RESTORATION DRAMA -- DRYDEN, John (1631-1700). Aureng-Zebe: A tragedy acted at the Royal Theatre. London: by T.N. for Henry Herringman, 1676. 4° (213 x 152mm). (Title and first 2 leaves of the dedicatory epistle rather soiled, title also with several repaired tears extending from inner margin, some minor spots and marks, L1 with short tear at lower margin, final leaf soiled on verso.) Early 20th-century brown straight-grained half morocco, gilt-lettered spine. FIRST EDITION. The last of Dryden's rhymed heroic plays, Aureng-Zebe was first performed on 17 November 1675 at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane. Loosely based on contemporary events which led Aureng-Zebe to take control of the empire of India from his father and brothers (in the third edition of 1690, 'The Great Mogul' was added to the title), it shows anarchic forces confronting the virtuous and rational hero who is the victim of his stepmother's lust, while his own father pursues the woman he himself loves. MacDonald notes that the dedication to John, Earl of Mulgrave, is 'one of the most personal of Dryden's addresses to his patrons.' Arber I, 236; MacDoonald 80a; Pforzheimer 319; Wing D-2245.
J. DRYDEN. Don Sebastian, King of Portugal: A tragedy acted at the Theatre Royal. London: J. Hindmarsh, 1692. 4° (220 x 165mm). (Some browning and spotting, minor stains, burn hole in E4 affecting one or two letters.) Early 20th-century boards backed in red morocco, gilt-lettered spine. Second edition. Although first peformed on 4 December 1689, this play had been written in 1683. As Dryden explains in the preface, the loss of his royal posts at the Revolution compelled him to resume work for the stage, much against his inclination ('the Town may be somewhat oblig'd to my misfortunes, for a part of their diversion '). MacDonald 89b; Wing D-2263; together with the second edition of The Assignation; or, Love in a nunnery, London: T.N. for Henry Herrignman, 1678 [MacDonald 78b; Wing D-2242]; and later editions of The Wild Gallant, London: H. Hills for H. Herrignman, 1684, and All for Love, London: J. Tonson, 1709, all 4°, in recent boards. (5)