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EXCELLENT LINES OF HIS. 263

the almost total indifference of our own and of recently past times, both to Addison's poems and to those of Lord Roscommon, proves that correctness is one of the merits least appreciated by lovers of poetry. He had, however, a far higher merit; his verses were free from the licentiousness of his times. Even Pope thus refers to him:

“Unhappy Dryden l in all Charles's days,
Roscommon only boasts unspotted rays.'

And again, in his ‘Essay on Criticism,’ he says—

‘Yet some there were, among the sounder few
Of those who less presum’d, and better knew,
Who durst assert the juster ancient cause,
And here restored wit's fundamental laws:

- Such was the muse, whose rules and practice tell,

“Nature's chief masterpiece is writing well.”
Such was Roscommon, not more learn'd than good,
With manners gen’rous as his noble blood:
To him the wit of Greece and Rome was known,
And every author's merit, but his own.'

[graphic]

CHAPTER XII.

STATE OF THE TIMES AT THE ACCESSION OF CHARLES II. — FAWOURABLE TO LIGHT LITERATURE. — QUOTATIONS FROM PEPYS. — DE GRAMMONT AT THE CORONATION OF CHARLES II. - THE EARL OF ROCHESTER. — SOME ANECDOTES of HIM.–HIs PoEM UPON “Nothing.”—HIS LINEs on SIR cAR scRoop.– SIR CAR's ANSWER.— RochESTER’s DEATH...-SIR CHARLEs SEDLEY.-ETHEREGE.-DE GRAMMONT. —ST. EVREMOND's EPITAPH on HIM. – THE court AT WHITEHALL. - THE PLAGUE.—CONDUCT OF PEPYS AND OF EVELYN AT THAT CRISIS. – EFFECTS OF THE PLAGUE ON LIGHT LITERATURE.

PEPys's SELF-GRATULATION. 267

CHAPTER XII.

PEPys thus begins his Diary for the year 1660–1661; great and small matters are mixed up together:— “At the end of the last, and the beginning of this year, I do live in one of the houses belonging to the Navy Office, as one of the principal officers, and have done now about half a year; my family being myself, my wife, Jane, Will Hewer, and Wayneman, my girl's brother. Myself in constant good health, and in a most handsome and thriving condition, blessed be Almighty God for it. As to things of state, the King settled, and loved of all. The Duke of York matched to my Lord Chancellor's daughter, which do not please many.’ There was still another State affair unresolved. Every day was the question asked, ‘whom should the King marry? and when should his Majesty be crowned?' Two sad events (two long mournings in the King's purple) had retarded the coronation. The young Duke of Gloucester died Sept. 13, 1660, of the small-pox, owing, says Pepys, to the neglect of his physicians. Both his royal brothers mourned as deeply as it was in their nature to mourn. Amid the disreputable circles of the court, the young Duke, with his handsome, pensive face, appeared as a saint: he had the good qualities both of the King and of the Duke of York; the understanding of Charles united to the application of James. ‘The facility of the first (Charles) was,’ says Mac

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