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As feamen, shipwreck'd on fòme happy shore, Discover wealth in lands unknown before;
* Mr. Dryden's first play, called the Wild Gallant, was exhibited with but indifferent fuccess. The lady, whose patronage he acknowledges in this epiftle, was Barbara, daughter of William Villiers Lord Grandison, who was killed in the king's fervice at the battle of Edge-hill, in 1642, and buried in Chriftchurch, in Oxford. This lady was one of Charles the Second's favourite mistresses for many years, and she bore him several children. 1. Charles Fitzroy, Duke of Southampton; 2. Henry Fitzroy, Earl of Euston and Duke of Grafton ; 3. George Fitzroy, Earl of Northumberland; 4. Charlotta, married to Sir Edward Henry Lee, of Ditchley, in Oxfordshire, afterwards Earl of Litchfield, and brother to Eleonora, Countess of Abingdon, on whom Dryden has written a beautiful elegy; 5. A daughter, whom the King denied to be his.
This lady was, before the was known to his Majesty, married to Roger Palmer, Esq. who was created Earl of Castlemain, by whom the bad a daughter, whom the King adopted, and who married with Thomas Lord Dacres, Earl of Sussex.
The Countess of Castlemain was afterwards created Dutchefs of Cleveland.
And, what their art had labour'd long in vain,
have done what Cato could not do, il
Ver::9. Once Cato's virtue did the gods oppose ;
While they the rictor, he the vanquilh'd chofe :]
Like them are good, but from a nobler cause, From your own knowledge, not from nature's
laws. Your power you never use, but for defence, To guard your own, or other's innocence: Your foes are such, as they, not you, have made, And virtue may repel, though not invade. Such courage did the ancient heroes show, Who, when they might prevent, would wait the
blow : With such affurance as they meant to say, We will o'ercome, but scorn the fafest way: What further fear of danger can there be ? Beauty, which captives all things, fets me free. Posterity will judge by my success, I had the Grecian poet's happiness, Who, waving plots, found out a better way; Some God descended, and preserv’d the play. When first the triumphs of your sex were fung By those old poets, beauty was but young, And few admir'd the native red and white, Till poets dress’d them up to charm the fight; So beauty took on trust, and did engage For sums of praises till she came to age. But this long-growing debt to poetry You justly, madam, have discharg'd to me, When your applause and favour did infuse New life to my condemn'd and dying muse.
EPISTLÉ THE FOURTH.
THE blast of common censure could I fear, Before your play my namie should not appear; For-'twill be thought, and with some colour
Ver. 1. The blast of common] Every reader of taste must agree
with Addison, from whose opinions it is always hazardous to diffent, that none of our poets had a genius more strongly turned for tragedy than Lee. Notwith ttanding his many rants and extravagancies, for which Dryden fkilfully and elegantly apologizes in ten admirable lines of this epistle, from verfe 45, yet are there many beautiful touches of nature and pation in his Alexander, his Lucius J. Brutus, and Theodofius.' So true was what he himself once replied to a puny objector : “ It is not an easy thing to write like a madman, but it is very easy to write like a fool.” When Lord Rochester objected,
“ That. Lee makes teinperate Scipio fret and rave,
And Annibal a whining amorous llave :" It ought to be remembered, that this is a fault into which the most applauded tragedians have frequently fallen, and none more to than Corneille and Racine, though the latter was so correct a scholar. Lee loft his life in a lamentable manner : returning home at midnight, in one of his fits of intoxication, he stumbled and fell down in the street, and perished in a deep Inow, 1692.
Dr. J. WARTOX.
too, I pay
the bribe I first receiv'd from you ; That mutual vouchers for our fame we stand, 5 And play the game into each other's hand; And as cheap pen’orths to ourselves afford, As Beffus and the brothers of the sword. Such libels private men may well endure, When states and kings themselves are not
For ill men, conscious of their inward guilt,
candidates there stand for wit,
pay'd: Yet, as some actions bear so great a name, That courts themselves are just, for fear of
shame; So has the mighty merit of your play Extorted praise, and forc'd itself away.