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own thoughts from minding the grave business of a world, nor of their humour: whereas, eo 'n slaves, the rubbish of the earth, have by most prodigions fortune gained a sceptre, and with their vile hearls sullied the glories of a crown.

Praise is the greatest encolle ragement we chamelions can prerend 10, or rather the manna that keeps soul and lo-ly together; we devour it as if it was angels' food, and vainly think we grow immortal For my own part, i acknw'ego i never recei ved a better satisfaction from the applause of an audience than I have from your sin le judgment. Yои gaze

at beauties and wink ai blen'sh's, and do both so gracefully, that the first discovers the acuteness of your judgment, the other the excellency of your nature. And I can affirm to your lord ship, there is nothing transports a poet, next to love, like commending in the righe place; therefore, my lord, this play must be your's; and Alexander, whom I have raised from the deal, comes to you with the as. surance answerable to his character and your virtue You cannot expect him in his majesty of two thousand years ago; I have only put his ashes in an urn, which are now offered, with all observance, lo your lordship, by

My lord,
Your lordship's most humble,
obliged, and devoted servant,

NAT. Lee.

ALEXANDER THE GREAT;

OR,

THE RIVAL QUEENS.

A great and glorious flight of a bold, but frenzied imagination; having as much absurdity as sublimity, and as much extravagance as passion The Poet, the genius, and the scholar, are every where visible. This Play acts well, and is still frequently performed.

TO

Mr. LEE on his ALEXANDER.

The blast of common censure could I fear, Before your play my name should not appear; For 't will be thought, and with some colour too, 1 pay

the bribe I first receiv'd from you; That mutual vouchers for our fame we stand, To play the game into each other's hand, And as cheap penn'worths to ourselves afford, As Bessus and the brothers of the sword. Such libels private men may well endure, When states and kings themselves are not secure; For ill men, conscious of their inward guilt, Think the best actions on by ends are built : And yet my silence had not 'scap'd their spight, Then envy

had not suffer'd me to write; For since I could not ignorance pretend Such merit I must envy or commend.

many candidates there stand for wit, A place in court is scarce so hard to get ; In vain they crowd each other at the door, For ev'n reversions are all begg'd before; Desert, how known soe'er, is long delay'd, And then too, fools and knaves are better paid : Yet as some actions bear so great a name That courts themselves are just for fear of shame, So has the mighty merit of your play Extorted praise and forc'd itself a way.

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'Tis here as 't is at sea, who farthest goes,
Or dares the most, makes all the rest his foes.
Yet when some virtue much outgrows the rest
It shoots too fast and high to be exprest,
As his heroic worth struck envy dumb
Who took the Dutchman and who cut the boom.
Such praise is your's, while you the passions move,
That 't is no longer feign’d; 'tis real love,
Where nature triumphs over wretched art;
We only warm the head, but

you

the heart: Always you warm; and if the rising year, As in hot regions, brings the sun too near, 'Tis but to make your fragrant spices blow, Which in our cooler climates will not grow ; They only think you animate

your

theme With too much fire who are themselves all phlegm : Prizes would be for lags of slowest pace Were cripples made the judges of the race. Despise those drones who praise while they accuse The too much vigour of your youthful muse: That humble stile which they their virtue make, Is in your power; you need but stoop and take. Your beauteous images must be allow'd By all but some vile poets of the crowd: But how should any sign-post dauber know The worth of Titian or of Angelo? Hard features ev'ry bungler can command; To draw true beauty shows a master's hand.

JOHN DRYDEN.

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PROLOGUE.

WRITTEN BY SIR CAR SCROOP, BART.

How hard the fate is of the scribbling drudge
Who writes to all when yet so few can judge !
Wit, like religion, once divine was thought,
and the dull crowd believ'd as they were taught ;
Now each fanatic fool presumes to explain
The text, and does the sacred writ profane ;
For while your wits each other's fall pursue,
The fops usurp the power belongs to you.
Ye think y' are challeng'd in each new play-bill,
And here you come for trial of your skill,
Where, fencer-like, you one another hurt,
While with your wounds you make the rabble sporto
Others there are that have the brutal will
To murder a poor play, but want the skill;
They love to fight, but seldom have the wit
To spy the place where they may thrust and hit;
And therefore, like some bully of the town,
Ne'er stand to draw, but knock the poet down.
With these, like hogs in gardens, it succeeds,
They root up all, and know not flowers from weeds.
As for you, sparks, that hither come each day
To act your own and not to mind our play,
Rehearse your usual follies to the pit,
And with loud nonsense erown the stage's wit;

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