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For antient Decker, &c. Thomas Decker, a dramatic poet of James the Ift's reign, who has left us twelve plays; in four of which he was aflisted by Webster, Rowley, and Ford. He contended with Ben Jonson, to whom he was infinitely inferior, for the bayes, as Shadwell did with Dryden, but not with equal success.
But worlds of misers, &c.
whole Raymond families, and tribes of Bruce. The first of these is a character in the Humorists ; the second in the Virtuofo ; both are drawn for men of wit and sense, but are rather infipid and disagreeable.
Much Heywood, Shirley, Ogilly there lay.
And Herringman was captain of the band.
Beyond love's kingdom, &c.
Let virtuofo's in five years be writ. Shadwell's play of the Virtuoso, in which Sir Formal Trifle, a florid coxcomical orator, is a principal character, was first acted in 1676; and he tells the Duke of Newcastle, in the dedication, " that here he has endeavored at humor, wit, and satire."
Let gentle George in triumph, &c. Sir George Etheredge was a man of wit and pleasure ; gengrous, affable, indolent, sprightly, and intemperate : he was refident for some time at Ratisbon, from James II. in whose exile he shared, and is said to have broke his neck by a fall down stairs, as he was taking leave of some guests, being not rightly sober. His play of Sir Fopling Flutter is often acted, in which Dorimant and Mrs. Loveit, are principal characters : the former was drawn for Wilmot, Earl of Rochester, and Medley for the author himself, as was Sir Fopling for Sir George Hewit: who the lady was I don't know; and every character in the play was said to be taken from some living original. Cully and Cockwood are characters in' his Love in a Tub.
But let no alien Sedley interpose. Sir Charles Sedley was fuppofed sometimes to assist Shadwell in writing. 'He was a man of great gallantry, end pleasant conversation ; but extravagant and debauched : in great esteem with King Charles ; yet one of the first men to promote the revolution, which he faid he did out of gratitude. King James," said he, “out of his royal care, made my daughter a countess : in **return, I have done all in my power to raise his to a throne.”. King James had debauched his daughter, and created her countefs of Dorchester. His works have been collected in two voJumes; among which are to be found eight plays. His versification is easy, his sentiments tender, his turns delicate, and his
Lord Rochester, în þis imitation of the tenth satire of the first book of Horace, has the following verses in his commendation.
“ Sedley has that prevailing gentle art,
To lard with wit thy hungry Epsom profe.
And does thy northern dedications fill.
By arrogating Jonson's hostile name.
prince Nicander's ftrain.
Nor let thy mountain-belly, &c.
For Bruce and Longville, &c.
To my honored friend Sir Robert Howard, &c.
vertit 24/ basi
IR Robert Howard, a younger son of Thomas Earl of Berk
shire, and brother to Mr. Dryden's lady, studied, for some time in Magdalene-college. He suffered many oppreflions on account of his loyalty, and was one of the few of King Charles the Ild's friends, whom that monarch did not forget. Perhaps he hạd his present ends in it; for Sir Robert, who was a man of parts, helped him to obtain money in parliament, wherein he fatę ás burgess, first for Stockbridge, and afterwards for CastleRising in Norfolk. He was soon after the restoration, made a knight of the Bath, and one of the auditors of the Exchequer, valued at 3000 l. per ann. Notwithstanding that he was supposed to be a great favorer of the Catholics, he soon took the oaths to King William, by whom he was made a privy-counseller in the beginning of the year 1689 ; and no man was a more open or inveteraté enemy to the Nonjurors.
Several of his pieces, both in prose and verse, were published at different times ; among which are the Duel of the Stags, a celebrated poem ; the comedy of the Blind Lady ; the Committee, or, the Faithful Irishman ; the Great Favorite, or, the Duke of Lerma; the Indian Queen, a tragedy, written in conjunction
with our author; the Surprizal, a tragi-comedy; and the Veftal Virgin, or the Roman Ladies, a tragedy: the last has two different conclusions, one tragical, and the other, to use the author's own words, comical. The last five plays were collected together, and published by Tonfon, in a small izmo volume, in 1722. The Blind Lady was printed with some of his poems.
Langbaine fpeaks in very high terms of Sir Robert's merit, in which he is copied by Giles Jacob. See their Lives of the Poets.
This gentleman was, however, extremely positive, remarkably overbearing, and pretending to universal knowledge ; which failings, joined to his having then been of an opposite party, drew upon him the censure of Shadwell, who has satirized him very feverely in a play, called The Sullen Lovers, under the name of Sir Positive At-all, and his lady, whom he first kept, and afterwards married, under that of Lady Vain.
as ftoies, &e. The stoics were a sect of philosophers, founded at Athens by Zeno, remarkable for their equanimity under misfortunes. They taught, that an unavoidable fate presided over every thing, the course of which could not be altered by Jupiter himself. Their opinions were disputed by the Platonists and Perripatetics,
The curious net, &c. A compliment to a poem of Sir Robert's, entitled Rete Mirabile.
Who dress' by Statius, &c. Publius Papinius Statius, a Neapolitan bard, who lived at Rome in great favor with Domitian. He wrote the Thebaid, an Epic poem, in twelve books, one of which has been translated by Pope ; and the Achilleid: the latter is imperfect, and was translated by Sir Robert, with annotations; and these our author means to compliment in this passage. There is another translation of it, not yet published, by Mr. Brigantine, a young Oxonian, of excellent abilities.
With Monk you end, &c.
As Rome recorded Rufus' memory. P. Rutilius Rufus, conful of Rome, anno civ. 649, having the interest his country much at heart, was banished by the influence of fome designing people ; and, retiring to Smyrna, was fo
highly respected, that most of the Asian potentates sent thither
“ Hic fitus est Rufus, qui pulso vindice quondain
To my honored friend Dr. Charleton, &c. The book that occafioned this epistle, made its appearance in quarto in 1663, It is dedicated to King Charles II, and entitled, Chorea Gigantum ; or, The most famous Antiquity of Great Britain, Stone-Henge, standing on Salisbury-plain, restored to the Danes by Dr. Walter Charleton, M. D. and Physician in Ordinary to his Majesty. It was written in answer to a treatise of Inigo Jones's, which attributed this ftupendous pile to the Romans, supposing it to be a temple, by them dedicated to the god Cælum, or Cælus; and here that great architect let his imagination out-run his judgment, nay, his sense ; for he described it not as it is, but as it ought to be, in order to make it confiftent with what he delivered. Dr. Charleton, who will have this to be a Danish monument, was countenanced in his opinion by Olaus Wormius, who wrote him several letters upon the subject ; yet, that he was mistaken appears by the mention made of StoneHenge in Nennius's Hist. Britonum, a writer who lived two bundred years before the Danes came into England. Tho his book was approved of by many men of great erudition, and is not only very learned, but abounds with curious observations, it was but indifferently received, and raised many clamors against the author.
Envy, however, could not prevent Dr. Charleton's merits from being seen, not divide him from the intimacy of Mr. Hobbes the philosopher ; Sir George Ent, a celebrated physician; the noble family of the Boyle's; and Dr. William Harvey, whose claim to the discovery of the circulation of the blood, he forceably defended againit the claim thereto set on foot by father Paul. Thus he
“ From dark oblivion Harvey's name thall save."