Not for a moment to leave the reader at a loss in presence of an ambiguous title, let us hasten to copy a passage from that cornucopia of small talk — the correspondence of Horace Walpole. He is writing in the summer of 1755 to Richard Bentley (son of the famous Master of Trinity), concerning his neighbours at Twickenham. "We shall be," says he, "as celebrated as Baiae or Tivoli; and, if we have not such sonorous names as they boast, we have very famous people: Clive and Pritchard, actresses; Scott and Hudson, painters; my Lady Suffolk, famous in her time; Mr. H[ickey], the impudent lawyer, that Tom Hervey wrote against; Whitehead, the poet — and" (the italics are ours) "Cambridge, the every thing." Most of these names need little explanation. Catherine Clive and Hannah Pritchard have long since been offered up to the dramatic biographer; Lady Suffolk — perhaps more easily recognized as the "Mrs. Howard" of Pope and Gay — is part of the history of George II.; Hudson and Scott are still remembered — one as the master of Reynolds, the other as the "English Canaletto"; while Hickey and Paul Whitehead respectively have been preserved for posterity, with more or less distinction, in the Retaliation of Goldsmith and the Conference of Churchill. It is only the last of Walpole's list — and strangely enough the very one upon whom his complimentary pen confers universality of merit — who now requires the assistance of the commentator. And yet, as the friend of Chesterfield and Johnson, as the author of a once commended mock-heroic poem, as a valued contributor to Dodsley's society paper, as a wit and man of the world who had enjoyed the fullest opportunities for studying what the Fine Lady in "Lethe" calls the "Quincettence and Emptity" of things, Richard Owen Cambridge certainly seems to merit something more than the formal footnote of the forgotten. We purpose, therefore, to repair this injustice by offering to his neglected shade the tribute of a short paper.
He came of a Gloucestershire family, and was born in London in February, 1717, a few months before Horace Walpole. His father, who was a Turkey merchant, died soon after his birth, and he was left to the care of his mother, and that of an uncle, whose heir he became, and from whom he afterwards adopted his name of Owen. At an early age he went to Eton, where his contemporaries were Walpole, Gray, West, and Jacob Bryant, the future mythologist who doubted about Troy, but believed in Chatterton. He was not a member either of the Walpole "triumvirate" or "quadruple alliance," but West, Bryant, and a son of Earl Berkeley, who was afterwards killed at Fontenoy, seem to have formed with young Cambridge a group which was distinguished for its histrionic abilities — Cambridge, in particular, being noted for his renderings of Falstaff, of Torismond in Dryden's Spanish Fryar, and of Micio in the Adelphi. Beyond this he was mainly remarkable for a taste for Greek and Roman history, and a bias towards athletic sports and landscape gardening. At this time the head master was Dr. William George, the bombastic pedant whom his pupils nicknamed "Dionysius the tyrant," but who, notwithstanding Cambridge's admission (or affectation) of indolence, seems to have treated him with exceptional leniency. From Eton he passed, in 1734, to St. John's College, Oxford, as a gentleman commoner. Of his university career little has survived save some conventional stanzas with which he swelled the congratulatory chorus to Frederick, Prince of Wales, on his marriage; and the brief record of a tour with Horace Walpole in Norfolk, which wound up at Houghton, where he made the acquaintance of Horace's father, Sir Robert, and of the Duke of Newcastle, afterwards also Prime Minister. He left Oxford to enter himself — again like Walpole — at Lincoln's Inn, where he lived upon the same staircase as Isaac Hawkins Browne, the parodist of A Pipe of Tobacco, by whom he was introduced to some literary friends. He also made others for himself, one of the latter being Thomas Edwards, author of the once authoritative Canons of Criticism. Then, the hard frost of 1739-40 having broken up a plan — which he never resumed — for the orthodox Grand Tour, he married a Miss Mary Trenchard, granddaughter of a secretary of state to William III., and settled down at four-and-twenty to live the life of an English country gentleman.
