페이지 이미지
PDF
ePub

my plot from thence, so others, who had heard of another play, called L'AMOUR TYRANNIQUE, with the same ignorance accused me to have borrowed my design from it, because I have accidentally given my play the same title ; not having to this day seen it, and knowing only by report that such a comedy is extant in French, under the name of Monsieur Scudery.

As for what I have said of astral or aërial spirits, it is no invention of mine, but taken from those who have written on that subject. Whether there are such beings or not, it concerns not me; it is sufficient for my purpose, that many have believed the affirmative ;8 and that these heroick representations, which are of the same nature with the epick, are not limited, but with the extremest bounds of what is credible.

For the little criticks who pleased themselves with thinking they have found a flaw in that line of the Prologue,

“ And he who servilely creeps after sense,

“ Is safe,” &c. as if I patronized my own nonsense, I may reasonably suppose they have never read Horace. Serpit humi tutus, &c. are his words : he who creeps after plain, dull, common sense, is safe from committing absurdities, but can never reach any height, or excellence of wit ; and sure I could not mean that any excellence were to be found in

• See pp. 216, and 233.

nonsense. * With the same ignorance, or malice, they would accuse me for using-empty arms, when I writ of a ghost or shadow, which has only the appearance of a body or limbs, and is empty or void of flesh and blood; and vacuis amplectitur ulnis, was an expression of Ovid's on the same subject. Some fool before them had charged me in THE INDIAN EMPEROR with nonsense, in these words :

“ And follow Fate, which does too fast pursue ;" which was borrowed from Virgil in the eleventh of his Æneids:

Eludit gyro interior, sequiturque sequentem. I quote not these to prove that I never writ nonsense, but only to shew that they are so unfortunate as not to have found it.

VALE.

* Our author alludes to the following spirited lines of the Prologue to TYRANNICK LOVE:

“ Poets, like lovers, should be bold and dare;
“ They spoil their business with an over-care ;
“* And he who servilely creeps after sense,
“ Is safe, but ne'er will reach to excellence.
“ Hence 'tis, our poet in his conjuring
“ Allow'd his fancy the full force and swing;
" But when a tyrant for his theme he had,
“ He loos’d the reins, and bid his muse run mad :
“ And though he stumbles in a full career,

“ Yet rashness is a better fault than fear. VOL. I.

A A

" He saw his way; but, in so swift à pace, " To choose the ground might be to lose the race. “ They then, who of each trip the advantage cake, ~ Find but those faults, which they want wit to make.”

In the fifth line the author alludes to his alteration of THE TEMPEST, which being placed before The MOCK ASTROLOGER, in his own list of his plays arranged in the order in which they were written, was probably first represented, as I have already suggested, in the winter of 1668, or early in 1669. From a passage in the Preface, it appears not to have been produced till after the death of D'Avenant, He died April 7, 1668.

DEDICATION

OF THE FIRST PART OF THE CONQUEST OF GRANADA.

TO HIS

ROYAL HIGHNESS, THE DUKE.?

SIR,

· Heroick Poesy has always been sacred to Princes and to Heroes. Thus Virgil inscribed his Æneids to Augustus Cæsar ; and of latter ages, Tasso and Ariosto dedicated their poems 'to the house of Este. It is indeed but justice, that the most excellent and most profitable kind of writing, should be addressed by poets to such persons whose characters have, for the most part, been the guides and patterns of their imitation, and poets, while they imitate, instruct. The feigned hero inflames the true ; and the dead virtue animates the living. Since, therefore, the world is governed by precept and example, and both these can only

9 James, Duke of York, afterwards King James II. This Dedication was addressed to the Duke in 1672, when The CONQUEST OF GRANADA was first published.

The medical Duke of

have influence from those persons who are above us, that kind of poesy which excites to virtue the greatest men, is of greatest use to human kind.

It is from this consideration that I have presumed to dedicate to your Royal Highness these faint representations of your own worth and valour in heroick poetry; or to speak more properly, not to dedicate, but to restore to you those ideas which, in the more perfect part of my characters, I have taken from you. Heroes may lawfully be delighted with their own praises, both as they are farther incitements to their virtue, and as they are the highest returns which mankind can make them for it.

And certainly, if ever nation were obliged either by the conduct, the personal valour, or the good fortune of a leader, the English are acknowledging, in all of them, to your Royal Highness. Your whole life has been a continued series of heroick actions, which you began so early, that you were no sooner named in the world, but it was with praise and admiration. Even the first blossoms of your youth paid us all that could be expected from a ripening manhood. While you practised but the rudiments of war, you outwent all other captains; and have since found none to surpass but yourself alone. The opening of your glory was like that of light ; you shone to us from afar, and disclosed your first beams on distant nations ; yet so, that the lustre of them was spread abroad, and reflected brightly on your

« 이전계속 »