The Works Of John Dryden, Vol. 7 (of 18) - The Duke of Guise; Albion and Albanius; Don Sebastian
by John Dryden
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It is almost needless to speak any thing of that noble language, in which this musical drama was first invented and performed. All, who are conversant in the Italian, cannot but observe, that it is the softest, the sweetest, the most harmonious, not only of any modern tongue, but even beyond any of the learned. It seems indeed to have been invented for the sake of poetry and music; the vowels are so abounding in all words, especially in terminations of them, that, excepting some few monosyllables, the whole language ends in them. Then the pronunciation is so manly, and so sonorous, that their very speaking has more of music in it than Dutch poetry and song. It has withal derived, so much copiousness and eloquence from the Greek and Latin, in the composition of words, and the formation of them, that if, after all, we must call it barbarous, it is the most beautiful and most learned of any barbarism in modern tongues; and we may, at least, as justly praise it, as Pyrrhus did the Roman discipline and martial order, that it was of barbarians, (for so the Greeks called all other nations,) but had nothing in it of barbarity. This language has in a manner been refined and purified from the Gothic ever since the time of Dante, which is above four hundred years ago; and the French, who now cast a longing eye to their country, are not less ambitious to possess their elegance in poetry and music; in both which they labour at impossibilities. It is true, indeed, they have reformed their tongue, and brought both their prose and poetry to a standard; the sweetness, as well as the purity, is much improved, by throwing off the unnecessary consonants, which made their spelling tedious and their pronunciation harsh: but, after all, as nothing can be improved beyond its own species, or farther than its original nature will allow; as an ill voice, though ever so thoroughly instructed in the rules of music, can never be brought to sing harmoniously, nor many an honest critic ever arrive to be a good poet; so neither can the natural harshness of the French, or their perpetual ill accent, be ever refined into perfect harmony like the Italian. The English has yet more natural disadvantages than the French; our original Teutonic, consisting most in monosyllables, and those incumbered with consonants, cannot possibly be freed from those inconveniencies. The rest of our words, which are derived from the Latin chiefly, and the French, with some small sprinklings of Greek, Italian, and Spanish, are some relief in poetry, and help us to soften our uncouth numbers; which, together with our English genius, incomparably beyond the trifling of the French, in all the nobler parts of verse, will justly give us the pre-eminence. But, on the other hand, the effeminacy of our pronunciation, (a defect common to us and to the Danes,) and our scarcity of female rhymes, have left the advantage of musical composition for songs, though not for recitative, to our neighbours.

Through these difficulties I have made a shift to struggle in my part of the performance of this opera; which, as mean as it is, deserves at least a pardon, because it has attempted a discovery beyond any former undertaker of our nation; only remember, that if there be no north-east passage to be found, the fault is in nature, and not in me; or, as Ben Jonson tells us in "The Alchymist," when projection had failed, and the glasses were all broken, there was enough, however, in the bottoms of them, to cure the itch; so I may thus be positive, that if I have not succeeded as I desire, yet there is somewhat still remaining to satisfy the curiosity, or itch of sight and hearing. Yet I have no great reason to despair; for I may, without vanity, own some advantages, which are not common to every writer; such as are the knowledge of the Italian and French language, and the being conversant with some of their best performances in this kind; which have furnished me with such variety of measures as have given the composer, Monsieur Grabut, what occasions he could wish, to shew his extraordinary talent in diversifying the recitative, the lyrical part, and the chorus; in all which, not to attribute any thing to my own opinion, the best judges and those too of the best quality, who have honoured his rehearsals with their presence, have no less commended the happiness of his genius than his skill. And let me have the liberty to add one thing, that he has so exactly expressed my sense in all places where I intended to move the passions, that he seems to have entered into my thoughts, and to have been the poet as well as the composer. This I say, not to flatter him, but to do him right; because amongst some English musicians, and their scholars, who are sure to judge after them, the imputation of being a Frenchman is enough to make a party, who maliciously endeavour to decry him. But the knowledge of Latin and Italian poets, both which he possesses, besides his skill in music, and his being acquainted with all the performances of the French operas, adding to these the good sense to which he is born, have raised him to a degree above any man, who shall pretend to be his rival on our stage. When any of our countrymen excel him, I shall be glad, for the sake of old England, to be shewn my error; in the mean time, let virtue be commended, though in the person of a stranger[3].

If I thought it convenient, I could here discover some rules which I have given to myself in writing of an opera in general, and of this opera in particular; but I consider, that the effect would only be, to have my own performance measured by the laws I gave; and, consequently, to set up some little judges, who, not understanding thoroughly, would be sure to fall upon the faults, and not to acknowledge any of the beauties; an hard measure, which I have often found from false critics. Here, therefore, if they will criticise, they shall do it out of their own fond; but let them first be assured that their ears are nice; for there is neither writing nor judgment on this subject without that good quality. It is no easy matter, in our language, to make words so smooth, and numbers so harmonious, that they shall almost set themselves. And yet there are rules for this in nature, and as great a certainty of quantity in our syllables, as either in the Greek or Latin: but let poets and judges understand those first, and then let them begin to study English. When they have chewed a while upon these preliminaries, it may be they will scarce adventure to tax me with want of thought and elevation of fancy in this work; for they will soon be satisfied, that those are not of the nature of this sort of writing. The necessity of double rhimes, and ordering of the words and numbers for the sweetness of the voice, are the main hinges on which an opera must move; and both of these are without the compass of any art to teach another to perform, unless nature, in the first place, has done her part, by enduing the poet with that nicety of hearing, that the discord of sounds in words shall as much offend him, as a seventh in music would a good composer. I have therefore no need to make excuses for meanness of thought in many places: the Italians, with all the advantages of their language, are continually forced upon it, or, rather, affect it. The chief secret is the choice of words; and, by this choice, I do not here mean elegancy of expression, but propriety of sound, to be varied according to the nature of the subject. Perhaps a time may come when I may treat of this more largely, out of some observations which I have made from Homer and Virgil, who, amongst all the poets, only understood the art of numbers, and of that which was properly called rhythmus by the ancients.

The same reasons, which depress thought in an opera, have a stronger effect upon the words, especially in our language; for there is no maintaining the purity of English in short measures, where the rhime returns so quick, and is so often female, or double rhime, which is not natural to our tongue, because it consists too much of monosyllables, and those, too, most commonly clogged with consonants; for which reason I am often forced to coin new words, revive some that are antiquated, and botch others; as if I had not served out my time in poetry, but was bound apprentice to some doggrel rhimer, who makes songs to tunes, and sings them for a livelihood. It is true, I have not been often put to this drudgery; but where I have, the words will sufficiently shew, that I was then a slave to the composition, which I will never be again: it is my part to invent, and the musician's to humour that invention. I may be counselled, and will always follow my friend's advice where I find it reasonable, but will never part with the power of the militia[4].

I am now to acquaint my reader with somewhat more particular concerning this opera, after having begged his pardon for so long a preface to so short a work. It was originally intended only for a prologue to a play of the nature of "The Tempest;" which is a tragedy mixed with opera, or a drama, written in blank verse, adorned with scenes, machines, songs, and dances, so that the fable of it is all spoken and acted by the best of the comedians; the other part of the entertainment to be performed by the same singers and dancers who were introduced in this present opera. It cannot properly be called a play, because the action of it is supposed to be conducted sometimes by supernatural means, or magic; nor an opera, because the story of it is not sung.—But more of this at its proper time.—But some intervening accidents having hitherto deferred the performance of the main design, I proposed to the actors, to turn the intended Prologue into an entertainment by itself, as you now see it, by adding two acts more to what I had already written. The subject of it is wholly allegorical; and the allegory itself so very obvious, that it will no sooner be read than understood. It is divided, according to the plain and natural method of every action, into three parts. For even Aristotle himself is contented to say simply, that in all actions there is a beginning, a middle, and an end; after which model all the Spanish plays are built.

The descriptions of the scenes, and other decorations of the stage, I had from Mr Betterton, who has spared neither for industry, nor cost, to make this entertainment perfect, nor for invention of the ornaments to beautify it.

To conclude, though the enemies of the composer are not few, and that there is a party formed against him of his own profession, I hope, and am persuaded, that this prejudice will turn in the end to his advantage. For the greatest part of an audience is always uninterested, though seldom knowing; and if the music be well composed, and well performed, they, who find themselves pleased, will be so wise as not to be imposed upon, and fooled out of their satisfaction. The newness of the undertaking is all the hazard. When operas were first set up in France, they were not followed over eagerly; but they gained daily upon their hearers, till they grew to that height of reputation, which they now enjoy. The English, I confess, are not altogether so musical as the French; and yet they have been pleased already with "The Tempest," and some pieces that followed, which were neither much better written, nor so well composed as this. If it finds encouragement, I dare promise myself to mend my hand, by making a more pleasing fable. In the mean time, every loyal Englishman cannot but be satisfied with the moral of this, which so plainly represents the double restoration of His Sacred Majesty.


This preface being wholly written before the death of my late royal master, (quem semper acerbum, semper honoratum, sic dii voluistis, habebo) I have now lately reviewed it, as supposing I should find many notions in it, that would require correction on cooler thoughts. After four months lying by me, I looked on it as no longer mine, because I had wholly forgotten it; but I confess with some satisfaction, and perhaps a little vanity, that I found myself entertained by it; my own judgment was new to me, and pleased me when I looked on it as another man's. I see no opinion that I would retract or alter, unless it be, that possibly the Italians went not so far as Spain, for the invention of their operas. They might have it in their own country; and that by gathering up the shipwrecks of the Athenian and Roman theatres, which we know were adorned with scenes, music, dances, and machines, especially the Grecian. But of this the learned Monsieur Vossius, who has made our nation his second country, is the best, and perhaps the only judge now living. As for the opera itself, it was all composed, and was just ready to have been performed, when he, in honour of whom it was principally made, was taken from us.

He had been pleased twice or thrice to command, that it should be practised before him, especially the first and third acts of it; and publicly declared more than once, that the composition and choruses were more just, and more beautiful, than any he had heard in England. How nice an ear he had in music, is sufficiently known; his praise therefore has established the reputation of it above censure, and made it in a manner sacred. It is therefore humbly and religiously dedicated to his memory.

