Sidor som bilder


[ocr errors]

Jane his wife, fole daughter of Sir Francis Coffington of "Founthill in Wilts, who was born January 1, 1676, and died "after seven weeks illness on the 6th of September, 1698.

"This monument was erected by Catharine Frampton, her "fecond fifter and executrix, in teftimony of her grief, affection, "and gratitude.'

[blocks in formation]

On the young Statesmen. Written in 1680.

Clarendon had larv and fenfe,

Clifford was fierce and brave;

Bennet's grave
looks were a pretence,
And Danby's matchless impudence
Help'd to fupport the knave.

We have spoken fufficiently of the Earl of Clarendon, Lord
Danby, and of Bennet Lord Arlington, in the preceding vo-


Lord Clifford was a man of an enterprifing genius, rendered the more dangerous by the talent of eloquence and spirit of intrigue, which he poffeffed. He had lively parts; and though fou to a clergyman, whofe fortune was indeed confined, he is faid to have become a convert to the church of Rome fome time before the restoration, yet he got into the house of commons. Clarendon did not much like him, and therefore he closed with his lordship's enemies. He was made lord treasurer, through the intereft of Villiers Duke of Buckingham and his party, and was a zealous declaimer in the popish intereft. It was this that ruined him in 1673; fo that he was foon after difgraced, through the policy and cunning of Shaftesbury, whom he had ftrenuously oppofed. Clarendon, Clifford, Bennet, and Danby, were now all out of employment, and the first of them dead. The whole management of public affairs was vested in

Sunderland, Godolphin, Lory.

Lord Sunderland, Sydney Godolphin, and Mr. Laurence Hyde. Lord Sunderland, this year fecretary of state, joined Effex and Hallifax in oppofing the bill of exclufion, and declaring for limitations; though he afterwards voted for the former, and was therefore removed. He was a man of intrigue and capacity, afterwards became a Roman catholic; and was prime minifter to King James II. He is fuppofed to have used religion only as a pretence to forward, for his own intereft, the defigns of the

Prince of Orange, with whom, at the revolution, he was very intimate, and in high favour.

Sydney Godolphin was a Cornish man of a good family, who, from being one of the King's pages, had raised himself to the firft offices at court. He talked little, was clear in his judgment, feldom loft his temper, had few foes, and, though virtuous and religious, is faid to have been fond of play and women.

Thefe two joining in every thing with Laurence Hyde, afterwards Earl of Rochefter, here called Lory, were at this time esteemed to be only in the fecret of managing the King's affairs; and were, fays Echard, looked on actually and folely as the miniftry. The fatire of this piece is very fevere, and very juft; for never was king under greater perplexities than Charles II. this year, in which his parliament opposed him in every thing, and his new minifters had fcarcely the courage to ftand by him: in short, he may be faid to have been furrounded by foes, without power, friends, or money.

The Fair Stranger.

This fong is a compliment to the Dutchefs of Portsmouth on her first coming to England. It was never before printed with our author's works.


Prologue fpoken the first day of the King's house acting after the fire.

This prologue fhould certainly be the firft of our author's writing, by the title of it; for the fire happened in 1666, and we find nothing of this kind done by him afterwards till 1674. Befides, had the fire here meant been any other than that terrible one which happened to the city, it would have been more particularly diftinguished; but, in my opinion, the conjecture is abfolutely confirmed by thefe lines:

66 -blind unmanner'd zealots

"Think that fire a judgment on the ftage,
"Which fpar'd not temples in its furious rage."

Prologue to the University of Oxford. 1674.

Several gentlemen, who had adhered to their principles of loyalty during the ufurpation of Cromwell, and the exile of the royal family, being left unprovided for at the reftoration, they applied themfelves to different occupations for a livelihood: among them was Mr. Hart, the fpeaker of this prologue, who had ferved

his Majefty as a captain in the civil war, and was now an actor in a capital caft, and in great eftimation. He was, for many years, reckoned the best actor in the King's company; and our author chose him to speak many of his prologues and epilogues at Oxford, where the London comedians exhibited commonly at the Public Acts, which were very frequently held here after the restoration, before the Whigs and Tories began to disturb the halcion calmness of King Charles IId's reign. These academical Jubilees are looked on as a kind of congratulatory compliment to the acceffion of every new Prince to the throne.

Prologue Spoken at the opening the New Houfe.


This prologue muit certainly have been written for the King's company, which I suppose at this time might have opened their houfe in Drury-lane. The reflection caft upon the taste of the town in these three lines,

""Twere folly now a ftately pile to raise,

"To build a playhouse while you throw down plays;
"While scenes, machines, and empty operas reign."

is certainly levelled at the Duke's company, who had exhibited the fiege of Rhodes, and other expensive operas, and who now were getting up Pfyche, Circe, &c. That this prologue was written for the King's company is certain from these lines:

"We in our plainness may be justly proud;

"Our royal master will'd it should be fo;

"Whate'er he's pleas'd to own, can need no show."

Prologue to Circe, acted in 1675.

