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as are now remaining, and with several other par. ticulars drawn from some loose papers left by his Lordship. He availed himself likewise of other means of information, which more recent publications had afforded; and prefixed to the whole an introduction of considerable length, wherein he passed very high encomiums on our great States. man, and strengthened them by the testimonies of Mr. Lockc and Mons. Le Clerc. He added also strictures on L'Estrange, Sir William Temple, Bi. shop Burnet, and others, who had written to his Lordship's disadvantage. One anecdote which we well remember, it cannot but be agreeable to the publick, and to the noble family, to see related. It is well known with what severity the Earl of Shaftesbury is treated by Dyden in his ABSALOM · AND ACHITOPHEL. Nevertheless, soon after that
fine satire appeared, his Lordship, having the nomination of a scholar, as Governor of the Charter- ·
House, gave it to one of the poet's sons, without many solicitation on the part of the father, or of any
other person. This act of generosity had such an semete effect upon Dryden, that, to testify his gratitude,
he added, in the second edition of this poem, the A four following lines, in celebration of the Earl's
conduct as Lord Chancellor :
" In Israel's court ne'er sat an Abethdin,
" Swift of dispatch, and easy of access."
peared in the first volume of our author's MisceLLANIES. . .!
When Dryden issued his several works from the press, he in general seems to have dismissed them from his thoughts, and to have been little solicitous about rendering them more perfect. Of his carelessness in this respect the Preface to the second volume of his Miscellanies, published in 1685, furnishes a remarkable instance: “ There is one mistake of minc," says he, [in the translation of part of the fourth book of Lucretius, “ which I will not lay to the printer's charge, who has enough to answer for, in false pointings: it is in the word viper. I would have the verse run thus :
The scorpion, lows, must on the wound be bruis’d.” .
A few years afterwards (1692) this volume was reprinted, and in the new edition we find the very same observation in the Preface, and the same errour in the text. This instance, indeed, relates only to the typographical accuracy of his works; but in the Preface to the second edition of The Indian EMPEROR; he is very explicit on this subject; for having mentioned that he had corrected such errours of the press as he had observed in the former edition, he adds, “ As for the more mate. rial faults. of writing, which are properly mine, though I see inany of them, I want leisure to amend them. It is enough for those who make one poem the business of their lives, to leave that
correct : yet, excepting Virgil, I never met with any that was so in any language," . : To his general negligence in this respect there are, however, several exceptions. The second edition of his TYRANNICK Love is said in the titlepage to have been reviewed by the author. When, in 1684, he had occasion to reprint his Essay of DRAMATICK Poesy, he revised it with the greatest care, and made various alterations in the language of it in almost every page,' though he did not, I think, add a singlc sentence. From ane of his letters, we learn, that he gave nine entire days to the revision of his translation of Virgil; and he made some slight improvements in MacFLECKNOE, which will be mentioned hereafter. But the most memorable change he ever made, is that found in the second edition of his ABSALOM AND ACHITOPHEL; in which, beside some verbal alterations, he introduced twelve new lines in the character of Shaftesbury, and four relative to Monmouth towards the end of the King's speech. In Shaftesbury's portrait, immediately after the words “ Usurp'd a patriot's all-atoning name," these verses were added : .
“So easy still it proves, in factious times, “With publick zeal to cancel private crimes. . • How safe is treason, and how sacred ill,
“When none can sin against the people's will; iii
9 At the end of this Essay, (vol. i. part ii. p. 135-149.) the principal alterations made in the second edition are noticed.
he told Dryden, that he had spoiled by them all which he had said before of Shaftesbury."'s
It appears from what I have already stated, that the original relater of this talc was not half informed; for the lines inserted were not four, but twelve. Let us now cxamine its weight and consistency. It is not necessary for me to dwell on the monstrous improbability of a noblcman of at least a very ardent spirit, a few days after a most severe satire had appeared against him, selecting the author of it from the whole mass of mankind, as the person above all others entitled to his particular notice and liberality ; which, viewed in this light, may be considered as a kind of premium for the lashes that the poet had inflicted : nor shall I waste the reader's time, or my own, by resorting to general reasoning, or balancing probabilities, because I am furnished with better evidence of the falsehood of this story than any such disquisition can supply. Our author's two elder sons, we know, were bred at Westminster School. The son therefore, here alluded to, must have been his third son, Erasmus-Henry: and to quadrate with this anecdote, he must have been admitted into
• Biog. Brit. iv. 264.* 2d. eclit. After chic exccution of Algernon Sydney, Shaftesbury's “ Meinoirs of his own time" were burnt by Locke, to whom they had been en. trusted. A curious character of Mr. Hastings, a Dorset. shire gentleman, extracted from them, was, however, pub. lished in Howard's Colleciion of Letters, vol. i. p. 152. -The“ other person,"mentioned by Dr. Kippis, as the last to whom the manuscripts of Mr. Stringer, &c. were consigned, was Dr. Kippis himself, and he received £.500. for his revision of thein.
the Charter-House between the 17th of Novem. ber, 1681, on or about which time this memorablo poem first appeared, and the end of the following month, when a second edition, revised and augmilented, was issued out. But I have made an inquiry concerning this fact at the Charter-House, where a register of all the scholars that have been admitted on the foundation since 1680, is preserved; and the result has confirmed and increased my distrust of traditional anecdotes, many of which, on a close examination, I have found, if not wholly false, yet greatly distorted by the ignorance, or inattention, or wilful misrepresentation, of those by whom they have been transmitted from age to age. We do not indeed always find pure and absolute falschood ; but many a plausible and well-attested story, when thoroughly sifted, has too often proved what Dryden has denominated a sophisticated truth with an allay of lie in it. In the present instance, however, we find no allay; the whole is pure and unsophisticated, though perfectly free from any commixture of truth; for, from the Register of the Charter-House it appears, that our great poet's son, Erasmus-Henry, instead of being placed on that foundation in the interval between the middle of November and the end of December, 1681, that is, between the first and second edition of ABSALOM AND ACHitophel, without which the anecdote must fall to the ground, was not admitted till thirteen months afterwards, Feb. 5, 1682-3 ;
and then he was admitted a scholar there, not on į the recommendation of Shaftesbury, who was at