Sidor som bilder

to Ireland, where the duke of Ormond made him captain of his guards. He prevailed upon that nobleman to permit him to refign in favour of a poor, disbanded, gallant officer, who had faved his life in the streets of Dublin, one night when he was fet upon by affaffins. He died of the gout at Westminster, 1684. He was, according to Fenton, a man ftrictly religious, ferious, folid, fcientific, and unaffected; his imagination fruitful and fprightly; his judgment severe; his style clear and nervous; and if he was not always perfect, let us remember no man ever was. Mr. Pope, in the Effay on Criticifm fpeaks thus of him:

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Rofcommon, not more learn'd than good,

"With manners gen'rous as his noble blood;

"To him the wit of Greece and Rome was known,
"And ev'ry author's virtues-but his own."

There are two quarto editions of the excellent poem occafioning these lines, the firft of 1680, the fecond of 1685.


To the Dutchess of York.

On the twenty-first of November 1673, the duke of York was married to the princess Mary d'Efte, then about fifteen years of age, and extremely handfome. The ceremony was performed at Dover by the bishop of Oxford. It was against the rules of policy for him at that time to wed a Roman catholic; and the parliament addreffed against it.


To Sir George Etheridge.

Sir George was at Ratisbon in 1686, at which time these verses were transcribed. In a letter of his to George duke of Buckingham, dated at Ratisbon, October 21, 1689, we have the following passage:


They tell me my old acquaintance Mr. Dryden has left off "the theatre, and wholly applies himself to the study of the "controverfies between the two churches. Pray heaven this

ftrange alteration in him portend nothing difaftrous to the "ftate; but I have all along obferved that poets do religion as "little fervice by drawing their pens for it, as divines do poetry by pretending to verfification."

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To Mr. Thomas Southerne, on bis Comedy called The Wives Excufe.

The success of this play was but indifferent; but so high was our author's opinion of its merit, that, on this very account, he bequeathed to this poet the writing of the laft act of his Cleomenes; which, Southerne fays, "when it comes into the world, "will appear fo confiderable a truft, that all the town will par"don me for defending this play, that preferred me to it."

Mr. Southerne was born in Dublin in 1660, and bred to the law in the Middle-Temple, London; but forfook that dry study for the more agreeable service of the Mufes. He wrote several dramatic pieces, none of which now keep the ftage but Oronooko, and the Fatal Marriage, than which perhaps our theatre poffeffes none more affecting. The latter has been lately exhibited at Drury-Lane, with good alterations; and, were it poffible to add to Mr. Garrick's character as an actor, his performance of Biron, which is rather infignificant in itself, is so capital, it would do it. Mr. Southerne died in London in 1746, being a man of religion, œconomy, and virtue. -Rara avis.

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To Henry Higden, Efq; on his tranflation of the tenth fatire of Juvenal.

I have not feen this translation, and therefore could not fix the date of it exactly; but as our author published his Juvenal in 1693, it is reasonable to conclude Mr. Higden's was antecedent to it. This gentleman brought a comedy on the ftage in 1693, called the Wary Widow, or Sir Noify Parrot, which was damned, and he complains hardly of the ill ufage; for the Bear-Garden critics treated it with cat-calls. It is printed, and dedicated to the courtly Earl of Dorfet: Sir Charles Sedley wrote the prologue, and it was ushered into the world with several copies of verfes, The audience were dismissed at the end of the third act, the author having contrived fo much drinking of punch in the play, that the actors all got drunk, and were unable to finish it. See G. Jacob's Lives of the Poets.


To my dear Friend Mr. Congreve.

England and Ireland both have contended for the birth of this miracle of wit; and that the former is entitled to that honor,

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appears from his own information to Giles Jacob, which may be found in his Lives of the Poets. Congreve's firft play, the Old Batchelor, was revised by Dryden, and proved the occafion of their friendship; as it alfo procured the author the patronage of Montague Earl of Hallifax, which was accompanied with appointments in the revenue, valued at above 1200% per ann. The Double Dealer was his fecond play. He wrote three more, viz. Love for Love, the Way of the World, and a tragedy called the Mourning Bride. His comedies are allowed to be the best that ever were introduced upon any stage. His wit is endless and aftonishing, but too redundant; his manners are every where just, and his characters are often inimitable copies from life. He died in Surry-street in the Strand, aged fifty-feven, Anno 1728-9, and was interred in Weftminster-abbey.

Thus old Romano bow'd to Raphael, &c.

Julio Romano was the mafter of the great Raphael, who is reckoned the finest painter the world ever saw.


To Mr. Granville, on his excellent Tragedy.

