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me do my endeavour to show some unnatural ap: where she teaches all sorts of birds of the loquacious pearances which are in vogue among the polite and kind, as parrots, starlings, magpies, and others, to well-bred. I am to represent, in the character of a imitate human voices in greater perfection than ever fine lady dancing, all the distortions which are fre- was yet practised. They are not only instructed to quently taken for graces in mien and gesture. This, pronounce words distinctly, and in a proper tone and Sir, is a specimen of the methods we shall take to accent, but to speak the language with great purity expose the monsters which come within the notice of and volubility of tongue, together with all the fashiona regular theatre; and we desire nothing more gross able phrases and compliments now in use either at may be admitted by you Spectators for the future. tea-tables, or on visiting-days. Those that have good We have cashiered three companies of theatrical voices may be taught to sing the newest opera-airs, guards, and design our kings shall for the future and, if required, to speak either Italian or French, make love and sit in council without an army; and paying something extraordinary above the common wait only your direction, whether you will have them rates. They whose friends are not able to pay the reinforce King Porus, or join the troops of Macedon. full prices, may be taken as half-boarders. She Mr. Pinkethman resolves to consult his pantheon of teaches such as are designed for the diversion of the heathen gods in opposition to the oracle of Delphos, public, and to act in enchanted woods on the theaand doubts not but he shall turn the fortune of tres, by the great. As she had often observed with Porus, when he personates him. I am desired by much concern how indecent an education is usually the company to inform you, that they submit to your given these innocent creatures, which in some mea. censures; and shall have you in greater veneration sure is owing to their being placed in rooms next than Hercules was of old, if you can drive monsters the street, where, to the great offence of chaste and from the theatre; and think your merit will be as tendier ears, they learn ribaldry, obscene songs, and much greater than his, as to convince is more than immodest expressions from passengers and idle to conquer.
people, as also to cry fish and card-matches, with “I am, Sir, your most obedient servant, T. D.” other useless parts of learning to birds who have rich
friends, she bas titted up proper and neat apartments “ When I acquaint you with the great and unex
for them in the back part of her said house : where pected vicissitudes of my fortune, I doubt not but I she suffers none to approach them but herself, and a shall obtain your pity and favour. I have for many serrant-maid who is deaf and dumb, and whom she years past been Thunderer to the playhouse; and provided on purpose to prepare their food, and have not only made as much noise out of the clouds cleanse their cages; having found by long expeas any predecessor of mine in the theatre that ever rience, how hard a thing it is for those to keep sibore that character, but also have descended and lence who have the use of speech, and the dangers spoke on the stage as the bold Thunderer in The Re- her scholars are exposed to, by the strong impreshearsal. When they got me down thus low, they sions that are made by harsh sounds and vulgar diathought fit to degrade me farther, and make me a lects. In short, if they are birds of any parts or ghost. I was contented with this for these two last capacity, she will undertake to render them so acwinters ; but they carry their tyranny still farther, complished in the compass of a twelvemonth, that and not satisfied that I am banished from above they shall be fit conversation for such ladies as love ground, they have given me to understand that I am to choose their friends and companions out of this wholly to depart their dominions, and taken from me species.-R. even my subterraneous employment. Now, Sir, what I desire of you is, that if your undertaker thinks fit to use fire-arms (as other authors have done) in
No. 37.1 THURSDAY, APRIL 12, 1711. the time of Alexander, I may be a cannon against
Non illa colo calathisve Minerva Porus, or else provide for me in the burning of Persepolis, or what other method you shall think fit.
