Page images

forded any indication of that genius by which he was afterwards so highly distinguished. .

Of his school performances we only know, that he translated the third satire of Persius, for a Thursday-night's exercise imposed by his Master, whose high opinion of his talents is strongly evinced by prescribing such a task; and he has himself told us,' that he believed it and many other exercises of this nature were in 1693 in the hands of Dr. Busby; but whither they have since wandered, I have not been able to learn.

“ Enliven'd by these sparks divine, their rayes
" Adde a bright lustre to thy crown of bayes.
“ Young eaglet, who thy nest thus soon forsook,
"So lofty and divine a course hast took,
“ As all admire, before the down begin
“ To peep, as yet, upon thy smoother chin;
“ And, making heaven thy aim, hast had the grace
“ To look the sunne of righteousnesse i'th' face.
“ What may we hope, if thou go'st on thus fast !
“ Scriptures at first, enthusiasmes at last !
“ Thou hast commenc'd, betimes, a saint: go on,
“ Mingling diviner streams with Helicon,
" That they who view what Epigrams here be,
“May learn to make like, in just praise of thee.-
“ Reader, I've done, nor longer will withhold
“ Thy greedy eyes ; looking on this pure gold
“ Thou'lt know adult’rate copper, which, like this,
“ Will onely serve to be a foil to his.

“ J. DRYDEN of Trin. C.s In his translation of Persius, fol. 1693. Sat. iii.

It has long been a tradition at Westminster, that

The only notice I have been able to recover concerning his early college days, is the following order, which was made about two years after his admission :

“ July 19, 1652. Agreed, then, that Dryden be put out of Comons, for a forthnight at least, and that he goe not out of the colledg, during the time aforesaid, excepting to sermons, without express leave from the Master or Vice-Master; and that at the end of the forthnight he read a confession of his crime in the hall at dinner-time at the three +++ fellowes tables.

“ His crime was, his disobedience to the Vicemaster, and his contumacy in taking his punishment inflicted by him.6"

What degree of reputation he obtained in his academick course, it is now extremely difficult, if not impossible to ascertain. It has been mentioned as extraordinary, that his name is not found in any of the Cambridge Verses composed in his time on

verses on our Saviour's miracle in turning water into wine, being prescribed as an exercise, Dryden brought up the following single line:

.“ Lympha pudica Deum vidit, et erubuit.But he certainly has no title to this pentameter; for it is found, with a slight variation, in an epigram on this subject, by Richard Crashaw, published in his EPIGRAMMATA Sacra, 8vo. 1634. See Boswell's Life of John. son, third edit. vol. iii. p. 326.

Conclusion-Book in the Archives of Trinity College, p. 221.

publick occasions ; that he took no degree in the University ; and that he did not obtain a fellowship in his College.-From whatever cause it may have proceeded, he certainly was not a fellow :? but one of the other subjects of surprise has not been accurately stated; for he took the degree of Bachelor at the regular time, in January 1653-4,8 and in 1657 was made Master of Arts, though in See App.

7 Our author's cousin, Jonathan, (son probably of that Jonathan Dryden, to whom in 1646, were consigned the profits of the vicarage of Goodrich, in Herefordshire, of which Swift's grandfather was incumbent,) was elected from Westminster School into Trinity College, in Cambridge, in 1656, and was chosen a Fellow of that College in 1662 ; which has occasioned some confusion on this subject. The poet never was a Fellow.-In the British Museum (MSS. Birch. 4291) is a Latin letter addressed to Dr. Busby, 31 Jan. 1659-60, and signed Fon. Dryden, in which way this person subscribed his Christian name; which in the printed catalogue is erroneously attributed to our author. The poems in the Cambridge Verses published in 1661, on the death of Henry, Duke of Glocester, and Mary, Princess of Orange, and in 1662, on the marriage of Charles II. which have been ascribed to our author, were written by this Jonathan ; who was in such straitened circumstances, that when he took his first degree in arts, the following order was made concerning him :

" Jan. 13, 1659. “ It was concluded, that Dryden and three others, in regard of their povertie, should each have 205. of their commencement-money abated on taken their batchellor of arts degree.”-Conclusion-Book in the Archives of Trinity College, p. 259.

8 Regr. Acad. Cant.

the University Register, owing perhaps to the irregularity of that turbulent time, his name is unaccountably omitted.

The only general Collection of either gay or lugubrious verse, that was issued out by the University of Cambridge during the unfortunate and disgraceful period of Dryden's being a member of it, appeared in 1654, under the title of OLIVA Pacis,' &c. in honour of the peace concluded

9 In the patent creating him Poet Laureate, he is expressly styled Master of Arts ; a title which he certainly would not have assumed, if he had not a right to it, as his pretensions to this distinction could at that time have been easily refuted. The Rev. Mr. Borlase, Registrar of the University of Cambridge, who obligingly, at my request, examined the list of Graduates of that University, is of opinion, that if our author ever was a Master of Arts, that degree must have been conferred on him by some other University. At Oxford, however, though once denominated by him " the Athens of his riper age,” it is very improbable that he should have taken this degree, no notice of it being found in the Faste of the accurate Wood. '! "I The full title is-Oliva Pacis ad Illustrissimum Celsissimumque OLIVERUM, Reipub. Angliæ, Franciæ, et Hiberniæ Dominum Protectorem, de Pace cum fæderatis Belgis feliciter sancita, Carmen Cantabrigiense. 4to. 1654. On the death of the Usurper, the Cantabrigians hailed his son, Richard, in a second Collection, (now extremely scarce,) entitled — MUSARUM CANTABRIGIENSIUM Luctus et Gratulatio: ille in funere OLIVERI Angliæ, Scotiæ, et Hiberniæ, Protectoris ; hæc de Ri. CARDI successione felicissima ad eundem. 4to. 1658.-As

between England and Holland on the 15th of April, and ratified May 2d of that year. To this volume he might naturally be expected to have been a contributor, being then of four years' stand

an adopted son, I am proud to add, that the University
of OXFORD escaped this last disgrace; but in 1654 she
was not less obsequious to ill.gotten power than her
sister, and the banks of the Isis, like those of Cam, re-
sounded with encomiastick minstrelsy. Her songs of
gratulation were printed in that year under the title of -
dera, auspiciis Serenissimi Oliveri Reipub. Ang. Scot.
et Hiber. Domini Protectoris, inter rempub. Britannicam
et Ordines fæderatos Belgii feliciter stabilita, gentis togatæ
ad vada Isidis Celeusma Metricum. It was ushered to the
publick by a Latin dedication to the most serene Oliver,
by Dr. Owen, the usurping Dean of Christ-church, then
Vice-Chancellor ; in which he apologizes for the Ox.
onians having been somewhat tardy in their encomiums.
-It is painful to observe, among the contributors to
this collection, the names of Ralph Bathurst, of Trinity
College, and Robert South and John Locke, of Christ.
church. Locke (at this time near twenty-two years old,)
paid his homage in a copy of English as well as Latin
verses. The latter being short, I subjoin them:
Pax regit Augusti, quem vicit Julius, orbem ;

Ille sago factụs clarior, ille togâ ;
Hos sua Roma vocat magnos, et numina credit,

Hie quod sit mundi victor, et ille quies.
Tu bellum ut pacem populis das, unus utrisque

Major es; ipse orbem vincis, et ipse regis.
Non hominem è cælo missum te credimus, unus

Sic poteras binos qui superare deos!


« PreviousContinue »