« السابقةمتابعة »
BIOGRAPHY. THE LIFE OF DR. THOMAS FRANKLIN, D. D. LATE PROFESSOR OF THE GREEK LANGUAGE IN THE UNIVERSITY OF
(Concluded from our laft, page 114.) I 1760, Mr. Franklin preached a matters to fervants: of wives to husthe Second, which was afterwards pub- each of these important duties cur lished. In the following year Churchill author gave a discourse, and introduced published his celebrated Rosciad, in them by a sermon on domeitic happiwhich Mr. Franklin was thus cha- ness. ractcrised:
Our author has not in these dif" Others for Franklin voted, but 'twas known,
courses entered into the minuter parts “ He ficken’d at all triumphs but his own." of these duties, which vary in every
In this year, also, Mr. Franklin loft individual, according to their rank, and his mother, who died on the thirtieth according to different circumitances. of Auguft; and in 1761 also com- He has only sketched the outline : the menced a translation of the works of picture he judiciously left to be filled Voltaire, which was not completed till up and completed by the reader. the year 1769. Dr. Smollet and Mr. Several of our ableft divines have Franklin permitted their names to
written on these important duties. appear in the title-page, though we Those who peruse this volume, therehave been informed that the portion fore, must not expect novelties. The which these gentlemen trandated was discourses, as we observed before, convery inconsiderable. In the same man- tain only general views. This circumner did Mr. Foote, some years before, itance, however, does not render them fuffer the Comic Theatre, which consisted so useful and captivating to common of translations of French plays, in five auditors as those sermons are which are volumes, to be published as his per- confined to itriking points and interformance, although we are told by the eiting situations. The language is easy author of the Biographia Dramatica, that and elegant, but not remarkably corthe Young Hypocrite is the only one rect. In all this author's publications which ought to be ascribed to him in an inattention to grammatical purity the whole collection. It is notorious is too observable. We do not make also that Theophilus Cibber* received this remark through faftidiousness, but a sum of money to allow the prefixing only from a desire to impress the neof his name to The Lives of the Poets, cessity of accuracy. although they were principally the We never heard with what success labours of another writer.
these sermons were published. It was Mr. Franklin seems now to have probably not very extraordinary, as, if applied himself principally to pulpit we except an occasional discourse or composition. For in 1763 he was ap- two, he was never afterwards tempted pointed to preach before the fons of to publith his labours in this walk of the clergy. This discourse we find literature. was printed; and in 1765 he gave to On the ift of February, 1765, died the world a volume of Sermons, on the Mr. R. Franklin, the printer and bookrelative duires.
feller. He had been in bufiness for a Thefe had been preached at Queen- long course of years, but never arrived street chapel, and St. Paul's, Covent- at a state of independence. He had Garden. "'The subjects were the duty unfortunately incurred the censure of of children to parents: of parents to a public court by some of the political children : of servants to masters: of works which he published, and was
condemned * See Johnson's Lives of the Poets.
condemned to suffer a long imprison- pers of those days, and alluded to this ment, during which, as may easily be want of tender and moving scenes : supposed, his affairs were neglected; " Fine language! fine sentiments ! nothing of nor were the difficulties and misfor
bathos! tunes of his situation sufficiently alle- O what would I give, for a touch of the parboss" viated by those who had been the oc- The last act is particularly languid, cafion of his sufferings.
and would probably have condemned Mr. Franklin now turned his thoughts the play, if the audience had not been to theatrical compositions. What in- relieved by a most admirable epilogue duced him to apply his mind to this of Mr. Garrick's, which was deliverarduous species of writing we cannot ed with great humour and spirit by pretend to determine. Had he writ. Mrs. Yates. So much, indeed, was ten a play on the plan of the Grecian it applauded, that an allusion was made tragedy, we should not have been sur- to it in the epilogue to the Perplexiprised, and especially as Mr. Mafon ties, which was acted about the same had given him a splendid example in time at Covent-Garden theatre, and his Elfrida and Caractacus. Whatever whenever the Earl of Warwick has his motive may have been, whether been performed the epilogue has genelove of fame, or views of interest, cer- rally been revived with the play. These tain it is, that on the 13th of Decem- productions are commonly temporary, ber, 1766, a tragedy by Mr. Franklin, and have seldom boasted so much fucintituled The Earl of Warwick, ap- cess. But the instance is not unique, peared at the Theatre-royal in Drury- for it must not be forgotten that Adlane.
