Imatges de pÓgina

Ovid and Juvenal. In his Review, though unfinifhed, are fome vigorous lines. His poems are not below mediocrity; nor have 1 found much in them to be praised *.

With the wit he feems to have fhared the diffoluteness of the times: for fome of his compofitions are fuch as he must have reviewed with deteftation in his later days, when he published thofe Sermons which Felton has commended.

Perhaps, like fome other foolish young men, he rather talked than lived vicioufly, in an age when he that would be thought a Wit was afraid to fay his prayers; and, whatever might have been bad in the first part of his life, was furely condemned and reformed by his better judgement.

In 1683, being then mafter of arts, and fellow of Trinity College in Cambridge, he wrote a poem on the marriage of the Lady Anne with George Prince of Denmark.

He then took orders; and, being made prebendary of Gloucefter, became a proctor in convocation for that church, and chaplain to Queen Anne.

In 1710, he was prefented by the bishop of Winchester to the wealthy living of Witney in Oxfordshire, which he enjoyed but a few months. On February 10, 1710-11, having returned from an entertainment, he was found dead the next morning. His death is mentioned in Swift's Journal.

*They make a part of a volume published by Tonfon in 8vo. 1717, Containing the poems of the earl of Rofcommon, and the duke of Buckingham's effay on poetry; but were firft published in Dryden's Miscellany, as were most, if not all, of the poems in that collection. H.



WILLIAM KING was born in London in

1663; the fon of Ezekiel King, a gentleman. He was allied to the family of Clarendon.


From Weftminfter fchool, where he was a fcholar on the foundation under the care of Dr. Bufby, he was at eighteen elected to Chrift-church, in 1681; where he is faid to have profecuted his ftudies with fo much intenfenefs and activity, that before he was eight years ftanding he had read over, and made remarks upon, twenty-two thoufand odd hundred books and manufcripts. The books were certainly not very long, the manu. fcripts not very difficult, nor the remarks very large; for the calculator will find that he dif patched feven a day for every day of his eight years; with a remnant that more than fatisfies moft other ftudents. He took his degree in the moft expenfive manner, as a grand compounder; whence it is inferred that he inherited a confiderable fortune.

In 1688, the fame year in which he was made. mafter of arts, he publifhed a confutation of Varilla's account of Wicliffe; and, engaging in the study of the Civil Law, became doctor in 1692, and was admitted advocate at Doctors Commons.




He had already made fome tranflations from the French, and written fome humorous and fatirical pieces; when in 1694, Molefworth published his Account of Denmark, in which he treats the Danes and their monarch with great contempt; and takes the opportunity of infinuating those wild principles, by which he fuppofes liberty to be eftablished, and by which his adverfaries fufpect that all fubordination and government is endangered.

This book offended Prince George; and the Danish minifter prefented a memorial against it. The principles of its author did not pleafe Dr. King; and therefore he undertook to confute part, and laugh at the reft. The controversy is now forgotten; and books of this kind feldom live long, when intereft and reíentment have ceafed.

In 1697 he mingled in the controverfy between Boyle and Bentley; and was one of thofe who tried what Wit could perform in oppofition to Learning, on a queftion which Learning only could decide.

In 1699 was published by him A Journey to London, after the method of Dr. Martin Lifter, who had publifhed A Journey to Paris. And in 1700 he fatirifed the Royal Society, at leaft Sir Hans Sloane their prefident, in two dialogues, intituled The Tranfactioneer.

Though he was a regular advocate in the courts of civil and canon law, he did not love his profeffion, nor indeed any kind of bufinefs which interrupted his voluptuary dreams, or forced him to roufe from that indulgence in which only he could find delight. His reputation as a civilian was yet maintained by his judgements in the courts of Delegates, and raised very high by the addrefs and knowledge

knowledge which he difcovered in 1700, when he defended the earl of Anglefea against his lady, afterwards dutchess of Buckinghamshire, who fued for a divorce, and obtained it.

The expence of his pleasures, and neglect of bufinefs, had now leffened his revenues; and he was willing to accept of a fettlement in Ireland, where, about 1702, he was made judge of the admiralty, commiffioner of the prizes, keeper of the records in Birmingham's tower, and vicar-general to Dr. Marth, the primate.

But it is vain to put wealth within the reach of him who will not ftretch out his hand to take it. King foon found a friend as idle and thoughtless as himself, in Upton, one of the judges, who had a pleasant house called Mount-town, near Dublin, to which King frequently retired; delighting to neglect his intereft, forget his cares, and defert his duty.

Here he wrote Mully of Mountown, a poem; by which, though fanciful readers in the pride of fagacity have given it a poetical interpretation, was meant originally no more than it expreffed, as it was dictated only by the author's delight in the quiet of Mountown.

In 1708, when lord Wharton was fent to govern Ireland, King returned to London, with his poverty, his idlenefs, and his wit; and publifhed fome effays called Useful Tranfactions. His Voyage to the Ifland of Cajamai is particularly commended. He then wrote the Art of Love, a poem remarkable, notwithstanding its title, for purity of fentiment; and in 1709 imitated Horace in an Art of Cookery, which he published, with fome letters to Dr. Lifter.

In 1710, he appeared as a lover of the Church, on the fide of Sacheverell; and was fuppofed to have concurred at least in the projection of The Examiner. His eyes were open to all the operations of Whiggifm; and he bestowed some ftrictures upon Dr. Kennett's adulatory fermon at the funeral of the duke of Devonshire.

The Hiftory of the Heathen Gods, a book composed for schools, was written by him 1711. The work is useful; but might have been produced: without the powers of King. The fame year, he published Rufinus, an hiftorical effay; and a poem, intended to difpofe the nation to think as he thought of the duke of Marlborough and his adherents.

In 1711, competence, if not plenty, was again put into his power. He was, without the trouble of attendance, or the mortification of a request, made gazetteer. Swift, Freind, Prior, and other men of the fame party, brought him the key of the gazetteer's office. He was now again placed in a profitable employment, and again threw the benefit away. An Act of Infolvency made his bufinefs at that time particularly troublesome; and he would not wait till hurry fhould be at an end, but impatiently refigned it, and returned to his wonted indigence and amufements.

One of his amufements at Lambeth, where he refided, was to mortify Dr. Tenifon, the Archbishop, by a publick feftivity, on the furrender of Dunkirk to Hill; an event with which Tenifon's political bigotry did not fuffer him to be delighted. King was refolved to counteract his fullennefs, and at the expence of a few barrels of ale filled the neighbourhood with honeft merriment.

« AnteriorContinua »