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bing-rod, heloured made it when the ill-healein his favour
which had sate round the Duke of Ormond he had held a conspicuous place,* and he had numbered among his intimate associates the elegant and sprightly Sedley, the brilliant Dorset, the refined and accomplished Sheffield. The country seats of many of the nobility were open to him, and of their hospitality he frequently availed himself. At the house of his cousin, John Dryden, he was always welcome; and he could gossip with his old love Honor, who, it is said, repented of her early cruelty. At Cotterstock he could be happy in the society of his beautiful relative Mrs. Stewart, who seems to have taken an affectionate interest in his studies, and to have consulted with an anxious solicitude his tastes and his comforts. At the pleasant farm of his friend Jones of Ramsden, he could indulge in his favourite amusement of angling; and when the ill-health under which he latterly laboured made it necessary for him to abandon the fishing-rod, he could still complacently discuss D'Urfey's bad angling, and his own superior powers while the Fates were kind. His manners, we are told, were not genteel; but the genial kindliness of his disposition seems to have made him welcome in every circle, and a man whose large sympathies embraced almost every branch of human learning then cultivated was not likely to be a dull companion.
But there was another scene with which Dryden will always be associated, and where we love to picture him. His short stout figure, his florid careworn face, his sleepy eyes, his down look,' his snuffy waistcoat, and his long gray hair were for many years familiar to the frequenters of Wills' Coffee House, in Russell Street, Covent Garden. There his supremacy had never been shaken. There, whatever had been the vicissitudes of his public and whatever may have been the annoyances of his private life, he could forget them amid loyal and devoted companions. Round his arm-chair, placed near the fire in winter and out on the balcony in summer, hung delighted listeners, gay young Templars, eager to hear the reminiscences of one who could recall roistering nights with Etherege and Sedley, and Attic evenings with Waller and Cowley and Davenant ; who could remember the wit-combats between Charles and Killigrew, and the sallies of Nell Gwynne when she was still mixing strong waters for the gentlemen ;-students from Oxford and Cambridge, who had quitted their books to catch a glimpse of the rival of Juvenal ;-clever lads, ambitious for a pinch from his snuff-box, which was, we are told, equal to a degree in the Academy of Wit;—pleasant humourists, 'honest Mr.
* See Carte's 'Life of the Duke of Ormond,' vol. ii. p. 554.
Swan' the punster, Tom D'Urfey, Browne, and old Sir Roger L'Estrange; men distinguished for their skill in art and science, whom his fame had attracted thither, Ratcliffe, Kneller, and poor Closterman. There were those who had like himself achieved high literary distinction, but who were nevertheless proud to acknowledge him their teacher, Wycherly, Southerne, Congreve, and Vanbrugh; Thomas Creech, whose edition of
Lucretius' had placed him in the front rank of English scholars ; William Walsh, “the best critic in the nation ;' George Stepney, 'whose juvenile poems had made gray authors blush ;' young Colley Cibber, flushed with the success of his first comedy ; and Samuel Garth, whose admirable mock heroic poem is still remembered. There too were occasionally to be seen those younger men who were to carry on the work he was so soon to lay down, and who were to connect two great ages of English literature, Pope, indeed, was a child of twelve when his young eyes rested for the first and last time on his master; Addison was in his twenty-sixth year; Prior in his thirty-fourth; Hughes in his twenty-first; Rowe, residing on a comfortable patrimony in the Temple, was twenty-four; St. John, nineteen; Arbuthnot, then deep in his examination of Dr. Woodward's account of the Deluge, thirty; Atterbury was thirty-five.
Dryden's labours were not destined to end with the translation of Virgil. He had still nearly three years of toil before him. They were years harassed by a painful disease, by malevolent opponents and by pecuniary difficulties, but they were years rich in the production of the mellowest and most pleasing of his writings. Neither age nor sickness could damp his spirits or dim his genius. His energy was the energy of a youth renewed. He meditated a translation of the Iliad. He wrote a life of Lucian. He revised his Virgil, and he was engaged on less important works beside. He contracted with Tonson to supply him with ten thousand verses, and he added upwards of two thousand more. These verses form a volume which has for nearly two centuries been the delight of his countrymen, and on that volume the admirers of Dryden will always dwell with peculiar satisfaction. It was published, under the title of 'Fables Ancient and Modern,' in March 1700. Never were his great powers seen to better advantage, never were his most characteristic defects more happily in abeyance. What Chaucer had told in the ruder speech of the fourteenth century he undertook to tell again in a language which had been enriched and purified by three hundred years of literary activity, and of which he was himself the greatest living master. How he has told the story of Palamon and Arcite,' of The Cock and the
study and so rich withion; over the other pieces
Fox,' of The Wife of Bath,' and of “The Flower and the Leaf,' is known to thousands who would probably have turned a deaf ear to the older poet. To the versions from Chaucer he added from the Decamerone' the stories of • Sigismund and Guiscard, of • Theodore and Honoria,' and of Čymon and Iphigenia. So completely has he assimilated both the tone and style of Chaucer and Boccaccio to his own potent genius and majestic diction, that these works may be almost regarded not only as original compositions, but as compositions peculiarly Drydenian. We would willingly linger over the other pieces comprised in this delightful collection; over the prose preface so easy, so graceful, so rich with the mature harvest of a long life of study and reflection ; over the exquisite beauty of the verses to the Duchess of Ormond; over that lyrical masterpiece which Scott, Byron and Macaulay have pronounced to be the noblest ode in our language, which Voltaire preferred to the whole of Pindar, and which even now stands unrivalled for varied, rapid, masculine melody; over that Epistle which the old poet laboured with such care and which he pronounced to be one of the best of his later compositions; over the venerable portrait for which sate 'the saintly Ken, and which furnished Goldsmith with a model for his happiest delineation. But time and space fail, we must hurry to the end :
