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THE STORY OF
So, when a lion shakes his dreadful mane, Verse, thus design'd, has no ill fate,
PHEBUS AND DAPHNE
Thyrsis, a youth of the inspired train,
Fair Sacharissa lov’d, but lov'd in vain : Tell of towns storm'd, of armies over-run,
Like Phæbus sung the no less amorous boy ; And mighty kingdoms by your conduct won ;
Like Daphne she, as lovely, and as coy! How, while you thunder'd, clouds of dust did choke With numbers he the flying nymph pursues; Contending troops, and seas lay hid in smoke.
With numbers, such as Phæbus' self might use !
Such is the chase, when Love and Fancy leads, Illustrious acts high raptures do infuse,
O'er craggy mountains, and through flowery mests; And every conqueror creates a Muse :
Invok'd to testify the lover's care, Here in low strains your milder deeds we sing :
Or form some image of his cruel fair. But there, my lord! we'll bays and olive bring
Urg'd with his fury, like a wounded deer,
O'er these he fled; and now approaching near, To crown your head, while you in triumph ride
Had reach'd the nymph with his harmonious las, O'er vanquish'd nations, and the sea beside ;
Whom all his charms could not incline to stay. While all your neighhour princes unto you,
Yet, what he sung in his immortal strain,
Though unsuccessful, was not sung in vain :
OF ENGLISH VERSE.
That now she knows,
Poets may boast, as safely vain,
Beauty like a shadow flies,
Nor all appear, among those few, And our youth before us dies.
Worthy the stock from whence they grew : Or, would youth and beauty stay,
The sap, which at the root is bred, Love hath wings, and will away.
In trees, through all the boughs is spread : Love hath swifter wings than Time;
But virtues, which in parent shine, Change in love to Heaven does climb
Make not like progress through the line. Gods, that never change their state,
'Tis not from whom, but where, we live : Vary oft their love and hate.
The place does oft those graces give. Phyllis ! to this truth we owe
Great Julius, on the mountains bred, All the love betwixt us two :
A flock perhaps, or herd, had led : Let not you and I inquire,
He ", that the world subdued, had been What has been our past desire ;
But the best wrestler on the green. On what shepherd you have smil'd,
'Tis art, and knowledge, which draw forth Or what nymphs I have beguild:
The hidden seeds of native worth : Leave it to the planets too,
They blow those sparks, and make them rise What we shall hereafter do:
Into such flames as touch the skies. For the joys we now may prove,
To the old heroes hence was given
A pedigree, which reach'd to heaven :
Smile but on me, and you shall scorn,
Henceforth, to be of princes born.
I can describe the shady grove, Shall now my joyful temples bind :
Where your lov'd mother slept with Jove, No monarch but would give his crown,
And yet excuse the faultless dame, His arms might do what this has done.
Caught with her spouse's shape and name :
Thy matchless form will credit bring
To all the wonders I shall sing.
TO A LADY
SINGING A SONG OF BIS COMPOSING.
CHLORIS, yourself you so excel,
When you vouchsafe to breathe my thought, That, like a spirit, with this spell
Of my own teaching, I am caught.
That eagle's fate and mine are one,
Which, on the shaft that made him die, Espy'd a feather of his own,
Wherewith he wont to soar so high.
Had Echo with so sweet a grace
Narcissus' loud complaints return'd
But of his voice, the boy had burn'd.
of one share and a quarter out of twelve shares and sities. He never obtained any of the requests
Charles II. died in 1685, and was succeeded!
JOHN DRYDEN. John Dryden was born, probably in 1631, in post of poet-laureat, to which was added the the parish of Aldwincle-Allsaints, in Northamp- cure place of historiographer royal ; the joint sok tonshire. His father possessed a small estate, ries of which amounted to 2001. acted as a justice of the peace during the usurp The tragedies composed by Dryden were write ation, and seems to have been a presbyterian. in his earlier periods, in rhyme, which circumstan John, at a proper age, was sent to Westminster probably contributed to the poetical rant bę atiti school, of which Busby was then master; and was they were too much characterised. For the Fthence elected to a scholarship in Trinity college, rection of this fault, Villiers, Duke of Buckingis, Cambridge. He took his degrees of bachelor and in conjunction with other wits, wrote the celebrate master of arts in the university; but though he had burlesque drama, entitled “ The Rehearsal,”
written two short copies of verses about the time of which Dryden, under the name of Bayes, was made 1
his admission, his name does not occur among the the hero; and, in order to point the ridicuk, bis
some the incidents in the life of David were adapted ? severity.
