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READER in ORDINARY.
HE muses forbid that I should restrain
and tricking over the leaves : it is your own. I departed with my right, when I let it first abroad ; and now, so secure an interpreter I am of my chance, that neither praise nor dispraise from you can affect me. Tho' you commend the two first acts, with the people, because they are the worst; and disike the oration of Cicero, in regard you read some pieces of it at school, and understand them not yet; I shall find the way to forgive you. Be any thing you will be at your own charge. Would I had desery'd but half so well of it in translation, as that ought to deserve of you in judgment, if you have any. I know you will pretend, whosoever you are, to have that, and more. But all pretensions are not just claims. The commendation of good things may fall within a many, the approbation but, in a few; for the moft commend out of affection, self-tickling, an casiness, or imitation : but men judge only out of knowledge. That is the trying faculty. And to those works that will bear a judge, nothing is more dangerous than a foolish praise. You will say, I shall not have yours therefore, but rather the contrary, all vexation of censure. If I were not above such molestations now, I had great cause to think unworthily of my
studies, or they had so of me. But I leave you to your exercise. Begin.
TO THE READER EXTRAORDINARY. You I would understand to be the better man, though places in court go otherwise : to you I submit mylelf and work. Farewel.
BEN. JONSON* This address to the reader, taken from the 410 edition of this play, is again set in its proper place. It has too much merit, and is lo curious a pattern of soothing a reader's prejudices, that it ought, by no means to be loft or forgotten.
The principal Tragedians were, Rich. BURBADGE,
Joh. HEMINGS, ALEX. COOKE,
HEN. CONDEL, JOH. LOWIN,
JOH. UNDERWOOD, WILL. OSTLER,
Nic. Tooly, Rich, ROBINSON,
CAT I L I N E.
A CT I. SCENE I. ·
Can Sylla's ghost arise within thy walls
'Deft thou not feel me, Rome? not yet? is night So heavy on thee, and my weight lo light?] The poet opens his play with the ghost of Sylla : this is an imitation of Seneca's Thyeltes, in which the ghost of Tantalus appears, attended by the furies. Perhaps this first scene ought ra: her to be considered as a prologue. There are other instances in the antient dramatic writers, where these shadowy beings are introduced in the beginning of a play. The prologue to the Aulularia of Plautus is spoke by the god Lar and, what is exactly to our purpose, in the Hecuba of Euripides, the ghost of Polydorus is the first speaker in the tragedy. Vol. III. K