Theophilus Cibber.

The Lives of the Poets of Great Britain and Ireland (1753) Volume IV online

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each consisting of 14, all printed in London; the first in 1704, the
second in 1706, and the third in 1713. After the Dr's. death, his
eldest son, who is now a clergyman, published three other Volumes of
his father's Sermons, each also consisting of 14, printed in London
1730, 8vo. Amongst his sermons there is one preached on St. Cecilia's
day, in vindication of Church-music, first printed in 1697, in 4to.


1. Bless God my soul; thou, Lord alone,
Possessest empire without bounds:
With honour thou art crown'd, thy throne
Eternal Majesty surrounds.
2. With light thou dost thy self enrobe,
And glory for a garment take;
Heav'n's curtain stretch'd beyond the globe,
The canopy of state to make.

3. God builds on liquid air, and forms
His palace-chambers in the skies:
The clouds his chariots are, and storms
The swift-wing'd steeds with which he flies.
4. As bright as flame, as swift as wind
His ministers Heav'ns palace fill;
To have their sundry tasks assign'd,
All proud to serve their Sovereign's will.

5., 6. Earth on her center fix'd he set,
Her face with waters over spread;
Not proudest mountains dar'd as yet
To lift above the waves their head!
7. But when thy awful face appear'd,
Th' insulting waves dispers'd; they fled
When once thy thunder's voice they heard,
And by their haste confess'd their dread.

8. Thence up by secret tracts they creep,
And gushing from the mountain's side,
Thro' vallies travel to the deep;
Appointed to receive their tide.
9. There hast thou fix'd the ocean's mounds,
The threat'ning surges to repel:
That they no more o'erpass their bounds,
Nor to a second deluge swell.

10. Yet, thence in smaller parties drawn,
The sea recovers her lost hills:
And starting springs from every lawn,
Surprize the vales with plenteous rills.
11. The fields tame beasts are thither led
Weary with labour, faint with drought,
And asses on wild mountains bred,
Have sense to find these currents out.

12. There shady trees from scorching beams,
Yield shelter to the feather'd throng:
They drink, and to the bounteous streams
Return the tribute of their song.
13. His rains from heav'n parch'd hills recruit,
That soon transmit the liquid store:
'Till earth is burthen'd with her fruit,
And nature's lap can hold no more.

14. Grass for our cattle to devour,
He makes the growth of every field:
Herbs, for man's use, of various pow'r,
That either food or physic yield.
15. With cluster'd grapes he crowns the vine
To cheer man's heart oppress'd with cares:
Gives oil that makes his face to shine.
And corn that wasted strength repairs.


