Page images
PDF
EPUB

hear what I believe is true, though not very be in the same shop a gentleman, who hearepleasing. I hope he recovers health in the ing you speak of me, and seeing a paper in your country, by his slaying so long in it. My ser- hand, imagin'd it was a libel against me, and am, faire Cousine,

both your name, and where you liv'd, of which Your most obedient servant,

he sent me word immediately. Though I have

JOHN DRYDEN. lost his letter, yet I remember you live some For Mrs. Stuart, Att

where about St. Giles's,* and are an only Collerstock, near Oundle,

daughter. You must have pass'd your time in In Northamptonshyre,

reading much better books than mine; or other• These.

wise you could not have arriv'd to so much To be left at the Posthouse

knowledge as I find you have. But whether in Oundle.

Sylph or Nymph, I know not : those fine creatures, as your author, Count Gabalis, assures us,t have a mind to be christen'd, and since

you do me the favour to desire a name from me, LETTER XLI.

take that of Corinna, if you please; I mean not

the lady with whom Ovid was in Love, but the TO MRS. ELIZABETH THOMAS, Jun.* famous Theban poetess, who overcame Pindar

five times, as historians tell us. I would have MADAM,

Nov. 12, 1699. callid you Sapho, but that I hear you are handThe letter you were pleas'd to direct for me, somer. Since you find I am not altogether a to be left at the coffee-house last summer, was stranger to you, be pleas’d to make me happier a great honour; and your verses † were, [ by a better knowledge of you ; and in stead of thought, too good to be a woman's ; some of my so many unjust praises which you give me, friends, to whom I read them, were of the same

think me only worthy of being, opinion. 'Tis not over-gallant, I must confess,

Madam, to say this of the fair sex ; but most certain it is,

Your most humble servant, that they generally write with more softness than

and admirer,

John DRYDEX. strength. On the contrary, you want neither vige our in your thoughts, nor force in your expres

• She lived with her mother, Mrs. Elizabeth sions, nor harmony in your numbers ; and me

Thomas, (as we learn from Curll,) in Dyot street, thinks I find much of Orindat in your manner; St. Giles; but in the first edition of the letter, for the to whom I had the honour to be related, and also greater honour, she represents it as addressed to

herself at Great Russel-street, Bloomsbury.

1 In this lively romance, written to ridicule the ignorance of the person to whom I was oblig'd; doctrines of the Rosicrucian philosophy, we are in.

formed, that the Nymphs of water, air, earth, and for, if you remember, you brought the verses to

fire, are anxions to connect themselves with the a bookseller's shop, and enquir'd there, how sages of the human race. I remember nothing they might be sent to me. There happen'd to

about their wish to be baptized ; but that desire was extremely strong among the fays, or female

genii, of the North, who were anxious to demand • Mrs. Thomas, " Curli's Corinna,' well known

it for the children they had by human fathers, as as a hack authoress some years after this period,

the means of securing to them that immortality was now commencing her career. She was daugh.

which they themselves wanted. Einar Godmund, ter of Emanuel Thomas, of the inner Temple, bar.

an ancient priest, informed the learned Torfæus, rister. Her person, as well as her writings, seems to

that they often solicited this favour, (usually in have been dedicated to the service of the public,

vain,) and were exceedingly incensed at the refusal. The story of her having obtained a parcel of Pope's

He gave an instance of Siward Fostre, who had letters, written in youth, from Henry Cromwell, to

promised to one of these fays, that if she bore him a whom they were addressed, and selling them to

child, he would cause it to be christened. In due Curll the bookseller, is well known. In that cele.

time she appeared, and laid the child on the wall of brauterl collection, 2d vol. 8vo. 1735, the following the church-yard, with a chalice of gold and a rich letters from Dryden also appear. It would seem

cope, as an offering at the ceremony. But Siward, Corinna had contrived to hook an acquaintance ashamed of this extraordinary intrigue, refused to upon the good natured poet, by the old pretext of acknowledge the child, which, therefore, remained sending him two poems for his opinion. She after. unbaptized. The incensed mother reappeared and wards kept up some communication with his family, carried off the infant and the chalice, leaving behind which she made the ground of two marvellous sto. the cope, fragments of which are still preserved. ries, one concerning the astrological predictions of But she failed not to inflict upon Siward and his de. the poet, the other respecting the mode of his fu. scendants, to the ninth generation, a peculiar dis. neral.

