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than a battle fought wherein ten thousand men were slain, or sacking of cities, or a course of victories.' In another place, he quotes Xenophon on the like occasion: The sayings of great men in their familiar discourses, and amidst their wine, have somewhat in them which is worthy to be transmitted to posterity.' Our author therefore needs no excuse, but rather deserves a commendation, when he relates, as pleasaut, some sayings of his heroes, which appear-I must confess it-very cold and insipid mirth to us. For it is not his meaning to commend the jest, but to paint the man; besides, we may have lost somewhat of the idiom of that language in which it was spoken; and where the conceit is couched in a single word, if all the significations of it are not critically understood, the grace and the pleasantry are lost."
Dryden was exceedingly sensitive to the criticisms of the paltry versifiers of his day. Among those who annoyed him was Elkanahı Settle, a now forgotten rhymster, with whom he carried on a violent war of ridicule and abuse. The following is an amusing specimen of a criticism by Dryden on Settle's tragedy, called The Empress of Morocco,' which was acted at court, and seems to have roused the jealousy and indignation of the critic:
To conclude this act with the most rumbling piece of nonsense spoken yet-
Conform a smile to lightning, make a smile imitate lightning, and flattering lightning i lightning, sure, is a threatening thing. And this lightning must gild a storm. Now, if I must conform my smiles to lightning, then my smiles must gild a storm too: to gild with smiles is a new invention of gilding. And gild a storm by being backed with thunder. Thunder is part of the storm; so one part of the storm must help to gild another part, and help by backing; as if a man would gild a thing the better for being backed, or having a load upon his back. So that there is gilding by conforming, smiling, lightning, backing, and thundering. The whole is as if I should say thus: will make my counterfeit smiles look like a flattering horse, which, being backed with a trooper, does but gild the battle. I am mistaken if nonsense is not here pretty thick sown.
The controversies in which Dryden was frequently engaged were not restrained within the bounds of legitimate discussion. The authors of those days descended to gross personalities. There was,' says Sir Walter Scott, during the reign of Charles II. a semi-barbarous virulence of controversy, even upon abstract points of literature, which would be now thought injudicious and unfair, even by the newspaper advocates of contending factions. A critic of that time never deemed he had so effectually refuted the reasoning of his adversary, as when he had said something disrespectful of his talents, person, or moral character. Thus, literary contest was embittered by personal hatred, and truth was so far from being the object of the combatants, that even victory was tasteless unless obtained by the disgrace and degradation of the antagonists.'
SIR WILLIAM TEMPLE.
SIR WILLIAM TEMPLE (1628-1699), a well-known statesman and miscellaneous writer, possesses a high reputation. He was the son of Sir John Temple, Master of the Rolls in Ireland in the reigns of Charles I. and II. Sir William was born in London. He studied at Cambridge under Cudworth as tutor; but being intended for public
life, devoted his attention chiefly to the French and Spanish languages. After travelling for six years on the continent, he went to reside with his father in Ireland, where he represented the county of Carlow in the parliament at Dublin in 1661. Removing, two years afterwards, to England, the introductions which he carried to the leading statesmen of the day speedily procured him employment in the diplomatic service. He was sent, in 1665, on a secret mission to the bishop of Munster, and performed his duty so well, that on his return a baronetcy was bestowed on him, and he was appointed English resident at the court of Brussels. The peace of Western Europe was at this time in danger from the ambitious designs of Louis XIV. who aimed at the subjugation of the Spanish Netherlands. Temple paid a visit to the Dutch governor, De Witt, at the Hague, and with great skill brought about, in 1668, the celebrated triple alliance' between England, Holland, and Sweden, by which the career of Louis was for a time effectually checked. In the same year he.received the appointu.ent of ambassador at the Hague, where he resided in that capacity for about twelve months, on terms of intimacy with De Witt, and also with the young Prince of Orange, afterwards William III. of England.
The corrupt and wavering principles of the English court having led to the recall of Temple in 1669, he retired from public business to his residence at Sheen, near Richmond, and there employed himself in literary occupations and gardening. In 1674, however, he, with some reluctance, consented to return as ambassador to Holland; in which country, besides engaging in various important negotiations, he contributed to bring about the marriage of the Prince of Orange with the Duke of York's eldest daughter, Mary. That important and popular event took place in 1677. Having finally returned to England in 1679, Temple was pressed by the king to accept the appointment of Secretary of State, which, however, he persisted in refusing. Charles was now in the utmost perplexity, in consequence of the discontents and difficulties which a long course of misgovernment had occasioned; and used to hold anxious conferences with Temple on the means of extricating himself from his embarrassments. The measure advised by Sir William was the appointment of a privycouncil of thirty persons, in conformity with whose advice the king should always act, and by whom all his affairs should be freely and openly debated; one half of the members to consist of the great officers of state, and the other of the most influential and wealthy noblemen and gentlemen of the country. This scheme was adopted by Charles, and excited great joy throughout the nation. The hopes of the people were, however, speedily frustrated by the turbulent and unprincipled facticusness of some of the members. Temple, who was himself one of the council, soon became disgusted with its proceedings, as well as those of the king, and, in 1681, finally retired from public life. He spent the remainder of his days chiefly at Moor Park,
in Surrey-the sweetest place,' he says, 'that I have seen in my life either before or since, at home or abroad.' He has given a description of the garden at Moor Park in the second of his essays-that upon Gardening in the year 1685, which has been considered the best of his miscellaneous treatises. It is very pleasingly written, and abounds in interesting facts and short descriptions. In this essay, Temple vindicates the English climate, and relates a saying of Charles II. :
The English Climate.
