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den's tragedies. It was revived at Drury-Lane about the year 1726, with the public approbation: The Old Emperor, Mills; Wilkes, Aureng-Zebe; Booth, Morat; Indamora, Mrs Oldfield; Melesinda, the first wife of Theophilus Cibber, a very pleasing actress, in person agreeable, and in private life unblemished. She died in 1733."-Vol. I. p. 157.

The introduction states all that can be said in favour of the management of the piece; and it is somewhat amusing to see the anxiety which Dryden uses to justify the hazardous experiment, of ascribing to emperors and princesses the language of nature and of passion. He appears with difficulty to have satisfied himself, that the decorum of the scene was not as peremptory as the etiquette of a court. "Aureng-Zebe" was received with the applause to which it is certainly entitled. It was acted and printed in 1676.

TO

THE RIGHT HONOURABLE

JOHN,

EARL OF MULGRAVE,

GENTLEMAN OF HIS MAJESTY'S BED-CHAMBER, AND

KNIGHT OF THE MOST NOBLE ORDER
OF THE GARTER."

MY LORD,

IT

T is a severe reflection which Montaigne has made on princes, that we ought not, in reason, to have any expectations of favour from them; and that it is kindness enough, if they leave us in possession of

* John Sheffield, Earl of Mulgrave, afterwards created Marquis of Normandy, and at length Duke of Buckingham, made a great figure during the reigns of Charles II. of his unfortunate successor, of William the Third, and of Queen Anne. His bravery as a soldier, and abilities as a statesman, seem to have been unquestioned; but for his poetical reputation, he was probably much indebted to the assistance of those wits whom he relieved and patronized. As, however, it has been allowed a sufficient proof of wisdom in a monarch, that he could chuse able ministers, so it is no slight commendation to the taste of this rhyming peer, that in youth he se

our own. The boldness of the censure shows the free spirit of the author: And the subjects of England may justly congratulate to themselves, that both the nature of our government, and the clemency of our king, secure us from any such complaint. I, in particular, who subsist wholly by his bounty, am obliged to give posterity a far other account of my

lected Dryden to supply his own poetical deficiencies, and in age became the friend and the eulogist of Pope. We may observe, however, a melancholy difference betwixt the manner in which an independent man of letters is treated by the great, and that in which they think themselves entitled to use one to whom their countenance is of consequence. In addressing Pope, Sheffield contents himself with launching out into boundless panegyric, while his praise of Dryden, in his "Essay on Poetry," is qualified by a gentle sneer at the "Hind and Panther," our bard's most laboured production. His lordship is treating of satire:

The laureat here may justly claim our praise,
Crown'd by Mack Flecnoe with immortal bays;
Yet once his Pegasus has borne dead weight,
Rid by some lumpish minister of state,

Lord Mulgrave, to distinguish him by his earliest title, certainly received considerable assistance from Dryden in "The Essay on Satire," which occasioned Rochester's base revenge; and was distinguishod by the name of the Rose-Alley Satire, from the place in which Dryden was way-laid and beaten by the hired bravoes of that worthless profligate. It is probable, that the patronage which Dryden received from Mulgrave, was not entirely of an empty and fruitless nature. It is at least certain, that their friendship continued uninterrupted till the death of our poet. The "Discourse upon Epic Poetry" is dedicated to Lord Mulgrave, then Duke of Buckingham, and in high favour with Queen Anne, for whom he is supposed to have long cherished a youthful passion. After the grave of Dryden had remained twenty years without a memorial, this nobleman had the honour to raise the present monument at his own expence; being the latest, and certainly one of the most honourable acts of his life.

Mr Malone, from Macky's "Secret Services," gives the following character of Sheffield, Duke of Buckingham:-" He is a nobleman of learning and good natural parts, but of no princi ples. Violent for the high church, yet seldom goes to it. Very

royal master, than what Montaigne has left of his. Those accusations had been more reasonable, if they had been placed on inferior persons: For in all courts, there are too many, who make it their business to ruin wit; and Montaigne, in other places, tells us, what effects he found of their good natures. He describes them such, whose ambition, lust, or private interest, seem to be the only end of their creation. If good accrue to any from them, it is only in order to their own designs: conferred most commonly on the base and infamous; and never given, but only happening sometimes on well-deservers. Dulness has brought them to what they

proud, insolent, and covetous, and takes all advantages. In paying his debts unwilling, and is neither esteemed nor beloved; for notwithstanding his great interest at court, it is certain he has none in either house of parliament, or in the country. He is of a middle stature, of a brown complexion, with a sour lofty look." Swift sanctioned this severe character, by writing on the margin of his copy of Macky's book, " This character is the truest of any." To so bitter a censure, let us contrast the panegyric of Pope:

66

Muse, 'tis enough; at length thy labour ends,
And thou shalt live, for Buckingham commends;
Let crowds of critics now my verse assail;
Let Dennis write, and nameless numbers rail,
This more than pays whole years of thankless pain---
Time, health, and fortune, are not lost in vain.
Sheffield approves; consenting Phœbus bends,
And I and Malice from this hour are friends.

It

may be worth the attention of the great to consider the value of that genius, which can hand them down to posterity in an interesting and amiable point of view, in spite of their own imbecilities, errors, and vices. While the personal character of Mulgrave has nothing to recommend it, and his poetical effusions are sunk into oblivion, we still venerate the friend of Pope, and the protector of Dryden.

Sheffield, Duke of Buckingham, Marquis of Normandy, and Earl of Mulgrave, was born in 1649, and died in 1720. He was therefore twenty-seven years old when he received this dedication.—

are; and malice secures them in their fortunes. But somewhat of specious they must have, to recommend themselves to princes, (for folly will not easily go down in its own natural form with discerning judges,) and diligence in waiting is their gilding of the pill; for that looks like love, though it is only interest. It is that which gains them their advantage over witty men; whose love of liberty and ease makes them willing too often to discharge their burden of attendance on these officious gentlemen. It is true, that the nauseousness of such company is enough to disgust a reasonable man; when he sees, he can hardly approach greatness, but as a moated castle; he must first pass through the mud and filth with which it is encompassed. These are they, who, wanting wit, affect gravity, and go by the name of solid men ; and a solid man is, in plain English, a solid, solemn fool. Another disguise they have, (for fools, as well as knaves, take other names, and pass by an alias,) and that is, the title of honest fellows. But this honesty of theirs ought to have many grains for its allowance; for certainly they are no farther honest, than they are silly: They are naturally mischievous to their power; and if they speak not maliciously, or sharply, of witty men, it is only because God has not bestowed on them the gift of utterance. They fawn and crouch to men of parts, whom they cannot ruin; quote their wit when they are present, and, when they are absent, steal their jests; but to those who are under them, and whom they can crush with ease, they shew themselves in their natural antipathy; there they treat wit like the common enemy, and, giving no more quarter, than a Dutchman would to an English vessel in the Indies, they strike sail where aadici

VOL. V.

WOM

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