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nal intimacy was never renewed, they resumed the usual kindly intercourse of relations and friends.
The epistle itself is earlier in date than the poem called “ Astrea Redux,” which was probably not published till the summer of 1660 was somewhat advanced. This copy of verses, therefore, is the first avowed production of our author after the Restoration, and may rank, in place and merit, with “ Astrea Redux,” the “ Poem on the Coronation," and the “ Address to the Chancellor." There is the same anxiety to turn and point every sentence, and the same ten: dency to extravagant and unnatural conceit. Yet it is sometimes difficult to avoid admiring the strength of the author's mind, even when employed in wresting ideas the wrong way. It is remarkable, also, that Dryden ventures to praise the verses of his patron, on account of that absence of extravagant metaphor, and that sobriety of poetic composition, for which, to judge by his own immediate practice, he ought rather to have censured them.
Those who may be induced to peruse the works of Sir Robert Howard, by the high commendation here bestowed upon them, will have more reason to praise the gratitude of our author, than the justice of his panegyric. They are productions of a most freezing mediocrity.
EPISTLE THE SECOND.
As there is music uninformed by art
.* Used for elaborate composition.
+ Some of Sir Robert Howard's songs were set to music. One of them, beginning, “ O Charon, gentle Charon," is quoted as a popular air in one of Shadwell's plays.
And we, dull souls, admire, but cannot see What hidden springs within the engine be: * Or 'tis some happiness, that still pursues Each act and motion of your graceful muse. Or is it fortune's work, that in your head The curious net that is for fancies spread, f Lets through its meshes every ineaner thought, While rich ideas there are only caught? Sure that's not all; this is a piece too fair To be the child of chance, and not of care. No atoms, casually together hurled, Could e'er produce so beautiful a world; Nor dare I such a doctrine here admit, As would destroy the providence of wit. Tis your strong genius, then, which does not feel Those weights, would make a weaker spirit reel. To carry weight, and run so lightly too, Is what alone your Pegasus can do. Great Hercules himself could ne'er do more, Than not to feel those heavens and gods he bore. Your easier odes, which for delight were penned, Yet our instruction make their second end; We're both enriched and pleased, like them that woo At once a beauty, and a fortune too. Of moral knowledge poesy was queen, And still she might, had wanton wits not been; Who, like ill guardians, lived themselves at large, And, not content with that, debauched their charge, Like some brave captain, your successful pen Restores the exiled to her crown again; And gives us hope, thạt having seen the days When nothing flourished but fanatic bays, All will at length in this opinion rest, “A sober prince's government is best."
Of moral know
had wanton Willues at large,
+ Rete Mirabile. DRYDEN,
This is not all; your art the way has found
* Sir Robert Howard's collection contains a translation of the Fourth Book of the Æneid, under the title of “ The Loves of Dido and Æneas."
t Sir Robert also translated the Achilleis of Statius, an author whom Dryden seldom mentions without censuring his turgid and bombastic style of poetry. The story of this neglected epic. turns on the juvenile adventures of Achilles.
misled mire, your confessful streas
Your curious notes * so search into that age,
* The annotations on the Achilleis.
+ Sir Robert Howard's poems contain a “Panegyric to the King," concerning which he says, in the preliminary address to the reader, “ I should be a little dissatisfied with myself to appear public in his praise just when he was visibly restoring to power, did not the reading of the Panegyric vindicate the writing of it, and, besides my affirmation, assure the reader, it was written when the king deserved the praise as much as now, but was separated farther from the power; which was about three years since, when I was prisoner in Windsor Castle, being the best diversion I could then find for my own condition, to think how great his virtues were for whom I suffered, though in so small a measure compared to his own, that I rather blush at it, than believe it meritorious."
I The volume begins with the “ Poem to the King, and ends with a “ Panegyric to General Monk.”
Hic situs est Rufus qui pulso vindice quondam,