared, Tasso and Guarini are censured for remote thoughts and unnatural refinements; and, upon the whole, the Italians and French are all excluded from rural poetry ; and the pipe of the pas.

11 Whoever wishes to pursue the subject of Pastoral Poetry still further, may read with ad. vantage Johnson's two papers in The Rambler,' Nos. 86 and 87. 18 At the same time. (See Note 2, p. 461.) VOL. II.

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