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EPISTLES

AND

COMPLIMENTARY ADDRESSES. GENERAL INTRODUCTION.

This second division of Dryden's Poems, which has been headed Epistles and Complimentary Addresses,consists almost entirely of short pieces; the only taco of any length being the Address to Sir Godfrey Kneller and the Epistle to his cousin John Driden. A large portion of the Addresses was written, according to the custom of the times, as complimentary testimonies for author-friend's to be placed at the beginning of newly-published works; the praise, as it is called in Hudibras, of wit-insuring friend." The dates of priblication of the pieces in this division range from 1650, when Dryden in his nineteenth year touched for the poetry of his schoolfellow John Hoddesdon, to 1700, when he published with his Fableshis Epistle to his cousin. They are printed in chronological order of publication, "A familiar Epistle to Mr. Julian, Secretary to the Muses,which was printed, and ascribed to Dryden, in the sixth volume of the edition of the Miscellany Poems" of 1716, may be unhesitatingly rejected as n10t Dryden's. The same poem was published as George Villiers Duke of Buckingham's in a collection of his Poems printed in 1714. An allusion to Dryden himself in the poem would seem sufficient to prove him not the author :

Less art thou helped by Dryden's bed-rid age;

That drone has left his sting upon the stage.

It was an abuse of Dryden's name by the publisher to represent as his any volume or edition of the Miscellany Poemspublished after his death ; and no text or inscription of authorship in any of these subsequent publications can be relied on as regards Dryden.

Dryden's occasional brief notes are always printed between marks of quotation,

EPISTLES AND COMPLIMENTARY ADDRESSES.

TO JOHN HODDESDON,

ON HIS DIVINE EPIGRAMS. *

Thou hast inspired me with thy soul, and I,
Who ne'er before could ken of poetry,
Am grown so good proficient I can lend
A line in commendation of my friend.
Yet 'tis but of the second hand ; if aught
There be in this, 'tis from thy fancy brought.
Good thief who darest, Prometheus-like, aspire,
And fill thy poems with celestial fire,
Enlivened by these sparks divine, their rays
Add a bright lustre to thy crown of bays.
Young eaglet, who thy nest thus soon forsook,
So lofty and divine a course hast took
As all admire, before the down begin
To peep as yet upon thy smoother chin ;
And, making Heaven thy aim, hast had the grace
To look the Sun of Righteousness in the face.
What may we hope, if thou goest on thus fast ?
Scriptures at first, enthusiasms at last!
Thou hast commenced betimes a saint; go on,
Mingling diviner streams with Helicon,
That they who view what Epigrams here be,
May learn to make like, in just praise of thee.
Reader, I've done, nor longer will withhold
Thy greedy eyes; looking on this pure gold,
Thou'lt know adulterate copper, which, like this,
Will only serve to be a foil to his.

* This is Dryden's second known poem, the first being the poem on the death of Lord Hastings. These lines were prefixed to a small volume of religious poetry published in 1650, by John Hoddesdon, a youth of eighteen, and probably a Westminster schoolfellow and Cambridge fellowcollegian of Dryden. The lines were signed" J. Dryden of Trinity C." Dryden completed his nineteenth year in August 1650. Hoddesdon's book was called "Sion and Parnassus, or Epigrams on several Texts of the Old and New Testament, to which are added a Poem on the Passion, a Hymn on the Resurrection, Ascension, and Feast of Pentecost."

TO MY HONOURED FRIEND SIR ROBERT HOWARD,

ON HIS EXCELLENT POEMS.*

As there is music uninformed by art
In those wild notes, which with a merry heart
The birds in unfrequented shades express,
Who, better taught at home, yet please us less,
So in your verse a native sweetness dwells,
Which shames composure t and its art excels.
Singing no more can your soft numbers grace
Than paint adds charms unto a beautious face.
Yet as, when mighty rivers gently creep,
Their even calmness does suppose them deep,
Such is your Muse ; no metaphor swelled high
With dangerous boldness lifts her to the sky:
Those mounting fancies, when they fall again,
Show sand and dirt at bottom do remain.
So firm a strength, and yet withal so sweet,
Did never but in Samson's riddle meet. I
'Tis strange each line so great a weight should bear
And yet no sign of toil, no sweat appear.
Either your art hides ari, as Stoics feign
Then least to feel when most they suffer pain;
And we, dull souls, admire but cannot see
What hidden springs within the engine be :
Or 'tis some happiness that still pursues
Each act and motion of your graceful Muse.

• Sir Robert Howard, to whom this poem is addressed, was a younger son of the Earl of Berkshire, with whom Dryden became intimate about the time of the Restoration, and by whom he was much befriended. Shadwell, in his “Medal of John Bayes," has made Howard's kindness to Dryden a subject of attack :

“ Then by the assistance of a noble knight

Thou hadst plenty, ease, and liberty to write :
First like a gentleman he made thee live,

And on his bounty thou didst amply thrive." And a note on “noble knight" explains, “Sir R H., who kept him generously at his own house." Sir Robert Howard, like his father, was a zealous Royalist. The volume of poems which occasioned this Address from Dryden, was published almost immediately after the Restoration : and Dryden's poem appeared at the beginning of the book. Not long after, Dryden married a sister of Sir Robert's, Lady Elizabeth Howard. In the Preface to “Annus Mirabilis,” which is addressed to Sir Robert Howard, Dryden expresses in warm terms his personal obligations to his brother-in-law. But soon after they had an angry public controversy, arising out of a criticism by Sir Robert on Dryden's “Essay of Dramatic Poesy." Dryden replied in a tone of severe irony, with contemptuous remarks on Sir Robert Howard in striking contrast with some of the compliments in this poem. Sir Robert was a member of Parliament, and held the lucrative office of Auditor of the Exchequer. He died in 1698 at the age of 72. The contents of the volume to which this poem of Dryden is prefixed, are: A Panegyric to the King: Songs and Sonnets: The Blind Lady, a Comedy ; Translations of the Fourth Book of Virgil's Æneid and of the Achilleis of Statius ; and a Panegyric to General Monk. Dryden's name at the end of the poem is printed Driden.

+ Composure, for composition. The word is used by Dryden in the sense of reconciliation, in the Preface to "Absalom and Achitophel,” p. 90.

Judges xiv. 14, 18.

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