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THE original of the following letter is preferved in the Library at Lambeth, and was kindly imparted to the publick by the reverend Dr. Vyfe. Copy of an original Letter from John Dryden,
Esq; to his fons in Italy, from a MS in the
Lambeth Library, marked No 933. p. 56. (Superscribed)
“ Al Illuftriffimo Sigre
“ In Roma.
“ Sept. the 3d, our style. “ Dear Sons, “ Being now at Sir Williain Bowyer's in the coun
4447 • try, I cannot write at large, becaufe I find myself “ somewhat indisposed with a cold, and am thick of «s hearing, rather worse than I was in town. I am “ glad to find, by your letter of July 26th, your style, “ that you are both in health ; but wonder you should “ think me fo 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 nanie I remember : he “ is called Mr. Ralph Thorp; the ship is bound to
It may fomewhat abate the resentment of the reader to be told, that this redoubted critic was the author of an heroic tragedy called “ Edgar," which, as foon as publithed, determined his character, and as a dramatick writer funk bim into contempt.
“ Leghorn, consigned to Mr. Peter and Mr. Tho. Bail, ts merchants. I am of your opinion, that by Toni « son'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, " 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 : 66 'tis called The Conquest of China by the Tartars. It « will cost me fix weeks study, with the probable beo “ 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" Come, 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“ mass and Christmass, of which I will give you ani « 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“ ness of my nature, and keep-in 'my just resentments “ against that degenerate order. In the mean time, I
flatter not myself with any manner of hopes, but “ do my duty, and suffer for God's sake; being as “ sured, beforehand, never to be rewarded, though “ the times should alter. Towards the latter end of 6this month, September, Charles will begin to reco. "s yer his perfect health, according to his nativity,
* which, " which, casting it myself, 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 “ time to recover more health, according to my age. “ Remember me to poor Harry, whose prayers I ear“ neftly, defire. My Virgil succeeds in the world be“ yond its defert 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,
“ John DRYDEN."
“which i luffer uaded of the justice ofy, since I am
*** As many of Dryden's dramatic compositions were operas, or rather they so far resembled the Italian and French opera by an intermixture 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. In the first is a frost scene, the music to which, besides that it is intrinsically excellent, is admirably suited to the words. In the In, dian Queen, is that celebrated bass song · Ye twice ten hundred deities' and in the Tempest are some of the finest airs and sweetest harmonies that ever delighted the human ear,
Dryden had no skill in mufic. 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 her having rrected a fair monument over his ashes, and gracing it with att läs fcription. 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 feore 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 i zmo. 1743. The initial line,
LDMUND SMITH is one of those lucky
I writers who have, without much labour, attained high reputation, and who are mentioned with revea rence rather for the possession 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 Thow 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 shall subjoin such little memorials as accident has enabled me to collect.
Mr. EDMUND SMITH was the only son of 3 an eminent merchant, one Mr. Neale, by a daughter of the famous baron Lechmere. Some misfortunes of Vol. II. Gg