« EelmineJätka »
gotten the ship's name, which your mother will enquire, and put it into her letter, which is joined with mine. But the master's name I remember; he is called Mr. Ralph Thorp; the ship is bound to Leghorn, consigned to Mr. Peter and Mr. Tho. Ball, merchants. I am of your opinion, that, by Tonson's means, almost all our letters have miscarried for this last year.* But, however, he has missed of his design in the dedication, though he had prepared the book for it; for, in every figure of Eneas he has caused him to be drawn like King William, with a hooked nose.‡
After my return to town, I intend to alter a play of Sir Robert Howard's, written long since, and lately put by him into my hands; 'tis called the "Conquest of China by the Tartars."§ It will cost me six weeks study, with the probable benefit of an hundred pounds. In the mean time, I am writing a song for St. Cecilia's Feast, who, you know, is the patroness of music. This is troublesome, and no way beneficial; but I could not deny the stewards of the feast, who came in a body to me to desire that kindness, one of them being Mr. Bridgman, whose parents are your mother's friends. I hope to send you thirty guineas between Michaelmass and Christmass, of which I will give you an account when I come to town. I remember the counsel you give me in your letter; but dissembling, though lawful in some cases, is not my talent; yet, for your sake, I will struggle with the plain openness of my nature, and keep in my just resentments against that degenerate order. In the mean time, I flatter not myself with any manner of hopes, but do my duty, and suffer for God's sake; being assured, beforehand, never to be
This seems to imply a suspicion, though an odd one, that Jacob, being bent to convert Dryden to his
own views of politics, intercepted his sons' letters from Rome, as proceeding from an interest hostile to his views. (See p. .) His earnest wish was, that the neid should be inscribed to King William. †The translation of Virgil.
1 In MS. Harl. p. 35, in the Museum, are the following verses, occasioned by this circumstance:
To be published in the next edition of Dryden's Virgil.
Old Jacob, by deep judgment sway'd, To please the wise beholders, Has placed old Nassau's hook-nosed head On poor Æneas' shoulders.
'To make the parallel hold tack,
Methinks there's little lacking; One took his father pick-a-pack,
And t'other sent his packing.'
rewarded, though the times should alter. Towards the latter end of this month, September, Charles will begin to recover his perfect health, according to his nativity, which, casting it myself, I am sure is true; and all things hitherto have happened accordingly to the very time that I predicted them. I hope, at the same time, to recover more health, according to my age. Remember me to poor Harry, whose prayers I earnestly desire. My Virgil succeeds in the world beyond its desert, or my expectation. You know, the profits might have been more; but neither my conscience nor my honour would suffer me to take them ;* but I never can repent of my constancy, since I am thoroughly persuaded of the justice of the cause for which I suffer. It has pleased God to raise up many friends to me amongst my enemies, though they, who ought to have been my friends, are negligent of me. I am called to dinner, and cannot go on with this letter, which I desire you to excuse; and am
Your most affectionate father,
In a copy I have seen of this epigram, "poor" Eneas is improved into "young" Eneas.
§ This Dryden never cffected, nor was Howard's play ever printed.
Probably the clergy of England.
My dear sons, I sent your letter emediately to your father, after I had read it, as you will find by his. I have not room to say much, having writ former letters to you, datted the 27 of August, your father being then out of town; he writes me word-he is much at woon as to his health, and his defnese is not wosce, but much as he was when he was heare. He expresses a great desire to see my deare Charlles; and trully I see noe reason why you should not both come together, to be a comfort to woon another, and to us both, if the King of France includ Ingland in the peace it for you doe but gust make shift to live wheare you are, and soe I hope you may doe heare; for I will leaf noe ston unturn'd to help my belov'd sonns. If I cane, I will send this letter by the same way it came ; that is,
it was brought me from woon Mr. Galowway, who corresponds with Rozie; I payd woon and sixpence for it, and do offer to pay him what he demandes, so that he would take ceare the [packet] might come safe to your handes. I long tell I heare my deare Charlles is better. I have only room to tell you the names of the merchantes your parcell went in; you are to demmand them of Mr. Robert Ball and Thommas Ball in Lindovino in Livorno. You are not to pay any charges for the box, for the port of London. If the have demanded any of you, send word to me what it is; for otherwayes wee shall pay twice for them; and this Mr. Walkeson telles me with his service to you both. Farwell, my deare children: God Almighty keep you in his protection, for that is the wishes and prayers of your most affec: mother, that sends her blessinge to you all; not forgetting my sonn Harry, whose prayers I desire for a comfortable meetinge. I hope I may have some better thinges against you come, than what is sent you in that box; there being nothing considurabell but deare Jackes play, who I desire in his next to me to give me a true account how my deare sonn Charlles is head dus; for I cane be at noe rest tell I heare he is better or rather thourely well, which I dally pray for.,*
TO MR. JACOB TONSON.
