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both acted one against the other in the same week, clash'd together, like two rotten ships which cou'd not endure the shock, and sunk to rights.—The King's Proclamation against vice and
GENIA IN AULIS, written by Abel Boyer, and (if we are to believe the author) corrected by Dryden, was acted at the Theatre in Drury-Lane. Dennis says in his Preface, that the success of his play was " neither despicable nor extraordinary ;” but Gildon in his “ Comparison between the two Stages," 8vo. 1702, informs us, that it was acted but six times; and that the other tragedy, after four representations, was laid aside.
It is extraordinary that Dryden should not have men. tioned Farquhar's TRIP TO THE JUBILEE, which we learn from Boyer's Preface, had been acted at Drury-Lane with considerable success, immediately before his ACHILLES was produced. “ Another difficulty (says the author,) this play laboured under, was, its being acted at a time when the whole town was so much and so justly diverted with the TRIP TO THE JUBILEE.” One of Farquhar's biographers says, that this comedy was exhibited fifty-three times in that season ; but the theatrical history of that period confutes his assertion. According to Gildon, Betterton having gained a great deal of money by reviving KING HENRY THE 'EIGHTH, and King HENRY THE FOURTH, (which in a letter written Jan. 28, 1699-1700, is said to have drawn “all the town more than any new play that has been performed of late.” See vol. i. part i. p. 329, n.) the manager of the theatre in Drury-lane, after the failure of his IPHIGENIA, produced Ben Jonson's Fox, and AlChemist, and The Silent WOMAN; and towards the end of the season brought out Fletcher’s Pilgrim, altered by Vanbrugh, with additions by Dryden ; exertions, which would scarcely have been necessary, if Farquhar's profaneness is issued out in print ;' but a deep disease is not to be cur'd with a slight medicine. The parsons, who must read it, will find as little effect from it, as from their dull sermons : ’tis a scarecrow, which will not fright many birds from preying on the fields and orchards.-The best news Į heare is, that the land will not be charg'd very deep this yeare : let that comfort you for your Shrievalty, and continue me in your good graces, who am, fair Cousine, Your most faithfull oblig'd Servant,
Jo: Dryden. For Mrs. Stuart, Att Cotterstock near Oundle, in Northamptonshyre,
These. To be left with the Postmaster
comedy had attracted fifty-three audiences. It is more probable, that it was not performed oftener than eighteen or twenty times at the utmost.
6 In the London Gazette, No. 3557, Thursday, Dec. 14, 1699, it is mentioned, that a Proclamation for preventing and punishing immorality and profaneness, had. been issued out on the 11th instant.
TO MRS. ELIZABETH THOMAS, JUN.
MADAM, Friday, Dec. 29, 1699. I have sent your poems back again, after having kept them so long from you; by which you see I am like the rest of the world, an impudent borrower, and a bad pay-master. You take more care of my health than it deserves : that of an old man is always crazy, and at present, mine is worse than usual, by a St. Anthony's fire in one of my legs : though the swelling is much abated, yet the pain is not wholly gone, and I am too weak to stand upon it. If I recover, it is possible I may attempt Homer's Iliad. A specimen of it (the first book) is now in the press, among other poems of mine, which will make a volume in folio, of twelve shillings' price ; and will be publish'd within this month. I desire, fair author, that you will be pleas'd to continue me in your good graces, who am with all sincerity and gratitude, Your most humble Servant,
7 Relying on this passage, I once supposed that the book here spoken of, his Fables, was published in January ; but it did not appear till the first week in March. LETTER XLIII.
TO MRS. STEWARD.
Feb. 23d. [1699-1700.) Though I have not leisure to thank you for the last trouble I gave you, yet haveing by me two lampoons lately made, I know not but they may be worth your reading; and therefore have presum'd to send them. I know not the authours; but the town will be ghessing. The BALLAD OF THE Pews, which are lately rais'd higher at St. James's church,* is by some sayd to be Mr. Manwareing, or my Lord Peterborough: the poem of THE CONFÉDÉRATES some think to be Mr. Walsh : the copies are both lik'd. And there are really two factions of ladyes, for the two play-houses. If you do not understand the names of some persons mention'd, I can help you to the knowledge of them. You know, Sir Tho: Skipwith is master of the play-house in Drury-lane ; and my Lord Scarsdale is the patron of Betterton's house, being in love with somebody there. The Lord Scott is second sonn to the Duchess of Monmouth. I
* Our author's memory here deceived him. From the ballad itself we learn, that it was the Chapel Royal at St. James's, in which the pêws were raised.
• Arthur Mayáwaring. See vol. i. part i. p. 546, n. 8.
need not tell you who my Lady Darentwater is ; but it may be you know not her Lord is a poet, and none of the best. Forgive this hasty billet, from Your most oblig'd Servant,
John DRYDEN. For Mrs. Stewart, Att Cotterstock near Oundle,
in Northamptonshyre, These. To be left with the Postmaster of Oundle.
The two lampoons above mentioned do not appear to have
been preserved by Mrs. Steward; at least they have not come to my hauds. However, after some fruitless inquiry concerning the former of them, which I expected to have found in the Pepysian Collection in Magdalen College, in Cambridge, I have recovered them both.-Either Dryden by the Ballad of the Pews, meant only to describe it as a Ballad concerning the pews, which, &c. or it afterwards assumed a new name ; for it appears in the STATE POEMS, vol. iii. p. 372, under the following title:
A new Ballad, callid,
To the tune of-Packington's Pound. 9
When Burnet perceiv'd that the beautiful dames
9 This tune was extremely popular in the last century, many ballads, both on political subjects and subjects of gallantry, having been adapted to it. It is at least as old as the time of King James the First, being introduced in