Whitminster, or Wheatenhurst, in Gloucestershire, where he took up his abode, is a little village on the left bank of the Severn, or rather, to be exact, on the right bank of its tributary, the Stroud. The country gentleman of 1740 almost inevitably suggests the type which, nine years later, Fielding created in Tom Jones. Part of this famous novel, it may be remembered, is enacted in this very county, and Mr. Cambridge was no doubt personally acquainted with that popular Mrs. Whitefield of the Bell at Gloucester, who figures in Book VIII. But Cambridge himself must have been another-guess person from Fielding's noisy fox-hunter, with his "Wut ha's," and his view-halloos. In the first place, besides an already-mentioned fancy for natural scenery and landscape gardening, he had a distinct gift for boat-building, a taste which the splendid opportunities of the Severn, widening southward from Westbury, seem to have stimulated to the utmost; and he must have been especially skilful in the devising of water parties, and what the French call "promenades en bateau." One of the most beautiful of his fleet of pleasure boats was built upon the Venetian pattern, having a cabin capable of holding about thirty persons, which cabin, moreover, was tastefully decorated with marine panels by Samuel Scott, who afterwards became his neighbour at Twickenham. Another was a twelve-oared barge of his own design, capable of being propelled with great velocity by the very casual crew of villagers whom he has burlesqued in one of his poems. But his capital achievement was an adaptation of that "flying proa" of the Malay Archipelago, which plays so conspicuous a part in Byron's Island, and which Anson vainly endeavoured to introduce into England from the Ladrones. The Cambridge variation consisted of two boats, fifty feet long, and twelve feet apart, secured to each other by transverse beams covered in with a slight platform or deck. This, from all accounts, was a great success, and was doubtless duly commended by Frederick, Prince of Wales, when he visited Whitminster with Lord Bathurst. Next to boating Cambridge's chief pastime was shooting. But here again his sport in no wise resembled Squire Western's, since his favourite weapon was not a fowling-piece, but a bow and arrow, in the use of which he had grown so expert that — like the Aster who shot at Philip of Macedon — he could bring down a bird upon the wing. Finding, however, by chance, that this pastime was not without its perils to outsiders, he changed his quarry, and practised on fish, using "arrows made for that purpose by the Indians of America." His collections in this way — for he was already a collector — were coloured by his tastes, and his bows of all nations ultimately found an honoured home in the long vanished Leverian museum — we beg pardon, Holophusikon — at Leicester House.
There is another respect in which Cambridge materially differed from Squire Western. But this, for the moment, we may reserve. The above were his main occupations. His leisure, when he had any, was given to letters, which he quitted and resumed with the facile irresponsibility of the amateur. Several of his traits are touched in some of those easy octosyllabics of his day which were addressed to him by Whitehead — William, not Paul:
That Caesar did three things at once,
Is known at school to every dunce;
But your more comprehensive mind
Leaves piddling Caesar far behind.
You spread the lawn, direct the flood,
Cut vistas through, or plant a wood,
Build China's barks for Severn's stream,
Or form new plans for epic fame,
And then in spite of wind or weather,
You read, row, ride, and write together.
At the time this epistle was written, the Scribleriad, Cambridge's chief metrical work, must have been either actually completed, or in a fair way to be completed, for it is specifically mentioned by the writer. But—
that unexhausted vein,
That quick conception without pain,
with which Whitehead goes on to credit his versatile friend, must have been somewhat intermittent in its operation, for the poem was evidently a considerable time upon the stocks. It is difficult, indeed, to say exactly when it was really begun or ended, since, in 1744, Mr. Berkeley writes of "your Scribleriad" as already existent, yet two years later the author is still speaking of his task as if it were in progress. This is plain from a pleasant little imitation of Horace to his book (Ep. i. 20), which closes thus—
Should any one desire to hear a
Precise description of your Aera,
Tell 'em that you was on the anvil,
When Bath came into pow'r with Granville.