MR. TONSON, [f. Dec. 1697.] I THANK you heartily for the sherry; it was, as you sayd, the best of the kind I ever dranke. I have found the catalogue you desire, of the subscriber's names you left with me; and have sent them to you inclosed. Remember, in the copy of verses for St. Cecilia, to alter the name of Lais, which is twice there, for Thais; those two ladyes were contemporaryes, which causd that small mistake. I wish you cou'd tell me how to send my sonns our Virgil, which you gave me; and should be glad if you cou'd put me in a way of remitting thirty guineas to Rome, which I woud pay heer, for my sonns to have the vallue there, according as the exchange goes. Any time this fortnight will be soon enough to send the money: the book, I know, will require a lon
To account for the difference between the exquisite orthography of Lady Elizabeth's present epistle, and that to Dr. Busby, Mr. Malone suggests, that Dryden probably revised the latter before it was
MR. TONSON, Wednesday. [f. Dec. 1697.] I HAVE broken off my studies from the "Conquest of China," to review Virgil, and bestowed nine entire days upon him. You may have the printed copy you sent me to-morrow morning, if you will come for it yourself; for the printer is a beast, and understands nothing I can say to him of correcting the press. Dr. Chetwood claims my promise of the Ode on St. Cecilia's Day, which I desire you to send to him (according to the Parliament phrase) forthwith. My wife says you have broken your promise about the picture, and desires it speedily; the rest I will tell you when you come.
TO MR. JACOB TONSON
[f. Dec. 1697.] You were no sooner gone, but I felt in my pocket, and found my Lady Chudleigh's § verses; which this afternoon I gave Mr. Walsh to read in the coffee-house. His opinion is the same with mine, that they are better than any
* Tom Brown had, in the year of the Revolution, published "The Reasons of Mr. Bayes changing his Religion;" and in 1690, a second Part, called the "Late Converts Exposed." What this small wit now had in hand is difficult to guess; none of his direct attacks against Dryden appear in his works; but his insignificant enmity survived Dryden, for he wrote a burlesque account of the poet's funeral in verse, and libelled his memory in prose, in his "Letters from the Dead to the Living."
+ This labour he never resumed.
The Rev. Dr. Knightly Chetwood, an intimate friend of our author.
§ Mary Leigh, the wife of Sir George Chudleigh of Ashton, in the same county, bart. She died in the year 1710. Her life is among those of Ballard's "Learned Ladies." The verses mentioned in the text are not prefixed to the "Virgil," but printed in Lady Chudleigh's Poems.
which are printed before the book: so thinks also Mr. Wycherly. I have them by me; but do not send them till I heare from my Lord Clifford, whether my lady will put her name to them or not therefore I desire they may be printed last of all the copyes, and of all the book. I have also written this day to Mr. Chetwood, and let him know, that the book is immediately goeing to the press again. My opinion is, that the printer shou'd begin with the first Pastoral, and print on to the end of the Georgiques; or farther, if occasion be, till Dr, Chetwood corrects his preface, which he writes me word is printed very false. You cannot take too great care of the printing this edition exactly after my amendments; for a fault of that nature will disoblige me eternally.
I am glad to heare from all hands, that my Odef is esteemed the best of all my poetry, by all the town: I thought so myself when I writ it; but, being old, I mistrusted my own judgment. I hope it has done you service, and will do more. You told me not, but the town says you are printing Oyid de Arte Amandi. I know my translation is very uncorrect; but at the same time I know, nobody else can do it better, with all their paines. If there be any loose papers left in the Virgil I gave you this morning, look for them, and send them back by my man; I miss not any yet; but 'tis possible some may be left, because I gave you the book in a hurry. I vow to God, if Everingham takes not care of this impression, he shall never print any thing of mine heerafter: for I will write on, since I find I can.
I desire you to make sure of the three pounds of snuff, the same of which I had one pound from you. When you send it any morning, I will pay for it all together. But this is not the business of this letter.-When you were heer, I intended to have sent an answer to poor Charles his letter; but I had not then the letter which my chirurgeon promised me, of his advice, to prevent a rupture, which he fears. Now I have the surgeon's answer, which I have inclosed in my letter to my sonn. This is a business of the greatest consequence in the world; for you know how I love Charles: and therefore I write you with all the earnestness of
The preface to the "Pastorals."
The Ode for St. Cecilia's Day." It is pleasing to be assured, that the best of English lyrics was received with due honour on its first appearance.
I Our author only translated the First Book.
