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It might be hoped that the favour of his master and esteem of the publick would now make him happy. But human felicity is short and uncertain; a second marriage brought upon him so much disquiet, as for a time disordered his understanding ; and Butler lampooned him for his lunacy. I know not whether the malignant lines were then made publick, nor what provocation incited Butler to do that which no provocation can excuse.

His frenzy lasted not long* ; and he seems to have regained his full force of mind; for he wrote afterwards his excellent poem upon the death of Cowley, whom he was not long to servive ; for on the 19th of March, 1668, he was buried by his side.

* In Grammont's Memoirs many circumstances are related, both of his marriage and his frenzy, very little favourable to his character. R.

DENDENHAM is deservedly considered as one of the fathers of English poetry.

66 Denham “ and Waller," says Prior, '“ improved our “'versification, and Dryden perfected it." He has given speciinens of various compofition, descriptive, ludicrous, didactick, and sublime.

· He appears to have had, in common with almost all mankind, the ambition of being upón proper occasions a merry fellow, and in common with most of them to have been by nature, early habits, debarred from it. Nothing is less exhilarating than the ladi'croufness of Denham; he does not fail for want of efforts ; he is familiar, he iş, gross ; but he is never merry, unless the “ Speech against péácè in 'the 'clofé Committee” be excepted. ' For grave burlesque, however, his imitation of Davenant shews him to have been well qualified.

Of his more elevated occasional poems there is perhaps none that does not deserve com

mendation. In the verses to Fletcher, we - have an image that has since been adopted :


" But whither am I stray'd ? I need not raise Trophies to thee from other men's dispraise; “ Nor is thy fame on lesser ruins built, “ Nor need thy juster title the foul guilt 6 Of eastern kings, who, to secure their reign, “ Must have their brothers, fons, and kindred

* flain."

After Denham, Orrery, in one of his prologues,

“ Poets are sultans, if they had their will; For every author would his brother kill."

And Pope,

“ Should such a man, too fond to rule alone, “ Bear like the Turk no brother near the throne."

But this is not the best of his little pieces: it is excelled by his poem to Fanshaw, and his elegy on Cowley.

His praise of Fanshaw's version of Guarini, contains a very spritely and judicious character of a good translator :

" That servile path thou nobly dost decline, “ Of tracing word by word, and line by line. VOL. I.


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Those are the labour'd births of flavish brains, “ Not the effect of poetry, but, pains;

Cheap vulgar arts, whose narrowness afford's No flight for thoughts, but poorly stick at

« words. A new and nobler way thou dost pursue, “ To make translations and translators too.

They but preserve the ashes, thou the flame, “ True to his fense, but truer to his fame.”

The excellence of these lines is greater, as the truth which they contain was not at that time generally known.

His poem on the death of Cowley was his last, and, among his shorter works, his best performance: the numbers are musical, and the thoughts are just.

6. Cooper's HILL" is the work that confers upon

him the rank and dignity of all original author. He seems to have been, at least among us, the author of a species of composition that may be denominated local poetry, of which the fundamental subject is some particular landscape, to be poetically described, with the addition of such embel


lishments as may be supplied by historical retrospection or incidental meditation.

To trace a new scheme of poetry has in itself a very high claim to praise, and its praise is yet more when it is apparently copied by Garth and Pope *; after whose names little will be gained by an enumeration of smaller poets, that have left scarcely a corner of the island not dignified either by rhyme, or blank verse.

“ Cooper's Hill," if it be maliciously inspected, will not be found without its faults. The digressions are too long, the morality too frequent, and the sentiments sometimes such as will not bear a rigorous enquiry.

The four verses, which, since Dryden has commended them, almost every writer for a century past has imitated, are generally known:

“ O could I flow like thee, and make thy stream “My great example, as it is my theme!

* By Garth, in his “ Poem on Claremont,” and by Pope, in his “ Windsor Forest.” H.

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