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No fool could peep abroad, but ready stand
The drolls to clap a bauble in his hand.
Wise legislators never yet could draw
A fop within the reach of common law;
For posture, dress, grimace, and affectation,
Though foes to sense, are harmless to the nation.
Our last redress is dint of verse to try,
And Satire is our Court of Chancery.
This way took Horace to reform an age,
Not bad enough to need an author's rage :
But yours, * who lived in more degenerate times,
Was forced to fasten deep, and worry crimes.
Yet you, my friend, have tempered him so well,
You make him smile in spite of all his zeal :
An art peculiar to yourself alone,
To join the virtues of two styles in one.

Oh! were your author's principle received,
Half of the labouring world would be relieved,
For not to wish is not to be deceived :
Revenge would into charity be changed,
Because it costs too dear to be revenged ;
It costs our quiet and content of mind,
And when 'tis compassed leaves a sting behind.
Suppose I had the better end of the staff,
Why should I help the ill-natured world to laugh?
'Tis all alike to them who gets the day ;
They love the spite and mischief of the fray.
No, I have cured myself of that disease,
Nor will I be provoked but when I please :
But let me half that cure to you restore;
You gave the salve, I laid it to the sore.

Our kind relief against a rainy day,
Beyond a tavern or a tedious play,
We take your book, and laugh our spleen away.
If all your tribe, too studious of debate,
Would cease false hopes and titles to create,
Led by the rare example you begun,
Clients would fail and lawyers be undone.


To you who live in chill degree,
As map informs, of histy-three,
And do not much for cold atone

By bringing thither fifty-one, ? “ Juvenal.”

+ Sir George Etherege, a man of wit and pleasure, and a writer of comedies, had obtained by his writings the favour of Mary, the Queen of James II., and was in James's reign appointed successively minister at Hamburg and to the Diet at Ratisbon. The exact date of this poem is not known, but it was written some time during the reign of James II. It appears to have been occasioned by a poetical epistle in the same style from Sir George Etherege to the Earl of Middleton,

Methinks all climes should be alike,
From tropic even to pole artique ;
Since you have such a constitution
As nowhere suffers diminution.
You can be old in grave debate,
And young in love-affairs of state ;
And both to wives and husbands show
The vigour of a plenipo.
Like mighty missioner you come
Ad Partes Infidelium ;
A work of wondrous merit sure,
So far to go, so much to endure ;
And all to preach to German dame,
Where sound of Cupid never came.
Less had you done, had you been sent
As far as Drake or Pinto went,
For cloves or nutmegs to the line-a,
Or even for oranges to China :
That had indeed been charity,
Where love-sick ladies helpless lie,
Chapped, and for want of liquor dry.
But you have made your zeal appear
Within the circle of the Bear.
What region of the earth's so dull,
That is not of your labours full ? *
Triptolemus (so sung the Nine)
Strewed plenty from his cart divine ; +

Secretary of State, which is printed in the “Miscellany Poems" (vol. ii, ed. 1716). It would seem from the beginning of the poem, where latitude 53 is mentioned, that Etherege was at Hamburg when this letter was written to him, but in the body of the poem, Ratisbon, where the Diet assembled, is clearly indicated. The commencement of Etherege's letter to Middleton, to which the beginning of Dryden's letter seems to refer, is also difficult to explain geographically : as the change from London to Ratisbon, two degrees further south, would be rather a gain than a loss. Etherege begins :

“Since love and verse as well as wine

Are brisker where the sun does shine,
"Tis something to lose two degrees
Now age itself begins to freeze,
Yet this I patiently could bear,
If the rough Danube's beauties were
But only two degrees less fair

Than the bright nymphs of gentle Thames.” The latitude of London is 51° 15' N., that of Ratisbon 48° 58', the difference 2 17. Dryden has made a mistake in speaking of latitude 53 ; which would indeed have done for Hamburg, whose latitude is 53. Etherege is said to have been born about 1636; and if his age were now fifty-one, as Dryden says, this poem would have been written in 1697, which is probably the date of its composition. A second poctical epistle from Ethcrege to Middleton in the same style is also printed in the “Miscellany Poems" (vol. ii. of ed. 1716). The diplomatist and his chief, the Secretary of State, seem to have been on very pleasant familiar terms; and it may be concluded that Dryden was a friend of Middleton. Etherege is called “gentle George" in "Mac Flecknoc," 151, and see the compliment to him in the Poem to Congreve, 29. “Quæ regio in terris nostri non plena laboris ?"

VIRG. Æn, i. 460 + It is fabled that Ceres gave Triptolemus her chariot, drawn by two dragons, and that he travelled in it all over the earth, distributing corn to all the inhabitants of the world.

But spite of all these fable-makers,
He never sowed on Almain* acres,
No, that was left by Fate's decree
To be performed and sung by thee.
Thou breakst through forms with as much ease
As the French king through articles.
In grand affairs thy days are spent,
In waging weighty compliment
With such as monarchs represent.
They, whom such vast fatigues attend,
Want some soft minutes to unbend,
To show the world that now and then
Great ministers are mortal men.
Then Rhenish rummers walk the round,
In bumpers every king is crowned ;
Besides three holy mitred Hectors,
And the whole college of Electors. +
No health of potentate is sunk
That pays to make his envoy drunk.
These Dutch delights I mentioned last
Suit not, I know, your English taste :
For wine to leave a whore or play
Was ne'er your Excellency's way.
Nor need this title give offence,
For here you were your Excellence ;
For gaming, writing, speaking, keeping,
His Excellence for all but sleeping.
Now if you tope in form, and treat,
'Tis the sour sauce to the sweet meat,
The fine you pay for being great.
Nay, here's a harder imposition,
Which is indeed the Court's petition,
That setting worldly pomp aside,
Which poet has at font denied,
You would be pleased in humble way
To write a trifle called a Play.
This truly is a degradation,
But would oblige the crown and nation
Next to your wise negotiation.
If you pretend, as well you may,
Your high degree, your friends will say,
The Duke St. Aignon made a play. I
If Gallic wit convince you scarce,
His Grace of Bucks has made a farce ;
And you, whose comic wit is terse all,
Can hardly fall below Rehearsal.

