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" you are both in health ; but wonder you " should think me so negligent as to forget "s to give you an account of the ship in which “ your parcel is to come. I have written to " you two or three letters concerning it, which “ Í have sent by fafe hands, as I told you, " and doubt not but you have them, before " this can arrive to you. Being out of town, " I have forgotten the ship's name, which "s your mother will enquire, and put it into " her letter, which is joined with mine. But " the master's name I remember: he is called " Mr. Ralph Thorp; the ship is bound to “ Leghorn, consigned to Mr. Peter and Mr. “ Tho. Ball, Merchants. I am of your opinion, s6 that by Tonson's means almost all our let" ters have miscarried for this last year. But “ however he has missed of his design in the s Dedication, though he had prepared the « book for it; for in every figure of Eneas « he has caused him to be drawn, like K. rs William, with a hoked nose. After my return “ to town, I intend to alter a play of Sir Ros bert Howard's, written long since, and late“ ly put by him into my hands : 'tis called the “ Conquest of China by the Tartars, It will cost « me six weeks study, with the probable be“ nefit of an hundred pounds. In the mean “ time I am writing a song for St. Cecilia's “ Feast, who, you know, is the patroness of “ musick. This is troublesome, and no way “ beneficial ; but I could not deny the Stew« ards of the Feast, who came in a body to « me to desire that kindness, one of them being « Mr. Bridgman, whose parents are your mo" ther's friends. I hope to send you thirty gui
“ neas between Michaelmas and Christmass, “ of which I will give you an account when I “ come to town. I remember the counsel “ you give me in your letter ; but difsembling, " though lawful in some cases, is not my talent; " yet, for your fake, I will struggle with the “ plain openness of my nature, and keep in "my just resentments against that degenerate “ order. In the mean time, I flatter not myself " with any manner of hopes, but do my duty, “ and suffer for God's sake ; being assured, be“ forehand, never to be rewarded, though the « times should alter. Towards the latter end
of this month, September, Charles will be“ gin to recover his perfect health, according us to his nativity, which, casting it myself, I " am sure is true, and all things hitherto have "happened accordingly to the very time that “I predicted them : I hope at the same " time to recover more health, according to " my age. Remember me to poor Harry " whose prayers I earnestly desire. My Virgil s succeeds in the world beyond its desert or “ my expectation. You know the profits might “ have been more ; but neither my conscience of nor my honour would suffer me to take " them: but I never can repent of my con< ftancy, since I am thoroughly persuaded of es the justice of the cause for which I suffer. It “ has pleased God to raise up many friends " to me amongst my enemies, though they " who ought to have been my friends are neg“ ligent of me. I'am called to dinner, and “ cannot go on with this letter, which I defire ws you to excuse; and am “ Your Most affectionate father
“ John Dryden."
O F Sir JOHN DENHAM very little is known but what is related of him by Wood, or by himself.
He was born at Dublin in 1615; the only son of Sir John Denham, of Little Horsely in Essex, then chief baron of the Exchequer in Ireland, and of Eleanor, daughter of Sir Garret Moore baron of Mellefont.
Two years afterwards, his father, being made one of the barons of the Exchequer in England, brought him away from his native country, and educated him in London.
In 1631 he was sent to Oxford, where he was considered “ as a dreaming young man, “ given more to dice and cards than study;" and therefore gave no prognosticks of his future eminence; nor was suspected to conceal, under sluggishness and laxity, a genius born to improve the literature of his country.
When he was, three years afterwards, removed to Lincoln's Inn, he prosecuted the common law with sufficient appearance of application ; yet did not lose his propensity to cards and dice; but was very often plandered by gamesters.
Being severely reproved for this folly, he profeffed, and perhaps believed, himself reclaimed ; and, to testify the fincerity of his repentance, wrote and published “ An Essay upon Gaming."
He seems to have divided his studies between law and poetry; for, in 1636, he translated the second book of the Eneid.
Two years after, his father died; and then, notwithstanding his resolutions and professions, he returned again to the vice of gaming, and lost several thousand pounds that had been left him.
In 1641, he published « The Sophy.” This seems to have given him his first hold of the publick attention ; for Waller remarked, “ that * he broke out like the Irish rebellion three“ score thousand strong, when nobody was “ aware, or in the least suspected it.” An observation which could have had no propriety, had his poetical abilities been known before.
He was after that pricked for sheriff of Surrey, and made governor of Farnham Castle for the king; but he soon resigned that charge, and retreated to Oxford, where, in 1643; he published “ Cooper's Hill.”
This poem had such reputation as to excite the common artifice by which envy degrades excellence. A report was spread that the performance was not his own, but that he had bought it of a vicar for forty pounds. The fame attempt was made to rob Addison of his Cato, and Pope of his Essay on Criticism.
In 1647, the distresses of the royal family required him to engage in more dangerous em
ployments. He was entrusted by the queen with a message to the king; and, by whatever means, so far softened the ferocity of Hugh Peters, that, by his intercession, admission was procured. Of the king's condescension he has given an account in the dedication of his works.
He was afterwards employed in carrying on the king's correspondence; and, as he says, discharged this office with great safety to the royalists : and being accidentally discovered by the adverse party's knowledge of Mr. Cowley's hand, he happily escaped both for himself and his friends.
He was yet engaged in a greater undertaking. In April 1648, he conveyed James the duke of York from London into France, and delivered him there to the Queen and prince of Wales. This year he published his translation of “Cato Major.
He now resided in France, as one of the followers of the exiled king; and, to divert the melancholy of their condition, was sometimes enjoined by his master to write occasional verses; one of which amusements was probably his ode or song upon the Embassy to Poland, by which he and lord Crofts procured a contribution of ten thousand pounds from the Scotch, that wandered over that kingdom. Poland was at that time very much frequented by itinerant traders, who, in a country of very little commerce and of great extent, where every man resided on his own estate, contributed very much to the accommodation of life, by bringing to every man's house those little necessaries which it was very inconvenient to want, and very troublesome to fetch. I have
ted ve oing to even was very inccotch. I have