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“ The City Ramble; or, the Playhouse Wedding in London. By Elkanah Settle *;" 8vo.
BARONIS DE OCKHAM. And at the bottom this inscription: «He was born in the city of Exeter of worthy and substantial parents,
but with a genius greatly superior to his birth.
By his industry, prudence, learning, and virtue,
and to the highest posts and dignities. He applied himself to his studies in the Middle Temple; and, to an exact and complete knowledge in all parts and history
of the law, added the most extensive learning, thcological and civil. He was chosen a member of the House of Commons in the year 1699;
recorder of the city of London in the year 1708;
on the accession of King George I.;
created Lord King, Baron of Ockham,
of Great Britain, 1725; under the laborious fatigues of which weighty place sinking into a paralytic disease, he resigned it November 19, 1733;
and died July 230, 1734, aged 65.
A friend to true religion and liberty. He married Anne, daughter of Richard Scys, of Boyerton, in Glamorganshire, Esquire, with whom he lived to the day of his death in perfect love and happiness; and left issue by her four sons, John, nowLord King, Peter, William, and Thomas; and two daughters, Elizabeth and Anne.”
Mr. Walpole, in his Noble Authors, vol. II. p. 136, gives the following account of him: “ Lord Chancellor King was related to Mr. Locke, who, on seeing his treatise in defence of the Rights of the Church, persuaded him to apply himself to the Law; to the highest dignity of which he rose. We have of his writing: 'Enquiry into the Constitution, Discipline, Unity, and Worship, of the Primitive Church, 1691. History of the Apostles' Creed, with critical Observations on its several Articles. The Speech of Sir Peter King, Knight, Recorder of the City of London, at St. Margaret's Hill, to the King's most excellent Majesty, upon his Royal Entry, Sept. 20, 1714."
* This writer having been particularly noticed by Dr. Johnson, in his Life of Dryden, some memorials of him may perhaps be acceptable. He was the son of Joseph Settle,' of Dunstable, in Bedfordshire; born in 1648; and in the 18th year of his age was entered commoner of Trinity College, Oxon, in 1665; but, quitting the University without taking any degree, came to London, where he applied himself to the study of poetry; in which he lived to make no inconsiderable figure. According to Gildon, he once possessed a good fortune, which he soon dissipated. In 1671 be published “Cambyses, a Tragedy ;” and in
- “Reflections upon some Passages in Mr. Le Clerc's Life of Mr. John Locke, in a Letter to a Friend.
1673, “ The Empress of Morocco, a Tragedy," written in rhyme; by the success of which Dryden seems to have had his quiet much disturbed. “ It was so much applauded," says Dr. Johnson, " as to make him think his supremacy of reputation in some danger. Settle had not only been prosperous on the stage, but, in the confidence of success, had pu bushed his play, with sculptures and a preface of deiance. Here was one offence added to another; and, for the last blast of inflammation, it was acted at Whitehall by the Court-ladies. Dryden could not now repress those emotions, which he called indignation, and others jealousy; but wrote upon the play and dedication such criticism as malignant impatience could pour out in haste, Of Settle he gives this character: "He's an animal of å most deplored understanding, without reading and conversation. His being is in a twilight of sense, and some glimmering of thought which he can never fashion into wit or English. His style is boisterous and rough-hewn, his rhyme incorrigibly lewd, and his numbers perpetually harsh and ill-sounding. The little talent which he has, is fancy. He sometimes labours with a thought; but, with the pudder he makes to bring it into the world, 'tis commonly still-born; so that, for want of learning and elocution, he will never be able to express any thing either naturally or justly. This is not very decent; yet this is one of the pages in which criticism prevails over brutal fury. He proceeds: He has a heavy hand at fools, and a great felicity in writing nonsense for them. Fools they will be in spite of him. His King, his two Empresses, his Villain, and his Sub-villain, nay his Hero, have all a certain natural cast of the father-their folly was born and bred in them, and something of the Elkanah will be visible.'