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THE LADY'S TRIAL.

The Lady's Trial was licensed by the Master of the Revels, and performed at the Cockpit, May 3d, 1638. It was printed in the following year. The old title is “ The Ladies Trial). Acted by both their Majesties servants, at the private house in Drury Lane. Fide Honor. London, Printed by E. G. for Henry Shephard, and are to be sold at his shop in Chancery-Lane, at the signe of the Bible, between Sarjants Inne and Fleet-Street, near the King's-head Taverne, 1639."

TO

MY DESERVINGLY HONOURED,

JOHN WYRLEY, ESQUIRE,

AND TO THE VIRTUOUS AND RIGHT WORTHY GENTLEWOMAN,

MRS. MARY WYRLEY,

HIS WIFE,

THIS SERVICE.

The inequality of retribution turns to a pity, when there is not ability sufficient for acknowledgment. Your equal respects may yet admit the readiness of endeavour, though the very hazard in it betray my defect. I have enjoyed freely acquaintance with the sweetness of your dispositions, and can justly account, from the nobleness of them, an evident distinction betwixt friendship and friends. The latter (according to the practice of compliment) are usually met with, and often without search: the other, many have searched for, I have found. For which, though I partake a benefit of the fortune, yet to you, most equal pair, must remain the honour of that bounty. In presenting this issue of some less serious hours to your tuition, I appeal from the severity of censure to the mercy of your judgments; and shall rate it at a higher value than when it was mine own, if you only allow it the favour of adoption. Thus, as your happiness in the fruition of each other's love proceeds to a constancy; so the truth of mine shall appear less unshaken, as you shall please to continue in your good opinions

John FORD.

PROLOGUE.

LANGUAGE and matter, with a fit of mirth,
That sharply savours more of air than earth,
Like midwives, bring a play to timely birth.
But where's now such a one, in which these three,
Are handsomely contriv'd? or, if they be,
Are understood by all who hear to see?

Wit, wit's the word in fashion, that alone
Cries up the poet, which, though neatly shown,
Is rather censured, oftentimes, than known.

He who will venture on a jest, that can
Rail on another's pain, or idly scan
Affairs of state, oh! he's the only man!

A goodly approbation, which must bring
Fame with contempt, by such a deadly sting!
The Muses chatter, who were wont to sing.

Your favours in what we present to-day;
Our fearless author boldly bids me say,
He tenders you no satire, but a play;

In which, if so he have not hit all right,
For wit, words, mirth, and matter as he might,
He wishes yet he had, for your delight.

MASTER BIRD.'

See the Dedication to the Sun's Darling.

DRAMATIS PERSONÆ.

AURIA, a noble Genoese.
ADURNI, a young lord.
AURELIO, friend to Auria.
MALFATO, a discontented lover.
TRELCATIO,
MARTINO,

citizens of Genoa.
PIERO,
FUTELLI,

dependents on ADURNI. Guzman, a braggadoccio Spaniard. Fulgoso, an upstart gallant. BENATZI, husband to LEVIDOLCHE.

SPINELLA, wife to AURIA.
CASTANNA, her sister.
AMORETTA, a fantastic maid.
LEVIDOLCHE, a wanton.

THE SCENE-Genoa.

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