I must needs add one thing more in favour of our climate which I heard the king say, and I thought new and right, and truly like a king of England that loved and esteemed his own country. "Twas in reply to some of the company that were reviling our climate, and extolling those of Italy and Spain, or at least of France. He said, he thought that was the best climate where he could be abroad in the air with pleasure, or at least without trouble and inconvenience, the most days of the year, and the most hours of the day; and this he thought he could be in England more than in any country he knew of in Europe. And I believe it true, not only of the hot and the cold, but even among our neighbours of France and the Low Countries themselves, where the heats or the colds, and changes of the seasons are less treatable than they are with us.
The truth is, our climate wants no heat to produce excellent fruits; and the default of it is only the short seasons of our heats or summers, by which many of the later are left behind and imperfect with us. But all such as are ripe before the end of August are, for aught I know, as good with us as anywhere else. This makes me esteem the true region of gardens in England to be the compass of ten miles about London, where the accidental warmth of air from the fires and steams of so vast a town, makes fruits as well as corn a great deal forwarder than in Hampshire or Wiltshire, though more southward by a full degree.
There are, besides the temper of our climate, two things particular to us that contribute much to the beauty and elegance of our gardens, which are the gravel of our walks, and the fineness and almost perpetual greenness of our turf. The first is not known anywhere else, which leaves all their dry walks in other countries very unpleasant and uneasy. The other cannot be found in France or in Holland, as we have it, the soil not admitting that fineness of blade in Holland, nor the sun that greenness in France, during most of the summer; nor, indeed, is it to be found but in the finest of our soils.
At Moor Park, Temple had for secretary and humble companion the famous Jonathan Swift, who retained no very agreeable recollection of that period of dependence and obscurity. There also resided one with whom Swift was indissolubly associated. Esther Johnson, immortalised as Stella,' was the daughter of Temple's housekeeper; she was seventeen years younger than Sir William's Irish secretary, and the latter became her instructor, her companion, and life-long friend. Yet never was genius more disastrous or friendship more fatal in its influence!
After the Revolution, King William sometimes visited Temple, in order to consult him about public affairs. His death took place in January 1698-9. Throughout his whole career, the conduct of Sir William Temple was marked by a cautious regard for his personal comfort and reputation; which strongly disposed him to avoid risks of every kind, and to stand aloof from public business where the exercise of eminent courage and decision was required. His character as a patriot is therefore not one which calls for high admiration:
though it ought to be remarked in his favour, that as he seems to have had a lively consciousness that neither his abilities nor dispositions fitted him for vigorous action in stormy times, he probably acted with prudence in withdrawing from a field in which he would have only been mortified by failure, and done harm instead of good to the public. Being subject to frequent attacks of low spirits, he might have been disabled for action by the very emergencies which demanded the greatest mental energy and self-possession. But as an adviser, he was enlightened, safe and sagacious. As a private churacter, Sir William was respectable and decorous: his temper, naturally haughty and unamiable, was generally kept under good regulation; and among his foibles, vanity was the most prominent.
The works of Sir William Temple consist chiefly of short miscel laneous pieces. His longest production is 'Observations upon the United Provinces of the Netherlands,' composed during his first retirement at Sheen, and which, compared with his Essay on the Original and Nature of Government,' written about the same time, shews that he had much more ability as an observer and describer, than as a reasoner on what he saw. Besides several political tracts of temporary interest, he wrote Essays on Ancient and Modern Learning; the Gardens of Epicurus; Heroic Virtue; Poetry; Popular Discontents; Health and Long Life. In these are to be found many sound and acute observations, expressed in the perspicuous and easy, but not very correct or precise language, for which he is noted. His memoirs and correspondence have been published by T. Peregrine Courtenay (2 vols. 1836).