§ His son Charles had probably been much hurt by a dangerous fall at Rome; probably that mentioned by Mrs. Thomas, in her exaggerated account of his accident at the Vatican. In a former letter, his mother inquires particularly about his head.
father, that you will procure Mr. Francia* to inclose. it in his packet this week: for a week lost may be my sonn's ruine; whom I intend to send for next summer, without his brother, as I have written him word : and if it please God that I must dye of over-study, I cannot spend my life better than in saving his. I vallue not any price for a double letter; let me know it, and it shall be payd; for I dare not trust it by the post; being satisfy'd by experience, that Ferrand will do by this, as he did by two letters which I sent my sonns, about my dedicating to the king ;t of which they received neither. If you cannot go yourself, then send a note to Signior Francia, as earnestly as you can write it, to beg that it may go this day, I meane Friday. I need not tell you, how much herein you will oblige Your friend and servant,
TO MRS. STEWARD.
MADAM, Saturday, Octob. 1st -98. You have done me the honour to invite so often, that it would look like want of respect to refuse it any longer. How can you be so good
* Probably the Genoese resident at that time.. * See page 439.
1 Of Mrs. Steward Mr. Malone gives the following account:-"This lady, who was not less distinguished for her talents and accomplishments than her beauty and virtues, having been both a painter and a poetess, was the eldest surviving daughter of John Creed of Oundle, Esq. (secretary to Charles II. for the affairs of Tangier,) by Elizabeth Pickering, his wife, who was the only daughter of Sir Gilbert Pickering, Baronet, our author's cousin-german. Her eldest son, Richard Creed, as we have seen, fell in the battle of Blenheim, and was honoured with a monument in Westminster Abbey. Her eldest daughter, Elizabeth, was born in the year 1672, and, in 1692, married Elmes Steward of Cotterstock, in the county of Northampton, Esq.; where they principally resided. By this gentleman, who is said to have preferred field-sports to any productions of the Muses, she had three children; Elizabeth, who became the wife of Thomas Gwillim, Esq. of Old Court, in the parish of Whitchurch, near Ross in Herefordshire; Anne, who died unmarried; and Jemima, who married Elmes Spinckes of Aldwinkle, Esq. Mrs. Steward, who survived her husband above thirty years, in the latter part of her life became blind, in which melancholy state she died in the house of her son-in-law Mr. Gwillim, at the age of seventy-one, Jan. 17, 1742-3; and a monument was erected to her memory in the church of Whitchurch. The hall of Cotterstock-house was painted in fresco by her, in a very masterly style, and she drew several portraits of her friends in Northamptonshire. Her own portrait, painted by herself, is in the possession of her kinswoman, Mrs. Ord of Queen Anne Street."
to an old decrepid man, who can entertain you with no discours which is worthy of your good sense, and who can onely be a trouble to you in all the time he stays at Cotterstock. Yet I will obey your commands as far as possibly I can, and give you the inconvenience you are pleas'd to desire; at least for the few days which I can spare from other necessary business, which requires me at Tichmarsh. Therefore, if you please to send your coach on Tuesday next by eleven o'clock in the morning, I hope to wait on you before dinner. There is onely one more trouble, which I am almost ashamed to name. I am obliged to visit my cousin, Driden of Chesterton, some time next week, who is nine miles from hence, and only five from you. If it be with your convenience to spare me your coach thether for a day, the rest of my time till Monday is at your service; and I am sorry for my own sake it cannot be any longer this year, because I have some visits after my return hether, which I cannot avoyd. But if it please God to give me life and health, I may give you occasion another time to repent of your kindness, by makeing you weary of my company. My sonn kisses your hand. Be pleas'd to give his humble service to my cousin Steward, and mine, who am,
Your most obedient oblig'd servant, JOHN DRYDEN.
For my Honour'd Cousine,
TO ELMES STEWARD, ESQ. [Probably, Nov. 20, 1698.] MY HONOUR'D COUSIN,
I SHOU'D have received your letter with too much satisfaction, if it had not been allay'd with the bad news of my cousin your wife's indisposition; which yet I hope will not continue. I am sure, if care and love will contribute to her health, she will want neither from so tender a husband as you are; and indeed you are both worthy of each other. You have been pleased, each of you, to be kind to my sonn* and me, your poor relations, without any merit on our side, unless you will let our gratitude pass for our desert. And now you are pleas'd to invite
His eldest son Charles, who returned from Italy to England about the middle of the year 1698.
another trouble on your self, which our bad company may possibly draw upon you next year, if I have life and health to come into Northamptonshire; and that you will please not to make so much a stranger of me another time.-I intend my wife shall tast the plover you did me the favour to send me. If either your lady or you shall at any time honour me with a letter, my house is in Gerard-street, the fifth door on the left hand, comeing from Newport-street. I pray God I may hear better news of both your healths, and of my good cousin Creed's, and my cousin Dorothy, than I have had while I was in this country. I shall languish till you send me word; and I assure you write this without poetry, who am, from the bottome of my heart, My honour'd cousin's most obliged Humble servant,
My sonn and I kiss my cousin Steward's hand; and give our service to your sister, and pretty Miss Betty.
