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"Sir," said the scoundrel, with a staring eye, or considered as a deserter from ano“ You maun't be angry-and I'll tell you why; ther religion ; and therefore infers, « To meet your wish I did my best endeavour, “ And now the shoes are gone from me for ever that there was no authority for either “ Surely you did not mean that I should hold of those particulars. 'em.
He was educated at Westminster « To ease you of your easy shoes “ I could not well refuse-
school as one of the King's scholars, " You sent them me to sole, and so I sold 'em.” under Dr. Busby, where he wrote a
W. M. C. paper on the death of Lord Hastings,
which abounds in such conceits, as the LIVES OF THE BRITISH
example of Cowley still kept in repu
tation. Johnson, with his usual spirit, POETS.
remarks, that " as Lord Hastings died
of the small pox, his poet has made of DRYDEN.
the pustules first rosebuds, and then Bat see where artful DRYDEN next appears, gems, and at last exalts them into Grown old in rhyme but charming e'en in stars; and says,
years! Great DRYDEN next! whose tubeful Muse “ No comet need foretel his change drew on," affords!
" Whose corpse might seem a constellation." The sweetest numbers and the fittest words.
In 1650, he was elected to one of the Whether in cornic sounds or tragie airs She forms her voice, she moves our smiles or Westminster scholarships in the Uni. tears,
versity of Cambridge, and went off to If satire or heroic strains she writes,
Trinity College. In 1653, he took his Her hero pleases, and her satire bites, From her no harsh uparthil numbers iall;
degree of Bachelor of Arts ; and, on She wears all dresses, and she charms in all. the death of Cromwell in 1658, pub
Addison. lished “Heroic Stanzas on the Lord Dr. Johóson, whose memoirs of Protector, which had merit sufficient to Drvden are universally admitted to raise great expectations of the rising excel, in point of style and accuracy,
poet. the productions of all other biogra
When the King was restored, Dryden, phers. observes, that the life of the like other panegyrists of Cromwell, great poet he was about to delineate,
changed his opinion, or his profession, required a display more ample than and published
T hen and published “Astrea Redux" a poem could be given by him; for his con
on the restoration and return of his temporaries, however they reverenced
Need most sacred Majesty King Charles the genius, left his life unwritten; nothing,
Second. For this production he shared therefore, can be known beyond what
the reproach of inconstancy with casual mention and uncertain tradic Waller and others, and exposed himtion have supplied. From the best self to the ridicule of the wits bv authorities that could be procured, the
the following remarkable couplet in following memorials have been col.
the beginning of the poem: lected.
“ An horrid stillness first invades the ear, John Dryden, justly denominated “ And in that silence we a tempest fear."" " the great high priest of all the nine,” Dr. Johnson intimates that he was and the father of English criticism," persecuted with more ridicule than he was born on the 9th of August, 1631, deserved, and makes a comment on the at Aldwincle, near Oundle, a vil- lines to palliate the error imputed to lage, in the county of Northampton. the author. The same year he offered He was the son of Erasmus Dryden, an eulogium to the new king in a seEsq. of Tichmarsh, who was the third cond poem on his restoration. son of Sir Erasmus Dryden, Baronet, In 1661 he wrote a copy of verses of Canon's Ashley, in the said county, “on the death of Prince Henry and but descended from a family originally Princess Mary,” inserted in the Threni settled in Huntingdonshire.
Cantabrigienses of that year, and anoDerrick, one of his biographers, re- ther on the marriage of King Charles ports, that he inherited, from his father, the Second. It appears from his sig. an estate of two hundred a year, and nature, that in 1662, he had obtained a that he was bred an Anabaptist; but fellowship, for that academical honour Dr. Johnson remarks, that though he does not attend his name in any signahad many enemies, who undoubtedly ture of the year preceding. examined his life with a scrutiny suffi- It is very judiciously remarked, by ciently malicious, he bad never been one of Dryden's biographers, that if charged with waste of his patrimony, the two last mentioned poems had been
seen by Dr. Johnson, before the pub- Earl of Orrery, a nobleman of high lication of his excellent life of Dryden, reputation both as a writer and a stateg. that great writer would certainly have man. In this play he made his essay made some alteration in the following in dramatic rhyme, which he defends paragraph.
in his dedication, with a sufficient cer“At the university he does not ap- tainty of a favourable hearing ; for pear to have been eager of poetical Orrery was himself a writer of rhymdistinction, or to have lavished his early ing tragedies. wit either on fictitious subjects, or He then joined with Sir Robert public occasions. He probably con- Howard in the “ Indian Queen,” a sidered that he who purposed to be an tragedy in rhyme; but the parts which author, ought first to be a student. He he wrote are not distinguished. obtained, whatever was the reason, In 1667, he produced the “Indian no fellowship in the college. Why hé Emperor,”a tragedy in rhyme, intended was excluded cannot be known, and it for a sequel to Howard's Indian Queen, is vain to guess; had he thought himof which notice was given to the audi. self injured, he knew how to complain. ence by printed bills, distributed at the It was not till the death of Cromwell, door of the theatre, an expedient which in 1658, that he became a public can is supposed to be ridiculed in the didate for fame.”
