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before Dryden conformed to the same religion. to be told, that the ten concluding years of his life, This step has been the cause of much obloquy on in which he wrote for bread, and composed at a cerone side, and has found much excuse on the other ; tain rate per line, were those of many of the pieces but if it be considered, from a view of his past life, which have most contributed to immortalise his that, in changing his religious profession, he could name. They were those of his translation of Juvehave had little difficulty to encounter, it will appear nal and Persius ; of that of Virgil entire, a work Do breach of candour to suppose that his immediate which enriches the English language, and has motive was nothing more than personal interest. greatly promoted the author's fame ; of his celeThe reward he obtained from his compliance was an brated Alexander's Feast ; and of his Fables, conaddition to his pension of 100 l. per annum. Some taining some of the richest and most truly poetical tine after he was engaged in a work which was the pieces which he ever composed. Of these, several longest single piece he ever composed. This was will appear in the subsequent collection of his works. his elaborate controversial poem of “ The Hind Nor ought his prose writings to be neglected, and Panther." When completed, notwithstanding which, chiefly consisting of the critical essays preits unpromising subject, and signal absurdity of fixed to his poems, are performances of extraordiplan, such was the power of Dryden's verse, that it nary vigour and comprehension of mind, and afford, was read with avidity, and bore every mark of oc- perhaps, the best specimens of genuine English. cupying the public attention. The birth of a Dryden died of a spreading inflammation in one prince called forth a congratulatory poem from Dry- of his toes, on the first of May, 1700, and was den, entitled “ Britannia Rediviva,” in which he buried in Westminster Abbey, next to the tomb of ventured to use a poet's privilege of prophesy, fore- Chaucer. No monument marked his grave, till a telling a commencing era of prosperity to the nation plain one, with his bust, was erected, at the expence and the church from this auspicious event; but in of Sheffield, Duke of Buckingham. He left behind vain! for the revolution took place within a few him three sons, all brought up to letters. His months, and the hopes of the party were blasted for own character was cold and reserved, backward in
personal advances to the great, and rather heavy in Dryden was a severe sufferer from the change : conversation. In fact, he was too much engaged his posts and pensions were taken away, and the in literature to devote much of his time to society. poetical laurei was conferred upon his insignificant Few writers of his time delighted so much to aprival, Shadwell. He was now, in advanced life, to proach the verge of prophaneness ; whence it may depend upon his own exertions for a security from be inferred, that though religion was an interesting absolute indigence. His faculties were equal to topic of discussion to him, he had very little of its the emergency; and it will surprise some theorists spirit in his heart.
What peace can be, where both to one pretend ? ANNUS MIRABILIS:
(But they more diligent, and we more strong)
Or if a peace, it soon must have an end;
For they would grow too powerful were it long. Is thriving arts long time had Holland grown, Behold two nations then, engag'd so far,
Crouching at home and cruel when abroad : That each seven years the fit must shake each landı
Our king they courted, and our merchants awid. Who only can his vast designs withstand.
And while his secret soul on Flanders preys,
In eastern quarries ripening precious dew: O'er them, whose cause he seems to take in hand; For then the İdumxan balm did sweat,
And prudently would make them lords at sea, And in hot Ceilon spicy forests grew.
To whom with ease he can give laws by land The San but seem'd the labourer of the year ; This saw our king; and long within his breast
Each waxing Moon supply'd her watery store, His pensive counsels balanc'd to and fro :
And he less for it than usurpers do.
, mighty in her ships, stood Carthage long, His generous mind the fair ideas drew And swept the riches of the world from far; of fame and honour, which in dangers lay ; Te stoop'd
to Rome, less wealthy, but more strong: Where wealth, like fruit on precipices, grew, And this may prove our second Punic war. Not to be gather'd but by birds of prey
The loss and gain each fatally were great ; By the rich scent we found our perfum'd prey,
And still his subjects call'd aloud for war : Which, flank'd with rocks, did close in covert lie: But peaceful kings, o'er martial people set, And round about their murdering cannon lay, Each other's poize and counterbalance are.
