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astick, which has ever since generally accompanied the engraved portraits of Milton. These lines were perhaps suggested by the distich written by Selvaggi in honour of the youthful poet, while he was at Rome, which Dryden has very happily amplified : “Græcia Mäonidem, jactet sibi Roma Maronem,
" Anglia Miltonum jactat utrique parem.” In whatever visions of future favour or emolument our author might have indulged, when he congratulated his Sovereign and the nation on the birth of a prince, he was awakened from these dreams by the Revolution ; which deprived him, in August, 1689, of his offices of Poet Laureate and Historiographer, and consequently of three hundred pounds a year. To add to his mortification, the laurel, and the Historiographer's place, were given to Shadwell;who had been at variance with
“ The rest of the Christen names I can't think of.”
All the foregoing names are found in the printed List of Subscribers to the first folio edition of Milton's Pa. RADISE Lost: this letter, therefore, must have related to that work. 13 Pat. 1 Will. and Mar. p. 5. n. 16.—By this patent the same salary was granted to Shadwell, which Dryden had enjoyed during the reign of James II. ; viz. 300l. a year.
As in a foriner page I have given an account of those persons who may be considered as executing the office of Poet Laureate, before our auihor, (for I do not say that they were thus appointed,) I here add a List of Dryden's successors in this office. On the 29th of August, 1689, he
him for ten years, and had long been in the habit of defaming his character by the most scandalous and injurious libels. The Earl of Dorset, who was appointed Lord Chamberlain of the Household the day after the acceflion of King William, had too much good nature, and too high a respect for Dryden's talents, not to wish that he should hold his station ; but probably found the new King so ill disposed towards him, in consequence of his attachment to the abdicated Monarch, as to render it indecent, were it even in his power, to permit him to retain an employment so nearly connected
den was in death of poet La
was succeeded in both his employments by Shadwell. To Shadwell, Nahum Tate succeeded in the office of Laureate, December 23, 1692, with an annual pension of £.100. only, and a butt of Canary wine; (Pat. 4 Will. and Mar. p. 8. n. 14.) the Historiographer's place being given to Thomas Rymer. On the death of Tate, in 1716, the laurel was given to Rowe; who dying in December 1718, the Rev. Laurence Eusden was in the following year invested with this office. On the death of Eusden, Sept. 27, 1730, Colley Cibber was appointed Poet Laureate. His reign extended to the end of the year 1757. To him succeeded Mr. Wm. Whitehead; who dying April 14, 1785, the Rev. Thomas Warton obtained the laurel, which he held for five years. Shortly after his death, which happened May 21, 1790, Henry James Pye, Esq. was appointed Poet Laureate, and now fills the poetical throne.
There is no grant in the Chapel of the Rolls, constituting Rowe Poet Laureate. The practice of conferring this office by a warrant signed and sealed by the Lord Chamberlain, nominating A. B. to the office, with the ac. customed fees thereunto belonging, then commenced, and has continued from that time to the present.
with royalty. He had, however, no such power ; for Dryden's conversion to popery was an insurmountable objection to his holding his offices. Shadwell, doubtless, was selected to fill these places, not for his poetical merits, nor historical knowledge, but solely for his former exertions as a Whig. *
+ By stat. 1 W. and M. c. 8. every person holding any office, was obliged to take the oaths of allegiance, supremacy, and abjuration, before the 1st of August, 1689; otherwise his office to be void.-- Three letters addressed by Dryden to his friend and patron, Charles, Earl of Dorset, which are among that nobleman's papers at Knole, would perhaps throw some light on this transaction; but though they may be materially connected with the history of the life of this great poet, I am not able to gratify my readers by their perusal.--They will, however, I have reason to believe, at some future period be given to the publick, in a miscellaneous collection of the Dorset Papers.
* Shadwell had smoothed the way to his advancement by publishing “ A Congratulatory Poem on his Highness the Prince of Orange his coming into England: Written by T. S., a true Lover of his Country;" (price 3d.) and on the 20th of February, 1688-9, he published “A Con. gratulatory Poem to the most illustrious Queen Mary, upon her arrival in England ;" of which the following lines are as good as any other four in this performance :
“ We from the Mighty States have now gain'd more “ Than by our aid they ever got before;-... “ Not Alva's rage would have distress'd them so, “ As, Madam, we have done, recalling you."
Rymer, who on Shadwell's death obtained the Historiographer's place, was still more alert ; for on the 15th of
Though no legal disability had intervened, it may be supposed, that Lord Dorset might have been induced to devest Dryden. of the laurel, because the duty of his office would necessarily demand the warmest encomiums of the new King; and that whatever other inconveniences this deprivation may have brought with it, it yet must have been attended with one circumstance, by which indolence would be gratified ; that of relieving him from the difficult task of writing annually on the same theme. But the truth is, Dryden experienced no relief of this kind; for, though both the birthday of the Prince on the throne, and the commencement of the year, seem to have been regularly celebrated by vocal and instrumental musick, in the last age, as in the present,' and some poems composed on those
February, three days only after the Queen's landing at Whitehall, he issued out “ A Poem on the arrival of Queen Mary, February 12th, 1688-9."
Of these productions the only copies that I have seen, are in Mr. Bindley's collection. 's Thus, in a folio volume of manuscript Compositions by Henry Purcell, in his own hand-writing, in his Majesty's Collection, we find, “ A Welcome Song in the year 168t, for the King ;" beginning with the words-Swifter, Ifis, swifter flow. “A Welcome Song for his Majesty at his return from Newmarket, October 21, 1682;"—The summer's absence unconcern'd we bear. “ The Welcome Song performed to his Majesty in the year 1683; symphonies and five verses ;”—Fly, bold rebellion, &c. “ The Welcome Song performed to his Majesty in the year 1684;"
From those serene and rapturous joys. “Welcome Song, occasions are yet extant, to produce an Ode or any other poetical composition on either of those subjects, does not appear to have been any part of the duty of the Laureate in our author's time; nor have we among his works a single performance of this kind. Soon after he was deprived of the laurel, the custom of annually celebrating these events in official verse, seems to have commenced,"
1685, being the first song performed to King James II.” -Why are all the Muses mute ? " Welcome Song, 1687 ;" Sound the trumpet, beat the drum. “ Welcome Song, 1688;"—Ye tuneful Muses, raise your heads. “ Birthday Ode for King William :
How does the glorious day appear,
The mightiest day in all the year.” See Burney's Hist. of Musick, vol. iii. p. 504. All these Welcome Songs, except one, were, I suppose, Odes performed in honour of the reigning King's birthday. So, in the second volume of Dryden's MISCELLANIES, 8vo. 1685, (when our author wore the laurel,) p. 449, we find, “ The Ode sung before the King on New-Year's Day,” by an anonymous poet.
6 Yet, after the laurel was given to Shadwell, Sir Charles Sidley furnished “ An Anniversary Ode, sung before her Majesty, the 29th of April (1692]: set by Mr. Henry Purcell.” GENT. Journ. for May, 1692, p. 2. We have also an Ode by him on K. William's birthday. On the 1st of Jan. 1692-3, Tate, as Poet Laureate, produced an Ode; another on the Queen's birthday, April 29th, 1693; and a third on the King's birthday, performed before their Majesties, November 4, 1693 : but the custom of requiring these compositions from the Laureate was not then perfectly established; for the Odle performed before their Majesties on the New Year's Day, 1693-4, was