and decorum of the French theatre. If, however, Aureng-Zebe marks the turn of the tide of heroic drama from bombast towards simplicity and sobriety, it is accompanied with clear evidences of Dryden's increasing regard for the freer practices of the earlier English stage. His dedication of his play supports the confession of his prologue that he 'grows weary of his long-loved mistress, Rhyme.' In the epilogue to the Second Part of The Conquest of Granada he had boasted the supremacy of his own age over that of the Elizabethan dramatists. Now,
'spite of all his pride, a secret shame
Invades his breast at Shakespeare's sacred name:
Awed when he hears his god-like Romans rage,
He, in a just despair, would quit the stage;
And to an age less polished, more unskilled,
Does, with disdain, the foremost honors yield.'
Though Dryden was too confirmed a dramatist to 'quit the stage,' the main portents of his prophecy were largely fulfilled. In All for Love ( 1677) he turned from the heroic couplet and happy ending of heroic drama to 'a tragedy written in imitation of Shakespeare's style,' alike in the adoption of blank verse and in the choice of Antony and Cleopatra as his tragic theme. With the final defection of its leader, the cause of rhymed heroic drama was virtually lost.
G. H. N.
1903. Chase, Lewis N. The English Heroic Play. New York.
1910. Noyes, George R. Selected Dramas of John Dryden with The Rehearsal. Chicago and New York. [Introduction.]
1914. Nettleton, George H. English Drama of the Restoration and Eighteenth Century. New York and London. [Chapters II, III, IV, with Bibliographical Notes.]
1923. Nicoll, Allardyce. A History of Restoration Drama, 1660-1700. Cambridge [England]. [Chapter Two, section III.] (Second edition revised, 1928.)
1929. Dobrée, Bonamy. Restoration Tragedy, 1660-1720. Oxford.
1931. Deane, Cecil V. Dramatic Theory and the Rhymed Heroic Play.