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On these absurd and ridiculous fictions I have, perhaps, dwelt too long : but absurd as they are, Iet it be remembered, that for above half a century they have been transmitted from book to book ;' a refutation, therefore, which may prevent their obtaining hereafter the slightest degree of notice, or being ever again admitted into any biographical work, cannot be entirely useless.
Though Corinna's account be wholly unworthy of credit, it cannot, however, be denied, that Dryden was weak enough to confide in the science of astrology, in which he was countenanced by some distinguished men of the last age :' and it is extremely probable that he had predicted at the birth of his eldest son, that some calamity would happen to him in his eighth and twenty-eighth year; and that both his predictions were fortuitously fulfilled. We know from his letter to him, written in September, 1697, that he had calculated his nativity; and he has himself told us, that every
Cibber's Lives of the Poets, Biographia Dra. MATICA, &c.
• Robert Burton, author of the ANATOMY or ME.. 1.ANCIIOI.Y, Villiers, Duke of Buckingham, George, Earl of Bristol, the first Earl of Shaftcsbury, thc Cardinals Richelicu, and Mazarin, &c.
Sir Isaac Newton, it is well known, in the carly part of his lifc, was captivated by this idle and vain study :“ There was a tinc, (as Mr. Spence has mentioned in his ANECDOTES, quoting the words of Dr. Luckier,) when he was posscesce with the old foolcrics of astrology; and unother, when he was so far gonc in chemistry, as to be upon the hunt after the Philosopher's stonc."
thing, to that time, had happened according to his prediction : from other passages it may be collected, that Charles Dryden had suffered much by some accidental fall at Rome : and a tradition is yet preserved in the family descended from our author's brother, that on the poet's death, his eldest son found in his pocket-book the horoscope in which several of the calamities of his life were predicted. Among these, however, could not have been enumerated any mischance likely to befal him in his thirty-third or thirty-fourth year, that is, in 1698 or 1699; because Dryden himself, speaking of the nativity which he had cast, assures his son, that towards the end of September, 1697, he would begin to recover his perfect health.---From a memorandum in one of the Manuscripts of Oldys, the Antiquary,' it should seem, that he had some confidence also in oneirocriticism, and sup
• Communicated by Lady Dryden, who derived her information from the widow of her grandfather, Edward Dryden, Esq.
3 " The story (says Oldys, in his Notes on Langbaine,) of Mr. Dryden's dream at Lord Exeter's at Burleigh, while he was translating Virgil, as Signor Verrio, then painting there, related it to the Yorkshire painter, of whom I had it, lies in the parchment-book in quarto, designed for his life." Ai a subscqucnt period Oldys added “ Now entered therein:"_but where either the loose pro. pherick leaf, or the parchment.book now is, I know not.
Antonio Verrio, a Neapolitan painter, was employed at Burleigh by John, the fifth Earl of Exeter, from the time of the Revolution to the year 1698, in various works
posed that future events were sometimes prognos ticated by dreams, as well as by the configuration of the stars.
John, our author's second son, was born probably in 1667 or 1668, and after having been initiated in classical learning at some inferior seminary, or under his father's care, was admitted a King's Scholar in the College of Westminster, in his fourteenth or fifteenth year, (1682,) and continued on that foundation till 1685, when he was elected to Oxford. Notwithstanding this circumstance, he does not appear to have been admitted a Student of Christ Church.“ About the time of his election, his father had become a convert to popery ; to the tenets of which religion his sincere and disinterested attachment is evinced by a letter written at a late period of his life. Wishing therefore to breed his sons in his new faith,' he probably was unwilling that Johin should
during which time his noblc patron allowed him a pen. sion, with an equipage and servants to attend him. In 1695 or 1696, Dryden spent part of the summer at Bur. Icigh.
• It appears from the Register of Westminster Scholars, that John Dryden, Jun., (with others,) was elected to a Studentship of Christ Church, in 1685; but he never was a Student ; for the admission-book of Students (which the Rev. Dr.Holmes, Canon of Christ.Church, has obligingly examined for the purpose of ascertaining this fact,) contains the names of all those who were elected from West. minster with him, but the name of Dryden does not therc appear.
be matriculated as a member of the University, and chose rather to place him under the privato tuition of Obadiah Walker, Master of Univers sity College, at that time, a concealed, and in the following year, an avowed, papist, with whom I suspect he remained till the Revolution; soon after which event, Walker was ejected from the Mastership of that college.' Such at least is the
s In a lampoon of the last age, in the form of a Dialogue in Bedlam, between Oliver's mad Porter, Sir Roger L'Estrange, and Dryden, (STATE Poems, iii. 241.) the writer foolishly attributes our author's conversion to the arguments urged by one of his sons in favour of popery:
“ Men best themselves 'gainst open focs defend,
o The admission-book of University Colleg has been examined, but it does not appear that John Dryden, Jun. was a regular member of that college ; nor was he ever matriculated in the University of Oxford.
? See Wood's ATHEN. Oxon. vol. ii. col. 933.About the end of March, 1686, says Wood, “ Mr. Wal. ker became a bye-word among the protestants in Oxon and elsewhere; was abused to his face, when met in the publick streets and lanes; and had songs made of him (Obadiah, Avemaria,) by the connivance of the Magistrates. After Mr. Walker had declared [himself a papist], lic had private mass in his lodgings, till such times as he could make and furnish a chapel within the limits of his col. lege; which being done according to his mind, by converting two lower rooms on the cast side of the quadrangle
suggestion of a lampoon published at that period. Dryden has told us, that his second son left Eng. land, when he ought to have begun the study of
for that purpose, he opened it for a publick use, on Sunday the 15th of August, 1686 ; to which resorted some scho. lars, somc inhabitants of Oxon, and many troopers quar. tered therein : but the junior scholars, and the mobile, look. ing upon it as a foppery, diverse affronts were given to the pries, and auditory."
In October, 1689, Obadiah Walker was committed to the Tower; but in the following January, having been brought into the King's Bench by Habeas Corpus, he was enlarged upon bail. Being, however, excepted in the Act of General Pardon passed in the following May, he probably fled from England, and died abroad. He was the author of a book entitled “ The Greek and Roman History illustrated by Coins and Medals," 8vo. 1692; a Treatise on Education; and various other works.
' In “ The (pretended] Address of John Dryden, Laureate, to his Highness the Prince of Orange," folio, 1689, (which is in Mr. Bindley's Collection, and was published, as appears from a manuscript note by Mr. Luttrell, January 30, 1688-9,) are the following lines:
“ Bue if, great Prince, my feeble strength shall fail,