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The joy of the people upon the fallacious prospect of the king's recovery, is also a striking picture :

Men met each other with erected look;
The steps were higher that they took;
Friends to congratulate their friends made haste,
And long inveterate foes saluted as they past.

There are many other fine passages in the "Threnodia;" though the general effect is less impressive than might have been expected. The description in the thirteenth stanza, for example, of the effects on poetry and literature produced by the Restoration, and that of the return of liberty,

Without whose charms even peace would be
But a dull quiet slavery,

are both striking.—The character of Charles; his wit, parts, and powers of conversation; his gentle manners, and firmness of disposition, which, like a well-wrought blade, kept, even in yielding, the native toughness of the steel, -are all themes of panegyric, which, though perhaps exaggerated, are weli-chosen, and exquisitely brought out. It is indeed a peculiar attribute of Dryden's praise, that it is always appropriate; while the gross adulation of his contemporaries gave indiscriminately the same broad features to all their subjects, and thereby very often converted their intended pane gyric into satire, not the less bitter because undesigned. Dryden, for instance, in this whole poem has never once mentioned the queen; sensible that the gaiety of Charles' life, and his frequent amours, rendered her conjugal grief, which some of the elegiasts chose to describe in terms approaching to blasphemy, an apocry phal, as well as a delicate theme. † He knew, that praise, to do honour to the giver and receiver, must either have a real foundation in desert, or at least what, by the skilful management of the poet, may be easily represented as such.

+ Perhaps the most extraordinary instance of flattery, wrought up to impiety, occurs in Mrs Behn's address to the queen on the death of her husband:

Methinks I see you like the queen of heaven,
To whom all patience and all grace was given;
When the great lord of life himself was laid
Upon her lap, all wounded, pale, and dead;
Transpierced with anguish, even to death transformed,
So she bewailed her god, so sighed, so mourned,
So is blest image in her heart remained,

So his blest memory o'er her soul still reigned;
She lived the sacred victim to deplore,
And never knew, or wished a pleasure more.

Having discussed the melancholy part of his subject, the poet, according to the approved custom in such cases, finds cause for rejoicing in the succession of James, as he had mourned over the death of his predecessor. From his firmness of character, and supposed military talents, the poet prophesies a warlike and victorious reign: a sad instance how seldom the poetic and prophetic character, so often claimed, are united in the same individual! for James, as is well known, far from conquering foreign kingdoms, did not draw the sword even to defend his own. But very different events were expected, and augured, by the shoal of versifiers, who now rushed forwards to gratulate his accession.

The pindaric measure, in which the "Threnodia Augustalis" is written, contains nothing pleasing to modern ears. The rhymes are occasionally so far disjoined, that, like a fashionable married couple, they have nothing of union but the name. The inequalities of the verse are also violent, and remind us of ascending a broken and unequal stair-case. But the age had been accustomed to this rythm, which, however improperly, was considered as a genuine imitation of the style of Pindar. It must also be owned, that wherever, for a little way, Dryden uses a more regular measure, he displays all his usual command of harmony. The thirteenth stanza, for example, is as happily distinguished by melody of rhyme, as we have already observed it is eminent in beauty of poetry.

The Latin title of this poem, like that of the Religio Laici, savours somewhat of affectation; and has been taxed by Johnson as not strictly classical, a more unpardonable fault. †

These are even more numerous than the Elegiasts on Charles's death. In the Luttrell Collection there are the following rare pieces.


Panegyris Jacobi serenissimi, &c. regi ipso die inaugurationis."
A Poem on Do. by R. Philips."


"On Do. by a Young Gentleman."


A Panegyrick on Do. by the Author of the Plea for Succession." "A New Song on Do."

"A Poem on Do. by John Philips."

"A Poem upon the Coronation, by J. Baber, Esq."

"A Pindarique to their Sacred Majesties on their Coronation."

"A Poem on Do. by R. Mansell, Gent."


A Panegyrick on Do. by Peter Ker;" with whose rapturous invitation to

the ships to strand themselves for joy, we shall conclude the list:

Let subjects sing, bells ring, and cannons roar ;
And every ship come dancing to the shore.

Dryden, perhaps, recollected the poem of Fitzpayne Fisher on Cromwell's death, entitled, Threnodia Triumphalis in obitum serenissimi Nostri Principis Olivari, Anglia Scotia Hiberniæ cum dominationibus ubicunque jacenti


My learned friend, Dr Adam, has favoured me with the following defence of Dryden's phrase: "With respect to the title which that great poet gives to his elegy on the death of Charles, making allowance for the taste of the times and the licence of poets in framing names, I see no just foundation for Johnson's criticism on the epithet Augustalis. Threnodia is a word purely Greek, used by no Latin author; and Augustalis denotes, in honour of Augustus; thus, ludi Augustales, games instituted in honour of Augustis, Tac. An. 1, 15 and 54; so sacerdotes vel sodales Augustales, ib. and 2, 83. Hist. 2, 95. Now as Augustus was a name given to the succeeding emperors, I see no reason, why Augustalis may not be used to signify, in honour of any king. Besides, the very word Augustus denotes, venerable, august, royal:' and therefore Threnodia Augustalis may properly be put for, An Elegy in honour of an august Prince."



The full title declared the poem to be written " by John Dryden, servant to his late majesty, and to the present king;" a style which our author did not generally assume, but which the occasion rendered peculiarly proper. The poem appears to have been popular, as it went through two editions in the course of 1685.

bus Nuperi protectoris, (Qui obiit. Septemb. 3tio.) Ubi stupenda passim victoriæ, et incredibiles domi forasque successus, Heroico carmine, succinctim perstringuntur. Per Fitzpaynæum Piscatorem. Londini, 1658.

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HUS long my grief has kept me dumb:
Sure there's a lethargy in mighty woe,
Tears stand congealed, and cannot flow;
And the sad soul retires into her inmost room:
Tears, for a stroke foreseen, afford relief;
But, unprovided for a sudden blow,
Like Niobe, we marble grow,
And petrify with grief.

Our British heaven was all serene,

No threatening cloud was nigh,
Not the least wrinkle to deform the sky;
We lived as unconcerned and happily
As the first age in nature's golden scene;
Supine amidst our flowing store,

We slept securely, and we dreamt of more;
When suddenly the thunder-clap was heard,
It took us, unprepared, and out of guard,
Already lost before we feared.

The amazing news of Charles at once were spread,

At once the general voice declared,
"Our gracious prince was dead."
No sickness known before, no slow disease,
To soften grief by just degrees;
But, like an hurricane on Indian seas,
The tempest rose;

An unexpected burst of woes, †
With scarce a breathing space betwixt,
This now becalmed, and perishing the next.
As if great Atlas from his height
Should sink beneath his heavenly weight,
And, with a mighty flaw, the flaming wall,
As once it shall,

Should gape immense, and, rushing down, o'erwhelm this nether ball;

So swift and so surprising was our fear:
Our Atlas fell indeed; but Hercules was near.


His pious brother, sure the best
Who ever bore that name,

Was newly risen from his rest,
And, with a fervent flame,
His usual morning vows had just addrest,
For his dear sovereign's health;

And hoped to have them heard,
In long increase of years,

In honour, fame, and wealth:

Guiltless of greatness, thus he always prayed,
Nor knew nor wished those vows he made,
On his own head should be repaid.

+ Note 1.

Alluding to the fable of Hercules supporting the heavenly sphere when Atlas was fatigued.

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