order, with which they were long afflicted. Other + "A Pastoral Elegy to the Memory of the Hon. stories to the same purpose are told by Torfæus in Cecilia Bew," published alterwards in the Poems of his preface to the "History of Hroll Kraka," 12mo. Mrs. Thomas, 8vo. 1727. 1 Mrs. Catharine Philips, a poetess of the last age.

1715. I suppose, however, that Dryden only recollected the practice of magicians, who, on invoking League. usually imposed onthem some distinguishing name.

LETTER XLII.

P.S. I keep your two copies* till you want

them, and are pleas'd to send for them. TO MRS. ELIZADETH THOMAS, JUN. MADAM,

[Nov. 1699.) The great desire which I observe in you to

LETTER XLIII. write well, and those good parts which God Almighty and nature have bestow'd on you, make

TO MRS. STEWARD. me not to doubt, that, by application to study, and the reading of the best authors, you may

Saturday, Nov. 6th, (1699. ) be absolute mistress of poetry. 'Tis an unprofitable art to those who prosess it ; but you, who your happy letter came to your servant, who

AFTER a long expectation, Madam, at length write only for your diversion, may pass your

almost despair'd of it. The onely comfort I hours with pleasure in it, and without preju- had, was, my hopes of seeing you, and that you dice ; always avoiding (as I know you will, de fer'd writeing, because you wou'd surprise me the licence which Mrs. Behnt allowed her self, with your presence, and beare your relations of writeing loosely, and giveing, if I may have leave to say so, some scandall to the modesty has given me an apprehension, that my cousin,

ompany to town. Your neighbour, Mr. Price, of her sex. I confess, I am the last man who

your father, is in danger of being made sheriff ought, in justice, to arraign her, who have been my self too much a libertine in most of my without ground, and that the warm season only

the following yeare; but I hope 'uis a jealousy poems; which I shou'd be well contented I had time either to purge, or to see them fairly burn'd. keeps him in the country.- If you come up next But this I need not say to you, who are too well week, you will be entertain’d with a new trageborn, and toù well principled, to fall into that dy, which the

author of it, one Mr. Dennis

, cries mire.

up at an excessive rate ; and Colonel CodringIn the mean time, I would advise you not to

ton, who has seen it, prepares the world to give

it loud applauses. 'Tis called “Iphigenia," trust too much to Virgil's Pastorals; for as excel

and imitated from Euripides, an old Greek lent as they are, yet Theocritus is far before him, both in softness of thought, and simplicity of house; and another play of the same name is

poet. This is to be acted at Betterton's expression. Mr. Creech has translated that Greek poet, which I have not read in Euglish. Lane.--I was lately to visite the Duchess of

very shortly to come on the stage at DruryIf you have any considerable faults, they consist chiefly in the choice of words, and the placeing affection and respect. Your cousin Monta

Norfolk ;£ and she speaks of you with much them so as to make the verse run smoothly; but gue, $ after the present session of parliament, I am at present so taken up with my own stud

will be created Earl of Bristoll,ll and I hope is ies, that I have not leisuro to descend to pare much my friend; but I doubt I am in no conditiculars ; being, in the mean time, the fair tion of having a kindness done, having the ChanCorinna's

cellours my enemy; and not being capable of Most humble and most

renounceing the cause for which I have so long faithful Servant,

suffer'd.--My cousin Driden of Chesterton is JOHN DRYDEN.