Unbred to spinning, in the loom unskill'd. -DRYDEN. “SALMONEUS OF COVENT-GARDEN.” Some months ago, my friend Sir Roger, being in The petition of all the Devils of the playhouse in certain lady whom I shall here call by the name of
the country, enclosed a letter to me, directed to a behalf of themselves and families, setting forth their Leonora-andas it contained matters of consequence, expulsion from thence, with certificates of their good desired me to deliver it to her with my own hand. life and conversation, and praying relief. The merit of this petition 'referred to Mr. Chr. in the morning, and was desired by her woman to
Accordingly I waited upon her ladyship pretty early Rich, who made them devils. The petition of the Grave-digger in Hamlet, to com- in readiness to receive me. The very sound of a
walk into her lady's library, till such time as she was mand the pioneers in the Expedition of Alexander. lady's library gave me a great curiosity to see it;
and as it was some time before the lady came to me, tion to Pinkethman the Great.
of her books, which were ranged together in a very Granted.
beautiful order. At the end of the folios (which
were finely bound and gilt) were great jars of china, A widow gentlewoman, well born both by father placed one above another in a very noble piece of and mother's side, being the daughter of Thomas architecture. The quartos were separated froin the Prater, once an eminent practitioner in the law, and octavos by a pile of smaller vessels, which rose in a of Lætitia Tattle, a family well known in all parts delightful pyramid. The octavos were bounded by of this kingdom, having been reduced by misfor-tea-dishes of all shapes, colours, and sizes, which tunes to wait on several great persons, and for some were so disposed on a wooden frame, that they looked time to be a teacher at a boarding school of young like one continued pillar indented with the finest ladies, giveth notice to the public, that she hath strukes of sculpture, and stained with the greatest lately taken a house near Bloomsbury-square, com- variety of dyes. That part of the library which was modiously situated next the fields, in a good air; I designed for the reception of plays and pamphlets,
Famineas assueta manus
VIRG. Æn. vii. 805.
and other loose papers, was enclosed in a kind of for two or three years, and being unfortunate in her square, consisting of one of the prettiest grotesque first marriage, has taken a resolution never to venworks that I ever saw, and made up of scaramouches, ture upou a second. She has no children to take Lons, monkeys, mandarines, trees, shells, and a care of, and leaves the management of her estate to thousand other odd figures in china-ware. In the my good friend Sir Roger. But as the mind natumidst of the room was a little japan table, with a rally sinks into a kind of lethargy, and falls asleep, quire of gilt paper upon it, and on the paper a silver that is not agitated by some favourite pleasures and spui-box made in the shape of a little book. I found pursuits, Leonora has turned all the passion of her there were several other counterfeit books upon the sex into a love of books and retirement. She con. upper shelves, which were carved in wood, and verses chiefly with men (as she has often said herserved only to fill up the numbers like fagots in the self), but it is only in their writings, and admits of muster of a regiment. I was wonderfully pleased very few male visitants, except my friend Sir Roger, with such a mixed kind of furniture, as seemed very whom she hears with great pleasure, and without suitable both to the lady and the scholar, and did not scandal. As her reading has lain very much among kaow at first whether I should fancy myself in a romances, it has given her a very particular turn of grotto or in a library.
thinking, and discovers itself even in her house, her Upon my looking into the books, I found there gardens, and her furniture. Sir Roger has enterwere some few which the lady had bought for her tained me an hour together with a description of her own use, but that most of them had been got toge-country-seat, which is situated in a kind of wilderther, either because she had heard them praised, or ness, about a hundred miles distant from London, because she had seen the authors of them. Among and looks like a little enchanted palace. The rocks several that I examined, I very well remember these about her are shaped into artificial grottos covered that follow:
with woodbines and jessamines. The woods are cut Ogleby's Virgil.
into shady walks, twisted into bowers, and filled with Dryden's Juvenal.
cages of turtles. The springs are made to run Cassandra.
among pebbles, and by that means taught to murmur Cleopatra.
very agreeably. They are likewise collected into a Astræa.
beautiful lake that is inhabited by a couple of swans, Sir Isaac Newton's Works.
and empties itself by a little rivulet which runs The Grand Cyrus; with a pin stuck in one of the through a green meadow, and is known in the famiddle leaves.
mily by the name of The Purling Stream. The Pembroke's Arcadia.
