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Twickenham. They are two very five essays, and are not inferior to the best compositions of Addison. The affectation of lofty philosophy with which they are imbued, is also one of Pope's characteristics. Those who are acquainted with his genius will be as convinced that they come from his hand, as that he wrote the paraphrase of the story of Cephalus and Procris in No. 527.
Another poet, and a friend of Pope, the Rev. Dr. Parnell, who is generally considered one of the wits of Queen Anne's reign, was also the author of two of The SPECTATORS. It cannot indeed be said of Parnell, as of Pope, that his prose was as graceful as his poetry ; the preface he contributed to his friend's Homer having been assiduously corrected by Pope himself; and his two allegories in The SPECTATOR (Nos. 460, and 501), not being very striking, though they were probably retouched by Addison, as they are obvious imitations of his exquisite visions, and one of them is introduced by a few sentences from his inimitable pen.
The name of Mr. Henry Martyn has been canonized by Steele in the 555th paper. It is there expressly said, that Martyn's name can hardly be mentioned in a list where it would not deserve the preference. This is surely high, and perhaps somewhat invidious praise, for the names that immediately follow, and are therefore, by implication, less deserving of pre-eminence, are those of Pope, Hughes, Carey, Tickell, Parnell, and Eusden. Henry Martyn stands among the contributors to The SPECTATOR, as the shadow of a great name: for with the exception of the 180th paper, and perhaps the 200th, no traces of his genius are clearly distinguished. These two papers were certainly on a subject which this Mr. Martyn studied with much attention ; political economy was in his day very little understood, and the 180th SPECTATOR, on the vanity of Louis the Fourteenth's conquests, must have put in a very novel hut convincing light, the “ill husbandry of injustice.” Henry Martyn appears to have been one of Steele's especial favourites, for besides this remarkable eulogy, Sir Richard, in No. 143, mentions him under the name of “ Cot. tilus," who amid many real evils, a chronic disease, and a narrow fortune, preserves his tranquillity of mind, and sees the world in a hurry, with the same scorn as a sober person regards a drunken man.
Taking The Spectator as a whole, it is certainly a finely diversified work. From political economy to pastoral poetry, all subjects and all styles are found in its pages. John Byrom, the younger son of a linen. draper, and a student of Trinity College, Cambridge, wrote the portrait
which is inserted in No. 603. Phæbe was reported to have been the daughter of Bentley, and the young student composed his verses in the hope that they would assist him in obtaining his fellowship from the greatest of modern scholars. A fellowship he certainly did receive in 1714: but was imprudent enough to marry his cousin, and offend his rich uncle. Necessity was, however, in his case, as in that of many others the parent of invention. A system of short-hand made his fortune, and on the death of his brother, he also acquired the estate of his family. He then became a wealthy man, and a good man; was a good scholar, a good member of society, but not a good poet. Besides his poem in No. 603, Byrom is also known to have contributed to The Spectator the two papers on Dreaming, Nos. 586 and 593.
Dr. Zachary Pearce, afterwards Bishop of Rochester, also contributed two papers. Not only for THE SPECTATORS, Nos. 572 and 633; not only for his admirable classical editions, and some excellent miscellaneous writings, Zachary Pearce deserves to be mentioned honourably in the his. tory of the Church of England, but as one of her very few prelates, who, from conscientious motives, in his declining years, sincerely offered to resign his mitre.
Shopkeepers sometimes become authors for the purpose of puffing their wares, but the letter signed Peter Motteux, in No. 288, is really the composition of an author who became a tea-dealer, and prudently exerted his literary powers in THE SPECTATOR for the purpose of getting customers to patronize his shop in Leadenhall Street. It is to be regretted that when Peter Motteux, after translating Don Quixote and Rabelais, became an English tradesman, he did not also acquire, with the riches, the virtues of the English tradesman ; but though married to an amiable lady, the father of a family, and a respectable merchant, in his fifty-eighth year he was found dead in a house of bad character. He dedicated his poem "On Tea,” to The SPECTATOR, and Steele, in No.552, gives a description of his warehouses, and shows himself desirous of doing all the good turns in his power to his former brother of the quill. Poor Dick, however troublesome he might be to Joseph Addison, was always ready to assist a friend.
Another letter, that signed Philip Homebred, in No. 364, came from the pen of Mr. Philip Yorke, afterwards the Earl of Hardwicke, who in 1736 filled the office of Lord High Chancellor, was such a distinguished lawyer, and, in his later years, such a wise political moderator. This
effusion only proves how much easier it is to be a great lawyer, or even a great minister, than a brilliant author.
No. 334, upon Dancing, was really contributed by a dancing-master, and a historian of his art. He appears, from No. 466, to have persuaded Steele that dancing was a most delightful accomplishment. So it might be to Sir Richard, but Addison would most assuredly have had a different opinion upon the subject. The name of the literary dancing master was Mr. John Weaver. " I, who teach to dance," said the enthusiastic professor, in his letter to The Spectator, “have attempted a small treatise as an essay towards the History of Dancing; in which I have inquired into its antiquity, origin, and use, and shown what esteem the ancients had for it. If some great genius after this would arise, and advance this art to that perfection it seems capable of receiving, what might not be expected from it ?”
