Volume VIII contains three of Dryden's Plays, along with accompanying scholarly appartus: Wild Gallant, Rival Ladies, and Indian Queen.
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It would be a great Impudence in Me to say much of aComedy, which has had but indifferent success in the action. I made the Town my Judges; and the greater part condemn’d it: After which I do not think it my Concernment to defend it, with the ordinary Zeal of a Poet for his decry’d Poem, thoughCorneilleis more resolute in hisPrefacebefore hisPertharite, which was condemn’d more Universally than this: for he avowes boldly, That in spight of Censure hisPlaywas well, and regularly written; which is more than I dare say 10...
This worthless Present was design’d you, long before it was a Play; When it was only a confus’d Mass of Thoughts, tumbling over one another in the Dark: When the Fancy was yet in its first Work, moving the Sleeping Images of things towards the Light, there to be Distinguish’d, and then either chosen or rejected by the Judgment: It was Yours, my Lord, before I could call it mine. And, I confess, in that first Tumult of my Thoughts, there appear’d a disorderly 10 kind of Beauty in some of them, which gave me hope, something worthy...
Garrucca,a faithful Subject toAmexia.
The God ofDreams.
Ismeron,one of their Prophets, a Conjurer.
Officers and Souldiers.
Amexia,the lawful Queen ofMexico.
Orazia,Daughter to theYnca.
Attendants, of Ladies.
As the Musick plays a soft Air, the Curtain rises softly, and discovers anIndianBoy and Girl sleeping under two Plantain-Trees; and when the Curtain is almost up, the Musick turns into a Tune expressing an Alarm, at which the Boy...
The Wild Gallant,Dryden says in the preface, was “the first attempt I made in Dramatique Poetry.” Perhaps he was encouraged to try his hand at a play by the great success scored by his friend Sir Robert Howard withThe Committee,acted in the fall of 1662. Evelyn saw theGallanton 5 February 1663, and, as this date agrees with that given in the original prologue to the play (l. 14), this must have been the first performance. In the same entry he mentions having been at court but pretty clearly does not mean to imply that he...
In 1660 the King’s Company began to act in Vere Street at Gibbons’ Tennis Court, which had been used as a playhouse in the 1650’s.¹ It had been refurbished—Pepys judged it “the finest playhouse that ever was in England” ²—but its plays, including the first version ofThe Wild Gallant, were produced in the old fashion, whatever that was.³ Meanwhile Davenant had installed his company in another tennis court—Lisle’s, in Lincoln’s Inn Fields—and by June of 1661 was using painted scenes such as he had introduced in his “operas” in the last years of the Commonwealth....
Information as to the casting of plays acted by Killigrew’s company in the years 1663–1664 is sparse and uncertain. Pepys is the most reliable source of information, for his reports were set down at the time. A few plays were printed with the names of actors attached to the dramatis personae, but in the early years this practice was not so frequent as it became later; furthermore, the casts, though presumably the most recent ones, may antedate the printings by months or even years. For two of his comedies,Erminia(1661) andThe Damoiselles a la Mode(1667), the...
The earliest mention of the operaticQueenis late in 1694 in a document stemming from the quarrel between the management at the Theatre Royal and the group of actors headed by Betterton; the patentees complain that though Betterton has been paid to “gett up ye Indian Queen . . . he hath not yett done itt.” ¹ By this time the secession of the Betterton group was in effect and it would have no part in the opera when completed.
When was this? It must have been within the year, for though the version that survives in manuscript (British...
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