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most learned. I therefore enjoin all my female correspondents to buy and study this grammar, that their letters may be something less enigmatic; and on all my male correspondents likewise, who make no conscience of false spelling and false English, I lay the same injunction, on pain of having their epistles exposed in their own proper dress, in my Lucubrations. Isaac Bickerstaff, Censor *." Mr. Greenwood was, at one period of his life, surmaster of St. Paul's school; and, besides his grammatical essay, published "The London Vocabulary," and a selection of poems, under the title of The Virgin Muse. He appears to have been a very worthy and respectable man.
35. JOHN WEAVER. Of this gentleman little more is known than that he wrote a letter in N° 334 of the Spectator on Dancing; in the course of which he announces his intention of shortly publishing an Essay on this elegant art. The letter is dated March the 24th, 1712; and before the close of the same year he executed his intention by printing the work with the following title: "An Essay towards a History of Dancing; in which the whole art, and its various excellencies, are in some measure explained. Contain
*Tatler, vol. iv. p. 292, Note.
ing the several sorts of dancing, antique and modern, serious, scenical, grotesque, &c. With the use of it as an exercise, qualification, diversion, &c." London, 12mo.
I have had no opportunity of perusing Mr. Weaver's book; but I must in justice say, that his letter in the Spectator reflects considerable credit on his abilities, and exhibits a much greater portion of learning than usually falls to the lot of a dancing-master. Steele has spoken with approbation of his book in No 466 of the Spectator.
36. RICHARD PARKER, the intimate friend, and fellow-collegian of Steele at Merton College, Oxford*, is recorded as a contributor both to the Tatler and Spectator. He took his degree of M. A. at Oxford, on April the 17th, 1697, and was esteemed one of the most accomplished scholars of his time. Oldisworth, in his Life of Edmund Smith, copied by Dr. Johnson in his Lives, has mentioned Mr. Parker as particularly intimate with that poet; and has related that Smith, having finished a translation of Longinus, "submitted it to the judgment of the Rev. Mr. Richard Parker, an exact critic in the Greek Tongue +."
* See vol. i. of these Essays, p. 43.
+ Johnson's Lives of the Poets, vol. ii. p. 15, edition of 1797.
Mr. Parker was for many years vicar of Embleton, in Northumberland, a living which had been given him by his college; and it is said, by the annotator on the edition of the Tatler published in 1797, that "fourteen or fifteen years ago it was still in the remembrance of several gentlemen in Bamburyshire, that Steele spent some time with Mr. Parker on his way to, or from, Edinburgh *."
Though Mr. Parker was much respected in the North for his virtues, his learning and politeness, he was by no means calculated as a companion for the generality of those who surrounded him. His parishioners and neighbours were, for the most part, great fox-hunters and great drinkers; and their importunate hospitality and boisterous mirth were so oppressive to our divinė, that he found himself under the necessity of declining their society. The first letter in N° 474 of the Spectator, which is occupied by a description of the unpleasant consequences of such rural company, has been, with great probability, ascribed to Mr. Parker. It gives a striking picture of the uneducated manners and gross excesses that characterized the gentlemen of the chase about a century ago; when pleasures of a more refined nature, and the resources of elegant * Tatler, vol. ii. p. 498, Note.
literature were, when compared with their present diffusion, the portion but of very few. Mr. Parker has expressed his sufferings in strong language. "It is to me," he observes," an insupportable affliction, to be tormented with the narrations of a set of people, who are warm in their expressions of the quick relish of that pleasure which their dogs and horses have a more delicate taste of. I do also in my heart detest and abhor that damnable doctrine and position, of the necessity of a bumper, though to one's own toast; for though it is pretended that these deep potations are used only to inspire gaiety, they certainly drown that cheerfulness which would survive a moderate circulation."
Mr. Parker lived to a very advanced age, and died the vicar of Embleton. He was a man of exemplary virtue, and was considered, by the best judges, as a most accomplished classical scholar.
37. NICHOLAS Rowe, the son of John Rowe, Esq. serjeant at law, was born at Little Berkford, in Bedfordshire, in 1673. He obtained the prior part of his education at a private school in Highgate, and was afterwards removed to Westminster, where, under the care of the celebrated Dr. Busby, he made a rapid progress in the acquisi
tion of the learned languages, and at the age of fifteen was elected one of the king's scholars.
His father, who had destined him to the study of the law, thought him qualified, when sixteen, for a student of the Middle Temple; and for some years he prosecuted the initiatory studies of his profession with so much zeal and ability, as to promise the attainment of considerable eminence as a barrister. The death of his father, however, which took place when he had reached his nineteenth year, relaxed his efforts; and a partiality for elegant literature, and especially for poetry, which he had early imbibed with enthusiasm during his residence at Westminster, began to share, and at length to occupy the whole of his time.
The fruit of this change in the direction of his pursuits, was, at the age of twenty-five, the production of a tragedy, under the title of The Ambitious Step-Mother, and which being received with very general applause, fixed him for ever in the service of the Muses. He relinquished, therefore, entirely any further attention to his profession; and we are to view him, for some years, as almost exclusively occupied in writing for the stage.
We shall therefore proceed to notice briefly his dramatic pieces without interruption from in