Excerpt from The Works of John Dryden, Vol. 8: Illustrated With Notes, Historical, Critical, and Explanatory, and a Life of the Author Plautus, the venerable father of Roman comedy, who flourished during the second Punic war, Left us a play on the subject of Amphitryon, which has had the hour to be deemed worthy of imitation by Moliere and Dryden. It cant be expected, that the plain, blunt, and inartificial stile of so rude an age should bear any comparison with that of authors who enjoyed the highest advantages of the polished times, to which they were an ornament. But the merit of having devised and embodied most of the comic distresses, which have excited laughter throughout so many ages, is to be attributed to the ancient bard, upon whose original conception of the plot his successors have made few and inconsiderable improvements. It is true, that, instead of a formal Prologus, who stepped forth, in the character of Mercury, and gravely detailed to the audience the plot of the play, Moliere and Dryden have introduced it in the modern more artificial method, by the dialogue of the actors in the first scene. It is true, also, that with great contempt of one of the unities, afterwards deemed so indispensible by the ancients, Plautus introduces the birth of Hercules into a play, founded upon the intrigue which occasioned that event. Yet with all these disadvantages, and that of the rude flatness of his dialogue, - resting frequently, for wit, upon the most miserable puns, - the comic device of the two Sosias; the errors into which the malice of Mercury plunges his unlucky original; the quarrel of Alcmena with her real husband, and her reconciliation with Jupiter in his stead; the final confronting of the two Amphitryos; and the astonishment of the unfortunate general, at finding every proof of his identity exhibited by his rival, - are all, however rudely sketched, the inventions of the Roman poet. In one respect it would seem, that the jeu de theatre, necessary to render the piece probable upon the stage, was better managed in the time of Plautus than in that of Dryden and Moliere. About the Publisher Forgotten Books publishes hundreds of thousands of rare and classic books. Find more at www.forgottenbooks.com This book is a reproduction of an important historical work. Forgotten Books uses state-of-the-art techlogy to digitally reconstruct the work, preserving the original format whilst repairing imperfections present in the aged copy. In rare cases, an imperfection in the original, such as a blemish or missing page, may be replicated in our edition. We do, however, repair the vast majority of imperfections successfully; any imperfections that remain are intentionally left to preserve the state of such historical works.