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character of Bays. Lord Rochester, who was a coward, immediately hired three men to attack and cudgel Dryden in a coffee-house. In 1682 appeared his Religio Laici, intended as a defence of revealed religion, against deists, papists, &c. But the temporary nature of these two pieces have brought them to be uninteresting. On the accession of James 2, Dryden, in order to please his patron, found it convenient to change his religion to that of the church of Rome. This conduct exposed him to the ridicule and satire of the wits of the times, particularly T. Browne, Burnet, and Stillingfleet. In 1687 he published his Hind and Panther. It is almost unnecessary to remark that the hind is the church of Rome; the panther, or spotted-beast, the church of England. This piece was humourously exposed by the united labour of Montague Lord Halifax, and of Prior, in Hind and Panther, transversed to the story of the Country Mouse and City Mouse. The newly adopted religion of our poet proved of little avail, for on the completion of the Revolution he was disqualified from bearing any office under government, and stripped of the laurel, which was bestowed on Mr. Thomas Shadwell. Lord Dorset behaved with great liberality, for while as chamberlain he dismissed the catholic poet, he allowed him a pension out of his own pocket, equivalent to the royal salary. The spleen
of Dryden was discharged on this occasion upon his successor in Mac-Flecknoe, a satire the severest that has appeared in any country or in any language. So multifarious are Dryden's compositions that a considerable space would be required to enumerate and characterise them. Had he written nothing besides the Ode to St. Cecilia's Day his name would have been mmortal: "it exhibits," says Johnson, "the high
ést flights of fancy, and the exactest nicety of art." Soon after his dismissal, he translated father Bouhour's life of Xavier, and in 1693 he published a translation of Juvenal and Perseus, assisted by some of his friends. In 1695 he translated into prose Du Fresnoy's Art of Painting. In 1697 appeared his translation of Virgil, which, in various editions has commanded public attention, and which, as Pope observes, is, notwithstanding some human errors, the most noble and spirited translation in any language. In 1698 he published his Fables, from Homer, Ovid, Boccase, and Chaucer. This great man died in consequence of an inflammation in his foot, caused by the growing of his nail under the flesh, May 1, 1701, and was interred in Westminster-Abbey, where a monument was erected over his remains by John Sheffield, Duke of Buckingham. It is related in Wilson's Memoirs of Congreve, that Dryden's remains being put into a velvet hearse, attended by 18 mourning coaches, and just ready to move, that lord Jefferys the dissipated son of the notorious chancellor Jefferys, being with some of his rakish companions, insisted that he would have greater honour paid to the remains of the deceased poet, and stopped the funeral. At this time the abbey was lighted up, the ground opened, the choir attending, and the bishop waiting.
Jefferys Jeft the body to the care of an undertaker, but having had no orders, he waited on Jefferys, who alleged that the whole matter had taken place in a drunken fit, and that he knew nothing about it. Dryden's son Charles applied to Lord Jefferys, to Lord Halifax and to the Bishop of Rochester, who all refused to interfere. Dr. Garth then sent for the corpse to the college of physicians, and procured a subscription. The body was conveyed from the college attended
When arrived at
by a numerous train of coaches. the Abbey, there was no light, no organ played, nor was any anthem sung. Two boys preceded the corpse with each a candle, singing an ode from Horace, and Dr. Garth pronounced a fine Latin oration over the body. Mr. Charles Dryden afterwards sent a challenge to Lord Jefferys, who did not answer it. He then sent several others, and went frequently himself, without being able to obtain an answer, or gain admittance to him. He watched opportunities of meeting him to the day of his death, but never succeeded. Dryden had married Lady Elizabeth Howard, daughter of the Earl of Berkshire, who survived him 8 years; by whom he had 3 sons, Charles, John, and Henry. Dryden was a believer in judicial astrology, and calculated the nativities of his children. The eldest became usher of the palace to pope Clement x1, and soon after his return to England was drowned in swimming across the Thames, in 1704. He had written several pieces and translated the 6th of Juvenal's Satires. John was author of "The Husband his own Cuckold," a comedy, printed in 1696. Henry entered into a religious order. The character of Dryden has been very differently drawn by differ ent hands, some of which have exalted it to the highest degree of commendation, and others debased it by the severest censure. It is certain that if a decision was made from some of his dramatic writings, he might be pronounced a man of the most licentious morals: but if we allow that those "who live to please, must please to live;" and look back to the licentious age in which he lived, and the pecuniary necessities he suffered, his compliance with the public taste may be pardoned. His principles appear unsteady or that he could readily temporize with the
revolution which he had to witness both in church and state; but even this part of his conduct may charitably be attributed to a natural timidity and diffidence in his disposition, which almost all his biographers agree in his possessing. According to Congreve, he was humane, compassionate, forgiving, and sincerely friendly. His reading extensive his memory tenacious, readily communicative, candid in his opinions of other writers, and patient under reprehension. He was distant to strangers and averse to intrusion. Of all men the most modest and easily discountenanced in his approaches either to his superiors or equals. In this eulogium Congreve may be considered as discharging an obligation imposed by Dryden, who in his verses on the Comedy of the "Double Dealer," says, "Be kind to my remains; and O defend,
against your judgment, your departed friend!
but shade those laurels which descend to you." An editor of Dryden's poems, remarks with great justice, that of his writings posterity has been just to his fame, and he now stands in full possession of that established reputation, so meritoriously due to the sprightliness of his wit, the liveliness of his imagination, the beauty of his sentiments and expression, but especially that improved harmony of his numbers, so happily begun by his predecessor Waller; and, if since brought to greater perfection by Mr. Pope, it has been owned by himself that Dryden was his model. The style of Tillotson was Dryden's prototype, on which he improved his prose, so as to have become the most correct writer of his time. The last editions of Dryden's Works are by Scott, complete in 18 vol. 8vo. bds 91. 9s. Miller; and his prose Works by Malone, 4 vol. 8yo. 24. 2s. Cadell.
VENI CREATOR SPIRITUS, PARAPHRASED.
Creator spirit, by whose aid
the world's foundations first were laid,
come pour thy joys on human kind;
Plenteous of grace, descend from high,
thou strength of his Almighty hand,
whose power does heaven and earth command.
who dost the gifts of tongues dispense,
and when rebellious they are grown,
Chase from our minds th' infernal foe,