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AND JONSON. 231
The next suspicious circumflance in the letter which wc are now examining, is, that in the pretended cxtracfls from this old parnphlet most of the
tioned, caii be proved to be ficftions. Such of the pretended extrafts as are true, are old; and such as are new, are false. -Thus, to take the former class firll, we are informed, (as from the pamphlet,) 'that our poet and Jonson were at variance; that old Ben took every means of depreciating the lowly Shakfpeare; that he ailerted our poet had little Latin, and less Greek, and did not under(land the dramatick laws ;' that jonson ridiculed
D'VAvenant] was appointed poet-laureate in his room: but he at that time received no favour from the crown. Sixteen months afterwards, Dec. 13, x533, in the l4th year ofCharles the Firll, letter' parent passed the great seal, granting, " in consideration of service heretofore done and hereafter to be done by William Davenant, gentleman," an annuity of one hundred pounds per Arm. to the said VI. D. during his majesiss pleasure. By this parent no Cauary wine was granted; and no mention is made of the ollice of poet-laureate. It is at present conferred, not by letters parent, but by a warrant figned and sealed. by the Lord Chamberlain, nominating A. B. to the oflice, wit the aceullomed fees then-eunto belonging. 7 Which hen claimed the meritpf having first taught his contemporariess. See his Verfes to his old fervant Richard Brome, prefixed to The Northern Last, which was first ailed in July, 1599: as Now you are got into a nearer room ac Of fellowship, profeiiing my old arts, as And you do do them well, with good applaufe; as Wliich you have jullly gained from the Rage, ye By observation of those camich law: tc Which I, your maficr, fig? did teach the age. "
collected into a ' volume, in 1616. appear to have been in mofi esiimation; and from the time of Shakspeare's death to the 'year 1625, both Benls fame and that of Fletcher, seem to have been at their height. In this period Fletcher produced inear thirty plays, which were ailed with applause;
'F0rd's play was exhibited at the Blackfriars on'
the 24th of November, 1628, when it was licenfed for the Itage, as appears from the Oflice-book of Sir Henry Herbert, Master of the Revels. to King Charles the Firfi, a manuscript now before me, of which a more particular account may be found in
234 SHAKSPEARE, FORD, and]onson's New Imz on the lgth ofjanuary in thesollowingyear, 1628-9. Very soon indeed after the ill success of]0nson's piece, the King's Company brought out at the same theatre a new play called The Lo-or-fick Maid, or the Honour ofyoung Ladies, which was licensecl by Sir Henry Herbert, on the gth of Fcbruary, 1628-9, and afted with extraordinary applausc. This play, which was written by jOns0n's own servant, Richard Brome, was so "popular, that the managers of the King's Company, on the loth-of March, presented the Master of the Rcvels with the sum of two pounds, " on the good succcss of The Honour of Ladies;" the only insiancc I have met with ossuch a comi pliment being paid him. No mention whatsoever is made of The Lovcfs Melancholy having been attended with any extraordinary success, though Mr. M. srom- private motives chose to represent it as having been ailed with uncommon applause.
XVe are next- told, that Ben was so exasperated by the damnation of his piece, that he printed it with a very singular title-page, which is given; and that z'mmccz'z'auly upon this he 'wrote his celebrated Odc, "Come, leave theloathed Rage," Scc. It is not very clear what the letter-writer means by the words, z'mnu-diately upon this. If he means that jonson wrote -his Ode immediately after his play was damned in 1629; the assertion is made at random ; if he means that immediately after he had published his play he wrote his ode, the fact is not true. The odc is printed at the end of the play, which was published in Aprilt, 1631. t
The next new faEt sound in this curious pam-' phlet is, that Ben jonson, mortified by hisvown