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Written by Mr. CONGREVE.
Printed for T. JOHNSON,
M. D C C. X I.
Interdum tamen & vocem Comoedia tollit. Hor. Ar. Poet.
Huic equidem confilio palmam do; hic me magnifice effero, qui vim tantam in me & poteftatem habeam tantæ aftutiæ, vera dicendo ut eos ambos fallam.
Syr in Terent. Heaut.
To the Right Honourable
One of the LORDS
I Heartily with this Play were as perfect as I intended it, that it might be more worthy your Acceptance; and that my Dedication of it to you, might be more becoming that Honour and Efteem which I, with every Body, who is fo fortunate as to know you, have for you. It had your Countenance when yet unknown; and now it is made publick, it wants your Protection. A. 2
I would not have any-body imagine, that I think this Play without its Faults, for I am confcious of feveral. I confefs I defign'd (whatever Vanity or Ambition occafion'd that defign) to have written a true and regular Comedy: but I found it an Undertaking which put me in mind of Sudet multum, fruftraque laboret aufus idem. And now to make Amends for the Va nity of fuch a defign, I do confefs both the Attempt and the imperfe& Performance. Yet I must take the Boldness to fay, I have not mifcarry'd in the whole; for the Mechanical part of it is regular. That I may fay with as little Vanity, as a Builder may fay he has built a Houfe, according 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 firft, and to that Moral I invented the Fable; and do not know that I have borrow'd one Hint of it any where. I made the Plot as ftrong as I could, because it was fingle; and I made it fingle, because I would avoid Confufion, and was refolved to preferve the three Unities of the Drama. Sir, this Difcourfe is very impertinent to you, 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 great Immodefty for me to difcover. I think I don't fpeak improperly when I call you a Lower