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So would I bridle thy eccentric soul,

In Reason's sober orbit bid it roll;

Spite of thyself would make thy rancour cease,
Preserve thy present fame and future peace,
And teach thy Muse no vulgar place to find,
In the full moral chorus of mankind."

In 1774 he collected his plays and poems, and published them in two volumes. His advertisement to the edition is as follows: "Most of the pieces contained in these volumes have already had their fate with the public; and would probably never have been collected in the manner in which they now appear, if the author had not imagined that his character as Laureate obliged him in some measure to revise and correct them. If in their present state they have any degree of real merit belonging to them, they will support themselves. If they are so unfortunate as to want it, they will naturally sink into the oblivion they deserve " This prophecy has well-nigh been fulfilled. English poetry abounds in so much that is good, that what is second-rate, is little likely to be read; but in most ages contemporary verse is read and praised which is very inferior to some laid on the shelf belonging to years gone by. Those who find time to read some of the meagre and mediocre verse of the day, would find more pathos and beauty in the dramas, and more good sense in the didactic poems of Whitehead, than they at present suppose.

In 1776 he published a story in octosyllables, called "Variety," a tale for married people, quoted by Campbell in his specimen of British poets. It is very nicely told. There is a song by him for Ranelagh, of which the first and the last stanzas are so applicable to modern Bloomerism that it must be quoted.

"Ye belles and ye flirts, and ye pert little things,
Who trip in this frolicksome round,

Pray tell me from whence this impertinence springs,
The sexes at once to confound?

What mean the cock'd hat and the masculine air,
With each motion designed to perplex?

Bright eyes were intended to languish, not stare,
And softness the test of your sex.

"The blushes of morn, and the mildness of May,
Are charms which no art can procure,
O, be but yourselves, and our homage we pay,
And your empire is solid and sure,

But if, Amazon-like, you attack your gallants,
And put us in fear of our lives,

You may do very well for sisters and aunts,
But, believe me, you'll never be wives."

He seems to have possessed some influence with Garrick, a man whose authority carried great weight in literary as well as dramatic matters.

Murphy, in his life of Garrick, expresses warm gratitude to the Laureate for his kind and equitable decision of a matter in which he was himself a principal. He had written a drama called "The Orphan of China," which he sent to Garrick. The play was refused. Murphy thought himself hardly treated, and commenced a paper war against the manager. Garrick made his complaint at Holland House. Fox asked Murphy why he had shown so much animosity. Murphy replied that to publicly assail Garrick was, because of his extreme sensitiveness, his only chance of success that the fate of the "Orphan" depended on it. At Fox's request the play was sent to Holland House, and he and Horace Walpole read it together. On the following Sunday Garrick was a guest there, and Fox and Walpole quoted to him some lines from it. He was startled; he had not, as managers are said now-a-days to do, returned the play without reading it, but had undervalued its merits. He was now struck by the lines quoted, and begged for the play, which he took again under his consideration, and accepted. Soon after this a good-natured friend repeated to Mr. Garrick some angry and depreciatory remark which Murphy had made on him. The thin-skinned

manager was furious, and again refused the play.


author made a firm stand, and declared he would not be trampled on. An interview took place, when it was arranged that the difference should be referred to the arbitration of Whitehead. He was then staying at Bath, and to this place the distressed "Orphan" was sent for its health. Whitehead would not consent to be the arbitrator of the whole difference, but agreed to give a candid opinion on the merits of the play. On reading it, he was so pleased that he went beyond his promise, and not only praised the drama, but said that the manager ought to accept it, and predicted that it would be a favourite with the public. This healed the breach, and the "Orphan" was re-accepted. Garrick, as was his custom, read it to the company, with his usual powerful intonation, giving every passage its full effect, but as he went on he suggested some emendation. In the fifth act he proposed a large alteration; Whitehead who was present, gave him the following delicate and witty reproof: "Mr. Garrick," said he, "there are so many beauties in this play, that for the sake of us who may hereafter write for the stage, I beg we may have no more.' This specimen of Whitehead's conversational talent would make us suspect Boswell's judgment, when in speaking of Mason's "Life of Whitehead," he remarks: "I do not think it was quite necessary to attempt a depreciation of what is universally esteemed, because it was not to be found in the immediate object of the ingenious writer's pen; for, in truth, from a man so still and so tame, as to be contented to pass many years as the domestic companion of a superannuated lord and lady, conversation could no more be expected, than from a Chinese Mandarin on a chimney-place, or the fantastic figures on a gilt leather screen." Boswell's flunkeyism may have had some hero worship in it not to be found in Whitehead's; but after all, there is nothing

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very degrading in a man's continuing to reside in a family where he enjoyed a life of literary leisure, and was treated as a welcome guest and an esteemed friend.*

It would seem that Boswell was, as usual, merely following the Doctor, who said: "Whitehead is but a little man to inscribe verses to players." Here we see Johnson's bile against Garrick showing itself. Whitehead had, as we have seen, dedicated his farce to him, and in some lines to the great actor he had written :

"A nation's taste depends on you,
Perhaps a nation's virtue too;

O, think how glorious 'twere to raise,
A Theatre to virtue's praise,
Where no indignant blush might rise,
Nor wit be taught to plead for vice.
But every young, attentive ear,
Imbibe the precepts living there.
And ev'ry inexperienced breast
There feel its own rude hints exprest,
And wakened by the glowing scene,

Unfold the worth that lurks within."

When Garrick revived "Every Man in his Humour," Whitehead was called on to write a prologue, which is to be found among his works. Garrick had been very successful as Abel Drugger in "The Alchymist," and determined on acting in another of Jonson's plays.

In 1777 Whitehead wrote "The Goat's Beard." After

* There was no very warm affection between the Doctor and Mason. The latter concludes his Memoir of Whitehead by a sneering parody on the elevated style of the great Dr. Samuel: "Those readers who believe that I do not write immediately under his (namely, the bookseller's) pay, and who may have gathered from what they have already read that I am not so passionately enamoured of Dr. Johnson's biographical manner, as to take that for my model, have only to throw these pages aside, and wait till they are new-written by some one of his numerous disciples who may follow his master's example; and should more anecdotes than I furnish him with be wanting (as was the Doctor's case in his life of Mr. Gray), may make amends for it by those acid eructations of vituperative criticism, which are generated by unconcocted taste, and intellectual indigestion."

this he published nothing except his annual ode, which he never neglected. Indeed death, after many years of tranquil old age, passed in his lodging in London, and at the seat of his noble friends and patrons, overtook him while employed on a birthday ode. He had visited Lord Harcourt in the morning, and went to bed seemingly well, but expired next morning very suddenly, April 14th, 1785, in the seventieth year of his age. He was buried

in South Audley Street Chapel.

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