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Her voice is low, and gives a hollow sound; She hates the light, and is in darkness found; Or sits with blinking lamps, or tapers small, Which various shadows make against the wall. She loves nought else but noise which discord makes, As croaking frogs whose dwelling is in lakes; The raven's hoarse, the mandrake's hollow groan, And shrieking owls which fly i' the night alone; The tolling bell, which for the dead rings out; A mill, where rushing waters run about; The roaring winds, which shake the cedars tall, Plough up the seas, and beat the rocks withal. She loves to walk in the still moonshine night, And in a thick dark grove she takes delight; In hollow caves, thatch'd houses, and low cells, She loves to live, and there alone she dwells. Melancholy thus describes her own dwelling:

I dwell in groves that gilt are with the sun;
Sit on the banks by which clear waters run;
In summers hot down in a shade I lie;
My music is the buzzing of a fly;

I walk in meadows, where grows fresh green grass;
In fields, where corn is high, I often pass;
Walk up the hills, where round I prospects see,
Some brushy woods, and some all champaigns be;
Returning back, I in fresh pastures go,
To hear how sheep do bleat, and cows do low;
In winter cold, when nipping frosts come on,
Then I do live in a small house alone;
Although 'tis plain, yet cleanly 'tis within,
Like to a soul that's pure, and clear from sin;
And there I dwell in quiet and still peace,
Not fill'd with cares how riches to increase;
I wish nor seek for vain and fruitless pleasures;
No riches are, but what the mind intreasures.
Thus am I solitary, live alone,

Yet better lov'd, the more that I am known;
And though my face ill-favour'd at first sight,
After acquaintance, it will give delight.
Refuse me not, for I shall constant be;
Maintain your credit and your dignity.


MRS KATHERINE PHILIPS (1631-1664) was honoured with the praise of Cowley and Dryden, and Jeremy Taylor addressed to her a Discourse on Friendship.' Her poetical name of Orinda was highly popular with her contemporaries; but her effusions are said to have been published without her consent. This amiable lady was the wife of James Philips of the Priory, Cardigan. She died of small-pox, a distemper then prevalent and fatal.

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'Tis true, it looks at distance fair;
But if we do approach,
The fruit of Sodom will impair,
And perish at a touch;
It being than in fancy less,
And we expect more than possess.
For by our pleasures we are cloy'd,
And so desire is done;

Or else, like rivers, they make wide
The channels where they run;
And either way true bliss destroys,
Making us narrow, or our joys.
We covet pleasure easily,

But ne'er true bliss possess;
For many things must make it be,

But one may make it less;
Nay, were our state as we could choose it,
'Twould be consum'd by fear to lose it.
What art thou, then, thou winged air,
More weak and swift than fame!
Whose next successor is despair,

And its attendant shame.

Th' experienc'd prince then reason had, Who said of Pleasure-It is mad.'

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JOHN DRYDEN, one of the great masters of English verse, and whose masculine satire has never been excelled, was born at Oldwinckle, in Northamptonshire, in August 1631. His father, Erasmus Driden [the poet first spelled the name with a y], was a strict Puritan, of an ancient family, long established in Northamptonshire. John was one of fourteen

