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moner of Christ-church; but left the university without a degree, whether for want of inoney, or from impatience of academical restraint, or mere eagerness to mingle with the world, is not kaow11.
It seems likely that he was in hope of being busy and confpicuous; for he went to London, and commenced player; byt found himself unable to gain any reputation on the stage.
This kind of inability he shared with Shakespeare and Jonson, as he shared likewise some of their excellencies. It feems reasonable to expect that a great dramatick
should without difficulty become a great actor; that he who can feel, could express; that he who can excite paf
fion, should exhibit with great readiness its external modes : but since experience has fully proved that of those powers, whatever be their affinity, one may be poffeffed in a great degree by him who has very little of the other; it must be allowed that they depend upon different faculties, or on different use of; the same faculty ; that the actor must have a pliancy of mien, a flexibility of countenance, and a variety of tones, 'which the poet may be easily supposed to want; or that the attention of the poct and the player have been differently cmployed';' the one has been considering thought, and the other action ; one has watched the heart, and the other cott templated the face. :
Though he could not gain much 10, tice as a player, he felt in himself such powers, as might qualify for a dramatick author; and, in 1675, his twentyfifth year, produced Alcibiades, a tra,
gedy; whether from the Alcibiade of Palaprat, I have not means to enquire. Langbain, the great detector of plagiasifm, is filent.
1.). In 1677 he published Titus and Bereeinice, translated from Rapin, with the
Cheats of Scapin from Moliere; and in * 1678 Friendsip in Fashion, a comedy,
which, whatever might be its first re; ception, was, upon its revival at Drury: 1 lane in 1749, hissed off the stage for im
morality and obscenity.
Want of morals, 'or of decency, did not in those days exclude any man from the company of the 'wealthy and the gay, if he brought with him aný powers of entertainment; 'and Orway is said to have been at this time a favourite companion of the dissolute wits. But, as he who desires no virtue in his companion has no virtue in himself, those whom Otway frequented had no purpose of doing inore for him than to pay his reckoning. They defired only to drink and laugh; their fondness was without benevolence, and their familiarity without friendship. Men of wit, says one of Otway's biographers, received at that time no favour from the great but to Thare their riots; from which they were
dismiled again to their own narrow circumstances. Thus they languished in poverty without the support of inminence.
Some exception, however, must be made. The earl of Plymouth, one of king Charles's natural fons, procured for him a cornet's commiffion in some troops then sent into Flanders. But Otway did not, prosper in his military character ; for he foon left his commission behind hin, whatever was the reason, and came back to London in extreme indigence ; which Rochester mentions with merci. less insolence in the Seffion of the Poets: Tom Orway came next, Tom Shadwell's
And swears for heroicks he writes best