dison's epilogue to the Distressed Mo. This piece was a translation from ther, and Colman's prologue to Bon the French of M. De la Harpe, the Ton are still as highly relished by the story and name of whose play are the audience as when they were first des same with those of our author. This livered*. circumstance Mr. Franklin, however, In the month of November, 1767, did not think it necessary to acknow- Mr. Franklin was appointed chaplain ledge. His silence on this point was to his Majesty, and was so fortunate surely weak. The plagiarism was as to attract the notice of our fove. immediately discovered, for in the reign and the Queen by his preaching. following year, Mr. Paul Hiffernan, a Nor were empty praises his only rename well known to the booksellers, ward, as they led the way some years published a translation of De la Harpe’s after this appointment to an excellent play, which the authors of the Bisgra- living. phia Dramatica juftly term an indifferent On the 16th of May, 1768, his performance.
abilities in the pulpit were exerted to This play was introduced to the pub- ferve the charity for the support of fic by an excellent prologue, which female orphans at the Asylum. In was the production of Mr. Colman. the same year appeared
" A Letter to Among the performers were Mr. Hol- a Bishop, on Lectureships," which, land, Mr. Powell, Mrs. Palmer, and though it appeared as an anonymous Mrs. Yates, who displayed uncommon publication, was univerfally attributed powers of acting in the performance of to the pen of Mr. Franklin. Margaret of Anjou.
We never heard that he refused to On the whole, this play is not equal acknowledge this pamphlet, and, ina to the French tragedy of M. De la deed, there are not many authors who Harpe. There is a deficiency in the would disclaim such a production. It pathetic, though some of the scenes are is a spirited letter, and relates the hardnervous, and indeed highly written. ships that attend a candidate for a lecWe remember part of an epigram catureship with some humour. Yet it is this play, which appeared in the pa spun out too much, and wants com
prellion. * The prologue and epilogue to the Earl of Warwick, and an account of that play, are to be found ja the London Magazine tor 1700, page 638 and 648. Epsi.
pression. But, perhaps, as Swift faid fares of dometic society, or in per: at the conclusion of a long letter, he for:ning the important and receitary had not time to wrire a sorter. Upon duties of his priesthood. Some horrs, the whole, it must be ranked among hoveres, were still allotted to literary the best of our author's profe wri- purluits. tings*.
It was long before we find the Doc. Upon the inAitution of the Roral tor itepping forward into public no Academy, in the year 1769, Mr. tice. The occafion, at laft, was chaFrankiin wrote an ode which was fet ritate and laudable: for in the moond to music, and performed on the rt of of March, 1774, he preached a fezJanuary at the meeting of the itein- mon for the beneiit of those unfortubers. This piece of poetry
nate persons who were confined for adapted to the occasiin.
small debts. He feems always to hat We have already obferred, that Mrs. chearfally lent his alistance to plead Yates displayed great powers in her the cause of the wretched, and to erperformance of Wargaret of Anjou in cite compofiion in the bofoms of the the Earl of Warwick 'The fuccefs of humane towards the unhappy. the play, indeed, was attributed in a In the following winter, from fore great meafure to the theatrical excr- of thefe changes which fo frequent tions of that great a 5. Mr. Frank- take place in the theatrical world, Ms. lin was very fenfiue how inuch he Yates removed from Covent-Garda was indebted to her abilities; and in to Drury-lane, and made her firft an. order to repay the obligation, he pre- pearance in the tragedy of Elecz, fented her with a tantarion of Vol. which we believe was merely the taire's ORESTES, which was perform- Orestes of Voltaire that we have alread ed for her benefit, at the heatre- mentioned. royal in Covent-Garden, on the 13th The choice of this play was proba. of March, 1969,
bly in compliment to its author. It Voltaire cannot be considered as an was not, however, very successful. The original writer in this performance, original has been reckoned among the as not only the characters, but the dramatic chef d'auures of Voltaire, but plot, and the incidents of the play, are it appeared cold and inanimate to as evidently borrowed from the Grecian English audience. The relation ci ftage. From the copy of an imitation Clytemnestra's death was not suismuch cannot be expected, and, indeed, ciently striking. She should hare died we are not certain that a poctical on the stage. The passions of the translation of the Electra of Sophocles, fpectators would then have been roused, if the choral odes were omitted, would and the last ałt would have exhibited not be better intitled to fuccefst. more incident, and less declamation.
