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before Dryden conformed to the same religion. to be told, that the ten concluding years of his life, This step has been the cause of much obloquy on in which he wrote for bread, and composed at a cerone side, and has found much excuse on the other ; tain rate per line, were those of many of the pieces but if it be considered, from a view of his past life, which have most contributed to immortalise his that, in changing his religious profession, he could name. They were those of his translation of Juvehave had little difficulty to encounter, it will appear nal and Persius ; of that of Virgil entire, a work Do breach of candour to suppose that his immediate which enriches the English language, and has motive was nothing more than personal interest. greatly promoted the author's fame; of his celeThe reward he obtained from his compliance was an brated Alexander's Feast; and of his Fables, conaddition to his pension of 100 l. per annum. Some taining some of the richest and most truly poetical time after he was engaged in a work which was the pieces which he ever composed. Of these, several longest single piece he ever composed. This was will appear in the subsequent collection of his works. his elaborate controversial poem of « The Hind Nor vught his prose writings to be neglected, and Panther.” When completed, notwithstanding which, chiefly consisting of the critical essays preits unpromising subject, and signal absurdity of fixed to his poems, are performances of extraordiplan, such was the power of Dryden's verse, that it nary vigour and comprehension of mind, and afford, was read with avidity, and bore every mark of oc- perhaps, the best specimens of genuine English. cupying the public attention. The birth of a Dryden died of a spreading inflammation in one prince called forth a congratulatory poem from Dry- of his toes, on the first of May, 1700, and was den, entitled “ Britannia Rediviva,” in which he buried in Westminster Abbey, next to the tomb of ventured to use a poet's privilege of prophesy, fore- Chaucer. No monument marked his grave, till a telling a commencing era of prosperity to the nation plain one, with his bust, was erected, at the expence and the church from this auspicious event; but in of Sheffield, Duke of Buckingham. He left behind vain! for the revolution took place within a few him three sons, all brought up to letters. His months, and the hopes of the party were blasted for own character was cold and reserved, backward in ever.
personal advances to the great, and rather heavy in Dryden was a severe sufferer from the change : conversation. In fact, he was too much engaged his posts and pensions were taken away, and the in literature to devote much of his time to society. poetical laurei was conferred upon his insignificant Few writers of his time delighted so much to aprival, Shadwell. He was now, in advanced life, to proach the verge of prophaneness; whence it may depend upon his own exertions for a security from be inferred, that though religion was an interesting absolute indigence. His faculties were equal to topic of discussion to him, he had very little of its the emergency; and it will surprise some theorists spirit in his heart.
What peace can be, where both to one pretend ?
(But they more diligent, and we more strong) Or if a peace, it soon must have an end ;
For they would grow too powerful were it long.
THE YEAR OF WONDERS, 1666.
Crouching at home and cruel when abroad :
Behold two nations then, engag'd so far,
That each seven years the fit must shake each landa Where France will side to weaken us by war,
Who only can his vast designs withstand.
Trade, which like blood should circularly flow,
Stopp'd in their channels, found its freedom lost: Thither the wealth of all the world did go,
And seem'd but shipwreck'd on so base a coast.
See how he feeds th' Iberian with delays,
To render us his timely friendship vain:
He rocks the cradle of the babe of Spain.
Far them alone the Heavens had kindly heat ; Such deep designs of empire does he lay
O'er them, whose cause he seems to take in hand; For them the Idumæan balm did sweat,
And prudently would make them lords at sea, And in hot Ceilon spicy forests grew.
To whom with ease he can give laws by land. The San but seem'd the labourer of the year; This saw our king; and long within his breast
Each waxing Moon supply'd her watery store, His pensive counsels balanc'd to and fro:
And he less for it than usurpers do.
And swept the riches of the world from far; of fame and honour, which in dangers lay; te stoop'd to Rome, less wealthy, but more strong: Where wealth, like fruit on precipices, grew, And this may prove our second Punic war. I Not to be gather'd but by birds of prey
The loss and gain each fatally were great ;
By the rich scent we found our perfum'd prey, And still his subjects call'd aloud for war:
Which, flank'd with rocks, did close in covert lie: But peaceful kings, o'er martial people set, And round about their murdering cannon lay,
Each other's poize and counterbalance are. At once to threaten and invite the eye.
Or one, that bright companion of the Sun, Go, mortals, now and vex yourselves in vain
Whose glorious aspect seal'd our new-born king; | For wealth, which so uncertainly must come : And now, a round of greater years begun,
When what was brought so far, and with such pain, New influence from his walks of light did bring. Was only kept to lose it nearer home.
