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This was the fruit the private spirit brought,
What then remains but, waving each extreme,
Than by disputes the public peace disturb.
* A passage of "Hudibras” was probably in Dryden's mind:
“So, ere the storm of war broke out,
Religion spawned a various rout
Part 3, canto 2, line 7. + The versifier of the Psalms with Hopkins, See Dryden's contemptuous allusion to this! metrical version of the Psalms in "Absalom and Achitophel,” part 2, line 403.
A FUNERAL-PINDARIC POEM.
TO THE HAPPY MEMORY OF KING CHARLES II.
BY JOHN DRYDEN,
SERVANT TO HIS LATE MAJESTY AND TO THE PRESENT KING.
"Fortunati ambo, si quid imea carmina possunt,
Virg. En. ix. 417
Charles II. died on February 6, 1685. This poem was published about a month after : the date, March 9, is in manuscript on the title-page in the copy of the first edition in the British Museum, and that was probably the day of publication. Dryden's name and description of himself on the title-page have been printed here with the title of this poem, as his Virgilian motto is connected with the words, “Servant to his late Majesty and to the present King." He had not announced his official position on the title-page of "Religio Laici,” nor did he afterwards on that of “Britannia Rediviva," the poem written to celebrate the birth of a son to James II. ; in both those title-pages it is simply, “Written by Mr. Dryden.” “Absalom and Achitophel " and the Satires which succeeded it were published anonymously. The title-pages of “Annus Mirabilis" and other preceding poems, published before he was Poet Laureat and Historiographer Royal, had borne the author's name as “John Dryden, Esquire."
A second edition of this poem appeared in the course of 1685. There were some changes of the text in the second edition, which are mostly improvements, and which, it may be presumed, were all authorised. The poem was next reprinted, after an in. terval of sixteen years, in the folio vo'ume of Dryden's Poems, published in the year after his death, 1701, by Jacob Tonson. It is remarkable that passages, changed in the second edition from the first, reappear in this third edition as they stood in the first: and there is a new altemtion in this third edition which deserves special mention. The two lines in the description of Charles's last moments, 187, 8, which stand in the two editions of 1685.
** And he who most performed and promised less,
Even Short himself forsook the unequal strife," were changed in Tonson's folio volume of 1701 into
“And they who most performed and promised less,
Even Short and Hobbes forsook the unequal strife." Hobbes was a surgeon of eminence at the time of Dryden's death, and had attended Dryden in his last illness ; but there is no other known mention of him among the medical men who attended the bedside of Charles II. This is a very suspicious change of the text in Tonson's volume of 1701. The text of 1701 was copied in the edition of the "Miscellany Poems" of 1716 and in Broughton's edition of 1743. The text of the second edition of 1685 is followed here. Tonson's folio volume is printed generally inaccurately.
Thus long my grief has kept me dumb:
Sure there's a lethargy in mighty woe, :
Tears stand congealed and cannot flow,
But, unprovided for a sudden blow,
And petrify with grief.
No threatening cloud was nigh,
We lived as unconcerned and happily
Supine amidst our flowing store,
When suddenly the thunder-clap was heard,
Already lost before we feared.
Our gracious Prince was dead. +
The tempest rose,
* "Out of guard," a French phrase, hors de garde.
+ Charles II, was taken suddenly ill on the morning of Monday, February 2, 1685, and on that forenoon immediate death was believed inevitable. But he rallied, and on the morning of the 5th his physicians pronounced him out of danger. There was a relapse the same evening : and on Friday, February 6, he died. Lord Macaulay's elaborate account of Charles's last moments should be read with this poem, I Now, a substantive, for moment. “This moment becalmed, and perishing the next."
“ Your good or ill, your infamy or fame,
And all the colour of your life depends
Spanish Friar, act 4, sc. 2.