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Heroic Stanzas on the Death of Oliver Cromwell
Religio Laici, or a Layman's Faith .
Threnodia Augustalis: a Funeral Pindaric Poem
Epistle the Seventh. To Sir George Etheredge
The Epithalamium of Helen and Menelaus
The last parting of Hector and Andromache
LIFE OF DRYDEN.
THE REVEREND JOHN MITFORD,
The biography of Dryden was not compos- diligence of inquiry has hitherto been ablo to ed by any of his contemporaries, nor were any discover with exaciness the place or date of materials collected by them which could throw his birth. He has himself told us, that he was light on his opinions and sentiments, which born in a village belonging to the Earl of Execould inform us of his personal habits, or afford ter, and A. Wood has added, that the villago familiar sketches of his private and domestir mentioned hy Deyden was Aldwincklo, in character. The little that is to be found in the Northamptonshire, not far from Oundle. His narratives of his life has been gleaned from age is best ascertained from a passage in the occasional notices in party pamphlets, and preface to his fables, where, speaking of a gensatirical libels, or from what has incidentally tleman of eighty-eight years of age, he observes been mentioned by himself. Doctor Johnson, that, by the mercy of God, he had already who composed the first authentic life of our come within twenty years of that number. This poet,* complained that nothing could be known preface was probably written in November, of Dryden beyond what casual mention and 1699, thus placing his birth in the latter end of uncertain tradition supplied. Since that time the year 1631. The family was originally many mistakes have been rectified, and omis- settled in Cumberland*-a marriage of John sions supplied, by the diligent researches of Dryden, of Staff hill, with the daughter of Sir Malone; and we are now probably in posses- John Cope, in the early part of Elizabeth's sion of all the information which it is possible reign, brought them into possession of Canonsto produce. Sir. Walter Scott has justly Ashby, in Northamptonshire ;t and, subsefounded his narrative on the facts recorded in quently, in the reign of Charles the First, they Malone's biography; while he has taken a were proprietors of the Chesterton estate in more comprehensive view of the genius and Huntingdon. John Dryden, the poet's cousinwritings of the poet, and the influence which german, frequently represented that county in be exercised on the literature of the age. parliament, between 1670, and 1707. When we therefore consider the fairness and Dryden received the earlier part of his edufelicity of Johnson's critical disquisitions; the cation at the small school of Tichmarsh. He truth elicited, or errors rectified by Malone's was afterwards removed to Westninster, and diligence; and the lively, interesting, and in admitted a king's scholar, but at what period structive narrative of Scott, we may justly is not exactly known. He remained some consider that Dryden has been fortunate in his years under the tuition of the venerable patribiographers. It is to be hoped, that in the pre arch of schoolmasters, old Busby, was then sent more compendious memoir, the facts are elected to one of the scholarships of Trinity stated with accuracy, and that the opinions on College, Cambridge, where he was admitted the different productions of the poet are formed under the Rev. Mr. Templer, and was matriwith the care, and delivered with the tempe- culated on the 6th of July following. rance and respect which are due to the reputa During the time he was at Westminster, he tion of so great a writer.
• David Driden, or Dryden, married the daughter Joux DRYDEX, the poet, was the eldest son of William Nicholson, of Staff hill, and was the
great great-grandfather of our poet. of Erasmus Driden, and Mary, daughter of the
+ A. Wood says, that John Dryden was a school. Rev. Henry Pickering It is supposed that he master, and tnat the great Erasmus stood godfather
He appears to have been a was born on the 9th of August, 1631, but no
puritan; in his he bequeaths his soul to his
Creator, with this singular expression,-''The Holy • The life of Dryden, in the Biographia Britan. Ghost assuring my spirit that I am the elect of nica, preceded that by Dr. Johnson, being published Gol.' These puritanical principles descended to In 1747-66.
for one of his song.