There were at this time two companies of players, one stiled the King's company, which had for fome time exhibited at the Red Bull in St. John's-ftreet; then removed to Vere-ftreet, Claremarket; and at length fixed in Drury-lane: the other, called the Duke's company, acted under the direction of Sir William D'Avenant in Lincoln's-inn-fields, and then in Dorfet-garden. He being dead, the patent fell of course into the hands of his fon Charles, who, though but nineteen years old, wrote Circe, a tragic-opera, in hope to regain the town, which crouded to the other house. In this, by the help of rich cloaths, new machinery, and music, he fucceeded. The piece was univerfally liked; and the Earl of Rochester wrote the prologue, which is reckoned a very good one. This gentleman quitted the flowery paths of poetry for the dry heath of law, which is however much more profitable; and was honored with a doctor's degree by the university of Cam

bridge. His political pieces gained him great reputation. He was for fome time a commiffioner of the excife; held a feat in the houfe of commons under James, William, and Anne; and, in the reign of the latter, was infpector-general of the exports and imports, of which employment he died poffeffed in 1714, being fifty-eight years old. He left no male heirs.

This prologue is a fine apology for Dr. D'Avenant's youth and inexperience; and by these two lines,

"Shakespear's own Mufe her Pericles firft bore;

"The Prince of Tyre was elder than the Moor."

we find that Dryden differed from all the late editors of Shakefpear, who, in their arrangement of his plays, have put one of his most perfect pieces first; whereas our author tells us, that the tragedy of Pericles prince of Tyre was written before the Moor of Venice.

Epilogue, intended to have been spoken by Lady Henrietta Maria Wentworth, when Califto was acted at Court. 1675.

The Earl of Rochester, who hated Dryden, for no other reason but because of his great genius and fuccefs as a dramatic writer, recommended Mr. John Crowne to the King to write this mask for the court, which was properly the business of the Laureat, whom his Lordship intended by this preference to mortify. Mr. Crowne was at this time very little known: he had acted as gentleman-usher to an old independant lady ever fince his arrival from Nova Scotia, where he was born. Mr. Dennis fays, he had a mortal hatred to a court-life, though a strong affection for the king, and that he was alive in 1703. Crowne wrote fixteen dramatic pieces, befides this, none of which are now in esteem.

The perfons who performed in this entertainment were the Ladies Mary and Anne, afterwards Queens of England; the Lady Henrietta Maria Wentworth, who played the part of Jupiter; Mrs. Jennings, afterwards wife to the great Duke of Marlborough, who performed Mercury. The Countess of Suffex; Lady Mary Mordaunt; and Mrs. Blagge, who had been maid of honor to Queen Catharine; the Duke of Monmouth, Lord Viscount Dunblane, Lord Daincourt, Mr. Trevor, &c. were among the dancers: and the attendants, nymphs, were the Countess of Derby, the Countess of Pembroke, Lady Catharine Herbert, Mrs. Fitzgerald, and Mrs. Frazier.

You, mighty Sir, &c.

This part of the prologue is addreffed to the King.


Two glorious nymphs, &c.

The Duke of York's two daughters, Mary and Anne.

Epilogue to the Man of Mode, or Sir Fopling Flutter.

This play, written by Sir G. Etheridge, was first acted in 1676 at Dorset-garden. "It is, fays Langbaine, written with great "art and judgment; and is acknowledged by all to be as true "comedy, and the characteas as well drawn to the life, as any "play that has been acted fince the restoration. The author of "it is fufficiently eminent for his wit and parts, and his talents “in sound sense, and the knowledge of true wit and humour "are fufficiently confpicuous." In fpeaking of this play before, we should have remarked, that even the fhoemaker was taken from the life; and that the reputation he gained, by being introduced upon the ftage, brought him fuch vaft business, that he was foon enabled to make an eafy fortune. Sir George was aware of the perfonal applications that might be made of the characters, and therefore some lines in this prologue were written with a view to remove fuch suspicion.

Epilogue to Mithridates, acted in 1678.

This play was written by Nat. Lee, and acted at the theatreroyal in Drury-lane in 1678. It has fufficient tenderness in it te force tears from the most obdurate spectator.

Prologue to the True Widow. 1678.

The True Widow was written by Shadwell, and acted in 1678 at Dorset-garden. In the year 1690, this fame prologue was prefixed to a tragi-comedy of Mrs. Behn's, called the Widow Ranter, or Bacon in Virginia.

Prologue to Cafar Borgia.

This play was also written by Nat. Lee, and acted in Dorsetgarden in 1680. Cæfar Borgia was fon to Pope Alexander VI.

Prologue to Sophonisba, a&ted at Oxford in 1680.

Sophonisba, or Hannibal's Overthrow, written by Nat. Lee, appeared first in 1676, at the theatre-royal in Drury-lane; and the author is faid not to have done juftice to the characters either of Hannibal or Scipio, which occafioned the following fevere lines from Lord Rochester :

« FöregåendeFortsätt »