Imatges de pÓgina
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lie open to every one's use, are of little value. Thẻ attention naturally retires from a new tale of Venus, Diana, and Minerva.

His “Fables” seem to have been a favourite work; for, having published one volume, he left another behind him. Of this kind of Fables, the authors do not appear to have formed any distinct or settled notion. Phædrus evidently confounds them with Tales, and Gay both with Tales and Allegorical Prosopopæias. A Fable or Apologue, such as is now under consideration, seems to be, in its genuine state, a narrative in which beings irrational, and sometimes inanimate, arbores loquuntur, non tantum feræ, are, for the purpose of moral instruction, feigned to act and speak with human interests and passions. To this description the compositions of Gay do not always conform. For a Fable he gives now and then a Tale, or an abstracted Allegory; and from some, by whatever name they may be called, it will be difficult to extract any moral principle. They are, however, told with liveliness; the versification is smooth, and the diction, though now and then a little constrained by the measure or the rhyme, is generally happy.

To "Trivia" may be allowed all that it claims; it is sprightly, various, and pleasant. The subject is of that kind which Gay was by nature qualified to adorn; yet some of his decorations may be justly wished away. An honest blacksmith might have done for Patty what is performed by Vulcan. The appearance of Cloacina is nauseous and superfluous; a shoe-boy could have been produced by the casual cohabitation

of mere mortals. Horace's rule is broken in both cases; there is no dignus vindice nodus, no difficulty that required any supernatural interposition. A patten may be made by the hammer of a mortal, and a bastard may be dropped by a human strumpet. On great occasions, and on small, the mind is repelled by useless and apparent falsehood.

Of his little poems the public judgment seems to be right; they are neither much esteemed, nor totally despised. The story of the Apparition is borrowed from one of the tales of Poggio. Those that please least are the pieces to which "Gulliver" gave occasion; for who can much delight in the echo of an unnatural fiction ?

"Dione" is a counterpart to "Amynta," and "Pastor Fido," and other trifles of the same kind, easily imitated, and unworthy of imitation. Where the Italians call comedies from a happy conclusion, Gay calls a tragedy from a mournful event; but the style of the Italians and of Gay is equally tragical. There is something in the poetical Arcadia so remote from known reality and speculative possibility, that we can never support its representation through a long work. A Pastoral of a hundred lines may be endured; but who will hear of sheep and goats, and myrtle bowers and purling rivulets, through five acts? Such scenes please barbarians in the dawn of literature, and children in the dawn of life; but will be for the most part thrown away, as men grow wise, and nations grow learned.

GRANVILLE.

OF George Granville, or as others write, Greenville,

or Grenville, afterwards Lord Lansdown of Bideford in the county of Devon, less is known than his name and rank might give reason to expect. He was born about 1665, the son of Bernard Greenville, who was entrusted by Monk with the most private transactions of the Restoration, and the grandson of Sir Bevil Greenville, who died in the King's cause, at the battle of Lansdown.

His early education was superintended by Sir William Ellis; and his progress was such, that before the age of twelve he was sent to Cambridge, where he pronounced a copy of his own verses to the Princess Mary d'Este of Modena, then Duchess of York, when she visited the University.

At the accession of King James, being now at eighteen, he again exerted his poetical powers, and addressed the new monarch in three short pieces, of which the first is profane, and the two others such as a boy might be expected to produce; but he was commended by old Waller, who perhaps was pleased to find himself imitated, in six lines, which, though they begin with nonsense and end with dulness, excited in the young author a rapture of acknowledg

ment

"In numbers such as Waller's self might use."

It was probably about this time that he wrote the poem to the Earl of Peterborough, upon his accomplishment of the Duke of York's marriage with the Princess of Modena, whose charms appear to have gained a strong prevalence over his imagination, and upon whom nothing ever has been charged but imprudent piety, an intemperate and misguided zeal for the propagation of popery.

However faithful Granville might have been to the King, or however enamoured of the Queen, he has left no reason for supposing that he approved either the artifices or the violence with which the King's religion was insinuated or obtruded. He endeavoured to be true at once to the King and to the Church.

Of this regulated loyalty he has transmitted to posterity a sufficient proof, in the letter which he wrote to his father about a month before the Prince of Orange landed.

"TO THE HON. MR. BERNARD GRANVILLE, AT THE "EARL OF BATHE'S, ST. JAMES'S.

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'Your having no prospect of obtaining a commission for me, can no way alter or cool my desire at this important juncture to venture my life, in some manner or other, for my King and my country.

"I cannot bear living under the reproach of lying obscure and idle in a country retirement, when every Iman who has the least sense of honour should be preparing for the field.

"You may remember, Sir, with what reluctance I submitted to your commands upon Monmouth's rebellion, when no importunity could prevail with you to permit me to leave the Academy: I was too young to be hazarded; but, give me leave to say, it is glorious at any age to die for one's country, and the sooner the nobler the sacrifice.

"I am now older by three years. My uncle Bathe was not so old when he was left among the slain at the battle of Newbury; nor you yourself, Sir, when you made your escape from your tutor's, to join your brother at the defence of Scilly.

"The same cause is now come round about again. The King has been misled; let those who have misled him be answerable for it. Nobody can deny but he is sacred in his own person, and it is every honest man's

duty to defend it.

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You are pleased to say, it is yet doubtful if the Hollanders are rash enough to make such an attempt; but, be that as it will, I beg leave to insist upon it, that I may be presented to his Majesty, as one whose utmost ambition it is to devote his life to his service, and my country's, after the example of all my

ancestors.

"The gentry assembled at York, to agree upon the choice of representatives for the county, have prepared an address, to assure his Majesty they are ready to sacrifice their lives and fortunes for him upon this and all other occasions; but at the same time they humbly beseech him to give them such magistrates as may be agreeable to the laws of the land; for, at

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