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racters in it, Tamerlane and Bajazet, being intended to represent King William the third, and Louis the fourteenth. In the reign of Queen Anne it was forbidden, as being a very unwarrantable insult upon the King of France. Mr. Rowe was an enthusiastic admirer of Shakspeare, whose plays he edited, and whose life he wrote, with so much accuracy, that the latter has been adopted in every succeeding edition of the immortal bard.
When the Duke of Queensberry was made secretary of state, he appointed Mr. Rowe his under-secretary, in which situation he continued till that nobleman's death. He is then said to have courted the favour of the Earl of Oxford, by whom he was treated with coldness, as an instance of which the following anecdote has been told :
Mr. Rowe, it seems, going one day to pay his respects to the Earl, then advanced to be lord high treasurer, was courteously received by his lordship, who asked him if he understood Spanish well? He answered, “No;" but thinking that the Earl might intend to send him to Spain on some honourable commission, he presently added, that he did not doubt but that in a short time he should both be able to understand and to speak it. The treasurer approving of what he had said, Mr. Rowe took his leave, and immediately retired to a farm-house in the country, where, in a few months, he learnt Spanish,
and then waited upon the Earl to acquaint bim with his diligence. His lordship asked him if he was certain that he understood the language thoroughly, to which Mr. Rowe replied in the affirmative ; on which the minister burst out in this exclamation, “ How happy are you, Mr. Rowe, in being able to enjoy the pleasure of reading and understanding Don Quixote in the original.”
Before we censure the Earl of Oxford, we should consider the story; from which it appears that the fault lay with the poet, in so strangely construing a simple question, which any nobleman might very naturally have asked of a literary character, without an intention of raising expectations, which he did not mean to gratify.
The neglect of the minister, however, was made up by George the first, who had a great esteem for Mr. Rowe, and, on his accession to the crown, made him poet laureat, and one of the land-surveyors of the customs in the port
of London. The Prince of Wales, afterwards George the second, appointed him clerk of his council; and the Lord Chancellor Parker, the very day he received the seals, made him secretary of the presentations, without
solicitation. Mr. Rowe died in the prime of life, December, 6, 1718, and was interred in WestminsterAbbey, his old school-fellow, Bishop Atterbury performing the service.
The character of Rowe was that of an amiable, virtuous man. He lived on terms of friendship
with the most eminent writers of his time; and he was so excellent a reciter of his compositions, that the celebrated actress, Mrs. Oldfield, used to say, that she had no occasion for any other study than hearing him read her part in
of his plays. He was a great taker of snuff, and Mr. Congreve happening to have some which Rowe took a fancy to, the latter sent his box several times to be replenished. At last Congreve thinking him too importunate, gave him a gentle reproof, by writing with a pencil, on the lid of the box, the two Greek letters, 0! P, (fye! Rowe). This being told to Dennis, the critick, he said, he was sure that the man who could make so vile a pun, would not scruple to pick pockets.
It is not a little extraordinary, that the contemporaries of this illustrious writer should have left so few anecdotes of his private life and manners; and still more singular, that the person with whom he was most intimate, and to whom he entrusted the publication of his works, should relate no circumstance of his friend more remarkable than this, that “ his pulse was very irregular."
The industry, however, of succeeding biographers has, in a great measure, made up for this negligence, and the life of Addison has been detailed with considerable minuteness, and several anecdotes have been brought forward by various writers, at different times, which enable us to determine that he was equally excellent as a man and a writer.
His father was Dr. Lancelot Addison, rector of Milston, near Amesbury, in Wiltshire, and dean of Lichfield. He had been chaplain to the English garrison at Tangier, and on his return to England, he published two very curious and en. tertaining books, one “An Account of West Bar. bary; or a short Narrative of the Revolutions of the Kingdonis of Fez and Morocco, with an Account of the present Customs, sacred, civil, and