« ForrigeFortsett »
man of the Committee of Secrecy It appears that the examination of prefaced his motion for the impeach. Prior was upon oath, which (says Dr. ment of the Poet t, and, on his fuble. Johnson) “ was administered by Bof. quent examination, the inhumanity cawen, a Middlesex Justice, who was at and illegality with which he was treated last going to write his attestation on the by the interrogators, who certainly, in wrong side of the paper | !" their eagerness to procure some politive 'The Poet was, as has been observed, proof against the Earl of Oxford, alked ordered into the close custody of the him quelticns which, had he answered Sergeant at Arms ; a circumstance with them to their wishes, would have im- which, norwithtanding the terrific plicated his life.
seasoning of Lord Conningby, he was -The querifts (says Dr. Johnson) so little affected, that he wrote, during “ behaved with the boisterousness of his seclusion, his very elegant and men elated with recent authority.” sprightly poem of Alma, and also a How a little recent “ brief authority" long, which he taught to a relation should fo elate and make men, elevated of mine, who, from his being intimate in their Itations, and still more elevated with her father, a very eminent painter, by their abilities ; men to whom the used, when a child, occasionally to visit world has given credit for general libe. him in his prison houle. This song I rality of sentiment; “ play such fan. have often heard ber repeat; but so tastic tricks before high heaven ?" many years have since elapsed, that, is only to be accounted for, by lup- even with the assistance of her daughter, pofing them in a very eminent degree I can only recollect a few verses of it, posfelled by the mania of Party, and those perhaps not quite correct. which infection was pretty extensively These are only valuable as they, like diffused through the nation, and which, many pen and ink fketches of great upon reflection, certainly affords an- malters, give a few characteristical other key for the explanation of the traits, and, while they glance at his peenigma respecting the conduct of Wale culiar propensities, serve to exhibit the pole which was quoted in the begin- gay turn of his mind in a season, as one ping of this article.
should suppose, of peculiar distress. June 9, 1715, Mr. R. Walpole stated, that he was commanded by the Committee of Secrecy to move, that a warrant may be issued to apprehend certain persons, and that no Member be permitted to leave the Houfe. The warrant being granted, and the doors locked, several persons were named by the Speaker and Mr. W. particularly Matthew Prior and Mr. Thomas Harley, who were taken into custody by the Sergeant at Arms. On the 4th of September following, the Committee of Secrecy, having previously examined Nir. Prior's books and papers, had found that crimes of a very high nature ought to be imputed to him, and from a report of his having met and conferred with the Earl of Oxford, his relacions, and dependents, and allo from his contempt of the authority of Parliament, and his prevarication, they thought it their duty to move that he be committed to close cuftody.-TINDAL's Continuation of Rafin.
† june 19th, 1715, Mr. R. Walpole moved tor an impeachment against Matthew Prior, Elq.
I I have been much puzzled with this passage. Does Dr. J. mean to smeer at the Magistrate whom he inelegantly terms a Middlesex Justice? Does he mean to quote this circumstance as an instance of his ignorance, and endeavour to make us believe that he did not know on which side of the paper to fign the jurat ? In either point of view, it is subject to those oblervations which might always have been made upon his works when he descended from his literary altitude, and attempted to play with edge tools, at the management of wliich he was by no means dexterous.
It appears that the Gentleman whom he has described by the above epithet was the Right Hon. Hugh Boicawen, Comptroller of his Majesty's Houthold, a Meniher of the Privy Council, and of the House of Commons (Vide Historical Regilter, Vol. I. P: 340, and Vol. III. p. 110.); he fat in Parliament for Penryn, Cornwall, and was also in the Commiffion of the Peace for the County of Middlesex, &c. &c. It would be. as absurd to dwell longer upon this attempt at mitrepresentation as it would be to suppote that this Gentleman did not know on which side of the paper to write his name, to which, had he been ever so ignorant, the signature of the Examinant would have directed bim.
The Sergeant * tapp'd me on the back, When home the Sergeant comes at
Muit I stay here for ever?
And wain grief from my liver,
Since a prisoner' I must lie.
Weybourn, Efq. Sergeant at Arms. His house was in Brownlowo / street, Long-Acre, where, it ihould be recollected, at that period, a number of very genteel families relided.
