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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.


But you

And, what their art had labour'd long in vain,
By their misfortunes happily obtain :
So my much-envy'd muse, by storms long tost, 5
Is thrown upon your hospitable coast,
And finds more favour by her ill success,
Than she could hope for by her happiness.
Once Cato's virtue did the gods oppose;
While they the victor, he the vanquish'd chose:

have done what Cato could not do, il
To choose the vanquish'd, and restore him too.
Let others still triumph, and gain their cause
By their deserts, or by the world's applause ;
Let merit crowns, and justice laurels give,
But let me happy by your pity live.
True poets empty fame and praise despise,
Fame is the trumpet, but your smile the prize,
You fit above, and fee vain men below
Contend for what you only can bestow :
But those great actions others do by chance,
Are, like your beauty, your inheritance :
So great a soul, such sweetness join'd in one,
Could only fpring from noble Grandifon.
You, like the stars, not by reflection bright, 25
Are born to your own heaven, and your own




Ver::9. Once Cato's virtue did the gods oppose ;

While they the rictor, he the vanquilh'd chofe :]
Victrix causa deis placuit fed victa Catone.




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.









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.


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

cure :



For ill men, conscious of their inward guilt,
Think the best actions on by-ends are built.
And yet my silence had not 'scap'd their spite;
Then, envy had not fuffer'd me to write;
For, since I could not ignorance pretend,
Such merit I must envy or commend.

candidates there stand for wit,
A place at court is scarce so hard to get :
In vain they crowd each other at the door;
For e'en reversions are all begg'd before :
Defert, how known foe'er, is long delay'd ;
And then too fools and knaves are better

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.


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