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Like mine, thy gentle numbers feebly creep;
Thy tragic muse gives smiles, thy comic sleep.
With whate'er gall thou sett’st thyself to write,
Thy inoffensive satires never bite;
In thy felonious heart though venom lies,
It does but touch thy Irish pen, and dies.
Thy genius call thee not to purchase fame
In keen iambics, but mild anagram.
Leave writing plays, and choose for thy command,
Some peaceful province in Acrostic land.
There thou may'st wings display, and altars raise,
And torture one poor word ten thousand ways;
Or, if thou would'st thy different talents suit,
Set thy own songs, and sing them to thy lute.-

He said: but his last words were scarcely heard;
For Bruce and Longvil had a trap prepared,
And down they sent the yet declaiming bard. +
Sinking he left his drugget robe behind,
Borne upwards by a subterranean wind.
The mantle fell to the young prophet's part,
With double portion of his father's art.

* Note XVIII.

+ Bruce and Longvil are fine gentlemen in Shadwell's comedy of the “ Virtuoso ;" who, during a florid speech of Sir Formal Trifle, contrive to get rid of the orator, by letting go a trap-door, upon which he had placed bimself during his declamation.

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Note I.

This Flecknoe found.-P. 433. Richard Flecknoe, the unfortunate bard whom our author has damned to everlasting fame, was by birth an Irishman, and by profession a Roman Catholic priest. Marvel, who seems to have known him at Rome, describes his person as meagre in the extreme, and his itch for scribbling as incessant. The poem, in which Marvel depicts him, is in the old taste of extravagant burlesque, and the lines are as rugged as Flecknoe could himself have produced. It contains, however, some witty and some humorous description, and the reader may be pleased to see a specimen :

Flecknoe, an English Priest at Rome.
Obliged by frequent visits of this man,
Whom, as a priest, puet, musician,
I for some branch of Melchizedec took,
Though he derives himself from my Lord Brooke,
I sought his lodging, which is at the sign
Df the sad Pelican, subject divine
For poetry. There, three stair-cases high,
Wbich signifies his triple property,
I found at last a chamber, as 'twas said,
But seemed a coffin set on the stair's head,
Not higher than seven, nor larger than three feet;
There neither was a ceiling, nor a sheet,
Save that the ingenious door did, as you come,
Turn in, and show to wainscot half the room;
Yet of his state no man could have complained,
There being no bed where he entertained;
And though within this cell so narrow pent,

He'd stanzas for a whole apartement.

-Nothing now, dinner staid,
But till he had himself a body made ;
I mean till he were dressed; for else, so thin
He stands, as if he only fed had been
With consecrated wafers; and the host
Hath sure more flesh and blood than he can boast.
This basso-relievo of a man,
Who as a camel tall, yet easily can
The needle's eye thread without any stitch ;
His only impossible is to be rich.
Lest bis too subtle body, growing rare,
Should leave his soul to wander in the air,
He therefore circumscribes himself in rhymes,
And, swaddled in's own paper seven times,
Wears a close jacket of poetic buff,
With which he doth his third dimension stuff.
Thus armed underneath, he over all
Doth make a primitive sotana fall;
And over that, yet casts an antique cloak,
Worn at the fifst council of Antioch,
Which, by the Jews long hid and disesteemed,
He heard of by tradition, and redeemed;
But were he not in this black habit decked,
This half transparent man would soon reflect
Each colour that he past by, and be seen

As the camelion, yellow, blue, or greell. It appears that Flecknoe either laid aside, or disguised, his spiritual character, when he returned to England; but he still preserved extensive connections with the Roman Catholic nobility

He probably wrote upon many occasional subjects, but his poetry has fallen into total oblivion. I have particularly sought in vain for his verses to King John of Portugal, to which Dryden alludes a little loyer. Langbaine mentions four of his plays, namely, “ Damoiselles a la Mode," “ Erminia,” “ Love's Dominion,” and “Love's Kingdom,” (of which more hereafter ;) but none of these were ever acted, excepting the last. This gave Flecknoe great indignation, which he thus vents against the players in his preface to “ Damoiselles a la Mode.” “ For the acting of this comedy, those who have the governing of the stage have their humour, and would be entreated ; and I have mine, and won't entreat them: and were all dramatic writers of my mind, they should wear their old plays thread-bare before they

and gentry:


* An anonymous poet ascribes the estimation in which he was held to his poetical propensities :

Verse the famed Flecknoe raised, the muses' sport,
From drudging for the stage to drudge at court.

