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The fruitful vales set round with shady Where by their wond'ring subjects they trees;
were seen, And guiltless men, who danc'd away their Joy'd with their stature, and their princely time,
mien. Fresh as their groves, and happy as their Our sovereign here above the rest might clime.
stand, Had we still paid that homage to a name, And here be chose again to rule the land. Which only God and nature justly claim, These ruins shelter'd once his sacred The western seas had been our utmost
Then when from Wor'ster's fatal field be Where poets still might dream the sun was
Watch'd by the genius of this royal place, And all the stars that shine in southern skies And mighty visions of the Danish race. Had been admir'd by none but salvage eyes. His refuge then was for a temple shown; Among th' asserters of free reason's But, he restor’d, 't is now become a throne.
claim, Th’ English are not the least in worth or fame.
PROLOGUE AND EPILOGUE TO The world to Bacon does not only owe
THE WILD GALLANT AS IT Its present knowledge, but its future too.
WAS FIRST ACTED Gilbert shall live, till loadstones cease to draw,
[This, Dryden's first play, was produced on Or British fleets the boundless ocean awe; February 5, 1663, as is evident from the ProAnd noble Boyle, not less in nature seen, logue, line 15, and from an entry in Evelyn's Than his great brother read in states and Diary of that date. It was unsuccessful : see
note before the poem To the Lady Castlemaine, The circling streams, once thought but
p. 20, below. It was later revived, with some pools, of blood
changes by the author, probably in 1667, since (Whether life's fuel, or the body's food) 30
it was entered on the Stationers' Register for
publication on August 7 of that year (Malone, From dark oblivion Harvey's name shall
I, 1, 69). The first edition, dated 1669, consave;
tains both the original prologue and epilogue While Ent keeps all the honor that he gave. and those written for the revival. See p. 52, Nor are you, learned friend, the least re- below.]
nown'd; Whose fame, not circumscribd with Eng
PROLOGUE lish ground, Flies like the nimble journeys of the light; Is it not strange to hear a poet say, And is, like that, unspent too in its flight. He comes to ask you how you like the Whatever truths have been, by art or chance,
You have not seen it yet! alas ! 't is true; Redeem'd from error, or from ignorance, But now your love and hatred judge, not you; Thin in their authors, like rich veins of ore, And cruel factions, brib’d by interest, come, Your works unite, and still discover more. 40 Not to weigh merit, but to give their doom. Such is the healing virtue of your pen, Our poet therefore, jealous of th' event, To perfect cures on books, as well as men. And (tho' much boldness takes) not confiNor is this work the least: you well may
Has sent me whither you, fair ladies, too, To men new vigor, who make stones to live. Sometimes upon as small occasions go, Thro' you, the Danes, their short dominion And from this scheme, drawn for the hour lost,
and day, A longer conquest than the Saxons boast. Bid me inquire the fortune of his play. Stonehenge, once thought a temple, you [The curtain drawn discovers two ASTROLOGERS ; the have found
PROLOGUE is presented to them. A throne, where kings, our earthly gods, First Astrol. [Reads.] A figure of the were crown'd;
heavenly bodies in their several apartments,
This play is English, and the growth your
own; As such, it yields to English plays alone. He could have wish'd it better for your
sakes, But that in plays he finds you love mis
takes: Besides, he thought it was in vain to
mend What you are bound in honor to defend, That English wit, (howe'er despis'd by
some,) Like English valor, still may overcome.
Feb. the 5th, half an hour after three after noon, from whence you are to judge the success of a new play call’d The Wild Gallant.
2 Astrol. Who must judge of it, we, or these gentlemen ? We'll not meddle with it, so tell your poet. Here are in this house the ablest mathematicians in Europe for his purpose. They will resolve the question ere they
part. 1 Astrol. Yet let us judge it by the rules
of art. First Jupiter, the ascendant's lord dis
grac'd, In the twelfth house, and near grim Saturn
plac'd, Denote short life unto the play. 2 Astrol.
