Imágenes de páginas
PDF

of soldiers, &c. And, to prevent all dangers and deserves to meet with so few adversaries as this ; all disorder, there should always be two of the for who can without impudent folly oppose the esscholars with them, to be as witnesses and direc tablishment of twenty well-selected persons in tors of their actions ; in foul weather, it would such a condition of life, that their whole business not be amiss for them to learn to dance, that is, and sole profession may be to study the improveto learn just so much (for all beyond is superflu ment and advantage of all other professions, from ous, if not worse) as may give them a graceful that of the highest general even to the lowest arcomportment of their bodies.

tisan? who shall be obliged to employ their whole Upun Sundays, and all days of devotion, they time, wit, learning, and industry, to these four, are to be a part of the chaplain's province. the most useful that can be imagined, and to no

That, for all these ends, the college so order it, other ends ; first, to weigh, examine, and prove, as that there may be some convenient and plea- all things of nature delivered to us by former sant houses thereabouts, kept by religious, dis- ages; to detect, explode, and strike a censure creet, and careful persons, for the lodging and through, all false monies with which the world has boarding of young scholars; that they have a been paid and cheated so long ; and (as I may constant eye over them, to see that they be say) to set the mark of the college upon all true bred up there piously, cleanly, and plentifully, coins, that they may pass hereafter without any according to the proportion of the parents' ex- farther trial : secendly, to recover the lost invenpenses.

tions, and, as it were, drowned lands of the anAnd that the college, when it shall please cients : thirdly, to improve all arts which we now God, either by their own industry and success, or | hare; and lastly, to discover others which we by the benevolence of patrons, to enrich them so have not : and who shall besides all this (as a be. far, as that it may come to their turn and duty to nefit by the by), give the best edu ation in the be charitable to others, shall, at their own world (purely gratis) to as many men's children charges, erect and maintain some house or houses as shall think tit to make use of the obligation? for the entertainment of such poor men's sons, Neither does it at all check or interfere with any whose good natural parts may promise either use parties in a state or religion ; but is indifferently or ornament to the commonwealth, during the to be embraced by all differences in opinion, and time of their abode at school; and shall take care can bardly be conceived capable (as many good that it shall he done with the same conveniences institutions have done) even of degeneration into as are enjoyed even by rich men's children (though any thing harmful. So that, all things considerthey maintain the fewer for that cause), there ed, I will suppose this Proposition shall encounbeing nothing of eminent and illustrious to be ter with no enemies : the only question is, whe

from a low. sordid. and hospital-like ther it will find friends enough to carry it on froin educat un.

discourse and design to reality and effect; the necessary expenses of the beginning (for it will

maintain itself well enough afterwards) being so CONCLUSION.

great (though I have set them as low as is possi

ble, in order to so vast a work), that it may seem IF I be not much abused by a natural fondness hopeless to raise such a sum out of those few dead to my own conceptions (that goggr, of the Greeks, | relies of human charity and public generosity which no other language has a proper word for), | wbich are yet remaining in the world. there was never any project thought upon, which !

THE

POEMS

ON

SIR JOHN DENHAM.

THE

LIFE OF DEN HAM,

BY DR JOHNSON.

UF SIR JOHN DENHAM very little is known but what is related of him by Wood, or by himself.

He was born at Dublin in 1615; the only son of Sir John Denham, of Little Horsely in Essex, then chief baron of the Exchequer in Ireland, and of Eleanor, daughter of sir Garret More, baron of Mellefont.

Two years afterwards, his father, being made one of the barons of the Exchequer in England, brought him away from his native country, and educated him in London.

In 1631 he was sent to Oxford, where he was considered as "a dreaming young *man, given more to dice and cards than study:" and thercfore gave no prognostics of his future eminence; nor was suspected to conceal, under his sluggishness and laxity, a genius born to improve the literature of his country.

When he was, three years afterwards, removed to Lincoln's Inn, he prosecuted the common law with sufficient appearance of application; yet did not lose his pro. pensity to cards and dice; but was very often plundered by gamesters.

Being severely reproved for this folly, he professed, and perhaps believed, him. self reclaimed ; and to testify the sincerity of his repentance, wrote and published An Essay upon Gaming.

lle seems to have divided his studies between law and poetry; for, iu 1636, he translated the second book of the Æneid.

Two years after, his father died; and then, notwithstanding his resolutions and professions, he returned again to the vice of gaming, and lost several thousand pounds that had been left him..

In 1612, he published The Sophy. This seems to have given him his first hold of the public attention ; for Waller remarked, “ that he broke out like the Irish rebellion, three-score thousand strong, when no body was aware, or in the least suspected it;" an observation which could have had no propriety, had his poetical abilities been known before.

He was after that pricked for sheriff of Surrey, and made governor of Farham Castle for the king; but he soon resigned that charge and retreated to Oxford, where, in 1643, he published Cooper's Hill.

This poem had such reputation as to excite the common artifice by which envy de. grades excellence.

A report was spread, that the performance was not his own, but that he had bought it of a vicar for forty pounds. The same attempt was made to rob Addison of Cato, and Pope of his Essay on Criticism.

In 1647, the distresses of the royal family required him to engage in more dan. gerous employments. He was entrusted by the queen with a message to the king; and, by whatever means, so far softened the ferocity of Hugh Peters, that, by his intercession, admission was procured. Of the king's condescension he has given an account in the dedication of his works.

He was afterwards employed in carrying on the king's correspondence; and, as he says, discharged this office with great safety to the royalists: and, being accident. ally discovered by the adverse party's knowledge of Mr. Cowley's hand, he escaped happily both for himself and his friends.

fle was yet engaged in a greater undertaking. In April, 1648, he conveyed James the duke of York from London into France, and delivered him there to the queen and prince of Wales. This year he published his translation of Cato Major.

He now resided in France, as one of the followers of the exiled king; and, to die vert the melancholy of their condition, was sometimes enjoined by his master to write occasional verses ; one of which amusements was probably his ode or song upon the embassy to Poland, by which he and lord Crofts procured a contribution of ten thousand pounds from the Scotch, that wandered over that kingdom, Poland was at that time very much frequented by itinerant traders, who, in a country of very little commerce and of great extent, where every man resided on his own estate, con. tributed very much to the accommodation of life, by bringing to every man's house those little necessaries which it was very inconvenient to want, and very troublesome to fetch. I have formerly read, without much reflection, of the multitude of Scotch. men that travelled with their wares in Poland; and that their numbers were not small, the success of this negociation gives sufficient evidence.

About this time, what estate the war and the gamesters had left him was sold, by order of the parliament; and when, in 1652, he returned to England, he was entertained by the earl of Pembroke.

Of the next years of his life there is no account. At the Restoration he obtained that which many missed, the reward of his loyalty ; being made surveyor of the king's buildings, and dignified with the order of the Bath. He seems now to hare learned some attention to money; for Wood says, that he got by this place seven thousand pounds.

After the Restoration, he wrote the poem on Prudence and Justice, and perhaps some of his other picces: and as he appears, whenever any serious question comes bc. fore him, to have been a man of picty, he consecrated his poetical powers to religion, and made a' metrical version of the Psalms of David. In this attempt hc has failed; but in sacred poetry who has succeeded?

« AnteriorContinuar »