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vented their rage in scandalous accusations, either wholly without foundation, or greatly overcharged. Of the dispatch with which the first of these was written, consisting of seven folio pages of poetry and ten of prose, the anonymous author boasts in the following whimsical title: "THE MUSHROOM, or a Satyr against libelling Tories and prelatical Tantivies; in answer to a Satyr against Sedition, called THE MEDAL, by the Author of ABSALOM AND ACHITOPHEL; and here answered by the Author of the Black Nonconformist, the next day after the publication of THE MEDAL ; to help the sale thereof." From the writer's Postscript, which explains his equivocal titlepage, we learn that the poem was written and sent to the press the day after THE MEDAL was published; and in six days afterwards, (March 23,) according to Mr. Luttrell's copy, THE MUSHROOM appeared. The author, as the same gentleman has noted, was the celebrated Edmund Hickeringill."
THE MEDAL REVERSED, a poem printed anonymously in quarto, which has also been ascribed to Settle, but was written by Samuel Pordage, ap
The author of a noted political sermon, entitled"CURSE YE MEROZ, or the fatal Doom," preached (on Judges, v. 23,) in Guildhall Chapel, before the Lord Mayor and Aldermen of London, May 9, 1680. Of this person, who was Chaplain to Elizabeth, Duchess of Albe marle, and Rector of All-Saints, Colchester, some account may be found in АTH. OXON. ii. 369, where Wood, by mistake, calls him Henry Hickeringill.
peared on the 31st of March; and THE LOYAL MEDAL VINDICATED, of which I know not the author, on the 8th of April. THE MEDAL OF JOHN BAYES, a poem ascribed by Mr. Luttrell to Shadwell, was produced on the 15th of May. There seems to have been a cessation of hostilities from this period to the 4th of September, when THE TORY POETS, a Satire, was published in quarto; a very gross libel, directed chiefly against our author and Otway,' which has always been attributed to the same person. In this lampoon, as in THE MEDAL OF JOHN BAYES, Shadwell's weahas much more resemblance to a hatchet than a razor: however, he appears to have sedulously collected all the ill that could be told of Dryden, and without doubt drew some blood. About the same time probably appeared the poem entitled DRYDEN'S SATIRE TO HIS MUSE, a piece equally severe with that last mentioned, of which the author has never been discovered. Pope assures us, that Lord Somers, to whom it has been ascribed, "was wholly ignorant of it;" but if Somers had
9 Otway had not only supported by his pen the party which Shadwell and Settle opposed, but had some personal quarrel with the latter, in consequence of which they had fought :
"The laurel makes a wit; a brave, the sword;
"And all are wise men at a Council-board:
"Settle's a coward, 'cause fool Otway fought him, "And Mulgrave is a wit, because I taught him." THE TORY POETS, 4to. 1682.
written any part of that libel, (we cannot suppose him to have written the scandalous part of it,) thirty years before he was acquainted with Pope,' is it probable, that he would have made a young author of four-and-twenty the depositary of his secret? Two years before this satire was published, he had appeared as a poet; and near two hundred lines of it, that is, nearly two parts out of three, are a political encomium and vindication of the Whigs, without any offensive personality, couched in such moderate poetry as is found in Somers's acknowledged poetical productions.
It is highly probable that our author's variance with Shadwell arose from his being strongly attached to the Whigs, as Dryden was to the Tories. In the Preface to his SULLEN LOVERS, a comedy published in 1668, Shadwell observes, that, “Some have been so insolent of late as to say-that Ben Jonson wanted wit;" alluding evidently to our author's ESSAY OF DRAMATICK POESY, then newly published. This was the first offence, but not mortal; for in the Preface to THE HUMOURISTS in 1676, he speaks of Dryden as his particular friend; and in 1678-9 they were on such good terms, that Dryden wrote a Prologue for Shadwell's TRUE WIDOW,' acted and published in that year: but
Pope's acquaintance with Lord Somers could not well have commenced till about the year 1711, or 1712. * Some years afterwards, the same Prologue was spoken and printed before a comedy written by Mrs. Behn, called "THE WIDOW RANTER, or the History of Bacon in
from the dissolution of Charles's second Parliament in July, 1679, the two hostile bodies into which the State was then divided, became so embittered against each other, that little amity could have subsisted between the inferior champions, who by their writings supported the opposing parties. Afterwards, during the years 1680, 1681, and 1682, the playhouses were applied to political purposes; and while Settle's POPE JOAN, and Shadwell's LANCASHIRE WITCHES, were received with unbounded applause by the Whigs, Dryden, Otway, D'Urfey, and Crowne, who warmly supported the Tories, lashed their opponents in Prologues and Epilogues, as well as in THE DUKE OF GUISE, and VENICE PRESERVED; and in their turn were attacked in various lampoons. In the Prologue to
Virginia;" in consequence of which circumstance, and of our author's variance with Shadwell, it appears in Dryden's MISCELLANIES, without any notice of its having been written originally for him.
It is singular that Jacob Tonson, on the 20th of November, 1689, should have entered in the Stationers' Register" the Prologue and Epilogue to the History of Bacon in Virginia, written by Mr. Dryden;" though the former had been in print ten years. The Epilogue in the printed copy of Mrs. Behn's play is not ascribed to our
3 "The people's voice, of old the voice of God, "Thou call'st the voice of an unruly crowd: "Crowds are the fools,
"That flock to thine and D'Urfey's loyal plays,
"And give implicit claps on your third days.
that celebrated tragedy, which was first produced in February, 1680-81, the description of Antonio, who in the play is said to be just sixty-one years old,' undoubtedly was intended for Shaftesbury.
In his ABSALOM, it is observable, our author did not condescend to notice any of the minor agents of the faction which he so severely reprobated. They, however, with "much malice mingled with no wit," during the greater part of the year 1682, exhibited in miserable poetry the vilest accusations against him; and in the Preface to THE MEDAL OF JOHN BAYES, Shadwell goes so far as to say, "that no man can think him hardly dealt with, since he knows, and so do all his old acquaintance, that there is not an untrue word spoken of him :" a very impudent assertion, which could not be true; for in that piece Dryden is represented as boasting of crimes, which, had he been guilty of them, must have branded his name with infamy. Shadwell had also, as our author himself has told
"About the stage of mountebank they wait,
4 Dr. Johnson supposed that VENICE PRESERVED was Otway's last play; but that was not the case: he produced after that tragedy, THE ATHEIST, a comedy.
5 Otway, however, was not quite correct, for Lord Shaftesbury was born July 22, 1621 he was not therefore quite sixty.