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him in a state of expectation and right of succession, and it was very long before a vacancy admitted him to profit'.
Soon afterwards he married, and settled himself in a very 5 pleasant house at Wickham in Kent, where he devoted himself to learning and to piety. Of his learning the late Collection 3 exhibits evidence, which would have been yet fuller if the dissertations which accompany his version of Pindar1 had not been improperly omitted. Of his piety the influence has, I hope, been extended far by his Observations on the Resurrection, published in 17475, for which the University of Oxford created him a Doctor of Laws by diploma (March 30, 1748), and would doubtless have reached yet further had he lived to complete what he had for some time meditated, the Evidences of the truth of the New Testament. Perhaps it may not be without effect to tell that he read the prayers of the publick liturgy every morning to his family, and that on Sunday evening he called his servants into the parlour, and read to them first a sermon and then prayers. Crashaw is now not the only maker of verses to whom may be given the two venerable names of 'Poet and Saint'.' He was very often visited by Lyttelton and Pitt, who, when 6 they were weary of faction and debates, used at Wickham to
In The Royal Kalendar, 1816, p. 124, Charles C. F. Greville is entered as Clerk Extraordinary of the Privy Council. He entered in 1821 upon the duties of Clerk of the Council in Ordinary?' Greville Memoirs, Preface, p. 11. In the Kalendar for 1793, p. 87, there were four Extraordinary Clerks, waiting to step, each in his turn, into a dead man's shoes. 'Montague purchased for £1,500 the place of one of the Clerks of the Council.' Ante, HALIFAX, 5.
2 West Wickham, nearly three miles south-west of Bromley. Lewis's Top. Dict.
In his Inscription on a SummerHouse West says of the spot :
And when too much repose brings
on the spleen,
Or the gay city's idle pleasures cloy; Swift as my changing wish I change the scene,
And now the country, now the town enjoy.'
Eng. Poets, lvii. 324.
For a description of him and his wife at Wickham see Mrs. Montagu's Letters, 1813, iii. 104.
3 Eng. Poets, lvii. 115.
The Odes of Pindar, with several other pieces in prose and verse, translated from the Greek, with a Dissertation on the Olympic Games. 1749, 4°. 5 In Dec. 1746. Gent. Mag. 1746, p. 672.
In the first edition the paragraph continued:-' and perhaps it may not be without effect to tell that he read prayers every evening to his family. Crashaw is now,' &c. For his Doctorate see Spence's Anec. p. 349.
7' Poet and Saint! to thee alone are
The two most sacred names of
COWLEY, On the Death of Mr.
Gibbon speaks of Lewis IX as 'disgraced by the title of Saint.' Memoirs, p. 71 n.
8 Shenstone wrote on May 2, 1761-'The enmity betwixt Lord
find books and quiet, a decent table, and literary conversation 1. There is at Wickham a walk made by Pitt; and, what is of far more importance, at Wickham Lyttelton received that conviction which produced his Dissertation on St. Paul2.
These two illustrious friends had for a while listened to the blandishments of infidelity, and when West's book was published it was bought by some who did not know his change of opinion, in expectation of new objections against Christianity; and as Infidels do not want malignity, they revenged the disappointment by calling him a methodist 3.
8 Mr. West's income was not large, and his friends endeavoured, but without success, to obtain an augmentation. It is reported that the education of the young prince was offered to him, but that he required a more extensive power of superintendence than it was thought proper to allow him.
9 In time, however, his revenue was improved; he lived to have one of the lucrative clerkships of the Privy Council (1752)5, and
L-n [Lyttelton] and Mr. P- [Pitt] continues in its full force, insomuch that my Lord is to have no place while Mr. P continues in the ministry.' Shenstone's Works, 1791, iii. 323. Post, LYTTELTON, 18.
Here Lyttelton and his Lucy passed their bridal-night, and here, four years afterwards, in 1746, he wrote the Ode ending :
'How much the wife is dearer than the bride.'
Eng. Poets, Ixiv. 310. On Jan. 17, 1747, he wrote to his father:- Gilbert West would be happy in the reputation his book has gained him, if my poor Lucy [post, LYTTELTON, 9] was not so ill. However, his mind leans always to hope.' Lyttelton's Misc. Works, p. 706.
the last chapter 'turn Methodist, in hopes of marrying a very rich widow of that sect.' In Amelia (published two years later), Bk. i. ch. 4, he makes a thief declare himself a Methodist.' Mrs. Thrale, in 1780, wrote to Johnson:- Methodist is considered always a term of reproach, I trust, because I never yet did hear that any one person called himself a Methodist.' Piozzi Letters, ii. 119.
Cowper, on May 27, 1782, wrote of Rodney's great victory: Rodney is almost accounted a Methodist for ascribing his success to Providence.' Works, iv. 220.
Johnson defines Methodist in his Dict.: One of a new kind of Puritans lately arisen, so called from their profession to live by rules and in constant method.' See also Boswell's Johnson, i. 458.
Afterwards George III. On the death of Frederick, Prince of Wales (March 20, 1751), Prince George was provided with a Governor, SubGovernor, Preceptor and Sub-Preceptor. Walpole's Letters, ii. 250.
In April, 1752. Gent. Mag. 1752,
Mr. Pitt at last had it in his power to make him treasurer of Chelsea Hospital'.
