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Them any harm: alas! nor cou'd
Inconstant Sylvio, when yet
Thenceforth I set myself to play
Had it liv'd long, I do not know
As Sylvio did : his gifts might be
With sweetest milk, and sugar first,
It is a wondrous thing how fleet
I have a garden of my own,
O help! O help! I see it faint,
I in a golden vial will
Now my sweet Fawn is vanish'd to
First my unhappy statue shall
TO HIS COY MISTRESS.
Had we but world enough, and time,
And you should, if you please, refuse
should show heart. For, Lady, you deserve this state ; Nor would I love at lower rate.
But at my back I always hear Time's winged chariot hurrying near : And yonder all before us lye Desarts of vast eternity. Thy beauty shall no more be found; Nor, in thy marble vault, shall sound My echoing song: then worms shall try That long preserv'd virginity: And your quaint honour turn to dust; And into ashes all my
lust. The grave's a fine and private place, But none, I think, do there embrace.
Now therefore, while the youthful hue Sits on thy skin like morning dew, And while thy willing soul transpires At every pore with instant fires, Now let us sport us while we may; And now, like am'rous birds of
prey, Rather at once our time devour, Than languish in his slow chap'd pow'r. Let us roll all our strength, and all Our sweetness, up into one ball : And tear our pleasures with rough strife, Thorough the iron gates of life. Thus, though we cannot make our sun Stand still, yet we will make him run.
Joux DRYDEX, the son of Erasmus Dryden, of Tichmersh, who was himself the third son of Sir Erasmus Dryden, of Canons Ashby, was born in 1632, at Aldwinkle, near Oundle. In the early part of his life his circumstances were sufficiently easy. From Westminster School he was elected to one of the scholarships of Cambridge, where he subsequently took his master's degree, but failed in obtaining a fellowship. Some years afterwards, he married the Lady Elizabeth Howard, daughter of the Earl of Berkshire. In 1649 his first poem appeared, full of empty conceits and "mouthing;" in 1658 he made a more successful effort; but it was not till 1663, the thirty-second year of his life, that he embraced writing as a profession. His pecuniary necessities, the source as we must suppose of this resolution, pointed at the same time to the stage as the likeliest means of reward. For seventeen years he continued to write for it, with the interruption only of the Annus Mirabilis (which won him the Poet Laureatship), and of his Essay on Dramatic poetry. Had the life of Dryden closed here he would have been recognized only by the regrets of posterity, as a masterly critic of poetry, but a most slovenly and careless poet; as one, who with every indication of a severe power of satire, and of abundant fertility of fancy, wit, and nobleness of verse, had preferred a luxurious flattery of the great, and been fertile only in a growth of weeds. But from the close of this period till the actual close of his life, from 1680 to 1700, he produced the works which have immortalized him as the leader of the second school of poets; as the boldest and most varied of versifiers; and the greatest satirist of his country. This, the latter period of his life, witnessed too what is generally the produce of an earlier time, the energy and rapture of his imagination. Absalom and Achitophel, which reaches to the magnificent and heroical in satire, the Medal, and the Hind and Panther (80 exquisite in its natural touches, and so wonderfully adapted in its versification to the various demands of its subject) -were now written. The Restoration lost him his laureatship—but gave the world one of the most vigorous of satires, Mac Flecnoe. The remainder of his life was a continual struggle with poverty. Yet now he wrote the finest of his plays, Don Sebastian and others, his glorious Religio Laici, his translations of Juvenal, Persius and Virgil, his Ode to St. Cecilia's Day, and his Fables—which last great work was published in consequence of a contract with Tonson, by which his poverty had obliged him, in consideration of three hundred pounds, to agree to finish for the press ten thousand verses. Shortly after, on the 1st of May, 1701, Dryden died in an obscure lodging in Gerard-street, in much poverty and after great suffering.
The world has a peculiar, and very characteristic, mode of compensating for the sufferings of men of genius. Dryden had a public funeral. Doctor Garth pronounced a Latin oration over his body, and “a numerous train of coaches" followed it to the grave. He was laid among the poets in Westminster Abbey, where, some years afterwards, the Duke of Buckinghamshire placed a simple but emphatic tablet, inscribed “ DRYDEN.” Of the personal habits of the poet few records have been preserved. Spence says, in his pleasant book of anecdotes, that “ Addison passed each day alike, and much in the same manner as Dryden did. Dryden employed his mornings in writing, dined en famille, and then went to Wills's; only he came home earlier at nights." This celebrated coffee-house was made, by the patronage of Dryden, the great resort of the wits of his time. Of his personal character, Congreve, who knew him familiarly, has said, --" He was of a nature exceedingly humane and compassionate, ready to forgive injuries."
We have already touched upon the various characteristics of his genius. He is unquestionably entitled to the rank of a first-rate poet-because, though his school is not first-rate, he was its founder and its greatest master, and accomplished all that lay within the scope of its power. He is incomparably the finest reasoner in verse that ever existed, as he is the most masterly satirist. There is nothing of the meanness of satire about him : he is “magnanimous” in his abuse; vigorous and fearless. He refines nothing, but grapples with the reality of character, and exalts it or overthrows it. Satirist, however, as he was, Dryden was, by all accounts, an indulgent and kind-hearted man, and, if we cannot say much generally for the public independence of his character, let us not forget that it was he who, at a time when it was dangerous even to remember independence, did justice to the character of Milton.