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-- - -- - --than might have been, and if he was always seeking aid from Government, and often receiving it from noble friends, it cannot be denied that he worked diligently. His love of his sons is a charming feature of his character. It is touching to read in one of his letters to his publisher, written when he was old and ill, his solicitude about his son Charles in sickness at Rome : “If it please God that I must die of over-study, I cannot spend my life better than in saving his.” The great number of Dryden's warm and steadfast friends is another proof of amiability of character, To younger authors he was always kind. There is a valuable testimony to his kindheartedness in the letter in the Gentleman's Magazine of 1745 which has been already quoted. “Posterity,” says the aged writer who well remembered him, “is absolutely mistaken as to that great man ; though forced to be a satirist, he was the mildest creature breathing, and the readiest to help the young and deserving."
Time has strengthened, if it has also corrected, the same which surrounded Dryden's name when he died. There is a long chain of eulogy of bis great powers in the works of leading minds which have succeeded. His immediate successor, Pope, venerated him as his great teacher of versification, and Pope's enthusiasm grew with years. “Great Dryden ” he calls him in the “ Prologue to the Satires.' They who were “great Dryden's friends before ” had hailed and encouraged his own first poems. In his early “Essay on Criticism,” Pope had described the author of “ Alexander's Feast" as another Timotheus :
" The power of music all our hearts allow
And what Timotheus was is Dryden now." Nearly thirty years later, in his “ Imitations of Horace,” Pope published the wellknown glowing eulogy on Dryden's verse :
“Waller was smooth, but Dryden taught to join
The varying verse, the full-resounding line,
Some fifteen years after, Gray, in his “ Progress of Poesy,” ushers in Dryden next after Milton :
“Behold where Dryden's less presumptuous car
Wide o'er the fields of glory bear
Two coursers of ethereal race,
To enumerate all the eulogies of succeeding poets is impossible. Those who have most criticised Dryden's poetry, or lamented and reprobated his grave faults, have joined in admiring the chief characteristics of his genius. There is no praise of his poetry more glowing than that to be found in the lines of a pious and learned poet of the last century, Hurdis, a gentle lover of nature, who stigmatizes Dryden's immoral writing and political and religious versatility in language neither less nor more strong than the later indignant prose of Lord Macaulay :
“Then comes a bard Worn out and penniless, and poet still,
Though bent with years, and in impetuous rhyme
The great poet of nature and humanity, who early in this century renovated English poetry, while denying to Dryden, as is just, the highest attributes of imagination or the genuine pathos and simple tenderness which shine in Wordsworth's own poetry, recognizes his ardour and impetuosity and the excellence of his ear, and declares his high admiration of Dryden's talents and genius. These sentiments are expressed by Wordsworth in a letter to Sir Walter Scott, written while he was preparing his edition of Dryden. There is a passage of a letter from Scott during that period, to another friend, George Ellis, which unreservedly acknowledges Dryden's faults, and justifies by the example of a great name any succeeding editor of his unmutilated works:
"I will not castrate John Dryden. What would you say to any man who would castrate Shake. speare, or Massinger, or Beaumont and Fletcher? I don't say but that it may be very proper to select correct passages for the use of boarding schools and colleges, being sensible that no improper ideas can be suggested in these seminaries, unless they are intruded or smuggled under the beards and ruffs of our old dramatists. But in making an edition of the works of a man of genius for libraries and collection and such I conceive a complete edition of Dryden to be), I must give my author as I find him, and will not leave out the page, even to get rid of the blot, little as I like it, Are not the pages or Swift and even of Pope larded with indecency, and often of the most disgusting kind, and do we not see them upon all shelves and dressing tables, and in all boudoirs? Is not Prior the most indecent of tale-tellers, not even excepting La Fontaine ; and how often do we see his works in female hands? In fact, it is not passages of ludicrous indelicacy that corrupt the manners of a people; it is the sentimental story, half lewd, half methodistic, that debauches the understanding, and inflames the sleeping powers, and prepares the reader to give way as soon as a tempter appears. At the same time, I am not at all happy when I peruse some of Dryden's comedies: they are very stupid, as well as indelicate; sometimes, however, there is a considerable vein of liveliness and humour, and all of them present extraordinary pictures of the age in which he lived." +
The truth should be told, and it is important to produce Sir Walter Scott's censures of grossness in Dryden's writing, as there has been a tendency to treat Lord Macaulay's severities as unjust. This brilliant writer has fairly argued that the question of Dryden's religious sincerity is affected to his prejudice by his impure tastes in writing, quite as manifest after as before his conversion. “Even when he professed to translate," says Macaulay, "he constantly wandered from his originals in search of images which, if he had found them in his originals, he ought
* Hurdis's “Village Curate."
to have shunned. What was bad became worse in his versions. What was innocent contracted a taint from passing through his mind. He made the grossest satires more gross, interpolated loose descriptions in the tales of Boccaccio, and polluted the sweet and limpid poetry of the Georgics with filth which would have moved the loathing of Virgil.”
