• One of the speakers in the Essay of Dramatic Poesy (1688)by John Dryden. Lisideius and his companions Eugenius (representingCharles Sackville), Crites (Sir Robert Howard), and Neander (Drydenhimself) go boating on the Thames and discuss the art of playwriting.Lisideius was modelled upon the playwright Sir Charles Sedley(1639 - 1701), who was well known for his popular imitations ofMolière and other French authors.

    Sedley was once a favourite of James II but became deeplyaffronted when the king took his daughter, Catherine, as his mistress,granting her the title of Countess of Dorchester. James was considered unlucky in his mistresses, who were all notoriously unattractive, promptingwags to suggest that they were chosen for him by his priests.

    Sedley longed for revenge; as a Member of Parliament, hisopportunity finally came in 1688 when, following James's flight abroad,he voted in favour of the succession to the throne of William andJames's daughter Mary. As he explained: "Since his majesty hasmade my daughter a countess, it is fit I should do all I can to makehis daughter a queen."

    In his youth the playwright himself was noted for his profligateways. According to Pepys, he was brought before the courts in 1663for having displayed himself naked (to a gathering crowd) upon a balcony"acting all the postures of lust and buggery that could be imagined,and abusing of scripture...And that being done, he took a glassof wine and washed his prick in it and then drank it off; and thentook another and drank the King's health..."