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of my salary; but I have two other advocates, be made an exception to your general rules, * bemy extreme wants, even almost to arresting, cause I am, with all sincerity, and my ill health, which cannot be repaired Your Lordship's withoui immediate retireing into the country.

Most obedient humble servant, A quarter's allowance is but the Jesuit's pow

Joan DRYDEN, der lo my disease ; the fit will return a fortnight hence. If I durst, I would plead a little merit, and some hazards of my life from "he common enemyes; my refuseing advantages offered by

LETTER VII. them, and neglecting my beneficiall studyes, for the King's service : but I only thinke I merit

TO MR. JACOB TONSON. not to stervo. I never apply'd myselfe to any interest contrary to your Lordship's; and on

(The letters to Tonson are withont dates. I have some occasions, perhaps not known to you, retained those which Mr. Malone has allached to have not been unserviceable to the memory and

them, from circumstances of internal evidence

which it seems unnecessary to detail, but which reputation of my Lord, your father.* After

appear in general satisfactory, though not given as this, my Lord, my conscience assures me, I absolutely conclusive.) may write boldly, though I cannot speake to you I have three sonns growing to man's es


Monday Morning. (1684.1 tale : I breed them all up to learning, beyond my The two melons you sent I received before fortune ; but they are too hopefull to be neglect your letter, which came foure houres afier: I ed, though I want. Be pleased to looke on me tasted one of them, which was too good to need with an eye of compassion. Some small em an excise; the other is yet untouched. You ployment would render my condition easy. The have written diverse things which give me King is not unsatisfied of me; the Duke has great satisfaction ; particularly that the History often promised me his assistance; and your

of the League is commended : and I hope the Lordship is the conduit through which they onely thing I feared in it is not found our.t passe, either in the Customes, or the Appeals Take it all together, and I dare say without of the Excise, t or some other way, meanes

vanity, 'ris the best translation of any history cannot be wanting, if you please to have the in English, though I cannot say 'tis the best will. 'Tis enough for one age to have neglect history; but that is no fault of mine. I am ed Mr. Cowley, and sterv'd Mr. Buter; but glad my Lord Duke of Ormond has one; I did neither of them had the happiness to live till not forget him ; but I thought his sorrows were your Lordship's ministry. In the meane time, too fresh upon him to receive a present of that be pleased to give me a gracious and speedy nature. For my Lord Roscommon's Essay, s answer to my present request of halfe a yeare's I am of your opinion, that you should reprint pention for my necessityes. I am going to it, and that you may safely venture on a thouswrite somewhat by his Majesty's command. I and more. In my verses before it, pray let the and cannot stir into the country for my health printer mend his errour, and let the line stand and studies, till I secure my family from want.

thus : You have many petitions of this nature, and can That heer his conqu'ring ancestors were nurs:d :-( not satisfy all; but I hope, from your goodness, to

Charles his copy is all true. The other faults

my Lord Roscommon will mend in the booke, both of which are conjectural, Hyde, Earl of Ro. chester, was made first commissioner of the treasy. ry in 1679, and continued prine minister till sep. • This application was successful; and Dryden tember 1641. Let it be remembered by those men of else where expresses his gratitude, that his wants talents, who may be tempted to engage in the rea were attended to and relieved during the penury of of politics, that Dryden hus sued for what was his an exhausted Exchequer; Cowley's simile, he obunquestionable lue, within two years after having served, was reversed, and Gideon's fleece was written " Absalom and Achitophel," and " The Med. watered, while all around remained parched and al." in defence of the government, to whom he was arid. suppliant for so small a boon

+ What this circumstance was cannot now be disEllwand, Earl of Clarendon. It is uncertain in covered. what manner our anthor undertook his defence. I The Duchess of Ormond died July 1694.

The place which our author here solicits, (wortb $ The first edition of Lord Roscommon's "Essay only 2001, a year,) was the first office that Allison on Translated Verse" appeared in 1684, and a second obtained, which he used to call "the little thing edition was published by Jacob Tonson in 4to, early given me by Lord Hallfix." Locke also, after the in 1685, Revolution, was a commissioner of appeals.--Ma u In the first edition it stood, lone. I 'The "History of the League," entered on the

"That here his conquiring ancestors was nursd," Stationers' looks early in 1684, and "Englished by 1 Latin verses by Charles Dryden, prefixed to his Majestle's express command."