* Here a mencal biatus occurs, of one or more verses, descriptive of his reception at the Sergeant's house, and probably of his meeting with Jack, to celebrated for his wit. (to whom I am sorry I cannot direct the reader's attention), and the rest of the family,
† In order to elucidate this verse, it will be necessary to observe, that this was the Lady whom Dr. Arbuthnot f has 10 elegantıy described by the epithet of - Brimstone Birch," and whom the trattery of the Poet has made in beauty co-equal to Venus, e. g.
!! When Chloe's pi&ture was to Venus shewn,
“ Surpris'd, the goddels took it for her own,' &c. and upon whom he has bestowed a hundred other compliments equally hyperbolical, which have caused her to be much better known by the name ot Prior's Chlce than her own
That such a Lady, or, according to Dr. Johnton, who has awkwardly imitated the coarsenets of Arbuthnot, such “a dirty drab," existed, and that, with respect to the Poet,
“ For real Kate he made the boddice,
“ And not for an ideal goddess," is well known ; but it is not quite so well known, though equally certain, that the was, at the time of her firit acquaintance with Priorg a married woman, the wife of a Coachman : they had, I think, both been in lervice, and it was supposed the Bard furnished them with the means of opening a Punch houle in Long.acre, to which, as Richardion Hates from information, he retired when his mind was
-" frain'd to the height
" In that celestial coloquy sublime,' which the company of Oxford, Bolingbroke, Swift, and Pope, afforded, and which sublime featt of reason, I have been assured, had one night nearly en led in a riot that might have conveyed them before Boscawen, or some other Middlesex Justice. This fracas arose from the circumstance of Chie's rushing into the room of a tavern in Covent Garden, where they were assembled, and running up to Prior, whose wig te pulled off, which, to the aitonithment of the company, the threw on the back of the fire, and, as foon as he had relcned it from the Haines, intitted upon his leaving his “ celeftial coloquy," and retiring with her.
With this termagant miftrels, it is certain, when he had left more elegant and elevated company, he used frequently to spend, or rather to finih, his evenings, and probably met at her house beings the very reverse in manners, education, and habits of life, of those he had left ; among these, it has been faid, he used to imoke bis pipe ; and it is not unlikely that he might consider the hours that he passed in a house where he was truly esteemed to be the greatest man
I Vide two extracts of original letters from Dr. Arbuthnot and Mr. Watkins, European Magazine, Vol. XII. page 8.
But tell me, pretty neighbour,
At what o'clock you'll come?
“ I cannot lose my labour, Here light the candles, Hetty,
“ You'll be all day at home," And, William, stir the fire :
șinçe a prisoner you must lie, muft lie i Your servant, Mistress Betty : I am yours, Mr. Prior !
Since a prisoner you must lie. Tho' a prisoner you must lie, must lie ;
This is as much of the song as can Tho'a prisoner you must lie.
now be 'recollected , to which I have When I attempt to ope the bar,
added such annotations as have been My bat I bumbly move.
communicated to me in very early life With scorn the cries, “ You come not by some intimate friends of the Poet. here
With respect to the beauty of this For money nor for love,"
type of Venus," I have been inSince a prisoner you must lie, mult lie; formed by a Gentleman, long since Since a prisoner you must lie.
deceased, that her face was exquiltely
handsome, perhaps more fo than that To make the bowl that cheers the heart of the Grecian ftatue of the goddess
The choicest drugs are chosen : to whom her infatuated admirer was so « Little lemons are most tart,"
fond of comparing her, but her figure And eleven to the dozen !
so far from perfect, that “ Friend Since a prisoner I must lie, mult lie; Howard" might, without any violent Since a prisoner I muit lie. stretch of ingenuity, have easily fan
cied a much more elegant form. As
he advanced in life, the grew embonCome, Betty, fill another bowl. point ; and a person who had occafion « Lard, Sir! the watch is fet !"
to see her upon business, many years Nay! nay, I'll have it, by my soul!
after the death of Prior, itated, that the I have not drank Nan yet t :
had fo totally lost her attractions by her Since a prisoner I must lie, must lic; grief for thai event, or concealed them Since a prisoner I must lie.
in the closeness of her dress, that an
eminent arrilt, who was also present, So, now the reck’ning must be paid, observed, she was a far more correct I must either tick or borrow.
representation of a witch than a god. “ No matter, Sir," the Gypsey said, dess. “ I'll call on you to morrow !
