Page images

and cannot stirr into the country for my health and studies, till I secure my family from want. You have many petitions of this nature, and cannot satisfy all; but I hope, from your goodness, to be made an exception to your general rules,* because I am, with all sincerity,

Your Lordship's

Most obedient humble Servant,





Monday Morning. [Sept. 1684.]

THE two melons you sent I received before your letter, which came foure houres after: I tasted one of them, which was too good to need an excuse; the other is yet untouch'd. You have written

* This application was successful. See vol. ii. p. 223. 4 This letter was probably written in August or September, 1684; the recent loss which the Duke of Ormond is said to have sustained, being, I conceive, that of his wife, who died July 21, 1684. The Duke went to Ire. land, as Lord Lieutenant, in the following month, and remained there till February in the ensuing year. Other circumstances mentioned agree with this date. The History of the League was published July 31, 1684, as appears from the London Gazette, No. 1951. Michaelmas is spoken of, as approaching; and our author was now employed in preparing the second volume of his MISCELLANIES, which appeared in Jan. 1684-5, or soon afterwards.

diverse things which gave me great satisfaction; particularly that the History of the League is commended and I hope the onely thing I fear'd in it, is not found out. Take it all together, and I dare say without vanity, 'tis the best translation of any History in English, though I cannot say 'tis the best History; but that is no fault of mine. I am glad my Lord Duke of Ormond has one : I did not forget him; but I thought his sorrows were too fresh upon him to receive a present of that nature. For Lord Roscommon's ESSAY,' I am of your opinion that you should reprint it, and that you may safely venture on a thousand more. In my verses before it, pray let the printer mend his errour, and let the line stand thus:


That heer his conqu'ring ancestors were nurs'd;- *


Charles his copy is all true. The other faults my Lord Roscommon will mend in the booke, or Mr. Chetwood for him, if my Lord be gone for Ireland; of which, pray send me word.

Your opinion of the Miscellanyes is likewise mine: I will for once lay by the RELIGIO LAICI,

The first edition of Lord Roscommon's " Essay on Translated Verse," appeared in 1684, and a second edition was published by Jacob Tonson in 4to. probably about Christmas, in the same year, though it is dated 1685. That nobleman died in January, 1684-5.

In the first edition it stood,

"That here his conqu'ring ancestors was nurs'd." Latin Verses by Charles Dryden, prefixed to Lord Roscommon's Essay.

Knightly Chetwood, concerning whom sce vol. iii.

till another time. But I must also add, that since we are to have nothing but new, I am resolv'd we will have nothing but good, whomever we disoblige. You will have of mine, four Odes of Horace, which I have already translated; another small translation of forty lines from Lucretius; the whole story of Nisus and Eurialus, both in the fifth and the ninth of Virgil's Eneids:" and I care not who translates them beside me, for let him be friend or foe, I will please myself, and not give off in consideration of any man. There will be forty lines more of Virgil in another place, to answer those of Lucretius: I meane those very lines which Montagne has compar'd in those two poets; and Homer shall sleep on for me,-I will not now meddle with him. And for the Act which remains of the Opera,' I believe I shall have no leysure to mind it, after I have done what I proposed: for my business here is to unweary my selfe, after my studyes, not to drudge.

I am very glad you have pay'd Mr. Jones, because he has carry'd him selfe so gentlemanlike to me; and, if ever it lyes in my power, I will requite it. I desire to know whether the Duke's

P. 547. He was much attached to Lord Roscommon, and wrote his Life.

As it was determined to insert nothing but what was new in the Second Miscellany, RELIGIO LAICI Could not be admitted; for it had been published in 1682.

"These translations accordingly appeared in the SECOND MISCELLANY.

Probably ALBION and ALBANIUS, which was afterwards completed and ready to be performed in Feb. 1684-5.

House are makeing cloaths and putting things in a readiness for the singing Opera, to be play'd immediately after Michaelmasse. For the actors in the two playes' which are to be acted of mine this winter, I had spoken with Mr. Betterton by chance at the Coffee-house the afternoon before I came away; and I believe that the persons were all agreed on, to be just the same you mention'd; onely Octavia was to be Mrs. Butler, in case Mrs. Cooke were not on the stage and I know not whether Mrs. Percivall, who is a comedian, will do well for Benzayda.

I came hither for health, and had a kind of hectique feavour for a fortnight of the time: I am now much better. Poore Jack* is not yet recover'd of an intermitting feavour, of which this is the twelfth day; but he mends, and now begins to eat flesh: to add to this, my man with overcare of him, is fallen ill too, of the same distemper; so that I am deep in doctors, 'pothecaries, and nurses: but though many in this country fall sick of feavours, few or none dye. Your friend, Charles, continues well. If you have any extraordinary newes, I should be glad to heare it. I will answer Mr. Butler's letter next week; for it requires no hast. I am Yours, JOHN DRYDEN.

2 I suppose, the Opera of KING ARTHUR, to which ALBION AND ALBANIUS was originally intended to have been a prelude. See vol. ii. p. 164. Both these pieces were performed, at different times, at the Queen's Theatre in Dorset Garden, as it was then denominated; though, from old habit, our author here calls it the Duke's House. 3 ALL FOR LOVE, and THE CONQUEST OF GRANADA. His second son. + His eldest son.



[Probably written in Jan. or Feb. 1692-3.]*


I HAVE here returned y Ovid, wh I read wth a great deal of pleasure, and think nothing can be more entertaining; but by this letter you find I am not soe well satisfied as perhaps you might think. I hope at y same time the matter of fact I lay down in this letter will appear grounds for it, and wch I beg you wou'd concider of; and then I believe I shall at least bee excused.

You may please, S', to remember that upon my first proposal about y 3d Missellany, I offer'd fifty pounds, and talk'd of several authours, without naming Ovid. You ask'd if it shou'd not be guynneas, and said I shou'd not repent it; upon wch I imediately comply'd, and left it wholy to you what, and for y quantity too: and I declare it was the farthest in y world from my thoughts that by leaving it to you I shoud have the less. Thus the case stood, when you went into Essex. After I came out of Northamptonshire I wrote to you, and reseived a Letter dated Monday Oct. 3, 92,

4 The THIRD MISCELLANY, to which this letter scems to relate, was published in July, 1693. I suspect, when this letter was written, it had not yet appeared.

« PreviousContinue »