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He was buried among the poets in Westminster Abbey, where, 156 though the duke of Newcastle had, in a general dedication prefixed by Congreve to his dramatick works, accepted thanks for his intention of erecting him a monument', he lay long without distinction, till the duke of Buckinghamshire gave him a tablet, inscribed only with the name of DRYDEN".

He married the lady Elizabeth Howard, daughter of the earl 157 of Berkshire 3, with circumstances, according to the satire imputed to lord Somers, not very honourable to either party': by her he had three sons, Charles, John, and Henry. Charles was usher of the palace to Pope Clement the XIth3, and visiting England in 1704, was drowned in an attempt to swim across the Thames at Windsor.

John was author of a comedy called The Husband his own 158 Cuckold. He is said to have died at Rome. Henry entered

* For Congreve's Dedication see Dryden's Works, ii. 13. Garth wrote in 1717:-"Mr. Dryden, who could make kings immortal, now wants a poor square foot of stone.' End of Preface to Ovid's Metamorphoses. Pope (post, POPE, 408), in his epitaph for Rowe, says of Dryden:

'Beneath a rude and nameless stone he lies.

One grateful woman to thy fame supplies

What a whole thankless land to his denies.'

See also Pope's Preface to Miscellanies in Prose for his warning against 'venting praise or censure too precipitately. Swift's Works, xiii. 6.

The inscription is 'J. Dryden, Natus 1632. Mortuus May 1, 1700. Joannes Sheffield, Dux Buckinghamiensis Posuit 1720.' Malone's Dryden, i. 6; Part ii. 133. In 1720 Atterbury wrote to Pope of 'your design of fixing Dryden's name only below, and his bust above.' Pope's Works (Elwin and Courthope), ix. 22. For the year of his birth see ante, DRYDEN, 2.

3 In St. Swithin's Church, Cannon Street, 'the last leaf of a mouldering register records Dec. 1, 1663,' Dry

den's marriage. Wheatley's London,
iii. 343. His wife was sister of Sir
Robert Howard (ante, DRYDEN, 25)
and of Edward Howard (ante, DOR-
SET, 15). She died insane in 1714.
Works, i. 387. 'Dryden's invectives
against the marriage state are fre-
quent and bitter.' Malone's Dryden,
i. 393. In his last year he writes to
John Driden, who was uncumbered
with a wife':-

'Minds are so hardly matched that
even the first,

Though paired by Heaven, in Para-
dise were cursed.' Works, xi. 73.
4' After two children and a third

By brawny brothers hector'd into

Satyr to his Muse, p. 4; ante, DRY-
DEN, 112.

For the lampoons on Dryden see
Malone's Dryden, i. 161.

5 Dryden addressed his son as
Camariere d'Honore [sic], A.S.S.'
When he was ill Dryden wrote:-'If
it please God that I must die of over-
study I cannot spend my life better
than in saving his.' Works, xviii.
140. For verses by him see Nichols's
Select Collection of Poetry, 1780, i.
iv. 293.


Dryden wrote the Epilogue (ib. x. 425) and Congreve the Prologue, which ends :

into some religious order'. It is some proof of Dryden's sincerity in his second religion, that he taught it to his sons. A man conscious of hypocritical profession in himself is not likely to convert others; and as his sons were qualified in 1693 to appear among the translators of Juvenal, they must have been taught some religion before their father's change.

159 Of the person of Dryden I know not any account 3; of his

mind the portrait which has been left by Congreve, who knew him with great familiarity, is such as adds our love of his manners to our admiration of his genius.

'He was,' we are told, 'of a nature exceedingly humane and compassionate, ready to forgive injuries, and capable of a sincere reconciliation with those that had offended him3. His friendship, where he professed it, went beyond his professions. He was of a very easy, of very pleasing access; but somewhat slow, and, as it were, diffident in his advances to others: he had that in his nature which abhorred intrusion into any society whatever. He was therefore less known, and consequently his character became more liable to misapprehensions and misrepresentations: he

'There's his last refuge; if the play

don't take,

Yet spare young Dryden for his
father's sake.'

Eng. Poets, xxxiv. 216. Dryden also wrote the Preface, when the play was printed, and bargained with the publisher. Works, xv. 409; xviii. 127. For his letters to Dr. Busby about his sons see ib. xviii. 99-102.

