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TO

THOMAS CAMPBELL, ESQ.

This Edition

OF

THE DRAMATIC WORKS

OF

MASSINGER AND FORD

IS INSCRIBED

BY

THE PUBLISHER.

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1

INTRODUCTION.

BY HARTLEY COLERIDGE.

1

THE lives of our dramatists “ of the great race” furnish few materials for drama. They are pro

vokingly barren of incident. They present neither complicated plots, nor striking situations *, nor well-contrasted characters. In their own age, they were overlooked as too familiar-in the next, cast aside as unfashionable. The conjectures of recent curiosity are not more certain than the Syrian

Pantheism of the Irish round towers t, the hieroglyphic dynasties of Egypt, or the earthenware | theology of Etruria.

Many causes may have contributed to efface the footsteps of those great masters from the sands of time. Theatres were burned by accident or design-demolished by authority of mob, parliament, corporation, and 'prentices I, and at last suppressed by a civil conflict, which, realizing the extremities

* I beg pardon. The life of Ben Jonson does present at least one striking situation, which would make a fine picture either on the stage or on canvas. I allude to that juncture, when amid a company of friends assembled to cragratulate bis discharge from prison, his mother produced the packet of poison, which she meant to have given him, had he been sentenced to pillory and mutilation for his reflections on the King's countrymen. But is there any good authority for the story?

The fate of Marlow was a real tragedy ; I am afraid but too certain. George Peele was actually introduced upon the stage under the designation of George Pie-board in the “ Widow of Watling Street." + Those who are curious to ascertain the degree of certainty intended, may consult Mr. O'Brien's “ Round Towers

Ireland," the works of Champollion, Klaproth, &c., and the “ Storia degli antichi Popoli Italiani, di Giuseppe Micall."

A IndicronyBallade in praise of London 'Prentices, and what they did at the Cockpit Play-house in Drury Lane," may be found in the first volume of Mr. Collier's “ Annals of the Stage," p. 402. This outrage took place in 1617, on Surove Tuesday, a day of general licence, barbarity, and riot; when the London apprentices claimed an immemorial privilege of attacking bouses of ill-fame, covering their true English love of mischief with a pretence of moral reform. The following verse may be quoted as illustrative of the text.

"Bookes old and young on heap they flung,

And burn'd them in the blazes,
Tom Decker, Heywood, Middleton,

And other wandering crazies;
Poor Daye that day not 'scaped away ;

And what still more amazes,
Immortal Cracke was burn'd all black,

Which every body praises." * immortal Cracke" never recovered from his scorching; but is dead and forgotten. Mr. Collier doubts whether it be the same of an author or of a play. Assuredly the latter, or perhaps the name of a character. By the way, crack, often used by our old writers for a mischievous urchin, is probably an abridgment of crack-rope. Massinger uses the term at full length.

The Globe on the Bankside was burned 29th June, 1613. The Fortune in Golding Lane on the Sunday night preceding Lexmber 13, 1621. Ben Jonson alludes, in his Execration upon Vulcan, to both these conflagrations. The Globe was fired by the wadding of the chambers (small pieces of ordnance) falling on the thatch. The cause of the Fortunes'

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