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then one of the Welch judges, afterwards baron Trevor, of Bromham. Sir Richard was a man of undissembled and extensive benevolence, a friend to the friendless, and, as far as his circumstances would permit, the father of every orphan. His works are chaste and manly. He was å stranger to the most distant appearance of envy or malevolence, never jealous of any man's growing reputation, and so far from arrogating any praise to himself from bis conjunction with Mr. Addison, that he was the first who desired him to distinguish bis papers.' His greatest error was want of economy. However, he was certainly the most agreeable, and (if we may be allowed the expression) the most innocent rake, that ever trod the rounds of indulgence.
Was the son of Erasmus Dryden, Esq. of Tichmarsh, and grandson of Sir Erasinus Dryden, of Canonsbury, both in Northamptonshire, and was born August 9, 1631, at Aldwiucle, near Oundle, in the said county.
He received the rudiments of his grammar learning at Westminster school, under the learned Dr. Busby, and from thence was removed to Cambridge, where he was entered a pensioner, and matriculated the 6th of July, 1650. He took his degree of Batchelor of Arts in 1653, and was elected Scholar of Trinity College, of which he appears, by his Latin verses in the Epithalamia Cantabrigiensia, 4to. 1662, to have been afterwards a Fellow. Yet, in his earlier days, he gave no very extraordinary indications of genius, for, even the year before he quitted the university, he wrote a Poem on the death of Lord Hastings, which was by no means a presage of that anazing perfection in poetical powers which he afterwards possessed. His first play, viz. The Wild Gallant, did not appear till he was about thirty-one years of age, and then met with such indifferent success, that had not necessity afterwards compelled him to pursue the arduous task, the English stage had perhaps never been favoured with some of its brightest ornaments.
But to proceed more regularly. On the death of Oliver Cromwell he wrote some heroic stanzas to his memory; but on the Restoration, being desirous of
ingratiating himself with the new court, he produced, first, a Poem entitled Astræa redux, and afterwards a panegyric to the King on his coronation. In 1662, he addressed a Poem to the Lord Chancellor Hyde, presented on New-Year's Day; and in the same year a Satire on the Dutch. In 1668 appeared his Annus Mirabilis, which was an historical Poem, in celebration of the Duke of York's victory over the Dutch. These pieces at length obtained him the favour of the crown; and Sir William D'Avenant dying the same year, Mr. Dryden was appointed to succeed him as Poet Laureat. About the same time he engaged himself by contract to write four Plays in each year, which, notwithstanding the assertions of some writers, he never executed.
Soon after the accession of King James II. he changed his religion for that of the church of Rome, and wrote two pieces in vindication of the Romish tenets, viz. A Defence of the Papers written by the late King, of blessed memory, found in his strong box; and the celebrated Poem, afterwards answered by Lord Halifax and Prior, entitled The Hind and the Panther. By this extraordinary step he not only engaged himself in controversy, and incurred much censure and ridicule from his contemporary wits, but on the coinpletion of the revolution, being, on account of his newly-chosen religion, disqualified from bearing any office under the government, he was stripped of the laurel, which, to his still greater mortification, was bestowed on Shadwell, a man to whom he had a most settled aversion. This circumstance occasioned his writing the very severe Poem, called Mac Flecknoe.
Mr. Dryden's circumstances had never been affluent; but now, being deprived of this little support, he found himself reduced to the necessity of writing for mere bread. We consequently find him from this period engaged in performances of labour as well as genius, viz. in translating works of others; and to this necessity perhaps our nation stands indebted for some of the best translations extant. In the
he lost the laurel, he published the life of St. Francis Xavier, from the French. In 1693, came out a translation of Juvenal and Persius, in the first of which he had a considerable hand, and of the latter the entire execution. In 1595 was published bis prose version of Fresnoy's Art of Painting; and the year 1697 gave the world that translation of Virgil's Vol. IV.
Works entire, which still does, and perhaps ever will, stand foremost among the atteinpts inade on that author. The petite pieces of this eminent writer, such as Prologues, Epilogues, Epitaphs, Elegies, Songs, &c. are too numerous to be specified here. They have been cola lected into volumes, and are now incorporated in his works among the English Poets. His Fables, the last work he published, consist of many of the most interesting stories in Hoiner, Ovid, Boccace, and Chaucer, translated or modernized in the most elegant and poetical manner, together with some original pieces, ainong which is the Ode ou St. Cecilia's Day.
Dryden married the Lady Elizabeth Howard, sister to the Earl of Berkshire, who survived him eight years, though for the last four of them she was a lunatic, having been deprived of her senses by a nervous fever. By this lady be had three sons, who all survived him. Their names were Charles, John, and Henry.
Dryden departed this life on the first of May, 1701, and was interred in Westminster Abbey. On the 19th of April he had been very bad with the goutand erisipelas in one leg ; but he was then somewhat recovered, and designed to go abroad; on the Friday following he eat a partridge for his supper, and going to take a turn in the little garden behind his house in Gerard-street, he was seized with a violent pain under the ball of the great toe of his right foot; unable to stand, he cried out for help, and was carried in by his servants, when, upon sending for surgeons, they found a small black spot in the place affected; he submitted to their present applications, and when gone
called his son Charles to him, using these words: " I know this black spot is a mortitication: 1 know also that it will seize my head, and that they will attempt to cut off my leg; but I command you, my son, by your filial duty, that you do not suffer ine to be dismembered :" as he foretold, the event proved; and his son was too dutiful to disobey his father's commands.
On the Wednesday morning following he breathed his last, under the most excruciating pains, in the 69th
year of his
year 1640, was the eldest son of Daniel Wycherly, of Cleve,