It might reasonably have been expected that his death must have changed the whole fabric of the opera, or at least a great part of it. But the design of it originally was so happy, that it needed no alteration, properly so called; for the addition of twenty or thirty lines in the apotheosis of Albion, has made it entirely of a piece, This was the only way which could have been invented, to save it from botched ending; and it fell luckily into my imagination; as if there were a kind of fatality even in the most trivial things concerning the succession: a change was made, and not for the worse, without the least confusion or disturbance; and those very causes, which seemed to threaten us with troubles, conspired to produce our lasting happiness.

Footnotes: 1. This definition occurs in the preface to the "State of Innocence;" but although given by Dryden, and sanctioned by Pope, it has a very limited resemblance to that which is defined. Mr Addison has, however, mistaken Dryden, in supposing that he applied this definition exclusively to what we now properly call wit. From the context it is plain, that he meant to include all poetical composition.—Spectator, No. 62. The word once comprehended human knowledge in general. We still talk of the wit of man, to signify all that man can devise.

2. The first Italian opera is said to have been that of "Dafne," performed at Florence in 1597.—See BURNEY'S History of Music, Vol. iv. p. 17.

3. This passage gave great offence, being supposed to contain an oblique reflection on Purcell and the other English composers.

4. Alluding to the disputes betwixt the King and Parliament, on the important point of the command of the militia.]


Full twenty years, and more, our labouring stage Has lost, on this incorrigible age: Our poets, the John Ketches of the nation, Have seemed to lash ye, even to excoriation; But still no sign remains; which plainly notes, You bore like heroes, or you bribed like Oates.— What can we do, when mimicking a fop, Like beating nut-trees, makes a larger crop? 'Faith, we'll e'en spare our pains! and, to content you, Will fairly leave you what your Maker meant you. Satire was once your physic, wit your food; One nourished not, and t'other drew no blood: We now prescribe, like doctors in despair, The diet your weak appetites can bear. Since hearty beef and mutton will not do, Here's julep-dance, ptisan of song and show: Give you strong sense, the liquor is too heady; You're come to farce,—that's asses milk,—already. Some hopeful youths there are, of callow wit, Who one day may be men, if heaven think fit; Sound may serve such, ere they to sense are grown, Like leading-strings, till they can walk alone.— But yet, to keep our friends in countenance, know, The wise Italians first invented show; Thence into France the noble pageant past: 'Tis England's credit to be cozened last. Freedom and zeal have choused you o'er and o'er; } Pray give us leave to bubble you once more; } You never were so cheaply fooled before: } We bring you change, to humour your disease; Change for the worse has ever used to please: Then, 'tis the mode of France; without whose rules, None must presume to set up here for fools. In France, the oldest man is always young, Sees operas daily, learns the tunes so long, Till foot, hand, head, keep time with every song: Each sings his part, echoing from pit and box, With his hoarse voice, half harmony, half pox[1]. Le plus grand roi du monde is always ringing, They show themselves good subjects by their singing: On that condition, set up every throat; You whigs may sing, for you have changed your note. Cits and citesses, raise a joyful strain, 'Tis a good omen to begin a reign; Voices may help your charter to restoring, And get by singing, what you lost by roaring.

Footnote: 1. This practice continued at the opera of Paris in the time of Gay. It could hardly have obtained any where else.

"But, hark! the full orchestra strikes the strings, The hero struts, and the whole audience sings; My jarring ear harsh grating murmurs wound. Hoarse and confused, like Babel's mingled sound. Hard chance had placed me near a noisy throat, That, in rough quavers, bellowed every note: "Pray, Sir," said I, "suspend awhile your song, The opera's drowned, your lungs are wondrous strong; I wish to hear your Roland's ranting strain, When he with rooted forests strews the plain."— "Monsieur assurement n'aime pas la musique." Then turning round, he joined the ungrateful noise, And the loud chorus thundered with his voice." Epistle to the Right Hon. William Pulteney.

Names of the Persons, represented in the same order as they appear first upon the stage.

MERCURY. AUGUSTA. London. THAMESIS. DEMOCRACY. ZELOTA. Feigned Zeal. ARCHON. The General. JUNO. IRIS. ALBION. ALBANIUS. PLUTO. ALECTO. APOLLO. NEPTUNE. NEREIDS. ACACIA. Innocence. TYRANNY. ASEBIA. Atheism, or Ungodliness. PROTEUS. VENUS. FAME. A Chorus of Cities. A Chorus of Rivers. A Chorus of the People. A Chorus of Furies. A Chorus of Nereids and Tritons. A grand Chorus of Heroes, Loves, and Graces.



The curtain rises, and a new frontispiece is seen, joined to the great pilasters, which are seen on each side of the stage: on the flat of each basis is a shield, adorned with gold; in the middle of the shield, on one side, are two hearts, a small scroll of gold over them, and an imperial crown over the scroll; on the other hand, in the shield, are two quivers full of arrows saltyre, &c.; upon each basis stands a figure bigger than the life; one represents Peace, with a palm in one, and an olive branch in the other hand; the other Plenty, holding a cornucopia, and resting on a pillar. Behind these figures are large columns of the Corinthian order, adorned with fruit and flowers: over one of the figures on the trees is the king's cypher; over the other, the queen's: over the capitals, on the cornice, sits a figure on each side; one represents Poetry, crowned with laurel, holding a scroll in one hand, the other with a pen in it, and resting on a book; the other, Painting, with a pallet and pencils, &c.: on the sweep of the arch lies one of the Muses, playing on a bass-viol; another of the Muses, on the other side, holding a trumpet in one hand, and the other on a harp. Between these figures, in the middle of the sweep of the arch, is a very large pannel in a frame of gold; in this pannel is painted, on one side, a Woman, representing the city of London, leaning her head on her hand in a dejected posture, showing her sorrow and penitence for her offences; the other hand holds the arms of the city, and a mace lying under it: on the other side is a figure of the Thames, with his legs shackled, and leaning on an empty urn: behind these are two imperial figures; one representing his present majesty; and the other the queen: by the king stands Pallas, (or wisdom and valour,) holding a charter for the city, the king extending his hand, as raising her drooping head, and restoring her to her ancient honour and glory: over the city are the envious devouring Harpies flying from the face of his majesty: By the queen stand the Three Graces, holding garlands of flowers, and at her feet Cupids bound, with their bows and arrows broken, the queen pointing with her sceptre to the river, and commanding the Graces to take off their fetters. Over the king, in a scroll, is this verse of Virgil,

Discite justitiam, moniti, et non temnere divos.

Over the queen, this of the same author,

Non ignara mali, miscris succurrere disco.





The Curtain rises, and there appears on either side of the Stage, next to the Frontispiece, a Statue on Horseback of Gold, on Pedestals of Marble, enriched with Gold, and bearing the Imperial Arms of England. One of these Statues is taken from that of the late King at Charing-cross; the other from that figure of his present Majesty (done by that noble Artist, Mr. Gibbons) at Windsor.

The Scene is a Street of Palaces, which lead to the Front of the Royal-Exchange; the great Arch is open, and the view is continued through the open part of the Exchange, to the Arch on the other side, and thence to as much of the Street beyond, as could possibly be taken.


He comes to Augusta and Thamesis. They lie on Couches at a distance from each other in dejected postures; She attended by Cities, He by Rivers.

On the side of Augusta's Couch are painted towers falling, a Scarlet Gown, and a Gold Chain, a Cap of Maintenance thrown down, and a Sword in a Velvet Scabbard thrust through it, the City Arms, a Mace with an old useless Charter, and all in disorder. Before Thamesis are broken Reeds, Bull-rushes, Sedge, &c. with his Urn Reverst.


MERCURY Descends.

Mer. Thou glorious fabric! stand, for ever stand: Well worthy thou to entertain The God of Traffic, and of Gain, To draw the concourse of the land, And wealth of all the main. But where the shoals of merchants meeting? Welcome to their friends repeating, Busy bargains' deafer sound? Tongue confused of every nation? Nothing here but desolation, Mournful silence reigns around.

Aug. O Hermes! pity me! I was, while heaven did smile, The queen of all this isle, Europe's pride, And Albion's bride; But gone my plighted lord! ah, gone is he! O Hermes! pity me!

Tham. And I the noble Flood, whose tributary tide Does on her silver margent smoothly glide; But heaven grew jealous of our happy state, And bid revolving fate Our doom decree; No more the King of Floods am I, No more the Queen of Albion, she! [These two Lines are sung by Reprises betwixt AUGUSTA and THAMESIS.

Aug. O Hermes! pity me! } Sung by AUG. and } THAM. together. Tham. O Hermes! pity me! }

Aug. Behold!

Tham. Behold!

Aug. My turrets on the ground, That once my temples crowned!

Tham. The sedgy honours of my brows dispersed! My urn reversed!

Merc. Rise, rise, Augusta, rise! And wipe thy weeping eyes: Augusta!—for I call thee so: 'Tis lawful for the gods to know Thy future name, And growing fame. Rise, rise, Augusta, rise.

Aug. O never, never will I rise, Never will I cease my mourning, Never wipe my weeping eyes, Till my plighted lord's returning! Never, never will I rise!

Merc. What brought thee, wretch, to this despair? The cause of thy misfortune show.

Aug. It seems the gods take little care Of human things below, When even our sufferings here they do not know.

Merc. Not unknowing came I down, Disloyal town! Speak! didst not thou Forsake thy faith, and break thy nuptial vow?

Aug. Ah, 'tis too true! too true! But what could I, unthinking city, do? Faction swayed me, Zeal allured me, Both assured me. Both betrayed me!

Merc. Suppose me sent Thy Albion to restore,— Can'st thou repent?

Aug. My falsehood I deplore!

Tham. Thou seest her mourn, and I With all my waters will her tears supply.

Merc. Then by some loyal deed regain Thy long-lost reputation, To wash away the stain That blots a noble nation, And free thy famous town again From force of usurpation.

Chorus of all. We'll wash away the stain That blots a noble nation, And free this famous town again From force of usurpation. [Dance of the Followers of MERCURY.

Aug. Behold Democracy and Zeal appear; She, that allured my heart away, And he, that after made a prey.

