Sivut kuvina

But there is one thing, at which I am more concerned than all the falfe Criticisms that are made upon me; and that is, fome of the Ladies are offended. I am heartily forry for it; for I declare I would rather dif oblige all the Criticks in the World, than one of the fair Sex. They are concerned that I have reprefented fome Women Vicious and Affected: How can I help it? It is the Business of a Comick Poet to paint the Vices and Follies of Human kind; and there are but two Sexes, Male, and Female, Men, and Women, which have a Title to Humanity: And if I leave one half of them out, the Work will be imperfect. I fhould be very glad of an Opportunity to make my Compliment to thofe Ladies who are offended: But they can no more expect it in a Comedy, than to be Tickled by a Surgeon, when he's letting 'em Blood. They who are Virtuous or Discreet, fhould not be offended, for fuch Characters as thefe diftinguish them, and make their Beauties more thining and obferv'd: And they who are of the other kind, may nevertheless pass for fuch, by feeming not to be difpleas'd, or touch'd, with the Satire of this Comedy. Thus have they alfo wrongfully accus'd me of doing them a Prejudice, when I have in reality done them a Service.

You will pardon me, Sir, for the Freedom I take of making Answers to other People, in an Epistle which ought wholly to be facred to you: But fince I intend the Play


to be fo too, I hope I may take the more Liberty of Juftifying it, where it is in the Right.

I must now, Sir, declare to the World, how kind you have been to my Endeavours; for in regard of what was well meant, you have excus'd what was ill perform'd. I beg you would continue the fame Method in your Acceptance of this Dedication. I know no other way of making a Return to that Humanity you_thew'd, in protecting an Infant, but by Enrolling it in your Service now that it is of Age and come into the World. Therefore be pleas'd to accept of this as an Acknowledgement of the Favour you have fhewn me, and an Earnest of the real Service and Gratitude of,

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Your Moft Obliged
Humble Servant,




To my Dear Friend


On his COMEDY, call'd,


Ell then,the promis'd Hour is come at last ; The prefent Age of Wit obfcures the past. Strong were our Syres; and as they Fought they Writ;

Conqu'ring with Force of Arms, and Dint of


Theirs was the Giant Race, before the Flood; . And thus, when Charles Return'd, our Empire ftood.

Like Janus be the stubborn Soil manur'd,
With Rules of Husbandry the Rankness cur'd:
"Tam'd us to Manners,when the Stage was rude;
And boiftrous English Wit, with Art indu’d.
Our Age was cultivated thus at length;
But what we gain' din Skill, we loft in Strength.
Our Builders were, with Want of Genius,curft;
The Second Temple was not like the First:
"Till You, the best Vitruvius, come at length;
Our Beauties equal, but excel our Strength.


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Firm Dorique Pillars found yourfolid Bafe:
The fair Corinthian crowns the higher Space;
Thus all below is Strength, and all above is

In eafie Dialogue is Fletchers Praife:

is S

He mov'd the Mind, but had no Pow'r to raife.
Great Johnfon did by Strength of Judgement

Tet doubling Fletchers Force, he wants his Eafe.
In diff'ring Talents both adorn'd their Age;
One for the Study, t'other for the Stage.
But both to Congreve justly hall fubmit,
One match'din Judgment, both o'er-match'd in

In Him all Beauties of this Age we fee;.
Etherege his Courtship, Southerns Purity;
The Satire, Wit, and Strength of Manly Wi-

All this in blooming Youth you have Atchiev'd;
Nor are your foil'd Contemporaries griev'd:
So much the Sweetness of your Manners move,
We cannot Envy you, because we Love.
Fabius might joy in Scipio, when he faw
A Beardless Conful made against the Law;
And join his Suffrage to the Votes of Rome;
Though he with Hannibal was overcome.
Thus old Romano bow'd to Raphaels Fame;
And Scholar to the Youth be taught, became.

Oh that your Brows my Lawrel had fuftain'd,
Well had I been Depos'd if You had Reign'd!
The Father had defcended for the Son;
For only You are lineal to the Throne.
Thus when the State one Edward did depofe;
A Greater Edward in his Room arofe.


But now, not I, but Poetry is curs'd;
For Tom the Second reigns like Tom the Firft.
But let 'em not mistake my Patrons Part;
Nor call his Charity their own Defert.
Yet this I Prophefie; Thou shalt be feen,
(Tho' with fome jhort Parenthesis between :)
High on the Throne of Wit; and feated there,
Not mine (that's little) but thy Lawrel wear.
Thy first Attempt an early Promife made;
That early Promife this has more than paid.
So bold, yet fo judiciously you dare,
That your leaft Praife, is to be Regular.
Time, Place, and Action, may with Pains be
But Genius must be born; and never can be
This is Your Portion;this Your Native Store;
Heav'n, that but once was Prodigal before,
To Shakespear gave as much; Jhe cou'd not
give him more.

Maintain your Poft: That's all the Fame you need;

For 'tis impoffible you shou'd proceed.
Already I am worn with Cares and Age;
And just abandoning th’Ungrateful Stage:
Unprofitably kept at Heav'ns Expence,
I live a Rent-charge on his Providence:
But You, whom ev'ry Mufe and Grace adorn,
Whom I forefee to better Fortune born,
Be kind to my Remains; and oh defend,
Against your Judgment, your departed Friend!
Let not th' infulting Foe my Fame pursue;
But Jhade thofe Lawrels which defcend to You :
And take for Tribute what these Lines exprefs:
You merit more; nor cou'd my Love do lefs.

John Dryden.


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