“ Rehearsal,” where Bayes tells how The same year he addressed a poem many reams he has printed, to instil to the Lord Chancellor Hyde, and into the audience some conception of published A Satire on the Dutch ; and, the plot. as a proof of his early reputation for The practice of writing tragedies in knowledge, was chosen a member of rhyme was introduced soon after the the Royal Society, soon after the for- restoration, as it seems, by the Earl of mation of that institution.
Orrery, in compliance with the opinion The time at which Dryden's first play of Charles the Second, who had formed was exhibited is not certainly known, his taste by the French theatre; and because it was not printed till it was Dryden, who, according to his own some years afterwards altered and re- declaration, wrote only to please, therevised. But if the plays are printed in the fore composed rhyming tragedies, till, order which they were written, from by the prevalence of manifest propriety, the dates of some those of others may be he seems to have grown ashamed of inferred; and thus it may be collected, making them any longer. To this play that in 1663, in the thirty-second year of is prefixed a very vehement defence of his life, he commenced a writer for the dramatic rhyme, in confutation of the stage, of which he kept possession preface to the “ Duke of Larma," in many years; not, indeed, without the which Sir Robert Howard has cencompetition of rivals, who sometimes sured it. prevailed, or the censure of critics, In 1667, he published “ Annus Mi.. which was often poignant, and often rabilis,” the “Year of Wonders," which just, but with such a degree of reputa- is esteemed one of his most elaborate tion, as encouraged him to exercise his performances. It is written in quagenius in composing eight-and-twenty trains, or heroic stanzas of four lines, a dramatic pieces. Though they do not measure which he borrowed from the appear in the collection to which this Gondibert of Davenant, and which, in narrative is prefixed, we think it ne his prefatory address to Sir Robert cessary to enumerate them, as the com- Howard, he says, “I have ever judged position of so many dramas include too more noble and of greater dignity than much of a poetical life to be with pro- any other verses in use among us.” priety omitted.
Dryden's fame had now risen so high, His first piece was a comedy called that, on the death of Sir William Da. “ The Wild Gallant.” He began with no venant in 1668, he was appointed poet happy auguries; for his play met with laureat. The same year he published such indifferent success, that had not ne- bis “ Essay on Dramatic Poetry,” an cessity compelled him to persevere, the elegant and instructive dialogue, in English stage had, perhaps, never been which we are told by Prior, the prin. favoured with some of its brightest cipal character is meant to represent ornaments. This play was revised and the Earl of Dorset. He also produced, printed in 1669.
about the same time, “Secret Love," In 1664, he published the “ Rival or the “ Maiden Queen," a tragi-comeLadies," which he dedicated to the dy, and “Sir Martin Marall," a comedy,
published without preface or dedica- hand at fools, and a great facility in tion, and, at first, without the name of writing nonsense for them. Fools they the author. A contemporary writer will be in spite of him. His King, his charges this, like most of the other two Empresses, his villain, and his pieces, with plagiarism. It was said, sub-villain, pay, his hero, have all a that the Duke of Newcastle gave this certain natural cast of the father, their play to Dryden, who adapted it to the folly was born and bred in them, and stage, and it is entered on the books of something of the Elkanah will be the Stationers' Company as the produc- visible." tion of that nobleman.
On this declamatory 'effusion of our · The « Tempest" is an alteration of author, Dr. Johnson makes the followShakspeare's play made by Dryden, in ing judicious remark: conjunction with Davenant, “whom,” “To see the highest minds thus says he, “I found of so quick a fancy, levelled with the meanest, may prothat nothing was proposed to him from duce some solace to the consciousness which he could not suddenly produce of weakness, and some mortification to a thought, extremely pleasant and sur- the pride of wisdom. But let it be reprising; and therefore thoughts of his, membered that minds are not levelled contrary to the Latin proverb, were not in their powers, but when they are first always the least happy ; and, as his levelled in their desires. Dryden and fancy was quick, so, likewise, were Settle had both placed their happiness the products of it remote and new. in the claps of multitudes." He borrowed not of any other, and his In 1677, «The Mock Astrologer" imaginations were such, as could not was produced, with a preface and deeasily enter into any other man." dication to the illustrious Duke of
The effect produced by two such Newcastle, whom Johnson says he powerful minds was, that to Shake courts by adding to his praise those of speare's monster, Caliban, is added, a his lady, not only as a lover, but a sister monster, Sycorax; and a woman, partner in his studies; subjoining this who, in the original play, had never remark, “ It is unpleasing to think seen a man, is, in this, brought ac- how many names, once celebrated, are quainted with a man that had never since forgotten." Of Newcastle's works. seen a woman. This play was first nothing is now known but his Treatise exhibited in 1670.
