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WITH NOTES CRITICAL AND EXPLANATORY,

AND A BIOGRAPHICAL MEMOIR,

By W. GIFFORD, Esq.

The Muses' fairest light in no dark time;
The wonder of a learned age; the line
Which none can pass; the most proportion'd wit,
To nature, the best judge of what was fit ;
The deepest, plainest, highest, clearest pen;
The voice most echo'd by consenting men ;
THE SOUL WHICH ANSWER'D BEST TO ALL WELL SAID
BY OTHERS, AND WHICH MOST REQUITAL MADE.

CLEVELAND.

VOLUME THE FOURTH.

CONTAINING

THE ALCHEMIST.
CATILINE.
BARTHOLOMEW FAIR.

LONDON:

PRINTED FOR G. AND W. NICOL; F. C. AND J. RIVINGTON; CADELL

AND DAVIES ; LONGMAN AND CO.; LACKINGTON AND Co.;
R. H. EVANS ; J. MURRAY; J. MAWMAN; J. CUTHELL; J. BLACK;
BALDWIN AND CO.; RODWELL AND MARTIN; AND R. SAUNDERS;

By W. Bulmer and Co. Cleveland-row, St. James's.

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802.3

J Bliga

LIBRARY OF THE FLAND STR

WIVERSITY. a 60079

THE

AL CHEMIST.

VOL. IY.

B

The ALCHEMIST.] This inimitable comedy was first acted in 1610; it was printed in quarto two years afterwards, with this motto:

Neque, me ut miretur turba, laboro, Contentus paucis laboribus. In 1616 the author inserted it in the folio edition of his works, without any variations of moment; and, as Albumazar had appeared in the interval, took the opportunity of thus asserting his own originality :

petere inde coronam, Unde Prius nulli velarint tempora Musæ. This motto should have convinced Dryden of his error, in charging Jonson with plagiarism ; but truth was seldom Dryden's care: he wanted to raise the character of Albumazar, and was little solicitous of the means; had he been employed to write a prologue for the Alchemist he would have been equally ready to reverse the decision. His lines are well known:

" Jonson chose this,
66 As the best model of his master-piece:
“ Subtle was got by our Albumazer,
“ That Alchemist by this Astrologer !

“ Here he was fashioned,” &c. To say that all this is unfounded in fact, is nothing; it is an absurdity of the grossest kind. There is not a shadow of resemblance between the stories of the two plays; and their style and manner form an absolute contrast. Albumazar is a dull, dry, pedantic piece, perfectly uninteresting, and abhorrent from our language, customs, and prejudicesThat it should ever have passed for an original composition, is surprizing ; even if we had not been assured by Steevens and others, that it was taken from the 66 Astrologo of Battista Porta,it would still be impossible for any one, who had the slightest knowledge of the Italian drama, to mistake its real source. Langbaine seems to have known nothing of the date of Albumazar; and Oldys contents himself with remarking, that “ if it was first acted at Cambridge in 1614, then the resemblance of this astrologer's cheats were drawn from those of Jonson's Alchymist, printed four years before.” MS. notes to Langbaine. It is strange that Oldys should express any doubts on this subject, when the time of Albumazar's appearance is expressly fixed in the title-page of the first quarto, to the 9th of March 1614. His conclusions are not more reasonable than his doubts : Albu. *Mazar is no more " drawn” from the Alchemist, than from the

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