Lord Roscommon's Essay.

or Mr. Chetwood* for him, if my Lord he gone recovered of an intermitting feavour, of wbich for Ireland : of which pray send me word. this is the twelfth day; but he mends, and now

Your opinion of the Miscellanyost is likewise begins to eat flesh: to add to this, my nian, mine: I will for once lay by the Religio with over care of him, is falten ill too, of the Laici," till another time. But I must also add, same distemper; so that I am deep in doctors, that since we are to have nothing but new, I 'pothecaries, and nurses : but though many in am resolved we will have nothing but good, this country fall sick of feavours, lew or none whomever we disoblige. You will have of mine, dye. Your friend, Charles, * continues well. four Odes of Horace, which I have already If you have any extraordinary newes, I should translated; another small translation of fortybe glad to heare it. I will answer Mr. Buder's lines from Lucretius ; the whole story of Nisus letter next week for it requiros no hast. and Eurialus, both in the fifth and the ninth of

I am yours, Virgil's Æneids : and I care not who trans

JOHN DRYDEN. lates them beside me ; for let him be friend or foe, I will please myself, and not give off in consideration of any man. There will be forty lines more of Virgil in another place, to answer

LETTER VIII. those of Lucretius : I meane those very lines which Montagne has compared in those two FROM JACOB TONSON TO JOHN DRYDEN, ESQ. poets; and Homer shall sleep on for me,-I will not now meddle with him. And for the

(Probably written in Jan. or Feb. 1692-3.)* Act which remains of the Opera, f I believe I SIR, shall have no leysure to mind it, after I have I HAVE here returned ye Ovid, wch I read done what I proposed; for my business here is wih a great deal of pleasure, and think nothing to unweary my selfe after my studyes, not to

can be more entertaining ; but by this letter your drudge.

find I am not soo well satisfied as perhaps you I am very glad you have pay'd Mr. Jones, might think. I hope at ye same time the malbecause he has carryed him selfe so gentleman

ter of fact I lay down in this letter will appear like to me; and, if ever il lyes in my power, I grounds for it, and wch I beg you wou'd conwill requite it. I desire to know whether the cider of; and then I believe I shall at least bee Duke's House are makeing cloaths, and put

excused. ting things in a readiness for the singing Opera, You may please, Sr, to remember, that upon to be played immediately after Michaelmasse. s my first proposal about ye 3d Miscellany, i of For the actors in the two playesli which are to

fer'd fifty pounds, and talk'd of several authours, be acted of mine this winter, I had spoken with

without naming Ovid. You ask d if it shou'd Mr. Betterton by chance at the Coffee-house not be guynneas, and said I shou'd not repent the afternoon before I came away; and I be- it; upon wch I immediately comply'd, and left lieve that the persons were all agreed on, to be it wholy to you what, and for ye quantity 100: just the same you mentioned; only Octavia was

and I declare it was the farthest in yo world to be Mrs. Butler, in case Mrs. Cooke were from my thoughts that by leaving it to you I not on the stage; and I know not whether Mrs.

should have the less. Thus the case stood Percival, who is a comedian, will do well for when you went into Essex. After I came out Benzayda.

of Northamptonshire I wrote to you, and reI came hither for health, and had a kind of seived a letter dated Monday Oct. 3d, 92, from hectique feavour for a fortnight of the time: 1 wch letter I now write word for word what folam now much better. Poore Jackel is not yet

lowes : • Knightly Chet wood. He wrote Lord Roscom

“I am translating about six hundred lines, or mon's life.

somewhat less, of ye first book of the Metamor1 Dryden was now about to publish the second phoses. If I cannot get my price, wch shall be volume of the Miscellanies; in which it would ap

twenty guynneas, I will translate the whole pear to have been sellied, that nothing should be inserted but what was new. "Religio Laici," book; wch coming out before the whole transtherefore, as baving been formerly published, was lation, will spoy! Tate's undertakings. 'Tis laid aside for the present. : Probably "Albion and Albanius," which was

one of the best I have ever made, and very afterwards completed and ready to be performed in pleasant. This, wih Heroe and Leander, and February 1694-5

the piece of Homer, (or, if it be not enough, I $ The singing Opera was probably that of " King

will add more,) will make a good part of a Arthur," to which " Albion and Alhunius' was originally designed as a prelude. But it was not Miscellany." acted till uter the Revolution. "All for Love," and " The Conquest of Granada" • Ris eldest son. 1 His second son.