-Settle's is said to have been the first play embellished with sculptures; those ornaments seem to have given poor Dryden great disturbance. He tries however to ease his pain by venting his malice in a parody.Such was the criticism to which the genius of Dryden could be reduced, between rage and terrour; rage with little provocation, and terrour with little danger. To see the highest minds thus levelled with the meanest, may produce some solace to the consciousness of weakness, and some mortification to the pride of wisdom. But let it be remembered, that minds are not levelled in their powers but when they are first levelled in their desires. Dryden and Settle had both placed their happiness in the claps of multitudes.-Settle had afterwards an opportunity of taking his revenge on one of Dryden's Tragedies. In a quarto pamphlet of 95 pages, he wrote a vindication of his own lines; and, if he is forced to yield any thing, makes his reprisals upon his enemy. - To say that his answer is equal to the censure, is no high commendation. To expose Dryden's method of analysing his expressions, he tries the same experiment upon
With a Preface, containing some Remarks on Two large Volumes of Libels: the one intituled, “State
the same description of the ships in The Indian Emperor, of which however he does not deny the excellence; but intends to shew, that by studied misconstruction every thing may be equally represented as ridiculous."--Settle continued to cultivate the Tragic Muse; but, finding the Nation divided between the opinions of Whig and Tory, thought proper to join the Whigs, who were then, though the minor, yet a powerful party; and in support of which he employed his talents as a writer. In 1680, the famous ceremony of Pope-burning on the 17th of November was entrusted to his management; and he seems to have been at that time much in the confidence of those who opposed Government. He published, “A Narrative, written by E. Settle; printed for the Author, and sold by Thomas Graves, June 7, 1683;" which was answered in “ Remarks upon E. Settle's Narrative. Printed for the Author; and sold by Langley Curtis, at Sir Edmundbury Godfrey's Head, at FleetBridge, July 6, 1683. Price !s.” Mr. Settle afterward changed sides, turned Tory, and wrote for that party with as much zeal as he had formerly shewn for the interest of the Whigs : by which we see that politicians and patriots were made of the same sort of stuff in the times as in the present. After his change, like most other converts, he became equally violent against those with whom he had before associated, and actually entered himself a trooper in King James's army at HounslowHeath. He also wrote an heroic poem on the Coronation of the high and mighty monarch James II. `1685 ; commenced journalist for the Court, and published weekly an essay in behalf of the administration, but was unfortunate in the change of his party; for, before he had derived any solid advantage from abandoning his old friends, the Revolution took place. He soon after, however, obtained the office of Poet to the City of London ; and with it a pension for an annual panegyric to celebrate the annual festival of their Chief Magistrate.
" Settle, the Poet to my Lord-mayor's show,
Shall Dryden, Cowley, and our Duke outgo," says Capt. Ayloffe, in the Cambridge Commencement; Select Collection of Miscellany Poems, 1780, vol. III. p. 189.
His predecessors in this office were, George Peele, 1585; A. Munday, 1605, 1611, 1614, 1615, 1616 ; Thomas Dekker, 1612 ; Thomas Middleton, gent. 1613, 1619, 1621, 1626; John Squire, 1620; John Webster, 1624 ; Thomas Heywood, 1631, 1632, 1633, 1637, 1638, 1639; John Taylor the water poet, 1634; Edm. Gayton, 1655; J. B. 1656; John Tatham, 1657-1664 ; Thomas Jordan, 1671-1684; and Matthew Taubman, 1685–1689.
Settle's first production of this sört was, “ The Triumphs of London, performed on Thursday, Oct. 29, 1691, for the Entertainment of the Right Honourable Sir Thomas Stamp Knt. Lord Mayor of the City of London; containing a true Description of the several
Tracts;' and the other falsly called, "The compleat History of England, Vol. III.” Commonly ascribed to Dr. Kennett ;" 8vo.
Pageants, with the Speeches, spoken in each Pageant. All set forth at the proper Costs and Charges of the worshipful Company of Drapers. By E. S.; London, 1691." This was followed by “ The Triumphs, &c.". for Sir John Fleet, Bart. at the cost of the Company of Grocers, 1692. Mr. Settle was Laureate also to Sir William Ashurst, 1693; Sir Thomas Lane, 1694; Sir John Houblon, 1695; Sir Thomas Abney, 1700; Sir William Gore, 1701; Sir William Duncombe, 1708; and probably to all the intermediate lord mayors, though I have not seen the titles of his poems. The pageants for Sir William Duncombe were not exhibited, on account of the death of Prince George of Denmark, which happened ten days before lord mayor's day.
The last splendid exhibition of this kind was in the year 1761, when His present Majesty honoured the City of London by a Royal Visit, in the mayoralty of Sir Samuel Fludyer, bart.
