« AnteriorContinuar »
against Le Courayer's undertaking, with this disadvantage, that the French had a version by one of their best translators, ereas you cannot read three pages of the English history * without discovering that the style is capable of great improvements. Suppose the merit of the versions equal, we may hope, that the addition of the notes will turn the balance in our favour, considering the reputation of the annotator."...
His proposal was accepted; but it should seem from this letter, though subscribed with his own name, that he had not yet been personally introduced to Mr-Gave..!!
In the course of the summer he returned to Lichfield, where he had left his wife, and there he, at last finished his tragedy; which was not executed with his rapidity of composition upon other occasions, but was slowly and painfully elaborated. The original unformed sketch of this tragedy, partly in the raw materials of prose, and partly worked up in verse,
* Sir Nathaniel Brent's Translation, 1676.
and a variety of hints for illustration, borrowed from the Greek, Roman, and modern writers, in his own hand-writing, he gave to Mr Langton, a few days before his death; who made a fair and distinct copy of the manuscript, which he ordered to be bound up with the original and the printed tragedy, and deposited the volume in the King's library.
In three months after, he removed to London with his wife; but her daughter, who had lived with them at Edial, was left with her relations in the country. His lodgings were for some time in Woodstock-Street, Hanover Square, and afterwards in Castle-Street, Cavendish Square. His tragedy being, as he thought, completely finished, and fit for the stage, he solicited Mr Fleetwood, the manager of Drury-Lane Theatre, to have it acted at his house ; but Mr Fleetwood would not accept it.
Disappointed in his expectations of support from the representation of his play, and being now an adventurer in the British capital, without relations, friends, interest, or gainful profession, he was compelled to renounce dramatic
composition, the most profitable species of literature, and, assuming the precarious avocation of an “ author by profession and trade." to depend on his stores of learning and extraordinary talents for the supplies of the passing day. For this purpose, he became connected, in a close and intimate acquaintance, with Mr Cave, and was enlisted by him, as a regular contributor to his magazine, which, for many years, was his principal resource for employment and support. He co-operated with his fellow-labourers in advancing the reputation of the Magazine, by the various admirable essays which he wrote for it, solely for maintenance *. A considerable period of
* At the commencement of the Magazine, Mr Cave depended chiefly for assistance on Guthrie, the historian, Boyse, author of " Deity, ” Moses Browne, author of “ Sunday Thoughts,” and the casual aid of several diffident scholars and young poets, who had been educated at the seminaries of Mr Watkins in Spital Square, and Mr Eames in Moorfields. He gradually received accession of strength from the aid of Savage, Johnson, Ruffhead, Hawkesworth, Dr Birch, Miss Eliza Carter, the Rev. Samuel Pegge (Paul Gemsege), Mr John Canton, F. R. S. Mr John Bancks, Mr John Lockman, &c. The
his life is lost in saying that he was the literary hireling of Mr Cave, “ for gain, not glory." The narrative is little diversified by the enumeration of his contributions : but the publications of a writer, like the battles and sieges of a general, are the circumstances which must fix the several eras of his life. In this part of the narrative, the pieces acknowledged by Johnson to be of his writing are printed in Italics, and those which are ascribed to him upon good authority, or internal evidence, are distinguished by inverted commas.
When he entered on the employment, to which he was compelled to resort from motives of necessity, he found Mr Cave struggling in a contest for the favour of the public with the proprietors of the “ London Magazine;" a rival publication, undertaken by an associa.
Magazine obtained an unprecedented circulation; and, by affording a respectable repository for the discussions of criticism, the effusions of poetry, and the notices of biography, created a very ardent emulation among the dispensers of knowledge, to enlarge the boundaries of science, and advance the progress of literature.
tion of powerful booksellers * Gratitude for such supplies as he received, prompted him to engage in the contest on the side of his employer; and he contributed to the “ Gentleman's Magazine” for March 1738 a Latin ode, Ad Urbanumt; in which he celebrates his liberality and indefatigable diligence, in promoting the progress of literary information, with great elegance and ingenuity. A paraphrastic translation of the Ode, by an unknown correspondent, appeared, in the Magazine for May following:
At this period, the misfortunes and misconduct of Savage had reduced him to the lowest
* The first number of the “* London Magazine” was published in April 1732, for J. Wilford, T. Cox, J. Clarke, and T. Astley. It was ably conducted for many years, and ceased to exist in 1785.
+ Mr Urban, the fictitious designation assured by the . original editor of the “ Gentleman's Magazine”, and retained by his respectable successor, Mr David Henry, and the present editor, Mr John Nichols, to whom English literature is indebted for various elaborate and accurate illustrations of our national history, antiquities. topography, poetry, and biography,