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and a ludicrous poem, entitled “ A Description of Mr. Dryden's Funeral," which was probably
other two circumstances there is surely nothing to excite laughter. From Farquhar's statement, who would not suppose that onc of David's Psalms was constantly sung at every funeral ? This, however, was only thrown in, to introduce the remark concerning Christian burial; from which the rcader is led to another misrepresentation, and to suppose, contrary to the truth, that the usual burial service was not read during his interment.--As to the observation that this funeral was " full of variety and not of a piese, quality and mob,” &c. that remark is equally applicable to every other great funcral, where a number of inferior persons generally attend, parıly from respect to the de. ccased, and partly from curiosity.-To finish the pic. ture, we have “great Cleopatra in a hackney coach." The name of Mrs. Barry, the person meant, would not have answered the writer's purpose : but she was here only in her private capacity, and not in the dress of a tragedy Queen ; and, when this circumstance is attended to, the ridicule falls pointless to the ground.
The metropolis, we should recollect, was at this time very ill paved; the footways inconvenient and incom. moded by sign-posts; and the streets leading to Weste minster Abbey extremely narrow: some confusion, there. fore, would doubtless arise, while so large a cavalcade was passing; which was probably incrcased by the mob crowding in great numbers to see and join in the procession.-To the eye of a philosopher all funeral pomp appears ridiculous; but some of the most distinguished men in a nation attending, with great solemnity and proper respect, the remains of a great poct, to that noble Gothick edifice where the ashes of their Kings and Heroes are deposited, has nothing in itself ridiculous; nor can any written by his old antagonist, Tom Brown, and published in June, 1700. Men of wit, if they can but amuse the fancy by pleasant images and a lively picturesque' relation, it is well known, are seldom very solicitous about truth. The writer of this poem, however, has rarely advanced any direct falsehood; but, with a view of depreciating Dryden, has contented himself with distorting and disfiguring all the honourable circumstances attending the last tribute of respect paid by his countrymen to that great poet, in such a manner as inust have completely deceived those at a distance from the metropolis, while those who had been present at the ceremony would not recognize in this ridiculous and sarcastick misrepresentation any kind of resemblance to the truth. In most great funerals, persons of various conditions and ranks of life are assembled, and form a very promiscuous train: in that of an author, who for many years had been esteemed by some of the highest
mixture of mob, or of the various classes and characters who respected the deccased, render it, what Farquhar, for the entertainment of the lady to whom this Epistle is ad. dressed, has in vain endeavoured to represent it.
8" A Description of Mr. D on's Funeral, a poem," was advertised (as then published) in THE POSTMAN, Saturday, June 22, 1700. A second edition of the same poem appeared on the egth of June. The original edition ended with the words--Fairy Queen. In a third edition enlarged, which was published on the ist of August, thirty-one new lines were added. VOL. I.
characters in the state, and had long been connected with the stage, and the subordinate agents of literature, the attendants would of course be still more heterogeneous; and nobles and actors, physicians and :statesmen, poets and divines, actresses and criticks, musicians and booksellers, town wits and country cousins, would be found blended together. This, therefore, is the chief circumstance, of which the writer of this ludicrous description has availed himself. If you will allow him the advantage of exaggeration and caricature, and permit him only to place a duchess and a chambermaid in the same coach, he asks no more; his work is then casily performed; and if you will but laugh with him, he is sufficiently rewarded.' To elevate and sur.
• The following lines may serve as a specimen of this artifice: :“Before the hearse the mourning hautboys go,
" And screech a dismal sound of grief and woe :
“ More dismal plaints at Irish funcral;
- " Since Charles, the Martyr and the Monarch, died. :" The decency and order first describe,
“ Without regard to either sex or tribe.
“ The sable coaches lead the dismal van,
“ Nor oceded tlcse; the rabble fill the streets,
prise the reader, Mrs. Thomas thought it expedient to go much further; and to authenticate her account by the minuteness and particularity of circumstantial falsehood.
The plain and simple fact, however, on which she constructed her narrative, was this. Dryden, as has been already mentioned, expired on Wednesday morning, the first of May.' Having died of a gangrene, it was nccessary that he should be buried speedily; and accordingly, two days after
“ One pay spark, one sound as any roach,
“ By every body kiss'd, good truth,—but such is
· THE Postboy, on the following Tuesday, May 7, 1900, thus announces the honours then intended to be paid to the deceased poet :
"The corps of John Dryden, Esq. is to lye in state for some time, in the Colledge of Physicians; and on Monday next he is to be conveyed from thence in a hearse, in great splendour, to Westminster-Abbey, where he is to be interred with Chaucer, Cowley, and the rest of the renowned poets; and I am assured that a person of great quality, who has a mighty esteem for the works of that ingenious gentleman, will erect, at his own proper charge, a noble monuincnt upon him, and so per. petuate the name of that great man."
wards, on Friday morning, (not Saturday, as Mrs. Thomas states,) his corpse, at the expence of Mr. Montague, afterwards Lord Halifax, was carried from his house in a very private manner, to be interred, probably in the church-yard of the neighbouring parish. The Earl of Dorset, Lord Jefferies, and some others, either hearing of his intention on that day, or meeting the procession as it moved along, and thinking so great a poet entitled to a more splendid funeral, prevailed on the relations and friends who attended his remains, to consent that the body should be carried for the purpose of embalment, to the house of Mr. Russel, a celebrated undertaker;' and the same day,
* In a letter from the Rev. Thomas Tanner, (after. wards Lord Bishop of St. Asaph,) to Dr. Arthur Charlett, Master of University College, Oxford, dared (London, Monday,] May 6, 1700, is the following paragraph:
“Mr. Dryden died a papist, if at all a Christian. Mr. Montague had given orders to bury him; but some Lords, (iny Lord Dorset, Jefferies, &c.) thinking it would not be splendid enough, ordered him to be carried to Russel's: there he was embalmed; and now lies in state at the Physicians' College, and is to be buried with Chaucer, Cowley, &c. at Westminster-Abbey, on Munday next."
MSS. Ballard. in Bibl. Bodl. vol. iv. p. 29. The foregoing paragraph I transcribed several years ago from the original in the Bodleian Library ; which I mention, because an inaccurate transcript of it some time since appeared in a periodical miscellany, in which the writer's name is inistaken.
Tanner's uncharitable doubt whether our author was al