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Dryden's spelling often varies, and I have sometimes followed him in his varieties. Thus, to give examples of one class, while his ordinary spellings are rehearse, suffice, proffer, he occasionally spells rcherse, suffise, profer, from the French, by which language his English is much affected : and I have preserved these and other varieties of spelling Authority and auctority, beauteous and beautious, starve and sterve, woodbine and woodbind, are other instances of variety.
I have had the advantage of access to the valuable Notes on Dryden made during a long period of devotion to the poet's works by the late Mr. T. Holt White, which are in the possession of his son, Mr. A. Holt White, of Clements Hall, Rochford. My obligations to Mr. HOLT WHite are much beyond the few instances of reference to him in my notes. I have to thank the Rev. HENRY WARD, the Rector of Aldwincle St. Peter's, Northamptonshire, for obligingly communicating to me the correct inscription on the tomb of Dryden's maternal grandfather, the Rev. Henry Pickering, which may be regarded as entirely removing doubt as to Dryden's birthplace. The researches of the same clergyman have lately fixed the place and date of the marriage of Dryden's parents. My thanks are also specially due for aid and advice during the preparation of this edition to Mr. BOLTON CORNEY, the well-known critic and bibliographer ; to Mr. W. A. Wright, the late Librarian of Trinity College, Cambridge, and one of the editors of the “Cambridge Shakespeare ;" and to the Rev. Dr. JEREMIE, the Dean of Lincoln, to whom, long a Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge, this edition of the poems of “Glorious John," a famous ancient scholar of Trinity, is gratefully inscribed by the Editor, a member and former scholar of the same College
W. D. C.
MEMOIR OF DRYDEN.
The life of Dryden is that of a Poet and great Wit and Author, who mixed much with the world and exercised a sway over British literature for certainly the last thirty years of the seventeenth century. More popular and famous in his life-time than his greater contemporary Milton, posterity, which calmly and clearly judges, has assigned to him a foremost place among British poets of a rank second to Milton's. A strong, sharp, subtle and versatile intellect, and a fine ear for numbers, which with practice gave him a matchless power of versification, are Dryden's chief characteristics of excellence as a poet. The self-contained, selfsubsisting imagination of the greater Milton is wanting. He has more strength and larger grasp of mind than his more polished and equable successor, Pope, who divides with him suffrages for the superior place among our classic poets of second rank. * The great bulk of Dryden's multifarious works consists of dissertations on criticism in prose, and of poetical translations and plays, the last spun, most of them rapidly, from an active and quickly working brain, and composed in order to produce money necessary for the expenses of living and with degrading adaptation to prevailing tastes and feelings. The poetical pieces of Dryden which are not translations are all more or less occasional, referring to persons or arising out of passing political events, or translating theological controversy into verse ; but the art of a master has made this occasional poetry interesting and valuable for all time. Dryden stands at the head of British poetical artists, as distinguished from those of high genius and imagination. He had in youth made himself an accomplished scholar, and had read widely. He is an excellent prose-writer, and he did much during forty years of writing, in poetry and in prose, to settle and improve the English language. Of poetical criticism he was a master; and in an age which underval ued both, Shakespeare and Milton were the objects of his reverential admiration. The conceits of Donne and Cowley which fascinated his youth were soon thrown off by his masculine intellect; and he obtained an easy superiority over his elder contemporaries Denham and Waller, whose smooth and skilful numbers helped to make his poetical education, and to whom he has often in strang language declared his obligations. He gave British poetry a new character and direction beyond the drama, which he himself cultivated with inserior success, more as a convenience than from the love of it; and beyond love-verses, elegies, odes, and complimentary addresses, which he also practised and excelled in. He placed Satire on a pinnacle in our literature, and he is the greatest satirist of British poetry. As a reasoner in verse he is unrivalled. His two great Odes
