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BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH OF
THE LATE ROBERT JEPHSON, ESQ. Mr. Robert JePason, having entered, early in life, into the military line, was advanced to the rank of captain in the 73d regiment of foot, on the Irish establishment; when that regiment was reduced in the year 1763, he was put on the half-pay list, on which he afterwards continued. The study of war did not totally engross Mr. Jephson's attention; the arts of peace, and the Belles Lettres, strongly occupied his mind. He displayed good natural parts, well improved by education; he spoke pleasingly, his language was good, and he had a vein of satirical humour, very agreeable to all but those against whom it was pointed. These qualifications recommended him to the attention of Lord Townshend, who came to the government of Ireland in 1767, and who made Captain Jephson master of the horse, and procured him a seat in the house of commons. Indeed the captain was grateful for these favours, and constantly supported tbe measures of government; and strenuously defended the character of Lord Townshend, when it was openly attacked in the house, after he had departed. On the 11th Feb. 1774, when the great debate came on, respecting a bill to relax the sevea rity of the laws against the papists, Captain Jephson took a conspicuous part, and made a very long and eloquent speech in their favour. His style was flowery; he used the most solid argument, and aimed at moving the passions; quitting, on that occasion, his usual satirical tury, which had obtained him the name of the “ Mortal Momus.” But this restraint was not frequently used. In the debate on removing the custom-house of Dublin, (March 7, 1779) and in that on a motion for sending 4000 troops from Ireland to America he indulged his talent for humour. Lord Townshend having left Ireland, his successor, Lord Harcourt, had not that taste for wit and humour, which distinguished his predecessor, and made Captain Jephson very agreeable to him.' The captain, indeed, continued in his office, but did not seem to have that countenance shewn him in the castle as before; and on the general election, in 1776, he was not returned. However, Mr. Hugh Massey being
the lord-lieutenant was convinced Captain Jephson's
made a peer,
: or, the
talents would be useful, and he was elected in October 1716, to fill Lord Massey's vacant seat of Old Leighlin, in the county of Carlow, a borough at the disposal of the bishop of Leighlin and Fernes.However, Captain Jephson did not distinguish himself so much in the ouse as formerly, but frequently gave his silent vote. Having, applied his mind to dramatic writing, he produced “ Braganza," tragedy, acted at Drury Lane, 1775; “ The Law of Lombardy," ditto, 1779; “ The Count of Narbonne,” tragedy, acted at Covent Garden, 1781; “ The Campaign; or, Love in the East-Indies," opera, first acted at Dublin, and then at Covent Garden, 1785, without success, and afterwards reduced to an entertainment of two acis, under the title of “ Love and War," 1787;
66 Julia: Italian Lover,” tragedy, acted at Drury Lane, 1787; and, “ The Conspiracy," ditto, 1796. He altered a farce of Vaughan's, called " The Hotel; or, Double Valet,” which (for the second title) he called “ The Servant with two Masters," 1784, and which was acted at Covent Garden, under the title of “ Two Strings to your Bow," 1791. Of this piece he was said to be the author, though the real nuthor was living; a title which alterers now-a-days assume! His tragedies, like all dramatic productions, have had their opponents and defenders, but it must be confessed, that few modern ones can excel them. It did not seem enough to Captain Jephson to figure as the soldier, shine as an orator, excel as a man of wit and humour, and please the greater number of critics, as dramatic writer, but he resolved to attempt the buskin. In this design he met with an. agrecable opportunity. The Right Hon. Luke Gardiner, member for the county of Dublin, and keeper of the Phenix Park, had a great love for the stage, and had erected a most elegant theatre in the park. The tragedy of “ Macbeth," and the farce of “The Citizen," were thrice performed there to a most brilliant audience, in January 1778, and the character of Macbeth was ably supported by our author. He published also, in 1994,
“ The Confessions of James Baptiste Couteau," in two volumes, a severe satire on the depravity of French manners; and, in the same year, he sent abroad “ Roman Portraits," a poem, in heroic verse, with historical remarks and illustrations. He died in July, 1803.
THE PENANCE OF JANE SHORE.
Berore Paul's Cross, in 1483, was brought, divested of all her splendour, Jane Shore, the charitable, the nierry concubinė of Edward IV. and, after his death, of his favourite, the unfortunate Lord Hastings. After the loss of her protectors, she fell a victiin to the malice of crook-backed Richard. He was disappointed (by her excellent defence) of convicting her of witchcraft, and confederating with her lover to destroy him. He then attacked her on the weak side of frailty. This was undeniable. He consigned her to the severity of the church: she was carried to the bishop's palace, cloathed in a white sheet, with a taper in her hand, and from thence conducted to the cathedral, and the cross, before which she made a confession of her only fault. Every other virtue bloomed in this ill-fated fair with the fullest vigour. She could not resist the solicitations of a youthful monarch, the handsomest man of his time.On his death she was reduced to necessity, scorned by the world, and cast off by her husband, with whom she was paired in her childish years, and forced to fling herself into the arms of Hastings. “In her penance she went,” says Holinshed, “ in countenance and pase demure, so womanlie, that, albeit she were out of all araie, save her kirtle onlie, yet went she so faire and lovelie, namelie, while the woondering of the people cast a comelie rud in her cheeks, (of whiche she before had most misse), that hir great shame wan her much praise among those that were more amorous of hir bodie than curious of hir soule. And manie good folkes that hated hir living, (and glad were to see sin corrected), yet pitied they more hir penance, than rejoiced therin, when they considered that the protector procured it more of a corrupt intent, than anie virtuous affection."