Arise my soul! on wings seraphic rise!
And praise th' Almighty sov'reign of the skies!
In whom alone essential glory shines,
Which not the Heav'n of Heav'ns, nor boundless space confines!
When darkness rul'd with universal sway,
He spoke, and kindled up the blaze of day;
First fairest offspring of th' omnific word!
Which like a garment cloath'd it's sovereign lord.
He stretch'd the blue expanse, from pole to pole,
And spread circumfluent æther round the whole.
Of liquid air he bad the columns rise,
Which prop the starry concave of the skies.
Soon as he bids, impetuous whirlwinds fly,
To bear his sounding chariot thro' the sky:
Impetuous whirlwinds the command obey,
Sustain his flight, and sweep th' aerial way.
Fraught with his mandates from the realms on high,
Unnumber'd hosts of radiant heralds fly;
From orb to orb, with progress unconfin'd,
As lightn'ing swift, resistless as the wind.
His word in air this pondr'ous ball sustain'd.
"Be fixt, he said." - And fix'd the ball remain'd.
Heav'n, air, and sea, tho' all their stores combine.
Shake not its base, nor break the law divine.
At thy almighty voice, old ocean raves,
Wakes all his force, and gathers all his waves;
Nature lies mantled in a watry robe,
And shoreless ocean roils around the globe;
O'er highest hills, the higher surges rise,
Mix with the clouds, and leave the vaulted skies.
But when in thunder, the rebuke was giv'n,
That shook th' eternal firmament of heav'n,
The dread rebuke, the frighted waves obey,
They fled, confus'd, along th' appointed way,
Impetuous rushing to the place decreed,
Climb the steep hill, and sweep the humble mead:
And now reluctant in their bounds subside;
Th' eternal bounds restrain the raging tide:
Yet still tumultuous with incessant roar,
It shakes the caverns, and assaults the shore.
By him, from mountains, cloth'd in livid snow,
Thro' verdant vales, the mazy fountains flow.
Here the wild horse, unconscious of the rein,
That revels boundless, o'er the wide champaign,
Imbibes the silver stream, with heat opprest
To cool the fervour of his glowing breast.
Here verdant boughs adorn'd with summer's pride,
Spread their broad shadows o'er the silver tide:
While, gently perching on the leafy spray,
Each feather'd songster tunes his various lay:
And while thy praise, they symphonize around,
Creation ecchoes to the grateful sound.
Wide o'er the heav'ns the various bow he bends.
Its tincture brightens, and its arch extends:
At the glad sign, aërial conduits flow,
The hills relent, the meads rejoice below:
By genial fervour, and prolific rain,
Gay vegetation cloaths the fertile plain;
Nature profusely good, with bliss o'er-flows,
And still she's pregnant, tho' she still bestows:
Here verdant pastures, far extended lie,
And yield the grazing herd a rich supply!
Luxuriant waving in the wanton air,
Here golden grain rewards the peasant's care!
Here vines mature, in purple clusters glow,
And heav'n above, diffuses heav'n below!
Erect and tall, here mountain cedars rise,
High o'er the clouds, and emulate the skies!
Here the winged crowds, that skim the air,
with artful toil, their little dams prepare,
Here, hatch their young, and nurse their rising care!
Up the steep-hill ascends the nimble doe,
While timid conies scour the plains below;
Or in the pendent rocks elude the scenting foe.
He bade the silver majesty of night,
Revolve her circle, and increase her light.
But if one moment thou thy face should'st hide,
Thy glory clouded, or thy smiles denied,
Then widow'd nature veils her mournful eyes,
And vents her grief, in universal cries!
Then gloomy death, with all his meagre train;
Wide o'er the nations spreads his iron reign!
Sea, earth, and air, the bounteous ravage mourn,
And all their hosts to native dust return!
Again thy glorious quickning influence shed,
The glad creation rears its drooping head:
New rising forms, thy potent smiles obey,
And life re-kindles at the genial ray;
United thanks replenish'd nature pays,
And heaven and earth resound their Maker's praise.

When time shall in eternity be lost,
And hoary nature languish into dust,
Forever young, thy glories shall remain,
Vast as thy being, endless as thy reign!
Thou from the realms of everlasting day,
See'st all thy works, at one immense survey!
Pleas'd at one view, the whole to comprehend,
Part join'd to part, concurring to one end.
If thou to earth, but turn'st thy wrathful eyes,
Her basis trembles, and her offspring dies.
Thou smit'st the hills, and at th' almighty blow,
Their summits kindle, and their entrails glow.
While this immortal spark of heav'nly flame,
Distends my breast, and animates my frame,
To thee my ardent praises shall be born,
On the first breeze, that wakes the blushing morn:
The latest star shall hear the pleasing sound,
And nature, in full choir shall join around!
When full of thee, my soul excursive flies,
Thro' earth, air, ocean or thy regal skies,
From world, to world, new wonders still I find!
And all the Godhead bursts upon my mind!
When, wing'd with whirlwinds, vice shall take her flight,
To the wide bosom of eternal night,
To thee my soul shall endless praises pay;
Join! men and angels! join th' exalted day!
Assign'd a province to each rolling sphere,
And taught the sun to regulate the year.
At his command wide hov'ring o'er the plain,
Primæval night resumes her gloomy reign.
Then from their dens impatient of delay,
The savage monsters bend their speedy way,
Howl thro' the spacious waste and chase the frighted prey.
Here walks the shaggy monarch of the wood,
Taught from thy providence to ask his food:
To thee O Father! to thy bounteous skies,
He rears his main, and rolls his glaring eyes.
He roars, the desarts tremble wide around!
And repercusive hills repeat the sound.
Now purple gems, the eastern skies adorn,
And joyful nature hails th' opening morn;
The rovers conscious of approaching day,
Fly to their shelters, and forget their prey.
Laborious man, with moderate slumber blest,
Springs chearful to his toil, from downy rest;
Till grateful ev'ning with her silver train,
Bid labour cease, and ease the weary swain!
Hail, sovereign Goodness! All productive mind!
On all thy works, thyself inscribed we find!
How various all! how variously endow'd!
How great their number! and each part how good!
How perfect then must the great parent shine!
Who with one act of energy divine,
Laid the vast plan, and finish'd the design.
Where e'er the pleasing search my thoughts pursue,
Unbounded goodness opens to my view.
Nor does our world alone, its influence share;
Exhaustless bounty, and unwearied care,
Extend thro' all th' infinitude of space,
And circle nature with a kind embrace.
The wavy kingdoms of the deep below,
Thy power, thy wisdom, and thy goodness shew,
Here various beings without number stray,
Croud the profound, or on the surface play.
Leviathan here, the mightiest of the train,
Enormous! sails incumbent o'er the main.
All these thy watchful providence supplies;
To thee alone, they turn their waiting eyes.
For them thou open'st thy exhaustless store,
Till the capacious wish can grasp no more.

