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ed his own productions Æglogues, by which he meant to express the talk of goatherds, though it will mean only the talk of goats. This new name was adopted by subsequent writers, and amongst others by our Spenser.
More than a century afterwards (1498) Mantuan published his Bucolicks with such success, that they were soon dignified by Badius with a comment, and, as Scaliger complained, received into schools, and taught as classical; his complaint was vain, and the practice, however injudicious, spread far, and continued long. Mantuan was read, at least in some of the inferior schools of this kingdom, to the beginning of the present century. The speakers of Mantuan carried their disquisitions beyond the country, to censure the corruptions of the Church; and from him Spenser learned to employ his swains on topics of controversy.
The stalians soon transferred Pastoral Poetry into their own language: Sannazaro wrote “ Arcadia," in prose and verse: Tasso and Guarini wrote “ Favole Boschareccie,” or Sylvan Dramas; and all nations of Europe filled volumes with Thyrisis and Damon, and Thestylis and Phyllis.
Philips thinks it "somewhat strange to conceive “ how, in an age so addicted to the Muses, Pastoral
Poetry never comes to be so much as thought “ upon.” His wonder seems very unseasonable ; there had never, from the time of Spenser, wanted writers to talk occasionally of Arcadia and Strephon; and half the book, in which he first tried his
powers, consists of dialogues on Queen Mary's death, between T'ityrus and Corydon, or Mopsus
and Menalcas. A series or book of Pastorals, however, I know not that any one had then lately published.
Not long afterwards Pope made the first display of his powers in four Pastorals, written in a very
, different form. Philips had taken Spenser, and Pope took Virgil for his pattern. Philips endeavoured to be natural, Pope laboured to be elegant.
Philips was now favoured by Addison, and by Addison's companions, who were very willing to push him into reputation. The “Guardian” gave an account of Pastoral, partly critical, and partly historical; in which, when the merit of the modern is compared, Tasso and Guarini are censured for remote thoughts and unnatural refinements; and, upon the whole, the Italians and French are all excluded from rural poetry; and the pipe of the pastoral muse is transmitted by lawful inberitance from Theocritus to Virgil, from Virgil to Spenser, and from Spenser to Philips.
With this inauguration of Philips, bis rival Pope was not much delighted; he therefore drew a conparison of Philips's performance with his own, in which, with an unexampled and unequalled artifice of irony, though he has himself always the advantage, he gives the preference to Philips. The design of aggrandizing himself he disguised with such dexterity, that, though Addison discovered it, Steele was deceived, and was afraid of displeasing Pope by publishing his paper.
Published however it was (“Guard. 40."): and from that time Pope and Philips lived in a perpetual reciprocation of malevolence.
he was advanced to the height of ecclesiastical dignity, he did not forget the companion of his labours. Knowing Philips to be slenderly supported, he took him to Ireland, as partaker of his fortune; and, making him his secretary, added such preferments, as enabled him to represent the county of Armagh in the Irish parliament.
In December 1726 he was made secretary to the Lord Chancellor ; and in August 1733 became judge of the Prerogative Court.
After the death of his patron he continued some years in Ireland ; but at last longing, as it seems, for his native country, he returned (1748) to London, having doubtless survived most of his friends and enemies, and among them his dreaded antagonist Pope. He found however the Duke of Newcastle still 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 pass some years of life in plenty and tranquillity ; but his hope deceived him : he was struck with a palsy, and died June 18, 1749, in his seventy-eighth year.
Of his personal character all that I have heard is that he was eminent for bravery and skill in the sword, and that in conversation he was solemn and pompous. He had great sensibility of censure, if judgment inay be made by a single story which I heard long ago from Mr. Ing, a gentleman of great eminence in Staffordshire. Philips," said 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 “ Distrest Mother" not much is pretended to be his own, and therefore it is no subject of criticism : 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 Pastorals, which by the writer of the “Guardian” were ranked as one of the four genuine productions of the rustic Muse, cannot surely be despicable. That they exhibit a mode of life which did not exist, nor ever existed, is not to be objected : the supposition of such a state is allowed to Pastoral. In his other poems he cannot be denied the praise of lines sometimes elegant; but he has seldom much force, or much comprehension. The pieces that please best 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 “ steerer of the realm,” to Mrs. Pulteney in the nursery. The numbers are smooth and sprightly, and the diction is seldom 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 can do greater.
In his translations from Pindar he found the art of reaching all the obscurity of the Theban bard, however he may fall below his sublimity; he will be allowed, if he has less fire, to have more smoke.
He has added nothing to English poetry, yet at least half his book deserves to be read : perhaps he valued most himself that part which the critic would reject.
W E S T.
GILBERT 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 son of the reverend Dr. West ; perhaps him who published 6 Pindar" at Oxford, about the beginning of this century. His mother was sister to Sir Richard Temple, afterwards Lord Cobham. His father, purposing to educate him for the Church, sent him first to Eton, and afterwards to Oxford ; but he was seduced to a more airy mode of life, by a commission in a troop of horse, procured him by his uncle.