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Our Cumberland's sweetbread its place shall obtain;
Our Garricks' a salad—for in him we see
That Ridge" is anchovy, and Reynolds" is lamb :
* Richard Cumberland—the essayist, dramatist, versifier, novelist, etc. He was a native of Cambridge, and educated at Trinity College; B.A. 1750–M.A. 1754. He successively held various offices in Ireland and England, and in 1780 was employed on a mission to Madrid. He died in London in 1811.
• John Douglas was born at Pittenweem, N.B., in 1721. He studied at Oxford, where he proceeded M.A. in 1743. In 1748 he was appointed traveling tutor to Lord Pulteney. He afterward obtained various church preferments; and, in 1787, was advanced to the bishopric of Carlisle. In 1791 he was translated to Salisbury. He died at Windsor in 1807.
* David Garrick—the incomparable actor. He was born at Hereford in 1716; made his first appearance in 1741; became joint-patentee of Drury-lane theater in 1747; projected the Shakspeare jubilee, held in 1769; retired from the stage in 1776; and died in 1779.
* John Ridge—a member of the Irish bar. Burke, in 1771, described him as “one of the honestest and best-natured men living, and inferior to none of his profession in ability.” His epitaph was not finished.
* Sir Joshua Reynolds—the eminent painter, and writer on art. He was born in 1723, and in 1740 placed as a pupil with Hudson. In 1749 he went to Rome, where he studied about three years. In 1761 he was elected F.R.s. In 1768 he was nominated president of the royal academy, and soon afterward knighted. At the academy alone, he exhibited two hundred and twenty-eight pictures. He died in 1792.
That Hickey’s” a capon; and, by the same rule,
At least, in six weeks, I could not find them out;
* Thomas Hickey, an Irishman, was an attorney of eminence. He died in London, at a very advanced age, in 1794.
* Malone states, and I believe correctly, that our poet “intended to have concluded with his own character.” It would have saved his biographers no small embarrassment.
* The dean was a scholar and a wit; but, as it seems, careless of the praise of posterity. His epitaph on Goldsmith was very sarcastic. He wrote, however, a metrical apology—which was read at the club in the absence of Garrick. The verses are in print. He thus calls on the poet to spare a hapless stranger, and to set his wit at Davy:
“On him let all thy vengeance fall;
Yet some have declar'd, and it can't be denied them,
To eat mutton cold, and cut blocks with a razor.
* The epitaph on Edmund Burke, whatever tact it may display, is not a very friendly effusion; and, as I conceive, must have occasioned the statesman some mortifying reflections. His success in life, even at a later period, was inadequate to his claims; but it is hard to twit a man with his misfortunes.— Tommy Townshend = the member for Whitchurch—of whom Junius gives a portrait as still life. He was afterward created Lord Sydney. Ob. 1803.
Here lies homest William,” whose heart was a mint, While the owner ne'er knew half the good that was in't: The pupil of impulse, it forc’d him along, His conduct still right, with his argument wrong; Still aiming at honor, yet fearing to roam— The coachman was tipsy, the chariot drove home; Would you ask for his merits? alas! he had none; What was good was spontaneous, his faults were his own.
Here lies honest Richard,” whose fate I must sigh at: Alas! that such frolic should now be so quiet. What spirits were his what wit and what whim Now breaking a jest—and now breaking a limb; Now wrangling and grumbling to keep up the ball;
Now teasing and vexing—yet laughing at all !
* Edmund Burke is emphatic in praise of honest William, who lived much in his society. His “friendship for me,” exclaims the orator, “has no example in these times, and would have dignified the best periods of history.” The conclusion of the brilliant eulogy is: “He has nothing like a fault about him, that does not arise from the luxuriance of some generous quality.”
** Barry, the painter, observes of Richard Burke: “no one is better stocked with good-humor;” and his published letters show uncommon exuberance of spirits. He fractured one of his legs in 1767—to which accident the poet alludes.
In short, so provoking a devil was Dick,
Adopting his portraits, are pleas'd with their own.
* Cumberland, at this period, was chiefly noted as a dramatist—a dramatist of the sentimental class. Here was scope for retaliation. He had, however, written his epitaph on Goldsmith in a complimentary style; and, as open sarcasm would have been an ungracious return, the poet adroitly avails himself of persiflage. He calls his rival—if I read correctly—a coxcomb; and for this, as if to justify the name, Cumberland afterward expressed his gratitude!