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TO

THE RIGHT NOBLE LORD, THE LORD

RANDAL MACDONNELL,

EARL OF ANTRIM IN THE KINGDOM OF IRELAND, LORD

VISCOUNT DUNLUCE.'

MY 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 youth, 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 his peace with Cromwell, be assisted Charles II. in his 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,

JOHN FORD.

2

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 pronoun 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.

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PROLOGUE.

The FANCIES ! that's our play; in it is slown
Nothing, but what our author knows his own
Without a learned theft; no servant here
To some fair mistress, borrows for his ear,
His lock, his belt, his sword, the fancied grace
Of

any pretty ribbon; nor, in place
Of charitable friendship, is brought in
A thriving gamester, that doth chance to win
A lusty sum ; while the good hand doth ply him,
And Fancies this or that, to him sits by him.
His free invention runs but in conceit
Of mere imaginations; there's the height
Of what he writes; which if traduced by some,
'Tis well, he says, he's far enough from home.
For you, for him, for us, then this remains,
Fancy your own opinions, for our pains.

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:

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DRAMATIS PERSONÆ

Octavio, marquis of Sienna.
TROYLO-SAVELLI, his nephew.
Livio, brother to CASTAMELA.
ROMANELLO, (Pragniolo,) brother to Flavia.
JULIO DE VARANA, lord of Camerino.
CAMILLO,

attendants on JULIO.
VESPUCCI,
FABRICIO, a merchant, Flavia's first husband.
NITIDO, a page,

attendants on the Secco, a barber,

marquis. SPADONE,

CASTAMELA, sister to Livio.
CLARELLA,
SILVIA, The FANCIES.
FLORIA,
Flavia, wife to Julio.
Morosa, guardianess to the FANCIES.

THE SCENE-Sienna.

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