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But though all of them have surpassed me in the scene, there is one part of glory in which I will not yield to any of them ; I mean, my Lord, that honour and veneration which they had for you in their lives, and which I preserve after them more holily than the vestal fires were maintained from age to age ; but with a greater degree of heat, and of devotion, than theirs, as being with more respect and passion than they ever were,
and unjust preference of Jonson to Shakspeare been agreeable to the general opinion of that age, our author could scarcely have hazarded this eulogium, which I have too good an opinion of his judgment and taste, to believe the expression of his genuine sentiments.
* I take this opportunity of correcting an errour into which I have fallen, respecting the date of the play to which this Dedication was prefixed, which I supposed to have been first printed in 1671, (see pp. 183 and 384); but the first edition was, I find, in 1668. This Dedication, however, is here properly placed, (conformably to the author's own arrangement,) before that prefixed to Ty. RANNICK Love, which was first printed in 1670.
OR, THE ROYAL MARTYR.?
TO THE MOST ILLUSTRIOUS PRINCE,
JAMES, DUKE OF MONMOUTH AND BUCCLEUGH,
ONE OF HIS MAJESTY'S MOST HONOURABLE PRIVY
COUNCIL, AND KNIGHT OF THE MOST NOBLE ORDER OF THE GARTER, &c.
The favourable reception which your excellent lady afforded to one of my former plays, has encouraged me to double my presumption, in addressing this to your Grace's patronage. So dangerous a thing it is to admit a poet into your family, that you can never afterwards be free from the chiming of ill verses, perpetually sounding in your ears, and more troublesome than the neighbourhood of steeples. I have been favourable to myself in this expression ; a zealous fanatick would
7 TYRANNICK LOVE was first printed in 1670; the second edition, reviewed by the author, in 1672.
have gone farther, and have called me the serpent, who first presented the fruit of my poetry to the wife, and so gained the opportunity to seduce the husband. Yet I am ready to avow a crime so advantageous to me ; but the world, which will condemn my boldness, I am sure will justify and applaud my choice. All men will join with me in the adoration which I pay you; they would wish only I had brought you a more noble sacrifice. Instead of an heroick play, you might justly expect an heroick poem, filled with the past glories of your ancestors, and the future certainties of your own. Heaven has already taken care to form you for an hero. You have all the advantages of mind and body, and an illustrious birth, conspiring to render you an extraordinary person. The Achilles and the Rinaldo are present in you, even above their originals ; you only want a Homer, or a Tasso, to make you equal to them. Youth, beauty, and courage, all which you possess in the height of their perfection, are the most desirable gifts of heaven ; and heaven is never prodigal of such treasures, but to some uncommon purpose : so goodly a fabrick was never framed by an Almighty Architect for a vulgar guest. He shewed the value which he set upon your mind, when he took care to have it so nobly and so beau
9 James, Duke of Monmouth, son of Charles the Second, by Lucy Waters, otherwise Barlow, was born in the year 1649, and consequently was now in his twentyfirst year.
tifully lodged. To a graceful fashion and deportment of body, you have joined a winning conversation, and an easy greatness, derived to you from the best, and best beloved of Princes; and with a great power of obliging, the world has observed in you a desire to oblige, even beyond your power. This, and all that I can say on so excellent and large a subject, is only history, in which fiction has no part; I can employ nothing of poetry in it, any more than I do in that humble protestation which I make, to continue ever
Your Grace's most obedient
and most devoted servant,