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(TO AMALTHEA.] To you, fair Amalthea, what I am'
Ārga. I neither now desire, nor will deserve it;
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 fairest;
to explanas caustecret.grc A side.
Beyond my crown I have one joy in store,
give that crown have one joy in 110 PALMYRÅ
Taus have my spouse and I informed the nation,
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
+ In the prologue to this beautified edition, Ravenscroft modestly tell us :
Like other poets, he'll not proudly scorn