* Almain, the old English form of Allemagne. It occurs in Dryden's play of “The Assignation." “ The old Almain recreation." (Act 2, sc. 1.)

+ There were three bishops among the Electors, the Bishops of Treves, Cologne, and Mentz.

1 François de Beauvillier. Duc de St. Aignon, a distinguished French soldier and patron of literature, wrote a tragi-comedy called “Bradamante."

Then finish what you have began,
But scribble faster if you can:
For yet no George, to our discerning,
Has writ without a ten years' warning."



Sure there's a fate in plays, and 'tis in vain
To write while these malignant planets reign.
Some very foolish influence rules the pit,
Not always kind to sense or just to wit ;
And whilst it lasts, let buffoonry succeed
To make us laugh, for never was more need.
Farce in itself is of a nasty scent,
But the gain smells not of the excrement.
The Spanish nymph, a wit and beauty too,
With all her charms bore but a single show;
But let a monster Muscovite appear,
He draws a crowded audience round the year. I
May be thou hast not pleased the box and pit,
Yet those who blame thy tale commend thy wit;
So Terence plotted, but so Terence writ.
Like his, thy thoughts are true, thy language clean;
Even lewdness is made moral in thy scene.
The hearers may for want of Nokes repine, s
But rest secure, the readers will be thine.
Nor was thy laboured drama damned or hissed,
But with a kind civility dismissed ;

• The Duke of Buckingham was taunted with having been ten years employed on "The Rehearsal." A similar taunt occurs in a poem on the Duke

unt occurs in a poem on the Duke in the State Poems," there ascribed, but probably wrongly, to Dryden:

"I come to his farce, which must needs be well done,

For Troy was no longer before it was won,

Since 'tis more than ten years since this farce was begun." + « The Wives' Excuse. or Cuckolds make Themselves." produced in 1602 was Southern's third comedy, and was ill received. Dryden had written the Prologue to Southern's first play, the tragedy of “The Loyal Brother," which had appeared ten years before, when the author was only in his twenty-third year, and which had had immense success. Two comedies by Southern, “The Disappointment, or the Mother in Fashion," and “Sir Anthony Love," had also had great success; and for the first of these Dryden had also furnished the Prologue. In this poem Dryden consoles his friend under his failure, and ascribes the want of success to the bad taste of the audience, and to anything but want of merit in the play. Southern printed the play, prefixing this poem; and he announced that Dryden, in speaking of it, had said that the public had been kind to “Sir Anthony Love," and were only required to be just to this play. He further stated that, on the strength of the merits of this play, Dryden had submitted to him the complction of his own "Cleomenes." Southern was born in 1659 : he died in his eighty-seventh year, in 1746.

1 Compare the poem addressed to Mr. Granville, line 13.
& Nokes was a favourite actor, skilled in parts of low humour,

With such good manners, as the Wife* did use,
Who, not accepting, did but just refuse.
There was a glance at parting, such a look
As bids thee not give o'er for one rebuke.
But if thou wouldst be seen as well as read,
Copy one living author and one dead:
The standard of thy style let Etherege be;
For wit, the immortal spring of Wycherly.
Learn, after both, to draw some just design,
And the next age will learn to copy thine.



Well then, the promised hour is come at last,
The present age of wit obscures the past :
Strong were our sires, and as they fought they writ,
Conquering with force of arms and dint of wit :
Theirs was the giant race before the flood;
And thus, when Charles returned, our empire stood.
Like Janus, I he the stubborn soil manured,
With rules of husbandry the rankness cured ;
Tamed us to manners, when the stage was rude,
And boisterous English wit with art endued.
Our age was cultivated thus at length,
But what we gained in skill we lost in strength.
Our builders were with want of genius curst;
The second temple was not like the first;
Till you, the best Vitruvius, come at length,
Our beauties equal, but excel our strength.
Firm Doric pillars found your solid base,
The sair Corinthian crowns the higher space;
Thus all below is strength, and all above is grace.
In easy dialogue is Fletcher's praise ;
He moved the mind, but had not power to raise.

• The Wife in the play, Mrs. Friendall.”

+ Congreve's “Double Dealer" was first acted in November 1693, and was indifferently received on the stage. It was his second play : the first, “The Old Bachelor," had obtained great applause. Dryden had seen “ l'he Old Bachelor” in manuscript, and he had said to Southern, who showed it to him, that he had never seen such a first play, and he aided to adapt it to the stage. The present poem was addressed to Congreve to console and encourage him under the unfavourable reception of " The Double Dealer." This is one of Dryden's best pieces. The praise is sincere. He wrote in a letter to Walsh, which has been preserved, in commendation of this play when it first appeared: “Congreve's Double Dealer' is much censured by the greater part of the town, and is defended only by the best judges, who, you know, are commonly the bravest. Yet it gains ground daily, and has already been acted eight times." The concluding lines of the poem, in which he charges Congreve with the defence of his fame when he is dead, are fine and touching. Congreve fulfilled Dryden's charge by an edition of his plays.

1 Janus, the fabled first King of Italy, who came from Thessaly ; with the aid of Saturn, who, driven by Jupiter from heaven, came to him and shared his throne, he taught the Italians agriculture and other arts,

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