Page images
PDF
EPUB

THE

LIFE OF PLUTARCH,

VOL. XVII.

THE LIFE OF PLUTARCH.

IN 1683, appeared the first volume of a translation of Plutarch's Lives, executed by several hands. Among the persons engaged in this undertaking, Mr Malone enumerates

“ Richard Duke, and Knightly Chetwood, Fellows of Trinity College, in Cambridge ; Paul Rycaut, Esq.; Thomas Creech, of Wadham College, Oxford, the translator of Horace, &c.; Edward Brown, M. D. author of Travels in Germany, &c.; Dr Adam Littleton, author of the Latin Dictionary; John Caryl, Esq. I believe the friend of Pope; Mr Joseph Arrowsmith ; Thomas Rymer, Esq. ; Dr William Oldys ; John Evelyn, Esq.; and Mr Somers, afterwards Lord Somers, who translated the Life of Alcibiades, though his name is not prefixed to it. Beside the persons here enumerated, twenty-nine others were engaged in this work : so that the total number of the translators was forty-one. Dryden translated none of the Lives.”

Dryden was induced to honour this work, so creditable to those who had undertaken it, with a Dedication, and Life of Plutarch. The Dedication is addressed to the great Duke of Ormond, whom Dryden had celebrated, in.“ Absalom and Achitophel,” under the name of Barzillai. The reader will find some account of that nobleman, in the note upon that passage, Vol. IX. p. 294. It is doing no injustice to the other great qualities of Ormond, to say, that his generous and unwearied protection of Dryden will not be the soonest forgotten. The poet's feelings towards this noble family were expressed in the preface to the “ Fables," his last great work.

The publication and translation of " Plutarch's Lives” was not completed until 1686, when the last volume appeared. The following remarkable advertisement was prefixed to the work; which, from internal evidence, Mr Malone ascribes to our author, although bearing the name, and written in the character, of Jacob Tonson, the publisher of the work.

“ You have here the first volume of “ Plutarch's Lives” turned from the Greek into English ; and give me leave to say, the first attempt of doing it from the originals. You may expect the re

4

« PreviousContinue »