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Page:Notes and Queries - Series 10 - Volume 12.djvu/612

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NOTES AND QUERIES. [io s. xn. DEC. 25, woo.


and on the llth of the present month our reviewer records with pleasure the high standard it maintains and the fitness which makes long life desirable. We have just passed our Golden Jubilee, and I close with the wish that "dear old *N. & Q. : " may join The Cornhill fifty years hence in mutual congratulations that they are still vigorous institutions of the country.

JOHN COLLINS FRANCIS.


GEORGE BUBB DODINGTON AND HIS LITERARY CIRCLE. (Concluded from p. 462.)

THOMSON AND YOUNG were the two chief poets in Bubb Dodington's friendship. The poem of ' Summer * was to have been dedicated to Lord Binning, but Dodington sent a message through Young that he would like to make the young poet's acquaintance, and Lord Binning advised that such an opportunity for gratifying a man " of con- .siderable wit and geniality, with a genuine interest in literature," should not be lost. ' Summer * was published in 1727 with a long epistolary dedication to Dodington, which is found only in the editions prior to the .subscription quarto of 1730. In that and in some of the later editions there appear on the preliminary half-title the words " Summer. Inscrib'd to the Right Honourable Mr. Dodington." In the 1730 edition, after 1. 20, were inserted eleven lines of eulogy on him, which appeared in substance in the later impressions. They testified to " his pure light of mind and tenderness of heart," to his "gay social sense by decency chastiz'd," to his " unblemished honour and an active zeal for Britain's Glory, Liberty, and Man.' 1 Dodington subscribed in 1730 for twenty copies, at a guinea apiece, of this collected edition of ' The Seasons. 4

Thomson in his poem on ' Autumn l rpraises (11. 652-82) the green delightful walks, ,the " pure Dorsetian downs, in boundless rprospect " at Eastbury, where he wandered oft and meditated on " the book of Nature .ever open." It was the seat of the Muses, Where in the secret bower and winding walk .For virtuous Young and thee they twine the bay.

"Thomson was staying there on a visit in .September, 1729, when its owner had gone to London for a time to wait upon the King, -and on his tour abroad in 1730 and 1731 he wrote letters to Dodington (Thomson's 'Poems/ Aldine ed., 1862, ii. Iv-lix). He was at Eastbury again, and "for some time," in 1735 (ib., p. Ixv). Among the


pieces contributed by him to James Ralph's ' Miscellaneous Poems,'- 1729, was (pp. 345-6) ' The Happy Man,* addressed to Dodington, which concluded with the lines : Nor can'st thou, D d n, this Truth decline : Thine is the Fortune, and the Mind is thine.

Young and Bubb Dodington were friends at Oxford. Young was, as we have seen, at Eastbury in 1722. He must have been there again about 1727, when Voltaire (who had arrived in England with a letter of introduction from our ambassador at Paris, Horace Walpole the elder, to Dodington) was one of the company. Joseph Warton was informed by their host that " the English poet was far superior to the French in the variety and novelty of his bon-mots and repartees." Young spoke his own language, and this probably gave him substantial assistance in the conflict of wit ; but Young- is acknowledged " to have been very brilliant in conversation." It was during this sojourn that Voltaire severely criticized Milton's alle- gorical description of death and sin " because they were non-existents " ; and Young is said to have retorted with a couplet variously iven, but usually in the words inserted by ir Herbert Croft in his life of Young : You are so witty, profligate, and thin, At once we think thee Milton, Death, and Sin.

It has been pointed out, however, that the lines of Young in the poetical dedication of his ' Seapiece * to Voltaire, which run : No stranger, Sir, though born in foreign climes ; On Dorset's downs when Milton's page With Shi and Death provok'd thy rage, Thy rage provok'd who soothed with gentler

rhymes ?

seem to cast some doubt on the utterance of a distich of such severity.

Young, in the second of his satires, ' The Love of Fame,* 11. 199 et seq., commends Dodington for his " openness of heart " and for his

Manner nobly free, Which all admire, and I commend in thee.

The third satire in this set is addressed to him, for

You love and feel the poet's sacred flame ; and it concludes with eight lines

From one who holds your friendship dear. In the fifth of these satires that on woman Young refers to the charms of a retreat in the country, claiming

There too the Muses sport ; these numbers free,

Pierian Eastbury ! I owe to thee.

Young also visited Bubb Dodington at nis house at Hammersmith, which was de.iignated by him " La Trappe," and was