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"He taught them love of Toil, Toil which does keep
Obstructions from the mind, and quench the blood;
Ease but belongs to us, like Sleep, and sleep,

Like Opium, is our med'cine, not our food."

We conclude our extracts by the following quatrain:

"Rich are the diligent, who can command

Time, nature's stock! and could his hour-glass fall,
Would, as for seed of stars, stoop for the sand,

And by incessant labour gather all !"

One incident in our poet's life deserves honourable mention. When imprisoned by the Parliament, as has been recorded, Milton is reported to have interceded for his release. The obligation was not unremembered. At the Restoration, that stern and unyielding apologist for regicide was in the most imminent danger. Davenant exerted all his great personal influence in his favour, and succeeded in securing his safety. This graceful and successful interposition in behalf of the immortal writer of "Paradise Lost," when all other claims to remembrance are forgotten, may still suffice to shelter from oblivion, and retain in men's affections, the name of Sir William Davenant.


THE life of Dryden has been given to the world by two of the greatest of English writers. The triumphs and sufferings of that literary career have been recorded by Dr. Johnson and Sir Walter Scott, and upon the genius and writings of this poet some of the best essays in the language have been penned.

In succeeding such biographers there can be but little to perform, and yet how difficult that little ! What remains for us but to compile from their narratives a short memoir of the Laureate; and in doing so to avail ourselves of the few more recent materials that exist-to collect some scattered notices-and to add some criticism upon his genius and character?

It is trite to tell any well-informed reader that Dryden was satirist, dramatist, didactic poet, essayist, translator, controversialist, and critic; that he was the monarch of his own age, and the idol of the first men of the next; that his life is the history of half a century; and that he is at once the glory and the shame of our literature.

To classify the sons of genius has always been a difficult

task; but to him has been justly assigned the first place in the second rank of our poets. We dare not compare even his rich endowments with Shakespeare's almost omniscience of human character, and profound penetration into the mysteries of the human heart. Spenser must remain the Lord of Allegory. Still farther is Dryden removed from the celestial purity and holy grandeur of Milton. With the satirist and dramatist of the Restoration we cannot breathe the serene atmosphere of the Empyrean, listen to the voices of angel-visitants of Eden, climb the flaming battlements of the universe, or sit at the council-table of Heaven. It may be said of Dryden :

"He was the Bard, who knew so well

All the sweet windings of Apollo's shell;"

but however sweet the notes, however brilliant the execution, those strains will bear no comparison to the holy harmonies in which seems to have been echoed through all eternity the symphonious chorus of joy and rapture hymned by triumphant hierarchies on the morn of creation.

Without raising the question of the extent to which worth, moral or intellectual, be connected with birth, it may be remarked that Dryden was a man of what is called good family. His grandfather was a baronet. The poet was born in 1630, and his father Erasmus had no occasion on Scriptural ground to be ashamed to meet his enemy at the gates, for he had thirteen children besides John. Mr. Malone's industry has made some discoveries about some of them, but brought nothing very important to light. Perhaps the longevity of one was the most remarkable thing in connection with them. This was the sister who, in spite of her ancient lineage, stooped to marry a tobacconist, and lived to the age of ninety, surviving the poet twenty years.

It is said that the family were Anabaptists, but great doubt hangs over the question. The destruction of a parish register leaves us to mere conjecture on the subject, and induces us to remark that those records have been so carelessly kept, even in later times, that much valuable information is lost by the wanton negligence evinced in the custody of what are the title-deeds of the humbler classes of the community. There is no doubt that the poet's early opinions were tinged with Puritanism, and that he had some hopes of patronage and promotion while that party was in power. Tichmarsh was the place which lays claim to being the scene of his childish days. was thence removed to Westminster, where he was placed on the foundation. This justly famous school was then under the management of Dr. Busby of flogging notoriety.


We find that, as in the case of Ben Jonson and Camden, at the same place of education, the friendship between master and pupil was strengthened by time. Dryden sent his sons to Westminster; and a letter, in which he wrote to the Doctor to complain of some harsh treatment which one of them had received, is most respectful in its language. It was here that he gave an early proof of his talents for versifying and translation, for he tells us in his preface to "Persius," that he had, when a boy at Westminster, translated the third satire, as a Thursday night's exercise, for the head master; and he adds that the Doctor was still probably in possession of that and others of his earliest poetical essays. They are now, at the school, justly proud of "glorious John" as an "Old Westminster," and his name is still shown carved on a desk in the shell form, it is said, by his own hand.

When the choice came, it fell to Dryden's lot to go up as scholar to Trinity, Cambridge, and not Christ Church, Oxford. What his feelings were at the time, we have no

power of ascertaining; but he doubtless afterwards. regretted it, for in mentioning the two Universities in a prologue, he speaks with disparagement of his own, and of Oxford with affectionate admiration. At Cambridge, through some irregularities of conduct, he fell into disgrace. It is doubtful whether he was expelled or fled to avoid expulsion. Shadwell, after they quarrelled, reminding Dryden of the incident, avers that it was in consequence of Dryden's traducing a young nobleman, who was his contemporary at College. Mr. Malone has shown that he was confined to his College, and "put out of Commons for his disobedience to the Vice-Master, and his contumacy in taking the punishment inflicted on him." It is, however, a well-established fact, that he took his Bachelor's degree, but he then left, and the degree of M.A. was afterwards conferred on him, not by his University, but by the Archbishop of Canterbury.

After leaving Cambridge, he took up his abode in London, and, if Shadwell is to be trusted, was in very needy circumstances; lived in a lodging that had a window "no bigger than a pocket looking-glass, and dined at a threepenny ordinary, enough to starve a vacation tailor.” He was, according to the account of a contemporary, very simply clad; and one of his sources of income was to write prefaces for Herringman, the bookseller. His interest lay entirely with the Puritan party. In 1658, on the death of Cromwell, he poured forth an elegy. Spratt, Waller, and other poets paid their tributes also, but Dryden's lines were good enough to create great expectations from future efforts of his Muse. This was the first poem that he published, except the well-known lines mentioned by Johnson on the death of Lord Hastings.

Sir Gilbert Pickering, a kinsman of Dryden, was an influential man, from whose patronage the young poet hoped much. The Restoration banished all such expec


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