• The Pastoral Elegy on Mrs. Bew, and the 'Triple astral spirits, and binding them to their scrvice,

Colonel Codrington wrote an epilogue to DenIt is possible Paracelsus says something to the pur- nis's "Iphigenia, Dryden here talks rather pose in his Magna Philosophia.

slightingly of his acquaintance; but "

" Iphigenia" In printing this letter, Mr. Malone says, he is a most miserable piece. "followed a transcript which he male some years # Mary, the daughter of Henry Morda unt, the ago from the original. It is preserved in a small second Earl of Peterborough, and wife of Thomas, volume in the Bodleian Library, consisting chiefly the seventh Duke of Norfolk, afterwards livorced of Pope's original Letters to Henry Cromwell, for criminal conversation with Sir John Germaine. which Mrs. Thomas sold to Curll, the bookseller, See the proceedings in the State Trials. who published them unfaithfully. It afterwards

$ The Right Hon. Charles Montague. fell into the hands of Dr. Richard Rawlinson, by

He was about a year aftercreated Lord Halifax. whom it was bequeathed to that Library."

1 Lord Somers. -Mr. Malone is of opinion, that | Afra Behn, whose plays, poems, and novels are this passage adds some support to what has been very indecent ; yet an aged lady, a relation of the

suggested in our author's Life, that a part or Dry. editor, assured bin, that, in the polite society of her den's "Satire to his Muse" was written in his youth, in which she held a distinguished place, these

younger days by this great man. Yet I cannot books were accounted proper reading; and added, think, that great man would be concerned in so 11. with some humour, it was not till after a long inter- bellous a piece: and in the same breath Dryden val, when she looked into them, at the

tells us, that he hoped Montague, who had really enty, that she was shocked at their indecurum. written against him, was much his friend.

of sev

in town, and lodges with my brother in West was heer yesterday, to see my wife, though I

inster. * My sonn has seen him, and was had not the happiness to be at home.—Both the very kindly received by him. Let this letter “Iphigenias " have been played with bad suce stand for nothing, because it has nothing but cess ;* and being both acted one against the news in it, and has so little of the main business, other in the same week, clash'd together, like which is to assure my fair cousine how much I two rotten ships which could not endure the am her admirer, and her

shock, and sunk to rights. The King's proclaMost devoted Servant, mation against vice and profaneness is issued

John DRYDEN. out in print ;t but a deep disease is not to be I write no recommendation of service to our

curd with a slight medicine. The parsons, friends at Oundle, because I suppose they are

who must read it, will find as little effect from leaveing that place; but I wish my cousin it, as from their dull sermons : 'tis a scare-crow, Stuart a boy, as like Miss Jem:| as he and which will not fright many birds from preying you can make him. My wife and sonn are

on the fields and orchards. The best news I never forgetfull of their acknowledgments to

heare is, that the land will not be charg'd very deep this yeare: let that comfort you for your

shrievalty, and continue me in your good gra. For Mrs. Stuart, All

ces, who am, fair cousin, Cotlet stock near Oundle,

Your most faithfull oblig'd servant, in the County of Northampton, These.

Jo. DRYDEN, To be left at the Posthouse

For Mrs. Stuart,
in Oundle,

All Cotterstock, near Oundle,
in Northamptonshyre,

These.

To be left with the Postmaster
LETTER XLIV.

of Oundle.

you both.

TO MRS. STEWARD.

MADAM,

Thursday, Dec. the 14th, 1699. WHEN I have either too much business or

LETTER XLV. want of health, to write to you, I count my time is lost, or at least my conscience accuses me TO MRS, ELIZABETH THOMAS, JUN. that I spend it ill. At this time my head is full of cares, and my body ill at ease. My book is MADAM,

Friday, Dec. 29, 1699. printing, I and my bookseller makes no hast. I I HAVE sent your poems back again, after had last night at bed-time an unwelcome fit of having kept them so long from you ; by which vomiting; and my sonn, Charles, lyes sick you see I am like the rest of the world, an imupon his bed with the colique, which has been pudent borrower, and a bad pay-master. You violent upon him for almost a week. With all take more care of my health than it deserves ; this, I cannot but remember that you accus'd that of an old man is always crazy, and, at pres. me of barbarity, I hope in jeast onely, for mis ent mine is worse than usual, by a St. Anthotaking one sheriff for another, which proceeded ny's fire in one of my legs; though the swelling from my want of heareing well. I am heartily is much abated, yet the pain is not wholly gone, sorry that a chargeable office is fallen on my and I am loo weak to stand upon it. If I recousin Stuart. But my cousin Dryden comforts me, that it must have come one time or