The Third Miscellany was published in July 1693

Those, Sr, and ye very words, and ye onely

LETTER IX. ones in that letter relating to that affair ; and ye Monday following you came to town.- After

TO MR. JACOB TONSON.* your arrivall you shew'd Mr. Motteaux what you had done, (wch he told me was to ye end MR. TONSON,

August 30. (1693-) of ye story of Daphnis,) (Daphne,) and de I am much asham'd of my self, that I am manded, as you mention'd in your letter, twenty

so much behind-hand with you in kindness. guyneas, wch that bookseller refus’d. Now, Above all things I am sensible of your good Br, I the rather believe there was just soe much nature, in bearing me company to this place, done, by reason ye number of lines you mention wherein, besides the cost, you must needs negin yor letter agrees wth ye quantity of lines that lect your own business ; but I will endeavour soe inuch of ye first book makes; wch upon to make you some amends; and therefore I counting ye Ovid, I finde to be in ye Lartin 566, desire you to command me something for your in ye English 759; and ye bookseller told me service. I am sure you thought my Lord Radthere was noe more demanded of him for it. clyffet wou'd have done something: 1 ghess'd. Now, Sr, what I entreat you wou'd please 10 more truly, that he cou'd not; but I was

loo far consider of is this: that it is reasonable for me ingag'd to desist, though I was tempted to it by to expect at least as much favour from you as a

the melancholique prospect I had of it. I have strange bookseller; and I will never believe yt translated six hundred lines of Ovid; but I beit can be in yr nature to use one ye worse for lieve I shall not compasse bis 772 lines under leaveing it to you; and if the matter of fact as nine hundred or more of mine.-This time I I state it be true, (and upon my word what I cannot write to my wife, because he who is to mention I can shew you in yor letter,) then carry my letter to Oundle, will not stay till I pray, Sr, consider how much dearer I pay then can write another. Pray, sir, let her know that you offered it to ye other bookseller; for he I am well; and for feare the few damsins might have had to ye end of ye story of Daph- shou'd be all gone, desire her to buy me nis for 20 guynneas,

wch is in yor translation sieve-full, to preserve whole, and not in mash. I 759 lines ;

I intend to come up at least a weck before And then suppose 20 guynneas

Michaclmass; for Sir Matthewş is gone abroad, more for the same number

759 lines,

1 suspect a wooeing, and his caieche is gone

with him : so that I have been but thrice at that makes for 40 guynneas

1518 lines; Tichmarsh, of which you were with me once. and all that I have for fifty guynneas are but

This disappointment makes the place weary1446; soe that, if I have noe more, I pay 10

some to me, which otherwise wou'd be pleasant. guynneas above 40,and have 72 lines less for fifty, About a fortnight ago I had an intiination in proportion, than the other bookseller shou'd from a friend by letter, that one of the secretahave had for 40, at ve rate you offered him yeryes, I suppose Trenchard,|| had informed the first part. This is, Sir, what I shall take as a great favour if you please to think of. I had

• The author was at this time in Northampton.

shire. The original has no date but August 30th; intentions of letting you know this before ; but but the year is ascertained by the reference to the tili I had paid ye money, I would not ask to see

Third Miscellany, which was published in July

1693.- Malone. the book, nor count the lines, least it shou'd look

# To whom the Third Miscellany is dedicated. I like a design of not keeping my word. When fear this alludes to some disappointment in the pe. you have looked over ye rest of what you have

cuniary compliment usual on such occasions.

* This commission will probably remind the readalready translated, I desire you would send it ; er of the poetic diet recommended by Bayes.-"II and I own yt if you don't think fit to add some am to write fainilíar things, as sonnets to Armida, thing more, I must submit : 'uis wholly at yor

and the like, I make use of stered prunes only; but,

when I have a grand design in hand, I ever take choice, for I left it entirely to you ; but I believe physic, and let blood; for, when you would have you cannot imagine I expected so little ; for

pure swiftness of thought, and fiery fights of fan.

cy, you must have a care of the pensive part. In you were pleased to use me much kindlyer in

fine, you must purge the belly. Juvenall, whch is not recon'd soe easy to trans Smith. By my troth, sir, this is a most admirable late as Ovid. Sr, I humbly beg yor pardon for

receipt for writing.