When they came in you were about,
And not quite done when they went out.
The reference here is to the brief three days' administration of Lords Granville and Bath in February, 1746, and though sportive in its note, proves that even at that time the Scribleriad was not ready for press. Besides this, there is a story that, because a friend had commended the manner rather than the matter of the performance, the poet, who (like Browning) attached most importance to the "weighty sense," concluded he had failed, and threw his work aside for several years. The probability is that it was written by instalments at Whitminster, and then retouched during the author's two years' stay in town, when he had fuller opportunities for obtaining critical opinions. Finally, Dodsley published Book I. as a shilling pamphlet in January, 1751, with an "elegant [but singularly unpleasant] frontispiece" by Dr. Wall, engraved by L. B. Boitard. In February followed Book II., and by the middle of the year the whole was in the hands of the public.
What shall be said to-day of a quarto burlesque poem in six parts, which, albeit equipped with all the apparatus of argument and footnote, requires the additional assistance of an explanatory preface, and — according to the first reviews — an antecedent study of Pope's Memoirs of Scriblerus! In the preface referred to, which was an afterthought, and is not by any means the worst part of the work, the author sets forth at some length his theory of mock-heroic. His models, he explains, have been Don Quixote and the Battle of the Books rather than the Lutrin or the Rape of the Lock; and his object is ridicule of the false taste and false science of his age. His hero is the hero of Pope and Arbuthnot, taken up where those worthies left him, and launched upon a succession of fresh adventures, calculated to satirize, inter alia, the worship of the ancients, the vanity of pedantry, and the folly of alchemy. These bring him into relations with petrified cities, Surinam toads, mummies, six-legged oxen, Sortes Virgilianae, people who row — not upon, but under the water — and so forth. Here — as a sample of the verse — is a description of some of the inhabitants of a "Poetic Land" at which the traveller arrives in Book II., and from which he wisely takes flight as soon as possible. They are fluent enough to leave one in agreement with that earlier critic of the manuscript who preferred the execution to the theme—
To join these squadrons, o'er the champain came
A numerous race of no ignoble name;
The mighty Crambo leads th' intrepid van:
The rest a forward loud industrious clan.
Riddle, and Rebus, Riddle's dearest son;
And false Conundrum, and insidious Pun;
Fustian, who scarcely deigns to tread the ground;
And Rondeau, wheeling in repeated round.
Here the Rhopalics in a wedge are drawn,
There the proud Macaronians scour the lawn.
Here fugitive and vagrant o'er the green,
The wanton Lipogrammatist is seen.
There Quibble and Antithesis appear,
With Doggrel-rhymes and Ecchoes in the rear.
On their fair standards, by the wind display'd,
Eggs, Altars, Wings, Pipes, Axes were pourtray'd:—
in all of which, without the footnote, the eighteenth-century student will detect the recollection of certain essays by Addison on artificial forms of verse. Mr. Cambridge comments upon the improprieties of Pope and Boileau in making Belles and Booksellers consult oracles, offer sacrifices, and apostrophize the heathen gods; but a not-too-carping critic may also confess to a difficulty in realizing a regiment of personified Rhopalics even though they should be escorted by a squadron of "wanton Lipogrammatists." In departing from this favoured region Scriblerus is unfortunate enough to shoot one of the "bold Acrosticks" with his bow.... But it is needless to analyze what none would read. Doubtless, for such as "observingly distil them out," there are — as in Garth and the rest — many clever imitations of passages from the classics, and the notes unquestionably display a wide range of miscellaneous reading. Those, however, who, in its own day, delighted in its ingenuities (among whom must be reckoned the erudite author of the "Pursuits of Literature") must obviously have taken pleasure in a kind of learned trifling which is now no longer in vogue.