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lished a long poem, Annus Mirabilis, being an account of the events of the year 1666. The style and versification seem to have been copied from Davenant; but Dryden's piece fully sustained his reputation. About the same time he wrote an Essay on Dramatic Poesy, in which he vindicates the use of rhyme in tragedy. The style of his prose was easy, natural, and graceful. The poet now undertook to write for the king's players no less than three plays a year, for which he was to receive one share and a quarter in the profits of the theatre, said to be about £300 per annum. He was afterwards made poet-laureate and royal historiographer, with a salary of £200. These were golden days; but they did not last. Dryden, however, went on manufacturing his rhyming plays, in accordance with the vitiated French taste which then prevailed. He got involved in controversies and quarrels, chiefly at the instigation of Rochester, who set up a wretched rhymster, Elkanah Settle, in opposition to Dryden. The great poet was also successfully ridiculed by Buckingham in his 'Rehearsal.' In 1681, Dryden published the satire of Absalom and Achitophel, written in the style of a scriptural narrative, the names and situations of personages in the holy text being applied to those contemporaries, to whom the author assigned places in his poem. The Duke of Monmouth was Absalom, and the Earl of Shaftesbury Achitophel; while the Duke of Buckingham was drawn under the character of Zimri. The success of this bold political satirethe most vigorous and elastic, the most finely versified, varied, and beautiful, which the English language can boast-was almost unprecedented. Dryden was now placed above all his poetical contemporaries. Shortly afterwards, he continued the feeling against Shaftesbury in a poem called The Medal, a Satire against Sedition. The attacks of a rival poet, Shadwell, drew another vigorous satire from Dryden, Mac-Flecknoe. A second part of Absalom and Achitophel' was published in 1684, but the body of the poem was written by Nahum Tate. Dryden contributed about two hundred lines, containing highlywrought characters of Settle and Shadwell, under the names of Doeg and Og. His antagonists,' says Scott, 'came on with infinite zeal and fury, discharged their ill-aimed blows on every side, and exhausted their strength in violent and ineffectual rage; but the keen and trenchant blade of Dryden never makes a thrust in vain, and never strikes but at a vulnerable point.' In the same year was pub lished Dryden's Religio Laici, a poem written to defend the church of England against the dissenters, yet evincing a sceptical spirit with regard to revealed religion. The opening of this poem is singularly solemn and majesticDim as the borrow'd beams of moon and stars To lonely, weary, wandering travellers, Is Reason to the soul; and as on high Those rolling fires discover but the sky, Not light us here; so Reason's glimmering ray Was lent, not to assure our doubtful way, But guide us upward to a better day. And as those nightly tapers disappear, When day's bright lord ascends our hemisphere; So pale grows Reason at Religion's sight; So dies, and so dissolves, in supernatural light. Dryden's doubts about religion were soon dispelled by his embracing the Roman Catholic faith. Satisfied or overpowered by the prospect of an infallible guide, he closed in with the court of James II., and gladly exclaimed



Did love and majesty together blend. When monarchy was restored, Dryden went over with the tuneful throng who welcomed in Charles II. He had done with the Puritans, and he wrote poetical addresses to the king and the lord chancellor. The amusements of the drama revived after the Restoration, and Dryden became a candidate for theatrical laurels. In 1662, and two following years, he produced The Wild Gallant, The Rival Ladies, and The Indian Emperor; the last was very successful. Dryden's name was now conspicuous; and in 1665 he married the Lady Elizabeth Howard, daughter of the Earl of Berkshire. The match added neither to his wealth nor his happiness, and the poet afterwards revenged himself by constantly inveighing against matrimony. When his wife wished to be a book, that she might enjoy more of his company, Dryden is said to have replied, 'Be an almanac then, my dear, that I may change you once a-year.' In his play of the Spanish Friar, he most unpolitely states, that woman was made from the dross and refuse of a man: upon which his antagonist, Jeremy Collier, remarks, with some humour and smartness, 'I did not know before that a man's dross lay in his ribs; I believe it sometimes lies higher.' All Dryden's plays are marked with licentiousness, that vice of the age, which he fostered, rather than attempted to check. In 1667 he pub

Good life be now my task-my doubts are done. His change of religion happening at a time when it suited his interests to become a Catholic, was looked


upon with suspicion. The candour evinced by Dr Johnson on this subject, and the patient inquiry of Sir Walter Scott, have settled the point. We may lament the fall of the great poet, but his conduct is not fairly open to the charge of sordid and unprincipled selfishness. He brought up his family and died in his new belief. The first public fruits of Dryden's change of creed were his allegorical poem of the Hind and Panther, in which the main argument of the Roman church, all that has or can be said for tradition and authority, is fully stated. wit in the Hind and Panther,' says Hallam, 'is sharp, ready, and pleasant; the reasoning is sometimes admirably close and strong; it is the energy of Bossuet in verse.' The Hind is the church of Rome, the Panther the church of England, while the Independents, Quakers, Anabaptists, and other sects, are represented as bears, hares, boars, &c. The Calvinists are strongly but coarsely caricatured


