Andrew Marvell, the Critical Heritage

By Elizabeth Story Donno | Go to book overview

1.

Richard Leigh on the Rehearsal Transpros’d

1673

Richard Leigh (1649-1728?) is identified as a sometime commoner of Queen’s at Oxford and afterwards a player at one of the theatres in London. His lively counter-attack, very much in the manner of his opponent, is entitled The Transproser Rehears’d: or the Fifth Act of Mr. Bayes’s Play. It was published anonymously at Oxford, 1673.

Extracts from pp. 2-10, 29-33, 40-3, 55, 132-4.

I say, this great Author (of Playbills) having in conformity to his promising Title Transp[r]osed the Rehearsal, or at least all of Mr. Bayes his Play extant, four Acts. I thought it was great pitty so facetious and Comical a work should remain incompleat, and therefore I have continued it on, and added the Fifth, the Argument of which, and its dependance on the other Four, I shall give you an account of after a preliminary examination of the Characters and Plot in our Authors Transp[r]os’d Rehearsal.

But before I proceed to either of these, it will not be unnecessary to consider on what bottom he has erected his Animadversions, and this I find to be no other then the Preface to Bishop Bramhalls Vindication, which is as much as to say, here is a House wrought out of a Portal. ’Tis pretty I confess, and exceeds the power of common Architects. But what follows is more strange, that 100. pages (the Preface is no more by his computation) should be foundation sufficient enough to support his mighty Paper-building of 326.

Now ’tis very probable, that which gave the principal hint to our Authors Rehearsal Transpros’d, was the near accord he observes betwixt the Preface [of Parker] and Mr. Bayes his Prologue, P. 14. [I, p. 9] and here, I cannot but applaud his admirable dexterity that could extract four Acts of a Farce, from a single Pro-

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