By the time the Scribleriad was published the author had for some time quitted Whitminster. About 1748, the death of his uncle considerably increased his means, and he transferred his residence to London, mainly with a view to be near a friend he had often visited from Gloucestershire, Mr. Villiers, afterwards Earl of Clarendon. But two years later he purchased a house upon the Thames, in which he continued to reside for the remainder of his long life. It was pleasantly situated in the then open Twickenham Meadows, not far from Richmond Bridge, and in the vicinity both of Lady Suffolk's historic Marble Hill, and Twickenham Park House, at that time Lord Mountrath's. Here he amused himself, much as he had done at Whitminster, by planting and improving his grounds, winning thereby the commendation of the celebrated "Capability" Brown, and by entertaining the persons of distinction who lived in the vicinity, or visited it periodically from London. Horace Walpole was already his neighbour, and it is sometimes (erroneously) asserted that he was acquainted with Pope. But this is a demonstrable mistake, for in 175I Pope had been dead about seven years. Cambridge, it is true, had been in indirect communication with Twickenham's greatest resident, since, through Thomas Edwards, he had supplied for Pope's grotto some of that sparkling mundic or iron pyrites from Severn side with which he had already beautified a similar cavern or recess of his own at Whitminster. In default of Pope, however, he had many guests whose names are still remembered. Lord Granville, Lord Mansfield, Lord Chesterfield, Lord Bath, and Mr. Pitt were among his London friends. To these were added, now or after, Lord North, Lord Hardwicke and his famous son-in-law Lord Anson, Admiral Boscawen and Captain Cook, "Hermes" Harris and Johnson, Reynolds and Garrick; and these were a few only of the visitors who met continually round a board which was always spread with an ample but unostentatious hospitality. As a book-lover, Mr. Cambridge possessed a considerable library, which, as might be anticipated from his tastes, was exceptionally rich in voyages and travels; and it was from his collection that Horace Walpole derived the manuscript of one of the earliest of the Strawberry issues — Lord Whitworth's interesting Account of Russia in 1710. Another hobby which Cambridge contrived to gratify while at Twickenham was a taste for pictures, of which he left a carefully chosen gallery, acquired, according to his son and biographer, "at a comparatively small expense," owing mainly to his sound knowledge and well-trained judgment in art.
Although, like Montaigne, a literary man only "lors qu'une trop lasche oysifvete lui pressait," he continued, at Twickenham, to amuse himself in verse and prose. Early in 1753, Dodsley established The World, with the fabulist Edward Moore for editor. Lord Lyttelton introduced Moore to Cambridge, with the result that, after Moore himself, and Lord Chesterfield, Cambridge became the most regular of the contributors, the list of which, in addition, included Walpole, Soame Jenyns, Lord Bath, Francis Coventry of Pompey the Little, Hamilton Boyle, and Sir Charles Hanbury Williams. Cambridge's first contribution was not made until No. 50, and the bulk of his papers belong to Volume III. As in poetry he had leaned to satire, so in prose his tendency was to irony, the use of which he indeed defends in the concluding paper of the second volume. His subjects, which he treats not seldom with a facile sub-Addisonian raillery, turn chiefly on such themes as talking and listening gormandizing, improving (an excellent paper); on landscape gardening (of course); feminine taste, the neglect of experience, and so forth, all of which he handles with that "gentle and good-humoured ridicule" to which he makes his claim. Once he deviates into ambling octosyllabics, which he writes, if not as well as Prior, certainly not worse than Whitehead. Here is the conclusion, filled with pleasant last century detail, of a little piece that illustrates the not-yet-extinct pursuit of the inopportune. From the last couplet but one of this passage it will be seen that his pronunciation of "china" differed from ours:
And yet, for all he holds this rule,
Damoetas is in fact no fool:
For he would hardly chuse a groom
To make his chairs or hang his room;
Nor with th' upholsterer discourse
About the glanders in his horse;
Nor send to buy his wife a tete
To Puddle-Dock or Billingsgate; . . .