Jove yet, In his apartment Sagittary set, Under his own roof, cannot take much
wrong. 1 Astrol. Why then the life's not very
short, nor long. 2 Astrol. The luck not very good, nor Prolo. That is to say, 't is as 't is taken
still. 1 Astrol. But, brother, Ptolemy the
learned says, 'T is the fifth house from whence we judge
of plays. Venus, the lady of that house, I find Is peregrine : your play is ill design'd; It should have been but one continued song, Or at the least a dance of three hours long. 2 Astrol. But yet the greatest mischief
does remain, The twelfth apartment bears the lord of
Spain; Whence I conclude, it is your author's lot, To be indanger'd by a Spanish plot. Prolo. Our poet yet protection hopes
from you, But bribes you not with anything that's
new. Nature is old, which poets imitate, And for wit, those that boast their own es
tate, Forget Fletcher and Ben before them
went, Their elder brothers, and that vastly spent: So much, 't will hardly be repair'd again, 50 Not tho' supplied with all the wealth of
The Wild Gallant has quite play'd out his
game; He's married now, and that will make him
you think marriage will not reclaim
him, The critics swear they 'll damn him, but
they 'll tame him. Yet, tho' our poet's threaten'd most by
these, They are the only people he can please, For he, to humor them, has shown to-day That which they only like, a wretched
play. But, tho’ his play be ill, here have been
shown The greatest wits and beauties of the
town; And his occasion having brought you here, You are too grateful to become severe. There is not any person here so mean But he may freely judge each act and
scene; But if you bid him choose his judges then, He boldly names true English gentlemen; For he ne'er thought a handsome garb or
dress So great a crime to make their judgment
less; And with these gallants he these ladies
joins, To judge that language their converse re
fines. But if their censures should condemn his
play, Far from disputing, he does only pray He
may Leander's destiny obtain: Now spare him, drown him when he comes
TO THE LADY CASTLEMAINE, UPON HER INCOURAGING HIS FIRST PLAY
Like them are good, but from a nobler
cause, From your own knowledge, not from na
ture's laws. Your pow'r you never use but for defense, To guard your own, or others' innocence: 30 Your foes are such, as they, not you, bave And virtue may repel, tho' not invade. Such courage did the ancient heroes show, Who, when they might prevent, would wait
the blow; With such assurance as they meant to say: “We will o'ercome, but scorn the safest
way." What further fear of danger can there be ? Beauty, which captives all things, sets me
free. Posterity will judge by my success, I had the Grecian poet's happiness, Who, waiving plots, found out a better way; Some God descended, and preserv'd the play. When first the triumphs of your sex were
sung By those old poets, Beauty was but young, And few admir'd the native red and white, Till poets dress’d them up to charm the
sight; So Beauty took on trust, and did engage For sums of praises till she came to age. But this long-growing debt to poetry You justly, madam, have discharg'd to me, When your applause and favor did infuse New life to my condemn'd and dying Muse.
[In his preface to The Wild Gallant Dryden says that it had “but indifferent success in the action. . . Yet it was receiv'd at court; and was more than once the divertisement of his Majesty, by his own command." This probably does not refer to the revival of 1667 ; but, in part at least, to a court performance on February 23, 1663, which Pepys attended, and which may well have been procured for Dryden by the influence of the Countess of Castlemaine, then at the height of her power as the favorite mistress of Charles II. This woman was born Barbara Villiers, daughter of William Villiers, second Viscount Grandison ; in 1670 she was created Duchess of Cleveland.
This poem was first printed in Examen Poeticum, 1693.] As seamen, shipwrack'd on some happy
shore, Discover wealth in lands unknown before; And, what their art had labor'd long in
vain, By their misfortunes happily obtain: So my much-envied Muse, by storms long
toss'd, Is thrown upon your hospitable coast, And finds more favor by her ill success, Than she could hope for by her happiness. Once Cato's virtue did the gods oppose; While they the victor, he the vanquish'd
chose: But you have done what Cato could not do, To choose the vanquish’d, and restore him
too. Let others still triumph, and gain their
PROLOGUE TO THE RIVAL
By their deserts, or by the world's applause,
one, Could only spring from noble Grandison. You, like the stars, not by reflection bright, Are born to your own heav'n, and your own
[This tragi-comedy, Dryden's first attempt at the poetic drama, was acted late in 1663 or early in 1664. It was entered on the Stationers' Register June 5, 1664 (Malone, I, 1, 57); two separate editions were printed in that year. No epilogue appears in any early edition.) 'T is much desir’d, you judges of the town Would pass a vote to put all prologues
down: For who can show me, since they first were
writ, They e'er converted one hard-hearted wit? Yet the world's mended well: in former
days Good prologues were as scarce as now good
plays. For the reforming poets of our age,
In this first charge, spend their poetic rage: May 26, 1665 (Malone, I, 1, 218), but was not Expect no more when once the prologue's printed until 1667. It was a sequel to The done;
Indian Queen, a play written by Sir Robert The wit is ended ere the play 's begun.
