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SIR SAMUEL TUKE, of Temple Cressy, in the County of Essex, was a colonel of horse in the king's army, and served against the parliament, as long as the affairs of his master had any prospect of success. He was very active in that rising in the County of Essex, which ended fatally to some of the chief actors in it. From the prologue to the present play, spoken at court, it appears that he intended to retire from business, soon after the Restoration, but was diverted from that design for some time, by his majesty's recommending him to adapt a Spanish play to the English stage, which he executed with some degree of success. On the 31st March*, 1664, he was created a baronet. He married Mary, the daughter of Edward Sheldon, a lady who was one of the dressers to Queen Mary, and probably a Roman Catholic, of which persuasion our author seems also to have beent. He died at Somerset House, on the 26th of January, 1673, and was buried in the vault under the chapel there. Langbaine, by mistake, says he was alive at the time he published his Lives of the Dramatic poets.
Sir Samuel did not escape the censure of his brother poets. One of them, speaking of Cowley, says, he
Writ verses unjustly in praise of Sam Tuke ||.
And in the same poem:
Sam Tuke sat, and formally smil'd at the rest;
Call'd him to the bar to put him to the test,
But his muse was so stiff, she scarcely could go.
Heylin's Help to History.
Wood's Ath. vol. 2. p. 802.
Dryden's Miscellanies, vol. 2. p. 92.
These were prefixed to the edition of The Adventures of Five Hours, printed the year after the author was made a baronet, but which bears no mark of his advancement. He is there called only Colonel Tuke.
She pleaded her age, desir'd a reward;
It seems in her age, she doated on praise :
Should never be grac'd with a per'wig of bays.
Sir Samuel was one of the first members of the Royal Society, and wrote a history of the ordering and generation of green Colchester oysters, printed in Spratt's History, p. 307.
The several editions of this play are-in folio, 1663, and in 4to, 1664, 1671, and 1704.
SINCE it is your pleasure, Noble Sir, that I should hold my fortune from you, like those tenants, who pay some inconsiderable trifle in lieu of a valuable rent, I humbly offer you this poem, in acknowledgment of my tenure: and I am well pleas'd with this occasion to publish my sense of your favours, since it seems to me a kind of ingratitude to be thankful in private.
It was bred upon the terrace-walks in your garden at Aldbury; and, if I mistake not, it resembles the place where it was brought up: the plot is delightful, the elevations natural, the ascents easy, without any great embellishments of art.
I designed the character of Antonio, as a copy of your steady virtue; if it appear to those who have the honour to know you, short of the original, I take leave to inform them, that you have not sat to me long; 'tis possible, hereafter I may gratify my country, for their civility to this essay, with something more worthy of your patronage and their indulgence.
In the interim, I make it my glory to avow, that, had fortune been just to me, she could not have recompensed the loyal industry of my life with a more illustrious title than that which you have been pleased to confer upon me, of Your Friend. To which (as in gratitude I am bound) I subjoin that of
Your most humble servant,
* This dedication, and the prologue and epilogue which follow, are only found in the first and second edition. C.
The first SCENE is the City of SEVILLE.
The Prologue enters, with a play-bill in his hand, and reads-This day, being the 15th of December, shall be acted a new play, never play'd before, call'd The Adventures of Five Hours.
A NEW PLAY.
Th' are i' the right, for I dare boldly say,
Teach him what 'tis, in this discerning age,
To bring his heavy genius on the stage;
Where you have seen such nimble wits appear,
That pass'd so soon, one scarce could say th' were here.
Of their designs, who would subvert the state,