Born 1657. He commenced life as an actor, and failed in Mrs. Behn's 'Jealous Bridegroom'. He then went to Flanders, and on his return he produced 'Alcibiades' and 'Don Carlos,' which last was a great success. His play of 'The Orphan' is remarkable as having been the first tragedy of domestic life in the English language, — the first wherein ordinary people are substituted for the usual tragical machinery of kings and queens. His 'Venice Preserved' is still sometimes acted, and it is of this play that Dryden speaks in the words quoted.
'I will not defend everything in his "Venice Preserved," but I must bear this testimony to his memory, that the passions are truly touched in it, though perhaps there is somewhat to be desired both in the grounds of them, and in the height and elegance of expression; but Nature is there, which is the greatest beauty.' — Parallel of Poetry and Painting, 1695.
There is no authority for the statement that Dryden thought with contempt of Otway. Note also how Johnson again quotes from memory, inaccurately (chief for greatest), rather than seek out the passage.
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