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The short extract we shall proceed to make, will shew very clearly that nothing could exceed Dryden's want of judgment, but the fertility of his fancy; the last line, so entirely absurd as it is, occurring after the other striking and natural images, proves a most extraordinary vivacite de pesanteur to have existed in the poet.

"Abas. Mischiefs on mischiefs, greater still, and more:

The neighb'ring plain with arms is cover'd o'er:

The vale an iron-harvest seems to yield

Of thick-sprung lances in a waving field.

The polish'd steel gleams terribly from far,

And every moment nearer shows the war.

The horse's neighing by the wind is blown,

And castled elephants o'erlook the town."

Aureng. Act I. Sc. I.

One of the most fruitful sources of the bathos in Dryden, is his constant reference, in his most serious and impassioned parts, to familiar objects; the more homely the greater favorite is a simile with Dryden, for it generally hes the advantage of being universally known, and is always especially true and appropriate. Dryden was an accurate observer, and had a mind stored with facts, truths, and observations taken from every possible subject, and collected in every possible quarter. There would be no difficulty in collecting a large quantity of these blemishes, which nothing but an absolute ignorance of their effect could have allowed to be so numerous. We will quote a few at random.

In allusion to sickness:

"Strong virtue, like strong nature, struggles still,

Exerts itself, and then throws off the ill."

To taxes, speaking to a lover:

"Impose; but use your pow'r of taxing well;

When subjects cannot pay, they soon rebel."

To a sieve:

*' If you have not enjoy'd what youth could give,
But life sunk through you like a leaky sieve,
Accuse yourself."

To a dyed garment:

"Our summer such a russet livery wears,

As in a garment often dy'd appears."

To dough:

"When the gods moulded up the paste of man,
Some of their dough was left upon their hands,
For want of souls: and so they made Egyptians."

To a tradesman's bill:

"Nothing, a trifling sum of misery,
New added to the foot of thy account:
Thy wife is seized and borne away."

To a hammer:

"Your fate, once more, is laid upon the anvil;
Now pluck up all the Spartan in your soul;
Now stretch at every stroke, and hammer out
A new and nobler fortune."

To a hand at whist:
"Only to take care of me from me,
Weary with sitting out a losing hand;
Twill be some ease to see another play it."

It would be surprising if Dryden, who was so complete a master of his own language, and had so fine an ear for the melody of versification, had not often succeeded in the course of the rhyming plays, in the modulation of his numbers. It is indeed their chief merit; and for this beauty, the " Indian Emperor" has been praised more than once, in these times of juster conceptions concerning dramatic propriety.—In our opinion, however, it is in the " State of Innocence" that the most melodious versification is to be found. The " State of Innocence," though a miserable production on the whole, and a disgusting debasement of the sterling poetry of Milton, yet has the merit of containing many pleasing passages; specimens of which we shall forthwith produce.

Raphael thus speaks of the reciprocal duties of Adam and Eve:

"Thus far to try thee; but to heav'n 'twas known,
It was not best for man to be alone;
An equal, yet thy subject, is design'd
For thy soft hours, and to unbend thy mind.
Thy stronger soul shall her weak reason sway;
And thou, through love, her beauty sbalt obey;
Thou shalt secure her helpless sex from harms,
And she thy cares shall sweeten with her charms."

State of Innocence, Act II.

The following passage possesses more than the charm of sweet numbers. Eve before she has seen Adam is wandering in Paradise, and is attracted by the reflection of her form in the water; she exclaims:

"Tell me, ye hills and dales, and thou fair sun,

Who shin'st above, what am I? whence begun?

Like myself, I see nothing; from each tree

The feather'd kind peep down to look on me;

And beasts with up-cast eyes forsake their shade,

And gaze.


What's here? another firmament below,

[Looks into a fountain.

Spread wide, and other trees that downward grow?
And now a face peeps up, and now draws near,
With smiling looks, as pleas'd to see me here.
As I advance, so that advances too,
And seems to imitate whate'er I do:
When I begin to speak, the lips it moves;
Streams drown the voice, or it would say, it loves.
Yet when I would embrace, it will not stay:

[Stoops down to embrace.
Lost ere 'tis held; when nearest, far away.
Ah, fair, yet false; ah, Being form'd to cheat,
By seeming kindness, mixt with deep deceit."

Beholding Adam, she adds,

"O, only like myself, (for nothing here
So graceful, so majestic does appear;)
Art thou the form my longing eyes did see,
Loos'd from thy fountain, and come out to me?
Yet sure thou art not, nor thy face the same,
Nor thy limbs moulded in so soft a frame;
Thou look'st more sternly, dost more strongly move,
And more of awe thou bear'st, and less of love.