Though her husband died but a Since a prisoner you must lie, must lie ; Mort time before Prior, it is correctly
Since a prisoner you must lie." ftated in Dr. Arbuthnot's letter, before that ever entered its doors, as some of the happiest of his life. Of this grovelling propensity of the human mind, Prior was not, in those times, the only instance. The relaxations of many great men, and many great geniuses, appear, to the refined ideas of the present age, not over elegant. If Bolingbroke, for thirty years of his lites had always risen with the head-ache, we may reasonably conclude that he did not lay the foundation of it in regular sober society. Erasmus Lewis, Elq. Secretary to Lord Oxford, it has been hinted, has sometimes left his house in Cleveland-row for the delights to be found in Betty Coxe's. Swift was not always to be traced to those high circles which he was, by his learning and wit, so well calculated both to iņform and adorn. Humorifts conlider themselves at liberty to pursue their game from the calle to the cottage ; and I am of opinion (to come nearer our own times), it would have been impossible for the late Henry Fielding or Dr. Smollet to correctly to have delineated the interior of the kitchens or common rooms at inns if they had not visited many of them.
A verse, or perhaps more, seems here again to have been dropped, as I conceive, according to the conftruction of the poem, the scene changes too luddenly to the punch-house.
Hereby hangs a tale. The Poet had, while leaning upon the bar, observed to Chloe, that the lemons were very finall. She replied, that they were, on that accou
count, more tart and juicy : he therefore ordered a dozen to be squeezed, which were charged; but he having had the precaution to count the peeie, and finding only eleven had been used, gives her a hint of the trick that she had played him. "To the pious memory of Queen Anne," his conftant toast.
referred to, that “the Bard had had an which we receive of the failure of our escape by dying." as he was actually faculties to any cause rather than the upon the point of marrying her ; in. real one. deed matters had proceeded so far that her wedding clothes were bespoken.
DISPERSION OF ANCIENT RECORDS. It has been allo stated, that afterwards Among the many learned observa. her circumstances were so affluent, tions which I have heard in the Court " that she was enabled to keep her of Exchequer ; a Court in which, coach, frequent the Theatre every from the nature of the subjects free night, and lup by berself at the taverns quently discussed, it is necessary both in the neighbourhood."-Drofana, for the Judges and Advocates more European Magazine.
particularly to advert to the ancient
itate of the kingdom than, perhaps, MACKLIN.
in any other ; I wis once itruck with I think it was in or about the year some observations upon the dispersion 1778, when this veteran, then confider. of manuscripts at the fall of the abbeys, ably more than eighty years of age, which seemed to me, as I was then conperformed at Covent Garden Theatre, fidering the fubject, fo curious, that I and, as I have been informed, he often retained them in my memory until I appeared much hurt at the little notice had an opportunity, which a crowded that was taken of his very extraordinary Court would not afford, of committing exertions, and mortified to observe the them to paper, and believe the quotasmall power of attraction which even tion that follows is generally correct. the performance of his best characters " When the lesser abbeys were disa seemed to possess. One evening that solved, an event that happened in the the Miser was announced, he was, 27th year of Henry the villth, the when dresled for that part, previous Priests, who still retained hopes of bet. to the beginning of the play, walking ter times, although they were conbehind the curtain with that truly. manded to send their papers to the excellent Actress the late Mrs. Green, Augmentation Office, generally dirwho was also dressed for the part of obeyed those orders, and endeavoured Lappet. While thus engaged, he was to secure the mott valuable of their lamenting the degenerate taste of deeds and records, either by conligning the age with respect to scenic ex. them to the care of private pertons, hibitions, and the caprice which too or by sending them to Rome, where frequently operated against once fa- they were depolited in the Vatican or vourite Actors. In the course of these in other places of security. Of those lamentations, he every now and then that remained in the kingdom, many took a peep through the nit. The have been discovered in the archives of bell rang to clear the ftage. Macklin private families, and some were reItopped a moment to take a last look, claimed when better times for their and observing that he was likely owners did arrive. But the reign of to play to empty benches, he turned Mary being too short a period for reto Mrs. Green, and, in a manner storing the establishments which had moft emphatical, exclaimed, “Ah ! been lo violently overturned, the writJenny ! Jenny ! when Mrs. Clive ings and records of monaiteries have, played Lappet, we did not use to like the eltates which they described, draw up the curtain to such houses conveyed or adapted to peculiar as this !” The Lady, piqued at his ob- ules, to a considerable degree remained servation, took a peep in her turn, and, in the hands of lay pollelsors, who mimicking his folemnity of manner, seem, while they grasped them with retorted, “ Ah! Charles! Charles ! avidity, to have, with a more than when Mr. Shuter played Lovegold, we religious tenacity, adhered to them. did not use to draw up the curtain Thole that are preserved in the Vati. to such houses as this !"-" Humph !" can, or dispersed over Italy, are now of growled the veterar., as he fowly little use, and indeed, when found and italked toward the Green-room. referred to, are conlidered only as ob.
