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So near, they almost conquer'd in the strife; Thy genius gives thee both; where true And from their animated canvas came,

design, Demanding souls, and loosen'd from the Postures unforc'd, and lively colors join. frame.

Likeness is ever there; but still the best, Prometheus, were he here, would cast Like proper thoughts in lofty language away

dress'd: His Adam, and refuse a soul to clay; Where light, to shades descending, plays, not And either would thy noble work inspire,

strives, Or think it warm enough without his fire. Dies by degrees, and by degrees revives. 7o But vulgar hands may vulgar likeness Of various parts a perfect whole is wrought: raise;

Thy pictures think, and we divine their This is the least attendant on thy praise:

thought. From hence the rudiments of art began; Shakespeare, * thy gift, I . Shakespeare's A coal, or chalk, first imitated man:

place before my sight; picture, draws Perhaps the shadow, taken on a wall, With awe, I ask his bless- by Sir Godfrey

Kneller and Gave outlines to the rude original;

ing ere I write;

given to Ere canvas yet was strain'd, before the With reverence look on his author. grace

majestic face; Of blended colors found their use and Proud to be less, but of his godlike race. place,

His soul inspires me, while thy praise I write, Or cypress tablets first receiv'd a face. And I, like Teucer, under Ajax fight:

By slow degrees, the godlikeart advanc'd; Bids thee, thro' me, be bold; with dauntless As man grew polish’d, picture was inhanc'd:

breast Greece added posture, shade, and perspec- Contemn the bad, and emulate the best. So tive;

Like his, thy critics in th' attempt are lost: And then the mimic piece began to live. When most they rail, know then, they envy Yet perspective was lame, no distance true,

most. But all came forward in one common view: 40 In vain they snarl aloof; a noisy crowd, No point of light was known, no bounds of art; Like women's anger, impotent and loud. When light was there, it knew not to depart, While they their barren industry deplore, But glaring on remoter objects play'd; Pass on secure, and mind the goal before. Not languish'd and insensibly decay'd. Old as she is, my Muse shall march behind,

Rome rais'd not art, but barely kept alive, Bear off the blast, and intercept the wind. And with old Greece unequally did strive; Our arts are sisters, tho' not twins in birth; Till Goths and Vandals, a rude northern race, For hymns were sung in Eden's happy earth Did all the matchless monuments deface. By the first pair, while Eve was yet a saint, Then all the Muses in one ruin lie,

Before she fell with pride, and learn’d to And rhyme began t' enervate poetry.

paint. Thus, in a stupid military state,

Forgive th’allusion; 't was not meant to bite, The pen and pencil find an equal fate. But satire will have room, where'er I write. Flat faces, such as would disgrace a screen, For O the painter Muse, tho' last in place, Such as in Bantam's embassy were seen, Has seiz'd the blessing first, like Jacob's race. Unrais’d, unrounded, were the rude delight | Apelles' art an Alexander found, Of brutal nations, only born to fight. And Raphael did with Leo's gold abound;

Long time the sister arts, in iron sleep, But Homer was with barren laurel A heavy sabbath did supinely keep:

crown'd. At length, .in Raphael's age, at once they Thou hadst thy Charles a while, and so rise,

had I; Stretch all their limbs, and open all their But pass we that unpleasing image by. eyes.

Rich in thyself, and of thyself divine, Thence rose the Roman and the Lombard All pilgrims come and offer at thy shrine.

A graceful truth thy pencil can command; One color'd best, and one did best design. The fair themselves go mended from thy Raphael's, like Homer's, was the nobler part,

hand. But Titian's painting look'd like Virgil's art.





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But likeness in thy work is eloquent.
Tho' Nature there her true resemblance

bears, A nobler beauty in thy piece appears. So warm thy work, so glows the gen'rous

frame, Flesh looks less living in the lovely dame. Thou paint'st as we describe, improving

still, When on wild nature we ingraft our

skill; But not creating beauties at our will. Some other hand perhaps may reach a

face, But none like thee a finish'd figure place: None of this age; for that's enough for

thee, The first of these inferior times to be, Not to contend with heroes' memory. Due honors to those mighty names we

grant, But shrubs may live beneath the lofty

plant; Sons may succeed their greater parents

gone: Such is thy lot, and such I wish my own.

