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is not easily to be met with—it was sold at Mr. Rhodes' Sale, in 1825, for more than a Guinea.
Very Good Wife. Courtwitt = Powell: Wellborn = Hodgson: Squeezwit = Bowen: Jeremy = Mic. Leigh: Bonavent = Alexander: Sneaksby = Haines: Aminadab = Cibber: Venture = Bright: Hickman = Trefusis: Crack = Lawson: Widow Lacy = Mrs. Knight: Annabella (wife to Courtwitt) = Mrs. Mountfort: Mrs, Sneaksby = Mrs. Leigh: Mrs. Carroll = Mrs. Lassels :—this is a moderate C. by Powell—the greater part of it is taken from Brome—even the dialogue is frequently copied verbatim—the characters of Courtwitt—Mr. and Mrs. Sneaksby—Aminadab — Jeremy—Crack and Hickman are borrowed from the City Wit—Bonavent—Squeezwit—Venture—and Mrs. Carroll from the Court Beggar—much less is taken from the latter play than from the former one—the first two scenes between the Widow and Wellborn are copied almost verbatim from Hide Park, and the 3d scene till Annabella enters—Annabella, disguised as a man, marries the widow—this is taken from the Counterfeit Bridegroom, or (which is the same thing) from Middleton's No Wit, no help like a Woman's— the names of Bonavent—Venture and Mrs. Carroll are from Hide Park—Powell was not a judicious plagiary—he has altered for the worse, rather than the better, what he has stolen.
Double Dealer. Maskwell = Betterton: Sir Paul Plyant = Dogget: Careless = Alexander: Brisk = Powell: Mellefont = Williams: Lord Touchwood = Kynaston: Lord Froth = Bowman: Lady Froth = Mrs. Mountfort: Lady Plyant = Mrs. Leigh: Lady Touchwood = Mrs. Barry: Cynthia = Mrs. Bracegirdle :—this play is inferiour to Congreve's other Comedies, but superiour to those of almost any other
writer Malone says it came out in Nov. 1693.
Dryden on this occasion addressed an Epistle to Congreve in which he says—
"Maintain your post: That's all the fame you "need;
"For 'tis impossible you should proceed.
"Already I am worn with cares and age,
"And just abandoning th' ungrateful stage:
"But you whom every muse and grace adorn,
"Whom I foresee to better fortune born,
"Be kind to my remains; and O defend,
"Against your judgment, your departed friend!"
Love Triumphant, or Nature will Prevail. Alphonso (supposed son of Veramond) = Betterton: Veramond = Kynaston: Garcia = Williams: Ramirez = Alexander: Carlos = Powell: Sancho = Dogget: Lopez = Underhill: Victoria and Celidea (daughters of Veramond and Ximena) := Mrs. Barry and Mrs. Bracegirdle: Ximena (Queen of Arragon) = Mrs. Betterton: Dalinda = Mrs. Mountfort:—Veramond King of Arragon and Ramirez King of Castile had been friends; and had married two sisters —in the play they are enemies—Alphonso had fought with Ramirez in single combat, and had taken him prisoner—he had been assisted in the war by Garcia King of Navarre—Veramond, in the 1st act, declares his intention of giving Victoria to Garcia—Alphonso and Victoria have a love for one another beyond that of a brother to a sister—they keep themselves however within proper bounds—in the 3d act Veramond taxes them with incest—Ximena says that Alphonso is really the son of Ramirez and her sister—Ramirez confirms what she says—Ximena requests her husband to give his consent to the union of Alphonso and Victoria—Veramond is so far from consenting to this, that he banishes Alphonso, and sends Ramirez to a dungeon—in the 4th act, Victoria is led in, as on the point of being married to Garcia—the army, which was encamped without the walls of Saragossa, sides with Alphonso—they attack Veramond and his guards, and beat them off the stage—Alphonso fights with Garcia, and gets the better of him—but spares his life at the desire of Celidea—Victoria, instead of marrying Alphonso, as might naturally have been expected, is seized with a romantic fit of honour, and puts herself again into her father's power—Alphonso is as romantic as Victoria—he presents himself, in the last scene, unarmed to Veramond —Veramond is at first inclined to put Alphonso to death—but, by Celidea's interference, he is prevailed on to forgive him—and all ends happily—Garcia marries Celidea —that Ramirez should have given his son to Ximena, to be brought up as the son of herself and Veramond, is improbable—that he should have fought with Alphonso, knowing him to be his own son, is grossly absurd—Dryden makes a lame excuse for this by causing Ramirez to say—
"I sent him word he was my son, before
The conduct of the plot is so unnatural, that it almost warrants a suspicion, that the serious scenes
of this play, tho' not acted till 1693, were written before the extravagant notions of love and honour were exploded—one thing is certain, that the tragic part of this piece is very inferiour to any play which Dryden had written for many years—two scenes are
in rhyme—tho' Dryden had left off rhyme there
is a comic underplot—Carlos and Sancho are two Colonels, who are in love with Dalinda, the daughter of Don Lopez—Carlos is a clever fellow, but poor— Sancho is a fool, but rich—Dalinda, who has no fortune, marries Sancho—the comic part of this play is good; it has not the slightest connexion with the tragic part, except that when Alphonso takes up arms against Veramond, Carlos joins him.
Dryden, both in the dedication and in the Prologue, expresses his determination of not writing any more
for the stage Malone says this Tragi-Comedy
came out immediately after the Double Dealer—it was coolly received at least; if not damned.
Dr. Johnson says of Dryden—"Almost every piece "had a dedication written with such elegance and "luxuriance of praise, as neither haughtiness nor "avarice could be imagined able to resist: when once "he had undertaken the task of compliment, he no "longer retains shame in himself, nor supposes it in "his patron: of this kind of meanness, he never "seems to decline the practice or lament the neces"sity, but he made his flattery too cheap; that praise "is worth nothing of which the price is known."
Malone, who is on all occasions a most strenuous advocate for Dryden, attempts to excuse the servility of Dryden's adulation by saying, that it was rather the vice of the age than the man—but to what does this excuse amount ?—simply to this; that some (certainly not all) of Dryden's contemporaries were as mean as himself—if a thing be wrong in itself, the number of persons, who are guilty of it, cannot alter its nature.
Dryden in a letter to the Earl of Rochester says —" I have sent you a Prologue and Epilogue which "I made for our players, when they went down to "Oxford—I hear they have succeeded—and by the "event your Lordship will judge how easy 'tis to pass "any thing upon an University, and how gross flat"tery the learned will endure "—(Malone)—he should have added—"and I am mean enough to "write "—after all, his Prologues at Oxford contain nothing more than some few handsome compliments, and Dryden might have said of them, as Puff does in the Critic, they are "quite cool—to what I some"times do."
T. R 1694.
Don Quixote part 1st—Don Quixote = Bowen: Sancho = Dogget: Gines de Passamonte = Haines: Don Fernando = Powell: Cardenio = Bowman: Ambrosio = Verbruggen: Perez (a Curate) = Cibber: Nicholas (a Barber) = Harris: Host = Bright: Marcella = Mrs. Bracegirdle: Dorothea = Mrs. Knight: