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valls of physique, and other remedies which I am useing for my gravel, I am still drudgeing on: always a poet, and never a good one. I pass my time sometimes with Ovid, and sometimes with our old English poet Chaucer; translateing such stories as best please my fancy; and intend, besides them, to add somewhat of my own; so that it is not impossible, but ere the summer be pass'd, I may come down to you with a volume in my hand, like a dog out of the water, with a duck in his mouth. As for the rarities you promise, if beggars might be choosers, a part of a chine of honest bacon wou'd please my appetite more than all the marrow puddings; for I like them better plain, having a very vulgar stomach. My wife, and your cousin, Charles, give you their most humble service, and thanks for your remembrance of them. present my own to my worthy cousin, your husband, and am with all respect, Madam,
Your most obliged servant,
Mrs. Stewart, att Cotterstock
near Oundle, in Northamptonshire, These. To be left with the Postmaster of Oundle.
TO MRS. STEWAR.
MADAM, Thursday, Feb. 9th. -98 [-9.] FOR this time I must follow a bad example, and send you a shorter letter than your short one: you were hindered by dancers, and I am forced to dance attendance all this afternoon after a troublesome business, so soon as I have written this and seal'd it. Onely I can assure that your father and mother, and all your you, relations, are in health, or were yesterday, when I sent to enquire of their welfare. On Tuesday night we had a violent wind, which blew down three of my chimneys, and dismantled all one side of my house, by throwing down the tiles. My neighbours, and indeed all the town, suffered more or less; and some were kill'd. The great trees in St. James's Park are many of them torn up from the roots; as they were before Oliver Cromwell's death,*
• Our author commemorated this circumstance in his "Elegy on the Protector:"
The isle, when her protecting genius went, Upon his obsequies loud sighs conferr'd.
and the late queen's: but your father had no damage. I sent my man for the present you designed me; but he return'd empty-handed; for there was no such man as Carter, a carrier, inning at the Bear and Ragged Staff in Smithfield, nor any one there ever heard of such a person; by which I ghess that some body has deceiv'd you with a counterfeited name. Yet my obligations are the same; and the favour shall be always own'd by,
Your most humble servant, and kinsman,
For Mrs. Stewart,
Att Cotterstocke neare Oundle, &c.
TO MRS. STEWARD.
March the 4th, 1698 [-9.]
I HAVE reason to be pleas'd with writeing to you, because you are daily giveing me occasions to be pleas'd. The present which you made me this week, I have receiv'd; and it will be part of the treat I am to make to three of my friends about Tuesday next: my cousin Driden, of Chesterton, having been also pleas'd to add to it a turkey hen with eggs, and a good young goose; besides a very kind letter, and the news of his own good health, which I value more than all the rest; he being so noble a benefactor to a poor and so undeserving a kinsman, and one of another persuasion in matters of religion. Your enquiry of his welfare, and sending also mine, have at once oblig'd both him and me. I hope my good cousin Stewart will often visite him, especially before hunting goes out,* to be a comfort to him in his sorrow for the loss of his deare brother,† who was a most extraordinary well-natured man, and much my friend. Exercise, I know, is my cousin Dryden's life, and the oftner he goes out will be the better for his health. We poor Catholics daily expect a most severe proclamation to come out against us ; and at the same time are
satisfyed that the King is very unwilling to persecute us, considering us to be but an handfull, and those disarmed; but the archbishop of Canterbury is our heavy enemy, and heavy indeed he is in all respects.*
This day was played a revived comedy of Mr. Congreve's, called, "The Double Dealer," which was never very takeing. In the playbill was printed" Written by Mr. Congreve; with severall expressions omitted." What kind of expressions those were, you may easily ghess, if you have seen the Monday's Gazette, wherein is the king's order for the reformation of the stage:* but the printing an author's name in a play-bill is a new manner of proceeding, at least in England. When any papers of verses in
"Scribe securus, quid agit Senatus, Quid caput stertit grave Lembethanum, Quid comes Guilford, quid habent novorum Dawksque Dyerque."-Malone. The London Gazette, No. 3474, Monday, Feb. 27 1698-9, contains the order alluded to:
"His majesty has been pleased to command, that the following order should be sent to both Playhouses:
"His majesty being informed, that, notwithstanding an order made the fifth of June, 1697, by the Earl of Sunderland, then lord chamberlain of his majes ty's household, to prevent the profaneness and immorality of the stage, several plays have lately been acted, containing expressions contrary to religion and good manners: And whereas the master of the revels has represented, that, in contempt of the said order, the actors do often neglect to leave out such profane and indecent expressions as he has thought proper to be omitted: These are therefore to signify his majesty's pleasure, that you do not hereafter presume to act any thing in any play, contrary to religion and good manners, as you shall answer it at your utmost peril. Given under my hand this 18th of February, 1698, in the eleventh year of his majesty's reign. "Pere Bertie.
