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pearance of the play, a whole Spectator, none indeed of the best, was devoted to its praise; while it yet continued to be acted, another Spectator was written, to tell what impression it made upon sir Roger; and, on the first night, a select audience, says Pope,* was called together to applaud it.

It was concluded with the most successful epilogue that was ever yet spoken on the English theatre. The first three nights it was recited twice; and not only continued to be demanded through the run, as it is termed, of the play, but whenever it is recalled to the stage, where, by peculiar fortune, though a copy from the French, it yet keeps its place, the epilogue is still expected, and is still spoken.

The propriety of epilogues in general, and consequently of this, was questioned by a correspondent of the Spectator, whose letter was undoubtedly admitted for the sake of the answer, which soon followed, written with much zeal and acrimony. The attack and the defence equally contributed to stimulate curiosity and continue attention. It may be discovered in the defence, that Prior's epilogue to Phædra had a little excited jealousy; and something of Prior's plan may be discovered in the performance of his rival. Of this distinguished epilogue the reputed author was the wretched Budgel, whom Addison used to denominate* “the man who calls me cousin ;” and when he asked how such a silly fellow could write so well, replied, The epilogue was quite another thing when I saw it first." It was known in Tonson's family, and told to Garrick, that Addison was himself the author of it, and that, when it had been at first printed with his name, he came early in the morning, before the copies were distributed, and ordered it to be given to Budgel, that it might add weight to the solicitation which he was then making for a place.

Philips was now high in the ranks of literature. His play was applauded ; his translations from Sappho had been published in the Spectator; he was an important and distinguished associate of clubs, witty and political; and nothing was wanting to his happiness, but that he should be sure of its continuance. The work which had procured him the first notice from

• Spence.

the public was his six pastorals, which, flattering the imagination with Arcadian scenes, probably fouud many readers, and might have long passed as a pleasing amusement, bad they not been unhappily too much commended.

The rustic poems of Theocritus were so highly valued by the Greeks and Romans, that they attracted the imitation of Virgil, whose eclogues seem to have been considered as precluding all attempts of the same kind; for no shepherds were taught to sing by any succeeding poet, till Nemesian and Calphurnius ventured their feeble efforls in the lower age of Lalin literature.

At the revival of learning in Italy, it was soon discovered that a dialogue of imaginary swains might be composed with little difficulty; because the conversation of shepherds excludes profound or refined sentiment; and, for images and descriptions, satyrs and fauns, and naiads, and dryads, were always within call; and woods and meadows, and hills and rivers, supplied variety of matter, which having a natural power to sooth the mind, did not quickly cloy it.

Petrarch entertained the learned men of his age with the novelty of modern pastorals in Latin. Being not ignorant of Greek, and finding nothing in the word eclogue of rural meaning, he supposed it to be corrupted by the copiers, and therefore called 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 bucolics, 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 Italians soon transferred pastoral poetry into their own language: Sannazaro wrote Arcadia, in prose and verse; Tasso and Guarini wrote Favole Boschereccie, or sylvan dramas; and all nations of Europe filled volumes with Thyrsis and Damor, 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, froin 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 Tityrus 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 censored 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 inheritance from Theocritus to Virgil, from Virgil to Spenser, and from Spenser to Philips.

With this inauguration of Philips, his rival Pope was not much delighted; he therefore drew a comparison 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 nis paper. Published however it was, (Guard. 40.); and from that time Pope and Philips lived in a perpetual reciprocation of malevolence.

In poetical powers, of either praise or satire, there was

no proportion between the combatants; but Philips, though he could not prevail by wit, hoped to hurt Pope with another weapon, and charged him, as Pope thought, with Addison's approbation, as disaffected to the governinent.

Even with this he was not satisfied; for, indeed, there is no appearance that any regard was paid to bis clamours. He proceeded to grosser insults, and hung up a rod at Button's, with which he threatened to chastise Pope, who appears to have been extremely exasperated; for, in tho first edition of his letters, he calls Philips“ rascal;" and, in the last, still charges him with detaining in his hands the subscriptions for Homer delivered to him by the Han. over club.

I suppose it was never suspected that he meant to appropriate the money; he only delayed, and with sufficient meanness, the gratification of him by whose prosperity he was pained.

Men sometimes suffer by injudicious kindness; Philips became ridiculous, without his own fault, by the absurd admiration of his friends, who decorated him with honorary garlands, which the first breath of contradiction blasted.

When, upon the succession of the house of Hanover, every whig expected to be happy, Philips seems to have obtained too little notice; he caught few drops of the golden shower, though he did not omit what flattery could perform. He was only made a commissioner of the lottery, (1717), and, wbat did not much elevate his character, a justice of

the peace.

The success of his first play must naturally dispose him to turn his hopes towards the stage: he did not however goon commit himself to the mercy of an audience, but contented himself with the fame already 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 confessed to be written with great dramatic skill, animated by spirit truly poetical.

He had not been idle, though he had been silent; for he exhibited another tragedy the same year, on the story of Humphry Duke of Gloucester. This tragedy is only remenbered by its title.

His happiest undertaking was of a paper called the Preethinker, in conjunction with associates, of whom one was dr. Boulter, who, then only minister of a parish in Southwark, was of so much consequence to the government, that he was made first bishop of Bristol, and asterwards primate of Ireland, where his piety and his charity will be long honoured.

It may easily be imagined that what was printed under the direction of Boulter would bave 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 criticism recommend it as worthy of reyival.

Boulter was not well qualified to write diurnal essays; but he knew how to practise the liberality of greatness and the fidelity of friendship. When 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 prefer. ments 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 ycars 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 bis 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.

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