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Born at Handley, in Worcestershire Educated at Westminster and

Oxford — His Character by Oldisworth Excels in Latin Verse — His loose life and slovenly habits His Tragedy of Phædra and Hippolitus ' — Buried at Hartham, in Wiltshire - Works and Character Gilbert Walmsley.

EDMUND Smith is one of those lucky writers who have, without much labour, attained high reputation, and who are mentioned with reverence rather for the possession than the exertion of uncommon abilities.

Of his life little is known ; and that little claims no praise but what can be given to intellectual excellence, seldom employed to any virtuous purpose. His character, as given by Mr. Oldisworth,' with all the partiality of friendship, which is said by Dr. Burton ? to show “what fine things one man of parts can say to another," and which, however, comprises great part of what can be known of Mr. Smith, it is better to transcribe at once than to take by pieces. I shall subjoin such little memorials as accident has enabled me to collect.

A CHARACTER OF THE AUTHOR. “ MR. EDMUND Smith was the only son of an eminent merchant, one Mr. Neale, by a daughter of the late Baron Lechmere. Some misfortunes of his father, which were soon after followed by his death, were the occasion of the son's being left very young in the hands of a near relation (one who married Mr. Neale's sister), whose name was Smith.

“ This gentleman and his lady treated him as their own child, and put him to Westminster School under the care of Dr. Busby ; whence, after the loss of his faithful and generous guardian (whose name he assumed and retained), he was removed to Christchurch in Oxford, and there

! In a 'Life of Smith,' prefixed to an edition of ‘Phædra and Hippolitus,' 1719-the Third Edition, corrected.

2 Dr. Burtou of Eton. See post, p. 55.

hy his aunt handsomely maintained till her death ; after which he continued a member of that learned and ingenious society till within five years of his own; though, some time before his leaving Christchurch, he was sent for by his mother to Worcester, and owned and acknowledged as her legitimate son ; which had not been mentioned but to wipe off the aspersions that were ignorantly cast by some on his birth. It is to be remembered for our author's honour, that, when at the Westminster election he stood a candidate for one of the universities, he so signally distinguished himself by his conspicuous performances, that there arose no small contention between the representative electors of Trinity College in Cambridge and Christchurch in Oxon, which of those two royal societies should adopt him as their own. But the electors of Trinity College having the preference of choice that year, they resolutely elected him ; who yet, being invited at the same time to Christchurch, chose to accept of a studentship there.

“Mr. Smith's perfections, as well natural as acquired, seem to have been formed upon Horace's plan ; who says, in his “ Art of Poetry,'

- Ego nec studium sine divite vend,
Nec rude quid prosit video ingenium : alterius sic

Altera poscit opem res, et conjurat amice.' “ He was endowed by Nature with all those excellent and necessary qualifications which are previous to the accomplishment of a great man. His memory was large and tenacious, yet by a curious felicity chiefly susceptible of the finest impressions it received from the best authors he read, which it always preserved in their primitive strength and amiable order.

“ He had a quickness of apprehension, and vivacity of understanding, which easily took in and surmounted the most subtle and knotty parts of mathematics and metaphysics. His wit was prompt and flowing, yet solid and pierciug; his taste delicate, his head clear, and his way of expressing his thoughts perspicuous and engaging. I shall say nothing of

person, which yet was so well turned, that no neglect of himself in his dress could render it disagreeable : insomuch that the fair sex, who observed and esteemed him, at once commended and reproved him by the name of the handsome sloven. An eager but generous and noble emulation grew up with him ; which (as it were a rational sort of instinct) pushed him upon striving to excel in every art and science that could make him a credit to his college, and that college the ornament of the most learned and polite university; and it was his happiness to have several contemporaries and fellow-students who exercised and excited this virtue in themselves and others, thereby becoming so deservedly in favour with this age, and so good a proof of its nice discerniment. His judgment, naturally good, soon ripened into an exquisite fineness and distinguishing sagacity, which as it was active and busy, so it was vigorous and manly, keeping even paces with a rich and strong imagination, always upon the wing, and never tired with aspiring. Hence it was, that,


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