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POETRY OF DRYDEN
HIS PLAYS AND TRANSLATIONS.
The merits of Dryden are not sufficiently acknowledged at present. “Our zeal for the poets who preceded the civil wars, like most reactions, is become too exclusive. But we are also too much inclined to confound with the period, which began with Addison and Pope, that intermediate time, from the Restoration to the end of the century, in which, though French taste had a good deal of effect, the former native, or Italian, spirit still operated, and the taste of the French themselves had not yet quite arrived at its most corrected and chastised form.
In the present century, however, we have Sir Walter Scott, speaking of Dryden, in his own person, as the “Great High Priest of all the Nine.” And certainly he profited by him not a little, in his versification and spirited flow of composition; in a less degree in his language, and sometimes in his ideas. Mr. Fox, in the House of Commons, spoke of him as “his favourite poet:” and his preference is mentioned in Rogers’s Human Life. Gray wrote to Beattie, “Remember Dryden, and be blind to all his faults :" and the passage in his Progress of Poesy, is well known. Johnson begins his life of him with more