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ELEGIES AND EPITAPHS.

GENERAL INTRODUCTION.

The poems in this division, beginning with Dryden's first poem on the death of the young Lord Hastings, are arranged in chronological order, with the exception of four at the end, the dates of the composition of which have not been ascertained. It has been necessary to correct the texts of almost all of them by collation with the first publications. The poem of Eleonora," which is longer and more ambitious than any of the others, and was published separately by Dryden, is printed with a separate title-page and introduction.

ELEGIES AND EPITAPHS.

UPON THE DEATH OF THE LORD HASTINGS.*

Must noble Hastings immaturely die,
The honour of his ancient family!
Beauty and learning thus together meet
To bring a winding for a wedding sheet?
Must Virtue prove Death's harbinger? must she,
With him expiring, feel mortality ?
Is death, sin's wages, grace's now? shall art
Make us more learned, only to depart?
If merit be disease, if virtue death,
To be good not to be, who'd then bequeath
Himself to discipline? who'd not esteem
Labour a crime, study self-murder deem!
Our noble youth now have pretence to be
Dunces securely, ignorant healthfully.
Rare linguist ! whose worth speaks it self ; whose praise, 15
Though not his own, all tongues besides do raise ;
Than whom great Alexander may seem less,
Who conquered men, but not their languages.
In his mouth nations spake ; his tongue might be
Interpreter to Greece, France, Italy.
His native soil was the four parts of the earth;
All Europe was too narrow for his birth.
A young apostle ; and (with reverence may
I speak it?) inspired with gift of tongues as they.
Nature gave him, a child, what men in vain
Oft strive, by art though furthered, to obtain.

20

* This is Dryden's first poem, written in 1649, when he was seventeen and at Westminster School. Lord Hastings had been his schoolfellow, and died June 24, 1649, at the age of nineteen, of small-pox. This young nobleman was the eldest son of the Earl of Huntingdon ; his extraordinary precocity and learning made his early death deeply and widely deplored. A volume of poems, containing thirty-three Elegies on his death, was published at the close of the year, bearing the title “Lachrymæ Musarum, the Tears of the Muses expressed in Elegies written by divers persons of nobility and worth upon the death of the most hopeful Henry, Lord Hastings, eldest 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." In this volume Dryden's poem appeared. It also contains poems by Herrick, Denham, and Marvel. The young nobleman was engaged to be married to a daughter of Sir Theodore Mayerne, a famous physician, who attended him in his illness. This poem is characteristic of a schoolboy full of classical erudition, and carries to an extreme the scholastic pedantry, discernible also, though in less degree, in Dryden's early political poems. The rhythm also of some of the lines is imperfect. This poem was reprinted in vol. i. of the edition of the “Miscellany Poems" of 1716. A few errors of consequence have crept into the text, as it has appeared in Scott's and other late editions : the text is here corrected from the original publication, which Scott had not seen.

His body was an orb,* his sublime soul
Did move on virtue's and on learning's pole :
Whose regular motions better to our view
Than Archimedes' sphere the heavens did shew.
Graces and virtues, languages and arts,
Beauty and learning, filled up all the parts.
Heaven's gifts, which do, like falling stars, appear
Scattered in others, all, as in their sphere,
Were fixed and conglobate in his soul, t and thence
Shone through his body with sweet influence ;
Letting their glories so on each limb fall,
The whole frame rendered was celestial.
Come, learned Ptolemy, and trial make,
If thou this hero's altitude canst take :
But that transcends thy skill; thrice happy all,
Could we but prove thus astronomical.
Lived Tycho I now, struck with this ray which shone
More bright in the morn than others beam at noon,
He'd take his astrolabe, and seek out here
What new star 'twas did gild our hemisphere.
Replenished then with such rare gifts as these,
Where was room left for such a foul disease ?
The nation's sin hath drawn that veil which shrouds
Our day-spring in so sad benighting clouds.
Heaven would no longer trust its pledge, but thus
Recalled it, rapt & its Ganymede from us.
Was there no milder way but the small-pox,
The very filthiness of Pandora's box?
So many spots, like næves,|| our Venus soil ?
One jewel set off with so many a foil ?
Blisters with pride swelled, which through his flesh did sprout
Like rosebuds, stuck in the lily-skin about.
Each little pimple had a tear in it,
To wail the fault its rising did commit;

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* Orb. Compare “ Eleonora," 272 :

“ The figure was with full perfection crowned,

Though not so large an orb, as truly round." Also“ Absalom and Achitophel," 830, and note.

