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but on one fide; and, to entitle the hero to the protection of angels, he must fight in defence of indubitable right. Yet some of the celestial beings, thus opposed to each other, must have been represented as defending guilt.
That this poem was never written, is reasonably to be lamented. It would doubtless have improved our numbers, and enlarged our language; and might perhaps have contributed by pleasing instructions to rectify our opinions, and purify our manners.
What he required as the indispensable condition of such an undertaking, a publick ftipend, was not likely in these times to be obtained. Riches were not become familiar to us; nor had the nation yet learned to be liberal.
This plan he charged Blackmore with stealing; 66 only," says he, “the guardian angels of king- doms were machines too ponderous for him to 66 manage.”
In 1694, he began the most laborious and difficult of all his works, the tranilation of Virgil; from which he borrowed two months, that he might turn “ Fresnoy's Art of Painting” into English profe. The preface, which he boasts to have written in twelve mornings, exhibits a parallel of poetry and painting, with a miscellaneous collection of critical remarks, such as cost a mind stored like his no labour to produce them.
In 1697, he published his version of the works of Virgil; and, that no opportunity of profit might be lost, dedicated the Pastorals to the Lord Clifford, the Georgicks to the Earl of Chesterfield, and the
Æneid to the Earl of Mulgrave. This æconomy of flattery, at once lavish and discreet, did not pass without observation.
This translation was censured by Milbourne, a clergyman, fiyled, by Pope, “ the faireft of cri" ticks,” because he exhibited his own version to be compared with that which he condemned.
Ilis last work was his Fables, published in consequence, as is fupposed, of a contract now in the hands of Mr. Tonson: by which he obliged himself, in confideration of three hundred pounds, to finish for the press ten thousand verses.
In this volume is comprised the well-known ode on St. Cecilia's day, which, as appeared by a letter conimunicated to Dr. Birch, he ipent a fortnight in compofing and correcting. But what is this to the patience and diligence of Boileau, whose Equivoque, a poem of only three hundred and forty-six lines, took from his life eleven months to write it, and three years to revise it?
Part of his book of Fables is the first Iliad in English, intended as a specimen of a version of the whole. Considering into what hands Homer was to fall, the reader cannot but rejoice that this project went no further.
The time was now at hand which was to put an end to all his schemes and labours. On the first of May, 1701, having been some time, as he tells us, a cripple in his limbs, he died, in Gerard-street, of a mortification in his leg.
There is extant a wild story relating to some vexatious events that happened at his funeral, which, at the end of Congreve's Life, by a writer of I
know not what credit, are thus related, as I find the account transferred to a biographical dictionary.
“ Mr. Dryden dying on the Wednesday morning, “ Dr. Thomas Sprat, then Bishop of Rochester and “6 Dean of Westminster, sent the next day to the “ Lady Elizabeth Howard, Mr. Dryden's widow, " that he would make a present of the ground, which “ was forty pounds, with all the other Abbey-fees. 66 The Lord Halifax likewise sent to the Lady Eliza" beth, and Mr. Charles Dryden her son, that, if " they would give him leave to bury Mr. Dryden, « he would inter him with a gentleman's private fu" neral, and afterwards bestow five hundred pounds “ on a monument in the Abbey; which, as they “ had no reason to refuse, they accepted. On the « Saturday following the company came; the corpse " was put into a velvet hearse; and eighteen mourn« ing coaches, filled with company, attended. “ When they were just ready to move, the Lord Jef“ feries, son of the Lord Chancellor Jefferies, with “ some of his rakish companions, coming by, asked " whose funeral it was: and being told Mr. Dry“ den's, le faid, What, Thall Dryden, the greatest " honour and ornament of the nation, be buried af" ter this private manner! No, gentlemen, let all " that loved Mr. Dryden, and honour his memory, “ alight and join with me in gaining iny lady's con6 sent to let me have the honour of his interment, 66 which shall be after another manner than this; " and I will bestow a thousand pounds on a monu« ment in the Abbey for him.' The gentlemen in " the coaches, not knowing of the Bishop of Ro66 chester's favour, nor of the lord Halifax's generous
“ design (they both having, out of respect to the fa“mily, enjoined the Lady Elizabeth, and her son, “ to keep their favour concealed to the world, and “ let it pass for their own expence), readily came “ out of their coaches, and attended Lord Jefferies “ up to the lady's bedside, who was then fick. He “ repeated the purport of what he had before faid; “ but she absolutely refusing, he fell on his knees, “ vowing never to rise till his request was granted. “ The rest of the company by his defire kneeled « also; and the lady, being under a sudden sur“ prize, fainted away. As soon as the recovered “ her speech, she cried, No, no. Enough, gentle“ men, replied he; my lady is very good, she says, “ Go, go. She repeated her former words with all “ her strength, but in vain, for her feeble voice " was lost in their acclamations of joy; and the « Lord Jefferies ordered the hearsemen to carry the os corpse to Mr. Russel's, an undertaker in Cheap" fide, and leave it there till he should send orders «s for the embalment, which, he added, should be " after the royal maner. His directions were obey. “ ed, the company dispersed, and Lady Elizabeth " and her son remained inconsolable. The next 66 day Mr. Charles Dryden waited on the Lord Has lifax and the Bishop, to excuse his mother and “ himself, by relating the real truth. But neither his “ Lordship nor the Bishop would admit of any plea; “ especially the latter, who had the Abbey lighted, 6 the ground opened, the choir attending, an an“ them ready set, and himself waiting for some time “ without any corpse to bury. The undertaker, “ after three days expectance of orders for embal“ ment without receiving any, waited on the Lord
“ Jefferies; who, pretending ignorance of the matter, “ turned it off with an ill-natured jest, saying, that " those who observed the orders of a drunken frolick “ deserved no better ; that he remembered nothing “ at all of it; and that he might do what he pleased “ with the corpse. Upon this, the undertaker “ waited upon the Lady Elizabeth and her son, and “ threatened to bring the corpse home, and set it “ before the door. They desired a day's" respite, “ which was granted. Mr. Charles Dryden wrote a “ handsome letter to the Lord Jefferies, who returned " it with this cool answer : " That he knew nothing 66 of the matter, and would be troubled no more « about it.' He then addressed the Lord Halifax os and the bishop of Rochester, who absolutely re"fused to do any thing in it. In this distress Dr. “ Garth sent for the corpse to the College of Phyfi“ cians, and proposed a funeral by subscription, to 66 which himself set a most noble example. At last " a day, about three weeks after Mr. Dryden's de66 cease, was appointed for the interment. Dr. Garth “ pronounced a fine Latin oration, at the College, or over the corpse; which was attended to the Abbey " by a numerous train of coaches. When the funeral 66 was over, Mr. Charles Dryden sent a challenge to 66 the Lord Jefferies, who refusing to answer it, he “ sent several others and went often himself; buc « could neither get a letter delivered, nor admittanc: «s to speak to him; which so incensed him, that he " resolved, since his Lordship refused to answer him “ like a gentleman, that he would watch an oppor“ tunity to meet and fight off-hand, though with " all the rules of honour; which his Lordlhip hearVol. IX.