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· Because I deal not in satyr, I have sent your Lordship a Prologue and Epilogue' which I made
never notorious for any thing but the highest degree of impudence, and stooping to the most infamous offices, and playing very well at chess, which preferred him more than the most virtuous qualities could have done.”-Continua. tion of the Life of Clarendon, p. 270. The words in Italicks seem to be a periphrasis for the epithet here applied to this person.
9 Aubery de Vere, the twentieth and last Earl of Oxford, of that family. He was born February 7, 1627-8; (Esc. 8. Car. p. 1. n. 3.) was a Knight of the Garter; Gentleman of the Bedchamber to Charles II. ; Chief Justice in Eyre; and Colonel of the first or royal regiment of horse-guards, which to this day is denominated from his title, the Oxford Blues. He died March 12, 1702-3, at the age of seventy-five.--It is observable that when a man has passed seventy years, his contemporaries are very apt to magnify his age. The late General Oglethorpe (who died July 1, 1785, at the age of 87,) was in the latter part of his life usually called ten years older than he was; and the twentieth Earl of Oxford has been always represented as considerably above eighty when he died ; but the document referred to in the beginning of this note, which has been examined for the purpose of ascer. taining the truth of the received account of his age, cannot err.
This nobleman is said to have deluded a celebrated actress by a fictitious marriage, aided by one of his domes. ticks, who read the service, disguised in the habit of a clergyman. According to the author of the MEMOIRS OF GRAMMONT, the lady whom he deceived, was an actress belonging to the Duke of York's company of comedians, who, he says, was celebrated in the part of Roxana (in THE RIVAL QUEENS]; but three other authors of Scan
for our players, when they went down to Oxford. I hear they have succeeded; and by the event
dalous Chronicles, Captain Smith, Madame Dunois, and Edmund Curll, say, that the part in which she was distin. guished, was Roxolana in Settle's IBRAHIM. Both these parts were represented by Mrs. Marshall in 1677, when THE RIVAL QUEENS and IBRAHIM were first performed; but if the Earl of Oxford were ever guilty of such a base deception, Mrs. Marshall could not have been the person deluded, nor could that have been the time ; for she was an actress, not at the Duke's, but at the King's, theatre; and in 1677, neither she nor any other woman could have been deceived by such a ceremony in London, Lord Ox. ford being then notoriously not a single man; having about the year 1674 married his second wife, Diana, the daughter of George Kirke, one of the Grooms of the Bed, chamber to Charles II.-The person seduced probably was Mrs. Frances Davenport, an eminent actress in the Duke of York's company, who was celebrated for her performance of the part of Roxolana in D'Avenant's Siege OF RHODES, in 1662, and in another Roxolana in Lord Orrery's MUSTAPHA, in 1665. She acted in Dryden's MAIDEN QUEEN in 1668; but her name is not found in any of the plays performed by the Duke of York's servants after they removed to Dorset Gardens, in 1671 ; and Downes, the prompter of that playhouse, mentions in his quaint language, that she was, before that time, “ by force of love erept from the stage.” The same writer says, Mrs. Betterton succeeded ber in the part of Roxolana. Mrs. Marshall, on the other hand, continued to act at the King's theatre for several years after this period.
Mrs. Davenport having probably been taken off the stage by Lord Oxford, in 1669 or 1670, three or four years before this letter was written, (1673.) and being then in his possession, this adventure, and his attachment -
Your Lordship will judge how easy 'tis to pass any thing upon an University, and how gross flattery the learned will endure. If your Lordship had been in town, and I in the country, I durst not have entertained you with three pages of a letter; but I know they are very ill things which can be tedious to a man who is fourscore miles from Covent-Garden. 'Tis upon this confidence that I dare almost promise to entertain you with a thousand bagatelles every week, and not to be serious in any part of my Letter but that wherein I take leave to call myself your Lordship's
Most obedient servant,
. i .John Dryden.
EV. DR. BUSBY
Wednesday Morning, [1682.);
to her, may have been in Etherege's thoughts, when he wrote these lines.
The Prologue and Epilogue alluded to, were probably those spoken at Oxford by Mr. Hart, at the representation of the SILENT WOMAN, which are printed in the first volume of Dryden's MISCELLAN IES, 8vo. 1684, where they are arranged immediately before another Prologue “spoken at Oxford in 1674."...
. See vol. i. part i. p. 1g, h... 3 John, our author's second son, was admitted, a King's cold, and, as he thinks him selfe, a chine-cough. The truth is, his constitution is very tender ; yet his desire of learning, I hope, will inable him to brush through the college. He is allwayes gratefully acknowledging your fatherly kindnesse to him ; and very willing, to his poore power, to do all things which may continue it. I have no more to add, but only to wish the eldest may also deserve some part of your good opinion, for I believe him to be of vertuous and pious inclinations; and for both, I dare assure you, that they can promise to them selves no farther share of my indulgence, then while they carry them selves with that reverence to you, and that honesty to all others, as becomes them. I am, Honour'd Sir, Your most obedient Servant and Scholar,
Scholar, into the college of Westminster, in 1682.Charles, the eldest, left it in the following year. On these grounds, I have added 1682, above, as the conjectural date of this letter. : * The following letter to Dr. Busby, appears to have been written by our author's wife, Lady Elizabeth Dryden, about the same time with the above.
· HONNORED SIR; : Ascension Day, (1682.7 · I hope I need use noe other argument to you in excuse of my sonn for not coming to church to Westminster then this, that he now lies at home, and thearfore cannot esilly goe soe far backwards and forwards. His father and I will take care that he shall duely goe to church heare, both on holydayes and Sundays, till he
TO THE REV. DR. BUSBY.
[1682.] SIR, If I could have found in my selfe a fitting temper to have waited upon you, I had done it the day you dismissed my sonn* from the college , for he did the message ; and by what I find from Mr. Meredith, as it was delivered by you to him ; namely, that you desired to see, me, and had somewhat to say to me concerning him. I obsery'd likewise somewhat of kindnesse in it, that you sent him away that you might not have occasion to correct him. I examin'd the business,
comes to be more nearly under your care in the college. In the mean time, will you pleas to give me leave to accuse you of forgetting your prommis conserning my eldest sonn; who, as you once assured me, was to have one night in a weeke alowed him to be at home, in considi. rasion both of his health and cleanliness. You know, Sir, that prommises mayd to women, and espiceally mothers, will never faill to be cald upon; and thearfore I will add noe more but that I am, at this time, your remembrancer, and allwayes, Honnord Sir,
Your humble Servant,
E. DRY,DEN. s Probably his eldest son, Charles.