Nor bid his coachman drive o' nights
To parish-church instead of White's;
Nor make his party or his bets
With those who never pay their debts;
Nor at dessert of wax and china
Neglect the eatables, if any,
To smell the chaplet in the middle,
Or taste the Chelsea-china fiddle.
The repetition of the word "china" (or "chaney") in the last lines suggests an inevitable criticism of these papers, from which, by their very nature, it is not easy to make quotation. They are the work of a writer who is at once a wit, a pleasant talker, and a scholar "conveniently learned," but they have also, in their lack of construction and indefinite message, most of the characteristics of amateur effort. This is, no doubt, the main defect of many of the unpaid contributions to Dodsley's venture. No social periodical was probably ever started with a staff better qualified to fill the editorial programme, But, in those days, to write for money was thought to be beneath the dignity of a person of quality, and the papers of Chesterfield and Cambridge and Horace Walpole, who, after Moore himself, wrote most industriously, were, at the best, "gift horses." And without going to the length of Sydney Smith's dictum that "an unpaid contributor is 'ex vi termini' an ass," it is plain that help of this nature has inherent defects which are opposed to the production of enduring literature. It is difficult to decline a voluntary contribution from a writer of distinction if it is not as good as usual; it is still more difficult to edit it if it is unsuitable. Thus it comes about that The World, written, as it was, "by gentlemen for gentlemen," and written, moreover, by those who might fairly be supposed to be especially familiar with their subject, has scarcely continued as interesting as its humbler contemporary, the "Connoisseur" of Colman and Bonnell Thornton.
The verses from which we have quoted appear to have been the only metrical effort which Cambridge supplied to the pages of "Mr. Adam Fitz-Adam." But a number of imitations of the classics, and other occasional pieces, are printed by his son as having been written at Twickenham, some of which are included in the sixth volume of Dodsley's collection. One of these, The Fable of Jotham, adapted to borough-hunting, happily recalls the cantering measure of Prior's Down Hall:
Tho' much they discours'd, the long way to beguile,
Of the earthquakes, the Jews, and the change of the stile,
Of the Irish, the stocks, and the lott'ry committee,
They came silent and tir'd into Exeter city.
And again — almost directly suggesting Prior's scene at the Bull at Hoddesdon. Says the host:
I never was ask'd for a book by a guest;
And I'm sure I have all the great folk in the West.
None of these to my knowledge e'er call'd for a book;
But see, Sir, the woman with fish, and the cook;
Here's the fattest of carp, shall we dress you a brace?
Would you have any soals, or a mullet, or plaice?
Another of Cambridge's poems in Dodsley is a parody of Pope's Eloisa to Abelard, entitled An Elegy written in an Empty Assembly-Room; and a third — addressed To Mr. Whitehead, on his being made Poet Laureat — opens thus:
'Tis so — tho' we're surpriz'd to hear it.
The laurel, is bestow'd on merit.
How hush'd is ev'ry envious voice!
Confounded by so just a choice,
Tho' by prescriptive right prepar'd
To libel the selected bard,
—sentiments which, if the writer be not indulging his favourite vein of irony, seem to indicate a serenity in the poetical atmosphere of 1758 to which our modern meteorologists are strangers. But the best of Cambridge's verse, to our thinking, is a clever modernization of Horace (Satire ix, bk. i), under the title of The Intruder, — the "Sic me servavit Apollo" of the close being supplied by the fact that the mob in those anti-Jew Bill days mistake the Bore for an Israelite, and fall upon him accordingly. It is scarcely fair to praise it without giving a sample. Here is the paraphrase of the Maecenas episode:
Deaf to my words, he talks along
Still louder than the buzzing throng.
"Are you," he cries, "as well as ever
With Lady Grace? she's vastly clever?"
"Her merit all the world declare;
Few, very few her friendship share."
