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Busby, to whom in 1693 he dedicated his translation of the Fifth Satire of Persius. He says in the Dedication that he had received from Dr. Busby 'the first and truest taste of Persius. Two of his sons were educated at Westminster under the same head-master, Dr. Busby. He remembered to the last, but without resentment, Dr. Busby's floggings. In one of his latest letters, written in 1699 to Charles Montagu, Chancellor of the Exchequer, when sending for his inspection some poems before publication, he speaks of having corrected and re-corrected them, and he says, “I am now in fear that I have purged them out of their spirit, as our Master Busby used to whip a boy so long till he made him a confirmed blockhead.' Charles Montagu had been educated at Westminster, but he was thirty years younger than Dryden, and might have been at the school with Dryden's sons.
In 1650 Dryden left Westminster with a scholarship, for Trinity College, Cambridge. In 1649 he had written his first poem, which gave little promise of the smoothness and harmony of versification to which he afterwards attained. Lord Hastings, the subject of it, the eldest son of the Earl of Huntingdon, had been educated at Westminster, and his rare attainments had raised among his friends high hopes of future eminence. When these hopes were destroyed by his untimely death from small pox, when he was just of age, in 1649, the event was lamented in as many as thirty-three elegies by different authors, which were collected and published in 1650 by Richard Brome, with the title of ‘Lacrymæ Musarum, the Tears of the Muses; exprest in Elegies written by divers Persons of nobility and worth upon the death of Henry Lord Hastings, only son of the Right Honourable Ferdinando Earl of Huntingdon, heir-general of the high-born Prince George, Duke of Clarence, brother to King Edward the Fourth 8.' Among the contributors to this volume were three who were already known as poets, and whose
& Sir Walter Scott, who had not seen this little volume, erroneously gives ninety-eight as the number of the elegies.
fame has survived them, Denham, Herrick, and Andrew Marvel. Dryden's second known poem, a short complimentary address prefixed to a little volurne of sacred poetry by John Hoddesden, a friend and schoolfellow, was probably written at the beginning of Dryden's residence at Cambridge. Hoddesden's little volume bore the title “Sion and Parnassus,' and was published in 1650.
Dryden was entered at Trinity College, Cambridge, on the 18th of May, 1650; he matriculated July 16, and was elected a scholar of the college on the Westminster foundation, October 2, 1650. He took his degree of Bachelor of Arts in January 1654. Beyond these dates very little is known of his college life. With the exception of a single passage in his life of Plutarch, where he mentions having read that author in the library of Trinity College, Cambridge, and adds that to that foundation he gratefully acknowledges the debt of a great part of his education, there is no mention of his Cambridge days in his writings; and this silence has created an impression that in after life he regarded Cambridge with aversion. Some lines in one of his Oxford Prologues, written in 1681, have seemed further proof of such a feeling
• Oxford to him a dearer name shall be
Than his own mother university;
But these lines prove nothing, being probably prompted by no other motive than the desire of the moment to please an Oxford audience. A passage in a letter from Dryden to Wilmot Earl of Rochester, written in 1675, in which he sends him copies of a Prologue and Epilogue for Oxford, composed on another occasion, shows that all he wrote for Oxford may not be sincere. He tells Rochester that the pieces were approved, 'and by the event your lordship will judge how easy 'tis to pass anything upon an University, and what gross flattery the learned will endure.'
But Dryden's life at Cambridge had not passed always pleasantly. In the second year of his residence at Trinity, he had incurred the displeasure of the authorities for disobedience to the Vice-Master, and his contumacy in taking of his punishment.' What the disobedience was is not known; the ultimate sentence assigned was 'that Dryden be put out of commons for a fortnight at least, and that he go not out of the college during the time aforesaid, excepting to sermons, without express leave from the Master or Vice-Master, and that at the end of a fortnight he read a confession of his crime in the Hall at dinner-time at the three Fellows' tables.' And there may be some truth, with exaggeration also, in a taunt of Shadwell, that he left Cambridge suddenly in consequence of a quarrel.
Dryden's father died in June 1654, a few months after he had taken his B.A. degree. By his father's death he inherited two-thirds of a small estate at Blakesley, which gave him an income of about 401. a year. The remaining third of the property was left to his mother for her life, and she lived till 1676. It is calculated that 401, a year in Dryden's time would have been equal to four times as much now. Dryden's income would therefore have been sufficient to support him decently with economy.
