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In 1709, a year after the exhibition of Phædra, died John Philips, the friend and fellow-collegian of Smith, who, on that oceasion, wrote a poem, which justice must place among the best elegies which our language can show, an elegant mixture of fondness and admiration, of dignity and softness. There are some passages too ludicrous ; but every human performance has its faults.

This elegy it was the mode among his friends to purchase for a guinea ; and, as his acquaintance was numerous, it was a very profitable poem.

Of his Pindar mentioned by Oldisworth, I have never otherwise heard. His Longinus he intended to accompany with some illustrations, and had selected his instances of the false sublime from the works of Blackmore.

He resolved to try again the fortune of the stage, with the story of Lady Jane Grey. It is not unlikely that his experience of the inefficacy and incredibility of a mythological tale might determine him to choose an action from the English history, at no great distance from our own times, which was to end in a real event, produced by the operation of known characters.

A subject will not easily occur that can give more opportunities of informing the understanding, for which Smith was unquestionably qualified, or for moving the passions, in which I suspect him to have had less power.

Having formed his plan and collected materials, he declared, that a few months would complete his design ; and, that he might pursue his work with less frequent avocations, he was, in June, 1710, invited by Mr. George Ducket to his house at Gartham in Wiltshire. Here he found such opportunities of indulgence as did not much forward his studies, and particularly some strong ale, too delicious to be resisted. He ate and drank till he found himself plethoric: and then, resolving to ease himself by evacuation, he wrote to an apothecary in the neighbourhood a prescription of a purge so forcible, that the apothecary thought it his duty to delay it till he had given notice of its danger. Smith, not pleased with the contradiction of a shopman,

. and boastful of his own knowledge, treated the notice with rude contempt, and swallowed his own medicine, which, in July, 1710, brought him to the grave. He was buried at Gartham.

Many years afterwards, Ducket communicated to Oldmixon, the historian, an account pretended to have been received from Smith, that Clarendon's History was, in its publication, corrupted by Aldrich, Smalridge, and Atterbury; and that Smith was employed to forge and insert the alterations,

This story was published triumphantly by Oldmixon, and may be supposed to have been eagerly received: but its progress was soon checked; for, finding its way into the journal of Trevoux, it fell under the eye of Atterbury, then an exile in France, who immediately denied the charge, with this remarkable particular, that he never in his whole life had once spoken to Smith'; his company being, as must be inferred, not accepted by those who attended to their characters.

The charge was afterwards very diligently refuted by Dr. Burton, of Eton, a man eminent for literature; and, though not of the same party with Aldrich and Atterbury, too studious of truth to leave them burthened with a false charge. The testimonies

3 See Bishop Atterbury's Epistolary Correspondence, 1799, vol. iii. pp. 126. 133. In the same Work, vol. i. p. 325, it appears that Smith was at one time suspected by Atterbury to have been author of the Tale of a Tub. N.

which he has collected have convinced mankind, that either Smith or Ducket was guilty of wilful and malicious falsehood.

This controversy brought into view those parts of Smith's life which, with more honour to his name, might bave been concealed. Of Smith I can yet say

little more.

He was a man of such estimation among his companions, that the casual censures or praises which he dropped in conversation were considered, like those of Scaliger, as worthy of preservation.

He had great readiness and exactness of criticism, and by a cursory glance over a new composition would exactly tell all its faults and beauties.

He was remarkable for the power of reading with great rapidity, and of retaining, with great fidelity, what he so easily collected.

He therefore always knew what the present question required; and, when his friends expressed their wonder at his acquisitions, made in a state of apparent negligence and drunkenness, he never discovered his hours of reading or method of study, but involved himself in affected silence, and fed his own vanity with their admiration.

One practice he had, which was easily observed : if any thought or image was presented to his mind that he could use or improve, he did not suffer, it to be lost; but, amidst the jollity of a tavern, or in the warmth of conversation, very diligently committed it to paper.

Thus it was that he had gathered two quires of hints for his new tragedy; of which Rowe, when they were put into his hands, could make, as he says, very little use, but which the collector considered as a valuable stock of materials.

When he came to London, his way of life connected him with the licentious and dissolute; and he affected the airs and gaiety of a man of pleasure ; but his dress was always deficient; scholastic cloudiness still hung about him; and his merriinent was sure to produce the scorn of his companions.

With all his carelessness, and all his vices, he was one of the murmurers of fortune ; and wondered why he was suffered to be poor, when Addison was caressed and preferred ; nor would a very little have contented him ; for he estimated his wants at

1; six hundred pounds a year.

In his course of reading, it was particular, that he had diligently perused, and accurately remembered, the old romances of knight-errantry.

He had a high opinion of his own merit, and was something contemptuous in his treatment of those whom he considered as not qualified to oppose or contradict him. He had many frailties; yet it cannot but be supposed that he had great merit, who could obtain to the same play a prologue from Addison, and an epilogue from Prior; and who could have at once the patronage of Halifax, and the praise of Oldisworth.

For the power of communicating these minute memorials, I am indebted to my conversation with Gilbert Walmsley, late registrar of the ecclesiastical court of Lichfield, who was acquainted both with Smith and Ducket; and declared, that, if the tale concerning Clarendon were forged, he should suspect Ducket of the falsehood; “ for Rag was a man of great veracity.”.

Of Gilbert Walmsley, thus presented to my mind, let me indulge myself in the remembrance. I knew him very early; he was one of the first friends that literature procured me, and I hope that at least my gratitude made me worthy of his notice.

He was of an advanced age, and I was only not a boy; yet he never received my notions with contempt. He was a Whig, with all the virulence and malevolence of his party; yet difference of opinion did not keep us apart. I honoured him, and he endured me.

