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LIFE OF DUKE.
BY DR. JOHNSON.
Of Mr. RICHARD Duke I can find few memorials. He was bred at Westminster: and Cambridge; and Jacob relates, that he was some time tutor to the duke of Richmond.
He appears from his writings to have been not ill qualified for poetical compositions ; and being conscious of his powers, when he left the university, he enlisted himself among the wits. He was the familiar friend of Otway; and was engaged, among other popular names, in the translations of Ovid and Juvenal. In his Review, though unfinished, are some vigorous lines. His poems are not below mediocrity; nor have I found much in them to be praised.
With the wit be seems to have shared the dissoluteness of the times; for some of his compositions are such as he must have reviewed with detestation in his later days, when he published those sermons which Felton has commended.
Perhaps, like some other foolish young men, he rather talked than lived viciously, in an age when he that would be thought a wit was afraid to say his
prayers; and, whatever might have been bad in the first part of his life, was surely condemned and reformed by his better judgement.
In 1683, being then master of arts, and fellow of Trinity College in Cambridge, he wrote a poem on the Marriage of the Lady Anne with George Prince of Denmark.
He was admitted there in 1670; was elected to Trinity College, Cambridge, in 1675; and took bis master's degree in 1682. N.
* They make a part of a volume published by Tonson in 8vo. 1717, containing the poems of the arl of Roscommon, and the duke of Buckingham's Essay on Poetry; but were first published in Dryden's Miscellany, as were most, if not all, of the poems in that collection. H.
He then took orders*; and, being made prebendary of Gloucester, became a proctor in convocation for that church, and chaplain to queen Anne.
In 1710, he was presented by the bishop of Winchester to the wealthy living of Witney in Oxfordshire, which he enjoyed but a few months. On February 10, 1710-11, having returned from an entertainment, he was found dead the next morning. His death is mentioned in Swift's Journal.
3 He was presented to the rectory of Blaby in Leicestershire in 1687-8; and obtained a prebend at Gloucester in 1688. N.
And he who, when the winds and seas were higly Longa est injuria, longæ
Oppos'd his skill, and did their rage defy,
No diminution to his honour thought,
T? enjoy the pleasure of the calm he brought.
(Should he alone be so the people's slave, HOW have we wander'd a long dismal night, As not to share the blessings that he gave?)
Ledthrough blind paths by each deludinglight: But not till, full of providential care, Now plung'd in mire, now by sharp brambles torn, He chose a pilot in his place to steer: With tempests beat, and to the winds a scorn! One in his father's councils and his own Lost, weary'd, spent! but see the eastern star Long exercis'd, and grey in business grown; And glimmering light dawns kindly from afar: Whose confirm'd judgment and sagacious wit Bright goddess, hail! while we by thee survey
Knew all the sands on wbich rash monarchs splits The various errours of our painful way;
Of rising winds could, ere they blew, inform, While, guided by some clew of heavenly thread, And from which quarter to expect the storm. The labyrinth perplex'd we backward tread, Such was, or such be seem'd, whom Cæsar chose, Through rulers' avarice, pride, ambition, bate,
And did all empire's cares in him repose; Perverse cabals, and winding turns of state,
That, after all his toils and dangers past, The senate's rage, and all the crooked lines He might lie down and taste some ease at last, of incoherent plots and wild designs;
Now stands the statesman of the helm possest, Till, getting out, where first we enter'd in, On him alone three mighty nations rest; A new bright race of glory we begin.
Byrsa his name, bred at the wrangling bar, As, after Winter, Spring's glad face appears,
And skill'd in arms of that litigious war;
Learning's Mæcenas, and the Muses' friend;
Disdaining less alliances to own, What shouts, what triumph, what unruly joy, He now sets up for kinsman of the throne; Swell'd every breast, did every tongue employ, And Anna, by the power her father gain'd, With rays direct, whilst on his people shone Back'd with great Cæsar's absofute command, The king triumphant from the martyr's throne ! On false pretence of former contracts made, Was ever prince like him to mortals given? Is forc'd on brave 2 Britannicus's bed. So much the joy of Earth and care of Heaven ! Thus rais'd, his insolence his wit out-vy'd, Under the pressure of unequal fate,
And meanest avarice maintain’d his pride: Of so erect a mind, and soul so great!
When Cæsar, to confirm his infant state,
Drown'd in oblivion all old names of hate,
Byrsa his master's free-given mercy sold,
1 Earl of Clarendon. No danger threatening from the peaceful tide; . Duke of York.