Glimpses Of Our Ancestors In Sussex - online book

With Sketches Of Sussex Characters, Remarkable Incidents &c

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Sussex Poets.                                 233
From thence sad discontent, uneasy fears, And anxious doubts of what I had to do,
Grew with succeeding years. The world was wide, but whither should I go ? I, whose blooming hopes all wither'd were, "Who'd little fortune and a deal of care! To Britain's great Metropolis I stray'd,
Where fortune's general game is play'd; "Where honesty and wit are often prais'd, But fools and knaves are fortunate and rais'd. My forward spirit prompted me to find
A converse equal to my mind: But, by raw judgment easily misled
(As giddy callow boys
Are very fond of toys), I miss'd the brave and wise, and in their stead On every sort of vanity I fed. Gay coxcombs, cowards, knaves, and prating fools, Bullies of o'ergrown bulks and little souls, Gamesters, half-wits, and spendthrifts (such as think Mischievous midnight frolics bred by drink
Are gallantry and wit, Because to their lewd understandings fit),
Were those wherewith two years at least I spent, To all their fulsome follies most incorrigibly bent:
'Till at the last, myself more to abuse,
I grew in love with a deceitful Muse.
To put this in plain prose, the ex-collegian of 19 joined the Duke of York's company of players, and became an actor. But, like so many other playwrights, his success on the stage was small. It gave him, however, that knowledge of stage business which is so essential to the dramatist. At the age of 25 he produced his first drama, the tragedy of "Alcibiades" a remarkable work as the first attempt of so young a man, though with many faults. This was quickly followed, if we are to credit Otway's own preface to it, by the tragedy of "Don Carlos, Prince of Spain"a much higher effort, and containing passages of great beauty; many of them in those triplets which Dryden afterwards adopted and made such good use of in his translation of Virgil. This was succeeded by a translation of Moliere's " Fourberies de Scapin," and by a comedy called " Friendship in Fashion." The character of this latter may be inferred from the fact that when it was revived at Drury Lane in 1749 it was hissed off the stage for its grossness and immorality. Even when originally produced
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