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If joys hereafter must be purchas'd here
With loss of all that mortals hold so dear,
Then welcome infamy and public shame,
And last, a long farewell to worldly fame!
Tis said with ease, but, oh, how hardly tried
By haughty souls to human honour tied !
O sharp convulsive pangs of agonizing pride!
Down, then, thou rebel, never more to rise,
And what thou did'st, and dost so dearly prize,
That fame, that darling fame, make that thy sacrifice!
'Tis nothing thou hast given; then add thy tears
For a long race of unrepenting years:
Tis nothing yet, yet all thou hast to give;
Then add those may-be years thou hast to live:
Yet nothing still; then poor and naked come;
Thy Father will receive his unthrift home,
And thy blest Saviour's blood discharge the mighty sum.
He had previously, in the same poem, alluded to the
'weight of ancient witness,' or tradition, which had
prevailed over private reason; and his feelings were
strongly excited-

But, gracious God! how well dost thou provide
For erring judgments an unerring guide!
Thy throne is darkness in th' abyss of light,
A blaze of glory that forbids the sight.

O teach me to believe thee thus conceal'd,
And search no farther than thyself reveal'd;
But her alone for my director take,
Whom thou hast promised never to forsake!
My thoughtless youth was wing'd with vain desires,
My manhood, long misled by wandering fires,
Follow'd false lights, and when their glimpse was gone,
My pride struck out new sparkles of her own.
Such was I; such by nature still I am;
Be thine the glory, and be mine the shame!

The Revolution in 1688 deprived Dryden of his office of laureate. But the want of independent income seems only to have stimulated his faculties, and his latter unendowed years produced the noblest of his works. Besides several plays, he now gave to the world versions of Juvenal and Persius, and-a still weightier task-a translation of Virgil. The latter is considered the least happy of all his great works. Dryden was deficient in sensibility, while

Virgil excels in tenderness and in a calm and serene dignity. This laborious undertaking brought the poet a sum of about £1200. His publisher, Tonson, endeavoured in vain to get the poet to inscribe the translation to King William, and, failing in this, he


Burleigh House,

where part of the translation of Virgil was executed, took care to make the engraver aggravate the nose of Æneas in the plates, into a sufficient resemblance of the hooked promontory of the Deliverer's countenance.' The immortal Ode to St Cecilia, commonly called Alexander's Feast, was Dryden's next work; and it is the loftiest and most imaginative of all his compositions. No one has ever qualified his admiration of this noble poem.' In 1699 Dryden published his Fables, 7500 verses, more or less, as the contract with Tonson bears, being a partial delivery to account of 10,000 verses, which he agreed to furnish for the sum of 250 guineas, to be made up to £300 upon publication of a second edition. The poet was now in his sixty-eighth year, but his fancy was brighter and more prolific than ever; it was like a brilliant sunset, or a river that expands in breadth, and fertilises a wider tract of country, ere it is finally engulfed in the ocean. The Fables' are imitations of Boccaccio and Chaucer, and afford the finest specimens of Dryden's happy versification. No narrative-poems in the language have been more generally admired or read. They shed a glory on the last days of the poet, who died on the 1st of May 1700. A subscription was made for a public funeral; and his remains, after being embalmed, and lying in state minster Abbey. twelve days, were interred with great pomp in West

Dryden has been very fortunate in his critics, annotators, and biographers. His life by Johnson is the most carefully written, the most eloquent and discriminating of all the Lives of the Poets.' Malone collected and edited his essays and other prose writings; and Sir Walter Scott wrote a copious life of the poet, and edited a complete edition of his works, the whole extending to eighteen volumes.

