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Conquest, an odious name, was laid aside,
The people's right remains; let those who dare
He join'd not in their choice, because he knew
He went not with the crowd to see a shrine,
In deference to his virtues, I forbear
Life of Dryden, ... page 1 On the Death of a young Gentle-
ed, • .-;-..... 6 Song for St. Cecilia's Day, • - 21
ligrew, . , . • . - 13
JOHN POMFRET was the son of the Rev. Pomfret, rector of Luton in Bedfordshire, where he was born in 1677: After being instructed in grammatical learning, he was sent to Queen's College, Cambridge, where he continued till the year 1698, when he took a master's degree. He then entered into orders and was presented with the living of Malden, in Bedfordshire. The mind of Pomfret appears strongly impressed with sentiments of piety, his conduct well regulated, and his life innocent; yet did milignity asperse him. Envy, detraction and vice have ever the most numerous associates, while innocence stands unaided and alone. A life so retired, peaceable, and little infected with the follies of the world as that of Pomfret, surety might have been allowed to glide smoothly along the stream of time. Yet was he unjustly reproached with being both a fanatic and a libertine. The former charge appears to be entirely without foundation, and the latter solely derived from the following passage in his “ Choice,"
And as I near approach'd the verge of life,
while I did for a better state prepare. The malicious interpretation of these lines was, that happiness is more likely to be found in the society of a mistress than a wife. This reproach was easy of obliteration with reasonable beings, for he was marri. ed at the time he wrote them, and yet his enemies succeeded in affecting Comton, Bishop of London, with scruples which retarded Pomfret's success in applying for an institution of considerable value. This obstruc
tion constrained his attendance in London, where he was seized with the small pox, to which disease he fell a victim in 1713, in the 36th year of his age. Tho' in his compositions, Pomfret has little vigour of thought, or energy of expression, yet his versification is sufficiently smooth for that numerous class of readers, who having no vanity to indulge, nor expertness in criticism to exhibit, seek ouły theirown amusement. The Choice has been long a favourite poem, because it affords a picture resembling those situations in life which are attainable; it does not represent to the reader scenes in which he has no interest, but such as he finds at home or wishes to find. Hurdis says,
a short and feeble flight; yet it was Johnson's opinion that “ he who pleases many must have some species of merit.”.
THE CHOICE. If Heaven the grateful liberty would give, that I might choose my rnethod how to live; and all those hours propitious Fate should lend, in blissful ease and satisfaction spend;
Near some fair town I'd have a private seat, i built uniforin, not little, nor too great; better, if on a rising ground it stood; on this side fields, on that a neighbouring wood. . It should within no other things contain, but what are useful, necessary, plain : ' methinks 'tis nauseous; and I'd ne'er endure the needless pomp of gaudy furniture. A little garden, grateful to the eye; and a cool rivulet run murmuring by: on whose delicious banks a stately row. of shady limes, or sycąmores, should grow. At th' end of which a silent study plac'd, . should be with all the noblest authors grac'd; Horace and Virgil, in whose mighty lines immortal wit, and solid learning, shines; . sharp Juvenal, and amorous Ovid too, ,! !!! who all the turns of love's soft passion knew: he that with judgment reads his charming lines,' , ' in which strong art with stronger nature joins, must grant his fancy does the best excel; his thoughts so tender, and express'd so well;' ,rina with all those moderns, men of steady sense,',, esteem'd for learning, and for eloquence.' In some of these, as fancy should advise,, I'd always take my morning exercises * '
for sure no minutes bring us more content, than those in pleasing, useful studies spent.
I'd have a clear and competent estate, that I might live genteely, but not great: as much as I could moderately spend; a little more, sometimes t'oblige a friend. Nor should the sons of poverty repine too much at fortune, they should taste of mine: and all that objects of true pity were, should be reliey'd with what my wants could spare; for that our Maker has too largely given, should be return'd in gratitude to Heaven, A frugal plenty should my table spread; with healthy, not luxurious, dishes spread; enough to satisfy, and something more, to feed the stranger, and the neighbouring poor, Strong meat indulges vice, and pampering food creates diseases, and inflames the blood. But what's sufficient to make nature strong, and the bright lamp of life continue long, I'd freely take; and, as I did possess, , the bounteous Author of my plenty bless.
I'd have a little vault, but always stor'd with the best wines each vintage could afford. Wine whets the wit, improves it's native force, and gives a pleasant flavour to discourse; by making all our spirits debonair, throws off the lees, the sediment of care. But as the greatest blessing heaven lends may be debauch'd, and serve ignoble ends; so, but too oft, the grape's refreshing juice does many mischievous effects produce. My house should no such rude disorders know, as from high drinking cousequently flow;