Billeder på siden
PDF
ePub

passage of

He to God's image, she to his was made ;
So, farther from the fount the stream at random

strayed.
How could he stand, when, put to double pain,
He must a weaker than himself sustain !
Each might have stood perhaps, but each alone ;
Two wrestlers help to pull each other down.

Not that my verse would blemish all the fair; But yet if sonie be bad, 'tis wisdom to beware, And better shun the bait, than struggle in the snare. Thus have you shunned, and shun the married state, Trusting as little as you can to fate. No porter guards the

your door, To admit the wealthy, and exclude the poor ; For God, who gave the riches, gave the heart, To sanctify the whole, by giving part; Heaven, who foresaw the will

, the means has wrought, And to the second son a blessing brought; The first-begotten had his father's share; But you, like Jacob, are Rebecca's heir.

So may your stores and fruitful fields increase; And ever be you blessed, who live to bless. As Ceres sowed, where-e'er her chariot flew; As heaven in deserts rained the bread of dew; So free to many, to relations most, You feed with manna your own Israel host. With crowds attended of

ancient race, You seek the champaign sports, or sylvan chace; With well-breathed beagles you surround the wood, Even then industrious of the common good; And often have you brought the wily fox To suffer for the firstlings of the flocks; Chased even amid the folds, and made to bleed, Like felons, where they did the murderous deed.

your

* Sir Robert Driden inherited the paternal estate of CanonAshby, while that of Chesterton descended to Juhn, his second brother, to whom the epistle is addressed, through his mother, daughter of Sir Robert Bevile.

}

This fiery game your active youth maintained;
Not yet by years extinguished, though restrained:
You season still with sports your serious hours;
For age but tastes of pleasures, youth devours.
The hare in pastures or in plains is found,
Emblem of human life ; who runs the round,
And, after all his wandering ways are done,
His circle fills, and ends where he begun,
Just as the setting meets the rising sun.

Thus princes ease their cares; but happier he,
Who seeks not pleasure through necessity,
Than such as once on slippery thrones were placed,
And chasing, sigh to think themselves are chased.

So lived our sires, ere doctors learned to kill, And multiplied with theirs the weekly bill. The first physicians by debauch were made; Excess began, and sloth sustains the trade. Pity the generous kind their cares bestow To search forbidden truths, (a sin to know,) To which if human science could attain, The doom of death, pronounced by God, were vain, In vain the leech would interpose delay; Fate fastens first, and vindicates the prey. What help from art's endeavours can we have ? Guibbons * but guesses, nor is sure to save; But Maurus | sweeps whole parishes, and peoples

[ocr errors]

every grave;

* William Guibbons, M.D.--Dryden mentions this gentleman in terms of grateful acknowledgment in the Postscript to Virgil:" That I have recovered, in some measure, the health which I had lost by application to this work, is owing, next to God's mercy, to the skill and care of Dr Guibbons and Dr Hobbs, the two ornaments of their profession, which I can only pay by this ac-. knowledgment." As Dr Guibbons was an enemy to the DispensaTy, he is ridiculed by Garth in his poem so entitled, under the character of “ Mirmillo the famed Opifer.”

+ Sir Richard Blackmore, poet and physician, whose offences towards our author have been enumerated in a note on the pro.

And no more mercy to mankind will use,
Than when he robbed and murdered Maro's muse.
Would'st thou be soon dispatched, and perish whole,
Trust Maurus with thy life, and Milbourne with thy

soul. I

By chace our long-lived fathers earned their food; Toil strung the nerves, and purified the blood : But we their sons, a pampered race of men, Are dwindled down to threescore years and ten. Better to hunt in fields, for health unbought, Than fee the doctor for a nauseous draught. The wise, for cure, on exercise depend; God never made his work for man to mend.