At once to threaten and invite the eye. He first survey'd the charge with careful eyes, Fiercer than cannon, and than rocks more hard,
Which none but mighty monarchs could maintain; The English undertake th' unequal war : Yet judg'd, like vapours that from limbecs rise, Seven ships alone, by which the port is barr'd, It would in richer showers descend again.
Besiege the Indies, and all Denmark dare. At length resolvid t assert the watery ball, These fight like husbands, but like lovers those : He in himself did whole armadoes bring :
These fain would keep, and those more fain enjoy: Him aged seamen might their master call, And to such height their frantic passion grows,
And choose for general, were he not their king. That what both love, both hazard to destroy. It seems as every ship their sovereign knows, Amidst whole heaps of spices lights a ball, His awful summons they so soon obey ;
And now their odours arm'd against them fly: So hear the scaly herd when Proteus blows, Some preciously by shatter'd porcelain fall, And so to pasture follow through the sea.
And some by aromatic splinters die. To see this fleet upon the ocean move,
And though by tempests of the prize bereft, Angels drew wide the curtains of the skies; In Heaven's inclemency some ease we find : And Heaven, as if there wanted lights above, Our foes we vanquish'd by our valour left, For tapers made two glaring comets rise.
And only yielded to the seas and wind. Whether they unctuous exhalations are,
Nor wholly lost we so deserv'd a prey; Fir'd by the Sun, or seeming so alone;
For storms, repenting, part of it restor'd : Or each some more remote and slippery star, Which, as a tribute from the Baltic sea,
Which loses footing when to mortals shown: The British ocean sent her mighty lord. Or one, that bright companion of the Sun, Go, mortals, now and vex yourselves in vain
Whose glorious aspect seal'd our new-born king; For wealth, which so uncertainly must come : And now, a round of greater years begun,
When what was brought so far, and with such pain, New influence from his walks of light did bring. Was only kept to lose it nearer home. Victorious York did first with fam'd success,
The son, who twice three months on th' ocean tost, To his known valour make the Dutch give place: Prepar'd to tell what he had pass'd before, Thus Heaven our monarch's fortune did confess, Now sees in English ships the Holland coast, Beginning conquest from his royal race.
And parents’arms, in vain, stretch'd froin the shore. But since it was decreed, auspicious king,
This careful husband had been long away, In Britain's right that thou shouldst wed the main, Whom his chaste wife and little children mourn: Heaven, as a gage, would cast some precious thing, Who on their fingers learn’d to tell the day
And therefore doom'd that Lawson should be slain. On which their father promis'd to return.
Lawson amongst the foremost met his fate,
Whom sea-green Sirens from the rocks lament: Thus as an offering for the Grecian state,
He first was kill'd who first to battle went.
Such are the proud designs of human-kind,
And so we suffer shipwreck every where !
Who in the night of Fate must blindly steer!
Heaven in his bosom from our knowledge hides : And draws them in contempt of human skill,
Which oft for friends mistaken foes provides.
Their chief blown up in air, not waves, expir’d,
To which his pride presum'd to give the law : The Dutch confess'd Heaven present, and retir'd,
And all was Britain the wide ocean saw.
To nearest ports their shatter'd ships repair, Let Munster's prelate ever be accurst,
Where by our dreadful cannon they lay aw’d: In whom we seek the German faith in vain: So reverently men quit the open air,
Alas, that he should teach the English first, When thunder speaks the angry gods abroad. That fraud and avarice in the church could reign ! And now approach'd their fleet from India fraught, Happy, who never trust a stranger's will
, With all the riches of the rising Sun :
Whose friendship’s in his interest understood ! And precious sand from southern climates brought, Since money given but tempts him to be ill, The fatal regions where the war begun.
When power is too remote to make him good. Like hunted castors, conscious of their store, [bring: Till now, alone the mighty nations strove;
Their way-laid wealth to Norway's coasts they The rest, at gaze, without the lists did stand; There first the North's cold bosom spices bore, And threatening France, plac'd like a painted Jove,
And Winter brooded on the eastern Spring. Kept idle thunder in his lifted hand.
