A Choice is to be had in Reading of Books.
As the Lord DE LA NOUE in the sixth Discourse of his Politic and Military Discourses, censureth the books of AMADIS de Gaul; which, he saith, are no less hurtful to youth than the works of MACHIAVELLI to age: so these books are accordingly to be censured of, whose names follow.
BEVIS of Hampton.
GUY of Warwick.
ARTHUR of the Round Table.
HUON of Bordeaux.
OLIVER of Castile.
The Four Sons of AYMON.
The Honour of Chivalry.
PRIMALEON of Greece.
PALERMIN DE OLIVA.
The Seven Champions [of Christendom].
The Mirror of Knighthood.
The Stories of PALLADIN and PALMENDOS.
The Black Knight.
The Maiden Knight.
The History of CAELESTINA.
The Castle of Fame.
GALLIAN of France.
ORNATUS and ARTESIA.
As that ship is endangered where ail lean to one side; but is in safety, one leaning one way and another another way: so the dissensions of Poets among themselves, doth make them, that they less infect their readers. And for this purpose, our Satirists [JOSEPH] HALL [afterwards Bishop of NORWICH], [JOHN MARSTON] the Author of PYGMALION’s Image and Certain Satires, [JOHN] RANKINS, and such others, are very profitable.
Dedicatory Epistle to The Rival Ladies.
[Printed in 1664.]
To THE RIGHT HONOURABLE ROGER, EARL OF ORRERY.
This worthless present was designed you, long before it was a Play; when it was only a confused mass of thoughts tumbling over one another in the dark: when the Fancy was yet in its first work, moving the sleeping Images of Things towards the light, there to be distinguished; and then, either chosen or rejected by the Judgement. It was yours, my Lord! before I could call it mine.
And I confess, in that first tumult of my thoughts, there appeared a disorderly kind of beauty in some of them; which gave me hope, something worthy of my Lord of ORRERY might be drawn from them: but I was then, in that eagerness of Imagination, which, by over pleasing Fanciful Men, flatters them into the danger of writing; so that, when I had moulded it to that shape it now bears, I looked with such disgust upon it, that the censures of our severest critics are charitable to what I thought, and still think of it myself.
’Tis so far from me, to believe this perfect; that I am apt to conclude our best plays are scarcely so. For the Stage being the Representation of the World and the actions in it; how can it be imagined that the Picture of Human Life can be more exact than Life itself is?