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LETTERS OF DRYDEN.
The Letters of Dryden, so far as hitherto given to a satisfaction in sceing how such a man expressed the public, are, with a few exceptions, singularly himself, even upon the most trivial occasions; and uninteresting. To the publication of some, which I have therefore retained those complimentary ac are knowu to exist, there were found to occur still knowledgments of turkeys, marrow pullings, sad stronger objections. I have been only able to add bacon, which have nothing but such a considerados one to those collected by Mr. Malone; and I was to recommend them, strongly tempted to omit several. There is, however,
willingly dwell longer on; and, in this case,
what ever I say you may confidently lake for TO THE FAIRE HANDS OF MADAME HONOR gospell. But I must basten. And indeed, DRIDEN, THESE CRAYE ADMITTANCE.* Madame, (beloved I had almost sayd,) bee had
need hasten who treats of you ; for to speake MADAME,
Camb. May 23, 16[55.) sully to every part of your excellencyes, requires If you have received the lines I sent by the a longer houre than most persons* have allotted reverend Levile, I doubt not but they have ex- them. But, in a word, your selle hath been ceedingly wrought upon you; for beeing so the best expositor upon the text of your longe in a clergyman's pocket, assuredly they own worth, in that admirable comment you have acquired more sanctity than theire authour wrote upon it; I meane your incomparable meant them. Alasse, Madame! for ought I letter. By all that's good, (and you, Madame, know, they may become a sermon ere they are a great part of my oath,) it hath put mee could arrive at you; and believe it, haveing you so farre besides my selfe, that I have scarce for the text, it could scarcely proove bad, if it patience to write prose, and my pen is stealing light upon one that could handle it indifferently. into verse every time I kisse your letter. I am But I am so miserable a preacher, that though sure, the poor paper emarts for my idolatry, I have so sweet and copious a subject, I still fall which, by wearing it continually neere my brest, short in my expressions; and, instead of an will, at last, be burnt and martyrd in those use of thanksgiving, I am allways makeing one flames of loration, which it bath kindled in of comfort, that I may one day againe bave the mee. But I forgeli, Madame, what rarityes happinesse to kisse your faire hand; but that your letter came fraught with, besides words. is a message I would not so willingly do by You are such a deity that commands worship letter, as by word of mouth.
by provideing the sacrifice. You are pleasd, This is a point, I must confesse, I could Madame, to force me to writo, by sending me
materialls, and compell me to my greatest hapo • The lady to whom this letter is addressed was pinesse. Yet, though I highly value your uncle, Sir John Dryden She probably was born, magnificent presente, pardon mee, if I must tell (says Mr. Malone,) about the year 1637, and died un the world, they are imperfect emblems of your married, some time after 1707.
The sea, (ne adds.) under which runs a piece of beauty ; for the white and red of ware and blue riband, is a crest of a demi-lion, on a wreath, paper are but shaddowes of that vermillion and holding in his paws an armillary sphere at the end
snow in your lips and forehead; and the silver of a stand. The letter seems in reply to one from the fair lady, with a present of writing materials. It • Person quasi parson, which word was originis a woful sample of the gallantry of the time, al. ally so spelled. The custom of preaching by an ternately coarse and plantic.
hour.glass has been before noticed.
of the inkehorne, if it presume to vye in white- address. I find, it is not for me to contend any Desse with your purer skinne, must confesse way
with your Lordship, who can write better itselle blacker then the liquor il containes. on the meanest subject, then I can on the best. What then do I more then retrieve your own I have only engaged my selle in a new debt, guifts, and prosent you with that paper adullore when I had hoped to cancell a part of the old aled with blolls, which you gave spotlesse ? one; and should either have chosen some other For, since, 'twas mine, the white hath lost its
patron, whom it was in my power to have hiew,
obliged by speaking better of him then he deTo show 'twas nicre It selle, but whilst in you: serv'd, or have made your Lordship only a The virgin waxe hath blushi it selfe to rol, Since it with mce hath lost its myilenhead.
hearty Dedication of the respect and honour I You, fairesi nyinph, are waxe, Oh! muy you be had for you, without giving you the occasion to As well in sofuesse, as in purity! Till fate, and your own happy choice, reveale,
conquer mc, as you have donc, at my own Whoin you so farre shall blesse, to make your Weapon. seile.
My only relief is, that what I have written Fairest Valentine, tho unfeigned wishe of your is publique, and I am so much my own friend
as to conceal your Lordship's letter ; for that Jo. DRYDEN. which would have given vanity to any other
poet, has only given me confusion.
You see, my Lord, how far you have push'd mc; I dare not own the honour you have done
for fear of shewing it to my own disadvan· LETTER II.*
tage. You are that rerum natura of your own.
Lucretius ; TO (JOHN WILMOT,) EARL OF ROCHESTER.
Ipsa suis pollens opibus, nihil indiga nostri. MY LORD, Tuesday, (July, 1673.)
You are above any incense I can give you, I have accused my sclfe this month together,
and have all the happiness of an idle life, joind for not writing to you. I have called my selle with the good nature of an active. Your friends by the names I deserved, of unmannerly and in town are ready to envy the leisure you have ungratefull. I have been uncasy, and takon
given your selfe in the country, though they up the resolutions of a man, who is betwixt sin know you are only their steward, and that you and repentance, convinc'd of what he ought to treasure up but so much health as you intend do, and yet unable to do bettcr. At the last
to spend on them in winter. In the mean time, I deserred it so long, that I almost grew hare you have withdrawn your selie from attendance, dened in the neglect; and thought I had suf the curse of couris; you may think on what fered so much in your good opinion, that it was
you please, and that as little as you please ; in vain to hope I could redeem it. So danger. for, in my opinion, thinking it selfe is a kind of ous a thing it is to be inclin'd to sloath, that I pain to a witty man; he finds so much more in must confess, once for all, I was ready to quit it to disquiet than to please him. But I hopo all manner of obligations, and to receive, as if your Lordship will not omiit the occasion of it were my due, the most handsome complic laughing at the great Duke of B[lickingham,) ment, conch'd in the best language I have read, who is so uneasy to himselse by pursuing the honand this too from my Lord of Rochester, with
our of lieutenant-general, which flyes him, that out shewing myself sensible of the favour. if he can enjoy nothing ho possesses, though, at your Lordship could condescend so far to say
the same time, he is so unfit to command my all those things to me, which I ought to have army, that he is the only man in the three nasay'd to you, it might reasonably be concludod, tha! you had enchanted me to believe those
• Lord Rochester translated some part of Lucre.
tius, praises, and that I owned them in my silence. + In the year 1672. Monsieur Schomberg was in. Twas this consideration that moved me at last
vitel into England to communi the army raised for
the Dutch war, then encamped on Blackheath. He to put off my idleness. And now the shame
was to be joined in this command with Villiers, of scring my selle overpay'd so much for an ill Duke of Buckingham, who held a commission of Dedicalica, has made me almost repent of my
lieutenant general only. But when Schomberg ar rivel, he refused to serve cqually with Bucking.
him, anıl was made ueneral; on which the other A copy of this letter is in the Muscum, MSS. resigncil his commission in disglist. (See Sheffiell, Harl. 7003. "The Delication alludel to, must have Duke of Buckingham's Nemoire, p. 5.) Dryilen, been that of Marrin A-la-Monic," which Ro still smarting under the “Rehearsal," just then chester baul replicilny a lciler of thanks; and wo coine out, was probably not sorry to take this ophave here Dryilen's reply. The date is supplied by portunity to turn the author's pretensions into ridl. Dir. Matone from internal evidence.