Merc. Resist, and do not fear!

Chorus of all. Resist, and do not fear!

Enter DEMOCRACY and ZEAL attended by ARCHON.

Democ. Nymph of the city! bring thy treasures, Bring me more To waste in pleasures.

Aug. Thou hast exhausted all my store, And I can give no more.

Zeal. Thou horny flood, for Zeal provide A new supply; and swell thy moony tide, That on thy buxom back the floating gold may glide.

Tham. Not all the gold the southern sun produces, Or treasures of the famed Levant, Suffice for pious uses, To feed the sacred hunger of a saint!

Democ. Woe to the vanquished, woe! Slave as thou art, Thy wealth impart, And me thy victor know!

Zeal. And me thy victor know. Resistless arms are in my hand, Thy bars shall burst at my command, Thy tory head lie low. Woe to the vanquished, woe!

Aug. Were I not bound by fate For ever, ever here, My walls I would translate To some more happy sphere, Removed from servile fear.

Tham. Removed from servile fear. Would I could disappear, And sink below the main; For commonwealth's a load, My old imperial flood Shall never, never bear again. A commonwealth's a load, } THAMES. and Our old imperial flood, } AUG. together. Shall never, never, never, bear again. }

Dem. Pull down her gates, expose her bare; I must enjoy the proud disdainful fair. Haste, Archon, haste To lay her waste[1]!

Zeal. I'll hold her fast To be embraced!

Dem. And she shall see A thousand tyrants are in thee, A thousand thousand more in me!

Archon. to Aug. From the Caledonian shore Hither am I come to save thee, Not to force or to enslave thee, But thy Albion to restore: Hark! the peals the people ring, Peace, and freedom, and a king.

Chorus. Hark! the peals the people ring, Peace, and freedom, and a king.

Aug. and Tham. To arms! to arms!

Archon. I lead the way!

Merc. Cease your alarms! And stay, brave Archon, stay! 'Tis doomed by fate's decree, 'Tis doomed that Albion's dwelling, All other isles excelling, By peace shall happy be.

Archon. What then remains for me?

Merc. Take my caduceus! Take this awful wand, With this the infernal ghosts I can command, And strike a terror through the Stygian land. Commonwealth will want pretences, Sleep will creep on all his senses; Zeal that lent him her assistance, Stand amazed without resistance. [ARCHON touches DEMOCRACY with a Wand.

Dem. I feel a lazy slumber lays me down: Let Albion, let him take the crown. Happy let him reign, Till I wake again. [Falls asleep.

Zeal. In vain I rage, in vain I rouse my powers; But I shall wake again, I shall, to better hours. Even in slumber will I vex him; Still perplex him, Still incumber: Know, you that have adored him, And sovereign power afford him, We'll reap the gains Of all your pains, And seem to have restored him. [ZEAL falls asleep.

Aug. and Tham. A stupifying sadness Leaves her without motion; But sleep will cure her madness, And cool her to devotion.

A double Pedestal rises: on the Front of it is painted, in Stone-colour, two Women; one holding a double-faced Vizor; the other a Book, representing HYPOCRISY and FANATICISM; when ARCHON has charmed DEMOCRACY and ZEAL with the Caduceus of MERCURY, they fall asleep on the Pedestal, and it sinks with them.

Merc. Cease, Augusta! cease thy mourning, Happy days appear; God-like Albion is returning Loyal hearts to chear. Every grace his youth adorning, Glorious as the star of morning, Or the planet of the year.

Chor. Godlike Albion is returning, &c.

Merc. to Arch. Haste away, loyal chief, haste away, No delay, but obey; To receive thy loved lord, haste away. [Ex. ARCH.

Tham. Medway and Isis, you that augment me, Tides that increase my watery store, And you that are friends to peace and plenty, Send my merry boys all ashore; Seamen skipping, Mariners leaping, Shouting, tripping, Send my merry boys all ashore!

A dance of Watermen in the King's and Duke's Liveries.

The Clouds divide, and JUNO appears in a Machine drawn by Peacocks; while a Symphony is playing, it moves gently forward, and as it descends, it opens and discovers the Tail of the Peacock, which is so large, that it almost fills the opening of the Stage between Scene and Scene.

Merc. The clouds divide; what wonders, What wonders do I see! The wife of Jove! 'Tis she, That thunders, more than thundering he!

Juno. No, Hermes, no; 'Tis peace above As 'tis below; For Jove has left his wand'ring love.

Tham. Great queen of gathering clouds, Whose moisture fills our floods, See, we fall before thee, Prostrate we adore thee!

Aug. Great queen of nuptial rites, Whose power the souls unites, And fills the genial bed with chaste delights, See, we fall before thee, Prostrate we adore thee!

Juno. 'Tis ratified above by every god, And Jove has firmed it with an awful nod, That Albion shall his love renew: But oh, ungrateful fair, Repeated crimes beware, And to his bed be true!

IRIS appears on a very large Machine. This was really seen the 18th of March, 1684, by Captain Christopher Gunman, on Board his R.H. Yacht, then in Calais Pierre: He drew it as it then appeared, and gave a Draught of it to us. We have only added the Cloud where the Person of IRIS sits.

Juno. Speak, Iris, from Batavia, speak the news! Has he performed my dread command, Returning Albion to his longing land, Or dare the nymph refuse?

Iris. Albion, by the nymph attended, Was to Neptune recommended; Peace and Plenty spread the sails, Venus, in her shell before him, From the sands in safety bore him, And supplied Etesian gales. [Retornella. Archon, on the shore commanding, Lowly met him at his landing, Crowds of people swarmed around; Welcome rang like peals of thunder; Welcome, rent the skies asunder; Welcome, heaven and earth resound.

Juno. Why stay we then on earth, When mortals laugh and love? 'Tis time to mount above, And send Astraea down, The ruler of his birth, And guardian of his crown. 'Tis time to mount above, And send Astraea down.

Mer. Jun. Ir. 'Tis time to mount above, And send Astraea down. [MER. JU. and IR. ascend.

Aug. and Tham. The royal squadron marches, Erect triumphal arches, For Albion and Albanius; Rejoice at their returning, The passages adorning: The royal squadron marches, Erect triumphal arches For Albion and Albanius.

Part of the Scene disappears, and the Four Triumphal arches, erected on his Majesty's Coronation, are seen.

ALBION appears, ALBANIUS by his Side, preceded by ARCHON, followed by a Train, &c.

Full Chorus. Hail, royal Albion, Hail!

Aug. Hail, royal Albion, hail to thee, Thy longing people's expectation!

Tham. Sent from the gods to set us free From bondage and from usurpation!

Aug. To pardon and to pity me, And to forgive a guilty nation!

Tham. Behold the differing Climes agree, Rejoicing in thy restoration.

Entry. Representing the Four Parts of the World, rejoicing at the Restoration of ALBION.


The Scene is a Poetical Hell. The Change is total; The Upper Part of the House, as well as the Side-Scenes. There is the Figure of PROMETHEUS chained to a Rock, the Vulture gnawing his Liver; SISYPHUS rolling the Stone; the BELIDES, &c. Beyond, Abundance of Figures in various Torments. Then a great Arch of Fire. Behind this, three Pyramids of Flames in perpetual Agitation. Beyond this, glowing Fire, which terminates the Prospect.


Plu. Infernal offspring of the night, Debarred of heaven your native right, And from the glorious fields of light, Condemned in shades to drag the chain, And fill with groans the gloomy plain; Since, pleasures here are none below, Be ill our good, our joy be woe; Our work to embroil the worlds above, Disturb their union, disunite their love, And blast the beauteous frame of our victorious foe.

Dem. and Zel. O thou, for whom those worlds are made, Thou sire of all things, and their end, From hence they spring, and when they fade, In shuffled heaps they hither tend; Here human souls receive their breath, And wait for bodies after death.

Dem. Hear our complaint, and grant our prayer.

Plu. Speak what you are, And whence you fell?

Dem. I am thy first-begotten care, Conceived in heaven, but born in hell. When thou didst bravely undertake in fight Yon arbitrary power, That rules by sovereign might, To set thy heaven-born fellows free, And leave no difference in degree, In that auspicious hour Was I begot by thee.

Zel. One mother bore us at a birth, Her name was Zeal before she fell; No fairer nymph in heaven or earth, 'Till saintship taught her to rebel: But losing fame, And changing name, She's now the Good Old Cause in hell.

Plu. Dear pledges of a flame not yet forgot, Say, what on earth has been your lot?

Dem. and Zel. The wealth of Albion's isle was ours, Augusta stooped with all her stately towers.

Dem. Democracy kept nobles under.

Zel. Zeal from the pulpit roared like thunder.

Dem. I trampled on the state.

Zel. I lorded o'er the gown.

Dem. and Zel. We both in triumph sate, Usurpers of the crown. But oh, prodigious turn of fate! Heaven controuling, Sent us rolling, rolling down.

Plu. I wondered how of late our Acherontic shore Grew thin, and hell unpeopled of her store; Charon, for want of use, forgot his oar. The souls of bodies dead flew all sublime, And hither none returned to purge a crime: But now I see, since Albion is restored, Death has no business, nor the vengeful sword. 'Tis too, too much that here I lie From glorious empire hurled; By Jove excluded from the sky; By Albion from the world.

Dem. Were common-wealth restored again, Thou shouldst have millions of the slain To fill thy dark abode.

Zel. For he a race of rebels sends, And Zeal the path of heaven pretends, But still mistakes the road.

Plu. My labouring thought At length hath wrought A bravely bold design, In which you both shall join. In borrowed shapes to earth return; Thou, Common-wealth, a Patriot seem, Thou, Zeal, like true Religion burn, To gain the giddy crowd's esteem.— Alecto, thou to fair Augusta go, And all thy snakes into her bosom throw.

Dem. Spare some, to fling Where they may sting The breast of Albion's king.

Zel. Let jealousies so well be mixed, That great Albanius be unfixed.

Plu. Forbear your vain attempts, forbear: Hell can have no admittance there; The people's fear will serve as well, Make him suspected, them rebel.

Zel. You've all forgot To forge a plot, In seeming care of Albion's life; Inspire the crowd With clamours loud, To involve his brother and his wife.

