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landed without accident, and was prosecuted with prosperity. The enemy were thoroughly beaten, and it may be added, that Sheffield was more fortunate in war than in poetry, for the Vision has but little nerit, and much licentiousness. A less faulty specimen of his capacity as a writer will be found in the following extract, which opens his poem entitled the “ Temple of Death :”—

In those cold climates where the sun appears
Unwillingly, and hides his face in tears,
A dismal vale lies in a desert isle,
On which indulgent heaven did never smile.
There a thick grove of aged cypress trees,
Which none without an awful horror sees,
Into its withered arms deprived of leaves,
Whole flocks of ill-presaging birds receives.
Poisons are all the plants that soil will bear,
And winter is the only season there :
Millions of graves o'erspread the spacious field
And springs of blood a thousand rivers yield,

Discharge the trust which, when it was below,
Fairborne's undaunted soul did undergo,
And be the town's palladium from the foe.
Alive and dead these walls he will defend :
Great actions great examples must attend.
The Candian siege his early valour knew,
Where Turkish blood did his young hands imbrue ;
From thence returning with deserved applause,
Against the Moors his well-fleshed sword he draws;
The same the courage, and the same the cause.
His youth and age, his life and death, combine, .
As in some great and regular design,
All of a piece throughout, and all divine.
Still nearer Heaven his virtues shone more bright,
Like rising flames expanding in their height, i
The inartyr's glory crowned the soldier's fight.
More bravely British general ne'er fell,
Nor general's death was e'er revenged so well;
This his pleased eyes beheld before their close, .
Followed by thousand victims of his foes.

To his larnented loss, for times to come
His pious widow consecrates this tomb.

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Whose streams, oppress'd with carcases and bones,
Instead of gentle murmurs pour forth groans !
Within this vale a famous temple stands,
Old as the world itself, which it commands ;
Round is its figure, and four iron gates
Divide mankind, by order of the Fates.
Thither in crowds come to one common grave,
The young, the old, the monarch, and the slave.
Old Age and Pains, those evils man deplores,
Are rigid keepers of th' eternal doors ;
All clad in mournful blacks, which sadly load
The sacred walls of this obscure abode ;
And tapers, of a pitchy substance made,
With clouds of smoke increase the dismal shade. .

After personifying Death as the Goddess of the scene, he proceeds to address her in these earnest lines :

Thou only comforter of minds oppressed,
The port where weary spirits are at rest,
Conductor to Elysium, take my life,
My breast I offer to the sacred knife;
So just a grace refuse not, nor despise
A willing, though a worthless, sacrifice.
Others, their frail and mortal state forgot,
Before thy altars are not to be brought
Without constraint; the noise of dying rage,
Heaps of the slain of every sex and age,
The blade, all reeking with the gore it shed,
With severed heads, and limbs confusedly spread,
The rapid flames of a perpetual fire,
The groans of wretches ready to expire;
This tragic scene in terror makes them live
Till that is forced which they should freely give.
Yielding unwillingly what heaven will have,
Their fears eclipse the glory of the grave;
Before thy face they make indecent moan,
And feel a hundred deaths in fearing one.
Thy flame becomes unhallowed in their breast,
And he a murderer who was a priest.
But against me thy strongest forces call,
And on my head let all the tempest fall;

- No mean retrcat shall any weakness show,

But calmly I'll expect the fatal blow: -
My limbs not trembling, in my mind no fear,
Plaints in my mouth, nor in my eyes a tear,
Too weak the power of nature and of art,
Nothing but Death can ease a broken heart;
And that thou mayest behold my helpless state,
Learn the extremest rigour of my fate, &c.

To these passages, marked by weakness and negligence, may be added Johnson's summary of his poetical character, and then one sentence will suffice both for his praise and his censure. “He sometimes glimmers, but rarely shines ; is laborious, yet feeble: to be great is seldom in his power, and at best he can only be considered as pretty at times.”

A second quotation of his song called “The Venture” is made as a farther exemplification of this judgment:

Oh, how I languish! What a strange

Unruly fierce desire!
My spirits feel a wondrous change,

My heart is all on fire.
Now, all ye wiser thoughts, away!

