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TESTIMONIES OF AUTHORS
HIS GRACE AND HIS WRITINGS.
Earl of RosCOMMON, Essay on Translated Verse. HAPPY that author ! whose correct eflay
Repairs so well our old Horatian way.
DRYDEN, Absalom and Achitophel. Sharp-judging Adriel, the Muses’ friend, Himself a Muse---In Sanhedrin's debate, True to his prince, but not a slave of state.
DRYDEN, Verses to Lord Roscommon,
DRYDEN, Preface to Virgil's Æneis. “ Your Essay on Poetry, which was published without a name, and of which I was not honoured with the confidence, I read over and over with much delight, and as much instruction ; and, without flattering you, or making myself more moral than I am, not without
" fome envy, I was loth to be informed how an epic
poem should be written, or how a tragedy should be “ contrived and managed in better verse, and with more “ judgment, than I could teach others.
• I gave the unknown author his due commendation, “I must confess; but who can answer for me, and for " the rest of the poets who heard me read the poem, “ whether we should not have been better pleased to have “ seen our own names at the bottom of the title-page? “ Perhaps we commended it the more, that we might “ seem to be above the censure, &c."
DRYDEN, Ibid. “ This is but doing justice to my country, part of or which honour will reflect on your lordship, whose
thougits are always just, your numbers harmonious, your words chofen, your expressions strong and maply, your verfe flowing, and your turns as happy as they are easy. If you would set us more copies, your example would make all precepts needless, In the “meantime, that little you have writ is owned, and " that particularly by the pocts (who are a nation not “ over-lavish of praise to their contemporaries) as a par“ ticular ornament of our language: but the sweetest “ essences are always confined in the finallest glasses.”
DRYDEN, Dedication to Aurengzebe. How great and manly in your lordship is your contempt of popular applause, and your retired virtue, which thines only to a few, with whom you live so casily and
you make it evident you have a soul which is capable of all the tenderness of friendship, and that you only retire yourself from those who are not capable of returning it! Your kindness, where you have once placed it, is inviolable; and it is to that only I attribute my happiness in your love. This makes me more easily forsake an argument on which I could otherwise delight to dwell; I mean your judgment in your choice of friends, because I have the honour to be one. After which, I am sure, you will more easily permit me to be filent in the care you have taken of my fortune, which you have rescued, not only from the power of others, but from my worst of enemies, my own modesty and laziness : which favour, had it been employed on a more deserving subject, had been an effect of juftice in your nature; but as placed on me, is only charity. Yet withal it is conferred on such a man, as prefers your kindness itself before any of its consequences; and who values, as the greatest of your favours, those of your love, and of your conversation. From this constancy to your friends I might reasonably assume, that your refentments would be as strong and lasting if they were not restrained by a nobler principle of good-nature and generosity; for certainly it is the same composition of mind, the same resolution and courage, which makes the greatest friendThips and the greatest enmities. To this firmness in all your actions (though you are wanting in no other ornaments of mind and body, yet to this) I principally afcribe the interest your merits have acquired you in the royal family. A prince who is constant to himself, and
steady in all his undertakings; one with whom the character of Horace will agree :
“ Si fractus illabatur orbis,
“ Impavidum ferient ruinæ.” Such a one cannot but place an esteem, and repose a confidence on him whom no adversity, no change of courts, no bribery of interest, or cabal of factions, or advantages of fortune, can remove from the solid foundations of honour and fidelity.
“ Ille meos, primus qui me fibi junxit, amores
“ Abstulit, ille habeat fecum, fervetque fepulcro." How well your lordship will deserve that praise, I need no inspiration to foretel. You have already left no room for prophecy : your early undertakings have been such, in the service of your king and country, when you offered yourself to the most dangerous employment, that of the sea; when you chose to abandon those delights to which your youth and fortune did invite you, to undergo the hazards, and which was worse, the company of common feamen ; that you have made it evident you will refuse no opportunity of rendering yourself useful to the nation, when either your courage or conduct thall be required.
Bishop BURNET, Preface to Sir T. More’s Utopia.
Our language is now certainly properer and more natural than it was formerly, chiefly since the correction that was given by the Rehearsal; and it is to be hoped