« EelmineJätka »
married to a beautiful young woman; and after this, let him be made a parallel to Plutarch.
And now with the usual vanity of Dutch prefacers, I could load our author with the praises and commemorations of writers; for both ancient and modern have made honourable mention of him: but to cumber pages with this kind of stuff, were to raise a distrust in common readers that Plutarch wants them. Rualdus indeed has collected ample testimonies of them : but I will only recite the names of some, and refer you to him for the particular quotations. He reckons Gellius, Eusebius, Himeríus the Sophister, Eunapius, Cyrillus of Alexandria, Theodoret
, Agathias, Photius and Xiphilin, patriarchs of Constantinople, Johannes Sarisberiensis, the famous Petrarch, Petrus Victorius, and Justus Lipsius.
But Theodorus Gaza, a man learned in the Latin tongue, and a great restorer of the Greek, who lived above two hundred years ago, deserves to have his suffrage set down in words at length; for the rest have only commended Plutarch more than any single author, but he has extolled him above all together.
It is said, that, having this extravagant question put to him by a friend, that if learning must suffer a general shipwreck, and he had only his choice left him of preserving one author, who should be the man he would preserve? he answered, Plutarch; and probably might give this reason, that, in saving him, he should secure the best collection of them all.
The Epigram of Agathias deserves also to be remembered. This author flourished about the year five hundred, in the reign of the Emperor Justinian; the verses are extant in the “ Anthologia," and with the translation of them I will conclude the praises of our author; having first admonished you, that they are supposed to be written on a statue erected by the Romans to his memory:
Σείο πολυκλήεντα τύπον στήσαντο Χερων
Πλούταρχι κρατερών υιέες Αυσονίων
Ρώμης ενπολέμοις ήρμοσας εναέταις"
Ουδε σύν αν γράψαις, και γάρ όμοιον έχεις.
Cheronean Plutarch, to thy deathless praise
HISTORY OF THE LEAGUE.
The reader must recal to his mind the state of parties during the last years of Charles the Second's reign, to which so many allusions have been made in the notes upon “ Absalom and Achitophel,” and “The Medal.” The flight of Shaftesbury, and the discovery of the Rye-house conspiracy, had been deep wounds to the credit of the Whigs. The wealthy part of the nation dreaded a party, whose chief support was in the riotous mob of London; and men of principle, while they felt the severity of a government, which seemed approaching towards despotism, abhorred the assassination which a part at least of the popular leaders had meditated as a remedy. The king, meanwhile, was anxious to keep the advantage he had gained, and to stigmatise his adversaries as leagued together against him upon principles inimical to all kingly governments. For this purpose, Dryden was enployed to translate from the French of the Jesuit Maimbourg, the “ History of the League," a work undertaken in France under the auspices of Louis XIV. The evident intention of bringing out this translation at the time when it appeared, was, to increase the unpopularity of the Whigs, by ascribing to the association which Shaftesbury had proposed, the same motives and principles which actuated the members of the League, and plunged France into the long and bloody civil war between their kings and the house of Guise. Dryden had already drawn such a parallel in the play, called “The Duke of Guise," which he wrote in conjunction with Lee. The intended parallel between the faction of the League in France, and that of the Solemn League and Covenant, and afterwards of the Whigs in England, was avowed in the first lines of the prologue,* and more largely in the vindication of the play, which
* Our play's a parallel : the Holy League
Vol. VII. p. 19.