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The court's on rising ; 'tis too late
A verdict in the jury's breast, Will be giv'n up anon at least, Till then 'tis fit we hope the best. Else if there can be any stay, Next sitting without more delay, We will expect a gentle day.
The title of the old copy runs thus : “ The Sun's Darling: A Moral Masque : As it hath been often presented by their Majesties servants, at the Cock-pit in Drury-lane, with great applause. Written by John Foard and Tho. Decker, Gent. London, printed by T. Bell, for Andrew Penneycuicke, Anno Dom. 1657. 4to." It appears from the Henslowe papers, (examined by Mr. Malone,) that a play of this name was on the acting-stock of the Rose Theatre. This might probably be the first sketch of the present Masque as furnished. by Decker, who is known to have written for that theatre; and Ford might have been called in to assist him, when the growing taste of the times rendered it necessary to recast or improve the original plot. This was no uncommon circumstance : many of the popular pieces of the old stage, such as Jeronymó, the Virgin Martyr, &c., having been re-produced, with large “adycions.” In its present state, the Sun's Darling was presented in March, 1623-4. It seems to have been a favourite with the people, an advantage which it owed, perhaps, in some degree, to its activity and bustle, its May-games, its songs, and its dances.
THE RIGHT HONOURABLE
EARL OF SOUTHAMPTON,
LORD WRIOTHESLEY, OF TITCHFIELD, &c."
MY LORD! HERODOTUS reports, that the Ægyptians, by wrapping their dead in glass, present them lively to all posterity; but your lordship will do more, by the vivifying beams of your acceptation revive the parents of this orphan poem, and make them live to eternity. While the stage flourished, the POEM lived by the breath of general applauses, and the virtual fervour of the court; but since hath languished for want of heat, and now, near shrunk up with cold, creeps, with a shivering fear, to extend itself at the flames of your benignity. My lord, though it seems rough and forlorn, it is the
'Lord Wriothesley, of Titchfield, &c.] Thomas, fourth Earl of Southampton, eminent for his rare virtues; more eminent for those of his daughter, the admirable Lady Rachael Russell. He succeeded his father Henry, third Earl, the friend and patron of Shakspeare, in 1624, and died in 1667. If more be wanting to his fame, it may be added, that he enjoyed the friendship, and merited the praise of the Earl of Clarendon.