He was now sufficiently rich, but wealth came too late to be 10 long enjoyed; nor could it secure him from the calamities of life: he lost (1755) his only son 2, and the year after (March 26)3 a stroke of the palsy brought to the grave one of the few poets to whom the grave might be without its terrors *.
Of his translations I have only compared the first Olympick 11 Odes with the original, and found my expectation surpassed, both by its elegance and its exactness. He does not confine himself to his author's train of stanzas, for he saw that the difference of the languages required a different mode of versification. The first strophe is eminently happy; in the second he has a little strayed from Pindar's meaning, who says, 'if thou, my soul, wishest to speak of games, look not in the desert sky for a planet hotter than the sun, nor shall we tell of nobler games than those of Olympia". He is sometimes too paraphrastical. Pindar bestows upon Hiero an epithet, which, in one word, signifies delighting in horses'; a word which in the translation generates these lines:
'Hiero's royal brows, whose care
Tends the courser's noble breed,
On April 6, 1754. The office was that of Paymaster. Dict. Nat. Biog.
In the republication of the Eng. Poets no change was made in West's Poems.
Eng. Poets, lvii. 137.
5 Jan. 1, 1755. Gent. Mag. 1755,
3 Ib. 1756, p. 150.
4 In the first edition, 'to whom the grave needed not to be terrible.'
The following paragraph followed: 'His poems are in this Collection neither selected nor arranged as I should have directed, had either the choice or the order fallen under my care or notice. His Institution of the Garter is improperly omitted; instead of the mock tragedy of Lucian the version from Euripides, if both could not be inserted, should have been taken. Of the Imitations of Spenser one was published before the version of Pindar, and should therefore have had the first place.'
'All that is left of Pindar's works
Seeks the faded starry train,
Roundillumes th' aetherial plain?
Pindar says of Pelops that 'he came alone in the dark to the White Sea;' and West,
'Near the billow-beaten side
Of the foam-besilver'd main,
which, however, is less exuberant than the former passage.
A work of this kind must in a minute examination discover many imperfections, but West's version, so far as I have considered it, appears to be the product of great labour and great abilities 3.
His Institution of the Garter (1742) is written with sufficient knowledge of the manners that prevailed in the age to which it is referred, and with great elegance of diction; but, for want of a process of events, neither knowledge nor elegance preserve the reader from weariness.
14 His Imitations of Spenser' are very successfully performed, both with respect to the metre, the language, and the fiction; and being engaged at once by the excellence of the sentiments and the artifice of the copy the mind has two amusements together. But such compositions are not to be reckoned among the great achievements of intellect, because their effect is local and temporary; they appeal not to reason or passion, but to memory, and presuppose an accidental or artificial state of mind. An Imitation of Spenser is nothing to a reader, however acute, by whom Spenser has never been perused. Works of this
Eng. Poets, lvii. 144.
'Though Johnson praised West's translation of Pindar, he pointed out the following passage as faulty, by expressing a circumstance so minute as to detract from the general dignity which should prevail :"Down then from thy glittering nail Take, O Muse, thy Dorian lyre." [16. p. 140.]'
Boswell's Johnson, iv. 28. 3 'West has learning, good sense, and a tolerable style of versification.' GIBBON, Misc. Works, v. 585.
The Institution of the Order of the Garter. A Dramatic Poem, price Is. 6d. Gent. Mag. 1742, p. 112. is not in Eng. Poets, but it is in Dodsley's Collection, ii. 106.
5 Eng. Poets, lvii. 263–322.
Gray wrote to Richard West from Florence on July 16, 1740:—'Now I talk of verses, Mr. Walpole and I have frequently wondered you should never mention a certain imitation of Spenser, published last year by a namesake of yours, with which we are all enraptured and enmarvailed.' Letters, i. 78.
'West began a school half Greek, half Gothick, which was followed by Mason, Gray and Warton, and is to be traced in Akenside and Collins.' SOUTHEY, Specimens, Preface, p. 32.
'The poems of West had the merit of chaste and manly diction, but they were cold, and, if I may so express it, only dead-coloured.' COLERIDGE, Biog. Lit. 1847, i. 23.
kind may deserve praise, as proofs of great industry and great nicety of observation; but the highest praise, the praise of genius, they cannot claim. The noblest beauties of art are those of which the effect is co-extended with rational nature, or at least with the whole circle of polished life; what is less than this can be only pretty, the plaything of fashion and the amusement of a day1.
THERE is in The Adventurer a paper of verses given to 15 one of the authors as Mr. West's, and supposed to have been written by him3. It should not be concealed, however, that it is printed with Mr. Jago's name in Dodsley's Collection, and is mentioned as his in a letter of Shenstone's 5. Perhaps West gave it without naming the author, and Hawkesworth, receiving it from him, thought it his; for his he thought it, as he told me, and as he tells the publick.
I For Imitations see ante, POPE, 372.
2 [Elegy on a Blackbird in No. 37.] 3 In the first edition, the sentence continues:-' which, having been left out by the compilers, it is proper to insert here.' It is inserted at the end of the Life. It certainly is not West's.
A Collection of Poems in Six
Volumes. By Several Hands. 2nd ed. 1758, iv. 315.
Richard Jago, a school-fellow and friend of Shenstone's, matriculated at University College, Oxford, on Oct. 30, 1732. Alumni Oxon. See post, SHENSTONE, 3 n.
5 Shenstone's Works, 1791, iii. 242. The editor of The Adventurer. Boswell's Johnson, i. 234.