The tree of knowledge, once in Eden placed, Was easy found, but was forbid the taste: O had our grandsire walked without his wife, He first had sought the better plant of life! Now both are lost: yet, wandering in the dark, Physicians, for the tree, have found the bark; They, labouring for relief of human kind, With sharpened sight some remedies may The apothecary-train is wholly blind.

find;

2

logue to “The Pilgrim," where his character is discussed at length under the same name of Maurus. See Vol. VIII. p. 442, and also the Postscript to Virgil, where Dryden acknowledges his obligations to the Faculty, and adds, in allusion to Blackmore, that “ the only one of them, who endeavoured to defame him, had it not in his power."

I In this line, as in the end of the preface to the “ Fables," our author classes together one Milbourne and one Blackmore.” The former was a clergyman, and beneficed at Yarmouth. Dryden, in the preface just quoted, insinuates, that he lost his living for writing libels on his parishioners. These passing strokes of satire in the text are amply merited by the virulence of Milbourne's attack, not only on our author's poetry, but on his person, and principles political and religious. See a note on the preface to che “ Fables,” near the end.

From files a random recipe they take,
And many deaths of une prescription make.
Garth, * generous as his muse, prescribes and gives;
The shopman sells, and by destruction lives :
Ungrateful tribe! who, like the viper's brood,
From Medcine issuing, suck their mother's blood !
Let these obey, and let the learned prescribe,
That men may die without a double bribe;
Let them, but under their superiors, kill,
When doctors first have signed the bloody bill;
He 'scapes the best, who, nature to repair,
Draws physic from the fields, in draughts of vital air.

You hoard not health for your own private use,
But on the public spend the rich produce.
When, often urged, unwilling to be great,
Your country calls you from your loved retreat,
And sends to senates, charged with common care,
Which none more shuns, and none can better bear:
Where could they find another formed so fit,
To poise, with solid sense, a sprightly wit?
Were these both wanting, as they both abound,
Where could so firm integrity be found?
Well born, and wealthy, wanting no support,
You steer betwixt the country and the court;
Nor gratify whate'er the great desire,
Nor grudging give, what public needs require.

* Sir Samuel Garth, the ingenious author of the “ Dispensary.". Although this celebrated wit and physician differed widely from Dryden in politics, being a violent Whig, they seem, nevertheless, to have lived in the most intimate terms. Dryden contri-' buted to Garth's translation of the “ Metamorphoses ;” and Sir Samuel had the honour to superintend the funeral of our poet, and to pronounce a Latin oration upon that occasion. Garth's generosity, here celebrated, consisted in maintaining a Dispensary for issuing advice and medicines gratis to the poor. This was highly disapproved of by the more selfish of his brethren, and their disputes led to Sir Samuel's humorous poem.

Part must be left, a fund when foes invade,
And part employed to roll the watery trade;
Even Canaan's happy land, when worn with toil,
Required a sabbath-year to mend the meagre soil.

Good senators and such as you) so give,
That kings may be supplied, the people thrive:
And he, when want requires, is truly wise,
Who slights not foreign aids, nor overbuys,
But on our native strength, in time of need, relies.
Munster was bought, we boast not the success;
Who fights for gain, for greater makes his peace.
Our foes, compelled by need, have peace em-

braced ; *
The peace both parties want, is like to last ;
Which if secure, securely we may trade;
Or, not secure, should never have been made.
Safe in ourselves, while on ourselves we stand,
The sea is ours, and that defends the land.
Be, then, the naval stores the nation's care,
New ships to build, and battered to repair.

*

A

very bloody war had been recently concluded by the peace of Ryswick, in 1697. But the country party in Parliament entertained violent suspicions, that King William, whose continental connections they dreaded, intended a speedy renewal of the contest with France. Hence they were jealous of every attempt to maintain any military force; so that, in 1699, William saw himself compelled, not only to disband the standing army, but to dismiss his faithful and favourite Dutch guards. The subsequent lines point obliquely at these measures, which were now matter of public discussion. Dryden's cousin joined in them with many of the Whigs, who were attached to what was called the countryparty. As for the poet, his jacobitical principles assented to every thing which could embarrass King William. But, for the reasons which he has assigned in his letter to Lord Montague, our author leaves his opinion concerning the disbanding of the army to be inferred from his panegyric on the navy, and his declamation against the renewal of the war.

« ForrigeFortsæt »