• Dennis's “Iphigenia” was performed at the other, like the small-pox ; and better have it Iphigenia in Aulis," written by Abel Boyer, and, ir

theatre in Little Lincoln's Fields; and “Achilles, or young than old. I hope it will leave no great we are to believe the author, corrected by Dryden, marks behind it, and that your fortune will no

was acted at the theatre in Drury Lane. Dennis

Bays in his Preface, that the success of his play was more feel it than your beauty, by the addition of "neither despicable, nor extraordinary ;" but Gil. a year's wearing. My cousine, your mother, don, in his Comparison between the two stages,

Svo. 1702, informs us, that it was acted but six • Erasmus Dryden, who lived in King'3-street, times; and that the other tragedy, after four repreWestminster, and was a grocer, In Dec. 1710, he sentations, was laid aside.-Malone. succeeded to the title of Baronet.

f In the London Gazette, No. 3557, Thursday, De. Jemima, Mrs. Steward's youngest daughter, cember 14, 1699, it is mentioned, thata proclamation probably then four or five years old.

for preventing and punishing immorality and proI“ Fables Ancient and Modern."

faneness, had been issued on the lith instant. $ Elmes Steward, Esq., was appointed sheriff of We know, by the experience of our own time, the tho county of Northampton in Nov. 1699.

justice of Dryden's observation.

cover, it is possible I may attempt Homer's ladyes, for the two playhouses. If you do not Iliad. A specimen of it (the first book) is understand the names of soine persons mennow in the press, among other poems of mine, tion'd, I can help you to the knowledge of them. which will make a volume in folio, of twelve You know Sir Tho. Skipwith is master of the shillings' price ; and will be published within this month. I desire, fair author, that you

In bright array the well-traind host appears:

Supreme command brave Derwent water bears; will be pleas'd to continue me in your good And next in front George Howard'st bride does graces, who am, with all sincerity and grali

shine,

The living honour of that ancient line. tude,

The wings are led by chiefs of matchless worth: Your most humble servant,

Great Hamilton, the glory of the North, and admirer,

Commands the left; and England's dear delight,

The bold Fitzwalterg charges on the right.
JOHN DRYDEN.

The Prince, to welcome his propitivus friends,
A throne erected on the stage ascends.

He said :-Blest angels : for great ends design'a,
The best, and sure the faireel, of your kind,

How shall I praise, or in what numbers siog
LETTER XLVI.

Your just compassion of an injured kinga
Till you appeared, no prospect did remain,

My crown and falling sceptre to maintain;
TO MRS. STEWARD

No noisy beaus in all my realm were found ;
No beauteous nymphs my empty boxes crown'd;

But still I saw, o dire beart breaking wo!
MADAM,

Feb. 23d. 1699 (1700.) My own sad consorl in the foremost row. Though I have not leisure to thank you for

But this auspicious day new empire gives; the last trouble I gave you, yet haveing by me

And if by your support my nation lives,

For you my bards shall tune the sweetest lays, two lampoons lately made, I know not but they Norton and Henley** shall resound your praise ;

And I, not last of the harmonious train, may be worth your reading; and therefore have

Will give a loose to my poetic vein.-presum'd to send them. I know not the au

To him great Derwent water thus replied: thours ; but the town will be ghessing. The Thou mighly prince, in many dangers tried “ Ballad of the Pews,” which are lately rais'd

Born to dispute severe decrees of late,

The nursing father of a sickly state; higher at St. James's church,* is by some sayd Beliold the pillars or thy lawful reign! to be Mr. Manwareing, or my Lord Peterbo- legal rights we promise to maintain;

Our brightest nymphs shall thy dominions grace, rough. The poem of the “ Confederates” some

With all the beauties of the Highland race; think to be Mr. Walsh ; the copies are both The beaus shall make thee their peculiar care, lik’d. And there are really two factions of

For beaus will always wait upon the fair :
For thee kind Beereton and bold Webbe shall

tight:it · Not 'at St. James's Church, but at the Chapel Lord Scotin shall ogle, and my spouse shall Royal. "The pews, it seems, were raised to prevent

write:$$ the devotions of the maids of honour from any dig.

