See also

John HOPKINS (1675- )

1. John HOPKINS, son of Right Rev Ezekiel HOPKINS (1634-1689) and Alicia MOORE (1645?-1681), was born on 1 January 1675.


The youth of John Hopkins was passed in the best Irish society. His father, the Bishop, married - apparently in second nuptials, for John speaks not of her as a man speaks of his mother--the daughter of the Earl of Radnor. By a single allusion to the Epistolary Poems of Charles Hopkins, "very well perform'd by my Brother," in 1694, we are able to identify the author of Amasia with certainty. He was the second son of the Right Rev. Ezekiel Hopkins, Lord Bishop of Derry. The elder brother whom we have mentioned, Charles, was considerably his senior; for six years the latter occupied a tolerably prominent place in London literary society, was the intimate friend of Dryden and Congreve, published three or four plays not without success, and possessed a name which is pretty frequently met with in books of the time. But to John Hopkins I have discovered scarcely an allusion. He does not seem to have moved in his brother's circle, and his society was probably more courtly than literary. If we may trust his own account the author of Amasia was born, doubtless at Londonderry, on the 1st of January,1675. He was, therefore, only twenty-five when his poems were published, and the exquisitely affected portrait which adorns the first volume must represent him as younger still, since it was executed by the Dutch engraver, F.H. van Hove, who was found murdered in October, 1698.

Pause a moment, dear reader, and observe Mr. John Hopkins, alias Sylvius, set out with all the artillery of ornament to storm the heart of Amasia. Notice his embroidered silken coat, his splendid lace cravat, the languishment of his large foolish eyes, the indubitable
touch of Spanish red on those smooth cheeks. But, above all contemplate the wonders of his vast peruke. He has a name, be sure, for every portion of that killing structure. Those sausage-shaped curls, close to the ears, are confidants; those that dangle round the temples, favorites; the sparkling lock that descends alone over the right eyebrow is the passag?re; and, above all, the gorgeous knot that unites the curls and descends on the left breast, is aptly named the meurtri?re_. If he would but turn his head, we should see his cr?ves-coeur, the two delicate curled locks at the nape of his neck. The escutcheon below his portrait bears, very suitably, three loaded muskets rampant. Such was Sylvius, conquering but, alas! not to conquer.


JOHN HOPKINS, another son of the bishop of Londonderry, who deviated likewise from his father's character, was born January l, 1675. Like his elder brother, his poetry turned principally on subjects of love; like him too, his prospects in life appear to have terminated unfortunately. He published, in 1698, The Triumphs of Peace, or the Glories of Nassau; a Pindaric poem occasioned by the conclusion of the peace between the Confederacy and France; written at the time of his grace the duke of Ormond's entrance into Dublin. "The design of this poem," the author says in his preface, "begins, after the method of Pindar, to one great man, and rises to another; first touches the duke, then celebrates the actions of the king, and so returns to the praises of the duke again." In the same year he published The Victory of Death; or the Fall of Beauty; a visionary Pindaric poem, occasioned by the ever-to-be-deplored death of the right honourable the lady Cutts, 8vo. But the principal performance of J. Hopkins was Amasia, or the works of the Muses, a collection of Poems, 1700, in 3 vols. Each of these little volumes is divided into three books, and each book is inscribed to some beautiful patroness, among whom the duchess of Grafton stands foremost. The last book is inscribed "To the memory of Amasia," whom he addresses throughout these volumes in the character of Sylvius. There is a vein of seriousness, if not of poetry, runs through the whole performance. Many of Ovid's stories are very decently imitated; "most of them," he says, "have been very well performed by my brother, and published some years since; mine were written in another kingdom before I knew of his." In one of his dedications he tells the lady Olympia Robartes, "Your ladyship's father, the late earl of Radnor, when governor of Ireland, was the kind patron to mine: he raised him to the first steps by which he afterwards ascended to the dignities he bore; to those, which rendered his labours more conspicuous, and set in a more advantageous light those living merits, which now make his memory beloved. These, and yet greater temporal honours, your family heaped on him, by making even me in some sort related and allied to you, by his inter-marriage with your sister the lady Araminta. How imprudent a vanity is it in me to boast a father so meritorious! how may I be ashamed to prove myself his son, by poetry, the only qualification he so much excelled in, but yet esteemed no excellence. I bring but a bad proof of birth, laying my claim in that only thing he would not own. These are, however, madam, but the products of immature years; and riper age, may, I hope, bring forth more solid works." We have never seen any other of his writings: nor have been able to collect any farther particulars of his life: but there is a portrait of him, under his poetical name of Sylvius.

Alexander Chalmers.


To Amasia, tickling a gentleman

Methinks, I see how the blest swain was lay'd,

While round his sides your nimble fingers play'd.

With pleasing softness did they swiftly rove,

Raising the sweet, delicious pangs of love,

While, at each touch, they made his heart strings move.

As round his breast, his ravish'd breast they crowd,

We hear their music, when he laughs aloud.

You ply him still, and as he melting lies,

Act your soft Triumphs, while your captive dies.

Thus, he perceives, thou, dearest, charming fair,

Without your eyes, you can o'ercome him there.

Thus too he shews what's your unbounded skill,

You please, and charm us, tho' at once you kill.

Lodg'ed in your arms, he does in transport lie,

While trho' his Veins the fancy'd light'nings fly,

And, gush'd with vast delights, I see him hast to die.