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2. Nature's Picture drawn by Fancie's Pencil to the Life.*
In this volume (adds the title) there are several feigned stories of natural descriptions, as comical, tragical, and tragi-comical, poetical, romancical, philosophical, and historical, both in prose and verse, some all verse, some all prose, some mixed, partly prose and partly verse ; also some morals and some dialogues, but they are as the advantage loaf of bread to the baker's dozen ; and a true story at the latter end, wherein there is no feigning. London, 1656, folio.
3. Orations of divers sorts, accommodated to divers places. London, 1662, folio.
4. Philosophical and Physical Opinions ; 1633, folio. This, the authoress tells us, was is the beloved of all her works, her masterpiece.
5. Observations upon Experimental Philosophy; to which is added, The Description of a New World." 1666, folio.
6. Philosophical Letters; or, Modest Reflections on some Opinions in Natural Philosophy, maintained by several famous and learned authors of this age, expressed by way of letters. London, 1664, folio.
7. Poems and Phancies. London, 1653, folio. 8. CCXI. Sociable Letters. 1664, folio.
9. The Life of the Duke, her husband. This is thought to be her best performance.
10. Observations of the Duke's, with Remarks of her own.
21. Matrimonial Troubles, in two parts; the second being a tragedy, or, as the authoress styles it, a tragi-comedy.
22. Nature's Three Daughters-- Beauty, Love, and Wit: a comedy, in two parts.
23. Presence : a comedy. To this there are twenty-nine supernumerary scenes.
24. Public Wooing: a comedy. In this the duke wrote several of the suitors' speeches.
25. Religious : a tragi-comedy.
28. Unnatural Tragedy. In act i. scene 3 the Duchess inveighs against Camden's Britannia.
29. Wit's Cabal : a comedy, in two parts.
Walpole has these remarks—amusing enough, but, as not unusual
* To this book was prefixed a curious print of the duke and duchess sitting at a table, with the duke's children by his former wife, to whom her grace is telling stories; and at the end is a strange account of her birth, education, and life, written by herself, wherein she says very high things of the exquisite beauty of her person and the rare endowments of her mind.
with him, ill-natured-upon the literary character of the duchess and her husband : “ The duke, as an author, is familiar to those who scarce know any other author, viz. from his book of horsemanship. Though amorous in poetry and music, as my Lord Clarendon says, he was fitter to break Pegasus for a menage, than to mount him on the steeps of Parnassus. Of all the riders of that steed, perhaps there have not been a more fantastic couple than his grace and his faithful duchess, who was never off her pillion. One of the noble historian's finest portraits is of this duke. The duchess has left another, more diffuse indeed, but not less entertaining. It was equally amusing to hear her sometimes compare her lord to Julius Cæsar; and oftener to acquaint you with such anecdotes as in what sort of coach he went to Amsterdam. The touches on her own character are inimitable. She says, that it pleased God to command his servant Nature to indue her with a poetical and philosophical genius, even from her birth; for she did write some books of that kind before she was twelve years of age. But what gives one the best idea of her unbounded passion for scribbling, was her seldom revising the copies of her works, lest, as she said, it should disturb her following conceptions. What a picture of foolish nobility was this stately poetic couple, retired to their own little domain, and intoxicating one another with circumstantial flattery on what was of consequence to no mortal but themselves !” He calls the duchess, in another place, “a most fertile pedant.”
(Circa 1600-1652.) “ Richard Brome, a servant to Ben Jonson, a servant suitable to such a master; and who, what with his faithful service and the sympathy of his genius, was thought worthy his particular commendation in verse. Whatever instructions he might have had from his master, Jonson, he certainly, by his own natural parts, improved to a great height; and at last became not many parasangs inferior to him in fame, by diverse noted comedies.”*
Richard Brome was of mean extraction. At what time he began to write, we have no account; but his master says it was not until he had served him the term of an apprenticeship. The first play of Brome's, which appeared in print in 1632, has the following verses from Ben Jonson :
To my faithful and (by his continued virtue) my loving Friend, the Author of
this Work, Mr. Richard Brome:
And you perform'd a servant's faithful parts;
Of fellowship, professing my old arts.
And you do do them well, with good applause,
Which you have justly gained from the stage,
Which I your master first did teach the age.
A 'prenticeship, which few do nowadays.
Besides this testimony in his favour, several of the principal poets of the times as Shirley, Dekker, Ford, Chamberlain, and others—addressed verses to him on several of his performances, and he appears to have been generally well respected.
He studied men and humour more than books; and his genius affecting comedy, his province was more observation than study. His plots were his own; and he forged all his various characters from the mint of his own experience and judgment.
It is conjectured that he died in the year 1652, as in the subsequent one five of his plays were made public by his namesake Alexander Brome.
Besides The Lancashire Witches, he was the author of fifteen plays.
The following pieces also, not now known to exist, at least under these titles, have been assigned to Richard Brome, but on very questionable authority :
Wit in Madness ; Christianetta ; The Jewish Gentleman ; The Lovesick Maid ; Life and Death of Sir Martin Skink; The Apprentice Prize.
In the two last he is said to have been assisted by Thomas Heywood.
DR. JASPER MAYNE.
(1604-1672.) Jasper Mayne was born at Hatherleigh, Devonshire, in the year * 1604. He received his education at Westminster School, and was removed to Christchurch College, Oxford, when he was about twenty years of age. He took his bachelor and master of arts degrees in the regular way; and then entering into holy orders, was presented by his college to the vicarages of Cassington near Woodstock, and of Pyrton near Watlington, Oxfordshire. He became, says Wood, “a quaint preacher and a noted poet;" and in the latter capacity distinguished himself by the production of two plays, entitled The City Match, a comedy; and The Amorous War, a tragi-comedy (1658). When the rebellion broke out, and Charles 1. was obliged to keep his court at Oxford, to avoid being exposed to the resentment of the populace in London, Dr. Mayne was one of those divines who were appointed to preach before his majesty and the court. In the year 1646 he was created a doctor of divinity; and the year after he printed a sermon at Oxford against false prophets, upon Ezekiel xxii. 26, which occasioned a dispute between him and the memorable antagonist of Chillingworth, Mr. Cheynell. Mr. Cheynell had attacked his sermon from the pulpit of St. Mary's, Oxford ; upon
which there passed several letters between them, published by Dr. Mayne the same year, in a piece entitled A late printed Sermon against False Prophets vindicated by Letter from the causeless aspersions of Mr.. Francis Cheynell ; by Jasper Mayne, D.D., the misunderstood Author of it. The same year Dr. Mayne published also another piece entitled, OXAOMAXIA ; or, the People's War examined according to the principles of Scripture and reason, in two of the most plausible pretences of it, in answer to a letter sent by a person of quality who desired satisfaction. In this piece he examines, first, how far the power of a king, who is truly a king, not one only in name, extends itself over his subjects; secondly, whether any such power belongs to the king of England ; and thirdly, if there does, how far it is to be obeyed, and not resisted.
In the year 1658 he was deprived of his studentship at Christchurch, to which he had been advanced upon taking his degrees, and soon after of both his livings. During the Commonwealth he was chaplain to the Earl of Devonshire, and became the companion of Hobbes, who then attended his lordship : but Hobbes was never very good company for divines; and therefore it is no great wonder if Mayne and he did not agree well together, as Wood informs us they did not. At the Restoration he was not only put in possession of his former places, but was made canon of Christchurch and archdeacon of Chichester, which preferments he enjoyed till his death. He was an orthodox preacher, a man of severe virtue, a ready and facetious wit.
Besides his dramatic pieces, our author wrote a poem upon the naval victory over the Dutch by the Duke of York, a subject which Dryden has likewise celebrated in his Annus Mirabilis. He published a translation of part of Lucian, said to be done by Mr. Francis Hicks, to which he added some dialogues of his own, though Winstanley is of opinion that the whole translation is also his. Dr. Mayne died 6th of December, 1672 ; and his remains were deposited on the north side of the choir in Christchurch.
SIR WILLIAM DAVENANT.
(1605-1668.) The father of this poet was John Davenant, who kept the Crown Tavern or Inn at Oxford ; but owing to an obscure insinuation in Wood's account of his birth, it has been supposed that he was the natural son of Shakespeare ; and to render this story probable, Mrs. Davenant is represented as a woman exceedingly beautiful, very elegant both in her conversation and dress, and a particular friend to Shakespeare, who was accustomed to lodge at the Crown on his journeys between Warwickshire and London. Davenant himself, over his bottle, would often encourage the idea, which has been regarded by Malone, Warton, and others as not destitute of foundation. Steevens, however, discredits it. Young Davenant, who was born at Oxford, Feb. 1605, very early betrayed a poetical bias; and one of his first attempts, when he was only ten years old, was an ode in remembrance of Master William Shakespeare. This is a remarkable produc
tion for one so young, and one who lived not only to see Shakespeare set aside, but to contribute with some degree of activity to that instance of depraved taste. Davenant was educated at the grammarschool of All Saints, in his native city. In 1621, the year in which his father served the office of mayor, he entered at Lincoln College; but being encouraged to try his success at court, he appeared there as a page to Frances Duchess of Richmond, a lady of great influence and fashion. He afterwards resided in the family of the celebrated Sir Fulke Greville, Lord Brooke.
The murder of this nobleman in 1628 depriving him of what assistance he might expect from his friendship, Davenant had recourse to the stage, on which he produced his first dramatic piece, the tragedy of Albovine King of the Lombards. This play had success enough to procure him the recommendation, if nothing more substantial, of many persons of distinction, and of the wits of the time. With such encouragement, he renewed his attendance at court, adding to its pleasures by his dramatic efforts, and not sparingly to the mirth of his brethren the satirists, by the unfortunate issue of some of his licentious gallantries. For several years his plays and masques were aeted with the greatest applause ; and his character as a poet was raised very high by all who pretended to be judges. On the death of Ben Jonson in 1638, the queen procured for him the vacant laurel, which is said to have given such offence to Thomas May, his rival, as jo induce him to join the disaffected party, and to become the advocate and historian of the republican parliament. In 1639 Daverant was appointed “ governor of the king and queen's company acting at the Cockpit in Drury Lane, during the lease which Mrs. Elizabeth Beeston, alias Hutcheson, hath or doth hold in the said house”
Wien the civil commotions had for some time subsisted, the peculia: nature of them required that public amusements should be the decided objects of popular resentment; and Davenant, who had administred so copiously to the pleasures of the court, was very soon brought inder suspicions of a more serious kind. In May 1641 he was accued before the parliament of being a partner with many of the king'sfriends in the design of bringing the army to London for his majesty's rotection. His accomplices effected their escape ; but Davenant wasapprehended at Feversham, and sent up to London. In July followig he was bailed; but on a second attempt to withdraw to France, tas taken in Kent. At last, however, he contrived to make his esape without further impediment, and remained abroad for some time
The motiv of his flight appears not to have been cowardice, but an unwillingpss to sacrifice his life to popular fury, while there was any prospect o his being able to devote it to the service of his royal master. Accolingly when the queen sent over a considerable quantity of militarystores for the use of the Earl of Newcastle's army, Davenant resoltely ventured to return to England, and volunteered his services unor that nobleman, who had been one of his patrons. The earl made hin lieutenant-general of his ordnance, a post for which he was not previosly prepared, but for which he qualified himself with so much skill an success, that in September 1643 he was rewarded