1719 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Thomas D'Urfey

Giles Jacob, in Poetical Register: or the Lives and Characters of the English Dramatick Poets (1719) 88-93.



This Gentleman was born in the County of Devon, and was first bred to the Law. He has writ near Thirty Plays with various Success; but he has this Satisfaction, that the greatest Part of them met with Approbation. His Excellency is Farce, which shews itself in most of his Dramatick Works; and he must certainly be allow'd a greater Master in the Composure of Songs, than at Theatrical Writings. He he shewn himself a notable Plagiary in a great many of his Performances; and the Plays he has publish'd are as follow.

I. The Siege of Memphis, or The Ambitious Queen; a Tragedy, acted at the Theatre Royal, 1676. This Play met not with the Success expected.

II. Madam FICKLE, or The Witty False One; a Comedy, acted at the Duke of York's Theatre, 1677. Dedicated to his Grace the Duke of Ormond. This Play is compil'd from several other Comedies; Old Love, from Veterano in Marmion's Antiquary; Zechiel's creeping into the Tavern-Bush, and Tilbury's being drunk under it, &c. from Sir Reverence Lamard, and Pimpwell, in Islington and Hogsden Walks. See also a Play writ by Mr. Marston; call'd, The Fawn.

III. Trick for Trick, or The Debauch'd Hypocrite; a Comedy, acted at the Theatre Royal, 1678. This is only one of Fletcher's Plays, call'd, Monsieur Thomas, reviv'd.

IV. The Fool turn'd Critick; a Comedy, acted at the Theatre Royal, 1678. Several of the Characters of this Play are borrow'd; as Old Wine-Love, Trim and Small Wit, seem to be taken from Simo, Asotus, and Balio, in Randolph's Jealous Lovers.

V. The Fond Husband, or The Plotting Sisters; a Comedy, acted at the Duke of York's Theatre, 1678. This is esteem'd one of the best of Mr. Durfey's Plays, and was acted with Applause.

VI. Squire OLD SAP, or The Night Adventurers; a Comedy, acted at the Duke's Theatre, 1679. Several Incidents in this Play, are borrow'd from Francion's Comic. Hist. Boccace's Novels, Les Contes de M. de la Fontaine.

VII. The Virtuous Wife, or Good Luck at last; a Comedy, acted at the Duke's Theatre, 1680. Several Hints are taken from The Fawn, Marriage A-la-mode, &c.

VIII. Sir BARNABY WHIG, or No Wit like a Woman's; a Comedy, acted at the Theatre Royal, 1681. Dedicated to the Right Honourable George Earl of Berkeley. The Plot of this Play is taken from a Play of Marmion's; call'd, The Fine Companion; and part from The Double Cuckold, a Novel, written by Monsieur St. Bremond.

IX. The Royalist; a Comedy, acted at the Duke of York's Theatre, 1682. This Play met with good Success; but it was collected chiefly from Novels. Camilla's Trick of imposing Sir Oliver Old-Cut, from Sir Charles King-love, is borrow'd from Boccace's Novels, Day 7, Nov. 9. And the Song of Hey Boys up go we, stolen from an Eclogue in The Shepherd's Oracle.

X. The Injur'd Princess, or The Fatal Wager; a Tragi-Comedy, acted at the Theatre Royal, 1682 The Foundation of this Play is entirely taken from Shakespear's Cymbeline.

XI. A Common-wealth of Women; a Tragi-Comedy, acted at the Theatre-Royal, 1686. Dedicated to the Duke of Albemarle. This Play is borrow'd from Fletcher's Sea Voyage; and is very ill written.

XII. The Banditti, or A Lady's Distress; a Comedy acted at the Theatre Royal, 1686. This Play being oppos'd in the acting, by Persons with Cat-Calls; the Author Dedicated it to a certain Knight under the Title of, The extreme Witty and Judicious Gentleman, Sir Critick-Cat-Call. Plot from Don Fenise, & Hist. Don Antonio, Diego's turning Banditti, &c. borrow'd from Pipperollo in Shirley's Sisters.

XIII. A Fool's Preferment, or The Three Dukes of Dunstable; acted at the Queen's Theatre in Dorset Garden, 1688. Dedicated to Charles Lord Morpeth, in a familiar way, as if the Author were a Man of Quality. There are several Songs in this Play set by the ingenious Mr. Henry Purcel. The whole Play is little more than a Transcript of Fletcher's Noble Gentleman, except one Scene, which is taken from a Novel; call'd, The Humours of Basset.

