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OF THE

MOST EMINENT

ENGLISH POETS,

WITH

CRITICAL OBSERVATIONS

ON

THEIR WORKS.

BY SAMUEL JOHNSON, LL.D.

IN TWO VOLUMES.

VOL. II

HALIFAX:

PUBLISHED BY WILLIAM MILNER.

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THE LIVES

OP THE

MOST EMINENT ENGLISH POETS.

CONGREVE.

WILLIAM CONGREVE descended from a family in Staffordshire, of so great antiquity that it claims a place among the few that extend their line beyond the Norman conquest; and was the son of William Congreve, second son of Richard Congreve, of Congreve and Stratton. He visited, once at least, the residence of his ancestors; and, I believe, more places than one are still shewn, in groves and gardens, where he is related to have written bis Old Bachelor.

Neither the time nor place of his birth are certainly known; if the inscription upon his monument be true, he was born in 1672. For the place, it was said by himself, that he owed his nativity to England, and by every body else that he was born in Ireland. Southern mentioned him with sharp censure, as a man that meanly disowned his native country. The biographers assign his nativity to Bardsa, near Leeds in Yorkshire, from the account given by himself, as they suppose, to Jacob.

To doubt whether a man of eminence has told the truth about his own birth, is, in appearance, to be very deficient in candour; yet nobody can live long without knowing that falsehoods of convenience or vanity, falsehoods from which no evil immediately visible ensues, except the gene

VOL. II.

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