of letters who, without much dramatic sympathy or aptitude, with no knowledge of stage requirements, and little prospect of getting their pieces performed, felt called upon honoris causâ
to write dramas, which one of the most distinguished and successful among them was candid enough to entitle not plays but treatises. It is worth while to have a clear idea of the Octavia from which in right line this illustrious and forgotten progeny proceeded.
The date of the action is supposed to be 62 A.D. when Nero, who had for some time wished to wed his mistress, Poppaea Sabina, and had murdered his mother, partly on account of her opposition, divorced his virtuous wife, his step-sister Octavia, and exiled her to Pandataria, where shortly afterwards he had her put to death. The fact that Seneca is one of the persons in the piece, and that there are anticipatory references to Nero's death, which followed Seneca's compulsory suicide only after an interval of three years, sufficiently dispose