That eunuch guardian of rich Holland's trade, Our fleet divides, and straight the Dutch appear,
Who envies us what he wants power t' enjoy ; In number, and a fam'd commander, bold : Whose noiseful valour does no foe invade,
The narrow seas can scarce their navy bear, And weak assistance will his friends destroy. Or crowded vessels can their soldiers hold. Offended that we fought without his leave, The duke, less numerous, but in courage more, He takes this time his secret hate to show :
On wings of all the winds to combat flies :
As one that neither seeks nor shuns his foe. And bloody crosses on his flag-staffs rise.
France as their tyrant, Denmark as their slave. Their folded sheets dismiss the useless air :
They silently confess that one more brave. When struggling champions did their bodies bare.
The sea-built forts in dreadful order move : Would Heaven for each some Solomon restore, So vast the noise, as if not fleets did join,
Who, by their mercy, may decide their right! But lands unfix'd, and floating nations strove. Were subjects so but only by their choice,
Now pass'd, on either side they nimbly tack; And not from birth did forc'd dominion take, Both strive to intercept and guide the wind : Our prince alone would have the public voice; And, in its eye, more closely they come back,
And all his neighbours' realms would deserts make. To finish all the deaths they left behind.
On high-rais'd decks the haughty Belgians ride, Which without rashness he began before:
Beneath whose shade our humble frigates go :
By the rhinoceros her unequal foe.
Who in that bounty to themselves are kind : Their mounting shot is on our sails design'd;
Deep in their hulls our deadly bullets light, And in his plenty their abundance find.
And through the yielding planks a passage find. With equal power he does two chiefs create, Our dreaded admiral from far they threat,
Two such as each seem'd worthiest when alone ; Whose batter'd rigging their whole war receives : Each able to sustain a nation's fate,
All bare, like some old oak which tempests beat, Since both had found a greater in their own. He stands, and sees below his scatter'd leaves, Both great in courage, conduct, and in fame, Heroes of old, when wounded, shelter sought; Yet neither envious of the other's praise;
But he who meets all danger with disdain, Their duty, faith, and interest too the same, Ev'n in their face his ship to anchor brought, Like mighty partners equally they raise.
And steeple-high stood propt upon the main. The prince long time had courted Fortune's love, At this excess of courage, all amaz’d, But once possess'd did absolutely reign :
The foremost of his foes awhile withdraw : Thaus with their Amazons the heroes strove, With such respect in enter'd Rome they gaz'd,
And conquer'd first those beauties they would gain. Who on high chairs the godlike fathers saw. The duke beheld, like Scipio, with disdain, And now, as where Patroclus' body lay,
That Carthage, which he ruin’d, rise once more ; Here Trojan chiefs advanc'd, and there the Greek; And shook aloft the fasces of the main,
Ours o'er the duke their pious wings display,
Meantime his busy mariners he hastes,
Whose lofty heads rise higher than before.
More fierce th' important quarrel to decide : To make siow fights, and victories but vain : Like swans, in long array his vessels show, But war severely like itself appears.
Whose crests advancing do the waves divide. Diffusive of themselves, where'er they pass,
They charge, recharge, and all along the sea They make that warmth in others they expect : They drive, and squander the huge Belgian fleet Their valour works like bodies on a glass,
Berkeley alone, who nearest danger lay, And does its image on their men project.
Did a like fate with lost Creüsa meet.