"If you'd contrive to introduce
Your friend here, you might find an use. . ."
"Sir, in that house there's no such doing,
And the attempt would be one's ruin.
No art, no project, no designing;
No rivalship and no outshining."
"Indeed! you make me long the more
To get admittance. Is the door
Kept by so rude, so hard a clown,
As will not melt at half-a-crown?
Can't I cajole the female tribe
And gain her woman with a bribe?
Refused to-day, suck up my sorrow,
And take my chance again to-morrow?
Is there no shell-work to be seen,
Or Chinese chair or Indian screen?
No cockatoo nor marmozet,
Lap-dog, gold fish, nor perroquet?
No French embroidery on a quilt?
And no bow-window to be built?
Can't I contrive, at times, to meet
My lady in the park or street?
At opera, play, or morning pray'r,
To hand her to her coach or chair?"
But now his voice, tho' late so loud,
Was lost in the contentious crowd
Of fishwives newly corporate,
A colony from Billingsgate.
The most considerable literary result of Cambridge's Twickenham residence, however, is not poetry, but prose. He was deeply interested in Indian affairs, and conceived the idea of tracing the rise and progress of British power in the East. Part of his work, the history of the war upon the coast of Coromandel, was published rather hurriedly, in 1762, when the interest in the subject was at its height, and, though more of a compilation than he had at first intended, was highly appreciated, especially by the French, for its justice and accuracy. Then Colonel Newcome's historian, Orme, arrived from India, and Orme's more extensive material and opportunities made the further progress of Cambridge's plan superfluous. Yet his labours in the field were not without their fruit, since they brought him into intimate relations with Carnac, Scrafton, Pearson, Clive, Warren Hastings, and many others of the more prominent actors in that stirring Asiatic drama.
With Cook to talk of Otaheite, and Clive of Surajah Dowlah, with the bons mots of Walpole and the epigrams of Chesterfield, there must have been good company round the Twickenham table, and one naturally turns to the letters of Cambridge's old schoolfellows for some traces of these "noctes coenaeque deum." But, in this respect, neither Gray nor Walpole is particularly helpful, and one is left with a haunting suspicion that Cambridge was a little too like the writers to obtain strict justice at their hands. Gray's solitary reference to Cambridge is to accuse him of being more alive to the blots than the beauties of Clarendon's Life; and Walpole, who seems always to write with a certain soreness (which, may be due to the fact that Cambridge had dared to make addition to the Heroic Epistle), generally lays stress upon his neighbour's activity as a gossip. "He (Cambridge) would tell anybody the most disagreeable news rather than not be the first to trumpet it," he says in one place; and in another he complains that in "untittle-tattling" Twickenham (surely a most inappropriate adjective for a village inhabited by himself!) "the grass would grow in their ears" if Mr. Cambridge "did not gallop the roads for intelligence." Nevertheless, when Colman put Cambridge into "The Manager in Distress" as a "Newsmonger, who lives about twelve miles from town," he is generous enough to speak of him as "so benevolent and inoffensive a man, that his little foible does not deserve such treatment;" and there is always an aspect of piquancy in the idea of Walpole's objection to scandal, seeing that he is an arch-master of the craft. Such other references to Cambridge as can be traced are more unqualified: Miss Burney, who met both father and son at Mrs. Thrale's, was delighted with them; and Boswell, of course, is ecstatic. He gives a long account of a dinner at Cambridge House to which he went in 1775 with Johnson, in Reynolds's coach, and though it is Johnson first and the rest nowhere in the conversational record, he dwells upon the elegance of the entertainment and the accomplishments of the family. Moreover, he evidently marked this special occasion with a white stone, for several years later, a propos of some "Johnsoniana" sent him by Cambridge (then, of course, still alive), he refers to him as a "senex fortunatus," descants upon his excellent library, "which he accurately knows and reads," his choice pictures, which he understands and relishes, his friends, his literary celebrity, and his rare "colloquial talents."
