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the cause of the downfall of the“ Wary Widow," that the author, being a man of a convivial temper, had introduced too great a display of good eating and drinking into his piece ; and that the actors, although Mr Higden complains of their general negligence, entered into these convivial scenes with great zeal, and became finally incapable of proceeding in their parts.* The prologue was written by Sir Charles Sedley, in which the following lines seem to be levelled at Dryden's critical prefaces :

But against old, as well as new, to rage
Is the peculiar phrenzy of this age ;
Shakespeare must down, and you must praise no more
Soft Desdemona, cr the jealous Moor.
Shakespeare, whose fruitful genius, happy wit,
Was framed and finish'd at a lucky hit ;
The pride of nature, and the shame of schools,
Born to create, and not to learn from rules,
Must please no more. His bastards now deride
Their father's nakedness, they ought to hide ;
But when on spurs their Pegasus they force,
Their jaded muse is distanced in the course.

If the admirers of Dryden were active in the condemnation of Higden's play, the offence probably lay in these verses.

From this hot-bed with foplings we're opprest,
That crowd the boxes, and the pit infest ;
Who their great master's falling spittle lick,
And at the neighbouring play-house judge on tick.
Thus have I seen from some decaying oak,
A numerous toad-stool brood his moisture suck,
And as the reverend log his verdure sheds,
The fungous offspring flourishes and spreads.

Verses prefixed to Sir Noisy Parrot,4to. 1693.
This circumstance is noticed by one of Higden's poetical comforters :

Friend Harry, some squeamish pretenders to thinking,
Say, thy play is encumber'd with eating and drinking;
That too oft, in conscience, thy table's brought out,
And unmerciful healths fly like hail-shot about.
Such a merry objection who e'er could expect,
That does on the town or its pleasure reflect ?
Is a treat and a bottle grown quite out of fashion,
Or have the spruce beaus tound a new recreation ?
At a tavern I'm certain they seldom find fault,
When flask after flask in due order is brought;
Why then should the fops be so monstrous uncivil,

As to damn at a play, what they like at the Devil ? Begging pardon of this apologist, who subscribes himself Tho. Palmer, there is some difference between the satisfaction of eating a good dinner at a tavern, and seeing one presented on the stage.

It seems likely that Higden's translation of the Tenth Satire of Juvenal, which I have never seen, was printed before Dryden published his own version, in 1693; consequently, before the damnation of the “ Wary Widow," acted in the same year, which seems to have been attended with a quarrel between Dryden and the author. It is therefore very probable, that this Epistle should have stood earlier in the arrangement; but, having no positive evidence, the Editor has not disturbed the former order.

EPISTLE THE ELEVENTH.

}

The Grecian wits, who satire first began,
Were pleasant Pasquins on the life of man;
At mighty villains, who the state opprest,
They durst not rail, perhaps ; they lash'd, at least,
And turn'd them out of office with a jest.
No fool could peep abroad, but ready stand
The drolls to clap a bauble* in his hand,
Wise legislators never yet could draw
A fop within the reach of common law;
For posture, dress, grimace, and affectation,
Though foes to sense, are harmless to the nation.
Our last redress is dint of verse to try,
And satire is our court of chancery.
This way took Horace to reform an age, ,
Not bad enough to need an author's rage :
But your's,f who lived in more degenerate times,
Was forced to fasten deep, and worry crimes.
Yet you, my friend, have temper'd him so well,
You make him smile in spite of all his zeal ;
An art peculiar to yourself alone,
To join the virtues of two styles in one.

* A truncheon, with a fool's head and cap upon one end. It was carried by the ancient jester, and is often alluded to in old plays.

+ Juvenal.

}

Oh! were your author's principle received, Half of the labouring world would be relieved ; For not to wish is not to be deceived. Revenge would into charity be changed, Because it costs too dear to be revenged ; It costs our quiet and content of mind, And when 'tis compass'd leaves a sting behind. Suppose I had the better end o’the staff, Why should I help the ill-natured world to laugh? Tis all alike to them, who get the day; They love the spite and mischief of the fray. No; I have cured myself of that disease; Nor will I be provoked, but when I please. But let me half that cure to you restore; You give the salve, I laid it to the sore.

. Our kind relief against a rainy day, Beyond a tavern, or a tedious play, We take your book, and laugh our spleen away. If all your tribe, too studious of debate, Would cease false hopes and titles to create, Led by the rare example you begun, Clients would fail, and lawyers be undone.

EPISTLE THE TWELFTH.

TO MY DEAR FRIEND

MR CONGREVE,

ON HIS COMEDY

CALLED

THE DOUBLE DEALER.

This admirable Epistle is addressed to Congreve, whose rising genius had early attracted our author's attention and patronage. When Congreve was about to bring out “ The Old Bachelor,” the manuscript was put by Southerne into Dryden's hands, who declared, that he had never seen such a first play, and bestowed considerable pains in adapting it to the stage. It was received with the most unbounded approbation. “ The Double Dealer" was acted in November, 1693, but without that universal applause which attended “The Old Rachelor.” The plot was perhaps too serious, and the villainy of Maskwell too black and hateful for comedy. It was the opinion too of Dryden, that the fashionable world felt the satire too keenly.* The play, how

Mr_Malone quotes part of a letter from Dryden on the subject of “ The Double Dealer," and his own tragi-comedy of “ Love Triumphant." It is addressed to Mr Walsh, and runs thus :

“ Congreve's · Double Dealer' is much censured by the greater part of the town, and is defended only by the best judges, who, you know, are commonly the fewest. Yet it gains ground daily, and has already been acted eight times. The women think he has exposed ... ...; and the gentlemen are offended

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