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every man would be a Coward if he durst; and drew from him those furious verses ; to which Scroop made in reply an epigram, ending with these lines :
Thou canst hurt no man's fame with thy ill word;
Of the satire against Man, Rochester can only claim what remains when all Boileau's part is taken away.
In all his works there is spriteliness and vigour, and every where may be found tokens of a mind which study might have carried to excellence. What more can be expected from a life spent in ostentatious contempt of regularity, and ended before the abilities of many other men began to be displayed ?*
* The late George Steevens, Esq. made the Selection of Rochester's Poems which appears in Dr. Johnson's edition ; but Mr. Malone observes that the same task had been performed in the early part of the last century by Jacob Tonson. C.
Poema Cl. V. JOANNIS PASSERATII, Regii in Academia Parisiensi Professoris. Ad ornatissimum virum ERRICUM MEMMIUM.
Janus adest, festæ poscunt sua dona Kalendæ, Munus abest festis quod possim offerre Kalendis. Siccine Castalius nobis exaruit humor? Usque adeò ingenii nostri est exhausta facultas, Immunem ut videat redeuntis janitor anni ? Quod nusquam est, potius nova per vestigia quæram.
Ecce autem partes dum sese versat in omnes Invenit mea Musa Nihil, ne despice munus. Nam NIHIL est gemmis, NIHIL est pretiosius auro. Huc animum, huc igitur vultus adverte benignos : Res nova narratur quæ nulli audita priorum, Ausonii & Graii dixerunt cætera vates Ausoniæ indictum NIHIL est Græcæque Camænæ.
E coelo quacunque Ceres sua prospicit arva, Aut genitor liquidis orbem complectitur ulnis Oceanus, nihil interitus & originis expers. Immortale nihil., NIHIL omni parte beatum. Quòd si hinc majestas & vis divina probatur, Num quid honore deûm, num quid dignabimur aris ? Conspectu lucis nihil est jucundius almæ, Vere NIHIL, NIHIL irriguo formosius horto, Floridius pratis, Zephyri clementius aura ; In bello sanctum nihil est, Martisque tumultu: Justum in pace NIHIL, NIHIL est in fædere tutum. Felix cui nihil est, (fuerant hæc vota Tibullo) Non timet insidias : fures, incendia temnit: Sollicitas sequitur nullo sub judice lites. Ille ipse invictis qui subjicit omnia fatis Zenonis sapiens, nihil admiratur & optat.
Socraticique gregis fuit ista scientia quondam,
Diique nihil metuunt. Quid longo carmine plura
WENTWORTH DILLON, Earl of Roscommon, was the son of James Dillon and Elizabeth Wentworth, sister to the Earl of Strafford. He was born in Ireland * during the lieutenancy of Strafford, who, being both his uncle and his godfather, gave him his own surname. His father, the third Earl of Roscommon, had been converted by Usher to the Protestant religion t; and when the Popish rebellion broke out, Strafford thinking the family in great danger from the fury of the Irish, sent for his godson, and placed him at his own seat in Yorkshire, where he was instructed in Latin; which he learned so as to write it with purity and elegance, though he was never able to retain the rules of grammar.
Such is the account given by Mr. Fenton, from whose notes on Waller most of this account must be borrowed, though I know not whether all that he relates is certain. The instructor whom he assigns to Roscommon is one Dr. Hall, by whom he cannot mean the famous Hall, then an old man and a. bishop.
* The Biographia Britannica says, probably about the year 1632; but this is inconsistent with the date of Strafford's viceroyalty in the following page. C.
† It was his grandfather, Sir Robert Dillon, second Earl of Roscommon, who was converted from popery; and his conversion is recited in the patent of Sir James, the first Earl of Roscommon, as one of the grounds of his creation. M.