1793 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

John Dryden

Edmond Malone, circa 1793; Maloniana in Sir James Prior, Life of Edmond Malone (1860) 436-37.



Dryden has himself told us that he was of a grave cast and did not much excel in sallies of humour. One of his bon-mots, however, has been preserved. He does not seem to have lived on very amicable terms with his wife, Lady Elizabeth, whom, if we may believe the lampoons of the time, he was compelled by one of her brothers to marry. Thinking herself neglected by the bard, she one day exclaimed, "Lord, Mr. Dryden, how can you be always poring over those musty books? I wish I were a book, and then I should have more of your company." "Pray, my dear," replied old John, "if you do become a book let it be an almanack, for then I shall change you every year." — (Mr. Horace Walpole.)