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An edition of the B. D., by Baker, was printed in 1782 - another edition, by Jones, was printed in 1812–Gifford, in his notes on Ben Jonson, vol. 8 pp. 211-212, says of Jones—" the person so judi
ciously selected by the booksellers to prepare the new edition of the B.D., has not here the usual apology for his stupidity—that he found it so in “ the former edition ”-in vol. 1 p. 106 he observes
" to suppose that Jones should notice an error, “ though as wide as a church door, would be to equal “ him in folly”—Gifford is much too severe on Jones -old Lowndes the bookseller told me, that Longman bought at Reed's sale, his copy of the B. D. with his notes and additions—and that he put them into the hands of Stephen Jones, who knew but little of the matter—S. J. himself says, that he received assistance from Kemble.
Some of the more gross mistakes in the B. D. have been pointed out in their, proper places – there are however others which must not be passed over without notice.
Sapho and Phao was written by Lilly-it is said to have been printed in 1584—Phao is a ferryman-he carries Venus in his boat to Syracuse—she makes him very handsome—this is taken from the 18th chapter of the 12th book of Ælian-Sapho falls in love with Phao-he falls in love with her—but they
do not come to an intimacy - Venus falls in love with Phao—by her desire Cupid strikes Sapho with a dart which causes her to disdain Phao—Cupid, by the desire of Sapho, strikes Phao with a dart which causes him to loathe Venus-Phao determines to leave Syracuse—some parts of this play are well written, but on the whole it is dull and uninteresting -Langbaine refers us for the story to Ovid's Epistles -the Editors of the B. D. go one step farther, they say—“the plot is taken from one of Ovid's Epistles" -it so happens, however, that Ovid and Lilly have represented the story of Sappho very differentlyLilly lays his scene at Syracuse- Sappho seems to write her Epistle from Lesbos—she represents herself and Phaon as having been on terms of the greatest intimacy-she is distressed because Phaon is gone to Sicily -- and threatens to throw herself from the Promontory of Leucas into the sea-she mentions her poetry--of which Lilly says little or nothing.
Strange Discovery 1640min this T. C. Gough has attempted to dramatize the Æthiopica of Heliodorus
- he has not made a judicious selection from the numerous incidents of that most entertaining Romance - the Episode of Cnemon occupies a large portion of this play, yet after that part of his story, which happened at Athens, is over, he is not mentioned—the adventures of Theagines and Chariclea, after they leave Delphi, are compressed into a small space-on the whole this play is not a bad one-the account of it in the B. D. is so extraordinary that it deserves particular notice-both the Editors say—“ the scene, “in the beginning and end of this play, lies in Ethiopia ; in the other parts of it, in England and • Greece"—the scene in the 1st act lies in Ægypt and Athens- in the last scene of the play, the King of Æthiopia welcomes his Queen to his Camp-she replies—
“ Where you are, Sir, there is my object fixt,
In fact the scene seems never to lie in Æthiopia this mistake is easily accounted for—the writer of this article had read the Prologue but not the play-the mistake relative to England is so gross, that it is inconceivable what could induce any man in his sober senses to make such an assertion.
Levellers Levell’d, or the Independents' Conspiracie to root out Monarchie—an Interlude by Mer. curius Pragmaticus 1647—this piece has not the most remote connexion with the stage, except that it is divided into 5 short acts-the characters are
Pragmaticus ends each of the acts as a Chorus-as a literary production this little piece is contemptible —as a political squib it is personal, scurrilous, and loyal to the last degree-.to it the author has prefixed an address—“ To his Soveraigne Lord Charles (who,
maugre the fury of the Levellers, is yet) by the grace of God, of England, Scotland, France, and
Ireland, King, and (futra for their slanderous im“putations) Defender of the true, ancient, catho.. “ licke, and Apostolike Faith, &c.”
Langbaine says that this address, or dedication as he calls it, is made to Charles the 2d -Gildon and both the Editors of the B. D. repeat the assertionthis is one of those mistakes for which no excuse can be pleaded—this little piece was printed in 1647, whereas Charles the 1st was not beheaded till Jan. 30 1648-9 — besides Pragmaticus concludes with saying
“Our dearest Lord, great Charles, doth live
“ Us comfort yet to bring,
“ MUST reigne Great Britain's King.
“ Let heaven showre upon his head
“ The blessings of the day,
“ Grant that his sonne may sway.”
Virgin Widow—the 1st Edition of this play is said to be printed in 1649—the 2d Edition is in 1656 -Quarles does not tell us in what country he means his scene to lie-Augusta is Queen in her own right-Evaldus, to whom she is married, shows some attachment to Kettreena-her old husband, Pertenax, becomes extremely jealous—the Queen is also jealous and determines to poison Kettreena-she forges a letter as from the King, and sends it to Kettreena with a pretended cordial for a present
drinks the cordial and is poisoned-Kettreena becomes a Virgin Widow-in the last act, the Oracle of Apollo is consulted—Apollo is offended, and the Queen, with three other persons, is struck dead—a nurse confesses that she had exchanged Augusta and Kettreena when children, and that the latter was the rightful Queen-she gives her hand to Evaldus--the serious scenes of this play are far from bad—the comic scenes are very good-but they do not coalesce as they should do—the serious characters must be supposed to be heathens, whereas the characters of low humour act and talk as English people—notwithstanding that five persons die on the stage, this play is called in the title-page a Comedie—the Stationer in his address to the reader calls it an Enterlude - the Editors of the B. D., who had evidently read no farther, observe that it is rather an Interlude than a regular play—they might have said with equal propriety that Hamlet was rather an Interlude than a regular play--in modern times we call those little pieces, acted between the play and farce, Interludes -Dr. Johnson defines an Interlude as “ something " played at the intervals of festivity ; a farce”but our early dramatic writers seem to have applied the word to any piece which might be played between a certain number of persons—thus God's Promises, which is a sacred Drama, is called a Tragedye or Enterlude - in Mad World my Masters certain players desire leave to interlude.
Stroller's Pacquet Opened—a small vol. under this title was published in 1742-it consists of 7 Drolls or Farces—the 4th of them is called the Feigned Shipwreck, or the Imaginary Heir-it is taken from