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THE original of the following letter is preserved in the Library at Lambeth, and was kindly imparted to the publick by the reverend Dr. Vyse. Copy of an original Letter from John Dryden,
Esq; to his sons in Italy, from a MS in the
Lambeth Library, marked No 933. p. 56. (Superscribed)
“ Al Illustrissimo Sigte
66 In Roma.
Sept. the 3d, our style. « Dear Sons, “ Being now at Sir William Bowyer's in the coun
try, I cannot write at large, because I find myself « somewhat indisposed with a cold, and am thick of “ hearing, rather worse than I was in town. glad to find, by your letter of July 26th, your style,
you are both in health ; but wonder you should “ think me so negligent as to forget to give you an “ account of the ship in which your parcel is to come. “ I have written to you two or three letters concern
ing it, which I have sent by safe hands, as I told
you, and doubt not but you have them before this “ can arrive to you. Being out of town, I have for
gotten the ship's name, which your mother will en
quire, and put it into her letter, which is joined “ with mine. But the master's name I remember: he “ is called Mr. Ralph Thorp; the ship is bound to
It may somewhat abate the resentment of the reader to be told, that this redoubted critic was the author of an heroic tragedy called “ Edgar,” which, as soon as published, determined his character, and as a dramatick writer sunk him into contempt.
Leghorn, consigned to Mr. Peter and Mt. Tho. Ball, “ merchants. I am of your opinion, that by Ton« fon's means almost all our letters have miscarried “ for this last year. But, however, he has missed of “ his design in the Dedication, though he had pre
pared the book for it ; for in every figure of Eneas “ he has caused him to be drawn like King William, 6 with a hooked nose. After my return to town, I “ intend to alter a play of Sir Robert Howard's, writ“ ten long since, and lately put by him into my hands : “ 'tis called The Conquest of China by the Tartars. It “ will cost me six weeks study, with the probable be“ nefit of an hundred pounds. In the mean time I “ am writing a song for St. Cecilia's Feast, who, you “know, is the patroness of musick. This is trouble“ fome, and no way beneficial; but I could not deny " the Stewards of the Feast, who came in a body to " me to desire that kindness, one of them being Mr. “ Bridgman, whose parents are your mother's friends. "I hope to send you thirty guineas between Michael“ inafs and Christmass, of which I will give you an “ account when I come to town. I remember the “ counsel you give me in your letter ; but diffembling,
though lawful in some cases, is not my talent; yet, “ for your fake, I will struggle with the plain open, “ nefs of my nature, and keep in my just resentments
against that degenerate order. In the mean time, I “ fattet not myself with any manner of hopes, but “ do iny duty, and suffer for God's fake; being as.. “ sured, beforehand, never to be rewarded, though " the times should alter. Towards the latter end of “ this month, September, Charles will begin to reco“ ver his perfect health, according to his nativity,
which, cafting it myfelf, I am sure is true, and all “ things hitherto have happened accordingly to the
very time that I predicted them : I hope at the same " tiine to recover more health, according to my age. « Remember me to poor Harry, whofe prayers I ear
nestly desire. My Virgil succeeds in the world beyond its desert or my expectation. You know the
profits might have been more; but neither my con“ science nor my honour would suffer me to take them: “ but I never can repent of my constancy, since I am
thoroughly persuaded of the justice of the cause for " which I suffer. It has pleased God to raise up many “ friends to me amongst my enemies, though they who
ought to have been my friends are negligent of me, “I am called to dinner, and cannot go on with this “ letter, which I desire you to excuse; and am “ Your most affectionate father,
As many of Dryden's dramatic compositions were operas, or rather they so far resembled the Italian and French opera by an in. termixture of music with the dialogue as to be called by that name, it was a singular felicity that they were set to music by Purcell, who, though bred in a choir, and a church musician, was at that time, like some others of his profession, equally at the service of the theatre. The dramas called Dryden's, to which he composed the music, were King Arthur ; Oedipus, written in conjunction with Lee; the Indian Queen, in which Sir Robert Howard had a hand ; and the Tempest, altered from Shakespeare by himself, and Sir William Davenant. Iu the first is a frost scene, the music to which, besides that it is intrinsically excellent, is admirably suited to the words. In the Indian Queen, is that celebrated bass song Ye trvice ten hundred deities ;' and in the Tempeít are some of the finest airs and sweetest harmonies that ever delighted the human ear.
Dryden had no skill in music. His wife, lady Elizabeth Howard, had been a scholar of Purcell, Mrs. Purcell, in the dedication of the Orpheus Britannicus, returns her thanks to that lady for hier having
erected a fair monument over his ashes, and gracing it with an infcription. Dryden being living at the time, it is highly probable that the inscription was of his composing. He wrote an ode on the death of Purcell, and Dr. Blow set it to music. It was published in score by one of the Playfords, but is not to be found in Dryden's Miscellany; and we owe it to the Reverend Mr. Broughton of the Temple, that it now appears in a collection of Dryden's poems, in two volumes izmo. 1743. The initial line,
• Mark how the lark and linnet fing,' fhould read,
• Hark how the lark and linnet sing.'
DMUND SMITH is one of those lucky
writers who have, without much labour, attained high reputation, and who are mentioned with reverence rather for the poffeffion than the exertion of uncommon abilities.
Of his life little is known; and that little claims no praise but what can be given to intellectual excellence, seldom employed to any virtuous purpose. His character, as given by Mr. Oldisworth, with all the partiality of friendship, which is said by Dr. Burton to show what fine things one man of parts can say to another, and which, however, comprises great part of what can be known of Mr. Smith, it is better to transcribe at once, than to take by pieces. I fall subjoin such little memorials as accident has enabled me to collect.
Mr. EDMUND SMITH was the only son of an eminent merchant, one Mr. Neale, by a daughter of the famous baron Lechmere. Some misfortunes of Vol. II.