knight likewise tells me, that this lady preserves her Locke on Human Understanding, with a paper of game better than any of the gentlemen in the patches in it.
country, not (says Sir Roger) that she sets so great A Spelling-book.
a value upon her partridges and pheasants, as upon A Dictionary for the explanation of hard words. her larks and nightingales. For she says that every Sherlock upon Death.
bird which is killed in her ground, will spoil a con. The fifteen Comforts of Matrimony.
cert, and that she shall certainly miss him the next Sir William Temple's Essays.
year. Father Malebranche's Search after Truth, trans- When I think how oddly this lady is improved by lated into English.
learning, I look upon her with a mixture of admiraA book of Novels.
tion and pity. Amidst these innocent entertain. The Academy of Compliments.
ments which she has formed to herself, how much Culpepper's Midwifery.
more valuable does she appear than those of her The Ladies' Calling.
sex, who employ themselves in diversions that are Tales in Verse by Mr. Durfey : bound in red less reasonable, though more in fashion ? What im
leather, gilt on the back, and doubled down in provements would a woman have made, who is so several places.
susceptible of impressions from what she reads, had All the Classic Authors in Wood.
she been guided by such books as have a tendency A set of Elzevirs by the same Hand.
to enlighten the understanding and rectify the pasClelia : which opened of itself in the place that sions, as well as to those which are of little more describes two lovers in a bower.
use than to divert the imagination ? Baker's Chronicle.
But the manner of a lady's employing herself Advice to a Daughter.
usefully in reading, shall be the subject of another The New Atalantis, with a Key to it.
paper, in which I design to recommend such partiMr. Steele's Christian Hero.
cular books as may be proper for the improvement A Prayer-book : with a bottle of Hungary Water of the sex. And as this is a subject of very nice by the side of it.
nature, I shall desire my correspondents to give me Dr. Sacheverell's Speech.
their thoughts upon it.-C.
No. 38.] FRIDAY, APRIL 13, 1711. La Ferte's Instructions for Country Dances.
Cupias non placuisse nimis.-MART. I was taking a catalogue in my pocket-book of One would not please too much. these and several other authors, when Leonora en- A LATE conversation which I fell into, gave me tered, and upon my presenting her with a letter an opportunity of observing a great deal of beauty from the knight, told me, with an unspeakable grace, in a very handsome woman, and as much wit in an that she hoped Sir Roger was in good health ; 'I an- ingenious man, turned into deformity in the one, and szered yes, for I hate long speeches, and after a absurdity in the other, by the mere force of affectabow or two retired.
tion. The fair one had something in her person Leonora was formerly a celebrated beauty, and is (upon which her thoughts were fixed,) that she atstill a very lovely woman. She has been a widow | tempted to show to advantage in every look, word
and gesture. The gentleman was as diligent to do them, but lose their force in proportion to our enjustice to his fine parts as the lady to her beauteous deavour to make them such. form. You might see his imagination on the stretch When our consciousness turns upon the main de to find out something uncommon, and what they sign of life, and our thoughts are employed upon the call bright, to entertain her, while she writhed her chief purpose either in business or pleasure, we shall self into as many different postures to engage him. never betray an affectation, for we cannot be guilty When she laughed, her lips were to sever at a of it: but when we give the passion for praise an greater distance than ordinary, to show her teeth; unbridled liberty, our pleasure in little perfections her fan was to point to something at a distance, that robs us of what is due to us for great virtues, and in the reach she may discover the roundness of her worthy qualities. How many excellent speeches and arm; then she is utterly mistaken in what she saw, honest actions are lost, for want of being indifferent falls back, smiles at her own folly, and is so wholly where we ought? Men are oppressed with regard discomposed, that her tucker is to be adjusted, her to their way of speaking and acting, instead of havbosom exposed, and the whole woman put into new ing their thoughts bent upon what they should do or airs and graces. While she was doing all this, the say; and by that means bury a capacity for great gallant had time to think of something very pleasant things, by their fear of failing in indifferent things. to say next to her, or to make some unkind obser- This, perhaps, cannot be called affectation ; but it vation on some other lady to feed her vanity. These has some tincture of it, at least so far, as that their unhappy effects of affectation naturally led me to fear of erring in a thing of no consequence, argues look into that strange state of mind which so gene- they would be too much pleased in performing it. rally discolours the behaviour of most people we It is only from a thorough disregard to himself in meet with.
