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[Reads.] The Argument of the Fifth Act.-Cloris, at length, being sensible of Prince Prettyman's passion, consents to marry him ; but, just as they are going to Church, Prince Prettyman meeting, by chance, with old Joan the Chandler's widow, and remembering it was she that brought him acquainted with Cloris, out of a high point of honour, breaks off his match with Cloris, and marries old Joan. Upon which, Cloris, in despair, drowns herself: and Prince Prettyman, discontentedly, walks by the river side.
1 Player.-Pox on't, this will never do: tis just like the rest. Come, let's be gone.
[Exeunt. Enter BAYES. Bayes.--A plague on 'em both for me, they have made me sweat to run after 'em. A couple of senseless rascals, that had rather go to dinner * than see this play out, with a pox to 'em. What comfort has a man to write for such dull rogues? Come, Mr. -- Where are you, Sir? come away quick, quick.
Enter PLAYERS again. Players.-Sir, they are gone to dinner, Bayes.-Yes, I know the Gentlemen are gone; but I ask for the Players.
Players.--Why an't please your worship, Sir, the Players are gone to dinner too.
Bayes.-How? are the Players gone to Dinner ? 'Tis impossible: the Players gone to dinner! I'gad, if they are, I'll make 'em know what it is to injure a person that does 'em tho honour to write for 'em, and all that. A company of proud, conceited, humorous, cross-grained persons, and all that. I'gad, I'll make 'em the most contemptible, despicable, inconsiderable persons, and all that, in the whole world for this trick. I'gad, I'll be rovenged on 'em, I'll sell this play to the other House.
Player.-Nay, good Sir, don't take away the Book; you'll disappoint the Town, that comes to see it acted here, this afternoon.
Bayes.—That's all one. I'must reserve this comfort to myself, my Book and I will go together, we will not part, indeed, Sir. The Town! why, what care l for the Town ? l’gad, the Town has used me as scurvily as the Players have done: but I'll be revenged on them too: I will both Lampoon and print 'em too, I'gad. Since they will not admit of my Plays, they shall know what a satirist I am. And so farewell to this stage for ever, I'gad. [Exit.
1 Player.-What shall we do now?
2 Player.--Come then, let's set up Bills for another Play : We shall lose nothing by this, I warrant you.
1 Player.--I am of your opinion. But, before we go, let's see Haynes and Shirley practice the last Dance ; for that may serve for another Play. 2 Player.-I'll call 'em : I think they are in the tyring-room.
The Dance done. 1 Player.-Come, come; let's go away to dinner. (Exeunt OMNES."
* The fashionable time of dining, when this play was written, was twelve o'clock. “The Rehearsal” is, therefore, supposed to take place in the morning.
“ The Rehearsal” is Buckingham's chief literary work ; but he was also the author of a farce entitled “The Battle of Sedgmoore," which possesses no claim on the attention of posterity, and he adapted from Beaumont and Fletcher the comedy of “The Chances.” His unquestionable talent is seen to some advantage in the religious tracts which he wrote in his maturer years. In these he argues with considerable vigour for entire freedom of conscience as the surest safeguard for the principles of the Reformation ; and seeks to demonstrate the truth of the Christian religion by ingenious logical conclusions.*
Buckingham's political career is a part of the history of his time, and cannot, therefore, be examined in these pages. He carried into it his characteristic levity; but had he combined with his brilliant parts a steady resolution and a calm judgment, with reticence of speech and tenacity of purpose, he might surely have taken a foremost place aniong English statesmen. Unfortunately he touched nothing which his wayward temper did not mar, and he took up politics not as a serious business, but as a gamester's speculation, not with any regard for the interests of his country, but either as a means of increasing his personal influence or gratifying his spirit of adventure. In 1666 we find him intriguing against Clarendon, and playing with projects which verged close upon the borders of treason. Though detected, and deprived of all his commissions, in the following year he again basked in the sunshine of the royal favour. After discharging with some success an embassy to the French Court, he was gratified by the downfall of Clarendon, and took the lead in the council of Ministers to which was applied the famous epithet of “ The Cabal ” from the
“ Discourse upon Reasonableness of Men's having a Religion.” VOL. II.
initials of its principal members, Clifford, Arlington, Buckingham, Ashley, Lauderdale. In 1672 he was again sent on an embassy to Louis XIV., who was then at Utrecht. Landing at the Hague, he had an interview with the Princess of Orange. Eulogizing with his usual fuent eloquence the admirable qualities of the Dutch, he referred to the deep interest which England felt in the prosperity of the Commonwealth. “We do not use Holland like a mistress,” he said, “we love her as a wife.” “Aye, in truth,” replied the Princess, “I believe you love us as you love your own."
On the death of Charles II., Buckingham retired from Court and from public life, and spent the brief remainder of his wasted years on his Yorkshire estate. He died on the 16th of April, 1688, after a three days' illness. Having over-heated himself while hunting, he sat down on the wet grass, and the result was a violent inflammation which his enfeebled constitution was unable to withstand. His last breath was not drawn, as Pope represents, “in the worst inn's worst room,” but in the house of one of his own tenants at Kirby-Moorside; and the Earl of Arran, Lord Fairfax, and others, stood by his death-bed. He professed himself at the last a member of the Church of England, and received the Sacrament, according to the Anglican rite, “with all the decency imaginable.” His body, having been embalmed, was removed to Westminster Abbey. The principal authority for the private life of the Duke is Brian Fairfax. In almost all the histories and correspondence of his time, he necessarily figures; and his character has been drawn by Bishop Burnet, Warburton, Butler, Walpole, Macaulay, Scott, Count Hamilton, Dryden, and Pope. A brief but interesting memoir occurs in Mr. J. Heneage Jesse's “ England under the Stuarts."
THE PROSE WRITERS.
BISHOP JEREMY TAYLOR. BISHOP WILKINS.
ARCHBISHOP LEIGHTON. ABRAHAM COWLEY.
BISHOP KEN. IZAAK WALTON.
RICHARD BAXTER, John DRYDEN.
GEORGE Fox. SIR WILLIAM TEMPLE. WILLIAM Penn. THOMAS RYMER.
SIR ROGER L'ESTRANGE. DR. HENRY MORE. ROBERT BOYLE. VALENTINE GREATRAKES. John RAY. DR. TAEOPHILUS GALE. THOMAS SYDENHAM. JAMES HARRINGTON. SIR ISAAC NEWTON. SIR ROBERT FILMER. SIR THOMAS BROWNE. BISHOP CUMBERLAND.