British Dramatists from Dryden to Sheridan

By George Henry Nettleton; Arthur Eillicot Case | Go to book overview
Save to active project

PROLOGUE

We might well call this short mock-play of ours
A posy made of weeds instead of flowers;
Yet such have been presented to your noses,
And there are such, I fear, who thought 'em roses.

Would some of 'em were here, to see, this night, 5
What stuff it is in which they took delight. Here, brisk, insipid rogues, for wit, let fall
Sometimes dull sense; but oft'ner, none at all:
There, strutting heroes, with a grim-faced train,
Shall brave the gods, in King Cambyses' vein.110
For (changing rules, of late, as if men writ
In spite of reason, nature, art, and wit)
Our poets make us laugh at tragedy,
And with their comedies they make us cry.
Now, critics, do your worst, that here are met; 15
For, like a rook, I have hedged in my bet.2
If you approve, I shall assume the state
Of those high-flyers whom I imitate:
And justly too, for I will show you more
Than ever they would let you know before: 20
I will not only show the feats they do, But give you all their reasons for 'em too.

Some honor may to me from hence arise;
But if, by my endeavors, you grow wise,
And what you once so praised shall now despise,
25

Then I'll cry out, swelled with poetic rage,
'Tis I, John Lacy,3 have reformed your stage.

____________________
7] Q1 blades for rogues.
21] Q1 I will both represent the feats they do.
23] Q1 Some honor to me will from this arise.
1
Ranting tragedy fashion (an echo of Falstaff's phrase. I Henry IV, II iv.). Successive editions of Elkanah Settle's popular heroic drama, Cambyses, King of Persia (acted in 1667), had appeared in 1671 and in 1672, and it was again reprinted in 1675.
2
Like a sharper, I have played safe by wagering both ways (i.e., he stands to win either way, whether the critics take his imitation of high-flown heroic drama seriously or not).
3
Lacy created the part of Bayes.

-41-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
British Dramatists from Dryden to Sheridan
Table of contents

Table of contents

Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen
/ 960

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?