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The works of John Dryden, now first collected in eighteen volumes. Volume 04   By: (1631-1700)

Book cover

First Page:

THE

WORKS

OF

JOHN DRYDEN,

NOW FIRST COLLECTED

IN EIGHTEEN VOLUMES.

ILLUSTRATED

WITH NOTES,

HISTORICAL, CRITICAL, AND EXPLANATORY,

AND

A LIFE OF THE AUTHOR,

BY

WALTER SCOTT, ESQ.

VOL. IV.

LONDON:

PRINTED FOR WILLIAM MILLER, ALBEMARLE STREET,

BY JAMES BALLANTYNE AND CO. EDINBURGH.

1808.

CONTENTS

OF

VOLUME FOURTH.

Almanzor and Almahide, or the Conquest of Granada by the Spaniards, a Tragedy, Part First Epistle Dedicatory to the Duke of York Of Heroic Plays, an Essay Part II Defence of the Epilogue; or an Essay on the Dramatic Poetry of the last Age

Marriage a la Mode, a Comedy Epistle Dedicatory to the Earl of Rochester

The Assignation, or Love in a Nunnery, a Comedy Epistle Dedicatory to Sir Charles Sedley, Bart.

ALMANZOR AND ALMAHIDE:

OR, THE

CONQUEST OF GRANADA

BY THE

SPANIARDS.

A TRAGEDY.

Major rerum mihi nascitur ordo; Majus opus moveo. VIRG. ├ćNEID.

THE CONQUEST OF GRANADA.

This play, for the two parts only constitute an entire drama betwixt them, seems to have been a favourite with Dryden, as well as with the public. In the Essay upon Heroic Plays, as well as in the dedication, the character of Almanzor is dwelt upon with that degree of complacency which an author experiences in analyzing a successful effort of his genius. Unquestionably the gross improbability of a hero, by his single arm, turning the tide of battle as he lists, did not appear so shocking in the age of Dryden, as in ours. There is no doubt, that, while personal strength and prowess were of more consequence than military skill and conduct, the feats of a single man were sometimes sufficient to determine the fate of an engagement, more especially when exerted by a knight, sheathed in complete mail, against the heartless and half armed mass, which constituted the feudal infantry. Those, who have perused Barbour's History of Robert Bruce, Geoffrey de Vinsauf's account of the wars of Richard Coeur de Lion, or even the battles detailed by Froissart and Joinville, are familiar with instances of breaches defended, and battles decided, by the prowess of a single arm. The leader of a feudal army was expected by his followers not only to point out the path to victory but to lead the way in person. It is true, that the military art had been changed in this particular long before the days of Dryden. Complete armour was generally laid aside; fire arms had superseded the use of the lance and battle axe; and, above all, the universal institution of standing armies had given discipline and military skill their natural and decisive superiority over untaught strength, and enthusiastic valour. But the memory of what had been, was still familiar to the popular mind, and preserved not only by numerous legends and traditions, but also by the cast of the fashionable works of fiction. It is, indeed, curious to remark, how many minute remnants of a system of ancient manners can be traced long after it has become totally obsolete... Continue reading book >>


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