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EPISTLE THE SIXTH.
WHETHER the fruitful Nile, or Tyrian shore,
song. Nor stopt translation here ; for conquering Rome, With Grecian spoils, brought Grecian numbers
home; Enrich'd by those Athenian muses more, Than all the vanquish'd world could yield before.
Till barbarous nations, and more barbarous times,
The Muse's empire is restored again,
* Roscommon, it must be remembered, was born in Ireland, where his property also was situated. But the Dillons were of English extraction.
How will sweet Ovid's ghost be pleased to hear
** In this verse, which savours of the bathos, our author passes from Roscommon to Mulgrave; another “author nobly born," who about this time had engaged with Dryden and others in the version of Ovid's Epistles, published in 1680. The Epistle of Helen to Paris, alluded to in the lines which follow, was jointly translated by Mulgrave and Dryden, although the poet politely ascribes the whole merit to his noble coadjutor. See Vol. XII.
EPISTLE THE SEVENTH.
DUCHESS OF YORK,
RETURN FROM SCOTLAND, IN THE YEAR 1682.
These smooth and elegant lines are addressed to Mary of Este, second wife of James Duke of York, and afterwards his queen. She was at this time in all the splendour of beauty ; tall, and admirably formed in her person ; dignified and graceful in her deportment, her complexion very fair, and her hair and eyebrows of the purest black. Her personal charms fully merited the encomiastic strains of the following epistle.
The duchess accompanied her husband to Scotland, where he was sent into a kind of honorary banishment, during the depende ence of the Bill of Exclusion.
Upon the dissolution of the Oxford Parliament, the duke visited the court in triumph; and after two months stay, returned to Scotland, and in his voyage suffered the misfortune of shipwreck, elsewhere mentioned particularly.* Having settled the affairs of Scotland, he returned with his family to England; whence he had been virtually banished for three
* Vol. IX. p. 402.
years. His return was hailed by the poets of the royal party with unbounded congratulation. It is celebrated by Tate, in the Second Part of “ Absalom and Achitophel ;" * and by our author, in a prologue spoken before the duke and duchess. But, not contented with that expression of zeal, Dryden paid the following additional tribute upon the same occasion.
344. + Vol. X. p. 366. Otway furnished an epilogue on the same night.