The Lives and Characters of the English Dramatick Poets/John Crown
A Gentleman yet living, whose Father having ventured most of his Estate (which was considerable) in a Foreign Plantation, that was afterwards taken by the French, and all King Charles's Reign neglected, he took, by the Encouragement of the late famous Lord Rochester, to Dramatick Writing, and has perform'd very well both in Tragedy and Comedy; tho', with Mr. Langbain, I look on Comedy to be his Talent; he has given us a Proof of his Ability in these following Plays:
Ambitious Statesman, or The Loyal Favourite, a Tragedy, 4to. 1679. Acted at the Theatre Royal, and Dedicated to her Grace the Dutchess of Albermarle. This Play met not with the Applause the Author and his Friends expected. For the Plot, See De Serres, Mazeray, and other French Chronicles.
Andromache, a Tragedy 4to. 1657. Acted at the Duke's Theatre in Dorset-Garden. This Play was translated from the French of Monsieur Racine, by another Hand, into Prose, and turn'd into English Verse by Mr. Crown, as he owns, and tho' the Original is well esteem'd, yet this had not its expected Success on our English Stage. It seems founded on Virgil, Lib. 3. Ver. 292. and in some things the Author follows the Andromache of Euripides.
Calligula, Emperor of Rome, a Tragedy, London, Printed 4to. 1698. Acted at the Theatre Royal, by his Majesties Servants. For the Plot consult Suetonius in his Life: for the Poet has very nicely follow'd his Character given us by that Author.
Calisto, or, The Chast Nimph, a Masque, 4to. 1675. This was writ by the Command of her late Majesty, and often times represented at Court, by Persons of great Quality, with Songs between the Acts. The Foundation from Ovid Metam. Lib. 2. Tab. 5, 6.
Charles the Eighth of France, or The Invasion of Naples by the French; an Hist. Tragedy 4to. 1680. writ in Heroick Verse; Acted at the Duke's Theatre in Salisbury-Court. Plot taken from Guicciardine's Hist. Philip de Comines's Memoires: Andre de la Vigne, and other French Chronicles in the Reign of Charles VIII.
City Politicks, a Comedy, 4to. 1683. Acted at the Theatre Royal in Drury-Lane, with good Applause. This Play the Whiggish Party in those times took to be a severe Satyr on them.
Country Wit, a Comedy, 4to. 1675. This Play, tho' but one Degree above Farce, was Acted at the Duke's Theatre in Dorset-Garden, and approv'd of by his then Majesty, King Charles II. Part of the Plot and Language is taken from that Comedy of Molliere's, called Le Sicilien, ou L'Amour Peintre.
Destruction of Jerusalem by Titus Vespasian, in Two Parts, T. 4to. 1677. Both these Tragedies are writ in Heroick Verse, and when first appeared on the Stage, were Acted at the Theatre Royal, with great Applause. For the Plot see Josephus Hist. Lib. 6, & 7. Tacitus Hist. Lib. 5. Suetonius, Eusebius, &c.
English Fryar, or The Town Sparks, a Comedy, 4to. 1699. This Play was Acted by their Majesties Servants; but met not with that Success the Author expected. See his Preface thereto.
Henry the Sixth, the First Part, with the Death of the Duke of Gloucester, a Tragedy, 4to. 1681. This Play was Dedicated to Sir Charles Sidley, and Acted at the Duke's Theatre with good Applause at first, but at length, the Romish Faction opposing it, by their Interest at Court, got it supprest. See the Second Part of Shakespear's Henry VI. from whence part of this is borrowed.
Henry the Sixth, the Second Part, or The Miseries of Civil War, a Tragedy, 4to. 1681. Acted also at the Duke's Theatre, with good Applause. Part of it is likewise borrowed from Shakespear. For the Plot see the English Chronicles writ in those times, by Grafton, Hollingshed, Stow, Speed, &c.
Juliana, or The Princes of Poland, a Tragi-Comedy, 4to. 1671. This Play was Acted at the Duke's Theatre, and Dedicated to the Earl of Orrery, being the first of this Author's Production.
The Married Beau, or The Curious Impertinent, a Comedy, 4to. 1694. Acted at the Theatre Royal, by their Majesties Servants; and Dedicated to the Lord Marquis of Normanby, Earl of Mulgrave, &c. To this Play the Author has also prefixt a Preface in Vindication of himself from the Aspersions cast on him by some of his Enemies, as to his Morals and Loyalty, which I think he sufficiently clears, particularly in Mr. Lovely's, yielding to Polidos, and I think Mr. Crown in the Right, when he tells us, 'tis hard to find which offends the Ladies, the Sin, or the Confession; the latter Example perhaps they like worst. This is accounted a good Play, and has been often Acted with general Approbation. The Story is taken out of the Comical History of Don Quixot.
Regulus, a Tragedy, 4to. 1694. Acted at the Theatre Royal, by their Majesty's Servants; it has no Dedication, and met with no very good Success, though the Design be Noble; the Example of Regulus being the most celebrated for Honour and Constancy of any of Antiquity: nor is it confin'd to the Roman Historians; Horace has writ an Ode upon it. You may read the History in Livy, Lucius Florus, &c.
Sir Courtley Nice, or It cannot be, a Comedy, 4to. 1685. Acted by his Majesty's Servants, and Dedicated to his Grace the Duke of Ormond. The Plot and Part of the Play from a Spanish Play, No Pued-eser; another Play called, Tarugo's Wiles, first Acted 1668. hath the same Plot, and much resembles this in many Parts thereof. The Song of stop Thief is taken out of Flecknoe's Demoisell a la Mode, who likewise had it from the French of Molliere. This Play was often Acted with good Success.
Thyestes, a Tragedy, 4to. 1681. Acted at the Theatre Royal by their Majesty's Servants. Plot from Poetical History. There are Two other Plays on the same Subject, one in Spanish, the other in French, which are also founded on Seneca's Thiestes.