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should have any new, till they better understood their own inte-
rest, and how to distinguish betwixt good and bad." Notwith-
standing this ill usage, he honoured the players so far, as to pre-
fix to each character, in the dramatis personæ of his pieces, the
name of the actor, by whom, had the managers been ess inex-
orable, he meant it should have been performed. But this he did
for the sake of the gentle reader, whom he assures, that a lively
imagination being thus assisted in bodying forth the character, he
may receive as much pleasure from the perusal as from the actual
representation of the performance. Flecknoe bore the damnation
of the only one of his plays which was represented, with the same
valiant indifference with which he supported the rebuffs of the play-
ers. In short, he seems to have been fitted for an incorrigible scrib-
bler, by a happy fund of self-satisfaction, upon which neither the
censures of criticism, nor the united hisses of a whole nation, could
make the slightest impression. When or how Fleck noe died is
uncertain, and of very little consequence; I presume, however,
that he was dead when this satire was published. I am uncertain
whether the reader will think, that this poor poetaster merited
mercy at the hands of Dryden, for the following lines which he
had written in his praise, and which, at any rate, may serve as a
specimen of Flecknoe's poetry :

Dryden, the muses darling and delight,
Than whom nonc ever flew so high a flight:
Some have their veins so drossy, as from earth,
Their muses only seem to have ta’en their birth.
Other but water-poets are, have gone
No farther than to the fount of Helicon :
And they're but airy ones, whose muse soars up
No higher than to mount Parnassus top;
Whilst thou, with thive, dost seem to have mounted highes
Than he who fetch from heaven celestial fire;
And dost as far surpass all others, as

Fire does all other elements surpass.
Flecknoe's memory being only preserved by this satire, his very
name came to be identified with its title. King, in A Dialogue
in the Shades," introduces him under the name of Mac-Flecknoe;
and Derrick falls into the same error.

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Note II.
Shadwell alone my perfect image bears,

Mature in dulness from his tender years.-P. 433. Thomas Shadwell was born at Santon-hall, in Norfolk, in which county his father represented a very ancient family. He was educated at Caius College, in Cambridge, and placed in the Middle Temple to study law; but, like many of the inhabitants of

these buildings, he preferred the smoother paths of literature. He made several essays in heroic verse, all of which are deplorably bad. They are chiefly occasional pieces ; as, an Address to the Prince of Orange on his Landing, another to Queen Mary, and a Translation of the Tenth Satire of Juvenal; which, though prefaced by a violent refutation of our author's attacks upon him, is so execrable, as fully to confirm Dryden's censures of the author's poetical talents. But, in comedy, he was much more successful'; and, in that capacity, Dryden does him great injustice in pronouncing him a dunce. On the contrary, I think most of Shadwell's comedies may be read with great pleasure. They do not, indeed, exhibit any brilliancy of wit, or ingenuity of intrigue; but the characters are truly dramatic, original, and well drawn; and the picture of manners which they exhibit gives us a lively idea of those of the author's age. As Shadwell proposed Jonson for his model, peculiarity of character, or what was then technically called humour, was what he chiefly wished to exhibit; and in this, it cannot be denied that he has often succeeded admirably. His powers, as a dramatist, are highly rated by Rochester, who imputes his coarseness to rapidity of composition :

Of all our modern wits, none seem to me
Once to have touched upon true comedy,
But hasty Shadwell and slow Wycherley.
Shadwell's unfinished works do yet impart
Great proofs of force of genius, none of art;
With just bold strokes he dashes here and there,
Showing great mustery with little care;
Scorning to varnish his good touches o'er,
To makc the fools and wonen praise them more.

Allusion to Tenth Satire of Horace. Shadwell's plays are seventeen in number, and were published, in four volumes, under the inspection of his son, Sir John Shadwell, M. D.

Shadwell's life was chequered with misfortune. As he espoused the party of the Duke of Monmouth, to whom he dedicated “ Psyche," and of Shaftesbury, he thought bimself obliged to draw the quill in defence of their cause. Accordingly, as we have seen, he attempted to answer “ The Medal” on the one hand, and, on the other, accused our author of intending a parallel between Moninouth and the Duke of Guise, in the play so entitled. This zeal seems to have cost Shadwell dear; for, besides undergoing the severe flagellations administered by Dryden, in the “ Defence of the Duke of Guise,” in “ Absalom and Achitophel,” and in the present poem, he complains, that his ruin was designed, and his life sought; and that, for near ten years, he was kept from the exercise of that profession which had afforded him a competent sub


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