[Footnote A: Biograph. Brit. Art, Brady.]

* * * * *


This poet was descended of the family of the Stepneys of Pindigrast in
Pembrokeshire, but born in Westminster in the year 1693. He received
the rudiments of his education in Westminster school, and after making
some progress in literature there, he was removed to Trinity College
in Cambridge, where he was cotemporary with Charles Montague, esq;
afterwards earl of Halifax; and being of the same college with him,
a very strict friendship was contracted between them. To this lucky
accident of being early known to Mr. Montague, was owing all the
preferment Mr. Stepney afterwards enjoyed; for he seems not to have
had parts sufficient to have risen to any distinction, without the
immediate patronage of so great a man, as the lord Hallifax. When
Stepney first set out in life, he was perhaps attached to the Tory
interest, for one of the first poems he wrote, was an Address to
king James the Second, on his Accession to the Throne. In this little
piece, in which there is as little poetry, he compares that monarch to
Hercules, but with what propriety let the reader judge. Soon after
the accession of James II. when Monmouth's rebellion broke out, the
university of Cambridge, to demonstrate their zeal for the King,
thought proper to burn the picture of that rash Prince, who had
formerly been their chancellor. Upon this occasion Stepney wrote some
good verses, in answer to this question;

- - Sed quid
Turba Remi? sequitur fortunam, ut semper
et odit damnatos.

Upon the revolution he embraced another interest, and procured himself
to be nominated for several foreign embassies. In the year 1692 he
went to the elector of Brandenburgh's court in quality of envoy, and,
in the year following, to the Imperial court in the same character. In
1694 he was sent to the elector of Saxony, and two years after to the
electors of Mentz, Cologn, &c. and the congress at Francfort. He was
employed in several other embassies, and in the year 1706 Queen Anne
sent him envoy to the States General. He was very successful in his
negotiations, which occasioned his constant employment in the most
weighty affairs. At his leisure hours he composed several other pieces
of poetry besides those already mentioned; which are chiefly these,

An Epistle to the Earl of Hallifax, on his Majesty's
Voyage to Holland.

A Translation of the Eighth Satire of Juvenal.

To the Earl of Carlisle upon the Death of his

Some Imitations of Horace's Odes.

The Austrian Eagle.

The Nature of Dreams.

A Poem to the Memory of Queen Mary.

These performances are not very long, nor are the subjects upon
which they are written very considerable. It seems probable that the
eminence to which Stepney rose, must have been more owing to some
personal kindness lord Hallifax had for him, than to his merit as a
writer. In raising Stepney, his lordship might act as the friend
of the man, but not as a patron of the poet. Friendship, in many
respects, participates of the nature of love; it begins, we know
not how, it strengthens by imperceptible degrees, and grows into an
established firmness. Such might be the regard lord Hallifax had for
Stepney, but we may venture to assert, from his lordship's exquisite
taste in poetry, that he never could highly admire the pretty trifles
which compose the works of this author; and which are printed amongst
the works of the Minor Poets, published some years ago by Mr. Tonson
in two volumes 12mo.[A]

Our author died at Chelsea in the year 1707, and was buried in
Westminster-Abbey, where a fine monument is erected over him, with the
following inscription upon the pedestal;




Ob Ingenii acumen,
Literarum Scientiam,
Morum Suavitatem,
Rerum Usum,
Virorum Amplissimorum Consuetudinem,
Linguæ, Styli ac Vitæ Elegantiam,
Praeclara Officia cum Britanniæ; tum Europæ Praestita,
Suâ ætate multum celebratus,
Apud Posteros semper celebrandus;
Plurimas Legationes obiit
Ea Fide, Diligentiâ, & Felicitate,
Ut Augustissimorum Principum
Spem in illo repositam
Nunquam sesellerit,
Haud raro superavit.
Post longum honorum Cursum
Brevi Temporis spatio confectum,
Cum Naturæ parvæ Fama satis vixerat,
Animam ad altiora aspirantem placide efflavit.