Alec. Take, of a thousand souls at thy command, The basest, blackest of the Stygian band, One, that will swear to all they can invent, So thoroughly damned, that he can ne'er repent: One, often sent to earth, And still at every birth He took a deeper stain: One, that in Adam's time was Cain; One, that was burnt in Sodom's flame, For crimes even here too black to name: One, who through every form of ill has run: One, who in Naboth's days was Belial's son; One, who has gained a body fit for sin; Where all his crimes Of former times Lie crowded in a skin[2].

Plu. Take him, Make him What you please; For he can be A rogue with ease. One for mighty mischief born; He can swear, and be forsworn.

Plu. and Alect. Take him, make him what you please; For he can be a rogue with ease.

Plu. Let us laugh, let us laugh, let us laugh at our woes, The wretch that is damned has nothing to lose.— Ye furies, advance With the ghosts in a dance. 'Tis a jubilee when the world is in trouble; When people rebel, We frolic in hell; But when the king falls, the pleasure is double. [A single entry of a Devil, followed by an entry of twelve Devils.

Chorus. Let us laugh, let us laugh, let us laugh at our woes, The wretch that is damned hath nothing to lose.

The Scene changes to a Prospect taken from the middle of the Thames; one side of it begins at York-Stairs, thence to White-Hall, and the Mill-bank, &c. The other from the Saw-mill, thence to the Bishop's Palace, and on as far as can be seen in a clear day.

Enter AUGUSTA: She has a Snake in her Bosom hanging down.

Aug. O jealousy, thou raging ill, Why hast thou found a room in lovers' hearts, Afflicting what thou canst not kill, And poisoning love himself, with his own darts? I find my Albion's heart is gone, My first offences yet remain, Nor can repentance love regain; One writ in sand, alas, in marble one. I rave, I rave! my spirits boil Like flames increased, and mounting high with pouring oil; Disdain and love succeed by turns; One freezes me, and t'other burns; it burns. Away, soft love, thou foe to rest! Give hate the full possession of my breast. Hate is the nobler passion far, When love is ill repaid; For at one blow it ends the war, And cures the love-sick maid.

Enter DEMOCRACY and ZELOTA; one represents a Patriot, the other, Religion.

Dem. Let not thy generous passion waste its rage, But once again restore our golden age; Still to weep and to complain, Does but more provoke disdain. Let public good Inflame thy blood; With crowds of warlike people thou art stored. And heaps of gold; Reject thy old, And to thy bed receive another lord.

Zel. Religion shall thy bonds release, For heaven can loose, as well as tie all; And when 'tis for the nation's peace, A king is but a king on trial; When love is lost, let marriage end, And leave a husband for a friend.

Dem. With jealousy swarming, The people are arming, The frights of oppression invade them.

Zel. If they fall to relenting, For fear of repenting, Religion shall help to persuade them.

Aug. No more, no more temptations use To bend my will; How hard a task 'tis to refuse A pleasing ill!

Dem. Maintain the seeming duty of a wife, A modest show with jealous eyes deceive; Affect a fear for hated Albion's life, And for imaginary dangers grieve.

Zel. His foes already stand protected, His friends by public fame suspected, Albanius must forsake his isle; A plot, contrived in happy hour, Bereaves him of his royal power, For heaven to mourn, and hell to smile.

The former Scene continues.

Enter ALBION and ALBANIUS with a train.

Alb. Then Zeal and Common-wealth infest My land again; The fumes of madness, that possest The people's giddy brain, Once more disturb the nation's rest, And dye rebellion in a deeper stain.


Will they at length awake the sleeping sword, And force revenge from their offended lord? How long, ye gods, how long Can royal patience bear The insults and wrong Of madmen's jealousies, and causeless fear?


I thought their love by mildness might be gained, By peace I was restored, in peace I reigned; But tumults, seditions, And haughty petitions, Are all the effects of a merciful nature; Forgiving and granting, Ere mortals are wanting, But leads to rebelling against their creator.

MERCURY descends.

Mer. With pity Jove beholds thy state, But Jove is circumscribed by fate; The o'erwhelming tide rolls on so fast, It gains upon this island's waste; And is opposed too late! too late!

Alb. What then must helpless Albion do?

Mer. Delude the fury of the foe, And, to preserve Albanius, let him go; For 'tis decreed, Thy land must bleed, For crimes not thine, by wrathful Jove; A sacred flood Of royal blood Cries vengeance, vengeance, loud above. [MERCURY ascends.

Alb. Shall I, to assuage Their brutal rage, The regal stem destroy? Or must I lose, To please my foes, My sole remaining joy? Ye gods, what worse, What greater curse, Can all your wrath employ!

Alban. Oh Albion! hear the gods and me! Well am I lost, in saving thee. Not exile or danger can fright a brave spirit, With innocence guarded, With virtue rewarded; I make of my sufferings a merit.

Alb. Since then the gods and thou will have it so, Go; (Can I live once more to bid thee?) go, Where thy misfortunes call thee, and thy fate; Go, guiltless victim of a guilty state! In war, my champion to defend, In peaceful hours, when souls unbend, My brother, and, what's more, my friend! Borne where the foamy billows roar, On seas less dangerous than the shore; Go, where the gods thy refuge have assigned, Go from my sight; but never from my mind.

Alban. Whatever hospitable ground Shall be for me, unhappy exile, found, 'Till heaven vouchsafe to smile; What land soe'er,— Though none so dear As this ungrateful isle,— O think! O think! no distance can remove My vowed allegiance, and my loyal love.

Alb. and Alban. The rosy-fingered morn appears, And from her mantle shakes her tears, In promise of a glorious day; The sun, returning, mortals chears, And drives the rising mists away, In promise of a glorious day. [Ritornelle.

The farther part of the heaven opens, and discovers a Machine; as it moves forward, the clouds which are before it divide, and shew the person of APOLLO, holding the Reins in his Hand. As they fall lower, the Horses appear with the Rays, and a great glory about APOLLO.

Apol. All hail, ye royal pair, The Gods' peculiar care! Fear not the malice of your foes; Their dark designing, And combining, Time and truth shall once expose: Fear not the malice of your foes.


My sacred oracles assure, The tempest shall not long endure; But when the nation's crimes are purged away, Then shall you both in glory shine; Propitious both, and both divine; In lustre equal to the god of day. [APOLLO goes forward out of sight.

NEPTUNE rises out of the Water, and a Train of Rivers, Tritons, and Sea-Nymphs attend him.

Tham. Old father Ocean calls my tide; Come away, come away; The barks upon the billows ride, The master will not stay; The merry boatswain from his side His whistle takes, to check and chide The lingering lads' delay, And all the crew aloud have cried, Come away, come away.

See, the god of seas attends thee, Nymphs divine, a beauteous train; All the calmer gales befriend thee, In thy passage o'er the main; Every maid her locks is binding, Every Triton's horn is winding; Welcome to the watry plain!


Two Nymphs and Tritons sing.

Ye Nymphs, the charge is royal, Which you must convey; Your hearts and hands employ all, Hasten to obey; When earth is grown disloyal, Shew there's honour in the sea.

The CHACON continues.

The Chorus of Nymphs and Tritons repeat the same Verses.

The CHACON continues.

Two Nymphs and Tritons.

Sports and pleasures shall attend you Through all the watry plains, Where Neptune reigns; Venus ready to defend you, And her nymphs to ease your pains, No storm shall offend you, Passing the main; Nor billow threat in vain So sacred a train, 'Till the gods, that defend you, Restore you again.

The CHACON continues.

The Chorus repeat the same Verses, Sports and Pleasures &c.

The CHACON continues.

The two Nymphs and Tritons sing.

See, at your blest returning, Rage disappears; The widowed isle in mourning Dries up her tears; With flowers the meads adorning, Pleasure appears, And love dispels the nation's causeless fears.

The CHACON continues.

The Chorus of Nymphs and Tritons repeat the same Verses, See at your blest returning, &c.

The CHACON continues.

Then the Chorus repeat, See the god of Seas, &c. And this Chorus concludes the Act.


The Scene is a View of Dover, taken from the Sea. A row of Cliffs fill up each Side of the Stage, and the Sea the middle of it, which runs into the Pier; Beyond the Pier, is the town of Dover; On each side of the Town, is seen a very high hill; on one of which is the Castle of Dover; on the other, the great stone which they call the Devil's-Drop. Behind the Town several Hills are seen at a great distance, which finish the View.

Enter ALBION bare-headed; ACACIA or INNOCENCE with him.

Alb. Behold, ye powers! from whom I own A birth immortal, and a throne; See a sacred king uncrowned, See your offspring, Albion, bound; The gifts, you gave with lavish hand, Are all bestowed in vain; Extended empire on the land, Unbounded o'er the main.

Aca. Empire o'er the land and main, Heaven, that gave, can take again; But a mind, that's truly brave, Stands despising Storms arising, And can ne'er be made a slave.

Alb. Unhelped I am, who pitied the distressed, And, none oppressing, am by all oppressed; Betrayed, forsaken, and of hope bereft.

Aca. Yet still the gods, and Innocence are left.

Alb. Ah! what canst thou avail, Against rebellion armed with zeal, And faced with public good? O monarchs, see Your fate in me! To rule by love, To shed no blood, May be extolled above; But here below, Let princes know, 'Tis fatal to be good.

Chorus of both. To rule by love, &c.

Aca. Your father Neptune, from the seas, Has Nereids and blue Tritons sent, To charm your discontent.

Nereids rise out of the Sea, and sing; Tritons dance.

From the low palace of old father Ocean, Come we in pity your cares to deplore; Sea-racing dolphins are trained for our motion, Moony tides swelling to roll us ashore.


Every nymph of the flood, her tresses rending, Throws off her armlet of pearl in the main; Neptune in anguish his charge unattending, Vessels are foundering, and vows are in vain.

_Enter_ TYRANNY, DEMOCRACY, _represented by Men, attended by_ ASEBIA _and_ ZELOTA, Women._

Tyr. Ha, ha! 'tis what so long I wished and vowed: Our plots and delusions Have wrought such confusions, That the monarch's a slave to the crowd.

Dem. A design we fomented,—

Tyr. By hell it was new!