XIV. Bussy D'AMBOIS, or The Husband's Revenge; a Tragedy, acted at the Theatre Royal, 1691. Dedicated to Edward Earl of Carlisle. This is a Play of Mr. Chapman's revis'd; and the Character of Tamyra, Mr. Durfey tells us, he has alter'd for the better. For the Story see Thuanus Jean de Serres & Mezeray, in the Reign of Henry III. of France; and the particular Intrigue of Bussy with Tamyra in Rosset, in his Histoires Tragiques de Nostre Temps.

XV. Love for Money, or The Boarding School; a Comedy, acted at the Theatre Royal, 1691. Dedicated to the Right Honourable Charles Lord Viscount Lansdown, Count of the Sacred Roman Empire, &c. This Play met with Opposition in the first Day's Representation; but notwithstanding, it had tolerable Success. The Plot, in general, is allow'd to be his own.

XVI. The Richmond Heiress, or A Woman once in the Right; a Comedy, acted at the Theatre Royal, 1693. This Play had not the Success the Author expected; but being reviv'd with Alterations, it was well receiv'd.

XVII. The Marriage-Hour Match'd; a Comedy, acted at the Theatre Royal, 1693. Dedicated to James Duke, Marquis and Earl of Ormond, &c. In a flattering Epistle, the Author tells us this is much the best of his Comedies. Mr. Dogget was first taken notice of as an excellent Actor, from the admirable Performance of his Part in this Play.

XVIII. The Comical History of Don QUIXOT, Part I. acted at the Queen's Theatre in Dorset Garden, 1694. Dedicated to the Dutchess of Ormond. This Play was acted with very great Applause. It is wholly taken from the Spanish Romance of that Name.

XIX. The Comical History of Don QUIXOT, Part II. acted at the Queen's Theatre, 1694. Dedicated, by an Epistle in Heroick Verse, to the Earl of Dorset and Middlesex. This Play was likewise acted with Applause.

XX. Don QUIXOT, Part III. With the Marriage of Mary the Buxom, 1696. Dedicated to Charles Montague, Esq; one of the Lords Commissioners of the Treasury. This Play wanted Success; but the Author would not allow its Defects to be so notorious as they were represented. These two last Plays are also borrowed from the incomparable Cervantes.

XXI. The Intrigues of Versailles; or A Jilt in all Humours; a Comedy, acted at the Theatre in Lincolns-Inn-Fields, 1697. This Play likewise had not the Success the Author had desir'd; for in his Epistle to the two Sir Charles Sidleys, he condemns the Taste of the Town for not liking it, when they had approv'd of his Plays of less Merit. The Thefts in this Play are numerous: Tornezres Disguise, and Count Brisack's faling in Love with his Wife's Gallant in Woman's Cloaths, are borrow'd from a Novel, entitled The Double Cuckold; Vandosms Character seems to be a Copy of Olivia in the Plain-Dealer, and Mirtillo, in Mrs. Behn's Play, call'd, The Amorous Jilt.

XXII. CYNTHIA and ENDIMION, or The Loves of the Deities; a Dramatick Opera, acted at the Theatre Royal, 1697. Dedicated to the Right Honourable Henry Earl of Rumney. This Play was acted with Applause; and the Author, in his Title Page, lets his Patron know, that the late Queen Mary design'd to Honour this Offspring of his Muse. There are many Lines in the Play above the Genius which generally appears in the other Works of this Author; but he has perverted the Characters of Ovid, in making Daphne, the Chaste Favourite of Diana, a Whore and a Jilt; and fair Syrinx to lose her Reptuation, in the unknown ignominy of an envious, mercenary, infamous Woman. For the Story, see Ovid's Metamorphoses, and Psyche, in the 4th, 5th, and 6th Books of Lucius Apuleius's Golden Ass.

XXIII. The Campaigners, or Pleasures at Brussels; with a familiar Preface upon a late Reformer of the Stage; ending with a Satyrical Fable of the Dog and the Otter, 1698. This Play is Dedicated to the Right Honourable Thomas Lord Wharton; and part of it is borrow'd from a Novel; call'd, Female Falshood.

XXIV. MASSIANELLO, or, A Fisherman a Prince, in Two Parts; acted at the Theatre in Lincolns-Inn-Fields, 1700. Dedicated to Thomas Lord Leigh.

XXV. The Modern Prophets, or, No Wit for a Husband; a Comedy.

XXVI. The Old Mode and the New, or Country Miss with her Furbeloe, a Comedy.

XXVII. Wonder in the Sun, or, The Kingdom of Birds; a Comic Opera, perform'd at the Queen's Theatre in the Hay-market.