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Nam ”spirat tragicum fatis, et feliciter audet:
Creditur, ex ' niedio quia res arcessit, habere
virtue, and whole life was irreproachable, was forbidden Christian burial by Harlay archbishop of Paris, because he was an actor; and, on a remonstrance from his wife to the king, was at latt al. lowed to be privately interred without the usual funeral cere. monies, while Madam Moliere cried out, Quoi, l'on refusera la fepulture à un homme qui merite des autels !" As to the skilful. ness of Racine in speaking, mentioned above, it is known that he taught Chammesle, with whom he was in love, to speak with juftuess and propriety, who also instructed her niece Madam du Clos in the same style of speaking ; but which sort of declamation being rather too pompous and stiff, was brought down to a more natural tone by Baron and Le Couvreur. Garrick did the fame on our flage.
WARTON. VER. 282. Some doubt,] “ Tragedy," says Dr. Hurd, “ whose end is the pathos, produces it by action, while comedy produces its end, the humorous, by character. Now it is much more dif. ficult to paint manners, than to plan action, because that requires the Philosopher's knowledge of human nature ; this only the Historian's knowledge of human events.” But in answer to this assertion, Dr. Brown observes, “ That, in the course of this argument, it seems entirely forgot, that the tragic Poet's province is not only to plan, but to paint too. Had he no further task, than what depends on the mere hiftorian's knowledge of lillman events, the reasoning would hold: but as it is the first and most essential effort of his genius, in the construction of a complete tragedy, to invent and order a pathetic plan, consistent in all its parts, and rising towards its completion by a fucceffion of incidents which may keep up and continually increase terror or pity; it is manifest that the perfection of his plan depends not on
Not but the ? Tragic spirit was our own,
Some doubt, if equal pains, or equal fire
his mere historic knowledge of human events, but on hisphilofophic discernment of human passions ; aided by a warm and enlarged invention : talents as rare, at least, as the knowledge or difcerament of human characters. If to this we add the subsequent task, of giving the high colourings of passion to the tragie plan thus ordered, the difficulty of writing a complete tragedy may seem to be in some respects equal, in others fuperior, to that of producing a complete comedy: for, in the conduct of this last species, it is acknowledged, that a small degree of poetic invention will sup. port it.” Brumoy has given a long and judicious dissertation on this question in the fifth volume of his Grecian Theatre, page 251, which at last he leaves undecided. But does there not appear to be a fundamental error in ftating the question ? for character is as essentially necessary to tragedy as to comedy. How are the incidents that constitute a fable to be brought about, but by agents, that are compelled to act in such or such a manner, by their particular propenfities and passions, which constitute character? Are not Electra and Medea as strong characters as Lady Townly and Millamant ? and Othello and Macbeth as Thralo or M nedemus ?
Quantüs fit Dossennus "edacibus in parasitis;
Quem tulit ad scenam ' ventoso gloria curru,
* Sæpe etiam audacem fugat hoc terretque poetam ; Quod numero plures, virtute et honore minores, Indocti, stolidique, et depugnare parati Si discordet eques, media inter carmina poscunt
In short, in a good tragedy, there must be an union both of cha. racter and action. But it is said that a good plot is not lo es. fential to comedy as to tragedy: if so, the fuperior difficulty of writing the former disappears. In the rank and order of geniuses it muft, I think, be allowed, that the writer of good tragedy is fuperior. And, therefore, I think the opinion, which I am sorry to perceive gains ground, that Shakespear's chief and predominant talent lay in comedy, tends to lessen the unrivalled excellence of our divine bard.
There still remains another remark to be made on this passage of Horace : How were the Romans to judge of the truth and nature of the characters in their comedies, when these characters were those of another nation, and their comedies being chiefly mere translations from the Greek, and therefore to them “ not known images of life !"
WAR TON. VER. 287. Congreve] He alludes to the characters of Brisk and Witwood. Dr. Johnson says, rather strangely, “ his comedies have the operation of tragedies.”
WARTON. Ver. 290. Astrea] A name taken by Mrs. Behn, Authoress of several obscene Plays, &c.
The stage how loosely does Astrea tread, 290
pants for glory finds but short repose, 300 A breath revives him, or a breath o'erthrows. ? Farewell the stage ! if just as thrives the play, The filly bard grows fat, or falls away.
There still remains, to mortify a Wit, The many-headed Monster of the Pit:
305 A senseless, worthless, and unhonour'd crowd; Who, to disturb their betters mighty proud,
291. Who fairly puts] How came Mrs. Behn's name to be inserted among the best writers that have not succeeded ?
ARTON. Ver. 296. O youwhom Vanity's lighı bark conveys] The Metaphor is fine ; but inferior to the Original, in many respects.
“ Ventoso gloria curru," has a happy air of Ridicule heightened by its allusion to the Ro. man Triumph.
WARBURTON Dr. Hurd imagines these lines are not spoken by the Poet in his own person, but are the sentiments of an objector, whom, according to his manner, Horaceluddenly introduces as urging them. Pope, we see, did not consider the passage in this light. WARTON.
VER. 305. The many-headed Monfier] This epithet Wartor says is taken from Ben Jonson; I rather think, from Shakespear.
Auto urfum aut pugiles : his nam plebecula gaudet.
Si foret in terris, rideret Democritus; seu
VER. 310. What dear delight] In former Editions,
For Farce the People true delight affords,
WARTON, Ver. 313. From heads to ears, and now from ears to eyes.] From Plays to Operas, and from Operas to Pantomimes.
WAR BURTON. Ver. 316. Pageants on pageants,] Long before Horace wrote, Tully, in an Epistle to Marius, book 7. had ridiculed these absurd fhews, spectacles, and processions on the stage. “ Quid enim delectationis habent fexcenti muli in Clytemnestra ? aut in equo Trojano craterarum tria millia ? aut armatura varia, pedita tûs & equitatûs, ut in aliquâ pugnâ ? quæ popularem admira. tionem habuerunt, delectationem tibi nullam attuliffent.”