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moderate it by their precepts, and the latter to restrain it by their laws. The longest time that has been allowed to the forms of mourning by the custom of any country, and i any relation, has been but that of a year, in which space th body is commonly supposed to be mouldered away to earth and to retain no more figure of what it was; but this ha been given only to the loss of parents, of husband, or wife On the other side, to children under age, nothing has beer allowed; and I suppose with particular reason (the common ground of all general customs,) perhaps because they die in innocence, and without having tasted the miseries of life, so as we are sure they are well when they leave us, and escape much ill which would in all appearance have befallen them if they had staid longer with us. Besides a parent may have twenty children, and so his mourning may run through all the best of his life, if his losses are frequent of that kind and our kindness to children so young, is taken to proceed from common opinions, or fond imaginations, not friendship or esteem; and to be grounded upon entertainment, rather than use in the many offices of life: nor would it pass from any person besides your Ladyship, to say you lost a companion and a friend at nine years old, though you lost one indeed, who gave the fairest hopes that could be of being both in time, and every thing else that was esteemable and good; but yet, that itself God only knows, considering the changes of humour and disposition, which are as great as those of feature and shape the first sixteen years of our lives; considering the chances of time, the infection of company, the snares of the world, and the passions of youth; so that the most excellent and agreeable creature of that tender age, and that seemed born under the happiest stars, might by the course of years and accidents, come to be the most miserable herself, and more trouble to her friends by living long, than she could have been by dying young.

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Yet after all, Madam, I think your loss so great, and some measure of your grief so deserved, that would all your passionate complaints, all the anguish of your heart do any thing to retrieve it; could tears water the lovely plant so as to make it grow again after once 'tis cut down; would sighs furnish new breath, or could it draw life and spirits from the wasting of yours; I am sure your friends would be so far from accusing your passion, that they would encourage

it as much, and share it as deep as they could. But alas! the eternal laws of the creation extinguish all such hopes, forbid all such designs: nature gives us many children and friends to take them away, but takes none away to give them us again. And this makes the excesses of grief to have been so universally condemned as a thing unnatural, because so much in vain; whereas nature they say does nothing in vain: as a thing so unreasonable, because so contrary to our own designs; for we all design to be well, and at ease, and by grief we make ourselves ill of imaginary wounds, and raise ourselves troubles most properly out of the dust, whilst our ravings and complaints are but like arrows shot up into the air, at no mark, and so to no purpose, but only to fall back upon our heads, and destroy ourselves, instead of recovering or revenging our friends.

Perhaps, Madam, you will say, this is your design, or if not, your desire; but I hope you are not yet so far gone, or so desperately bent: your Ladyship knows wery well, your life is not your own, but his that lent it you to manage, and preserve the best you could, and not to throw it away, as if it came from some common hand. It belongs in a grat measure to your country, and your family; and therefore by all human laws, as well as divine, self-murder has ever been agreed on as the greatest crime, and is punish'd here with the utmost shame, which is all that can be inflicted upon the dead. But is the crime much less to kill ourselves by a slow poison, than by a sudden wound? Now if we do it, and know we do it by a long and a continual grief, can ye think ourselves innocent? What great difference is there if we break our hearts or consume them; if we pierce them, or bruise them; since all determines in the same death, as all arises from the same despair? But what` if it goes not so far? Tis not indeed so bad as might be, but that does not excuse it from being very ill: though I do not kill my neighbour, is it no hurt to wound him, or to spoil him of the conveniences of life? The greatest crime is for a man to kill himself; is it a small one to wound himself by anguish of heart, by grief, or despair, to ruin his health, to shorten his age, to deprive himself of all the pleasures, or eases, or enjoyments of life?

Next to the mischiefs we do ourselves, are those we do our children, and our friends, as those who deserve best of

us, or, at least deserve no ill. The child you carry about you what has that done, that you should endeavour to deprive it of life, almost as soon as you bestow it? Or if at the best you suffer it to live to be born, yet, by your ill usage of yourself, should so much impair the strength of its body and health, and perhaps the very temper of its mind, by giving it such an infusion of melancholy, as may serve to discolour the objects, and disrelish the accidents it may meet with in the common train of life? But this is one you are not yet acquainted with; what will you say to another you are? Were it a small injury to my Lord Capel, to deprive him of a mother, from whose prudence and kindness he may justly expect the cares of his health and education, the forming of his body, and the cultivating of his mind; the seeds of honour and virtue, and thereby the true principles of a happy life; how has my Lord of Essex deserved that you should go about to lose him a wife he loves with s0 much passion, and which is more, with so much reason; so great an honour and support to his family, so great a hope. to his fortune, and comfort to his life? Are there so many left of your own great family, that you should desire in a manner wholly to reduce it by suffering the greatest and almost last branch of it to wither away before is time? or is your country in this age so stored with great persons, that you should envy it those we may justly expect from so noble

a race?