such particulars, that a man can act with a laudable The learned Dr. Burnet, in his Theory of the sufficiency; his heart is fixed upon one point in Earth, takes occasion to observe, that every thought view; and he commits no errors, because he thinks is attended with a consciousness and representative nothing an error but what deviates from that intention. ness; the mind has nothing presented to it but what The wild havoc affectation makes in that part of is immediately followed by a reflection of conscience, the world which should be most polite, is visible which tells you whether that which was so presented wherever we turn our eyes : it pushes men not only is graceful or unbecoming. This act of the miud into impertinencies in conversation, but also in their discovers itself in the gesture, by a proper behaviour premeditated speeches. At the bar it torments the in those whose consciousness goes no farther than to bench, whose business it is to cut off all superfluidirect them in the just progress of their present ties in what is spoken before it by the practitioner; state or action; but betrays an interruption in every as well as several little pieces of injustice which second thought, when the consciousness is employed arise from the law itself. I have seen it make a in too fondly approving a man's own conceptions ; man run from the purpose before a judge, who was, which sort of consciousness is what we call affectation. when at the bar himself, so close and logical a
As the love of praise is implanted in our bosoms as pleader, that with all the pomp of eloquence in his a strong incentive to worthy actions, it is a very diffi- his power, he never spoke a word too much.* cult task to get above a desire of it for things that It might be borne even here, but it often ascends should be wholly indifferent. Women, whose hearts the pulpit itself; and the declaimer in that sacred are fixed upon the pleasure they have in the con- place is frequently so impertinently witty, speaks of sciousness that they are the objects of love and ad- the last day itself with so many quaint phrases, that miration, are ever changing the air of their counte- there is no man who understands raillery, but must nances, and altering the attitude of their bodies, to resolve to sin no more. Nay, you may behold him strike the hearts of their beholders with new sense sometimes in prayer, for a proper delivery of the of their beauty. The dressing, part of our sex, great truths he is to utter, humble himself with so whose minds are the same with the sillier part of very well-turned phrase, and mention his own unwor. the other, are exactly in the like uneasy condition to thiness in a way so very becoming, that the air of be regarded for a well tied cravat, a hat cocked with the pretty gentleman is preserved, under the lowlian uncommon briskness, a very well chosen coat, or ness of the preacher. other instances of merit, which they are impatient to I shall end this with a short letter I writ the other see unobserved.
day to a very witty man, overrun with the fault I am This apparent affectation, arising from an ill-go- speaking of: verned consciousness, is not so much to be wondered “ Dear Sir, at in such loose and trivial minds as these: but
“ I spent some time with you the other day, and when we see it reign in characters of worth and must take the liberty of a friend to tell you of the distinction, it is what you cannot but lament, not unsufferable affectation you are guilty of in all you without some indignation. It creeps into the heart
say and do. When I gave you a hint of it, you of the wise man as well as that of the coxcomb. asked me whether a man is to be cold to what his When you see a man of sense look about for ap- friends think of him? No, but praise is not to be plause, and discover an itching inclination to be the entertainment of every moment. He that hopes commended; lay traps for a little incense, even from for it must be able to suspend the possession of it those whose opinion he values in nothing but his till proper periods of life, or death itself. If you own favour; who is safe against this weakness ? or would not rather be commended than be praisewho knows whether he is guilty of it or not ? The worthy, contemn little merits; and allow no man to best way to get clear of such a light fondness for be so free with you, as to praise you to your face. applause, is to take all possible care to throw off the Your vanity by this means will want its food. At love of it upon occasions that are not in themselves the same time your passion for esteem will be more laudable, but as it appears we hope for no praise from fully gratified; men will praise you in their actions : them. Of this nature are all graces in men's persops, dress, and bodily deportment, which will natu
* This seems to be intended as a compliment to Chancellor rally be winning and attractive if we think not of Cowper.