This tragedy was afterwards incor- The story is fingularly melancholy and porated into the complete translation affecting, which has rendered it, in of the writings of Voltaire, of which different ages, fo frequently the choice we have already spoken. We are of dramatic writers. Both the proafraid that little more than this play logue and epilogue to this play were was cleathed in an English dress by well received. We must obserre here, Mr. Franklin.
that the authors of the Biographia Dise On the 6th of July, 1770, our ar- matica, or the Companion to the Play. thor took the degree of doctor in di- house, seem to be mistaken, in centie vinity. After the acquisition of these dering the Orestes and Electra of Dr. honour , he seems to have spent his Franklin as two distinct tranNations time almost wholly in the calmer plea- from Voltaire. They are certainly the
fame * Our readers may find this Letter, and the poem of Translation, in the second volume of “ Die vies's miscellaneous and fugitive Ficces.”
† We thall have occafion to mention this piece again. The tragedies on this story are numerous : Thomptuu's Agamennon, Shiriey's Electra, an Italian (pera called Clytemnestra, Loidiene's Escort, und a play by Corneille, are all founded on this pallage of ancient hists, as well sth: Urugue ut Voltaire, the Oicites of Franklio, and some of the Greek tragedies which are itili catania
(ame play, under different titles, and of Monsieur D'Olivet's Remarks on the derived from the same original. Vol- Theology of the Greek Philosophers. taire, we believe, never wrote a play The notes on this treatise are prinunder the title of Ele&tre.
cipally selected from D'Olivet, Davis, In the beginning of the following and others, and interspersed with some year, Dr. Franklin brought out a tra- original ones, by Dr. Franklin. On gedy at Drury-lane, intitled Matilda. the whole, this book will prove useful It was first performed on January 21, and entertaining to fpeculative readers, 1775, and was received with great ap- who are unacquainted with the Latin Plaufe. It is, perhaps, the best and language. most pleasing of our author's dramatic Dr. Franklin ftill retained his pare pieces. The principal parts were acted tiality for theatrical composition, and by Mr. Smith, Mr. Reddish, Mr. Pal. in 1776 produced a comedy in two mer, and Miss Younge.
aets, called The Contract. It appearThis tragedy, as well as the former ed in June, at the little theatre in the theatrical productions of Dr. Franklin, Haymarket, which was then under was of French original. Matilda was the management of Mr. Foote. The almost a literal tranflation from the Duc plot was borrowed from L’Amorur Ulé de Foix of Vcltaire. We are sorry to a French play, by D’Ettouche. add, that no acknowledgement of this The Contract was not well received, circumstance was prefixed to Matilda and was performed only two evenings. at its publication.
A prologue, containing an account of In 1775 also appeared a translation the different species of contraits, with of Cicero on the Nature of the Gods*, fome compliments to Mr. Garrick, by Dr. Franklin. The title ftiled it who had just then left the stage, was Å new edition, which was only the ma- intended for Mr. Foote, but was never nouvre of the book feller, as that single spoken, though it was published foon page was probably the only part of the after the piece was withdrawn. kon which was reprinted.
