, a poet and statesman of Scotland, is said to have been a descendant
, a poet and statesman of Scotland, is said to have been a descendant of the ancient family of Macdonald. Alexander Macdonald, his ancestor, obtained from one of the earls of Argyle a grant of the lands of Menstrie in the comity of Clackmanan, and our author’s sirname was taken from this ancestor’s proper name. He was born about the year 1580, and from his infancy exhibited proofs of genius, which his friends were desirous of improving by the best instruction which the age afforded, Travelling was at that time an essential branch of education, and Mr. Alexander had the advantage of being appointed tutor, or rather companion, to the earl of Argyle, who was then about to visit the continent.
, a German poet and statesman, and privy counsellor of state, was of an ancient
, a German poet and statesman, and privy counsellor of state, was of an ancient and illustrious family in Brandenburg, and born at Berlin in 1654, five months after his father’s death. After his early studies, he travelled to France, Italy, Holland, and England; and upon his return to his country, was charged with important negociations by Frederic II. and Frederic III. Canitz united the statesman with the poet; and was conversant in many languages, dead as well as living. His German poems were published for the tenth time, 1750, in 8vo. He is said to haVe taken Horace for his model, "and to have written purely and delicately; and the French biographers complimented him with the title of the Pope of Germany. He not only cultivated the fine arts himself, but gave all the encouragement he could to them in others. He died at Berlin in 1699, highly praised for the excellence of his private character.
, a poet and statesman, was the third son of John Davies, of Tisbury,
, a poet and statesman, was the third son of John Davies, of Tisbury, in Wiltshire, not a tanner, as Anthony Wood asserts, but a gentleman, formerly of New Inn, and afterwards a practitioner of law in his native place. His mother was Mary, the daughter of Mr. Bennett, of Pitt-house in the same county. When not fifteen years of age he was sent to Oxford, in Michaelmas term 1585, where he was admitted a commoner of Queen’s college, and prosecuted his studies with perseverance and success. About the beginning of 1588 he removed to the Middle Temple, but returned to Oxford in 1590, and took the degree of B. A. At the Temple, while he did not neglect the study of the law, he rendered himself obnoxious to the discipline of the place by various youthful irregularities, and after being fined, was at last removed from commons. Notwithstanding this, he was called to the bar in 1595, but was again so indiscreet as to forfeit his privileges by a quarrel with Mr. Richard Martin, whom he beat in the Temple hall. For this offence he was in Feb. 1597-8 expelled by the unanimous sentence of the society. Martin was, like himself, a wit and a poet, and had once been expelled for improper behaviour. Both, however, outlived their follies, and rose to considerable eminence in their profession. Martin became reader of the society, recorder of London, and member of parliament, and enjoyed the esteem of Selden, Ben Jonson, and other men of learning and genius, who lamented his premature death in 1618.
, an English poet and statesman, was descended from a family at Pendigrast in
, an English poet and statesman,
was descended from a family at Pendigrast in Pembrokeshire, but born at London in 1663. It has been conjectured that he was either son or grandson of Charles third
son of sir John Stepney, the first baronet of that family:
Mr. Cole says his father was a grocer. He received his
education at Westminster-school, and was removed thence
to Trinity-college, Cambridge, in 1682; where he took
his degree of A.B. in 1685, and that of M.A. in 1689.
Being of the same standing with Charles Montague, esq.
afterwards earl of Halifax, a strict friendship grew up between them, and they came to London together, and are said
to have been introduced into public life by the duke of Dorset. To this fortunate incident was owing all the preferment
Stepney afterwards enjoyed, who is supposed not to have
had parts sufficient to have risen to any distinction, without such patronage. When Stepney first set out in life,
he seems to have been attached to the tory interest; for
one of the first poems he wrote was an address to James II.
upon his accession to the throne. Soon after, when Monmouth’s rebellion broke out, the Cambridge men, to shew
their zeal for the king, thought proper to burn the picture
of that prince, who had formerly been chancellor of the
university, and on this occasion Stepney wrote some good
verses in his praise.
Upon the Revolution, he embraced another interest,
and procured himself to be nominated to several foreign
embassies. In 1692 he went to the elector of Brandenburg’s court, in quality of envoy; in 1693, to the Imperial court, in the same character; in 1694, to the elector
of Saxony; and, two years after, to the electors of Mentz,
Cologn, and the congress at Francfort; in 1698, a second
time to Brandenburg; in 1699, to the king of Poland; in
1701, again to the emperor; and in 1706, to the States
General; and in all his negotiations, is said to have been
successful. In 1697 he was made one of the commissioners of trade. He died at Chelsea in 1707, and was buried
in Westminster-abbey; where a fine monument was erected
over him, with a pompous inscription. At his leisure
hours he composed poetical pieces, which are republished
in the general collection of English poets. He likewise
wrote some political pieces in prose, particularly, “
Essay on the present interest of England, in 1701: to
which are added, the proceedings of the House of Commons in 1677, upon the French king’s progress in Flanders.” This is reprinted in the collection of tracts, called
Lord Somers’s collection.”
Art of Printing;” and “The origin of Rhyme.” Among his lesser separate works, were his “Life of the poet and statesman Fulvio Testi” his “Life of S. Olympia;” and some
Between the years 1771 and 1793, when his great work
appeared, he published many lesser performances; and,
in 1773, undertook a literary magazine and review, under
the title of “
Nuovo Giornale de‘ Letterati d’ Italia,” and
acted as editor from that time to
Inquiries concerning the primitive discoverers of the Copernican
The manuscript code of the Poetics of Vida;”
The origin of the Art of Printing;” and “
of Rhyme.” Among his lesser separate works, were his
Life of the poet and statesman Fulvio Testi” his “
of S. Olympia;” and some “
Reflections on Genealogical