1691 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Rev. Henry Killigrew

Gerard Langbaine, in Account of the English Dramatick Poets (1691) 309-11.



An Author who liv'd in the Reign of King Charles the First, and writ a Play, call'd Conspiracy, a Tragedy printed 4to. Lond. 1638. This Play was design'd for an Entertainment of the King and Queen at York-House, at the Nuptials of the Lady Mary Villiers, and the Lord Charles Herbert. 'Twas afterwards acted on the Black-Fryars Sate, and found the approbation of the most Excellent Persons of this kind of Writing which were in that time, if there were ever better in any time; Ben Johnson, being then alive, who gave a Testimony of this Piece even to be envy'd. Some Cavillers at its first Representation at Blackfryars, exclaim'd against the Indecorum that appear'd in the part of Cleander, who being represented as a Person of seventeen years old, is made to speak words, that would better sute with the Age of Thirty; saying, It was monstrous and impossible: but the Author was sufficiently vindicated by the Lord Viscount Faulkland, who made the following Repartee, to One of these Hypercriticks; "Sir, 'tis not altogether so monstrous, and impossible, for One of Seventeen Years to speak at such a rate; when He that made him speak in that manner, and write the whole Play, was Himself no Older." This Impression was printed without the Authors consent, from a false and imperfect Transcript, the Original Copy being (with the Author) in Italy; so that it might rather be call'd the First Design, or Foul Draught, than a True Copy. This occasioned a New Edition, and the Publisher impos'd on it a New Title, that it might shew as little Affinity as possible, to (what he calls) its Anti-type; stiling it,

Pallantus and Eudora, a Tragedy, printed fol. Lond. 1653. To this Edition, I recommend the Reader, remembering that of Martial.

Multum crede mihi, refert, a fonte bibatur
Quae fluit, an pigro quae stupet unda lacu.