Sidor som bilder
PDF
ePub

OF

JOHN DRYDEN

SELECTED AND EDITED

WITH INTRODUCTION AND NOTES

BY

C. D. YONGE, M.A.,

FELLOW OF THE ROYAL UNIVERSITY OF IRELAND; REGIUS PROFESSOR OF ENGLISE LITERATURE AND MODERN HISTORY, QUEEN'S COLLEGE, BELFAST; AND AUTHOR OF 'A CONSTITUTIONAL HISTORY OF GREAT BRITAIN

AND IRELAND, 1760-1860; ' ETC.

London
MACMILLAN AND CO.

AND NEW YORK

1895

All rights reserved

[ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]
[merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]

INTRODUCTION.

TIe seventeenth century is commonly regarded as that in which prose writing, both in France and England, first assumed the polish and elegance which have since been the characteristics of the best writers. In France this improvement is deservedly attributed to the genius of Pascal. In England it was begun by Hooker and Milton, but was carried to greater perfection by Sir William Temple and Dryden. To Sir William Temple Johnson gives the praise of having been “ the first writer who gave cadence to English prose." And, though no two critics could well be more different in the general character of their minds than Johnson and Macaulay, the description which the latter gives of Temple's style may be regarded as an expansion of that of the earlier writer : he calls it “a style singularly lucid and melodious, .... which generally flowed along with careless simplicity, but occasionally rose even into Ciceronian magnificence"; while Dryden, whose earliest prose works were written a few years after those of Temple, and while that statesman was at the height of his reputation, may, without derogating from his claim to originality, be fairly supposed to have studied and profited by Temple's example. And Hallam, in the character

« FöregåendeFortsätt »