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cond it is taken positively, as an agent. In one of Boileau's lines it was a question, whether he should use à rien faire, or à ne rien faire ; and the first was preferred, because it gave rien a fense in some fort positive. Nothing can be a subject only in its positive sense, and such a sense is given it in the first line :
Nothing, thou elder brother ev'n to shade.' In this line, I know not whether he does not allude to a curious book de Umbra, by Wowerus, which, having told the qualities of Shade, concludes with a poem in which are these lines : Jam primum terram validis circumspice claustris Suspenfam totam, decus admirabile mundi Terrasque tractusque maris, camposque liquentes Aeris & vafti Jaqueata palatia cæliOmnibus UMBRA prior.
The positive sense is generally preserved, with great skill, through the whole poem; though sometimes, in a subordinate sense, the negative nothing is injudiciously mingled. Pafferat confounds the two fenres.
Another of his most vigorous pieces is his Lampoon on Sir Car Scroop, who, in a poem called The Praise of Satire, had some lines like these * :
He who can push into a midnight fray
This was meant of Rochester, whose buffoon conceit was, 1 suppose, a saying often mentioned, that every Man would be a Coward if be durft; and drew from him those furious verses, to which Scroop made in reply an epigran end-ing with these lines : Thou canst hurt no man's fame with thy ill word; Thy pen is full as harmless as thy sword.
Of the fatire against Man, Rochester can only claim what remains: when all Boileau's part is taken away.
In all his works there is sprightliness and vi. gour, and every where may be found tokens of a mind which study might have carried to ex, cellence.. What more can be expected from a. life fpent in oftentatious contempt of regularity, and ended before the abilities of many others men began to be displayed ?
F A с
HE celebrating the praises of the dead is an
argument so worn out by long and frequent. use, and now become so nauseous by the flattery that usually attends it, that it is no wonder if funeral orations, or panegyrics, are more considered: for the elegance of style and fineness of wit than for. the authority they carry with them as to the truth of matters of fact. And yet I am not hereby deterred from meddling with this kind of argument, nor from handling it with all the plaipness. I can ;; delivering only what I myself heard and saw, without any borrowed ornament. I do easily foresce how many will be engaged, for the support of their impious maxims and immoral practices, to disparage what I am to write. Others will censure it because it comes from one of my profession; toa many supposing us to be induced to frame such difcourses for carrying on what they are pleased to call our trade. Some will think I dress it up too artificially; and others, that I present it too plain and naked.
But, being resolved to govern myself by the exact rules of truth, I shall be less concerned in the cenfures I may fall under. It may seem liable to great exception that I should disclose so many things, that were discovered to me, if not under the seal of confession, yet under the confidence of friendship. But this noble lord himself not only released me from all obligation of this kind, when I waited on him in his last fickness a few days hefore he died, but gave it me in charge not to spare him in any thing which I thought might be of use to the living, and was not ill pleased to be laid open, as well in the worst as in the best and last part of his life, being so sincere in lis repentance, that he was not unwilling to take shame to himself, by suffering his faults to be exposed for the benefit of others.
I write with one great disadvantage, that I cannot reach his chief design without mentioning some of his faults; but I have touched them as tenderly as occasion would bear, and, I am sure, with much more foftness than he desired, or would have confented unto, had I told him how I intended to manage this part. I have related nothing with perfonal relections on any others concerned with him ; wishing rather that they themselves, reflecting on the sense he had. of his former disorders, may be
thereby led to forsake their own, ihan that they should be any ways reproached by what I write: and therefore, though he used very few reserves with me as to his course of life, yet, fince others had a share in most parts of it, I shall relate nothing but what more immediately concerned himself; and I shall say no more of his faults than is necessary to illustrate his repentance,
The occasion, that led me into fo particular a knowledge of him, was an intimation, given me by. a gentleman of his acquaintance, of his defire to see me. This was some time in October, 1679, when he was slowly recovering out of a great diseale. He had understood that I often attended on ane, well known to him, that died the suinmer be. fore: he was also then entertaining himself;. in that fate of his health, with the first part of the History of the Reformation, then newly come out, with which he seemed not ill pleased ; and we had accidentally met in two or three places fome time before. These were the motives that led him to call for my company. After I had waited on him once or twice, he grew into that frecdom with me, as to open to me all his thoughts, bothşf religion and morality; and to give me a full view of his past life; and seemed not uneasy at my frequent vilits.