George Granville, created baron Lanfdowne in 1711, on the laft day of the year, was a man of fine parts and polished under standing, fincere, good-natured, and agreeable. His poems are very pleafing, his verfification being flowing, and his fentiments extremely refined. He had a great friendship for Dryden. The tragedy that gave birth to this poem was acted with applaufe at Lincoln's-Inn-Fields in 1696. He wrote alfo a comedy, called the She Gallants, the title of which he afterwards altered to Once a Lover, and Always a Lover; the British Enchanter, an opera; and feveral other pieces. He died in the year 1735.

And in defpair, their empty pit to fill,

Set up fome foreign monster in the bill.

This fatire is levelled at the company that played in DruryLane, from which the defpotism of the managers had driven Mr. Betterton, who still shot

a glimmering ray,

"Like antient Rome, majeftic in decay."

Mr. Dryden's friendship for Betterton, who had muftered up a company, and played at Lincoln's Inn-Fields, caufed him to write these verses, which were poorly answered by George Powell the actor, in a preface to one of his plays.



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Peter Motteux, to whom this piece is addreffed, was born in Normandy, but fettled as a merchant in London very young, and lived in repute. He died in a house of ill fame near the Strand, and was supposed to have been murdered, in 1718. He produced eleven dramatic pieces, and his Beauty in Distress is thought much the best of them: it was played in Lincoln's-InnFields by Betterton's company in 1698.

That e'en Corneille, &c.

Pierre Corneille, a French dramatic poet of the seventeenth century. He found the French stage in the most wretched state, without order, tafte, or regularity, and he reformed it intirely.

It would be difficult (fays Racine, fpeaking of him) to find "another poet poffeffed of fuch extraordinary talents, fuch ex"cellent qualifications: the art, the strength, the judgment, the "wit of Corneille. One can never too much admire the fubli"mity and conduct of his subjects, the vehemence of his pas"fions, the weight of his fentiments; the dignity, and, at the "fame time, the vast variety of his characters." He was the Shakespeare of the French stage; but far from being equal to that infpired bard.

Wycherley in wit.

William Wycherley, Efq; one of the moft agreeable men of Charles IId's age, wrote feveral poems, and four plays, viz. Love in a Wood, or St. James's Park; the Plain Dealer; the Gentleman-Dancing-Mafter; and the Country Wife. He was intimate with all the men of genius of his time, much admired for his wit and converfation, and beloved by Charles II. from whom he received many fubftantial marks of favour. He married a countcfs dowager of Drogheda, which loft him the king's good graces; and she leaving him involved in a law-fuit at her death, he was flung into prifon, from whence king James releafed him. He foon after married a young wife with 1500l. fortune; but died eleven days after, being feventy-five years old.


To my honored kinfman John Dryden, Efq;

This poem was written in 1699. The perfon to whom it is addreffed was coufin-german to the poet, and a younger brother


of the baronet. That he inherited his mother's fortune, the enfuing lines confirm :

"The firft-begotten had his father's fhare;

"But you, like Jacob, are Rebecca's heir."

The beginning of this epistle is a manifest imitation of Horace's fecond epode:

"Beatus ille, qui procul negotiis,

"Ut prifca gens mortalium "Paterna rura," &c.

Gibbons but gueffes, nor is fure to fave;

But Maurus fweeps whole parishes, &c.

Dr. Gibbons was a phyfician at this time justly in high esteem. By Maurus is meant Sir Richard Blackmore, phyfician to king William, and author of many epic poems. Milbourne was a nonjuring minifter.

Garth, gen'rous as his Mufe, prefcribes and gives.

Sir Samuel Garth, a celebrated physician, as well as a writer, about the year 1696. He zealously promoted the erecting a difpenfary, or apartment in the college of phyficians, for the relief of the fick poor, by giving them advice gratis, and supplying them with medicines at a very cheap rate. In this good defign he was oppofed not only by the apothecaries with great malevolence, but even by some selfish members of the faculty. It was for this reason he wrote a poem in fix canto's, called the Dispensary; the humour and spirit of which are admirable. Dr. Garth was one of the Kit-kat club, confifting of about forty noblemen and gentlemen, attached to the proteftant fucceflion in the house of Hanover. King George I. knighted him on his acceffion. He died in 1718-19.

"His death (fays Pope, in one of his letters) was very heroi"cal, and yet unaffected enough to have made a faint or a philofopher famous. If ever there was a good Christian, without knowing himself to be so, it was Sir Samuel Garth."

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Namur fubdu'd, is England's palm, &c.

In the year 1695, William III. carried Namur, after a fiege of one month. The garrifon retired to the citadel, which capitulated upon honorable terms in another month. The courage of our men in this fiege was much admired, as was the conduct of the king.


Oblig'd by one fole treaty to restore

What twenty years of war had won before.

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