Yet pleas'd I hear thee."

State of Innocence, Act IF.

Were not the similar scenes of Paradise Lost so strongly impressed on the mind, we should perhaps think that the rich and luxurious beauty of the lines we are about to quote, had seldom been surpassed in their kind.

"Adam. When to my arms thou brought'st thy virgin love,
Fair angels sung our bridal hymn above:
Th' Eternal, nodding, shook the firmament,
And conscious nature gave her glad consent.
Roses unbid, and ev'ry fragrant flow'r,
Flew from their stalks, to strow thy nuptial bower:
The furr'd and feather'd kind the triumph did pursue,
And fishes leap'd above the streams, the passing pomp to view.

voi.. I. Part i. T

"Eve. When your kind eyes look'd languishing on mine,
And wreathing arms did soft embraces join,
A doubtful trembling seiz'd me first all o'er;
Then, wishes; and a warmth unknown before:
What follow'd was all ecstasy and trance;
Immortal pleasures round my swimming eyes did dance,
And speechless joys, in whose sweet tumult tost,
1 thought my breath, and my new being lost."


"Eve. Blest in ourselves, all pleasures else abound;
Without our care, behold th' unlabour'd ground,
Bounteous of fruit, above our shady bowers
The creeping jess'min thrusts her fragrant flowers;
The myrtle, orange, and the blushing rose,
With bending heaps so nigh their blooms disclose,
Each seems to swell the flavour which the other blows:
By these the peach, the guava, and the pine,
And, creeping 'twixt 'em all, the mant'ling vine
Does round their trunks her purple clusters twine."

State of Innocence, Act III.

The mastery which Dryden had obtained over the difficulties of rhyme, was perhaps never more manifest, than in the following narrative of the intrusion of Lucifer into Paradise.

"Gabriel, if now the watch be set, prepare,

With strictest guard, to shew thy utmost care.

This morning came a spirit, fair he seem'd,

Whom, by his face, I some young cherub deem'd;

Of man he much inquir'd, and where his place,

With shews of zeal to praise his Maker's grace;

But I, with watchful eyes, observ'd his flight,

And saw him on yon steepy mount alight;

There, as he thought unseen, he laid aside

His borrow'd mask, and re-assum'd his pride;

I mark'd his looks, averse to heav'n and good;

Dusky he grew, and long revolving stood

On some deep, dark design; then shot with haste,

And o'er the mounds of Paradise he past;

By his proud port, he seem'd the prince of hell;

And here he lurks, in shades, till night: search well

Each grove and thicket, pry in ev'ry shape,

Lest, hid in some, th' arch hypocrite escape."

State of Innocence, Act III.

There is a sweetness in the three following extracts, which would finely relieve the ruggedness of more uneven versification, but occurring as they do in a melodious rhyming play, are but beauties lost in a crowd of kindred charms. "Eve. The ground, unbid, gives more than we can ask;

But work is pleasure when we chuse our task.

Nature, not bounteous now, but lavish grows;

Our paths with flow'rs she prodigally strows;

With pain we lift up our entangled feet,

While 'cross our walks the shooting branches meet.

"Adam. Well has thy care advis'd; 'tis fit we haste;

Nature's too kind, and follows us too fast;

Leaves us no room her treasures to possess,

But mocks our industry with her excess;

And wildly wanton wears by night away,

The sign of all our labours done by day."

State of Innocence, Act IV.

"What joy, without your sight, has earth in store!

While you were absent, Eden was no more.

Winds murmur'd, through the leaves, your long delay;

And fountains, o'er the pebbles, chid your stay.

But with your presence cheer'd, they cease to mourn,

And walks wear fresher green, at your return."


"Raph. As much of grief as happiness admits
In heav'n, on each celestial forehead sits:
Kindness for man, and pity for his fate,
May mix with bliss, and yet not violate.
Their heav'nly harps a lower strain began;
And, in soft music, mourn the fall of man.

"Gab. I saw th' angelic guards from earth ascend,
Griev'd they must now no longer man attend;
The beams about their temples dimly shone;
One would have thought the crime had been their own.
Th' ethereal people flock'd for news in haste,
Whom they, with down-cast looks, and scarce saluting past;
While each did, in his pensive breast, prepare
A sad accompt of their successless care."

State of Innocence, Act V.

The following speech of Adam, objecting to leave Paradise, is affecting, and the answer of Raphael sublime.

"Adamt Heav'n is all mercy; labour I would choose; And could sustain this Paradise to lose:

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