1727 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

John Dryden

Elizabeth Thomas, "To the Editor" Miscellania. In Two Volumes (1727) 1:sigs A5-A6.



SIR,

Being informed by a Person of great Worth and Quality that you designed to publish a Collection of Original Letters, &c. from the best Hands since the Restoration, I here therefore transmit some very good ones which I am possessed of, that I may contribute my little Mite thereto. And I am the more encouraged to pursue my first Intentions of sending you the enclosed Papers, especially those from Mr. Dryden, (from the great Usefulness of such an Undertaking) who notwithstanding he was the Honour and Ornament of his Country (yet misled by the Vices of that Age) had been too great a Libertine in many of his Writings; but dearly did he repent of it before he died (as certainly all must who have even the Principles of natural Religion, when they come to take a serious View of Eternity) he was continually bewailing the Impossibility of calling in all his Works, and making a thorough Reformation, and therefore took all Opportunities of deterring others from treading in his Steps; nay, sometimes his Zeal carried him so far as to chide even when there was no Occasion, as Witness one of his Letters to me, who had desired his Correction of some Verses, and had innocently said they were written in Imitation of Mrs. Behn's Numbers. I own I was pleased with the Cadence of her Verse, tho' at the same Time I no ways approved the Licentiousness of her Morals. But you see how severe he is upon me for it; and I am very certain if he had lived but a few Months longer, he would have published a Treatise by Way of Recantation, which, as he often used to say, was the only Method whereby he could redeem his Crime, and prevent a growing Evil.

Sir, if you think the private Thoughts of this Great Man may be useful to the Publick, and worthy a Place in your Collection, they are freely at your Service, from

Your sincere Friend,

CORINNA.

June 16th, 1726.