tions, who does not know it; yet he still picques for our players when they went down to Oxford. himself, like his father, to find another Isle of I hear they have succeeded; and by the event Rhe in Zealand ;* thinking this disappointment your Lordship will judge bow easy 'tis to pass an injury to him, which is indeed a favour, and any thing upon an university, and bow gross will not be satisfied but with his own ruin and flattery the learned will endure.* with ours. 'Tis a strange quality in a man to lordship had been in town, and I in the country, love idleness so well as to destroy his estate by I durst not have entertained you with three it; and yet, at the same time, to pursue so vio- pages of a letter ; but I know they are very ill lently the most toilsome and most unpleasant things which can be tedious to a man who is part of business. These observations would fourscore miles from Covent Garden. soon run into lampoon, if I had not forsworn on this confidence, that I dare almost promise to that dangerous part of wit ; not so much out of entertain you with a thousand bagate'les every good nature, but lest from the inborn vanity of week, and not to be serious in any part
of poels I should show it to others, and betray letter, but that wherein I take leave to call mymy selfe to a worse mischief than what I do to sell your lordship's my enemy. This has been lately the case of
Most obedient servant, Etherege, who, translating a satyr of Boileau's,
JOHN DRYDEX. and changing the French names for English, read it so often, that it came to their ears who were concerned, and forced him to leave off the design, ere it were half finished. Two of the
LETTER IIL verses I remember:
(The following note and letter contain the deter# call a spade, a spade; Eaton, a bully;
mination of a dispute, and probably of a wager, Frampton,: a pimp; and brother John, a cully. which had been referred to our author by the par.
ties. It concerns a passage in Creech's "LucreBut one of his friends imagin'd those naines not tius," and probab'y was written soon after the pubenough for the dignity of a satyr, and chang'd lication
of that translation in 1652, when it was a them thus :
recent subject of conversation. The full passage in
"Lucretius" runs thus: I call a spade, a spade; Dunbar, a bully:
Præterea quæcunque vetustate amovet atas,
Unele animale genus generatim iu lusaina tila
Besides, if n'er whatever years prevail, * Eight thousand land- forces were embarked on
Should wholly perish, and its matter fail,
How could the powers of all kind Venus breed board the English fleet, to make a descent in Zea.
A constant race of animals to succeed? land. + Sir John Eaton was a noted writer of songs at
The translation of Creech is at least complicated the time.
and unintelligible; and I am uncertain whether Mr. Malone conjectures Tregonwell Frampton, even Dryden's explanation renders it grammatical. keeper of the royal stud at Newmarket; who was
Dryden speaks elsewhere with great applauso of born in 1641, and died in 1727. Brother John must
Crecch's translation, remain in obscurity.
The original of this decision (in Dryden's handProhably the grandson of Sir George Hume, writing) is in the possession of Mrs. White of created Earl of Dunbar by James the First, in 1605.
Bownham-hall, Gloucestershire, and was most obli. Henry Brouncker, younger brother of William, gingly communicated to the editor by that lady Viscount Brouncker. He was a gentleman of the through the medium of Mr. Constable of EdinDuke or York's bed chamber, and carried the false
burgh.] order to slacken sail, after the great battle in 1665, when the Duke was asleep, by which the advantage gained in the victory was entirely lost. There is a great cloud over the story; but that Bruuncker was an infamous character, must be concluded on all The two verses, concerning which the dishands. He was expelled the House of Commons; and countenanced by the king more than he de.
pute is raised, are these : served, being" never notorious for any thing but Besides, if o're whatever yeares prevalle the highest degree of impudence, and stooping to Shou'd wholly perish, and its matter faile. the most intamous offices."-Continuation of Clar. endon's Life, quoted by Malme.
The question arising from them is, whether Aubrey de Vere, the twentieth and last Earl of Oxford, of that family. This nobleman seduced an
any true grammaticall construction can be made temment actress (sald, by some authorities, to be
of them? The objection is, that there is no Mrs. Marshall, but conjectured, by Mr. Malone, to nominative case appearing to the word perish, or have been Mrs. Davenport) to exchange her pros that can be understood to belong to it. fession for his protection. The epithet, applied to him in the lines, renders it improbable that he imposed on her by a mock warriage though the story * The Prologue and Epilogue in question may have is told by Count Hamilton, and others.
