1699 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

John Dennis

Charles Gildon, in Lives and Characters of the English Dramatick Poets (1699) 38.



This Gentleman, now Living, has made himself a Name by several Books, both in Prose and Verse, which he has Published, but for none more than his Critical Observations on the so much celebrated Prince Arthur, writ by Sir Richard Blackmore, in which he has shewed himself a perfect Critick, and Master of a great deal of Penetration and Judgment; his Remarks being beyond Controversy just, and the Faults he finds undeniably such. I am not able to give any Account of his Parents. He was Born in London, his Education was at Gonville and Caius College in Cambridge, which he improv'd afterwards by Travel and the best Conversation; but the occasion of his being mentioned here, is a Dramatick piece he has lately Publish'd, called,

A Plot and no Plot, a Comedy, 4to. Acted at the Theatre Royal, 1697, and Dedicated to the Right Honourable Robert, Earl of Sunderland, Lord Chamberlain of his Majesty's Houshold. The Plot of this Play is our Author's own, tho' I confess, an Incident or two are not so new as the rest of the Play may justly be said to be; for old Bulls being perswaded, that he is in Newgate, when he's in his own House, is not unlike an incident in the City-Politicks, and young Bulls being married by Baldernoe has been in the Old Batchelor, The City Match, &c. This Play is exactly regular, and discovers it self writ by a Master of the Art of the Stage, as well as by a Man of Wit; the justness, fineness, and delicacy of the Reflections, the pleasantness of the Humours, and the Novelty and Distinction of the Characters, the admirable Conduct and Design of the whole, with the useful Moral of the Play, places it in the Rank of the best Comedies of this latter Age of Poetry; and tho' he himself term it low Comedy, gives us a Desire, as well as Hopes, of some more Noble Performance.