The night comes on, we eager to pursue
Meantime the Belgians tack upon our rear, (send : The combat still, and they asham'd to leave : And raking chace-guns through our sterns they Till the last streaks of dying day withdrew, Close by, their fire-ships, like jackals, appear,
And doubtful moonlight did our rage deceive. Who on their lions for the prey attend. In th’ English fleet each ship resounds with joy, Silent, in smoke of cannon they come on:
And loud applause of their great leader's fame : Such vapours once did fiery Cacus hide : In fiery dreams the Dutch they still destroy, In these the height of pleas'd revenge is shown,
And slumbering smile at the imagin'd flame. Who burn contented by another's side. Not so the Holland fleet, who, tir'd and done, Sometimes from fighting squadrons of each fleet,
Stretch'd on their decks like weary oxen lie: Deceiv'd themselves, or to preserve some friend, Faint sweats all down their mighty members run! Two grappling Etnas on the ocean meet,
Vast bulks, which little souls but ill supply. And English fires with Belgian flames contend. In dreams they fearful precipices tread:
Now at each tack our little fleet grows less; (main: Or, shipwreck'd, labour to some distant shore : And, like maim'd fowl, swim lagging on the Or in dark churches walk among the dead; Their greater loss their numbers scarce confess,
They wake with horrour, and dare sleep no more. While they lose cheaper than the English gain. The morn they look on with unwilling eyes, Have you not seen, when, whistled from the fist,
Till from their main-top joyful news they hear Some falcon stoops at what her eye design'd, Of ships, which by their mould bring new supplies, And with her eagerness the quarry miss'da And in their colours Belgian lions bear.
Straight flies at check, and clips it down the wind ? Our watchful general had discern'd from far The dastard crow, that to the wood made wing,
This mighty succour, which made glad the foe : And sees the groves no shelter can afford, He sigh'd, but like a father of the war,
With her loud kaws her craven kind does bring, His face spake hope, while deep his sorrows flow. Who safe in numbers cuff the noble bird. His wounded men he first sends off to shore, Among the Dutch thus Albemarle did fare : Never till now unwilling to obey;
He could not conquer, and disdain'd to fly; They, not their wounds, but want of strength, deplore, Past hope of safety, 'twas his latest care,
And think them happy who with him can stay. Like falling Cæsar, decently to die.
To see those perish who so well had fought : Among so brave a people, you are they
And generously with his despair he strove, Whom Heaven has chose to fight for such a prize.
Resolv'd to live till he their safety wrought. “ If number English courages could quell,
Let other Muses write his prosperous fate, We should at first have shunn'd, not met our foes : Of conquer'd nations tell, and kings restor'd : Whose numerous sails the fearful only tell : (grows.' But mine shall sing of his eclips'd estate,
Courage from hearts, and not from numbers Which, like the Sun's, more wonders does afford He said, nor needed more to say: with haste He drew his mighty frigates all before, To their known stations cheerfully they go;
On which the foe his fruitless force employs : And all at once, disdaining to be last,
His weak ones deep into his rear he bore Solicit every gale to meet the foe.
Remote from guns, as sick men from the noise. Nor did th' encourag'd Belgians long delay, His fiery cannon did their passage guide,
But bold in others, not themselves, they stood : And following smoke obscur'd them froin the foe; So thick, our navy scarce could steer their way, Thus Israel, safe from the Egyptian's pride, But seem'd to wander in a moving wood.
By flaming pillars and by clouds did go. Our little fleet was now engag'd so far,
Elsewhere the Belgian force we did defeat, That like the sword-fish in the whale they fought : But here our courages did theirs subdue : The combat only seem'd a civil war, (wrought: So Xenophon once led that fam'd retreat, Till through their bowels we our passage
Which first the Asian empire overthrew. Never had valour, no not ours, before
The foe approach’d; and one for his bold sin Done aught like this upon the land or main, Was sunk; as he that touch'd the ark was slain; Where not to be o'ercome was to do more
The wild waves master'd him and suck'd him in, Than all the conquests former kings did gain. And smiling eddies dimpled on the main. The mighty ghosts of our great Harries rose, This seen, the rest at awful distance stood :
And armed Edwards look'd with anxious eyes, As if they had been there as servants set To see this feet among unequal foes, (should rise. To stay, or to go on, as he thought good,
By which Fate promis'd them their Charles And not pursue but wait on his retreat
So Libyan huntsmen, on some sandy plain, As in a drought the thirsty creatures cry,
From shady coverts rous'd, the lion chase: And gape upon the gather'd clouds for rain : The kingly beast roars out with loud disdain, And first the martlet meets it in the sky,
And slowly moves, unknowing to give place. And with wet wings joys all the feather'd train : But if some one approach to dare his force, With such glad hearts did our despairing men
He swings his tail, and swiftly turns him round: Salute th' appearance of the prince's fleet; With one paw seizes on his trembling horse, And each ambitiously would claim the ken,
And with the other tears him to the ground. That with first eyes did distant safety meet. Amidst these toils succeeds the balmy night ; The Dutch, who came like greedy hinds before,
Now hissing waters the quench'd guns restore ; To reap the harvest their ripe ears did yield, And weary waves withdrawing from the fight, Now look like those, when rolling thunders roar,
Lie lull'd and panting on the silent shore. And shects of lightning blast the standing field The Moon shone clear on the becalmed flood," Full in the prince's passage, hills of sand,
Where, while her beams like glittering silver play, And dangerous flats in secret ambush lay, Upon the deck our careful general stood,
Where the false tides skim o'er the cover'd land, And deeply mus'd on the succeeding day. And seamen with dissembled depths betray. “ That happy Sun,” said he, “will rise again, The wily Dutch, who like fall'n angels fear'd Who twice victorious did our navy see :
This new Messiah's coming, there did wait, Ånd I alone must view him rise in vain,
And round the verge their braving vessels steerd, Without one ray of all his star for me.