But poets are confin'd in narr'wer space, To speak the language of their native

place: The painter widely stretches his command; Thy pencil speaks the tongue of ev'ry land. From

riend, all climates are your own, Nor can you forfeit, for you hold of none. All nations all immunities will give To make you theirs, where'er you please

to live; And not seven cities, but the world

would strive. Sure some propitious planet then did

smile, When first you were conducted to this

isle: Our genius brought you here, t'inlarge

our fame, For your good stars are ev'rywhere the Thy matchless hand, of ev'ry region free, Adopts our climate, not our climate thee. Great Rome and Venice *

early did impart To thee th' examples of their into Italy.

wondrous art. Those masters then, but seen, not under


With generous emulation fir'd thy blood; For what in nature's dawn the child ad

mir'd, The youth endeavor'd, and the man ac

quir'd. That yet thou hast not reach'd their high

degree, Seems only wanting to this age, not thee, Thy genius, bounded by the times, like

mine, Drudges on petty draughts, nor dare

design A more exalted work, and more divine. For what a song, or senseless opera Is to the living labor of a play; Or what a play to Virgil's work would be, Such is a single piece to history. But we, who life bestow, ourselves must

live; Kings cannot reign unless their subjects

give; And they who pay the taxes bear the rule: Thus thou, sometimes, art forc'd to draw

a fool; But so his follies in thy posture sink, The senseless idiot seems at least to think. Good Heav'n! that sots and knaves should

be so vain, To wish their vile resemblance may re

main ! And stand recorded, at their own request, To future days, a libel or a jest ! Meantime, while just incouragement you

want, You only paint to live, not live to paint. Else should we see your noble pencil

trace Our unities of action, time, and place; A whole compos'd of parts, and those the

best, With ev'ry various character express'd; Heroes at large, and at a nearer view; 170 Less, and at distance, an ignobler crew; While all the figures in one action join, As tending to complete the main design.

More cannot be by mortal art express'd, But venerable age shall add the rest: For Time shall with his ready pencil stand; Retouch your figures with his ripening


nce, my




* He travel'd very young


Mellow your colors, and imbrown the teint; Add every grace, which Time alone can

grant; To future ages shall your fame convey, 18 And give more beauties than he takes away.



Now live secure, and linger out your

days; The gods are pleas'd alone with Pur

cell's lays,
Nor know to mend their choice.





[Henry Purcell, the greatest musician of his time, died on November 21, 1695, at the age of thirty-seven. Dryden's ode was published in the next year, in a broadside, where it is twice printed, first by itself, and then with music written for it by Dr. John Blow. It also appeared as one of several poems prefixed to Orpheus Britannicus, a collection of Purcell's music published in 1698.]


MARK how the lark and linnet sing;

With rival notes
They strain their warbling throats,

To welcome in the spring.

But in the close of night,
When Philomel begins her heav'nly lay,

They cease their mutual spite,

Drink in her music with delight, And list’ning and silent, and silent and list'n

ing, and list’ning and silent obey.

[This comedy, by John Dryden, Jr., the poet's second son, was published in July, 1696 (Malone, I, 1, 425, on the authority of an advertisement in the London Gazette), with a prologue by Congreve, and a dedication to Sir Robert Howard, the author's uncle. The play bore the appropriate Virgilian motto: Et pater Æneas et avunculus excitet Hector.

(Æneid, III, 343.) Dryden's preface furnishes a delightful proof of his fatherly kindliness. So also, in a different fashion, does the following excerpt from a letter to Tonson (Malone, I, 2, 48):

“Send word, if you please, Sir, what is the most you will give for my sonn's play, that I may take the fairest chapman, as I am bound to do for his benefit.”]



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I HAVE thought convenient to acquaint the reader with somewhat concerning this comedy, tho' perhaps not worth his knowledge. It was sent me from Italy some years since, by my second son, to try its fortune on the stage ; and being the essay of a young unexperienc'd author, to confess the truth, I thought it not worthy of that honor. 'T is true, I was not willing to discourage him so far as to tell him plainly my opinion, but it seems he guess'd somewhat of my mind, by my long delays of his expectation; and therefore, in my absence from the town last summer, took the boldness to dedicate his play to that person of honor whose name you will find before his epistle. It was receiv'd by that noble gentleman with so much candor and generosity, as neither my son nor I could deserve from him. Then the play was no longer in my power; the patron demanding it in his own right, it was deliver'd to him. And he was farther pleas’d, during my sickness, to put it into that method in which you find it ; the loose scenes digested into order, and knit into a tale.

