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The powers, from whom man does derive the pedi

gree Of his creation, with a royal bounty Give him Health, Youth, Delight, for free at

tendants To rectify his carriage: to be thankful Again to them, man should cashier his riots, His bosom's whorish sweetheart, idle Humour, His Reason's dangerous seducer, Folly. Then shall, Like four straight pillars, the four Elements Support the goodly structure of mortality; Then shall the four Complexions, like four

heads Of a clear river, streaming in his body, Nourish and comfort every vein and sinew; No sickness of contagion, no grim death Or deprivation of Health's real blessings, Shall then affright the creature built by Heaven, Reserv'd to immortality. Henceforth In peace go to our altars, and no more Question the power of supernal greatness, But give us leave to govern as we please Nature and her dominion, who from us And from our gracious influence, hath both

being And preservation ; no replies, but reverence. Man háth a double guard, if time can win him; Heaven's power above him, his own peace within him.


I know not on what authority Longbaine speaks, but he expressly. attributes the greater part of this Moral Masque to Ford. As far as concerns the last two Acts, I agree with him; and a long and clear examination of this poet's manner enables me to speak with some degree of confidence. But I trace Decker perpetually in the other three Acts, and through the whole of the comic part. I think well of this poet, and should pause before I admitted the inferiority of his genius (as far, at least, as imagination is concerned) to that of Ford: but his rough vigour, and his irregular metre generally enable us to mark the line between him and his more harmonious coadjutor.




Tais Tragi-Comedy, which appears to have been brought on the stage in 1623, was not published till 1658, when it appeared in quarto, with the following title: “The Witch of Edmonton. A known True Story. Composed into a Tragi-Comedy by divers well esteemed poets, William Rowley, Thomas Dekker, John Ford, &c. Acted by the Prince's Servants often, at the Cock-pit in Drury-Lane, once at Court, with singular applause. Never printed till now. London, printed by J. Cottrel, for Edward Blackmore, at the Angel in Paul's Church-yard." There is a rude wooden cut on the title-page, with a portrait of the witch (Mother Sawyer), her familiar, a black dog, and Cuddy Banks, the clown of the piece, in the water. That no doubts might arise of the likenesses, the portraits are respectively authenticated by their proper names.


THE town of Edmonton hath lent the stage
A Devil' and a Witch, both in an age.
To make comparisons it were uncivil,
Between so even a pair, a Witch and Devil :
But as the year doth with his plenty bring,
As well a latter as a former spring,
So hath this Witch enjoy'd the first; and reason
Presumes she may partake the other season:
In acts deserving name, the proverb says,
“ Once good and ever;" why not so in plays ?
Why not in this? since, gentlemen, we flatter
No expectation; here is mirth and matter.


An allusion to the old play of The Merry Devil of Edmonton, written about twenty years before the date of the present drama. Jonson calls it “the dear delight” of the theatre, and it was unquestionably a very popular piece. It was reprinted in Dodsley's Collection of Old Plays, vol. v.

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