been those spoken by Mr. Hart, and Mrs. Marshall
I have considered the verses, and find the au you the favour of presenting my acknowledgthor of them to have notoriously bungled ; that ments to them; and shou'd be proud to heere he has plac'd the words as confus’dly if he from you, whether they rest satisfyed in my had studied to do so. This notwithstanding, opinion, who am, the very words, without adding or diminishing
Sir, in theire proper sence, (or at least what the au
Your most humble servant, thour meanes,) may run thus :- Besides, if
John DRYDEN." what ever yeares prevaile over, should wholly petish, and ils matter faile. I pronounce therefore, as impartially as I can
LETTER IV. upon the whole, that there is a nominative case, and that figurative, so as Terence and Virgil,
THE REV. DR. BU SBY. amongst others, use it; that is, the whole clause precedent is the nominative case to perish. My
Wednesday Morning, (1682.] reason is this, and I think it obvious; let the
HONOUR'D SIR, question be ask'd, what it is that shou'd wholly
We have, wil much ado, recover'd my perish, or that perishes ?. The answer will be, younger sonnt who came home extreamly sick That which yeares prevaile over.
If you will
of a violent cold, and, as he thinks him selfe, a not admit a clause to be in construction a nom
chine-cough. The truth is, his constitution is inative case, the word thing, illud, or quod very tender; yet his desire of learning, I hope, cunque, is to be understood, either of which
will inable him to brush through the college. words, in the feminine gender, agree with res,
He is allwayes gratefully acknowledging your so that he meanes what ever thing time prevails fatherly kindnesse to him; and very willing, to over shou'd wholly perish, and its matter faile.
his poore power, to do all things which may Lucretius his Latine runs thus :
continue it. I have no more to add, but only to Præterea, quæcunque vetustate amovet ætas, wish the eldest may also deserve some part of Si penitus perimit, consumens matcriam omnem,
your good opinion; for I believe him to be of Unde animale genus, generatim in lumina vitæ Redducit Venus ? &c.
vertuous and pious inclinations; and for both, I which ought to have been translated thus :
dare assure you, that they can promise to them
selves no farther share of my indulgence, then Besides, what ever time removes from view,
while they carry them selves with that reverIf he destroys the stock of matter too, From whence can kindly propagation spring,
ence to you, and that honesty to all others, as of every creature, and of every thing?
becomes them. I am, honour'd Sir, I translated it whatever purposely, to shew,
Your most obedient servant and scholar, that thing is to be understood ; wbich, as the
John Dryden.t words are heere plac'd, is so very perspicuous, that the nominative case cannot be doubted.
The word perish, used by Mr. Creech, is a verb neuter; where Lucretius puts perimit,
LETTER V. which is active; a licence which, in translating a philosophical poet, ought not to be taken; for
TO THE REV. DR. BUSBY. some reason, which I have not room to give. But lo comfort the loser, I am ape to believe, SIR,
(1682.) that the cross-grain confused verse put him so If I could have found in my selfe a fitting much out of patience, that he wou'd not suspect temper to have waited upon you, I had done it it of any sence.
• 'There is no address or superscription.
* John Dryden, admitted a king s scholar in 1692. The company having done me so great an
1 This letter from Lady Elizabeth Dryden seems
to have been written at the same time, and on the honour as to make me their judge, I desire from same subject :
Honoured Sir, Ascension Day, (1682.) But, in this case, the date of their being delivered has I hope I need use noe other argument to you in exbeen placed too late. Exact accuracy is of little cuse of my sonn for not coming to church to Westminconsequence; but I fear the bint in the letter gives ster then this, that he now lies at home, and thear. some reason for Toru Brown's alleging that Dryden fore cannot esilly goe soe far backwards and for. flattered alternately the wils of the town at the wards. His father and I will take care that he cost of the university, and the university scholars shall duely goe to church heare, both on holydayes at the expense of the London audience. I cry that and Sundays, till he comes to be more nearly under facetious person mercy, for having said there was your care in the college. In the mean time, will nu proof of his accusation.