Thus shall thy court our English youth engross, tractions in time of service. But the ballad mall

And all tbe Scotch, from Drummond down to Ross. ciously supposes, that the intention was to contine

•Mary Tudor, natural daughter of Charles the Second, the sun beams of their eyes to the preacher, Bishop and lady of Lord Raiclifi, (now Earl of Derwentwaler) LO Burnet.

whom Dryden dedicated his Third Mis ellany. 1 This poem is a banter upon the interest which † Arabella, daughter of Sir Edward Alleu, Bart. She first the nobility took in the disputes between the Drury: married Francis Thompson, Esq, und was at this lite the Lane theatre, where Skipwith was manager, and

wife of Lord George Howard, eldest son of Henry, cho that in Lincoln's Inn Fields, of which Betterton was

sixth Duke of Norfolk by his second wile) wbo died in

March 1720-21.- Maloue. sovereign. The " Island Princess" of Fletcher had

Elizabeth, daughter of Digby, Lord Gerard, and second been converted into a sort of opera, by Peter Mot- wife of James, Duke of Hamilton, who was killed in a duel teux, and acted at Drury Lane in 1699. The pecu- by Lord Mohun, in November, 1712 - Malon, liar taste of Rich forevery thing that respected show $ Eliza heth, daughter of Charles Bertie of Offington, la and machinery is well known.

the county of Lincoln, Esq. a younger son of Montague, the

second Earl of Lindsey. She was at this time the wile of The Confederates, or the First Happy Day of the Charles Müdmay, the second Lord Fitzwalter of that family. Island Princess.

- Malone Ye vile traducers of the female kind,

H Margaret, daughter of George, Lord Chandos, and reWho think the fair to cruelty inclind,

lict of William Brownlow of Humhy, in Lincolnshire.

! Richard Norton ci Southwick, in Hampshire, Esq. CibRecant your error, and with shame confess

ber's comedy, entitled, “Love's last Shirt, war dedicated Their tender care of Skipwith in distress :

10 this genueman, in February 1696.7. Mr. Norton died For now to vindicate this monarch's right,

Decernber 10, 1732 o his sixty ninth year. The Scotch and English equal charms unite ; ** Anthony Henley, of the Grange, in Hampshire, Esq., a In solemn leagues contending nations join,

man of parts and learning, and a correspondent of Swin, who And Britain labours with the vast design.

died in 1711. An opera with loud applause is play'd,

11 Perhaps General Webbe, whose " firm platoon" was Which famed Motteux in soft heroics made;

afterwards celebrated by Tickell. Or the prowess of Mr.

Bee retou no memorials have been discovered.-Malone. And all the swor Confederates resort,

11 Lord Henry Scott, second surviving sou of James, Duka To view the triumph of their sovereign's court. of Monmonth, who was born in 1676, la 1706 he was realed

Earl of Deloraine ; and died about 1780. • Sir Thomas Skipwith, Joint pateniee and manager with $ The Earl of Derwent water's poetry, wbicb, according Charles Rich of ibe Drury Lane theatre.

to Dryden, was done of the best.

playhouse in Drury-Lane; and my Lord Scars fess; and I am glad, because they are so undale is the patron of Botterton's house, being worthy to be made a present. Your sisters, I in love with somebody there. The Lord Scott hope, will be so kind io have them convey'd to is second sonn to the Duchess of Monmouth. I you; that my writeings may have the honour of need not tell you who my Lady Darentwater waiting on you, which is deny d to me. The is ; but it may be you know not her Lord is a lowo encourages them with more applause than poet, and none of the best. Forgive this hasty any thing of mine deserves; and particularly, my billet from

cousin Driden accepted one from me so very inYour most obliged servant,

dulgently, that it makes me more and more in

John DRYDEX. love with him. But all our hopes of the House For Mrs. Stewart,

of Commons are wholly dash'd. Our properties Alt Cotterstock, near Oundle,

are destroy'd ; and rather than we shou'd not in Northamptonshire, These.

