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the forces defending Tangier against the Moors, and during the expedition (1680) wrote his poem of “The Vision," characterised by Johnson as a licentious poem, with little power of invention or propriety of sentiment. He became a member of the Privy Council of James II., who appointed him governor of Hull and Lord Chamberlain ; and he proved his loyalty by giving the king much sound and sensible advice, which the king never followed. He acquiesced in the Revolution of 1688, though at first he refused office under the new Government. It is to his honour that he signed the protest of some of the peers against the Bill, in 1693, for instituting a censorship of the Press; and in the same session he opposed, with all the force of his eloquence, the Bill for the regulation of Trials in cases of High Treason. Though created Marquis of Normanby, with a pension of £3,000 a year, he maintained his independence; and among the opponents of the harsh and arbitrary measure known as Sir John Fenwick's Attainder Bill none was more perseveringly active. On the accession of Queen Anne, whose lover he had at one time been, he was distinguished with special favour, made Lord of the Privy Seal, and created Duke of Buckinghamshire. He was president of council, and one of the Lords Justices in Great Britain ; but when George I. succeeded to the throne, he threw himself into active opposition to the Court. His death took place on the 24th of February, 1720. He was interred in Westminster Abbey, where his epitaph, written by himself, unblushingly proclaims that he lived and died a sceptic.
His Tory politics will account for the strain of bitterness that runs through Macaulay's character of this able statesman : “Mulgrave wrote verses which scarcely ever
rose above absolute mediocrity ; but as he was a man of high note in the political and fashionable world, these verses found admirers. Time dissolved the charm, but, unfortunately for him, not until his lines had acquired a prescriptive right to a place in all collections of the works of English poets. To this day, accordingly, his insipid essays in rhyme and his paltry songs to Amoretta and Gloriana are reprinted in company with Comus and Alexander's Feast. The consequence is that our generation knows Mulgrave chiefly as a poetaster, and despised him as such. In truth, however, he was, by the acknowledgment of those who neither loved nor esteemed him, a man distinguished by fine parts, and in parliamentary eloquence inferior to scarcely any orator of his time. His moral character was entitled to no respect. He was a libertine without that openness of heart and hand which sometimes makes libertinism amiable, and a haughty aristocrat without that elevation of sentiment which sometimes makes aristocratical haughtiness respectable. The satirists of the age nicknamed him Lord Allpride, and pronounced it strange that a man who had so exalted a sense of his dignity should be so hard and niggardly in all pecuniary dealings.”
I venture to think more highly than does the brilliant historian of the Duke's literary qualifications. He writes with vigour and perspicuity, and his canons of criticism are just and sensible. His two principal works are-an “ Essay on Satire,” published in 1675, and his “Essay on Poetry,"—the latter a kind of Ars Poetica, published anonymously in 1682, and enlarged and revised, with some touches by Pope, in 1691. It is written in the heroic couplet, and was warmly commended by Pope and
Roscommon and Dryden. Not a few of its lines have become familiar quotations, as, for example :
“Fancy is but the feather of the pen ;
Reason is that substantial, useful part
Nature's chief master-piece is writing well.”
Like Rochester, Mulgrave indulged in a squib against contemporary poets and poetasters. In 1719, on the appointment of Eusden to the post of poet laureate, he published the satire of “The Election of a Laureate,” in which he introduced Blackmore, Congreve, Lansdowne, Bishop Atterbury, Philips, Gay, Cibber, D'Urfey, Prior, and Pope. It concludes thus :
"At last in rushed Eusden, and cried, 'Who shall have it,
But vowed, though, till then he'd ne'er heard of his name." Mulgrave had the good sense and the good taste to rank Shakespeare and John Fletcher before all other English dramatists; but in later life his good sense and good taste deserted him, partly through the influence of French criticism, and partly perhaps through the strength of his political prejudices, and he undertook a revision of Shakespeare's “ Julius Cæsar.” A believer in the gospel of the unities, he was shocked by the boldness with which Shakespeare treats time and place, and proceeded to reconstruct Shakespeare's great historical drama on the model of a French tragedy. The result was seen in two plays instead of one, “ Julius Cæsar” and “Marcus Brutus," each ending with a denunciation of the Roman hero's act of tyrannicide. The audacious adapter ventured even to meddle with Shakespeare's language, and translated the fine, terse, and pregnant line, “The good is oft interred with their bones," into “ The good is often buried in their graves”-an alteration which throws a startling light on the noble author's want of true poetical perception.
Among the crowd of aristocratic poets whom the Restoration warmed into activity one of the most refined and graceful was Sir Charles Sedley, the friend of Dorset and Roscommon and Dryden, and the “ Lisideius” of Dryden's “Essay of Dramatic Poesie.” He was born at Aylesford, in Kent, in 1639. His mother was Elizabeth, daughter of Sir Henry Saville, the learned provost of Eton, whose talents and love of scholarship she seems to have inherited.* At the age of seventeen, young Sedley, already distinguished by his intellectual gifts, entered Wadham College, Oxford, but left the University without taking a degree, and went abroad. He returned to England at the Restoration, and about 1667 found his way to Court, where the grace of his address and the charm of his conversation soon made him “the observed of all observers.” With the King he was a great favourite, and among the beauties and wits that assembled in the gay circle at Whitehall no one was more popular. Shadwell says of him that he would speak more wit at a supper than all his adversaries could have written in a year. Pepys tells us that to sit near him at the theatre, and hear his comments on a new play, was an intellectual treat. It was gracefully said by the King that “Nature had given him a patent to be Apollo's Viceroy."
* Compare Waller's epitaph :
“Here lies the learned Saville's heir,
So early wise, and lasting fair,
His love-verses are bright, vivacious, and graceful. They are free from the indelicate expressions which offend us as those of Suckling or Rochester, but it cannot be pretended that they are purer in sentiment. His muse is attired in the garb of a courtezan, but the courtezan is a Lais or a Phryne, and not a common street-walker. Whether she is less dangerous may well be doubted. The sober Evelyn couples him with Etherege :
“But gentle Etherege and Sedley's Muse
Warm the coy maid, and melting love infuse.” And to this evil power of stimulating the imagination, while assuming a mask of decency, Rochester alludes :
“For songs and verses, mannerly obscene,
That can stir nature up by springs unseen;
This fascinating sweetness is designated by Buckingham “ Sedley's witchcraft,” though it would seem to have been more apparent to his contemporaries than it is to the critics of a soberer day. That he could, at will, write with elegance and yet without offending the most