1719 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Richard Flecknoe

Giles Jacob, in Poetical Register: or the Lives and Characters of the English Dramatick Poets (1719) 101-02.



This Author liv'd in the Reigns of King Charles I. and II. and 'tis said that he was originally a Jesuit: he publish'd several Pieces both in Prose and Verse, particularly the latter; but as Mr. Langbain observes, and had a greater Propensity to Rhiming, than Genius to Poetry; and his Name is perpetuated more by Mr. Dryden's Satire, call'd Mack Flecknoe, than his own Writings. He writ several Plays, tho' he could never get but one of them acted; and that met with a very ill Fate. His Dramatick Pieces are,

I. Love's Dominion; a Dramatick Pastoral, printed 1654. Dedicated to Lady Elizabeth Claypole. This Piece was written as a Pattern for the reform'd Stage, and contains a great deal of Morality.

II. Love's Kingdom; a Pastoral Tragi-Comedy, 1664. Dedicated to the Marquis of Newcastle. This is little more than the former play alter'd, with a new Title; and it was acted at the Theatre in Lincolin's-Inn-Fields; but it had the misfortune to miscarry in the Representation.

III. ERMINIA, or The Chast Lady; a Tragi-Comedy, 1667. Dedicated to the Fiar and Virtuous Lady Southcot.

IV. Damoiselles A-la-mode; a Comedy, 1667. Dedicated to the Duke and Dutchess of Newcastle. This Play, the Author owns, is taken out of several excellent Pieces of Moliere. The main Plot from his Les precieuses Ridicules; the Counterplot of Sganarelle from his L'Escole des Maris.

V. The Marriage of OCEANUS and BRITANNIA; a Masque.

In ERMINIA, and Damoiselles A-la-mode, the Author has put the Actors Names, he design'd for the Performance, over-against the Dramatis Personae, tho' they were never acted; for which he gives this reason, that the Reader might have half the Pleasure of seeing them acted, by a lively Imagination, which would supply the defect of Action: And this was politick enough, since it was his Business to get them to be read.