The Usurper, a tragedy as it was acted at the Threatre Royal by His Majesties servants
Howard, Edward, fl. 1669.
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SInce the Impression of Plays, is so much the Practice of the Age, that few or none have been Acted, which fail to be display'd in Print; where they seem to put on the greater formality of Authors, while perhaps thus appearing, di∣vested of the life of Action, which gave no small varnish to their figures, they suffer a more severe Correction from the Reader: Notwithstanding which disadvantage, I have Adventur'd to be Companion in the Im∣pression of this Poem. And indeed I think it some impudence to hazard the Reader's be∣ing less Gentle than Spectators; the Press being in some manner the Stages Tyring-House, Page  [unnumbered] where all Ornaments are thrown off, save native design and Language. And if this Poem, either for Gravety or weight of Argument, or deepness of Intreque (the true Soul and Genius of the Stage) has re∣ceived (when Represented there) any grate∣ful Acceptation from the Judicious, who pass few Enormities undiscerned, and there∣fore best able to take Plays in their highest Magnitudes, to them I am obliged to pre∣sent it thus published. Not insensible what disadvantage it may receive, passing in the World on naked feet of verse, with other Works that have their measures adored with Trappings of Rhime, which how'ere they have succeeded in wit or design, is still thought musick, as the Heroick Tone now goes: But whether so natural to a Play, (that should most nearly imitate, in some Cases our familiar Converse) the Judicious may easily determine. But here I would not be thought to detract from any that have been Considerably welcom'd on the Stage in Page  [unnumbered] this Garbe; since many Excellent Pens, and Honourable Persons, have thought fit to spend some Treasure of their Muses in Compositions of this kind. The other ex∣tream which deserves some Reflection; and which far more debases the Dignity of the Stage, is that of Farce or Scommatick Plays, which has so tickled some lae Au∣diences, with I know not what kind of Jollity▪ that true Comedy is fool'd out of Counte∣nance, and instead of Humor and wit, (the Stages most Legitimate issue) leaves it to the inheritance of Changlings. No less Articke seems to many, the wresting in of Dances, when unnatural and improper to the business of the Scene and Plot, as if by an unintelligable Charm of their Muses, the Actors were like Faires Conjur'd up, that the Play might vanish in a Dance. Yet least I seem too much to carp at the delights of others, (since Plays are but Diversions in what kind soever understood) I willingly wave this unnecessary Excursion; desiring Page  [unnumbered] the Reader to think it meant rather an Apology for my own: In respect it had not this kind entertainment, and not a violent Stemming against the Tide of Applause, that so favourably has brought Plays of this sort of Trimming, and Lading to an An∣chor on the Stage, where I leave them to their Spectators, as I do this here to the Readers impartial Reception,