Dr. Johnson said 'Sir William Temple was the first writer who gave cadence to English prose: before his time, they were careless of arrangement, and did not mind whether a sentence ended with an important word or an insignificant word, or with what part of speech it was concluded.' It is true that some of Temple's productions are eminently distinguished by harmony and cadence; but that he was the first who introduced the latter, will not be admitted by any one who is familiar with the prose of Cowley, Bishop Hall, Jeremy Taylor, and Dryden,
Against Excessive Grief.*
The honour which I received by a letter from your ladyship was too great not to be acknowledged; yet I doubted whether that occasion could bear me out in the confidence of giving your ladyship any further trouble. But I can no longer forbear, on account of the sensible wounds that have so often of late been given your friends here, by the desperate expressions in several of your letters, respecting your temper of mind, your health, and your life; in all which you must allow them to be extremely concerned. Perhaps none can be, at heart, more partial than I am to whatever regards your ladyship, nor more inclined to defend you on this very occasion, how unjust and unkind soever you are to yourself. But when you throw away your health, or your life, so great a remainder of your own family, and so great hopes of that into which you are entered, and all by a desperate melancholy, upon an event past remedy, and to which all the mortal race is perpetually subject, give me leave to
* Addressed to the Countess of Essex in 1674, after the death of her only daughter.
tell you, madam, that what you do is not at all consistent either with so good a Christian, or so reasonable and great a person, as your ladyship appears to the world in all other lights.
I know no duty in religion more generally agreed on, nor more justly required by God Almighty, than a perfect submission to his will in all things; nor do I think any disposition of mind can either please him more, or become us better, than that of being satisfied with all he gives, and contented with all he takes away. None, I am sure, can be of more honour to God, nor of more ease to ourselves. For, if we consider him as our Maker, we cannot contend with him; if as our Father, we ought not to distrust him; so that we may be confident, whatever he does is intended for good; and whatever happens that we interpret otherwise, yet we can get nothing by repining, nor save anything by resisting.
But if it were fit for us to reason with God Almighty, and your ladyship's loss were acknowledged as great as it could have been to any one, yet, I doubt, you would have but ill grace to complain at the rate you have done, or rather as you do; for the first emotions or passions may be pardoned; it is only the continuance of them which makes them inexcusable. In this world, madam, there is nothing perfectly good; and whatever is called so, is but either comparatively with other things of its kind, or else with the evil that is mingled in its composition; so he is a good man who is better than men commonly are, or in whom the good qualities are more than the bad; 80, in the course of life, his condition is esteemed good which is better than of most other men, or in which the good circumstances are more than the evil. By this measure, I doubt, madam, your complaints ought to be turned into acknowledgments, and your friends would have cause to rejoice rather than to condole with you. When your ladyship has fairly considered how God Almighty has dealt with you in what he has given, you may be left to judge yourself how you have dealt with him in your complaints for what he has taken away. If you look about you, and consider other lives as well as your own, and what your lot is, in comparison with those that have been drawn in the circle of your knowledge; if you think how few are born with honour, how many die without name or children, how little beauty we see, how few friends we hear of, how much poverty, and how many diseases there are in the world, you will fall down upon your knees, and, instead of repining at one affliction, will admire so many blessings as you have received at the hand of God.
To put your ladyship in mind of what you are, and of the advantages which you have, would look like a design to flatter you. But this I may say, that we will pity you as much as you please, if you will tell us who they are whom you think, upon all circumstances, you have reason to envy. Now, if I had a master who gave me all I could ask, but thought fit to take one thing from me again, either because I used it ill, or gave myself so much over to it as to neglect what I owed to him, or to the world; or, perhaps, because he would shew his power, and put me in mind from whom I held all the rest, would you think I had inuch reason to complain of hard usage, and never to remember any more what was left me, never to forget what was taken away?
It is true you have lost a child, and all that could be lost in a child of that age; but you have kept one child, and you are likely to do so long; you have the assurance of another, and the hopes of many more. You have kept a husband, great in employment, in fortune, and in the esteem of good men. You have kept your beauty and your health, unless you have destroyed them yourself, or discouraged them to stay with you by using them ill. You have friends who are as kind to you as you can wish, or as you can give them leave to be. You have honour and esteem from all who know you; or if ever it fails in any degree, it is only upon that point of your seeming to be fallen out with God and the whole world, and neither to care for yourself, nor anything else, after what you have lost.
You will say, perhaps, that one thing was all to you, and your fondness of it made you indifferent to everything else. But this, I doubt, will be so far from justifying you, that it will prove to be your fault as well as your misfortune. God Almighty gave you all the blessings of life, and you set your heart wholly upon one, aud despise or undervalue all the rest: is this his fauit or yours? Nay, is it not to be very unthankful to Heaven, as well as very scornful to the rest of the world? is it not to say, because you have lost one thing God has given you, you thank him for nothing he has left, and care not what he takes away? is it not to say, since that one thing is gone out of the world, there is nothing left in it which you think can