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therefore not suitable to each other: he might better have made the whole merely philosophical.
There are two stanzas in this poem where Yalden may be suspected, though hardly convicted, of having consulted the Hymnus ad Umbram of Wowerus, in the sixth stanza, which answers in some sort to these lines: Illa suo præest nocturnis numine facrisPerque vias errare novis dat spectra figuris, Manesque excitos medios ululare per agros Sub noctem, & questu notos complere penates. And again, at the conclusion; Illa suo senium secludit corpore toto Haud numerams jugi fugientia fecula lapsu, Ergo ubi postremum mundi compage solutâ Hanc rerum molem suprema absumpserit hora Ipsa leves cineres nube amplectetur opacâ, Ea prises imperio rursus dominabitur UMBRA.
His Hymn to Light is not equal to the other. He seems to think that there is an East absolute and positive where the Morning rises.
In the last stanza, having mentioned the sudden eruption of new created Light, he says,
Awhile th’Almighty wondering stood. He ought to have remembered that Infinite Knowledge can never wonder. All wonder is the effect of novelty upon ignorance.
Of his other poems it is sufficient to say that they deserve perusal, though they are not always exactly polished, and the rhymes are sometimes very ill forted, and though his faults seem rather the omissions of idleness than the negligences of enthusiasm.
OF THOMAS OTWAY, one of the first names in the English drama, little is known; nor is there any part of that little which his biographer can take pleasure in relating.
He was born at Trottin in Sussex, March 3, 1651, the son of Mr. Humphry Otway, rector of Woolbeding. From Winchester-school, where he was educated, he was entered in 1669, a commoner of Christ-church; but left the university without a degree, whether for want of money, or from impatience of academical reftraint, or mere eagerness to mingle with the world, is not known.
It seems likely that he was in hope of being busy and conspicuous; for he went to London, and commenced player; but found himself unable to gain any reputation on the stage.
This kind of inability he shared with Shakespeare and Jonson, as he shared likewise some of their excellencies. It seems reasonable to expect that a great dramatic poet should without difficulty become a great actor ; that he who can feel, could express; that he who can excite passion, should exhibit with great readiness its external modes : but since expe
rience has fully proved that of those powers, whatever be their affinity, one may be posfessed in a great degree by him who has very little of the other; it must be allowed that they depend upon different faculties, or on different use of the same faculty; that the actor must have a pliancy, of mien, a flexibility of countenance, and a variety of tones, which the poet may be easily supposed to want; or that the attention of the poet and the player have been differently employed; the one has been considering thought, and the other action; one has watched the heart, and the other contemplated the face.
Though he could not gain much notice as a player, he felt in himself such powers as might qualify him for a dramatick author; and in 1675, his twenty-fifth year, produced Alcibiades, a tragedy ; whether from the Alcibiade of Palaprat, I have not means to enquire. Langbain, the great detector of plagiarism, is silent.
In 1677 he published Titus and Berenice, translated from Rapin, with the Cheats of Scapin from Moliere ; and in 1678 Friendship in Fashion, a comedy, which, whatever might be its first reception, was, upon its revival at Druc ry-lane in 1749, hissed off the stage for immorality and obscenity.
Want of morals, or of decency, did not in those days exclude any man from the company of the wealthy and the gay, if he brought with him any powers of entertainment; and Otway is said to have been at this time a favourite companion of the diffolute wits. But, as he who defires no virtue in his companion has no virtue in himself, those whom Otway fre
quented had no purpose of doing more for him than to pay his reckoning. They desired only to drink and laugh; their fondness was without benevolence, and their familiarity without friendship. Men of wit, says one of Otway's biographers, received at that time no favour from the great but to share their riots; from which they were dismissed again to their own narrow circumstances. Thus they languished in poverty without the support of eminence.
Some exception, however, must be made. The earl of Plymouth, one of king Charles's natural fons, procured for him a cornet's commission in some troops then sent into Flanders. But Otway did not prosper in his military character ; for he soon left his commission behind him, whatever was the reason, and came back to London in extreme indigence; which Rochester mentions with merciless insolence in the Session of the Poets: Tom Otway came next, Tom Shadwell's dear
And swears for heroicks he writes best of
any; Don Carlos his pockets so amply had fill’d, That his mange was quite cured, and his lice
quite cured, and
were all killa"
But Apollo had seen his face on the stage, 1 And prudently did not think fit to engage i The scum of a play-house, for the prop of
an age. Don Carlos, from which he is represented as having received so much benefit, was played in 1675. It appears, by the Lampoon, to have had great success, and is said to have been played thirty nights together. This however