Bayes. Ay, 'tis my secret; and, in good earnest, this long letter, and upon my word I had rather I think one of the best I have."- Rehearsal, Act I. have yor good will than any man's alive ; and, diligence, with which the most trivial habits and

This is an instance of the minute and malicious whatover you are pleased to doe, will alway tastes of our author were ridiculed in the “Reacknowledge my self, Sr,

hearsal." Yor most obliged humble Servt,

$ Sir Matthew, with whom Dryden appears to

have resided at this time, is unknown. J. TONSON.

I Sir John Trenchard, who was made one of the

queen, that I had abus'd her government (those when they commend, and silence is their highwere the words) in my epistle to my Lord Rad- est panegyrick. 'Tis indeed impossible, that I cliffe ; and that thereopon she had commanded should refuse to love a man, who has so often her bistoriographer, Rymer, to fall upon my given me all the pleasure that the most insatiaplayes ; which he assures me is now doeing. ble mind can desire: when at any time I have I doubt not his malice, from a former hint you been dejected by disappointments, or tormented gave me; and if he be employ'd, I am confi- by cruel passions, the recourse to your verses dent 'tis of his own seeking ; who, you know, has calmed my soul, or raised it to transports has spoken slightly of me in his last critique :* which made it contemn tranquility. But though and that gave me occasion to snarl againe. In you have so often given me all the pleasure I your next, let me know what you can learn of was able to bear, I have reason to complain of this matter. I am Mr. Congreve's true lover, you on this account, that you have confined my and desire you to tell him, how kindly I take delight to a narrower compass, Suckling, his often remembrances of me; I wish him all Cowley, and Denham, who formerly ravished prosperity, and hope I shall never loose his af

me in every part of them, now appear tasteless fectiun; nor yours, sir, as being

to me in most; and Waller himsell, with all his Your most faithfull,

gallantry, and all that admirable art of his turns, And much obliged Servant, appears three quarters prose to me. Thus,

John DRYDEN. 'tis plain, that your Muse has done me an inI had all your letters.

jury ; but she has made me amends for it. For Sir Matthew had your book when he came she is like those extraordinary women, who, behome last; and desir'd me to give you his ac- sides the regularity of their charming features, knowledgements.

besides their engaging wit, have secret, unac. countable, enchanting graces; which though they have been long and often enjoyed, make them

always new and always desirable.-I return you LETTER X.

my hearty thanks for your most obliging letter.

I had been very unreasonable if I had repined MR. JOHH DENNIST TO MR. DRYDEN. that the favour arrived no sooner. 'Tis allow

able to grumble at the delaying a payment ; but DEAR SIR,

to murmur at the deferring a benefit, is to be You may seo already by this presumptuous impudently ungrateful beforehand. The comgreeting, that encouragement gives as much mendations which you give me, exceedingly assurance to friendship, as it imparts to love, sooth my vanity. For you with a breath can You may see loo, that a friend may semetimes bestow or confirm reputation ; a whole number. proceed to acknowledge affection, by the very less people proclaims the praise which you same degrees by which a lover declares his give, and the judgments of ihree mighty kingpassion. This last at first confesses esteem, doms appear to depend upon yours. The peoyet owns no passion but admiration. But as

ple gave me some little applaiise before ; but to soon as he is animated by one kind expression, whom, when they are in the humour, will they his look, his style, and his very soul are altered. not give it ? and to whom, when they were from But as sovereign beauties know very well, that ward, will they not refuse it? Reputation with he who confesses he esteems and admires them, them depends upon chance, unless they are implies that he loves them, or is inclined to guided by those above them. They are but the love them : a person of Mr. Dryden's exalted keepers, as it were of the lottery which Fortune genius, can discern very well, that when we es

sets up for renown ; upon which Fame is bound teem him highly, 'tis respect restrains us, if we to attend with her trumpet, and sound when say no more. For where great esteem is with

men draw the prizes. Thus I had rather havo out affection, 'tis often atiended with envy, if your approbation than the applause of Fame. not with hate; which passions detract even Her commendation argues good luck, but Mr.

Dryden's implies desert. Whatever low Secretaries of state, March 23, 1691-2, died in office opinion I have hitherto had of myself, I have so in April 1695.

