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“ Now where that is, Almanzor's fate is fixt, I cannot guess; but wherever it is, I believe Almanzor, and think that all Abdalla's subjects, piled
upon one another, might not pull down his fate so “ well as without piling : besides, I think Abdalla so “ wise a man, that if Almanzor had told him piling “ his men upon his back might do the feat, he would 6 scarce bear such a weight, for the pleasure of the “ exploit; but it is a huff, and let Abdalla do it if he “ dare.
“ The people like a headlong torrent go,
“ Or wind in volumes to their former courte. “ A very pretty allusion, contrary to all sense or rea. " fon. Torrents, I take it, let them wind never fo “ much, can never return to their former course, un“ less he can suppose that fountains can go upwards, “ which is impossible: nay more, in the foregoing page
he tells us so too. A trick of a very unfaith“ ful memory,
“ But can no more than fountains upward flow. “ Which of a torrent, which fignifies a rapid stream, “ is much more impofiible. Besides, if he goes to “ quibble, and say that it is possible by art water may “ be inade return, and the same water run twice in “ one and the same channel : then he quite confutes « what he says; for, it is by being opposed, that it “ runs into its former course : for all engines that “ make water so return, do it by compulsion and op
potition, Or, if he means a headlong torrent for a " tide, which would be ridiculous, yet they do not 6 wind in volumes, but come fore-right back (if their
upright lies straight to their former course), and “ that by opposition of the sea-water, that drives them $6 back again.
“ And for fancy, when he lights of any thing like " it, 'tis a wonder if it be not borrowed. As here, “ for example of, I find this fanciful thought in his 6 Ann. Mirab.
“ Old father Thames raised up his reverend head;
" And thrunk his waters back into his um.
“ Swift Jordan started, and strait backward fed,
" At once beat those without and those within. “ This Alinanzor speaks of himself; and sure for one “ man to conquer an army within the city, and ano" ther without the city, at once, is something diffi$6 cult; but this fight is pardonable, to some we meet “ with in Granadi. Osmin, speaking of Almanzor :
" Who, like a tempest that outrides the wind,
“ Made a just battle, ere the bodies join'd. “ Pray what does this honourable person mean by a “ tempest that outrides the wind! A tempeft that out“ rides itself. To suppose a tenpeit without wind, is “ as bad as suppoling a man to walk without feet ; for “ if he supposes the tempest to be something distinct “ from the wind, yet as being the effect of wind only, - to come before the cause is a little preposterous : fo " that, if he takes it one way, or if he takes it the “ other, those two is will svarce make one p Libility.” Enough of Setti,
Marriage Alainode is a comedy dedicated to the Earl of Rochester,; whom he acknowledges not only as the defender of his poetry, but the promoter of his fortune. Langbaine places this play in 1673. The earl of Rochester therefore was the famous Wilmot, whom yet tradition always represents as an enemy to Dryden, and who is mentioned by him with some disrespect in the preface to Juvenal,
The Ajlignation, or Love in a Nunnery, a comedy, was driven off the stage, against the opinion, as the aurhor says, of the best judges. It is dedicated, in a very elegant address, to Sir Charles Sedley; in which he finds an opportunity for his usual complaint of hard treat: menţ and unreasonable censure,
Amboyna is a tissue of mingled dialogue in verse and prose, and was perhaps written in less time than The Virgin Martyr; though the author thought not fit either oftentatiously or mournfully to tell how little labour it cost him, or at how short a warning he produced it. It was a temporary perforinance, written in the time of the Dutch war, to infiame the nation against their enemies; to whom he hopes, as he declares in his Epilogue, to make his poetry not less destructive than that by which Tyrtæus of old animated the Spartans. This play was written in the second Dutch war in 1673:
Troilus and Cressida, is a play altered from Shakspeare; but fo altered that even in Langbaine's opinion, the last scene in the third act is a masterpiece. It is introduced by a discourse on the grounds of criticism in tragedy; to which I suspect that Rymer's book had given occasion.
The Spanish Fryar is tragi-comedy, eminent for the happy coincidence and coalition of the two plots. As
it was written against the Papists, it would naturally at that time have friends and enemies; and partly by the popularity which it obtained at first, and partly by the real power both of the serious and risible
it continued long a favourite of the publick.
It was Dryden's opinion, at least for some time, and he maintains it in the dedication of this play, that the drama required an alternation of comick and tragick scenes, and that it is neceíTary to mitigate by alleviations of merriment the pressure of ponderous events, and the fatigue of toilfone paflions. “Whoever," says he, “ cannot perform both parts, is but half a “ writer for the stage."
The Duke of Guise, a tragedy written in conjunction with Lec, as Oedipus had been before, seems to des serve notice only for the offence which it gave to the remnant of the Covenanters, and in general to the enemics of the court, who attacked him with great violence, and were answered by him ; though at last he seems to withdraw from the conflict, by transferring the greater part of the blame or merit to his partner. It happened that a contract had been made between them, by which they were to join in writing a play ; and he happened, says Dryden, to claim the promise just upon the finishing of a poem, when I would have been glad of a little respite.--Two thirds of it belonged to him; and to me only the first scene of the play, the whole fourth ait, and the first balf or somewhat more of the fifth. This was a play written profesiedly for the
of the duke of York, whose succession was then opposed. A parallel is intended between the Leaguers of France and the Covenanters of England; and this intention produced the controversy.
Albion and Albanius is a musical drama or operà, writ: ten, like the Duke of Guise, against the Republicans. With what success it was performed, I have not found *.
* This drama, as Johnson fays, is written against the republicans, but it is pointed more immediately against the carl of Shaftesbury, who, at the time of writing it, was become odious. To explain the design and tell the fate of it, will require a long note.
In one of the stage directions is a defcription of a device of machinery in these words :
“ Fame rifes out of the niiddle of the itage, "" standing on a globe, on which is the arms of England: the globe “ rests on a pedeital: on the front of the pedestal is drawn a man " with a long, lean, pale face, with fiends wings, and snakes twisted “ round his body: he is encompassed by several phanatical rebelli"ous heads, who fuck poison from him, which runs out of a tap «« in his fide."
The wit of this fatire at this day stands in some need of an explanation. The earl of Shaftesbury was afflicted with a dropsy, and had frequent recourse to the expedient of tapping; and such was the malevolence of his enemies, that although they had their choice of numberless particulars by which he might have been distinguithed, that of the tap appeared to them the most eligible. Some time before his death, it was a fathion in taverns to have wine broughť to guests, and set upon table in a wooden or silver vefsel shaped like a tun, with a cock to it, and this was called a Shaftesbury.
As it was an opera, this drama was set to music by Grabu, a French musician, who in the preface is complimented to the prejudice of Purcell. It abounds with ridiculous pageantry, such as Juno drawn by peacocks, and the appearance of a rainbow, or some luch meteor, 'which had then lately been seen in the heavens ; Dances were also introduced into it, composed by Mr. Lane, fo that the expence of the representation far exceeded the amount of the money taken for admittance. Downes says, it was performed on a very unlucky day, viz, that on which the duke of Monmouth landed in the weit; and he intimates that the confternation into which the kingdom was thrown by this event, was a reason why it was performed but fix times, and was in general ill received.
The following humorous ballad was written in ridicule of this drama, and in particular of Grabu's mulic to it.
From father Hopkins, whose vein did inspire him,