Dem. A false plot invented,—

Tyr. To cover a true.

Dem. First with promised faith we flattered.

Tyr. Then jealousies and fears we scattered.

Aseb. We never valued right and wrong, But as they served our cause.

Zel. Our business was to please the throng, And court their wild applause;

Aseb. For this we bribed the lawyer's tongue. And then destroyed the laws.

Cho. For this, &c.

Tyr. To make him safe, we made his friends our prey;

Dem. To make him great, we scorned his royal sway,—

Tyr. And to confirm his crown, we took his heir away.

Dem. To encrease his store, We kept him poor;

Tyr. And when to wants we had betrayed him, To keep him low, Pronounced a foe, Whoe'er presumed to aid him.

Aseb. But you forget the noblest part, And master piece of all your art,— You told him he was sick at heart.

Zel. And when you could not work belief In Albion of the imagined grief; Your perjured vouchers, in a breath, Made oath, that he was sick to death; And then five hundred quacks of skill Resolved, 'twas fit he should be ill.

Aseb. Now hey for a common-wealth, We merrily drink and sing! 'Tis to the nation's health, For every man's a king.

Zel. Then let the mask begin, The Saints advance, To fill the dance, And the Property Boys come in.

The Boys in white begin a Fantastic Dance[4].

Cho. Let the saints ascend the throne.

Dem. Saints have wives, and wives have preachers, Gifted men, and able teachers; These to get, and those to own.

Cho. Let the saints ascend the throne.

Aseb. Freedom is a bait alluring; Them betraying, us securing, While to sovereign power we soar.

Zel. Old delusions, new repeated, Shews them born but to be cheated, As their fathers were before.

Six Sectaries begin a formal affected Dance; the two gravest whisper the other four, and draw them into the Plot; they pull out and deliver Libels to them, which they receive.

Dem. See friendless Albion there alone, Without defence But innocence; Albanius now is gone.

Tyr. Say then, what must be done?

Dem. The gods have put him in our hand[5].

Zel. He must be slain.

Tyr. But who shall then command?

Dem. The people; for the right returns to those. Who did the trust impose.

Tyr. 'Tis fit another sun should rise, To cheer the world, and light the skies.

Dem. But when the sun His race has run, And neither cheers the world, nor lights the skies, 'Tis fit a common-wealth of stars should rise.

Aseb. Each noble vice Shall bear a price, And virtue shall a drug become; An empty name Was all her fame, But now she shall be dumb.

Zel. If open vice be what you drive at, A name so broad we'll ne'er connive at. Saints love vice, but, more refinedly, Keep her close, and use her kindly.

Tyr. Fall on.

Dem. Fall on; e'er Albion's death, we'll try, If one or many shall his room supply.

The White Boys dance about the Saints; the Saints draw out the Association, and offer it to them; they refuse it, and quarrel about it; then the White Boys and Saints fall into a confused dance, imitating fighting. The White Boys, at the end of the dance, being driven out by the Sectaries, with Protestant Flails.[6]

Alb. See the gods my cause defending, When all human help was past!

Acac. Factions mutually contending, By each other fall at last.

Alb. But is not yonder Proteus' cave, Below that steep, Which rising billows brave?

Acac. It is; and in it lies the god asleep; And snorting by, We may descry The monsters of the deep.

Alb. He knows the past, And can resolve the future too.

Acac. 'Tis true! But hold him fast, For he can change his hue.[7]

The Cave of PROTEUS rises out of the Sea; it consists of several arches of Rock-work adorned with mother-of-pearl, coral, and abundance of shells of various kinds. Through the arches is seen the Sea, and parts of Dover-pier; in the middle of the Cave is PROTEUS asleep on a rock adorned with shells, &c. like the Cave. ALBION and ACACIA seize on him; and while a symphony is playing, he sinks as they are bringing him forward, and changes himself into a Lion, a Crocodile, a Dragon, and then to his own shape again; he comes forward to the front of the stage, and sings.


Pro. Albion, loved of gods and men, Prince of peace, too mildly reigning, Cease thy sorrow and complaining; Thou shall be restored again: Albion, loved of gods and men.


Still thou art the care of heaven, In thy youth to exile driven; Heaven thy ruin then prevented, 'Till the guilty land repented. In thy age, when none could aid thee, Foes conspired, and friends betrayed thee; To the brink of danger driven, Still thou art the care of heaven.

Alb. To whom shall I my preservation owe?

Pro. Ask me no more; for 'tis by Neptune's foe.[8]

PROTEUS descends.

DEMOCRACY and ZELOTA return with their faction.

Dem. Our seeming friends, who joined alone, To pull down one, and build another throne, Are all dispersed and gone; We brave republic souls remain.

Zel. And 'tis by us that Albion must be slain; Say, whom shall we employ The tyrant to destroy?

Dem. That Archer is by fate designed, With one eye clear, and t'other blind.

Zel. He comes inspired to do't.

Omnes. Shoot, holy Cyclop, shoot.

The one-eyed Archer advances, the rest follow. A fire arises betwixt them and ALBION.[9] [Ritornel.

Dem. Lo! heaven and earth combine To blast our bold design. What miracles are shewn! Nature's alarmed, And fires are armed, To guard the sacred throne.

Zel. What help, when jarring elements conspire, To punish our audacious crimes? Retreat betimes, To shun the avenging fire.

Chor. To shun the avenging fire. [Ritor.

As they are going back, a fire arises from behind; they all sink together.[10]

Alb. Let our tuneful accents upwards move, Till they reach the vaulted arch of those above; Let us adore them; Let us fall before them.

Acac. Kings they made, and kings they love. When they protect a rightful monarch's reign, The gods in heaven, the gods on earth maintain.

Both. When they protect, &c.

Alb. But see, what glories gild the main!

Acac. Bright Venus brings Albanius back again, With all the Loves and Graces in her train.

A machine rises out of the sea; it opens, and discovers VENUS and ALBANIUS sitting in a great scallop-shell, richly adorned. VENUS is attended by the Loves and Graces, ALBANIUS by Heroes; the shell is drawn by dolphins; it moves forward, while a symphony of flutes-doux, &c. is playing, till it lands them on the stage, and then it closes and sinks.

VENUS sings.

Albion, hail! the gods present thee All the richest of their treasures, Peace and pleasures, To content thee, Dancing their eternal measures. [Graces and Loves dance an entry.

Venus. But, above all human blessing, Take a warlike loyal brother, Never prince had such another; Conduct, courage, truth expressing, All heroic worth possessing. [Here the Heroes' dance is performed.

Chor. of all. But above all, &c. [Ritor.

Whilst a Symphony is playing, a very large, and a very glorious Machine descends; the figure of it oval, all the clouds shining with gold, abundance of Angels and Cherubins flying about them, and playing in them; in the midst of it sits APOLLO on a throne of gold; he comes from the machine to ALBION.

Phoeb. From Jove's imperial court, Where all the gods resort, In awful counsel met, Surprising news I bear; Albion the great Must change his seat, For he is adopted there.

Venus. What stars above shall we displace? Where shall he fill a room divine?

Nept. Descended from the sea-gods' race, Let him by my Orion shine.

Phoeb. No, not by that tempestuous sign; Betwixt the Balance and the Maid, The just, August, And peaceful shade, Shall shine in heaven with beams displayed, While great Albanius is on earth obeyed.

Venus. Albanius, lord of land and main, Shall with fraternal virtues reign; And add his own, To fill the throne; Adored and feared, and loved no less; In war victorious, mild in peace, The joy of man, and Jove's increase.

Acac. O thou! who mountest the aethereal throne, Be kind and happy to thy own; Now Albion is come, The people of the sky Run gazing, and cry,—Make room, Make room, make room, Make room for our new deity!

Here ALBION mounts the machine, which moves upward slowly.

A full chorus of all that ACACIA sung.

Ven. Behold what triumphs are prepared to grace Thy glorious race, Where love and honour claim an equal place; Already they are fixed by fate, And only ripening ages wait.

The Scene changes to a Walk of very high trees; at the end of the Walk is a view of that part of Windsor, which faces Eton; in the midst of it is a row of small trees, which lead to the Castle-Hill. In the first scene, part of the Town and part of the Hill. In the next, the Terrace Walk, the King's lodgings, and the upper part of St George's chapel, then the keep; and, lastly, that part of the Castle beyond the keep.

In the air is a vision of the Honours of the Garter; the Knights in procession, and the King under a canopy; beyond this, the upper end of St George's hall.

FAME rises out of the middle of the Stage, standing on a Globe, on which is the Arms of England: the Globe rests on a Pedestal; on the front of the Pedestal in drawn a Man with a long, lean, pale face, with fiends' wings, and snakes twisted round his body; he is encompassed by several fanatical rebellious heads, who suck poison from him, which runs out of a tap in his side.[11]

Fame. Renown, assume thy trumpet! From pole to pole resounding Great Albion's name; Great Albion's name shall be The theme of Fame, shall be great Albion's name, Great Albion's name, great Albion's name. Record the garter's glory; A badge for heroes, and for kings to bear; For kings to bear! And swell the immortal story, With songs of Gods, and fit for Gods to hear; And swell the immortal story, With songs of Gods, and fit for Gods to hear; For Gods to hear.

A full Chorus of all the Voices and Instruments; trumpets and hautboys make Ritornello's of all FAME sings; and twenty-four Dancers, all the time in a chorus, and dance to the end of the Opera.

Footnotes: 1. The reader must recollect the orders of the Rump parliament to general Monk, to destroy the gates and portcullises of the city of London; which commission, by the bye, he actually executed, with all the forms of contempt, although, in a day or two after, he took up his quarters in the city, apologized for what had passed, and declared against the parliament.

2. Dr. Titus Oates, the principal witness to the Popish Plot, was accused of unnatural and infamous crimes. He was certainly a most ineffably impudent, perjured villain.

3. The Chacon is supposed by Sir John Hawkins to be of Moorish or Saracenic origin. "The characteristic of the Chacone is a bass, or ground, consisting of four measures, wherein three crotchets make the bar, and the repetition thereof with variations in the several parts, from the beginning to the end of the air, which in respect of its length, has no limit but the discretion of the composer. The whole of the twelfth sonata of the second opera of Corelli is a Chacone." Hist. of Music, vol. iv. p. 388. There is also, I am informed, a very celebrated Chacon composed by Jomelli.