where you now receive one compliment, you will new verse, without filling up the preceding one ; then receive twenty civilities. Till then you will nor with abrupt pauses and breakings off in the midnever have of either, farther than,
dle of a verse, when they humour any passion that “Sir, your humble servant.” is expressed by it. т
Since I am upon this subject, I must observe that our English poets have succeeded much better in the
style than in the sentiment of their tragedies. Their No. 39.] SATURDAY, APRIL 14, 1711. language is very often noble and sonorous, but the Multa fero, ut placem genus irritabile vatum,
sense either very trifling or very common. On the Hor. 2 Ep. ii. 102.
contrary, in the ancient tragedies, and indeed in
those of Corneille and Racine, though the expressions Mueb do I suffer, much, to keep in peace
are very great, it is the thought that bears them up This jealous, waspish, wrong-head'd rhyming race.-Pope. and swells them. For my own part, I prefer a noble
As a perfect tragedy is the noblest production of sentiment that is depressed with homely language, human nature, so it is capable of giving the mind infinitely before a vulgar one that is blown up with one of the most delightful and most improving en- all the sound and energy of expression. Whether tertainments. A virtuous man (says Seneca) strug- this defect in our tragedies may arise from want of gling with misfortunes, is such a spectacle as gods genius, knowledge, or experience in the writers, or might look upon with pleasure ; and such a pleasure from their compliance with the vicious taste of their it is which one meets with in the representation of a readers, who are better judges of the language than well-written tragedy. Diversions of this kind wear of the sentiments, and consequently relish the one out of our thoughts every thing that is mean and more than the other, I cannot determine. But I belittle. They cherish and cultivate that huinanity lieve it might rectify the conduct hoth of the one and which is the ornament of our nature. They soften of the other, if the writer laid down the whole coninsolence, soothe affliction, and subdue the mind to texture of his dialogue in plain English, before he the dispensations of Providence.
turned it into blank verse : and if the reader, after It is no wonder, therefore, that in all the polite the perusal of a scene, would consider the naked dations of the world, this part of the drama has met thought of every speech in it, when divested of all with public encouragement.
its tragic ornaments. By this means, without being The modern tragedy excels that of Greece and imposed upon by words, we may judge impartially Rome in the intricacy and disposition of the fable; of ihe thought, and consider whether it be natural or but, what a Christian writer would be ashamed to great enough for the person that utters it, whether it #1, falls infinitely short of it in the moral part of deserves to shine in such a blaze of eloquence, or the performance.
show itself in such a variety of lights as are generally This I may show more at large hereafter: and in made use of by the writers of our English tragedy. the mean time, that I may contribute something to- I must in the next place observe, that when our wards the improvement of the English tragedy, I thoughts are great and just, they are often obscured shall take notice, in this and in other following pa- by the sounding phrases, hard metaphors, and forced pers, of some particular parts in it that seem liable expressions in which they are clothed. Shakspeare to exception.
