« 前へ次へ »
« To conclude—no man ever deserved better of his “ country than Swift did of his. A steady, perse« vering, inflexible friend; a wise, a watchful, and " a faithful counsellor, under many severe trials and “ bitter persecutions, to the manifest hazard both of “ his liberty and fortune.
“ He lived a blessing, he died a benefactor, and his “ name will ever live an honour to Ireland.”
IN the poetical works of Dr. Swift there is not much upon which the critick can exercise his powers. They are often humorous, almost always light, and have the qualities which recommend such compofitions, easiness and gaiety. They are, for the most part, what their author intended. The diction is con rect, the numbers are smooth, and the rhymes exact. There seldom occurs a hard-laboured express fion, or a redundant epithet ; all his verses exemplify his own definition of a good style, they consist of pro.. per words in proper places.
To divide this collection into claffes, and fhèw how some pieces are gross, and some are trifling, would be to tell the reader what he knows already, and to find faults of which the author could not be ignorånt, whe. certainly wrote often not to his judgement, but his humour..
It was said, in a Preface to one of the Irish edi. tions, that Swift had never been known to take single thought from any writer, ancient or modern. This is not literally true; but perhaps no writer can easily be found that has borrowed so little, or thar in. all his excellences and all his defects has fo well maintained his cwn to be considered as original.
W ILLIAM BROOME was born in Cheshire,
V as is said, of very mean parents. Of the place of his birth, or the first part of his life, I have not been able to gain any intelligence. He was educated upon the foundation at Eaton, and was captain of the school a whole year, without any vacancy, by which he might have obtained a scholarship at King's College. Being by this delay, such as is said to have happened very rarely, superannuated, he was sent to St. John's College by the contributions of his friends, where he obtained a small exhibition.
At his College he lived for some time in the same chamber with the well-known Ford, by whom I have formerly heard him described as a contracted scholar and a mere versifyer, unacquainted with life, and unskilful in conversation. His addiction to metre was then such, that his companions familiarly called him Poet. When he had opportunities of mingling with
mankind, he cleared himself, as Ford likewise owned, from great part of his scholastick rust.
He appeared early in the world as a translaror of the lliads into prose, in conjunction with Ozell and Oldisworth. How their several parts were distributed is not known. This is the translation of which Ozell boasted as superior, in Toland's opinion, to that of Pope: it has long since vanished, and is now in no danger from the criticks.
He was introduced to Mr. Pope, who was then visiting Sir John Cotton at Madingley near Cambridge, and gained so much of his esteem, that he was employed, I believe, to make extracts from Eustathius for the notes to the translation of the Iliad; and in the volumes of poetry published by Lintot, commonly called Pope's Miscellanies, many of his early pieces were inserted.
Pope and Broome were to be yet more closely connected. When the success of the Iliad gave encouragement to a version of the Odysey, Pope, weary of the toil, called Fenton and Broome to his assistance ; and, taking only half the work upon himself, divided the other half between his partners, giving four books to Fenton, and eight to Broome. Fenton's books I have enumerated in his Life; to the lot of Broome fell the second, fixth, eighth, eleventh, (welfth, fixteenth, eighteenth, and twenty-third, together with the burthen of writing all the notes.
As this translation is a very important event in po.. etical history, the reader has a right to know upon what grounds I establish my narration. That the verfion was not wholly Pope's, was always known : he had mentioned the assistance of two friends in his pro
pofals, and at the end of the work fome account to given by Broome of their different parts, which how: ever mentions only five books as written by the coadjutórs; the fourth and twentieth by Fenton; the fixth, the eleventh, and the eighteenth by himself; though Pope, in an advertisement prefixed afterwards to a new volume of his works, claimed only twelve. A natural curiosity, after the real conduct of fo great an undertaking, incited me once to enquire of Dr. Warburton, who told me, in his warm language, that he thought the relation given in the note a lie ; but that he was not able to ascertain the several shares. The intelligence which Dr. Warburton could not af- . ford me, I obtained from Mr. Langton, to whom Mr. Spence had imparted it.
The price at which Pope purchased this affiftance was three hundred pounds paid to Fenton, and five hundred to Broome, with as many copies as he wanted for his friends, which amounted to one hundred more. The payment made to Fenton I know not but by hearsay; Broome's is very diftinctly told by Pope, in the notes to the Dunciad.
It is evident, that, according to Pope's own estimate, Broome was unkindly treated. If four books could merit three hundred pounds, eight and all the notes, equivalent at least to four, had certainly a right to more than fix. .
Broome probably considered himself as injured, and there was for some tine more than coldness between liim and his employer. He always spoke of Pope as too much a lover of money, and Pope pursued him with avowed hostility ; for he not only named him disrespectfully in the Dunciad, but quoted hina more
than once in the Bathos, as a proficient in the Art of Sinking; and in his enumeration of the different kinds of poets distinguished for the profound, he reckons Broome among the Parrots who repeat another's words in such a boarse odd tone as makes them feem their own. I have been told that they were afterwards reconciled; but I am afraid their peace was without friendship.
He afterwards published a Miscellany of Poems, which is inserted, with corrections, in the late compilation.
He never rose to very high dignity in the church. He was some time rector of Sturston in Suffolk, where he married a wealthy widow; and afterwards, when the King visited Cambridge (1728), became Doctor of Laws. He was (1733) presented by the Crown to the rectory of Pulhan in Norfolk, which he held with Oakley Magna in Suffolk, given him by the Lord Cornwallis, to whom he was chaplain, and who added the vicarage of Eye in Suffolk; he then reñigned Pulbam, and retained the other two.
Towards the close of his life he grew again poetical, and amused himself with translating Odes of Anacreon, which he published in the Gentleman's Magazine, under the name of Chester. · He died at Bath, November 16, 1745, and was buried in the Abbey Church.
Of Broome, though it cannot be said that he was a great poet, it would be unjust to deny that he was an excellent versifyer; his lines are smooth and sonorous, and his diction is select and elegant. His rhymes are sometimes unsuitable; in his Melancholy he makes breath rhyme to birth in one place, and to earth in enother. Those faults occur but seldom; and he had VOL. III. Еe