4. By the White Boys or Property Boys, are meant the adherents of the Duke of Monmouth, who affected great zeal for liberty and property, and assumed white badges, as marks of the innocence of their intentions. When the Duke came to the famous Parliament held at Oxford, "he was met by about 100 Batchellors all in white, except black velvet caps, with white wands in their hands, who divided themselves, and marched as a guard to his person." Account of the Life of the Duke of Monmouth, p. 107. In the Duke's tour through the west of England, he was met at Exeter, by "a brave company of brisk stout young men, all cloathed in linen waistcoats and drawers, white and harmless, having not so much as a stick in their hands; they were in number about 900 or 1000." ibid. p. 103. See the notes on Absalom and Achitophel. The saints, on the other hand, mean the ancient republican zealots and fanatics, who, though they would willingly have joined in the destruction of Charles, did not wish that Monmouth should succeed him, but aimed at the restoration of the commonwealth. Hence the following dispute betwixt Tyranny and Democracy.

5. The atrocious and blasphemous sentiment in the text was actually used by the fanatics who murdered Sharpe, the archbishop of St Andrews. When they unexpectedly met him during their search for another person, they exclaimed, that "the Lord had delivered him into their hands."

6. It is easy to believe, that, whatever was the, nature of the schemes nourished by Monmouth, Russel, and Essex, they could have no concern with the low and sanguinary cabal of Ramsay, Walcot, and Rumbold, who were all of them old republican officers and commonwealth's men. The flight of Shaftesbury, whose bustling and politic brain had rendered him the sole channel of communication betwixt these parties, as well as the means of uniting them in one common design, threw loose all connection between them; so that each, after his retreat, seems to have acted independantly of, and often in contradiction to the other.

7. The reader may judge, whether some distant and obscure allusion to the trimming politics of Halifax, to whom the Duke of York, our author's patron, was hostile, may not be here insinuated. During the stormy session of his two last parliaments, Charles was much guided by his temporising and camelion-like policy.

8. That is by fire. See next note.

9. The allegory of the one-eyed Archer, and the fire arising betwixt him and Albion, will be made evident by the following extracts from Sprat's history of the Conspiracy. In enumerating the persons engaged in the Rye-house plot, he mentions "Richard Rumbold, maltster, an old army officer, a desperate and bloody Ravaillac." After agitating several schemes for assassinating Charles, the Rye-house was fixed upon as a spot which the king must necessarily pass in his journey trom Newmarket, and which, being a solitary moated house, in the actual occupation of Rumbold, afforded the conspirators facility of previous concealment and subsequent defence. "All other propositions, as subject to far more casualties and hazards, soon gave place to that of the Rye, in Herefordshire, a house then inhabited by the foresaid Richard Rumbold, who proposed that to be the seat of the action, offering himself to command the party, that was to do the work. Him, therefore, as the most daring captain, and by reason of a blemish in one of his eyes, they were afterwards wont, in common discourse, to call Hannibal; often drinking healths to Hannibal and his boys, meaning Rumbold and his hellish crew.

"Immediately upon the coaches coming within the gates and hedges about the house, the conspirators were to divide into several parties; some before, in the habit of labourers, were to overthrow a cart in the narrowest passage, so as to prevent all possibility of escape: others were to fight the guards, Walcot chusing that part upon a punctilio of honour; others were to shoot at the coachman, postillion, and horses; others to aim only at his Majesty's coach, which party was to be under the particular direction of Rumbold himself; the villain declaring beforehand, that, upon that occasion, he would make use of a very good blunderbuss, which was in West's possession, and blasphemously adding, that Ferguson should first consecrate it." ... "But whilst they were thus wholly intent on this barbarous work, and proceeded securely in its contrivance without any the least doubt of a prosperous success, behold! on a sudden, God miraculously disappointed all their hopes and designs, by the terrible conflagration unexpectedly breaking out at Newmarket. In which extraordinary event there was one remarkable passage, that is not so generally taken notice of, as, for the glory of God, and the confusion of his Majesty's enemies, it ought to be.

"For, after that the approaching fury of the flames had driven the king out of his own palace, his Majesty, at first, removed into another quarter of the town, remote from the fire, and, as yet, free from any annoyance of smoke and ashes. There his Majesty, finding he might be tolerably well accommodated, had resolved to stay, and continue his recreations as before, till the day first named for his journey back to London. But his Majesty had no sooner made that resolution, when the wind, as conducted by an invisible power from above, presently changed about, and blew the smoke and cinders directly on his new lodging, making them in a moment as untenable as the other. Upon this, his Majesty being put to a new shift, and not finding the like conveniency elsewhere, immediately declared, he would speedily return to Whitehall, as he did; which happening to be several days before the assassins expected him, or their preparations for the Rye were in readiness, it may justly give occasion to all the world to acknowledge, what one of the very conspirators could not but do, that it was a providential fire."—Pages 51 et seq.

The proprietor of the Rye-house (for Rumbold was but a tenant) shocked at the intended purpose, for which it was to have been used, is said to have fired it with his own hand. This is the subject of a poem, called the Loyal Incendiary, or the generous Boute-feu.

10. The total ruin of those, who were directly involved in the Rye-house, was little to be regretted, had it not involved the fate of those who were pursuing reform, by means more manly and constitutional,—the fate of Russel, Essex, and Sidney.

Rumbold, "the one-eyed archer," fled to Holland, and came to Scotland with Argyle, on his ill-concerted expedition. He was singled out and pursued, after the dispersion of his companions in a skirmish. He defended himself with desperate resolution against two armed peasants, till a third, coming behind him with a pitch-fork, turned off his head-piece, when he was cut down and made prisoner, exclaiming, "Cruel countryman, to use me thus, while my face was to mine enemy." He suffered the doom of a traitor at Edinburgh, and maintained on the scaffold, with inflexible firmness, the principles in which he had lived. He could never believe, he said, that the many of human kind came into the world bridled and saddled, and the few with whips and spurs to ride them. "His rooted ingrained opinion, says Fountainhall, was for a republic against monarchy, to pull down which he thought a duty, and no sin." At his death, he declared, that were every hair of his head a man, he would venture them all in the good old cause.

11. "I must not," says Langbaine, "take the pains to acquaint my reader, that by the man on the pedestal, &c. is meant the late Lord Shaftesbury. I shall not pretend to pass my censure, whether he deserved this usage from our author or no, but leave it to the judgments of statesmen and politicians." Shaftesbury having been overturned in a carriage, received some internal injury which required a constant discharge by an issue in his side. Hence he was ridiculed under the name of Tapski. In a mock account of an apparition, stated to have appeared to Lady Gray, it says, "Bid Lord Shaftesbury have a care to his spigot—if he is tapt, all the plot will run out." Ralph's History, vol. i. p. 562. from a pamphlet in Lord Somers' collection. There are various allusions to this circumstance in the lampoons of the time. A satire called "The Hypocrite," written by Carryl, concludes thus:

His body thus and soul together vie. In vice's empire for the sovereignty; In ulcers shut this does abound in sin, Lazar without and Lucifer within. The silver pipe is no sufficient drain For the corruption of this little man; Who, though he ulcers have in every part, Is no where so corrupt as in his heart.

At length, in prosecution of this coarse and unhandsome jest, a sort of vessel with a turn-cock was constructed for holding wine, which was called a Shaftesbury, and used in the taverns of the royal party.


After our AEsop's fable shown to-day, I come to give the moral of the play. Feigned Zeal, you saw, set out the speedier pace; But the last heat, Plain Dealing won the race: Plain Dealing for a jewel has been known; But ne'er till now the jewel of a crown. When heaven made man, to show the work divine, Truth was his image, stamped upon the coin: And when a king is to a God refined, On all he says and does he stamps his mind: This proves a soul without alloy, and pure; Kings, like their gold, should every touch endure. To dare in fields is valour; but how few Dare be so throughly valiant,—to be true! The name of great, let other kings affect: He's great indeed, the prince that is direct. His subjects know him now, and trust him more Than all their kings, and all their laws before. What safety could their public acts afford? Those he can break; but cannot break his word. So great a trust to him alone was due; Well have they trusted whom so well they knew. The saint, who walked on waves, securely trod, While he believed the beck'ning of his God; But when his faith no longer bore him out, Began to sink, as he began to doubt. Let us our native character maintain; 'Tis of our growth, to be sincerely plain. To excel in truth we loyally may strive, Set privilege against prerogative: He plights his faith, and we believe him just; His honour is to promise, ours to trust. Thus Britain's basis on a word is laid, As by a word the world itself was made[1].

Footnote: 1. From this Epilogue we learn, what is confirmed by many proofs elsewhere, that the attribute for which James desired to be distinguished and praised, was that of openness of purpose, and stern undeviating inflexibility of conduct. He scorned to disguise his designs, either upon the religion or the constitution of his country. He forgot that it was only the temporising concessions of his brother which secured his way to the throne, when his exclusion, or a civil war, seemed the only alternatives. His brother was the reed, which bent before the whirlwind, and recovered its erect posture when it had passed away; and James, the inflexible oak, which the first tempest rooted up for ever.

* * * * *




—Nec tarda senectus Debilitat vires animi, mutatque vigorem. VIRG.