"An order has been likewise sent, by his majesty's command, to the master of the revels, not to license any plays containing expressions contrary to religion and good manners; and to give notice to the lord chamberlain of his majesty's household, or, in his absence, to the vice-chamberlain, if the players presume to act any thing which he has struck out."
manuscript, which are worth your reading, come abroad, you shall be sure of them; because being a poetess yourself, you like those entertainments. I am still drudging at a book of Miscellanyes, which I hope will be well enough; if otherwise, threescore and seven will be pardon'd. Charles is not yet so well recover'd as I wish him; but I may say, without vanity, that his virtue and sobriety have made him much belov'd in all companies. Both he and his mother give you their most humble acknowledgments of your rememb'ring them. Be pleas'd to give mine to my cousin Stewart, who am both his and your
Most obliged obedient servant,
You may see I was in hast, by writeing on the wrong side of the paper.
For Mrs. Steward, etc. ut supra.
TO MRS. STEWARD.
Tuesday, July the 11th, [1699.]
As I cannot accuse my self to have receiv'd any letters from you without answer, so, on the other side, I am oblig'd to believe it, because you say it. 'Tis true, I have had so many fitts of sickness, and so much other unpleasant business, that I may possibly have receiv'd those favours, and deferr'd my acknowledgment till 1 forgot to thank you for them. However it be, I cannot but confess, that never was any unanswering man so civilly reproach'd by a fair lady. I presum❜d to send you word by your sisters* of the trouble I intended you this summer; and added a petition, that you would order some small beer to be brew'd for me without hops, or with a very inconsiderable quantity; because I lost my health last year by drinking bitter beer at Tichmarsh. It may perhaps be sour, but I like it not the worse, if it be small enough. What els I have to request, is onely the favour of your coach, to meet me at Oundle, and to convey me to you: of which I shall not fail to give you timely notice. My humble service attends my cousin Stewart and your relations at Oundle. My wife and sonn desire the same favour; and I am particularly, Madam, Your most obedient servant, JOHN DRYDEN.
For Mrs. Stewart, etc.
The beautiful fables.
† Dorothy and Jemima Creed; the latter of whom died Feb. 23, 1705-6, and was buried at Tichmarsh.
TO SAMUEL PEPYS, ESQ.*
July the 14th, 1699. I REMEMBER, last year, when I had the honour of dineing with you, you were pleased to recommend to me the character of Chaucer's "Good Parson." Any desire of yours is a command to me; and accordingly I have put it into my English, with such additions and alterations as I thought fit. Having translated as many Fables from Ovid, and as many Novills from Boccace and Tales from Chaucer, as will make an indifferent large volume in folio, I intend them for the press in Michaelmas.term next. In the mean time, my parson desires the favour of being known to you, and promises, if you find any fault in his character, he will reform it. Whenever you please, he will wait on you, and for the safer conveyance, I will carry him in my pocket; who am
My Padrons most obedient servant,
For Samuel Pepys, Esq.
Answer to the foregoing, by Mr. Pepys. Friday, July 14, 1699. You truly have obliged mee; and possibly, in saying so, I ain more in earnest then you can readily think; as verily hopeing, from this your copy of one "Good Parson," to fancy some amends made mee for the hourly offence I beare with from the sight of so many lewd originalls.
The founder of the Pepysian library, Magdalen College, Cambridge. He was secretary to the Admi"He ralty in the reign of Charles II. and James II. first (says Granger, Biogr. Hist. iv. 322.) reduced the affairs of the Admiralty to order and method; and that method was so just, as to have been a standing model to his successors in that important office. His Memoirs' relating to the Navy is a well-written piece; and his copious collection of manuscripts, now remaining with the rest of his library at Magdalen College Cambridge, is an invaluable treasure of naval knowledge. He was far from being mere man of business: his conversation and address had been greatly refined by travel. He thoroughly understood and practised music; was a judge of painting, sculpture, and architecture; and had more than a superficial knowledge in history and philosophy. His fame among the virtuosi was such, that he was thought to be a very proper person to be placed at the head of the Royal Society, of which he was some time [1685, 1686,] president. His prints have been already mentioned. His collection of English Ballads, in five large folio volumes, begun by Mr. Selden, and carried down to 1700, is one of his singular curiosities. -Ob. 26 May, 1703."
TO MRS. STEWARD.