To tempt his courage with so fair a bait. * Yet, like an English general will I die, But he unmov'd contemns their idle threat, And all the ocean make my spacious grave :
Secure of fame whene'er he please to fight : Wonen and cowards on the land may lie;
His cold experience tempers all his heat, The sea 's a tomb that 's proper for the brave." And inbred worth doth boasting valour slight. Restless he pass'd the remnant of the night, Heroic virtue did his actions guide,
Till the fresh air proclaim'd the morning nigh : And he the substance, not th' appearance, chose : And burning ships, the martyrs of the fight, To rescue one such friend, he took more pride, With paler fires beheld the eastern sky.
Than to destroy whole thousands of such foes. But now, his stores of ammunition spent,
But when approach'd, in strict embraces bound, His naked valour is his only guard :
Rupert and Albemarle together grow : Pare thunders are from his dumb cannon sent, He joys to have his friend in safety found, And solitary guns are scarcely heard.
Which he to none but to that friend would owe. Thus far had Fortune power, he forc'd to stay, The cheerful soldiers, with new stores supply'd, Nor longer durst with Virtue be at strife :
Now long to execute their spleenful will : This is a ransom Albemarle did pay,
And, in revenge for those three days they try'd, For all the glories of so great a life.
Wish one, like Joshua's, when the Sun stood still. For now brave Rupert from afar appears,
Thus reinforc'd, against the adverse fleet, Whose waving streamers the glad general knows : Still doubling ours, brave Rupert leads the way : With full-spread sails his eager navy steers,
With the first blushes of the morn they meet, And every ship in swift proportion grows.
And bring night back upon the new-born day." The anxious prince had heard the cannon long, His presence soon blows up the kindling fight,
And from that length of time dire omens drew And his loud guns speak thick like angry men : Of English overmatch'd, and Dutch too strong, It seem'd as slaughter had been breath'd all night,
Who never fought three days, but to pursue. And Death new pointed his dull dart again. Ther, as an eagle, who with pious care
The Dutch too well his mighty conduct knew, Was beating
widely on the wing for prey, And matchless courage, since the former fight : To her now silent eiry does repair,
Whose navy like a stiff-stretch'd cord did show, And finds her callow infants forc'd away :
Till he bore in and bent them into flight.
Saung with her love, she stoops upon the plain, The wind he shares, while half their fleet oflends The broken air loud whistling as she fies :
His open side, and high above him shows : She stops and listens, and shoots forth again, Upon the rest at pleasure he descends,
And guides her pinions by her young ones cries. And doubly harm'd he double harms bestows. With each kind passion hastes the prince to fight, Behind the general mends his weary pace,
and spreads his flying canvass to the sound : And sullenly to his revenge he sails : Him, whom no danger, were he there, could fright, So glides some trodden serpent on the grass, Now absent every little noise can wound.
And long behind his wounded volume trails.