The following tragedy is founded upon the adventures supposed to have befallen Sebastian, king of Portugal, after the fatal battle of Alcazar. The reader may be briefly reminded of the memorable expedition of that gallant monarch to Africa, to signalize, against the Moors, his chivalry as a warrior, and his faith as a Christian. The ostensible pretext of invasion was the cause of Muly Mahomet, son of Abdalla, emperor of Morocco; upon whose death, his brother, Muly Moluch, had seized the crown, and driven his nephew into exile. The armies joined battle near Alcazar. The Portuguese, far inferior in number to the Moors, displayed the most desperate valour, and had nearly won the day, when Muly Moluch, who, though almost dying, was present on the field in a litter, fired with shame and indignation, threw himself on horseback, rallied his troops, renewed the combat, and, being carried back to his litter, immediately expired, with his finger placed on his lips, to impress on the chiefs, who surrounded him, the necessity of concealing his death. The Moors, rallied by their sovereign's dying exertion, surrounded, and totally routed, the army of Sebastian. Mahomet, the competitor for the throne of Morocco, was drowned in passing a river in his flight, and Sebastian, as his body was never found, probably perished in the same manner. But where the region of historical certainty ends, that of romantic tradition commences. The Portuguese, to whom the memory of their warlike sovereign was deservedly dear, grasped at the feeble hope which the uncertainty of his fate afforded, and long, with vain fondness, expected the return of Sebastian, to free them from the yoke of Spain. This mysterious termination of a hero's career, as it gave rise to various political intrigues, (for several persons assumed the name and character of Sebastian,) early afforded a subject for exercising the fancy of the dramatist and romance writer. "The Battle of Alcazar[1]" is known to the collectors of old plays; a ballad on the same subject is reprinted in Evans's collection; and our author mentions a French novel on the adventures of Don Sebastian, to which Langbaine also refers.

The situation of Dryden, after the Revolution, was so delicate as to require great caution and attention, both in his choice of a subject, and his mode of treating it. His distressed circumstances and lessened income compelled him to come before the public as an author; while the odium attached to the proselyte of a hated religion, and the partizan of a depressed faction, was likely, upon the slightest pretext, to transfer itself from the person of the poet to the labours on which his support depended. He was, therefore, not only obliged to chuse a theme, which had no offence in it, and to treat it in a manner which could not admit of misconstruction, but also so to exert the full force of his talents, as, by the conspicuous pre-eminence of his genius, to bribe prejudice and silence calumny. An observing reader will accordingly discover, throughout the following tragedy, symptoms of minute finishing, and marks of accurate attention, which, in our author's better days, he deigned not to bestow upon productions, to which his name alone was then sufficient to give weight and privilege. His choice of a subject was singularly happy: the name of Sebastian awaked historical recollections and associations, favourable to the character of his hero; while the dark uncertainty of his fate removed all possibility of shocking the audience by glaring offence against the majesty of historical truth. The subject has, therefore, all the advantages of a historical play, without the detects, which either a rigid coincidence with history, or a violent contradiction of known truth, seldom fail to bring along with them. Dryden appears from his preface to have been fully sensible of this; and he has not lost the advantage of a happy subject by treating it with the carelessness he sometimes allowed himself to indulge.

The characters in "Don Sebastian" are contrasted with singular ability and judgment. Sebastian, high-spirited and fiery; the soul of royal and military honour; the soldier and the king; almost embodies the idea which the reader forms at the first mention of his name. Dorax, to whom he is so admirable a contrast, is one of those characters whom the strong hand of adversity has wrested from their natural bias; and perhaps no equally vivid picture can be found, of a subject so awfully interesting. Born with a strong tendency to all that was honourable and virtuous, the very excess of his virtues became vice, when his own ill fate, and Sebastian's injustice, had driven him into exile. By comparing, as Dryden has requested, the character of Dorax, in the fifth act, with that he maintains in the former part of the play, the difference may be traced betwixt his natural virtues, and the vices engrafted on them by headlong passion and embittering calamity. There is no inconsistence in the change which takes place after his scene with Sebastian; as was objected by those, whom the poet justly terms, "the more ignorant sort of creatures." It is the same picture in a new light; the same ocean in tempest and in calm; the same traveller, whom sunshine has induced to abandon his cloak, which the storm only forced him to wrap more closely around him. The principal failing of Dorax is the excess of pride, which renders each supposed wound to his honour more venomously acute; yet he is not devoid of gentler affections, though even in indulging these the hardness of his character is conspicuous. He loves Violante, but that is a far subordinate feeling to his affection for Sebastian. Indeed, his love appears so inferior to his loyal devotion to his king, that, unless to gratify the taste of the age, I see little reason for its being introduced at all. It is obvious he was much more jealous of the regard of his sovereign, than of his mistress; he never mentions Violante till the scene of explanation with Sebastian; and he appears hardly to have retained a more painful recollection of his disappointment in that particular, than of the general neglect and disgrace he had sustained at the court of Lisbon. The last stage of a virtuous heart, corroded into evil by wounded pride, has been never more forcibly displayed than in the character of Dorax. When once induced to take the fatal step which degraded him in his own eyes, all his good affections seem to be converted into poison. The religion, which displays itself in the fifth act in his arguments against suicide, had, in his efforts to justify his apostacy, or at least to render it a matter of no moment, been exchanged for sentiments approaching, perhaps to atheism, certainly to total scepticism. His passion for Violante is changed into contempt and hatred for her sex, which he expresses in the coarsest terms. His feelings of generosity, and even of humanity, are drowned in the gloomy and stern misanthropy, which has its source in the self-discontent that endeavours to wreak itself upon others. This may be illustrated by his unfeeling behaviour, while Alvarez and Antonio, well known to him in former days, approach, and draw the deadly lot, which ratifies their fate. No yielding of compassion, no recollection of former friendship, has power to alter the cold and sardonic sarcasm with which he sketches their characters, and marks their deportment in that awful moment. Finally, the zealous attachment of Alonzo for his king, which, in its original expression, partakes of absolute devotion, is changed, by the circumstances of Dorax, into an irritated and frantic jealousy, which he mistakes for hatred; and which, in pursuing the destruction of its object, is almost more inveterate than hatred itself. Nothing has survived of the original Alonzo at the opening of the piece, except the gigantic passion which has caused his ruin. This character is drawn on a large scale, and in a heroic proportion; but it is so true to nature, that many readers must have lamented, even within the circle of domestic acquaintance, instances of feelings hardened, and virtues perverted, where a high spirit has sustained severe and unjust neglect and disgrace. The whole demeanour of this exquisite character suits the original sketch. From "the long stride and sullen port," by which Benducar distinguishes him at a distance, to the sullen stubbornness with which he obeys, or the haughty contempt with which he resists, the commands of the peremptory tyrant under whom he had taken service, all announce the untamed pride which had robbed Dorax of virtue, and which yet, when Benducar would seduce him into a conspiracy, and in his conduct towards Sebastian, assumes the port and dignity of virtue herself. In all his conduct and bearing, there is that mixed feeling and impulse, which constitutes the real spring of human action. The true motive of Alonzo in saving Sebastian, is not purely that of honourable hatred, which he proposes to himself; for to himself every man endeavours to appear consistent, and readily find arguments to prove to himself that he is so. Neither is his conduct to be ascribed altogether to the gentler feelings of loyal and friendly affection, relenting at the sight of his sovereign's ruin, and impending death. It is the result of a mixture of these opposite sensations, clashing against each other like two rivers at their conflux, yet urging their united course down the same channel. Actuated by a mixture of these feelings, Dorax meets Sebastian; and the art of the poet is displayed in that admirable scene, by suggesting a natural motive to justify to the injured subject himself the change of the course of his feelings. As his jealousy of Sebastian's favour, and resentment of his unjust neglect, was chiefly founded on the avowed preference which the king had given to Henriquez, the opportune mention of his rival's death, by removing the cause of that jealousy, gives the renegade an apology to his own pride, for throwing himself at the feet of that very sovereign, whom a moment before he was determined to force to combat. They are little acquainted with human passions, at least have only witnessed their operations among men of common minds, who doubt, that at the height of their very spring-tide, they are often most susceptible of sudden changes; revolutions, which seem to those who have not remarked how nearly the most opposite feelings are allied and united, the most extravagant and unaccountable. Muly Moluch is an admirable specimen of that very frequent theatrical character,—a stage tyrant. He is fierce and boisterous enough to be sufficiently terrible and odious, and that without much rant, considering he is an infidel Soldan, who, from the ancient deportment of Mahomed and Termagaunt, as they appeared in the old Mysteries, might claim a prescriptive right to tear a passion to tatters. Besides, the Moorish emperor has fine glances of savage generosity, and that free, unconstrained, and almost noble openness, the only good quality, perhaps, which a consciousness of unbounded power may encourage in a mind so firm as not to be totally depraved by it. The character of Muly Moluch, like that of Morat, in "Aureng-Zebe," to which it bears a strong resemblance, was admirably represented by Kynaston; who had, says Cibber, "a fierce lion-like majesty in his port and utterance, that gave the spectator a kind of trembling admiration." It is enough to say of Benducar, that the cool, fawning, intriguing, and unprincipled statesman, is fully developed in his whole conduct; and of Alvarez, that the little he has to say and do, is so said and done, as not to disgrace his common-place character of the possessor of the secret on which the plot depends; for it may be casually observed, that the depositary of such a clew to the catastrophe, though of the last importance to the plot, is seldom himself of any interest whatever. The haughty and high-spirited Almeyda is designed by the author as the counterpart of Sebastian. She breaks out with the same violence, I had almost said fury, and frequently discovers a sort of kindred sentiment, intended to prepare the reader for the unfortunate discovery, that she is the sister of the Portuguese monarch.

Of the diction, Dr Johnson has said, with meagre commendation, that it has "some sentiments which leave a strong impression," and "others of excellence, universally acknowledged." This, even when the admiration of the scene betwixt Dorax and Sebastian has been sanctioned by that great critic, seems scanty applause for the chef d'oeuvre of Dryden's dramatic works. The reader will be disposed to look for more unqualified praise, when such a poet was induced, by every pressing consideration, to combine, in one effort, the powers of his mighty genius, and the fruits of his long theatrical experience: Accordingly, Shakespeare laid aside, it will be perhaps difficult to point out a play containing more animatory incident, impassioned language, and beautiful description, than "Don Sebastian." Of the former, the scene betwixt Dorax and the king, had it been the only one ever Dryden wrote, would have been sufficient to insure his immortality. There is not,—no, perhaps, not even in Shakespeare,—an instance where the chord, which the poet designed should vibrate, is more happily struck; strains there are of a higher mood, but not more correctly true; in evidence of which, we have known those, whom distresses of a gentler nature were unable to move, feel their stubborn feelings roused and melted by the injured pride and deep repentance of Dorax. The burst of anguish with which he answers the stern taunt of Sebastian, is one of those rare, but natural instances, in which high-toned passion assumes a figurative language, because all that is familiar seems inadequate to express its feelings:

Dor. Thou hast dared To tell me, what I durst not tell myself: I durst not think that I was spurned, and live; And live to hear it boasted to my face. All my long avarice of honour lost, Heaped up in youth, and hoarded up for age! Has honour's fountain then sucked back the stream? He has; and hooting boys may dry-shod pass, And gather pebbles from the naked ford. Give me my love, my honour; give them back— Give me revenge, while I have breath to ask it!

