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vain: and that these hints should not be disregarded, is 'their peculiar duty for never yet has that prodigy been shewn to mankind, of one family being misers through three generations."
The summer of 1788, Mr. Elwes passed at his house in Welbeck Street. He used to get up early in the morning to visit his houses in Marylebone Street, which were undergoing repair. He was generally on the spot before the workmen, and used to seat himself on the step before the door, to scold them when they did come. The neighbours took him for one of the workmen, and the remark was, that "there never was so punctual a man as the old carpenter." He now grew feverish and restless, hoarded small portions of money in different places, and visited them continually to see that they were safe. When this time arrives to the miser, be sure, the day is ever near at hand, when he himself is about to be garnered into the vast storehouse of eternity!
In the winter of 1789, his memory and health underwent a great change. His son had married in the spring, and wished his father to enjoy the comforts of a home; but old Mr. Elwes had outlived the enjoyment of all comforts. He, to be sure, had nearly suffered a marriage with one of the servants, who was shrewd enough to botch up a thread-bare passion. This late connubial speculation, however, was, fortunately for all parties, prevented by a timely interference. Mr. Elwes was now conveyed to his son's house in Berkshire. He took with him five guineas, and a half-crown; and this pinch of money fretted him day and night. He would call out in the dark, “I will keep my money,-nobody shall rob me of my property!"—The sand had nearly run out.
"Mr. Partis, who was then with him in Berkshire, was waked one morning about two o'clock, by the noise of a naked foot, seemingly walking about his bed-chamber with great caution. Somewhat alarmed at the circumstance, he naturally asked, 'Who is there?' On which a person coming up towards the bed, said with great civility—" Sir, my name is Elwes; I have been unfortunate enough to be robbed in this house, which I believe is mine, of all the money I have in the world— of five guineas and an half, and half a crown !"— Dear Sir,' replied Mr. Partis, I hope you are mistaken; do not make yourself uneasy. O! no, no;' rejoined the old gentleman; it's all true: and really Mr. Partis, with such a sum-I should have liked to have seen the end of it.'
"This unfortunate sum was found a few days after in a corner behind the window shutter."
We are now brought to the last flickering of this singular life-it is the inconstant dying flame on the save-all!
"For six weeks previous to his death, he had got a custom of
going to rest in his clothes as perfectly dressed as during the day. He was one morning found fast asleep betwixt the sheets, with his shoes on his feet, his stick in his hand, and an old torn hat upon his head.
"On this circumstance being discovered, a servant was set to watch, and take care that he undressed himself; yet so desirous was he of continuing this custom, that he told the servant, with his usual providence about money, that if he would not take any notice of him, he would leave him something in his will.
"On the 18th day of November 1789, Mr. Elwes discovered signs of that utter and total weakness, which, in eight days, carried him to his grave. On the evening of the first day he was conveyed to bed-from which he rose no more. His appetite was gone he had but a faint recollection of any thing about him; and his last coherent words were addressed to his son, Mr. John Elwes, in hoping he had left him what he wished.' On the morning of the 26th of November, he expired without a sigh!-with the ease with which an infant goes to sleep on the breast of its mother, worn out with the rattles and the toys' of a long day."
We forbear extracting the Major's moral reflections on the close of this extraordinary creature's existence. They are just such moderate thoughts as would intrude themselves into the mind of a country gentleman, on the death of a very aged acquaintance. We have also pretty well consumed all our own ideas in the course of this long article!-The life of Mr. Elwes, we think tolerably well supports the notions we entertain, and have ventured to express, respecting avarice.
The Major has written his little book in a very agreeable style: Horace Walpole used to say of it, that it was the best collection of genuine anecdote he knew. It has gone through
The dedication to Sir Paul Joddrell, physician to the Nabob of Arcot, is at once affectionate, complimentary, and concise ;-the best ingredients of which a dedication can be composed. The preface is also pithy and pleasant, and it mentions the fact of the author having presented the work to his bookseller, which was no unhandsome gift.
