Page images



ROGER BOYLE, Earl of Orrery (1621–1679), author of Parthenissa that most Fam'd Romance, 1654 (an imitation of the manner of the Grand Cyrus), and of several plays. Henry the Fifth was acted in this year, 1664; Mustapha, the most successful of Lord Orrery's heroic plays, in 1665 (Pepys, Apr. 3, 1665, 'at the Duke's'; Betterton acted Solyman the Magnificent); the Black Prince, in 1667; Tryphon, a tragedy in rhyme, in 1668 (Pepys, Dec. 8, 1668): these were published in 1669, fol. Guzman, a comedy in prose, acted in 1669, was published in 1693. Herod the Great was printed in 1694, but never acted.

Page 3, line 8. a romance: Cyropaedia.

1. 9. a tragedy: Ajax. (Suetonius, Aug. 85) 'Nam tragoediam magno impetu exorsus, non succedenti stilo, abolevit, quaerentibusque amicis quidnam Aiax ageret, respondit, Aiacem suum in spongiam incubuisse.'

P. 4, 1. 20. invisible: Congreve's emendation. The old copies (including the Folio 1701) have invincible, which reading is retained by Malone. Malone probably remembered 'his dimensions to any thick sight were invincible,' 2 Hen. IV, i. 2, which in his commentary he interprets not to be mastered.' But neither this uncommon usage of the word, nor the ordinary meaning of invincible, agrees with Dryden's context, or his general manner of expressing himself. Either meaning of invincible would be puzzling, and Dryden does not make difficulties for his readers in the subordinate parts of his sentences. It is true that it was never corrected in the editions published in Dryden's lifetime; but Dryden was not fond of revising.

P. 5, 1. 26. leave to borrow words from other nations. See Introduction, p. xxx.

P. 5, 1. 35. Queen Gorboduc. The commentator is obliged to repeat that Gorboduc was a king of Britain, and that his tragedy was written in blank verse, except the choruses.

P. 6, 1. 1. Lord Buckhurst, afterwards Earl of Dorset. Thomas Sackville (1536–1608), Lord Buckhurst 1567, Lord Treasurer 1599, Earl of Dorset 1604, author of Gorboduc and of the Induction to the Mirror for Magistrates, with the Tragedy of Henry Duke of Buckingham in the same work, was great-grandfather of Charles, Lord Buckhurst (Eugenius in the Essay of Dramatic Poesy); see below, p. 289.

1. 10. Barclay. Jean Barclay, whose father came from Aberdeen to France, was born at Pont à Mousson in 1582; died in 1621. His best known work is Argenis, a Latin romance requiring a key to explain its allegory of contemporary history. Cowper recommended it as 'the most amusing romance that ever was written. It is the only one indeed of an old date that I ever had the patience to go through with. It is interesting in a high degree; richer in incident than can be imagined, full of surprises, which the reader never forestalls, and yet free from all entanglement and confusion. The style too appears to me to be such as would not dishonour Tacitus himself' (to Mr. Rose, Aug. 27, 1787). Dryden's quotation is from the Icon Animarum, c. iv, the fourth part of the Satyricon of Euphormio, Barclay's 'Varronian Satire' (cf. the Preface to Juvenal, vol. ii. p. 67).

Malone, in his Additions and Emendations, has given the passage: 'Anglis ut plurimum gravis animus seipsos et suae gentis mores ingenia animos eximie mirantur,' &c.

P. 7, l. 14. Mr. Waller. This is Dryden's first acknowledgement of the authority of Waller, with whom is associated Sir John Denham, in the reformation of English verse. From this time onward the reference becomes a commonplace among historians of literature, like the recognition of Wyatt and Surrey as the founders of the Elizabethan school. See Preface to Fabies, vol. ii. p. 259. Compare Dryden's Preface to Walsh's Dialogue concerning Women, 1691: 'Mr. Waller, the father of our English numbers.... I hope the reader need not be told that Mr. Waller is only mentioned for honour's sake; that I am desirous of laying hold on his memory on all occasions, and thereby acknowledging to the world that unless he had written, none of us could write.'

[ocr errors]

1. 25. The Siege of Rhodes, by Sir William Davenant, first acted and printed in 1656; acted, with a second part, in 1662; printed 1663, 4°. Also in Davenant's Works, 1673, fol. 'The First and Second Part as they were lately represented at His Highness the Duke of York's Theatre in Lincoln's Inn Fields. The First Part being lately Enlarg'd.'

1. 30. Sir Philip Sidney, in his Defence of Poesy. 'Now that Verse farre exceedeth Prose in the knitting up of the memory, the reason is Manifest,' &c. (ed. Arber, p. 50). But Sidney is not comparing rhyme and blank verse: 'one word so as it were begetting another as be it in ryme or measured verse, by the former a man shall have a neere gesse to the follower.'

