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Of all who since have used the open sea
Than the bold English none more fame have won ;
They make discoveries where they see no sun.
By poor mankind's benighted wit is sought,
And hence be to admiring nations taught.
We, as arts' elements, shall understand,
Whose paths shall be familiar as the land.
By which remotest regions are allied ;
Where some may gain and all may be supplied.
And view the ocean leaning on the sky:
And on the lunar world securely pry. I
This I foretell, from your auspicious care
Who great in search of God and Nature grow;
And rule of beings in your Maker's mind,
To fit the levelled use of human kind 8
* "* Extra anni solisque vias.'-Virg." Æn. vi. 797.** † “ By a more exact knowledge of longitude.” In edition of 1688," ineasure of longitude."
1 Dr. Johnson cites this stanza as an example of Dryden's "delight in wild and daring sallies of sentiment, in the irregular and eccentric violence of wit," which, he says, "sometimes issued in absurdities of which probably he was not conscious." Johnson goes on to say: “ These lines have no meaning, but may we not say, in imitation of Cowley on another book,
“'Tis so like sense, 't will serve the turn as well’" It is difficult, however, to perceive the resemblance to sense in this stanza.
S Dryden was an early menber of the Royal Society, founded soon after the Restoration; he was elected November 19, 1662.
And from the injurious Dutch redeem the seas;
Whose fleet more mighty every day became
They knew to manage war with wise delay :
Appear as numerous as the insulting foe;
And the success the braver nation show.
There was the Plymouth squadron new + come in,
Which in the Straits last winter was abroad,
Famed for his action on the Smyrna fleet ; #
Who first bewitched our eyes with Guinea gold,
The tempting fruits of Afric did unfold.||
• After the drawn battle of the ist of June, the Dutch fleet was repaired, and was again on the English coast before the English were ready. A decisive battle took place on the 25th of July, off the North Foreland, which was an unquestionable victory for the English
† New is the word in the first edition ; now in that of 1688, which, as usual, has been followed, but the change is no improvement and was probably a misprint.
Sir Thomas Allen had, at the beginning of the war, attacked in the bay of Cadiz a large Dutch merchant squadron homeward bound from Smyrna under convoy, about forty vessels in all, he having only seven ships ; and he had routed them and made rich prizes.
$ Sir Robert Holmes had been the first to fight with the Dutch, before the beginning of the war, on the coast of Africa. This may be why he is called Achates, or it may be because, after the battle now to be narrated, he was sent by the generals" with a squadron to the Dutch coast. The words have been usually printed, Achates of the general's fight: but, as there were two generals, the fight belonged to both. In the two early editions it is printed generals, which serves for either singular or plural genitive. i Cato the Censor, urging the Romans in the year before his death to enter on the third Pinic
Whom his high courage to command had brought ;*
And in his burning ship undaunted fought. +
Born, Cæsar-like, to write and act great deeds,
His right hand doubly to his left succeeds.
Whose deeds some nobler poem shall adorn;
Whom Rupert led and who were British born.
So vast the navy now at anchor rides
And with its weight it shoulders off the tides.
war, and having lately returned from an embassy to Carthage, drew out from under his robe, one day in the Senate, some Carthaginian figs, saying that they had been gathered only three days ago at Carthage, so close was the enemy to Rome. Dryden uses this illustration again with reference to the Dutch, in the prologue of "Amboyna," written during the second Dut
"As Cato did his Afric fruits display,
So we before your eyes their Indies lay." * Sir Edward Spragge had been knighted by Charles for his bravery in the action of June 3, 1665. He was killed, in the next Dutch war, in battle, August 11, 1672. Sir John Harman had cominanded the “Henry" in the four days' battle of June. He was in
eorge Berkeley's squadron, which broke through the Dutch feet at the outset when Berkeley lost his life. Harman, when his ship was disabled, was offered quarter, and refused it. Three fire-ships were then sent to burn his ship. She was disengaged successively from two of them, each of which had fired her, and both fires were put out. The third fire-ship was disabled by the “Henry's" guns. Harman carried his ship off, badly damaged: his leg was broken, a yard of one of the masts falling upon it.
i Sir Frescheville Hollis, son of Gervase Hollis, an antiquarian: and this connexion of the father with literature is the probable explanation of the eccentric description of Hollis's parentage. Hollis had lost an arm in the battle of June 3. 1665. He was killed fighting against the Dutch in the next Dutch war, May 28, 1672. The phrase, "on a Muse by Mars begot," has been deservedly ridiculed. The Duke of Buckingham parodied it coarsely against Dryden :
“Or more to intrigue the metaphor of man,
Poetical Reflections on Absalom and Achitophel. Another satirist applied the phrase to the French musical composer who made the music for Dryden's “ Albion and Albanius :"
“Grabut his yokemate ne'er shall be forgot,
(Quoted in Langbaine's " Dramatic Poets," p. 152.) "Multi præterea quos fama obscura recondit.” – Virg. Æn, v. 302,
That heaven and earth and the wide ocean rings :
And rests in those high beds his downy wings.
Deep ambushed in her silent den does lie,
She issues forth and runs along her loom :
And drags the little wretch in triumph home.
Our deep-cut keels upon the sands might run,
And swelling tide that heaved them from below,
And with spread sails to welcome battle go.
With all his host of waters * at command,
And summon them to unexpected fight :
And draw their curtains in the dead of night.
“Hosts of waters” in edition of 1688, which has been generally followed. Host in first edition
+ *** Levat ipse tridenti et vastas aperit syrtes, &c.'-Virg." Æn. i. 145.
The midmost battles hasting up behind,
The two bold champions of each country's right ;
And draw the lines of death before they fight.
The linstocks * touch, the ponderous ball expires :
And adds his heart to every gun he fires.
For honour, which they seldom sought before ;
And forced at least in show to prize it more.
And shame of being matched by such a soe
And seeming to be stionger makes them so.t
Which did two Generals' fates and Cæsar's bear;
Unthanked by ours for his unfinished fight;
Or sooner understood the sign to fly ;
As if to praise them all the States stood by.
* Linstock, a pointed stick with a fork at the end to hold a lighted match, used by gunners in firing cannon.
+ Possunt quia posse videntur.'--Virg." Æn, v. 231.