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Whilst I had any hopes your tears would ease you, or that your grief would consume itself by liberty and time, your Ladyship knows very well I never once accused it, nor ever encreased it, like many others, by the common formal ways of assuaging it; and this I am sure is the first office of this kind I ever went about to perform otherwise than in the most ordinary forms. I was in hope what was so violent, could not be so long: but when I observed it to grow stronger with age, and encrease like a stream the further it run; when I saw it draw out to so much unhappy consequences, and threathen no less than your child, your health, and your life; I could no longer forbear this endeavour, nor end it without begging of your Ladyship, for God's sake, and for your own, for your children, and your friends, for your country's and your family's, that you would no longer abandon yourself to so disconsolate a passion, but that you would at length awaken

your piety, give way to your prudence, or at least, rouse up the invincible spirit of the Piercies *), that never yet shrunk at any disaster; that you would sometimes remember the great honours and fortunes of your family, not always the losses; cherish those veins of good humour that are sometimes so natural to you, and sear up those of ill that would make you so unnatural to your children, and to yourself: but above all, that you would enter upon the cares of your health, and your life, for your friends sake at least, if not for your own. For my part, I know nothing could be to me so great an honour and satisfaction, as if your Ladyship would own me to have contributed towards this cure; but, however, none can perhaps more justly pretend to your pardon for the attempt, since there is none, I am sure that has always had at heart a greater honour for your Lady ship's family, nor can have for your person more devotion and esteem than, Madam,

Your Ladyship's

most obedient and most humble servant.



OHN DRYDEN Esq. wurde 1631 zu Aldwinkle bei Oundle in Northamptonshire geboren. Er besuchte die Westminsterschule und Cambridge, wo er 1653 den Grad eines Bachelor ! annahm. Sein erster Versuch, heroic stanzas zum Lobe Cromwell's, erschien 1658 nach des Protector's Tode. Die Restauration hatte auf ihn eben den Einfluss, den sie auf die Herzen der mehrsten Britten äusserte: denn er schrieb bald darauf: Astræa redux, a poem on the happy restoration and return of his sacred Majesty King Charles II. 1663 fing er an für die Bühne zu arbeiten. Sein erstes Stück, the wild gallant, eine Komödie, wurde kalt aufgenommen. Dies hielt ihn indessen nicht ab, noch 27 andere, theils Trauerspiele, theils Lustspiele, theils sogenannte Tragikomödien, theils Opern zu liefern. Die wichtigsten darunter sind folgende: the rival ladies (1664) und Sir Martin Marr-all (1668) Lustspiele;

Piercies, der Familienname der Gräfinn.


the secret love or the maiden queen, eine Tragikomödie; the tempest nach Shakspeare (1670); tyrannic love, or the virgin martyr, ein Trauerspiel in Versen (1672); mariage à la mode, ein Lustspiel (1673), Aurung Zebe (1676) und Troilus and Cressida nach Shakspeare (1679), Trauerspiele; the spanish fryar, eine Tragikomödie (1681); the duke of Guise, ein Trauerspiel (1683); Albion and Albanus (1685), und Amphitryon, Opern; Don Sebastian (1690) und Cleomenes (1692), Trauspiele; und sein letztes Stück the love triumphant, eine Tragikomödie (1694). Man hält seine dramatischen Produkte für die schlechtesten seiner Werke, weil sie zu sehr in dem ungeläuterten Geschmack des damaligen Publikums geschrieben sind. Sein Theater erschien zu London 1701 in 2 Bänden in folio, und nachher öfters. Man sollte glauben, 28 Schauspiele würden ihn während eben so vieler Jahre hinreichend beschäftigt haben. Allein er arbeitete mit der Leichtigkeit eines Lope de Vega, und fand Mufse genug, sein fruchtbares Genie anderweitig zu üben. 1667 wurde sein annus mirabilis gedruckt, ein historisches Gedicht, das nach Dr. Johnson's Urtheil zu seinen gefeiltesten Werken gehört. Um diese Zeit schrieb er die Biographien des Polybius, Lucian und Plutarch, die den Englischen Uebersetzungen dieser Schriftsteller vorgedruckt sind. 1668 erhielt er den Posten eines poet-laureat oder Hofdichters, der ihn, wenn er sich darin zu erhalten gewufst hätte, vor dem Mangel geschützt haben würde, mit dem er in den letzten Jahren seines Lebens kämpfen musste. Um jene Zeit erschien sein eleganter und lehreicher Dialog, essay of dramatic poesy, der erste Versuch einer feinern Kritik, der von einem Engländer gemacht wurde. Er erwarb sich dadurch ein so grofses Ansehen, dafs ihn die damaligen dramatischen Dichter, z. B. Lee, für den Arbiter der Bühne erkannten, und sich von ihm die Prologen oder Epilogen ihrer Stücke schreiben liefsen. 1681 machte er seine merkwürdige Satyre Absalom und Achitophel bekannt Sie ist gegen die Parthei des Herzogs von Monmouth gerichtet, und persiflirt viele der angeschensten Personen damaliger Zeit unter erdichteten Namen. Nach Jacob's II. Thronbesteigung trat er, weniger aus Ueberzeugung, als aus Politik, zur katholischen Kirche über, wofür ihn der König zu seinem Historiographen ernannte. Aus Eifer für seine neue Religion machte er jetzt seine berufene Fabel the hind and the panther bekannt, worin er die Römische Kirche unter dem Bilde einer

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