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heart when I speak of your Grace; and I am now writ. ing to the only person to whom such a panegyric would be displeasing; therefore I shall beg leave to conclude with the highest on myself, by affirming that it is my greatest ambition to be thought,

My Lord,
your Grace's most obliged,

and most obedient humble servant,

HENRY FIELDING.

THE MISER.

ORIGINALLY PLAUTUS, secondarily MOLIERE, thirdly SHADWELL, and fourthly our incomparable Henry FIELDING, have dramatised this subject.

The present Play is that of the latter of these gentlemen---It is a free spirited translation, and keeps possession of the Stage.

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To the mere translator of foreign productions but slender praise can be afforded ---but when translation is performed by original genius, it acquires a native character, differing much from the unnatural favour of forced exotics. Who would not, for instance, highly value a copy from MichAEL ANGELO, by REYNOLDS?

We know not whether the passion is not driven further than observation upon life will warrant; but something must be allowed for the production of strong comic effect.

PROLOGUE.

Written by a FRIEND.

Too long the slighted Comic Muse has mourn'd,
Her face quite alter'd and her art o’erturn'd;
That force of nature now no more she sees
With which so well her Jonson knew to please :
No characters from nature now we trace,
All serve to empty books of common-place:
Our modern bards who to assemblies stray,
Frequent the Park, the visit, or the play,
Regard not what fools do, but what wits say.
Just they retail each quibble to the Town,
That surely must admire what is its own.
Thus, without characters from nature got,
Without a moral, or without a plot,
A dull collection of insipid jokes,
Some stole from conversation, some from books,
Provided lords and ladies give 'em vent,
We call High Comedy, and seem content.
But, to regale with other sort of fare,
To-night the author treats you with Moliere ;
Moliere! who Nature's inmost secrets knew,
Whose justest pen like Kneller's pencil drew;
In whose strong scenes all characters are shewn,
Not by low jests, but actions of their own.

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Happy our English bard if your applause
Grant he'as not injur'd the French author's cause.
From that alone arises all his fear:
He must be safe if he has savid Moliere.

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