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all that he had before done could be justified, enly by supposing them inveíted with lawful authority. But combinations of wickedness would overwhelm the world by the advantage which licentious principles afford, did not those who have long practised perfidy, grow faithless to each other.
poem on the war with Spain are fome passages at least equal to the best parts of the panegyrick; and in the conclusion, the
poet ventures yet a higher flight of flattery, by recommending royalty to Cromwell and the nation. Cromwell was very desirous, as appears from his conversation, related by Whitlock, of adding the title to the power of monarchy, and is supposed to have been with-held from it partly by fear of the army, and partly by fear of the laws, which, when he should govern by the name of King, would have restrained his authority. When therefore a deputation was folemnly fent to invite him to the Crown, he, after a long conference, refused it ; but is said to have fainted in his coach, when he parted from them.
The poem on the death of the Protector seems to have been dictated by real veneration
for his memory. Dryden and Sprat wrote on the same occasion ; but they were young men, struggling into notice, and hoping for some favour from the ruling party. Waller had little to expect: he had received nothing but his pardon from Cromwell, and was not likely to ask any thing from thofe who should fucceed him.
Soon afterwards the Restauration supplied him with another fubject; and he exerted his imagination, his elegance, and his melody, with equal alacrity, for Charles the Second. It is not poffible to read, without some contempt and indignation, poems of the same author, afcribing the highest degree of power and piety to Charles the First, then transferring the fame power and piety to Oliver Cromwell; now inviting Oliver to take the Crown, and then congratulating Charles the Second on his recovered right. Neither Cromwell nor Charles could value his teftimony as the effect of conviction, or receive his praises as effusions of reverence; they could conGider them but as the labour of invention, and the tribute of dependence.
Poets, indeed, profess fiction ; . but the legitimate end of fiction is the conveyance of truth; and he that has flattery. ready for all whom the vicissitudes of the world happen to exalt, must be scorned as a prostituted mind, that
may retain the glitter of wit, but has lost the dignity of virtue.
The Congratulation was considered as inferior in poetical merit to the Panegyrick; and it is reported, that when the king told Waller of the disparity, he answered, .' Poets,
Sir, succeed better in fiction than in truth."
The Congratulation is indeed not inferior to the Panegyrick, either by decay of genius, or for want of diligence; but because Cromwell had done much, and Charles had done little. Cromwell wanted nothing to raise him to heroick excellence but virtue; and virtue his poet thought himself at liberty to supply. Charles had yet only the merit of struggling without success, and suffering without despair. A life of escapes and indigence could supply poetry, with no splendid images.
· In the first parliament summoned by Charles the Second (March 8, 1661), Waller sat for Hastings in Sussex, and served for dif, ferent places in all the parliaments of that reign. In a time when fancy and gaiety were the most powerful recommendations to regard, it is not likely that Waller was for. gotten. He passed his time in the company that was highest, both in rank and wit, from which even his obstinate sobriety did not exclude him. Though he drank water, he was enabled by his fertility of mind to heighten the mirth of Bacchanalian assemblies; and Mr. Saville said, that “no man in England “ should keep him company without drink.
ing but Ned Waller.”
The praise given him by St. Evremond is a proof of his reputation ; for it was only by his reputation that he could be known, as a writer, to a man who, though he lived a great part of a long life upon an English penfion, never condescended to understand the language of the nation that maiņtained him.
In parliament, “ he was," says Burnet, “ the delight of the house, and though old e faid the liveliest things of any among “ them.” This, however, is said in his account of the year feventy-five, when Waller was only seventy. His name as a speaker occurs often in Grey's Collections; but I have found no extracts that can be more quoted as exhibiting fallies of gaiety than
He was of such confideration, that his remarks were circulated and recorded. When the duke of York's influence was high, both in Scotland and England, it drew, says Burnet, a lively reflection from Waller the celebrated wit. “ He said, the house of com
mons had resolved that the duke should “ not reign after the king's death ; but the
king, in oppofition to them, had resolved " that he should reign even in his life.” If there
appear no extraordinary liveliness in this remark, yet its reception proves the speaker to have been a celebrated wit, to have had