But I will not dwell on the beauties of this scene. If any one is incapable of relishing it, he may safely conclude, that nature has not merely denied him that rare gift, poetical taste, but common powers of comprehending the ordinary feelings of humanity. The love scene, betwixt Sebastian and Almeyda, is more purely conceived, and expressed with more reference to sentiment, than is common with our author. The description which Dorax gives of Sebastian, before his appearance, coming from a mortal enemy, at least from one whose altered love was as envenomed as hatred, is a grand preparation for the appearance of the hero. In many of the slighter descriptive passages, we recognize the poet by those minute touches, which a mind susceptible of poetic feeling is alone capable of bringing out. The approach of the emperor, while the conspirators are caballing, is announced by Orchan, with these picturesque circumstances:

I see the blaze of torches from afar, And hear the trampling of thick-beating feet— This way they move.—

The following account, given by the slave sent to observe what passed in the castle of Dorax, believed to be dead, or dying, is equally striking:

Haly. Two hours I warily have watched his palace: All doors are shut, no servant peeps abroad; Some officers, with striding haste, past in; While others outward went on quick dispatch. Sometimes hushed silence seemed to reign within; Then cries confused, and a joint clamour followed; Then lights went gliding by, from room to room, And shot like thwarting meteors cross the house. Not daring further to inquire, I came With speed to bring you this imperfect news.

The description of the midnight insurrection of the rabble is not less impressive:

Ham. What you wish: The streets are thicker in this noon of night, Than at the mid-day sun: A drouzy horror Sits on their eyes, like fear, not well awake: All crowd in heaps, as, at a night alarm, The bees drive out upon each others backs, T'imboss their hives in clusters; all ask news: Their busy captain runs the weary round To whisper orders; and, commanding silence, Makes not noise cease, but deafens it to murmurs.

These illustrations are designedly selected from the parts of the lower characters, because they at once evince the diligence and success with which Dryden has laboured even the subordinate points of this tragedy.

"Don Sebastian" has been weighed, with reference to its tragic merits, against "Love for Love;" and one or other is universally allowed to be the first of Dryden's dramatic performances. To the youth of both sexes the latter presents the most pleasing subject of emotion; but to those whom age has rendered incredulous upon the romantic effects of love, and who do not fear to look into the recesses of the human heart, when agitated by darker and more stubborn passions, "Don Sebastian" offers a far superior source of gratification.

To point out the blemishes of so beautiful a tragedy, is a painful, though a necessary, task. The style, here and there, exhibits marks of a reviving taste for those frantic bursts of passion, which our author has himself termed the "Dalilahs of the theatre." The first speech of Sebastian has been often noticed as an extravagant rant, more worthy of Maximin, or Almanzor, than of a character drawn by our author in his advanced years, and chastened taste:

I beg no pity for this mouldering clay; For if you give it burial, there it takes Possession of your earth: If burnt and scatter'd in the air, the winds, That strew my dust, diffuse my royalty, And spread me o'er your clime; for where one atom Of mine shall light, know, there Sebastian reigns.

The reader's discernment will discover some similar extravagancies in the language of Almeyda and the Emperor.

It is a separate objection, that the manners of the age and country are not adhered to. Sebastian, by disposition a crusading knight-errant, devoted to religion and chivalry, becomes, in the hands of Dryden, merely a gallant soldier and high-spirited prince, such as existed in the poet's own days. But, what is worse, the manners of Mahometans are shockingly violated. Who ever heard of human sacrifices, or of any sacrifices, being offered up to Mahomet[2]; and when were his followers able to use the classical and learned allusions which occur throughout the dialogue! On this last topic Addison makes the following observations, in the "Guardian," No. 110.

"I have now Mr Dryden's "Don Sebastian" before me, in which I find frequent allusions to ancient poetry, and the old mythology of the heathens. It is not very natural to suppose a king of Portugal would be borrowing thoughts out of Ovid's "Metamorphoses," when he talked even to those of his own court; but to allude to these Roman fables, when he talks to an emperor of Barbary, seems very extraordinary. But observe how he defies him out of the classics in the following lines:

Why didst not thou engage me man to man, And try the virtue of that Gorgon face, To stare me into statue?

"Almeyda, at the same time, is more book-learned than Don Sebastian. She plays an Hydra upon the Emperor, that is full as good as the Gorgon:

O that I had the fruitful heads of Hydra, That one might bourgeon where another fell! Still would I give thee work, still, still, thou tyrant, And hiss thee with the last.

"She afterwards, in allusion to Hercules, bids him 'lay down the lion's skin, and take the distaff;' and, in the following speech, utters her passion still more learnedly:

No; were we joined, even though it were in death, Our bodies burning in one funeral pile, The prodigy of Thebes would be renewed, And my divided flame should break from thine.

"The emperor of Barbary shews himself acquainted with the Roman poets as well as either of his prisoners, and answers the foregoing speech in the same classic strain:

Serpent, I will engender poison with thee: Our offspring, like the seed of dragon's teeth, Shall issue armed, and fight themselves to death.

"Ovid seems to have been Muley-Moloch's favourite author; witness the lines that follow:

She, still inexorable, still imperious, And loud, as if, like Bacchus, born in thunder.

"I shall conclude my remarks on his part with that poetical complaint of his being in love; and leave my reader to consider, how prettily it would sound in the mouth of an emperor of Morocco:

The god of love once more has shot his fires Into my soul, and my whole heart receives him.

"Muley Zeydan is as ingenious a man as his brother Muley Moloch; as where he hints at the story of Castor and Pollux:

May we ne'er meet; For, like the twins of Leda, when I mount, He gallops down the skies.

"As for the Mufti, we will suppose that he was bred up a scholar, and not only versed in the law of Mahomet, but acquainted with all kinds of polite learning. For this reason he is not at all surprised when Dorax calls him a Phaeton in one place, and in another tells him he is like Archimedes.

"The Mufti afterwards mentions Ximenes, Albornoz, and cardinal Wolsey, by name. The poet seems to think, he may make every person, in his play, know as much as himself, and talk as well as he could have done on the same occasion. At least, I believe, every reader will agree with me, that the above-mentioned sentiments, to which I might have added several others, would have been better suited to the court of Augustus than that of Muley Moloch. I grant they are beautiful in themselves, and much more so in that noble language, which was peculiar to this great poet. I only observe, that they are improper for the persons who make use of them."

The catastrophe of the tragedy may be also censured, not only on the grounds objected to that of "OEdipus," but because it does not naturally flow from the preceding events, and opens, in the fifth act, a new set of persons, and a train of circumstances, unconnected with the preceding action. In the concluding scene, it was remarked, by the critics, that there is a want of pure taste in the lovers dwelling more upon the pleasures than the horrors of their incestuous connection.

Of the lighter scenes, which were intended for comic, Dr Johnson has said, "they are such as that age did not probably commend, and as the present would not endure." Dryden has remarked, with self-complacency, the art with which they are made to depend upon the serious business. This has not, however, the merit of novelty; being not unlike the connection between the tragic and comic scenes of the "Spanish Friar." The persons introduced have also some resemblance; though the gaiety of Antonio is far more gross than that of Lorenzo, and Morayma is a very poor copy of Elvira. It is rather surprising, that when a gay libertine was to be introduced, Dryden did not avail himself of a real character, the English Stukely; a wild gallant, who, after spending a noble fortune, became the leader of a band of Italian Condottieri, engaged in the service of Sebastian, and actually fell in the battle of Alcazar. Collier complains, and with very good reason, that, in the character of the Mufti, Dryden has seized an opportunity to deride and calumniate the priesthood of every religion; an opportunity which, I am sorry to say, he seldom fails to use with unjustifiable inveteracy. The rabble scenes were probably given, as our author himself says of that in Cleomenes, "to gratify the more barbarous part of the audience." Indeed, to judge from the practice of the drama at this time, the representation of a riot upon the stage seems to have had the same charms for the popular part of the English audience, which its reality always possesses in the streets.

Notwithstanding the excellence of this tragedy, it appears to have been endured, rather than applauded, at its first representation; although, being judiciously curtailed, it soon became a great favourite with the public[3]; and, omitting the comic scenes, may be again brought forward with advantage, when the public shall be tired of children and of show. The tragedy of "Don Sebastian" was acted and printed in 1690.

Footnotes: 1. "The Battle of Alcazar, with Captain Stukely's death, acted by the Lord High Admiral's servants, 1594," 4to. Baker thinks Dryden might have taken the hint of "Don Sebastian" from this old play. Shakespeare drew from it some of the bouncing rants of Pistol, as, "Feed, and be fat; my fair Callipolis," &c.

2. In a Zambra dance, introduced in the "Conquest of Granada," our author had previously introduced the Moors bowing to the image of Jupiter; a gross solecism, hardly more pardonable, as Langbaine remarks, than the introduction of a pistol in the hand of Demetrius, a successor of Alexander the Great, which Dryden has justly censured.

3. Langbaine says, it was acted "with great applause;" but this must refer to its reception after the first night; for the author's own expressions, that "the audience endured it with much patience, and were weary with much good nature and silence," exclude the idea of a brilliant reception on the first representation. See the beginning of the Preface.





Far be it from me, my most noble lord, to think, that any thing which my meanness can produce, should be worthy to be offered to your patronage; or that aught which I can say of you should recommend you farther to the esteem of good men in this present age, or to the veneration which will certainly be paid you by posterity. On the other side, I must acknowledge it a great presumption in me, to make you this address; and so much the greater, because by the common suffrage even of contrary parties, you have been always regarded as one of the first persons of the age, and yet not one writer has dared to tell you so; whether we have been all conscious to ourselves that it was a needless labour to give this notice to mankind, as all men are ashamed to tell stale news; or that we were justly diffident of our own performances, as even Cicero is observed to be in awe when he writes to

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