is often very faulty in this particular. There is a Aristotle observes, that the lambic verse in the fine observation in Aristotle to this purpose, which I Greek tongue was the most proper for tragedy; be- have never seen quoted. The expression, says he, cause at the same time that it lifted up the discourse ought to be very much laboured in the unactive parts from prose, it was that which approached nearer to of the fable, as in descriptions, similitudes, narrait than any other kind of verse. For,” says he, tions, and the like; in which the opinions, manners, if we may observe that men in ordinary discourse very and passions of men are not represented; for these often speak iambics without taking notice of it.” (namely, the opinions, manners, and passions) are We may make the same observation of our English apt to be obscured by pompous phrases and elaborate blank verse, wbich often enters into our common expressions. Horace, who copied most of his cridiscourse, though we do not attend to it, and is such ticisms after Aristotle, seems to have had his eye on a due medium between rhyme and prose, that it the foregoing rule, in the following verses :seems wonderfully adapted to tragedy. I am there. Et tragicus plerumque dolet sermone pedestri: fcre very much offended when I see a play in rhyme; Telephus et Peleus, cum pauper et exul uterque, which is as absurd in English, as a tragedy of hex
Projícit ampullas et sesquipedalia verba,
Si curat cor spectantis tetigisse querela. ameters would have been in Greek or Latin. The
Hor. Ars. Poet. ver. 95. solecism is, I think, still greater in those plays that Tragedians, too, lay by their state to grieve : have some scenes in rhyme and some in blank verse, Peleus and Telephus, exil'd and poor, wbich are to be looked upon as two several lan- Forget their swelling and gigantic words.-ROSCOMMON. guages; or where we see some particular similes Among our modern English poets, there is none dignified with rhyme at the same time that every who has a better turn for tragedy than Lee; if, inthing about them lies in blank verse. I would not stead of favouring the impetuosity of his genius, he boxeser debar the poet from concluding his tragedy, had restrained it, and kept it within its proper or, if he pleases, every act of it, with two or three bounds. His thoughts are wonderfully suited to couplets, which may have the same effect as an air tragedy, but frequently lost in such a cloud of words in the Italian opera after a long recitativo, and give that it is hard to see the beauty of them. There is the actor a grateful exit. Besides that, we see a an infinite fire in his works, but so involved in smoke diversity of Dumbers in some parts of the old tragedy that it does not appear in half its lustre. He frein order to hinder the ear from being tired with the quently succeeds in the passionate parts of the trakame continued modulation of voice. For the same gedy, but more particularly where he slackens his reason I do not dislike the speeches in our English efforts, and eases the style of those epithets and metragedy that close with a hemistic
, or half verse,
not-taphors in which he so much abounds. What can withstanding the person who speaks after it begins al be more natural, more soft, or more passionate, than that line in Statira's speech where she describes the wishes and desires. When we see him engaged in charms of Alexander's conversation ?
the depth of his afflictions, we are apt to comfort Then he would talk-Good gods ! how he would talk !
ourselves, because we are sure he will find his way
out of them; and that his grief, how great soever it That unexpected break in the line, and turning the may be at present, will soon terminare in gladness. description of his manner of talking into an admira- For this reason, the ancient writers of tragedy tion of it, is inexpressibly beautiful, and wonderfully treated men in their plays, as they are dealt with in suited to the fond character of the person that speaks the world, by making virtue sometimes happy and it. There is a simplicity in the words that outshines sometimes miserable, as they found it in the fable the utmost pride of expression.
which they made choice of, or as it might affect the Otway has followed nature in the language of his audience in the most agreeable manner. Aristotle tragedy, and therefore shines in the passionate parts considers the tragedies that were written in either of more than any of our English poets. As there is these kinds, and observes, that those which ended something familiar and doinestic in the fable of his unhappily had always pleased the people, and carried tragedy, more than in those of any other poet, he away the prize in the public disputes of the stage, has little pomp, but great force in his expressions. from those that ended happily. Terror and comFor which reason, though he has admirably suc- miseration leave a pleasing anguish on the mind, ceeded in the tender and melting part of his tra- and fix the audience in such a serious composure of gedies, he sometimes falls into too great familiarity thought, as is much more lasting and delightful than of phrase in those parts, which, by Aristotle's rule, any little transient starts of joy and satisfaction. ought to have been raised and supported by the dig. Accordingly we find, that more of our English tranity of expression.
