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S Τ Ε Ρ Ν Ε Υ.
EORGE STEPNEY, descended from
the Stepneys of Pendigrast in Pembrokeshire, was born at Westminster in 1663. Of his father's condition or fortune we have no account. Having received the first part of his education at Westminster, where he pasied fix years in the College, he went at nineteen to Cambridge *, where he continued a friendship begun at school with Mr. Montague, afterwards Earl of Halifax. They came to London together, and are said to have been invited into publick life by the Duke of Dorset.
His qualifications recommended him to many foreign employments, so that his time
* He was entered of Trinity College, and took his. Maiter's degree in 1689. H.
feems to have been spent in negociations. In 1692 he was sent envoy to the Elector of Brandenburgh ; in 1693 to the Imperial Court ; in 1694 to the Elector of Saxony; in 1696 to the Electors of Mentz and Cologne, and the Congress at Francfort; in 1698 a second time to Brandenburgh; in 1699 to the King of Poland; in 1701 again to the Emperor; and in 1706 to the States General. In 1697 he was made one of the commissioners of trade. His life was busy, and not long. He died in 1707; and is buried in Westminster Abbey, with this epitaph, which Jacob transcribed:
Linguæ, Styli, ac Vitæ Elegantiam,
Plurimas Legationes obiit
Gulielmi & Annæ
Haud raro superaverit. Post longum honorum Cursumi Brevi Temporis Spatio confectum, Cum Naturæ parum, Famæ satis vixerat, Animam ad altiora aspirantem placide efflavit.
On the Left Hand,
Electus in Collegium
Sancti Trinitatis Cantab. 1682.
Cura coinmissa est 1697.
It is reported that the juvenile compositions of Stepney made grey authors blush. I know not whether his poems will appear such wonders to the present age. One cannot always easily find the reason for which the world has sometimes conspired to squander praise. It is not very unlikely that he wrote very early as well as he ever wrote; and the performances of youth have many favourers, because the authors yet lay no claim to publick honours, and are therefore not considered as rivals by the distributors of fame.
He apparently professed himself a poet, and added his name to those of the other wits in the version of Juvenal; but he is a very licentious translator, and does not recompense his neglect of the author by beauties of his own. In his original poems, now and then, a happy line may perhaps be found, and now and then a short composition may give pleafure. But there is, in the whole, little either of the grace of wit, or the vigour of nature.
OHN PHILIPS was born on the
30th of December, 1676, at Bampton in Oxfordshire; of which place his father Dr. Stephen Philips, archdeacon of Salop, was minister. The first part of his education was domestick ; after which he was sent to Winchester, where, as we are told by Dr. Sewel, his biographer, he was soon diftinguished by the superiority of his exercises ; and, what is less easily to be credited, so much endeared himself to his schoolfellows by his civility and good-nature, that they, without murmur or ill-will, saw him indulged by the master with particular immunities. It is related, that, when he was at school, he seldom mingled in play with the other boys, but retired to his chamber; where his sovereign pleasure