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but I dare say nobody else could. In one part of his design, he seemed to differ from Mr. Banks, whose tale he generally designed to follow; since I observed in many of those short sketches of scenes, he had introduced queen Mary. He seemed to intend her character pitiful, and inclining to mercy; but urged on to cruelty by the rage and bloody dispositions of Bonner, and Gardiner. This hint I had likewise taken from the late Bishop of Salisbury's* History of the Reformation; who lays, and I believe, very justly, the horrible cruelties that were acted at that time, rather to the charge of that persecuting spirit by which the clergy were then animated, than to the queen's own natural disposition.
Many people believed, or, at least, said, that Mr. Smith left a play very near entire behind him. All that I am sorry for is, that it was not so in fact; I should have made no scruple of taking three, four, or even the whole five acts from him; but then I hope I should have had the honesty to let the world know they were his, and not take another man's reputation to myself,
This is what I thought necessary to say, as well on my own account, as in regard to the memory of my friend.
For the play, such as it is, I leave it to prosper as it can; I have resolved never to trouble the world with any public apologies for my writings of this kind, as much as I have been provoked to it. I shall turn this, my youngest child, out into the world, with no other provision than a saying which I remember to have seen before one of Mrs. Behn's:
Va! mon enfant, prend ta fortune.
WHEN waking terrors rouse the guilty breast,
And fatal visions break the murd'rer's rest;
When vengeance does Ambition's fate decree,
And tyrants bleed, to set whole nations free;
Tho' the Bard saddens each distressed scene,
Unmov'd is every breast, and ev'ry face serene:
The mournful lines no tender heart subdue;
Compassion is to suff'ring goodness due.
The Poet your attention begs once more,
T'atone for characters here drawn before;
No royal mistress sighs thro' every page,
And breathes her dying sorrows on the stage:
No lovely fair, by soft persuasion won,
Lays down the load of life, when honour's gone.
Nobly to bear the changes of our state,
To stand unmov'd against the storms of fate,
A brave contempt of life, and grandeur lost :
Such glorious toils a female name can boast.
Our author draws not Beauty's heavenly smile,
T' invite our wishes, and our hearts beguile :
No soft enchantments languish in her eye,
No blossoms fade, nor sick'ning roses die.
A nobler passion ev'ry breast must move,
Than youthful raptures, or the joys of love,
A mind unchang'd, superior to a crown,
Bravely defies the angry tyrant's frown;
The same, if she or sinks, or mounts on high,
Or if the world's extended ruins lie:
With gen'rous scorn she lays the sceptre down; Great souls shine brightest by misfortunes shown:
With patient courage she sustains the blow,
And triumphs o'er variety of woe.
Thro' ev'ry scene the sad distress is new:
How well feign'd life does represent the true!
Unhappy age! who views the bloody stain,
But must with tears record our Mary's reign;
When zeal by doctrine flatter'd lawless will,
Instructed by religion's voice to kill?
Ye British fair, lament in silent woe;
Let ev'ry eye with tender pity flow;
The lovely form, thro' falling drops, will seem
Like flow'ry shadows on the silver stream.
Thus beauty, your sweet ornament, shall
Enrich'd by virtue, thence more worth man's love.
Forget your charms, fond woman's dear delight,
The fops will languish here another night.
No conquest from dissembling smiles we fear;
She only kills, who wounds us with a tear..
TO-NIGHT the noblest subject swells our scene,
A heroine, a martyr, and a queen ;
And tho' the poet dares not boast his art,
The very theme shall something great impart,
To warm the gen'rous soul, and touch the tender heart.
To you, fair judges, we the cause submit;
Your eyes shall tell us how the tale is writ.
If your soft pity waits upon our woe,
If silent tears for suff'ring virtue flow;
Your grief the Poet's labour shall confess,
The lively passions, and the just distress.
Oh! could our author's pencil justly paint,
Such as she was in life, the beauteous saint
Boldly your strict attention might we claim,
And bid you mark and copy out the dame.
No wand'ring glance one wanton thought confess'd,
No guilty wish inflam'd her spotless breast:
The only love that warm'd her blooming youth,
Was husband, ENGLAND, Liberty, and Truth.
For these she fell; while, with too weak a hand,
She strove to save a blind ungrateful land.
But thus the secret laws of Heav'n ordain,
'Twas left to William's hand to break that chain,
And end the hopes of Rome's tyrannic reign.
For ever as the circling years return,
Ye grateful Britons! crown the hero's urn;
To him as a foundation, you still owe
Blessings, which e'en succeeding reigns bestow;
A father's name was to himself denied,
To you a father, he that loss supply'd.
Then, while you view the royal line's increase,
And count the pledges of your future peace,
From this great stock while still new glories come,
Conquest abroad, and liberty at home;
While you behold the beautiful and brave,
Bright princesses to grace you, kings to save,
Enjoy the gift, but bless the Hand that gave.
John Dudley, Duke of NORTHUMBERLAND.
Henry Gray, Duke of SUFFOLK.
Lord GUILFORD DUDLEY, Son to the D. of
William Herbert, Earl of PEMBROKE.
William Yelverton, Earl of SUSSEX.
Stephen GARDINER, Bishop of WINCHESTER.
Sir John GATES.
Sir John BRIDGES, Lieutenant of the Tower.
Captain of the Guard.
Frances, Duchess of SUFFOLk.
Lady JANE GRAY, Daughter to the D. of Suffolk. Two WOMEN attending on Lady Jane.
Lords of the Council, Gentlemen, Guards, and Attendants.