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dead; and a thousand other things as extravagant he says, but performs not one action in the play.

But none of the former calunnies will stick; and, therefore, it is at last charged upon me, that Almanzor does all things; or if you will have an absurd accusation, in their nonsense who make it, that he performs impossibilities : they say, that being a stranger, he appeases two fighting factions, when the authority of their lawful sovereign could not. This is indeed the most improbable of all his actions, but it is far from being impossible. Their king had made himself contemptible to his people, as the history of Granada tells us; and Almanzor, though a stranger, yet was already known to them by his gallantry in the Juego de torros, his engagement on the weaker side, and more especially by the character of his person and brave actions, given by Abdalla just before ; and, after all, the greatness of the enterprise consisted only in the daring, for he had the king's guards to second him : But we have read both of Cæsar, and many other generals, who have not only calmed a mutiny with a word, but have presented themselves single before an army of their enemies; which upon sight of them has revolted from their own leaders, and come over to their 'trenches. In the rest of Almanzor's actions you see him for the most part victorious; but the same fortune has constantly attended many heroes, who were not imaginary. Yet, you see it no inheritance to him ; for, in the first place, he is made a prisoner; and, in the last, defeated, and not able to preserve the city from being taken. If the history of the late Duke of Guise be true, he hazarded more, and performed not less in Naples, than Almanzor is feigned to have done in Granada.

;! I have been too tedious in this apology; but to make some satisfaction, I will leave the rest of my play exposed to the criticks, without defence.

The concernment of it is wholly passed from me, and ought to be in them who have been favourable to it, and are somewhat obliged to defend their opinions. That there are errors in it, I deny not;

Ast opere in tanto fas est obrepere somnum. But I have already swept the stakes : and, with the common good fortune of prosperous gamesters, can be content to sit quietly; to hear my fortune cursed by some, and my faults arraigned by others; and to suffer both without reply.




The applause I gave among the foolish crowd
Was not distinguished, though I clapped aloud :
Or, if it had, my judgment had been hid :
I clapped for company, as others did.
Thence may be told the fortune of your play;
Its goodness must be tried another way.
Let's judge it then, and, if we've any skill,
Commend what's good, though we commend it ill.
There will be praise enough; yet not so much,
As if the world had never any such :
Ben Johnson, Beaumont, Fletcher, Shakespeare, are,
As well as you, to have a poet's share.
You, who write after, have, besides, this curse,
You must write better, or you else write worse.
To equal only what was writ before,
Seems stolen, or borrowed from the former store.
Though blind as Homer all the ancients be,
'Tis on their shoulders, like the lame, we see.
Then not to flatter th' age, nor flatter you,
(Praises, though less, are greater when they're true,)
You're equal to the best, out-done by you ;
Who had out-done themselves, had they lived now.


+ Jobo, Lord Vaughan, eldest surviving son of Richard, Earl of Carbery.





This jest was first of the other house's making,
And, five times tried, has never failed of taking;
For 'twere a shame a poet should be killed
Under the shelter of so broad a shield.
This is that hat, whose very sight did win ye
To laugh and clap as though the devil were in ye.
As then, for Nokes, so now I hope you'll be
So dull, to laugh once more for love of me.
I'll write a play, says one, for I have got
A broad-brimmed hat, and waist-belt, towards a ploť.
Says the other, I have one more large than that.
Thus they out-write each other—with a hat!
The brims still grew with every play they writ;
And grew so large, they covered all the wit.
Hat was the play ; 'twas language, wit, and tale:
Like them that find meat, drink, and cloth in ale.
What dulness do these mongrel wits confess,
When all their hope is acting of a dress !
Thus, two the best comedians of the age
Must be worn out, with being blocks o' the stage ;
Like a young girl, who better things has known,
Beneath their poet's impotence they groan.
See now what charity it was to save !
They thought you liked, what only you forgave ;

* There is a vague tradition, that, in this grotesque dress, (for the brims of the hat were as broad as a cart-wheel,) Nell Gwyn had the good fortune first to attract the attention of her royal lover. Where the jest lay, is difficult to diseover : it seems to have originated with the duke of York's players.

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