On the left hand.


Ex Equestri Familia STEPNEIORUM,
De PENDEGRAST, in Comitatu
WESTMONASTERII natus est, A.D. 1663.
Electus in Collegium
Consiliariorum quibus Commercii
Cura commissa est 1697.
CHELSEIÆ mortuus, & Comitante
Magna Procerum
Frequentiâ huc elatus, 1707.

On the right hand is a particular account of all his employments

As a specimen of Mr. Stepney's poetry, we shall quote the following
lines on the Nature of Dreams,

At dead of night imperial reason sleeps,
And fancy with her train loose revels keeps:
Then airy phantoms a mixt scene display,
Of what we heard, or saw, or wish'd by day;
For memory those images retains
Which passion form'd, and still the strongest reigns,
Huntsmen renew the chase they lately run;
And generals fight again their battles won.
Spectres and furies haunt the murth'rers dreams;
Grants, or disgraces, are the courtiers themes.
The miser spies a thief, or some new hoard,
The cit's a knight, the sycophant a lord.
Thus fancy's in the wild distraction lost
With what we most abhor, or covet most.
But of all passions that our dreams controul,
Love prints the deepest image in the soul;
For vigorous fancy, and warm blood dispense
Pleasures so lively, that they rival sense.
Such are the transports of a willing maid,
Not yet by time and place to act betray'd.
Whom spies, or some faint virtue force to fly
That scene of joy, which yet she dies to try.
'Till fancy bawds, and by mysterious charms
Brings the dear object to her longing arms;
Unguarded then she melts, acts fierce delight,
And curses the returns of envious light.
In such bless'd dreams Biblis enjoys a flame;
Which waking she detests, and dares not name.
Ixion gives a loose to his wild love,
And in his airy visions cuckolds Jove.
Honours and state before this phantom fall;
For sleep, like death its image, equals all.

Our author likewise wrote some political pieces in prose, particularly
an Essay on the present Interest of England, 1701. To which are added,
The Proceedings of the House of Commons in 1677, upon the French
King's Progress in Flanders. This piece is reprinted in Cogan's
Collection of Tracts, called Lord Somers's Collection.

[Footnote A: And likewise of another work of the same kind, in two
volumes also, published by one Cogan.]

* * * * *


This gentleman was the son of John Pack, of Stocke-Ash in Suffolk,
esq; who in the year 1697 was high sheriff of that county. He had
his early education at a private country school, and was removed from
thence to Merchant Taylor's, where he received his first taste of
letters; for he always reckoned that time which he spent at the former
school as lost, since he had only contracted bad habits, and was
obliged to unlearn what had been taught him there.

At the age of sixteen he was removed to St. John's College in Oxford.
About eighteen his father entered him of the Middle Temple, designing
him for the profession of the Law; and by the peculiar indulgence
of the treasurer, and benchers of that honourable society, he was at
eight Terms standing admitted barrister, when he had not much exceeded
the age of 20. But a sedentary studious life agreeing as ill with his
health, as a formal one with his inclinations, he did not long
pursue those studies. After some wavering in his thoughts, he at last
determined his views to the army, as being better suited to the gaiety
of his temper, and the sprightliness of his genius, and where he hoped
to meet with more freedom, as well as more action. His first command
was that of a company of foot in March 1705. In November 1710 the
regiment in which he served was one of those two of English foot, that
were with the marshal Staremberg at the battle of Villa Viciosa, the
day after general Stanhope, and the troops under his command were
taken at Brighuega[A], where the major being killed, and our author's
behaviour being equal to the occasion on which he acted, his grace the
duke of Argyle confirmed his pretensions to that vacancy, by giving
him the commission of the deceased major, immediately on his arrival
in Spain. It was this accident which first introduced our gallant
soldier to the acquaintance of that truly noble and excellent person,
with whose protection and patronage he was honoured during the
remaining part of his life.

The ambition he had to celebrate his grace's heroic virtues (at a
time when there subsisted a jealousy between him and the duke of
Marlborough, and it was fashionable by a certain party to traduce him)
gave birth to some of the best of his performances.

