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after our poet's funeral, he thus expressed himself concerning him : .. . . . . . In the Preface to the Fables, which was probably written
hich was probably written in Dec. 1699, or the following month, he speaks of him. self as sixty.cighe : but he doubtless rcfcrred to his last birthday. He was in his sixty-ninth ycar. So also the author of an anonymous Puem to his memory, pub. lished in folio, June 18, 1700 (spcaking of his last great production, The FABLES):
“ His inexhausted force know nu decay;
The author of the article, Epitaphe, in the French En. CYCLOPE'DIE, spcaking of our poct's monument, says, “Les Anglois n'ont mis sur le tombeau de Dryden, que ce mot pour tout cloge:
DRYDEN: et les Italiens sur le tombeau due Tasse,
les Os du Tassf. “ I'l n'y a gucre que les hommes de genić, qu'il soit sure de louer ainsi."
This account of Tasso's epitaph is not quite accurate; for his fricnd Giovanni Battista Manso informs us in his lifc of Tasso, (Ven. 12 mo. 1621, p. 234,) that coming to Romc ten ycars after his death (1605) and finding that no tomb had been placed over him, and that Cardinal Cinthio would not permit him to crect one, (intending to do that office himself,) he caused the following words to be inscribed on the plain stone, in the church of S. Ono. frio, with which the poet's remains were covered :
" ITIC JACET TORQUATUS TASSUS." According to a modern traveller, (Keysler, } the Fraternity «... The men of letters liere lament the loss of Mr. Dryden very much. The honours paide
of St. Onofrio had in 1601 caused a similar inscription to be engraved on the stone beneath which Tasso was in. terred; but probably he is mistaken in the date.
The writer of the article above referred to appears to have confounded the great Italian poet and his father, whose tomb at Manlita has this inscription :
“ OSSA BERNARDI TASSI." In another foreign work, which in general is not so in. correct and unsatisfactory as that just quoted almost always is, Nouveau DictIONNAIRE HISTORIQUE, edit. 1789. we are told, that our author produced several tragedies, which, though sprinkled with beauties, are little better than sublime farces; and that Atterbury translated two of these sublime farces into Latin verse, the one entitled ACHITOPHEL, and the other ABSALONI
“Those epitaplıs are the most perfect, (says Dr. John. son, in an Essay printed first in the year 1740,) which set virtue in the strongest light, and are best adapted to exalt the reader's ideas, and rouse his emulation. To this end, it is not always necessary to recount the actions of a hero, or enumerate the writings of a philosopher. To imagine such information necessary, is to detract from their characters, or to suppose their works mortal, or their achievements in danger of being forgotten. The bare name of such men answers cvery purpose of a long Inscription. .“ Had only the name of Sir Isaac Newton been subjoined to the design upon his monument, instead of a long detail of his discoveries, which no philosopher can want, and which none but a philosopher can understand, those by. whose direction it was raised, had done more honour both to him and to themselves.
to him have done our countrymen no small service; for next to having so considerable a man of our own growth, 'tis a reputation to have known how to value him, as patrons very often pass for wits, by esteeming those that are so."... We have here a striking contrast to the acrimonious depreciation of Dryden, which the almost forgotten
“ This indeed is a commendation, which it requires no genius to bestow, but which can never become vulgar or contemptible, if bestowed with judgment; because no single age produces many men superior to panegyrick. Nonc but the first names can stand unassisted against the attacks of time; and if men raised to reputation by ac. cident or caprice have nothing but their names engraved on their tombs, there is danger lest in a few ycars the inscription require an interprcter. Thus have their cx. pectations.been disappointed, who honoured Picus of Mirandola with this pompous cpitaph: “ Hic situs cst Picus MIRANDOLA; cætera norunt
“ Et Tagus et Ganges, forsan et Antipodes. . “ His name, then celebrated in the remotest corners of thc carth, is now almost forgotten; and his works, then studied, admired, and applauded, are now mouldering in obscurity."
? Dr. John Shadwell, son of the Laureate, was Phy. sician to Queen Anne, Gcorge I. and George II.; by the former of whom he was knighted. In August, 1699, he attended the Earl of Manchester, who then went to Paris as Ambassador Extraordinary to Louis XIV.; and he continued there with that nobleman, uill his return to England in September, 1701. He diel Dec. 4, 5747...
• Letter to Dr. Arthur Charlett, dated Aug. 4, N. S. 1700. MSS. Ballard, in Bibl. Bodl. vol. xxiv. p. 93. : :
works of Antony, the third Earl of Shaftesbury, in various places exhibit ;"' who never seems to have forgotten or forgiven Dryden's contemptuous mention of his father,' and his masterly portrait of the first Earl. : · Among the French men of letters, however, who lamented Dryden, we must not enumerate Boileau, though he was the most distinguished writer of that time, and had been highly commended by our author on many occasions; for though he said, he was extremely pleased to find by the publick papers, that such extraordinary honours had been paid to a poet in England, by a publick and splendid funeral, he at the same
9 CHARACTERISTICKS, vol. i. p. 156. vol. iii. p. 189. n. Edinb. 12ino. 1758. i " Great wits are sure to madness near allied,
" And thin partitions do their bounds divide :
“ Deprive his age the needful hours of rest;
" And born a shapeless lump, like anarchy." This unfeather'd two-legg'd thing (which, however, is only Aristotle's dchnition of man,) was married scveral ycars before these lines were written; for his son, An. tony, the author of the CHARACTERISTICKS, 'was born
at Exeter-House, in the Strand, in which his grandfather , then resided, Feb. 26, 1670-71. Antory, the second
Lord, died in 1699. ' ii i :
time, with an affectation unworthy of so great a writer, asked, who this poet was, and pretended never before to have heard of his name.: His countrymen, however, at this very time were purchasing the engraved portrait of that obscure and unknown versifier with great avidity.'
From various passages in our author's works it may be collected, that his union with Lady Elizabech Howard was far from contributing to his domestick happiness. His invectives against the married state are frequent and bitter, and were continued to the latest period of his life. Her wayward and unhappy disposition, which was the
: Life and Posthumous Works of Arthur Mayn. waring. Esq. 8vo. 1715. p. 17.
' Pocm to the memory of Mr. Dryden, printed for 'C. · Brome, fol. 1700.
· Sec the opening of ABSALOM AND ACHITOPHEL. In his Dedication of ELEONORA, (1692,) he says, " the extcri. ours of mourning, a decent funeral, and black habits, are the usual scint of common husbands; and perhaps their wives descrvc no better than to be mourned with hypocrisy and forgot with case." About two years afterwards in a letter to Dennis, he says, “ Mr. Wychcrley is full as competent an arbitrator [to decide on the propriety of a common friend's intended marriage]; he has been a bachclor and married man, and is now a widower:.... yet I suppose he will not give any large cominendations to his middle slale." But his must bittcr invective against the connue bial state is containcd in the following lines, addressed to his kinsman, not long before his owr. death:
“ Minds are so hardly match'd, that even the first,