Dr. Johnson, whose Life of Dryden is one of his most laboured and best, and whose general criticism of Dryden's intellectual characteristics is admirable, has thus tersely summed up his general services to the English language :
e improvement, perhaps the completion of our metre, the refinement of our language, and much of the correctness of our sentiments. By him we are taught 'sapere et fari,' to think naturally and express forcibly. Though Davies had reasoned in rhyme before him, it may be perhaps maintained that he was the first who joined argument with poetry. He showed us the true bounds of a trarslator's liberty. What was said of Rome, adorned by Augustus, may be applied by an easy metaphor to English poetry embellished by Dryden : 'Lateritiam invenit, marmoream reliquit.' (He found it brick, and he left it marble.)"
“Dryden's practical knowledge of English,” said Horne Tooke, “was beyond all others exquisite and wonderful." * Charles James Fox, one of whose literary dreams was an edition of Dryden, told Lord Holland that he would admit no word into his history, for which he had not the authority of Dryden.
As, notwithstanding the fame amidst which he died, Dryden's tomb long remained without a monument, so it is remarkable that more than a century passed before the writings of one so admired and so famous appeared in any suitable collected edition. The poems on which his fame chiefly depends have been even more neglected in this respect than his plays. Of the latter, a fine edition, in two volumes folio, appeared in 1701, the year after his death ; and Congreve in 1718 superintended another edition in six vols. 12mo. The folio volume of “Poems on Various Occasions and Translations from several Authors,” published by Tonson in 1701, is a very incomplete collection : the poems in the volume of “ Fables” of the year before are not included in it. An edition of “Poems and Fables," 2 vols. 12mo, Dublin, 1741, and another of “Original Poems and Translations,” 2 vols. 12mo, London, 1743, are incomplete: the Epistle to John Driden and the famous ode, “Alexander's Feast," are not in either. The editor of the latter of these two editions was the Rev, Thomas Broughton, Prebendary of Salisbury, a contributor to the “Biographia Britannica." His name does not appear in the edition, but the fact is stated in the Preface to the second volume of Kippis's second edition of the “ Biographia Britannica," 1780. An edition of Dryden's Poems, Tales, and Miscellaneous Poetical Translations, by Samuel Derrick, appeared in 1760, in four vols. 8vo, under the general title of "Dryden's Miscellaneous Works.” The texts of both Broughton's and Derrick's editions are very incorrect. At last, in 1808, appeared Scott's edition of Dryden's Works, in eighteen volumes Svo; a work
* Diversions of Purley, ii. 40.
undertaken by the distinguished editor with enthusiastic admiration of Dryden's poems, and prosecuted with great labour in every respect except attention to the text. Scott's second edition of 1821 is only a reprint of the first of 1808, with a few typographical errors corrected. A booksellers' edition of Dryden's Poetical Works, in four vols. 8vo, appeared in 1811, with notes by Dr. Joseph Warton, said in the Preface to have been left for publication, by his son, the Rev. John Warton, and by others. It does not include the Plays or the translation of Virgil. This edition appears to have been altogether prepared before Scott's edition appeared, though it was published later. The text of this edition is also very incorrect; it was followed in the Aldine edition of 1832, to which the Rev. John Mitford prefixed a biography. In the second Aldine edition, 1866, a biography by the Rev. Richard Hooper has replaced Mr. Mitford's. The text of Mr. Robert Bell's edition of Dryden's Poetical Works, 3 vols. 12mo., 1854, is the worst of all the existing texts : but Mr. Bell's memoir contributed some new interesting facts in Dryden's life. All Dryden's prose writings were diligently collected and edited in 1800, in the edition by Edmond Malone, with a Life, which is a remarkable example of minute persevering industry, and remains the principal storehouse of materials for Dryden's biography.
LIST OF WORDS IN DRYDEN'S POEMS WITH OBSOLETE
ACCENTUATION OR PRONUNCIATION.
The numbers refer to the pages.
Aches, a dissyllable, aitches, 335 ; else- | Instinct, 98, 100, 165, 264, 474, 565.
Insúlt, sb., 622.
Machine, 439; elsewhere machine.
424 ; elsewhere with the present Eng-
Perspective, 302, 318, 341, 353.
Record, 194, 440.
Sheriff, a monosyllable, shrice, 401,
457 ; spelt shrin'e, 461.
Sinister, 147, 265.
Spiritual, 249, 251.
Theatre, 393, 400, and constantly in the
Prologues and Epilogues.
Triumph, 193, 266, 305, 357.