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and rubbed his face with his handkerchief. When Sprat preached, he likewise was honoured with the like animating hum ; but he stretched out his hand to the congregation, and cried, “
pray you, peace.”
This I was told in my youth by my father, an old man, who had been no careless observer of the passages of those times.
Burnet's sermon, says Salmon, was 'remarkable for sedition, and Sprat’s for loyalty.
Burnet had the thanks of the house ; Sprat had no thanks, but a good living from the king; which, he said, was of as much value as the thanks of the Commons.
The works of Sprat, besides his few
' poems, are, The History of the Royal Society, The Life of Cowley, The Answer to Sorbiere, The History of the Ryehouse Plot, The Relation of his own Examination, and a volume of Sermons. I have heard it oba served, with great justness, that every book is of a different kind, and that each has its distinct and characteristical excellence,
My business is only with his poems. He considered Cowley as a model ; and supposed that as he was imitated, perfection was approached. Nothing therefore but Pindarick liberty was to be expected. There is
. in his few productions no want of such conceits as he thought excellent; and of those our judgement may be settled by the first that appears in his praise of Cromwell, where he says that Cromwell's fame, like man, will grow white as it grows old,
H A L I F A X.
HE life of the Earl of Halifax was
properly that of an artful and active statesman, employed in balancing parties, contriving expedients, and combating oppofition, and exposed to the vicissitudes of advancement and degradation : but in this collection, poetical merit is the claim to attention ; and the account which is here to be
; expected may properly be proportioned not to his influence in the state, but to his rank among the writers of verse.
Charles Montague was born April 16, 1661, at Horton in Northamptonshire, the son of Mr. George Montague, a younger son of the earl of Manchester. He was educated first in the country, and then removed to Westminster ; where in 1677 he was chosen a king's scholar, and recommended himself to Busby by his felicity in extemporary epigrams. He contracted a very intimate friendfhip with Mr. Stepney; and in 1682, when Stepney was elected to Cambridge, the election of Montague being not to proceed till the year following, he was afraid left by being placed at Oxford he might be separated from his companion, and therefore folicited to be removed to Cambridge, with, out waiting for the advantages of another year.
It seems indeed time to wish for a removal; for he was already a school-boy of one and twenty.
His relation Dr. Montague was then máster of the college in which he was placed a fellow commoner, and took him under his
particular care. Here he commenced an acquaintance with the great Newton, which continued through his life, and was at last attested by a legacy.
In 1685, his verses on the death of king Charles made such impression on the earl of Dorset, that he was invited to town, and introduced by that universal patron to the other wits. In 1687, he joined with Prior in the City Mouse and Country Mouse, a burlesque of Dryden's Hind and Panther. He signed the invitation to the Prince of Orange, and fat in the convention. He about the same time married the countess dowager of Manchester, and intended to have taken orders; but afterwards altering his purpose, he purchased for 1500l. the place of one of the clerks of the council.
After he had written his epistle on the victory of the Boyne, his patron Dorset introduced him to king William with this expression : Sir, I have brought a Mouse to wait on your Majesty, To which the king is said to have replied, You do well to put me in the way of making a Man of him; and ordered him a pension of five hundred pounds. This story, however current, seems to have been made after the event, The king's answer implies a greater acquaintance with our proverbial and familiar diction than king William could possibly have attained.