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Epistle Dedicatory to Mr. Bentley,
FRIENDSHIP IN FASHION.
This play, the first specimen of Otway's powers as a writer of Comedy, whilst it exhibits, though, perhaps, in a less obtrusive manner, the licentiousness of morals which prevailed during the reign of Charles the Second; is no advantageous display of his talents in that species of composition. It appears, however, from Langbaine, who terms it “ a very diverting play," that those who were the first judges of it's merit, and whom it was more immediately his interest to please, entertained a much more favourable opinion of it's deserts, and received it with “ general applause." As morality of design and purity of dialogue were regarded as matters of little moment in those days, we may ascribe it's success to the bustle and action with which it abounds; some novelty and variety of character; and a few scenes bordering upon buffoonery, which has saved a worse piece from destruction. The
persons of the drama, deficient as they are in those qualities which ought alone to excite interest or admiration, may be dismissed with little notice: for, with the single exception of Camilla, (who appears too seldom to be known) they are either vicious, or ridiculous, or both. Some of them were supposed to bear an intended analogy to certain living characters, and this opinion raised a prejudice against the author, to which