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To the Right Honourable

CHARLE S

MONTAGUE,

One of the LORDS

of the

TREASURY. Kat Kammer.

SIR,

I Heartily with this Play were as per-
fect as I intended it, that it might be möchte

more worthy your

my Dedication of it to you, might be more
becoming that Honour and Efteem which

, with every Body, who is fo fortunate
and as to know you, have for you. It had
your Countenance when yet unknown; and,
Appre now it is made publick, it wants your Pro-
bation
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tection.

would not have any body imagine, that

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Daß sich ge I
adam confcious of feveral. I confefs de
chwerere sign'd (whaterer va or Ambition

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I carje

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fion'd that defign) to have written a true
and regular Comedy: but I found if an Un-
dertaking which put me in mind of~

inter Sudet multum, fruftraque laboret aufus idem. Reparation nity of fuch a defign, I do confefs Both To soll der the Attempt

And now to make Amends for the

Entrouch. An Brichtung

and the imperfe&Performance. I must take the Boldpers to fay I have not milcarry in the whole ; for The Mechanical part of it is regular. That I may with as little

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as a Ray dasBuilder may fay he has built a Houfe, accorwding to the Model laid down before him; or a Gardner that he has fet his Flowers in a Knot of fuch or fuch a Figure. I defign'd the Moral first, and to that Moral I inven

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heist ted the Fable and do not know that have Hint of it any where made the Plot as fong as I could, because it was fingle; and I made it fingle, because I would arteavoid Confafion, and was refolved to preferve the three Únities of the Drama. Sir, befalty: this Difcourfe is very impertinent to you, Erhaltay.

whofe Judgement much better can difcern the Faults, than I can excufe them; and whofe good-nature, like that of a Lover, will find out thofe hidden Beauties (if there are any fuch) which it wou'd be Imd. modesty for me to discover. I think I don't speak improperly when I call you a Lover

of

of Poetry; for it is very well known the has been a very kind Mistress to you, the has not deny'd you the laft Favour; and the has been fruitful to you in a most beautiful Iffue- If I break off abruptly here, I hope every Body will understand that it is to avoid a Commendation, which as it is your Due, would be moft eafie for me to pay, and too troublesome for you to receive.

I have, fince the Acting of this Play, harken'd after the Objections which have been made to it; for I was Conscious where a true Critick might have put me upon my Defence. I was prepared for the Attack; and am pretty confident 1 could have vindicated fome Parts, and excufed others; and where there were any plain Miscarriages, I would moft ingenuously have confefs'd 'em. But I have not heard any thing faid fufficient to provoke an Anfwer. That which looks moft like an Objection, does not relate in particular to this Play, but to all or most that ever have been written; and that is Soliloquy. Therefore I wil answer it, not only for my own fake, but to fave others the Trouble, to whom it may hereafter be objected.

I grant, that for a Man to talk to himfelf, appears abfurd and unnatural; and indeed it is fo in moft Cafes; but the Circumstances which may attend the Occafion, make great Alteration. It oftentimes happens to a Man, to have Defigns which require him to himself, and in their nature

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cannot admit of a Confident. Such, for certain, is all Villany; and other lefs mifchievous Intentions may be very improper to be Communicated to a fecond Perfon. In fuch a Cafe therefore the Audience muft obferve, whether the Perfon upon the Stage takes any notice of them at all, or no. For if he fuppofes any one to be by, when he talks to himself, it is monstrous and ridiculous to the laft degree. Nay, not only in this Cafe, but in any Part of a Play, if there is expreffed any Knowledge of an Audience, it is infufferable. But otherwife, when a Man in Soliloquy reafons with himself, and Pros and Cons, and weighs all his Designs: We ought not to imagine that this Man either talks to us, or to himself; he is only thinking, and thinking fuch Matter as were inexcufable Folly in him to fpeak. But be cause we are conceal'd Spectators of the Plot in agitation, and the Poet finds it neceflary to let us know the whole Mystery of his Contrivance, he is willing to inform us of this Perfons Thoughts; and to that end is forc'd to make ufe of the Expedient of Speech, no other better way being yet invented for the Communication of Thought.

Another very wrong Objection has been made by fome who have not taken Leisure to diftinguith the Characters. The Hero of the Play, as they are pleas'd to call him, (meaning Mellefont) is a Gull, and made a Fool, and cheated. Is every Man a Gull and a Fool that is deceiv'd? At that rate

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I'm afraid the two Classes of Men will be reduc'd to one, and the Knaves themselves be at a lofs to juftifie their Title: But if an Open-hearted honest Man, who has an entire Confidence in one whom he takes to be his Friend, and whom he has oblig'd to be fo; and who, to confirm him in his Opinion, in all Appearance and upon feveral Trials has been fo: If this Man be deceiv'd by the Treachery of the other; muft he of neceffity commence Fool immediately only because the other has prov'd a Villain? Ay, but there was Caution given to Mellefont in the firft A&t by his Friend Careless. Of what Nature was that Caution? Only to give the Audience fome Light into the Character of Maskwell before his Appearance; and not to convince Mellefont of his Treachery; for that was more than Careless was then able to do: He never knew Mafkwell guilty of any Villany; he was only a fort of Man which he did not like. As for his fufpecting his Familiarity with my Lady Touchwood; Let 'em examine the Answer that Mellefont makes him, and compare it with the Conduct of Mafkwells Character through the Play.

I would beg 'em again to look into the Character of Maskwell before they accufe Mellefont of Weakness for being deceiv'd by him. For upon fumming up the Enquiry into this Objection, it may be found they have mistaken Cunning in one Character, for Folly in another.

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