MADAM, Saturday, Aug.5th, 1699. THIS is only a word, to threaten you with a troublesome guest, next week: I have taken places for my self and my sonn in the Oundle coach, which setts out on Thursday next the tenth of this present August; and hope to wait on a fair lady at Cotterstock on Friday the eleventh. If you please to let your coach come to Oundle, I shall save my cousin Creed the trouble of hers. All heer are your most humble servants, and particularly an old cripple, who calls him self
Your most obliged kinsman,
For Mrs. Stewart, Att
TO MRS. STEWARD.
Sept. 28th, 1699.
MADAM, YOUR goodness to me will make you sollicitous of my welfare since I left Cotterstock. My journey has in general been as happy as it cou'd be, without the satisfaction and honour of your company. 'Tis true, the master of the stage-coach has not been over civill to me; for he turned us out of the road at the first step, and made us go to Pilton; there we took in a fair young lady of eighteen, and her brother, a young gentleman; they are related to the Treshams, but not of that name: thence we drove to Higham, where we had an old serving-woman, and fine mayd: we dined at Bletso, and lay young at Silso, six miles beyond Bedford. There we put out the old woman, and took in Councellour Jennings his daughter; her father goeing along
in the Kittering coach, or rideing by it, with other company. We all dined at Hatfield together, and came to town safe at seaven in the evening. We had a young doctour, who rode by our coach, and seemed to have a smickering* to our young lady of Pilton, and ever rode before to get dinner in a readiness. My sonn, Charles, knew him formerly a Jacobite; and now going over to Antigoo, with Colonel Codrington, haveing been formerly in the West Indies. Which of our two young ladies was the handsomer, I know not. My son liked the Councellour's daughter best: I thought they were both equall. But not goeing to Tichmarsh Grove, and afterwards by Catworth, I missed my two couple of rabbets, which my cousin, your father, had given me to carry with me, and cou'd not see my sister by the way; I was likewise disappointed of Mr. Cole's Ribadavia wine: but I am almost resolved to sue the stage-coach, for putting me six or seaven miles out of the way, which he cannot justify.
Be pleased to accept my acknowledgment of all your favours, and my Cousin Stuart's; and by employing my sonn and me in any thing you desire to have done, give us occasion to take our revenge on our kind relations both at Oundle and Cotterstock. Be pleas'd, your father, your mother, your two fair sisters, and your brother,‡ may find my sonn's service and mine made acceptable to them by your delivery; and believe me to be with all manner of gratitude, give me leave to add, all manner of adoration, Madam,
Your most obliged obedient servant, JOHN DRYDEN.
which I have given them,* that they may the better endure the sight of so great a judge and poet. I am now in feare that I purged them out of their spirit; as our Master Bushby us'd to whip a boy so long, till he made him a confirm'd blockhead. My cousin Driden saw them in the country; and the greatest exception he made to them was a satire against the Dutch valour in the last war. He desir'd me to omit it, (to use his own words,) "out of the respect he had to his Sovereign." I obeyed his commands, and left onely the praises, which I think are due to the gallantry of my own countrymen. In the description which I have made of a parliament-man, I think that I have not only drawn the features of my worthy kinsman, but have also given my own opinion of what an Englishman in Parliament ought to be; and deliver it as a memorial of my own principles to all posterity. I have consulted the judgment of my unbyass'd friends, who have some of them the honour to be known to you: and they think there is nothing which can justly give offence in that part of the poem. I say not this to cast a blind on your judgment, (which I could not do, if I endeavoured it,) but to assure you, that nothing relateing to the publique shall stand without your permission; for it were to want common sense to desire your patronage, and resolve to dis oblige you. And as I will not hazard my hopes of your protection, by refusing to obey you in any thing which I can perform with my conscience or my honour, so I am
1 Christopher Codrington, Governor of the Caribbee Islands.
Colonel John Creed, a gallant soldier. He died at Oundle, Nov 21, 1751, aged 73, and was buried in the church of Tichmarsh.
§ The superscription of this letter is wanting ;
but that it was addressed to Mr. Montague, is ascertained by the words-" From Mr. Dryden," being indorsed on it, in that gentleman's handwriting. Charles Montague, (afterwards Earl of Halifax,) was at this time First Lord of the Treasury, and Chancellor of the Exchequer; the latter of which offices he had held from the year 1694. The date is supplied by the subsequent letter.- Malone.
The verses addressed to his kinsman, John Driden, of Chesterton, Esq.-The former poem which had been submitted to Mr. Montague, was that addressed to Mary, Duchess of Ormond. They were both inserted in the volume of Fables which was then printing. See the next letter.- Malone.
