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As he returned to his lodgings from a gaming table, he was attacked in the dark by three ruffians, who were employed to assassinate him. The earl defended himself with so much resolution, that he dispatched one of the aflaffins, whilst a gentleman, accidentally passing that
way, interposed and disarmed another; the third secured himself by flight. This generous assistant was à difbanded officer, of a good family, and fair reputation; who, by what we call the partiality of fortune, to avoid censuring the iniquities of the times, wanted even a plain sute of clothes to make a decent appearance at the castle. But his lordship, on this occasion, presenting him to the duke of Ormond, with great importunity prevailed with his grace to allow him to resign his post, of captain of the guards, to his friend; which, for about three years, the gentleman enjoyed; and upon his death, the duke returned the commission to his generous benefactor.
The pleasures of the English court, and the friendships he had therecontracted, were powerful motives for his return to London. Soon after his arrival, he was made master of the horse to the duchess of York, and married the lady Frances, eldest daughter of Richard earl, of Burlington, who before had been the wife of colonel Courtney.
Here he distinguished himself by his writings: and about this time, in imitation of those learned and polite assemblies, with which he had been acquainted abroad; particularly one ať Caen (in which his tutor, the celebrated Mr. Bochart, died suddenly, whilst he was delivering an oration;) he began to form a society for the refining and fixing the standard of our language; in which design, his great friend Mr. Dryden was a principal assistant. A design, of which it is much easier to conceive an agreeable idea, than any rational hope ever to see it brought to perfection among us. This project was entirely defeated by
the religious commotions, which ensued on the accession of king James to the throne : at which time the earl took a resolution to pass the remainder of his life at Rome; telling his friends, it would be best to fit next to the chimney when the chamber smoked. But amid these reflections, he was seized by the gout, and being too impatient of pain, he permitted a bold French pretender to phyfic, to apply a repelling medicine, in order to give him present relief, which drove the distemper into his bowels; and in a short time put a period to his life, in the close of the year 1884, at St. James's. The moment in which he expired, he cried out, with a voice that expressed the most intense fervour of devotion,
My God! my father, and
end. He was interred, with great pomp, in Westminster Abbey ; but his merit, as a writer, will best appear by the following testimonies.
Testimonies of Authors concerning the
Earl of ROSCOMMON, and his Writings.
Dryden, Preface to his miscellany Poems.
OR this last half year I have been troubled with
the disease, as I may call it, of translation : the cold prose-fits of it, which are always the most tedious with me, were spent in the History of the League ; the hot, which succeeded them, in verse miscellanies. The truth is, I fansied to myself a kind of ease in the change of the paroxyfm; never fufpecting but that the humour would have wasted itself in two or three paltorals of THEOCRITUS, and as many odes of Horace. But finding, or at least thinking I found, something that was more pleasing in them, than my ordinary productions, I encouraged myself to renew my old acquaintance with LUCRETIUS and VIRGIL; and immediately fixed upon fome parts of them, which had most affected me in the reading. These were my natural impulses for the undertaking. But there was an accidental motive, which was full as forcible, it was my lord RoscomMON's Elay on translated Verse, which made me un easy till I tried whether or no I was capable of following his rules, and of reducing the speculation into practice. For many a fair precept in poetry is, like a seeming demonstration in the mathematics, very fpecious in the diagram, but false in the mechanic operation. I think I have generally observed his instructie
I am sure my reason is sufficiently convinced both of their truth and usefulness; which, in other
words, is to confess no less a vanity, than to pretend that I have, at least in some places, made examples to his rules.
DRYDEN, Dedication of the Aeneis to the
duke of Buckingham. SOME of our countrymen have translated episodes, and other parts of VIRGIL, with great success. As particularly your lordship, whose version of Orpheus and Eurydice is eminently good. Amongst the dead authors, the Silenus of my lord ROSCOMMON cannot be too much commended.
DRYDEN, Postscript to his Virgil
. WHOEVER has given the world the translation of part of the third Georgic, which he calls the Power of Love, has put me to sufficient pains to make my own not inferior to his; as my lord ROSCOMMON'S Silenus had formerly given me the same trouble.
DRYD EN, Notes on Virgil. PASTORAL fixth. My Lord RoscoMMON'S Notes on this Pastoral are equal to his excellent translation of it, and thither I refer the reader.
CREECH, Preface to his Horace. WHAT I have borrowed from others, if ever I have stock enough, I will honestly endeavour to repay ; but the debt I have contracted from my lord Ros. COMMON is so vast, that I shall never be able to dilo charge : to his admirable version I must gratefully ac