For my Honour'd Cousin,
Elmes Steward, Esq. Att Cotterstock.
TO MRS. STEWARD.
Nov. 23d, 1698. To take acknowledgments of favours for favours done you, is onely yours. I am always on the receiving hand; and you, who have been pleas'd to be troubled so long with my bad company, in stead of forgiveing, which is all I could expect, will turn it to a kindness on my side. If your house be often so molested, you will have reason to be weary of it, before the ending of the year: and wish Cotterstock were planted in a desart, an hundred miles off from any poet.-After I had lost the happiness of your company, I could expect no other than the loss of my health, which followed, according to the proverb, that misfortunes seldome come alone. I had no woman to visite but the parson's wife; and she, who was intended by nature as a help meet for a deaf husband, was somewhat of the loudest for my conversation; and for other things, I will say no more then that she is just your contrary, and
Mrs. Steward's father, Mr. John Creed.
Miss, or, in the language of that day, Mistress Dorothy Creed, second daughter of John Creed, Esq. t At Tichmarsh, after his return from Cotterstock.
an epitome of her own country. My journey to London was yet more unpleasant than my abode at Tichmarsh; for the coach was crowded up with an old woman fatter than any of my hostesses on the rode. Her weight made the horses travel very heavily; but, to give them a breathing time, she would often stop us, and plead some necessity of nature, and tell us, we were all flesh and blood: but she did this so frequently, that at last we conspired against her; and that she might not be inconvenienced by staying in the coach, turned her out in a very dirty place, where she was to wade up to the ankles, before she cou'd reach the next hedge. When I was ridd of her, I came sick home, and kept my house for three weeks together; but, by advice of my doctour, takeing twice the bitter draught, with sena in it, and looseing at least twelve ounces of blood, by cupping on my neck, I am just well enough to go abroad in the afternoon; but am much afflicted that I have you a companion of my sickness though I 'scap'd with one cold fit of an ague, and yours, I feare, is an intermitting feavour. Since I heard nothing of your father, whom I left ill, I hope he is recovered of his real sickness, and that your sister is well of hers, which was onely in imagination. My wife and sonn return you their most humble service, and I give mine to my cousin Steward.-Madam,
Your most obliged and
most obedient servant, JOHN DRYDEN. [The Superscription has not been preserved.]
TO MRS. STEWARD.
you are a prophetess; for the direction on your basket was for him; and he is likely to enjoy the greatest part of them: for I always think the young are more worthy than the old; especially since you are one of the former sort, and that he mends upon your medicine.-I am very glad to hear my cousin, your father, is comeing or come to town; perhaps this ayr may be as beneficiall to him as it has been to me but you tell me nothing of your own health, and I fear Cotterstock is too agueish for this season. My wife and sonn give you their most humble thanks and service; as I do mine to my cousin Steward; and am, Madam,
Your most oblig'd obedient servant,
ALL my letters being nothing but acknowledgments of your favours to me, 'tis no wonder if they are all alike: for they can but express the same thing, I being eternally the receiver, and you the giver. I wish it were in my power to turn the skale on the other hand, that I might see how you, who have so excellent a wit, cou'd thank on your side. Not to name my selfe or my wife, my sonn Charles is the great commender of your last receiv'd present; who being of late somewhat indispos'd, uses to send for some of the same sort, which we call heer marrow-puddings, for his suppers; but the tast of yours has so spoyl'd his markets heer, that there is not the least comparison betwixt them. You are not of an age to be a Sybill, and yet I think
For Mrs. Steward,
Att Cotterstock, near Oundle,
in the county of Northampton, These. To be left with the Postmsater of Oundle.
TO MRS. STEWARD.
MADAM, Candlemas-Day, 1698 [-9.] OLD men are not so insensible of beauty as, it may be, you young ladies think. For my own part, I must needs acknowledge, that your fair eyes had made me your slave before 1 received your fine presents. Your letter puts me out of doubt that they have lost nothing of their lustre, because it was written with your own hand; and not heareing of a feavour or an ague, I will please my self with the thoughts that they have wholly left you. I wou'd also flatter my self with the hopes of waiting on you at Cotterstock some time next summer; but my want of health may perhaps hinder me. But if I am well enough to travel as farr northward as Northamptonshyre, you are sure of a guest, who has been too well us'd not to trouble you again.
My sonn, of whom you have done me the favour to enquire, mends of his indisposition very slowly; the ayr of England not agreeing with him hetherto so well as that of Italy. The Bath is proposed by the doctours, both to him and me: but we have not yet resolved absolutely on that journey; for that city is so closs and so ill situated, that perhaps the ayr may do us more harm than the waters can do us good: for which reason we intend to try them heer first; and, if we find not the good effect which is promis'd of them, we will save our selves the pains of goeing thether. In the mean time, betwixt my inter