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ample testimony in this remark: “I know not how it is, but lord Buckhurst may do what he will, yet is never in the wrong.
If such a man attempted poetry, we cannot wonder that his works were praised. Dryden, whom, if Prior tells truth, he distinguished by his beneficence, and who lavished his blandishments on those who are not known to have so well deserved them, undertaking to produce authors of our own country superiour to those of antiquity, says, “I would instance your lordship in satire, and Shakespeare in tragedy.” Would it be imagined that, of this rival to antiquity, all the satires were little personal invectives, and that his longest composition was a song of eleven stanzas?
The blame, however, of this exaggerated praise falls on the encomiast, not upon the author; whose performances are, what they pretend to be, the effusions of a man of wit; gay, vigorous, and airy. His verses to Howard show great fertility of mind; and his Dorinda has been imitated by Pope.
Stepneys of Pendegrast, in Pembrokeshire, was born at Westminster, in 1663. Of his father's condition or fortune I have no account". Having receive the first part of his education at Westminster, where he passed six years in the college, he went, at nineteen, to Cambridge', where he continued a friendship begun at school with Mr. Montague, afterwards earl of Halifax. They came to London together, and are said to have been invited into publick life by the duke of DorsetP.
His qualifications recommended him to many foreign employments, so that his time seems to have been spent in negotiations. In 1692, he was sent envoy to the elector of Brandenburgh; in 1693, to the imperial court; in 1694, to the elector of Saxony; in 1696, to the electors of Mentz and Cologne, and the congress at Frankfort; in 1698, a second time to Brandenburgh; in 1699, to the king of Poland; in 1701, again to the emperour; and, in 1706, to the States General. In 1697, he was made one of the commissioners of trade. His life was busy and not long. He died in 1707, and is buried
* It has been conjectured that our poet was either son or grandson of Charles, third son of sir John Stepney, the first baronet of that family. See Granger's History, vol. ii. p. 396. Edit. 8vo. 1775. Mr. Cole says, the poet's father was a grocer. Cole's manuscripts, in Brit. Mus. C.
• He was entered of Trinity college, and took his master's degree in 1689. H. P Earl of Dorset.