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lish; and of which he has given such a taste in his excellent · Memoirs of the Mogul's Country,
• The next Gardens we read are those of Solomon, planted with all sorts of fruit-trees, and watered with fountains : and though we have no more particular description of them, yet we may find they were the places where he passed the time of his leisure and delight; where the houses as well as grounds were adorned with all that could be of pleasing and elegant, and were the retreats and entertainments of those among his wives that he loved the best; and it is not improbable, that the Paradises mentioned by Strabo were planted by this great and wisest-King. But the idea of the garden must be very great, if it answers at all to that of the gardener, who must have employed a great deal of his care and of his study, as well as of his leisure and thought, in the entertainments, since he writ of all plants from the cedar to the shrub.
- What the Gardens of the Hesperides were, we have little or no account farther than the mention of them, and thereby the testimony of their having been in use and request in such remoteness of place and antiquity of time.
• The Garden of Alcinöus, described by Homer, seems wholly poetical, and made at the pleasure of the painter; like the rest of the romantic palace in that little barren island of Phæacia, or Corfu. Yet as all the pieces of this transcendent genius are composed with excellent knowledge as well as fancy, so they seldom fail of instruction as well as delight to all that read him. The seat of this garden joining to the gates of the palace, the compass of the enclosure being four acres, the tall trees of shade as well VOL. IV.
as those of früit, the two fountains, one for the use of the garden and the other of the palace, the continual succession of fruits throughout the whole year, are (för aught I know) the best rules or provisions that can go toward composing the best gardens; nor is it unlikely that Hómer may have drawn this picture after the life of some he had seen in Ionia, the country and usual abode of this divine poet, and indeed the region of the most refined pleasure and luxury as well as invention and wit: for the humour and custom of gardens may have descended earlier into the Lower Asia from Damascus, Assyria, and other parts of the eastern empires, though they seem to have made late entrance and smaller improvements in those of Greece and Rome; at least, in no proportion to their other inventions, or refinements of pleasure and luxury.'
JOHN DRYDEN. *
THIS illustrious poet, the son of Erasmus Drident (so the name was occasionally spelt) of Tichmarsh in Northamptonshire, third son of Sir Erasmus Dryden of Canons Ashby, Bart., was born at Aldwincle All Saints near Oundle, August 9, 1631. He received his education at Westminster School, f under Dr. Busby; and was thence elected May 11, 1650, to Trinity College, Cambridge, where he incurred a slight punishment, in 1652, for disobedience and contumacy.
He does not appear to have displayed any extraordinary indications of genius in his earlier days. He was thirty years of age, before he produced his first play, the “Duke of Guise ;'and his next, • The Wild Gallant, though patronised by Barbara Villiers
* AUTHORITIES. Wood's Athene Oxonienses ; Lord (Langdowne's Works; Congreve's Dedication of Dryden's Works, and Biographia Britannica.
+ During his stay at school, he translated the third Satire of Persius for a Thursday night's exercise ; and, the year before he left it, he wrote an inharmonious poem upon the Death of Lord Hastings.
I This tragedy, much altered with the assistance of Lee, was again brought forward in 1683, to the great offence of the Whigs, and the exciting of some bitter attacks upon it's author.
(subsequently Duchess of Cleveland) who procured it the favour of the court, met with so indifferent a reception from the public, that he had resolved to relinquish this species of composition: but his strong passion for it, happily, got the better of his resentment.
In 1654, he took his degree of B. A.,* and by his father's death inherited a small estate in his native county, liable however, to some deductions for the support of the widow and the younger children.
That he had at this time no fixed principles, either in religion or politics, is abundantly evident from his Heroic Stanzas on Cromwell, written upon his funeral in 1658; † and his publishing, within two
* The subsequent degree of M. A. he did not take till 1668; and then, by a dispensation from the Archbishop of Canterbury, in consequence of a letter from Charles II.
+ To this compliment, which (as compared with the verses of Sprat and Waller on the same occasion) excited high hopes, he was led by his connexion with Sir Gilbert Pickering, one of Cromwell's Privy Council and House of Lords, to whom he with no apparent violence to his opinions became Clerk or Secretary. In the history, indeed, of the changes of the human mind few facts will appear more extraordinary, than that Milton should have been descended from a catholic and loyalist family, and Dryden from a sectarian and republican one. The verses of the latter however upon the Protector, praising him-chiefly for • having put an end to civil fury,' easily slid into an encomium on legal monarchy. But they contain one couplet, which if interpreted (in it's most natural acceptation) of the execution of Charles I. and not of the general severity of Cromwell's military discipline, admits a less ready apology:
• He sought to end our fighting, and essay'd
To staunch the blood by breathing of the vein.' · In his • Astræa Redux," a remarkable distich, we are told, justly exposed him to ridicule:
• A horrid stillness first invades the ear,
years afterward, his · Astræa Redux, a Poem on the happy Restoration of Charles II.,' and, in the same year, “A Panegyric to the King on his Coronation.' Other loyal verses, likewise, appeared in the Academical Collections of these times.*
In 1662, he addressed the Chancellor Hyde, upon New Year's Day; and published, also, a satire on the Dutch.
In 1663, in consequence probably of his verses in praise of modern improvements in philosophy, prefixed to Dr. Charleton's treatise on Stonehenge, he was appointed a Fellow of the Royal Society; an honour solicited, or possessed, by few poets except Denham and himself. His next piece, published in 1667, was, his · Annus Mirabilis, or The Year of Wonders, 1666;' an historical poem, celebrating the Duke of York's victory over the States General. It is written in quatrains, or heroic standards of four lines; a measure which he borrowed from Davenant's Gondibert, and which in his prefatory Letter to Sir Robert Howard he says, “ I have ever judged more noble, and of greater dignity than any other verse in use amongst us.” In the following year he succeeded Sir William Davenant as Poet Laureat, † and
* From his signature in the · Epithalamia Cantabrigiensia' it appears, that (contrary to Johnson's assertion) he had obtained
it fellowship ifice, thodovalty
+ This office, though it in some measure enlisted the occupier into the service of royalty, did not then impose the necessity of composing annually two copies of verses. An afflictive dispensation has, recently, caused an intermission of these contributions ; and like the Luctus et Gratulationes of Academical Bodies, which used to accompany every royal death, birth, marriage, &c. they might perhaps, with no disadvantage either to poetry or 'to royalty, be wholly laid aside. Dryden's stipends, it is said, were not in that needy reign paid with great regularity.