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THE FIRST PROLOGUE.
HECYRA1 is the name of this Play; when it was represented for the first time, an unusual disaster and calamity2 interrupted it, so that it could not be witnessed throughout or estimated; so much had the populace, carried away with admiration, devoted their attention to some rope-dancing. It is now offered as though entirely a new Play; and he who wrote it did not wish to bring it forward then a second time, on purpose that he might be able again to sell it.3 Other Plays of his4 you have seen represented; I beg you now to give your attention to this.
2 And calamity: "Calamitas." This word is used in the same sense in the first line of the Eunuch. This is evidently the Prologue spoken on the second attempt to bring forward the piece. On the first occasion it probably had none. "Vitium" was a word used by the Augurs, with whom it implied an unfavorable omen, and thence came to be used for any misfortune or disaster. He seems to mean the depraved taste of the public, that preferred exhibitions of rope-dancers and pugilists to witnessing his Plays.
3 Again to sell it: See the last Note to the Second Prologue.
4 Other Plays of his: Madame Dacier informs us that Vossius was of opinion that the second representation of this Play did not take place till after that of the Adelphi. In that case, they had already seen the rest of his Plays.
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