When the treatise was ready to be published, Steele immediately set about recommending it, as the author requested, to parents and guardians. It was certainly excusable in the honest dancing-master to make Steele believe that this art was esteemed by the ancients; but although Addison had not studied the Roman orators so much as he perused the Latin poets, he could undoubtedly have pointed out a remarkable passage in Cicero, where the greatest orator of that eminently grave people does not even venture to defend his client on the charge of dancing. "The fact is damning to Muræna,” said Cicero, “ if it be true; and to his accuser if it be false. None but a madman could think of dancing, either when alone, or in any respectable company."*
These expressions show how entirely alien to the Roman nature was this art which has undoubtedly been much patronized by nations of a lighter character. But effeminacy of every kind was held in utter detestation among the Romans during the healthy days of their nation. It would almost seem as though those stern republicans had some prophetic dread of the Oriental manners which their degenerate descendants, when the empire was declining, so greedily adopted. “Dancing,” Cicero de. clares in the passage just mentioned,“ to be the last of all vices.”
So much for Steele's patronage of the dancing-master, who seems to have been an accomplished and ingenious man. It is to be hoped that his shade will forgive the writer of this preface for having said anything disrespectful of this art; but it is not one in which English genius has
Cicero, Orat. pro L. Muræna.
shone with any peculiar brilliancy, and has too often been associated with a laxity of manly morality, to be very extensively patronized in this bleak climate. If Englishmen ever sacrifice to the graces, let us hope that their graces, like those of the old Romans, will be hardy and national, becoming the children of the sea, the lords of India, and the pioneers of a healthy civilisation among the uncleared forests of America, and the sheep-walks of Australia.
The art of punning, it is to be feared, is not quite so un-English as the art of dancing. Even Shakespeare loved a pun. “ Orator Henley" undertook, through the medium of The SPECTATOR, to ridicule his countrynien ont of this habit : his letter, with the signature" Peter de Quin," is a poor production, and is full of such miserable witticisms as only a very bad professional punster could have committed. Another letter, signed ** Tom Tweer,” has also been indicated as a choice production of the same illustrious orator, who, like Narcissus, fell in love with himself, from being a popular preacher, turned into an oratorical buffoon, and performed to a most select audience every Wednesday and Sunday evening, in the now very classical regions of Clare Market.
The Duke of Newcastle did as great an injury to the Rev. Laurence Eusden, as Orator Henley did to himself. In an evil hour, Eusden wrote some verses on the Duke's marriage. Newcastle, being Lord Chamberlain, had, of course the patronage of the laurel, and on the death of Rowe, metamorphosed Eusden from being a respectable parson into a ridiculous poet-laureate. This poet enjoys, among his poetical brethren, the same degree of eminence that the Duke of Newcastle enjoys among politicians. The patron was worthy of the poet, and the poet of the patron. Eusden is expressly mentioned by Steele as one of the correspondents to whom THE SPECTATOR was under obligations. Two letters only, however-one about the Loungers of Cambridge, in No. 54, and the other on Idols, in No. 87—have been declared his compositions.
Thomas Tickell, a greater poet than the future laureate, Eusden, and an ingenious and amiable man, who, at length attained the preference among Addison's worshippers, undoubtedly contributed much to The SPECTATOR, although the verses, in No. 532, and the poem entitled the Royal Progress, in No. 620, have alone been associated with his name.
Ambrose Philips, another poet, who through the epithet “ Namby Pamby,” given to him by Swift, has been somewhat undeservedly despised, is also known as a writer in The Spectator only by his poetical
translations. Few English versions of Latin poems are more estimable than Philips' translations of Sappho, in Nos. 223 and 229. Philips was the friend both of Addison and Steele, and their private letters show how zealously they endeavoured to promote his interests. He was most de. cidedly patronised by The SPECTATOR. Steele represents this silent gentleman, in No. 290, as present at the reading of Philips' play of the “ Distressed Mother," and Addison carries Sir Roger to see it performed.
Isaac Watts, a poet of a very different character from that of either Eusden, Tickell, or Philips, was the author of the metrical version of the 114th Psalm, in the 461st SPECTATOR. Steele's college friend, the Rev. Richard Parker, wrote the letter in No. 474, on Rural Society. The Rev. Dr. Henry Bland, head master of Eton, and afterwards Dean of Durham, translated Cato's Soliloquy from English into Latin. It has been often observed, how many more words there generally are in trans. lations than are found in the originals. Bland's Latin translation of this soliloquy, in No. 628, contains fifty-one lines, while the English original only occupies thirty-one. So difficult it is to give in different tongues, the same sense in the same number of words.
Mr. Francham, of Norwich, in No. 520, poured out the “freshness of his sorrow" on the death of his beloved wife. Mr. Francham has now long since followed his wife to the grave, and these effusions remain as the only memorial of his existence. His wife had been dead three months when he wrote his letter to “ Mr. SPECTATOR.” A daughter then remained to him, and she was the image of her mother. And now, mother, widower, and daughter are all dust, and the tears of poor Mr. Francham are quite dried up. Who can read his letter without thinking of Addison's reflections on mortality, and moralising on " the vanity of grieving for those whom we must so quickly follow ?”
A Mr. Carey and a Mr. Ince were said by Steele to have been engaged in The SPECTATOR. Which are their compositions ? What did they do in this world? Their Spectatorial compositions must for ever remain undistinguished. All we know of Mr. Carey is, that he was of New Col. lege, Oxford; and all we know of Mr. Ince is, that he was of Gray's Inn, and died on October the 13th, 1758.
The Spectator, however, remains, though its contributors and its readers are no more. Those three thousand breakfast-tables, on which the first SPECTATOR was laid, where are they now? The pages which