on Horsemanship. The preface is About this time, appeared a tragedy, elaborately written, and contains many cslled “The Empress of Morocco," just remarks on the fathers of the written in rhyme, by Elkanah Settle; English drama. His criticisms upon the success of which, together with its tragedy, comedy, and farce are judibraving been the first play embellished cious and profound; and against those with engravings, seems greatly to have who accused him of plagiarism, he discomposed the mind of Dryden ; who, alleges a favourable expression of (actuated by what he called indignation, the king. “He only desired that those and others jealousy, wrote an intem- who accused me of thefts, would steal perate critique upon the play and de- him plays like mine," and then relates dication, in which he blends the highest how much labour be spends in fitting degree of spleen and scurrillity. for the English stage what he borrows
Of Settle he gives this character. from others. “ He's an animal of a most deplored The following year he produced ano. understanding, without conversation; ther tragedy in rhyme called “Tyrannic his being is in a twilight of sense and Love, or the Virgin Martyr;" which some glimmering of thought, which he has many passages of strength and can never fashion into wit or English. elegance, and some of empty noise and His style is boisterous and rough-hewn, ridiculous turbulence. The rants of his rhyme incorrigibly lewd, and his Maximin have always been the sport numbers perpetually harsh and ill- of criticism, and are said, at length, to sounding. The little talent which he have been the shame of the writer. has, is in fancy. He sometimes labours This tragedy was written before the with a thought; but with the pudder Conquest of Granada, but published he makes to bring it into the world, 'tis after it. The design is to recommend commonly still-born ; so that, for want piety. “I considered," says Dryden, of learning and elocution, he will never “ that pleasure was not the only end be able to express any thing either na- of poesy, and that even the instructions turally or justly. He has a heavy of morality were so wholly the business of a poet, as that precepts and examples stood the effects of poison, and under of piety were to be omitted; for to the pretence of diabolical influence, leave that employment altogether to the contrived to infuse the deadly venom clergy, were to forget that religion was into her victim's veins. When any first taught in verse, which the laziness lady desired her to consult the devil, or dulness of succeeding priesthood in order to ascertain whether she was turned afterwards into prose.” “Thus likely to become a widow or not, if foolishly," Dr. Johnson observes,"could much anxiety were manifested on the Dryden write, rather than not show his occasion, this sorceress, after making a malice to the parsons.”
variety of magical pretensions, would Of the “ Conquest of Granada" the appoint a time when the husband should doctor gives the following account: die, and which she said would be indi“ The two parts of the Conquest of cated by some particular sign or mark Granada are written with a seeming that could not be mistaken. Somedetermination to glut the public with times, before the husband was sacri. dramatic wonders, to exhibit in its ficed, certain valuable mirrors, or china highest elevation a theatrical meteor vases, &c. were to be broken. These of incredible love, and impossible va- losses were looked upon with much delour, and to leave no room for a wilder light by women who had so unhappily ftight to the extravagance of posterity. sought their husband's deaths. It selAll the rays of romantic heat glow in dom happened, from the skill of this Almanzor by a kind of concentration. hateful sorceress in slow and subtil He is above all law ; he is exempt from poisons, that her schemes were frusall restraint; he ranges the world at trated. She had many agents, and will, and governs wherever he appears. often contrived poisonous drugs to be He fights without inquiring the cause, given by the wife's own hand. Freand lives in spite of the obligations of quently would she bribe the domestics justice, of rejections by his mistress, of the family where her agency was and of prohibition from the dead. Yet, sought, to break a mirror or a vase, the scenes are, for the most part, der for the purpose of strengthening the lightful; they exhibit a kind of illus- confidence reposed in her, and bringing trious depravity, and majestic madness; about a tragical end. such as if it is sometimes despised, is Philibert, the famous flute-player, often reverenced, and in which the was then in the height of his fame. He ridiculous is mingled with the astonish- had fallen in love with the daughter of ing.” A play thus written, in professed a rich tradesman named Brunet, who defiance of probability, naturally drew had no other children. She was exupon itself the severity of criticism. ceedingly beautiful, but very young; It was censured with much sarcasm by her mother, who was about forty years Martin Clifford, Esq. of the Charter of age, always did the honours of the House, and Settle availed himself of table when Philibert visited the house. the opportunity of taking his revenge, The good man, M. Brunet, was dein an answer, perhaps equal in scur- lighted with the prospect of his daugh. rility and invective to Dryden's censure ter's approaching marriage, and free of his play, which is no very high quently entertained Philibert at his commendation.