His name was Erasmus Henry.
'He was a Captain in the Pope's
Guards.' In 1710 he succeeded to
the title of Baronet; he died the
same year. None of the brothers
married. 666
"All of them," says a
good judge, who knew them, "were
fine, ingenious and accomplished
gentlemen." Malone's Dryden, i.
399, 426.

Johnson's account is from Biog.
Brit. p. 1761 n.

Ante, DRYDEN, 140.

3 'There are,' writes Malone, 'few English poets of whose external appearance more particulars have been recorded.' From satires of the time Malone quotes such epithets as 'learned and florid'; 'cherrycheeked dunce'; 'a fat rosy-coloured

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He was not a very genteel man, he was intimate with none but poetical men. He was as plump as Mr. Pitt; of a fresh colour, and a down look, and not very conversable.' POPE, Spence's Anec. p. 261.

* For a correct version of what Congreve wrote see Appendix T.


Addison, who knew Dryden well, says in The Spectator, No. 169:— 'The greatest wits I have conversed with are men eminent for their humanity.'

Beattie, in his Essays, 1779, p. 14, reproaches him for his inhumanity in a passage where he says that many of Chaucer's words no more merit reviving 'than the crowds of men who daily die, or are slain for sixpence in a battle, merit to be restored to life, if a wish could revive them. Works, xv. 188. For another instance of his inhumanity see ante, DRyden,

122 n.

was very modest, and very easily to be discountenanced in his approaches to his equals or superiors'. As his reading had been very extensive, so was he very happy in a memory tenacious of every thing that he had read. He was not more possessed of knowledge than he was communicative of it; but then his communication was by no means pedantick or imposed upon the conversation, but just such, and went so far as, by the natural turn of the conversation in which he was engaged, it was necessarily promoted or required. He was extreme ready, and gentle in his correction of the errors of any writer who thought fit to consult him, and full as ready and patient to admit of the reprehensions of others in respect of his own oversights or mistakes.'

To this account of Congreve nothing can be objected but the 160 fondness of friendship; and to have excited that fondness in such a mind is no small degree of praise. The disposition of Dryden, however, is shewn in this character rather as it exhibited itself in cursory conversation, than as it operated on the more important parts of life. His placability and his friendship indeed were solid virtues; but courtesy and good-humour are often found with little real worth. Since Congreve, who knew him well, has told us no more, the rest must be collected as it can from other testimonies, and particularly from those notices which Dryden has very liberally given us of himself.

The modesty which made him so slow to advance, and so easy 161 to be repulsed, was certainly no suspicion of deficient merit, or unconsciousness of his own value: he appears to have known in its whole extent the dignity of his character, and to have set a very high value on his own powers and performances3. He probably did not offer his conversation, because he expected it to be solicited; and he retired from a cold reception, not submissive but indignant, with such reverence of his own greatness as made him unwilling to expose it to neglect or violation.

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Be kind to my remains; and O defend, Against your judgment, your departed friend.

Johnson speaks of Milton's 'high opinion of his own powers' (ante, MILTON, 47), and of Addison's very high opinion of his own merit' (post, ADDISON, 109). Dryden, the year before his death, wrote to a lady:'I am still drudging on; always a poet, and never a good one.' Works, xviii. 147. See also post, POPE, 20.



His modesty was by no means inconsistent with ostentatiousness: he is diligent enough to remind the world of his merit, and expresses with very little scruple his high opinion of his own powers; but his self-commendations are read without scorn or indignation: we allow his claims, and love his frankness".


Tradition, however, has not allowed that his confidence in himself exempted him from jealousy of others3. He is accused of envy and insidiousness; and is particularly charged with inciting Creech to translate Horace, that he might lose the reputation which Lucretius had given him.

164 Of this charge we immediately discover that it is merely conjectural: the purpose was such as no man would confess; and a crime that admits no proof, why should we believe?



He has been described as magisterially presiding over the younger writers, and assuming the distribution of poetical fame ; but he who excels has a right to teach, and he whose judgement is incontestable may, without usurpation, examine and decide 3. Congreve represents him as ready to advise and instruct; but there is reason to believe that his communication was rather

I Ante, DRYDEN, 102.
2 Post, DRYDEN, 214.

3 BAYES. I despise your Jonson
and Beaumont, that borrowed all
they writ from Nature; I am for
fetching it purely out of my own

SMITH. But what think you of
Sir John Suckling, Sir?