Victorious York did first with fam'd success, The son, who twice three months on th' ocean tost,
To his known valour make the Dutch give place: | Prepar'd to tell what he had pass'd before, Thus Heaven our monarch's fortune did confess, Now sees in English ships the Holland coast, Beginning conquest from his royal race.
And parents' arms, in vain, stretch'd from the shore.
But since it was decreed, auspicious king,
This careful husband had been long away, In Britain's right that thou shouldst wed the main, Whom his chaste wife and little children mourn: Heaven, as a gage, would cast some precious thing, Who on their fingers learn’d to tell the day
And therefore doom'd that Lawson should be slain. On which their father promis'd to return.
And now approach'd their fleet from India fraught, Happy, who never trust a stranger's will,
Whose friendship's in his interest understood!
When power is too remote to make him good.
Like hunted castors, conscious of their store, [bring:
Their way-laid wealth to Norway's coasts they There first the North's cold bosom spices bore,
And Winter brooded on the eastern Spring.
Till now, alone the mighty nations strove;
The rest, at gaze, without the lists did stand ; And threatening France, plac'd like a painted Jove,
Kept idle thunder in his lifted hand.
That eunuch guardian of rich Holland's trade, | Our fleet divides, and straight the Dutch appear,
Who envies us what he wants power t' enjoy ; In number, and a fam'd commander, bold : Whose noiseful valour does no foe invade,
| The narrow seas can scarce their navy bear, And weak assistance will his friends destroy. Or crowded vessels can their soldiers hold.
Both great in courage, conduct, and in fame, Heroes of old, when wounded, shelter sought; Yet neither envious of the other's praise ;
But he who meets all danger with disdain, Their duty, faith, and interest too the same, Ev'n in their face his ship to anchor brought, Like mighty partners equally they raise.
And steeple-high stood propt upon the main. The prince long time had courted Fortune's love, At this excess of courage, all amaz’d, But once possess'd did absolutely reign :
The foremost of his foes awhile withdraw : Thus with their Amazons the heroes strove,
With such respect in enter'd Rome they gaz'd, And conquer'd first those beauties they would gain. Who on high chairs the godlike fathers saw. The duke beheld, like Scipio, with disdain, And now, as where Patroclus' body lay,
That Carthage, which he ruin'd, rise once more ; Here Trojan chiefs advanc'd, and there the Greek; And shook aloft the fasces of the main,
Ours o'er the duke their pious wings display,
Meantime his busy mariners he hastes,
Whose lofty heads rise higher than before.
More fierce th' important quarrel to decide : To make siow fights, and victories but vain : Like swans, in long array his vessels show, But war severely like itself appears.
Whose crests advancing do the waves divide. Difusite of themselves, where'er they pass, They charge, recharge, and all along the sea
They make that warmth in others they expect : They drive, and squander the huge Belgian facet Their valour works like bodies on a glass,
Berkeley alone, who nearest danger lay, And does its image on their men project.
Did a like fate with lost Creusa meet.
The night comes on, we eager to pursue
| Meantime the Belgians tack upon our rear, (send : The combat still, and they asham'd to leave : | And raking chace-guns through our sterns they Till the last streaks of dying day withdrew, Close by, their fire-ships, like jackals, appear, And doubtful moonlight did our rage deceive.
Who on their lions for the prey attend. In th' English fleet each ship resounds with joy, Silent, in smoke of cannon they come on:
And loud applause of their great leader's fame : Such vapours once did fiery Cacus hide : In fiery dreams the Dutch they still destroy, In these the height of pleas'd revenge is shown,
And slumbering smile at the imagin’d Aame. Who burn contented by another's side. Not so the Holland fleet, who, tir'd and done, Sometimes from fighting squadrons of each fleet,
Stretch'd on their decks like weary oxen lie: Deceiv'd themselves, or to preserve some friend, Faint sweats all down their mighty members run ! Two grappling Etnas on the ocean meet,
Vast bulks, which little souls but ill supply. And English fires with Belgian flames contend. In dreams they fearful precipices tread:
Now at each tack our little fleet grows less; (main: Or, shipwreck'd, labour to some distant shore: And, like maim'd fowl, swim lagging on the Or in dark churches walk among the dead; Their greater loss their numbers scarce confess,
They wake with horrour, and dare sleep no more. While they lose cheaper than the English gain. The morn they look on with unwilling eyes, Have you not seen, when, whistled from the fist,
Till from their main-top joyful news they hear Some falcon stoops at what her eye design'd, Of ships, which by their mould bring new supplies, And with her eagerness the quarry miss'd And in their colours Belgian lions bear.
