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1677-1719-20.

• PIIARSALIA ' AND “CATO.'

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He translated the . Miser' of Molière, which he never offered to the stage; and occasionally amused himself with making versions of favourite scenes in other plays.

Being now received as a wit among the wits, he paid his contributions to literary undertakings, and assisted both the • Tatler,' Spectator, and “Guardian.' In 1712 he translated Vertot's History of the Revolution of Portugal;' produced an Ode to the Creator of the World, from the Fragments of Orpheus ;' and brought upon the stage an opera called • Calypso and Telemachus,' intended to show that the English language might be very happily adapted to music. This was impudently opposed by those who were employed in the Italian opera; and what cannot be told without indignation, the intruders had such interest with the Duke of Shrewsbury, then Lord Chamberlain, who had married an Italian, as to obtain an obstruction of the profits, though not an inbibition of the performance.

There was at this time a project formed by Tonson for a translation of the Pharsalia,' by several hands; and Hughes Englished the tenth book. But this design, as must often happen where the concurrence of many is necessary, fell to the ground; and the whole work was afterwards perforined by Rowe.

His acquaintance with the great writers of his time appears to have been very general ; but of his intimacy with Addison there is a remarkable proof. It is told on good authority, that • Cato' was finished and played by his persuasion. It had long wanted the last act, which he was desired by Addison to supply.

3 Among the papers in the Lord Chamberlain's Office is an agreement made, in the presence of the Duchess of Shrewsbury, between Mr. Heidegger and Mrs. Robinson, afterwards Countess of Peterborough, wherein “ Mr. Heidegger promises to pay her, the said Mrs. Robinson, the full sum of 5001., and a benefit-day at the usual charges; and in case he should be a gainer by the operas, then he promises further to give her a gold watch.” The agreement is dated 13th July, 1714, and was for one season.

• Whereas subscriptions were taken some time since for an edition of Lucan in Latin, in folio, with Interpretation and Notes, to be published by Mr. Tickell, and that work being laid aside: This is to give notice to the subscribers that their money is ready to be returned by S. Buckley, for whose benefit the subscription was designed; and that S. Gray, printer, in Amen Corner, will pay the same upon demand.— The London Gazette, 4-8 Aug. 1719. 5 See Johnson's ‘Life of Addison,' p. 136.

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If the request was sincere, it proceeded from an opinion, whatever it was, that did not last long; for when Hughes came in a week to show him his first attempt, he found half an act written by Addison himself.5

He afterwards [1715) published the works of Spenser, with his Life, a Glossary, and a Discourse on Allegorical Poetry; a work for which he was well qualified as a judge of the beauties of writing, but perhaps wanted an antiquary’s knowledge of the obsolete words. He did not much revive the curiosity of the public; for near thirty years elapsed before his edition was reprinted. The same year produced his ' Apollo and Daphne, of which the success was very earnestly promoted by Steele, who, when the rage of party did not misguide him, seems to have been a man of boundless benevolence.

Hughes had hitherto suffered the mortifications of a narrow fortune ; but in 1717 the Lord Chancellor Cowper set him at ease, by making him Secretary to the Commissions of the Peace, in which he afterwards, by a particular request, desired his successor Lord Parker to continue him.6 He had now affluence; but such is human life, that he had it when his declining health could neither allow him long possession, nor quick enjoyment.

His last work was his tragedy, "The Siege of Damascus,' after which a Siege became a popular title. This play, which still continues on the stage, and of which it is unnecessary to add a private voice to such continuance of approbation, is not acted or printed according to the author's original draught, or his settled mention. He had made Phocyas apostatize from his religion; after which the abhorrence of Eudocia would have

6 See Lord Cowper's Letter to Lord Chancellor Parker, in Hughes's 'Letters,' i. 190, ed. 1773.

It was the sight of “The Siege of Damascus' in manuscript that recommended him entirely to Lord Cowper, who made him Secretary to the Comniissions of the Peace, a month after he read it; and when Lord Parker succeeded him, though Lord C. was too angry with him to desire him to continue any one else, he did desire him to continue Mr. Hughes. Lord Parker did so, and told him that Lord C. had recommended him to him, but that he had a previous recommendation, which was his own merit. He was never in any cir cumstances till his secretaryship.-SPENCE: ed. Singer, p. 302.

1677-1719-20.

HIS CHARACTER.

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been reasonable, his misery would have been just, and the horrors of his repentance exemplary. The players, however, required that the guilt of Phocyas should terminate in desertion to the enemy; and Hughes, unwilling that his relations should lose the benefit of his work, complied with the alteration.

He was now weak with a lingering consumption, and not able to attend the rehearsal, yet was so vigorous in his faculties, that only ten days before his death he wrote the dedication to his patron Lord Cowper. On February 17, 1719-20, the play was represented, and the author died. He lived to hear that it was well received; but paid no regard to the intelligence, being then wholly employed in the meditations of a departing Christian.

A man of his character was undoubtedly regretted ; and Steele devoted an essay, in the paper called “The Theatre' [No. 15), to the memory of his virtues. His life is written in the · Biographia' with some degree of favourable partiality; and an account of him is prefixed to his works, by his relation [brother-in-law] the late Mr. Duncombe, a man whose blameless elegance deserved the same respect.

The character of his genius I shall transcribe from the correspondence of Swift and Pope.

“ A month ago,” says Swift, was sent me over, by a friend of mine, the works of John Hughes, Esquire. They are in prose and verse. I never heard of the man in my life, yet I find your name as a subscriber. He is too grave a poet for me; and I think among the Mediocribus in prose as well as verse.”

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7 At Drury Lane. It was acted about ten times. Booth played Phocyas.

8 Mr. Hughes could hardly ever be said to have enjoyed health, but was in the very best of his days a valetudinarian.-STEELE: The Theatre, No. 15.

Hughes presented his own portrait by Kneller to his patron, Earl Cowper. *Letters,' i. 266, 2nd ed. A good print was engraved from it by Gerard Vandergucht, and prefixed to Hughes's Poems.

9 2 vols. 12mo. 1735. 10 He [Johnson) praised the late Mr. Duncombe of Canterbury as a pleasing

He used to come to me; I did not seek much after him."Boswell by Croker, p. 601. Mr. Duncombe died in 1769.

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man.

To this Pope returns: “To answer your question as to Mr. Hughes : what he wanted as to genius, he made up as an honest man; but he was of the class you think him." 11

In Spence's Collections Pope is made to speak of him with still less respect, as having no claim to poetical reputation but from his tragedy."

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" Swift to Pope, Sept. 3, 1735.–Scott's Swift, 2nd ed. xviii. 366-7.

12 Hughes was a good, humble-spirited man, a great admirer of Mr. Addison, and but a poor writer, except his play, that is very well.-Pope: Spence by Singer, p. 302.

JOHN SHEFFIELD,

DUKE OF BUCKINGHAMSHIRE.

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