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As that eminent phyfician was now dead, the doctor's beha our upon this point was as generous an inftance of gratitude and respect to his friend's memory, as it was a proof of his capacity and extenfive learning. He was prefident of the college of phyficians, from 1689 to 1691, when his affairs being not in the moft flourishing state, he retired to the ifle of Jerfy, and died in 1707, aged eighty-eight years.
Among th' affertors of free reafon's, &c.
What follows of this epiftle is looked upon as an elegant and curious review of the ftate of medical and philofophical knowledge in this kingdom for fome preceding years.
The world to Bacon does not only, &c.
Francis Bacon, Lord Verulam, Viscount St. Alban's, fome time high-chancellor of England, and one of the greatest philofophers of his age. His works were publifhed in 1740, by Millar, in four folio volumes, with a life prefixed by the ingenious David Mallett, Efq; which, for elegance, accuracy, and tafte, is univerfally admired, and reckoned one of the best biographical pieces that ever was produced in this kingdom.
Gilbert fball live, &c.
Dr. William Gilbert, a learned writer of the feventeenth century, phyfician both to Queen Elizabeth and King James. Anno 1600, he published a valuable treatife on the magnet, or loadstone, and magnetical bodies, and of that great magnet the earth.
And noble Boyle, not less in nature seen
The Hon. Robert Boyle, feventh fon to Richard Earl of Cork and Burlington, was born in 1626-7, at Lifmore in Ireland. At eight years of age he was brought into England, and placed at Eton for education, where he continued near four years; and was then removed to Geneva, where he purfued his ftudies with intense application. He afterwards made the tour of Switzerland and Italy, and returning to England, on his father's death lived privately, moftly at Stalbridge and Oxford, during the trou bles. He first planned the Royal Society, of which Dr. Charleton was alfo one of the firft members. He applied himself chiefly to philofophical and mathematical ftudies; and we owe to him the invention of the air-pump. His works are numerous, large, and useful; his knowledge was very extensive, and his virtues worthy of admiration. He died in 1691, aged ixty
five, and lies buried in the chancel of St. Martin's-in-the-fields London. He was tall, flender, and emaciated, with a pale caft of countenance, weak eyes, and much afflicted with the ftone. The delicacy of his constitution obliged him to live very abstemioufly, and he was a good chriftian.
His brother was the famous Roger Boyle, Earl of Orrery, known during the inter-regnum, under the name of Lord Broghill. He was a folid ftatefman, an intrepid foldier, and a good writer. He wrote fome political pieces relating to the affairs of Ireland; befdes eight plays, and feveral poems. His first play, entitled Henry the Fifth, was dreffed in cloaths given to the actors by the king and his courtiers. Betterton, who played the part of Owen Tudor, wearing the king's coronation fuit; that of the Duke of York was worn by Joe Harris, whom we fhall anon mention as an author, who played King Henry, &c.
The circling ftreams
From dark oblivion Harvey's name fhall fave;
Dr. William Harvey, an eminent physician of the seventeenth century, being lecturer of anatomy and furgery in the college of phyficians, communicated his discovery of the circulation of the blood in his public lectures of the year 1616, which being afterwards published to the world in the Exercitatio anatomica de motu cordis et fanguinis, was attacked by Æmilius Parifanus, who wrote a Refutatio Harvei, &c. to which Dr. George Ent printed a reply. He died in his eightieth year, anno 1657.
Thefe ruins fheltered once, &c.
In the dedication, made by Dr. Charleton, of his book, concerning Stone Henge to King Charles II. there is the following memorable paffage, which gave occafion to the fix concluding lines of this poem. "I have had the honor to hear from that "oracle of truth and wisdom, your majefty's own mouth: you "were pleased to visit that monument, and, for many hours to"gether, entertain yourself with the delightful view thereof, "when after the defeat of your loyal army at Worcester, Al"mighty God, in infinite mercy to your three kingdoms, miraculously delivered you out of the bloody jaws of those ministers "of fin and cruelty."
To the Lady Castlemain.
Mr. Dryden's firft play called the Wild Gallant, was exbibited with but indifferent fuccefs. The lady whofe patro
nage he acknowledges in this epiftle, was Barbara daughter of William Villiers Lord Grandifon, who was killed in the king's fervice at the battle of Edge-hill in 1642, and buried in Chriftchurch in Oxford. This lady was one of Charles II's favorite miftreffes for many years, and the bore him feveral children. 1. Charles Fitzroy, duke of Southampton; 2. Henry Fitzroy, earl of Eufton and duke of Grafton; 3. George Fitzroy, earl of Northumberland; 4. Charlotta, married to Sir Edward Henry Lee of Ditchley in Oxfordshire, afterwards earl of Litchfield, and brother to Eleonora countefs of Abingdon, on whom Dryden has written a beautiful elegy; 5. A daughter, whom the king denied to be his.
This lady was, before fhe was known to his majefty, married to Roger Palmer efq; who was created earl of Castlemain, by whom she had a daughter, whom the king adopted, and who married with Thomas lord Dacres, earl of Suffex.
The countess of Caftlemaine was afterwards created dutchefs of Cleveland.;
To Mr. Lee on his Alexander the Great.
Nat. Lee, the author of Alexander the Great and ten other plays, feemed infpired with all the enthusiasm of a poet. He often writes to the heart; and no man ever touched with more grace and tenderness on the paffion of love. His thoughts, fays Addison, are wonderfully fuited for tragedy; but frequently loft in fuch a croud of words, that it is hard to fee the "beauty of them. There is infinite fire in his works; but fo "involved in smoke, that it does not appear in half its lustre.”
Lee, who was both an author and an actor, was for fome time confined in Bedlam, being in a ftate of infanity; and is faid to have perished in the streets by night, a coach running over, and crushing him to death. Dryden and he were in ftrict friendship.
To the Earl of Roscommon, &c.
Wentworth Dillon, earl of Rofcommon in Ireland, and a native of that kingdom, was educated under bishop Hall in England, and was looked upon as one of the most hopeful young men of his time. He was captain of the band of penfioners; but gave up his commiffion, when his private affairs called him
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, scientific, and unaffected; his imagination fruitful and fprightly; his judgment severe ; his ftyle clear and nervous; and if he was not always perfect, let us remember no man ever was. Mr. Pope, in the Effay on Criticifin fpeaks thus of him:
Rofcommon, not more learn'd than good,
There are two quarto editions of the excellent poem occafioning these lines, the firft of 1680, the second 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 thefe verses were transcribed. In a letter of his to George duke of Buckingham, dated at Ratisbon, October 21, 1689, we have the following paffage :
"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 disastrous to the "state; 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 verification."
To Mr. Thomas Southerne, on his Comedy called The Wives Excufe!
The fuccefs of this play was but indifferent; but fo 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 în 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 feveral dramatic pieces, none of which now keep the stage 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 Birón, 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.
To Henry Higden, Efq; on his tranflation of the tenth fatire of Juvenal.
I have not feen this tranflation, and therefore could not fix the date of it exactly; but as our author published his Juvenai 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 hárdly of the ill ufage; for the Bear-Garden critics treated it with cat-calls. It is printed, and dedicated to the courtly Earl of Dorset: Sir Charles Sedley wrote the prologue, and it was ushered into the world with feveral copies of verses. The audience were difmiffed 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. Congrève.
England and Ireland both have contended for the birth of this miracle of wit; and that the former is entitled to that honor,