« AnteriorContinuar »
After this, the whole book is turned on a sudden, from bis orn Life, to a History of all the publick Tranfactions of Europe, compiled from the Newspapers of those times. I could not comprehend the meaning of this, till I perceived at last (to my no small Alonijiment) that all the Measures of the four last years of the Queen, together with the peace at Utrecht which bave been usually attributed to the E---of O-, D---of ---, Lords H--- and B---, and other great men; do bere mot plainly appear, to have been wholly owing to Robert Jenkins, Amos Turner, George Pilcocks, Thomas White, but above all, to P.P.
The reader may be sure I was very inquistive after this extraordinary writer, whole work I have here cb tracted. I took a journey into the Country on purple; but could not find the lealt trace of bim: till by accident I met an old Clergyman, who said ke could not be pofitive, but thought it might be one Paul Philips, who had been dead about twelve years. And upon enquiry, all be could learn of that person from the neighbourhood, was, That he had been taken notice of for swallowing Loaches, and remembered by some people by a black and white Cur with one Ear, that constantly followed him.
In the Church-yard, I read bis Epitaph, said to be written by bi mself,
O Reader, if that thou canst read,
Look down upon this Stone; Do all we can, Death is a man,
That never spareth none.
November 19, 1729.
T HE time of the election of Poet Laureate
1 being now at hand, it may be proper to give some account of the rites and ceremonies anciently used at that Solemnity, and only discontinued through the neglect and degeneracy of later times. These we have extracted from an historian of undoubted credit, a reverend bishop, the learned Paulus Jovius; and are the same that were practised under the pontificate of Leo X. the great restorer of learning.
As we now see an age and a court, that for the encouragement of poetry rivals, if not exceeds, that of this famous Pope, we cannot but with a restoration of all its honours to poely; the rather, since there are so many parallel circumstances in the person who was then honoured with the laurel, and in him, who (in all probability) is now to wear it.
I shall translate my author exactly as I find it in the 82d chapter of his Elogia Vir. Doct. He be
gins with the character of the poet himself, who was the original and father of all Laureates, and called Camillo. He was a plain country-man of Apulia, (whether a shepherd or thriller, is not material.) “ This man (says Jovius) excited by the « fame of the great encouragement given to poets “ at court and the high honour in which they “ were held, came to the city, bringing with him “ a strange kind of lyre in his hand, and a: kat “ fome twenty thousand of verfis. All the wits " and critics of the court Hocked about him, de“ lighted to see a clowon, with a ruddy, hale com“ plexion, and in his own long hair, fo top full of “ poetry; and at the first light of him all agreed “ he was born to be Poct Luuta2 He had a “ most hearty welcome in an illand of the river « Tiber (an agreeable place, not unlike our Rich“ mond) where he was firit made to eat and drink “ plentifulls, and to reperit kis cerks to City “ bour. Then they adorned him with a new and “ elegant garland, composed of wine-kirdi, ljurii, ' and braffica (a fort of cabbage) fo computch, fay's “ my author, emblematically, 17 tom feils quam “ lepicke cjus domuri, br. remedio cbibendi, “ rctaretur. Ile was the filuted by coinmon “ content with the title of on:-**, or arit“ poet, in the style of those dirs, in ours, Piet “ Laureate. This lionour the poor man received
Apulus præpingui vultu alacer, et prolixe comatus, oninino dignus felta laurea videretur.
“ with the most sensible demonstrations of joy, his “ eyes drunk with tears and gladness". Next, the « public acclamation was expressed in a canticle, which is transmitted to us, as follows:
Salve, brassicea virens corona,
And worthy of the prince's ear. From hence, he was conducted in pomp to the Capitol of Rome, mounted on an elephant, thro' the shouts of the populace, where the ceremony ended.
The historian tells us further, “That at his in« troduction to Leo, he not only poured forth “ verses innumerable, like a torrent, but also fung “ them with open mouth. Nor was he only once “ introduced, or on fiated days (like our Lau“ reates) but made a companion to his master, and “ entertained as one of the instruments of his most " elegant pleasures. When the prince was at ta« ble, the poet had his place at the window. « When the prince had half eaten his meat, he “ gave with his own hands the rest to the poet. “ When the poet drank, it was out of the prince's v own flaggon, insomuch (says the historian) that
• Manantibus præ gaudio oculis.