***A short view of tragedy," published (as appears great a value for your judgmeni, that for the from the Gentleman's Journal, by P. Motteux,) in sake of that, I shall be willing henceforward to December 1692. The date in the title-page is 1693. * Dennis, the critic, afterwards so unfortunately

believe that I am nor wholly desertless; but distinguished by the satire of Pope. Like Rymer,

that you may find me still more supportable, I and others, he retained considerable reputation for critical acumen, until he attempted to illustrate his

shall endeavour to compensate whatever I want precepts by his own compositions.

in those glittering qualities, by which the word

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is dazzled, with truth, with faith, and with zeal I think I have given a better hint for new mato serve you ; qualities which for their rarily chines in eny preface to Juvenal; where I havo might be objects of wunder, but that men dare


arly recommended two subjects, one of not appear to admire them, because their ad- King Arthur's conquest of the Saxons, and the miration would manifestly declare their want of other of the Black Prince in his conquest of them. Thus, Sir, let me assure you, that though Spain. But the guardian angels of monarchys you are acquainted with several gentlemen, and kingdoms are not to be touched by every whose eloquence and wil may capacitate them hand: a man must be deeply conversant in the to offer their services with more address to you, Platonic philosophy, to deal with them; and yet no one can declare himself, with greater therefore I may reasonably expect, that no poet chearfulness, or with greater fidelity, or with of our age will presume to handle those mamore profound respect, than myself,

chines, for fear of discovering his own ignoSir,

rance ; or if he should, he might perhaps be inYour most, &c. grateful enough not to own me for his bene. March 3, (1693-4.]

John DENNIS. factour, *

After I have confessed thus much of our modern heroic poetry, I cannot but conclude

with Mr. Rymer, that our English comedy is LETTER XI.

far beyond any thing of the ancients: and not

withstanding our irregularities, so is our tragedy. TO MR. JOHN DENNIS,

Shakspeare had a genius for it; and we know, In answer to the foregoing.

in spite of Mr. Rymer, that genius alone is a

greater virtue (if I may so call it) than all other (Probably March, 1693-4.]

qualifications put together. You see what sueMY DEAR MR. DENNIS, WHEN I read a letter so full of my com

cess this learned critick has found in the world,

Almost mendations as your last, I cannot but consider

afier his blaspheming Shakspeare.

all the faults which he has discovered are truly you as the master of a vast treasure, who having

there; yet who will read Mr. Rymer, or not more than enough for yourself, are forced to ebb

read Shakspeare? For my own part, I reverout upon your friends. You have indeed the

ence Mr. Rymer's learning, but I detest his ill besi right to give them, since you have them in

nature and his arrogance. I indeed, and such propriety; but they are no more mine when I receive them than the light of the moon can be

as I, have reason to be afraid of him, but Shakallowed to be hur own, who shines but by the

speare has not. I reflexion of her brother. Your own poetry is English stand almost upon an equal foot with

There is another part of poetry, in which the a more powerful example, to prove that the mode ern writers may enter into comparison with the darique ; introduced, but not perfected, by our

the ancients; and it is that which we call Pinancients, iban any which Perrault could produce

famous Mr. Cowley ; and of this, Sir, you are in France: yet neither he, nor you, who are a

one of the greatest masters. You have the subbetter critick, can persuade me, that there is any room left for a solid commendation at this limity of sense as well as sound, and know how

far the boldness of a poet may lawfully extend. time of day, at least for me.

I could wish you would cultivate this kind of If I undertake the translation of Virgil, the

Ode; and reduce it either to the same measures little which I can perform will shew at least,

which Pindar used, or give new measures of that no man is 6t to write after him, in a barbarous modern tongue. Noither will his machines your own. For, as it is, it looks like a vast

tract of land newly discovered; the soil is wonbe of any service to a Christian poet. how ineffectually they have been tryed by Tasso, with inhabitants, but almost all savages, without

We see derfully fruitful, but unmanured; overstocked and by Ariosto. It is using them ton dully, if laws, arts, arms, or policy. we only make devils of his gods : as if, for ex. ample, I would raise a storm, and make use of

I remember poor Nai. Lee, who was then Ænlus

, with this only difference of calling him upon the verge of inadness, yet made a sober Prince of the Air ; what invention of mine would there be in this ? or who would not see Virgil plish this prophecy.

.Sir Richard Blackmore was doomed to accomthrough me ; only the same trick played over In his Short View of Tragedy. again by a bungling juggler? Boileau has well ! This lesson was thrown away upon poor Den

nis, who, by his rash and riotous atta upon observed, that it is an easy matter in a Chris Pope, afterwards procured an immortality of a tian poem, for God to bring the Devil to reason. kind very different from that to which he aspired.

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