The picture prefixed to the work, represents a pike-like person and visage of John Elwes, Esquire,-thin and nipped, like life! The purse is open, and the guinea is in his hand :These are defects! We know not whether phrenologists have a cast of this marvellous man's head,-but there is a very singular bump at the back part of it, which we dare say would, on minute examination, turn out to be an organ-and a grinding one too, we dare warrant !
ART. IX.-Comedies, Tragicomedies, with other Poems, by Mr. William Cartwright, late Student of Christchurch, in Oxford, and of the University. The Ayres and Songs set by Mr. Henry Lawes, Servant to his late Majesty in his public and private Music.
nec ignes Nec potuit ferrum
London, Printed for Humphrey Moseley, and are to be sold at his shop, at the sign of the Prince's Arms, St. Paul's Church Yard, 1651.
In wandering over the shelves of our library, which bear upon them the essences of man's wit, which either in his vanity he has spent a life in extracting from his duller parts, or expressed from copious stores, with the laudable intent of diffusing around him that pleasure and improvement in which he feels himself rich, we happened to cast our eye upon a little thick octavo volume-entitled Cartwright's Poems and Plays. We have sometimes thought, (perhaps our habit of criticism has led us to it,) that the minds of the gentler sex may not be ill judged by the tints and the fashions of their robes, as the man in the Spectator used to betray the humour of the day, by the colour of his dress-so may we pre-judge of the little book before us-whose inward parts might, we think, be characterized by its exterior. It is unassuming and elegant.-We who look but to days gone by, may be likened unto bees flying about the walls of some ancient pleasure ground, where all but the cedar and the oak lie half buried under thistles and ivy; we penetrate into the weedy maze, and lift them up again to the light of day, and either point them out to the admiration of others, or bear away their beauties to a happier and more frequented spot.-Sufficient, we are in good hopes, will be rifled from the present little book, (which may be ranked as a violet, humble, but sweet smelling,) to serve our reader to make his breakfast pleasant.
Mr. William Cartwright has had many biographers; all differ in respect to the exact time of his birth. Lloyd affirms, that he was born in 1615, and was the son of a Mr. Thomas Cartwright, of Burford, in Oxfordshire-others, that he was the son of Mr. William Cartwright, and that he was born at Northway, in Gloucestershire, in 1611; that his father had dissipated a large fortune, and became an inn-keeper at Cirencester. Both these accounts differ from those of his publisher, who says he died, at the age of thirty, in 1643. However this may be, it is spoken of with certainty, that he was a
king's scholar at Westminster, and was thence chosen student of Christ's College, Oxford, in the year 1631, where he took his degrees of bachelor and master of arts. He afterwards became proctor of the university, and lecturer on metaphysics, and was a poet and divine, all before the young age of thirty, when he was cut off by a fever then prevalent in the University. William Cartwright seems to have been one of those characters, who possess that happy mixture of talent, virtue, and gracefulness, which attracts at once admiration and love. A greater proof of it we cannot well have, than that which the little volume before us affords, which unlike many others, without any effort of the author, (it being published eight years after his death,) gives fifty-six poetical effusions from loving friends and fellowcollegians, in token of admiration for his poetry, and in honor of his memory.-His pleasant and facetious publisher tells us, Ben Jonson said of him, " My son Cartwright writes all like a man." He was a favourite with Charles and his queen, and during his illness they frequently and anxiously inquired after him, an attention surely to be expected, for, independent of the pleasure the queen received from his dramatic pieces, she never gave a child to the world, without its being welcomed by Cartwright's muse. His plays we shall leave for another number, and proceed to give our readers some specimens of his poems, which form about a fifth part of the volume. Taken generally, they may be said to be sensible, pure, and fanciful, certainly sometimes wanting in melody of versification, and without powerful imagery, but also with little conceit. The subjects are not such as to call forth the former, being mostly epistles of compliment, but in which we might have expected to find a full crop of the latter.
We will give the extracts as they present themselves to us in the volume. The first is an exceedingly pretty congratulation" to a friend on the birth of his first child," which is happy in its versification, and the kindliness of its thoughts.
"Y'are now transcrib'd, and public view
Perusing finds the copy true,
VOL. IX. PART I.