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You, like the stars, not by reflection bright,
Are born to your own heaven, and your own light;
Like them are good, but from a nobler cause,
From your own knowledge, not from nature's laws.
Your power you never use, but for defence,
To guard your own, or others' innocence:
Your foes are such, as they, not you, have made,
And virtue may repel, though not invade.
did the ancient heroes show,
Who, when they might prevent, would wait the blow
With such assurance, as they meant to say,
We will o'ercome, but scorn the safest way.
What further fear of danger can there be?
Beauty, which captives all things, sets me free.
Posterity will judge by my success,

Such courage

I had the Grecian poet's happiness,

Who, waving plots, found out a better way;
Some God descended, and preserved the play.
When first the triumphs of your sex were sung
By those old poets, beauty was but young,
And few admired the native red and white,
Till poets dress'd them up to charm the sight;
So beauty took on trust, and did engage
For sums of praises till she came to age.
But this long-growing debt to poetry,
You justly, madam, have discharged to me,
When your applause and favour did infuse
New life to my condemn'd and dying muse.







"THE Rival Queens, or Alexander the Great," of Nathaniel Lee, has been always deemed the most capital performance of its unfortunate author. There is nothing throughout the play that is tame or indifferent; all is either exquisitely good, or extravagantly bombastic, though some passages hover between the sublime and the ludicrous. Addison has justly remarked, that Lee's thoughts are wonderfully suited for tragedy, but frequently lost in such a crowd of words, that it is hard to see the beauty of them. There is infinite fire in his works, but so involved in smoke, that it does not appear in half its lustre."

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Lee and our author lived on terms of strict friendship, and wrote, in conjunction, "Edipus," and the "Duke of Guise." Lee's madness and confinement in Bedlam are well known; as also his repartee to a coxcomb, who told him it was easy to write like a madman:-"No," answered the poet, "it is not easy to write like a madman, but it is very easy to write like a fool." Dryden elegantly apologizes, in the following verses, for the extravagance of his style of poetry. Lee's death was very melancholy: Being discharged from Bedlam, and returning by night from a tavern, in a state of intoxication, to his lodgings in Dukestreet, he fell down somewhere in Clare-Market, and was either killed by a carriage driving over him, or stifled in the snow, which was then deep. Thus died this eminent dramatic poet in the year 1691, or 1692, in the 35th year of his age.


THE blast of common censure could I fear,
Before your play my name should not appear;
For 'twill be thought, and with some colour too,
I the bribe I first received from you;

That mutual vouchers for our fame 'we stand,
And play the game into each others hand;
And as cheap pen'orths to ourselves afford,
As Bessus and the brothers of the sword:*
Such libels private men may well endure,
When states and kings themselves are not secure ;
For ill men, conscious of their inward guilt,
Think the best actions on by-ends are built.
And yet my silence had not 'scaped their spite;
Then, envy had not suffer'd me to write;
For, since I could not ignorance pretend,
Such merit I must envy or commend.

* Our author alludes to the copy of verses addressed to him by Lee, on his drama, called the "State of Innocence," and which the reader will find in Vol. V. p. 103. Dryden expresses some apprehension, lest his friend and he should be considered as vouching for each other's genius, in the same manner that Bessus and the two Swordsmen, in "King and no King," grant certificates of each other's courage, after having been all soundly beaten and kicked by Bacurius.

"2 Swordsman. Captain, we must request your hand now to our honours.


Bessus. Yes, marry shall and then let all the world come, we are valiant to ourselves, and there's an end." Act V.


So many candidates there stand for wit,
A place at court is scarce so hard to get:
In vain they crowd each other at the door;
For e'en reversions are all begg'd before:
Desert, how known soe'er, is long delay'd,
And then, too, fools and knaves are better paid.
Yet, as some actions bear so great a name,
That courts themselves are just, for fear of shame;
So has the mighty merit of your play
Extorted praise, and forced itself a way.
'Tis here as 'tis at sea; who farthest goes,
Or dares the most, makes all the rest his foes.
Yet when some virtue much outgrows the rest,
It shoots too fast, and high, to be supprest;
As his heroic worth struck envy dumb,

Who took the Dutchman, and who cut the boom.*
Such praise is yours, while you the passions move,
That 'tis no longer feign'd, 'tis real love,
Where nature triumphs over wretched art;
We only warm the head, but you the heart.
Always you warm; and if the rising year,
As in hot regions, brings the sun too near,
"Tis but to make your fragrant spices blow,
Which in our cooler climates will not grow.
They only think you animate your theme
With too much fire, who are themselves all phlegm.

* The person thus distinguished seems to be the gallant Sir Edward Spragge, noted for his gallantry in the two Dutch wars, and finally killed in the great battle of 11th August, 1672. In -1671, he was sent to the Mediterranean with a squadron, to chastise the Algerines. He found seven vessels belonging to these pirates, lying in the bay of Bugia, covered by the fire of a castle and forts, and defended by a boom, drawn across the entrance of the bay, made of yards, top-masts, and cables, buoyed up by casks. Nevertheless, Sir Edward bore into the bay, silenced the forts, and, having broken the boom with his pinnaces, sent in a fire-ship, which effectually destroyed the Algerine squadron; a blow which was long remembered by these piratical states.

Prizes would be for lags of slowest pace,
Were cripples made the judges of the race.
Despise those drones, who praise, while they accuse,
The too much vigour of your youthful muse.
That humble style, which they your virtue make,
Is in your power; you need but stoop and take.
Your beauteous images must be allow'd
By all, but some vile poets of the crowd.
But how should any sign-post dauber know
The worth of Titian, or of Angelo ?

Hard features every bungler can command;
To draw true beauty, shews a master's hand.

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