+ This line has been usually printed incorrectly, the and being omitted. The second syllable of conglobate is short. It is mistakenly said in Todd's edition of Johnson's Dictionary, that Dryden in this passage has put the accent on the second syllable: the mi e arose out of the omission of and. There is an obvious imitation of this passage in Oldham's first poem, also an Elegy on the death by small-pox of a young friend (Mr. Charles Morwent):

"Those parts which never in one subject dwell,

But some uncommon excellence foretell,
Like stars, did all constellate here,

And met together in one sphere,' 1 Tycho Brahe.

Rapt, snatched; the Latin raptus.

Naves, a Latin word which probably occurs nowhere else in English literature : spots, moles, or small excrescences of the body. This line has been usually incorrectly printed, and the note of interrogation dropped : it was changed for the worse by Derrick into

“So many spots like næves on Venus' soil." Dryden calls Lord Hastings Venus, as the perfection of beauty.

Which, rebel-like, with its own lord at strife,
Thus made an insurrection 'gainst his life.
Or were these gems sent to adorn his skin,
The cabinet of a richer soul within ?
No comet need foretell his change drew on,
Whose corps might seem a constellation. *
Oh! had he died of old, how great a strife
Had been, who from his death should draw their life,
Who should by one rich draught become whate'er
Seneca, Cato, Numa, Cæsar, were,
Learned, virtuous, pious, great, and have by this
An universal metem psychosis ! +
Must all these aged sires in one funeral
Expire ? all die in one so young, so small,
Who, had he lived his life out, his great fame
Had swollen 'bove any Greek or Román name?
But hasty winter with one blast hath brought
The hopes of autumn, summer, spring, to nought.
Thus fades the oak in the sprig, in the blade the corn ;
Thus without young this phoenix dies, new-born.
Must then old 'three-legged grey-beards, I with their gout,
Catarrhs, rheums, aches, live three ages out?
Time's offals, only fit for the hospital,
Or to hang an antiquary's || rooms withal !
Must drunkards, lechers spent with sinning, live
With such helps as broths, possets, physic give?
None live but such as should die ? shall we meet
With none but ghostly fathers in the street ?
Grief makes me rail, sorrow will force its way,
And showers of tears tempestuous sighs best lay.
The tongue may fail ; but overflowing eyes
Will weep out lasting streams of elegies.

But thou, O virgin widow, left alone, I
Now thy beloved, heaven-ravished spouse is gone,
Whose skilful sire in vain strove to apply
Medicines, when thy balm was no remedy;
With greater than Platonic love, O, wed
His soul, though not his body, to thy bed :

* For this rhyme of constellation see the poem to Charles II. on his Coronation, line 70, and note. Another example occurs in Dryden's Epilogue to “Sir Martin Marall," 1667:

As country vicars, when the sermon's done,

Run huddling to the benediction."
Motion is a word of three syllables in “Threnodia Augustalis,” line 64.

+ Metempsychosis. The third and fourth syllables both long. as in Greek.

I “ Three-legged grey-beards." This is part of the Sphinx's riddle guessed by (Edipus; the old man's stick being the third leg. $ Aches is here a word of two syllables, to be pronounced aitches.

This line has fared ill in reprinting this poem, an being omitted and the plural genitive antiquaries' being printed. It is printed in the original poem an antiquarics: antiquarie is the old spelling, and the apostrophe for the genitive was then not printed; the an determines the singular number.

Here Dryden addresses the young lady to whom Lord Hastings was betrothed, and whose skilful sire," Sir Thcodore Mayerne, attended him in his illness.

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