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appears from his own information to Giles Jacob, which may be
Thus old Romano bow'd to Raphael, &c.
To Mr. Granville, on his excellent Tragedy.
And in despair, their empty pit to fill,
Set up some foreign monster in the bill.
-“ a glimmering ray,
EPIST LE XII.
To my Friend Mr. Motteux. Peter Motteux, to whom this piece is addressed, was born in Normandy, but settled 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, taste, or regularity, and he reformed it intirely. " It would be difficult (fays Racine, speaking of him) to find “ another poet possessed of such extraordinary talents, such ex“ cellent qualifications: the art, the strength, the judgment, the 66 wit of Corneille. One can never too much admire the subli. “ mity and conduct of his subjects, the veheinence of his paf“ fions, the weight of his sentiments; the dignity, and, at the 6 same time, the vast variety of his characters.” He was the Shakespeare of the French stage; but far from being equal to that inspired bard.
Wycherley in wit. William Wycherley, Esq; one of the most agreeable men of Charles Ild's age, wrote several poems, and four plays, viz. Love in a Wood, or St. James's Park; the Plain Dealer; the Gentleman-Dancing-Master; and the Country Wife. He was intimate with all the men of genius of his time, much admired for his wit and conversation, and beloved by Charles II. from whom he received many substantial marks of favour. He married a countess dowager of Drogheda, which lost him the king's good graces; and she leaving him involved in a law-suit at her death, he was flung into prison, from whence king James released him. He soon after married a young wife with 15oo.de fortune ; but died eleven days after, being seventy-five years old.
E PIST LE XIII.
To my honored kinsman Fohn Dryden, Elq; This
poem was written in 1699. The person to whom it is addressed was coulin-german to the poet, and a younger brother
of the baronet. That he inherited his mother's fortune, the en. suing lines confirm:
“ The first-begotten had his father's share;
" But you, like Jacob, are Rebecca's heir." The beginning of this epistle is a manifest imitation of How race's second epode :
* Beatus ille, qui procul negotiis,
“ Ut prisca gens mortalium
But Maurus sweeps whole parishes, &c.
Garth, gen'rous tas bis Mufe, prescribes and gives.
“ His death (says Pope, in one of his letters) was very heroi. “ cal, and yet unaffected enough to have made a faint or a phi
losopher famous. If ever there was a good Christian, without “ knowing himself to be so, it was Sir Samuel Garth."
Namur subdu’d, is England's palm, &c.
This alludes to the treaty of Ryswick, concluded the latter endt of Sept. 1697, between the allies and France, whereby the latter was obliged to give up Barcelona, Luxemburgh, Charleroy, Mons, Dinant, and, in short, all the places she had seized upon during a long and expensive war.
To Sir Godfrey Kneller. This epistle is not the least admired of Dryden's works: it is a sort of brief history of painting, from its birth and progress in Greece to the time of Sir Godfrey. This great painter received the first rudiments of his art at Lubeck in Germany, where he was born. He removed to the Low Countries, where he studied under the best masters; and .compleated himself in Italy, upon the defigns of Titian and Carachi, whom he endeavoured to copy. Not finding his account in hiftory-paintings for he was of an avaritious turn, he applied himself to portraits. He came over to England in 1676. On the death of Sir Peter Lilly he was appointed principal painter to the king. He maintained this post, after the decease of Charles II. under James II. and William III. who sent him to paint the plenipotentiaries at Ryswick, and knighted him at his return.' Queen Anne, at her acceffion, retained him in her service, and he has painted several pictures of her. The emperor Jofeph, and his brother the archduke Charles, did him the honor to fit to him ; and he acquitted himself so well, that he was presented with a gold chain and medal, created an hereditary knight of the Empire, and soon after received the patent of a baronet, under the broad seal of Great Britain. He confined himself solely to the drawing hands and faces; the less nice parts of pictures, such as drapery and other ornaments, he left to people who performed under his immediate direction. His pictures are not very scarce, nor yet at this time in any great esteem. He died in 1723. There is a onument to his memory in Westminster-abbey, with an inscription on it by Pope.
A coal or chalk first imitated It is agreed on all hands, that the hint of painting, as well as of sculpture, was first taken from the shadow.
-yet perspective was lame. The art of perspective was not entirely known to the antients : herein the moderns excel them very much. The most perfect piece of antient painting, that has escaped the ravages of time
and barbarity, in which the figures want perfecting, is the wedding of Aldobrandini; and if we form our opinion of the merits of the paintings of antiquity upon this and some few fragments, we shall be apt to pronounce them almost strangers to perspective and the clara obscura. The paintings found among the ruins of Herculaneum have not, by accounts of such people of taste as have seen them, any excellence that may induce us to change this opinion. They derive their value only from their antiquity, and can scarcely be juftly ranked with modern pieces that are really quite indifferent.
Hence rose the Roman and the Lombard line,
One color'd beft, and one did beft dehgn. It is said of Raphael, that he excelled all his predeceffors, and none of his followers. equalled him. He was born at Urbino. His pieces are the most valuable in the world. He died in 1520, universally lamented, in his thirty-seventh year, of a disorder arising from a debauch with the fair fex, which he kept concealed from his physicians. Raphael was well made, mild, affable, and oftentatious, but universally beloved.
Titian was 'bred at Venice under a famous painter named Bellin, and thewed, from the beginning, a prodigious genius. In a little time it was thought he exceeded his master, and his friends and admirers increased with his reputation. There was soon a vast demand for his works, which were judged to be finished with the highest elegance, and his colouring was particularly beautiful. He was made a knight, and a count Palatine, by Charles V. and died of the plague in 1576.
“ En trouva (says Morerri) dans ses pieces cette douceur char. so mante, cette beauté exquise, & cette grande netteté, qui les " rendent des chefs oeuvres de l'art."
Shakespeare, thy gift, &c.
And Raphael did with Leo's gold.
A familiar Epiftle to Mr. Julian. Who Mr. Julian was, I have not been ab) to find out, or why he is called secretary to the Muses: perhaps the Apollo-club still