Rowe has flung this part of her sad story into a poetical dress; but it is far from depreciating the moving simplicity of the old his. torian.
The poet has adopted the fable of her being denied all sustenance, and of her perishing with hunger; but that was not the fact. She lived to a great age, but in great distress and miserable poverty; deserted even by those to whom she had, during prosperity; done the most essential services. She dragged a wretched life, even to the time of Sir Thomas More, who introduces her story into his life of Edward V. The beauty of her person is spoken of in high terms. “Proper she was, and faire : nothing in hir bodie that you would have changed; but you would have wished hir somewhat higher. Thus saie they that knew hir in hir youth.—Now is she old, leane, withe red, and dried up; nothing left but rivelled skin and hard bone; and yet, being even such, who so well advise her visage, might gesse and devise, which parts how filled would make it a faire face."
A JOURNEY ACROSS THE DESART,
From Griffith's Travels,
Lutile conversation took place between my companion and mye self: he was very ill; and we both dreaded the return of noon; when in general the heated air began to affect us, and travelled on in silent hope of speedy relief.
" At two o'clock P. M. the Simoolets blew stronger than usual from the S. E. and on joining the mohaffah, I soon observed an aftlicting change had taken place in the countenance of my friend. It was now that, in aggravation of all my sufferings, I foresaw the impossibility of his long resisting the violent burning blasts which, with little intermission, continued to assail us. The thermometer hanging round my neck, was up to 116; and the little remaining water, which was in a leathern botile, suspended at the corner of the mohaffah, had become so thick, resembling the residuum of an ink-stand, that, parched and thirsty as I felt, I could not relieve my distress, by any attempt to swallow it.
“ At length I perceived evident marks of our approaching the long-looked-for well, where some relief was to be expected. The hasty march of the leading camels and stragglers, all verging towards one point, convinced me we were not far from the place of our destination. Willing to communicate the glad tidings to my friend, I tode to him, and expressed my hope, that he would be soon refresh= ed by a supply of water : he replied, " Thank God! but I am almost dead. I endeavou red to cheer his spirits; and then urging my horse, advanced to the spot where I observed the camels were collecting together. In about half an hour I found myself amongst a circle of animals, greedily contending for a draught of muddy water, confined in a small superficial well, about five feet in diameter. Pressing to the edge, I laid myself upon my belly, and, by means of 'my hand, supplied myself with a fluid, which, however filthy in itself, and contaminated by the disgusting mouths of as many camels and men as could reach it, was a source of indescribable gratification. It is wholly out of the power of language to convey any idea of the blissful enjoyment of chtaining water, after an almost total want of it, during eight and forty hours, in the scorching regions of an Arabian desart, in the month of July.
“ But this moment of gratification was soon succeeded by one of peculiar horror and anxiety. Scarcely bad I quenched my thirst before the mohaffah arrived. I few with a bowl full of water to
my friend, who drank but little of it, and in great haste. Alas! it was his last draught! His lovely child, too, eagerly mositened her mouth of roses, blistered by the noxious blast !
“ With difficulty Joannes and myself supported my feeble friend to where the tent had been thrown down from the camel's back, He stammered out a question respectiug the time of the day; to which I answered it was near four : and requesting the Arabs to hold over him part of the tent (to which it required too much time) I unpacked, as speedily as possible, our liquor chest, and hastened to offer him some visnee (a kind of cherry brandy); but nature was too much exhausted! I sat down, and receiving him in my arms, repeated my endeavours to engage hiin to swallow a small portion of the liqueur. All human efforts were vain! Gust after gust of pestilential air dried up the springs of life, and he breathed his last upon my bosom!
“Let the reader of sensibility reflect upon the concomitant cir. cumstances which attended this afflicting scene, and then 'refer to the sensations that will be created in his own breast, to form some idea of those which must have lacerated mine! Let him paint to himself a traveller, of an age alive to every feeling, in the midst of the desart of Arabia, with the corpse of his respected friend, burnt to the appearance of a cinder, black, yet warm on one side of him
; and on the other, the daughter of that friend, the most angelic child that nature ever formed, unconscious of her loss, and with the prattle of innocence enquiring,' where her dear papa was gone to ? It was a scene as little to be supported as described; and the honest tears I shed, bore ample testimony to the wounded sensibility of my heart.
“ But a short time, however, could be allowed to assuage my grief, or to indulge it. Who was to perform those last sad offices of friendship, so requisite, and yet so difficult? Who would undertake to prepare with decency for the grave, the disfigured remains of my kind companion ? Who would assist in these disgusting yet pious occupations ? The servant and myself were all that professed the christian religion, and we alone could execute its duties.
“ With as much propriety as the circumstances admitted, we therefore performed the melancholy task; and having induced the Arabs to dig a grave near the remains of a village not far from the wells, I directed the body to be carried there, following it with the dear Marianne, who knelt by me whilst I offered up to God the pure effusions of a heart overwhelmed by distress, but submissively bowing to the decrees of his divine will,