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his interment. As he died without male issue, his estate devolved to his only nephew, Sir John Parnell, baronet, whose father was younger brother to the archdeacon, and one of the justices of the King's Bench in Ireland.
Such is the very unpoetical detail of the life of a poet. Some dates, and a few faets scarce more interesting than those that make the ornaments of a country tomb-stone, are all that remain of one whose labours now begin to excite univerfal curio' fity. A poet, while living, is seldom an object fufficiently great to attra& much attention ; his real merits are known but to a few, and these are generally sparing in their praises. When his fame is increased by time, it is then too late to investigate the peculiarities of his disposition ; the dews of the morning are past, and we vainly try to continue the chace by the meridian splendour.
There is scarce any man but might be made the subject of a very interesting and amusing hiftory, if the writer, beside a thorough acquaintance with the character he draws, were able to mark those nice distinctions which separate it from all others. The strongest minds have usually the most striking peculiarities, and would consequently afford the richest materials : but in the present instance, from not knowing Doctor Parnell, his peculiarities are gone to the grave with him, and we are obliged to take his character from such as knew but little of him; or who, perhaps, could have given very little information if they had known more,
PARNELL, by what I have been able to collect from my father and uncle, who knew him, was the most capable man in the world to make the happiness of thofe he conversed with, and the least able to secure his own. He wanted that evenness of difposition which bears difappointment with phlegm, and joy with indifference. He was ever very much
204,2 fions only affected himself, and never those about him, he knew the ridicule of his own character, and very effectually raised the mirth of his companions, as well at his vexations as at his triumphs.
How much his company was desired, appears from the extensiveness of his connexions, and the number of his friends. Even before he made any figure in the literary world, his friendship was fought by persons of every rank and party. The wits at that time differed a good deal from thofe who are most eminent for their understanding at present. It would now be thought a very indifferent sign of a writer's good sense to disclaim his private friends for happening to be of a different party in politics; but it was then otherwise; the Whig wits held the Tory wits in great contempt, and these retaliated'in their turn. At the head of one party were Addison, Steele, and Congreve ; at that of the other, Pope, Swift, and Arbuthnot.
Parnell was a friend to both fides, and with a liber rality becoming a scholar, scorned all those trilling distinctions, that are noisy for the time, and ridiculous to posterity. Nor did he emancipate himself from these without some opposition from home. Having been the son of a commonwealth's-man, his Tory connexions on this side of the water, gave hiş friends in Ireland great offence ; they were much enraged to see him keep company with Pope, and Swift, and Gay; they blamed his undistinguishing taste, and wondered what pleasure he could find in the conversation of men who approved the Treaty of Utrecht and disliked the duke of Marlborough.
His conversation is said to have been extremely pleasing, but in what its peculiar excellence consisted is now unknown. The letters which were written to him by his friends, are all full of compliments upon his talents as a companion, and his good nature as a man. I have several of them now before me. Pope was particularly fond of his company, and seems to regret his absence more than any of the rest. A letter from him follows thus :
London, July 29.
complain too much of a man that forgets me, ? but I could expostulate with you a whole day. upon your inhuman filence; I call it inhuman; nor would you think it less, if you were truly sensible
of the uneafiness it gives me. Did I know you fo ill as to think you proud, I would be much less : concerned than I am able to be, when I know one of the best natured men calive (neglects me zol 6 and if
know me fo.ill as to think amiss of me, it with regard to my friendship for you, you really
H do not deserve half the trouble you occasion me. • I need not tell you, that both Mr. Gay and my
self have written several letters in vain; that we are constantly enquiring of all who have seen Ire2.. land, if they faw you, and that (forgotten as we are) we are every day remembering you in our
most agreeable hours. All this is true, as that o "we are sincerely lovers of you, and deplorers of
your absence, and that we form no with more arala dently than that which brings you over to us, and places you in your old feat between us. We have lately had some distant hopes of the Dean's i defign to revisit Englands will not you accomp s
pany him? or is England to loose everything & that has any charms for us, and must we pray for 6 banishment as a benediction. I have once been witness of some, I hope all of your fplenetic 5 hours, come and be a comforter in your turn to
I am in such an unsettled state, that I can't tell if I shall ever see you, unless it be » this year, whether I do or not, be ever allured, you have as large a share of my thoughts and good • wishes as any man, and as great a portion of gratitude in my heart as would enrich a monarch,
me, in mine.
could he know where to find it. I shall not die (without testifying something of this nature, and • leaving to the world a memorial of the friendship that has been so great a pleasure and pride to me. It would be like writing my own epitaph, to ac
quaint you what I have lost since I saw you, what • I have done, what I have thought, where I have « lived, and where I now repose in obfcurity. My • friend Jervas, the bearer of this, will inform you
of all particulars concerning me, and Mr. Ford is charged with a thousand loves, and a thousand
complaints, and a thousand commiffions to you con my part. They will both tax you with the neglect of some promises which were too agreea<ble to us all to be forgot ; if
you care for any of 6 us tell them so, and write so to me.
I can say 6 no more, but that I love you, and am in spite of
the longest neglect or absence,
Your most faithful affectionate friend
Gay is in Devonshire, and from thence goes to Bath'; my father and mother never fail to comme6 morate you."