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Prove also that love, being an heroic passion, is fit for tragedy, which cannot be denied, because of the example alleged of Phædra; and how far Shakespeare has outdone them in friendship, &c.

To return to the beginning of this enquiry; consider, if pity and terror be enough for tragedy to move; and I believe, upon a true definition of tragedy, it will be found, that its work extends farther, and that is to reform manners, by a delightful representation of human life in great persons, by way of dialogue. If this be true, then not only pity and terror are to be moved, as the only means to bring us to virtue, but generally love to virtue, and hatred to vice, by shewing the rewards of one, and punishments of the other; at least, by rendering virtue always amiable, though it be shewn unfortunate, and vice detestable, though it be shewn triumphant.

If then, the encouragement of virtue, and discouragement of vice, be the proper ends of poetry in tragedy, pity and terror, though good means, are not the only. For all the passions, in their turns, are to be set in a ferment; as joy, anger, love, fear, are to be used as the poet's common-places, and a general concernment for the principal actors is to be raised, by making them appear such in their characters, their words, and actions, as will interest the audience in their fortunes.

And if, after all, in a larger sense, pity comprehends this concernment for the good, and terror includes detestation for the bad, then let us consider whether the English have not answered this end of tragedy, as well as the ancients, or perhaps better.

And here Mr Rymer's objections against these plays are to be impartially weighed, that we may see whether they are of weight enough to turn the balance against our countrymen.

It is evident, those plays which he arraigns, have moved both those passions in a high degree upon the stage.

To give the glory of this away from the poet, and to place it upon the actors, seems unjust. *

One reason is, because whatever actors they have found, the event has been the same, that is, the same passions have been always moved; which shews, that there is something of force and merit in the plays themselves, conducing to the design of raising these two passions: and suppose them ever to have been excellently acted, yet action only adds grace, vigour, and more life, upon the stage, but


* Alluding to the following remarks of Rymer transferring the pleasing effect of the plays, which he censures, to the lively representation. Amongst those who will be objecting against the doctrine I lay down, may peradventure appear a sort of men who have remembered so and so; and value themselves upon their erience. I may write by the book (say they) what I have a mind, but they know what will please. These are a kind of stage-quacks and empirics in poetry, who have got a receipt to please; and no collegiate like them for purging the passions.

"These say (for instance) a "King and no King" pleases. I say the comical part pleases.

"I say that Mr Hart pleases; most of the business falls to his share, and what he delivers, every one takes upon content; their eyes are prepossessed and charmed by his action, before aught of the poet's can approach their ears; and to the most wretched of characters, he gives a lustre and brilliance, which dazzles the sight, that the deformities in the poetry cannot be perceived."-Remarks, p. 5.

He has a similar observation in page 138:---" We may remember, however we find this scene of Melantius and Amintor written in the book, that at the theatre we have a good scene acted. There is work cut out, and both our Esopus and Roscius are on the stage together: whatever defect may be in Amintor and Melantius, Mr Hart and Mr Mohun are wanting in nothing. To these we owe for what is pleasing in the scene; and to this scene we may impute the success of the "Maid's Tragedy."

cannot give it wholly where it is not first. But secondly, I dare appeal to those who have never seen them acted, if they have not found these two passions moved within them; and if the general voice will carry it, Mr Rymer's prejudice will take off his single testimony.

This, being matter of fact, is reasonably to be established by this appeal; as if one man says it is night, when the rest of the world conclude it to be day, there needs no farther argument against him, that it is so.

If he urge, that the general taste is depraved, his arguments to prove this can at best but evince, that our poets took not the best way to raise those passions; but experience proves against him, that those means which they have used have been successful, and have produced them.

And one reason of that success is, in my opinion, this, that Shakespeare and Fletcher have written to the genius of the age and nation in which they lived; for though nature, as he objects, is the same in all places, and reason too the same, yet the climate, the age, the disposition of the people, to whom a poet writes, may be so different, that what pleased the Greeks would not satisfy an English audience.

And if they proceeded upon a foundation of truer reason to please the Athenians, than Shakespeare and Fletcher to please the English, it only shews, that the Athenians were a more judicious people; but the poet's business is certainly to please the audience.

Whether our English audience have been pleased hitherto with acorns, as he calls it, or with bread, is the next question; that is, whether the means which Shakespeare and Fletcher have used in their

plays to raise those passions before named, be better applied to the ends by the Greek poets than by them. And perhaps we shall not grant him this wholly let it be yielded, that a writer is not to run down with the stream, or to please the people by their own usual methods, but rather to reform their judgments, it still remains to prove, that our theatre needs this total reformation.

The faults which he has found in their designs, are rather wittily aggravated in many places, than reasonably urged; and as much may be returned on the Greeks by one who were as witty as himself.

2. They destroy not, if they are granted, the foundation of the fabric, only take away from the beauty of the symmetry: for example, the faults in the character of the "King and no King"* are not as he makes them, such as render him detestable, but only imperfections which accompany human nature, and are for the most part excused by the violence of his love; so that they destroy not our pity or concernment for him. This answer may be applied to most of his objections of that kind.

And Rollo† committing many murders, when he

*After laying it down as a necessary rule, that a king in tragedy is, ex jure, a hero, Rymer proceeds to arraign the character of Arbaces, for his vain glory, presumption, incestuous passion for his sister, and extravagance of language. He sums his character up in the words of the Irish inscription:

For fierceness and for furiousness,
Men call me the queen's mortar-piece.

+ "When Rollo has murdered his brother, he stands condemned by the laws of poetry; and nothing remains but that the poet see him executed, and the poet is to answer for all the mischief committed afterwards. But Rollo we find has made his escape, and

is answerable but for one, is too severely arraigned by him, for it adds to our horror and detestation of the criminal; and poetic justice is not neglected neither, for we stab him in our minds for every offence which he commits; and the point which the poet is to gain on the audience is not so much in the death of an offender, as the raising an horror of his crimes.

That the criminal should neither be wholly guilty, nor wholly innocent, but so participating of both as to move both pity and terror, is certainly a good rule, but not perpetually to be observed; for that were to make all tragedies too much alike; which objection he foresaw, but has not fully answered.

To conclude, therefore; if the plays of the ancients are more correctly plotted, ours are more beautifully written. And if we can raise passions as high on worse foundations, it shews our genius in tragedy is greater; for, in all other parts of it, the English have manifestly excelled them.

woe be to the chancellor, to the school-master, and to the chancellor's man; for those are to be men of this world no longer. Here is like to be poetical justice, so many lives taken away, and but the life of one guilty person to answer for all; and is not this a strange method of killing? If the planets had contrived him for a cock of thirteen, his first victory should not have been the most important; he should first have practised on his subjects, and have risen by degrees to the height of iniquity. His brother sovereign was his top-murder; nothing remained after that, unless it were his lady-mother."

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