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“ that is, he meant three kinds of action; one com“pany singing, or speaking; another playing on the “musick; a third dancing. “To make a true judgment in this competition be“twixt the Greek poets and the English, in tragedy: “Consider, first, how Aristotle has defined a tra“gedy. Secondly, what he assigns the end of it to * be. Thirdly, what he thinks the beauties of it. “Fourthly, the means to attain the end proposed. “Compare the Greek and English tragick poets “justly, and without partiality, according to those “ rules. “Then, secondly, consider whether Aristotle has “made a just definition of tragedy; of its parts, of “its ends, and of its beauties; and whether he, “ having not seen any others but those of Sophocles, “Euripides, &c. had or truly could determine what “all the excellencies of tragedy are, and wherein “they consist. “Next, shew in what ancient tragedy was defi“cient: for example, in the narrowness of its plots, “ and fewness of persons; and try whether that be “not a fault in the Greek poets; and whether their “excellency was so great, when the variety was “visibly so little; or whether what they did was “not very easy to do. “Then make a judgment on what the English “have added to their beauties: as, for example, “not only more plot, but also new passions; as, “namely, that of love, scarcely touched on by the “ancients, except in this one example of Phaedra, “cited by Mr. Rymer; and in that how short they “were of Fletcher! - “ Prové

“Prove also that love, being an heroick passion, is “fit for tragedy, which cannot be denied, because “of the example alleged of Phaedra; and how far “Shakspeare has outdone them in friendship, &c. “To return to the beginning of this enquiry; “consider if pity and terrour 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 it 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 terrour 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 dis“couragement 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 prin“cipal actors is to be raised, by making them ap“pear such in their characters, their words, and “actions, as will interest the audience in their for“ tunes. “And if, after all, in a larger sense, pity com“prehends this concernment for the good, and ter“ rour includes detestation for the bad, then let us

“ consider whether the English have not answered “ this

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“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.
“'Tis 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 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; “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 opi“nion, this; that Shakspeare and Fletcher have “written to the genius of the age and nation in “which they lived; for though nature, as he ob“jects, 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 proceed upon a foundation of truer “reason to please the Athenians, than Shakspeare “ 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 Shakspeare 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 usual methods, but rather to re“form their judgments, it still remains to prove that “our theatre needs this total reformation. “The faults, which he has found in their design “ are rather wittily aggravated in many places than


“reasonably urged ; and as much may be re“ turned

“turned on the Greeks by one who were as witty “ as himself. “They destroy not, if they are granted, the “foundation of the fabrick; only take away from “ the beauty of the symmetry; for example, the “faults in the character of the King, in King and “No-king, are not, as he calls them, such as ren“der 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 “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 neg“ lected 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 cer“tainly a good rule, but not perpetually to be ob“served; 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 beauti“fully written. And, if we can raise passions as high “on worse foundations, it shews our genius in tra

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