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but chiefly upon the beauty of the language and imagery, which is flowery without diffusiveness, and rapturous without hyperbole. I fear Shakespeare cannot be exculpated from the latter fault; yet I am sensible, it is by sifting his beauties from his conceits that his imitator has been enabled to excel him.

It is impossible to bestow too much praise on the beautiful passages which occur so frequently in "All for Love." Having already given several examples of happy expression of melancholy and tender feelings, I content myself with extracting the sublime and terrific description of an omen presaging the downfall of Egypt.

Serap. Last night, between the hours of twelve and one,

In a lone isle of the temple while I walk'd,

A whirlwind rose, that, with a violent blast,

Shook all the dome: The doors around me clapt;
The iron wicket, that defends the vault,
Where the long race of Ptolemies is laid,
Burst open, and disclosed the mighty dead.
From out each monument, in order placed,
An armed ghost starts up: The boy-king last
Rear'd his inglorious head. A peal of groans
Then follow'd, and a lamentable voice

Cried," Egypt is no more!" My blood ran back,
My shaking knees against each other knock'd;
On the cold pavement down I fell entranced,
And so, unfinish'd, left the horrid scene.

Having quoted so many passages of exquisite poetry, and having set this play in no unequal opposition to that of Shakespeare, it is, perhaps, unnecessary to mention by what other poets the same subject has been treated. Daniel, Mary Countess of Pembroke, May, and Sir Charles Sedley, each produced a play on the fortunes of Antony. Of these pieces I have never read the three former, and will assuredly never read the last a second time.

Lest any reader should have anticipated better things of "Sedley's noble muse," the Lisideius of our author's dialogue on dramatic poetry, I subjoin a specimen, taken at hazard :

Gape, hell, and to thy dismal bottom take
The lost Antonius; this was our last stake:
Warn'd by my ruin, let no Roman more
Set foot on the inhospitable shore.
Cowards and traitors fill'd this impious land,
Faithless and fearful, without heart or hand.

"All for Love," as the most laboured performance of our author, received the full tribute of applause and popularity which had often graced his less perfect and more hurried performances. Davies gives us the following account of its first representation.

"In Dryden's All for Love,' Booth's dignified action and forcible elocution, in the part of Antony, attracted the public to that heavy, though, in many parts, well written play, six nights successively, without the assistance of pantomime, or farce, which, at that time, was esteemed something extraordinary.-But, indeed, he was well supported by an Oldfield, in his Cleopatra, who, to a most harmonious and powerful voice and fine person, added grace and elegance of gesture. When Booth and Oldfield met in the second act, their dignity of deportment commanded the applause and approbation of the most judicious critics. When Antony said to Cleopatra,

You promised me your silence, and you break it
Ere I have scarce begun,—

this check was so well understood by Oldfield, and answered with such propriety of behaviour, that, in Shakespeare's phrase, herbendings were adornings.'

"The elder Mills acted Ventidius with the true spirit of a rough and generous old soldier. To render the play as acceptable to the public as possible, Wilkes took the trifling part of Dolabella, nor,did Colley Cibber disdain to appear in Alexas. These parts would scarcely be accepted now by third-rate actors. Still to add more weight to the performance, Octavia was a short charac

Some ran to Cæsar, like a headlong tide,
The rest their fear made useless on our side.

"This passion, with the death of a dear friend, would go nigh to make one sad;" yet some of the authors of the day held a very different doctrine. Shadwell, in his dedication to "A true Widow," tells Sedley, "You have in that Mulberry Garden shewn the true wit, humour, and satire of a comedy; and, in Antony and Cleopatra, the true spirit of a tragedy; the only one, except two of Jonson's and one of Shakespeare's, wherein Romans are made to speak and do like Romans. There are to be found the true characters of Antony and Cleopatra, as they were; whereas a French author would have made the Egyptian and Roman both become French under his pen. And even our English authors are too much given to make history (in these plays) romantic and impossible; but, in this play, the Romans are true Romans, and their style is such; and I dare affirm, that there is not in any play of this age so much of the spirit of the classic authors, as in your Antony and Cleopatra." I cannot help suspecting that much of this hyperbolical praise of Sedley was obliquely designed to mortify Dryden.

ter of a scene or two, in which Mrs Porter drew not only respect, but the more affecting approbation of tears, from the audience. Since that time, 'All for Love' has gradually sunk into forgetfulness."

If this last observation be true, it is, under Mr Davies' favour, a striking illustration of the caprice of the public taste. The play of "All for Love" was first acted and printed in 1678.








THE gratitude of poets is so troublesome a virtue to great men, that you are often in danger of your own benefits: For you are threatened with some epistle, and not suffered to do good in quiet, or to

*The person, to whom these high titles now belonged, was Sir Thomas Osborne, a Baronet of good family, and decayed estate; part of which had been lost in the royal cause. He was of a bold undaunted character, and stood high for the prerogative. Hence he was thought worthy of being sworn into the Privy Council during the administration of the famous Cabal; and when that was dissolved by the secession of Shaftesbury and the resignation of Clifford, he was judged a proper person to succeed the latter as Lord High Treasurer. He was created Earl of Danby, and was supposed to be deeply engaged in the attempt to new-model

compound for their silence whom you have obliged. Yet, I confess, I neither am or ought to be surprised at this indulgence; for your lordship has the same

our Constitution on a more arbitrary plan; having been even heard to say, when sitting in judgment, that a new proclamation from the Crown was superior to an old act of Parliament. Nevertheless, he was persecuted as well by the faction of the Duke of York, to whom he was odious for having officiously introduced the famous Popish Plot to the consideration of Parliament, as by the popular party, who hated him as a favourite minister. Accordingly, in 1678, he was impeached by a vote of the House of Com mons, and in consequence, notwithstanding the countenance of the King, was deprived of all his offices, and finally committed to the Tower, where he remained for four years. Sir John Reresby has these reflections on Lord Danby's greatness and sudden fall: "It was but a few months before, that few things were transacted at court, but with the privity or consent of this great man; the King's brother, and favourite mistress, were glad to be fair with him, and the general address of all men of business was to him, who was not only treasurer, but prime minister also, who not only kept the purse, but was the first, and greatest confident in all affairs of state. But now he is neglected of all, forced to hide his head as a criminal, and in danger of losing all he has got, and his life therewith: His family, raised from privacy to the degree of Marquis, (a patent was then actually passing to invest him with that dignity) is now on the brink of falling below the humble stand of a yeoman; nor would almost the meanest subject change conditions with him now, whom so very lately the greatest beheld with envy." Memoirs, p. 85.

As he was obnoxious to all parties, Lord Danby would proba bly have been made a sacrifice, had not the disturbances, which arose from the various plots of the time, turned the attention of his enemies to other subjects. He was liberated 1683-4, survived the Revolution, was created Duke of Leeds, and died in 1712. His character was of the most decided kind; he was fertile in expedients, and had always something new to substitute for those which failed; a faculty highly acceptable to Charles, who loved to be relieved, even were it but in idea, from the labour of business, and the pressure of difficulty. In other points, he was probably not very scrupulous, since even Dryden found cause to say at length, that

Danby's matchless impudence
Help'd to support the knave.

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