This short trait, like the anecdote of jects of curiosity." the Archbilhop of Grenada's homilies, inay serve to shew how little we are
HOGARTH. sentible of our own imbecility, and I was informed by Dawes, the pupil how ready to attribute the least hint of the late Mr. Huguth, that while
this original genius had his Analysis ranged his particular observations unof Beauty in contemplation, be has, der general beads. more than once, accoin panied him to In these excursions, I have been told the Fleet Market, and Harp-alley adja- that he was equally attentive to the cent, which were, in those times, the absurdities that were displayed betwixt great marts, and indeed exhibitions, us and the Zenith, among which he of figns, of various descriptions, bar- probably discovered constellations of bers-blocks, poles, &c. &c. which were monsters sufficient to have framed the then more in request than they have signs of a hundred new Zodiacs ; and I been of late years. In these places it have often thought, that could Addison was the delight of Hogarth to contem. have heard his observations, they plate those Ipecimens of genius ema. would have furnished him with hints nating from a school which he used for many papers replete with genuine emphatically to observe was truly Eng- humour. lish, and frequently to compare with What a fund of amusement would a and prefer to the more expensive pro- genius like his have extracted from the ductions of those geniuses whom he remarks of Hogarth, could he have used to term the Black Master's *; and heard him delcant also upon the ecit was his delight to consider the centricities which the wooden sculpblocks t, which used 10 be ranged in ture of this great city exhibited, in those shops in great order one row Highlanders, Black Boys, Golden above another, like the spectators in Heads, Peitles and Mortars, Lions, the galleries of a theatre, in different Hogs, Dogs, Cars, Mermaids, Unipoints of view,and to remark upon the corns, and a hundred other monsters, different characters which the work- chimeras, &c. which the artists of that man had beltowed upon their counte- age were in the habit of producing, nances, to endeavour to guess from and of which fome, though, alas ! few, their appearance at their dates, and specimens are still to be seen. thence deduce the effect wliich they Thele, nay even the chalk figures would have if decorated with the va scrawled upon the walls I as may be Tious wigs which the fashion of their seen by his works, Hogarth was in the different periods might have clapped habit of contemplating with vaft fatif. upon themHe thence, I have no faction ; and I have heard, that the doubt, frequently made a transition to fign-painters' exhibition arose froin a the animated blocks of their wearers, hint which the Gentleman I have and, like many ingenious authors, ar. already quoted, and my ingenious
By this appellation this Fielding of the graphic art denominated those smoky pictures which were the fathion of the day, namely, bad copies of frequently bad originals of the Italian and Flemin fchools. Incredible numbers of these were annually fold by Langford and others, which, when exbibited, were generally so obscured hy dirt, or scambled down with asphaltuin, &c, in order to accommodate them to the idea box of a connoisseur," that it was many times impoisible, at least till they had been well sponged, to distinguish even their subjects. This falle taste of the town (now happily eradicated), Hogarth took every opportunity, both with his tongue and pencil, tó ridicule and expole. Nor did this deviation from common sense pass unnoticed by Garrick, who, in his Prologue to Talte, in the character of Peter Puff, animadverts upon it with much truth and fome humour.
+ It is a curious circumftance to observe the great alteration that has taken place in the formation of thele ir struments upon which wigs are moulded. In the trequently noteless hlocks of the old School we could discern little to be admired, except their folidity : their sex was not then to be discerned by their countenances, iborgh as wigs, at that time, were only worn by oneart of the human species, we might take it for granted they were male. We have them now, as I have with plea. sure blerved in those beautiful exhibitions which I think some of the greatelt ornaments of the City, of the malculine and feminine gender. We have
but as this is a fubject of too much importance to be ihrown into a nute, I shall referve fome obfervations that have occurred to me upon it for a le parate speculation.
1 The figure of the King of France, in the invasion print (England), has always Aruck me as a correctly humorous fpecimen of his attention to this branch of his art,