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three songs for this “ Amphitryon:" to all which, and particularly to the composition of the pastoral dialogue, the numerous choir of fair ladies gave so just an applause on the third day. I am only sorry, for iny own sake, that there was one star wanting, as beautiful as any in our hemisphere; that young Berenice *, who is misemploying all her charms on stupid country souls, that can never know the value of them; and losing the triumphs, which are ready prepared for her, in the court and town. And yet I know not whether I am so much a loser by her absence; for I have reason to apprehend the sharpness of her judgment, if it were not allayed with the sweetness of her nature; and, after all, I fear she may come time enough to discover a thousand imperfections in my play, which might have passed on vulgar understandings. Be pleased to use the authority of a father over her, on my behalf: enjoin her to keep her own thoughts of " Amphitryon” to herself; or at least not to compare him too strictly with Moliere's. It is true, I have an interest in this partiality of hers : but withal, I plead some sort of merit for it, in being so particularly,

as I am,

SIR,

Your most obedient,

Humble servant,

JOHN DRYDEN.

October 24th, 1690.

* Under this poetical appellation, the author here, and in the dedication to Cleomenes," celebrates Jane Lady Hyde, daughter to Sir William L. Gower, and wife, as has been noticed, to Henry Lord Hyde, eldest son of Lawrence Earl of Rochester.

PROLOGUE,

SPOKEN BY MRS BRACEGIRDLE.

The labouring bee, when his sharp sting is gone,
Forgets his golden work, ard turns a drone :
Such is a satire, when you

take

away
That rage, in which his noble vigour lay.
What gain you, by not suffering him to teaze ye?
He neither can offend you now, nor please ye.
The honey-bag, and venom, lay so near,
That both together you resolved to tear ;
And lost your pleasure, to secure your

fear.
How can he show his manhood, if you bind him
To box, like boys, with one hand tied behind him?
This is plain levelling of wit; in which
The poor has all the advantage, not the rich.
The blockhead stands excused, for wanting sense ;
And wits turn blockheads in their own defence.
Yet, though the stage's traffic is undone,
Still Julian's f interloping trade goes on:
Though satire on the theatre you smother,
Yet, in lampoons, you libel one another.
The first produces, still, a second jig;
You whip them out, like school-boys, till they sig;
And with the same success, our readers guess,
For every one still dwindles to a less ş;
And much good malice is so meanly drest,
That we would laugh, but cannot find the jest.

# Julian, who styled himself secretary to the muses, made a dirty livelihood, by copying and dispersing lampoons at the Wits' coffee-house. He was the subject of a copy of verses, which the reader will find among those ascribed to Dryden on doubtful authority.

Š The poelasters of that age were so numerous, and so active, that the niost deplorable attempt at wit, or satire, was usually answered in one which was yet worse. Parody and personal abuse were the implements of this warfare, which sometimes extended to answers, replies, rejoinders, rebutters, and sur-rebutlers, all only distinguished by malignant scurrility,

If no advice your rhyming rage can stay,
Let not the ladies suffer in the fray:
Their tender sex is privileged from war ;
"Tis not like knights, to draw upon the fair.
What fame expect you from so mean a prize?
We wear no murdering weapons, but our eyes.
Our sex, you know, was after yours designed;
'The last perfection of the Maker's mind :
Heaven drew out all the gold for us, and left your dross behind.
Beauty, for valour's best reward, he chose ;
Peace, after war; and, after toil, repose.
Hence, ye profane, excluded from our sights ;
And, charmed by day with honour's vain delights,
Go, make your best of solitary nights.
Recant betimes, 'tis prudence to submit;
Our sex is still your over-match in wit:
We never fail, with new, successful arts,
To make fine fools of you, and all your parts.

}

DRAMATIS PERSONÆ.

JUPITER.
MERCURY
PHEBUS.
AMPHITRYON, the Theban General.
SOSIA, his Slave.
Gripus, a Theban Judge.
POLIDAS,

TRAN 10, JOfficers of the Theban Army.

ALCMENA, Wife to AMPHITRYON.
PHÆDRA, } Her Slaves.
BROMIA
Night.

SCENE,--Thebes.

AMPHITRYON,

OR THE

TWO SOSIAS.

ACT I. SCENE I.

MERCURY and PHBUS descend in two Machines. Phæ. Know you the reason of this present sum

mons ? 'Tis neither council day, nor is this heaven. What business has our Jupiter on earth? Why more at Thebes than any other place? And why we two, of all the herd of gods, Are chosen out to meet him in consult? They call me God of Wisdom; But Mars and Vulcan, the two fools of heaven, Whose wit lies in their anvil and their sword, Know full as much as I. Merc. And Venus may know more than both of

us; For 'tis some petticoat affair, I guess.

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