In the latter part of his life Mr. Settle was so reduced as to attend a booth in Bartholomew Fair, kept by Mrs. Minns and her daughter Mrs. Leigh, and received a salary from them for writing drolls, which generally were approved of. He also was obliged to appear in his old age as a performer in those wretched theatrical exhibitions; and in a farce called “ St. George for England," acted a dragon inclosed in a case of green leather of his own invention. To this circumstance Dr. Young refers in the following lines of bis Epistle to Mr. Pope :
“ Poor Elkanah, all other changes past,
Such is the fate of talents misapply'd,” &c. Having lost his credit, he lived poor and despised, subject to all the miseries of the most abject state of indigence, and destitute of any advantageous and reputable connexion : but, in the end, he obtained admission into the foundation of the Charter-house, as one of the pensioners, and died there, Feb. 12,1723-4. Some months before his decease, he offered a play to the managers of the theatreroyal in Drury-lane, but he lived not to bring it on the stage; it was called “ The Expulsion of the Danes from Britain." The writer of a periodical paper, called “The Briton,” Feb. 19, 1724, speaks of him as then just dead; and adds, “ he was a man of tall stature, red face, short black hair, lived in the city, and had a numerous poetical issue; but shared the misfortune of several other gentlemen to survive them all." Mr. Settle's dramatic works, from 1671 to 1718, are seventeen to number. He was author also of “ Sacellum Honoris; a congratulatory Poem to the Right Honourable the Marquis of Tavistock, on liis happy Return from Travel; by E. Settle, Feb. 9, 1699-1700." "A Poem on the An
“ The English Grammar; or, an Essay on the Art of Grāmmar; applied to and exemplified in the English Tongue; by Michael Maittaire;" 8vo. Gordon's « Geographical Grammar.” “Pseudarchomastix *."
niversary Birth-day of the incomparable Youth, Mr. Matthew Bluck, Son and Heir to the Worshipful Matthew Bluck, Esq. of Hunsdon House in Hartfordshire. By E. S. 1702.” “ Eusebia Triumphans; the Hanover Succession to the Imperial Crown of · England; an heroic Poem, by Elkanah Settle, (Latin and English) 1703," folio; and “ Honori Sacellum, a funeral Poem to the Memory of the Right Honourable Robert Lord Tamworth, 1714."
The following article respecting Settle is given by Mr. Malone (Dryden's Prose Works, vol. I. Part II. p. 115): " In one of Settle's pieces, purchased some time ago, Mr. Bindley found a loose sheet, containing a manuscript poem written by him, addressed to the most renowned the President (probably either Lord Dorset or Mr. Montague) and the rest of the Knights of the most noble Order of the Toast (perhaps the Kit Cat Club];" in which the Poet endeavours to propitiate the person to whom these verses served as a begging petition, by asserting the dignity and antiquity of this illustrious Society. They appear to have been written in 1699."-Another copy of this poem is now before me, by the favour of my good friend Mr. A. Chalmers; who, about the year 1789, bought it of Mr. Egerton, fastened into a presentation copy of two tracts; “A Defence,” and “A Farther Defence of Dramatick Poetry; being a Review of Mr. Collier's View of the Immorality and Profaneness of the Stage; 1698;" an anonymous publication of Dr. Filmer, of Lincoln's Inn The Poem consists of 73 lines, not worth printing; and thus concludes, in prose: “ Here asking your Honour's pardon for this (I hope) inoffensive address, I beg your acceptance of this poor present; which till finisht, I durst not presume to lay at your feet; being, in all humility,
Your Honour's most devoted servant, E. SETTLE." The following is also an original letter from Mr. Settle. “ SIR, After my most grateful acknowledgements of your former generous favour to me, permit me to address you but this once more, with the humble presentation of the inclosed : which has been the work of some study and thought, and where you will find that I have preferred solid argument and strong reason before the emptier flourishes of poetry; as thereby refuting the popular ignorance, weakness, and prejudice of the malignant spirits amongst us, too apt not to be clear-sighted to the brightest merit; as thinking it the highest part of my duty to set forth so truly glorious a character in its full lustre. As such it begs your acceptance, from .
Your most humble and most obedient servant, E. SETTLE."
* All that I can now trace concerning this work is, that it was a pamphlet of about 100 pages; and that it was published, by R. Wilkin, in August 1711.
A “ Funeral