What other pieces the major has written in verse, are, for the most
part, the unlaboured result of friendship, or love; and the amusement
of those few solitary intervals in a life that seldom wanted either
serious business, or social pleasures, of one kind or other, entirely
to fill up the circle. They are all published in one volume, together
with a translation of the Life of Miltiades and Cymon, from Cornelius
Nepos; the first edition was in 1725.

The most considerable of them are the following,

1. The Muse's Choice, or the Progress of Wit.

2. On Friendship. To Colonel Stanhope.

3. To Mr. Addison, occasioned by the news of
the victory obtained over the Rebels in Scotland,
by his Grace the Duke of Argyle.

4. To Lady Catherine Manners.

5. The Lovers Parting.

6. The Retreat.

7. An Epistle from a Half-pay Officer in the
Country, to his Friend in Town.

8. Upon Religious Solitude; occasioned by
reading the Inscription on the Tomb of Casimir
King of Poland, who abdicated his Crown, and
spent the remainder of his life in the Abbey of
St. Germains, near Paris, where he lies interred.

9. A Pastoral in Imitation of Virgil's Second

10. The 2d, 3d, and 4th Elegies of the Fourth
Book of Tibullus.

11. Elegy. Sylvia to Amintor, in Imitation of
Ovid. After Sylvia is enjoyed, she gives this Advice
to her sex.

Trust not the slight defence of female pride.
Nor in your boasted honour much confide;
So still the motion, and so smooth the dart,
It steals unfelt into the heedless heart.

A Prologue to the Tragedy of Sir Walter Raleigh, and an Epilogue
to Mr. Southern's Spartan Dame. In the former he has the following
beautiful lines on Ambition;

Ambition is a mistress few enjoy!
False to our hopes, and to our wishes coy;
The bold she bafflles, and defeats the strong;
And all are ruined who pursue her long;
Yet so bewitching are her fatal charms,
We think it heav'n to die within her arms.

Major Pack obliged the world with some Memoirs of the Life of Mr.
Wycherley, which are prefixed to Theobald's edition of that author.
Mr. Jacob mentions a piece of his which he saw in MS. entitled
Religion and Philosophy, which, says he, with his other works,
demonstrate the author to be a polite writer, and a man of wit and

This amiable gentleman died at Aberdeen in Scotland, in the month of
September 1728, colonel Montague's regiment, in which he was then a
major, being quartered there.

[Footnote A: Vide Jacob's Lives.]

* * * * *

Sir WILLIAM DAWES, Baronet (Archbishop of YORK,)

This revd. prelate was descended from an ancient, and honourable
family in the county of Essex; he was educated at Merchant-Taylor's
school, London, and from thence elected to St. John's College in
Oxford, of which he was afterwards fellow.

He was the youngest of four brothers, three of whom dying young, the
title, and estate of the family fell to him. As soon as he had taken
his first degree in arts, and upon the family estate devolving to him,
he resigned his fellowship, and left Oxford. For some time he gave his
attention to the affairs of his estate, but finding his inclination
lead him more to study, than rural affairs, he entered into holy
orders. Sir William did not long remain in the church without
preferment; his fortune, and family assisted him to rise; for it often
happens that these advantages will do much more for a man, as well in
the ecclesiastical, as in other classes of life, than the brightest
parts without them. Before he was promoted to the mitre, he was made
master of Catherine Hall in Cambridge, chaplain to Queen Anne, and
dean of Bocking.

In the year 1708 he was consecrated bishop of Chester, and in 1713
was translated to the archbishopric of York. While he was at the
university, before he went into orders, he wrote the Anatomy of
Atheism, a Poem, dedicated to Sir George Darcy Bart. printed in the
year 1701, 8vo.

The design of this piece, as his lordship declares in the preface,
'is to expose the folly of those men, who are arrived at that pitch of
impudence and prophaneness, that they think it a piece of wit to
deny the Being of a God, and to laugh at that which they cannot argue
against.' Such characters are well described in the following lines,

See then our Atheist all the world oppose,
And like Drawcansir make all men his foes.
See with what fancy pride he does pretend,
His miser father's notions to amend,
Huffs Plutarch, Plato, Pliny, Seneca,
And bids even Cicero himself give way.
Tells all the world, they follow a false light,
And he alone, of all mankind is right.
Thus, like a madman, who when all alone,
Thinks himself King, and every chair a throne,
Drunk with conceit, and foolish impudence,
He prides himself in his abounding sense.

This prelate is said to have united the gentleman, and the divine,
which both shone out with equal lustre in him. He was esteemed in his
time a very popular preacher; his piety was great, and conspicuous;

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