you please to give me leave to accuse you of forgeta
the day you dismissed my sonn* from the col- difference with you, if it can possibly be avoyida lege: for he did the message ; and by what I ed. Yet, as my sonn stands now, I cannot see find from Mr. Meredith, as it was delivered by with what credit he can be elected; for, being you to him; namely, that you desired to see me, but sixth, and (as you are pleased to judge,) not and had somewha! to say to me concerning deserving that neither, I know not whether he him. I observed likewise somewbal of kind- may not go immediately to Cambridge, as well nesse in it, that you sent him away, that you as one of his own election went to Oxford this might not have occasion to correct hiin. I ex- yeare* by your consent. I will say nothing of amined the business, and found, it concern'd my second sonn, but that, after you had been his having been custost loure or five dayes 10- pleased to advise me to waite on my Lord gether. But if he admonished, and was not Bishop for his favour, I found he might have believed, because other boyes combined to dis- had the first place if you had not opposed it; credit him with false witnesseing, and to save and I likewise found at the election, that, by the them selves, perhaps his crime is not so great. pains you had taken with him, he in sonce sort Another fault it seems, he made, which was go- deserved it. ing into one Hawkes his house, with some oth- I hope, sir, when you have given your selfe ers; which you hapning to see, sent your ser- the trouble to read thus fart, you, who are a vant to know who they were, and he onely re- prudent man, will consider, that none comturned you my sonn's name ; so the rest escaped. plaine, but they desire to be reconciled at the
I have no fault to find with my sonn's punishe same time: there is no mild expostulation, at ment; for that is, and onght to be, reserv'd to least, which does not intimate a kindness and any master, much more to you, who have been respect in him who makes il. Be pleas'd, if his father's. But your man was certainly to
there be no merit on my side, to make it your blame to name him onely; and 'tis onely my own act of grace to be what you were formerly respect to you, that I do not take notice of it to lo my sonn. I have done something, so far to him. My first rash resolutions were, to have conquer my own spirit as to ask it; and, indeed, brought things past any composure, by imme- I know not with what face to go to my Lord diately sending for my sonn's things out of col- Bishop, and to tell him I am take ing away both lege ; but upon reflection, I find, I have a double my sonns; for though I shall tell him no occatye upon me not to do it: one, my obligations to sion, it will looke like a disrespect to my old you for my education; another, my great ten- master, of which I will not be guilty, if it be dernesse of doeing any thing offensive to my possible. I shall add no more, but hope I shall Lord Bishop of Rochester, 1 as cheife governour be so satisfyed with a favourable answer from of the college. It does not consist with the you, which I promise to my selfe from your honour I beare him and you to go so precipi- goodnesse and moderation, that I shall still tately to worke ; no, not so much as to have any
have occasion to continue,
Sir, ting your prommis conserning my eldest sonn, who, Your most obliged humble servant, as you once assured me, was to have one night in a
John Dryden. weeke alowed him to be at home, in considırasion both of his health and cleanliness. You know, Sir, that promises mayd to women, and espiceally moth. ers, will never faille to be be cald upon; and thearfore I will add noe more, but that I am, at this time,
LETTER VI. your remembrancer, and allwayes, honnord Sir,
Your humble servant,
E. DRYDEN, TO LAURENCE HYDE, EARL OF ROCHESTER. I • His eldest son Charles, as Mr. Malone supposes.
* In the hall of the college of Westminster, when the boys are at dinner, it is, er officio, the place of
(Perhaps Auguet 1883.) the second boy, in the second election, to keep order I know not whether my Lord Sunderland has among the two under elections; and if any word, after he has ordered silence, he spoken, except in
interceded with your Lordship for half a yeare Latin, he says to the speaker, Tues Custos; and this term passes from the second speaker to the third, • Mr. Malone says, "The person meant was Rob. or more, till dinner is over. Whoever is then cus- ert Morgan, who was elected with Charles Dryden Los, has an imposition.
into the college of Westminster, in 1690, and is the It is highly probable, (adds the very respectable only one of those then admitted, who was elected gentleman, to whom I am indebted for this informa- to Oxford in 1692. That circumstance, therefore, tion) that there had formerly been a lessera or sim. ascertains the year when this letter way written." bolum, delivered from hoy to boy, as at some French + The two last letters are printed from Mr. Ma. schools now, and that custos meant custos tessera, lone's copy, to whom the originala were communi. symboli, &c.; but at Westminster, the symbol is cated by Mr. John Nichols, author of the History of totally unknown at present.- Malone.
Leicestershire. 1 Dr. John Dolben, then Bishop of Rochester, I To this curious and valuable letter, Mr. Malono afterwards of York,
has added the address to Rochester and the date,