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This is the only dramatic piece among all the writings of this excellent author. It is founded on the celebrated story of the Sultan Mahomet, who being reproved by his Grandees for giving too indulgent a loosa to his passion for a beautiful Greek named Irene, who was his favourite mistress, to the neglect of his state affairs, and the prejudice of his empire, took off her head with his own hand in their presence, as an atonement for his fault. Dr. Johnson, however, has taken some trifling liberties with the history--Irone being here made to be strangled by order of the emperor, instead of dying by his own hand. The unities of time, place, and action, are most rigidly kept up, the whole coming within the time of performance, and the scene which is a garden of the Seraglio, remaining unmoved through the whole play. The language of it is, like all the rest of Dr. Johnson's writings, nervous, sentimental, and poetical. Yet, notwithstanding these perfections, though assisted by the united powers of Mr. Garrick, Mr. Barry, Mrs. Pritchard, and Mrs. Cibber, all together in one play, it did not meet with the success it merited, and might therefore justly have expected.
Y E glitt'ring train ! awhom lace and velvet bless,
If truths like these with pleasing language join;
Be this at least his praise; be this bis pride;
Should welcome sleep relieve the weary wit,
beads, Unmov'd though witlings sneer and rivals rail; Studious to please, yet not asham’d to fail. He scorns the meek address, the suppliant strain, With merit needless, and without it vain. In reason, nature, truth be dares to trust; Ye fops be silent! and ye wits be just !