perish, they have made a breach in the Magna To be left with the Postmaster of Oundle. Charta ;* for which God forgive them! Con

greve's new play has had but moderate success, though it deserves much better.t I am neither

in health, nor do I want afflictions of any kind; LETTER XLVII.

but I am, in all conditions, Madam,

Your most oblig'd obedient servant, TO MRS. STEWARD.

JOHN DRYDEN.

For Mrs. Stuart, att Collerstock,
MADAM,
Tuesday, March 12h, 1699 (-1700.)

near Oundle, These.
'Tis a week since I receiv'd the favour of a By the Oundle Carrier, with
letter, which I have not yet acknowledg'd to a book directed to her, These.
you. About that time, my new poems were Northamptonshyre.
publish'd, which are not come till this day into
my hands. They are a debt to you, I must con-

Now in his throne the king securely sat;
But O! this change alarm'd the rival state;
Besides, he lately bribed, in breach of laws,

LETTER XLVIII.
The fair desenter of her uncle's cause.
This roused the monarch of the neighbouring

TO MRS. STEWARD.
crown,

MADAM,

Thursday, April the 11th, 1700. A drowsy prince, too careless of renown."

The ladies of the town have infected you at Yet prompt to vengeance, and untaught to yield, Great Scarsdalet challenged Skipwith to the field. a distance ; they are all of your opinion, and Whole shoals of poets for this chief declare,

like my last book of Poemst better than any And vassal players attend him to the war, Skipwith with joy the dreadful summons look, thing they have formerly seen of mine. I always And brought an equal force; then Scarsdale thought my verses to my cousin Driden wero spoke ;

the best of the whole ; and to my comfort, the Thou bane of empire, foe to human kind, Whom neither leagues nor laws of nations bind; town thinks them so; and he, which pleases ms For cares of high poetic sway unfit,

most, is of the same judgment, as appears by a Thou shame or learning, and reproach of wit ; Restore bright Helen to my longing sight,

noble present he has sent me, which surprised Or now my signal shall begin the fight.

me, because I did not in the least expect it. I Hold, said the foe, thy warlike host remove,

doubt not, but he receiv'd what you were pleas'd Nor let our burds the chance of battle prove: Should death deprive us of their shining parts, to send him; because he sent me the letter, What would become of all the liberal arts !

which you did me the favour to write me. At Should Dennis fall, whose high inajestic wit, And awful judgment, like two tallies, fit,

this very instant I heare the guns, which, goeAdieu, strony odes, and every lofty strain,

ing off, give me to understand, that the King is The tragic rant, and proud Pindaric vein. Should tuneful D'Urfey now resign his breath,

goeing to the Parliament to pass acts, and conThe lyric Muse would scarco survive his death ; sequently to prorogue them ; for yesterday I But should divine Motteux untimely die,

heard, that both he and the Lords have given The gasping Nine would in convulsions lie; For these bold champions safer arms provide, • Alluding to the statutes imposing the oath of alAnd let their pens the double strife decide.

legiance and supremacy on all Catholics, under the The king consents; and urged by public good, penalty of incapacity to hold landed property, il Wisely retreats to save his people's blood;

and 12 William III. cap. 4. The moving legions leave the dusty plain,

+ The excellent comedy entitled the “Way of the And safe at homne poetic wars maintain.

World.” It had cost Congreve much pains, and he • The famoue Betterton, who, in 1695, aga in divided the

was so much disgusted with the cold reception allu. ivo companies, and headed that in Llocolo's ion Fields. ded to in the text, that he never again wrote for the

† Robert, third Earl of Scarsdale, a protector of Better stage. Lon's company.

I His Fables,

« EelmineJätka »