He had mingled with the gay world, without exemption from its vices or its follies, but had never neglected the cultivation of his mind; his belief of revelation was unshaken ; his learning preserved his principles; he grew first regular, and then pious.

His studies had been so various, that I am not able to name a man of equal knowledge. His acquaintance with books was great ; and what he did not immediately know, he could at least tell where to find. Such was his amplitude of learning, and such his copiousness of communication, that it may be doubted whether a day now passes in which I have not some advantage from his friendship.

At this man's table I enjoyed many cheerful and instructive hours, with companions such as are not often found, with one who has lengthened, and one who has gladdened, life; with Dr. James, whose skill in physic will be long remembered, and with David Garrick, whom I hoped to have gratified with this character of our common friend: but what are the hopes of man! I am disappointed by that stroke of death, which has eclipsed the gaiety of nations, and impoverished the public stock of harmless pleasure,

In the library at Oxford is the following ludicrous analysis of Pocockius :


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[Sent by the author to Mr. Urry.] OPUSCULUM hoc, Halberdarie amplissime, in lucem proferre hactenus distuli, judicii tui acumen subveritus magis quam bipennis. Tandem aliquando oden hanc ad te mitto sublimem, teneram, flebilem, suavem, qualem demum divinus (si Musis vacaret) scripsisset Gastrellus : adeo scilicet sublimem ut inter legendum dormire, adeo flebilem ut ridere velis. Cujus elegantiam ut melius inspicias, versuum ordinem & materiam breviter referam. 1 mus versus de duobus præliis decantatis. 2dus & zus de Lotharingio, cuniculis subterraneis, saxis, ponto, hostibus, & Asiâ. 4tus & 5tus de catenis, sudibus, uncis, draconibus, tigribus & crocodilis. 6us, 7us, gas, 9", de Gomorrhâ, de Babylone, Babele, & quodam domi suæ peregrino. 10", aliquid de quodam Pocockio. 11", 12", de Syriâ, Solymâ. 135, 14", de Hoseâ, & quercu, & de juvene quodam valde sene. 15", 16", de Ætnâ, & quomodo Ætna Pocockio fit valde similis. 174, 18"s, de tubâ, astro, umbrâ, flammis, rotis, Pocockio non neglecto. Cætera de Christianis, Ottomanis, Babyloniis, Arabibus, & gravissima agrorum melancholiâ ; de Cæsare Flacco*, Nestore, & miserando juvenis cujusdam florentissimi fato, anno ætatis suæ centesimo præmaturè abrepti. Quæ omnia cum accuratè expenderis, necesse est ut oden hanc meam admirandâ planè varietate constare fatearis. Subitò ad Batavos proficiscor, lauro ab illis donandus. Prius verò Pembrochienses voco ad certamen Poeticum. Vale. Illustrissima tua deosculor crura.


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4 Pro Flacco, animo paulo attentiore, scripsissem Marone.







soon as it was made known that your lordship was not displeased with this play, my friends began to value themselves upon the interest they had taken in its success; I was touched with a vanity I had not before been acquainted with, and began to dream of nothing less than the immortality of


my work.

And I had sufficiently shown this vanity in inscribing this play to your lordship, did I only consider you as one to whom so many admirable pieces, to whom the praises of Italy, and the best Latin poem since the Æneid, that on the peace of Ryswick, are consecrated. But it had been intolerable presumption to have addressed it to you, my lord, who are the nicest judge of poetry, were you not also the greatest encourager of it; to you who excel all the present age as a poet, did you not surpass all the preceding ones as a patron.

For in the times when the Muses were most encouraged, the best writers were countenanced, but never advanced; they were admitted to the acquaintance of the greatest men, but that was all they were to expect. The bounty of the patron is no where to be read of but in the works of the poets, whereas your lordship's will fill those of the historians.

For what transactions can they write of, which have not been managed by some who were recommended by your lordship? 'Tis by your lordship's means, that the universities have been real nurseries for the state ; that the

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courts abroad are charmed by the wit and learning, as well as the sagacity, of our ministers; that Germany, Switzerland, Muscovy, and even Turkey itself, begins to relish the politeness of the English ; that the poets at home adorn that court which they formerly used only to divert; that abroad they travel, in a manner very unlike their predecessor Homer, and with an equipage he could not bestow, even on the heroes he designed to immortalize.

And this, my lord, shows your knowledge of men as well as writings, and your judgment no less than your generosity. You have distinguished between those who by their inclinations or abilities were qualified for the pleasure only, and those that were fit for the service of your country ; you made the one easy, and the other useful : you have left the one no occasion to wish for any preferment, and you have obliged the public by the promotion of the others.

And now, my lord, it may seem odd that I should dwell on the topic of your bounty only, when I might enlarge on so many others; when I ought to take notice of that illustrious family from which you are sprung, and yet of the great merit which was necessary to set you op a level with it, and to raise you to that house of peers, which was already filled with your relations : when I ought to consider the brightness of your wit in private conversation, and the solidity of your eloquence in public debates; when I ought to admire in you the politeness of a courtier, and the sincerity of a friend ; the openness of behaviour, which charms all who address themselves to you, and yet that bidden reserve, which is necessary for those great affairs in which you are concerned.

To pass over all these great qualities, my lord, and insist only on your generosity, looks as if I solicited it for myself; but to that I quitted all manner of claim when I took notice of your lordship's great judgment in the choice of those you advance; so that all at present my ambition aspires to is, that your lordship would be pleased to pardon this presumption, and permit me to profess myself, with the most profound respect,

your lordship's most humble,

and most obedient servant,


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