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share in the welfare of it, and if he be a true Englishman, he must at the same time be fired with indignation, and revenge himself as he can on the disturbers of his country. And to whom could I more fitly apply myself than to your Lordship, who have not only an inborn, but an hereditary loyalty ? The memorable constancy and sufferings of your father, almost to the ruin of his estate, for the royal cause, were an earnest of that which such a parent and such an institution would produce in the person of a son ; but so unhappy an occasion of manifesting your own zeal in suffering for his present Majesty, the providence of God, and the prudence of your administration, will, I hope, prevent : that as your father's fortune waited on the unhappiness of his Sovereign, so your own may participate of the better fate which attends his son. The relation which
you alliance to the noble family of your lady, serves to confirm to you both this happy augury ; for what can deserve a greater place in the English chronicle than the loyalty and courage, the actions and death, of the general of an army fighting for his prince and country?* The honour and gallantry of the Earl of Lindsey is so illustrious a subject,
* Lord Danby married Lady Bridget, second daughter of Montague Bertie, Earl of Lindsey, who was wounded at the battle of Naseby, and who affectionately attended his royal master to the grave. His father, Robert, Earl of Lindsey, was killed at the battle of Edgehill (23d Oct. 1642). Being a very distinguished commander, his death was an irreparable loss to the cause of his Sovereign.
that it is fit to adorn an heroick poem ; for he was the protomartyr of the cause, and the type of his unfortunate royal master.
Yet after all, my Lord, if I may speak my thoughts, you are happy rather to us than to yourself; for the multiplicity, the cares, and the vexations of your employment, have betrayed you
; from yourself
, and given you up into the possession of the publick. You are robbed of
your privacy and friends, and scarce any hour of your life
call your own. Those who envy your fortune, if they wanted not goodnature, might more justly pity it; and when they see you watched by a crowd of suitors, whose importunity it is impossible to avoid, would conclude with reason, that you have lost much more in true content, than you have gained by dignity; and that a private gentleman is better attended by a single servant, than your Lordship with so clamorous a train. Pardon me, my Lord, if I speak like a philosopher on this subject. The fortune which makes a man uneasy, cannot make him happy; and a wise man must think himself uneasy, when few of his actions are in his choice.
This last consideration has brought me to another, and a very seasonable one for which is, that while I pity your want of leisure, I have impertinently detained you so long a time. I have put off my own business, which was my Dedication, till it is so late, that I am now ashamed to begin it; and therefore I will say nothing of
present to you, because I know not if you are like to have an hour which, with a good conscience, you may throw away in perusing it; and, for the author, I have only to beg the continuance of your protection to him, who is,
Most humble, and
most obedient servant,
The death of Antony and Cleopatra is a subject which has been treated by the greatest wits of our nation, after Shakspeare ;' and by all so variously, that their example has given me the confidence to try myself in this bow of Ulysses amongst the crowd of suitors; and withal, to take my own measures in aiming at the mark. I doubt not but the same motive has prevailed with all of
s On this subject Daniel wrote a play, entitled Cleo. PATRA, which was printed in 1594, but never acted. Antonius, or, the Tragedie of Mark Antony, done from the French, by Mary, Countess of Pembroke, (sister of Sir Philip Sydney,) was printed in 4to. in 1595. Both these pieces are written on the model of the ancient drama. May's CLEOPATRA was published in 1639, but does not appear to have been acted. In 1677, the year before our author's ALL FOR LOVE was printed, his friend Sir Charles Sedley produced at the Duke's Theatre a play, written in rhyme, on the same subject, entitled ANTONY AND CLEOPATRA,
us in this attempt, I mean the excellency of the moral; for the chief persons represented were famous patterns of unlawful love, and their end accordingly was unfortunate. All reasonable men have long since concluded, that the hero of the poem ought not to be a character of perfect virtue, for then he could not without injustice be made unhappy; nor yet altogether wicked, because he could not then be pitied: I have therefore steered the middle course, and have drawn the character of Antony as favourably as Plutarch, Appian, and Dion Cassius would give me leave ; the like I have observed in Cleopatra. That which is wanting to work up the pity to a greater height, was not afforded me by the story; for the crimes of love which they both committed were not occasioned by any necessity, or fatal ignorance, but were wholly voluntary; since our passions are, or
r ought to be, within our power. The fabrick of the play is regular enough, as to the inferior parts of it; and the unities of time, place, and action, more exactly observed, than perhaps the English theatre requires. Particularly, the action is so much one, that it is the only of the kind without episode or underplot ; every scene in the tragedy conducing to the main design, and every act concluding with a turn of it. The greatest errour in the contrivance seems to be in the person of Octavia ; for though I might use the privilege of a poet, to introduce her into Alexandria, yet I had not enough considered, that the compassion she