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THE SUN'S DARLING.
The Masque is the joint production of two authors, certainly not of equal merit, but, in their day, of nearly equal populari. ty. It would be in vain to assign the different scenes to the two different poets who produced them; and tho usual practice of editors, in these joint performances, of assigning the best parts to the author whose works they are editing, and the worst to his colleague, is too invidious not to deserve reprehension. Decker, besides some very valuable pamphlets, wrote a consi. derable number of plays, and in several others assisted Massinger, Rowley, Middleton, Webster, &c. The comedies of Old Fortunatus, The Honest Whore, and Satiromastrix, or the Un. trussing of the Humorous Poet, an answer to an attack from Ben Jonson, have very considerable merit. Oldys, in his MS. notes on Langbaine, says that this veteran play-wright was “ full three-score years old in 1638,” and that “ he was in King's Bench prison between 1613 and 1616, and how much longer I know not."
The following is the full title of the present Drama : “ The Sun's Darling : A Moral Masque: As it hath been often pre. sented by their Majesties servants, at the Cock-pit in DruryLane, with great applause. Written by John Foard and Tho. Decker, Gent. [Then a woud-cut illustrative of the subject.] London, printed by T. Bell, for Andrew Penneycuicke, Anno Dom. 1657. 4to.” This masque was first presented in March 1623-4, a fact ascertained by Mr Malone, which fixes the rank it holds in the chronological order of our author's productions. A metrical commendation by J. Tatham is prefixed, which will be found in the first volume.