It has become the fashion to print the works of some of our poets in the order in which they were written, not as arranged and published by themselves. Cowper and Burns have been presented in this shape,

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and the consequence is, that light ephemeral trifles, or personal sallies, are thrust in between the more durable memorials of genius, disturbing their symmetry and effect. In the case of Dryden, however, such a chronological survey would be instructive; for, between the Annus Mirabilis' and the 'Ode to St Cecilia' or the 'Fables,' through the plays and poems, how varied is the range in style and taste! It is like the progress of Spenser's 'Good Knight,' through labyrinths of uncertainty, fantastic conceits, flowery vice, and unnatural splendour, to the sober daylight of truth, virtue, and reason. Dryden never attained to finished excellence in composition. His genius was debased by the false taste of the age, and his mind vitiated by its bad morals. He mangled the natural delicacy and simplicity of Shakspeare's Tempest;' and where even Chaucer is pure, Dryden is impure. "This great high-priest of all the nine,' remarks Mr Campbell, was not a confessor to the finer secrets of the human breast. Had the subject of "Eloisa" fallen into his hands, he would have left but a coarse draught of her passion.' But if Dryden was deficient in the higher emotions of love and tenderness, their absence is partly atoned for in his late works, by wide surveys of nature and mankind, by elevated reasoning and declamation, and by the hearty individuality of his satire. The brave negligence' of his versification, and his 'long resounding line,' have an indescribable charm. His style is like his own Panther, of the spotted kind,' and its faults and virtues lie equally mixed; but it is beloved in spite of spots and blemishes, and pleases longer than the verse of Pope, which, like the milk-white hind, is immortal and unchanged.' The satirical portraits of Pope, excepting those of Addison and Lord Hervey, are feeble compared with those of Dryden, whom he acknowledged to be his master and instructor in versification. The bard of Twickenham is too subtile, polished, and refined. Dryden drew from the life, and hit off strong likenesses. Pope, like Sir Joshua Reynolds, refined in his colours, and many of his pictures are faint and vanishing delineations. Dryden, with his tried and homely materials, and bold pencil, was true to nature; his sketches are still fresh as a genuine Vandyke or Rembrandt. His language, like his thoughts, was truly English. He was sometimes Gallicised by the prevailing taste of the day; but he felt that this was a license to be sparingly used. 'If too many foreign words are poured in upon us,' said he, 'it looks as if they were designed not to assist the natives, but to conquer them.' His lines, like the Sibyl's prophecies, must be read in the order in which they lie. In better times, and with more careful culture, Dryden's genius would have avoided the vulgar descents which he seldom escaped, except in his most finished passages and his choicest lyrical odes. As it is, his muse was a fallen angel, cast down for manifold sins and impurities, yet radiant with light from heaven. The natural freedom and magnificence of his verse it would be vain to eulogise.

[Character of Shaftesbury.]

[From Absalom and Achitophel.'] Of these the false Achitophel was first; A name to all succeeding ages curst: For close designs and crooked counsels fit; Sagacious, bold, and turbulent of wit; Restless, unfix'd in principles and place; In power unpleas'd, impatient of disgrace: A fiery soul, which, working out its way, Fretted the pigmy body to decay, And o'er-inform'd the tenement of clay. A daring pilot in extremity; Pleas'd with the danger when the waves went high,

