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Quàm interim erga Cognatos pius & officiofus,
Teitetur hoc faxum
His Epitaph at Westminster:
Herefordiæ conduntur Offa,
Immortale suum Ingenium,
Miro animi candore,
In illo Mufarum Domicilio
Carmina fermone Patrio compofuit
Versuum quippe Harmoniam
Primoque pene Par.
j. P H I i I Pi S.
Et videt, & affecutus est,
Fas fit Huic,
Alterum tibi latus claudere,
Non dedecebit Chiorum.
SIMON HARCOURT Miles,
Quoad viveret Fautor,
Hoc illi Saxumi poni voluit.
Salop, Filius, natus est Bamptoniæ
in agro Oxon. Dec. 30, 1676.
Obiit Herefordiæ, Feb. i5, 1708.
and lamented, before any part of his reputation had withered, and before his patron St. John had difgraced him.
His works are few. The Splendid Shilling has the uncommon merit of an original design, unless it may be thought precluded by the ancient Centos. To de grade the founding words and stately construction of Milton, by an application to the lowest and most trivial things, gratifies the mind with a momentary triumph over that grandeur which hitherto held its captives in admiration; the words and things are prefented with a new appearance, and novelty is always grateful where it gives no pain.
But the merit of such performances begins and ends with the first author. He that thould again adapt Milton's phrase to the gross incidents of common life, and even adapt it with more art, which would not be difficult, must yet expect but a sinall part of the praise which Philips has obtained ; he can only hope to be considered as the repeater of a jest.
“ The parody on Milton,” says Gildon, “ is the
only tolerable production of its author.” This is a censure too dogmatical and violent. The poem of Blenbeim was never denied to be tolerable, even by those who do not allow its supreme excellence. It is indeed the poem
of a scholar, all inexpert of war; of a man who writes books froni books, and studies the world in a college. He seems to have formed his ideas of the field of Blenbeim from the battles of the heroic ages, or the tales of chivalry, with very little comprehension of the qualities necessary to the compofition of a modern hero, which Addison has displayed with so much propriery. He makes Marlborough behold at distance
the Naughter made by Tallard, then haste to encounter
He imitates Milton's numbers indeed, but imitates
There is a Latin ode written to his patron St. John, in return for a present of wine and tobacco, which cannot be pafled without notice. It is gay and elegant, and exhibits several artful accominodations of claltick expressions to new purposes. It seems better turned than the odes of Hannes *.
* This ode I am willing to inention, because there seems to be an error in all the printed copies, which is, I find, retained in the last, They all read;
Quam Gratiarum cura decentium
0! O! labellis cui Venus infidet.
Quam Gratiarum cura decentium
To the poem on Cider, written in imitation of the Georgicks, may be given this peculiar praise, that it is grounded in truth; that the precepts which it contains are exact and juft; and that it is therefore, at once, a book of entertainment and of science. This I was told by Miller, the great gardener and botanist, whose expression was, that there were many bocks written on tte fame fubjein pruse, which do not contain so much truth as that poem.
In the disposition of his matter, so as to intersperse precepts relating to the culture of trees, with fentiments more generally alluring, and in easy and graceful transitions from one subject to another, he has very diligently imitated his master; but he unhappily pleased himself with blank verse, and supposed that the numbers of Milton, which impress the mind with veneration, combined as they are with subjects of inconceivable grandeur, could be sustained by images which at most can rise only to elegance. Contending angels may shake the regions of heaven in blank verse; but the flow of equal measures, and the embellishment of rhyme, must recommend to our attention the art of engrafting, and decide the merit of the redsreak and pearmain.
What study could confer, Philips had obtained; but natural deficience cannot be supplied. He seems not born to greatness and elevation. He is never lofty, nor does he often furprise with unexpected excellence; but perhaps to his last poem may be applied what Tully faid of the work of Lucretius, that it is written with much art, though with few blazes of genius.