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pursuits, Dr. Wotton died on the 13th of February, 1726, leaving behind him, perhaps, no competitor with regard to strength of memory, and variety of acquisition as a linguist. His early attainment of literature was almost unparalleled; nor did he confine himself, as is too often the case with those who possess an uncommon facility in acquiring languages, to mere philological pursuits; but was likewise highly esteemed for his skill in logic and geography, chronology, and mathematics. Beside the pieces which we have enumerated, he wrote various treatises, essays, and sermons, several of which were published after his decease.
Dr. Wotton was the author of N° 93 in The Guardian, which consists of two letters; the first a translation from Xenophon, descriptive of the farewell address of Cyrus to his friends; a passage remarkable for the strong avowal of a belief in the immortality of the soul, and which reflects imperishable honour on the virtue and good sense of the historian; the second, a comparison between the Pharisees and the Sadducees, in which he has attempted to prove, that the latter, who were a species of atheists or free-thinkers, were the greater enemies to Christianity; and that there is not, in the whole apostolic record, an instance of one of this sect acknowledging the
mission or the miracles of our Saviour. This paper, in both its parts, is written in a style of great perspicuity.
15. LAWRENCE EUSDEN, the son of Dr. Eusden, rector of Spalsworth in Yorkshire, was, after the usual grammatical education, sent to Trinity College, Cambridge, and, entering into orders, was appointed Chaplain to Richard Lord Willoughby De Broke.
He was considered, during his residence at the university, as a young man of promising abilities; his classical attainments were very respectable, and he is said to have particularly excelled in Latin versification, of which his translation of Lord Halifax's poem, on the Battle of the Boyne, is no mean proof. His lordship, pleased with the compliment, professed himself his patron, and our author became known to the literary world.
It was now the endeavour of Eusden to`show that he was worthy of the notice which he had received; he, therefore, neglected no opportunity of displaying what talents he possessed. He exercised his pen both in the Spectator and Guardian; wrote a copy of encomiastic verses on the Cato of Addison; and, when the Duke of Newcastle married Lady Henrietta Godolphin, pro
duced an Epithalamium on the occasion. This congratulatory poem did not go unrewarded; his Grace felt so highly gratified by the adulation of its author, that, being Lord Chamberlain at the period of Rowe's decease in 1718, he elevated Eusden to the honours of the Laureatship.
It was an unfortunate circumstance for our poet that he succeeded, in this office, a man of such acknowledged genius as ROWE. The con
trast between the author of The Fair Penitent and poor Eusden was too apparent, and he became the butt and ridicule of the town. Oldmixon, in a strain of ill-natured irony, observes, "the putting the laurel on the head of one who writ such verses, will give futurity a very lively idea of the judgment and justice of those who bestowed it *." Cooke, in his "Battle of the Poets," declared, that
Eusden, a laurel'd Bard, by fortune rais'd,
The Duke of Buckingham thus introduced him in his Session of the Poets:
In rush'd Eusden, and cry'd, Who shall have it,
Apollo begg'd pardon, and granted his claim,
But vow'd that till then he ne'er heard of his name.
* Arts of Logic and Rhetoric.
And, lastly, Pope rendered the ridicule still more familiar and permanent, by affirming of the Goddess of Dulness, that
She saw old Pryn in restless Daniel shine,
It is not known what could have induced the irritable bard of Twickenham to enroll our hapless Laureat among the Dunces. He had never abused or offended him; and his talents, though not brilliant, were certainly above contempt. It would appear, however, that the title he was decorated with, was considered by the wits as lawful game, especially if it were not supported by the efforts of genius. That our author's immediate successor, a man certainly of wit and humour, if no great poet, experienced similar treatment, the following epigram will abundantly prove:
In merry Old England it once was a rule,
But now we're so frugal, I'd have you to know it,
There is much reason to suppose, that the ludicrous ideas, so generally associated with this poetical dignity, arose from Shadwell's promotion to the Laurel on the dethronement of Dry
* Dunciad, book i. lines 103 and 104.
den at the revolution. Shadwell was a man of worth and integrity, but of no poetical ability; and Dryden, full of resentment at the indignity which he had suffered, took an unjustifiable pleasure in rendering his successor an object of deri sion. His efforts were but too successful; nor was Tate, the next possessor of the office, in any respect calculated to retrieve the honours due to his situation. Rowe indeed for a time conferred respectability on the Laureatship; but Eusden, Cibber, and Whitehead, who successively wore the bays, were little more than nominally poets. It should be recollected, however, that the majority of those who have filled this Parnassian throne, from the commencement of the seventeenth century to the present period, has consisted of men of great and acknowledged poetic powers. This will immediately appear from the series, if we assist the eye by a distinction in the type. Jonson, Davenant, Dryden, Shadwell, Tate, Rowe, Eusden, Cibber, Whitehead, Warton, and Pye.
Of Eusden little further is known, than that he continued to perform his official duty for about twelve years; and that, during the above period, he translated, but never published, the Jerusalemme Liberata of Tasso. Toward the close of his life he became addicted to the pernicious