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presentation, it involved the Company in a considerable debt.+
We are now arrived at a memorable era in the life of Dryden; for very soon after the accession of King James, he became a convert to popery. That his conversion was sincere, cannot be doubted; for he appears to have bred all his children papists, and was uniform in his adherence to his new faith from this time to that of his death, when, as we shall hereafter see, he persevered in the profession of those tenets he now espoused. During the reign of King William, he well knew that his adherence to the religion of the abdicated monarch, instead of doing him any service, must operate as an unsurmountable obstacle to his deriving any emolument from the countenance and favour of the Government. I suspect, his wife, Lady Elizabeth, had long been a papist: her brother Charles, the second Earl of Berkshire, who succeeded to the title in 1669, and was probably godfather to our poet's eldest son, certainly was one. 5
Dryden's attachment and services to the Duke of York during the latter years of his brother's reign, it might have been expected, would have been rewarded by him immediately on his ascending the throne, by the grant of some office which
4 Rosc. ANG. ubi supr.
5 Macpherson's STATE PAPERS, vol. i. p. 72.-He died in April, 1679, about ten years after his father,
would have rendered the remainder of his life easy and comfortable,-such as he had pointed out in his letter to Lord Rochester, who a few days after the King's Accession was a second time made Lord Treasurer: but James appears to have been no liberal patron ;* for no mark of favour whatsoever was extended to the Laureate for near a year. At length, on the 4th of March, 1685-6, letters patent passed the great seal, grant. ing him an additional pension of one hundred pounds a year, payable quarterly, the first payment to commence from the 25th of March preceding:" which was the only favour he appears to have obtained from that monarch.`
Soon after the death of his former master, he testified his respect for his memory by his THRE NODIA AUGUSTALIS, a Pindarick Ode, or Elegy,
*Guthrie in his ESSAY ON TRAGEDY asserts, that he once gave Wycherley £. 1,500. and persuaded his brother "to settle a handsome annuity on him, for travelling abroad with the Duke of Monmouth."-But he is incor, rect in both these points; for the person to whom Wy. cherley was to have been appointed domestick governou! (about the year 1681) was the young Duke of Richmond; and the sum given by James II. to that poet, to pay his debts, was only £. 500.
6 Pat. 2 Jac. p. 4. n. 1. The consideration of this "Know grant runs thus: ye, that we, for and in con. sideration of the many good and acceptable services done by John Dryden, Master of Arts, to our late dearest brother King Charles the Second, as also to us done and performed, and taking notice of the learning and eminent abilities of the said J. D.", &c.
he afterwards called it,) not distinguished by any uncommon excellence from the numerous poetical performances which that event produced. The lines, describing the private character of Charles, are, however, appropriate and pleasing: "Be true, O Clio, to thy hero's name, "But draw him strictly so,
"That all who view the piece, may know: "He needs no trappings of fictitious fame. "The load's too weighty ;-thou may'st choose "Some parts of praise, and some refuse:
"Write, that his annals may be thought more lavish
than the Muse.
"In scanty truth thou hast confined
"The virtues of a noble mind,
Forgiving, bounteous, humble, just, and kind:
"His conversation, wit, and parts,
"His knowledge in the noblest useful arts,
"Who lighting him, did greater lights receive:
Of a very different description is the Ode to the pious memory of Mistress Anne Killegrew, which was published soon afterwards, and has been so highly praised by Dr. Johnson, who thought its first stanza superiour to any part of the admirable Ode on St. Cecilia's Day.
I do not recollect any other production of our author in this year, except a short paper of Verses,
which were prefixed to a book written by a friend, who had engaged on the same side with him in the political controversy that had for some years distracted the nation. Not having been noticed by the editors of his poems, they may, though of no extraordinary merit, not improperly be preserved here:
"To my Friend, Mr. J. NORTHLEIGH,
Author of THE PARALLEL;
On his TRIUMPH OF THE BRITISH MONARCHY. "So Joseph, yet a youth, expounded well "The boding dream, and did th' event foretell; Judg'd by the past, and drew the Parallel. "Thus early Solomon the truth explored, "The right awarded, and the babe restored. "Thus Daniel, ere to prophecy he grew, "The perjured Presbyters did first subdue, "And freed Susanna from the canting crew. "Well may our Monarchy triumphant stand, "While warlike James protects both sea and land; "And, under covert of his seven-fold shield, "Thou send'st thy shafts to scour the distant field.
By law thy powerful pen has set us free;
“Thou study'st that, and that may study thee. 7
The controversial writings which doubtless Dryden had studied, previous to his embracing popery,
"Prefixed to "The Triumph of our Monarchy over the Plots and Principles of our Rebels and Republicans, being Remarks on their most eminent Libels. By John Northleigh, LL.B., Author of THE PARALLEL," 8vo.
enabled him to undertake the defence of a paper written by Anne Hyde, Duchess of York, (who not long before her death, like him, avowed herself a Papist,) stating the motives which had induced her to change her religion: with this paper were published two others, found in the late King's strong-box, written, as was pretended, by his Majesty, to shew that there could be but one true church, which was that of Rome. To this royal publication, for these papers were issued out by the King's express command, Dr. Edward Stillingfleet published an Answer in 1686, and that produced a Defence of them, the whole of which has been erroneously ascribed to our author; for from his own words in the Preface to RELIGIO LAICI, it appears evident that he only wrote the Vindication of the Duchess of York, of which the style is
8 Bishop Burnet, speaking of these papers, says, “All that knew the King, when they read them, did without any sort of doubting conclude, that he never composed them; for he never read the Scriptures, nor laid things together, further than to turn them into a jest, or for some lively expression. These papers were probably writ either by Lord Bristol or by Lord Aubigny, who knew the secret of his religion, and gave him those papers as abstracts of some discourses they had with him on those heads, to keep him fixed to them."-Burnet supposes they prevailed with the King to copy them out with his own hand. Hist. of his own Time, vol. ii. p. 292.
9. See vol. ii. p. 475; and T. Brown's Reflections on THE HIND AND THE PANTHER," 4to. 1687, p. 29."I do hereby admonish you, Mr. Bayes, not to go on in your censures of this kind have reyou