As it is, I think it may pass amongst the rest of our new plays: I know but two authors, and they are both my friends, who have done better



The heav'nly choir, who heard his notes

from high, Let down the scale of music from the sky:

They handed him along, And all the way he taught, and all the way

they sung: Ye brethren of the lyre, and tuneful voice, Lament his lot; but at your own rejoice:

Time was, when none could preach without degrees,
And seven years' toil at universities ;
But when the canting saints came once in play,
The spirit did their bus'ness in a day:
A zealous cobbler, with the gift of tongue,
If he could pray six hours, might preach as long.
Thus, in the primitive times of poetry,
The stage to none but men of sense was free.
But thanks to your judicious taste, my masters,
It lies in common, now, to poetasters.
You get them up, and till you dare condemn,
The satire lies on you, and not on them.
When mountebanks their drugs at market cry,
Is it their fault to sell, or yours to buy?
'Tis true, they write with ease, and well they may;
Flyblows are gotten every summer's day;
The poet does but buzz, and there 's a play.
Wit's not his business, &c.



since the Revolution. This I dare venture to maintain, that the taste of the age is wretchedly deprav'd in all sorts of poetry; nothing almost but what is abominably bad can please. The young hounds, who ought to come behind, now lead the pack; but they miserably mistake the scent. Their poets, worthy of such an audience, know not how to distinguish their characters; the manners are all alike, inconsistent and interfering with each other. There is scarce a man or woman of God's making in all their farces : yet they raise an unnatural sort of laughter, the common effect of buffoon’ry; and the rabble, which takes this for wit, will endure no better, because 't is above their understanding. This account I take from the best judges; for I thank God, I have had the grace hitherto to avoid the seeing or reading of their gallimaufries. But 't is the latter end of a century, and I hope the next will begin better.

This play, I dare assure the ader, is none of those; it may want beauties, but the faults are neither gross nor many. Perfection in any art is not suddenly obtain'd: the author of this, to his misfortune, left his country at a time when he was to have learn’d the language. The story he bas treated was an accident which happen'd at Rome, tho' he has transferr'd the scene to England. If it shall please God to restore him to me, I may perhaps inform him better of the rules of writing; and if I am not partial, he has already shewn that a genius is not wanting to him. All that I can reasonably fear is, that the perpetual good success of ill plays may make him endeavor to please by writing worse, and by accommodating himself to the wretched capacity and liking of the present audience, from which, Heaven defend any of my progeny! A poet, indeed, must live by the many; but a good poet will make it his business to please the few. I will not proceed farther on a subject which arraigns so many of the readers.

For what remains, both my son and I are extremely oblig'd to my dear friend, Mr. Congreve, whose excellent prologue was one of the greatest ornaments of the play. Neither is my epilogue the worst which I have written; tho' it seems, at the first sight, to expose our young clergy with too much freedom. It was on that consideration that I had once begun it otherwise, and deliver'd the copy of it to be spoken, in case the first part of it had given offense. This I will give you, partly in my own justification, and partly too because I think it not unworthy of your sight; only rememb’ring you that the last line connects the sense to the ensuing part of it. — Farewell, reader: if you are a father, you will forgive me; if not, you will when you are a father.

to spare;

scarce one


LIKE some raw sophister that mounts the

pulpit, So trembles a young poet at a full pit. Unus'd to crowds, the parson quakes for

fear, And wonders how the devil he durst come

there; Wanting three talents needful for the

place, Some beard, some learning, and some little

grace: Nor is the puny poet void of care; For authors, such as our new authors

are, Have not much learning, nor much wit And as for grace, to tell the truth, there's But has as little as the very parson. Both say, they preach and write for your

instruction; But 't is for a third day, and for induc

tion. The difference is, that tho' you like the

The poet's gain is ne'er beyond his day;
But with the parson 't is another case;
He, without holiness, may rise to grace.
The poet has one disadvantage more,
That if his play be dull, he's damn'd all

o'er, Not only a damn'd blockhead, but damn'd

poor. But dulness well becomes the sable gar

ment; I warrant that ne'er spoild a priest's pre



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[From the close of 1693 (see letter to Walsh, December 12, 1693, in Scott-Saintsbury edi. tion, xviii, 191) until the summer of 1697, Dryden devoted nearly all his energies to his translation of Virgil. On June 28, 1697, an advertisement in the London Gazette states : “ Virgil ... will be finished this week, and be ready next week to be delivered, as subscribed for, in Quires, upon bringing the Receipt for the first Payment, and paying the second." This first edition is a stately folio, with title-page reading as follows:




Containing His



Translated into English Verse ; By


Adorn'd with a Hundred Sculptures.

Sequiturque Patrem non passibus Æquis. Virg. Æn. 2.

Printed for Jacob Tonson, at the Judges-Head in Fleetstreet,

near the Inner-Temple-Gate, MDCXCVII. The volume contained, besides the work of Dryden here reprinted, a Life of Virgil and a Preface to the Pastorals by Knightly Chetwood, an Essay on the Georgics by Addison, who also wrote “all the arguments in prose to the whole translation ” (see p. 519, below, and Notes,

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