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BORN 1696.- DIED 1737.
Matthew GREEN was educated among the dissenters; but left them in disgust at their precision, probably without reverting to the mother church. All that we are told of him is, that he had a post at the custom-house, which he discharged with great fidelity, and died at a lodging in Nag's-head court, Gracechurch-street, aged forty-one. His strong powers of mind had received little advantage from education, and were occasionally subject to depression from hypochondria ; but his conversation is said to have abounded in wit and shrewdness. One day his friend Sylvanus Bevan complained to him that while he was bathing in the river he had been saluted by a waterman with the cry of Quaker Quirl,' and wondered how he should have been known to be a quaker without his clothes. Green replied, “ by your swimming against the stream.”
His poem, “the Spleen," was never published in his life-time,' Glover, his warm friend, presented it to the world after his death, and it is much to be regretted did not prefix any account of its interesting author. It was originally a very
of verses, and was gradually and piecemeal increased. Pope speedily noticed its merit, Melmoth praised its strong
originality in Fitzosborne's Letters, and Gray duly commended it in his correspondence with Lord Orford, when it appeared in Dodsley's collection. In that walk of poetry, where Fancy aspires no farther than to go hand in hand with common sense, its merit is certainly unrivalled.
FROM THE SPLEEN.
CONTENTMENT, parent of delight,
But place their bliss in mental rest,
Forc'd by soft violence of pray'r, The blithsome goddess soothes my care, I feel the deity inspire, And thus she models my desire. Two hundred pounds half-yearly paid, Annuity securely made, A farm some twenty miles from town, Small, tight, salubrious, and my own; Two maids, that never saw the town, A serving-man not quite a clown, A boy to help to tread the mow, And drive, while tother holds the plough; A chief, of temper form’d to please, Fit to converse, and keep the keys; And better to preserve the peace, Commission'd by the name of niece ; With understandings of a size To think their master very wise. May heav'n (it's all I wish for) send One genial room to treat a friend, Where decent cupboard, little plate, Display benevolence, not state. And may my humble dwelling stand Upon some chosen spot of land: A pond before full to the brim, Where cows may cool, and geese may swim; Behind, a green like velvet neat, Soft to the eye, and to the feet;
Where od'rous plants in evening fair
Plump Ceres golden tresses wear,
Thus shelter'd, free from care and strife,