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It appears, that the king and queen honoured with their presence the first performance under the union they had recommended. Dryden's prologue abounds with those violent expressions of loyalty with which James loved to be greeted

SINCE faction ebbs, and rogues grow out of fashion,
Their penny scribes take care t'inform the nation,
How well men thrive in this or that plantation :*

How Pensylvania's air agrees with Quakers,
And Carolina's with Associators;

Both e'en too good for madmen and for traitors.†

Truth is, our land with saints is so run o'er,
And every age produces such a store,

That now there's need of two New Englands more.

What's this, you'll say, to us and our vocation?
Only thus much, that we have left our station,
And made this theatre our new plantation.

The factious natives never could agree;
But aiming, as they call'd it, to be free,
Those play-house Whigs set up for property.

* The American colonies, from the time of the first troubles in the reign of Charles I., continued to be the place of refuge to all who were discontented with the government of the time, or experienced oppression under it. The settlers did not fail to excite their countrymen to emigration, by exaggerated accounts of the fertility and advantages of their places of refuge, which were circulated by the hawkers.

+ The settlement of Pensylvania, under the famous Pen, had just taken place; and the design of a Scottish insurrection, at the time of the Rye-house Plot, was carried on by Baillie of Jerviswood, under pretence of being agent for some gentlemen of the south of Scotland, who proposed to leave their country, and make a settlement in Carolina.

This seems to allude to the mutiny of the younger actors against Hart and Mohun, mentioned by Cibber. The performers

Some say, they no obedience paid of late;
But would new fears and jealousies create,
Till topsy-turvy they had turn'd the state.

Plain sense, without the talent of foretelling, Might guess 'twould end in downright knocks and quelling;

For seldom comes there better of rebelling.

When men will, needlessly, their freedom barter For lawless power, sometimes they catch a Tartar;There's a damn'd word that rhimes to this, call'd Charter.*

But, since the victory with us remains,
You shall be call'd to twelve in all our gains,
If you'll not think us saucy for our pains.

Old men shall have good old plays to delight them;
And you, fair ladies and gallants, that slight them,
We'll treat with good new plays, if our new wits
can write them.

We'll take no blundering verse, no fustian tumor,
No dribbling love, from this or that presumer;
No dull fat fool shamm'd on the stage for humour: †

were also anxious to emancipate themselves from the thraldom of the patentees, which they did not accomplish till after the Revolution. They were emancipated by King William, who considered them, says Cibber, as the only subjects he had not yet relieved from arbitrary power. Dryden seems to allude to some ineffectual struggles made for this purpose, which he compares to those of the Whigs in the latter end of the reign of Charles II.

* Alluding to the forfeiture of the city charter, by the process of Quo Warranto.

+ Our author, who writes in all the exultation of triumphant Toryism, does not forget to bestow a passing sarcasm upon his po

For, faith, some of them such vile stuff have made, As none but fools or fairies ever play'd;

But 'twas, as shopmen say, to force a trade.

litical and personal enemy, Shadwell. In the observations on "Mac-Flecnoe," and elsewhere, we have noticed Shadwell's affectation of treading in the paths of Ben Jonson, by describing what he calls humours; a word as great a favourite with the fat bard as with Corporal Nym. The following passage in the dedication of "The Virtuoso," may serve to explain what he means by the phrase:

"I have endeavoured in this play, at humour, wit, and satire, which are the three things (however I may have fallen short in my attempt) which your grace has often told me are the life of a comedy. Four of the humours are entirely new: and, without vanity, I may say I never produced a comedy that had not some natural humour in it, not represented before, nor, I hope, ever shall. Nor do I count those humours which a great many do; that is to say, such as consist in using one or two bye-words; or in having a fantastic extravagant dress, as many pretended humours have; nor in the affectation of some French words, which several plays have shown us. I say nothing of impossible, unnatural, farce fools, which some intend for comical: who think it the easiest thing in the world to write a comedy, and yet will sooner grow rich upon their ill plays than write a good one: Nor is downright silly folly a humour, as some take it to be, for it is a mere natural imperfection; and they might as well call it a humour of blindness in a blind man, or lameness in a lame one; or as a celebrated French farce has the humour of one who speaks very fast, and of another who speaks very slow: But natural imperfections are not fit subjects for comedy, since they are not to be laughed at, but pitied. But the artificial folly of those who are not coxcombs by nature, but, with great art and industry, make themselves so, is a proper object of comedy; as I have discoursed at large in the Preface to "The Humourists," written five years since. Those slight circumstantial things mentioned before, are not enough to make a good comical humour; which ought to be such an affectation as misguides men in knowledge, art, or science; or that causes defection in manners and morality, or perverts their minds in the main actions of their lives: And this kind of humour, I think, I have not improperly described in the Epilogue to "The Humourists."

"But your grace understands humour too well not to know this,

We've given you tragedies, all sense defying,
And singing men in woful metre dying;
This 'tis when heavy lubbers will be flying.

All these disasters we will hope to weather;
We bring you none of our old lumber hither;
Whig poets and Whig sheriffs* may hang together.


and much more than I can say of it. All I have now to do, is, humbly to dedicate this play to your grace, which has succeeded beyond my expectation; and the humours of which have been approved by men of the best sense and learning. Nor do I hear any professed enemies to the play, but some women, and some men of feminine understandings, who like slight plays only that represent a little tattle-sort of conversation like their own: but true humour is not liked nor understood by them; and therefore even my attempt towards it is condemned by them: but the same people, to my great comfort, damn all Mr Jonson's plays, who was incomparably the best dramatic poet that ever was, or, 1 believe, ever will be; and I had rather be author of one scene in his best comedies, than of any play this age has produced."

* This inhuman jest turns on the execution of Henry Cornish, who, with Slingsby Bethel, was sheriff in 1680, and distinguished himself in opposition to the court.-See Note on "Absalom and Achitophel." Part I. vol. ix. p. 280. He was condemned as accessary to the Ryehouse plot, and executed accordingly on 23d October, 1685; probably a short time before this prologue was spoken, which might be in January 1686.




NEW ministers, when first they get in place,
Must have a care to please; and that's our case:
Some laws for public welfare we design,
If you, the power supreme, will please to join.
There are a sort of prattlers in the pit,
Who either have, or who pretend to wit;
These noisy sirs so loud their parts rehearse,
That oft the play is silenced by the farce.
Let such be dumb, this penalty to shun,
Each to be thought my lady's eldest son.
But stay; methinks some vizard mask I see,
Cast out her lure from the mid gallery :
About her all the fluttering sparks are ranged;
The noise continues, though the scene is changed:
Now growling, sputtering, wauling, such a clutter!
"Tis just like puss defendant in a gutter:

Fine love, no doubt; but ere two days are o'er ye,
The surgeon will be told a woful story.
Let vizard-mask her naked face expose,
On pain of being thought to want a nose :
Then for your lacqueys, and your train beside,
By whate'er name or title dignified,

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