Slike strani

with the assistance probably of Dr. Garth, they applied to the President and Censors of the College

all a Christian, seems to have been adopted from Milbourne, who in his Notes on the Translation of Virgil, (p.9.) says,-" for aught I know, his very Christianity may be questionable." To which Dryden probably alludes in his Preface to the FABLES: "May I have leave to do myself the justice, since my enemies will do me none, and are so far from granting me to be a good poet, that they will not allow me so much as to be a Christian, or a moral man, may I have leave, I say," &c. See vol. iii. p. 630.

Ward's account of this transaction is as follows:


Notwithstanding his merits had justly entitled his corpse to the most magnificent and solemn interment the beneficence of the greatest spirits could have bestowed on him, yet 'tis credibly reported, the ingratitude of the is such, that they had like to have let him. pass in private to his grave, without those funeral obsequies suitable to his greatness, had it not been for that true British worthy, who, meeting with the venerable remains of the neglected bard passing silently in a coach, unregarded, to his last home, ordered the corpse, by the consent of his few friends that attended him, to be respited from so obscure an interment; and most generously undertook, at his own expence, to revive his worth in the minds of a forgetful people, by bestowing on his peaceful dust a solemn funeral, answerable to his merit. - - - - The management of the funeral was left to Mr. Russel, pursuant to the directions of that honourable great man, the Lord Jefferies, concerned chiefly in the pious undertaking."— LONDON SPY, p. 419, 5th edit. 1718.

John, the second Lord Jefferies, the person here meant, was the only son of the Chancellor. He was himself a writer of verse. In the STATE POEMS, vol. iii. p. 380, we

of Physicians, to grant permission that the corpse should be deposited there, and at the proper time

find a burlesque translation of Bentley's Latin Verses on the death of the Duke of Glocester, in 1700. BONDUCA, altered from Fletcher, was dedicated to him in 1696; and ANTIOCHUS THE GREAT, a tragedy, in 1702: in the latter dedication his " admirable gay humour, and eternal viva. city of wit," are highly commended. He died, withou issue male, in 1703.

The following most happy application of a well-known fable to King William the Third, in the latter part of his reign, is ascribed to Lord Jefferies, in the Second Volum: of the STATE POEMS; but Prior, while he was Under Secretary of State, was probably the concealed author the verses having been found in his handwriting among his unpublished MSS., formerly in the library of the Duchess Dowager of Portland.



"In Æsop's Tales an honest wretch we find,
"Whose years and comforts equally declined.
"He in two wives had two domestick ills,
"For different age they had, and different wills:
"One pluck'd his black hairs out, and one his grey;
"The man for quietness did both obey;

"Till all the parish saw his head quite bare,
"And thought he wanted brains as well as hair.

“The Moral.

"The parties, hen-peck'd William, are thy wives "The hairs they pluck, are thy prerogatives. "Tories thy person hate, the Whigs thy power; "Though much thou yieldest, still they tug for more; "Till this poor man and thou alike are shown, "He without hair, and thou without a crown.'

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

should be thence conveyed to Westminster-Abbey for interment; a request, which was immediately

As Mr. Montague appears to have undertaken at first to bury Dryden at his own expence, Ward's account of his remains being carried in a coach to interment, must be inaccurate. Tanner, who was extremely intimate with Gibson, then a Chaplain to Archbishop Tennison, and was also acquainted with Jacob Tonson, and frequented his shop, was likely to obtain correct information on this subject. It is not however quite clear from his statement, whether the Lords Dorset and Jefferies met the procession in the street, or, hearing of Montague's intent, ordered the corpse to be carried from Dryden's house to that of the undertaker. From Playford's advertisement, which will be given hereafter, the former should seem to have been the


Pope, in the character of Buro, in the Epistle to Arbuthnot, has particularly alluded to Montague's share in this transaction:

[ocr errors]

Dryden alone (what wonder?) came not nigh;

Dryden alone escaped his judging eye:

"But still the great have kindness in reserve; "He help'd to bury whom he help'd to starve."

To which Pope added this note: " Mr. Dryden, after having lived in exigencies, had a magnificent funeral bestowed upon him by a contribution of several persons of quality." It is wonderful, that this remark, as well as various verses in the LUCTUS BRITANNICI, should have long since prevented the smallest degree of credit being paid to Mrs. Thomases fictitious narrative.

The last of these four lines, which were not in the ori ginal edition of the Epistle to Arbuthnot, but added in the quarto of 1735, was perhaps suggested by the following

and unanimously granted. At the first view it may appear a singular circumstance, that none of the admirers of Dryden should have undertaken to defray the expence necessary to be made on this "On the great

verses, subscribed with the letters P. C., Preparations made for the funeral of John Dryden, Esq.” "But wiser we, who all such precepts scorn, "And act without the prospect of return; "That starve the poet, and caress his urn: "To a dead author wonderfully kind, "But rank the living with the lame and blind. "Like David while his infant liv'd, we weep, "Sackcloth put on, and solemn fasts we keep; "But when the joyful news arrives, he's dead, "We feast the body, and adorn the head: "With songs and dances follow to the grave, "Whom just before we branded for a slave.” LUCTUS BRITANNICI, fol. 1700. Pope, however, was mistaken in his assertion that Dryden did not keep up any intercourse with Mr. Montague That he was on amicable terms with that statesman for some time before his death, and that he did not escape his judging eye, will appear hereafter from one of our author's letters to him, and another to his kinswoman, Mrs. Steward

3 In the Register of the College of Physicians is the following order, relative to this transaction, with which Dr. George Fordyce has obligingly furnished me:

"Comitiis Censoriis Ordinariis, Maii 3. 1700.
Present, Sir Thomas Millington, President,
Dr. Charlton, Dr. Collins, Dr. Hulse, Censors;
Dr. Gill, Register.

"At the request of several persons of quality, that Mr. Dryden might be carried from the College of Phy.


occasion; which, including the "funeral baked meats" and other refreshments at the College of Physicians, the Abbey fees, and the undertaker's charge, could not have amounted to more than one hundred and twenty pounds: but probably it was thought more honourable to him, that this sum should be raised by the contribution of his friends, than defrayed by any single person. A subscription was accordingly made for this purpose. The body having lain in state for ten days, Monday the 13th of May was appointed for the procession to Westminster-Abbey; in the afternoon of which day, a great number of persons of quality, and others, his friends and admirers, affembled in the Hall of the College, where for some time they were soothed with mournful musick. An eloquent oration in Latin was then pronounced in the Theatre by Dr. Garth; after which the last Ode of the third book of Horace-Exegi monumentum ære

sicians to be interred at Westminster, it was unanimously granted by the President and Censors."

According to tradition, Garth was the person who communicated this request to the President and Censors.

4 Russel's bill, which will be found in a subsequent page, amounted only to £.45. 17. 0.

› Garth's intended eulogy was thus announced in THE POSTBOY, Thursday, May 9, 1700:

"We hear that Dr. Garth, that learned physician and famous orator, is to make Mr. Dryden's funeral oration in Latin."

In an anonymous poem of some merit, addressed to Dr. Garth, in Luctus Britannici, (almost the only one

« PrejšnjaNaprej »