In the same year, by the interference proof of this affertion, we must refer of his Majefty, Dr. Franklin was prethe reader to the 113th page of this sented to the living of Brafted, in Kent, book, where he will find in a note by the Archbishop of Canterbury. We the following reference: “ See Mr. have already remarked, that their MaLocke's Elements of Natural Philoso- jeities were pleased with the Doctor's phy, in a collection of pieces written preaching, when he was appointed one by' him, and printed for R. Franklin, of the royal chaplains. The knowin Covent Garden." It is a frange ledge of this partiality had induced instance of carelessness that this leaf Mrs. Franklin to present a petition to was not cancelled as well as the title, the Queen, which was soon after folfor it has been already related that Dr. lowed by a second from the Doctor Franklin's father, the bookseller, died himself, in which he fated the largein 1765, which was full ten years be- ness and expensiveness of his family, fore the appearance of this pretended the narrowness of his income, and his repub tion. We have been inform- inconsiderable preferments. ed that the same artifice was tried with These petitions were graciously acregard to a pretended secoed edition . cepted. În process of time, Dr. Pore of the poem of Translation.
teus vacated the living of Lambeth, To this work is added “ An En which is in the gift of the King, by quiry into the Astronomy and Ana- his being made a bishop. The Archtomy of the Ancients," in which the bishop (Cornwallis) immediately asked author displays much reading and it for his chaplain, the worthy and knowledge. This treatise was follow- amiable Dr. Vyfe, who was then reced by a chronological table of the tor of Brafted. “ No (said his MaGreek philosophers mentioned by Ci- jesty) Lambeth is mine—but, however, cero, in this work, and a translation Dr.
Vyse cannot hold both that and Lond. Mag. Sept. 1784.
* See page
Brafted, you shall have your choice of Greek, will find that he ftudiously entbem, upon condition that the rejected deavours to improve upon Lucian, and ome is immediately given to Franklin." rather exhibits a paraphrase than a The issue of the conversation was that translation of his author. For this the royal chaplain obtained the rectory closeness Dr, Franklin deferves great of Braited, and the Archbishop's recommendation, and his work may juftmoved to Lambeth.
ly be considered as an acquisition to Dr. Franklin, however, notwith- those who have not studied the ancient Itanding this addition to his income, languages. did not forsake his literary pursuits. We must not omit that he purposely He had for some time been employed omitted some of the pieces generally in translating the works of Lucian, ascribed to Lucian, which, with great and he now seems to have devoted his propriety, he thought his character as time and his attention almost folely to a clergyman would not permit him to that laborious undertaking, which he translate. This was an instance of the completed and published in the year #porov, which reflects honour on his 1980, in two quarto volumes, and head and heart, as the indecency of Thortly afterwards it appeared in four the writings in question, and the doubts volumes octavo,
of the learned whether they are the geThis was one of the most difficult, nuine productions of Lucian, certainly and, perhaps, the best of Dr. Frank: render the suppression of them in a ļin's publications. He prefaced it with tranflation highly commendable. a dialogue between Lord Lyttelton and This the last work which Dr, Lucian, written in professed imitation Franklin lived to publish. His conof the style and humour of the enter- ftitution seemed indeed to have pro. raining author whom he translated, misęd, a longer existence, but the exThis introductory piece has merit, and pectations of his friends and relations gives a very good account of the life were disappointed. He died on the and character of Lucian. But there is 15th of March, 1784, at his house in a want of gaiety and airiness, which Great Queen-Etreet. those who are much conversant in the We shall not at present attempt to writings of hio Grecian model will draw the character of Dr. Franklin, cally perceive.
Let those who assume that province The tran Nation is generally just, and remember, that abilities thould be meafufficiently literal
. There is little or sured according to their utility, as well no alloy mixed with the sterling ore as according to their greatness and their of Lucian. He seems to have ftudied depth-that few know how to efti, the characteristic features of his author, mate their own talents – that the dirof whom, however, on the whole, he appointments of our expectations will presents rather a pleasing than a strik in time render us four and peevithing resemblance,
that the success of our contemporaries D'Ablancourt's Lucian has been fre. commonly raises envy, and that perquently and much admired, but those fection of character is not the lot of who will compare the French with the mortality,
O P T C S. IN N our magazine for March, we in. Înce that time; but we have met with
ferted, from the Philofophical an account of one seen in the year 1 699, Transactions, an account of several in a foreign journal, called Nova LiLunar Irides, extracted from two letters teraria, published at Lubeck, about the addressed to Sir Joseph Banks, by Mr. end of the same year, of which the Tunttall. As phenomena of this fori following is a translation: are rather uncommon, we have not An Account of a Lunar Iris, from a sard of any that have been observed letter of Dr. Samuel Schelgvigiwe,