Howard with some assistance from Dryden : You now have habits, dances, scenes, and
see Appendix I, p. 903, below.] rhymes;
PROLOGUE High language often; aye, and sense, sometimes.
ALMIGHTY critics ! whom our Indians here As for a clear contrivance, doubt it not; Worship, just as they do the Devil, for fear; They blow out candles to give light to th' In reverence to your pow'r I come this day plot.
To give you timely warning of our play. And for surprise, two bloody-minded men The scenes are old, the habits are the same Fight till they die, then rise and dance again. We wore last year, before the Spaniards Such deep intrigues you 're welcome to this
[Our prologue, th' old-cast too But blame yourselves, not him who writ the For to observe the new it should at least play;
Be spoke by some ingenious bird or beast.] Tho' his plot 's dull, as can be well desir'd, Now if you stay, the blood that shall be Wit stiff as any you have e'er admir'd:
shed He's bound to please, not to write well; and From this poor play, be all upon your head. knows
We neither promise you one dance, or show, There is a mode in plays as well as clothes; Then plot and language they are wanting Therefore, kind judges —
But you, kind wits, will those light faults A second PROLOGUE enters.
admit Those are the common frailties of the Muse, For judges all you see within the pit ? Which who observes, he buys his place too 1. Whom would he then except, or on
dear; what score ?
For 't is your business to be cozen'd here. 2. All who (like him) have writ ill plays These wretched spies of wit must then conbefore;
fess For they, like thieves condemn'd, are hang- They take more pains, to please themselves men made,
the less. To execute the members of their trade. Grant us such judges, Phæbus, we request, All that are writing now he would disown, As still mistake themselves into a jest; But then he must except-ev'n all the town; Such easy judges, that our poet may All chol'ric, losing gamesters, who, in spite, Himself admire the fortune of his play; Will damn to-day, because they lost last And arrogantly, as his fellows do, night;
Think he writes well, because he pleases All servants, whom their mistress' scorn
This he conceives not hard to bring about, All maudlin lovers, and all slighted maids; If all of you would join to help him out; All who are out of humor, or severe;
Would each man take but what he underAll that want wit, or hope to find it here.
stands, And leave the rest upon the poet's hands.
From his most mighty sons, whose confi- For love and he long since have thought it dence
fit, Is plac'd in lofty sound, and humble sense, Wit live by beauty, beauty reign by wit. Ev'n to his little infants of the time, Who write new songs, and trust in tune and
SONG rhyme; Be 't known, that Phæbus (being daily griev'd
An fading joy, how quickly art thou To see good plays condemn’d, and bad receiv'd)
Yet we thy ruin haste. Ordains your judgment upon every cause,
As if the cares of human life were few, Henceforth, be limited by wholesome laws. We seek out new: He first thinks fit no sonnetteer advance And follow fate, which would too fast purHis censure farther than the song or dance. Your wit burlesque may one step higher
climb, And in his sphere may judge all dogg’rel See how on every bough the birds exrhyme;
press All proves, and moves, and loves, and In their sweet notes their happiness. honors too;
They all enjoy, and nothing spare; All that appears high sense, and scarce is But on their mother Nature lay their
low. As for the coffee wits, he says not much; Why then should man, the lord of all beTheir proper business is to damn the
Such troubles choose to know,
As none of all his subjects undergo ?
Hark, hark, the waters fall, fall, fall,
To gentle slumbers call.
THE YEAR OF WONDERS, 1666
AN HISTORICAL POEM
THE PROGRESS AND VARIOUS SUCCESSES OF OUR NAVAL WAR WITH HOLLAND,
UNDER THE CONDUCT OF HIS HIGHNESS PRINCE RUPERT, AND HIS GRACE THE
Multum interest res poscat, an homines latius imperare velint.
TRAJAN IMPERATOR ad Plin.
Urbs antiqua ruit, multos dominata per annos. --- VIRG.
[Annus Mirabilis was licensed for the press on November 22, 1666, and was published in a tiny octavo, date 1667, the title-page of which reads as above. Different copies of this edition apparently show at least one variation in the text: see note on line 267. The poem was reprinted