†The lines alluded to occur in the Epistle to Driden of Chesterton. They are very cautiously worded; yet obviously imply that opposition to government was one quality of a good patriot Dryden, sensible of the suspicion arising from his politics and religion, seems, in this letter, to deprecate Montague's displeasure, and to prepossess him in favour of the poem, as inoffensive toward the gov ernment. I am afraid that indemnity was all he had to hope for from the protection of this famed Mæcenas; at least, he returns no thanks for benefits hitherto received; and of these he was no niggard where there was room for them. Pope's bitter verses on Halifax are well known :
"Dryden alone what wonder came not nigh,
very confident you will never impose any other terms on me. My thoughts at present are fix'd on Homer; and by my translation of the first Iliad, I find him a poet more according to my genius than Virgil, and consequently hope I may do him more justice in his fiery way of writeing; which, as it is liable to more faults, so it is capable of more beauties, than the exactness and sobriety of Virgil. Since 'tis for my country's honour, as well as for my own, that I am willing to undertake this task, I despair not of being encourag'd in it by your favour, who am,
Sir, Your most obedient servant, JOHN DRYDEN.
TO MRS. STEWARD.
Nov. 7th, [1699.] MADAM, EVEN your expostulations are pleasing to me; for though they shew you angry, yet they are not without many expressions of your kindness; and therefore I am proud to be so chidden. Yet I cannot so farr abandon my own defence, as to confess idleness or forgetfulness on my part. What has hind'red me from writeing to you, was neither ill health, nor, a worse thing, ingratitude; but a flood of little businesses, which yet are necessary to my subsistance, and of which I hop'd to have given you a good account before this time but the court rather speaks kindly of me, than does any thing for me, though they promise largely; and perhaps they think will advance as they go backward, in which they will be much deceived; for I can never go an inch beyond my conscience and my honour.* If they will consider me as a man who has done my best to improve the language, and especially the poetry, and will be content with my acquiescence under the present government, and forbearing satire on it, that I can promise, because I can perform it; but I can neither take the oaths, nor forsake my religion; because I know not what church to go to, if I leave the Catholique; they are all so divided amongst them selves in matters of faith necessary to salvation, and yet all assumeing the name of Protestants. May God be pleas'd to open your eyes, as he has open'd mine! Truth is but one; and they who have once heard of it, can plead no excuse, if they
Dryden probably alludes to some expectations through the interest of Halifax. They were never realized; whether from inattention, or on account of his politics and religion, cannot now be known.
do not embrace it. But these are things too serious for a trifling letter.
If you desire to hear any thing more of my affairs, the Earl of Dorsett, and your cousin Montague, have both seen the two poems, to the Duchess of Ormond, and my worthy cousin Driden; and are of opinion, that I never writt better. My other friends are divided in their judgments, which to preferr; but the greater part are for those to my dear kinsman; which I have corrected with so much care, that they will now be worthy of his sight, and do neither of us any dishonour after our death.
There is this day to be acted a new tragedy, made by Mr. Hopkins,* and, as I believe, in rhime. He has formerly written a play in verse, call'd "Boadicea," which you fair ladyes lik'd; and is a poet who writes good verses without knowing how or why; I mean, he writes naturally well, without art, or learning, or good sence. Congreve is ill of the gout at Barnet Wells. I have had the honour of a visite from the Earl of Dorsett, and din'd with him.-Matters in Scotland are in a high ferment,† and next door to a breach betwixt the two nations; but they say from court, that France and we are hand and glove. 'Tis thought, the king will endeavour to keep up a standing army, and make the stirr in Scotland his pretence for it; my cousin Driden, and the country party, I suppose, will be against it; for when a spirit is raised, 'tis hard conjuring him down again.You see I am dull by my writeing news; but it may be my cousin Creed§ may be glad to
Charles Hopkins, son of Hopkins, Bishop of Derry, in Ireland. He was educated at Cambridge, and became Bachelor of Arts in 1688; he afterwards bore arms for King William in the Irish wars. In 1694, he published a collection of epistolary poems and translations; and in 1695, "The History of Love," which last gained him some reputation. Dorset honoured Hopkins with his notice; and Dryden himself is said to have distinguished him from the undergrowth of authors. He was careless both of his health and reputation, and fell a martyr to excess in 1700, aged only thirty-six years. Hopkins wrote three plays, 1. "Pyrrhus, King of Epirus," 1695; 2. Boadicea, Queen of Britain," 1697; 3. "Friendship Improved." This last is mentioned in the text as to he acted on 7th November.
The fate of the Scottish colony at Darien, accelerated by the inhuman proclamations of William, who prohibited his American subjects to afford them assistance, was now nearly decided, and the nation was almost frantic between rage and disappointment. "The most inflammatory publications had been dispersed among the nation, the most violent addresses were presented from the towns
and counties, and whosoever ventured to dispute or doubt the utility of Darien, was reputed a public enemy, devoted to a hostile and corrupt court.”Laing's History, Book x.
Mr. John Driden of Chesterton, member for the county of Huntingdon.
§ Mrs. Steward's father, Mr. John Creed, of Oundle.