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THE

FAIR PENITENT.

А

TRAGEDY.

BY NICHOLAS ROWE, Esq.

ADAPTED FOR

THEATRICAL REPRESENTATION,

AS PERFORMED AT THE

THEATRES-ROYAL,
DRURY-LANE AND COVENT-GARDEN.

REGULATED FROM THE PROMPT-BOOKS,

By Permission of the Managers.

“ The Lines distinguished by inverted Commas, are omitted in the Representation."

LONDON:

Printed for the Proprietors, under the Direction of

JOHN BELL, British Library, STRAND, Bookseller to His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales.

MDCCXCI.

TO HER GRACE THE

DUTCHESS OF ORMOND.

MADAM, The privilege of poetry (or it may be the vanity of the pretenders to it) has given 'em a kind of right to pretend at the same time, to the favour of those, whom their high birth and excellent qualities have placed in a very distinguishing manner above the rest of the world. If this be not a received maxim, yet I am sure I am to wish it were, that I may have at least some kind of excuse for laying this tragedy at your Grace's feet. I have too much reason to fear that it may prove but an indifferent entertainment to your Grace, since, if I have any way succeeded in it, it has been in describing those violent passions which have been always strangers to so happy a temper, and so noble and so exalted a virtue as your Grace is mistress of. Yet, for all this, I cannot but confess the vanity which I have, to hope that there may be something so moving in the misfortunes and distress of the play, as may be not altogether unworthy of your Grace's pity. This is one of the main designs of tragedy ; and to excite this generous pity in the greatest minds, may pass for some kind of success in this way of writing. I am sensible of the presumption I am guilty of by this hope, and how much it is that I pretend to in your Grace's approbation ; if it be my good fortune to meet with any little share of it, I shall always look upon it as much more to me than the general applause of the theatre, or even the praise of a good critick. Your Grace's name is the best protection this play can hope for; since the world, ill-natured as it is, agrees in an universal respect and deference for your Grace's person and character. In so censorious an age as this is, where malice furnishes out all the public conversations, where cvery body pulls and is pulled to pieces of course, and where there is hardly such a thing as being merry, but at another's expence; yet by a public and uncommon justice to the Dutchess of Ormond, her name has never been mentioned, but as it ought, though she has beauty enough to provoke detraction from the fairest of her own sex, and virtue enough to make the loose and dissolute of the other (a very formidable party) her enemies, Instead of this, they agree to say nothing of her but what she de

That her spirit is worthy of her birih; her sweetness, of the love and respect of all the world, her piety, of her religion; her service, of her royal inistress; and her beauty and truth, of her lord; that, in short, every part of her characler is just, and that

serves.

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