gedies have succeeded, in which the favourites of the It has been observed by others, that this poet has audience sink under their calamities, than those in founded his tragedy of Venice Preserved on so wrong which they recover themselves out of them. The a plot, that the greatest characters in it are those of best plays of this kind are, The Orphan, Venice Prerebels and traitors. Had the hero of this play dis- servci, Alerander the Great, Theodosius, All for Lore, covered the same good qualities in the defence of his dipus, Oroonoko, Othello, &c. King Lear is an adcountry that he showed for its ruin and subversion, mirable tragedy of the same kind, as Shakspeare the audience could not enough pity and admire him; wrote it; but as it is reformed according to the chi. but as he is now represented, we can only say of him merical notion of poetical justice, in my humble what the Roman historian says of Catiline, that his opinion it has lost half its beauty. At the same fall would have been glorious (si pro patriâ sic con- time I must allow, that there are very noble tragecidisset), had he so fallen in the service of his country. dies which have been framed upon the other plan,
and have ended happily; as indeed most of the good
tragedies, which have been written since the starting No. 40.] MONDAY, APRIL 16, 1711. of the above-mentioned criticism, have taken this Ac ne forte putes me, quæ facere ipse recusem,
turn; as The Mourning Bride, Tamerlane, Ulysses, Cum recte tractant alii, laudare maligne ;
Phedra and Hippolytus, with most of Mr. Dryden's. Ile per extentum funem mihi posse videtur Ire poeta, meum qui pectus inaniter angit,
I must also allow, that many of Shakspeare's, and Irritat, mulcet, falsis terroribus implet,
several of the celebrated tragedies of antiquity, are Ut magus ; et modo me Thebis, modo ponit Athenis. cast in the same form. I do not therefore dispute
Hor. 2 Ep. i. 208. against this way of writing tragedies, but against
the criticism that would establish this as the only Yet lest you think I rally more than teach,
method; and by that means would very much cramp Or praise, malignant, arts I cannot reach, Let me for once presume t' instruct the times,
the English tragedy, and perhaps give a wrong bent To know the poet from the man of rhymes;
to the genius of our writers. 'Tis he, who gives my breast a thousand pains,
The tragi-comedy, which is the product of the Can make me feel each passion that he leigns ;
English theatre, is one of the most monstrous invenEnrage, compose, with more than magic art, With pity, and with terror, tear my heart;
tions that ever entered in a poet's thoughts. An And snatch me o'er the earth, or through the air, author might as well think of weaving the adven. To Thebes, to Athens, when he will, and where.--POPE. tures of Æneas and Hudibras into one poem, as of The English writers of tragedy are possessed with writing such a motley piece of mirth and sorrow. a notion, that when they represent a virtuous or in- But the absurdity of these performances is so very pocent person in distress, they ought not to leave visible, that I shall not insist upon it. him till they have delivered him out of his troubles, The same objections which are made to tragior made him triumph over his enemies. This error comedy, may in some measure be applied to all trathey have been led into by a ridiculous doctrine in gedies that have a double plot in them; which are modern criticism, that they are obliged to an equal likewise more frequent upon the English stage, than distribution of rewards and punishments, and an im- upon any other; for though the grief of the aupartial execution of poetical justice. Who were the dience, in such performances, be not changed into first that established this rule I know not; but I am another passion, as in tragi-comedies; it is diverted sure it has no foundation in nature, in reason, or in upon another object, which weakens their concern the practice of the ancients. We find that good for the principal action, and breaks the tide of sorand evil happen alike to all men on this side the row, by throwing it into different channels. This grave; and as the principal design of tragedy is to inconvenience, however, may in a great measure be raise commiseration and terror in the minds of the cured, if not wholly removed, by the skilful choice audience, we shall defeat this great end, if we always of an under plot, which may bear such a near relamake virtue and innocence happy and successful. tion to the principal design, as to contribute towards Whatever crosses and disappointments a good man the completion of it, and be concluded by the same suffers in the body of the tragedy, they will make catastrophe. but a small impression on our minds, when we know There is also another particular, which may be that in the last act he is to arrive at the end of his reckoned among the blemishes, or rather the false