Sciolzo il collo fumante et levo il morso,
Però che spatio assai con esso ho corso.' • By the mercy of God,' he wrote in February 1700, "I am come within twenty years of fourscore and eight a cripple in my limbs, but I think myself as vigorous as ever in the faculties of my soul.' On the 13th of the following May he was lying in the Abbey among his illustrious predecessors, of whom he had never, during the course of his long life written or spoken one disloyal word. He died, it appears, somewhat suddenly: Enfeebled by a complication of diseases, he was attacked by erysipelas and gangrene, to which May 1st, 1700, he succumbed in spite of the anxious efforts of his medical attendants. A painful operation might have saved his life; he chose rather to resign it. •He received the notice of his approaching dissolution,' writes one of those who stood round his death-bed, 'with sweet submission and entire resignation to the Divine will, and he took so tender and obliging a farewell of his friends as none but himself could have expressed.' His body lay in state for several days in the College of Physicians, and on May 13 was honoured with a public funeral more imposing and magnificent than any which had been conceded to an English poet before. He was laid by the bones of Chaucer and Spenser, and Jonson and Cowley, not far from his old friend Dayenant, and his old schoolmaster Busby in
The temple where the dead
ART. II.-Burke ; Select Works. Edited, with Introduction and
Notes, by E. J. Payne, M.A., Fellow of University College,
Oxford. New Edition. Oxford, 1878. TT is a matter for satisfaction that the immortal works of
1 Burke continue to find their way to the public in fresh forms and new editions ; or, as perhaps it would be more correct to say, that the taste for these works, after a brief suspension of public interest, is again reviving amongst us. In their old, well-known, complete shape they had become less familiar to the present generation than they were to the last; but the University of Oxford has done well in presenting them in a cheap and portable form, with the much-needed accompaniment of annotations for the benefit of modern readers; and it is to be congratulated on having found a competent editor in Mr. Payne. If we cannot always agree with his criticisms of the great author whom he endeavours to interpret for us, the same may be said as to the author himself, who writing, a hundred years ago, on every point which touches the public mind of our own day, would have been more than human if he could have commanded all our sympathies without exception. But Mr. Payne possesses at least the indispensable merit of a true appreciation of Burke's surpassing greatness, and has done his best to bring an impartial judgment to the task before him. Burke, of all political writers the most resolute in striking into the middle path between conflicting party-views, requires a fair-minded editor; and we are glad to quote Mr. Payne's tribute to this especial excellence in his author.
Burke knew very well that nothing would stand long which did not stand on its own merits. He led the way in reform, while raising his voice against innovation. . . . Nowhere else, except in the Politics of Aristotle, shall we find these two principles of Reform and Conservatism so well harmonised. ... He traced their concurrent effect everywhere; and he delighted to regard them in their concrete elements, as well as in their abstract form.'*
* Vol. I., Introduction, p. xxvii.
memoryo his own on this charperty of both te the Engnounces thacient divisitings Test
This view of Burke's position has not been always, or perhaps even generally, observed. He worked for most of his life with the Whigs; sacrificed much for his party, and denounced his opponents much like other party men; but in reality his political writings are the legitimate property of both the older parties; and as time goes on this characteristic becomes more visible. Even in his own later writings he questions whether the memory of such ancient divisions as Whig and Tory still exists,' and pronounces that in their place had arisen, on the one hand, the English Jacobins (the Radicals of to-day), on the other,
those who consider the conservation in England of the ancient order of things as necessary to preserve order everywhere else.'* It is the thoroughly English, or rather Imperial, spirit of the man which thus dominates over all other considerations. He is a patriot before all things, but a patriot who never regards Great Britain as a selfish and isolated Power.
The Balance of Power had been ever assumed as the known common law of Europe at all times and by all Powers; the question had only been (as it must happen) on the more or less inclination of the balance. ... In all those systems of balance England was the Power to whose custody it was thought it might be most safely committed.'t
Profoundly impressed with the influence his country had obtained by her maritime position and her series of triumphs in peace and war, yet never shrinking from telling his countrymen the naked, disagreeable truth, even if he stood alone, his writings are saturated with the wisdom required for the government of the empire, and will yet constitute for many generations of Englishmen the chief training in home, foreign, and colonial politics. On the Continent the place occupied by these works has long been more recognized than at home. Mr. Payne quotes with effect a saying of the German philosopher, A. H. Müller, • that the vast combination of interests which constitutes the British Empire demands a whole lifetime to be adequately understood; and tells us how he recommended the learner to study the writings of Burke, in which this combination would be found concentrated and reflected as in a mirror.' But perhaps the following passage from Burke himself may serve still better as a text for the sketch which we are about to present to our readers :
For my part I look upon the Imperial rights of Great Britain, and the privileges which the Colonists ought to enjoy under those rights