P. 8, 1. 8. that like an high-ranging spaniel, it must have clogs tied to it. Cf. Shakespeare, Tempest, i. 2. 81:

'To trash for overtopping,'

and note in Madden, Diary of Master William Silence, 1897, p. 39. P. 9, 1. 2. as Scaliger says of Claudian. 'Maximus poeta Claudianus, solo argumento ignobiliore depressus, addit de ingenio quantum deest materiae' (Scaligeri Poetices vi. qui et Hypercriticus, cap. 5).



P. 10, 1. 18. Admiral, the Duke of York; Generals, ' Prince Rupert and Duke Albemarl sent to sea' is Dryden's note to stanza 47 in the Poem. Compare stanza 191:

'Each several Ship a victory did gain,
As Rupert or as Albemarl were there.'

P. 11, 1. 28. those who rank Lucan rather among historians in verse, than epic poets. Petronius, Satyr. c. 118, in the stock quotation, 'Non enim res gestae versibus comprehendendae sunt, quod longe melius historici faciunt,' &c., which is followed by the long specimen of a historical poem, declaimed by Eumolpus ingenti bile. Compare also Quintilian X. i. 90: 'Lucanus ardens et concitatus et sententiis clarissimus et ut dicam quod sentio magis oratoribus quam poetis imitandus.' Dryden, like all the men of his time, was familiar with the sentence of Petronius, but here he is probably thinking mainly of a passage in Davenant's preface to Gondibert, which he had just been reading :-'Lucan, who chose to write the greatest actions that ever were allowed to be true (which for fear of contemporary witnesses, oblig'd him to a very close attendance upon Fame) did not observe that such an enterprize rather beseem'd an Historian than a Poet : For wise Poets think it more worthy to seek out truth in the Passions, than to record the truth of Actions; and practise to describe Mankind just as we are perswaded or guided by instinct, not particular persons, as they are lifted or levell'd by the force of Fate, it being nobler to contemplate the general History of Nature, than a selected Diary of Fortune And Painters are no more than Historians, when they draw eminent persons (though they term that drawing to the life)

but when by assembling divers figures in a larger Volume they draw Passions (although they term it but Story) then they increase in dignity and become Poets.'

P. 11, 1. 32. quatrains. Used by Surrey, Spenser (Colin Clout's come Home again, &c.), Sir John Davies (Nosce Teipsum), Davenant (Gondibert). Heroic couplets were not yet established as the noblest form of verse, though used by Cowley in his heroic poem Davideis.

P. 12, 1. 22. female rimes: disyllabic rhymes, with the stress on the penultimate; e.g. sliding, dividing; thrilling, fulfilling; wonder, thunder. Cf. Sidney, Apologie for Poetrie, ed. Arber, p. 71: 'Lastly even the very ryme it selfe, the Italian cannot put in the last silable, by the French named the Masculine ryme, but still in the next to the last, which the French call the Female; or the next before that, which the Italians terme Sdrucciola.' And above, p. 278, 1. 5.

1. 26. Alaric, by George de Scudery; Pucelle, by Jean Chapelain. See Preface to Juvenal, vol. ii. p. 28, and Dedication of Æneis, vol. ii. p. 165, 1. 6, and note.

1. 30. Dryden has misnamed the verse of Chapman's Iliads; not Alexandrine but Septenarian, fourteen syllables, 'common metre,' 8s and 6s.

1. 35. Preface to Gondibert. 'I shall say a little why I have chosen my interwoven Stanza of four, though I am not oblig'd to excuse the choice, for numbers in Verse must, like distinct kind of Musick, be exposed to the uncertain and different taste of several Ears. Yet I may declare, that I believ'd it would be more pleasant to the Reader in a Work of length, to give this respite or pause, between every Stanza (having endeavored that each should contain a period) than to run him out of breath with continued Couplets.'

P. 13, 1. 5. Lucan in the third of his Pharsalia. 1. 509 sqq. :

'Spes victis telluris abit, placuitque profundo
Fortunam tentare mari,' &c.

1. 12. general terms. Dryden changed his mind about terms of art, and in the Dedication of the Eneis has given the opposite view. The Annus Mirabilis is an Elizabethan poem reckless in the use of minute particulars. The admiration of technical terms in poetry is shared with Ronsard, who advised poets to learn the special dictionaries of trades. Thirty years later Dryden is in the position of Buffon, recommending the use of general terms where the style is to be dignified.

1. 15. Descriptas servare, &c. Hor. A. P. 86.

P. 14, 1. 2. Omnia sponte sua, &c., a perversion of Virgil, Georg. ii. 460, 'fundit humo facilem victum iustissima tellus.'

11. 22, 29. Wit writing: Wit written. The school-distinction which Dryden has in his mind is that of Natura naturans and Natura

« EelmineJätka »