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the excise, or some other way, means cannot be wanting, if you please to have the will. "Tis enough for one age to bave neglected Mr. Cowley, and starved Mr. Butler ; but neither had the happiness to live till your lordship’s ministry. In the mean time, be pleased to give me a gracious and speedy answer to my present request of half a year's pension for my necessities. I am going to write somewhat by his majesty's command, and cannot stir into the country for my health and studies, till I secure my family from want. You have many petitions of this nature, and cannot satisfy all ; but I hope, from your goodness, to be made an exception to your general rules, because I am, with all sincerity, your lordship’s most obedient, humble servant,
JOHN DRYDEN TO JACOB TONSON. MR. TONSON, Monday morning (Sept. 1684). The two melons you sent I received before your letter, which came four hours after: I tasted one of them, which was too good to need an excuse; the other is yet untouched. You have written divers things which gave me great satisfaction ; particularly that the History of the League is commended : and I hope the only thing I penned in it is not found out. Take it altogether, and I dare say without vanity, 'tis the best translation of any history in English, though I cannot say 'tis the best history ; but this is no fault of mine. I am glad my lord duke of Ormond has one : I
did not forget him, but I thought his own sorrows were too fresh upon him to receive a present of that nature. For my Lord Roscommon's Essay, I am of your opinion, that you should reprint it, and that you may safely venture on a thousand more. In my verses before it, pray let the printer mend his error, and let the line stand thus :
That here his conquering ancestors were nursed.
Charles his copy is all true. The other faults my Lord Roscommon will mend in the book, or Mr. Chetwood for him, if my lord be gone for Ireland ; of which pray send me word.
Your opinion of the Miscellanies is likewise mine: I will for once lay by the Religio Laici till another time. But I must also add, that since we are to have nothing but new, I am resolved we will have nothing but good, whomever we may disoblige. You will have of mine four odes of Horace, which I have already translated; another small translation of forty lines from Lucretius; the whole story of Nisus and Euryalus, both in the fifth and ninth of Virgil's Eneids : and I care not who translates them beside me; for let him be friend or foe, I will please myself, and not give off in consideration of any man. There will be forty lines more of Virgil in another place, to answer those of Lucretius : I mean those very lines which Montague has compared in those two poets; and Homer shall sleep on for me, -I will not now meddle
the opera, I believe I shall have no leisure to
mind it, after I have done what I proposed : for my business here is to unweary myself, after my studies, not to drudge.
I am very glad you have paid Mr. Jones, because he has carried himself so gentlemanlike to me; and, if ever it lies in my power, I will requite it. I desire to know whether the Duke's House are making clothes and putting things in readiness for the singing opera, to be played immediately after Michaelmas. For the actors in the two plays which are to be acted of mine this winter, I had spoken with Mr. Betterton by chance at the coffeehouse the afternoon before I came away; and I believe that the persons were all agreed on, to be just the same as you mentioned ; Octavia was to be Mrs. Butler, in case Mrs. Cooke went not on the stage : and I know not whether Mrs. Percival, who is a comedian, will do well for Benzayda.
I came hither for health, and had a kind of hectic fever for a fortnight of the time : I am now much better. Poor Jack is not yet recovered of an intermitting fever, of which this is the twelfth day ; but he mends, and now begins to eat flesh : to add to this, my man, with overcare of him, is fallen ill too, of the same distemper; so that I am deep in doctors, 'pothecaries, and nurses : but though many in this country fall sick of fevers, few or none die. Your friend, Charles, continues well. If you have any extraordinary news, I should be glad to hear it. I will answer Mr. Butler's letter next week; for it requires no haste. I am yours,
JOHN DRYDEN TO JACOB TONSON.
August 30 (1693]. I AM much ashamed of myself, that I am so much behind with you in kindness. Above all things I am sensible of your good nature, in bearing me company to this place, wherein, besides the cost, you must needs neglect your own business ; but I will endeavour to make you some amends; and therefore I desire you to cominand me something for your service. I am sure you thought my Lord Radcliffe * would have done something : I guessed more truly that he could not; but I was too far engaged to desist; though I was tempted to it, by the melancholic prospect I had of it. I have translated six hundred lines of Ovid; but I believe I shall not compass his seven hundred and seventy-two lines under pine hundred more of mine. This time I cannot write to my wife, because he who is to carry my letter to Oundle, will not stay till I can write another. Pray, sir, let her know that I am well; and for fear the few damsons should be all gone, desire her to buy me a sieve full, to preserve whole, and not in mash.
I intend to come up at least a week before Michaelmas ; for Sir Matthew is gone abroad, I suspect a wooing, and his caleche is gone with him : so that I have been but thrice at Tichmarsh, of which you were with me once. This disappointment makes the place wearisome to me, which otherwise would be pleasant.
• To whom the third Miscellany is dedicated.
About a fortnight ago I had an intimation from a friend, by a letter, that one of the secretaries, I suppose Trenchard, had informed the queen that I had abused her government (those were the words) in my epistle to my Lord Radcliffe ; and that, thereupon, she had commanded her historiographer, Rymer, to fall upon my plays; which, be assures me, he is now doing. I doubt not his malice, from a former hint you gave me; and if he be employed, I am confident 'tis of his seeking; who, you know, has spoken slightly of me in his last critique : and that gave me occasion to sparl again. In your next, let me know what you can learn of this matter. I am Mr. Congreve's true lover, and desire you to tell him how kindly I take his often remembrances of me: I wish him all prosperity, and hope I shall never lose his affection ; nor yours, sir, as being your most faithful, and much obliged servant,
JOHN DRYDEN. I had all your letters.-Sir Matthew had your book, when he came home last, and desired me to give you his acknowledgments.
JOHN DENNIS TO JOHN DRYDEN.
March 3 (1693-4). You may see already by this presumptuous greeting, that encouragement gives as much assurance to friendship as it imparts to love. You may see too, that a friend may sometimes proceed to acknowledge affection, by the very same degrees