Straight flies at check, and clips it down the wind? Our watchful general had discern'd from far The dastard crow, that to the wood made wing,
This mighty succour, which made glad the foe : | And sees the groves no shelter can afford, He sigh’d, but like a father of the war,
With her loud kaws her craven kind does bring, His face spake hope, while deep his sorrows flow. Who safe in numbers cuff the noble bird. His wounded men he first sends off to shore, Among the Dutch thus Albemarle did fare: Never till now unwilling to obey;
He could not conquer, and disdain'd to fly; They, not their wounds, but want of strength, deplore, Past hope of safety, 'twas his latest care,
And think them happy who with him can stay. Like falling Cæsar, decently to die.
To see those perish who so well had fought : Among so brave a people, you are they
And generously with his despair he strove, Whom Heaven has chose to fight for such a prize. Resolv'd to live till he their safety wrought. “ If number English courages could quell, Let other Muses write his prosperous fate,
We should at first have shunn'd, not met our foes : Of conquer'd nations tell, and kings restor'd : Whose numerous sails the fearful only tell : [grows." | But mine shall sing of his eclips'd estate,
Courage from hearts, and not from numbers Which, like the Sun's, more wonders does afforda
He said, nor needed more to say: with haste
To their known stations cheerfully they go; And all at once, disdaining to be last,
Solicit every gale to meet the foe.
He drew his mighty frigates all before,
On which the foe his fruitless force employs: His weak ones deep into his rear he bore
Remote from guns, as sick men from the noise. His fiery cannon did their passage guide,
And following smoke obscur'd them froin the foe; Thus Israel, safe from the Egyptian's pride,
By flaming pillars and by clouds did go.
Nor did th' encourag'd Belgians long delay,
But bold in others, not themselves, they stood : So thick, our navy scarce could steer their way,
But seem'd to wander in a moving wood.
Our little fleet was now engag'd so far,
Elsewhere the Belgian force we did defeat, That like the sword-fish in the whale they fought : But here our courages did theirs subdue : The combat only seem'd a civil war, wrought : So Xenophon once led that fam'd retreat,
Till through their bowels we our passage Which first the Asian empire overthrew.
Never had valour, no not ours, before
Done aught like this upon the land or main, Where not to be o'ercome was to do more
Than all the conquests former kings did gain.
The foe approach'd; and one for his bold sin
Was sunk; as he that touch'd the ark was slain; The wild waves master'd him and suck'd him in,
And smiling eddies dimpled on the main.
The mighty ghosts of our great Harries rose,
And armed Edwards look'd with anxious eyes, To see this feet among unequal foes, (should rise.
By which Fate promis'd them their Charles
This seen, the rest at awful distance stood :
As if they had been there as servants set
And not pursue but wait on his retreat.
So Libyan Inuntsmen, on some sandy plain, | As in a drought the thirsty creatures cry,
And gape upon the gather'd clouds for rain : The kingly beast roars out with loud disdain, And first the martlet meets it in the sky,
And slowly moves, unknowing to give place. And with wet wings joys all the feather'd train : But if some one approach to dare his force, With such glad hearts did our despairing men
He swings his tail, and swiftly turns him round: Salute th' appearance of the prince's fleet; With one paw seizes on his trembling horse, And each ambitiously would claim the ken,
And with the other tears him to the ground. That with first eyes did distant safety meet. Amidst these toils succeeds the balmy night; The Dutch, who came like greedy hinds before,
Now hissing waters the quench'd guns restore; 1 To reap the harvest their ripe ears did yield, And weary waves withdrawing from the fight, Now look like those, when rolling thunders roar,
Lie lull'd and panting on the silent shore. And sheets of lightning blast the standing field The Moon shone clear on the becalmed flood,' Full in the prince's passage, hills of sand,
Where, while her beams like glittering silver play, And dangerous flats in secret ambush lay, Upon the deck our careful general stood,
Where the false tides skim o'er the cover'd land, And deeply mus'd on the succeeding day.
And seamen with dissembled depths betray.
With uch kind passion hastes the prince to fight, Behind the general mends his weary pace,
And spreads his flying canvass to the sound : And sullenly to his revenge he sails :
Now absent every little noise can wound. ! And long behind his wounded volume trails.