He ceased to be a scholar of Trinity in April 1655, before the natural expiry by time of his scholarship, on account of his having ceased to reside at Cambridge. This appears from the following entry in the college Conclusion Book of April 23, 1655, “That scholars be elected into the places of Sr. Hooker, Sr. Sawies, Sr. Driden, Sr. Quincey, Sr. Burton; with this proviso, that if the said Bachelors shall return to the College at or before Midsummer next, to continue constantly according to statute, then the scholars chosen into their places respectively shall recede and give place to them, otherwise to stand as proper scholars.' It further appears that a young man named Wilford was elected into Dryden's place on the above-mentioned condition. The Senior Bursar's book shows that neither Dryden nor any of the others for whom as scholars successors were elected at the same time, re-entered into their scholarships. They all received the scholars' stipends up to Michaelmas 1655, and no further
payment is credited to any of them. It may therefore be concluded that the story hitherto told, derived from Malone, of Dryden's having returned to Cambridge after his father's death, and having continued to reside there till the middle of 1657, is not correct. He had ceased to reside before April 1655; and if he returned to Cambridge after his father's death in June 1654, it would have been only for a very short time h.
Having ceased to be a scholar of the College, he was ineligible for a fellowship, the fellows being chosen exclusively from the scholars. It has been thought surprising that he did not, when the time came in 1657, take the degree of Master of Arts, but the smallness of his means is quite sufficient to explain why he did not do so. By the ancient
h I am indebted to Mr. W. Aldis Wright, the late librarian of Trinity College, for the information which has enabled me to contradict positively the old story of Dryden's continuing to reside at Cambridge till 1657. The story is Malone's, and on a careful examination of his statements I see that the only authority, if it can be so called, for Dryden's continued residence till 1657 is a description of him by Settle in a polemical pamphlet as 'a man of seven years' standing at Cambridge.' Malone was made aware, after the completion of his Life of Dryden, of the entry in the Conclusion Book of April 23, 1655; and he mentions this in his Additions and Emendations (Dryden's Prose Works by Malone, vol. i. part 2, p. 134). But he adds that there are instances of gownsmen residing at Cambridge after the loss of their scholarships.' In the memoir in the Globe Edition of Dryden's poems, I have given the old story of Dryden's continuing to reside till 1657 with doubt, and stated that there is no proof of its correctness. I am now able positively to contradict it. The following interesting account of Dryden by a college contemporary, the Rev. Dr. Crichton, is given in a letter written in 1727 by a Mr. Pain, which is in the Trinity College Library, and has been lately found by Mr. W. A. Wright, who has obligingly furnished it to me. It confirms the fact of Dryden's early departure from Trinity after taking his B.A. degree. "The Doctor also mentioned something of Dryden the poet, which I tell you because you may have occasion to say something of him. Dryden, he said, was two years above him, and was reckoned a man of good parts and learning while in college: he had to his knowledge read over and very well understood all the Greek and Latin poets: he stayed to take his Bachelor's degree, but his head was too roving and active, or what else you'll call it, to confine himself to a college life, and so he left it and went to London into gayer company, and set up for a poet, which he was as well qualified for as any man.'
statutes of the University, any one possessed of any estate, annuity, or certain income for life amounting to 261. 135. 4d. was required to pay 61. 6s. 4d. in addition to the ordinary fees for any degree; and those for the M.A. degree for one not a fellow would be as much. Dryden, with his small income of forty pounds, might naturally be unwilling to incur this expense. It is possible also that Dryden's premature departure from Cambridge without fellowship or degree may have been caused by a disagreeable incident, such as he is taunted with by Shadwell
• At Cambridge first your scurrilous vein began,
And you had been expelled had you not fed i.' The scurrility of Shadwell is anything but perfect authority, but there must have been some foundation for the taunt of these malicious lines.
A degree of Master of Arts was conferred on Dryden by the Archbishop of Canterbury in 1668, on the recommendation of King Charles the Second, when he had made himself known as an author, and had acquired the King's favour by political poems and plays suited to his taste.
There is no information about Dryden's life after his leaving Cambridge till he appeared as an author in London on the occasion of Oliver Cromwell's death. It has always hitherto been said that he began to reside in London about the middle of 1657; but this was probably a part of the story that he continued to reside till 1657 at Cambridge. It is not impossible that he went to London earlier than has been hitherto supposed; and it is quite possible that he may have gone there later. He was probably aided by his relative, Sir Gilbert Pickering, at the beginning of his life in London, and he may have gone thither soon after his father's death to profit by Sir Gilbert's friendship. High in Cromwell's favour, a member of his Privy Council, and Chamberlain of his household, he was in a position to render
1. The Medal of John Bayes.'