table; he also often invited him to a [To be continued.]
tavern, and was so much delighted with his company, that he could not
forbear speaking in high terms of praise A SINGULAR ACCOUNT OF THE of his delightful vivacity and amusing
ARTS PRACTISED BY MADAM anecdote. His wife, hearing these fa. VOISIN,
vourable things said of Philibert so A celebrated Fortune-Teller, who was repeatedly, raised in her heart an en
executed at Paris upwards of a Cen. vious wish at her daughter's approachtury buck.
ing happiness, and a determination to
possess the object of it herself. She (FROM MADAM DU NOYER'S LETTERS.)
had immediate recourse to the wretch Paris was disgraced by a woman, Voisin, who gave her some drug, which named Voisin, who occasioned many a being administered to M. Brunet, des. wife to be freed of her husband. This patched him to another world.' His public pest never refused her assistance death was represented at the time as to those who came to ask it. Like being the effect of apoplexy. The nup. Medea and Circe of old, she under- . tials were consequently put off, and
Madame Brunet became mistress of the select for an asylum. "With our te. wealth and fate of her daughter. When lents," said he, “ my dear Philibert. the last duties were paid the deceased, what need we fear? there is no soand Philibert was anxious to prosecute vereign who will not joyfully receive his wishes, he was told that as circum- us in his Court. Let us seek another stances were changed, his views ought country, we cannot long remain stranlikewise to undergo a transmutation. gers; and let us traverse the whole It was whispered to him, that it would world together, rather than be sepabe the height of incivility tu ask the rated.” Philibert expressed his warmhand of the daughter when the mother est acknowledgments for his friend's was unmarried. in short, there was disinterested suggestions, but remained little difficulty in persuading him which firm in his first determinations, and union would be the most advantageous. gave himself up to the course of jus. Madame Brunet, in a marriage con- tice, which acquitted him of any, the tract which was drawn up as soon as slightest, participation in the untimely decency would permit, assigned a con. end of the wealthy citizen. His friends siderable portion of money to Philibert, congratulated him on the happy termiand they were married. The young nation of the affair, and the King perdaughter was placed in a convent, and mitted bim to take the forfeited proPhilibert was as happy as riches and perty of Madam Brunet. an agreeable wife, whose beauty was The register kept by Voisin might not entirely faded, could make him, furnish a number of examples to prove until an incident occurred which occa- the truth of women engaging in wreteh. sioned the union to lose its charms. It ed affairs of guilt. I am unable to aspleased Providence to overtake Voisin sign a reason why this unhappy woman in her wicked career, after the com- placed the names of all her applicants mission of so many crimes, which she ou a list. It is pretended that it was expiated by forfeiting her life to of- done in order to compel all those peofended human justice. I do not pre- ple, many of whom were of the first tend to know whether she escaped Di- description (in case she should be aevine justice, but I am willing to be- cused of crime), to come forward and lieve charitably on that head, as it was defend her, because their own safety confidently asserted that she died very would depend upon her acquittal. repentant.
Notwithstanding, this method availed It was this unhappy woman's custom her nothing, and caused others to be to keep a register of the names of those involved in her ruin. individuals who had recourse to her Poor Madame Talou was exceedingly guilty practices, and in that list was alarmed when told by her husband found the name of Madame Brunet. that her name was on the fatal list. No sooner was this discovered, than Although her intentions had not been she was taken into custody, convicted, criminal, yet she was agitated, and in and executed almost immediately. Phi- great fear, when the following adyenlibert was suspected of being a partner ture transpired. She was informed in the crime, and was enjoined by all by one of her domestics that a man was his friends to escape; even the King below and wished to see her. “Go himself advised him to do so, inasmuch and inquire his name," said she. How as if he were proved to be the least much surprised she was when the serconcerned in the affair, no pardon could vant returned, saying “ that he had di. be granted him. Philibert thanked his rected her to teil Madam T. it was Majesty for his lenient interference, Grecs who was waiting." There was but affirmed as his conscience did not a person of that name, a well-known accuse him, he would not give his ene- police officer, the terror of all evil mies cause for triumph by flight; that doers, and of the poor Hugonots. he was fully prepared to have his con- Madame Talon, on hearing the name duct investigated, and that he antici. of Grecs pronounced, gave herself up pated a complete justification from his for lost. She directed the avenues of judges. He offered to go to prison, the apartments to be blockaded, and but before he went, his friend Coteaux ran weeping to the study of her husexhorted him on the uncertainty of hu- band, crying, "Save me, save me!" man tribunals in an affair so peculiar, Then throwing herself upon her knees, and with a generosity worthy of Pelades she added, “ True it is I went once, or Prestes, offered to partake his for- and only once, to Voisin's house, but tunes with him in any place he should that was to consult her on a thing