Ah! those evasive, those irrecoverable "colloquial talents"! The posthumous reputation of a talker is like the posthumous reputation of an actor: much must be taken on trust. Lord Ossory thought that his brother, General Richard Fitzpatrick, was a far greater wit than either Selwyn or Horace Walpole; and Lady Holland, as good a judge, would probably have endorsed this opinion. And yet, beyond the couplet in Dorinda—
And oh! what Bliss, when each alike is pleas'd,
The Hand that squeezes, and the Hand that's squeez'd—
who can recall a single bon mot of this brilliant General Richard Fitzpatrick? What is worse, out of three witticisms that your departed "diseur" leaves behind him — and those not always his best — two at least are generally attributed to some rival practitioner. Whether Cambridge has suffered in this way we know not, but, in any case, for one who — as Walpole said — generally told three stories to explain a fourth, he has left but a slender legacy of anecdote. Here are two of his sayings, each of which oddly enough turns upon his favourite recreation. Some one had said of his friend Lord Anson, who had the reputation of losing at play, that he was a beggar. Cambridge, after vainly dissenting, undertook to prove logically that he was not. Beggars, he postulated, could ride, whereas anyone who looked at Lord Anson on horseback must be convinced that he was an excellent seaman. The other records that late in life George III. met him at Richmond, and observed that "he did not ride so fast as he used to do." "Sir, answered Cambridge, "I am going down hill" — which was true in a double sense. For the rest, he was in the habit of declaring that he deserved infinitely more credit for the good things he had suppressed than for anything witty he might have said. This may fairly be opposed to Walpole's obiter dictum as to his propensity to disagreeable communications — the more especially as it is corroborated by Lord Chesterfield, a far less prejudiced judge than either Gray or his friend, and quite as likely to be well informed. "CANTABRIGIUS," wrote his lordship in The World for 3rd October, 1754, "drinks nothing but water [this is the other little difference from Squire Western alluded to at the beginning of this paper], and rides more miles in a year than the keenest sportsman, and with almost equal velocity. The former keeps his head clear; the latter, his body in health. It is not from himself that he runs, but to his acquaintances, a synonimous term for his friends. Internally safe, he seeks no sanctuary from himself, no intoxication for his mind. His penetration makes him discover, and divert himself with the follies of mankind, which his wit enables him to expose with the truest ridicule, though always without personal offence." (The words we have italicized, it will be noted, are in direct opposition to Walpole.) After this may come his own description of himself in the little paraphrase of Horace "Ad Librum Suum," from which citation has already been made—
Thus much of me you may declare,
That tho' I live in Country air,
And with a snug retirement blest,
Yet oft, impatient of my nest,
I spread my broad and ample wing,
And in the midst of action spring.
A great admirer of great men,
And much by them admir'd again.
My body light, my figure slim,
My mind dispos'd to mirth and whim:
Then on my Family hold forth,
Less fam'd for Quality than Worth.
But let not all these points divert you
From speaking largely of my Virtue.
This last, of course, is playfully said. There can, however, be little doubt that those who knew him best would have willingly allowed that, in addition to being widely gifted, he was well-meaning and kindly, devoted to his family and friends, sincerely religious, and sociable and hospitable in the best old-world acceptation of the words. If, instead of a couple of notes to Mary Berry, he had left a correspondence, it might, with his gifts and opportunities, have rivalled that of Walpole, at all events in material. But he was content to be no more than one of those plain English gentlemen, "unencumbered by rank and easy in fortune," whom George III. rightly regarded as among the most enviable of humanity.
It remains to say of "Cantabrigius" that he attained to an honoured old age, dying at last in September, 1802. He was then eighty-six. His wife, for whom he had always been a lover rather than a husband, survived him for four years, when she too departed, in her ninetieth year. There is a tablet to both in Twickenham Church, under that of Pope.