In vain your tale ye tell
Of patient hopes, and dull delay-

Love's foppish part farewell.
Suppose one week's delay will give

All that my wishes move,
Oh, who so long a time can live

Stretched on the rack of Love?
Her soul, perhaps, is too sublime

To like such slavish fear;
Discretion, prudence, all is crime,

If once condemned by her.
When honour does the soldier call

To some unequal fight,
Resolved to conquer, or to fall

Before his general's sight,

Advanced the happy hero lives;

Or, if ill-fate denies,
The noble rashness Heaven forgives,

And gloriously he dies !

The succession of James the II. to the throne, naturally warmed bis expectations of personal advancement, and he was not disappointed in the course of things. He was immediately created Lord Chamberlain, admitted to the Privy Council, and nominated one of the lords upon the ill-judged High Commission. A constant attendant at court, he now countenanced every change, even to attending the king at mass, and outwardly conforming to the rites of the Catholic church. Being expostulated with upon this subserviency, he asserted the independence of his belief, in a pointed answer, which, like many sallies of the sort, has beeni attributed to various persons. He told Bishop Burnet that he had been at some pains to confirm his belief that God had made the world, and created the men in it; but, that though he was willing to receive instruction, he could not easily be persuaded that man was quits of the obligation, and had made God again.

In all probability he was now led to imagine that a happy state of sun-shine and honours lay before him, but every reader knows how soon the reign of James was overcast by clouds. Sheffield had no share in the Revolution, though like many others he acquiesced in the change, when there seemed no chance of success for any different policy. This course was creditable : there is no baseness greater than that of sucking from a prince all that royalty can bestow, and then, when made great with the favour, abandoning the benefactor at the first ebb which the tide of fortune takes in receding from him. It should also be mentioned, that his integrity made, him feared by the party who introduced King William, and that, when the latter prince afterwards challenged him with the suspicion entertained by the party, that if known to him, he would certainly betray their designs; he had the spirit to answer, he certainly should have discovered every thing to the king he then served.

From these circumstances little confidence or employment was to be hoped for by him from the new order of things. In Parliament, he supported the ministry on many important questions, and

opposed them in others. Thus, as few doubted the honesty of his principles, his conduct at length secured the rewards of propriety: he was created Marquis of Normanby, and gifted with a pension of 30001. a year. The reign of Queen Anne, however, brought the consummation of his political distinction. With the prosperity of her administration the oldest feelings of his heart accorded, and he was highly honoured by her favours. She entrusted him with the Privy Seal; reinstated him in the Lord Lieutenancy of Yorkshire; made him one of the Commissioners for arranging the Union with Scotland; and evinced her sense of the manner in which he discharged these offices, by raising him in 1703 to the dukedom, first of Normanby, and afterwards of Buckingham.

Favourites are often the greatest enemies to themselves : Buckingham grew jealous of the rapidity with which the Duke of Marlborough prospered, and threw up his appointments in a pique.

This hastiness proved the value attached to his support, for the Queen courted him back with a splendid offer of the Chancellorship ; but he declined the elevation, and retired from public life. Thenceforward literature became the occupation of his life, and he enjoyed the fortune he had acquired in easy dignity. He built the palace long known by his name in St. James's Park, and amused himself with writing two tragedies, “Julius Cæsar,' and · Marcus Brutus,' which, though never acted, were intended for the stage. They are unworthily founded upon Shakspeare, with musical chorusses between the acts, after the ancient style—but, however conspicuous in the catalogue of works by royal and noble authors, can be read with little interest, and remembered for little praise.

Before the Queen's death he again appeared at court in his old office of Lord Chamberlain ; and, after the ascent of George I. lived unemployed, in constant opposition to the ministry, until the 24th of February, 1721, on which day he quietly expired in the arms of his wife. Though thrice married, and blessed with several children, he died without an heir, and the honours of a long line of ancestry became extinct in his person:

John Sheffield, Duke of Buckingham, has the honour of being incorporated among the British poets, and seems well deserving of the association by the eulogies conferred upon him by many

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