those of Charles II. in relation to the Duke i At the Restoration, Dryden lost no time in Monmouth and the Earl of Shaftesbury
. ) obliterating former stains; and, as far as it was poetry and its severity caused it to be read with possible, rendered himself peculiarly distinguished eagerness; and as it raised the author to high for the base servility of his strains. He greeted the rour with the court party, so it involved him in se king's return by a poem, entitled “ Astræa Redux," reconcilable enmity with its opponents. The which was followed by “ A Panegyric on the feelings were rendered more acute by his “ Merlin Coronation :" nor did Lord Chancellor Clarendon a Satire on Sedition,” written in the same year, er escape his encomiastic lines. His marriage with occasion of a medal struck by the whigs, where Lady Elizabeth Howard, daughter of the Earl of grand jury returned Ignoramus to an indietet Berkshire, is supposed to have taken place in 1665. preferred against Lord Shaftesbury, for high to About this time he first appears as a writer for the son. The rancour of this piece is not easily to 81 stage, in which quality he composed several pieces; paralleled among party poems. In 1682
, be pain and though he did not display himself as a prime fished “ Mac-Flecknoe," a short piece, tirowi / favourite of the dramatic
, his facility of har- ridicule upon his very unequal rival, Shade monious versification, and his splendour of poetic In the same year, one of his most serious post diction, gained him admirers. In 1667 he pub- the “ Religio Laici,” made its appearance. Lished a singular poem, entitled “ Annus Mira- purpose was to give a compendious view of the ** bilis," the subjects of which were, the naval war guments for revealed religion, and to ascertain i with the Dutch, and the fire of London. It was what the authority of revelation essentially const written in four-line stanzas, a form which has since Soon after this time he ceased to write for gone into disuse in heroic subjects; but the piece stage. His dramatic vein was probably exhauste abounded in images of genuine poetry, though in- and his circumstances were distressed. To this for termixed with many extravagances.
riod Mr. Malone refers a letter written by him • At this period of his life Dryden became pro- Hyde, Earl of Rochester, in which, with mode fessionally a writer for the stage, having entered dignity, he pleads merit enough not to deserye into a contract with the patentees of the King's starve, and requests some small employment in the Theatre, to supply them with three plays in a customs or excise, or, at least, the payment of be year, upon the condition of being allowed the profit a year's pension for the supply of his present help divided. Of the plays written upon the above con- best patrons. tract, a small proportion have kept their place on the stage, or in the closet. On the death of his brother James II., who openly declared bis : Sir W. Davenant, in 1668, Dryden obtained the tachment to the religion
of Rome. It was not les
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 no 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 time 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 laurel 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 litle of its the emergency; and it will surprise some theorists spirit in his heart.
For them alone the Heavens had kindly heat; Such deep designs of empire does he lay
O'er them, whose cause he seems to take in hand; For them the Idumæan 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 Sun 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: To swell those tides which from the line did bear He griev'd the land he freed should be oppress'd, Their brim-full vessels to the Belgian shore.
And he less for it than usurpers do. Thus, 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 ; Yet 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, Aank'd with rocks, did close in covert lis 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 resolv'd 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 feet 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's : 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 pais. 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 from 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.
Whom sea-green Sirens from the rocks lament: And so we suffer shipwreck every where!
Alas, what port can such a pilot find,
Who in the night of Fate must blindly steer! Their chief blown up in air, not waves, expir’d, The undistinguish'd seeds of good and ill,
To which his pride presum'd to give the law : Heaven in his bosom from our knowledge hides: The Dutch confess'd Heaven present, and retir'd, And draws them in contempt of human skill, And all was Britain the wide ocean saw.
Which oft for friends mistaken foes provides. 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 Jore,
And Winter brooded on the eastern Spring. Kept idle thunder in his lifted hand.