Page images
[graphic][merged small][graphic]
[graphic][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][ocr errors][subsumed][ocr errors][ocr errors]

Sala h g 0 account remains of the first appear-
SAS K A ) ance of this play, or of its success.

It was acted by the King's servants
at the Blackfriars Theatre, and was
published in 1633. It is said in the
Prologue that the story—the scene of

which is curiously placed in Sparta-e had some foundation in fact. It may have been taken from an Italian novel.

[ocr errors]

sem se




To the most worthy deserver of the noblest titles in honour,

My Lord,
V/ HE glory of a great name, acquired by a

greater glory of action, hath in all ages
lived the truest chronicle to his own
memory. In the practice of which

argument your growth to perfection, S y

even in youth, hath appeared so sin. cere, so unflattering a penman, that posterity cannot with more delight read the merit of noble endeavours than noble endeavours merit thanks from posterity to be read with delight. Many nations, many eyes have been witnesses of your deserts, and loved them : be pleased,

1 " William, first Baron and Earl Craven” (according to Collins's Peerage), “the eldest son of Sir W. Craven, Lord Mayor, was much affected with military exercises from his youth, and signalised himself in Germany and in the Netherlands under Henry, Prince of Orange. In which valiant adventures he gained such honour, that on his return he was first knighted at Newmarket, March 4, 1626, and in the year after deservedly raised to the dignity of Lord "Craven of Hampstead-Marshall. In 1631 he was one of the commanders of those forces sent to the assistance of the great Gustavus Adolphus, and was wounded in the assault upon the strong fortres; of Kreutznach. He died, after a very active and chequered life, April 9, 1697, at the advanced age of 88. He is now chiefly remembered for his romantic attachment to the Queen of Bohemia, daughter of James I., to whom it is generally supposed he was privately married.” “One may be pardoned for remembering,” Ward adds, that the chivalrous knight-errant and (as is thought) secret husband of Elizabeth of Bohemia survived her for nearly a quarter of a century.”


then, with the freedom of your own name, to admit one amongst all, particularly into the list of such as honour a fair example of nobility. There is a kind of humble ambition, not uncommendable, when the silence of study breaks forth into discourse, coveting rather encouragement than applause; yet herein censure commonly is too severe an auditor, without the moderation of an able patronage. I have ever been slow in courtship of greatness, not ignorant of such defects as are frequent to opinion : but the justice of your inclination to industry emboldens my weakness of confidence to relish an experience of your mercy, as many brave dangers have tasted of your courage. Your Lordship strove to be known to the world, when the world knew you least, by voluntary but excellent attempts: like allowance I plead of being known to your Lordship (in this low presumption), by tendering, to a favourable entertainment, a devotion offered from a heart that can be as truly sensible of any least respect as ever profess the owner in my best, my readiest services, a lover of your natural love to virtue.


[merged small][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors]

OUR scene is Sparta. He whose best of art
Hath drawn this piece calls it THE BROKEN HEART.
The title lends no expectation here
Of apish laughter, or of some lame jeer
At place or persons ; no pretended clause
Of jests fit for a brothel courts applause
From vulgar admiration : such low songs,
Tuned to unchaste ears, suit not modest tongues.
The virgin-sisters then deserved fresh bays
When innocence and sweetness crowned their lays;
Then vices gasped for breath, whose whole commérce
Was whipped to exile by unblushing verse.
This law we keep in our presentment now,
Not to take freedom more than we allow;
What may be here thought Fiction, when time's youth
Wanted some riper years, was known a Truth :
In which, if words have clothed the subject right,
You may partake a pity with delight.

[graphic][ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »