Like many another dramatist Dryden sometimes conceived of his plays years before he wrote them, but King Arthur is unique among his works in that he wrote it seven years before he brought it to the stage. "It was Originally," he tells us, "a Play, Of the Nature of the Tempest; which is, a Tragedy mix'd with Opera; or a Drama Written in blank Verse, adorn'd with Scenes, Machines, Songs and Dances: So that the Fable of it is all spoken and acted by the best of the Comedians; the other part of the entertainment to be perform'd by … Singers and Dancers." Such a work, he goes on, "cannot properly be call'd a Play, because the action of it, is suppos'd to be conducted sometimes by supernatural means, or Magick; nor an Opera because the Story of it is not sung."1
When for a reason or reasons unknown to us he could not arrange the performance of what he had written, he made what he refers to as its "Prologue" into Albion and Albanius, which he brought to the stage in 1685.2 Considering that the latter, like King Arthur, climaxes with praise of the Order of the Garter and that Edward III instituted the Order as the Knights of the Round Table redivivus, it seems likely that Dryden had begun with a scene on the latter theme.3 Having thus cut off the head of his Tempest- like drama, Dryden had a good deal of work to do to restore it to viability, and because its hero was an English king he found himself also having to adjust its politics, and that even more radically than he had had to adjust Albion and Albanius. The latter, completed in the reign of Charles II but not produced until after the accession of James II, had to be adjusted to make its hero represent the new king instead of the old. What was to become King Arthur, written in the time of the Stuarts, had to be adjusted to fit the new dynasty of William III and the new power of parliament in the revolutionary settlement of 1688. In the dedication of the final version, written in 1691, Dryden gives the impression that the political shift in the nation required more adjustment to the text than did breathing new life into its headless form. One way or other, the result was almost a new work.4 At some time, also, Dryden decided that, although his original design could not be called either an opera or a play, King Arthur was both. Accordingly, on its title page he called it "A Dramatick Opera," though in the dedication he used the more informal "opera" alone.5
pg 282Although Albion and Albanius may not have been a financial success,6 the acting company seems not to have blamed Dryden or the public for whatever loss they sustained, and when he had completed King Arthur they agreed to perform it. The managers may have been influenced also by the undoubted success of Thomas Betterton's opera The Prophetess in 1690, for which Dryden had written a prologue and Henry Purcell had composed the music, and by the fact that they or Dryden had got Purcell to write the music for King Arthur as well.7
Henry Purcell (1659–1695), sometimes judged to be England's greatest composer, and certainly, like Dryden, the finest practitioner of his art in his time, had been, again, like Dryden, a student at Westminster School under Dr. Richard Busby, but in 1678–1680, years in which Dryden's son Charles began his studies there. Conceivably, then, Dryden's acquaintance with Purcell was a good decade old in 1691. Purcell had begun providing music for songs in plays, both new plays and revivals, in the year he left school. He had composed the music for Nahum Tate's Dido and Aeneas, performed in 1689 by students in the dancing school of Josias Priest, who was to become the choreographer for King Arthur. About 1690, when, as we have said, he had composed the music to The Prophetess, he had also provided new music for Charles Davenant's Circe. He was later to provide music for three more dramatic operas, The Fairy Queen, an anonymous adaptation of A Midsummer Night's Dream, in 1692, and the operatic Indian Queen and a revival of the operatic Tempest, both of uncertain date.8
Publication of King Arthur preceded its performance. The first issue had pg 283no prologue or epilogue, and in the dedication Dryden says that "if it succeed upon the Stage, [it] is like to be the chiefest Entertainment of our Ladies and Gentlemen this Summer."9 Publication was advertised in the London Gazette of 4–9 June 1691.10 The first certain date of performance is 7 January 1692, and there were several other performances at about the same time.11 It is reasonable to suppose that the première came in the summer, as Dryden had foretold. As to whether the production had the financial success he had also foretold and the acting company evidently had expected, the evidence is conflicting. On the one hand, we have the testimony of John Downes that the opera was well staged, well performed, and "very Gainful to the Company." On the other hand, Colley Cibber says that it did not meet expenses.12 So much for our knowledge of such matters.
A second edition was dated 1695, and, after the secession of Thomas Betterton and his followers from the united company in that year, the play was revived by the remnants of the parent group.13 There were three known performances in February and March 1698, one each in January, February, and April 1701, and two in March 1706.14 Concert performances of the songs, beginning in 1704, continued at intervals through 1716. After a lengthy hiatus, Henry Giffard produced an adaptation by William Gifford titled, King Arthur; or, Merlin the British Enchanter, that changed hardly anything in its source, including Purcell's music. It ran almost every night from 17 December 1735 through 28 January 1736 in Henry Giffard's small theater in Goodman's Fields; after Giffard moved to Lincoln's Inn Fields, it had more sporadic performances into December 1736; and upon Giffard's return to Goodman's Fields it had a revival of four nights in February 1741. It was published twice in 1736, first with its proper title and then in a piracy with the title Merlin: or, The British Inchanter and King Arthur the British Worthy. Thomas Gray saw it on 2 January 1736.15 After another hiatus David Garrick altered Dryden's text somewhat more, reversing the first two scenes, adding a song, and so on. Thomas Arne supplied additional music. Garrick's version had its première 13 December 1770 and appeared with some regularity in the seasons of 1770–1773 and 1781–82. It was published in 1770 (two editions) and 1781. A further reworking under the title Arthur and Emmeline, with additional music by Thomas Lindley, was also perpg 284formed with some regularity in the seasons of 1784–1787 and 1788–1791. It was published in 1784, again about 1785, and (in Dublin) in 1789.16
We have not undertaken a search for performances of King Arthur after 1800 or outside London, but the following have come to our notice.17 It was produced in York in 1747, then in Dublin in 1750 (76 performances) and 1763, and published there in the latter year in two editions, one subtitled A Dramatick Opera and one subtitled A Masque. There were revivals of Garrick's version in 1803 (with Arne's additional music) and 1819, and it is presumably to one of these that Scott refers when he says that King Arthur "continues to be occasionally represented, being the only one of Dryden's numerous plays which has retained possession of the stage." He also says, "The scene in which Emmeline recovers her sight, when well represented, never fails to excite the most pleasing testimony of interest and applause."18 The revivals of 1819 and 1827 dropped Arne's music but added songs taken from other works by Purcell. Arthur and Emmeline, too, was frequently performed at mid century.19 The "Frost Scene" in Act III was introduced into performances of Comus at Covent Garden during the season of 1841. King Arthur was performed at the Theater Royal in Drury Lane on 16 November 1842 with Arne's additional music, and the lyrics from that performance were published in the same year. A version by William Hawes was staged at the Lyceum Theater in London in 1857. A concert version by J. A. Fuller-Maitland produced at the Birmingham (England) Festival in 1897 lacked the dialogue between the shepherds and shepherdesses in Act II. The opera was staged at Falmouth (England) in 1924. It was produced by Dennis Arundell at Cambridge (England) on 14–18 February 1928, and the text of the production "with the alterations adopted by Henry Purcell" was published in that year. Another Cambridge production came in 1949. Produced at the University of Nottingham in 1956 (six performances), it was reviewed with a detailed explanation and illustration of the staging.20 In 1964 a concert production in London had an interspersed text by Louis MacNeice (another concert version had been given in London in 1935). The full opera was produced in Atlanta, GA, in 1968.21 In 1970 and 1971 an adaptation by Colin Graham was staged in Norwich, Edinburgh, Aldeburgh, and London (published in 1970 with the title King Arthur: His Magical History). Graham shortened the text considerably, rearranged it somewhat, and introduced music from other works by Purcell to replace what had not pg 285survived in the manuscripts.22 In 1986 an abridged version of text and music was directed by Malcolm Fraser at Buxton. In 1995, the tercentenary of Purcell's death, concert performances were given in many places in Europe and America. William Christie as musical director and Graham Vick as director produced the full opera in Paris in March (eight performances), in Caen in April (two performances), and in London in May (three performances). The final song having been only imperfectly preserved in the manuscripts, Christie commissioned Bruce Wood to rewrite it. Vick redesigned the closing scene to make it a tribute to men and women of all times, classes, and employments in Great Britain rather than to the Order of the Garter. In June Peter Holman and Paul O'Dette as musical directors and Jack Edwards as director produced the full opera in Boston, MA (five performances). Vick's staging was entirely modern, Edwards followed the seventeenth-century model. The opera has also been several times recorded and re-recorded.23 In short, King Arthur has never vanished from the stage, and we can say with some confidence that, like Beethoven's Fidelio, another opera in which some of the dialogue is spoken, it will continue to be revived from time to time as long as the composer stands high in public estimation.
Purcell's music for King Arthur was edited by Benjamin Goodison about 1790, by Edward Taylor for the Musical Antiquarian Society in 1843, G. E. P. Arkwright in 1889, and by W. H. Cummings and by J. A. Fuller-Maitland in 1897, before being edited for the Purcell Society (Collected Works, Vol. XXVI) by Dennis Arundell in 1928 and, with the collation of more manuscripts and early printings, by Margaret A. Laurie in 1971. Laurie was forced to leave the plates of music essentially unaltered, though she would have liked to have given her own interpretation of the continuo. Arundell wrote a foreword in Laurie's edition.
In 1975 Michael Greenhalgh edited Dryden's text, with full reference to the evidence of the manuscripts and separate printings of the music, as an Oxford thesis.
What might have led Dryden in about 1684 to compose an opera on King Arthur? He had long before said he would like to write an epic poem if the king would give him a grant for the work, and subsequently he remarked that King Arthur was one of the subjects he had considered for the project.24 His impulse to write an opera followed the return to London late in 1683 of Louis Grabu, whom Betterton had brought from France specifically "to endeavour to represent something at least like an Opera in England for his pg 286Majesty's diversion."25 The choice of King Arthur as the subject of an opera may have come from Charles II's decision in 1683 to build a palace, or rather a hunting lodge, adjoining the old castle at Winchester, in whose great hall hung, and still hangs, above the royal dais a round table formerly said to be King Arthur's, though now known to date from the time of Chaucer.26 A subordinate reason for Dryden's choice may have been the "unusually cold winter of 1683–84, during which carnival booths, printing presses, and brothels were set up on the frozen Thames," for as said above King Arthur has a notable frost scene.27
The growing popularity of Purcell's music for the theater has been proposed as stimulating Dryden to bring King Arthur to the stage.28 In 1690, besides writing the prologue to The Prophetess for Betterton Dryden had written the dedication of The Vocal and Instrumental Musick of The Prophetess for publication over Purcell's name,29 and in the dedication of Amphitryon, for which Purcell set the songs, Dryden had praised him as "an English-man, equal with the best abroad."30 Dryden was, then, as much aware of Purcell's popularity as any one. It has been said that a further stimulus to the revision and to the more or less concurrent writing of Cleomenes, for which Purcell set another song, was Dryden's desperate need of money.31 It has also been asserted that Dryden and Purcell had ambitions to produce a great and lasting work of patriotism.32
The evidence for the foregoing assertions is not very strong. For example, pg 287the palace at Winchester did not call King Arthur to everyone's mind. In Sylvæ (1685) Dryden included an anonymous poem, On the Kings-House Now Building at Winchester, in which it is said that "Here ancient Kings the Brittish Scepter sway'd," but Arthur's name does not appear.33 In the headnote to Cleomenes we argue that Dryden was not particularly in need of cash in 1691.34 That patriotism motivated Dryden seems to be a mere assumption. In short, it is safer to say that we do not know what caused Dryden to begin King Arthur or to bring it to the stage seven years later. And we do not know when in those seven years he undertook the revision, except that it was completed after the revolution of 1688.
Not much else need be said of Dryden's other activities in 1684 or in 1690–1691. In 1684 he was looking for a post in the customs or the excise office to help with the school and college expenses of his sons.35 "A 'dangerous conspiracy' discovered in June of 1690 resulted in the imprisonment of several men well known to Dryden, including the diarist Samuel Pepys."36 Still closer to home in the same month was the banning, after the first night, of Dryden's prologue to The Prophetess. Thomas Shadwell thought it had a hidden meaning in its first lines, reflecting on the events of 1689, and reported it to the ministry.37 Between 1684 and 1690, of course, Dryden had become a Catholic,38 and he had then given up or had lost his government positions as poet laureate and historiographer royal, with their salaries, which, even though much in arrears, had been considerable. He had thus become almost wholly dependent for his income on success with the general public and on avoidance of government censorship, or worse. The headnote to Cleomenes reviews more fully his activities and concerns in 1691.39
In the dedication as first set in type, Dryden wrote that "not to offend the present Times, nor a Government which has hitherto protected me, (and by a particular Favour wou'd have continued me what I was [i.e., poet laureate and historiographer royal], if I could have comply'd with the Terms which were offer'd me) I have been oblig'd so much to alter the first Design, and take away so many Beauties from the Writing, that it is now no more what it was formerly, than the present Ship of the Royal Sovereign," which had been extensively rebuilt.40 On second thought he deleted his parenthesis, and most surviving copies accordingly lack it, but he did not thereby obscure the matter with which we are concerned, namely, that he had needed to alter pg 288the politics of the piece if he was to get it performed. He tells us in the dedication that Queen Mary had read and approved the altered text. He thought she enjoyed hearing her native country praised and the exploits of her predecessor on its throne dramatized.41
Presumably the first version of the opera as part of its praise of Charles II supported the Stuart conception of royal authority.42 For much of the century, also, a substantial body of political writing had traced the roots of parliamentary prerogative to the Saxons, particularly to the "men of Kent," the kingdom of Dryden's Oswald.43 Charles's triumph over parliament in the exclusion crisis would have prepared the way for Dryden to make the Saxons the villains of the opera.44 But parliament triumphed in its turn with the advent of William III, and we find then three notable elements in the published text. First, Oswald the Saxon king is more arbitrary than Arthur, and Arthur is more inclined to consult others than is Oswald.45 Second, Merlin prophesies a harmonious merger of Briton and Saxon, that is, of royal prerogative and parliamentary democracy.46 And third, Arthur closes the piece by calling on the English to be warriors like himself, that is, to support William in his wars, a message immediately reinforced by Mrs. Bracegirdle in the epilogue when she laughs at those who "hate Campagnes and Fighting."47
That Queen Mary approved Dryden's reworking of the political message of King Arthur has not prevented scholars from looking for ways in which the opera can be read as a Jacobite work, or at least as a politically ambiguous work. Some of them believe Dryden is referring particularly to William pg 289III when he says that "Foreign Kings" have gladly accepted knighthood in the Order of the Garter, and one of them argues besides that if William is "foreign," then he may be equated with the Saxon Oswald, and James, with Arthur the "British Worthy,"48 The same scholar also believes that Dryden expresses through Philidel, who flatters Grimbald so as to put him under a spell, his own flattering of a royalty to which he was secretly opposed, in order to get his play produced.49 What is possible is not necessarily probable. Still, we must remember that Dryden's prologue to The Prophetess had been banned in 1690 after the first night, and we must observe that Dryden's epigraph on the title page of Cleomenes may be read as a statement that he was in fact carrying on a secret campaign for his exiled king.50
As performed, King Arthur reflected not only the usual cooperation among the author, actors, and scene painter, but additional cooperation among the author, composer, and choreographer. The choreographer as said above was Josias Priest51 whose dances are irretrievably lost, but most of Purcell's music has come down to us.52 Comparison of the manuscripts of the music with the text Dryden printed shows that Purcell made additions, deletions, and substitutions that are of considerable interest to those who wish to visualize the performance.53 But Dryden, though he well knew that actors, by their voices, costumes, and stage business, add substantially to the effect of the words in a play as printed,54 was of two minds about singers. On the one hand, he had said in the dedication he had written for Purcell, "as poetry is a rise above prose and oratory, so is Musick the exaltation of poetry."55 On the other hand, Dryden believed that the aesthetics of music and poetry were often in conflict, and he knew that his reputation as a poet depended essentially on the printed word. As he said in the dedication of The Spanish Fryar, "as 'tis my Interest to please my Audience, so 'tis my Ambition to be read; that I am sure is the more lasting and the nobler Design."56
Dryden inherited a theory and a practice that in the cooperation of author pg 290and composer the latter was to conform himself to the former. Music theory in the Renaissance held that vocal music should support the text, not seek its own effects.57 In the preface to Psyche, often said to be the immediate example for Dryden in writing both Albion and Albanius and King Arthur, Shadwell had written: "I chalked out the way to the Composer … having design'd which Line I wou'd have sung by One, which by Two, which by Three, which by four Voices, &c. and what manner of Humour I would have in all the Vocal Musick."58 Dryden had similarly said in the preface to Albion and Albanius: "'Tis my part to Invent, and the Musicians to Humour that Invention. I may be counsell'd, and will always follow my Friends advice, where I find it reasonable; but will never part with the Power of the Militia." 59 But he had, in fact, been "a Slave to the composition," and although he had said "I will never be again," 60 he bowed to his new composer as to the old. In the dedication of King Arthur he says that "because these sorts of Entertainment are principally design'd for the Ear and Eye; … in Reason my Art on this occasion, ought to be subservient to his."61
What he gave with one hand, however, he took away with the other. The words just quoted come in the middle of a passage that reads: "the Numbers of Poetry and Vocal Musick, are sometimes so contrary, that in many places I have been oblig'd to cramp [i.e., fetter] my Verses, and make them rugged to the Reader, that they may be harmonious to the Hearer: … a Judicious Audience will easily distinguish betwixt the Songs wherein I have comply'd with him [the composer], and those in which I have followed the Rules of Poetry, in the Sound and Cadence of the Words."62 Dryden proceeds to discuss the opera as a play, but it behooves us to return to the preface to Albion and Albanius if we are to understand the conflict of aesthetics that weighed on his mind. There he notes first that English is not a particularly melodious language of itself: it is harsher than French, which is in turn pg 291harsher than Italian, the ideal language for singing because it is so musical when spoken; in musicality, English is about on a par with Dutch. The problem, Dryden says, is partly the dependence of English on monosyllables that have both initial and final consonants,63 partly "the Effeminacy of our pronunciation," that is, speaking with a minimal opening of the mouth,64 and partly "our scarcity of female Rhymes."65 Dryden may have picked up the idea that vocal music needed feminine rhymes from Louis Grabu, who composed the music for Albion and Albanius, or from some other French or Italian musician of his acquaintance who was used to setting feminine rhymes in his own language. Perhaps the relative slowness of pronunciation in most singing, coupled with the musician's tendency to vary his measures to create interest, led to a demand, or to a sense, that rhythm and rhyme should vary as often. Or perhaps it was because music accents the first note in the bar that it seemed to Dryden and his contemporaries to demand trochaic and dactylic measures, which normally mean feminine rhymes. But in Dido and Aeneas Purcell had written music that has been described as "eminently singable" to the words of Nahum Tate, who used almost no feminine rhymes.66 And when Dryden said in the dedication which he wrotepg 292for Purcell that English gave "great labour & trouble" to composers, Purcell deleted the passage.67 On the whole, then, it would seem that Dryden's concerns about musicality and rhymes were exaggerated. As for "cramping" in another sense, since the lines of songs are traditionally short, they cramp a writer like Dryden, who preferred the ten-syllable line even to the eight-syllable as "more Roomy."68
Yet one has almost no sense of pulling and hauling between the two aesthetics, or between poet and composer, in King Arthur. The songs tend to have short lines, and sometimes alternate feminine and masculine rhymes; thus we may say that Dryden is conforming to an aesthetic not normal for him, but we must also say that he had been and continued to be an able writer of songs. Furthermore, Purcell was an able composer of songs, adept at conforming musical to metrical stress and fitting two-syllable metrical feet to triple time music without apparent effort.69 In only three songs and one chorus in King Arthur can a reader of the words feel some constraint on Dryden's part. The opening song of sacrifice70 seems to stump along at times, when trochaic rhythms abut on iambic, and the same thing happens in the middle of "Oh Sight, the Mother of Desires."71 Yet the distribution of the rhymes in the first thirteen lines of the song of sacrifice, where it is hardest to get a sense of the rhythm, is actually very subtle and interesting. We have a miniature Pindaric, a form associated with unrestrained emotion and therefore appropriate for Saxon barbarians. The song "How blest are Shepherds"72 has eleven-syllable lines in fundamentally dactylic rhythm, but without the music it has an irregularity not in accord with "the Rules of Poetry." Finally, in the chorus to "Shepherd, Shepherd, leave Decoying,"73 the dactylic rhythm can be made regular only by giving unnatural stress to several of the words. Dryden had something, then, to complain about, but really not much.74
On the larger and perhaps more important question of whether Dryden and Purcell managed to integrate their work into a seamless whole, in which pg 293the musical parts are not extraneous to or repetitive of the others, Dryden has nothing to say, and, as we shall see, critical opinion is divided. We may also note that we have no complete score for the music, so that we have no detailed idea what the "whole" was in any of the forms it may have taken from one production to another. The earliest surviving scores give the impression that they are complete in themselves, but their contents differ. Also, three of the oldest and best manuscripts put in Act V two pieces that the others (and Dryden) put in Act IV; and one of these puts in Act III a piece that the others (and Dryden) put in Act IV. Some of the instrumental pieces have come down to us separately, and we cannot always be sure where they belong. We have nevertheless provided a connected musicological account of the opera in an appendix.75
In the days of King Aurelius Ambrosius, "saith Nennius, the Saxons prevail'd not much: against whom Arthur, as beeing then Cheif General for the British Kings, made great War; but more renown'd in Songs and Romances, then in true stories." So Milton, in his History of Britain (1671),76 casting the cold light of contemporary historical research on the subject of Dryden's play, shows us that Dryden was free in the name of history to do what he wished with one of whom so little was certainly known. He was doubly free when he chose the mixed dramatic form that went by the general name of opera, for, as he said, "The suppos'd Persons of this musical Drama, are generally supernatural. … [So it] admits of that sort of marvellous and surprizing conduct, which is rejected in other Plays." 77 He proceeded, then, to make his King Arthur a fairy story for the stage, somewhat as Spenser had put his Prince Arthur in Faerieland and as Chaucer had set The Wife of Bath's Tale in "th'olde dayes of the Kyng Arthour," when "Al was this land fulfild of fayerye."
Dryden's picture of Arthur as a real historical character is essentially that of Milton, whether he read Milton's history or some other account.78 Dryden made Arthur a romantic hero in the general tradition of the Restoration pg 294stage by providing him with Emmeline, a beautiful blind girl, the daughter of one of his vassals, with whom he is in love.79 He also provided Arthur with the magician Merlin from common "knowledge."80 In a way normal for him, Dryden matched a Saxon king Oswald with Arthur and a Saxon magician Osmond with Merlin, provided Philidel, a demon or spirit willing to serve Merlin, with a match in Grimbald, a demon or spirit serving Osmond, and gave Arthur's friend Aurelius a match in Oswald's friend Guillamar.81 The only characters who do not match some other are Emmeline's father Conon, her attendant Matilda, and Albanact, the captain of Arthur's guards.
To learn about the rites and customs of the Saxons, Dryden says in his dedication, he did some research in "Beda, Bochartus, and other Authors."82 He could have read Bede's Ecclesiastical History of the English Nation in Thomas Stapleton's translation (1565, 1622, 1626), or in the Latin original with its Old English translation in Abraham Wheelocke's edition (1643, 1644). In it he could have read something of the Saxon invasion and perhaps he there found a hint for blind Emmeline and her healing in Bede's account of St. Germanus, but he could have learned nothing from Bede of the Saxons' religion except that their kings traced their ancestry to Woden, which he could equally well have found in Milton.83 Dryden also could have read Alain Bouchart's Grandes Croniques de Bretaigne (1514, 1518, 1531 or 1532), which contains a version of the legendary history of Arthur. From it he presumably took the names of some of his characters, as well as the idea that Arthur fought the Piets, but again he could have learned of the Saxons'pg 295religion only that they worshiped Mercury (Woden) and "Fera" (Frea).84 Dryden could have found the more detailed information he put into the opera in the English translation or the Latin original of Olaus Magnus' History of the Goths and in Aylette Sammes's Britannia antiqua illustrata,85 but there were many other sources he might have consulted.86
Emmeline, given her sight by Philidel, who uses a magical liquid prepared pg 296for the purpose by Merlin, perhaps owes something to Bede's account of how St. Germanus healed a blind girl, as noted above; something to Miranda in Shakespeare's The Tempest; something to John Locke's investigation of blind men's knowledge of what they could not see; and perhaps something to Robert Boyle's account of a blind girl who recovered her sight after an operation to remove cataracts.87
Philidel, Grimbald, and their fellow spirits owe much to Ariel and the other spirits in The Tempest as Dryden and Davenant had reworked it.88 Dryden had also created a guardian angel, Amariel, in Tyrannick Love, two malignant spirits, Nakar and Damilcar, in the same play, and another, Melanax, in The Duke of Guise.89 Grimbald's disguising himself as a shepherd has a precedent in Milton's Comus.90 Scott thought the spirits came from Rosicrucianism,91 and it is true that in 1699 Dryden wrote to Elizabeth Thomas, "Those fine Creatures [sylphs or nymphs], as your Author Count Gabalis assures us have a mind to be christened,"92 much as Philidel would like to become an angel once more. On the other hand, Scott explains that the "conception of Philidel … is an idea, so far as I know, altogether original."93 Perhaps Dryden also felt he was being original, for he says in the dedication that the "Fairy kind of writing … depends only upon the Force of Imagination"; at any rate, he thought the Duchess of Monmouth, who had recommended the work to the queen, had liked that part of it.94 But we must recognize that there was a considerable literature of demonology upon which Dryden may have drawn, as he may also have done in his earlier plays.95
pg 297Arthur's encounter with Oswald's magic96 resembles in general and in one specific detail Rinaldo's encounter with Armida's magic in Tasso's Gerusalemme Liberata, XVIII, 17–38; and other details have parallels in XIII, 38–46 and XV, 57–66,97 but most of Dryden's motifs here are so ancient and widely scattered in literature that we cannot identify particular sources for them.98
The closing masque belongs to a well-established tradition that had begun to deviate somewhat from its original form at court. The commercial touches, which give it something of the air of a lord mayor's pageant, come from Dryden's long awareness that England's greatness was as much in trade as in arms, sentiments he had expressed in Annus Mirabilis and in Am boyna.99 The introduction of the Order of the Garter reflects what Elias Ashmole had said was its true origin, namely, that Edward III "did … design (as being invited thereto by its ancient fame) the restauration of King Arthur's Round Table," but a line in Dryden's final song invokes the well-known and, says Ashmole, apocryphal story of the Countess of Salisbury's losing a garter and the king's returning it to her.100
Dryden gave a definition and a history of opera in the preface (and its postscript) to Albion and Albanius.101 That history is not definitive, of course—it makes no reference, for example, to previous English operas, even his own—but it tells us what Dryden thought were the roots of and the influences on his later operatic writing. We refrain from quarreling with his self-assessment,102 but it is only fair to point out that Purcell may have seen the history of opera from a different perspective and that musicologists today see a different background to King Arthur, at least in the near past, than do literary historians. Musicologists point out that Betterton's The Prophetess: Or, The History of Dioclesian, with, as noted above, a prologue by Dryden and music by Purcell, had intervened between Albion and Albanius and King Arthur. They observe that The Prophetess, like King Arthur, has two major musical scenes, one a sacrifice scene climaxing Act I, and the other a masque climaxing Act V. They reason therefore that either Dryden or Purcell probably determined on a similar arrangement of scenes pg 298in King Arthur because it had proved to be dramatically effective.103 One cannot but agree.
The Dramatis Personae lists the original cast, headed by Thomas Betterton as King Arthur. Betterton was only four years younger than Dryden, whereas Arthur, at least in the printed text, is a youth.104 But Betterton was noted for his ability to lose himself in his roles, and perhaps he was able to pass for half his age. His majestic appearance in royal roles is described in the headnote to Cleomenes.105 Joseph Williams, who played opposite him as Oswald, was in his forties and so may have helped Betterton to give the illusion of being younger. Williams had acted in many of Dryden's plays, most recently creating the title roles in Don Sebastian and Amphitryon. He was to play Garcia, the king of Navarre, in Love Triumphant. Nothing is known of his manner of performing his roles except that Colley Cibber says he was a good actor.106
John Hodgson, Edward Kynaston, Samuel Sandford, and "Alexander" (John Verbruggen), playing Conon, Merlin, Osmond, and Aurelius, respectively, were all to have parts in Cleomenes, as was Anne Bracegirdle, and they are noticed at more length in the headnote to that play.107 Here we need say only that, in Emmeline, Mrs. Bracegirdle had a part in which her natural charm could express itself fully. Almost all the men in her audiences fell in love with her, says Cibber, unless they were "past it," so that nearly everyone could believe Arthur and Oswald would have done the same and would have quarreled over her almost more than over the land of Britain. In December 1692 one of Mrs. Bracegirdle's admirers murdered one of her fellow actors, William Mountfort (not cast in King Arthur), on suspicion that they were lovers.108 She was not given an opportunity in this opera to exercise her excellent singing voice.109
In the minor parts of Albanact and Guillamar, William Bowen and Joseph Harris had roles suited to their abilities. Bowen (1666–1718), who usually played in comedy, was on his way to acting more substantial roles, eventually leading roles, and to wide popularity. He had a strong voice and acted with vigor. Harris (c. 165o?–c. 1715), who played about equally in comedy and in tragedy, had gone as far as he was to go as an actor and singer (nothing specific is known of his manner in either capacity); he had brought Joseph Williams to the stage and seen the newcomer surpass him. Harris pg 299was also a playwright, and Dryden had supplied a prologue to his The Mistakes, or, The False Report (1691).110
Charlotte Butler, who created the role of Philidel and also sang the part of Cupid in Act III, had been a protégée of Charles II. She came on the stage about the same time as Williams. In the printed text, Philidel is sometimes a female and sometimes a male. Mrs. Butler had been acting "breeches parts" since at least 1683, and in March 1690 she had acted one as Levia in Shadwell's The Amorous Bigot. In October 1690 she had sung the part of Night in Amphitryon. According to Cibber, "In the Dramatick Operas of Dioclesian and that of King Arthur, she was a capital and admired Performer." One other record of her performance in King Arthur is so specific that we have reserved it for a note to that place in the play. She also sang in Cleomenes.111
John Bowman or Boman (c. 1651?–1739), who created the singing role of Grimbald, took at least one additional singing role. According to a late seventeenth-century manuscript, he sang the second "verse" of "Woden, first to thee," sometimes called the Second Priest's part, in Act I. According to a separate seventeenth-century printing of "How blest are Shepherds," Bowman sang that song also in the character of First Shepherd in Act II. The question of whether he was indeed "Second Priest" is involved with the nature of his voice. Grimbald's song "Let not a Moon-born Elf mislead ye" in Act II is set in the bass clef, although it requires two ledger lines for its highest notes. The Second Priest's recitative and the First Shepherd's songs are set in the tenor clef in the score, and the latter requires a ledger line for its highest note (in the separate printing aforesaid the Shepherd's song is set in the treble clef). Was Bowman, then, a bass or a baritone? Authorities differ. In any event his voice was sufficiently good that he sometimes sang in concerts. In addition, he was a "ringer," that is, either a change-ringer or a performer on the handbells. When acting, he specialized in comedy and, according to Mrs. Behn, in "mischief." Both abilities stood him in good stead as Grimbald, who, though a villain, suffers in a comic way for his sins. Bowman was to have a long career on the stage, lasting into his eighties. In his later years he was still earning heartfelt applause as Raymond, one of the more elderly characters in The Spanish Fryar.112
"Call it a triumph or a failure," says a recent critic of King Arthur, it is "no doubt [Dryden's] most perfectly realized opera."113 The first part of the quotation well summarizes critical response; the second ignores the fact that for many persons it is Purcell's opera.114 One of the latter says that "'King Arthur' … was the most important work produced by Purcell for the stage. … Purcell in this case had the advantage of the diction and style of Dryden; and, as he was always inclined to follow the words which he set very closely, the conditions were favourable to his showing himself at his best."115 The editor of Dryden warms to such an estimate, only to be chilled by another music critic's comment: "King Arthur is completely negligible as a play by Dryden and curiously uneven as an opera by Purcell."116 In the later eighteenth century Charles Burney thought the music delightful, and timeless at its best, i.e., in "Two Daughters of this Aged Stream" in Act IV and "Fairest Isle" in Act V.117 But Thomas Augustine Arne said much of it was "infamously bad" and that it was derided by musicians.118 Burney's view has in general prevailed, the songs "Come if you dare" and "Fairest Isle" standing highest in critical and popular estimation.119
pg 301Turning to literary critics, Jeremy Collier, if he can be called a literary critic, objected to Albanact's flippant disregard of the ecclesiastical calendar, to the mix of heathen deities and Christian saints, to "A fit of Smut and then a Jest about Original Sin," to the song in which the peasants call their parson a blockhead and a book-learned sot, and to what he saw as the general irreligion of the piece.120 A more recent critic may seem to agree with Collier when he says that Dryden "pandered with cynical calculation to the debased tastes of the Restoration audience," but he has reference to Dryden's virtual discarding of the Arthurian legend.121
In the earlier eighteenth century John Dennis, in An Essay on the Opera's after the Italian Manner (1706), exempted "Dramatical" opera from his attack on those "which are entirely Musical," because the "Dramatical may be partly defended by the Examples of the Antients." Dennis had himself written a dramatic opera, Rinaldo and Armida (1699; produced 1698).122 Roger North, on the contrary, who enjoyed Italian opera, thought that what "had bin more properly styled Semioperas" had failed to please because part of the audience hated the music and part loved nothing else.123 The pg 302view that the concept of what North called "Mr. Betterton's semioperas" was unworkable, resulting in neither music nor drama, can be found today among literary critics as well.124 It is true that Dryden and Purcell had no immediate successors of merit, but to suppose that their form of opera cannot succeed is to ignore the history of ballad opera, musical comedy, and the modern musical stage.125 Most of the literary critics who have recently pondered the question as to whether Dryden integrated the musical parts of the opera with the rest of the text conclude that he failed. Most of the music critics, on the contrary, conclude that Dryden and Purcell succeeded.126 It would seem that one needs to know the music in order to recognize the artistic unity of the opera. Those who cannot read music or see a performance can still make up their own minds about both the excellence of the musical parts and their integration with the rest of the text by listening to the recordings noted above.127
The British Worthy. See note to V, ii, 79 (p. 337 below).
Queens Theatre. The theater in Dorset Garden, described in London Stage, Part I, pp. xxxix–xl. There was only one company of English actors in London from 1682 to 1695, having two theaters at its disposal. The stage at Dorset Garden had more of the machinery called for in the operas of the time.
Huic alta Theatris … futuris . "They lay the deep foundations of this theater … the decorations of the future stage [will be] high" (Virgil, Aeneid, I, 427–428, 429, somewhat altered). In the original, Aeneas is watching the first inhabitants of Carthage build the city, some of whom, to quote the pg 303whole passage in the Loeb translation, "here … lay the deep foundations of their theatre and hew out of the cliffs vast columns, lofty adornments for the stage to be!" Dryden's omissions make the lines refer to the Dorset Garden theater with its under-stage traps and above stage machinery for "flying."
Purpurea intexti, … Britanni . "The interwoven Britons [seem to] raise the purple curtains" (Virgil, Georgies, III, 25), the tense of the verb adjusted to make the abstracted clause stand alone. See Ovid, Metamorphoses, III, 111–114, "when on festal days the curtain in the theatre is raised, figures of men rise up, showing first their faces, then little by little all the rest; until at last, drawn up with steady motion, the entire forms stand revealed, and plant their feet upon the curtain's edge" (Loeb). I have taken the insertion "seem to" from Dryden's translation of the passage, 1. 39 (Works, V, 210). The line number given on the title page of King Arthur is incorrect.
Tanton* placuit … futurasf . "Was it thy will, O Jupiter, that in so vast a shock should clash nations that thereafter would dwell in everlasting peace?" (Virgil, Aeneid, XII, 503–504; Loeb). In the original the nations are the Trojans and the Rutulians, equal ancestors of the future Romans, not the Saxons and the Britons. The book number given on the title page is incorrect.
Et Celebrare Domestica facta. "[Our own poets have left no style untried, nor has least honour been earned when they have dared to leave the footsteps of the Greeks] and sing of deeds at home, [whether they have put native tragedies or native comedies upon the stage]" (Horace, Ars Poetica, 287; Loeb). In what Horace calls "native" plays, the characters were Roman citizens. The full context of Dryden's well-known quotation shows that he was alluding to King Arthur's form as well as to its subject matter.
P. 3 George Savile, Marquis of Halifax (1633–1695), had just retired from his third period of service on the privy council, his second as lord privy seal. He began life as the eldest son of a baronet whose extensive properties in Yorkshire and Northamptonshire made him very wealthy. Halifax succeeded his father, who had been a prominent royalist, at the age of 11, but he studied privately abroad or at home until 1660, when he was elected to the parliament that welcomed Charles II. His wealth and his family connections led to his being created Baron Savile of Eland and Viscount Halifax in 1668, Earl of Halifax in 1679, and Marquis of Halifax in 1682, titles, it is said, of which he was inordinately proud. He was a member of the privy council from 1672 to 1676, in which capacity he opposed the Third Dutch War, which Dryden supported in Amboyna. When the war was over he opposed the policies of the Earl of Danby, to whom Dryden dedicated All for Love. From 1679 to 1685 Halifax was again a member of the privy council, and in 1682 he was made lord privy seal. He took an active part in investigating the Popish Plot in 1679–80 and introduced a bill against Catholics that failed to carry, but he led the successful opposition in the House of Lords to the second exclusion bill in 1680. Then he sought to pg 304reconcile the king and the Duke of Monmouth in 1684. At first James II kept him on the council, indeed making him its lord president, to give his government the appearance of moderation, but the king dismissed him when he opposed attempts to repeal the test and habeas corpus acts. Halifax then exerted himself in print and otherwise to support a true moderation, and when William III landed at Torbay in 1688 he used his influence to prevent a civil war. When it was clear that James's cause was lost, Halifax had much to do in the convention parliament in winning the acceptance of William and Mary as sovereigns, whom he, as speaker of the House of Lords, formally requested to accept the crown. William admitted him once more to the privy council and made him lord privy seal again, in hopes that he could reconcile the many factions among both the Whigs and the country party. In February 1690, when it became clear that he could not do so, he resigned his offices. Thereafter he found himself mostly in opposition to whatever faction was in power. His earlier political buoyancy won him the sobriquet of "Trimmer," which he had then defended in The Character of a Trimmer, circulated in manuscript in 1685 and published under a pseudonym in 1688. Dryden had objected to trimmers in The Vindication of The Duke of Guise (Works, XIV, 330–332; see also pp. 552–553) and in the postscript to The History of the League (Works, XVIII, 408–409). Halifax's equally well-known Lady's New-Year's Gift, or Advice to a Daughter (1688 [four editions] and subsequent years), counterbalances Dryden's misogynistic generalizations about the female sex. Saintsbury remarks that "Halifax's literary powers were very great. His political tracts have few equals in point of polished sarcasm" (S-S, VIII, 130).
Macaulay's analysis (V, 2484) of Halifax is still worth quoting. "More than one historian has been charged with partiality to Halifax. The truth is that the memory of Halifax is entitled in an especial manner to the protection of history. For what distinguishes him from all other English statesmen is this, that through a long public life, and through frequent and violent revolutions of public feeling, he almost invariably took that view of the great questions of his time which history has finally adopted. He was called inconstant, because the relative position in which he stood to the contending factions was perpetually varying. As well might the pole star be called inconstant because it is sometimes to the east and sometimes to the west of the pointers. To have defended the ancient and legal constitution of the realm against a seditious populace at one conjuncture, and against a tyrannical government at another; to have been the foremost champion of order in the turbulent Parliament of 1680, and the foremost champion of liberty in the servile Parliament of 1685; to have been just and merciful to Roman Catholics in the days of the Popish Plot, and to the Exclusionists in the days of the Rye House Plot; to have done all in his power to save both the head of [William Howard, Viscount] Stafford [executed for complicity in the Popish Plot] and the head of [Lord William] Russell [executed for complicity in the Rye House Plot]; this was a course which contemporaries, heated by passion, and deluded by names and badges, might not unnaturally call fickle, but which deserves a very different name from the late justice of posterity." There seems to be some truth, however, in the observation in pg 305DNB that Halifax would have done still more for the cause of moderation had he been capable of forming a party of supporters for his goals.
Scott (S-S, VIII, 130) felt that "with a few grains of allowance which his situation required, Dryden's praise of Halifax is an honest panegyric." Winn, on the contrary (p. 448), will have it that Dryden in this dedication ran before the prevailing wind. Dryden had represented Halifax in Absalom and Achitophel, ll. 882–887 (Works, II, 31–32), as
- Jotham of piercing wit and pregnant thought,
- Indew'd by nature, and by learning taught
- To move Assemblies, who but onely try'd
- The worse awhile, then chose the better side;
- Nor chose alone, but turn'd the balance too;
- So much the weight of one brave man can doe.
The dedication of King Arthur suggests that Dryden recognized in Halifax one who had "tried the worse" again as he worked to prevent civil war in 1688–89, and that Dryden forgave him. No doubt he was grateful for Halifax's fairness toward Catholics; had Halifax been vengeful Dryden could not have approached him. But he also knew that if Halifax accepted the dedication of King Arthur he himself would appear to have made his peace with the new regime and to have become as loyal an Englishman as the next person—which was not quite the truth.
For Jeremy Collier's objections to the dedication see A Short View of the Immorality and Profaneness of the English Stage (1698), pp. 194–195.
3:2 the last Piece of Service. See headnote (p. 281 above).
3:5 the Prologue. See headnote (p. 281 above).
3:9 Difficulties. The Exclusion Crisis of 1679–1681 is meant (see Works, II, 279–280 and XIV, 427–430, 494–496, for more on the subject).
3:20–21 your … Esteem. See titles and offices listed in biographical sketch above and mentioned by Dryden on p. 5:4–6.
3:22–25 the Success … Publick Safety. On the presentation of the second exclusion bill to the House of Lords on 15 November 1680, Halifax and Shaftesbury engaged in a famous debate that ended in the bill's being thrown out forthwith. "Public opinion almost unanimously ascribed the result to Lord Halifax" (H. C. Foxcroft, The Life and Letters of Sir George Savile, Bart., First Marquis of Halifax &c. , I, 246–248). See also comments by Scott and Macaulay quoted in biographical sketch above, and Dryden's remarks on pp. 3:30–4:16.
3:30 Incedit … doloso. He "walks over fires hidden beneath treacherous ashes" (Horace, Odes, II, i, 7–8; Loeb), with a change in the person of the verb.
3:30–4:10 But without … your Advice. Winn (p. 451) says that Dryden, like many others, feared the cost of King William's wars would ruin the country.
4:3 Civil War. See note to p. 4:16.
4:14 not vain enough … to hope. Dryden shifts back and forth between dispraising and praising himself. Cf. "Trifle" (p. 6:6), "like to be the chiefest Entertainment" (p 6:7), "little Skill" (p. 6:12), "somewhat not unworthy" (p. 7:23), and "imperfect" (p. 7:29). Both attitudes are characteristic, but pg 306they are not usually so intertwined. Jeremy Collier (Short View, p. 195) remarked ironically that "there are strange … consistencies of Pretention in this Dedication."
4:16 your Administration. Scott (S-S, VIII, 130): "It is certain, his wisdom prevented a civil war in the last years of the reign of Charles, and indirectly led the way to a bloodless revolution."
4:18 an exact Knower of Mankind. Macaulay (I, 147) agrees, adding, however, a proviso contrary to Dryden's meaning, namely, that on the one hand the king was "without faith in human virtue," and that on the other "Worthless men and women, to the very bottom of whose hearts he saw, and whom he knew to be destitute of affection for him and undeserving of his confidence, could easily wheedle him out of titles, places, domains, state secrets and pardons."
4:26 Men of Wit. Scott (S-S, VIII, 132), quoting Gilbert Burnet's observation that Halifax could never restrain himself from joking (Burnet's History of My Own Time , I, 484–485 [pp. 267–268 in the folio of 1724]), thought it was part of his trimming. See also Evelyn, Diary, 27 September 1662 (cited by Greenhalgh, p. 341), where Halifax is called "a witty Gent, if not a little to〈o〉 prompt, & daring," and 12 April 1695, where he is remembered as "very witty[,] in his younger days somewhat positive [i.e., cocksure]." E. S. De Beer (Evelyn, Diary, III, 336–337 n. 5) refers to Foxcroft, Life and Letters of … Savile, I, 31–32, for more remarks of the same kind.
4:27–5:2 in the latter … Bosom Friends. Charles's council was unwieldy and he frequently consulted only a few of its members (Oxford History of Britain, p. 381).
4:30 Amici omnium Horarum. "Friends for all hours" (Quintilian, Institutes, VI, iii, 110, modified; the original has eum instead of amici, i.e., "a man for all hours" [Loeb]); the person in question was Asinius Pollio, "who had equal gifts for being grave or gay."
5:2–3 amongst … first. He was made Marquis of Halifax in 1682, and lord privy seal once more (see biographical sketch above).
5:4–12 If … Favour . See biographical sketch above for the source of Halifax's wealth.
5:13–16 But … Storm. Halifax resigned two weeks after William dissolved the convention parliament on 27 January 1690, and the country prepared for a new election. "Van Citters, who had resided in England during many eventful years, declared that he had never seen London more violently agitated" (Macaulay, IV, 1793, citing the Dutch ambassador Arnold Van Citters' report to the States General, 14–24 February 1690, and Evelyn's Diary,  February 1690.)
5:17–29 There are … Eloquence. Dryden's parallels here are not entirely complimentary to Halifax if one pursues every nuance. Presumably Dryden did not, but Jeremy Collier did (Short View, pp. 194–195).
5:18 Phocion. An Athenian general and statesman who sought to withdraw from public life, but instead was accused of treasonable communication with the Macedonian general Alexander, the son of Alexander the Great's general Polysperchon; he fled to him, was handed back by him, and was condemned to drink the hemlock. If Dryden was not thinking merely pg 307of Phocion's attempted withdrawal, he probably had in mind the Athenians' subsequent repentance for his death and their building a monument to him, as told in Plutarch's Life of Phocion.
5:20 Cicero, (to draw the Similitude more home). The parenthesis makes it likely that Dryden intended to place the strongest emphasis on Cicero's speeches against Catiline, who had conspired against the government (see note to p. 5:25), and on Halifax's opposition to the second exclusion bill. Cicero began his career as a lawyer in the Forum, hence Dryden's "Pulpit" (p. 5:21), Latin pulpitum, platform for public disputations. He refrained from politics during Caesar's dictatorship (47–44 b.c.), devoting himself to philosophical writing, including the Tusculan Disputations, a dialogue supposed to have taken place at his villa at Tusculum, 10 miles southeast of Rome. After the ides of March 44 Cicero managed to produce still more philosophical writing, including De Officiis (see note to p. 5:23–24). At the end of the year he returned full time to politics, but he was proscribed and killed twelve months later (OCD).
5:23–24 Moral Precepts. In Cicero's philosophical writings. Summers (VI, 554) and Greenhalgh (p. 342) single out De Officiis (On the Moral Duties).
5:25 Catiline. In the consulship of Cicero in 63 b.c., Catiline conspired to overthrow the government, but Cicero moved swiftly against him, forced him to leave Rome, and summarily executed the other conspirators as soon as he intercepted their correspondence; early the next year Catiline was killed in battle with those who had been sent against him (OCD).
5:26 Cato. As readers of Joseph Addison's Cato will remember, M. Porcius Cato, a rigid opponent of Julius Caesar, was driven into Africa, where he committed suicide rather than surrender: "liberty or death" (II, iv, last line). Summers (VI, 554) cites Cornelius Nepos, Cato, ii, to the effect that Cato involved himself in quarrels over the government of Rome throughout a public career lasting about eighty years.
5:32–6:1 A Roman … the Gauls . As a translator of Tacitus, Dryden would have learned, if he did not already know, that his rhetorical flourish was inaccurate. See Works, XX, 246: in the reign of Tiberius, mutineers in the legions in Pannonia, a frontier province stretching from the Alps to the Danube, complained of "thirty or forty Years of Service … being still retain'd under their Colours," when the normal term of service was twenty-five years. We have not discovered the source of Dryden's mistake, if that is what it is.
6:1–2 How far … the Trial. Dryden refers to the possibility in 1691 that James II would return from France with an army, as he had sought to do in 1689–90. In the next sentence, however, Dryden takes it for granted that the British fleet, now augmented by the Dutch fleet, allays all fear of an invasion. In fact, the French had defeated the combined English and Dutch fleets at Beachy Head on 30 June 1690, and the next month had landed at Teignmouth in Devon and burned it down. In April 1691 William had been unable to prevent the fall of the important fortress of Mons in the Spanish Netherlands. It is just possible that Dryden is being ironic here.
6:6–7 Trifle … Entertainment. See note to p. 4:14.
6:10 Beda, Bochartus, and other Authors. Not Bochart but Bouchart. pg 308Alain Bouchart based his treatment of early Britain on Geoffrey of Monmouth. Dryden could have consulted Geoffrey directly in the separate edition of Britannie Utriusque Regum (1508, 1517), or in Jerome Commelin's collection, Rerum Britannicarum (1587), or in the abridgment in Ludovicus Virunius Ponticus, Britannicae Historiae Libri Sex (1585). Scott's observation (S-S VIII, 135) has often been quoted: "We cannot trace the result of this study anywhere but in the Song of the Saxon priests [I, ii, 48–82, pp. 19–20 above]; and it did not surely require much reading to glean up the names of the Saxon deities, which are almost the only traits of national manners exhibited through the drama." But Scott does not do justice to Dryden's research; see headnote (pp. 294–295 above) and notes to I, ii (pp. 316–320 below).
6:12 little Skill. See note to p. 4:14.
6:13–14 protected me. Following these words Dryden had originally written a parenthesis, "and by a particular Favour wou'd have continued me what I was, if I could have comply'd with the Terms which were offered me," but he thought better of it and had the leaf canceled (see textual notes, p. 444 below). The reference is to his offices of poet laureate and historiographer royal under the Stuarts; we have no other information about the offer. It might be assumed that he was asked to return to the Anglican community and actively support the new rulers. Certainly he later made much of his sacrifice for his religion (see dedication of Love Triumphant, p. 169:20–23 above), but Queen Mary continued to employ Catholics among her actors and musicians and to read and approve Dryden's plays. Dryden, for his part, supported or seemed to support King William's wars against France in his prologues and epilogues and did not object when his publisher had the plates for his translation of Virgil altered to give Aeneas a nose like the king's, though he delayed the publication as long as he could in hopes of dedicating it to a restored James (Ward, Letters, pp. 85–86, 93). In the Virgil as published there are separate dedications of the Pastorals, Georgics, and Aeneis, none of them to Williamites (see Works, VI, 871–873).
6:14–19 I have been … Musick. See headnote (pp. 290–292 above).
6:16–17 Royal Sovereign. Saintsbury (S-S, VIII, 135): "This famous ship was built by Charles I., and it is said that much ship-money was spent on her. She was cut down a deck afterwards, and fought all through the Dutch and French wars. Five years after Dryden wrote, in 1696, she caught fire at Chatham, where she was laid up, and was burnt, being then nearly sixty years old." Summers (VI, 556) notes that some of this information came to Saintsbury from Gloria Britannica (1689). Shortly before the dedication was written, a leak in the ship had been repaired at Sheerness (Luttrell, II, 226, under date of May 4). Dryden had used a similar metaphor to describe his reworking of romances, novels, or foreign plays: "when I had finish'd my Play, it was like the Hulk of Sir Francis Drake, so strangely alter'd, that there scarce remain'd any Plank of the Timber which first built it" (preface to An Evening's Love in Works, X, 211). See also prologue, l. 21 (p. 9 above), which was written after the dedication.
6:21 Purcel. In the sentences that follow Dryden may be thought to detract from his praise of Purcell, but in fact their relations had been and pg 309continued to be excellent. Purcell set songs in Cleomenes and Love Triumphant, and his brother Daniel set The Secular Masque, Dryden's last dramatic writing. See headnote (pp. 282, 286 above).
6:23–7:2 But the Numbers … of the Words. See headnote (pp. 289–292 above).
7:4–5 my first and best Patroness the Dutchess of Monmouth. She had accepted the dedication of The Indian Emperour (1667), the first of Dryden's works to be dedicated to a woman (Works, IX, 23–26). She is "the Charming Annabel" in Absalom and Achitophel, l. 34 (Works, II, 6). See also The Vindication of the Duke of Guise (Works, XIV, 325).
7:7 Excellent Judgment, and true taste of Poetry. Dryden's flattery had been much more high-flown in the dedication of The Indian Emperour.
7:8–9 Fairy kind of writing … Force of Imagination. For a survey of Dryden's theories of imagination see headnote to The State of Innocence (Works, XII, 332–342). For Collier's deduction from this passage see head-note (p. 301n above).
7:12–14 Her Majesty has … given it Her Royal Approbation. Summers says instead (VI, 556) that the queen "took every occasion of petty persecution" but gives no evidence. Dryden knew of a rumor that she had ordered Thomas Rymer, the new historiographer royal, to attack his plays once more because she had been told that he had attacked the government in the preface to Examen Poeticum (1693); but he discounted the rumor, for he thought Rymer had decided to attack him on his own (Ward, Letters, p. 59). Winn (p. 448) observes that the queen probably read the play attentively, for when she had incautiously attended a performance of The Spanish Fryar in 1689 she had had to pretend inattention to a number of its lines (see Works, XIV, 428).
7:27 so many Years. We do not know how many.
2 silly Plays. Since the première of Dryden's Amphitryon in October 1690, the actors had put on Elkanah Settle's Distress'd Innocence, Aphra Behn's The Rover, Charles Davenant's opera Circe, Thomas Betterton's opera The Prophetess, George Powell's Alphonso, King of Naples, Thomas Shadwell's The Scowrers, Joseph Harris's The Mistakes, Thomas D'Urfey's Love for Money and Bussy D'Ambois, William Mountfort's Greenwich Park, and two anonymous pieces, The Gordian Knot Unty'd and King Edward the Third. Inasmuch as it was the same company that was performing King Arthur, we may take it that the actors regarded Dryden's words as an attack on themselves and their audience, an attack both were inured to and could pg 310accept with a wink. In the preface to Cleomenes, (p. 77:13–14 above), Dryden was to say again, "the World is running mad after Farce, the Extremitie of bad Poetry."
3 Clipp'd Money. In The Fifth Satyr of Persius (1693), l. 281 (Works, IV, 343), "a dipt Sixpence" is said to be essentially valueless; the same is said to be true of "Clipt Money" in Dryden's epilogue to his son's play The Husband his own Cuckold (1696), l. 32 (Works, IV, 474). From The Medal (1682), l. 229 (Works, II, 50), "clip his regal Rights within the Ring," we see that coins had a raised border which marked the limit of what could be shaved away without devaluing them. From Dryden's letters to his publisher Jacob Tonson we see his practical troubles with clipped coins. In a letter of 1695 he complains about clipped coins Tonson has given Lady Dryden in exchange: "money is now very scrupulously receiv'd" (Ward, Letters, p. 75). In another, of 1696, he says he will accept clipped money for his son's play because his brother-in-law Sir Robert Howard will exchange it at the Exchequer, where he was auditor of the receipt (Letters, p. 82; Winn, pp. 475, 483). See also note to The Kind Keeper, I, i, 322 (Works, XIV, 391).
10 long Shovel-Board. As Scott notes (S-S, VIII, 138), shovelboard is a game in which players alternate in sliding one of their four coins or counters along a board in an attempt to lodge them in winning positions. A line crosses the board three or four inches from the end opposite the players and another crosses it four feet from the first. A coin that passes the nearer line but not the farther counts one, a coin that passes the farther line but not the end of the table counts two, and a coin that partially overhangs the end of the table counts three. Game is generally eleven for two or three players, more for team play. See Joseph Strutt, The Sports and Pastimes of the People of England, ed. J. Charles Cox (1903), pp. 238–239. The longest board Strutt had seen was 39′ 6″ × 3'. The board at Tredegar House, near Newport, Wales, advertised as the world's longest, is an oak plank 42′7″ × 2′9″. Dryden had mentioned the game in The Wild Gallant, IV, i, 60 (Works, VIII, 55).
11 Rubs and Knocks. Perhaps synonymous, perhaps glancing and more direct hits given one piece by another, but "rubs" may be any kinds of obstruction, including roughnesses in the playing surface (OED).
17 Hatchet Face. Dictionary makers can only guess from the word itself what kind of face is meant.
21 T' insure our New-Built-Vessel. Life and marine insurance were established in England in the sixteenth century. Marine insurance was provided by individuals who in 1688 began to foregather at Edward Lloyd's coffeehouse in Tower Street.
23 Wagers. In Dryden's time insurers could well be thought of as gamblers, actuarial data and probability theory being then in their infancy and pg 311the insurers acting alone rather than spreading the risks among themselves. Marine insurers in England acted as individuals within the corporate rules of Lloyds until 1992, when losses were so extreme that the system was changed. Contributing to the general sense of insurance as a gamble was the willingness of many insurers to "agree, in return for a premium, to pay out money on the happening of some event, even though the policy-holder suffered no financial loss as a result of the event: that is, he had no insurable interest" (Hugh Cockerell, Lloyds of London: A Portrait , p. 13). In the language of the business, these agreements are called gambling policies.
30 Actions, by the News-Book, Rise and Fall. "Actions" were shares in joint stock companies (OED, sense 15, citing, e.g., London Gazette, no. 1805 ): "The Actions of our East-India Company are very much fallen." A "news-book" was a small newspaper (OED); one had the title, A New News-book: or Occurrences Foreign and Domestick. The phrase "by the News-Book" may mean that stock prices are affected by the news of the day or that they are listed in the newspapers. Considering the whole context of the triplet here, the latter meaning seems more likely. See also Works, XIV, 619:30.
31 free of. Probably, "allowed the use of" (OED, sense 29b of the adjective, citing The Hind and the Panther, III, 1245); possibly, "become freemen of" the gamblers' guild headquartered at Wager-Hall (sense 29a).
32 Policy. Insurance policy (OED).
32–34 Lyons … Paris … Rome. Marine insurance of cargo may be written to cover its carriage by land as well as by sea. Lyon, at the confluence of the Rhone and the Saone, was a major center on the route from Paris to Rome. It was a city of silk weavers who in Dryden's day controlled the silk trade of western Europe.
37 another Ottobuoni. As Scott notes (VIII, 139), Ottobuoni was the family name of Pope Alexander VIII, who had died in 1690 and whose successor had not yet been chosen. Ottobuoni was an enemy of France, where the bishops had signed a formulary in 1682 declaring the pope fallible and subject to a general council, and where the king was insisting on his right to the income from vacant bishoprics and abbacies and to the presentation of their benefices. As the English were themselves at war with France, they needed an "insurance policy" covering the papacy's attitude toward France; previously they had not.
38–39 These persons take out insurance in expectation of a disaster, that is, as a source of income rather than a protection. Pepys records one such case: "a cheat entended by a Maister of a ship, who had borrowed twice his money upon Bottomaryne [i.e., pledging the ship], and as much more insured upon his ship and goods as they were worth [in fact, five or six times their worth], and then would have cast her away upon [some rocks off] the coast of France and there left her, refusing any pilott which was offered him" (Diary, 30 November 1663). A local official had the ship refloated and, after minimal repairs, a new crew sailed it back to London. Pepys went to the trial of the shipmaster (1 December), which he found very amusing.
45 The City. In the modern sense of the financial community in London; this passage is earlier than any cited by OED.
45 needs not your new Tricks for Breaking. I.e., there are enough causes for bankruptcy without the additional one of having to pay out huge sums in insurance money to cover a disaster.
46–49 These lines have a parallel in the epilogue to Cleomenes, ll. 19–20 (p. 86 above), but with a difference. There Dryden acts as a recruiter for the armed forces; here he says that if a "gallant" loses all his money because he has insured a project that has come to grief, he will be unable to fit himself out for foreign service as a volunteer. England was engaged in the Nine Years War with France (1688–1697), but see note to epilogue, l. 13 (p. 342 below), for the possibility that Dryden was suggesting that good Jacobites should join the forces opposing William in France and Ireland.
49 draw the Guinea. Probably, gamble; possibly, pay an insurance claim.
Oswald takes his name from a king of Northumbia (Milton, pp. 197–198), Aurelius and Conon take theirs from Aurelius Conan, said by Bouchart (Grandes Chroniques , I, 277–278) to have succeeded Constantin who succeeded Arthur as king of Great Britain. Alternatively, Aurelius may take his name from Aurelius Ambrosius (ibid., I, 232, etc.), and Conon his from Conan Meriadec (ibid., p. 200, etc.). J. M. Armistead ("Dryden's King Arthur and the Literary Tradition," SP, LXXXV , 57) suggests instead that Conon may come from Thomas Hughes's play, The Misfortunes of Arthur (1597), in which he is a "faithfull counseller." Albanact takes his name from Albanatus, said by Bouchart (I, 82–83, 88–89) to have been one of the three sons of Brutus, the grandson of Aeneas. Guillamar is perhaps Dryden's more euphonious form of Guortimer, the name of a British king (Milton, pp. 148, 151, 153), or of Gilomanus, an Irish king mentioned by Bouchart (I, 238, 240, 253–255, 260), whose name is spelled Gillamuri or some variation thereof in Geoffrey of Monmouth's History. Emmeline may take her name from Bouchart's name for Arthur's sister, "Anne or Emine" (I, 246; spelled Enime on p. 248). That Geoffrey does not call her Emine is perhaps further evidence that Dryden read Bouchart, but for the history of Arthur, not for the Saxon religion.
For the actors, see headnote (pp. 298–299 above). In the text, Philidel is sometimes male, sometimes female, leading Greenhalgh (p. 392, note to II, i, 107) to suggest that he/she is a hermaphrodite. More likely, Dryden wrote the part for a man or a boy and when it was given to Mrs. Butler he did not always make the necessary revisions. For other speculations, including a lengthy analysis of Philidel's function in the play, see Winn, "When Beauty," pp. 301–304. The term "spirit" used to describe Philidel and Grimbald means "devil" (see note to I, i, 68, p. 315 below). For Jeremy Collier's objections to Dryden's including "Syrens, and Devils" in the same play see Short View, pp. 188–193, and headnote (p. 301 above).
The "Scene in Kent" may be near Dover, for "this Barren-Down" in the first edition (I, i, 10, p. 12 above) could represent what Camden calls pg 313Baramdown in that vicinity. Camden says Caesar defeated the Britons there. (William Camden, Britannia, trans, by various hands and ed. and enl. by Edmund Gibson , col. 205; ed. apd enl. by Richard Gough, 2d. ed. , I, 318). Dryden's scene is part open downland (I, i, 10), part deep wood (III, ii, s.d.), at the seacoast (I, i, 15; V, ii, 53–55), below a castle on the edge of a cliff (III, i, 20) that has an easier approach on the south (III, i, 7). Presumably Dryden has in mind one of the castles on the Saxon Shore, that is, either Reculver, Richborough, or Dover. Richborough castle and Reculver are on cliffs 50 or 60 feet high, and look out to the east toward the Isle of Thanet, which Vortigern gave to the Saxons when they first landed in England (see note to V, ii, 53–54, p. 337 below). Richborough castle is at the eastern edge of the Canterbury downs overlooking what was once a channel of the sea but is now silted up. William of Malmesbury (Gesta Regum Anglorum [c. 1125], XI, i) puts Arthur's last battle with Modred there. Camden (I, col. 201–202; Gough's ed., p. 316) mentions the Roman fortifications, a great square with corner towers, the walls of which still survive in places to a height of 25 feet although the entire east wall has been lost to erosion of the cliffs. But Richborough would have been easier to approach from the west than from the south (Watling Street started at its west gate), and it was always in open country. Reculver was in Dryden's day and had been for years only a village (Camden, I, col. 196; Gough's ed., p. 313); although Camden mentions the foundations of Roman fortifications there (I, col. 220), the principal structure on the site was a church, now ruined. In Dryden's day the site still had its full square of walls, and those on the north or sea side, now entirely eroded, appear to have stood nine or more feet high. Also, Reculver had a forest to its west and south. Dover Castle (Greenhalgh's choice, p. 373) has a cliff on its south side and is most easily approached from the north, where there is open downland and was in Dryden's day woodland as well. It is possible that the theatrical management adapted for this play the view of Dover Castle from the sea that had been painted for Albion and Albanius, III, i (see Works, XV, 42). The frontispiece of The History of the League, reproduced as the frontispiece of Works, XVIII, gives a view of Dover looking out to sea, in which Dover Castle is represented by a lighthouse, successor presumably to what is now called the Roman pharos which by Dryden's day had been shortened and made a bell tower for the church of St.-Mary-in-the-Castle. The engraving shows both open and wooded areas. On the whole, then, if Dryden had a real place in mind, Dover Castle seems the most likely. (We have received help in compiling this note from Brian Philp, FSA, director of the Kent Archaeological Rescue Unit.)
Armistead ("Dryden's King Arthur," pp. 55–56) believes that Dryden's descriptions of the place combine "Baunsedowne" (Michael Drayton, Poly-Olbion [1612, 1613], p. 201, identified by John Selden in his note to Drayton as Badon Hill or Bath), "the wood Calidon" (William Winstanley, England's Worthies , p. 12), and "the Castle called Guynien" (John Leland, Assertio inclytissimi Arturij regis Britanniae , trans. R. Robinson as A Learned and True Assertion of the Life of Prince Arthure ; repr. in Christopher Middleton, The Famous History of Chinon of England, ed. pg 314William Edward Mead , p. 21). Armistead also says that the account in the Restoration closest to what Dryden describes is in Hugh Paulin Cressy, The Church-History of Brittany (1668), p. 219. Cressy says that Mt. Badon is now called Bannesdown, which rises above Batheaston, on the northeastern outskirts of Bath, and "where to this day are seen rampires and trenches." It is now called Little Solsbury Hill, a National Trust property on which is an Iron Age hill-fort. According to Nennius, Historia Britonum, 50, these are the sites of Arthur's seventh, eighth, and twelfth battles against the Saxons.
6 Ten set Battles. Dryden adopts the story that Arthur fought the Saxons twelve times (Milton, p. 164, on the authority of Nennius' Historia Britonum). King Arthur then concerns the eleventh and twelfth battles, the last of which Dryden turns into a single combat between Arthur and Oswald under the eyes of the opposing armies.
10–4 From … Wounds. Contradicted by ll. 31–39.
10 From Severn's Banks. See also II, iv, 58–59 (p. 33 above). In supposing that the Saxons under Oswald had extended their hegemony to the Welsh border in Arthur's time, Dryden follows Geoffrey of Monmouth more closely than he does Milton, who notes (pp. 157–162) that Hengist's son Oisc, who Oswald is supposed to be (see I, ii, 4, p. 17above), was satisfied to rule in Kent, and that it was other Saxon leaders who conquered the country to the west.
10 this Barren-Down. Q1 reads "this Barren-Down," as if it were the name of a place, which indeed it may be; see note to Dramatis Personae (pp. 312–313 above).
14 dishonest. "Dishonourable, discreditable, misbecoming, shameful, ignominious" (OED).
15 no further Ground. Dryden perhaps has in mind a passage in Milton (p. 153): "the Saxons, by whomsoever [Vortigern or Guortimer], were put to hard shifts, being all this while fought withall in Kent, their own allotted dwelling, and sometimes on the very edge of the Sea."
21 the Patron of our Isle. See also V, ii, 203 (p. 65 above). Donald Attwater (Enc. Br., 10:183) says the date at which St. George became the patron saint of England is unknown but is probably about the time when Edward III chose him as patron of the Order of the Garter, i.e., c. 1348. Ashmole (The Institution … of the … Order of the Garter , p. 188) found the first official reference to St. George as the patron of England in a patent issued by Edward III two years after he had (by Ashmole's calculation) founded the order.
22 A Christian, and a Souldier. See V, ii, 204 (p. 65 above). The legend of St. George as Dryden knew it combined the lives of two men, one of whom rose to the rank of tribune in the imperial guard of Diocletian, for which circumstance St. George became the patron of soldiers.
23–24 St. George of Cappadocia's Day. April 23.
25 Rubrick. "A red-letter entry (of a saint's name) in the Church calendar; hence, a calendar of saints" (OED).
31–39 The picture of Oswald contradicts ll. 10–14.
33 round. Possibly a synonym for "quick," possibly meaning "easily," "sturdily," "whirling," or "circling."
36–39 "The Germans, the most glorious of all now extant in Europe for their morall and martiall vertues" (William Camden, Remaines, 6th ed. , p. 20, quoted by Samuel Kliger, The Goths in England , p. 75). "The Saxons were a barbarous and heathen Nation, famous for nothing else but robberies and cruelties done to all their Neighbours both by Sea and Land; in particular to this Island [Britain]. … They … possess'd … by intrusion all that Coast of Germany and the Nether-lands, which took thence the name of old Saxony, lying between the Rhene [Rhine] and Elve [Elbe], and from thence as far as Eidora [Eder], the River bounding Holsatia, though not so firmly, or so largely, but that their multitude wander'd yet uncertain of habitation" (Milton, pp. 142–143). Dryden has amalgamated both points of view.
44–45 the Heiress of Cornwall. According to Bouchart (Grandes Chroniques, I, 255). Arthur's wife Guennaran was of a noble Roman family, but she was raised by Cador, Duke of Cornwall.
46 Blind Bargain. Probably reckless transaction (OED, blind, bargain) or bad deal. Collier, Short View, p. 169, said that Albanact's pun "is much about as witty as" Sancho's awful puns in Love Triumphant.
55–58 Milton (p. 174) writes similarly that in the 44 years of peace between the Britons and the Saxons following Arthur's twelfth victory, the British kings "were fouly degenerated to all Tyranny and vitious life"; he then gives details from Gildas' De Excidio … Britanniae, of which Dryden makes no use.
64 As a Forgiving God. Christians may say that their God is "a forgiving God," but they do not normally compare one another to "a God." If Dryden here means a pagan god, then he forgot that Conon is a Christian (ll. 20–22), or made him a Christian when revising and forgot this passage, or felt that the heroic language of paganism was appropriate in his and his daughter's mouths; for Emmeline, see III, ii, 99 (p. 40 above).
68 Aiery Legions. "As for what I have said of Astral or Aerial Spirits it is no invention of mine, but taken from those who have written on that Subject" (preface to Tyrannick Love in Works, X, 112; see also ibid., X, 405). "Aeriall Spirits or Devils are such as keep quarter most part in the air" (Robert Burton, Anatomy of Melancholy , I, ii, I, i [1938 ed., p. 166], cited by OED, aerial); for more details see Works, X, 421–422, 424. Angels, devils, and other such beings were thought of as armies organized in legions (see Jesus' words in Matthew 26:53), but there was no agreement as to the number of these beings in a legion (see Works, X, 422).
69 Art … charms. More or less synonymous, but the magician's "art," magic, is the more general term, for a magician is also a seer and prophet and controls demons.
72 Dryden's addition to his Arthurian material. The early life of the historical Arthur is unknown. The legendary Arthur, illegitimate son of Uther Pendragon, was raised by Sir Antour (Arthour and Merlin) or Sir Ector (Thomas Malory, Morte Darthur).
79 like Love, Born Blind. As Emmeline was born blind, she is like love, which is blind (Tilley L506, first citation c. 1475).
83 Gross. The main body of an army or fleet (OED, citing this passage).
87, 89 Beauteous Horror … Beauteous Emmeline . Greenhalgh (p. 377) thinks Arthur's use of the same words to describe an army and his beloved shows "the balance and conflict throughout the work between Arthur the King and Arthur the lover (cf. particularly, II, iv, 2–5 [p. 31 above])."
92 chear. "Exhort to bravery" (OED), as noted by Greenhalgh (p. 378).
99 Star-like Night. Because this is a complicated image, it is immediately explained in a chiasmus: "Night" because "dark … But full of Glory," and "Star-like" because stars "see not, when they shine." Emmeline's blindness is like Milton's, a condition called gutta serena, in which the eye appears normal and even beautiful.
120 Although Dryden makes no more of this idea here but instead turns to Emmeline's "seeing" of sounds, he reintroduces it in II, ii, 27–31 (p. 28 above).
141–151 Winn (p. 450) thinks Emmeline's words reflect Dryden's distaste for war, which he finds also (p. 463) in the preface to Examen Poeticum (1693; Works, IV, 374). But see II, iv, 20–22, and V, ii, 223–224 (pp. 32, 66 above); also Dryden's praise of English gallantry in Ward, Letters (p. 120). The poem to which Dryden refers in the letter, To My Honour'd Kinsman (1700), both praises British successes and says they are too dearly bought (ll. 150–170; Works, VII).
143 how the sound … looks. Dryden remembers what John Locke had recently said in An Essay Concerning Humane Understanding (1690), III, iv, 11: "His Friend demanding what Scarlet was? the blind Man answered, It was like the sound of a Trumpet" (quoted in OED, scarlet).
S.d. The three Saxon Gods, Woden, Thor, and Freya placed on Pedestals. "There are amongst the old heathenish Goths, … three Gods that they worshipped above the rest. The first whereof was the most mighty Thor; who was worshipped in the middle of their dining rooms, with a cushion put under him; on both sides of him, were two other dieties, namely Odhen, and Frigga. … [Odhen's] place is next to Thor himself on his right hand" (Olaus Magnus, A Compendious History of the Goths, trans. J. S. , p. 38). For the names Woden and Frea instead of Othen and Friga see notes to 11. 5 and 57.
pg 317Thomas Gray said of Henry Giffard's production, which he saw in 1736, "the second scene is a British temple enough to make one go back a thousand years, & really be in ancient Britain" (Correspondence, ed., Paget Toynbee and Leonard Whibley , I, 37). In the Christie-Vick production, on the contrary, the scene was a sacred grove without statues, as shown in King Arthur brochure, p. 18 (the figure in the foreground is Oswald, those in the background are to be human sacrifices; see note to l. 18). In the Holman-O'Dette-Edwards production the scene was a roofless structure with ruined statues in it.
1–2 Osmond the magician acts as high priest in accordance with Magnus' account of "Methorin, a notable Magician, … the chiefe Priest of the Gods, [who] did so distinguish their sacrifices and ceremonies, and so order them, that a distinct honour and offering should be observed to every God" (Compendious History, p. 39).
2 Because your Army waits you. "The Goths were wont when they were going to Battel, to sacrifice their horses upon Altars" (ibid., p. 41).
4 my Father Hengist's death. Dryden follows Bede and Milton in making Hengist a Saxon: "The Saxons … furnish out three long Gallies … under the conduct of two brothers, Hengist and Horsa" (Milton, p. 145; see also Bede, Historia Ecclesiastica, ed. Abraham Wheelocke , p. 58). He disregards Bede and Milton in making Oswald Hengist's son: "Four years after [Ella the Saxon landed in England] dy'd Hengist the first Saxon King of Kent. … His son Oeric surnam'd Oisc, … succeeded him, and sate content with his Fathers winnings" (Milton, p. 157; see Bede, Historia Ecclesiastica, p. 121).
5 Father of Gods and Men. See Milton (p. 145): "Hengist and Horsa [were] descended in the fourth degree from Woden; of whom, deify'd for the fame of his acts, most Kings of those nations derive thir pedigree" (see also Bede, Historia Ecclesiastica, p. 58).
6 Courser. According to Saxo Grammaticus (p. 37), Woden rode a white horse (Stallybrass, III, 939).
11–12 spell your Saxons, / With Sacred Runick Rhimes, from Death in Battle. This passage is the only one cited by OED for "spell" in the sense of "protect by means of a spell or charm." For "runic" see William Nicolson, "A Letter from Mr Nicolson to Sr Wm. Dugdale; concerning a Runic Inscription on the Font at Bridekirk," Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society, Vol. XV, no. 178 (December 1685), p. 1293 (cited by OED): "These kind of Characters are well enough known, (since Ol. Wormius's great Industry in making us acquainted with the Literatura Runica), to have bin chiefly used by the Pagan Inhabitants of Denmark, Sweden, and the other Northern Kingdomes; and … we are sufficiently assured, that the Heathen Saxons did also make use of these Runae." Jacob Grimm lists prevention of death in battle, sharpening one's weapons, and blunting enemy weapons (see l. 13) as things runes can do (Stallybrass, III, 1226–1227). Presumably Dryden got his information from Olaus Wormius, i.e., Ole Worm, Danica Literatura Antiquissima, Vulgo Gothica Dicta, Luci Reddita (1636; 2d ed. enl., 1651), also issued as part of Worm's Antiquitates Danicae (1651).
13 blunt the Britons Darts. "One virtue ascribed by Odin to the Runic pg 318characters was to blunt the weapons of an enemy" (Scott, S-S, VIII, 148); see also Jacob Grimm in note to ll. 11–12.
15+ s.d. Grimbald … arises. In Dorset Garden Grimbald probably came up through a trapdoor. In the Nottingham revival (1956), he emerged from an altar, whose cloth front collapsed at the same time as a flash was detonated beside it (Hitchman, "King Arthur," p. 125). It seems likely that in Dorset Garden also such a flash with attendant smoke might have accompanied Grimbald's rising, for he vanishes with a flash in II, i, 108+ s.d. (p. 26 above). In the Drury Lane production in 1842, "The spirit Grimbald being summoned, the scene, by a most ingenious contrivance, becomes converted into masses of cloud, leaving an aperture, from which Grimbald glides on an inclined plane" (review in The Times quoted by Summers, VI, 237). In the Christie-Vick production, Grimbald flew down from above and remained suspended in the air, as shown in King Arthur brochure, p. 48. Gray describing Giffard's production approached it less analytically, writing that "the inchanted part of the play, is not Machinery, but actual magick" (Correspondence, I, 37).
18 Fools. Grimbald's and no doubt Dryden's analysis. Human sacrifices were chosen by lot (even kings might be chosen). "And … that man thought himself happy who was to die, by being sacrificed. … For they thought that those who departed thus did not die at all." They believed in immortality. If those sacrificed died quickly, it was a good omen. They might be drowned or thrown onto spears held upright (Magnus, History of the Goths, pp. 40–41). Caesar's Gallic War, VI, 16, also says the Gauls offered human sacrifices before going into battle.
20 Mother Earth. As Grimm noted (Stallybrass, I, 251–252), Tacitus (Germania, XL) says the Germans worshiped Nerthum, id est Terram matrem, "Nerthus, or Mother Earth" (Loeb).
23 Inspect their Intrails. Dryden seems to have mixed a little Roman practice with a German one (see Summers, VI, 558–559).
24 Bloud we must have. "The Goths alwaies highly honoured him [Othen] to pacifie him, namely with the death of their Captives, for they supposed that the Ruler of Warrs would be pleased most with mans blood" (Magnus, History of the Goths, p. 38). As for Grimbald's needing blood if he and his fellows are not to be dumb, Summers (VI, 559) cites Odyssey, XI, 95–96, 145–148, 230–232, where the ghost of Tiresias the seer says that if Ulysses gives blood to him and the other ghosts they will speak truthfully. See also The Spanish Fryar, V, i, 88–90 (Works, XIV, 183), and Cleomenes, III, iii, 72–73 (p. 124 above). Again, Dryden seems to be mixing details from various systems of belief.
25–45 Here Philidel is male.
40 drein'd. Took the moisture from (OED).
43 Red Cross Banners, See Ashmole (Institution, p. 188): "it seems King Arthur paid St. George particular honors, for he advanced his Picture in one of his Banners." Dryden's red cross is presumably St. George's.
46 propitiate Hell. See ll. 24, 47. Grimbald is a demon, but the scene is a temple of gods who lived in Valhalla, and the following invocation is to them, not to Grimbald. Dryden seems not to have noticed the contradiction or not to have thought it worth resolving.
48–64 As pointed out in headnote (p. 292 above), these lines are a miniature Pindaric, an appropriate mode for the wild Saxons, while not demeaning them. In preface to Sylvæ Dryden described the Pindaric as "a noble sort of Poetry" (Works, III, 18). For Purcell's music here see App. A (pp. 479–481 below). Thomas Gray said of it, "the songs are all Church-Musick" (Correspondence, I, 37). In general, such alterations as Purcell made are worth attention as we seek to visualize the stage production, and here they solve a puzzle in Dryden's text, which, unemended, gives ll. 48–50 to Grimbald. Dryden's Dramatis Personae (p. 11 above) says John Bowman took the part of Grimbald. One seventeenth century manuscript of the musical score, however, says Bowman sang ll. 52–54. If as the music suggests Purcell intended three priests to sing here, then, as Greenhalgh points out (p. 358), Bowman still had to make a quick change of costume from Grimbald to the Second Priest.
49–50 A Milk white Steed, in Battle won, / We have Sacrific'd. As Grimm notes, in Tacitus, Annals, XIII, 57, "we learn that the Hermunduri sacrificed the horses of the defeated Catti" (Stallybrass, I, 47). Dryden may have chosen a white horse here because of Woden's white horse (see note to l. 6) or because Tacitus, Germania, X, tells of sacred white horses whose neighing and snorting were interpreted by diviners: "the priests they regard as the servants of the gods, but the horses are their confidants" (Loeb).
52, 56 Vers. In Purcell's music, new soloists take over at these points.
53 thundring. Thor was the god of thunder. Purcell set the word to a coloratura of twenty-two notes.
54 such another. I.e., white and captured. Dryden seems to have chosen the color for himself.
56 of Friezeland breed. I.e., a black cart horse (see Peter Edwards, The Horse Trade of Tudor and Stuart England , pp. 39, 50). Dryden may have chosen a black horse in order to provide a contrast to the white horses, but Magnus (History of the Goths, p. 39) says of a lesser god, Froe: "because he was held to be the God of blood, dark sacrifices were offered unto him." The Greeks and Romans also sacrificed black animals to deities of the underworld.
57 Woden's Wife. As noted by Grimm (Stallybrass, I, 128, 134), Frea was so called by Paulus Diaconus (Historia Romana, I, 8), by Matthew of Westminster, Flores Historiarum (1573, p. 82), and by William of Malmesbury (Gesta Regum Anglorum, in Rerum Anglicarum Scriptores Post Bedam Praecipui, ed. Sir Henry Savile , p. 9). Richard Verstegan (Restitution of Decayed Intelligence, p. 84) writes: "Some do call her Frea and not Friga, and say she was the wife of Woden, but she was called Friga." Grimm (Stally- pg 320brass, I, 299–308) also distinguishes her from Frigg, who is now accepted as the true wife, if such she can be called.
61–62 I.e., Woden has spoken favorably through the neighing of the horse (see note to ll. 49–50).
61 2 Voc. Two voices, not a second voice. It is possible that Dryden was the one who decided how many voices were to sing; see quotation from Thomas Shadwell in headnote (p. 290 above). In Purcell's music the second voice does not join the first until l. 62.
65 Lot. See note to l. 18.
65 Tanfan. Aylette Sammes, Britannia Antiqua Illustrata (1676), p. 451, quotes "Mr. Sheringham," i.e., Robert Sheringham, De Anglorum Gentis Origine Disceptatio (1670), p. 335, as writing of "Tanfan the God of Lots" (Sammes's translation).
66 See note to l. 18; but some suppose the words are addressed instead to those who are to fight the coming battle.
82 Juice. Presumably cider, which in England is an alcoholic beverage produced particularly in Herefordshire. Possibly "Juice" is used loosely for ale (cf. V, ii, 144, p. 63above), but it is not likely to mean wine, since for Dryden the Germans are the great wine bibbers (see The Kind Keeper, I, i, 44–48 [Works, XIV, 10]).
82+ s.d. Saxons are led off … to be Sacrific'd. The accounts of human sacrifice in Tacitus, Germania, IX and XXXIX, cited by Grimm (Stallybrass, I, 44) and by Summers (VI, 560), do not identify the humans who were sacrificed or tell how many there were. Caesar (Gallic War, VI, 16) says clearly that the Gauls offered multiple sacrifices of captives, criminals, and even of the innocent. So does Magnus (History of the Goths, p. 38). But see note to l. 18.
S.d. behind the Scenes. In the French manner, thus partially obviating Lisideius' objection in An Essay of Dramatick Poesie: "what is more ridiculous then to represent an Army with a Drum and five men behind it; all which, the Heroe of the other side is to drive in before him" (Works, XVII, 39). Lisidius would have approved the Holman-O'Dette-Edwards production of the opera, which dispensed with the battle entirely.
s.d. Drums, Trumpets. Dryden had always been fond of drums and trumpets in his plays. "To those who object my frequent use of Drums and Trumpets; and my representations of Battels, I answer, I introduc'd them not on the English Stage, Shakespear us'd them frequently" (Of Heroique Playes, prefixed to The Conquest of Granada [Works, XI, 13]). Purcell provided thirty-five bars of instrumental music scored for trumpets, oboes and strings as an introduction to the singing that constitutes the whole scene, and some of this may have been played during the action described in the stage direction.
s.d. Excursions. Sallies (OED). Evidently the two sides come into view occasionally, ending with the Britons in possession of the stage. Perhaps Lisideius would not have objected (see preceding note), because an opera entailed a large corps of singers and dancers who could be pressed into service. The victorious Britons in the Christie-Vick production crowded the stage (see the King Arthur brochure, p. 18).
1–16 In the first edition the present scene has a page to itself, and to fill it the printer divided the song into four quatrains. In the second edition, the only reprint in Dryden's lifetime, the quatrains are run together, but again by the printer. A close reader might have deduced from various subtle parallels in metrics and wording that the true division is into two eight-line stanzas, as we recognized when we studied Purcell's music. In the music, the quatrains are designated Verse, Second Verse, Verse Third, and Verse Fourth, and there is a chorus after each, but the music for the first half of the piece is repeated in the second, except for small adjustments to fit the different emotion in the second half. For analysis of the music see App. A (pp. 484–486 below). Dryden's rhythms are similar to those in Pluto's "laughing aria" in Albion and Albanius, II, i, 116–123 (Works, XV, 34); compare ll. 1–2 here with ll. 116–117 there, and ll. 13–15 here with ll. 118–123 there.
1–4 Kinsley (IV, 2001) compares these lines with A Song for St. Cecilia's Day, ll. 25–32 (Works, III, 201); Winn, "When Beauty," pp. 278–279, compares them with the song "The Sea Fight" in Amboyna, III, iii, 36–59 (Works, XII, 40–41), esp. ll. 42–43.
1 Come if you dare. Zimmerman (Henry Purcell , p. 192) points to an article by "Bucinator" (trumpeter) in The Musical Antiquary (January 1911), p. 124, which points in turn to Walter Scot's True History of Several Honourable Families of the Right Honourable Name of Scot (1688), which mentions "Come if you dare" as a trumpet call preliminary to battle. It is therefore possible, as Zimmerman suggests, that Purcell based his music on that call or simply took it over. It is also possible that Dryden independently or in turn took his words "Come if you dare" in ll. 1 and 2 from the name of the trumpet call.
2 rebound. Echo (OED).
4 the double, double, double Beat of the Thundring Drum. Repeated from A Song for St. Cecilia's Day (1687), ll. 29–30 (Works, III, 202). "Double" means "repeated" or "quick" or "loud" or "deep" (OED), or all four; or perhaps it refers to the sounds of a pair of kettledrums. Purcell's music to this line is loud (so marked) and quick (mostly eighth notes), and in the solo rendering of the line "double" is set to the notes a″ and e″ each time (for the notes indicated by the letters see App. A, p. 447n below).
12 Victoria. Used as a cry of victory in more humorous circumstances in The Assignation, IV, iv, 113 (Works, XI, 379). When Purcell came to "Victoria, Victoria," corresponding to "The double, double, double beat" in l. 4, he set the same notes in a more appropriate arrangement, e″, a″, a″, a″, a″, a″ ("Vic-tor-ia, Vic-tor-ia"; see note to l. 4).
pg 322II, i
20 a Glimpse to. A glimpse of what it is to.
48 bear a Green-Sword show. Look like turf, as Summers notes (VI, 560); see ll. 94, 115.
54+ s.d. Shepherd. In Milton's Comus both Comus and the attendant spirit dress as shepherds (ll. 271 etc., 489+ s.d.). Accordingly, other parallels between this play and the masque are inevitable, though perhaps not all those noted below.
56–57 as I whistl'd out my Dog, / To drive my straggling Flock, and pitch'd my Fold. In Comus, when the two brothers are benighted and lost in the wood, the younger says they would feel more comfortable "might we but hear / The folded flocks penn'd in their wattled cotes, / … Or whistle from the lodge" (ll. 343–346). Dryden visualizes a movable fold for the flock.
60–61 long Neighbourhood by Day / Has made these Fields familiar in the Night. Comus says to the Lady benighted in the wood, "My daily walks and ancient neighbourhood" have taught him his way and will allow him to guide her if she wishes (l. 314).
66–67 Lights / Wafted. Will-o'-the-wisps. Greenhalgh, pointing to l. 89, says (p. 392) that "wafted" means "waved" (OED). The first example in OED of "waft" in the sense of "carry (something) through the air or space" is from 1704 (Pope's Pastorals), so that is not an impossible meaning here.
86–97 For analysis of Purcell's music see App. A (p. 488 below). We may also note Price's observation (Henry Purcell, p. 302) that by setting the song more or less at the top of Bowman's vocal range Purcell allows the interpretation that "Grimbald tries to sound as much unlike his usual gruff self as possible."
86 Moon-born. See OED, moon-calf: "a child born of the moon; a fickle, unstable person"; also "a born fool," citing Dryden's translation of Juvenal, VI, 158; also "a monstrosity," citing "Master Monster, … you perverse Moon-calf," in Dryden and Davenant's The Tempest, II, iii, 172–173.
94 Turf. See note to l. 48.
99 no falling Dew-Drops have. Considering l. 95, "the falling dewdrops have not" would seem to be the meaning.
107–111 In Dent's opinion (Foundations of English Opera , p. 210), pg 323these spoken lines help "by contrast to emphasize the supernatural character of the spirit choruses, without breaking up the musical unity of the scene."
112–123 For analysis of Purcell's music see App. A (pp. 489–490 below). As before, "2 Voc." (l. 115) means two voices, not second voice, and "3 Voc." (l. 120) means three voices (see note to I, ii, 61, p. 320above).
115 Green-Sword. See note to l. 48.
123+ s.d. Dent (Foundations of English Opera, p. 210) says that "a good effect is secured by making the characters leave the stage in the course of the last chorus."
7 I mean to die. Dryden says in the "Connection" to The Twelfth Book of Ovid his Metamorphoses (Works, VII) that a woman's killing herself for love is deeply moving. Threats of such a suicide as well as the act itself occur often in his plays. See note to Love Triumphant, II, i, 89 (pp. 406–407 below).
28–29 softest … Black. Developing an idea in I, i, 120 (p. 16 above). But note that Dryden had written the opposite in Don Sebastian, I, i, 291: "Blind Men say white feels smooth, and black feels rough" (Works, XV, 90); and in The Assignation, II, iii, 103 (Works, XI, 344): "your hand [taken in the dark] feels white."
39–64 Dent (Foundations of English Opera, pp. 210–211) sees these lines as "a good example of useful irrelevancy. There is no reason why a chorus of shepherds and shepherdesses should appear, but their songs and dances make a delightful point of repose in the action of the play, and are of great value in heightening the dramatic effect of the sudden abduction of the heroine by Oswald and Guillamar which immediately follows." Price (Henry Purcell, p. 302) observes that the country folk are Kentish and so Oswald's subjects, and concludes therefrom that "by paying their respects to Emmeline, they hint at a desire for a united Britain." The lines that introduce the music and dance are almost the same as those that introduce the dance in Act I of Amboyna, "Coll. Heark, Musick I think approaching. Beam. 'Tis from our Factory; some sudden entertainment I believe design'd for your return" (Works, XII, 16). Indeed, Dryden was using a device long familiar to him and his fellow dramatists, and used by him as early as his second play, The Rival Ladies, to introduce the masque in the third act (Works, VIII, 139–141), though with more relevance to the plot. For analysis of Purcell's music see App. A (pp. 490–493 below). Without the music, ll. 39–52 and 61–64 are hardly identifiable as dactyls, and so presumably are among those to which Dryden alluded in the dedication as forced on him by the music (see pp. 6:30–7:2 above, and headnote, p. 290 above). On the stage, gain far outweighs loss. Bruce Wood describes the music as "one of Purcell's most gracious melodies … instantly memorable … which must surely have stopped the show on its first few nights" (King Arthur brochure, p. 31).
54 a. On or on a (OED).
56 Tilley S398, first citation 1519; "shot" is the price of what has been eaten or drunk.
60+ s.d. Contracts. I.e., the "Marriage-Vows for signing" (l. 57). "That pg 324ceremony of spousals or betrothal which the comic dramatists usually designate as 'contract' … was either a promise to marry at some future time or a present acceptance of the marriage relation" (Gellert Spencer Alleman, Matrimonial Law and the Materials of Restoration Comedy , p. 5).
81 Passions … Oppress'd, are doubly strong. A commonplace in the plays, but always freshly expressed; cf. The Kind Keeper, V, i, 35–37 (Works, XIV, 77): "your coupled Spaniels, when they are once let loose, are afterwards the highest Rangers"; The Spanish Fryar, I, i, 346–348 (ibid., p. 120): "there is nothing so extravagant as a Prisoner, when he gets loose a little, and is immediately to return into his Fetters"; Love Triumphant, IV, i, 241–243 (p. 233 above): "you have giv'n my Soul so large a swing, / That it bounds back again with double force: / Only because you carried it too far."
5 He thinks he's scarce a Saver. To be a saver is to be compensated for a loss (OED, citing this passage; the word has a slightly different meaning in The Hind and the Panther, III, 344, in Works, III, 171, 417–418). That the balance is heavily weighted on both sides we see from Dryden's dedication of The Conquest of Granada, where he says that "an extream concernment for the honour of [one's] Country … [is] Heroique vertue" (Works, XI, 6).
6 sounds a Parley. See III, ii, 318 (p. 47 above).
10+ s.d. They meet and salute. In the Christie-Vick production Arthur and Oswald appeared on opposite sides of the stage mounted on horses and shouted at each other across the intervening space. Arthur appears on the cover of the King Arthur brochure.
11–1 3 Bouchart tells how Arthur fought the Piets and Scots (Grandes Chroniques, I, 253–254), but that Arthur and the Saxons joined forces against the Piets is Dryden's invention, based on the fact that Vortigern and his council "determin'd, that the Saxons be invited into Britain against the Scots and Picts" (Milton, p. 142; see also V, ii, 53–54, p. 59 above).
18 I call'd more Saxons in. See note to ll. 11–13.
20–22 See note to I, i, 141–151 (p. 316 above).
30–31 Tilley A139, first citation 1623.
48 I may be a God. Cf. "make me immortal with a kiss" (Marlowe, Dr. Faustus, V, i, 109).
53 Fate cut. According to Grimm, the idea of the thread of life cut by one of the Fates is not Saxon, but Norse and Greek (Stallybrass, I, 413).
67–68 See V, ii, 19–22 (p. 57 above).
72 Fate. See note to l. 53.
pg 325III, i
1 Unbrace. Saintsbury (S-S, VIII, 164) notes that the sound of a drumhead when not under tension is a muffled thump, traditionally a sound of sorrow. OED cites Tyrannick Love, I, i, 211 (Works, X, 123) where unbraced drums sound a funeral march.
2 Coast. The meaning may be no more than "place" (OED), but it may be the seacoast where they first landed, at the invitation of Vortigern (V, ii, 53–54, p. 59above), that is, the isle of Thanet (Milton, p. 146), no longer an island but forming the northeast corner of Kent. Greenhalgh (p. 400) takes the "Coast" to be at the Strait of Dover.
6 discover. Reconnoiter, explore (OED).
7 Southern Hill. See note to Dramatis Personae (p. 313 above).
9 Forbidden. Perhaps the sense is "cursed."
12 Pannick. "Sudden and excessive" OED, citing The Cock and the Fox, l. 731).
18 An Armed Winter. The same phrase occurs in Dryden's translation of Virgil's Aeneid, IX, 913 (Works, VI, 670), translating aquosam hiemem (Virgil, l. 671), literally, "a watery winter." It is not clear whether "armed" means "prepared to fight" or "strengthened" (OED, arm).
18 Inverted Day. I.e., night, or, if "Inverted" is a verb, then "made night," which is the inverse of day. Cf. The Twelfth Book of Ovid's Metamorphoses, ll. 188–189, "Shades of Night: / Inverted Nature" (Works, VII), translating tenebrae, "shadows" (Ovid, l. 136).
27 by tale. Synonymous with "number'd out" (OED).
31 Hadst thou been here. The words of Martha and Mary to Jesus, who had come to restore their brother Lazarus to life (John 11:21, 32).
35 There is no preparation for Conan's revelation.
45 restore her sight. Set her eyes right (OED, restore).
6 Walk. "A tract of forest land comprised in the circuit regularly perambulated by a superintending officer" (OED, sense 10 of the first noun; cf. "walks the Round" in l. 3); much used by Dryden, e.g., in The State of Innocence, II, iii, s.d., and V, i, 22; The Secular Masque, ll. 28, 55; The Wife of Bath her Tale, l. 34 (Works, XII, 110, 134; above pp. 268, 269; VII).
10+ s.d.Philidel has changed sex again. See II, i, 64–123 (pp. 24–26 above).
13 Elf. See note to I, ii, 42 (p. 318 above).
15 our Foes. The angels, who had won the "war in heaven" (Rev. 12:7–9).
31 fly a Fool to Mark. An image from hawking: find where a fool has taken cover and watch for him to emerge so as to pounce on him. See An Evenings Love, I, 55–58 (Works, X, 219): "Look on those grave plodding fellows, that pass by us as though they were meditating the reconquest of Flanders; fly 'em to a Mark, and I'll undertake three parts of four are going to their Courtezans." Also Marriage A-la-Mode, V, i, 25–27 (Works, XI, 298): "It vexes me to the heart, to leave all my designs with Doralice unfinished; pg 326to have flown her so often to a mark [seen her take cover and watched for her to emerge so as to pounce on her], and still be bob'd at retrieve [tricked at her second flight]: if I had but once enjoy'd her … Summers (VI, 560–561) quotes from Jonson's induction to The Magnetick Lady (163,2): "Fly everything you see to the mark, and censure it freely."
35–36 Greenhalgh (p. 404) contrasts Paradise Lost, I, 361–363, where Milton says the demonic names have been "blotted out" from the records in heaven, and thinks that Grimbald generally uses Christian terms in an un-Christian sense.
50 s.d. dragging. The chain is long enough for Grimbald to get behind the scene before Philidel does, as the preceding byplay with it also indicates. In the Holman-O'Dette-Edwards production it was as long as a lariat. Grimbald held its two ends, with Philidel in its bight. In the Christie-Vick production it was dispensed with. Grimbald walked off with Philidel following (see l. 47).
53 Birdlime. A sticky, stringy substance extracted from the bark of holly and used to trap birds (OED, birdlime, lime). Martin Lister, "An Account of the Nature and Differences of the Juices, more particularly, of our English Vegetables," Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society, Vol. XIX, no. 224 (January 1697), p. 377(cited by OED), gives details of its preparation: peel the bark in May, June, or July; boil it and then let it rot; make it into balls and carefully wash away the woody parts while tangling the stringy, sticky parts together. See also Amphitryon, II, ii, 103–104, "Love has laid a Lime-twig for me" (Works, XV, 259), and Cleomenes, III, iii, 108, "A Glue of Sloth to stick to my young Pinions" (p. 126 above). Magnus (History of the Goths, pp. 49–50) says that "a certain Magician called Gilbert" was bound "by his own Master Catillus, whom he presumed to insult over." "It was done thus, with a certain small Club, that was carved with the characters of the Goths or Russians, and was held forth, and taken in his Masters hands; for by this was Gilbert bound, and became unmovable, that neither by using his teeth to unlose himself, (for they clung together, as if they had been fastened with pitch) nor yet using his feet, could he yet loose."
70–74, 79–86 No music has survived, if there was any.
79–86 The giving of sight to Emmeline may have been suggested by the story in Bede of how the bishop and saint, Germanus, gave sight to a ten-year-old girl by touching her eyes with a small bag of saints' relics (Ecclesiastical History, Bk. I, ch. xviii). For Dryden's reading Bede see p. 6:10 above.
81 Films. Although the word had a technical meaning, for which see OED, Dryden is presumably using it loosely, for the actress will have had to pretend she had Milton's kind of blindness; see note to I, i, 99 (p. 316 above).
82 Humours. As Greenhalgh notes (p. 406), the meaning is "the fluid or semi-fluid parts of the eye" (OED).
83 Vapours. Again the word had a technical meaning, for which see OED, but Dryden uses it loosely for whatever may be affecting the "Humours."
93, I shall run mad for Pleasure. As Armistead notes ("Dryden's King Arthur," p. 58), Robert Boyle says that an eighteen-year-old girl blind from birth "was in danger to loose the eyes of her Mind" when she was healed, she "was so ravisht" with all she saw (Some Considerations Touching the Usefulnesse of Experimental Naturall Philosophy , p. 3).
94 Thomas Gray says that in Henry Giffard's production of 1736 the actress taking the part of Matilda was made to appear "more like a Devil by half than Grimbald," so that this line roused a laugh from which the audience only recovered at the end of the act (Correspondence, I, 37). In the Christie-Vick production of 1995, Matilda was made a comic figure by her headdress and postures, but this line passed unnoticed by at least one audience. Presumably Giffard's Matilda, like Vick's, played to the audience throughout the ensuing Frost Scene.
99 Either Dryden forgot that Emmeline's father is a Christian or, when making him so, he forgot this passage, or he supposed a Christian maiden might adopt pagan language as appropriate to her feelings.
108 For. See note to I, ii, 26 (p. 318 above).
117–136 Emmeline with the mirror is like Eve at the fountain in The State of Innocence, II, iii, 8–27 (Works, XII, 110–111), and so Dryden may give us here a picture of what he regards as innate in womankind.
119 draws. Moves (OED, sense 68 of the verb).
129 Shadows. Reflections (OED).
138 Noble Creature. Summers (VI, 561) notes a parallel in Shakespeare's Tempest, I, ii, 417–419, where Miranda, having seen Ferdinand, says she had never seen anything "so noble."
146–148 Well … Women. These lines may reflect Emmeline's character as Dryden imagined it, rather than his judgment on the female sex.
175–201 The music is lost, if there was any. It has been suggested that Dryden left this song in his text by accident after replacing it with the very similar words in IV, ii, 66–74 (p. 53 above). Edwards deleted this song and ll. 174 and 202 which give it its setting.
180 Clorinda. Greenhalgh (p. 407) notes that Dryden may have taken the name from an Ethiopian princess in Tasso's Gerusalemme Liberata (see notes to IV, ii, 86, 112, pp. 334, 335 below). There was also a song, Clorinda's an Excellent Creature.
255 Friend. As Greenhalgh notes (p. 408), the friend must be Guillamar.
258 stow'd … lodge. Synonyms (OED).
261 Paddocks. Toads. Summers (VI, 561) says the word is still in use in England.
270 frory. Congreve's edition (1717) substitutes the synonym "frosty."
273 farthest Thule. Dryden might have run across this familiar phrase in Henry of Huntington's History (in Rerum Anglicarum Script ores Post Bedam Praecipui, ed. Sir Henry Savile , p. 297, l. 59). OED notes that pg 328it is first found in Polybius' account of the voyage of Pytheas, and subsequently appears among many other places in Joshua Sylvester's translation of Guillaume Du Bartas (1598), "Thule's farthest flood," either of which Dryden may also have remembered.
274–275 disdaining Winters Bounds, / O'er-leaps the Fences. Winn, "When Beauty " p. 296, notes the parallel to Paradise Lost, IV, 180, 181, "disdain'd … o'erleap'd all bound," and The State of Innocence, I, i, 57, "o'erleap th' Etherial Fence" (Works, XII, 100).
276+ s.d. The Scene changes to a Prospect. Hitchman's description ("King Arthur," p. 127) of the Nottingham production of 1956 gives some idea of how the change would have been managed at Dorset Garden. At Nottingham the side and back scenes of the wood were drawn simultaneously to reveal a back scene of ice and snow; some of the scenery was moved by windlass, some by hand. Thomas Gray said of Giffard's production in 1736, "the Frost Scene is excessive fine; the first scene of it is only a Cascade, that seems frozen; with the Genius of Winter asleep & wrapt in furs" (Correspondence, I, 37). In the Christie-Vick production in 1995, trompe l'oeil flats of angular outline rose in ranks from the stage, giving an effective representation of piled-up ice floes. The Genius of the Clime and later the cold people picked their way forward through them dressed in long fur robes with hoods. See King Arthur brochure, p. 48.
277–329 Dent (Foundations of English Opera, pp. 212–213) says: "The Frost Scene is one of Purcell's most famous achievements. … [It] is nothing more than a masque, and has no real connection with the drama, though its ostensible function is to excite the passions of Emmeline by the presentation of Cupid's effects in a visible form." For analysis of the music see App. A (pp. 493–499 below). We may here note that Dent speaks also of its "bold contrasts of style, and the masterly piling up of the music to a climax at the end of the chorus 'Tis Love that has warm'd us'." Winn (p. 393) thinks the frost fair on the Thames in the winter of 1684–85 may have suggested the scene, and indeed the scene in the Christie-Vick production resembled contemporary pictures of the ice on the river, but Dryden could have read Magnus' chapter "Of Fairs upon the Ice" (History of the Goths, pp. 56–57) instead or as well.
277–280 Roger North (On Music, pp. 217–218) records that when Mrs. Butler sang what he describes as "a recitativo of calling" "she had the liberty to turne her face to the scean, and her back to the theater," and as a result "performed it admirably, even beyond any thing I ever heard upon the English stage." (The music repeats "What ho" a number of times, once with "ho" set to a coloratura of sixteen notes.) North says Mrs. Butler would never have allowed the auditors to see the contortion of her features required to produce such beautiful tones. He proposed that divas wear masks: "Thus they would [be free to] strain, and hold up the head, without which it is not possible to draw out a good and clear sound." Winn (p. 408) notes a parallel to these lines in Threnodia Augustalis (1685), ll. 470–472 (Works, III, 106): "So James the drowsy Genius wakes / Of Britain long entranc'd in Charms, / Restiff [sluggish] and slumbring on its Arms." Winn believes that pg 329Dryden had already written this part of King Arthur and borrowed from it for the poem.
277 Genius. Guardian spirit. A common enough word, which Dryden had been using since Heroique Stanzas (1659), l. 139 (Works, I, 16). More recently he had used it in Troilus and Cressida (1679), V, i, 64 (Works, XIII, 336). See the notes to these two passages (Works, I, 206, XIII, 562) and to dedication, p. 7:16 (p. 309 above). Purcell's music misleadingly designates him as the Cold Genius, and Gray too calls him the Genius of Winter, as noted above, "who upon the approach of Cupid, after much quivering, & shaking sings the finest song in the Play" (Correspondence, I, 37). He sings his first aria as if shivering.
296–301 In his second aria, the genius no longer shivers. Cupid has warmed him (see l. 310).
296–300 Dryden follows Aristophanes' Birds, ll. 693–702, where the birds say that only Chaos and Darkness and Night existed until Night laid an egg in the lap of Darkness, from which Love emerged and reduced everything to order; before that there were no immortals, say the birds.
305+ s.d. the Scene opens, and discovers a Prospect of Ice and Snow to the end of the Stage. Hitchman ("King Arthur," pl. 2) reproduces a photograph of the result in the Nottingham production (1956). A similar scene is called for in V, ii, 104+ s.d. (p. 61 above). How far such a scene might extend back of the proscenium arch we can only guess. Perhaps twenty to twenty five feet. Gray describes Giffard's production: "the Scene opens, & shows a view of arched rocks coverd with Ice & Snow to ye end of ye Stage; between the arches are upon pedestals of Snow eight Images of old men & women, that seem frozen into Statues, with Icicles hanging about them & almost hid in frost, & from ye end come Singers … & Dancers all rubbing their hands & chattering with cold with fur gowns & worsted gloves in abundance" (Correspondence, I, 37).
306–309 Purcell set these lines as a "Chorus of Cold People," who sing in the same shivering way as the Genius. Commentators on the music have noted a similar "Chorus of Tremblers" in Giovanni Battista Lulli's Isis (1677) IV, i, and C. H. H. Parry (Oxford History of Music, III , 302) adds "a shuddering chorus" in Marc' Antonio Cesti's II Pomo d'Oro (1667). Summers (IV, 550) notes that Dryden may himself have known of Isis and alluded to it in The Kind Keeper, III, i, 292–293 (Works, XIV, 48). It is therefore possible that he, rather than Purcell, is responsible for the conception of the frost scene in general and in detail.
310–313 Winn (p. 408) points to a parallel in Threnodia Augustalis, ll. 473–477 (Works, III, 106): "[Britain] the Spear already shakes. / No Neighing of the Warriour Steeds, / No Drum, or louder Trumpet, needs / T' inspire the Coward, warm the Cold, / His [James's] Voice, his sole Appearance makes 'em bold."
314–317 The chorus no longer shivers as it sings. In the Christie-Vick production, the singers and dancers took off their furs, revealing green and pg 330gold flowered costumes, sunflowers arose across the back of the stage, and the "ice floes" descended. See King Arthur brochure, p. 31 (the seated figure in the middle is Matilda; the Genius of the Clime stands behind her, Emmeline and Osmund are at the far left and right).
320 Grateful. Pleasing (OED).
322 Pretender. Suitor (OED), as noted by Greenhalgh (p. 411).
330–331 Cf. The State of Innocence, III, iii, 12, "Vain shows, and Pomp, the softer sex betray" (Works, XII, 118). Hence Winn, "When Beauty," p.297, sees a parallel between the Frost Scene and the dream Satan conjures up in Eve.
344 Spell-caught. A nonce word, according to OED.
348 read 'em backwards. By analogy with the then accepted idea that prayers read backward become malefic, we are to suppose that spells read backward become harmless.
350 Drudgery. Dryden's constant metaphor for sexual activity, found in the mouths of queens and commoners. See note to The Kind Keeper, II, i, 14 (Works, XIV, 395).
1 Force-full. Established by violence (OED, citing Dryden's translation of Virgil's Aeneid, II, 65).
15 Dryden usually puts the matter positively, as in Absalom and Achitophel, l. 80 (Works, II, 7): "The carefull Devil is still at hand with means"; and in The Spanish Fryar, I, i, 313–314 (Works, XIV, 119): "I see Souls will not be lost for want of diligence in this Devil's reign."
16 overseen. "Deluded (OED, overseen, 1)" says Greenhalgh (p. 412), but the meaning is more likely to be "reviewed" (OED, oversee, 3) or some military equivalent, because Grimbald has been reviewing the devils (see ll. 19–20 below).
1–150 As noted by Scott (S-S, VIII, 127) and others, Arthur's contest with Osmond's enchantments in the wood resembles Book XVIII of Tasso's Gerusalemme Liberata in its general outline. Tasso's Rinaldo undertakes to pg 331exorcise a wood whose trees are needed for lumber to build siege engines; he accomplishes his objective by chopping down a myrtle deep in the forest. Spenser based part of Guyon's temptations in the underworld upon Tasso, so there are also resemblances between Arthur's quest and The Faerie Queen, II, xii.
1–3 Oswald has recast his spells, as he said he would at the end of the preceding scene. In other words, some time is supposed to have elapsed between the scenes.
4–6 It is scarcely believable that Arthur can go where Merlin cannot, but the situation is somewhat parallel to Rinaldo's being able to go where no one else, not even a hermit, can go.
19 Musick, and the warbling Notes of Birds. Rinaldo hears similar sounds as he penetrates the enchanted wood (XVIII, 18). So does Guyon as he nears the witch Acrasia (II, xii, 70–71).
19 s.d. Soft Musick. The music is lost, if there was any. Holman and O'Dette used the minuet from Purcell's cantata "Hark, Damon, hark."
23–24 a Golden Bridge: / Perhaps a Trap. Rinaldo crosses a stream by a golden bridge that immediately falls down and is swept away by the water, now so much increased as to cut off his return (XVIII, 21).
In the Christie-Vick production, the bridge rose through a trapdoor and had a backdrop under it of a shimmering transparent material, which, as the stage was blue throughout the opera, sufficiently represented water. The sirens (see l. 27+ s.d.) appeared in the opening through which the bridge had risen, and Arthur leaned down from it toward them.
27+ s.d. to the Waste. In Tasso (XV, 57–66), the knights encounter sirens who expose themselves as Dryden describes (st. 59) and tempt by look and gesture (sts. 62, 65), and one of them sings (sts. 62–64). Spenser copied this passage closely in The Faerie Queene, II, xii, 63–68, as noted by Kinsley (IV, 2001), but his seductresses do not sing. The original sirens (in Odyssey, III) sang, of course, but their seductiveness was in their voices only, antique representations of them being birds with women's heads. In the Christie-Vick production only the heads and arms of the sirens were visible for the most part, their seductiveness being represented rather by the way they and Arthur reached out to each other, entwining their arms without actually touching (for a touch would have meant entrapment, as we see below, a convention ignored by Edwards, whose sirens left their stream and came to Arthur).
28–36 The music has not survived, if there was any. The words are similar to Tasso's (XV, 63). Edward Fairfax's translation of Tasso is as follows:
- This is the place wherein you may asswage
- Your sorrowes past, here is that ioy and blis,
- That flourisht in the antique golden age,
- Here needes no law, here none doth ought amis,
- Put off those armes and feare not Mars his rage,
- Your sword, your shield, your helmet needlesse is:
- Then consecrate them here to endlesse rest,
- You shall loues champions be, and soldiers blest.
37–46 For analysis of Purcell's music see App. A (pp. 499–500 below).
38 Sea-green Locks. See All for Love, IV, i, 235: "The Sea-green Syrens taught her voice their flatt'ry" (Works, XIII, 80, and note, pp. 432–433). For Dryden, blue and green are equally "Sea Colour" (see note 6 to The Sixth Satyr of Persius in Works, IV, 360). It might seem, then, that these sirens ought to be sea creatures, but the original sirens, in the Odyssey, were land dwellers, "sitting in the meadow." Dryden seems to have thought of sirens, Nereids, mermaids, and Scylla (as she is described in the Aeneid, III, 424–432) as all more or less the same kind of creature, in part, perhaps, because sirena in Spanish means "mermaid," and Virgil says that below the waist Scylla was caerulea, "sea-green" (Loeb), translated "watry" by Dryden (l. 550 in Works, V, 435). Tasso's and Spenser's creatures have golden hair.
42–43 These lines have some similarity to lines in Tasso's XV, 64. Fairfax's translation is as follows:
- But come and see our queene with golden crowne,
- That all her seruants blest and happie makes,
- She will admit you gently for her owne,
- Numbred with those that of her ioy partakes:
- But first within this lake your dust and sweat
- Wash off, and at that table sit and eat.
49 Is Honour in such haste. Dryden had been putting similar temptations in the way of his heroes since writing The Indian Queen (1665), III, i, 96–97 (Works, VIII, 204). See Aureng-Zebe, II, i, 532–535 (Works, XII, 191). To be tempted is not a Christian sin, for Jesus "was in all points tempted like as we are" (Heb. 4:15); sin accrues only when one gives in to temptation.
50 Bait. Seek refreshment. See An Essay of Dramatick Poesie (Works, XVII, 46): "we must refresh it [our spirit] sometimes, as we bait in a journey, that we may go on with greater ease." That here Dryden more specifically means "eat" is suggested by Tasso (XV, 64), where the temptress calls on the knights to eat (see note to 11. 42–43).
56+ s.d.-–74 For analysis of the music see App. A (pp. 500–502 below). Dent (Foundations of English Opera, p. 214) feels "the movement is much too long as a chorus, but if we regard it as a ballet with vocal accompaniment, its introduction here is most justifiable."
56+ s.d. Nymphs and Sylvans come out from behind the Trees. As Rinaldo nears a certain myrtle, the trees roundabout split open and nymphs emerge from them to sing and dance around him (XVIII, 26–29). Their song in the poem has no resemblance to the following song in the opera, except that both heroes are addressed as lovers. Sylvans are wood spirits.
56+ s.d. Base and two Trebles. Low and high voices. As Greenhalgh (p. 171) points out, Purcell set the words for sopranos, alto or countertenor, tenor, and baritone or bass, alone or in various combinations, with interruptions by the chorus, but Dryden is using layman's language, as in Mac Flecknoe, l. 46 (Works, II, 55): "The Treble squeaks for fear, the Bases roar."
56+ s.d. Song to a Minuet. Dance with the Song. The pieces of music topg 333which minuets were danced were quite short, and had to be repeated or combined before the prescribed steps of the dance could be completed. Dryden seems to have intended something like M1—M2—M1, the first minuet for the stanzas of the song and the second for the dance between them (see l. 65+ s.d.). Purcell wrote instead a massive passacaglia of 242 bars.
57–65 Purcell set ll. 57–58 and 60–61 for a countertenor and chorus (he omitted l. 59) and ll. 62–65 as a duet for soprano and baritone or bass and a chorus, with a long instrumental passage between ll. 61 and 62.
64–65 Cf. Tyrannick Love, IV, i, 129–130, "Pains of Love be sweeter far / Than all other pleasures are" (Works, X, 151). Winn, "When Beauty," p. 298, notes the parallel and, p. 297, the parallel purpose of Damilcar's song to the Frost Scene.
65+ s.d. the same Measure. I.e., another minuet.
66–74Purcell set this stanza for three sopranos and chorus. Price (Henry Purcell, p. 311) thinks the sopranos probably represented the three Graces (see l. 66).
75 Fantastick. Imaginary (OED).
79 This goodly Tree. As noted by Grimm (Stallybrass, I, 70–71), Tacitus often speaks of groves or trees regarded as sacred by the Germans (Germania, IX, XXXIX, XL, XLIII; Histories, IV, xiv, xxii; Annals, II, xii; when silva occurs in these passages, it may be translated "tree" instead of "grove"). Dryden would not, however, have known the evidence cited by Grimm that tree worship continued for an especially long time among the Saxons and Frisians (Stallybrass, I, 73–75).
80 Ringlets. Fairy rings (OED, citing this passage); see also note to l. 81.
81 Midnight-Sabbaths. See Dryden's insertion in his translation of Chaucer's Wife of Bath's Tale, ll. 5–15 (Works, VII):
- And where the jolly Troop had led the round
- The Grass unbidden rose, and mark'd the Ground:
- Above the rest our Britain held they dear,
- More solemnly they kept their Sabbaths here,
- And made more spacious Rings, and revell'd half the Year.
In short, Dryden seems not to have had in mind the traditional witches' sabbaths (OED, sabbath), even though Robert Burton, Anatomy of Melancholy, I, ii, I, ii (1938 ed., p. 168) had listed fairies among the "terrestrial devils." Burton continues, "These [fairies] are they that dance on heaths and greens, as Lavater thinks with Trithemius, &, as Olaus Magnus adds, leave that green circle, which we commonly find in plain fields, which others hold to proceed from a meteor falling, or some accidental rankness of the ground."
82 s.d. Blood spouts out of it, a Groan follows. Both Tancred and Rinaldo cut into enchanted trees in Tasso's poem, as Armistead ("Dryden's King Arthur," p. 61) points out. Tancred's tree bleeds and groans (XIII, 41), Rinaldo's only groans (XVIII, 36). Dryden is therefore probably not following Teutonic lore here, supposing he knew it, nor is he necessarily following Tasso. Grimm gives no Teutonic examples that Dryden could have known,pg 334but he cites Ovid, Metamorphoses, VIII, 742–776 (Stallybrass, II, 652–653). As Greenhalgh notes (pp. 418–419), bleeding trees and groans associated with them are also to be found in Virgil's Aeneid, III, 22–48 (ll. 32–67 in Dryden's translation in Works, V, 418–419). The parallel in Ovid, where Erysichthon cuts down an oak that bleeds and from which a nymph cries out, is closer than that in Virgil, where Aeneas pulls up some myrtle trees that bleed from the roots, and the groans come from the earth (but see note to 11. 90–92). Dryden and Davenant had made Alonzo in The Tempest, II, i, 42, say, "I pull'd a Tree, and Blood pursu'd my hand" (Works, X, 26). The note to this passage (ibid., p. 360) cites additional parallels in Ariosto's Orlando Furioso, VI, 26, and Spenser's Fairie Queene, I, ii, 33. In short, a bleeding tree was a widely diffused device for instilling horror, and Dryden need not have been consciously thinking of any particular source.
The stage effect would very possibly have been managed at Dorset Garden much as it was at Nottingham in 1956. The tree in the latter production had a gash in it backed by spongy paper, through which Arthur thrust his sword, and on the back of which a stagehand then squirted the blood (Hitchman, "King Arthur," p. 125). Animal blood would have been used at Dorset Garden (see Summers, Restoration Theatre, p. 202). In the Ghristie-Vick production an enormous tree descended on the stage, its square trunk curving to the right above Arthur's head and then left again. Arthur's blow did not touch it and no blood flowed from it. Emmeline's head and arms burst upward through the lower curve (see l. 92+ s.d.), from which she reached down towards Arthur. When Philidel waved her wand at Emmeline, she fell back within the trunk and Grimbald burst out the bottom on the right side into Philidel's grasp (see l. 136+ s.d.). After Arthur had struck at the tree once or twice more it ascended amidst thunder and lightning (see l. 144+ s.d.). The whole device was very effective, perhaps especially to those who were expecting something more like what Dryden's stage directions call for. But Edwards' management of the scene was equally effective. The tree was a flat at the side, not noticeable until Arthur struck at it, when a red light thrown on it revealed that its trunk resembled a female figure in pain. Emmeline stepped out from behind it. When Philidel waved her wand, Emmeline stepped behind the tree once more as Grimbald tumbled out from behind another flat, a bush, just behind her. When Arthur struck at the tree again it was withdrawn to the side.
86 Em. from behind. From the tree that Tancred struck came the voice of his beloved Clorinda saying she was imprisoned in it. It was all an illusion, he knew, but he withdrew and would go to the wood no more (XIII, 42–47). In Ariosto's Orlando Furioso (VI, 26ff.), Rogero discovers Astolfo turned into a myrtle by Alcina.
90–92 Tancred's hair stood up when the tree bled and groaned. See also Aeneas' response to the bleeding myrtle trees, "Mute, and amaz'd, my Hair with Terrour stood" (Dryden's translation, l. 40). And see Dryden's translation of Ovid, Cinyras and Myrrha (l. 224): "Her hoary Hair upright with Horrour stood"; and also his translation of Boccaccio, Theodore and Honoria (l. 146): "bristling Hair upright" (Works, VII). In short, the phenomenon was a commonplace in literature, as it is today in everyday speech.
pg 33592+ s.d. breaks out of the Tree. Like the nymphs in Tasso, but Dryden is combining Tancred's and Rinaldo's experiences and mixing in much of his own ideas.
94 fatal. Fated, doomed (OED).
112 double Kill me. Tancred was told by the seeming voice of Clorinda that all the trees held dead souls imprisoned and that he would be a murderer if he cut them in any way (XIII, 43).
119 Syrens Songs. See note to l. 38.
125 Summers (VI, 563) derives from Tasso, Gerusalemme Liberata (XVIII, 32), where an enchantress disguised as Armida asks Rinaldo to take off his helmet and embrace her.
129–131 Arthur speaks here, not necessarily Dryden, but that Adam fell into sin for love of Eve is part of the argument of Paradise Lost and The State of Innocence.
131+ s.d. Enter Philidel. Philidel saves Arthur as the Palmer saves Guyon (II, xii, 69).
133 plighted to a Feind. Irregular marriages were nevertheless legal and binding in Dryden's time (Alleman, Matrimonial Law, p. 34).
136+ s.d. the Descent. Saintsbury (S-S, VIII, 187) and Summers (VI, 563) gloss as the trapdoor in the stage.
144 thy Mistress. Used ironically for Grimbald, the false Emmeline.
144+ s.d. Strikes twice or thrice, and the Tree falls, or sinks. Dryden is clearly leaving the details up to the professionals of the theater. In the Nottingham production of 1956, a branch (only) of the tree had a pivot near its base and a cord attached to its top. As Arthur repeatedly hacked at the branch, a stagehand let it fall (Hitchman, "King Arthur," pp. 125–126). See also note to l. 82 s.d.
144+ s. d Howlings. Summers (VI, 563) and Greenhalgh (pp. 422–423) note that demonic yelling and thunder accompany Rinaldo's cutting down the enchanted tree. Dryden puts the noises after the tree's demise. Perhaps he was thinking of the death of Pan.
145 'Tis finish'd. After Rinaldo has cut down the tree all demons flee from the forest and all its enchantments end.
146 Native Honour of the Wood. Greenhalgh (p. 423) notes the phrasing in Fairfax's translation of Tasso (XVIII, 38): "The wood returned to his wonted state … Of horrour full, but horrour there innate." See also note to Love Triumphant, IV, i, 320 (p. 413 below).
159 whoop'd through Hell. Dorax in Don Sebastian, II, i, 298 (Works, XV, 111), says that if he were to betray Muley-Moluch he would be "whoop'd in Hell." Collier (Short View, p. 193) objected to this passage in King Arthur as contradicting the biblical picture of hell as a place of "weeping and gnashing of teeth" (e.g., Luke 13:28).
8 These words make Osmund a coward by the ethics of Dryden's heroic plays, where heroes always put love ahead of life. In The Indian Emperour (1667), for instance, the brothers Odmar and Guyomar, rivals for the Indian pg 336princess Alibech, in order to show their worthiness to be her husband gladly put their lives at risk, and Odmar loses his, in war against the Spaniards (Works, IX, 36–37, 54, 96, 111). Contrast also what Albanact says of Arthur, 11, iv, 4–5 (p. 31 above).
14 on the square. In battle (OED, sense 17 of the noun). Greenhalgh (p. 425) prefers "face to face" (sense 11). Or perhaps the meaning is only "fairly, without tricks," i.e., without magic, as in Secret Love, IV, i, 133, and Sir Martin Mar-all, I, i, 167–168 (Works, IX, 167, 215). Or perhaps it means "meeting fire with fire," as in The Character of Polybius (Works, XX, 22).
30 Æneas my Fam'd Ancestor. A hasty reading of Geoffrey of Monmouth's Historia Regum Britanniae, I, iii–IX, i, or of The Faerie Queene, II, x, might have given Dryden the impression that in the legendary history of Britain Arthur was a descendant of Aeneas; see dedication of the Aeneis: "[Spenser's] Prince Arthur, or whoever he intends by him, is a Trojan" (Works, V, 283). But as Dryden is painting his own imaginative portrait of Arthur, he can give him any ancestry he wishes. Bouchart, among others, says the first British king, Brutus, was the son of Silvius, the son of Ascanius, the son of Aeneas, but working backward from Arthur, we always come either to the unnamed father of King Octavius or the unnamed father of King Coell of Colchester (see Bouchart, Grandes Chroniques, I, 82–83, 200, for the former anonym, and Geoffrey of Monmouth, Historia, V, vi, or The Faerie Queene, II, x, 58, for the latter. Geoffrey [IX, xvi] says that Arthur was kindred to Constantine the Great, whose wife was, in the legendary history, the daughter of King Coell, and that he was also kindred to Maximus, whose wife was the daughter of King Octavius).
32 Fought. Verstegan (Restitution, pp. 69–71) describes the Saxon ordeal by "Kamp-fight, which in Latine is termed Duelium, and in French Combat." It was single combat. See also II, iv, 70 (p. 33 above). "Duellium" or "duellum" is the word used by Geoffrey of Monmouth (Historia, IX, xi) for the single combat between Arthur and Frollo, the Roman governor of Paris, which Arthur was extremely glad to engage in. It is therefore not necessary to look for a source in Aeneas' single combat with Turnus in Virgil's Aeneid, XII (Works, VI, 765–806), cited by Summers (VI, 563), or indeed in any special place, as single combat was both a literary commonplace and in Dryden's time still alive both in law and in ceremony. Members of the Dymoke family were still taking their places as king's champions at coronations, and trial by combat was still a legal recourse (see note to Cleomenes, IV, i, 28, pp. 382–383 below).
44+ s.d. Spunges. Summers (VI, 563–564) quotes similar directions in two of Thomas Killigrew's plays of 1663, The Princess and 1 Thomaso; the latter is quite specific: "[they] are both bloody, occasion'd by little spunges pg 337ty'd of purpose to their middle fingers in the palmes of their hands." The Christie-Vick and Holman-O'Dette-Edwards productions dispensed with this kind of naturalism, the former introducing in its place a certain amount of tumbling about and jabbing with the hilts of the swords such as audiences had become accustomed to see performed by stunt men in films and television.
44 s.d. equal Passes and Closeing. In equal combat neither fighter has a lasting advantage. A pass in fencing may be anything from a single stroke that evades or beats aside the opponent's weapon to an entire bout (OED, sense 9 of the second noun). In a close, the opponents cross weapons near their hilts, (OED), but the last sentence of the stage direction suggests that they grapple.
48+ s.d. A Consort of Trumpets. Several trumpets in harmony. See App. A (p. 502 below).
53–54 the Gift / Of Vortigern. Milton (pp. 145–146): "These [the bands of Hengist and Horsa], and either mixt with these, or soon after by themselves, two other Tribes, or neighbouring people, Jutes and Angles, … arrive in the … year … 450, receiv'd with much good will of the people first, then of the king, who after some assurances giv'n and tak'n, bestows on them the Isle of Tanet, where they first landed, hoping they might be made heerby more eager against the Picts, when they fought as for their own Countrie, and more loyal to the Britans, from whom they had receav'd a place to dwell in, which before they wanted." Milton's, and so possibly Dryden's, source is Bede.
56 Sacred to Freedom. This standard English view finds expression also in the dedication of the Aeneis (Works, V, 283): "I shall continue still to speak my Thoughts like a free-born Subject as I am; though such things, perhaps, as no Dutch Commentator cou'd, and I am sure no French-man durst."
79 three Christian Worthies. Scott (S-S, VIII, 193) gives their names, Arthur, Charlemagne, and Godfrey of Bouillon, and those of the other six, of whom three were pagan, Hector, Pompey, and Alexander the Great, and three were Jewish, Joshua, David, and Judas Maccabaeus. The citations in OED show that the number had been settled on by the early fifteenth century.
81 Routing Ages. This use of "rolling" is a few years earlier than any cited in OED (rolling). OED says the phrase may connote steady progress. The source is Virgil, e.g., triginta magnos volvendis mensibus orbis in Aeneid, I, 269, "thirty great circles of rolling months" (Loeb), translated "thirty rowling Years" by Dryden in 1697 (l. 366, Works, V, 355). See also Works, VI, 852.
83 Golden Oar, Unripe. See Annus Mirabilis, 11. 553–556 (Works, I, 80): "unripe … Ore … will be Gold another day." Dryden seems to have had pg 338his earlier poem much in mind in writing this part of King Arthur. The note in Works, l, 296, gives additional references to the idea that gold "grows," including 2 Conquest of Granada, III, i, 97 (Works, XI, 138).
87 once. One day (OED, citing this passage).
89+ s.d. It is possible that scenery prepared for the operatic Tempest in the Drury Lane repertory was used. In the Christie-Vick production, Aeolus appeared in the sky exactly like Jupiter as shown in Works, XV, facing p. 231, but riding a seagull. The four winds were dispensed with, but the rest of the scenery, for the first and only time in the opera, was much like what the original audience would have seen.
89+ s.d. the British Ocean. The North Sea, according to Annus Mirabilis, l. 124 (Works, I, 64), but Camden (IV, col. 961–964; Gough's ed., pp. 209–210) says the phrase means all the waters surrounding Britain.
90–214+ s.d. The variety of Dryden's meters is notable. For analysis of Purcell's music see App. A (pp. 502–513 below).
90–104 The song is based on Virgil's account of Aeolus and the winds he controlled (Aeneid, I, 50–141; ll. 76–202 in Dryden's translation in Works, V, 345–349). Purcell's music, which omits ll. 97–104, is especially dramatic here. It begins with agitated and dissonant instrumental music representing a storm at sea, amidst which Aeolus appears and calmly addresses the winds; as he commands, "Retire, retire, retire, retire," the instrumental accompaniment slows into serene harmonies representing quieted winds and placid waters.
100 Eurus. The east or southeast wind.
103 Hollow Rocks. See Aeneid, I, 81, cavum … montem, "hollow mount," and 139, immania saxa, "savage rocks" (Loeb).
104+ s.d. to the end of the House. See note to III, ii, 305+ s.d. (p. 329 above).
104+ s.d. An Island … sing . In the Christie-Vick production, the island was represented by two demi-semi-hemispheres of about a ten foot radius, each resting on one of its flat faces; one of the other flat faces had a dark plain surface, the third represented a chalk cliff, and the curved face represented a grassy hillside. When first seen, the plain faces were together and invisible, the two chalk cliffs faced the audience, and a shepherd and sheep could be seen in profile perched in the grass, altogether a good representation of the arched Shakespeare Cliff, so-called, visible from Dover Castle. Britannia did not appear (it has been suggested that she was a lay figure in the original production, since she says nothing and takes no part in the action). After country people came from the wings bringing parts of a model of the English countryside which they assembled across the front of the stage, fishermen came from behind the cliff to dance a hornpipe, as did Pan and the Nereid to sing and dance. Then the cliff rotated to expose three shepherds in all on its back, who sang ll. 111–120. Next the two halves of the hillside were folded back to expose the plain faces and the latter, which were hinged at the bottom, were lowered to reveal the interior of a barn, pg 339before which Comus and the peasants sang ll. 121–149. After the plain faces had been raised again, the two halves of the structure were separated to make a chalk valley through which Venus came forward to sing ll. 150–165, as shown in King Arthur brochure, p. 52 (the figure in the foreground is one of the dancers whose routine replaced the "round Country-Dance" Dryden calls for in l. 120+ s.d.). Finally the two halves were drawn together again and a woman and man sang ll. 166–196 in front of the joined plain faces, which made a semi-circle reminiscent of semi-circles before which the events of Act I had taken place (see the King Arthur brochure, pp. 18, 31).
107 Herd. Proteus' herd was seals (Odyssey, IV, 351), but in Annus Mirabilis, 1. 59 (Works, I, 62), Dryden had described it as scaly, so here it is probably synonymous with "Fishes" in l. 109.
109–110 A reference to the herring fishery, which was a major industry of the Dutch but was carried on along the east coast of Britain (see headnote to Amboyna in Works, XII, 261).
114 Pan, … in Arcadia. Pan "was originally an Arcadian god; and Arcadia was always the principal seat of his worship" (SCD). Arcadia, in the central Peloponnesus, is "the Switzerland of Greece" and, as OED (Arcadian) says, is here "taken as the ideal region of rural contentment."
116 Jason's Fleece. Q1 has "Jasons Office," which is hypermetric but would mean his service to his uncle Pelias in securing the Golden Fleece. The story is told in the Argonautica of Apollonius Rhodius.
117 British Wool. The cloth trade was a major English industry, Leeds being its most important center in Dryden's time, but it was in competition with the Dutch and the Irish. The Dutch imported undyed and unfinished English cloth and then sent the finished product back to England. The English cloth trade constantly sought government protection and received it in acts against the export from England of wool and fuller's earth and of woolen cloth from Ireland, in the Woolen Act, which required burial in woolen garments, and in an act against the import of cotton (Charles Wilson, Profit and Power , pp. 27–32; Macaulay, I, 328–330; the acts 18 Charles II, ch. 4; 30 Charles II, Stat. I, ch. 3; and see 12 William III, ch. 11.).
120 Tyrian. See note to The Secular Masque, l. 56 (p. 433 below).
120+ s.d. Comus. "Comus, the god of festive mirth and joy, represented as a winged youth, occurs only in the later times of antiquity" (SCD). Ben Jonson had introduced him into the masque Pleasure Reconciled to Virtue (1631), and Milton into his Masque (1637).
121–149 Greenhalgh (pp. 436–437) notes that W. M., The Female Wits (1696; facsimile 1967), p. 19, says "the Pudding and Dumpling Song" enlivened "Merlin."
122 Hovels. Probably more or less synonymous with "Barns" in the same line, i.e., open sheds (OED), and Saintsbury (S-S, VIII, 195), Summers (VI, 564) and Greenhalgh (p. 436) so understand it, but stacks of grain (OED) is also a possible meaning.
130–143 Jeremy Collier (Short View, pp. 193–194) objected to this passage (see headnote p. 301n above).
139 Pudding and Dumplin. All dumplings are puddings, but not all puddings are dumplings. Dumplings are made entirely of dough or enclose pg 340other ingredients in the dough. OED (pudding, sense 6a of the noun) gives a recipe from 1692: "In Puddens it is usual to mix Flower, Eggs, Milk, Raisins or Currants, and sometimes both Spice, Suet, the Fat or Marrow of Flesh, and several other things."
139 burn to. Adhere to the inside of, as it burns (OED, citing The British Apollo, II, no. 69 , "The Pudding burnt unto the Pot").
149+ s.d. a round Country-Dance. A country dance was an English as opposed to a French dance (OED). The term was especially used for dances in which the couples faced each other in lines, as in the Sir Roger de Coverley; hence Dryden's additional specification of "round."
150–165 All the musicologists cited in these pages point to the beauty of Purcell's music for these lines, rating it as perhaps the best of his songs. Contra the note in Works, XV, 379, Dryden is probably not making a political statement here, only a patriotic one, but he had associated the Stuarts with Venus in Albion and Albanius (see Works, XV, 50) and was to do so in The Secular Masque (see below, pp. 269–270).
150, 152 all Isles Excelling … Dwelling. See Albion and Albanius, I, i, 139–140. "Albion's dwelling, / All other Isles excelling" (Works, XV, 24).
152–153 Venus … will … forsake her Cyprian Groves. "The places where she was most adored were Amathus, Gythera, and Paphos, pleasant Mountains in the Island of Cyprus" (Gautruche, Book I, p. 52).
156 Jealousie. The meaning is probably "suspicion," as often in Dryden. 165+ caption. Mr. Howe. Probably John Grubham Howe (1657–1722), vice chamberlain to Queen Mary, who is better known as a political satirist. See POAS, V, 4n, etc.; p. 534quotes a letter of 1691 which says that Howe is writing "panegyrics upon his mistress."
174–175 Tilley A311, "When April blows his horn [thunders] it's good for hay and corn" (first citation 1670).
196+ s.d. a Warlike Consort. See App. A (p. 511 below).
196+ s.d. The Scene opens above, and discovers the Order of the Garter. See Albion and Albanius, III, ii, s.d.: "In the Air is a Vision of the Honors of the Garter, the Knights in Procession, and the King under a Canopy: Beyond this, the upper end of St. George's Hall" in Windsor Castle (Works, XV, 52). Very likely the same scene was displayed again. In the Christie-Vick production, the stage was cleared and against a blue sky with stars Honour appeared from above, as shown in King Arthur brochure, p. 52 (the figure at the top is Merlin in his chariot). The stage and the air in which Honour was suspended then filled with individual representatives of the full range of British society, women and men, past and present, appearing in no particular order but including a Norman conqueror, an Agincourt bowman, a Trafalgar sailor, a World War II aviator, a guardsman, a missionary, a policeman, a boy scout, a suffragette, a Land Girl from World War II, a waitress in a Lyons Corner House (a tea shop of about the same period), even an Orangeman (no hero to some) in his marching regalia, followed by troops of miners in their hard hats, fishermen, and farm women. The Holmes-O'Dette-Edwards production was much simpler, but as the fishermen, shepherds, farm hands, and lovers remained on stage after their pg 341preceding songs and dances, they too represented the whole English people. In both productions, Honour was clothed in the Union Jack, so that she was Britannia as well, and in the Boston production she had actually been Britannia seated in a chariot among her people until she came forward to sing. As it happened, the London performances came in the week before the fiftieth anniversary of VE-day, when the heroism of the whole English people was much in everyone's thoughts. The relevance of the scene to 1995 was further underlined in that production by having Arthur speak the last lines of the opera not to Merlin but, standing on a cleared stage, directly to the audience.
196+ s.d. Hero's. Heroes on the Restoration stage wore hats with plumes and high-heeled boots and carried staves (see Works, XV, facing p. 231, and Summers, Restoration Stage, pp. 265–269). So did Knights of the Garter (see Ashmole, Institution, facing p. 202and "The present Habits Ensigns and Badges belonging to the Officers of the Order" between pp. 234and 235). So these "Hero's" are Knights of the Garter, as in Albion and Albanius, III, i, 189+ s.d.–199+ s.d., III, ii, 7–8 (Works, XV, 50, 53).
199 Heav'ns High Abyss. See To Mrs. Anne Killigrew, l. 11, "Thou tread'st, with Seraphims, the vast Abyss," and The Hind and the Panther, I, 66, "th' abyss of light" (Works, III, 109, 125).
203 St. George. As noted at I, i, 21 (p. 314 above), St. George is also patron of the Order of the Garter. The opera is supposed to begin on St. George's Day (see I, i, 16–22, pp. 12–13 above); ending with this song tends to unify it.
205 Auspicious. Perhaps fortunate, but more likely giving promise of a favourable future (OED).
206 Love and Arms will plant. Dryden here alludes to one of the traditional stories of the origin of the Order of the Garter, which Ashmole (Institution, p. 179) records before rejecting them: "as to the occasion of its Institution, the opinions of Writers … are various: The vulgar and more general is, That the Garter of Joane Countess of Salisbury falling casually off, as she danced in a solemn Ball, King Edward hastily stooping, took it up from the ground; whereupon some of his Nobles and Courtiers smiling, as at an amorous action, and he observing their sportive humour, turn'd it off with this reply in French, Honi soit Qui mal y Pense; but withal added in disdain of their laughter, That in a short time, they should see that Garter advanced to so high honor and estimation, as to account themselves happy to wear it."
209 Foreign Kings. Ashmole (Institution, p. 189) lists them, starting with six emperors of Germany. Dryden may have had William III specifically in mind. For the possibility that Dryden is emphasizing William's foreignness, see headnote (p. 289 above).
213 Sceptr'd. Carrying staves; see note to l. 196+ s.d. Hero's.
218 our Wo. The sorrows and death of Arthur, as he appears in the romances, and perhaps what might be called the real birth throes of the England Dryden envisioned.
220 Anxious. Distressing, worrying (OED, first citation, Paradise Lost, VIII, 185). Scott's note to this line (S-S, VIII, 199) reads: "In this passage Dryden's discontent with the existing circumstances glances out."
pg 342221 Race of Hero's. The Knights of the Garter.
222 unseen Disasters. I.e., "our Wo" (l. 218 and note).
222 atone. Make amends for (OED).
2 Bowstreet-Beaux. Bow Street is the next street to the east of Covent Garden (l. 4), running north from Russell Street to (nowadays) Long Acre; in Dryden's day it stopped short of Long Acre in a cul de sac. Summers (VI, 564) says the beaux are both the residents of Bow Street [including Grinling Gibbons, the famous woodcarver, and Dr. John Radcliffe] and "the frequenters of Will's Coffee House … and … the Cock Tavern." Dryden's regular attendance at Will's, at the corner of Bow and Russell streets, is well known, as is the fact that from 1682 to 1686 he lived in Long Acre. There is a good map of the area in Highfill (I, 427) dating from 1686.
13 Campagnes. There may be a double edge to this reference: it may have been intended to suggest to Jacobites in the audience that they join the Irish in their current rebellion or otherwise take service abroad with James II. On 31 December 1690 a plot against William III had been discovered but the conspirators had been dealt with very leniently, and the fall of Mons to the French in April 1691 had led to open Jacobite demonstrations in London (see Macaulay, IV, 1999–2000; Luttrell, II, 2o9ff.). See also note to dedication, p. 6:1–2, and epilogue to Cleomenes, II. 19–20 (pp. 307, 86 above).
16–19 The writer of the note seeks a meeting in a nearby chocolate house where poor whores were accustomed to wait for penny-pinching theatergoers after the evening's performance because chocolate cost only threepence. Introductions were managed by the owner. If the man had to wait for the woman he might do so in an upper room where there were three mirrors. So we learn from the epiloque to John Crowne's Sir Courtly Nice (1685), ll. 27–42, at which time the establishment was a new one; from the prologue to Thomas D'Urfey's The Banditti (1686), ll. 15–18; and from the prologue to William Mountfort's Greenwich Park (1691), ll. 9–10. Dryden alone suggests that the man might seek to pay for no more than the drinks. Bridges Street is now called Catharine Street; the former Katharine Street, an extension of Bridges Street from Exeter Street to the Strand, has disappeared.
21 Token. Love token, gift, money (OED, senses 9 and 10 of the noun). Dreaming of money is still regarded as a good omen.
23 Town. Westminster.
29 This line is apparently the "Civil Inuendo" mentioned in l. 28, namely, that once married he will not object to affairs with others in the audience. We have accepted the line as indirect discourse, i.e., as having "that" understood at its head, and so have left it in italics.
33 half a Guinea. The price of a seat in the pit for Albion and Albanius pg 343(Works, XV, 341), and so possibly also for King Arthur. By a shopkeeper's standard of values, presumably, the gift was a compliment to the actress, for the price of an assignation made with a prostitute at the playhouse was much less, half a crown, that is, two shillings sixpence (see note to epilogue to Cleomenes, l. 36, p. 365 below). As the value of the guinea was not fixed at twenty-one shillings until the eighteenth century, we cannot make an exact comparison. By an actress's standard of values, on the contrary, the gift was only half enough for an assignation, as Dryden indicates in the prologue to Marriage A-la-Mode, l. 13 (Works, XI, 225, 491). The headnote (p. 298 above) points out that an admirer of Mrs. Bracegirdle, who spoke the epilogue, murdered one of her fellow actors, suspecting a liaison between them.
Although we need not doubt Dryden's assertion that a play about Cleomenes had suggested itself to him seven or eight years before he brought it to the stage,1 still we may suppose that he did not devote much time to its composition until more recently, perhaps not much before the première of King Arthur in May or June 1691.2 He was ill enough in August-September 1691 to hand over the completion of the last act to his young friend Thomas Southerne, who in the dedication of The Wives Excuse claimed half of it.3 Scott said the "deplorably bad" rabble scene shows that it is the last half which is Southerner.4 The Gentleman's Journal, written by another friend, Peter Motteux, announced in its February number (licensed 12 February 1691/92) that the play had been completed and was intended for immediate production.5 While waiting for the production, Dryden diverted his attention to the writing of Eleonora, which occupied him in February of 1692.6 He may also have been giving some time to The Satires of Juvenal and Persius, for Motteux, who announced in the February issue of the Gentleman's Journal that the translation was shortly to be published, announced in the May issue that it had been delayed to give Dryden time to translate not just two but all of the satires of Persius.7
After the historical Cleomenes, king of Sparta, lost the battle of Sellasia to Antigonus, king of Macedonia, he took refuge in Egypt, whence he sought to recover his kingdom, with or without Egyptian help. Merely the knowledge that Dryden's play was to be about Cleomenes in Egypt would have been sufficient for some people to conclude that it must have a political purpose. As we shall see, they had some grounds for their suspicions that pg 345Cleomenes would represent James II in France and that the play would elicit sympathy for James's plans to regain his throne. Arriving at such a conclusion, Queen Mary forbade the staging of the play on the eve of production, specifically on 9 April 1692.8 Dryden and the acting company were thereby faced with a considerable financial loss, and he, if not the actors also, took immediate steps to get the prohibition revoked.9 He tells in his dedication how he turned for help to his old friend the Earl of Rochester, an uncle of the Queen who had become her trusted adviser and who was seconded in this instance by his daughter-in-law, Lady Jane Hyde.10 In his preface he tells how Anthony Cary, Viscount Falkland, produced evidence that the play had been conceived while James was still on the throne.11 Rochester, Lady Jane, Falkland, and any others who could be recruited convinced the queen that she had nothing to fear, and the play opened within a week.12 The cast was of the highest quality, as Dryden acknowledges in his preface,13 and what else we know of the actors sheds important light on how they interpreted the printed text.14
Dryden claims in both dedication and preface that the play was a success,15 but datable performances are few. It was acted by the boys of Westminster School at Christmas 1695, about which time it disappeared from the professional repertory. The advertisement for a performance at Drury Lane on 8 August 1721 announced that it had not been acted in the past twenty-five years. No other performance is known.16
Obviously, an author can design a play before a change in the political scene makes him aware that his work can serve as propaganda for a cause dear to him, and James's cause was dear to Dryden. The queen's change of mind, then, must have rested on a conviction either that the play was or had been rendered harmless or that her government could ride out any storm the play might stir up.17 Perhaps also Dryden promised to support pg 346the war effort in his epilogue, as he had in his prologue to King Arthur,18 and to print the epilogue at the head of the play.19
The printed play was advertised in the London Gazette of 2–5 May 1692.20 Dryden had received 30 guineas for it on 6 October 1691.21 As printed, it included before the prologue Thomas Creech's translation of Plutarch's Life of Cleomenes.22 The first edition advertises on its title page the sale of Dryden's Works in four volumes. These were bound-up sets of earlier publications, including Cleomenes, provided with a collective title page dated 1691.23 Other collective titles dated 1693, 1694, and 1695 are known.24 No other separate edition appeared until modern times.25 The song in Act II was printed in Comes Amoris (1693) and in Joyful Cuckoldom (c. 1695), with music by Henry Purcell, and it continued to appear in songbooks and miscellany volumes well into the next century.26
In both dedication and preface Dryden says that the queen did not require him to alter the play, but he complains in the preface that the "Superiours of the Play-house" had cut out some parts before they had sent a copy to the lord chamberlain for his approval.27 It is presumably to these cuts that Luttrell refers when he says the play "has been acted with applause, the reflecting passages upon this government being left out."28 Dryden admits that the "Superiours" suspected, or feared the public would suspect, a political purpose on his part, and that he did not restore their cuts. What might the omissions have been? If the play is viewed as propaganda, then Cleomenes is James, Sparta is England, Antigonus is William, Ptolomy is Louis XIV, and Egypt is France. When the historical Cleomenes fled to Egypt, Antigonus dealt kindly with the Spartans and allowed them to keep their own laws. They in turn were properly grateful. Dryden, then, may initially have departed from history in picturing Antigonus or the Spartanspg 347more unfavorably. Ptolemy/Ptolomy,29 came to fear that Cleomenes was ready to conspire against his government and so put him under arrest. If Dryden wished to create sympathy for James, then perhaps he initially wrote more, or more pointed, lines expressing scorn for those who would not support the cause of liberty and the return of a brave and rightful king. When so much is doubtful, we may perhaps also guess that it was news of the playhouse cuts, leaked perhaps by someone unfriendly to Dryden, which frightened those who first approached the queen.
It has been said that Cleomenes came on stage at a time when Dryden was in desperate need of money.30 The evidence is that, on 16 January 1692, Elizabeth Dryden's nephew made her a present of £5 "in charitye," according to his account book, and that Dryden had hinted at financial need in lines 361–362 of Eleonora, published early in March.31 Dryden's quarterly tax on his house in Gerrard Street was paid on 16 January and the £5 may have been needed partly for that. But the tax was only eleven shillings, an amount that Dryden could seemingly have paid out of his rent receipts from his property at Blakesley in Northamptonshire.32 We do not know when the Earl of Abingdon rewarded him for Eleonora, but presumably it was on receipt of a fair copy of the manuscript, without waiting for publication. An unconfirmable story has it that the earl gave Dryden five hundred guineas.33 Consequently, we cannot be sure of Dryden's financial state in early 1692 or of how much it had to do with the writing of Cleomenes. In the preface to the play Dryden says he has lost his salary as poet laureate and historiographer royal and has only small financial reward from writing for the theater.34 We cannot tell whether King Arthur had been a failure,35 but, as we have seen, Dryden said Cleomenes was a success.36 What evidence has survived suggests that he realized £20–70 from his benefit night.37 To this amount we must add the copyright of the printed play, which, as we have seen, was 30 guineas, bringing the total to roughly £50–100. Dryden's government salary had been £75 a quarter,38 to which, of course, he had added the earnings of his pen.
Dryden's willingness to advise young writers is well known. His acquaintanceship with William Congreve, to whom he was to consign the post-pg 348humous editing of his plays, began about this time,39 and it was also about this time that he told Jonathan Swift he would never be a poet.40
In the year 221 b.c., Laconia with its capital Sparta found itself between the upper and lower millstones.41 In 331 Alexander the Great had forced Sparta to join the league of Greek states allied with him in his conquest of Persia (begun in 3,34) and it only regained its independence in 280 during the struggles among his successors. Even then it faced two of the successors of his successors, the rulers of Macedonia to the north and of Egypt to the south. Should either of these two great powers expand, Laconia would be swallowed up, unless it could receive aid from the other. Its position was like that of Israel between Assyria and Egypt in antiquity or between the Arab world and the United States in modern times. But like the biblical authors, Dryden chose to write history in terms not of power politics but of men42—hence Cleomenes, the Spartan Heroe. He also chose to put into terms of personality the fact that by 221 the age of heroism was passing. The immense wealth that Alexander had captured in Persia his successors spent on war, and in the process changed its nature in a fundamental way. "In the army of Alexander leadership was based on heroism, but in the armies of the Diadochi [his successors] it was based on pay. … The leader was no longer a hero but a diplomatist, and as he led by gold in place of by valour, he crept behind his men or, more frequently still, hired a hero to lead them and from a safe distance instructed him what to do. … The whole tendency of this period is one from prowess to cunning … [and from] cunning [there evolved] a definite conception of the balance of power."43 It is not surprising, then, that some historians find in this change the foundations of modern Europe. Dryden gives a snapshot view of a stage in the change, when the Macedonian army, like the Spartan, is still led by a hero, but the Egyptian army is now led by a "diplomatist," who has another such as his adviser. These diplomatists, or as Dryden calls them, "statesmen," are his villains—at least for the purposes of this play. He dedicated Cleomenes to a man who had been a diplomat and one of whose daughters had married a diplomat.44
"The mercenary now came into his own, and not only was he bought and sold on the [very] battlefield, … but he changed the art … of military organization. A mercenary army will serve any master for pay, and when a pg 349general is forced to hire mercenaries he looks for the most formidable type of troops. In this day, the sarissa-armed hoplites were of this category."45 A hoplite wore full armor, and his sarissa, as Thomas Creech explains in his translation of Plutarch's Life of Cleomenes, on which Dryden based his play, was a long pike.46 Again, Dryden gives a snapshot of a stage in the changing methods of warfare. Cleomenes, Antigonus, and Ptolomy all employ mercenaries, but only Ptolomy depends on them almost entirely. The others still lead native forces of hoplites, which form the centers of their armies. Cavalry and more lightly armed troops fight on the wings. The center was called the phalanx (sometimes authors use "phalanx" for an entire army), which was basically a square that could be formed into rectangles of various dimensions as tactics demanded.47 Dryden was familiar with the tactics of the phalanx from his reading in Polybius,48 and he drew his pictures of Ptolomy's recruiting policies from Plutarch.
The Cleomenes of Dryden's play is Cleomenes III of Sparta (235–219 B.C.). The Ptolomy of Dryden's play is Ptolemy IV Philopater (244?–203), fourth ruler in succession from Alexander's general Ptolemy who had emerged from the struggles of his time in control of Egypt. The Macedonian Antigonus of Dryden's play is Antigonus III Doson (d. 221), third ruler in succession from Alexander's general Antigonus. We should, incidentally, remember that Ptolemy was also a Macedonian, not an Egyptian, as Dryden's play might lead us to think. The Ptolemies, as is well known, maintained their pedigree in part by marrying their sisters,49 in part by marrying other descendants of Alexander's generals. Also, we might note that the Egyptians of the day spoke Greek as their second language. Dryden is not merely pretending that his Egyptians and Greeks can understand each other, for all that he provides them with a strange mélange of religious and philosophical beliefs.
Except for an account of the original cast (see below), not much more need be said about the play that the reader cannot observe for himself, with some aid from the appendages with which Dryden surrounded it. The notes to lines point out the places where Dryden follows Plutarch's Life of Cleomenes especially closely. He himself explains in his preface how he varied from his source.50 As for Cratisiclea, Cleora, and Cleanthes, for whose characters Plutarch gave him little guidance, Scott thought Dryden modeled them on Volumnia and Virginia the mother and wife in Shakespeare's Coriolanus and Hengo in John Fletcher's Bonduca.51 Dryden's con-pg 350Editor’s Noteviction that rhyme and rant are excellent means for conveying and arousing emotion asserts itself again. He continues also to experiment. The rants are given to a boy this time. In Aureng-Zebe he had given them to his villains, one a woman. He himself calls attention in the preface to his "bold attempt" in writing on the one hand a tragedy with no admixture of comedy or love scenes, which he says was against public taste, and on the other including a rabble scene (V, iv) that violated the French rules of decorum.52 In addition, he points out that he experimented with representing the effects of starvation (V, ii) even though it cost him something in the play's neatness of structure.53 Heroism of whatever kind continued to interest him, and he found in Cleomenes new examples of bearing and forbearing that contribute to our own sense of their moral grandeur. Finally, we may note that Motteux in the Gentleman's Journal called attention to the fact that "Mr. Dryden makes his Spartans … speak as manly Heroic Lacedaemonians … ought to speak."54 One's impression of what laconic speech might have been may be different from what Dryden provides his Spartans, unless one has read Plutarch's lives of Lycurgus and Cleomenes, where it is described and illustrated at some length.55 Those who have done so will probably agree with Motteux.56
Dryden pronounced Cleomenes with the second e long and stressed, as we could see from the rhythm of the lines in which the name occurs if we had not been told so in The Athenian Mercury of 21 May 1692.
Thomas Betterton, who created the role of Cleomenes, stood at the head of his profession. He was a shareholder in the theatrical company, and although the title and salary of manager belonged to Thomas Davenant he was in effect its principal manager.57 He was fifty-seven years of age, and most of the others in the cast were correspondingly mature. His voice, says Colley Cibber, was "more manly than sweet." Anthony Aston called it "low and grumbling." He had to do, and evidently did, more than compensate for some aspects of his figure, for he was, Aston tells us, stoop-shouldered, thick-necked, with a large head, little eyes, a corpulent body, short arms, thick legs, and large feet. Cibber adds that he was of "middle Stature" and says the total effect on stage was one of seriousness and majesty, in which impression Aston agrees.58
pg 351Betterton frequently struck a pose familiar to us from portraits of Napoleon, left hand inside his coat while he gestured with his right hand before speaking. "Actions," a term that includes facial expression, were matters he felt extremely important. His own were "few, but just," according to Aston, less approved of by others who noted his long strides, outthrust arms, loud voice, and terror-striking eyes. He had an outstanding ability to submerge himself in the character he was portraying, and he was far more interested in holding the audience spellbound than in eliciting bursts of applause.59 We may conclude then that he found the part of Cleomenes greatly to his liking and played it in an intense and commanding fashion.
Mrs. Mary Betterton, in the strongest female role, Cratisiclea, Cleomenes' mother, was her husband's age or slightly younger. Had he felt that she should appear to be older than he, she would have made up her face and adjusted her bodily movements accordingly.60 In younger days, she had played ingenue roles. What she looked like then may perhaps be seen in Dryden's description of Elvira in The Spanish Fryar (1681; I, i, 413–416), a part she created.61 In tragedy, "she was apparently best as Lady Macbeth,"62 a role requiring much of the strength of purpose needed for Cratisiclea. Her last recorded role was Ximena, queen of Arragon, in Love Triumphant (1694), another part she created.
According to London Stage and Highfill, Anthony Leigh played Cleomenes' son Cleonidas, but since Cleonidas is fifteen years old in the play, it must have been Anthony's son Michael who took the role, and Summers so concludes.63 Anthony Leigh, who had been acting for twenty years, died in 1692, the year the play was produced. Michael Leigh, whose birth date is unknown, had been on the stage for about two years. During that time he had taken the part of Young Bellair in The Man of Mode, by Dryden's friend Sir George Etheredge.64
John Verbruggen (called Alexander in the Persons Represented) took the role of Ptolomy. His alternate name reflects his fondness for playing Alexander the Great. His date of birth is unknown. Although he had been acting since the season of 1687–88, his first part in a play by Dryden was Aurelius in King Arthur. He was a natural rather than a studied actor like Betterton—"tall, well built, but a little in-kneed, which gave him a not unbecoming shambling gait"—and he had a strong voice.65
Samuel Sandford, who took the part of Ptolomy's minister of state Sosybius pg 352had had a long career playing similar roles, including Benducar, the chief minister of the emperor of Barbary, in Don Sebastian, and the wicked magician Osmond, adviser and abettor of Oswald, in King Arthur. His exact age in 1692 is unknown. Cibber, who tells many tales about Sandford, says he was "an excellent actor in disagreeable characters," one of the principal members of the company, and very popular.66 He would, Cibber says, have made an ideal Richard III. He had "an acute and piercing tone of voice and very distinct articulation. He was an adept in giving point to what seemed worthy of note, and slurred over as much as possible the rhyme in Dryden's tragedies."67 Sosybius speaks none of the rhymed lines in Cleomenes. We can visualize him in other respects than his voice, as it happens. Sandford was "round-shouldered, meagre-faced, spindle-shanked, splayfooted, with a sour countenance, and long thin arms."68
As William Mountfort, who played Cleanthes, was a popular speaker of prologues and epilogues, it is no surprise to find that he spoke the prologue to this play. He was about twenty-eight years of age. An ingratiating person with a wide range of abilities, including mimicry, he would have brought his powers of ingratiation to bear on his part as Cleomenes' Egyptian friend who becomes suspect and has to regain Cleomenes' confidence. "Of Person he was tall, well made, fair, and of an agreeable Aspect: His Voice clear, full, and melodious: In Tragedy he was the most affecting Lover within my Memory: His Addresses had a resistless Recommendation from the very Tone of his Voice, which gave his Words such Softness that, as Dryden says—Like Flakes of feather'd Snow, / They melted as they fell!"69
Edward Kynaston, in the part of Pantheus, Cleomenes' closest friend among the Spartans, was forty-nine years old. Again Cibber tells us something of how he must have performed his role, though the part Cibber speaks of was Leon in Fletcher's Rule a Wife and Have a Wife, "which he executed with a determin'd Manliness and honest Authority well worth the best Actor's Imitation. He had a piercing Eye, and in Characters of Heroick Life a quick imperious Vivacity in his Tone of Voice." As Morat in Aureng-Zebe and as Muley-Moloch in Don Sebastian, rivals in love and war of the title characters, he "gave the Spectator a kind of trembling Admiration." Cibber felt that in the last-named roles Kynaston surpassed his performance as Pantheus, but we may observe that Pantheus gave him a lesser part to work upon.70
John Hodgson, whose name is spelled Hudson in the Persons Represented, had taken the part of Conon in King Arthur, quite a different role from that of the rascally Coenus he now created. His age we do not know, pg 353but he had recently been acting substantial secondary characters in both comedy and tragedy.71
The two remaining women's parts, Cleora, Cleomenes' second wife, and Cassandra, Ptolomy's mistress, who seeks to seduce Cleomenes, were taken by Anne Bracegirdle and Elizabeth Barry, who were about twenty-nine and thirty-four years old respectively. They and not Mrs. Betterton were the leading ladies in the company. Mrs. Bracegirdle excelled in high comedy, Mrs. Barry, in tragedy. The latter has been called "the first great English actress."72 Cibber says of her, in matters pertinent to her role as Cassandra, that she had "a Presence of elevated Dignity, her Mein and Motion superb and gracefully majestick; her Voice full, clear, and strong, so that no Violence of Passion could be too much for her: And when Distress or Tenderness possess'd her, she subsided into the most affecting Melody and Softness. In the Art of exciting Pity she had a Power beyond all the Actresses I have yet seen."73 Dryden says of her in the preface that she was "always Excellent" and "has, in this Tragedy, excell'd Herself, and gain'd a Reputation beyond any Woman whom I have ever seen on the Theatre."74
In Cleora, Mrs. Bracegirdle had a part that called less on her talents both as an actress and as a woman, and that may even have obscured them in the starvation scene. Cibber says of her at about this time that "she had no greater Claim to Beauty than what the most desirable Brunette might pretend to. But her Youth and lively Aspect threw out such a Glow of Health and Chearfulness, that on the Stage few Spectators that were not past it could behold her without Desire." She had been the beautiful blind Emmeline in King Arthur. Aston described her further as being "of a lovely Height, with dark-brown Hair and Eye-brows, black sparkling Eyes, and a fresh blushy Complexion; and, whenever she exerted herself, [she] had an involuntary Flushing in her Breast, Neck and Face, having continually a chearful Aspect, and a fine Set of even white Teeth." Not everyone approved her style in tragedy, but Cibber says that "If any thing could excuse that desperate Extravagance of Love, that almost frantick Passion of [Nathaniel] Lee's Alexander the Great, it must have been when Mrs. Bracegirdle was his Statira." She was often given prologues or epilogues to speak, and in this play she was given the latter.75
Cleomenes has not attracted much critical attention over the years, even though it is Dryden's last tragedy and its preface could be regarded as his final comment on the genre. Nor do we find any unanimity among such comments as there are. In a lengthy review Peter Motteux praised the play and defended Dryden's characterization of its persons.76 Jeremy Collier pg 354objected to what he saw as the play's irreligion and attacks on the clergy.77 Alexander Pope said the play was on a par with The Indian Emperour, Sir Martin Mar-all, and The Kind Keeper.78 Scott, finding no passages of high emotion, felt that the play and its title character were relatively uninteresting.79 In more recent times we find one critic agreeing with Scott, calling the play only a skeleton;80 another finding in the very absence of fine writing its most effective characteristic;81 another saying that the play deserves attention only as a piece of literature and not as a drama;82 and still another commenting that the play is "Dryden's purest tragedy; and the best example of post-Restoration sensibility."83
Although we shall not undertake to explore all the subjects suggested by the commentators just cited, some notes on Dryden's conceptions of tragedy and the tragic hero are perhaps in order. First, we may note that his conceptions did not develop in a straight line but varied unpredictably over time.84 Critic though he was, Dryden was also a great experimenter in drama, and his critical stances are less the work of a priori, abstract, and objective analysis than defenses of what it had occurred to him most recently to do. In this respect he was somewhat like Aristotle, who sought universal rules but, in Corneille's and Dryden's not unreasonable view, could not imagine anything beyond the Greek drama as it had developed to his day.85
Cleomenes is the first of Dryden's tragedies in which, by one interpretation, he violated Aristotle's rule that a plot in which a worthy man passes from good fortune to bad does not fulfill the purpose of tragedy, which is to purge our emotions, but simply "shocks our feelings."86 In The Grounds of Criticism in Tragedy prefixed to Troilus and Cressida (1679), Dryden had pg 355said, "As for a perfect character of virtue, it never was in Nature,"87 but it cannot be said that Cleomenes has any moral flaws. His unguarded speech does him great harm, but he speaks always for right reason. The enmity of Coenus is crucial to Cleomenes' downfall, an enmity aroused by Cleomenes' failure to pay him for a "fair Estate,"88 but Dryden's theme can hardly be that defaulting on a debt brings death. Perhaps we are to conclude from Dryden's analysis of Almanzor in the dedication of The Conquest of Granada (1672)89 and of Antony in the preface to All for Love (1678)90 that he felt Cleomenes' unguarded speech sufficiently qualified as an "allay of frailty" to bring the play within Aristotle's rule.91
Dryden said the play's success showed that it could move compassion, one of Aristotle's goals for tragedy.92 These goals Dryden had summarized in An Essay of Dramatick Poesie (1668) as follows: "The end of Tragedies or serious Playes, sayes Aristotle, is to beget admiration, compassion, or concernment," where "admiration" is Dryden's own supplement and "concernment" is fear.93 Even in this early criticism, then, we see that Dryden was not content to confine himself within the bounds of the Poetics.94 We also see that here Dryden seems to read Aristotle as allowing pity or fear, not requiring both, a matter of interest with respect to Cleomenes, in which the element of fear is minimized. But in Heads of an Answer to Rymer (1677–78) he took the more usual view, writing of "those Ends of Tragedy which Aristotle … propose[s], namely, to cause Terror and Pity."95 In the latter work he says that "in a large Sense, Pity comprehends … Concernment for the Good, and Terror includes Detestation for the Bad."96 Also, "The Pity which the Poet is to Labour for, is for the Criminal … The Terror is likewise in the Punishment of the same Criminal."97 Heads of an Answer was never published, and when Dryden did put his thoughts into print, they had somewhat altered. In The Grounds of Criticism in Tragedy, he devel-pg 356ops the idea of moral tragedy, following the lead of René Le Bossu. There he says "We are wrought to fear, by … some terrible example of misfortune, which hapned to persons of the highest Quality. … But when we see that the most virtuous, as well as the greatest, are not exempt from such misfortunes, that consideration moves pity in us."98 He there includes pride and callousness as emotions to be exorcised,99 adds to pity and "fear for one character" "hope for another,"100 and says that pity and fear are functions of plot.101 None of these earlier remarks seems to fit Cleomenes very well, except as indicating that Dryden put his theory of tragedy under constant review and revision, and as suggesting that he wrote the starvation scene not merely as an experiment but to increase the element of fear in the play.
Dryden's practical argument that the success of the play showed it could arouse compassion calls attention also to the fact that in previous plays he had aroused compassion in somewhat different ways, thereby giving his plays a somewhat different moral and emotional tone. In Cleomenes, for example, he for the first time dispenses almost entirely with poetic justice. The villains of the piece not only triumph; Dryden brings the plot so rapidly to its conclusion that they have time only to threaten one another with destruction, not to proceed to the act.102 Such a denouement deviates or develops away from what he had said in the preface to An Evening's Love (1671): "In Tragedy, … the laws of justice are more strictly to be observ'd [than in comedy]: and examples of punishment to be made to deterre mankind from the pursuit of vice."103
In The Grounds of Criticism in Tragedy, Dryden had said that pity and terror in a tragedy must be "principally, if not wholly founded" on the hero.104 Cleomenes is a new kind of hero for Dryden, but one toward which he may be said to have been progressing since he had given Aureng-Zebe in the last of his heroic plays a tendency to self-sacrifice.105 Another step along the way had been Antony in All for Love, for whom Dryden had provided a pg 357scene in the midst of his family, without Shakespearean authority and with almost immediate misgivings that he had thereby divided the pity aroused by the play into too many channels to give it its full force.106 Presumably Antony had at one time had a happy family life. Cleomenes has clearly had the same and has it throughout the play. Apparently Dryden felt that he did not divide the audience's pity too much by including the whole family in his hero's downfall and by making the family's sufferings weigh upon his hero's mind quite as much as his sense of failure as a soldier.107
Reaction to plays like Cleomenes or to real-life occasions "when bad things happen to good people" may take two opposite directions. Some persons experience only despair when confronted with a picture of ineluctable evil, whereas others resolve to prevent any further such injustice as much as in them lies. Both classes of persons may perhaps be said to experience the catharsis Aristotle set forth as the ultimate purpose of tragedy, but the second class will do more for mankind. Dryden (and Southerne) do not make any character in Cleomenes say "liberty or death" as Dryden had made Montezuma say "I'll keep my Freedom, though my life I lose,"108 but such is really the message of the play's last act, which directs its appeal, then, to those who will seek to improve human life.
1Theatre Royal. Located in Drury Lane, the theater opened on 26 March 1674 with a prologue and epilogue by Dryden (Works, I, 148–151). Dryden began the prologue with the words, "A Plain Built House." For a fuller description see London Stage, Part I, pp. xli–xliii.
His Armis, … aulâ. Vibius Crispus never went against Domitian's inclinations, "[nor was he one to speak freely the thoughts of his heart, and stake his life upon the truth. Thus was it that he lived through many winters and saw his eightieth solstice,] protected, even in that Court, by weapons such as these" (Juvenal, Satires, IV, 93; Loeb). Given the contents and history of the play, it would be hard to find a more ambiguous quotation.
P. 73 Laurence Hyde was the first Earl of Rochester in the second creation, the preceding title having become dormant upon the untimely death of Charles, son of Dryden's former friend and later enemy, John Wilmot. Hyde was born in 1641, ten years after Dryden. From his first post at court pg 358as master of the robes he had advanced to serving abroad as a diplomat before joining the privy council and becoming first lord of the treasury. He was elected to the Order of the Garter in 1685. He had been lord president of the council and lord high treasurer, but he ran afoul of James II, who wished him to change his religion. When he would not do so, he either resigned or was dismissed from his offices; accounts of the event differ. After the accession of William and Mary, Rochester regained his place on the privy council (1 March 1692), and the queen's trust in him at this time (he was her mother's brother) had proved helpful to Dryden in getting the play approved for staging (see headnote, p. 345above). Rochester died in 1711. For more details of his acquaintance with Dryden, see Works, II, 280; XIV, 512.
73:6, 11–12 succeeded … promis'd well . See headnote (p. 345 above).
73:14–18 Ariosto … Immortality . In Orlando Furioso, XXXV, sts. 10–22, it is not people's writings (as Dryden says in l. 16) but their names (as he says in l. 27) that are thrown into the moon's counterpart of the subterranean Lethe, the river of forgetfulness; and the two swans are expressly identified as historians and fine poets.
73:19–20 the Swan who has preserv'd it. Rochester.
73:25 Crows and Vultures. See Orlando Furioso, XXXV, 20.
74:3–4 Conversant in the management of great Affairs. See note to p. 73.
74:14–15 Ode … I had the Honour to inscribe to you. Dryden's admirable paraphrase of Horace's Odes, III, xxix, "Inscrib'd to the Right Honourable Lawrence Earl of Rochester," had been published in Sylvce (1685); see Works, III, 81–84.
74:17–18 a Noble Relation. Unidentified.
74:20 the Ode to Barine. II, viii. Barine was an apparently ageless beauty who treated all her admirers badly.
74:21–22 that Elegant Expression, Juvenumque prodis publica cura. "When you appear you are the common concern of the youths" (ll. 7–8). The elegance of the expression lies in its sound and in the ambiguity of publica, which as today could be used with the highest or lowest connotations, from "public purse" to "public nuisance," and of cura, which as today could range in its meanings from "trouble, anxiety" to "love."
74:23 curiosa felicitas, which Petronius … ascribes . The "studied felicity" (Loeb) of Horace proves that one must read widely, eschew everyday language, and weave thought and expression into an even texture of brilliance if one is to be a true poet (Satyricon, 118). Dryden had previously quoted Petronius' words about Horace in the Defense of the Epilogue in The Conquest of Granada (Works, XI, 212).
74:25 I mean to try. A project never completed, if ever undertaken.
74:28 so lame a Translation. This kind of self-abasement, quite common with Dryden, may be only a convention, for he himself points out that it is to be found in Catullus; see dedication of The Kind Keeper (Works, XIV, 5).
74:28–29 Recalcitrat undique tutus. "[Stroke the steed clumsily and] back he kicks, at every point on his guard" (Loeb). Horace, Satires, II, i, 20, with reference to the need to praise Caesar at the right moment if one is to be heard.
74:32 whiter Stone. Summers (VI, 566) cites Catullus, Horace, Martial, Statius, and Pliny, partly gathered from Richard Bentley's note on Horace, Odes, I, xxxvi, 10, which explains that the Latin writers speak of marking happy days with white stones and what Dryden elsewhere calls "cross" days (The Kind Keeper, II, i, 93–94, in Works, XIV, 27) with black stones. It would appear that the Romans kept track of the passage of time by setting stones in rows instead of making notches on sticks or tick marks on walls. See also "white [day]" in Tyrannick Love, I, i, 62 (Works, X, 118, and note, p. 410).
74:33 reading my Cleomenes. Dryden had offered to read The Kind Keeper to Lord Latimer before it was published (Ward, Letters, p. 12); he usually read his works to those who might offer helpful criticisms. Summers notes, however, on the evidence of Colley Cibber that Dryden was not good at reading his plays aloud (VI, 566).
74:34 Three Fair Daughters. Henrietta, Mary, and Catherine. Anne, the eldest, had died prematurely in 1684.
75:3 Berenice. Berenice II (d. 221 b.c.) was the wife of Ptolemy III Euergetes, the father of the Ptolemy in Dryden's play. She vowed to dedicate a lock of her hair to the gods if her husband returned safely from an expedition to Syria. When it disappeared from the temple in which she had placed it, the court astronomer said that it had become a constellation, the so-called Coma Berenices (Summers, VI, 566; Calimachus, Aetia [etc.], Loeb ed., pp. 80–81).
75:8 Crimes. There was only one crime, subversion, but no doubt it was found, or suspected, in several places in the play. See headnote (pp. 344–345 above).
75:10 Patroness. Lady Jane Hyde, wife of Rochester's eldest son Henry. Rochester's wife Harrietta had died in 1687.
75:14 Lady Silvius. Lady Anne Sylvius was the wife of Sir Gabriel Sylvius, a prominent diplomat who had, among other assignments, shared in negotiations with the Dutch during the second and third Dutch wars, in whose support Dryden had written Annus Mirabilis and Amboyna (Geyl, pp. 220–237, 239, 249, 257, 321–322, 330, 333–335, 368–372, 382–385, 388, 417). Dryden's niece, the daughter of his wife's brother William Howard, she became administratrix of his estate after the death of his sons and in his wife's old age, in which capacity she received his share of the proceeds of the second edition of the Fables in 1713 (see Works, Vol. VII, App.). "An account of Lady Anne Silvius is on p. 396[of Malone, I, i], and further details can be found in The Ashstead Estate and Its Howard Possessors, by the Reverend Francis Puget, 1873, pp. 115–17" (Osborn, p. 262n. 38).
75:16 Lord Chamberlain. Charles Sackville, 6th Earl of Dorset, "a constant patron of Dryden" (Summers, VI, 567). The lord chamberlain not only had the duty of licensing plays for performance but also had some control pg 360over the sequence of their performances. Thomas Shadwell had asked Dorset to give orders that Nicholas Brady's The Rape: Or The Innocent Imposters be produced before Cleomenes, as indeed it was, well before Dorset forbade the staging of Dryden's play (London Stage, Part I, pp. clvi, 405, 408). In ordering the production of Cleomenes to be halted, Dorset did not let his partiality for his friend stand in the way of his duty to his sovereigns.
75:26–27 part of my small Fortune in Wiltshire. Winn (p. 609 n. 47) can offer no explanation for the reference. Malone (I, i, 442–444) conjectures that Dryden's father-in-law had given him a property near Charlton, but Winn says that such a gift would not have made Rochester Dryden's landlord; he thinks instead that perhaps Dryden's brother-in-law, Sir Robert Howard, had given part of the manor of Wootton Bassett to Dryden, which, when he sold the manor to Rochester in 1676, would have made Dryden Rochester's tenant, but he notes that no record supports either supposition. Winn also observes (p. 343) that Absalom and Achitophel, ll. 892–893 (Works, II, 32) may be understood to indicate that when Charles's treasury ran dry (see p. 75:28 above), Rochester stepped in to meet Dryden's needs from his own resources. Possibly the mode of relief was income from part of the Wootton Bassett estate.
75:28 my two Masters. Charles and James, to whom Dryden had been poet laureate and historiographer royal. We need not conclude that Dryden was fighting the Jacobite battle in so speaking of them. When Rochester had been first lord of the treasury and lord high treasurer in their reigns (i.e., in 1685–1687) he had seen to it, or could be credited with having seen to it, that Dryden was paid his salary for his offices, if not always in full or on time (see Winn, pp. 529–530).
75:28 even from a bare Treasury. See note to p. 75:26–27, but perhaps the reference is to July 1686, when Rochester established a policy of paying one third of what was owed to those whose salaries were in arrears (see Winn, p. 530).
75:29 contrary to that of Mr. Cowley. See a letter Dryden wrote to Rochester in about August 1683 (Ward, Letters, p. 21): "Tis enough for one Age to have neglected Mr Cowley, and sterv'd Mr Buttler; but neither of them had the happiness to live till your Lordship's Ministry."
75:29–30 Gideon's Fleece. Summoned by God to free his people from Midianite invaders, a very doubtful Gideon was given four signs from the deity that he would be victorious. Dryden's reference is to the occasion on which Gideon left a fleece on his threshing floor overnight, asking God as a sign that in the morning he would find the fleece wet with dew but the floor dry. "And it was so: for he rose up early on the morrow, and thrust the fleece together, and wringed the dew out of the fleece, a bowlful of water" (Judges 6:38). Cowley had compared himself to the fleece in the next sign given to Gideon, when in the morning the fleece was dry but the threshing floor was wet; when Charles II came to the throne, "One of Old Gideons Miracles was shown," for "Enriching moysture drop'd on every thing" except Cowley's "Fleece" (The Complaint, in Abraham Cowley, Verses Lately Written upon Several Occasions , quoted by Scott [S-S, VIII, 217] and Summers [VI, 567]).
pg 361 75:33 in a manner forc'd. Because Rochester's daughter-in-law, who headed the female contingent of the family, had refused (see ll. 9–13above).
77:2 Lord Falkland. Anthony Cary, 5th Viscount Falkland (1656–1694), was a minor poet and a friend of Dryden's friends Thomas Otway and William Congreve (Summers, VI, 567–568).
77:8–10 but … design'd . See headnote (p. 345 above).
77:12 Success. See dedication and headnote (pp. 73:6, 11–12, 345 above).
77:13 the World is running mad after Farce. Summers (VI, 568) thinks Dryden probably refers to Shadwell's The Amorous Bigotte (1690) and The Scowrers (1691). Perhaps he was referring rather, or also, to two comedies by Thomas D'Urfey that had had more recent premières. See the Lacedemonian Mercury for 11 March 1692: "Query 2. Whether the Town's receiving and coveting Love for Money, [and] The Marriage-Hater Match'd, when at the same time The Plain Dealer and Sir Foplin Flutter rest untouch'd and un-sought-for, be not Evidence of a very great declension in Common Sense?" (quoted in London Stage, Part I, p. 407). See also note to prologue, l. 31 (p. 364 below). Outcries against farce may be found throughout Dryden's works, e.g., in the preface to An Evening's Love (Works, X, 203) and in various prologues and epilogues, starting with the second epilogue to The Wild Gallant, ll. 41–42 (ibid., VIII, 91), and including the prologue to I Conquest of Granada, ll. 34–39 (ibid., XI, 20), the prologue to The Kind Keeper, ll. 1–10 (ibid., XIV, 8), and the prologue to King Arthur, l. 2 (p. 9 above). See also epilogue to Cleomenes, l. 24 (p. 86 above).
77:14 Judgment. Divine punishment.
77:20 The Actors. See Persons Represented and headnote (pp. 87, 350–353 above).
77:27 not to the Genius of the Nation. See dedication of The Spanish Fryar (1681): "The truth is, the Audience are grown weary of continu'd melancholy Scenes: and I dare venture to prophesie, that few Tragedies except those in Verse shall succeed in this Age, if they are not lighten'd with a course of mirth" (Works, XIV, 103). See also preface to Don Sebastian (1690): "I have observ'd, that the English will not bear a thorough Tragedy; but are pleas'd, that it shou'd be lightned with underparts of mirth" (ibid., XV, 72).
77:28 to gratifie … my Audience. Dryden was sometimes grudging in his concessions to popular taste, as he was here, and sometimes not. For example, he had written in the preface to An Evening's Love (1671): "this very play would rise up in judgment against me, if I would defend all things I have written to be natural: but I confess I have given too much to the people in it, and am asham'd for them as well as for my self, that I have pleas'd them at so cheap a rate" (Works, X, 204). But he had written in A Defence of An Essay of Dramatique Poesie (1668), "To please the people ought to be the Poets aim, because Plays are made for their delight" (ibid., IX, 11–12), and in the dedication of The Spanish Fryar (1681), "'tis my pg 362Interest to please my Audience" (ibid., XIV, 102); and he was to write in the dedication of Examen Poeticum (1693), "There is a sort of Merit in delighting the Spectatours" (ibid., IV, 3, 68).
77:29 Rabble-Scene. This scene (V, iv, 1–45, pp. 156–158 above) provides the only element of comedy in the play. See also headnote (p. 344 above).
77:29 Mobb (as they call them). Sir Roger North said in Examen (1740; p. 574) that "the Rabble first changed their Title, and were call'd the Mob" during the exclusion crisis (OED); but the earliest citations in OED date from 1688, about ten years later. Other citations include Joseph Addison's and Jonathan Swift's well-known objections to the neologism (Spectator, no. 135; Polite Conversation), Addison's later use of it in the Freeholder, no. 44, and Dryden's use of it without apology in 1695 (Works, XX, 55:24).
78:1 Plutarch and Polybius. Plutarch's Life of Cleomenes is Dryden's source for the play; Polybius' Histories was one of Plutarch's sources. For Plutarch here, see notes to V, ii, 265, and V, iv, 2–3 (pp. 387, 388 below), but nothing comparable is to be found in Polybius.
78:7 the Mechanique Rules. So called the next year also in dedication of Examen Poeticum (Works, IV, 368:15). See also "the Mechanick Unities" in dedication of Love Triumphant (p. 170:30 above), and similar remarks elsewhere.
78:12–14 The time … Scene of Famine . Even so, Dryden kept to unity of time as well as he could by stating in the play that his characters would die on the fourth day without food (IV, ii, 244 [p. 140 above]), and by relieving their starvation on the third (V, ii, 1, 91 [pp. 145, 148 above]).
78:14 in the Fifth Act. At V, ii, 1–90 (pp. 145–148 above).
78:16 that other Scene. At V, ii, 105–233 (pp. 148–153 above).
78:21 Sparks. According to Richard Steele (Guardian, no. 45), it was a particular young man and Dryden replied "with a very grave face … you are no hero" (cf. l. 23). Scott (S-S, VIII, 221) says: "The retort may doubtless have been first made by the poet in this manner; but it is more probable that Steele either had an inaccurate recollection of the passage, or thought it had a more lively effect when thrown into dialogue." Summers (VI, 568) supposes that the dialogue was imaginary.
78:23 they are not Hero's. Cf. epilogue, ll. 19–20 (p. 86 above).
78:27 it was yet but Honey-moon with Cleomenes. Tilley H563, first citation 1546. The citation of 1666 says that "to be honey-moon still" means "to melt into joy."
78:30 make them some amends, if I write again. Cf. dedication of The Kind Keeper (Works, XIV, 6:22–24, and note, p. 382).
78:32–79:7 "This claim of indifference is evidently exaggerated" (Winn, p. 454).
79:2–3 No body can imagine … I write willingly. But see Dryden's remarks in preface to Fables (Works, VII; Kinsley, IV, 1446–1447). In his last illness Dryden was planning to translate the whole of the Iliad (Ward, Letters, p. 132; preface to Fables in Works, VII; Kinsley, IV, 1448).
79:6 the Reward … is so little. See headnote (p. 347 above).
79:12–13 here is no Parallel. In contrast, for example, with The Duke of pg 363Guise, which has as the opening words of its prologue, "Our Play's a Parallel" (Works, XIV, 210).
79:21 geld. Winn (p. 453) supposes that there is a less explicit reference to censorship as gelding in the prologue to Amphitryon; presumably what he has in mind are ll. 1–2 (Works, XV, 227).
79:25–28 At III, i, 77–80 (p. 116 above).
79:32 Creech. Thomas Creech (1659–1700) translated the lives of Solon, Pelopidas, and Cleomenes in Plutarch's Lives (1683–1686).
79:33 Lucretius. Published in 1682; rev. ed., 1683. For Dryden's debt to Creech in his own translations of Lucretius, see Works, III, 293 n. 6.
79:34 Horace. Published in 1684. For Dryden's particular obligation to Creech in his own translations of Horace, see Works, III, 293.
79:34 We daily expect Manilius. Creech's translation of the Astronomica did not appear until 1697.
80:2 the Secrets of Nature. I.e., Lucretius' De Rerum Natura.
80:5–6 "Therefore the lively power of his mind prevailed, and forth he marched far beyond the flaming walls of the world" (Lucretius, De Rerum Natura, I, 72–73; Loeb). Lucretius was speaking of Epicurus, who was Lucretius' master, as Dryden observes in the dedication of Aureng-Zebe (Works, XIV, 153:25).
80:10–11 Polybius, … speaks honourably of him. Polybius does not characterize Cleomenes in Plutarch's way. Although recognizing that Cleomenes was a fine general, Polybius calls him a tyrant who subverted the Spartan constitution (Histories, II, xlvii, 3; IV, lxxxi, 14). Dryden is presumably thinking only of Plutarch's citations of Polybius (see App. B, pp. 527, 528 below).
80:12 made English. By Sir Henry Sheeres (1693), published with a prefatory Character of Polybius and His Writings by Dryden (see Works, XX, 12–35).
81:7–8 I was oblig'd … to let fall the Curtain immediately. See headnote (p. 356n above).
81:9 Polybius tells us. In his Histories, XV, xxiva–xxxiii.
81:11 Agathocles. A mistake for Antiocles.
81:17–18 what I said before. See pp. 78:34–79:2.
1 Theophilus Parsons. Possibly Nahum Tate's first cousin, the son of his father's eldest sister Mary, who married a Thomas Parsons of London (see pg 364Samuel A. Golden, "Dryden's 'Cleomenes' and Theophilus Parsons," N&Q, 211 , 380).
1-10 On the general subject of rowdyism in the theater, Kinsley (IV, 2005) refers to Nicoll, pp. 15–19. See also London Stage, Part I, pp. clxvii–clxxi; Summers, The Restoration Theatre, pp. 67–92; and similar works.
3–4 Bear-Garden Friends … cry Play, Play. See note to epilogue to Aureng-Zebe, l. 23 (Works, XII, 441). To bounce is to thump.
7 Orange Wenches. Fruit and sweetmeat sellers licensed by the theaters. Orange Moll (Mrs. Mary Meggs, a widow) is the woman of whom most is known. In 1663 she paid £100 for a license to carry on her trade in the Theater Royal (the gallery excluded), and thereafter she paid 6s. 8d. a day to sell her wares, which she kept under the stairs, at least in the old theater in Bridges Street. She died in 1691, bequeathing three houses to her brother and her license to Philip Griffin, an actor. Pepys once paid an orange woman sixpence apiece for oranges, i.e., half the price of a gallery seat, but the price could be haggled over. See Summers, Restoration Theatre, pp. 11–12, 82–85, 322.
11 Merry-Andrew. A mountebank's clown (OED).
13–14 The Irish rebellion had ended with the treaty of Limerick in October of the year before (1691). Those in the Irish army who wished to remove to France had been allowed to do so, many of them then having to leave their families behind.
16 French Privateer. At this time England was engaged in the Nine Years War (1688–1697) with France. There is here a rueful or a prescient observation. In 1692 Thomas Betterton (Cleomenes), having invested his entire fortune in a venture to the East Indies, lost it all when the ship was captured by the French between Ireland and England (Highfill, II, 84).
18 They will seize them legally as Irish property. For "Black and White" see The Kind Keeper, IV, i, 98–99: "You have him under black and white, I hope. Mrs. Term. Yes, I have a Note under his hand for 200l." (Works, XIV, 60). "Cattle" is an obsolete spelling of "chattel" (OED).
28 dust a Stand. Toss off an open tub or barrel (OED, dust, sense 11 of the first verb; stand); standing drinks appears only in the nineteenth century (OED, stand, sense 61b of the verb, first citations from Dickens and Thackeray).
30 Electors. Those holding the vote. The method of electioneering here is familiar from William Hogarth's paintings.
31 Farce Lovers. See also preface, p. 77:13 above. Kinsley (IV, 2005) refers to Nicoll, pp. 247–263; Leo Hughes, "Attitudes of Some Restoration Dramatists toward Farce," PQ, XIX (1940), 268–287; and Dryden's Prologue to The Loyal General, ll. 22–25 (Works, I, 163). See also preface to An Evening's Love (Works, X, 204), and other citations in Aden (pp. 108–109).
38 Fescues. Pointers used when teaching children to read (OED).
4 die. In the sexual sense (see l. 6).
7 Decreed. Tilley M505, "All men must die"; D142, "Death is common to all"; G237, "I owe God a death"; L81, "They that live longest must die at last"; M502, "All men are mortal"; W166, "To go the way of all flesh." All these proverbs are preceded by "All flesh is grass" (Isa. 40:6) and similar biblical passages.
13 my Youth. Mrs. Bracegirdle was about twenty-nine years old.
15 My Chastity. At the end of the year Captain Richard Hill became convinced that Mrs. Bracegirdle was the mistress of William Mountfort (Cleanthes) and he murdered him on 9 December (see Highfill, II, 271–272).
18 Misses. Summers (VI, 593) cites Evelyn's Diary for 9 January 1662 as indicating that "miss" was then a new term as applied to "lewd women," that is, mistresses, as opposed to common prostitutes.
19 Another reference to the war with France. Dryden had made much the same point in the prologue to King Arthur, ll. 46–49 (p. 10 above). In spite of his antipathy to the Dutch, described in headnote to Amboyna (Works, XII, 265–268), Dryden here acts as a recruiter for the armed forces. For a possible explanation see headnote to Cleomenes (pp. 345–346 above).
22 Fuller. As noted by Scott (S-S, VIII, 363) and Summers (VI, 570–571), William Fuller (1670–c.1717–1718) had falsely testified to a Jacobite plot and so had been "committed close prisoner" by the privy council on 7 March 1692 (Luttrell, II, 381). The play's première came in mid-April.
24 Farces. See note to prologue, l. 31 (p. 364 above).
26 ogle. Shadwell uses "ogling" in the epilogue to The Lancashire Witches (produced September–October 1681) and glosses it, "A foolish Word among the Canters [users of slang] for glancing" (cited by OED). The word came into general usage soon enough, however (see epilogue to The Duke of Guise , l. 26, in Works, XIV, 215, and other citations in Concordance to the Poetical Works of John Dryden, ed. Guy Montgomery [1957, 1967], p. 432). The word is used three times in Love Triumphant (I, i, 418, and II, ii, 23, 128, pp. 190, 201, 204 above), where it is a synonym for "Doux Yeux" (I, i, 411) or an even sweeter look (l. 417+ s.d.).
32 Wickham's Will. As Summers notes (VI, 571–572), William Morrell, who had just died in London (3 January 1692), had in his last days impersonated one Humphrey Wickham so as to obtain food and lodging on credit. As part of the deception he made a will leaving a mansion to his creditor's son and other bequests. Summers quotes at length from Diego Redivivus: Or The Last Will and Testament of the Pretended Humphrey Wickham (1692), but Dryden could also have got his information from Elkanah Settle's The Notorious Imposter, which was advertised in February 1692 (The Term Catalogues, ed. Edward Arber [1903–1906], II, 392), about two months before the play's première.
36 Half-a-Crown. The price of a seat in the pit and of a prostitute met there (see Prologue to The Mistakes, 11. 33–34, and prologue to Marriage A-la-Mode, ll. 20–23, in Works, III, 258, and XI, 225, both noted by Kinsley, IV, 1855). Summers (VI, 573) quotes a number of other prologues of the time which mention the price of admission to the theater.
1–2 The theme of wrathful fate to be endured without complaint runs throughout the play. See App. B, p. 515:28–32 below: " 'Tis said also that Cleomenes, whilst a Boy, studied Philosophy under Sphcerus the Borystenite, who coming to Sparta, was very diligent in Instructing the Youth: Sphcerus was one of the chief of Zeno the Citiean's Scholars, and 'tis likely that he admir'd the manly Temper of Cleomenes, and inflam'd his generous Ambition." Zeno was the founder of Stoicism. See also quotation in note to II, ii, 83 (pp. 375–376 below). Dryden sometimes forgets or deliberately makes Cleomenes cry out, in either event producing an effect noticed by Theophilus Parsons in his commendatory poem (ll. 44–45, p. 83 above). The subject of fate and providence had been of interest to Dryden for many years (see Works, XVII, 436–438), and he had recently made it a prominent theme in Amphitryon and Don Sebastian (see Works, XV, 395, 431). He had used elements of Stoicism in earlier plays also (see John A. Winterbottom, "Stoicism in Dryden's Tragedies," JEGP, LXI , 868–883).
6 the Battle. Fought at Sellasia (see ll. 120, 274) in the summer of 221. The site is 8.5 miles north of Sparta on the left side of the road to Tripolis; it is on a hill now crowned with a chapel of Ayios Konstandinos. For an account of the battle see App. B (pp. 528–529 below), and Polybius, Histories, II, lxv–lxix. The opposing general was the Macedonian king Antigonus (l. 169). Dryden requires a good deal of background knowledge on his readers' part. Perhaps that is why he preceded the play with Plutarch's Life of Cleomenes. An audience in the theater would be hurried along and in a few minutes would develop a sufficient sense of events that had occurred before the play begins.
8 those who Conquer'd Asia. The Macedonian soldiers of Alexander the Great.
10 Unbounded Empire. It was perhaps not like Alexander's empire, but it encompassed all of Greece (see note to l. 216).
11–2 a lovely Heifer … gore . See Virgil, Georgies, III, 217–221, "she drives her proud lovers to settle their mutual contest with clash of horns. She is … a lovely heifer: … black gore bathes their frames" (Loeb); ll. 339–344 in Dryden's translation (Works, V, 220):
- A beauteous Heifer in the Woods is bred;
- The stooping Warriours, aiming Head to Head,
- Engage their clashing Horns; …
- . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
- Their Dewlaps and their Sides are bath'd in Gore.
13 wish'd the Conquest mine. Although the Greeks fought among themselves, they would have liked to be free of the Macedonians. See App. B (p. 522 below): "This [a crucial illness of Cleomenes that gave time for Aratus, the general (in alternate years) of the Achaean League, to bring pg 367Antigonus the Macedonian to his aid] ruin'd the Affairs of Greece, which was just then ready to recover it self out of its Disasters, and avoid the insulting and Covetousness of the Macedonians." Cleomenes and Aratus had been meeting in battle for six years (see notes to ll. 70, 83, and 90).
17–19 must Cleomenes wait … / For tardy helps of base Egyptian Bands . See App. B (p. 525 below): "[After Antigonus defeated Cleomenes at Argos in northeastern Peleponnesus] Ptolomy, the King of Ægypt [the father of the Ptolomy in the play], promis'd him Assistance, but demanded his Mother and Children for Hostages." Ibid. (p. 526): "When she came to Ægypt, and understood that Ptolomy entertain'd Proposals and Overtures of Peace from Antigonus, and that Cleomenes, tho the Achæans invited and urg'd him to an Agreement, was afraid, for her sake, to come to any, without Ptolomy's consent, she wrote to him, advising him to do that which was most becoming and most profitable for Sparta, and not for the sake of an old Woman and a little Child, always stand in fear of Ptolomy." Ibid. (p. 528): "so Antigonus coming to the War with a great stock of Wealth, weary'd out Cleomenes, whose Poverty made it difficult for him either to provide Pay for the Mercenaries, or Provisions for the Citizens." Ibid. (p. 530): "When he was first brought to Ptolomy, " and appear'd a more faithful Counsellor, than those who made it their business to please and flatter; he was asham'd, and repented that he had neglected so great a Man, and suffer'd Antigonus to get so much Power and Reputation by ruining him." For the balance of power between Egypt and Macedonia see headnote (p. 348 above). App. B (p. 531 below): "But the elder Ptolomy dying before Cleomenes's Affairs had receiv'd a full Dispatch, and the Successor being a loose, voluptuous and effeminate Prince, under the power of his Pleasures and his Women, his Business was neglected." Ibid. (p. 531): "But when he understood that Antigonus was dead, that the Achaians were engag'd in a War with the Ætolians, and that the Affairs of Peloponnesus, being now in very great Distraction and Distress, requir'd and invited his Assistance, he desir'd leave to depart only with his Friends, but could not obtain that, the King not so much as hearing his Petition, being shut up amongst his Women, and wasting his Hours in Debauchery and Frolicks."
20–3 The language here, in 11. 55–59, and elsewhere comes close enough to rant to show that Cleonidas is his father's true son. See last paragraph of note to 23+ s.d.
23+ s.d. Cratisiclea, Cleora, Cleonidas. Plutarch describes Cratisiclea as "a Woman of a great Spirit" and "not in the least afraid of Death" (App. B, p. 534 below). She had made a second marriage, though she did not incline to it, so as to ally her son with a wealthy and powerful man (ibid., p. 517). For her willingness to be a hostage, see notes to ll. 17–19 and to III, iii, 133–137, 139–140 (p. 382 below).
In the executions that followed the death of Cleomenes, Cratisiclea asked to be killed before her grandchildren were, but when they were killed before her eyes, her only words were, "O Children, whither are you gone?" (App. B, p. 534 below). Dryden may also have modeled her character in part on that of Panteus' wife, who had run away from her parents in order to follow her husband to Egypt (ibid., p. 534) and who attended Cratisiclea pg 368in her last hours. She, "being a strong Woman, without any Noise or Lamentation, lookt after every one that was slain, and wound them up as well as her present Circumstances would permit; and after all were kill'd, dressing her self, bound her Cloaths close about her, and suffering none to come near, or be an Eye-witness of her Fall, beside the Executioner, she courageously submitted to the stroak, and wanted no body to look after her, or wind her up after she was dead. Thus in her Death the Modesty of her Mind appear'd, and set the Guard upon her Body, which she always kept when alive: And she in the declining Age of the Spartans shew'd, That Women were no unequal Rivals of the Men, and was an Instance of such a Courage as would not sneak to the Affronts of Fortune" (ibid., p. 534). Thus, in effect, Plutarch ends his Life of Cleomenes; he adds only a story of how a serpent visited Cleomenes' corpse. "And this the Ancients observing, appropriated a Serpent rather than any other Creature to Heroe's" (ibid. p. 534). More than once Dryden's Cratisiclea is firmer than her son and restores him to his better self.
Cleora, on the other hand, is Dryden's own creation, drawn, as he says in the preface (p. 80:22–27 above), from no more than a hint in The Life of Cleomenes (p. 529 below): "his Servant, which was a Free-born Woman, taken from Megalopolis"; (see note to l. 102 4+ s.d.), who when he reached Sparta after the battle of Sellasia "offer[ed], as she us'd to do, to make necessary Provision for him." In the preface (p. 78:26–27 above), Dryden says he conceived of her as "in the Flower of her Age," and recently married: "it was yet but Honey-moon with Cleomenes." As she was not a Spartan, though in the play itself Dryden never hints at that fact, he had historical justification for making her a foil to Cratisiclea. See III, iii, 54–137 (pp. 124–126 above), where they differ in their attitude toward being left as hostages, and V, iii (pp. 154–156 above), where the two women are markedly contrasted in their attitude to impending death, much like Indamora and Melesinda in Aureng-Zebe. In each instance Cratisiclea brings Cleora to stand with her. Dryden took pride in his ability to create distinct characters (see dedication of Love Triumphant, pp. 169:31–170:2 above), and contrast is a normal way to do so.
Cleonidas also is almost entirely Dryden's creation, taken, as he says in the preface (p. 80:19–22 above), from another hint in the Life (App. B, pp. 533–534 below): "[upon learning of Cleomenes' death] the eldest Boy, none suspecting such a Spirit in a Child, threw himself headlong from the top of the House; he was bruis'd very much, but not kill'd by the Fall, and was taken up crying, and expressing his Resentments for not being permitted to destroy himself." Dryden has made him fifteen years of age (see l. 83 and note). We soon see that he is Dryden's last experiment with heroic rants. Having created a ranting woman in Aureng-Zebe and a comical ranter in The Kind Keeper, he now creates a ranting boy. For the boy's resemblance to Hengo in John Fletcher's Bonduca see headnote (p. 319 above).
29 Walks. A walk is "a tract of forest land comprised in the circuit regularly perambulated by a superintending officer" (OED, sense 10 of the first noun). Dryden uses the word in this sense in Amboyna, IV, i, 4, in King pg 369Arthur, III, ii, 6, and in The Secular Masque, 11. 28, 55 (Works, XII, 45; pp. 36 and 268–269 above).
42–43 like the Green Wood … Tears. Cf. Palamon and Arcite, III, 259: "as the Brands were green, so dropp'd the Dew" (Works, VII).
48–49 As the play proceeds we discover that Cleora's firmness gives way more than once; see note to l. 23+ s.d.
53 twining Vines about this Elm. Virgil describes grapevines trained on elms in Georgies, II, 221 (ll. 301–302 in Dryden's translation, Works, V, 190): "aspiring Vines, / Embracing Husband Elms in am'rous twines." The practice made its first appearance in literature in Catullus, LXII, 49–55; see Peter Demetz, "The Elm and the Vine; Notes toward the History of a Marriage Topos," PMLA, LXXIII (1958), 521–522. Demetz (p. 530) notes that Shakespeare refers to the practice in The Comedy of Errors, II, ii, 176.
68 "As he [Ptolemy I] was a king himself, falsehood would have been more shameful to him than to anyone else" (Arrian, Anabasis of Alexander, I, 1; Loeb).
70 my own Mother. Ægiatis (see preface, p. 80:23 above) was the widow of Agis, the unsuccessful rival in power of Leonidas, Cleomenes' father. Leonidas had insisted that she marry his son. Cleomenes received word of her death immediately after Aratus, with Antigonus' soldiers, had defeated him at Corinth. (See App. B, pp. 515, 525 below, and note to l. 90).
72 as Pallas sprung from Jove. Dryden had also referred to the familiar story in The Kind Keeper, III, i, 196–197 (Works, XIV, 44, and note, p. 404). Pallas (Athena) is the only deity mentioned in Cleomenes by his or her Greek name.
78 We find several times that Cleonidas has less book learning than one would expect of a fifteen-year-old, even a Spartan, but his questions help Dryden's exposition. He had used the same device in Aureng-Zebe, where he has Indamora ask about the practice of suttee (V, i, 611, Works, XII, 246).
82 we are born Men. The words come from Plutarch's Life of Lycurgus, which records that Cleomenes' mother said "We are the only women who bring forth men" (Plutarch, Lives [The Modern Library, 1932], p. 60).
83 Fifteen. Dryden worked out the boy's age from Plutarch's saying that Cleomenes died "after he had been king of Sparta sixteen Years" (App. B, p. 533 below), and from his own decision to make Cleonidas conceived just after Cleomenes' first victory over Aratus, which Plutarch says was shortly after he had become king (see notes to 11. 88–102 and 90). It therefore seems only a coincidence that he is the same age as Hengo in Fletcher's Bonduca.
88–102 See App. B (p. 525 below): "[Cleomenes] doted on [his wife] so much, that when he was most prosperous [in campaigning], he would ever now and then make a step to Sparta, to visit his beloved Ægiatis."
90 Aratus. See App. B (p. 516 below): "as soon as Leonidas [Cleomenes' father, king of Sparta] was dead, he [Aratus, who intended to conquerpg 370 the whole Peloponnesus for the Achaean League] fell upon the Arcadians [in central Peloponnesus], and wasted those especially that border'd on Achaia [to the north]; by this means designing to try the Inclinations of the Spartans, and despising Cleomenes as a Youth, and of no experience in Affairs of State or War. Upon this the Ephori [the councillors who were effectively ruling Sparta] sent Cleomenes to surprise the Athenæum (dedicated to Minerva) near Beibina [about 20 miles north of Sparta] … Cleomenes possest himself of the place, and fortified it." It was some time before Cleomenes met Aratus himself in combat, but then "he routed their [the Achaeans'] whole Army, taking a great number of Captives, and leaving many dead upon the Place; so that it was commonly reported amongst the Greeks that Aratus was slain" (ibid., pp. 516–517).
96 my Countries modest use. Plutarch describes the Spartan wedding night in the Life of Lycurgus. Spartan men normally ate together in clubs and slept in dormitories. They also kidnapped the women they wished to marry. On the wedding night the groom ate with his friends but did not drink heavily; then in his usual clothes he came secretly to the house where the bride was (she, on the contrary, had had her hair cut and was dressed as a man). After consummating the marriage the groom returned to sleep with his fellows. "And so he continues to do, spending his days, and, indeed, his nights, with them, visiting his bride in fear and shame, and with circumspection, when he thought he should not be observed; … In this manner they lived a long time, insomuch that they sometimes had children by their wives before ever they saw their faces by daylight" (Plutarch, Lives, p. 61). Cleonidas was Cleomenes' eldest son.
102+ s.d. Pantheus. Plutarch has two things to tell about Panteus. First, "When he [Cleomenes] was not far off the Town [of Megalopolis, about 30 miles NNW of Sparta], he sent Panteus with two Regiments to surprize the Mesopyrgion, (the Quarter between the two Towers) which he understood to be the most unguarded Quarter of the Megalopolitans Fortifications; and with the rest of his Forces he follow'd leisurely. Panteus not only surpriz'd that place, but finding a great part of the Wall without Guards, he pull'd down some Places, and demolish'd others, and kill'd all the Defenders that he found" (App. B, p. 526 below). For the rest, see notes to V, v, 91–95 and 96–105 (p. 389 below). Dryden makes his Pantheus a railer in the tradition of Ventidius in Antony and Cleopatra and All for Love and Dorax in Don Sebastian.
114 Milkiness of Blood. "Mildness, softness, gentleness; weakness" (OED, milkiness, citing this passage).
118–119 by yon Blew Palace, … of … Hercules. By the sky, by heaven. As Hercules, dying of poison, lay on the pyre that had been lighted at his order, a cloud took him to Olympus, where he joined the gods (SCD).
119 my great Fore-father. Cleomenes' manner and his way of life so impressed people that they said "he alone was the true Son of Hercules" (App. B, p. 521 below; similarly p. 530). The kings of Sparta claimed descent from Hercules (Plutarch, Life of Lycurgus, in Lives, p. 49).
120–122 I.e., I wish to return to Greece, but not to be subordinate to Aratus; I must be the first among Grecians. (For Aratus, see note to l. 13.)pg 371In using "behind'' and "van" Dryden intends us to see the phalanx formed into a rectangle with a narrow front, seeking to force its way through the opposing phalanx, formed in a square or in a rectangle with a wide front (see prefatory notes in the 1929 Loeb edition of Arrian, Anabasis of Alexander, I, xii–xv).
120 loose. Lose.
125 after our great Grandsires Name. After our great ancestor's name has been shouted.
137 the God. See note to ll. 118–119.
143–147 Dryden uses "Jove" in the general sense of "God." According to Ovid, Metamorphoses, I, 32–35, an unknown god (quisquis … deorum) made the earth. According to Ovid (IV, 281–282) and Lucretius (De Rerum Natura, II, 633–639), Jove was born in Crete. Dryden's language here owes something to Ovid and something to Newton's first law of motion, that a body set in motion will continue to move in the same direction until acted upon by another force; see Metamorphoses, I, 35: magni speciem glomeravit in orbis, "he … moulded the earth into the form of a mighty ball" (Loeb; cf. Dryden's translation, ll. 43, 61 in Works, IV, 377).
150–151 Hercules … / Took up the Distaff . Hercules, in love with Omphale, at her desire joined her maids in putting on women's clothes and spinning wool. As Summers notes (VI, 574), the story is in Ovid's Heroides, IX (Deianira to Hercules), 73–80.
153 import. "Be of consequence or importance to" (OED, citing Tyrannick Love, V, i, 166).
158 three long Months. Dryden has shortened the time in his source; see note to ll. 17–19.
164 Cœnus, the rich Messenian. Dryden's Cœnus is Plutarch's Nicagoras. Messini is at the head of the Gulf of Messinia, 25 miles west of Sparta. App. B (p. 532 below): "Nicagoras the Messenian came to Alexandria, a Man that deeply hated Cleomenes, yet pretended to be his Friend; for he had formerly sold Cleomenes a fair Estate, but never receiv'd the Money, because Cleomenes was either unable, (as it may be) or else, by reason of his engagement in the Wars and other Distractions, had no time to pay him. Cleomenes seeing him landing, (for he was then walking upon the Key) kindly saluted him, and ask'd, What Business brought him to Ægypt? Nicagoras return'd his Compliment, and told him, That he came to bring some excellent War-horses to the King. And Cleomenes with a Smile subjoyn'd, I wish you had rather brought Pimps, Whores, and Pathicks; for those now are the King's chief Delight." Dryden's alterations of Plutarch were probably for exposition, except for the name, which, as he explains in the preface (p. 80:16–17 above), he changed for euphony.
168–174 Plutarch says nothing about such expectations on Cleomenes' part but rather that "When he came into the City [of Sparta after the battle of Sellasia], he advised those Citizens that he met, to receive Antigonus; and as for himself, he said, which should appear most advantageous to Sparta,pg 372 whether his Life or Death, that he would chuse" (App. B, p. 529 below).
170 Eurotas. Ancient Sparta was on its right bank, about 30 miles from the sea.
171-172 During the historical period, Sparta had always had its own kings.
198–199 Cœnus' speech is part of Dryden's adjustment of Plutarch's account of Nicagoras and Cleomenes. See note to l. 164.
216 Poor honest Sparta. Cleomenes had redistributed Sparta's wealth, which was in land; see App. B (p. 518 below): "[Cleomenes] taught Megistones his Mother's [second] Husband, That 'twas expedient for the State to shake off the Power of the Ephori, and to put all their Wealth into one common Stock for the whole Body; That Sparta being restor'd to its old Equality, might be rais'd up to be Mistriss of all Greece." And this Cleomenes proceded to do (see ibid., pp. 516, 518, 520). Aratus' "chief Accusations against Cleomenes, [were] the extirpation of Wealth, and reformation of Poverty" (ibid., p. 522). Cleomenes had also nearly bankrupted his country, and perhaps himself, with his wars (see notes to ll. 17–19, 164). And of course "poor" may be only a general term of commiseration. For the Ephori see note to l. 251.
223 decent. Suitable (OED).
236 Gentle Dragons. Gentled snakes. Ovid says there were two of these snakes: Metamorphoses, V, 642: geminos … angues. Claudian says they were blue: De Raptu Proserpinae, III, 54: caeruli … dracones. Both references are in Summers, VI, 574. See also Alexander's Feast, l. 28, and note (Works, VII).
241–252 See App. B (p. 529 below): "Antigonus taking the City, Treated the Lacedemonians courteously, and neither affronting, nor ruining the Dignity of Sparta, but permitting them to enjoy their own Laws and Polity, and sacrificing to the Gods, dislodg'd the third day."
247 thin'd the Air. Sounds were thought to burst through the air. See, e.g., Alexander's Feast, l. 107 and note (Works, VII).
251 Lycurgus … you . Lycurgus (c. 600?) had revised the constitution of Sparta and exacted a promise that it would never be changed thereafter. After three hundred years, however, it had been abrogated, the Ephors, a board of five overseers, ruling instead of the king; Cleomenes restored Lycurgus' constitution (see note to l. 216 for his redistribution of the wealth). For his other constitutional reforms see App. B, pp. 517, 519–520, 522–523 below, where Lycurgus is mentioned often. Ancient authorities disagree as to when the Ephors appeared in Spartan history, and modern scholars cannot decide.
256–267 See App. B (p. 529 below): "Antigonus … dislodg'd the third day: for he heard that there was a great War kindled in Macedonia, and that the Country was spoil'd by the Barbarians; besides, he grew sick of a Consumption and continual Defluxion on the Lungs, yet he still kept up that he might return and free his own Country, and fall more Gloriously upon an heap of slaughter'd Barbarians. As Phylarchus says, and 'tis probable, he broke a Vein by shouting in the Battle. In the Plays 'twas said, that after the Victory he cry'd out for Joy, O fine Day! and presently bringing up abundance of Blood, fell into a Fever, and dy'd in a short time."
pg 373 258 Barbarian. Dryden would have used the word even if Plutarch had not used it in the passage he is following here (see note to 11. 256–267), for it was the normal Greek word for "foreigner." The barbarians in question here were the Illyrians (see note to l. 273–276), whose homeland corresponded roughly to modern Albania.
273–276 See App. B (p. 528 below): "[Except for money to carry on the war] the Time favour'd Cleomenes; for Antigonus's Affairs at home began to be disturb'd: for the Barbarians wasted and over-ran Macedonia whilst he was absent; and at that time a vast Army of the Illyrians came down: to be freed from whose Outrages, the Macedonians sent for Antigonus, and the Letters had almost been brought to him before the Battel was fought; upon the receipt of which he presently dislodg'd, and left the Achæans Affairs to themselves. But Fortune, that loves to determine the greatest Affairs by a Minute, in this Conjuncture show'd such an exact niceness of Time, that immediately after the Battle in Sellasia was over, and Cleomenes had lost his Army and his City, the Messengers reach'd Antigonus. And this made Cleomenes's Misfortune more to be pitied; for if he had forborn fighting two days longer, there had been no need of hazarding a Battle, since upon the departure of the Macedonians, he might have had what Conditions he pleas'd from the Achæans."
279–281 See note to ll. 273–276.
287 stretch. Dryden uses this word here as in his translation of Virgil's Aeneid: "Then rising, on his utmost stretch he stood, / And aim'd from high the full descending blow" (IX, 1012–1013, repunctuated; see Works, VI, 673).
293 Household Gods. The Lares and Penates were old Latin deities, not Greek. Perhaps Dryden was misled by Virgil's saying that Aeneas, a Trojan, had images of his Penates (Aeneid, II, 717).
296 confess. Pronounce oneself.
297–298 The reference is to Virgil's picture of Deiphobe the priestess of Apollo when prophesying (Aeneid, VI, 45–51, 77–80; Dryden's translation, ll. 70–79, 120–125, particularly "Struggling in vain … underneath the pond'rous God, … he … inspires her Soul" [Works, V, 529–530]). Other accounts of the priestesses who were oracles indicate that they did not struggle so hard. A similar allusion to Deiphobe is in The Kind Keeper, III, i, 96–97 (Works, XIV, 41).
301–302 Lucina … bring to light a Manly Birth. Lucina is Diana's name as goddess of childbirth, because, as Summers notes (VI, 574), she brings to light.
S.d. Cleanthes. As Dryden explains in the preface (p. 81:1–4 above), Cleanthes the son of Sosybius represents to some degree Ptolemy the son of Chrysermas; see App. B (p. 532 below): "Ptolomy, the Son of Chrysermas, a Favourite of the Kings, always carried himself fairly towards Cleomenes; they contracted a near Acquaintance, and would talk freely together about the State." By making Cleanthes the son of Sosybius, Dryden was able topg 374 increase the tension in the play as father and son struggle over their divided loves and loyalties.
13 that God, which Epicurus dreamt. See Lucretius, De Rerum Natura, II, 645–650. Though Lucretius makes Epicurus say that every god must enjoy eternal life in peace, he does not depict the peaceful gods as Dryden makes Cleomenes do in the next line. With "dreamt" cf. "dream" in III, ii, 3 (p. 121 above).
20 Apparently Sosybius does not discuss matters of state with his son. The danger is from Magas, Ptolemy's brother, as we see at II, ii, 9 (p. 102 above).
27 Æsop's Snake. When asked why it had bitten a man who had warmed it in his bosom, the snake replied: "Because he said, 'You can do no harm,'" Moral: "He who brings aid to a wicked person suffers after a time" (Phaedrus, IV, 19, quoted by Summers, VI, 575).
34–39 See App. B (p. 531 below): "when he desir'd a Navy and an Army from the King, his Petition was rejected."
47 Statesman. Always a pejorative in this play, explicitly here and in II, ii, 137, III, 1, 58, and IV, i, 99, and implicitly in III, i, 164, and V, i, 19. See also headnote (p. 348 above). A similar pejorative use occurs in Love Triumphant, I, i, 500–502 (p. 193 above).
54–55 the late Request, / You would not hear. Coenus had not yet explained the nature of his request when Cleomenes said he was in no position to grant favors (I, i, 198–201, p. 95 above).
57–62 See note to I, i, 164(p. 371 above).
58 Thessalian. Plutarch says only "excellent War-horses" (App. B, p. 532 below). "Owing to the extent of its plains, Thessaly was richer in grain, horses and cattle than other parts of Greece" (OCD).
71 pad. "An easy-paced horse" (OED).
73 Mistriss. See App. B, (p. 531 below): "the greatest Affairs of State were manag'd by Agathoclea the King's Mistress, her Mother, and the Pimp Oinanthes." Dryden omitted the mother and worked Oinanthes into the character of Sosybius, whom Plutarch introduces a sentence or two later as "the greatest Favourite." He changed Agathoclea to Cassandra for euphony (see preface, p. 80:14–16 above). She subsequently ruled as regent for the son of Ptolemy Philopater, oppressing the people so severely that they killed her (see preface, p. 81:9–14). Dryden based his character of Cassandra less on Agathoclea than on his Cleopatra in All for Love, and Tricksy in The Kind Keeper. In her divided lust, for power and for Cleomenes, she resembles Nourmahal in Aureng-Zebe.
77 an Effeminate Tyrant. See App. B (p. 532 below), concerning a later event: "'twas both grievous and dishonourable for Cleomenes, who had scorn'd to come to Terms with Antigonus, a brave Warrior, and a Man of Action, to wait an effeminate King's leisure, till he should lay aside his Fiddle, and end his Dance, and then kill" Cleomenes, whom he had put under a kind of house arrest.
78–85 See App. B (p. 532 below): "a few days after [their first meeting] he [Nicagoras] put Cleomenes in mind of the Estate that he had bought of him, and desir'd his Money …. Cleomenes reply'd, That he had not apg 375 penny left of all that had been given him [by the former Ptolemy]: At which Answer Nicagoras being nettled, told Sosibius Cleomenes's Scoff upon the King." For the scoff see note to I, i, 164 (p. 371 above).
97 Helotes. The well-known Spartan practice of making their slaves drunk as counterexamples to their children is mentioned in Plutarch's Life of Lycurgus, xxviii.
S.d. Before the Apartment. Possibly the stage setting was the same as that for IV, i (p. 127), described as "An Antichamber of Cassandra's Lodging." 5 A nuisance is "anything injurious or obnoxious to the community, or to the individual as a member of it" (OED); here a street crossing is the vehicle for the metaphor: a scavenger was a street sweeper (OED).
9–12 See App. B (p. 531 below): "at the first they seem'd to stand in need of Cleomenes; for Ptolemy, being afraid of his Brother Magas, who by his Mother's means had a great Interest among the Soldiers, took Cleomenes into his Cabinet-Council, and acquainted him with the Design of taking off his Brother."
11 Not so soon done as said. Tilley S116, first citation 1546.
15 See Plutarch's description of this Ptolemy as "under the power of his Pleasures," quoted in note to I, i, 17–19 (p. 367 above).
16–20 Words felt by almost everyone, but a nice imagination in our author, and, once amusement has subsided, a nice contrast between those who are more than man and one who is less.
35 her Humor. See note to II, i, 73 (p. 374 above).
44+ s.d. Summers notes (VI, 575) that "leads in" means from the front to the rear stage, which has been disclosed by drawing the scene, representing the opening of a door.
45–60 As noted by Summers (VI, 575), Purcell set this song to music and, according to the separate printing in Joyful Cuckoldom (c. 1695), Charlotte Butler sang it. See headnote (p. 346 above).
63 trilling Notes and tripping Feet. Plutarch observes that Cleomenes despised such things, and that his "alone of all the Greek or Kings Armies had … no dancing or singing Women attending it" (App. B, p. 520 below).
64 See Plutarch's description of this Ptolemy quoted in note to I, i, 17–19 (p. 367 above).
65 See "dancing or singing" in Life of Cleomenes as quoted in note to l. 63.
69 The Sun and Nile begot us. The sun was supposed to engender creatures in the Nile mud. See Ovid, Metamorphoses, I, 422–429; ll. 565–572 in Dryden's translation (Works, IV, 392), and note to All for Love, V, i, 154 (Works, XIII, 436). See also dedication of Virgil's Aeneis (Works, V, 333).
81 Stars. See note to I, i, 1–2 (p. 366 above).
83 My Fathers Friend. Cleomenes arrived in Egypt in the reign of the preceding Ptolemy, who had befriended him for the reasons Dryden dramatizes in the ensuing dialogue. See App. B (p. 530 below): "when, upon tryal, he [the preceding Ptolemy] found him a Man of deep Sense, and great Reason,pg 376 and that his plain Laconick way of Conversation carried a free Pleasantness with it, that he did nothing unbecoming the greatness of his Birth, nor bent under Fortune, and appear'd a more faithful Counsellor, than those who made it their business to please and flatter; he was asham'd" of having failed to come to Cleomenes' aid in Greece, and he "heap'd up Honours and Kindnesses" on him.
84–106 Here and in ll. 128–131 Dryden makes Cleomenes noticeably blunt, and in IV, ii, 36 (p. 133 above) he makes Cassandra speak of his "blunt Laconique way," but usually, when Cleomenes is not under stress, Dryden inclines to make him speak "freely and graciously," as Plutarch says (App. B, p. 521 below). Plutarch says also that at Cleomenes' banquets for strangers music was not required, "for he entertain'd the Company, sometimes asking Questions, sometimes telling Stories: And his Discourse was neither too grave, and unpleasantly serious, nor vain and abusive, but merrily facetious; for … it seem'd to him to be the most glorious method, and most suitable to a King, to win the Affections of those that came near him, by pleasant Discourse, and unaffected Conversation" (ibid., p. 521). Plutarch also refers to the Spartans' "usual Drollery" and how they used "to rally one another facetiously after the Laconick fashion; the Advantages of which I have discover'd in the Life of Lycurgus" (ibid., p. 520). In the latter he gives numerous examples of their wit in the brief and pithy way of speaking they were taught to use as children. When some Athenians laughed at the shortness of Spartan swords, Agis, the first husband of Cleomenes' first wife, said, "We find them long enough to reach our enemies with" (Lives, pp. 64–65). Cleomenes' father Leonidas said to a man whose speech was wise but unseasonable, "Much to the purpose, Sir, elsewhere" (ibid., p. 65). Lycurgus, who gave Sparta its constitution, said to a man who urged him to set up democracy there, "Begin, friend, and set it up in your family" (ibid., p. 65). He said, "The city is well fortified which hath a wall of men instead of brick" (idem), and accordingly Sparta never had walls of masonry. His nephew, when asked why Lycurgus had made so few laws, said, "Men of few words require but few laws" (idem). When asked whether he would like to hear an imitation of a nightingale, a Spartan replied, "I have heard the nightingale itself" (ibid., pp. 65–66).
91 Pageant Prince. Specious ruler (OED, pageant, with a quotation of 1701 referring to the Old Pretender as the "Pageant Prince of Wales").
109 Look. I.e., at Cassandra.
128–129 See note to ll. 84–106.
132–158 In expanding on Plutarch, Dryden has also varied from him slightly; see note to ll. 9–12.
137 Statesman. See note to II, i, 47 (p. 374 above).
140 Popular. Seeking popularity.
168–169 See App. B (p. 529 below): "seeing the danger which the surrounded Wing commanded by his Brother Eucleidas was in, he [Cleomenes] cry'd out, Thou art lost, dear Brother, thou art lost, thou brave example to our Spartan Youth, and Theme of our Matron's Songs." Cleomenes hadpg 377 "made Eucleidas, his Brother, Partner in the Throne; and that was the only time that Sparta had two Kings of the same Family" (ibid., p. 520). Sparta normally had two kings, but of different families, the Agiads and the Eurypontids; Cleomenes was an Agiad, but put his brother on the Eurypontid throne (see W. G. Forrest, A History of Sparta , pp. 22, 145–146).
179–186 See App. B (p. 531 below): "He, though all were for it [killing Magas], declar'd his opinion to the contrary, saying, The King, if it were possible, should have more Brothers for the better security and management of his A ffairs." 192–199 See App. B (p. 531 below): "Sosibius, the greatest Favourite, [replied], That they were not secure of the Mercenaries whilst Magas was alive"
194–195 Three thousand Greeks … / Like Wolves … among Ægyptian Lambs. See note to ll. 202–203.
198 Perhaps redundant, perhaps referring to a joint monarchy, such as Egypt had from time to time, for example, when Agathoclea shared the regency with her brother Antiocles (see preface, p. 81:11–12 above).
202–203 See App. B (p. 531 below): "Cleomenes return'd, That he [Sosibius] need not trouble himself about that Matter; for amongst the Mercenaries there were above 3000 Peloponnesians, who were his fast Friends, and whom he could command at any time with a Nod. This Discourse made Cleomenes for the present to be look'd upon as a Man of Integrity and Power; but afterwards (Ptolomy's Weakness increasing his Fear, and, as it usually happens, where there is no Judgment and Wisdom at the bottom, placing his Security in Jealousie and Suspicion) rendred Cleomenes suspected to the Courtiers, as having too much Interest with the Mercenaries; and many had this Saying in their Mouths, That he was a Lion midst a flock of Sheep: for such he seem'd to be in the Court, slyly overlooking and taking notice of the management of Affairs." The text of The Life of Cleomenes in App. B has been edited to conform in substantive matters to the 1685 edition in Plutarch's Lives; the text originally printed with the play has "his Nod" instead of "a Nod"; perhaps Dryden was responsible for the change.
209 like Lions. The simile may have been suggested by the metaphor quoted in note to 11. 202–203.
213 so full of Heaven. See note to III, ii, 2 (pp. 380–381 below).
214 sparkles at their Eyes. Cf. Love Triumphant, V, ii, 56: (p. 251 above): "sparkle in his Eyes."
233 the Gods … Man . Cleonidas' story of creation conflicts with that of Cleanthes and Ptolomy (see II, ii, 69, and III, ii, 3–5, pp. 104, 121 above). Perhaps Dryden intended his audience to accept Cleonidas' story as Greek and the others' story as Egyptian, although he had manufactured the latter out of Roman mythology or folk science (see note to l. 69). Cleonidas embroiders the Greek myth, of course. According to Hesiod (Works and Days, 11. 50–82), Prometheus, strictly a Titan, kneaded earth and water togetherpg 378 to make man, after which Zeus ordered Hephaestus to make the first woman, Pandora, in the same way.
236 intended for four Feet. Because animals have no souls.
248–249 Saintsbury (S-S, VIII, 300) emends to "Nor is their lustre lost. In Ptolemy / Small boast: …"
283 Apelles. A contemporary of Alexander the Great, Apelles was the most famous of Greek painters, noted for his lifelike representations.
288 his Benefactor. Menelaus, king of Sparta, who extended hospitality to Paris.
289 Alluding to the Trojan War and the fate of Paris, who at the fall of Troy died from a poisoned arrow, and perhaps also to the fate of Helen of Troy, who, according to one tradition, became a fugitive again after the death of her husband Menelaus and died at the hands of a strangler (SCD).
292 slew the Ravisher. Not so. Menelaus engaged Paris in single combat and indeed would have killed him had not Aphrodite carried off her favorite in a cloud, but it was Philoctetes who gave Paris the wound from which he died (see note to l. 289; also The Speeches of Ajax and Ulysses, l. 74 and note, in Works, VII). Cleomenes' willingness to adjust facts for Cleonidas' ears is mentioned in I, i, 184–187 (p. 94 above).
300 Belt of Love. Alluding to Aphrodite's magic girdle, which made the wearer an object of desire (SCD).
312 Wretch. "Used as a term of playful depreciation, or to denote slight commiseration or pity" (OED). "Honest" is similarly patronizing in connotation.
319 allow a grain. Goldsmiths' language: a grain is the smallest unit of weight in the nonmetric systems of the United Kingdom and the United States. OED cites the epilogue to 2 Conquest of Granada, ll. 15–16: "None of 'em, no not Jonson, in his height / Could pass, without allowing grains for weight."
346 Oenone. Paris' wife is not mentioned in the Iliad, but see Ovid, Heroides, V (Oenone to Paris), l. 1. She is mentioned also in Helen to Paris, l. 193 of the translation by Dryden and John Sheffield, 3d Earl of Mulgrave, and in Virgil's Eclogues, II, l. 88 in Dryden's translation (Works, I, 130; V, 81).
2 See II, ii, 204 (p. 108 above).
6–7 What you observ'd; / Some are born Kings. See II, ii, 212 (p. 109 above).
17 If this line were not an anachronism it would be an imaginative combination of Epicureanism (atoms; see Lucretius, De Rerum Natura, III, 216–217) and Platonism (brain; see Timaeus, 73D); instead, it is the psychology of Thomas Hobbes (see the opening pages of Leviathan and of. Human Nature).
pg 37921–22 all Men have the Seeds / Of Good and Ill. Lucretius, De Return Natura, III, 307–322.
45–51 See App. B (pp. 531–532): "as the Ox A pis, though revelling in all possible plenty and delight, yet desires to live as nature would provide for him, to be at liberty, and frisk about the Fields, and can scarce endure to be under the Priests keeping; so he [Cleomenes] could not brook their [Sosibius' and the others'] Courtship, and tender Entertainment, but like Achilles, / Whilst there, his heart did waste with secret grief, / And he was eager for the noisy Wars." In Ptolemaic times, Apis, the sacred bull at Memphis (across the river from modern Cairo), was supposed to be inhabited by the soul of Osiris, that is, to be Osiris, one of the principal deities of the Egyptians. Apis was consulted as an oracle and was thought to indicate a favorable or unfavorable outcome according as he received or rejected the food offered to him by the inquirer. See also note to l. 96 and introductory note to III, ii (p. 380 below).
46 Golden Roofs. The color appears to be Dryden's invention. He may have been influenced by Milton's picture of the temple in Jerusalem "top't with golden Spires" (Paradise Regained, IV, 548), as he apparently was when translating Chaucer; see Palamon and Arcite, I, 214–215 (Works, VII), where "the Temples crown'd / With golden Spires" are not in the Middle English.
51 Spartan Broth. See App. B (p. 521 below): "[Cleomenes] reprov'd one of his Friends for entertaining some Strangers with nothing but Pulse and black Broth, such Diet as they usually had." See also Life of Lycurgus: "Their most famous dish was the black broth" (Lives, p. 58). The older men left the meat in it for the younger ones to eat. Summers (VI, 575) says the meat was pork. Plutarch continues: "They say that a certain king of Pontus, having heard much of this black broth of theirs, sent for a Lacedæmonian cook on purpose to make him some, but had no sooner tasted it than he found it extremely bad, which the cook observing, told him, 'Sir, to make this broth relish, you should have bathed yourself first in the river Eurotas'" (for the river see note to I, i, 170, p. 372 above).
52 dang'rous … Then send him hence. See App. B (p. 531 below): "Sosibius, the chief Minister of State, thought that Cleomenes being detain'd against his will, would grow ungovernable and dangerous, and yet that it was not safe to let him go [home], being an aspiring, daring Man, and well acquainted with the Diseases and Weakness of the Kingdom; for no Presents, no Gifts, could win him to a Complyance." Sosybius' fear of letting Cleomenes leave Egypt Dryden reserves for ll. 185–187.
57 double. Evasion, dodge, an image from hare hunting (OED).
58 Delphian Statesman. Replies of the oracle at Delphi were notoriously cryptic; see OED (Delphian). See also note to II, i, 47 (p. 374 above).
91 Sosybius. Three syllables, as everywhere else except possibly l. 33.
96 Illumination-Feast. After a bull had been identified as Apis he was brought to Memphis and installed in his sanctuary with great ceremony, pg 380the preceding "Apis" having died or been drowned after twenty-five years "in office" and, in either event, entombed among the pyramids. Dryden presumably refers to this feast ("Apis has appear'd" [l. 97]) rather than to the festival of Apis' birthday. Summers (VI, 576) agrees, noting that Herodotus (II, 153) refers briefly to the building of the sanctuary and that Pliny (Natural History, VIII, lxxi) describes the ceremony of installation.
117–122 The first hearers and readers of the play may have seen a contemporary political message in these lines.
120–121 Beasts … Pot-herb-gods. The Egyptians believed that "the Cats, the Crocodils, and the Onions, were to be reverenced as Gods" (Gautruche, Bk. II, p. 284; see also Bk. I, p. 11).
163 Statesman. See note to II, i, 47 (p. 374 above).
167 clogging of. Attaching a heavy weight to (OED).
178 Gild … Pill. Tilley P325, first citation 1557.
185-187 See note to l. 52.
188-191 As noted by Summers (VI, 576), the image is of a ship first running before the wind and then having to tack back to its point of origin.
189 edge upon a point of Wind. Sail at an angle to the compass point from which the wind is coming (OED, citation of 1630: "The James … then edged vp in the winde"). See also dedication of the Aeneis (Works, V, 275): "I have been Sailing with some side-wind or other toward the Point I propos'd in the beginning."
S.d. Temple … Apis painted . Gautruche, Bk. I, pp. 91–92, says that Apis and Serapis are alternate names for Osiris. Tacitus, Histories, IV, lxxxiv, although he uses the name Serapis alone, records a tradition (among several others) that the god's worship in Alexandria was introduced from Memphis by Ptolemy III, father of the Ptolomy in the play. The Serapeum in Alexandria was a particularly magnificent edifice. Evidence of which Dryden can have had no knowledge suggests that Apis and Serapis were represented as separate deities there, the one in the form of a bull, the other in the form of a man (John E. Stambaugh, Sarapis under the Early Ptolemies , pp. 61–67).
The auguries or omens in this scene were probably managed with fire and smoke. For a classical example see Pygmalion and the Statue, 11. 70–71 (Works, VII), and for an imitation of the classics see Palamon and Arcite, III, 179–187, 248–260, 363–369 (idem); for the stage effect itself see King Arthur, II, i, 108+ s.d. (p. 26 above): "Grimbald sinks with a Flash."
1–2 For the apostrophe to Apis as inhabited by the soul of Osiris, see note to III, i, 45–51 (p. 379 above).
2 thrice Holy Fire. Cf. II, ii, 212–214 (p. 109 above): "Some are born Kings, / Made up of three parts Fire, so full of Heaven, / It sparkles at their Eyes." The Egyptians did not regard their gods as essentially fire; that is a Stoic doctrine (see Cleanthes, Hymn to Zeus, 11. 9–13). But Cleanthes, the second of the Stoic philosophers, died at the age of 99 a pg 381decade before the battle of Sellasia, so Dryden may legitimately suppose that the Greek rulers of Egypt had some Stoic ideas.
7, 11 Type … resolve again. In contrast with their immediate predecessors, the Persians, as rulers of Egypt, Alexander and the Ptolemies supported the old Egyptian religion and in return accepted worship as gods (Adolf Erman, A Handbook of Egyptian Religion, trans. A. S. Griffith , pp. 204–209).
9 kindly. The word fills out the metrical line but gives little indication of its meaning: possibly "nurturing," new blood being conventionally thought necessary to prevent decay in a royal family; possibly "natural" or "goodly" (the possible senses in V, ii, 35, p. 146 above); possibly "suitable," possibly "rightful," possibly just "her own."
12 Queen of Ægypt. See preface (p. 81:11–12 above).
26–35 Summers (VI, 576) notes that Jeremy Collier objected to this speech in his Short View of the Immorality and Profaneness of the English Stage (1698), p. 105, calling it a rant and historically improbable. Collier also objected to it as suggesting that libertines and atheists were better than the pious. Collier was a rigorist, or he might have given Dryden credit for such lines as V, ii, 63–64 (p. 147 above): "The Gods are good, / Tho' thou and I may perish."
34 Bribe. See the opening stage direction. Occasions when the priests at Delphi were bribed are on record (Michael Grant, The Rise of the Greeks , p. 125).
4 We must have patience. See note to I, i, 1–2 (p. 366 above).
15–16 Note the awkward line division. Possibly a compositor was struggling with his copy.
31 my better part. Tilley F696, "A friend is one's second self" (first citation in English 1539, and see citation of 1609, Shakespeare's Sonnet 39, 1. 2: "thou art all the better part of me"). "Better half" and "better part" occur often in Dryden's plays, e.g., in IV, ii, 285 (p. 141 above).
42 Here they are. Strictly, the entrance after l. 48 should follow these words.
49–53 See App. B (p. 525 below) concerning an earlier event: "Ptolomy … demanded his Mother and Children for Hostages [see note to I, i, 17–19, p. 367 above]: this for some considerable time he was asham'd to discover to his Mother; and though he often went to her on purpose, and was just upon the Discourse, yet still refrain'd, and kept it to himself."
54 King of Sparta. An apostrophe characteristic of Cratisiclea when strengthening her son's resolve (see IV, ii, 202, p. 138 above), found also in the same emotional context in Plutarch (see note to 11. 133–137).
pg 38263 Listen. I.e., listen closely, a meaning now archaic or poetical (OED).
66 ten Thousand. The rhythm and the historical accuracy would be better without the "ten," as Saintsbury points out (S-S, VIII, 316).
67–73 See App. B (p. 525 below): "[His mother] began to suspect somewhat, and ask'd his Friends, Whether Cleomenes had somewhat to say to her, which he was afraid to speak?"
69 presses. Is in the process of killing by "pressing,'' or peine forte et dure (OED, press [verb], peine). An anachronism: pressing was an English practice (see note to Amboyna, V, i, 60–61, in Works, XII, 309–310) for forcing an accused person to plead guilty or not guilty; the practice was in use until at least 1726 (OED). Alternatively, we may suppose that "presses" merely means "suppresses," a meaning that OED does not recognize.
86 Barbarian. See note to I, i, 258 (p. 373 above).
107 Rust in Ægypt. Echoing his father's words at I, i, 116 (p. 92 above).
108 Glue. I.e., birdlime. See King Arthur, III, ii, 53, and note (pp. 38, 326 above).
116 look the World to Law. Cf. "Mars has lookt the Sky to Red," The Secular Masque, l. 51 (p. 269 above).
133–137 See App. B (pp. 525–526): "At last Cleomenes venturing to tell her, she laugh'd heartily, and said, … Why do you not put me on Shipboard, and send this Carkase where it may be most serviceable to Sparta, before Age wastes it unprofitably here? … and embracing him who was very much dejected, and extreamly discompos'd, she said thus, Go to King of Sparta; when we are without door, let none see us Weep, or show any Passion below the Honour and Dignity of Sparta; for that alone is in our own Power: as for Success or Disappointments, those wait on us as the Deity decrees." Dryden could reasonably move Cratisiclea's words from Sparta to Egypt without contradicting Plutarch, for the latter says, "this Character she maintain'd in her Misfortunes" (ibid., p. 526).
138–139 The italics may indicate a quotation.
1–6 See App. B (p. 532 below): "Nicagoras … told Sosibius Cleomenes's Scoff upon the King." Ibid. (p. 532): "[After Nicagoras had left Egypt, Sosibius] with a bitter Invective excited the Fury of the Youth." For "Whores and Catamites" see II, i, 61 (p. 100 above).
17–23 See II, i, 57–87 (pp. 100–101 above).
28 the Combat. Trial by combat. An anachronism: trial by combat was a Teutonic practice that reached England by way of the Normans. It was a legal recourse in England from 1066 to 1819. If Dryden thought he was being historical here, he probably equated trial by combat with the single combats in Greek and Roman literature and history. See Enc. Br., 7:711– pg 383712, OED (battle, combat, duel, trial), and note to King Arthur, V, ii, 32 (p. 336 above).
51 Canopus. About 10–15 miles northeast of Alexandria, on the seacoast. See note to V, ii, 91 (p. 387 below).
54 Isis and Osiris. Dryden would have known of Isis and Osiris from the writers of classical antiquity, who represent the deities as sister-wife and brother-husband, she as goddess of the earth and he as god of the underworld.
74 Image. The language depends on Gen. 1:26–27.
99 Statesman. See note to II, i, 47 (p. 374 above).
114 Rhyme begins with this line.
The location of the action is not clear. If Cleomenes in 11. 4–5 sees the picture he and his son looked at in II, ii (p. 110 above), then the place is Cassandra's apartment. Historically speaking, the place ought to be a part of the palace where Cleomenes and his family are to be detained; see App. B (p. 532 below): "it was agreed [by Ptolemy when Sosibus excited him against Cleomenes], that Cleomenes should be invited into a large Apartment, and treated as formerly, but not suffer'd to go out again: this Usage was grievous to Cleomenes, and by this unlucky Accident [his incautious "Scoff upon the King"], his Hopes for the future seem'd to be quite dash'd." But we see that the stage setting for that place (in V, ii, p. 145 above) is specified as "A Prison."
7–10 This weather lore is to be found in Virgil, Georgies, I, 427–429; see Dryden's translation, I, 575–577 (Works, V, 174):
- When first the Moon appears, if then she shrouds
- Her silver Crescent, tip'd with sable Clouds;
- Conclude she bodes a Tempest on the Main.
7 Glimps. "A momentary shining, a flash" (OED).
8 shuffled. Deceitful, or shifting (OED, senses 7, 10 of the verb).
9 Rhyme begins with this line.
9 shuts. Is shut off.
17 Stops, or Delays … no News at Court. A commonplace, but a fact of life from which Dryden had suffered in the past and also with this play (see headnote, pp. 344–345 above).
24 Your Friend. Cleanthes.
82 Seeds of heat. Latent heat (OED, heat). The term "latent heat" was not yet in use, but the invention of the thermometer had made it easier to observe degrees of heat below the freezing point of water. Dryden probably thought that "Seeds of heat" was not too great an anachronism in Cas-pg 384sandra's mouth, for Virgil had written of "seeds of flame" (semina flammae) struck from flints (Aeneid, VI, 6; see Works, V, 527), and Lucretius had regularly called atoms "seeds" (see note to l. 83).
83 impotently. Dryden's image foreshadows modern cryogenics in an interesting way: today, as in Dryden's day, heat is thought to result from the motion of atoms (for a time in between it was believed to be a fluid; see OED, heat, caloric), and "absolute zero" was originally set at the point where atoms were thought to become inert, or in Dryden's language, impotent (OED, zero). It is now assumed, however, in the light of the Heisenberg uncertainty principle of quantum mechanics, that atoms still have unobservable motion at that temperature (Enc. Br., 14:446). The imagery is not an anachronism, however; the Epicureans believed that the motions of atoms caused heat (Lucretius, De Rerum Natura, III, 241–248).
95 unsusceptible. "Unable to receive or retain" (OED, citing only this passage).
104–105 Cf. James 2:15–16, "If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, and one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit?"
107 forbid him. Forbid him entrance, exclude him (OED); see l. 187, "forbidden Doors," i.e., not to be entered by.
120 in my despight. For the construction see OED (despite), which cites Absalom and Achitophel, l. 539; the meaning here is similar, "in spite of me," "in defiance of my wishes."
131 Syren. Dryden means mermaid, or possibly he is thinking of Scylla, whom Ulysses encountered next after the sirens (Odyssey, XII); see the description in Virgil, Aeneid, III, 426–428, as translated by Dryden, ll. 543–546 (Works, V, 435):
See also The Spanish Fryar, IV, ii, 261 (Works, XIV, 175), and note to King Arthur, IV, ii, 38 (p. 332 above).
- A Human Face,
- And Virgin Bosom, hides her Tails disgrace.
- Her Parts obscene below the Waves descend,
- With Dogs inclos'd; and in a Dolphin end.
138–139 Perhaps dependent on The Life of Cleomenes (App. B, p. 532 below): "Ptolomy, the Son of Chrysermas, … upon Cleomenes's Desire came to him, had some Discourse with him, upon a few and inconsiderable Subjects, to avoid suspicion, and made some Excuses for the King; but as he went out again, not knowing that Cleomenes follow'd him to the Door, he very severely reprimanded the Keepers, for their Carelessness in looking after so great and so furious a wild Beast." For Dryden's alteration of the character of this Ptolemy (his Cleanthes) see preface (p. 81:1–4 above).
150–151 his last Thrid … cut it now. Alluding to the three Fates, whose tasks were variously distributed among them by different authors and artists.
175–177 like Achilles … Mortal. Summers (VI, 577) cites Statius, Achil-pg 385leid (I, 269–270) for the legend of Achilles' unbathed heel. The legend of his death, when Paris shot him in the heel with a poisoned arrow, is in Ovid, Metamorphoses, XII, 580–611; see The Twelfth Book of Ovid his Metamorphoses, ll. 788–805 (Works, VII). There is a reference to Achilles in Plutarch's Life of Cleomenes (see note to III, i, 45–51, p. 379 above).
186-187 Cassandra's decision to starve Cleomenes and his family is a major addition to Plutarch; see headnote and Dryden's preface (pp. 350, 78:12–16 above), for his reasons for making it.
186 Air shall be your Food. Chameleons were thought to live on air; see Pliny, Natural History, VIII, li, 122.
189 The liker Spartan Fare. See note to III, i, 51 (p. 379 above).
189-190 Keen … yours. Dryden may have been struck by the similar irony in Amos 4:6, "I [God] also have given you cleanness of teeth," i.e., a famine.
202 Oh King of Sparta. See note to III, iii, 54 (p. 381 above).
226 swopp'd. Swapped; used in serious poetry of the time (OED).
229 forward. OED defines as "early," but the context suggests that the meaning here is "too early."
239–240 one Lease … expiring. Leases of land or buildings "for two (or more) lives" expire with the death of the last surviving person specified (OED, life, sense 8b of the noun). The image is of course an anachronism.
236 within. Offstage. Cleora has a baby at her breast (see V, ii, 35, p. 146 above).
244 four days. This is too short a time, but Dryden wishes to breach the unity of time as little as possible; see preface (p. 78:12–14 above).
249 I'le hold my Breath. See Leonidas in Marriage A-la-Mode, III, i, 348 (Works, XI, 268), Indamora in Aureng-Zebe, V, i, 153 (Works, XII, 232), Cleopatra in All for Love, V, i, 12 (Works, XIII, 93), and Don Sebastian in Don Sebastian, V, i, 456–458 (Works, XV, 208).
258 Land-mark. Boundary marker (OED), here between two fields; between two countries in Love Triumphant, III, i, 291 (p. 216 above).
266 Images. See note to IV, i, 74 (p. 383 above).
267–269 This announcement contradicts the "news from Hell" of "irrevocable Doom" that Cleomenes has been giving his mother and his son ever since they came in (see esp. ll. 204, 210).
282 let me grow again to thee. There is similar language in V, ii, 224, in King Arthur, III, ii, 57, and in Love Triumphant, V, ii, 223 (pp. 152, 38, 256 above). See also note to the latter reference (p. 417 below).
285 my better part. See note to III, iii, 31 (p. 381 above).
321 hansel. "Inaugurate with some ceremony or observance of an auspicious nature" (OED). The word occurs often in Dryden's plays, usually with the meaning "earnest money"; see notes in Works, VIII, 250; IX, 347; XIV, 393; and XV, 449.
327 Mansions. Abodes (OED, citing Dryden's translation of Virgil's Georgies, IV, 691: "Th' Infernal Mansions").
330 put the change on. Deceive (OED, change).
pg 38619 Statesman. See note to II, i, 47 (p. 374 above).
22–23 No doubt Dryden is looking back particularly on Charles IFs mistresses, the very unpopular French Catholic Dutchess of Portsmouth (1649–1734) and her rival, the English Protestant Eleanor or Ellen Gwyn (1650–1687). Luttrell (I, 34–35) records an occasion when a fight threatened in the theater because one of the audience called Nell Gwyn a whore. More famous is the story of the occasion when Nell saved herself from a mob that had set upon her coach by calling out that she was "the protestant whore" (DNB).
43–44 "Viper" should be "scorpion." Dryden had made the same mistake in his translation of Lucretius, De Rerum Natura, IV (his l. 26) and corrected it in the preface to the volume, where he went on to say, "There are a sort of blundering half-witted people, who make a great deal of noise about a Verbal slip" (Works, III, 13–14, 58). No wonder he repeated the error. Lynwood Farnham, one of the great organists of the twentieth century, remarked: "I stop to ascertain just why the mistake was made, take measures, … make up my mind I will never make that mistake again, and I never do" (American Organist, XIX: 11 [Nov. 1985], 68).
46 The Wind stands fair. Normal language perhaps, but cf. "Now sits the wind fair, and we will aboard" (Henry V, II, ii, 12).
54 The familiar proverb comes from Congreve's The Mourning Bride (1697, i.e., after Cleomenes), III, i, 45–46: "Heav'n has no Rage, like Love to Hatred turn'd, / Nor Hell a Fury, like a Woman scorn'd."
54+ s.d. Exit Cassandra. For her future history, see preface (p. 81:9–14 above).
For Collier's objections to this scene, specifically to ll. 38–41 and generally to its "Impious Rants and Atheistical Disputes," see Short View, pp. 91–93.
34 This line has five stresses only if read as three dactyls and two trochees.
35 kindly. Natural or goodly. See also note to III, ii, 9 (p. 381 above).
42–47 Look down … suffer . "Cleomenes's Rant seems an imitation of Hyllus [in Sophocles' Trachiniae, ll. 1264–1274], only 'tis bolder, and has nothing of the rashness of Youth to excuse it" (Collier, Short View, p. 54). Hyllus speaks as his father Hercules is dying in agony.
43 Hercules, thou Author of my Race. The phrasing here comes from words of a friend of Cleomenes' named Therycion, "the Race of Hercules" (App. B, p. 530 below). See also note to I, i, 119 (p. 370 above).
44 Jog thy Father Jove. "According to Homer, Hercules was the son of Zeus by Alcmene, the wife of Amphitryon, of Thebes in Boeotia" (SCD). For Hercules' presence in heaven see note to I, i, 118–119 (p. 370 above).
66 I always said my Prayers. Hengo, in John Fletcher's Bonduca, IV, ii, 26 (l. 1827 in Malone Society ed., 1951), speaks the same words.
78 Lamp. Lantern. In Greek, λαμπάς and λαμπτήρ were regularly synonymous.
pg 38791 See App. B (p. 533 below): "Ptolomy hapning … to make a Progress to Canopus, … and it being the King's custom, to send Presents and an Entertainment to those whom he would free, Cleomenes's Friends made that Provision, and sent it into the Prison, thereby deceiving the Keepers, who thought it had been sent by the King; for he [Cleomenes] sacrific'd, and gave them large Portions, and with a Crown upon his Head feasted and made merry with his Friends." Dryden's decision to have a scene of starvation required some alteration of Plutarch.
97 impious. Unloving, disrespectful of a parent.
98 last. At last, after all; or, coming last to the table.
99 half seas o'er. Tilley H53, first citation, B. E.'s New Dictionary of the Canting Crew (ante 1700), where the definition is "Almost Drunk." Here the meaning is clearly "halfway."
153 Force is the Law of Brutes. The first citation of "brute force" in OED is 1736. Cf. "Force is of Brutes" in Palamon and Arcite, III, 742 (Works, VII).
160 crude and indigested. OED notes "indigest and crude" in Ben Jonson's Volpone (1605), II, ii, 99 (s.v. crude), but Dryden's phrase does not appear until 1884 (s.v. undigested). The adjectives are synonymous.
167 Minos. A son of Zeus, one of the judges in Hades (Odyssey XI).
221 Lest … odds. That is, lest I should attack the guards and be overwhelmed by their number.
224 grow here. See note to IV, ii, 282 (p. 385 above).
227 am thou. See note to III, iii, 31 (p. 381 above).
229 taken to the Death. Died without retaliating against.
263 Lead, my best Cleanthes. See App. B (p. 533 below): "as soon as it was full Noon, and all the Keepers drunk and fast asleep, he [Cleomenes] put on his Coat, and … with his drawn Sword in his hand he issued forth, together with his Friends, provided in the same manner, making 13 in all."
266 Magas is lov'd. See note to II, ii, 9–12 (p. 375 above).
270 The Dog Anubis. Summers (VI, 577) cites Virgil, Aeneid, VIII, 698; Ovid, Metamorphoses, IX, 689–690; and Propertius, IV, xi, 41. All these references contain the words "the barker [or, barking] Anubis" and the last one says that Cleopatra opposed him to Jove.
The last half of Act V was written by Thomas Southerne, who followed Dryden's plot outline (see headnote, p. 344 above). The stage has been cleared, but the stage setting could have been the same as for scene ii.
7 train'd. Decoyed (OED).
pg 38812 prospect. Expectation (OED).
56 generous. "Of good breed or stock" (OED, citing Dryden's translation of Virgil's Georgies, III, 119); another possible meaning here is "spirited"; another is "brave" (OED).
56 unflesh'd. "Not yet stimulated by tasting flesh" (OED, citing this passage).
2-3 See App. B (p. 533 below): "[The people] had Courage enough to praise and admire Cleomenes's Daring, but not one had the heart to follow and assist him."
10+ s.d. Entrances. The proscenium doors.
19–21 But … Government. These words were set as verse in the first edition; on the other hand, ll. 26–28, set as prose, are good verse.
33–34 Hanging is the part of a Dog. See The Duke of Guise, III, i, 81–82 (Works, XIV, 242) and Luttrell, I, 19–20: "The lord cheif justice Scroggs in his circuit this assizes had severall affronts putt upon him: … they threw a dog half hanged into his coach." Also the proverb, "There are more ways to kill a dog than hanging" (ODP, first citation 1678).
38 A Dog you worship. Anubis; see V, ii, 270 (p. 154 above).
42–44 Dryden wrote similarly of the militia in Cymon and Iphigenia, 11. 400–408 (Works, VII), as did Edward Ward, The London Spy, Part VIII (1924 repr., pp. 188–189).
80–81 It is just possible that Dryden remembered this moral teaching from his work on King Arthur. See Thomas Fuller, The History of the Worthies of England (1662), Cardiganshire, II, 578 (in 1811 ed.): "King Arthur did never violate the Refuge of a Woman. … By the Woman's Refuge, many understand her Tongue, and no valiant man will revenge her words with his blows" (from Tilley K88).
86 Heavy. Dull (Saintsbury, S-S, VIII, 356). See also note to The Spanish Fryar, prologue, l. 22 (Works, XIV, 448).
The closing stage direction of scene iv indicates that scene v takes place in another location.
7 Treason. Treachery (OED).
13–15 See last paragraph in note to I, i, 23+ s.d. (p. 368 above).
13–14 Fain I would live / To Comfort you: I bleed. Hengo speaks similarly in John Fletcher's Bonduca, V, iii, 194–197 and 185 (ll. 2524–2527 and 2515 in Malone Society ed.).
21 Hold me. Hengo utters the same words as he is dying (Bonduca, V, iii, 119 [l. 2499]).
22 Cheer up. Caratach's words to the dying Hengo (Bonduca, V, iii, 190 p. 2520]).
23 What shall I lose. Caratach's words (ibid., V, iii, 204 [l. 2534]).
25 once. One day (OED).
25 must have dy'd. Hengo's words (ibid., V, iii, 206 [l. 2536]).
28 and when you come. Hengo's words (ibid., V, iii, 211 [l. 2541]).
30 Fate thou hast done thy worst. Cf. Caratach in Bonduca, V, iii, 228–229 (ll. 2558–2559): "Time and Death, / Ye have done your worst." For Dryden's remark on "fate" in the sense of "death" see Ward, Letters, p. 35.
76–83 See App. B (p. 533 below): "despairing of Success, and saying to his Friends, That it was no wonder that Women rul'd o'er those Men that fled Liberty, he excited them all to dye as bravely as became his Followers, and Men of their Glorious performances."
84–90 See App. B (p. 533 below): "the King … bade him [Panteus], when he had seen him and the rest fall'n, dye by their Example."
91–95 See App. B (p. 533 below): "Hippotas was first, as he desir'd, run through by one of the young Men, and then each of them readily and resolutely fell upon his own Sword, except Panteus."
96–105 See App. B (p. 533 below): "Panteus walk'd over them as they lay, and prick'd every one with his Dagger, to try whether any was alive; when he prick'd Cleomenes in the Leg, and saw him turn upon his Back, he kiss'd him, sate down by him, and when he was quite dead, cover'd his Carkass, and then kill'd himself upon his Body."
115–116 The sentence is not grammatical; apparently the reader or the hearer is to supply "know" before "that."
119–124 See App. B (p. 534 below): "the Alexandrians made Processions to the Place [where Cleomenes' body was exposed], and gave Cleomenes the Title of Heroe, and Son of the Gods."
pg 390Love Triumphant
In a letter Dryden dated "May the 9th or 10th" (1693) he wrote to his young friend and protégé William Walsh, "The play I am now writeing is a feignd story: & a Tragicomedy of the nature of the Spanish Fryar: And I am sure the tale of it is likely to be diverting enough. I have plotted it all; & written two Acts of it. This morning I had their chief Comedian [Thomas Dogget] … with me; to consult with him concerning his own Character," that of Sancho.1 In the same letter Dryden says he is hoping that Walsh will write a preface to the play in answer to Thomas Rymer's Short View of Tragedy (1692). In another letter to Walsh, of 12 December 1693, having seen a sketch of what Walsh proposed as a preface and having rejected it as too long, he writes, "my Play … is now studying; but cannot be acted until after Christmasse is over."2 At that time Dryden was still in doubt as to whether the subtitle should be Nature Will Prevail or Neither Side to Blame, "which [latter] is very proper [he continues], to the two chief Characters of the Heroe & Heroine: who not withstanding the Extravange [sic] of their passion, are neither of them faulty, either in duty, or in Honour." On 11 January 1694 Dryden read the prologue and the epilogue at a supper party attended by Evelyn at "Mr Ed Sheldons."3 In both these pieces he advertised the play as his farewell to the stage.4 The date of the première is not known, but a contemporary letter, dated 22 March 1694, says that the play "was damn'd by the universal cry of the town, nemine contradicente, but the conceited poet," who, as we have just seen, had expected it to be "diverting enough."5 Should the report of the letter writer not be considered vivid enough, we may turn to an earlier passage in Dryden's first letter to Walsh (quoted above) concerning Thomas D'Urfey's The Richmond Heiress: "it was sufferd but foure dayes; and then kickd off for ever"; it "concluded with Catcalls; of which the two noble Dukes of Richmond and St Albans were chief managers."6 But D'Urfey revised his play and the players brought it on again, whereas no other performances of Love Triumphant are known in either the seventeenth or the eighteenth century. Its publication was advertised in the London Gazette, 12–15 March 1694.7 There was no other separate edition.
Dryden's first letter to Walsh tells us that he had begun Love Triumphantpg 391before he had finished editing his third miscellany for Jacob Tonson, Examen Poeticum, which was published in the summer of 1693 with seven new poems, both original compositions and translations, from his pen. The second letter tells us that he had not finished the play, or at least its prologue and epilogue, before he had begun to edit his fourth miscellany, The Annual Miscellany: For the Year 1694, which was to include two new poems of his, one a lengthy specimen of what he was to do in translating all of Virgil. We remember that Dryden, like D'Urfey, had successfully revised a failed play, his first, The Wild Gallant. Possibly, then, his ongoing poetical labors in 1694 took away any residual interest he may have had in rescuing Love Triumphant.
Some tendency to let problems slide may have been signaled again by Dryden's first letter to Walsh. In it he said he had been "up to the Eares in law" for the past six weeks. He had had a friend arrested for cheating him of fifty pounds, but now he wrote, "[I] am affrayd that at the long run, I will rather loose it, Sc let him go," than engage in a civil suit that promised to be lengthy. We do not know Dryden's final decision, however, and later passages in the same letter, and in others from the time of writing and producing Love Triumphant, present a happier picture of many and varied activities and interests.
He enjoyed Mrs. Bracegirdle's and Dogget's acting and singing in The Richmond Heiress. He agreed to join William Congreve and Thomas Southerne in providing commendatory verses for a volume of William Wycherley's poems.8 He was concerned about food riots at home, the war with France on land and sea, which was not going well for the Dutch and English, and even about events in Turkey. He was in correspondence with his sons in Rome.9 In the summer of 1693 he left his wife in London and went to Northamptonshire, where he did some fishing. He took time to inquire about a government "place" for Walsh and to write To Mr. Congreve for publication in The Double Dealer. Rumor had it that the queen had employed Rymer to attack his plays, but he gave no credence to the story, and in fact no attack came. He was more concerned about rumors that Admiral Killigrew was a Jacobite and that the High Church party was disloyal: "In my Conscience they wrong them." And as the year closed he was fairly certain both that parliament would not investigate charges of financial misdoings among its members and that it would not pass a triennial bill as then written.10
How does one account for the failure of a play no less satisfactory, to all appearances, than others that were successful? The writer of the letter of 22 March 1694 said, "the comical part descends below the style and shew of apg 392Bartholomew-fair droll."11 That, of course, is a matter of opinion. The subplot of Love Triumphant does not differ widely from that of The Spanish Fryar, which was outstandingly popular well into the eighteenth century. Perhaps the writer of the letter, and the audience in general, were unwilling to see in the play the morals Dryden suggests in his epilogue; perhaps they paid attention instead to the bad puns in Sancho's speeches and to the fact that a woman who has had two children out of wedlock is rewarded by having a rich fool as a husband—hardly poetic justice. What else could have caused the disaster?
One possibility is that Dryden had been correct when he wrote in the preface to Don Sebastian (1690) that "Love and Honour (the mistaken Topicks of Tragedy) were quite worn out."12 A more likely possibility is that the audience rejected Dryden's decision to make incest the fulcrum upon which love and honor were to be balanced. The theme had not upset the audience when the hero and heroine in Don Sebastian, unaware that they are brother and sister, consummate their marriage. But in Love Triumphant the hero, supposing the heroine is his sister, nevertheless keeps trying to seduce her. Perhaps their discovery that they are not related failed to compensate for what the audience found distasteful in earlier scenes. As Aristotle says, the worst kind of plot is one that "outrages the feelings and is not tragic, for there is no calamity."13 Dryden may have supposed the audience would instead find that the play embodied another of Aristotle's rules turned inside out: "Best of all is the last [kind of recognition]; … for instance … in the Iphigeneia [Iphigenia in Tauris by Euripides] the case of the sister and brother [whom she recognizes just in time]."14 If so, the audience's approval of this aspect of the play was insufficient to override its objections to other matters.
Perhaps the audience had at last come under the influence of Thomas Rymer, who in Tragedies of the Last Age (1677) had said, "If the design [of a play] be wicked, as … the making approaches towards an incestuous enjoyment; the Audience will naturally loathe and detest it, rather than favour or accompany it with their good wishes."15 About the time Love Triumphant was published, Dryden wrote to John Dennis, "we poor Poets Militant [in the battle with Rymer over the principles of tragedy] … are at the Mercy of Wretched Scribblers: And when they cannot fasten upon our Verses, they fall upon our Morals, our Principles of State and Religion. … I am sure that I suffer for them [his principles]; and Milton makes even the Devil say, That no Creature is in love with Pain. For my Morals, betwixt Man and Man, I am not to be my own Judge. I appeal to the World if I have Deceiv'd or Defrauded any Man: And for my private Conversation [i.e., life], they who see me every day can be the best Witnesses, whether orpg 393no it be Blameless and Inoffensive. Hitherto I have no reason to complain that Men of either Party shun my Company."16
Whatever Dryden may have thought, personal integrity of the kind he asserted to Dennis has nothing to do with the morality or other qualities of Love Triumphant. General response to the play has never changed. No one has come forward to defend it. Very few have troubled even to mention it.17
It should be noted that, if the play failed, it was not for want of a first-rate cast. Betterton, who took the part of Alphonso, was the chief actor of his time, and Mrs. Barry (Victoria) and Mrs. Bracegirdle (Celidea) were the leading actresses. Kynaston, Williams, "Alexander" (John Verbruggen), and Mrs. Betterton had all played successfully in either King Arthur or Cleomenes. We need only note that Kynaston, supposedly the father of Alphonso in the play, was eight years younger than Betterton, who played Alphonso, and so must have altered his appearance with makeup and appropriate posture.18
In the subplot, Thomas Dogget, George Powell, Cave Underhill, and Susanna Mountfort had substantial parts. Mary (Mrs. Thomas) Kent, who had only just begun her theatrical career, had not much more than a walk-on.
As we have seen, Dryden told Walsh that he had coached Dogget in the part of Sancho. Dogget was, said Dryden, the company's chief comedian, adding, "truly I thinke he has the best Understanding of any man in the Playhouse."19 Dogget, who was small and lively and had an expressive face and a matching range of utterance, was expert at makeup and in choice of costumes. He was, however, hopeless in tragedy.20 Powell, who was outstanding in tragedy (e.g., he had played Muley-Zeydan in Don Sebastian), had also "happily hit" the "loose Humour" of Palamede in Marriage A-la-Mode, a part very like that of Carlos in Love Triumphant. He was, we are told, "a handsome, well-built young man," so that Dalinda's attraction to him as Carlos would not seem to the audience to have been limited to Carlos' wealth.21
Underhill had been acting since the opening of the theaters in 1660. His earliest part for Dryden had been Moody in Sir Martin Mar-all; his most recent, the Mufti in Don Sebastian. Anthony Aston says Underhill was about pg 394six feet tall, inclined to fat, and had a face like that of a chimpanzee. Colley Cibber says that Underhill's features, "when soberly composed, with an unwandering eye hanging over them, threw him into the most lumpish, moping mortal that ever made beholders merry."22 These descriptions help us visualize Lopez. Susanna Mountfort (recently widowed and subsequently Mrs. John Verbruggen) was also at the top of her profession in comedy. We have descriptions both of her person and her acting. Aston says she was "the most pleasant creature that ever appeared. … she was a fine fair woman, plump, full-featured; her face of a fine smooth oval full of beautiful, well-dispos'd moles on it, and on her neck and breast." He says also that she did not seem to be acting, so natural was her style, yet she was never flat. Cibber describes her speaking as "round, distinct, voluble, and various. … Her greatest charm was laughing, flirting her fan, and je ne sais quoi with a kind of affected twitter."23 If Dryden did not have Mrs. Mountfort in mind when he wrote the part of Lopez's ogling daughter, he surely chose her for it.
In Dryden's Secret Love, the main plot, in which the hero leads an armed revolt against his sovereign, is the author's own invention, and there is a comic subplot. In The Spanish Fryar, the intrigue in the subplot is brought to an end by the revelation that the intriguers are brother and sister. In Don Sebastian, the tragedy of incest has a large part, and there are some comic scenes.24 Considering these plays, it would seem within Dryden's capabilities to have invented both the main plot and the subplot of Love Triumphant. He as much as says he did in the dedication and quite clearly says so in the prologue.25 It is easy to dismiss the parallels between the subplot and Molière's Monsieur de Pourceaugnac,26 and not much harder, perhaps, to do the same with the parallels between the main plot and Beaumont and Fletcher's A King and No King.27 In the latter play, the old king of Iberia pg 395marries so late in life that his queen despairs of providing him an heir. She therefore pretends pregnancy and induces a courtier to give her his newborn son by promising that the boy will someday be king. She is, however, truly pregnant with a daughter when the old king dies, leaving her in a quandary she ponders over for so many years that the false child becomes king, as promised. Then she tries to poison him, and simultaneously the courtier (father of the false king) begins to inflame his son's lust for the princess. The king struggles against his supposedly incestuous passion without success, and finally arouses a similar passion in the princess. Just in time the courtier reveals the king's true paternity, and he, now no king, is free to marry the princess. The parallels in Love Triumphant are not much more than the theme of incest and the resolution of the problem by discovery that the man is a changeling and not the woman's brother.28
Dryden's specific claim in the dedication that his somewhat different resolution of the problem was his own invention, which he realized only later could be found in Terence's Heautontimoroumenos, loses some of its effect when it is observed that the resolution cannot in fact be found there.29 Also, if he himself said, as he did, that the story of Oedipus was probably a source for A King and No King,30 then A King and No King may well be a source for Love Triumphant. It is true that there are no verbal parallels such as we find between The Spanish Fryar and Philippe Quinault's L'Astrate, but Dryden admired A King and No King and found reading it a moving experience (a good test, as he was aware of how much actors contribute to the success of a play).31
pg 396We see also that the main plot of Love Triumphant is a kind of imaginative reconstruction of the history of Ferdinand and Isabella, whose marriage united Aragon and Castile.32 And the subplot has some devices and themes that go back not only to The Spanish Fryar but also to Dryden's earliest comedies, and were in fact the common traffic of the stage.
two other reworkings of motifs in earlier plays are noteworthy. first, dryden has given the conflict between love and honor, not to the hero (alphonso) as in his heroic plays, but to the heroine (victoria).33 alphonso's conflict is between duty and honor,34 in which he resembles aureng-zebe.35 there are consequently some similarities to aureng-zebe in the plotting. second, connecting the main plot and the subplot by having some of the characters involved in both repeats a technique dryden had employed from secret love to the spanish fryar, but the ending of love triumphant is a new experiment, for the subplot is finished before and separately from the main plot. dryden seems to have been testing a new solution to problems that had long plagued him as a theoretician, namely, how to maintain some sense of unity in a play with two plots and how to keep an intermingled comic plot from diluting the emotional impact of a serious plot.36
But just as Dryden was prone to experiment, so he was unwilling to give up theories of the drama that he held dear. Although he had said in the prologue to Aureng-Zebe that rhymed plays were too difficult to write,37 he never gave up his conviction that rhyme was the best medium for conveying intense emotion, especially when characters answered each other a line or two at a time in "Reparties."38 In the dedication of The Spanish Fryar he had said that tragedies must be written in verse if they were to please. Even in Amphitryon, a comedy, he had made the husband and wife speak in blank verse in their sorrowful confrontations and the more majestic gods speak in rhyme.39 Accordingly, the main plot of Love Triumphant is in blank verse and, as in Cleomenes, particularly tense scenes are in rhyme, and one has repartee.40
An event in the theatrical world that must have made Dryden wonder whether his play would be performed was the absconding of Alexander pg 397Davenant, one of the patentees of the acting company. Christopher Rich's control over the company was thereby increased, but the financial state of the enterprise was in doubt for some time. Since Dryden had announced that Love Triumphant was the last play he would write, he was perhaps unconcerned that Rich's management might also lead, as it did the next season, to a revolt among the players and a division of the company. The writer of the letter of 22 March 1694 responded to Dryden's announced farewell to theatrical composition by saying that "he had done himself a kindness had he taken his leave before." 41 In fact, Dryden wrote a prologue and an epilogue for his son John in 1696, and two years later he composed commendatory poems for plays by his friends George Granville and Peter Motteux.42 And he was to write dialogue once more, though once more only, and then merely to supplement a play his friends had arranged to have performed for his benefit, Fletcher's The Pilgrim, with some updating by Sir John Vanbrugh.43 Its third night came on the day Dryden died.
