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[TO AMALTHEA.] To you, fair Amalthea, what I am’
And what all these, from me, we jointly owe:
First, therefore, to your great desert we give
Your brother's life; but keep him under guard
Till our new power be settled. What more grace
He may receive, shall from his future carriage
Be given, as he deserves.

Arga. I neither now desire, nor will deserve it;
My loss is such as cannot be repaired,
And, to the wretched, life can be no mercy.

Leon. Then be a prisoner always : Thy ill fate
And pride will have it so: But since in this I cannot,
Instruct me, generous Amalthea, how
A king may serve you.

Amal. I have all I hope,
And all I now must wish; I see you happy.
Those hours I have to live, which heaven in pity
Will make but few, I vow to spend with vestals:
The greatest part in prayers for you; the rest
In mourning my unworthiness.
Press me not farther to explain myself ;
'Twill not become me, and may cause your trouble.
Leon. Too well I understand her secret grief,

[Aside. But dare not seem to know it.—Come, my fáirest;

Beyond my crown I have one joy in store,
To give that crown to her whom I adore.


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Taus have my spouse and I informed the nation,
And led you all the way to reformation;
Not with dull morals, gravely writ, like those,
Which men of easy phlegm with care compose,-
Your poets, of stiff words and limber sense,
Born on the confines of indifference;
But by examples drawn, I dare to say,
From most of you who hear and see the play,
There are more Rhodophils in this theatre,
More Palamedes, and some few wives, I fear :
But yet too far our poet would not run;
Though 'twas well offered, there was nothing done.
He would not quite the women's frailty bare,
But stript them to the waist, and left them there:
And the men's faults are less severely shown,
For he considers that himself is one.
Some stabbing wits, to bloody satire bent,
Would treat both sexes with less compliment;
Would lay the scene at home; of husbands tell,
For wenches, taking up their wives i' the Mall;
And a brisk bout, which each of them did want;
Made by mistake of mistress and gallant.
Our modest author thought it was enough
To cut you off a sample of the stuff :
He spared my shame, which you, I'm sure, would not,
For you were all for driving on the plot :
You sighed when I came in to break the sport,
And set your teeth when each design fell short.
To wives and servants all good wishes lend,
But the poor cuckold seldom finds a friend.
Since, therefore, court and town will take no pity,
I humbly cast myself upon the city.

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This play was unfortunate in the representation. It is needless, at the distance of more than a century, to investigate the grounds of the dislike of an audience, who, perhaps, could at the very time have given no good reason for their capricious condemnation of a play, not worse than many others which they received with applausc. The author, in the dedication, hints at the “ laineness of the action;" but, as the poet and performers are nearly equally involved in the disgrace of a condemned piece, it is a very natural desire on either side to assign the cause of its failure to the imperfections of the other; of which there is a ludicrous représentation in a dialogue betwixt the player and the poet in “ Joseph Andrews.” Another cause of its unfavourable reception seems to have been, its second title of “ Love in a Nunnery." Dryden certainly could, last of any man, have been justly suspected of an intention to ridicule the Duke of York and the Catholic religion; yet, as he fell under the same censure for the “ Spanish Friar," it seems probable that such suspicions were actually entertained. The play certainly contains, in the present instance, nothing to justify them. In point of merit, “ The Assignation” seems pretty much on a level with Dryden's other comedics ; and certainly the spectators, who had received the blunders of Sir Martin Mar-all with such unbounded applause, might have taken some interest in those of poor Benito. Perhaps the absurd and vulgar scene, in which the prince pretends a fit of the cholic, had some share in occasioning the fall of the piece. This inelegant jeu de theatre is severely ridiculed in the “ Rehearsal.”

To one person, the damnation of this play seems to have afforded exquisite pleasure. This was Edward Ravenscroft, once a member of the Middle Temple,-an ingenious gentleman, of whose taste it may be held a satisfactory instance, that he deemed the tragedy of “ Titus Andronicus” too mild for representation, and generously added a few more murders, rapes, and parricides, to that charnel-house of horrors t. His turn for comedy being at least

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+ In the prologue to this beautified edition, Ravenscroft modestly tell us :

Like other poets, he'll not proudly scorn
To own, that he but winnowed Shakespeare's corn:.
So far was he from robbing him of's treasure,
That he did add bis own, to make full measure.

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