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posed their influence for him; others more reasonably conjecture that Milton was his friend, and prevented the utmost effects of party rage from descending on the head of this son of the muses. But by whatever means his life was saved, we find him two years after a prisoner of the Tower, where he obtained some indulgence by the favour of the Lord Keeper Whitlocke; upon receiving which he wrote him a letter of thanks, which as it serves to illustrate how easily and politely he wrote in prose, we shall here insert. It is far removed either from meanness or bombast, and has as much elegance in it as any letters in our language. My Lord, "I am in suspense whether I should present my thankfulness to your lordship for my liberty of the Tower, because when I consider how much of your time belongs to the public, I conceive that to make a request to you, and to thank you afterwards for the success of it, is to give you no more than a succession of trouble; unless you are resolved to be continually patient, and courteous to afflicted men, and agree in your judgment with the late wise Cardinal, who was wont to say, If he had not spent as much time in civilities, as in business, he had undone his master. But whilst I endeavour to excuse this present thankfulness, I should rather ask your pardon, for going about to make a present to you of myself; for it may argue me to be incorrigible, that, after so many afflictions, I have yet so much ambition, as to desire to be at liberty, that I may have more opportunity to obey your lordship's commands, and shew the world how much "I am, "My Lord, "Your lordship's most "Obliged, most humble, "And obedient servant, "Wm. Davenant." Our author was so far happy as to obtain by this letter the favour of Whitlocke, who was, perhaps, a man of more humanity and gentleness of disposition, than some other of the covenanters. He at last obtained his liberty entirely, and was delivered from every thing but the narrowness of his circumstances, and to redress these, encouraged by the interest of his friends, he likewise made a bold effort. He was conscious that a play-house was entirely inconsistent with the gloominess, and severity of these times; and yet he was certain that there were people of taste enough in town, to fill one, if such a scheme could be managed; which he conducted with great address, and at last brought to bear, as he had the countenance of
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