1Theatre Royal. See corresponding note to Cleomenes (p. 357 above).
1 Quod optanti … ultrò . "[Turnus,] that which no god had dared to promise to thy prayers, lo, the circling hour has brought unasked" (Virgil, Aeneid, IX, 6–7; Loeb). In Virgil, Iris tells Turnus of his opportunity to attack the Trojan camp while Aeneas is absent. On Dryden's title page the words refer to the unraveling of the main plot.
[Facing the title page in the first edition, the verso of the half title advertises The Works of Mr. John Dryden in four volumes and has a colophon dated 1694. New since the similar list in King Arthur (p. 69 above) are Albion and Albanius, Cleomenes, Love Triumphant, Heroique Stanzas, Mac Flecknoe, and Eleonora.]
P. 169 James Cecil, fourth Earl of Salisbury (1666–1694), was born and died at Hatfield House, the family seat in Hertfordshire. After attending St. John's College, Cambridge, he served as lord high steward of Hertford and gentleman of the bedchamber. In November 1688 he raised a regiment of horse for the army of James II, of which he was colonel, an action he is said to have regretted; at any rate, the regiment was disbanded early in January 1689, that is, within a week or two of William's taking over the government (POAS, IV, 328n). Those whose views of colonels in the English army have been formed by Agatha Christie will find nothing contradictory in Macaulay's description of the earl: "Salisbury was foolish to a proverb. His figure was so bloated by sensual indulgence as to be almost incapable of pg 398moving; and this sluggish body was the abode of an equally sluggish mind. He was represented in popular lampoons as a man made to be duped. … A pasquinade, which … was fixed on the door of Salisbury House in the Strand, described in coarse terms the horror with which the wise Robert Cecil [Queen Elizabeth's chief minister], if he could rise from his grave, would see to what a creature his honours had descended" (II, 848; for Macaulay's sources and other attacks on Salisbury see POAS, IV, 155–156, 319, 328, and notes there).
Part of the abuse heaped on Salisbury came about because he, like Dryden, had become a Catholic. As Winn (p. 473) notes, Salisbury was "received into the Church by [his and Lady Dryden's kinsman] Cardinal Howard in Rome, in 1687."' The lampoon called The Scamperers (POAS, IV, 327–330) says Salisbury tried to follow James II to France; it may refer to the fact that when in January 1689 he was impeached by the Commons and committed to the Tower, he escaped from the coach that was taking him to prison (he was soon recaptured). His case was dropped in October 1690 on the grounds that parliament had been prorogued before he was tried. In July 1691 he was imprisoned to prevent him from fighting a duel. In May 1692 he was committed to the Tower once more, on false evidence that he was plotting to bring in James with French and Irish troops and seize Queen Mary. He "had his bail discharged" in November. I have here followed DNB and Luttrell, I, 493; II, 123, 259, 444–445, 621. Chroniclers of the Cecil family do not agree among themselves or with Luttrell and DNB in several small matters. See G. Ravenscroft Dennis, The Cecil Family (1914), pp. 230–232; Ewan Butler, The Cecils (1964), pp. 157–159; David Cecil, The Cecils of Hatfield House (1973), pp. 175–180. Anne Barbeau Gardiner (Clio, XVIII [1988–89], 154) has accepted David Cecil's account.
Salisbury died on October 24 or 25 (authorities differ) but in any event before Love Triumphant was published. Winn (p. 473) suggests that Dryden felt honor bound to print the dedication anyway, and that he may already have received money for it. He had acted similarly in dedicating Amboyna, and perhaps for the same reasons (see Works, XII, 277).
169:8 service. Position in the house of a wealthy person. Scott (S-S, VIII, 372) traces the custom to "the days of chivalry" and cites a dialogue between Lovell and the Host in Ben Jonson's The New Inn (I, iii) as giving "an account of the decay of the institution from its original purposes and respectability."
169:18 your former Favours. History does not record what these were.
169:19 my Wife's Relation to Your Noble House. The relationship was fairly remote, going back to Robert Cecil, whose elder son was Thomas first Earl of Exeter and whose younger son was Robert first Earl of Salisbury. Elizabeth Dryden's maternal grandfather was William Cecil second Earl of Exeter (Winn, p. 473).
169:22–23 voluntarily reduc'd my self. Perhaps Dryden means that he resigned his positions as poet laureate and historiographer royal in 1689; perhaps he means that he would not renounce his Catholicism in order to retain those offices. See his letter to Mrs. Steward of 7 November  (Ward, Letters, p. 123).
pg 399169:28–29 I must not undervalue my present Labours. Dryden underrated his works quite commonly, though perhaps because Catullus had done so before him (see Works, XIV, 3, 380).
170:5 Aristotle. See headnote (p. 392 above).
170:8 Cinna. See Corneille's Discours de la Tragédie (Théâtre, ed. Alphonse Pauly , III, 24). After quoting Poetics, XIV, 16, Corneille says that Aristotle's rule does not apply when evil-wishers are prevented from evildoing by a stronger power or by an accident; on the contrary, such a denouement is better than any which Aristotle discusses: "Disons donc qu'elle ne doit s'entendre que de ceux qui connoissent la personne qu'ils veulent perdre, & s'en dédisent par un simple changement de volonté, sans aucun événement notable qui les y oblige, & sans aucun manque de pouvoir de leur part. J'ay déjà marqué cette sorte de dénouëment pour vicieux. Mais quand ils y font de leur costé tout ce qu'ils peuvent, & qu'ils sont empeschez, d'en venir à l'effet par quelque Puissance supérieure, ou par quelque changement de fortune qui les fait périr euxmesmes, ou les réduit sous le pouvoir de ceux qu'ils vouloient perdre, il est hors de doute que cela fait une Tragédie d'un genre peut estre plus sublime, que les trois qu'Aristote avouë."
170:8–9 which I take to be the very best of Corneille's. Perhaps an echo of the first sentence of Corneille's Examen of Cinna: "Ce Poëme a tant d'illustres suffrages, qui luy donnent le prémier rang parmy les miens, que je me ferois trop d'importants ennemis, si j'en disois du mal" (Théâtre, III, 85).
170:9–13 the Philosopher … wretched Tales. Cf. Corneille Discours de la Tragédie (Théâtre, III, 24): "s'il [Aristote] n'en a point parlé, c'est qu'il n'en voyoit point d'éxemples sur les Théâtres de son temps, où ce n'étoit pas la Mode de sauver les bons par la perte des méchants."
170:14 for the most part. Corneille says (ibid., pp. 24–25) that the ancient dramatists allowed evil characters to triumph over good ones unless the evil ones suffered for some other crime, as Sophocles' Electra saves herself from Clytemnestra by inducing and then aiding Orestes to kill Clytemnestra for having murdered Agamemnon (Clytemnestra and Agamemnon were husband and wife and Electra and Orestes were among their children).
170:20 D'acier. A slip of memory. In fact, André Dacier had said in the preface to his translation of the Poetics that improvement in tragedy might be possible (English trans., 1705, facs. repr., 1959, A4v), exactly the view Dryden seems to claim for himself in ll. 25–27 below.
170:24 in my Third Act. In III, i, 189–261 (pp. 213–215 above), Ximena and Ramirez explain that she and his wife bore sons at the same time, that hers died, and that he and his wife agreed to give Ximena their son to raise as her own.
170:25–27 If it were so … the better. See note to p. 170:20.
170:28 Menander and Terence. Menander's Greek play was known to Dryden only in Terence's Latin version, as he himself says in An Essay of Dramatick Poesie (Works, XVII, 20). As Dryden had read Terence in school (see Winn, p. 523), had referred to the breach of unity of time in Heautontimoroumenos in An Essay of Dramatick Poesie (Works, XVII, 26), pg 400and had quoted a famous line from the play in the dedication of Aureng-Zebe (ibid., XII, 157) and as in Terence's play the resolution of the plot depends in part on the revelation that two of the characters are siblings, not that two supposed siblings are not related, we must suppose that Dryden was forgetful here. His reference to his "Old … Addle-pate" in prologue, l. 28 (p. 173 above) might be taken as evidence of a growing forgetfulness. The reader must decide, considering that Dryden had been depending on a fallible memory since he had cited "the Tragedy of Queen Gorboduc" in 1664 (Works, VIII, 99), and considering also that in 1700 he was to say his memory, although it sometimes failed him, was "not impair'd to any great degree" (preface to Fables, Works, VII; Kinsley, IV, 1446).
170:33 the Ancients. Corneille in his Discours des Trois Unitez (Théâtre, V, 29) explains that because the ancient dramatists could make their kings speak in public places they were easily able to manage rigorous unity of place, though he cites Sophocles' Ajax as an exception.
170:35 late French Poets. Corneille in Discours des Trois Unitez (Théâtre, V, 28, 32) names Horace, Polyeucte, and Pompée as the only plays of his that observed the unity of place.
171:1 Congreve. As Summers observes (VI, 579), the reference is to William Congreve's The Double-Dealer, in which all the scenes are set in a single house. The Double-Dealer was first performed in October or November 1693 (London Stage, Part I, p. 428), that is, about the time Salisbury died (see biographical sketch, p. 398 above), but Dryden, who wrote a commendatory poem for its publication (Works, IV, 432–434), may well have seen it in manuscript, or Congreve may have read it to him.
171:3 Corneille. In his Discours des Trois Unitez (Théâtre, V, 30), Corneille singles out his Le Menteur as taking place in the Tuileries and the Place Royale in Paris and names others of his plays as having even more places represented.
171:8–13 There are … the Representation. Samuel Johnson is sometimes credited with destroying the doctrine of the unities by making the same point in his Preface to Shakespeare: "the spectators are always in their senses, and know, from the first act to the last, that the stage is only a stage, and that the players are only players." Dryden had canvassed the matter of unity of place in An Essay of Dramatick Poesie. There Crites (Sir Robert Howard) says, "I will not deny but by the variation of painted Scenes, the fancy (which in these cases will contribute to its own deceit) may sometimes imagine it [the stage] several places, with some appearance of probability," though he says unity of place is more true to life (Works, XVII, 18). In A Defence of an Essay prefixed to The Indian Emperour, Dryden repeated in his own name what he had made Crites say, first, "That the imagination of the Audience, aided by the words of the Poet, and painted Scenes, may suppose the Stage to be sometimes one place, sometimes another," and second, "the nearer and fewer those imaginary places are, the greater resemblance they will have to Truth" (Works, IX, 17, 19). We see that now, in his last thoughts on the matter, he rejects the unity out of hand. Perhaps he was reflecting on an absurdity in IV, i (pp. 236–243) a long scene in a street, toward the conclusion of which Dalinda makes Carlos write a recanpg 401tation of a libel he has circulated about her: she says she always carries a pen and ink with her, and he kneels to write on the paper as she holds it on her palm.
171:13–25 For my Action … reasonable Pleasure . For a survey of Dryden's varying theory and practice of tragicomedy see headnote to The Spanish Fryar (Works, XIV, 437–439).
171:30–31 the Lover in a Modern Comedy. Summers notes (VI, 579) that this person is the title character in John Crowne's Sir Courtly Nice (1685); see its Act V.
172:3–4 nothing to boast of, but my Misfortunes. Contrary to the usual meaning of such disclaimers, Dryden rather prided himself for remaining a Catholic (see p. 169:20–23, and Ward, Letters, pp. 73, 123, 129).
172:5–9 Your Inborn Goodness, … Your Relations. Dryden may have been answering Salisbury's detractors, for whom see biographical sketch (p. 398 above).
172:8–9 Your … Acquir'd Endowments. Salisbury's studies, culminating in his Cambridge years; see biographical sketch (p. 397 above).
172:9 Your Brotherly Love to Your Relations. See p. 169:19–23 above.
172:9–10 Notus in Fratres animo Paterno. The Loeb text has animi, but the difference in case does not affect the sense: "known for his fatherly spirit towards his brothers" (Horace, Odes, II, ii, 6; Loeb). Horace was referring to C. Proculeius Varro Murena, "a Roman knight who divided his property amongst his brothers who had lost their own in the civil wars" (Summers, VI, 579).
172:12–16 But … of it. Malone (II, 242), Scott (S-S, VIII, 377), and Summers (VI, 580) all believe, no doubt correctly, that Dryden refers to Salisbury's support of James II and to his times in the Tower.
172:15 Elixir. "A preparation by the use of which it was sought to change metals into gold" (OED).
1–4 Dryden knows whereof he speaks, as this is exactly how he got his back pay when Sir Thomas Clifford, to whom he had dedicated Amboyna, resigned as Lord Treasurer in 1673 (Winn, p. 241).
2 Warrants. For payment from the Exchequer; the warrant was issued first and payment was made when the warrant was presented ("shown," l. 9) by the recipient or his agent (see Winn, pp. 525–531).
3 desperate. Given up as irreclaimable (OED).
3 Debentures. Exchequer vouchers (OED), synonymous with warrants (1. 2.)
9 Scott (S-S, VIII, 378) thought the requirement that the warrant not be shown was an allusion to Francis Beaumont and John Fletcher's Noble Gentleman (revised by Thomas D'Urfey as A Fool's Preferment), where Marine is told that the king has made him a duke but will take the title away if he tells anyone.
23–26 Summers (VI, 580) quotes two later plays, first Sir John Vanbrugh's pg 402The Provok'd Wife (1697), Act III: "Bellinda. My Glass and I cou'd never yet agree what Face I shou'd make when they come blunt out with a nasty thing in a Play: For all the Men presently look upon the Women, that's certain; so laugh we must not, tho' our Stays burst for 't; Because that's telling Truth, and owning we understand the Jest. And to look serious is so dull, when the whole House is a laughing. Lady Brute. Besides, that looking serious do's really betray our Knowledge in the Matter, as much as laughing with the Company would do. For if we did not understand the thing we shou'd naturally do like other people. Bell. For my part I always take that Occasion to blow my Nose. Lady Brute. You must blow your Nose half off then at some Plays." Also, George Farquhar's Love and a Bottle (1698), Act I, where Lucinda has broken a lace in her stays, "as strong as a Hempen Cord, with containing a violent Tihee at a smutty Jest in the last Play."
27–28 In the dedication (pp. 170:2–171:25 above), presumably written later than the prologue and certainly intended for a more thoughtful audience, Dryden discusses his plotting at length. See also note to dedication, p. 170:28 (pp. 399–400 above).
29 Moral. The epilogue examines what the moral might be.
37 Winn (p. 472) points out that the line is ironic; so is l. 42.
43-44 See prologue to Cleomenes, II. 1–10 (p. 84 above) and other references in Montague Summers, The Restoration Theatre (1934), pp. 69–76. At this date some members of the audience were once more seated on the stage (ibid., pp. 57–59).
45-46 Not summarizing ll. 12–26 but addressing a more intellectual part of the audience.
47 Shakespear's Critique. Thomas Rymer, as Summers notes (VI, 580–581), to whose Short View of Tragedy (1693) Dryden had already replied in the dedication of Examen Poeticum (1693; Works, IV, 366–367, 699–701). See also Dryden's unpublished notes on Rymer's Tragedies of the Last Age (1677), Heads of an Answer to Rymer (1677–78) and headnote thereto (Works, XVII, 185–193, 411–416), and Ward, Letters, p. 54. Although Dryden did not fully agree with The Tragedies of the Last Age, his initial estimate of it had been that "tis certainly very learned, & the best piece of Criticism in the English tongue; perhaps in any other of the modern" (Ward, Letters, pp. 13–14). See headnote (p. 392 above) for the possibility that the plotting of Love Triumphant was influenced by Rymer's objections to Beaumont and Fletcher's A King and No King in The Tragedies of the Last Age.
48 himself make worse. Summers notes (VI, 581) that Rymer had written a tragedy, Edgar (1678). Dryden had remarked on its quality in his initial reaction to The Tragedies of the Last Age: "[Rymer] is the only man I know capable of finding out a poets blind sides: and if he can hold heere without exposeing his Edgar to be censurd by his Enemyes; I thinke there is no man will dare to answer him, or can" (Ward, Letters, p. 14).
49 precious. Perhaps used ironically or perhaps in the sense of "aiming at or affecting distinction or choiceness in … language" (OED).
49 Reader. Expounder (OED).
pg 403dramatis personae
Alphonso is a correct name for a prince of Aragon; many kings both of Aragon and of Castile bore the name. Garcia is a correct name for a king of Navarre; e.g., Sancho I Garcés (905–925), Sancho II Garcés (970–994), Garcia Sanchez III (1035–1054). Ramirez is a correct enough name for a king of Castile (and León). Three kings of Leon bore the name, as did two of Aragon. Carlos and Sancho are such common names that it is probably only a coincidence that in Corneille's Don Sanche the hero goes by the name of Carlos, though he is really King Sancho. Lopez is the name of the title character in John Fletcher and Philip Massinger's The Spanish Curate, We see from I, i, 342 and III, ii, 180 (pp. 188, 224 above) that Lopez and Carlos are cousins. The remaining names appear to be Dryden's invention. The scene is the same as in The Spanish Fryar. For the actors, see headnote (pp. 393–394 above).
S.d. Presence-Chamber. "The chamber in which a sovereign … receives guests, or persons entitled to appear before him" (OED).
9–10 To lay their Dwellings level; and with Salt / To sow the place. See Judg. 9:45, "Abimelech … beat down the city, and sowed it with salt."
15 the Prize. Foreshadowing II. 270–281 (p. 185 above).
35 Genius. Guardian spirit. See note to King Arthur, III, ii, 277 (p. 329 above).
39–224 Veramond's hot temper and the questions of loyalty it raises have a parallel in a dialogue between Arbaces and Mardonius in Beaumont and Fletcher's A King and No King, I, i.
55 stand corrected. The first citation of the phrase in OED (stand, sense 15d of verb) is Secret Love, V, i, 229.
149 Villany. "Lack of courtesy or politeness" (OED, citing this passage). Saintsbury (S-S, VIII, 387) calls it a Gallicism.
154–161 Alphonso's accusation that Veramond does not recognize the services done him has a parallel in Mardonius' accusation of Arbaces in Beaumont and Fletcher's A King and No King, I, i.
241 All of a piece. See note to The Secular Masque, l. 86 (p. 433 below).
275–278 In IV, i, 65–66 (p. 228 above) we learn that Garcia loves Victoria. In Dryden's play the love may be presumed to precede Veramond's announcement here of their impending union. In Beaumont and Fletcher's A King and No King, Arbaces gives Panthea's hand to Tigranes before Tigranes has seen her (I, i); Tigranes falls in love with her afterward (Act III).
279–280 The demand of suspense in plotting prevents Ximena from expressing herself more clearly. She gives another hint in II, i, 204–205 (p. 200 above), and a full explanation in III, i, 278–283 (p. 216 above). In Beaumont and Fletcher's A King and No King, the courtier Gobrias also knows that pg 404the relationship between hero and heroine is not incestuous and encourages it. (His actions, which take place before the play begins, are revealed in Act V.)
282 sudden damp. "A dazed or stupified condition" (OED, damp, citing the phrase in Paradise Lost, XI, 293); as Dryden develops the image, however, he is thinking of "damp" in the sense of "mist."
302–303 the Bosom of Abraham his Father. Dryden is thinking of Luke 16:22–24.
202 Christian. Sancho is a Marrano; see note to Amboyna, II, i, 208 (Works, XII, 295).
304–308 In his pursuit of any woman, Sancho resembles Lorenzo in The Spanish Fryar, I, i, 293–306 (Works, XIV, 118).
313 Caul. Tilley C197, "He was born with a caul" (first citation 1612). Being born with a caul was regarded as a good omen (Tilley, citation of 1648; OED). The superstition occurs also in Troilus and Cressida, IV, ii, 367–3, 68 (Works, XIII, 329).
328 presence. Presence chamber; see opening stage direction (p. 176 above).
336–337 my Rascally three penny Planet. Tilley P387, "He that is born under a threepenny planet will never be worth a groat [fourpence]" (first citation 1607); Scott (S-S, VIII, 394) knew the proverb.
363 Pistols. The French and English name for Spanish gold coins worth about 16–18 shillings each (OED, pistole; OED defines a doubloon as two pistoles). See also notes to Amboyna, II, i, 201 (Works, XII, 294), and The Spanish Fryar, II, iii, 48–49 (Works, XIV, 456).
374–375 Tawdry. "Showy or gaudy without real value" (OED); used similarly in The Kind Keeper, IV, i, 42 (Works, XIV, 58).
387 I have Luck in a Bag. I am stronger than luck. See Tilley B31, "He is able to put him up in a bag"), and OED, bag, both citing Thomas Fuller, The History of the Worthies of England (1662), Cardiganshire, II, 579, in the edition of 1811. Summers proposes instead (VI, 582) to follow OED, luck: "Luck in a bag. A name for some (Pswindling) contrivance resembling a lucky-bag, in which the prizes were few." Cf. OED, lucky-bag: "a bag, at fairs and bazaars, in which, on payment of a sum, one dips one's hand and draws an article of greater or less value." Similarly Edward Ward, The London Spy, Part XIV (1924 ed., p. 346): "I have much ado to forbear believing that Luck in a Bag is almost as Honest [i.e., fair] as Fortune in a Wheel, or any other of the like Projects [i.e., lotteries]." Possibly, then, Sancho means he controls fortune the way a knave does who offers "luck in a bag" to fools.
389 Signior. The first occurrence of the word, hereafter always spelled "Sennor."
404 As Summers notes (VI, 582), Porto Carrero is the name of a Spanish noble family.
413 beats a charge. Sancho, as might be expected, uses military language, pg 405as does Carlos when opportunity offers. It is not necessary to point out all these metaphors.
414 swinging. Great, as in The Kind Keeper, V, i, 285 (Works, XIV, 84), "a great swinging Thief."
416 Penny-worth. Bargain (OED). Summers notes (VI, 582) that Dryden had used the word, whether in the sense of bargain or more literally cannot be decided, in the prologue to Oedipus, l. 33 (Works, XIII, 119). Guy Montgomery's Concordance to the Poetical Works of John Dryden (1957) allows us to add To Mr. Lee, l. 7 (bargain), Works, I, 106; Prologue to The Loyal General, l. 9 (literal sense), Works, I, 163; The Tenth Satyr of Juvenal, 1. 300 (bargain), Works, IV, 225; Ovid's Art of Love: Book I, l. 484 (bargain), Works, IV, 494; and Epilogue to Henry the Second, l. 26 (bargain), Works, III, 259.
418 Ogle. See "Doux Yeux" (l. 411) and note to epilogue to Cleomenes, 1. 26 (p. 365 above).
418–419 lick-penny. "One who or that which licks up' the pennies" (OED, this passage being the latest citation).
448 my left Eye itches. Cf. Tilley E98, citing Nathaniel Homes, Daemonologie, and Theologie (1650): "from the itching of the nose, and elbow, and severall affectings of severall parts, they make several predictions too silly to be mentioned." In Amboyna, II, i, 300 (Works, XII, 28), an itching nose is a presage.
463 Carlos gave me this wicked Counsel. This is the first we have heard of it; see ll. 510–513.
472 All … at Sixes and Sevens. Tilley A208, first citation 1542; the meaning here is that Sancho does not care how the dice fall.
473 Great Turk. The emperor of Turkey.
476 fit 'em. Either "make myself qualified by their standards" (perhaps spoken ironically) or "prepare them" (OED, senses 4 and 6 of first verb).
491 Olla. Olla podrida, stew. Cf. An Essay of Dramatick Poesie: "this Oleo of a Play; this unnatural mixture of Comedy and Tragedy" (Works, XVII, 37).
501 States-Man. See note to Cleomenes, II, i, 47 (p. 374 above).
501-502 I hope to make a meer Monarch of him. "Mere" means "having the right but not the possession" (OED). Scott says: "There would probably occur to the audience of the period, some recollection of the manner in which King James had been treated by [Robert Spencer, 2d Earl of] Sunderland" (S-S, VIII, 400). Sunderland, says Macaulay (VI, 2733), was "an unprincipled and faithless politician" who wanted only to be "safe, rich and great" and accordingly "had served the most arbitrary of monarchs without any zeal for monarchy" but rather deluding James into a sense of security while he was intriguing against him. Perhaps the audience would have been more likely to think of William's dependence on his ministers in England while he was at the wars.
502-507 The packing of proverbs into this passage suggests that its piling pg 406up of clichés was part of the humor (see note to V, i, 86, p. 415below).
502-503 my Hunger … Invention . Tilley N61, "Necessity is the mother of invention" (first citation 1545).
504 Want whets the Wit. Dryden uses the form of the proverb found in Tarlton's Jests (1611), p. 36: "Want is the whetstone of wit" (cited by Tilley N61).
504–505 Wit not … best. Cf. Tilley W566, "Wit in a poor man's head and moss in a mountain avail nothing" (first citation ante 1598).
1–113 Note the rhyme here.
29 Love Epistles. Ovid's Heroides are sorrowful letters from women to their lovers from whom they have been separated, usually because the men have abandoned them; there are also a few replies. For Dryden's translations of three of these letters in Ovid's Epistles (1680), see Works, I, 109–138.
32 One … one. E.g., Oenone and Hero (Heroides, V and XIX), whose names Dryden linked in his preface to Ovid's Epistles (Works, I, 114:6).
35 for Linus kept his Constancy. Possibly Dryden depended on a fallible memory. Linus is indeed the name of Hypermnestra's husband in the earlier editions and many manuscripts of the Heroides (modern editions have Lynceus). But "Leander" (Heroides, XVIII–XIX) would have been a better example of faithful love. Hypermnestra, refusing to obey her father's order to kill her husband, helped him to escape; in her letter (Heroides, XIV) she asks him to come and save her from her father's punishment.
36 one. Macareus, brother of Canace. See note to l. 43.
43 Canace. In Heroides, XI. Dryden translated this letter, which he prefaced with the sad history of Canace and Macareus (Works, I, 120–124), and he quotes from his translation in the following dialogue.
46-47 Lines 23–24 in Dryden's translation.
48–53 Lines 27–32 in Dryden's translation. The reading "those" instead of the original "these" indicates that the lines were copied into the manuscript of the play and that this word was then misread by the compositor or by an intermediary copyist.
54 Line 37 in Dryden's translation.
56 Two Lines. See note to ll. 60–61.
60–61 Lines 25–26 in Dryden's translation.
64–67 Lines 39–42 in Dryden's translation. The substitution of "'em" for "them" is almost certainly Dryden's change, made presumably because the lines are read aloud. The lines are his addition to the Latin (see Works, I, 338).
74 a Parthian Victory. Summers (VI, 583) points to Ovid's Art of Love (I, 211): "Thou who dost flee to conquer, what, O Parthian, dost thou leave the conquered?" (Loeb, with note: "i.e., if flight is your only means of gaining victory, what is there left to you to do when you are defeated?"). Dryden's translation of the passage is different (see Works, IV, 487).
89 Death. The threat is repeated often, as if it were a theme. Dryden regarded women's threats or carrying out of suicide for love as intensely pg 407moving. See the "Connection" to The Twelfth Book of Ovid's Metamorphoses (Works, VII). See also IV, i, 183–193 and V, ii, 25–26 (pp. 232, 250 above). And see note to King Arthur, II, ii, 7 (p. 323 above).
151–153 As Summers remarks (VI, 584), the Thracian tribes in the times of Herodotus and Thucydides "were savage, cruel, and rapacious, delighting in blood, but brave and warlike" (SCD). Lycurgus, king of the Edones, a Thracian people, was famous among the Greeks for his attempt to drive the worship of Dionysus from his kingdom (Summers cites Iliad, VI, 130ff., and many other sources).
157 Suburb Girl. Prostitute. See note to The Kind Keeper, IV, i, 1 (Works, XIV, 409).
178 There are many references in literature to these medical practices, in Dryden especially to darkness; see The Wild Gallant, IV, ii, 31–32 (Works, VIII, 65), and The Spanish Fryar, II, ii, 46, and V, ii, 359 (Works, XIV, 128, 198). But outside literature medical practice had changed, at least in Bethlehem mad hospital in London, whose rules of 1677 for dealing tenderly with patients and giving them light and air may be found in Strype (Bk. I, p. 193; see also pp. 195–197). By 1704 Bethlehem hospital was curing more than half the patients admitted (granted that only those with some hope of recovery were accepted).
188 Summers (VI, 584) quotes The Agreeable Companion (1745), p. 42, as saying that the souring came from the reverberations of the thunder shaking the barrels, which could be made immovable by putting heavy weights on them.
188 generous. "Rich and full of strength; invigorating" (OED, citing Dryden's translation of Virgil, Pastorals, V, 109).
192 fonded him to this. Brought him to this pass by coddling him (OED, fond, citing Aureng-Zebe, IV, ii, 53, and Dryden's translation of Virgil's Aeneid, I, 962). See Ximena's words in I, i, 184 (p. 182 above): "I, who am partial to you."
7 you have Din'd before me. How would Sancho know that Carlos had already dined? Possibly because Carlos is also picking his teeth.
10 and how, and how. Possibly a dittography, but perhaps to allow some stage business with a toothpick (see note to l. 7), a hiccup or a belch.
13 a spoke in my Wheel. Tilley S769, first citation 1580.
14 Fortune. Continuing the wheel imagery, Dryden combines Tilley F617, "Fortune's wheel is ever turning" (first citation c. 1517), with F600, "Fortune favors fools" (first citation 1563). Summers (VI, 584–585) notes the latter.
17–18 Box … thrown Seven. Summers (VI, 585) quotes Charles Cotton's Compleat Gamester (1674) to the effect that 7 is an easier number to match than 6 or 8 when throwing dice. This is because six combinations make 7, viz., 1 and 6, 2 and 5, 3 and 4, 4 and 3, 5 and 2, and 6 and 1, whereas only five will make 6 or 8. Sancho, who is none of the most intelligent, then pg 408proceeds to mix his metaphor, as though he had indeed given Carlos the box, giving him leave to do his worst (l. 19).
18 set upon it. Bet on it.
21 ascendant. Dryden uses this word often, sometimes thinking of its astrological sense, "influence," but here most likely only of its more general meaning, "superiority" (OED).
24 trod. As Summers notes (VI 585), William Wycherley had introduced this bit of business into The Country Wife (1675), IV, ii.
33 quibbling. Punning.
33 let. As in "let a fart" (OED, fart).
38 demur. Whether this word means "hesitation," as Summers says (VI, 585), or "delay" is not clear; OED gives examples of both senses used with respect to naval or military actions, which are presumably in Carlos' mind.
44-45 he charged … I know not. If Carlos' ignorance is not a desperate expedient on Dryden's part to sustain suspense, it casts an interesting sidelight on combat in his day, or else he simply had no idea of how an army operates. Carlos' ignorance gives further help to the plot in III, ii, 106–107 (p. 222 above).
56 Shoeing-horn. Explained in the next speech, and apparently suggested to Carlos by Sancho's saying he was being drawn on (l. 49) or by Tilley S384, "Though shoeing horns be out of date, yet horns are as plentiful as ever" (1659, as a new saying, and 1664).
59 Pimp. Here perhaps in the general sense of provider (OED), although with an unpleasant connotation, for Carlos does not know that the count will take Dalinda as his mistress, let alone that she has been so taken (see IV, i, 516–517, p. 241above). But see the usual use of the word in I, i, 459 (p. 192 above).
86–88 As Summers notes (VI, 585), Roderick was the thirty-third Gothic king of Spain (d. 714), but there must be more in the reference than that; probably a play on "rod."
90 drop Gold with him. Lose as much gambling as he (OED, sense 16 of verb).
105 Alguazile. As Summers notes (VI, 585), the word is defined in the dramatis personae of Fletcher and Massinger's The Spanish Curate as equivalent to the English "sergeant," that is, an arresting officer. The Spanish Curate may have given Dryden some ideas for The Spanish Fryar (see Works, XIV, 436). OED, citation of 1706, says the word means "a Sergeant or Officer that arrests People in Spain." See also An Evening's Love, I, i, 125–126 (Works, X, 221).
105 order. Bring to punishment, punish (see l. 108 and OED).
116 beat. Thanks to the women's movement and the progress of Christianity in general, the ideas in ll. 116–124 are no longer comical.
126 a quarter of an hour. Dryden's time limit for a sexual encounter; see note to The Kind Keeper, V, i, 116–160 (Works, XIV, 419).
138 the Itch. A disease now known to be caused by mites transmitted by bodily contact.
143 humble. Perhaps the meaning is "take"; see note to The Kind Keeper, I, i, 178 (Works, XIV, 387).
145 I break your Fingers. See Shakespeare's 1 Henry IV, II, iii, 90–91; "In faith, I'll break thy little finger, Harry, / An if thou wilt not tell me all things true" (Lady Hotspur to her husband, in one of the great love scenes in our literature).
146–147 as dumb as a Heathen Oracle. Probably another example of Sancho's ignorance; he probably means "heathen idol": "They have mouths, but they speak not" (Pss. 115:5, 135:16).
151 Heartlykins. As Summers notes (VI, 585), a euphemism for God's Heart; he says that by Dryden's time it had become a vulgarism, and cites D'Urfey's 1 Don Quixote, where it is put into the mouth of a barber. Sancho prefers bloody oaths between soldiers (IV, i, 406–407, p. 238above).
152 cramping. Fettering (OED). See dedication of King Arthur (p. 6:25 above).
168 cokes. Make a "cokes" [fool] of; trick (OED, coax).
170 not often seen. Yet in ll. 197–198 Lopez is said to have sold Dalinda to the count.
175 pure. Excellent (OED). For "quibble" see note to l. 33.
180–181 'tis impossible for me to counterfeit a Fool. Cf. Tilley F459, "A fool cannot speak unlike himself" (first citation in English 1539).
182 trust Nature. Cf. Tilley N41, "He that follows nature is never out of his way" (first citation, 1578). This trust was a Stoic doctrine, attributed by Diogenes Laertius to Zeno (Vitae Philosophorum, VII, Zeno).
190 Natural. Fool, as Summers notes (VI, 586).
191 pure. See note to l. 175.
197–198 he … Lord. See note to l. 170.
S.d. A Song is Sung. The separate publications of the song have music by John Eccles and name Mrs. Hudson as the singer. Eccles (d. 1735) also set Dryden's other song in the play (V, i, 162–177, pp. 248–249 above), and, about 1700, provided incidental music for a revival of The Spanish Fryar (Day, p. 159). Mrs. Hudson (or Hodgson), whose career as singer and actress spanned the years from about 1690 to 1719 but whose first name is unknown, also sang a song, The Charms of Bright Beauty, in revivals of Aureng-Zebe. She may have been the wife of John Hodgson, who played Conon in King Arthur and Coenus in Cleomenes (Highfill, VII, 354–355).
24-25 Noyes (p. 1004) tentatively and Kinsley (IV, 2028) more positively equate these lines with Milton's description of hellfire as "darkness visible" (Paradise Lost, I, 62–63).
36 Basilisques. A basilisk or cockatrice (see IV, i, 439, p. 239 above) is a serpent that kills by its glance; the citations in OED include the information that "it's about a foot long, with a black and yellow skin, and fiery red eyes." In Troilus and Cressida, IV, ii, 491 (Works, XIII, 333), "cockatrice" is a synonym for "strumpet" (see ibid., l. 498, p. 334), but in V, i, 178, and in Don Sebastian, II, i, 228, "basilisk" has its usual meaning (Works, XIII, 340; XV, 109). In The Spanish Fryar, II, iv, 32 (Works, XIV, 136), "cockatrice" means simply that the girl (Elvira in that play) has killing glances, as it does here in IV, i, 439.
37 Live. Supply themselves with food (OED).
37 See to Death. Cf. "look the World to Law" in Cleomenes, III, iii, 116, and "lookt the Sky to Red" in The Secular Masque, l. 51 (pp. 126, 269 above). Scott's text here (S-S, VIII, 418) has "see no death," and he accordingly construes the passage to mean that, as basilisks die if they are seen before they see, the courtiers exceed them in harmfulness.
49 But you declare. "I.e., 'without declaring'" (Saintsbury, S-S, VIII, 418).
61–62 taken … o're. A serious use of an image used in lighter vein in epilogue, ll. 25–26 (p. 258 above), and in the comic subplot of The Spanish Fryar, I, i, 339–340 (Works, XIV, 119–120). "Telling" means "counting."
65 my Soul. Alphonso.
68 The twinning of love and jealousy is proverbial (Tilley L510), but Dryden's metaphors here and in l. 72 are his own.
76 mount. Draw up, or magnify (OED, senses 12, 13c of verb), both meanings now obsolete.
76–77 like … you. Jet, when rubbed, attracts straws.
86–87 The same image occurs in ll. 124–125. The smoking candle is easily relighted because flax, then used for wicks, is extremely inflammable.
91–95 Cf. Romeo and Juliet, III, ii, 22–24:
Victoria, however, seems to believe that the stars, like planets, reflect the sun's light.
- Take him and cut him out in little stars,
- And he will make the face of heaven so fine
- That all the world will be in love with night.
94 the horrour of the Night. See note to IV, i, 320 (p. 413 below).
98–100 These lines would have appealed to the Williamites in the audience.
124–25 See Tilley F278, citations of 1594, 1611, and note to ll. 86–87.
148 Removing the semicolon after "sight" is not necessarily a correct emendation. The semicolon would make "Depart, Accurst" in the next line an unconditional command, in which case we must suppose Veramond shifts dramatically from entertaining the possibility that Alphonso will depart to a conviction that he will. Veramond returns to or continues his conditional way of speaking in 11. 154–155.
149 Accurst for ever. The clinging curse of the parent is developed in 11. 152–155, in IV, i, 101–102, and in V, ii, 16–18 (pp. 229, 250 above). The concept is both biblical and classical (see, e.g., Gen. 9:25).
219–259 In Beaumont and Fletcher's A King and No King, Act V, the queen mother Arane and the courtier Gobrias explain to Arbaces that in order to provide an heir for her husband, who she thought was "past it," she pretended a pregnancy and took Arbaces, who had been born to Gobrias at an appropriate time, as her own, promising Gobrias that his son would thus become king.
275 The Note miscarried. Another desperate device to sustain the plot, but with a well-known predecessor in Romeo and Juliet.
278–283 See note to I, i, 279–280 (pp. 403–404 above).
281 commodious. Perhaps beneficial, spoken ironically, or perhaps useful or accommodating (OED, citing only Shakespeare for the latter meaning, however).
283, bar'd. Barred.
284 Tilley T311, first citation 1539.
290 Those who take this line as showing Dryden's dislike of war forget that he had made his King Arthur say "I count not War a Wrong" (II, iv, 20, p. 32 above), and in the same play had introduced a song in which shepherds say that wars never touch them (p. 28 above)—granted that the latter flies in the face of fact, civilians in a war zone being no safer then than now.
291 Land-marks. See note to Cleomenes, IV, ii, 258 (p. 385 above).
302–303 In the time of Romulus, the Romans invited the Sabines and other neighboring peoples to a festival and then carried off their unmarried women for wives. Reprisals by the other peoples Romulus beat off easily, but the Sabines seized the Roman citadel. At a pause in the next day's battle, the captive women ran between their fathers and their new husbands, and not only did a truce result but the two peoples became one. The story is in Livy, I, ix—xiii. Summers (VI, 586) cites also Ovid, Fasti, III, 199–228.
304 The Sabines were known for their virtuous habits (SCD).
317 stew. "Confine in close or ill-ventilated quarters" (OED).
333–334 The biblical reference is Lev. 16:20–22, as Summers notes (VI, 586).
pg 412III, ii
10 Coxcomb. Fool, the usual sense in The Kind Keeper, for example.
17 my other self. Lopez would understand the words to mean "my friend"; see Tilley F696, "A friend is one's second self" (first citation in English 1539).
30 that Point. There is no preparation for this point, though it turns out to be important to the plot. It is explained fairly soon, however, at 11. 45–47.
32 let me alone. Trust me. See note to The Kind Keeper, I, i, 146 (Works, XIV, 386).
49 top upon. Trick (OED, sense 17 of first verb), a gaming term.
50 stand. Haggle (OED, sense 79 of verb, citing The Spanish Fryar, I, i, 340).
54–55 all shall be set right, and the Man shall have his Mare again. Tilley A153, first citation 1609, also citing this passage.
65 a pick a pack. The usual seventeenth-century spelling of pickaback (OED, which says origin uncertain).
94 your Blood. See I, i, 302 (p. 187 above).
106 Carlos told me. At II, ii, 45 (p. 202 above).
150 Goose-cap. Simpleton (OED). "Good man" is not a title of honor.
171 Not a Cross. A cross was a coin, originally one with a cross stamped on it (OED, sense 20 of noun, citing same phrase in The Wild Gallant, I, ii, 112).
182 a Willow Garland. Symbolic of sorrow; Tilley W403, first citation 1563
186 make. Seek. See note to The Kind Keeper, I, i, 429 (Works, XIV, 393).,
197–198 Summers (VI, 586) compares with The Spanish Fryar, V, i, 168–170 (Works, XIV, 186). The immediate resemblance is no more than that the hero of the main plot asks an army officer in the subplot to support him with his troops, but the function of the passages is exactly the same, i.e., to tie the subplot to the main plot.
208–209 Are we to take these ingenuous lines as characteristic of Alphonso?
211 I warrant you. Saintsbury (S-S, VIII, 437) prefers to punctuate so as to attach the phrase to what goes before instead of to what follows.
214 Word. Either password or battle cry. Cf. Cleomenes, I, i, 124 (p. 92 above): "The word of Battle may be Hercules."
In this scene Alphonso does not at once change his mind, as he does in Act V, and therefore he here resembles Aureng-Zebe in Act V of that play (see Works, XII, 240–246).
s.d. Temple. Church (OED), and so throughout.
12–75 Celidea's request to Garcia has a parallel in Spaconia's request to Panthea that she give up Tigranes in Beaumont and Fletcher's A King and No King, Act II.
40 flies. Escapes untouched (OED, fly, sense 11f of first verb = flee, sense 9). Actually marble is a form of limestone and fire reduces it to quicklime.
65–66 See note to I, i, 275–278 (p. 403 above).
66 Basilisk. Garcia has "died" in the most romantic sense of the word. See note to III, i, 36, Basilisques (p. 410 above).
67–69 These lines are important to the play's denouement.
81 Chain. See Arthur O. Lovejoy, The Great Chain of Being (1936).
107–212 Note that the passage is in rhyme.
170 Here begins a passage of repartee. See headnote (p. 396 above).
177 See headnote to Cleomenes (p. 352n above).
183–193 See note to II, i, 89 (pp. 406–407 above).
241–243 For other examples of the same idea expressed in different words see note to King Arthur, II, ii, 81 (p. 324 above). The grammatical construction occurs in King Arthur, I, ii, 26, and III, ii, 108 (pp. 18, 40 above).
247–248 "Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord" (Rom. 12:19), and many similar biblical passages.
257 once. See l. 86+ s.d. (p. 228 above).
273 Parricide. Strictly, murder of a ruler (OED), but the meaning here evidently includes self-murder.
302 their Rebellion. See l. 86+ s.d. (p. 228 above).
320 brown Horrour. The phrase occurs in Don Sebastian, II, i, 6 (Works, XV, 102), in The Hind and the Panther, II, 659 (ibid., III, 158) and in Aeneid, VII, 41 (ibid., VI, 572). Cf. "brown shadows" in Palamon and Arcite, II, 27 (ibid., VII), and "the horrour of the Night" in III, i, 94 (p. 210 above).
332 Paths uneven. Hence the name "planet," "wanderer."
353 Market. Business (OED).
356 in a Fool's Coat. Wearing motley (OED, fool's-coat). The jokes here deserve a catcall: heralds wear tabards emblazoned with the coats of arms of those they serve.
364 O Yes. Oyez or oyes, "hear ye."
371 t' other touch for Dalinda. Feel her out again (OED, touch).
374 Pump. Try to think of something; here, pump your memory (OED, sense 7 of verb, citation of 1667); the same usage occurs in Secret Love, IV, i, 105 (Works, IX, 166), The Spanish Fryar, I, i, 443 (Works, XIV, 123), and Amphitryon, III, i, 450 (Works, XV, 278).
377 She has already made some Advances to me. Conflicts with V, i, 125–126 (p. 247 above): "I Lov'd her once, and forsook her."
382 Honourable Company. The Honourable Artillery Company is the oldest military organization in England.
384–385 Julius Caesar was one before you. As noted by Summers (VI, 587), Caesar's second wife, Pompeia, was unfaithful. See Suetonius, Life of Caesar, 6.
385 her own Confession. See III, ii, 146–147 (p. 223 above).
387 she deny'd it afterwards. If she did she was offstage.
387–388 a Copy of her Countenance. Her pretense (OED, copy, sense 11c of noun).
401 Honey-pot. OED, citing this passage, interprets the word literally, but Summers (VI, 587–588) quotes a poem attributed to Rochester which indicates that having "a lick at the Honey-pot" is synonymous with "enjoying her" (l. 395).
402 upon the Stocks. "Planned and commenced" (OED, sense 13b of first noun, citing this passage).
405 Fecks. A bowdlerization of "faith." OED (fegs) shows the word was widely used in a variety of spellings and forms. It occurs also in The Wild Gallant, I, ii, 145 (Works, VIII, 16). Summers notes (I, 420–421; VI, 588) that Ben Jonson had laughed at it as "no oath" in The Alchemist, I, ii.
418 Exit. It is not a true exit, but there is an entrance to match at l. 464+.
436 Laconick. Short. Dryden gives a picture of true laconic speech, which was pithy and witty, in Cleomenes. See also p. 376 above.
439 Cockatrice. See note to III, i, 36, Basilisques (p. 410 above).
468 King Log. As Summers notes (VI, 588), the fable is Phaedrus, I, 2. When the frogs asked for a king, Jupiter sent them a log, and when they discovered it was not alive they jumped on it. When they asked for a live king, he sent them a water snake, which ate them. Dryden also refers to the fable in The Spanish Fryar, III, iii, 118 (Works, XIV, 152).
474 two Great Bellies. The humor here would have been lost on the first audience, as it will be on the first reader; its character emerges only below.
478 laying loaders. Charging you with two [bastards] (OED, loader, citing only this passage and Dryden's argument to his translation of Juvenal's sixth satire, Works, IV, 146:22); a dicing term.
494 Loam. Dirt floors or earthenware utensils (OED). Although Saintsbury (S-S, VIII, 455) and Summers (VI, 588) choose the former meaning, the latter seems more likely; see OED, citations of 1663 and 1703, and Baucis and Philemon, ll. 99–100 (Works, VII).
498 muss. Scramble (OED). Scott (S-S, VIII, 455) notes that Dryden used it in Prologue to A True Widow, l. 20 (Works, I, 160), and that Shakespeare used it in Antony and Cleopatra, from which, however, Dryden did not take it into All for Love.
529 I always carry Pen and Ink about me. This improbable circumstance would not have been necessary were the scene not still in the street. See note to dedication, p. 171:8–13 (pp. 400–401 above).
541–548 See ll. 504–512.
569–570 James D. Garrison points out ("A Quotation from Waller in Dryden's Love Triumphant," ELN, XV , 27–29) that these lines adapt Edmund Waller's A Panegyrick to My Lord Protector (1655), ll. 63–64, describing how English ships bring gold from the New World:
- Ours is the harvest where the Indians mow;
- pg 415 We plough the deep, and reap what others sow.
Garrison believes that the audience would have recognized the quotation and would have weighed it positively in assessing Dalinda's wit.
15 You … together. Cf. quotation from the marriage service in IV, i, 380 (p. 237 above).
15–16 he … little. Cf. Tilley C135, citation of 1591: "Cat after kinde will either hunt or scratch."
18 invented. See IV, i, 516–517 (p. 241 above).
29 a mumming. To present a play in dumb show (OED) and pass the hat.
33 Pistols. See note to I, i, 363 (p. 404 above).
74 turn Jew again, like my Father. See I, i, 302–304 (p. 187).
78 Tilley D124, first citation 1648.
80 Dalilah. See Judg. 16:4–21. On the spelling see note to dedication of The Spanish Fryar, Works, XIV, 101:2 (ibid., p. 444).
81 practice on. Trick (OED, sense 11 of verb).
83 Superscription upon a Fool's Face. Tilley F1, "The face is the index of the heart" (first citation 1586).
86 You never said a truer word. One has a sense that the plethora of proverbs and clichés in this passage was intended to be humorous in itself; see note to I, i, 502–507 (pp. 405–406 above).
92 when you and I play'd him. See III, ii, 1–186 (pp. 219–224 above).
98 howish. Possibly Dryden's invention, for this passage is the earliest cited in OED.
114 Why this is as it shou'd be. See note to Cleomenes, V, ii, 228 (p. 387 above).
116 They say, Children are great Blessings. Tilley C331, citing All's Well That Ends Well, I, iii, 26, "they say barnes are blessings."
118 Marriage they say, is Holy. Cf. "holy matrimony."
119 So is Martyrdom. Martyrdom confers "the highest degree of saintship" (OED). Cf. General Prologue to The Canterbury Tales, l. 17: "The hooly blisful martir."
125–26 I Lov'd her once, and forsook her. See note to IV, i, 377 (p. 413 above).
136 emphatical. Intensive, par excellence (OED).
145 promis'd. See IV, i, 560–562 (p. 243 above).
147+ Song. Summers notes (VI, 589) that separate publications of Congreve's song have music by Henry Purcell and indicate that Mrs. Ayliff sang it (see Franklin P. Zimmerman, Henry Purcell, 1689–1695: An Analytical Catalogue of his Music , item 582). Mrs. Ayliff's career as a singer and actress spanned the years 1690 to 1697, but her first name is unknown (Highfill, I, 182–183).
148 Summers notes (VI, 589) that Sir Positive At-all in Thomas Shadwell's pg 416The Sullen Lovers (1668), Act V, says, "He's a wise man that marry's a harlot." Dryden turns Shadwell's irony into a direct statement in epilogue, ll. 32–33 (p. 259 above).
161+ Song for a Girl. Separate publications of Dryden's song have music by John Eccles, but do not name the singer. See also note to III, i, s.d. (p. 409 above).
12 The emendation that makes Ximena's words a question is perhaps not necessary.
25–26 take your Hour, / The next is mine. See note to II, i, 89 (pp. 406–407 above).
27–30 Garcia's commercial imagery hints that he lacks heroism.
32 Temple. Although, as noted above, Dryden calls the church a temple everywhere in the play, the word is metaphorically appropriate here, as Victoria is to be a sacrificial victim (l. 33).
33+ s.d. Unarm'd. Aureng-Zebe similarly comes before his father as a token of his faithfulness, even though by doing so he puts himself in danger (see Aureng-Zebe, III, i, 202–208, in Works, XII, 198).
43 Take then this odious Life. Having both the hero and the heroine commit suicide wras hardly new, but having them announce their plans to do so, and then not carry them out, was perhaps innovative. As an experiment, it falls under Aristotle's ban on events that are shocking but not tragic (see headnote, p. 392 above), but it has become a standard trick of the mystery novelist.
56 sparkle in his Eyes. See Cleomenes, II, ii, 214 (p. 109 above): "sparkles at their Eyes."
72 Minister. Servant (OED).
80–3 Evidently Victoria means that Alphonso should have considered the possibility that she would prove unworthy and that therefore he should have waited to see if she would prove so and whether he would then stop loving her and give up his plan of suicide.
83–89 Alphonso reacts as Aureng-Zebe did when he saw Indamora with Morat (Aureng-Zebe, V, i, 414ft., Works, XII, 24off.), but he recovers more quickly (l. 100); it is Veramond who hangs up here; Alphonso had his hangup in Act IV (pp. 231–236 above).
137ff. Celidea is another Portia.
148 controul. Censure, or curb (OED).
163–166 See Matt. 5:28: "whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart."
168 Rays. "Mental and moral influences, etc., comparable to rays of light" (OED, citing Milton's Comus, l. 425: "the sacred rayes of Chastity"). Cf. The Cock and the Fox, l. 683 (Works, VII).
198–200 There has been no previous reference to Alphonso's rejecting the hand of Garcia's sister.
223 Here let me grow. The same image occurs in Tyrannick Love, I, i, 191, in Don Sebastian, III, i, 254 (Works, X, 122; XV, 134), and in Cleomenes, IV, ii, 282, and V, ii, 224 (pp. 141, 152 above). A similar image in King Arthur, III, ii, 57 (p. 38 above), is also to be found in Nathaniel Lee's Rival Queens, IV, ii, 47, and with a bad sense in 1 Conquest of Granada, II, i, 42 (Works, XI, 37).
237 when … Sword. See IV, i, 86+ s.d. (p. 228 above).
254–259 The closing words may seem pretty dull humor but, as Summers notes (VI, 589), Congreve thought enough of them to put much the same thing at the end of The Way of the World (1700).
256 surprizingly. Cf. the modern "hopefully." The usage became rare enough for Saintsbury to gloss it (S-S, VIII, 474): "in the manner of a surprise."
257 Lead to the Temple. Wiping out the image of sacrifice in ll. 32–33.
2 dead. See prologue, ll. 33–34 (p. 174 above), as noted by Scott (S-S, VIII, 475) and Summers (VI, 589).
3 See prologue, l. 29 (p. 174 above).
5 my Part. I.e., Mrs. Mountfort's Dalinda.
8 a hard Chapter. "Hard lines" (OED, sense 10a of noun).
14 touches. Reflects on (OED, sense 19 of verb).
15 Masks and Misses. Prostitutes and mistresses. See, for example, Epilogue to the King and Queen, ll. 11–20 (Works, II, 198), and note to epilogue to Cleomenes, l. 18 (p. 365 above).
17 Coming. See note to II, ii, 82–83 (p. 408 above).
19 A Kid brought home. The reference is to Tobit 2:11–14. Tobit's wife Anna brought home a kid that her employers had given her. When her blinded husband accused her of stealing it, a quarrel resulted. "Kid" had long been slang for a child (OED).
21 to forgive, and to forget. Tilley F597, first citation 1526.
25–26 on content. / But in the Telling. See note to III, i, 61–62 (p. 410 above).
pg 41827 more. I.e., not less.
29 hits. Chances (OED; this passage is five years earlier than the first citation).
31 Settlement. See note to The Kind Keeper, I, i, 214 (Works, XIV, 388). Compare V, i, 148 (p. 248 above).
32–33 Compare V, i, 148 (p. 248 above). Dryden had made the marriage of Mr. Limberham and his mistress Mrs. Tricksy a supposedly happy outcome in The Kind Keeper, and one intended "to give good example to all Christian Keepers" (V, i, 595, Works, XIV, 93). There is some question, however, as to whether Dryden intended those words to be taken seriously (see ibid., p. 424).
32 Puss. A contemptuous term for a woman (OED).
34–36 For the Aesopic fable to which Dryden refers see note to The Kind Keeper, III, i, 80–81 (Works, XIV, 402); but note also that "cat" was a term for a common whore (OED).
pg 419Contributions to The Pilgrim
On 11 April 1700 Dryden wrote to his cousin Mrs. Steward, "Within this moneth there will be playd for my profit, an old play of Fletchers, calld the Pilgrim, corrected by my good friend Mr Vanbrook [John Vanbrugh]; to which I have added A New Masque, & am to write a New Prologue & Epilogue."1 We may guess that he did not begin The Secular Masque, as it came to be titled, or his fourth contribution to the play, the Song of a Scholar and His Mistress, until he had finished work on his Fables. Fables was in press in mid-December 1699 and still in press at the turn of the year; it was advertised for sale in the Flying Post of 5–7 March 1700, though Dryden did not receive copies until the 12th.2 To judge by the signatures in the first edition, the preface to Fables was printed last. At its end it counterattacks Sir Richard Blackmore, but without mentioning his Paraphrase of Job, which was advertised in the London Gazette of 29 February–4 March 1699/ 1700.3 Because Dryden denigrates Blackmore's Job in the prologue he wrote for The Pilgrim, we may conclude that he had finished with Fables before the end of February. Perhaps we may also conclude, then, that he wrote all his contributions to The Pilgrim in 1700.
Christopher Rich's company produced The Pilgrim at the Theater Royal in Drury Lane. It has been suggested that Dryden may have been moved to write for Rich's company because he felt that Betterton's company at Lincoln's Inn Fields had not done well by his friend William Congreve's Way of the World.4 The possibility seems to be controverted by Dryden's friendship with Vanbrugh and the fact that the play was put on for his benefit.
A Comparison Between the Two Stages (1702) says that when the Drury Lane management decided to produce the play, Dryden offered to provide The Secular Masque if the third night's profits were paid to his son.5 That story conflicts with Dryden's words in his letter to Mrs. Steward quoted above. The true story seems rather to be found in William Egerton's Faithful Memoirs of … Mrs. Anne Oldfield (1731). Egerton says that Dryden "dying on the third Night of its Representation, his Son attended the Run of it, and the Advantages accrued to his Family."6 Dryden died on Wednesr day, 1 May 1700.
The next recorded performance of the play came on 18 June; the next, on 6 July, for the benefit of Mrs. Oldfield, who played the heroine, Alinda; pg 420and the next came on 19 November, that is, in the 1700–01 season.7 Presumably Dryden's contributions were included in these performances. By its next recorded performance, on 3 July 1703, the play had a new epilogue and "A Masque of music composed by Henry Purcell."8 As Henry Purcell died in 1695, there are three possibilities: this masque was not Dryden's, or someone found music by Purcell that fitted Dryden's masque, or, more likely, Henry is a mistake for Daniel. Thereafter we find advertisements for performances almost every year through 1752, often with "singing and dancing," but almost always without any clear indication as to whether Dryden's contributions to the play were included.9 "A Mad Song, proper to [the mad scholar's] Part," was advertised for 19 July 1716; we may guess that it replaced Dryden's Song, because "the Original Mad Dialogue, set to Musick by Mr. H. Purcell," was advertised for 30 November 1738.10 The latter advertisement is also the first to survive which names Vanbrugh and Dryden as having revised the play.
The Pilgrim as revised by Vanbrugh and with Dryden's contributions was advertised for sale in the London Gazette of 13–17 June 1700 and in the Term Catalogue for June 1700 and February 1701.11 There were two issues of the play, both dated 1700, after which Dryden's contributions passed into his collected works, first in his Comedies, Tragedies, and Operas (1701).12
Dryden's state of mind from November 1699 through April 1700 need not be estimated only from his contributions to The Pilgrim. Indeed, as it appears from his correspondence, it may influence our interpretation of the contributions. The letters show that he was living what we may call a normal life for a person like himself.13 As a literary man he was in touch with affairs in the playhouses, helping in the circulation of harmless lampoons, and afraid that none of his well-wishers in power would be able to override the Lord Chancellor's dislike of him. As a Catholic he was distressed by passage of an "Act for the further preventing the growth of popery,"14 and happy that the land tax would not be heavy. As a practical moralist, he was convinced that a royal proclamation against vice and profaneness15 would have no more effect than the clergy's dull sermons. As Everyman he was grateful for various small kindnesses, and not very well. A mixture of good and bad, fun and business, hope and cynicism, which it is not hard to recognize in his writing for The Pilgrim and prevents us from interpreting the pieces in any simple way.
Although the title page of Vanbrugh's Pilgrim advertises it as "Written originally by Mr. Fletcher, and now very much Alter'd, and with several pg 421Additions," the plots of the two plays are the same. Alphonso intends to marry his daughter Alinda to Roderigo, captain of a band of outlaws. Alinda, however, is in love with Pedro, an enemy of Roderigo's and son of an enemy of Alphonso's, and Pedro is in love with her. Disguised as a mendicant wayfarer to a holy shrine, Pedro comes to Alinda when she distributes alms, as is her wont, giving her a ring as he departs. Recognizing Pedro too late, Alinda leaves home, with her father in pursuit. She adopts a series of disguises, penetrated too late if at all by the others (we do not see her in her own dress again until the last scene of the play). Thus she and Pedro meet but to part in Roderigo's lair, in a madhouse, and in a deserted place in the countryside. In the madhouse we see a number of mad persons, one of whom, having become agitated, is calmed by the singing of a song to which Dryden wrote the words. Pedro has come there with a gentleman who is showing him the sights of the town. Alinda has been brought there because she has been found wandering distractedly; when her father arrives there she pretends to be completely demented so as to mislead him and when she sees Pedro she is so madly enraptured that he is sent off in disgrace for stirring her up. Alphonso, on the contrary, deliberately stirs up some of the mad people, acting so outrageously that he is confined as mad himself. Roderigo, his enmity already softened by Alinda in her first disguise, makes his peace with Pedro when the latter saves him from some revengeful peasants. Directed by Alinda, who has escaped from the madhouse and taken a last disguise, the two men go to Segovia. There the governor pardons Roderigo, and Alphonso, who has been released from the madhouse, gives Alinda to Pedro.
Vanbrugh's additions to Fletcher, as distinguished from Dryden's contributions to the play, are almost entirely confined to combining two of Alphonso's servants into one and making him stutter, and to including a mad tailor among the persons confined in the madhouse. From Colley Cibber, who played the stuttering servant, we learn that he dressed as a cook for the part (see below).
The principal alterations to Fletcher's play are in the language. Vanbrugh's play is in prose instead of blank verse. Its language is also more conversational, though it preserves the original words on occasion and sometimes the original lines. In addition, Fletcher's play ends with Alphonso saying "Let's be going," i.e., to the wedding of Pedro and Alinda, whereas Vanbrugh's ends with Alphonso saying he will go home, to which the governor of Segovia replies, "I hope before you go, Sir, you'l share with us, an Entertainment the late great Poet of our Age prepar'd to Celebrate this Day. Let the Masque begin." The original words must have been slightly different, but presumably the placement of the masque was the same.
prologue and epilogue
Cibber tells us that when the play was first performed he spoke both the prologue and the epilogue, "which not being usually done by the same Person, I have a mind, while I think of it, to let you know on what Occasion they both fell to my Share. … Sir John Vanbrugh, who had given some pg 422light touches of his Pen to the Pilgrim to assist the Benefit Day of Dryden, had the Disposal of the Parts, and I being then as an Actor in some Favour with him, he read the Play first with me alone, and was pleased to offer me my Choice of what I might like best for myself in it. But as the chief Characters were not (according to my Taste) the most shining, it was no great Self-denial in me that I desir'd he would first take care of those who were more difficult to be pleased; I therefore only chose for myself two short incidental Parts, that of the stuttering Cook and the mad Englishman. … Sir John, upon my being contented with so little a Share in the Entertainment, gave me the Epilogue to make up my Mess; which being written so much above the Strain of common Authors, I confess I was not a little pleased with. And Dryden, upon his hearing me repeat it to him, made a farther Compliment of trusting me with the Prologue."16
The prologue and epilogue continue counterattacks begun in the preface to Fables against charges that the stage was immoral and profane. The prologue has been called "shrill" and the epilogue, "more nostalgic and thoughtful."17 How much nostalgia there is may be doubted. It is always dangerous to seek for an author's deepest feelings in ephemera designed to raise a smile or a laugh, but we may note that the epilogue proceeds from saying "we shall never mend" to a plea for as much moral reform as is humanly possible. This plea reinforces the closing lines of The Secular Masque.18
song of a scholar and his mistress
The position of this song in The Pilgrim is marked by the stage direction "Musick" on p. 24 of the edition of 1700 (D3v).19 Shortly before, the master of a madhouse has come in with Pedro, three gentlemen and a scholar, the last of whom two of the gentlemen wish to have discharged as cured. The master tells them that the scholar only seems to be sane, and in fact no sooner have they nevertheless presented an order for his release than he becomes irrational, fancying himself to be Neptune. The master says, "Now he must have Musick, his fit will grow worse else," to which one of the gentlemen replies, "I pity him." After the "Musick" the master says, "Now he'll go in quietly of himself, And clean forget all," to which the two gentlemen reply, "We are sorry, Sir, and we have seen a wonder. Pray excuse our unbelief." They then leave and the main action of the play proceeds. Scott pg 423notes that the scholar's peculiar case comes from Don Quixote, Pt. II, ch. i, the curate's story.20
Probably someone besides Dryden assigned the piece its title. As the speech headings show, he wrote it as a pastoral. There is nothing in song or play that requires "Amyntas" to be a scholar; rather, the function of the song in the play is to calm the mind of a scholar who requires music therapy.21
Dryden once wrote, "I remember Poor Nat. Lee, who was then upon the Verge of Madness, yet made a Sober, and a Witty Answer to a Bad Poet, who told him, It was an easie thing to write like a Madman: No, said he, 'tis very difficult to write like a Madman, but 'tis a very easie matter to write like a fool."22
the secular masque
As noted above, it seems clear enough that The Secular Masque ended Vanbrugh's reworking of The Pilgrim. "Secular" in its title signals that it concerns a century. But exactly which century? Malone supposed that Dryden intended the reference to be to the hundred years beginning 25 March 1700 and that the play was intended to have been first performed then,23 but it is just as easy to suppose that Dryden intended the hundred years beginning with 1 January 1701. In either event, if one wishes to draw a positive message from the masque, one must view it as looking forward to better times. Otherwise it tells us only what seemed to Dryden, or his audience, or his audience as he conceived it, to be unhappy characteristics of his own century that could be effectively dramatized in what is, in effect, a brief opera.
To suppose that the Masque tells us anything more of that century would be, in Samuel Johnson's phrase, to lampoon the age. The hundred years just past had seen the publication of the works of Shakespeare and of Milton. It was the century of Inigo Jones, Grinling Gibbons, and Sir Christopher Wren, the century that saw the invention of logarithms (published 1614) and the calculus (about 1665), establishment of the Royal Society (1660), publication of Newton's Principia (1687), the building of the first lighthouse on the Eddystone rock (1696–1700) and the invention of the first practical steam engine (patented 1698). It was the century that saw the first proposals to rid London of smog (John Evelyn's Fumifugium, 1661); significant growth in the cotton industry, with its attendant increase in personal cleanliness pg 424and health; the patenting of a cast iron kitchen range (1630); the discovery of pressure cooking (1679); and the development of the oxford shoe. In this century the English gained their first footholds in America (1609) and in India (1610–1611); the King James Bible was published (1611); and the first efforts were made to remove the Athanasian Creed from the Book of Common Prayer (the Ecclesiastical Commission of 1689). This century saw the return of the Jews to England and the establishment of freedom to worship, if still at some price. It saw the partial triumph of the philosophy of John Locke over that of Thomas Hobbes in the Bill of Rights, it saw the beginnings of party government and peaceful exchange of power, it saw the founding of the Bank of England (1694), to which there was a national rather than a royal debt.24 Not all these events were to Dryden's liking, of course, or even to his knowledge, but the power of his poetry should not narrow our focus to love of sport, love of war, and love of women as the leading characteristics of an age they made unprofitable.
On the other hand, Dryden dealt in his own way with problems that we still face. As the second millenium drew to its close, a group of thinkers assembled for the purpose identified four major problems confronting the world: the economic gap between developed and undeveloped nations; war and peace; the environment; and ethics.25 If we equate hunting with the environment, as environmentalists certainly do, and faithlessness with ethics, we may say that Dryden touched on the last three of our four great concerns today. The first problem simply did not exist in his time; the parts of the world that now lag behind the rest were then sources of enormous wealth. Considering that The Secular Masque was expected to entertain, its survey of the closing century has a wide intellectual range, whatever we may conclude about its depth. And we may read the last lines, "'Tis well an Old Age is out, / And time to begin a New," as a call for a better world, particularly in light of the final lines of the epilogue to The Pilgrim, which followed the Masque in performance.26
Even though Dryden seems to divide the century into four sections—1601–1625, represented by Diana; 1625–1660, represented by Mars; 1660–1689, represented by Venus; and 1689–1700, represented by Chronos—it is possible that the "Changes in this Age" (l. 25 of the Masque) should be understood as "exchanges," alternations. We know that Diana's sport of hunting was a favorite not only of James I but also of Dryden's "Honour'd Kinsman," John Driden of Chesterton, in 1700, and indeed of every country squire and of many a city dweller in the years between.27 Mars's trade of war occupied the nation throughout the century and was to occupy it again in 1702. Venus' business of keeping and discarding mistresses, though it pg 425became fashionable to be open about it in 1660, was of long standing in England, as Dryden himself says in the epilogue to the play.28
We must also remember that all these gods and goddesses may be speaking at least partly in their characters as established by mythology, and that Dryden is not necessarily speaking through any of them, even Momus, who, as he has the last word, most tempts us to identify him with the author. In short, when we look for the author in the work, we cannot be sure that we have much more than an unsorted and partly self-contradictory set of dramatic imaginings, immediate impulses, and lingering prejudices, served up in lively verse and accompanying music to cheer the audience with a cup of dulce in which it might find some lees of utile.
The Secular Masque has received only one detailed analysis, that of Alan Roper.29 Roper places it in the tradition of Horace's Carmen Seculare of 17 b.c. and Matthew Prior's Carmen Saeculare, for the Year 1700, which had been published on 1 January. Horace's poem does not survey the past, except as it alludes to Augustus' descent from Aeneas; instead it praises the present and asks the gods to continue their blessings. Prior's poem surveys the past, starting with the founding of Rome, but skips over the Stuarts in a few lines to praise William III. Prior forbore to mention what he could not praise, but Dryden had no such scruples, in spite of the fact that some years before he had said of Charles II, "Let His Humane Frailties be forgotten."30 Because Dryden's poem looks forward to a succeeding time, Roper considers that it does not fit Ovid's four ages of the world so well as it fits Hesiod's five.31
Hesiod's and Ovid's metallic imagery is not very prominent in Dryden's masque, nor are Dryden's gods and goddesses in the proper order. Diana, because she comes first and because her time is described as peaceful and happy, ought to represent Ovid's golden age, but she is the "Goddess of the Silver Bow" (l. 26 of the Masque). Mars comes second, but war did not appear on earth until Hesiod and Ovid's bronze age. Contrariwise, Venus, who says "Nature is my kindly Care" (l. 74), comes third, but agriculture appeared on earth in Ovid's silver age. And Momus' concluding review of the century (ll. 86–89) suggests that it belongs wholly to Hesiod and Ovid's iron age, when, says Ovid, "modesty and truth and faith fled the earth, and in their place came tricks and plots and snares, violence and cursed love of gain" (ll. 130–131; Loeb). Roper therefore remarks that Dryden's organization is not casual but is less symmetrical than it might at first appear.32
pg 426Pointing to Momus' words, "'Tis better to Laugh than to Cry" (l. 20), Roper sees him as a Democritus and therefore as not speaking for Dryden, who had said he preferred Juvenal to Horace.33 Malone, on the contrary, notes that Dryden had said in the dedication of Amphitryon that the "Merry Philosopher, is more to my Humour than the Melancholick; and I find no disposition in my self to Cry, while the mad World is daily supplying me with such Occasions of Laughter."34 The reader who wishes to decide which quotation correctly represents Dryden's nature and whether Momus may speak for him will do well to read over Dryden's correspondence referred to above.35
Dryden's decision to call his work a masque has struck at least one reader as betraying nostalgia for the courtly ways of old.36 Because the masque was very much alive as a form, though undergoing some variations from its original courtly version, any such conclusion as to Dryden's thinking must rest on other evidence.37
A Collection of New Songs … Perform'd in … the Pilgrim (1700) says that some of the music in The Secular Masque was by Daniel Purcell, some by Gottfried Finger.38 The performers there listed are the tenor John Free-pg 427man (Janus), John Pate (Momus), and Mrs. Erwin (Diana), all members of Rich's company at Drury Lane and Dorset Garden. Freeman had sung in revivals of The Indian Queen and Pate, in revivals of The Indian Emperor. Evelyn says Pate was "reputed the most excellent singer, ever England had."39 Subsequently the Masque was set to music by William Boyce and was sometimes performed as an oratorio.40 According to Malone, "the Song sung by Diana, beginning—'With horns and with hounds I waken the day," [ll. 27–34] continued long a popular air."41 Thomas Amory included the whole text of the Masque, with the title "Song" and with no mention of Dryden, in The Life and Opinions of John Buncle Esquire (1756–1766) under date of 8 June 1725.42 The farmer Price says, "Here comes my beloved with a little bowl of punch, and as she sings extremely well, and you have not forgot I fancy our old song [from their days together in Dr. Thomas Sheridan's school in Dublin], we will have it over our nectar. You [John] shall represent Janus and Momus, and I will be Chronos and Mars, and my wife Diana and Venus." The music, sung in their boyhood, must have been the original, supposing Amory to have thought about the matter. Finally, we may notice an amateur performance at the William Andrews Clark Memorial Library on 6 June 1976, in celebration of the library's fiftieth year (see our frontispiece).
3 Tom Dove. A bear referred to also in Dryden's Epilogue to the King and Queen at the Opening of Their Theatre (1682; dated 1683), l. 24 (Works, II, 198), as Scott notes (S-S, VIII, 481). Summers (VI, 590) gives some additional references to the bear in plays by others and (in his Restoration Theatre , p. 28 n. 47) in Richard Head's Proteus Redivivus (1675), p. 109. Care was taken in bearbaiting to keep both bears and dogs alive; nevertheless, a quarter century, 1675–1700, seems a long life in the ring. Perhaps the name was borne by more than one animal. There had been two bear gardens in Southwark, the Old and the New (Strype, Bk. IV, p. 6), one in Bear Garden Square, the other perhaps in Bear Lane. Bear Garden Square, subsequently Bear Gardens, is (unless the area has been built over) just west of the south approach to Southwark Bridge. Bear Lane runs between Southwark Street and Great Suffolk Street. At some time before 1720, pg 428the venue in Bear Garden Square was moved across the river to become His Majesty's bear garden at Hockley-in-the-Hole, in what is now Ray Street, the first street north of the intersection of Clerkenwell and Farringdon roads, where, Strype says, it was "more convenient for the Butchers [in Smithfield] and such like, who are taken with such rustick Sports" (ibid., p. 28). Baitings were usually on Sundays, but they might also be held on Easter Monday (ibid., p. 6; Summers, VI, 590).
6 "All poets who had written plays, prologues and epilogues, and even those who had published books of verse, could claim free admittance to the pit of the theatres" (Summers, VI, 590, citing the example of William Congreve).
7–8 Kinsley (IV, 2083) refers to Prologue to Caesar Borgia, ll. 7–8 (Works, I, 161).
7, 15 Fops. Perhaps in the sense of "fools," as regularly in The Kind Keeper.
10 if he was not there. Not represented on the stage. As Summers notes (VI, 590), the first entrance of Petulant in Congreve's The Way of the World, Act I, is prefaced by the usual character sketch, in which he is said "sometimes" to put on a mask and "leave a Letter for himself" at a chocolate house. The Way of the World "was certainly acted before 12 March 1699/ 1700"; The Pilgrim's debut was 29 April, if the report quoted in the head-note is correct (London Stage, Part I, pp. 525, 527).
14 Coxcombs. Perhaps in the sense of "fools," as in The Kind Keeper.
16 Maurus … never took Degrees. The kindest interpretation of this line is to suppose that its first impulse sprang from Sir Richard Blackmore's having taken his M.D. from Padua, which made him inelegible at first to be a member of the Royal College of Physicians, and that the plural "Degrees" was then demanded by the rhyme. Blackmore was B.A. Oxon, 1674, M.A. 1676 (Joseph Foster, ed. Alumni Oxonienses , I, 133), M.D. Padua, 1684 (Albert Rosenberg, Sir Richard Blackmore , p. 14). Scott, however, did not put much stock in the medical degree, remarking that Padua "is supposed not to be over scrupulous in conferring degrees of this nature" (S-S, VIII, 483).
Blackmore's attacks on Dryden had begun with the portrait of Laurus, "an old, revolted, unbelieving Bard," in Book VI of Prince Arthur (1695) and continued in its preface, in A Satyre Against Wit (dated 1700 but published in 1699), and in the preface to A Paraphrase on the Book of Job (1700). Blackmore accused Dryden of sycophancy in the dedications of his works and of lewdness and profaneness in their texts. Dryden replied to Blackmore here, at the end of the preface to Fables (Works, VII), and in lines 81–87 of To My Honour'd Kinsman in Fables (Works, VII). "It is interesting to note that Blackmore later found words of praise for Dryden as a critic and poet" (Rosenberg, Blackmore, pp. 55–56).
19 Three Books. Described in the following lines.
24 His Man of Uz. I.e., his Job. The biblical book of Job begins, "There was a man in the land of Uz [in the Syrian desert], whose name was Job."
25 As poor as Job. Tilley J60, first citation 1530.
26 no longer Jog. I.e., after writing King Arthur (1697). Cf. "jog on" in To Mr. Granville, l. 23 (Works, VII). As these are the only times Dryden used the word in his poetry, they may reflect his unremitting labor in translating Virgil. See a letter of 2 February 1699, referring to his translations for Fables: "I am still drudging on: always a Poet, and never a good one" (Ward, Letters, p. 109). See also The Kind Keeper, V, i, 187–188: "Be jogging, … out of this Family, while you are well" (Works, XIV, 81).
29 founders. Stumbles (OED). Kinsley (IV, 1759, 2083) prefers "flounders," as in the 1701 edition of Dryden's Comedies, Tragedies, and Operas.
30–35 Blackmore's Job includes selections from Exodus, Judges, 2 Samuel, Psalms, Isaiah, and Habakkuk, but Catholics do not call Tobit an apocryphal book as Protestants do, and Protestants do not print Tobit between 2 Samuel and Psalms as Catholics do.
35 Hopkins. Blackmore's Job includes only four Psalms. John Hopkins and Thomas Sternhold's metrical version of the Psalms (innumerable editions from at least 1549) had only recently begun to be replaced in public use by Nahum Tate and Nicholas Brady's version (1696), neither version winning any praise from better poets, though many people still enjoy singing a variation of Tate and Brady's rendering of Psalm 91: "He that hath God his guardian made."
38–40 Dryden had suffered from this kind of interpretation of his works; one wishes he had refrained from doing as he had been done by.
38 Train. Powder train, fuse.
39 Merry Andrew. See note to prologue to Cleomenes, l. 11 (p. 364 above).
42 Refers to Blackmore's statement in his preface to King Arthur that he had written most of Prince Arthur "in Coffee-houses, and in passing up and down the Streets" (p. v, first quoted by Scott, S-S, VIII, 484). "Stool" has both a proverbial echo (see Tilley S900) and a medical meaning.
51–52 It would appear that Dryden uses "traduce" in its Latinate sense of disgrace or betray, of which OED gives no examples later than the 1660s. Blackmore became a fellow of the Royal College of Physicians in 1687, one of the first to benefit from a new charter for the college, issued by James II, which increased the membership and extended it beyond those whose medical degrees were conferred by Oxford or Cambridge. He became William III's physician-in-ordinary in 1697 and was knighted by him the same year (Rosenberg, Blackmore, pp. 18–19, 34–35).
As noted above, the epilogue was performed after the Masque and its last lines reinforce the last lines of the Masque.
1 Parson. Jeremy Collier, whose Short View of the Immorality, and Profaneness of the English Stage had three editions published in 1698 and another in 1699, and whose Defense of The Short View (1699), answering Congreve and Vanbrugh, once more called Dryden to account. Dryden had pg 430replied to Collier in the opening lines of To my Friend the Author [Peter Motteux] (Works, VII) and in the preface to Fables (Works, VII; Kinsley, IV, 1447). An anonymous letter in Collier's Dissuasive from the Play-house (1704), pp. 23–32, replied line by line to Dryden's epilogue.
3–4 See Collier, Short View, pp. 1–2, 278–288. But "this very Moral Age" is Dryden's irony.
5–6 Winn (p. 509) notes that the lines are good history.
5 banisht Court. Kinsley (IV, 2083) refers to To Mrs. Anne Killigrew, ll. 56–66 (Works, III, 111), and, following Noyes (pp. 1034, 1036), to The Wife of Bath her Tale, ll. 61–68 (Works, VII).
15 profest. In their "profession." It is not clear whether it was the bawds or the harlots who professed themselves to be such; perhaps by the ambiguity Dryden intends to refer to both groups.
21–22 Winn (pp. 509–510) thinks Dryden knew of a painting by Sir Peter Lely in which Charles II is represented as a shepherd spying on naked nymphs, representing the king's mistresses. The painting is now at Knole (DNB).
21 Misses. See note to epilogue to Cleomenes, l. 18 (p. 365 above).
23 Cyprus. "The places where she [Venus] was most adored were Amathus, Cythera, and Paphos, pleasant Mountains in the Island of Cyprus" (Gautruche, I, 52).
25 Saints. The people of London (l. 9), lumped together as Puritans, who called themselves saints, i.e., holy people. See Mrs. Saintly in The Kind Keeper.
26 Practice … Close Devotion. The first and last words are synonyms; "close" has a number of possible meanings, e.g., "secret," as in "close sin"; "snug," as in "a close room"; "niggardly," as in "close and stingy" (OED).
29 A Monarch's Blood was venial. The regicides who voted to behead Charles I were not attainted by Cromwell's parliament (see note to l. 30).
30 Fornication. An Act for suppressing the detestable sins of Incest, Adultery and Fornication, 10 May 1650, made death the punishment for incest, adultery, and a second act of fornication (Acts and Ordinances of the Interregnum, 1642–1660, ed. C. H. Firth and R. S. Rait , II, 387–389). Like all the acts of parliament in the period, it became void at the Restoration. The similar law in Scotland was passed much earlier—Act 1563, ch. 74—and was still on the books in 1828; see James Watson, A Practical View of the Statute Law of Scotland (1828), I, 27. On p. 29, Watson reports, on the authority of Baron David Hume, that the Scottish law had been put into effect in one or two instances. Summers (VI, 593) notes a reference to the English law in Aphra Behn's The City Heiress.
39 Kinsley (IV, 2083) refers to Epilogue to the King and Queen, l. 35 (Works, II, 199).
41–42 Noyes (p. 1036) and Kinsley (IV, 2083) note that these two lines are repeated from Prologue to The Disappointment, 11. 55–56 (Works, II, 202–203) with "For" and "prodigal" instead of "But" and "liberal."
42 as ragged as a Colt. Tilley C521, first citation c. 1537.
47 Oats. Titus Oates, the first and chief informer (and exaggerator) of the Popish Plot in 1678–79, who had even accused Queen Catherine of compg 431plicity in it, had been whipped at the cart's tail and imprisoned for perjury at the accession of James II. At the accession of William III, however, he had managed to get the verdict reversed and had been granted a pension of £5 a week. In 1691–92 and 1695–96 he was intimate with William Fuller, another perjurer, who was in prison for his crimes in 1692–95 and who afterward said he had been Oates's tool (DNB); for Fuller, see note to epilogue to Cleomenes, l. 22 (p. 365 above).
47 our Hains. Joe Haines, who had turned Catholic in 1685 or 1686 but recanted in 1689, played the Mad Parson in The Pilgrim (see Highfill, VII, 14). As Summers notes (VI, 593–594), Haines was not ashamed of his zigzag course. Scott (S-S, VIII, 504) suggests that Bryan Haines, a false witness against Stephen College and the Earl of Shaftesbury in 1681, may be the person referred to. Dryden had attacked Shaftesbury in 1681 in Absalom and, Achitophel (Works, II, 2–36,) but the pronoun "our" probably means "our fellow actor," not "our fellow Tory."
SONG OF A SCHOLAR
s.d. Opposite Doors. Summers (VI, 592) explains that these are "the permanent proscenium doors."
11 St. Hermo. St. Elmo's fire. "Hermo" is an Italian intermediary between the Latin "Erasmus" and the Italian "Elmo." Mediterranean sailors, who chose St. Erasmus as their patron, established the superstition that his fire presaged calm and safety; hence ll. 15–16 (Enc. Br. 19:828; OED, corposant). It results when positive electrical charges in or passing through an object are attracted to negative charges in the air, and appears as brush- or ballshaped lights about the rigging of ships, in tree tops, on the points of church steeples, and, today, on power line towers, on the tips of airplane wings and propellers, and flickering over the windshields of airplanes. It usually appears in stormy weather, but not always. Airplane pilots today do not regard it as a good omen but as a sign that lightning may strike the aircraft if they do not change course. Scott notes (S-S, VIII, 489) that "the ancients [called it] Castor and Pollux."
31–34 These lines would make better sense if the middle two were interchanged, but perhaps l. 32 means that if the parson delays it will be for some good reason of his own.
33 borrow. Make use of for another purpose, take away from the days of happiness to come; OED cites Dryden's translation of Virgil's Georgics, I, pg 43296–97, "Then borrow part of Winter for thy Corn, / And early with thy Team the Gleeb in Furrows turn" (Works, V, 158). A more literal rendering of the Latin is "where the earth's soil is rich, let your stout oxen upturn it straightway, in the year's first months" (ll. 63–65; Loeb).
the secular masque
3 Radiant Belt. The zodiac, the belt of constellations through the "houses" of which the sun at the time of its rising appears to pass, because of the earth's annual orbit.
6 Fans. Wings; OED cites Dryden's The Cock and the Fox, l. 770 (Works, VII).
10–12 Chronos here represents the closing century.
18, 19 Crimes … Bad Times. As Alan Roper notes in "Dryden's 'Secular Masque,'" MLQ, XXIII (1962), 30–31, these words refer to the reign of William III and may be taken as a political statement.
25 Changes. See headnote (p. 424 above).
27–34 As a virgin goddess Diana represents Queen Elizabeth in the years 1601–1603, as Winn (p. 511) suggests; as a huntress she represents James I, who, Scott (S-S, VIII, 492) relates, was so devoted to the chase that he had himself tied in the saddle when strength left his legs in old age.
30 a wexing Moon. Diana is goddess of the moon as well as of hunting; a waxing moon has its horns to the viewer's left.
31 course. See note to l. 87.
33–34 Roper ("Dryden's 'Secular Masque'" p. 30) notes the parallel in Virgil's Georgies, III, 45: "and the cry, doubled by the applauding groves, rings back" (Loeb); ll. 77–78 in Dryden's translation: "From Hills and Dales the chearful Cries rebound: / For Eccho hunts along; and propagates the sound" (Works, V, 211).
38 Free from Rage. Not at all. If "Rage" means "war" (cf. l. 50), then England was at war with Spain in 1624–1630 and earlier in the century had waged an unofficial but sufficiently bloody trade war with the Dutch in the Moluccas, partly recorded by Dryden in Amboyna. If "Rage" means "puritanism," then we remember, for example, that Puritan demands at the Hampton Court Conference of 1604 had led to the King James Version of the Bible.
38 free from Crime. Not at all. The Catholic Gunpowder Plot came in 1605. One can see why Dryden, now a Catholic, would be happy to ignore it; while still a Protestant he had alluded to it in a humorous context in The Kind Keeper, IV, i, 406 (Works, XIV, 70).
40 unthinking. It is Momus who is unthinking, as even a cursory review of the time discloses (see headnote, pp. 423–424 above).
45–62 Mars as here represented reminds Roper ("Dryden's 'Secular Masque,'" p. 39) of how Dryden had described the heroes of classical antiquity in the dedication of Examen Poeticum: "ungodly Man-killers, … who can never enjoy quiet in themselves, 'till they have taken it from all the World" (Works, IV, 374).
55 Woodland-Walks. The italics refer back to l. 28.
56 Tyrian. Crimson, from a famous dye made at Tyre, and appropriate only to venous blood; arterial blood is scarlet (OED, Tyrian, purple).
72–78 Venus represents the reign of James as well as that of Charles. The infidelities of the brothers were much on a par, and the great beauty of James's queen (see frontispiece of Works, XII) appears to be alluded to in Chronos' description of Venus as "the Queen of Pleasure" (l. 82 as interpreted by Scott, S-S, VIII, 498). Roper ("Dryden's 'Secular Masque,'" p. 34) notes that Dryden's Venus is also Venus Genetrix, the mother or producer (of new life in spring), whose worship was instituted by Scipio Africanus the younger (see note to l. 74).
74 Roper (ibid., p. 34) compares the picture of Venus as a nature goddess with Dryden's insertion into Chaucer's Knight's Tale in Palamon and Arcite, III, 143: "All Nature is thy Province, Life thy Care" (Works, VII).
74 kindly. Benevolent, or, according to the nature of each entity, or, favoring its growth (OED), or all three at once.
79–85 Chronos now represents the period 1689–1700.
82–85 In deciding to what extent Dryden is speaking for himself in Chronos' words about Venus we must balance his public praise of individual women in dedications or poems addressed to them against his private classification of most women as "bitches" (Ward, Letters, pp. 27, 63); we must also weigh his alteration of Troilus and Cressida to make the heroine faithful unto death against his alteration of Paradise Lost in The State of Innocence to make Eve (i.e., womankind) a schemer from the moment of her creation (Works, XII, 110–112).
87 a Beast. I.e., nothing but a beast, the satisfaction of animal spirits only, no really useful purpose. This line has received the most comment of any in the masque. Bruce Dearing has said that it censures James I for neglecting affairs of state and, perhaps, for rigging hunts to make them easier, that is, by having his keepers drive the game into view before the chase began ("Some Views of a Beast," MLN, LXXI , 328). Cf. the report of Nicolo Molin, the Venetian ambassador to James's court: "he leaves all government to his Council and will think of nothing but the chase" (James I by his Contemporaries, ed. Robert Ashton , p. 10). Roper ("Dryden's 'Secular Masque,'" p. 38) says the line means that Diana's pg 434hunting failed because of ineptitude. Roper's conclusion differs little from Bruce Dearing's rigging of hunts, but it rests on a careful examination of the technical terms of hunting: a "chase" might end with the "beast in view," but the correct term for hunting when the beast is in view throughout is, and was, "coursing" (see l. 31 and The Kind Keeper, V, i, 442, in Works, XIV, 89). A private communication to the editors (which unfortunately has vanished from our files) urged that the line be emended to read "no beast in view." All the foregoing interpretations assume that "beast" is a neutral term. In another private communication, Prof. Susan Jane Owen has suggested that the line may reflect the speculation that James had homosexual tendencies, a suspicion aroused in the minds of his contemporaries and ours by his surrounding himself with handsome men and by his way of kissing them (see Ashton, James I, p. 114; Oxford History of Britain, p. 352, accepts the fact). Perhaps, also, as Prof. Owen observes, Dryden, like Scott in The Fortunes of Nigel, accepted what might be called a beastly picture of James in old age which Sir Anthony Weldon published in 1650. Weldon reported that James let his wine run out of the sides of his mouth as he drank from his cup; that he never washed his hands, only wiped the ends of his fingers with a wet towel; and that he objected to changing his clothes until they were worn to rags (Ashton, ibid., pp. 12–13). As Weldon was a parliamentarian who hated the Stuarts, perhaps Dryden would have rejected his account as fatally biased.
89 all untrue. Another wild generalization; we must balance Scott's citation of Anthony Hamilton's The Memoirs of Count Grammont (S-S, VIII, 494) with the Marquis of Halifax's The Lady's New-Year's Gift: or, Advice to a Daughter, and Pepys's diary with Evelyn's.
94 Wars brought nothing about. Again untrue. Though many of the wars ended unsatisfactorily for patriotic Englishmen, Catholics, and believers in the divine right of kings, they changed the English constitution and extended English hegemony in the New World. Even Scott, who regarded the civil war as having failed to resolve the balance of power between king and parliament, nonetheless felt that the parties learned from it that they must make mutual concessions (S-S, VIII, 494). The true generalization, observed in 1991 in eastern Europe and in 1993 Russia, is that peaceful revolutions are better than violent ones, or as Dryden had put it only months before in the dedication of Fables, rephrasing a proverb: "the best Victories, … are those that are least bloody" (Works, VII; Kinsley, IV, 1442).