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to hurt Pope with another weapon, and charged him, as Pope thought, with Addifon's approbation, as difaffected to the government.
Even with this he was not fatisfied; for, indeed, there is no appearance that any regard was paid to his clamours. He proceeded to groffer infults, and hung up a rod at Button's, with which he threatened to chaftife Pope, who appears to have been extremely exasperated; for in the first edition of his Letters he calls Philips "rafcal," and in the laft ftill charges him with detaining in his hands the fubfcriptions for Homer delivered to him by the Hanover Club.
I fuppofe it was never fufpected that he meant to appropriate the money; he only delayed, and with fufficient meannefs, the gratification of him by whose profperity he was pained.
Men fometimes fuffer by injudicious kindness; Philips became ridiculous, without his own fault, by the abfurd admiration of his friends, who decorated him with honorary garlands, which the first breath of contradiction blafted.
upon the fucceffion of the House of Hanover every Whig expected to be happy, Philips feems to have obtained too little notice; he caught few drops of the golden fhower, though he did not omit what flattery could perform. He was only made a Commiffioner of the Lottery (1717), and, what did not much elevate his character, a Justice of the Peace.
The fuccefs of his firft play muft naturally difpofe him to turn his hopes towards the stage: he did not however foon commit himself to the mercy of an audience, but contented himself with the fame already
ready acquired, till after nine years he produced (1722) The Briton," a tragedy which, whatever was its reception, is now neglected; though one of the scenes, between Vanoc the British Prince and Valens the Roman General, is confeffed to be written with great dramatick skill, animated by spirit truly poetical.
He had not been idle though he had been filent; for he exhibited another tragedy the fame year, on the ftory of" Humphry Duke of Gloucefter.” This tragedy is only remembered by its title.
His happiest undertaking was of a paper, called "The Freethinker," in conjunction with affociates, of whom one was Dr. Boulter, who, then only minifter of a parish in Southwark, was of fo much con fequence to the government, that he was made firft Bishop of Bristol, and afterwards Primate of Ireland, where his piety and his charity will be long honoured.
It may eafily be imagined that what was printed. under the direction of Boulter would have nothing in it indecent or licentious; its title is to be understood as implying only freedom from unreasonable prejudice. It has been reprinted in volumes, but is little read; nor can impartial criticifm recommend it as worthy
Boulter was not well qualified to write diurnal effays; but he knew how to practise the liberality of greatness and the fidelity of friendship. When he was advanced to the height of ecclefiaftical dignity, he did not forget the companion of his labours. Knowing Philips to be flenderly fupported, he took him to Ireland, as partaker of his fortune; and, making him his fecretary, added fuch preferments,
as enabled him to reprefent the county of Armagh
in the Irish Parliament.
In December 1726 he was made secretary to the Lord Chancellor; and in Auguft 1733 became judge of the Prerogative Court.
After the death of his patron he continued fome years in Ireland; but at last longing, as it seems, for his native country, he returned (1748) to London, having doubtless furvived most of his friends and enemies, and among them his dreaded antagonist Pope. He found however the Duke of Newcastle ftill living, and to him he dedicated his poems collected into a volume.
Having purchased an annuity of four hundred pounds, he now certainly hoped to pafs fome years of life in plenty and tranquillity; but his hope deceived him: he was ftruck with a palfy, and died June 18, 1749, in his feventy-eighth year.
Of his perfonal character all that I have heard is, that he was eminent for bravery and skill in the sword, and that in conversation he was folemn and pompous. He had great fenfibility of cenfure, if judgement may be made by a fingle ftory which I heard long ago from Mr. Ing, a gentleman of great eminence in Staffordshire. 66 Philips," faid he, "was once at "table, when I asked him, How came thy king of Epirus to drive oxen, and to say 'I'm goaded on by love?' After which question he never spoke again."
Of the "Diftreft Mother" not much is pretended to be his own, and therefore it is no fubject of criticifm: his other two tragedies, I believe, are not below mediocrity, nor above it. Among the Poems
comprised in the late Collection, the "Letter from "Denmark" may be justly praised; the Paftorals, which by the writer of the "Guardian" were ranked as one of the four genuine productions of the ruftick Mufe, cannot furely be defpicable. That they exhibit a mode of life which did not exift, nor ever exifted, is not to be objected: the fuppofition of fuch a state is allowed to Paftoral. In his other poems he cannot be denied the praife of lines fometimes elegant; but he has feldom much force, or much comprehenfion. The pieces that pleafe beft are those which, from Pope and Pope's adherents, procured him the name of Namby Pamby, the poems of short lines, by which he paid his court to all ages and characters, from Walpole the " fteerer of the realm," to Mifs Pulteney in the nurfery. The numbers are fimooth and fprightly, and the diction is feldom faulty. They are not loaded with much thought, yet, if they had been written by Addison, they would have had admirers: little things are not valued but when they are done by those who cannot do greater.
In his tranflations from Pindar he found the art of reaching all the obfcurity of the Theban bard, however he may fall below his fublimity; he will be allowed, if he has lefs fire, to have more smoke.
He has added nothing to English poetry, yet at leaft half his book deferves to be read: perhaps he valued most himself that part which the critick would reject.
ILBERT WEST is one of the writers of whom I regret my inability to give a sufficient account; the intelligence which my enquiries have obtained is general and scanty.
He was the fon of the reverend Dr. Weft; perhaps him who published "Pindar" at Oxford about the beginning of this century. His mother was fifter to Sir Richard Temple, afterwards Lord Cobham. His father, purpofing to educate him for the Church, fent him firft to Eton, and afterwards to Oxford; but he was feduced to a more airy mode of life, by a commiffion in a troop of horse procured him by his uncle.
He continued fome time in the army; though it is reasonable to fuppofe that he never funk into a mere foldier, nor ever loft the love, or much neglected the purfuit, of learning; and afterwards, finding himself more inclined to civil employment, he laid down his commiffion, and engaged in business under the Lord Townshend, then fecretary of state, with whom he attended the King to Hanover.