To her Grace the Duchess of Cleveland.∘
All authors whatever in their dedications are poets. But I am now
to write to a lady who stands as little in need of flattery as her beauty
of art--otherwise I should prove as ill a poet to her in my dedication,
you more admirers than you have already; yet I can do myself the
honour to let the world know I am the greatest you have. You will
pardon me, madam, for you know 'tis very hard for a new author (and
poet too) to govern his ambition. For poets, let them pass in the world
|as to my reader in my play. I can do your Grace no honour, nor make ||5|
which concludes in themselves,∘ and are like rooks, who lend people
money but to win it back again, and so leave them in debt to 'em for
nothing. They offer laurel and incense to their heroes, but wear it
themselves, and perfume themselves. This is true, madam, upon the
|never so much for modest, honest men, but begin praise to others ||10|
I cannot lie like them, I am as vain as they, and cannot but publicly
give your Grace my humble acknowledgements for the favours I have
received from you. This, I say, is the poet's gratitude, which in plain
English is only pride and ambition, and that the world might know
|honest word of an author who never yet writ dedication. Yet though ||15|
perhaps my enviers of your favour will suggest 'twas in Lent,∘ and
therefore for your mortification. Then, as a jealous author, I am
concerned not to have your Grace's favours lessened, or rather my
reputation, and to let them know you were pleased, after that, to
|your Grace did me the honour to see my play twice together∘--yet ||20|
wit, to win a poor poet's heart. 'Tis a sign your Grace understands
nothing better than obliging all the world after the best and most
proper manner. But, madam, to be obliging to that excess as you are
(pardon me, if I tell you out of my extreme concern, and service for
|command a copy from me of this play--the way, without beauty and ||25|
you. For civility makes poets as troublesome as charity makes beggars,
and your Grace will be hereafter as much pestered with such scurvy
offerings as this--poems, panegyrics, and the like--as you are now
with petitions.∘ And, madam, take it from me, no man with papers
|your Grace) is a dangerous quality, and may be very incommode to ||30|
|in's hand is more dreadful than a poet--no, not a lawyer with his ||35|
Questia, a part of Gale, Cengage Learning. www.questia.com
Book title: Love in a Wood; The Gentleman Dancing-Master; The Country Wife; The Plain Dealer.
Contributors: William Wycherley - Author, Peter Dixon - Editor.
Publisher: Oxford University.
Place of publication: Oxford.
Publication year: 1996.
Page number: 2.
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