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scapes to a very indifferent picture. I must proceed no farther in this argument, lest I run myself beyond my excuse for writing this; give me leave therefore to tell you, reader, that I do it not to set a value on any thing I have written in this play, but out of gratitude to the memory of Sir William D'Avenant, who did me the honour to join me with him in the alteration of it.
It was originally Shakspeare's; a poet for whom he had particularly a high veneration, and whom he first taught me to admire. The play itself had formerly been acted with success in the BlackFryers ; and our excellent Fletcher had so great a value for it, that he thought fit to make use of the same design, not much varied, a second time. Those who have seen his Sea-Voyage, may easily discern that it was a copy of Shakspeare's TEMpest: the Storm, the Desart Island, and the woman who had never seen a man, are all sufficient testimonies of it. But Fletcher was not the only poet who made use of Shakspeare's plot ; Sir John Suckling, a professed admirer of our author, has followed his footsteps in his GOBLINS : his Reginella being an open imitation of Shakspeare's Miranda ; and his spirits, though counterfeit, yet are copied from Ariel. But Sir William D'Avenant, as he was a man of quick and piercing imagination, soon found that somewhat might be added to the design of Shakspeare, of which neither Fletcher nor Suckling had ever thought; and therefore to put the last hand to
it, he designed the counterpart to Shakspeare's plot, namely, that of a man who had never seen a woman ; that by this means those two characters of innocence and love might the more illustrate and commend each other. This excellent contrivance he was pleased to communicate to me, and to desire my assistance in it. I confess, that from the very first moment it so pleased me, that I never writ any thing with more delight. I must likewise do him that justice to acknowledge, that my writing received daily his amendments; and that is the reason why it is not so faulty as the rest which I have done, without the help or correction of so judicious a friend. The comical parts of the sailors were also of his invention, and for the most part his writing, as you will easily discover by the style. In the time I writ with him, I had the opportunity to observe somewhat more nearly of him than I had formerly done, when I had only a bare acquaintance with him ; I found him then of so quick a fancy, that nothing was proposed to him, on which he could not suddenly produce a thought extremely pleasant and surprising ; and those first thoughts of his, contrary to the old Latin proverb, were not always the least happy ; and as his fancy was quick, so likewise were the products of it remote and new. He borrowed not of any other ; and his imaginations were such as could not easily enter into any other man.
His corrections were sober and judicious; and he corrected his own writings much more severely than those of another man, bestowing twice the time and labour in polishing which he used in invention.
It had perhaps been easy enough for me to have arrogated more to myself than was my due, in the writing of this play, and to have passed by his name with silence in the publication of it with the same ingratitude which others have used to him, whose writings he hath not only corrected, as he hath done this, but has had a greater inspection over them, and sometimes added whole scenes together, which may as easily be distinguished from the rest as true gold from counterfeit by the weight. But besides the unworthiness of the action, which deterred me from it, (there being nothing so base as to rob the dead of his reputation,) I am satisfied I could never have received so much honour in being thought the author of any poem, how excellent soever, as I shall from the joining my imperfections with the merit and name of Shakspeare and Sir William D'Avenant.
AN EVENING's LOVE,
OR, THE MOCK ASTROLOGER.
TO HIS GRACE, WILLIAM, DUKE OF NEWCASTLE, ONE OF HIS MAJESTY'S MOST HONOURABLE PRIVY
COUNCIL, AND OF THE MOST HONOURABLE ORDER OF THE GARTER, &c.
Amongst those few persons of wit and honour whose favourable opinion I have desired, your own virtue, and my great obligations to your grace, have justly given you the precedence; for what could be more glorious to me, than to have acquired some part of your esteem, who are admired and honoured by all good men ; who have
9 A very highly-finished character of this nobleman, who was born in 1594, and died December 25, 1676, may be found in Clarendon's History of the Rebellion, vol. ii. p. 507. He was author of a celebrated book on Horsemanship, and of four plays; and was successively the patron of Ben Jonson, D'Avenant, Dryden, Flecknoe, and Shadwell, all of whom, except D'Avenant, have testified been, for so many years together, the pattern and standard of honour to the nation; and whose whole life has been so great an example of heroick virtue, that we might wonder how it happened into an age so corrupt as ours, if it had not likewise been a part of the former. As you came into the world with all the advantages of a noble birth' and education, so you have rendered both yet more conspicuous by your virtue. Fortune, indeed, has perpetually crowned your undertakings with success, but she has only waited on your valour, not conducted it. She has ministered to your glory like a slave, and has been led in triumph by it; or at most, while honour led
you by the hand to greatness, fortune only followed to keep you from sliding back in the ascent. That which Plutarch accounted her favour to Cimon and Lucullus, was but her justice to your Grace ; and never to have been overcome where you led in person, as it was more than Hannibal could boast,
their gratitude by ample encomiums. “ He was," says Shadwell, “ the greatest master of wit, the most exact observer of mankind, and the most accurate judge of humour I ever knew."
The Dedication before us was addressed to him in 1671.
· His father was Sir Charles Cavendish ; his mother a daughter of Cuthbert, Lord Ogle. Their son was created by James the First, Viscount Mansfield and Baron Ogle, June 3, 1620; 7th March, 1627-8, he was created Earl, 27th October, 1643, Marquis, and 16th March, 1664-5, Duke, of Newcastle.