He sought the storms; but, for a calm unfit,
Would steer too nigh the sands to boast his wit.
Great wits are sure to madness near allied,
And thin partitions do their bounds divide ;*
Else why should he, with wealth and honour blest,
Refuse his age the needful hours of rest!
Punish a body which he could not please;
Bankrupt of life, yet prodigal of ease!
And all to leave what with his toil he won,
To that unfeather'd two-legg'd thing, a son;
Got, while his soul did huddled notions try,
And born a shapeless lump, like anarchy.
In friendship false, implacable in hate;
Resolv'd to ruin or to rule the state:
To compass this, the triple bond he broke,
The pillars of the public safety shook,
And fitted Israel for a foreign yoke:
Then, seized with fear, yet still affecting fame,
Usurp'd a patriot's all-atoning name.
So easy still it proves, in factious times,
With public zeal to cancel private crimes;
How safe is treason, and how sacred ill
Where none can sin against the people's will!
Where crowds can wink, and no offence be known,
Since in another's guilt they find their own!
Yet fame deserv'd no enemy can grudge;
The statesman we abhor, but praise the judge.
In Israel's courts ne'er sat an Abethdin
With more discerning eyes, or hands more clean,
Unbrib'd, unsought, the wretched to redress,
Swift of despatch, and easy of access.
Oh! had he been content to serve the crown
or had the rankness of the soil been freed
With virtues only proper for the gown;
From cockle, that oppress'd the noble seed;
David for him his tuneful harp had strung,
And heaven had wanted one immortal song.
But wild ambition loves to slide, not stand;
And fortune's ice prefers to virtue's land.
A lawful fame, and lazy happiness,
Achitophel, grown weary to possess
Disdain'd the golden fruit to gather free,
And lent the crowd his arm to shake the tree.

[Character of Villiers, Duke of Buckingham.]
[From the same.]

Some of their chiefs were princes of the land:
In the first rank of these did Zimri stand;
A man so various that he seem'd to be,
Stiff in opinions, always in the wrong,
Not one, but all mankind's epitome:
Was ev'rything by starts, and nothing long;
But, in the course of one revolving moon,
Was chemist, fiddler, statesman, and buffoon;
Then all for women, painting, rhyming, drinking,
Besides ten thousand freaks that died in thinking.
Blest madman! who could ev'ry hour employ
With something new to wish, or to enjoy.
Railing and praising were his usual themes;
And both, to show his judgment, in extremes;
So over-violent, or over-civil,

That ev'ry man with him was God or devil. In squandering wealth was his peculiar art; Nothing went unrewarded but desert:

*The proposition of Dryden, that great wit is allied to madness, will not bear the test of scrutiny. It has been successfully combated by Hazlitt and Charles Lamb. The greatest wits,' says Lamb, will ever be found to be the sanest writers. It is impossible for the mind to conceive of a mad Shakspeare. The greatness of wit, by which the poetic talent is here chiefly to be understood, manifests itself in the admirable balance of all the faculties. Madness is the disproportionate straining or excess of any one of them.' Shaftesbury's restlessness was owing to his ambition and his vanity; to a want of judgment and principle, not an excess of wit.



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[Shaftesbury's Address to Monmouth.]
[From the same.]

Auspicious prince, at whose nativity
Some royal planet rul'd the southern sky,
Thy longing country's darling and desire,
Their cloudy pillar and their guardian fire;
Their second Moses, whose extended wand
Divides the seas, and shows the promis'd land;
Whose dawning day in every distant age
Has exercis'd the sacred prophet's rage:
The people's prayer, the glad diviner's theme,
The young men's vision, and the old men's dream!
Thee, saviour, thee, the nation's vows confess,
And, never satisfied with seeing, bless :
Swift unbespoken pomps thy steps proclaim,
And stammering babes are taught to lisp thy name :
How long wilt thou the general joy detain,
Starve and defraud the people of thy reign;
Content ingloriously to pass thy days,
Like one of Virtue's fools, that feed on praise;
Till thy fresh glories, which now shine so bright,
Grow stale, and tarnish with our daily sight;
Believe me, royal youth, thy fruit must be
Or gather'd ripe, or rot upon the tree :
Heaven has to all allotted, soon or late,
Some lucky revolution of their fate;
Whose motions, if we watch and guide with skill
(For human good depends on human will),
Our fortune rolls as from a smooth descent,
And from the first impression takes the bent;
But if unseiz'd, she glides away like wind,
And leaves repenting folly far behind.
Now, now she meets you with a glorious prize,
And spreads her locks before you as she flies!
Had thus old David, from whose loins you spring,
Not dared, when fortune call'd him to be king,
At Gath an exile he might still remain,
And heaven's anointing oil had been in vain.
Let his successful youth your hopes engage,
But shun th' example of declining age;
Behold him setting in his western skies,
The shadows lengthening as the vapours
He is not now as when on Jordan's sand,
The joyful people throng'd to see him land,
Covering the beach, and blackening all the strand!


