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John Pomfret was born, in 1667, at Luton, in Bedfordshire, a parish of which his father was rector. He was educated at Queen's College, Cambridge, where he obtained his Bachelor's degree in 1684. On leaving the University he took orders, and was presented to the living of Malden, in his native county. He was not destined, however, to meet with church prefeyn eat; it was withheld from him in consequence of an absurd misinterpretation of a passage in one of his poems, from which it was inferred that he considered the society of a mistress preferable to that of a wife. The passage occurs in "The Choice;" —

" And as I near approach the verge of life,

Some kind companion (for I'd have no wife)
Should take upon him all my worldly care,

Whilst I did for a better state prepare." Although he was actually married, at the time he made application for a more valuable appointment, his enemies were successful in marring his hopes ; disappointment preying upon a naturally sensitive mind, prepared his constitution for the attacks of disease: he continued for some time in London pressing his claims, and arguing against the suspicion, which he had refuted by his marriage, and which ought not to have existed in opposition to the many proofs he had supplied of a virtuous and wellregulated mind;-caught the small pox, and died in 1703, in the very prime of life, and when he had given little more than a promise of the great things of which he was capable.

His poems were published in 1699; they became at once popular, and that popularity they have continued to maintain. “The Choice" is, however, the only one which supports his claim to be classed among the Poets of Great Britain. If it does not possess merit of the highest order, it is an easy and graceful composition, “ adapted to common notions and equal to common expectations," and undoubtedly calculated to "please the many." It has always been a favourite, because the desires it expresses, the hopes at which it aims, the pleasures it enumerates, and the calm quiet it describes, are such as harmonize with the feelings and sentiments of the larger proportion of human kind, whose search after happiness is neither confined within too limited a circle, nor extended over too wide a space. The enjoyments of which the poet speaks are such only as are easy of attainment.

To these advantages we may add those of smooth and agreeable versification; the ideas, though neither nervous nor original, are always pleasantly and gracefully expressed. The earliest edition was accompanied by a modest and sensible preface, and the author is almost the first of our bards who had the courage and independence to break through the slavish and humiliating custom of ushering his production into the world " under the protection of some Lord or Right Honourable." “ If," he says, "a poem have no intrinsic excellencies and real beauties, the greatest name in the world will never induce a man of sense to approve of it; and if it has them, Tom Piper's is as good as my Lord Duke's."

The principal other poems of Pomfret are—" Love Triumphant over Reason;" “Cruelty and Lust," founded on the well-known story of the infamous Kirke; and "An Essay on the Divine Attributes." There is not, as we have intimated, one of them at all to be compared with "The Choice;" they barely merit the compliment they have extorted from Dr. Johnson, —" the pleasure of smooth metre is afforded to the ear, and the mind is not oppressed with ponderous or entangled with intricate sentiments."

Such is the sum of our knowledge of the personal and poetical career of John Pomfret. Even the few facts we have recorded are known only in consequence of " a slight and confused account prefixed to his poems by a nameless friend.” We may believe, however, that his life was not such as he has pictured in his poem,easy, tranquil, and happy; that the income he derived from the discharge of his pastoral duties was insufficient to obtain for him the objects of his desires,-friends, books, “a clear and competent estate;" and that his longing to obtain these acquirements of " a better fortune," led to his removal from life at an age when much is seldom done to obtain immortality. His poem of “Reason," written in 1700, affords us proof of this:

" What little fruit he gains-

"

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Who from a race of noble heroes came,
And added lustre to its ancient fame:
Round her the virtues of the Cecils shone,
But with inferior brightness to her own:
Which she refin'd to that sublime degree,
The greatest mortal could not greater be.
Each stage of life peculiar splendour had;
Her tender years with innocence were clad :
Maturer

grown, whate'er was brave and good,

The principal other poems of Pomfret are—" Love Triumphant over Reason;" “Cruelty and Lust,” founded on the well-known story of the infamous Kirke; and An Essay on the Divine Attributes." There is not, as we have intimated, one of them at all to be compared with “ The Choice;" they barely merit the compliment they have extorted from Dr. Johnson, —" the pleasure of smooth metre is afforded to the ear, and the mind is not oppressed with ponderous or entangled with intricate sentiments.”

Such is the sum of our knowledge of the personal and poetical career of John Pomfret. Even the few facts we have recorded are known only in consequence of " a slight and confused account prefixed to his poems by a nameless friend." We may believe, however, that his life was not such as he has pictured in his poem, -easy, tranquil, and happy; that the income he derived from the discharge of his pastoral duties was insufficient to obtain for him the objects of his desires,-friends, books, "a clear and competent estate ;" and that his longing to obtain these acquirements of " a better fortune," led to his removal from life at an age when much is seldom done to obtain immortality. His poem of “Reason,” written in 1700, affords us proof of this :

" What little fruit he gains

POMFRET.

INSCRIPTION POR A MONUMENT.

Who from a race of noble heroes came,
And added lustre to its ancient fame:
Round her the virtues of the Cecils shone,
But with inferior brightness to her own:
Which she refin'd to that sublime degree,
The greatest mortal could not greater be.
Each stage of life peculiar splendour had;
Her tender years with innocence were clad :
Maturer grown, whate'er was brave and good,
And at the final period of her breath,
She crown'd her life with a propitious death;
That no occasion might be wanting here
To make her virtues fam'd, or joys sincere.

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She did her numerous family command
With such a tender care, so wise a hand,
She seem'd no otherwise a mistress there,
Than godlike souls in human bodies are.
But when to all she had example shew'd,
How to be great and humble, chaste and good,
Her soul, for earth too excellent, too high,
Flew to its peers, the princes of the sky.

THE CHOICE.

:

If Heaven the grateful liberty would give,
That I might choose my method how to live;
And all those hours propitious Fate should lend,
In blissful ease and satisfaction spend;

Near some fair town I'd have a private seat,
Built uniform, not little nor too great ;
Better, if on a rising ground it stood ;
On this side fields, on that a neighbouring wood.
It should within no other things contain,
But what are useful, necessary, plain :
Methinks 'tis nauseous, and I'd ne'er endure
The needless pomp of gaudy furniture.
A little garden, grateful to the eye;
And a cool rivulet run murmuring by:
On whose delicious banks a stately row
Of shady limes, or sycamores should grow.
At th' end of which a silent study plac'd,
Should be with all the noblest authors grac'd:
Horace and Virgil, in whose mighty lines
Immortal wit, and solid learning, shines ;
Sharp Juvenal, and amorous Ovid too,
Who all the turns of love's soft passion knew :
He that with judgment reads his charming lines,
In which strong art with stronger nature joins,
Must grant his fancy does the best excel;

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