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a tragicomedy; which was announced some time before as a drama of the same kind with The ,
The choice of the play was THE SPANISH FRIAR, the only play forbid by the late K[ing]. Some unhappy expressions, among which those that follow, put her in some disorder, and forced her to hold up her fan, and often look behind her, and call for her palatine and hood, and any thing she could next think of; while those who were in the pit before her turned their heads over their shoulders, and all in general directed their looks towards her, whenever their fancy led them to make any application of what was said. “In one place, where the Queen of Arragon is going to church in procession, 'tis said by a spectator, · Very good; she usurps the throne, keeps the old King in prison, and at the same time is praying for a blessing on her army ;'-And when said, “That 'tis observed at Court, who weeps, and who wears black for good King Sancho's death,' 'tis said, “Who is that, that can flatter a Court like this ? Can I sooth tyranny ? seem pleas'd to see my Royal Master murthered; his crown usurped ; a distaff in the throne ?'-And · What title has this Queen, but lawless force; and force must pull her down.'--Twenty more things are said, which may be wrested to what they were never designed: but however, the observations then made furnished the town with talk, till something else happened, which gave it much occasion for discourse ; for another play being ordered to be acted, the Queen came not, being taken up with other diversion. She dined with Mrs. Gradens, the famous woman in the Hall, that sells fine laces and head-dresses ; from thence she went to the Jew's, that sells Indian things; to Mrs. Ferguson's, De Vett's, Mrs. Harrison's, and other Indian houses ; but not to Mrs. Potter's, though in her way; which caused Mrs. Potter to say, that she might
Spanish FRIAR ;* but did not meet with the success of that piece, for according to the testimony
as well have hoped for that honour as others, considering that the whole design of bringing the Queen and King was managed at her house, and the consultations held there; so that she might as well have thrown away a little money in raffling there, as well as at the other houses : but it seems that my Lord Devonshire has got Mrs. Potter to be laundress: she has not much countenance of the Queen, her daughter still keeping the Indian house her mother had. The same day the Queen went to one Mrs. Wise's, a famous woman for telling fortunes, but could not prevail with her to tell any thing; though to others she has been very true, and has foretold that King James shall come in again, and the Duke of Norfolk shall lose his head : the last, I suppose, will naturally be the consequence of the first. These things, however in. nocent, have passed the censure of the town: and, besides a private reprimand given, the King gave one in publick ; saying to the Queen, that he heard she dined at a bawdy-house, and desired the next time she went, he might go. She said, she had done nothing but what the late Queen had done. He asked her, if she meant to make her, her example. More was said on this occasion than ever was known before ; but it was borne with all the submission of a good wife, who leaves all to the di. rection of the K-, and diverts herself with walking six or seven miles a day, and looking after her buildings, making of fringes, and such like innocent things; and does not meddle in government, though she has better title to do it than the late Queen had.”
Though the latter part of this letter does not imme. diately relate to the subject before us, it contains so curious a picture of the manners of the time, that I have of a contemporary, “ it was damned by the universal cry of the town.3"
been tempted to transcribe it.-To understand that passage, where it is said, that those who were in the pit before the Queen, turned their heads over their shoulders, to observe her countenance, it should be kept in mind, that in the last age, and during the earlier part of the present century, the Royal Family, when they honoured the theatre with their presence, sac in the centre front-box; which long retained the name of the King's box. In foreign coun. tries that has always been the place appropriated to the Sovereign ; and in such a situation certainly the royal visitants are best seen by the audience, and may them. selves most commodiously see the representations of the stage.
2 GENT. JOURN. for 1693, p. 374.
3 In a Letter from a Gentleman in London to a friend in the country, March 22, 1693-4, (which is printed at length in THE PLAYS AND POEMs of SHAKSPEARE, 8vo. 1790, vol. i. part ii. p. 141,) the writer, who appears to have had so little perception of our author's excellence, that he can afford him no other epithets than “ huffing Dryden,” and “ the conceited poet,” thus contemptuously speaks of this piece ::
- The 2d play [produced in the season of 1693] is Mr. Dryden's, called Love TRIUMPHANT, OR NATURE WILL PREVAIL. It is a tragi-comedy, but in my opinion, one of the worst he ever writt, if not the very worst : the comical part descends beneath the style and shew of a Bartholomew-fair Droll. It was damned by the universal cry of the town, nemine contradicente, but the conceited poet. He says in his Preface, that this is the last the town must expect from him: he had done himself a kindness, had he taken his leave before."
In a former page it has been mentioned, that Dryden himself prefixed to King ARTHUR a list of his
Si The King's U 1. The Wild GALLANT. C. .....
Aug. 7, 1667. 1669.
Servants. 2. The Rival Ladies. T. C. ....
... June 27, 1664. 3. THE INDIAN EMPEROR. T. ...
• K. S... May 26, 1665. 1667. 4. Secret Love, OR THE MAIDEN QUEEN. C.
K. S...... Aug. 7, 1667. 1668.
The Duke of 5. SIR MARTIN MARALL. C. ........
York's Servants. June 24, 1668. 6. THE TEMPEST. C. .........
D. S.....: Jan. 8, 1669-70. | 1670. 7. AN EVENING's Love, OR The Mock ASTROLOGER,
K. S...... Nov. 20, 1668.
1671. C. ................... ....
PLA Y S.
Entered at Stationers'
. . .
11. MARRIAGE A-LA-Mode. C. ...
Mar. 18, 1672-3. 1673.
:: 1683. U. C. ..