of St. Cecilia's Day maintain pre-eminence in that class of poetry. Of his contemporaries, setting aside Milton, whom his age did not appreciate and whom we look back to as standing above and apart, and Butler, an eccentric specialty of genius who was let starve by those whom his wit delighted, there could be no rival for Dryden among contemporary poets. Most of these were noblemen and gentlemen who wrote at ease, as Dorset, Roscomon, Rochester, Buckingham, Mulgrave, Etherege, and Sedley: Otway, Southerne, Congreve and Wycherley, were dra. matists ; Duke was a mere imitator of Dryden ; and the more vigorous Oldham, who died young, before his powers were fully developed or fully shown, had obviously made Dryden his study
John Dryden was born on the oth of August, 1631, at Aldwincle, a village in Northamptonshire near Thrapstone and Oundle. Aldwincle consists of two parishes, All Saints and St. Peter's, and there is every reason to believe that the poet was born in Aldwincle All Saints, and in the parsonage-house of that parish. His parents were Erasmus Dryden, third son of Sir Erasmus Dryden, baronet, of Canons Ashby, Northamptonshire, and Mary, daughter of the Rev. Henry Pickering, rector of Aldwincle All Saints, a younger son of Sir Gilbert Pickering, knight, of Tichmarsh, Northamptonshire. It has been lately ascertained that the marriage of Dryden's parents was celebrated on October 21, 1630, in the church of Pilton, a village near Aldwincle.* The establishment of the date of this marriage places it beyond doubt that the poet, born in August 1631, was the eldest child of his parents. He was the eldest of a very large family, fourteen in number, who were all alive when the father died in 1654. It has been lately ascertained by a careful examination of the inscription on the tomb of the Rev. Henry Pickering, Dryden's maternal grandfather, that he became rector of Aldwincle All Saints in 1597. All previous biographers, following Malone, who relied on what is now proved to be a very incorrect account of the inscription, have said that he did not become rector until 1647.+ The difference is of consequence in connexion with the tradition of Dryden's birth in the parsonage-house of Aldwincle All Saints. If the grandfather was not rector till 1647, why should Dryden have been born in that parsonage-house in 1631 ? Malone suggested by way of conjecture that Mr. Pickering might at that date have been curate. There is now no difficulty in accepting the tradition of Dryden's place of birth, which has been always strong.
* The Rev. Henry Ward, the present rector of Aldwincle St. Peter's, discovered the entry of the marriage of Dryden's parents in the Pilton register, and published the information in "Notes and Queries," Second Series, vol. xii. p. 207 (1861). The name of the bridegroom is spelt Dreydon in the register.
+ The information, correcting the old story, has been kindly given me by the Rev. Henry Ward, the present rector of Aldwincle St. Peter's. The inscription, as given by Malone, from Bridges's “History of Northamptonshire," contains three errors. The following is a correct copy, with two blanks on account of illegibility : “Heare lyeth the body of Henry Pykering, Rector of this church ... the space of 40ty yeares, who departed this life the .. day of Septembr. 1637. aged 75." In this epitaph as previously printed, ten was substituted for yoty, 1657 for 1637, and 73 for 25. Mr. Ward tells me: “The inscription is only legible when the sun is shining at a particular time of the day, but is then tolerably clear."
The room in the parsonage-house in which he is said to have been born has been shown uninterruptedly from his birth till the present time. No register of births for the parish of Aldwincle All Saints can be found older than 1650; positive proof that Dryden was born in that parish is therefore wanting. His birth is not registered in the registry book, which exists, of the other parish, Aldwincle St. Peter's. Nothing is more likely than that he, his mother's first child, should have been born in the house of her parents, who were then old, the father being sixtynine. Dryden mentions in the Postscript to his “ Virgil" that he was born in a village belonging to Lord Exeter, in whose house at Burghley he translated the Seventh Book of the Æneid ; and the industry of Malone having discovered that Lord Exeter's property at Aldwincle lay in the parish of St. Peter's and not in that of All Saints, an additional doubt, which may now be disregarded, had arisen as to the exact place of Dryden's birth. It may be presumed that all that Dryden knew of Lord Exeter's property to which he refers is that it was in Aldwincle.
