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Besides, he lately bribed, in breach of laws,
The fair deserter of her uncle's cause. 9
This rouz’d the Monarch of the neighbouring crown,
A drowsy Prince, too careless of renown.'
Yet prompt to vengeance, and untaught to yield,
Great Scarsdale? challeng'd Skipwith to the field.
Whole shoals of poets for this chief declare,
And vassal players attend him to the war.
Skipwith with joy the dreadful summons took,
And brought an equal force; then Scarsdale spoke :

delight-"is taken from a former line in the poem before us. So in “ an Essay in opposition to the Essay on Satire,” ibid.

“ So bawling H- n and K- the mute,

“ With noise and nonsense fill up the dispute." Whence perhaps in the DUNCIAD, we have

- With noise and Norton, brangling and Breval." Again, in vol. iii. p. 135:

“ [The] little underlings that sit about,
“ Pretend they know the author by his style ;

“ I've eas'd my mind, and will securely smile."
So, in the Epistle to Arbuthnot :

and can I choose but smile, When every coxcomb knows me by my style."

• This “ fair deserter" appears to have been the actress whom Lord Henry Scott admired, and was perhaps the niece of Mrs. Betterton. I suspect, the person meant was Mrs. Moore, who performed in THE PRETENDERS, a comedy, acted at the theatre in Lincoln's-Inn Fields, in 1698; and in Farquhar's LOVE AND A BOTTLE, acted in Drury-Lane Theatre in 1699. She was probably an actress of some estimation, having spoken the Epilogue to the former play.

Betterton, who was at this time near sixty-five years

· Thou bane of empire, foe to human kind,
Whom neither leagues nor laws of nations bind ;
For cares of high poetick sway unfit,
Thou shame of learning, and reproach of wit ;
Restore bright Helen to my longing sight,
Or now my signal shall begin the fight.

Hold, said the foe, thy warlike host remove,
Nor let our bards the chance of battle prove :
Should death deprive us of their shining parts,
What would become of all the liberal arts ?
Should Dennis fall, whose high majestick wit,
And awful judgment, like two tallies, fit,
Adieu strong Odes, and every lofty strain,
The tragick rant, and proud Pindarick vein :
Should tuneful D'Urfey now resign his breath,
The lyrick Muse would scarce survive his death;
But should divine Motteux untimely die,
The gasping Nine would in convulsions lie.
For these bold champions safer arms provide,
And let their pens the double strife decide.

The King consents; and urg'd by publick good,
Wisely retreats, to save his people's blood :
The moving legions leave the dusty plain,
And safe at home poetick wars maintain.



Tuesday, March 12th, 1699 [-1700.] MADAM, 'Tis a week since I receiv'd the favour of a letter, which I have not yet acknowledg'd to you.

old. In 1695 he had seceded from Drury-Lane, and opened the theatre in Lincoln's Inn Fields.

- Robert Leake, the third Earl of Scarsdale.

About that time my new Poems were publish'd, which are not come till this day into my hands. They are a debt to you, I must confess; and I am glad, because they are so unworthy to be made a present. Your sisters, I hope, will be so kind to have them convey'd to you ; that my writeings may have the honour of waiting on you, which is deny'd to me. The Town encourages them with more applause than any thing of mine deserves : and particularly my Cousin Driden accepted one from me so very indulgently, that it makes me more and more in love with him. But all our hopes of the House of Commons are wholly dash’d. Our proprieties are destroy'd ; and rather than we shou'd not perish, they have made a breach in the Magna CHARTA;+ for which God forgive them !-Congreve's new plays has had but moderate success, though it deserves much better. -I am neither in health, nor do I want afflictions of any kind ; but am in all conditions,

Your most oblig'd obedient Servant,

John Dryden.
For Mrs. Stuart, att Cotterstock

near Oundle, These. By the Oundle Carrier, with a book directed to her, These.


3 Here we have an additional confirmation of a remark already made.. See p. 74, n. 4. So also when he speaks of his Virgil to his sons, he says, “ it succeeds in the world beyond its desert, or my expectation."





Thursday, April the 11th, 1700. MADAM, The ladies of the town have infected you at à distance : they are all of your opinion, and like my last book of Poems“ better than any thing they have formerly seen of mine. I always thought my Verses to my Cousin Driden were the best of the whole ; and to my comfort, the Town thinks them so; and he, which pleases me most, is of the same judgment, as appears by a noble present

+ He alludes to the statute, 11 and 12 William III. C. 4. for the further preventing the growth of popery; by which it was enacted, that from and after the 29th of Sept. 1700, all papists who should not, within six months after attaining the age of eighteen years, take the oaths of Allegiance and Supremacy, &c. should be incapable of inheriting or taking any lands or tenements, by descent or devise ; and that the next of kin, being a protestant, should enjoy the same.

S THE WAY OF THE WORLD. The author was so disgusted at the ill reception of this comedy, that he determined to write no more for the stage.

6 His Fables.

7 It should be remembered, that when he speaks of the contents of this volume, and thus highly praises the verses to his kinsman, he had in contemplation only the new pieces which appeared in it. ALEXANDER's Feast had


he has sent me, which surpris'd me, because I did not in the least expect it.-—I doubt not but he receiv'd what you were pleas’d to send him ; because he sent me the letter which you did me the favour to write me. At this very instant I heare the guns; which, goeing off, give me to understand that the King is goeing to the Parliament, to pass Açts, and consequently to prorogue them: for yesterday I heard that both he and the Lords have given up the cause, and the House of Commons have gain'd an entire victory;' though, under the

been printed in 1697, in a separate form; had already " had its trial, and stood out all appeals."

8 See voli j. part i. pp. 325 and 327.

9 King William had rewarded the Earls of Portland, Galway, Albemarle, and Athlone, and other of his foreign • şervants, who had served him ably and faithfully, and whom he had raised to peerages, with grants of part of the forfeited estates in Ireland, to enable them to support their new dignities. The House of Commons having resolved to resume those grants, brought in a Bill for that purpose, and to apply them to the payment of the publick dębts; and, to prevent the Bill from being defeated in the House of Lords, they called this Bill, not an Act of Resụmption, but a Bill of Supply; and tacked it to that for the ordinary grants of the year. The Lords for some time opposed not the resumption, but the form of the Bill, which tended to reduce them to insignificance : but at length, on an intimation from his Majesty that he did not wish any further opposition to be made, even the Servants of the Crown gave way; and the Bill passed both Houses.--The day before this letter was written, the Commons, not content with having deprived their

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