All human things are subject to decay;
And, when Fate summons, monarchs must obey.
This Flecknoel found, who, like Augustus, young
Was call'd to empire, and had govern'd long;
In prose and verse was own'd, without dispute,
Through all the realms of Nonsense, absolute.
This aged prince, now flourishing in peace,
And blest with issue of a large increase,
Worn out with bus'ness, did at length debate
To settle the succession of the state;

And pond'ring which of all his sons was fit
To reign, and wage immortal war with Wit,
Cried, 'Tis resolved; for Nature pleads, that he
Should only rule who most resembles me.
Shadwell, alone, my perfect image bears,
Mature in dulness from his tender years:
Shadwell, alone, of all my sons, was he,
Who stands confirm'd in full stupidity.
The rest to some faint meaning make pretence;
But Shadwell never deviates into sense.
Some beams of wit on other souls may fall,
Strike through, and make a lucid interval;
But Shadwell's genuine night admits no ray;
His rising fogs prevail upon the day.
Besides, his goodly fabric fills the eye,
And seems design'd for thoughtless majesty:
Thoughtless as monarch oaks, that shade the plain,
And, spread in solemn state, supinely reign.
Heywood and Shirley were but types of thee,
Thou last great prophet of Tautology!
Ev'n I, a dunce of more renown than they,
Was sent before but to prepare thy way;
And, coarsely clad in Norwich drugget, came
To teach the nations in thy greater name.
My warbling lute, the lute I whilom strung,
When to King John of Portugal I sung,
Was but the prelude to that glorious day,
When thou on silver Thames didst cut thy way,
With well-tim'd oars, before the royal barge,
Swell'd with the pride of thy celestial charge;
And, big with hymn, commander of a host,
The like was ne'er in Epsom-blankets toss'd.
Methinks I see the new Arion sail,


[The design of this poem is the sublime of personal satire. The leading idea is to represent the solemn inauguration of one

inferior poet as the successor of another in the monarchy of

nonsense. The title involves this idea with a happy reference

to the nation of the resigning sovereign-Mac, in Celtic, being



The lute still trembling underneath thy nail.
At thy well-sharpen'd thumb, from shore to shore,
The trebles squeak for fear, the bases roar:
About thy boat the little fishes throng,
As at the morning toast that floats along.
Sometimes, as prince of thy harmonious band,
Thou wield'st thy papers in thy thrashing hand.
St Andre's feet2 ne'er kept more equal time;
Not e'en the feet of thine own Psyche's rhyme :3
Though they in number as in sense excel;
So just, so like Tautology they fell,
That, pale with envy, Singleton4 forswore
The lute and sword, which he in triumph bore,
And vow'd he ne'er would act Villerius more.

Here stopp'd the good old sire, and wept for joy,
In silent raptures of the hopeful boy.
All arguments, but most his plays, persuade,
That for anointed dulness he was made.

Close to the walls which fair Augusta bind
(The fair Augusta, much to fears inclin'd)
An ancient fabric, raised t' inform the sight,
There stood of yore, and Barbican it hight,
A watch-tower once; but now, so fate ordains,
Of all the pile an empty name remains :
Near these a nursery erects its head,
Where queens are form'd, and future heroes

* *

1 Richard Flecknoe, an Irish Roman Catholic priest, and a well-known hackneyed poetaster of the day.


Where unfledg'd actors learn to laugh and cry,
And little Maximins the gods defy.
Where infant punks their tender voices try,
Great Fletcher never treads in buskins here,
Nor greater Jonson dares in socks appear;
But gentle Simkin just reception finds
Amidst this monument of vanish'd minds;

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