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have been less anxious to inquire, because I doubt whether the office of Poet Laureate was then absolutely in his gift, being conferred at that time, not by the mere appointment of the Lord Chamberlain, but by patent. But however that may have been, the interference of either the Prime Minister, or the Crown, must have been sufficiently powerful to have obtained the laurel for our author: and from several passages in his works, it seems to me probable that he was indebted for this promotion to Sir Thomas Clifford, who in Novvember, 1666, had been made Comptroller of the Household and a Privy Counsellor, and in June, 1668, was appointed Treasurer of the Household. He was also one of the Lords Commissioners of the Treasury; and in 1672 was raised to the peerage, and made Lord High Treasurer. In the Dedication of AMBOYNA to Lord Clifford, in 1673, Dryden acknowledges "the many and great favours conferred upon him by his Lordship, for many years, which might more properly (he adds) be called one continued act of generosity and goodness." With equal warmth he speaks of this patron in his address to Sir Charles Sidley in the same year: "For my own part, I, who am the least among the poets, have yet the fortune to be honoured with the best patron, and the best friend; for (to omit some great persons of our court to whom I am many ways obliged, and have taken care of me during the exigencies of a war,) I have found a better Maecenas in the person of my Lord
Treasurer Clifford, and a more elegant Tibullus in that of Sir Charles Sidley." So again, at a late period of life, in his Dedication of the Pastorals of Virgil to Hugh, Lord Clifford, he says, “I have no reason to complain of fortune, since, in the midst of that abundance, I could not have chosen better than the worthy son of so illustrious a father, He was the patron of my manhood, when I flourished in the opinion of the world, though with small advantage to my fortune, till he awakened the remembrance of my royal master. He was that Pollio, or that Varus, who introduced me to Augustus." Some of these expressions, it must be acknowledged, may allude only to Lord Clifford's kindness while he was Treasurer, in relieving him from temporary embarrassments, when his pension, in consequence of the poverty of the Exchequer, was ill paid: yet I know not any of his friends to whose patronage on this occasion it is more probable that he was indebted. Some of the great men whom he courted had perhaps the ability without the inclination, and others of his friends might have had the wish without the power to serve him. Lord Clifford appears to have possessed both. Lord Buckhurst, who in 1670 was made a Gentleman of the King's Bedchamber, Lord Rochester, who from an earlier period had been of his Majesty's Bedchamber, Lord Mulgrave, whom our author has thanked for "the care he had taken of his fortune," the Duchess of Monmouth, to whom he has acknowledged great
obligations, and other friends, probably assisted. Among these, however, Sir Robert Howard, though so nearly connected, and now of considerable weight, must not be enumerated; for in consequence of a disagreement on a subject of criticism, there was at this period a breach between Dryden and him. Dr. Johnson thought there was something in their conduct to each other not easily to be explained; but the progress of their literary warfare may be traced without difficulty. In the Dedication of THE RIVAL LADIES to Lord Orrery, in 1664, Dryden had asserted the propriety of writing plays in rhyme. Howard, in the preface to his plays, which were collected and published in the following year, maintained the opposite opinion. This gave rise to our author's ESSAY or DRAMATICK POESY, written in 1665, and published in 1667, in which with great civility he answers several of the arguments urged by his adversary; to whose care, about the same time, he entrusted his ANNUS MIRABILIS, while it passed through the press. In the middle of 1668, Howard rejoined in a preface prefixed to THE DUKE OF LERMA, a tragedy; and Dryden, in the same year, having occasion to publish a new edition of his INDIAN EMPEROR, annexed to it a replication, happily enlivened by well-mannered wit, and pointed raillery. By the interposition of friends, probably, and by that placability and good nature which seem to have been distinguishing characteristics of Dryden's
mind, in some time afterwards they appear to have been reconciled; and they continued, it should seem, to live in friendship with each other to the close of their lives. As a peace-offering, the offensive preface to THE INDIAN EMPEROR was cancelled, with such care, that I have never met with an ancient copy of that play, in which it was found.
Between the re-opening of the theatres in the beginning of the year 1667 and the middle of the year 1670, Dryden produced five original plays, and two in which he was aided by others; THE MAIDEN QUEEN, THE TEMPEST, SIR MARTIN MARALL, THE MOCK ASTROLOGER, TYRANNICK LOVE, OR THE ROYAL MARTYR, and the two parts of THE CONQUEST OF GRANADA: and this appears to have been the period of his greatest dramatick exertion, if we confine our consideration to the number, without estimating the value, of his pieces. THE MAIDEN QUEEN, which had probably been written in the country, while theatrical entertainments were discontinued, was entered in the Stationers' Register, Aug. 6, 1667; and therefore, without doubt, had been exhibited in the preceding winter THE TEMPEST, though not entered in the same Register till January 6, 1669-70, at which time it was printed, we know
9 See a Letter to Jacob Tonson, in the Appendix, written by our author about the year 1696.
from the epilogue, was acted in 1667. TIN MARALL was originally a mere translation from the French, made by William, Duke of Newcastle, and by him presented to our author, who revised and adapted it to the stage; but it was entered at Stationers' Hall, June 24, 1668, as the Duke's play, without any mention of Dryden, either from respect to that nobleman, (on which account, perhaps, it was published anonymously,) or lest, were it delivered to the publick as the Laureate's performance, the giving it away from the King's Servants, with whom he was in a kind of partnership, might be considered as a breach of his contract. None of our author's pieces appear to have been more successful than this. Itwas acted above thirty times at the theatre in Lincoln's Inn Fields, and four times at Court, between the time of its first exhibition and the removal of the Duke's Company from that house; and on the 9th of November, 1671, they opened their new theatre in Dorset Gardens with the same comedy, which, though it had been already so often performed, by the popularity of Nokes, who acted Marall, drew full audiences three nights successively.
THE MOCK ASTROLOGER was registered in the Stationers' Books, Nov. 20, 1668, and, I believe,
1 Not adverting to this circumstance, I have suggested in a note on vol. i. p. 331, that this play was not acted till after D'Avenant's death in 1668; but I was certainly mistaken.