'BAYES. By gad, I am a better
poet than he.' The Rehearsal, p. 51.

'Even Dryden,' said Jacob Tonson, 'was very suspicious of rivals. He would compliment Crowne, when a play of his failed, but was cold to him if he met with success. He used sometimes to own that Crowne had some genius; but then added that his father and Crowne's mother were very well acquainted.' Spence's Anec. p. 45.

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For a comedy, by John Crowne, acted at Court by the ladies only,' in 1674, see Evelyn's Diary, ii. 100.

* Malone (i. 506) traces this slander to Tom Brown's Reasons of Mr. Bayes's changing his Religion, Part ii. 53 (ante, DRYDEN, 128; quoted in the Works, viii. 223 m.). To a reprint of Creech's Lucretius had been

prefixed some anonymous recom mendatory verses, assigned by Wood (Ath. Oxon. iv. 739) to Dryden among other writers. Lines so poor could not have been by him. For them see Works, xviii. 323; N.&Q. 6 S. iv. 24. When Creech hanged himself (in June, 1700) 'the act was ascribed by some writers to the ill success of his Horace (published 16 years earlier); and it was insinuated that Dryden was ultimately the cause of his end.' His Horace had reached two editions. Creech, in the Preface, says to Dryden :—'You are ready to reach out a helping hand to all those who endeavour to climb that height where you are already seated.' For Dryden's praise of Creech see Works, viii. 223; xii. 296; xiv. 218, and for Creech see post, DRYDEN, 300.

5 Dennis wrote to him in 1694:"You with a breath can bestow or confirm reputation; a whole numberless people proclaims the praise which you give, and the judgments of three mighty kingdoms appear to depend upon yours.' Works, xviii. 114. See post, DRYDEN, 190.

useful than entertaining. He declares of himself that he was saturnine, and not one of those whose spritely sayings diverted company; and one of his censurers makes him say,

'Nor wine nor love [Nor love nor wine] could ever see me gay; To writing bred, I knew not what to say?!'

There are men whose powers operate only at leisure and in 167 retirement, and whose intellectual vigour deserts them in conversation; whom merriment confuses, and objection disconcerts; whose bashfulness restrains their exertion, and suffers them not to speak till the time of speaking is past; or whose attention to their own character makes them unwilling to utter at hazard what has not been considered, and cannot be recalled.

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Of Dryden's sluggishness in conversation it is vain to search 168 or to guess the cause. He certainly wanted neither sentiments nor language; his intellectual treasures were great, though they were locked up from his own use. His thoughts,' when he wrote, 'flowed in upon him so fast, that his only care was which to chuse, and which to reject 3. Such rapidity of composition naturally promises a flow of talk, yet we must be content to believe what an enemy says of him, when he likewise says it of himself. But whatever was his character as a companion, it appears that he lived in familiarity with the highest persons of his time. It is related by Carte of the duke of Ormond that he used often to pass a night with Dryden, and those with whom Dryden consorted *: who they were Carte has not told;

''My conversation is slow and dull, my humour saturnine and reserved; in short, I am none of those who endeavour to break jests in company or make repartees.' Works, ii. 297.

'That I admire not any comedy equally with tragedy is perhaps from the sullenness of my humour.' Ib. iii. 240. 'One sprightly saying of his' to his wife [I wish I were a book and then I should have more of your company.' 'Pray my dear, if you do become a book let it be an almanac, for then I shall change you every year'] related by Horace Walpole (Prior's Malone, p. 436), Mr. Saintsbury has found in a French work most of which was written before his marriage. Works, i. 382 n. For Pope's want of 'vivacity

in company' see post, POPE, 264.

2 In Satyr to his Muse, p. 4; ante, DRYDEN, 12.

36 "Thoughts, such as they are, come crowding in so fast upon me that my only difficulty is to choose or to reject.' Works, xi. 213.

'Once in a quarter of a year he used to have the Marquis of Halifax, the Earls of Mulgrave, Dorset, and Danby, Mr. Dryden, and others of that set of men at supper, and then they were merry, and drank hard.' Carte's Life of Ormond, 1851, iv. 699.

Of Carte's Life of Ormond, Johnson said that two good volumes in duodecimo might be made out of the two in folio.' Boswell's Johnson, v. 296. It was reprinted in Oxford

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