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Publipa.April w21777-ly T. Lowndu starter.
MWOODWARD in the Character of socua.
This Janthorn for once shall be my harity
The Reader is defired to observe, that the Passages onliited in the Representation at the Theatres are here preserved, and marked with single inverted Commas; as at Lines 2 to 4, in Page 20.
P R E F A CE.
THE abilities of DRYDEN as a writer, are so
generally and fo juftly acknowledged to be of the first class, that it would be something worse than impropriety, to alter any of his productions without afigning the reason. For the alteration of his AMPHITRYon, indeed, the reason is evident; for it is so tainted with the profaneness and immodesty of the time in which he wrote, that the present time, however felfish and corrupt, has too much regard to external decorum, to permit the representation of it upon the stage, without drawing a veil, at least, over some part of its deformity: the principal part of the alterations, therefore, are made with a moral view; though some inaccuracies, which were remarked on the examination which these alterations made necessary, are also removed, of which the following are the chief,
In the scene between Sofia and Mercury in the second act, Amphitryon is supposed to have sent a buckle of diamonds by Sofia, as a present to Alcmena; for Sofia first asks Mercury “if Ama. “phitryon did send a certain servant with a pre“ sent to his wife;" and soon after afks him, “ what that present was,” which, by Mercury's answer, appears to be the diamond buckle : yet in the scene between Amphitryon and Alcmena, in the third act, when Alcmena asks him, as a proof of his having been with her before, from whose hands she had the jewel, he cries out, " This is amazing! have I already given you " those diamonds ? the present I reservedAnd instead of supposing that Sofia had delivered
them as part of his errand, which he pretended he could not execute, he appeals to him for their being in safe custody, reserved to be presented by himself. This is an inconsistency peculiar to Dryden, for neither PLAUTUS nor MOLIERE any where mention the present to have been sent
There is another inaccuracy of the same kind, which occurs both in PLAUTIS and MOLIERE. It appears in the second act, that one part of Sofia's errand was to give Alcmena a particular account of the battle; and Sofia's account of his being prevented, is so extravagant and absurd that Amphitryon cannot believe it: yet when Alcmena, in the third act, asks Amphitryon how the came to know (6 what he had sent Sosia to “ tell her,” Amphitryon in astonishment seems to admit that she could know these particulars only from himself, and does not consider her question as a proof that Sosia had indeed delivered his message, though for some reasons he had pretended the contrary, and forged an incredible story to account for his neglect. As it would have been much more natural for Amphitryon, to have supposed that Sosia had told him a lie, than that Alcmena had, by a miracle, learnt what only he and Sofia could tell her, without seeing either of them; this inaccuracy is removed, by introducing such a suppofition, and making the dialogue correspond with it.
In the second act, Jupiter, in the character of Amphitryon, leaves Alcmena with much reluctance, pretending haste to the camp, and great solicitude to keep his visit to her a secret from the Thebans : yet when he appears again in the tbird act, which he knew would be taken for the third appearance of Amphitryon, he does not account for his supposed second appearance at the return of the real Amphitryon, jult after his de