Boileau was the first French writer that had ever hazarded in verse the mention of modern war or the effects of gunpowder. To the first part it was his intention, he says, to give the majestic turn of heroic poesy; and perhaps he might have executed his design not unsuccessfully, had not an opportunity of satire, which he cannot forbear, fallen sometimes in his way. His heroic stanzas have beauties and defects; the thoughts are vigorous, and though not always proper, show a mind replete with ideas; the numbers are smooth, and the diction if not altogether correct, is elegant and easy. The 'Religio Laici,' which borrows its title from the 'Religio Medici' of Browne, is almost the only work of Dryden which can be considered as a voluntary effusion; in this, therefore, it might be hoped that the full effulgence of his genius would be found. In the 'Life of Plutarch' he mentions his education in the College with gratitude; but in a prologue at Oxford he has these lines: —. The Dutch seek a shelter for a wealthy fleet: this surely needed no illustration; yet they must fly, not like all the rest of mankind on the same occasion, but like hunted castors; and they might with strict propriety he hunted, for we winded them by our noses-their perfumes betrayed them. All the stanzas indeed are not equal. He had subjects equal to his abilities, a great naval war and the Fire of London. It is a general rule in poetry that all appropriated terms of art should be sunk in general expressions, because poetry is to speak an universal language. The second and third parts he professes to have reduced to diction more familiar and more suitable to dispute and conversation: the difference is not, however, very easily perceived; the first has familiar, and the two others have sonorous lines. His prediction of the improvements which shall be made in the new city is elegant and poetical, and, with an event which poets cannot always boast, has been happily verified.
As it was by its nature a work of defiance, a composition which would naturally be examined with the utmost acrimony of criticism, it was probably laboured with uncommon attention, and there are, indeed, few negligences in the subordinate parts. In the fate of princes the public has an interest; and what happens to them of good or evil, the poets have always considered as business for the Muse. Such a fortune ought to have secured him from that poverty which seems always to have oppressed him; or if he had wasted it, to have made him ashamed of publishing his necessities. To search his plays for vigorous sallies and sententious elegances, or to fix the dates of any little pieces which he wrote by chance or by solicitation, were labour too tedious and minute. This rule is still stronger Samuel Johnson wrote the following comparison between Dryden and Pope: Pope had perhaps the judgment of Dryden; but Dryden certainly wanted the diligence of Pope. In the fate of princes the public has an … It was indeed written when he had completely formed his manner, and may be supposed to exhibit, negligence excepted, his deliberate and ultimate scheme of metre. His mind … Dryden died May 1, 1701, some days before Pope was twelve: so early must he therefore have felt the power of harmony, and the zeal of genius. Performance & security by Cloudflare, Please complete the security check to access. Dryden, when he wrote this poem, seems not yet fully to have formed his versification, or settled his system of propriety. The original impropriety and the subsequent unpopularity of the subject, added to the ridiculousness of its first elements, has sunk it into neglect; but it may be usefully studied as an example of poetical ratiocination, in which the argument suffers little from the metre. He seems to look round him for images which he cannot find, and what he has he distorts by endeavouring to enlarge them.
The disposition of Dryden, however, is shewn in this character rather as it exhibited itself in cursory conversation, than as it operated on the more important parts of life. Another way to prevent getting this page in the future is to use Privacy Pass. The Hind at one time is afraid to drink at the common brook, because she may be worried; but walking home with the Panther, talks by the way of the Nicene Fathers, and at last declares herself to be the Catholic Church.
The same year he praised the new king in a second poem on his restoration. From this time he addicted himself almost wholly to the stage, 'to which,'says he, 'my genius never much inclined me,' merely as the most profitable market for poetry. Milton had not yet transferred the invention of firearms to the rebellious angels. His dramatic labours did not so wholly absorb his thoughts but that he promulgated the laws of translation in a preface to the English Epistles of Ovid, one of which he translated himself, and another in conjunction with the Earl of Mulgrave. If you are on a personal connection, like at home, you can run an anti-virus scan on your device to make sure it is not infected with malware. The occasional poet is circumscribed by the narrowness of his subject.
The two quatrains that follow are worthy of the author.
His placability and his friendship indeed were solid virtues; but courtesy and good-humour are often found with little real worth. When the King was restored, Dryden, like the other panegyrists of usurpation, changed his opinion, or his profession, and published 'Astrea Redux, a poem on the happy restoration and return of his most sacred Majesty King Charles the Second.'. This is one of his greatest attempts. Fervet immensusque ruit. The 'Threnodia,' which by a term I am afraid neither authorized nor analogical he calls 'Augustalis,' is not among his happiest productions. There are, however, in this part some passages that deserve attention, as in the beginning:—, The expression All was the night's is taken from Seneca, who remarks on Virgil's line,—, The following quatrain is vigorous and animated:—. The picture of a man whose propensions to mischief are such, that his best actions are but inability of wickedness, is very skilfully delineated and strongly coloured:—. Lives of the Most Eminent English Poets (1779–81), alternatively known by the shorter title Lives of the Poets, is a work by Samuel Johnson comprising short biographies and critical appraisals of 52 poets, most of whom lived during the eighteenth century.
He is reported by his last biographer, Derrick, to have inherited from his father an estate of two hundred a-year, and to have been bred, as was said, an Anabaptist. It is not, however, without faults; some lines are inelegant or improper, and too many are irreligiously licentious. • The character of a Presbyterian, whose emblem is the wolf, is not very heroically majestic:—, His general, character of the other sorts of beasts that never go to church, though sprightly and keen, has, however, not much of heroic poesy:—, One more instance, and that taken from the narrative part, where style was more in his choice, will show how steadily he kept his resolution of heroic dignity:—.
Of the same kind; or not far distant from it, is the 'Hind and Panther,' the longest of all Dryden's original poems; an allegory intended to comprise and to decide the controversy between the Romanists and Protestants.