An ancestor of the poet, also John Dryden by name, had come from Cumberland early in the reign of Queen Elizabeth, and acquired the estate of Canons Ashby in Northamptonshire, by marriage with the daughter and heir of Sir John Cope, knight. The Drydens and the Pickerings, near neighbours, were connected by marriage before the union of the poet's parents. Sir John Pickering, elder brother of the clergyman Henry who was Dryden's maternal grandfather, had married a sister of Dryden's father, Erasmus Dryden. The eldest son of this marriage was Sir Gilbert Pickering, baronet, who was therefore Dryden's first cousin. Sir Gilbert was made a baronet by Charles the First, and was afterwards one of the judges at his trial, but did not sit on the day on which sentence was given. He was high in Cromwell's favour, was Chamberlain to the Protector, and one of his Peers.
The Drydens and the Pickerings were all on the popular side in the great Church and State struggles with Charles the First. Sir Erasmus Dryden, the poet's grandfather, had been imprisoned, when he was more than seventy, for refusing the payment of loan-money to Charles the First, * Sir John Dryden, successor of Sir Erasmus and the poet's uncle, was a strong Puritan; he is accused by a Church champion of having turned the chancel of his church at Canons Ashby into a barn and the body of it into a corn-chamber. Erasmus, the poet's father, who was a justice of the peace for Northamptonshire, was probably a “committee-man" of the Commonwealth times, either for ejecting ministers or sequestrating delinquents' estates, perhaps for both duties.
"And Bayes was of committee man's flesh and blood," is one of several sneering allusions by Dryden's bitter adversaries of later days,
• See note on a passage referring to this imprisonment in Dryden's Epistle to his cousin, John Driden, in p. 329. * Your generous grandsire," there eulogized by Dryden, is Sir Erasmus Dryden, spelt Draiton in Rushworth's “Historical Collections" (1. 473), and not Sir Robert Bevile, the cousin's maternal grandfather, as Malone guessed, and as succeeding editors and biographers have followed him in stating. I owe this correction to Mr. Holt White's MS notes.
when he was a Court champion and a Roman Catholic. Another called him "a bristled Baptist bred," turning to account for retaliation his own language on the Baptists in “The Hind and the Panther.”
Of Dryden's early education before he went to Westminster next to nothing is known. In the inscription on the monument in Tichmarsh church erected by Dryden's fond cousin, Mrs. Creed, it is recorded that it was the boast of Tichmarsh that there he was “bred and had his first learning." This is all that is known. His father resided at Tichmarsh, and is described as of Tichmarsh in the letterspatent of 1670 making Dryden poet-laureate. It is not known when Dryden entered Westminster School. He was a King's scholar, and he left Westminster in 1650 with a scholarship for Trinity College, Cambridge. He was entered at Trinity, May 18, 1650 ; he matriculated July 16; and he was elected a scholar of the College on the Westminster foundation October 2, 1650.
There exists no particular information as to his life at Westminster. His works give abundant proof that he must have been diligent in youth and laid in at school a large stock of classical knowledge. Late in life, more than forty years after he lest Westminster, he dedicated to his old master, Dr. Busby, his translation of the Fifth Satire of Persius : he says at that time that he remembers having translated the Third Satire as a Thursday night's exercise at Westminster, and he mentions, among other reasons for dedicating one of the Satires to Dr. Busby, his obligations to him for the best part of his own education and of that of two sons, and his having "received from him the first and truest taste of Persius.” There are extant two letters of Dryden to Busby about his sons when they were at Westminster, written in 1682, very graceful in their language of gratitude and deference to his old master. South and Locke were among Dryden's contemporaries at Westminster, but there is no sign through his life of intercourse or acquaintance with either; and Locke was afterwards the medical attendant, secretary, and friend of Shaftesbury, whom Dryden fiercely assailed and recklessly reviled.
A poem written by Dryden was published before he left Westminster. The untimely death in 1649 of a very promising young nobleman who had been educated at Westminster, Lord Hastings, the eldest son of the Earl of Huntingdon, produced a large number of elegies from youths still at Westminster, from many who had left, and from others : Denham, Herrick, and Marvel, all three already known as poets, were among those who joined in poetical lamentation. Thirty-three elegies were collected and published in 1650 by Richard Brome with the title “Lacrymæ Musarum, the Tears of the Muses; exprest in Elegies written by divers persons of nobility and worth upon the death of Henry Lord Hastings, only 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.” The chief interest of this curious little volume now consists in its containing Dryden's first poem, which,