« PreviousContinue »
THE FANCIES, CHASTE AND NOBLE.
The title-page of this Comedy, of which there is but one edition, stands thus in the 4to.“ The Fancies, Chast and Noble : Presented by the Queenes Majesties Servants, at the Phænix in Drury Lane. Fide Honor. London, printed by E. P. for Henry Seile, and are to be sold at his shop, at the Tyger's Head in Fleet Street, over against Saint Dunstan's Church, 1638.” It was probably licensed for the stage in 1637, as Ford brought out a new piece (The Lady's Trial) this year.
THE RIGHT NOBLE LORD, THE LORD
EARL OF ANTRIM IN THE KINGDOM OF IRELAND, LORD
Princes, and worthy personages of your own eminence, have entertained poems of this nature with a serious welcome. The desert of their authors might transcend mine, not their study of service. A practice of courtship to greatness hath not
!“This nobleman was the son of Sir Randal Macdonnell, who, in his youtb, joined in Tyrone's rebellion, but subsequently became a loyal subject of King James, and contributed greatly to the civilization of Ireland, for which service he was created successively Viscount Dunluce, and Earl of Antrim. He died 18th December, 1636. The peer who succeeded him, and to whom the present play is dedicated, was born in 1609. He attended King Charles I. in his expedition against Scotland in 1639; was accused of joining the rebels in Ireland, in 1642, but cleared; but subsequently joined them for the benefit of his royal master. He was twice imprisoned by Major-General Monro in Carrickfergus, but escaped both times. In 1643, he was created Marquis of Antrim. Though he made bis peace with Cromwell, be assisted Charles II. in bis escape, after the battle of Worcester. He died in the year 1673, aged 64."
hitherto, in me, aimed at any thrift: yet I have ever honoured virtue, as the richest ornament to the noblest titles. Endeavour of being known to your Lordship, by such means, I conceive no ambition; the extent being bounded by humility: so neither can the argument appear ungracious; nor the writer, in that, without allowance. You enjoy, my Lord, the general suffrage, for your freedom of merits: may you likewise please, by this particular presentment, amongst the number of such as faithfully honour those merits, to admit, into your noble construction,
Amongst the number of such as faithfully honour those merits, to admit, &c.] The 4to has—“ Among the number of such as I faithfully honour those merits, &c." which to me is unintelligible. There can be little doubt that the provoun was inserted through mistake, or misapprehension of the poet's meaning; most probably the latter.
There is something pleasing in this short Dedication. It displays a spirit of independence very honourable to the poet, and yet is sufficiently respectful to his patron.
The Fancies ! that's our play; in it is shown
3 Fancy your own opinions.] The old copy reads, “ Fancy your even opinions.” Ford appears to have been on the continent when this piece was first given to the stage: