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TWIN RIV AL S.
As written by Mr. FARQUHAR.
DISTINGUISHING ALGO THE
VARIATIONS OF THE THEATRE,
AS PERFORMED AT THE
Theatre-Royal in Lovent:Farden.
Regulated from the Prompt- Book,
By PERMISSION of the MANAGERS,
By Mr. HOPKINS, Prompter.
Sic res non vobisa
Printed for Jous BELL, near Exeter-Exceange, in the Strand,
HENRY BRETT, Esq.
HE commons of England have a right of petition
are obliged to hear and redress the subject, I presume upon the privilege of the people, to give you the following trouble.
As prologues introduce plays on the stage, so dedications ulher them into the great theatre of the world; and as we chuse some staunch actor to address the audience, lo we pitch upon fome gentleman of undisputed ingenuity to recommend us to the reader. Books, like metals, require to be stamped with some valuable effigies before they become popular and current.
To escape the critics, I resolved to take sanctuary with one of the best ; one who differs from the fraternity in this, that his good-nature is ever predominant; can dis. cover an author's smallest faults, and pardon the greatest.
Your generous approbation, Sir, has done this play service, but has injured the author; for it has made hiin insufferably vain, and he thinks himself authorised to stand up for the merit of his performance, when so great a master of wit has declared in his favour.
The muses are the most coquetish of their sex, fond of being admired, and always putting on their best airs to the finest gentleman : but, alas, Sir ! their addresses are stale, and their fine things but repetition ; for there is nothing new in wit, but what is found in your own conversation.
Could I write by the help of study, as you talk without it, I would venture to say something in the usual strain of dedication ; but as you have too much wit to fuffer it, I too little to undertake it, I hope the world will excuse my deficiency, and you will pardon the presumption of, SIR,
Your most obliged, and
Moit humble servant,
Dec, 23, 1702.
P R E FACE.
HE fuccess and countenance that debauchery has
met with in plays, was the most severe and reasonable charge against their authors in Mr. Collier's Short View ; and indeed this gentleman had done the drama confiderable service, had he arraigned the flage only to punish its iisdemeanors, and not to take away its life. But there is an advantage to be made sometimes of the advice of an enemy, and the only way to disappoint his designs, is to rinprove upon his invećtives, and to make the itage flourish, by the virtue of that satire by which he thought to suppressit.
I have therefore in this piece endeavoured to shew, that an English comedy may answer the strictness of poetical juittice : but indeed the greater fare of the English audience (I mean that part which is no farther read chan in plays of their own language) have imbibed o:her principles, and land up as vigorously for the old poetic li. 'cence, as they do for the liberty of the subject. They take all innovations for grievances; and let a project be never so well laid for their advantage, yet the undertaker is very likely to suffer by it. A play without a beau, cully, cuckold, or coquet, is as poor an entertainment to fome palates, as their Sunday's dinner would be without heef and pudding. And this I take to be one reason that the galleries were so thin during the run of this play. I thought indeed to have foothed the splenetic zeal of the City, by making a gentleman a knave, and punishing their great grievance-a whoremaster : but a certain virtuofo of that fraternity has told me since, that the Citizens were never more disappointed in any entertainment; for (wid he) however pious we may appear to be at home, yet we never go to that end of the town but with an intention to be lewd.
There was an odium caft upon this play, before it appeared, by fome persons who thought it their interest io have it fuppressed. The ladies were frighted from seeing it, by formidable stories of a midwife, and were told, no doubt, that they must expect no less than a labour upon the stage; but I hope the examining into that asperlion will be enough to wipe it off, fince the character of the midwife is only fo far touched as is peceffary for carrying on the plot, she being principally decyphered in her procuring capacity ; and i dare not affront the ladies so far, as to imagine they could be offended at the exposing of a bawd.
Some critics complain, that the defign is defective for want of Clelia's appearance in the scene; bút I had rather they should find this fault, than I forfeit my regard to the fair, by shewing a lady of figure under a mistortune ;
for which reason I made her only nominal, and chofe to expose the person that injured her. And if the ladies don't agree that I have done her justice in the end, I am very sorry for it.
Some people are apt to say, that the character of Riche more points at a particular person ; though I must confels, I see nothing but what is very general in his character, except his marrying his own mistress ; which by the way he never did, for he was no sooner off the stage, but he changed his mind, and the poor lady is still
in ftatu quo: bur upon the wole matter, 'tis application only makes the als ; and characters in plays, are like Long-Lane clothes, not hung out for the use of any particular person, but to be bought by only those they hap
The most material objection against this play is the importance of the subject, which necessarily leads into sentiments too great fur diversion, and fuppofes vices too great for comedy to punish. 'Tis faid, I must own, that the business of comedy is chiefly to ridicule folly, and that the punishment of vice falls rather into the province of tragedy ; but if there be a middle sort of wickednefs, too high for the fock, and too low for the bulkin, is there any reason that it should go unpunished? What are more obnoxious to humane fociety, than the villains exposed in this play, the frauds, plots and contrivances
pen to fit.