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were raised? Like them, our author's works will remain for ever the greatest monuments of the amazing force of nature, which we ought to view as we do o:her prodigies, with an intention to, and admiration of theirstupendnous parts, and proud irregularity of greatness."
Our author observes, "That ridiculously has our poet, and ridiculouflyhasour taste been represented, by a writer of universal same; and through the medium of an almost universal language. Superficial criticisms hit the level of shallow minds, to whom a bon mot will appear reason, and an epigrammatic turn, argument; so that many of our countrymen have hastily adopted this lively writer's opinion of the extravagance, and total want of design in Shakespear's dramas. With the most learned, deep, and sober critics, he lies under one considerable disadvantage. For copying nature, as he found it, in the busy walks of human life, he drew from an original with which the litcrari are seldom well acquainted. They perceive his portraits are not of the Grecian or of the Roman school; after finding them nnlike to the dignified characters preserved in learned museums, they do not deign to -enquire, whether they resemble the living persons they were intended to represent. Among these connoisseurs, whose acquaintance with mankind is formed in-the library, not in the street, the camp, or village, whatever is unpolished and uncouth passes for fantastic and absurd, though, in fact, it is a faithful representation os a really existing character."
This work, besides the introduc
tory discourse, contains eight erffays, or dissertations—on Dramatic Poetry ;—on the Historical Drama; —on the first part of Henry IV.— on the second part of Henry IV.— on the Preternatural Beings ;—on the Tragedy of Macbeth ;—upon the Cinna of Corneille;—and upon the Death of Julius Cæsar.
The propriety, beauty, and elegance, of the following observations, in our author's essay on Dramatic Poetry, are peculiarly striking.
"According to Aristotle, there can be no tragedy without action. Mr. Voltaire confesses, that some of the most admired tragedies in France, are rather conversations, than representations of an action. It will hardly be allowed to those who fail in the most essential part of an art, to set up their performances as models. Can they who have robbed the Tragic Muse of all her virtue, and divested her of whatsoever gave her a real interest in the human heart, require, we should adore her for the glitter of a few false brilliants, Or the nice arrangement of frippery ornaments? If she wears any thing of intrinsic value, it has been borrowed from the ancients; but by these artists it is so fantastically fashioned to modern modes, as to lose all its. original graces, and even that necessary qualification of all ornaments, fitness and propriety. A French tragedy is a tissue df declamations, and laboured recitals of the catastrophe, by which the spirit of the drama is greatly weakened and enervated, and the theatrical piece is deprived of that peculiar influence over the mind, which it derives from the vivid force of representation.
ISegnius -irritant animos dcmissa
fidelibus, et quæ
The business of the Drama is to excite sympathy; and its,effect on the spectator depends on such a justness of imitation, as shall cause, to a certain degree, the same passions and affections, as if what was exhibited was real. We have observed narrative imitation to be too Faint and feeble a means to excite passion; declamation, still worse, plays idly on the surface of the subject, and makes the poet, who should be concealed in the action, visible to the spectator. In many works of art, our pleasure arises from a reflection on the art itself; and.in a comparison, drawn by the mind, betweeen the original and the copy before us. But here the art and the artist must not appear; for, as often as we recur to the poet, so often our sympathy with the action on the stage is suspended. The pompous declamations of the French theatre, are mere rhetorical flourishes, such as an uninterested person might make on the state of the persons in the drama. They assume the office of the spectator by expressing his feelings, instead of conveying to us the strong emotions and sensations of the persons under the pressure of distress. Experience informs us, that even the inarticulate groans, andinvoluntary . convulsions of a creature in agonies, affect us much more, than any eloquent and elaborate description of its situation, delivered in the properell words, and most singnificant gestures. Our pity is attendant an the passion of the unhappy person', and on his own fense of
his misfortunes. From description, from the report of a spectator, we may make some conjecture of his internal state of mind; and so far . we shall be moved; but the direct* aud immediate way to the heartis by the sufferer's expression 'of his passion. As there may be some obscurity in what I have said on this subject, I will endeavour to illustrate the doctrine by example".
Sophocles, in his admirabletragcdy of Œdipus Coloneus, makes Œdipus expostulate with his undutiful son. The injured parent exposes the enormity of filial disobedience; sets forth the duties of this relation in a very strong and lively manner; but it is only by the vehemence with which he speaks of them, and the imprecations he utters against the delinquent son, that we can guess at the violence of his emotions; therefore he excites more indignation at the conduct of Polyr.ices, than sympathy with his own sorrow; of which we can judge only as spectators; for he has explained to us merely the external duties and relations of parent and child. The pangs of parental tenderness, thus wounded, are more pathetically expressed by King Lear, who leaves out whatever of this enormity is equally sensible to the spectator, and immediately exposes to us his own internal feelings, when in the bitterness of his soul, cursing his daughter's offspring, he adds,
That she may feel,
tooth it is,
By this we perceive, how deeply paternal affection is wounded by filial ingratitude.
In the play of King John, the legate legate offers many arguments of consolation to Constance, on the loss or" Arthur: they appear, to the spectator, reasonable, till she so strongly expresses the peculiar tenderness of maternal love, by answering,
He speaks to me that never had a son.
On* might be made to conceive, in some degree, the horrors of a murderer, under whose knife the bleeding victim is expiring in agonies, by a description of the unhappy object; but how fully, and how forcibly is the consciousness of guilt expressed by Macbeth, when, speaking of the grooms who lay near Duncan, he fays,
One cry'd, God bless us, and
Amen! the other;
fay Amen, When they did fay, God bless us!
These expressions open to us the internal state of the persons interested, and never fail to command our sympathy. Shakespear seems to have had the art of the Dervise, in the Arabian tales, who could throw his foul into the body of another man, and be at once possessed of his sentiments, adopt his passions, and rise to all the fuiic-' tions and feelings of his situation.
Shakespear was born in-a rank of life; in which men Indulge themselves in a free expression of their passions, with little regard to exterior appearance. This perhaps
made him more acquainted with the movements of the heart, and less knowing or observant of outward forms: against the one he often offends, he very rarely misrepresents the other. The French tragedians, on the contrary attend not to the nature of the man whom they represent, but to the decorums of his rank: so that their best tragedies are made ridiculous, by changing the condition of the persons of the drama; which could not be so easily effected, if they spoke the langu^e of passion, which, in all ranks of men is much alike."
In the essay on the historical drama, our author observes, " That those dramas of Shakespear, which he distinguishes by the name of his histories, being of an original kind and peculiar construction, cannot come within any rules, which are prior to their existence. The office of the critic, in regard to poetry, is like that of the grammarian and rhetorician in respect to language: it is their business to shew why such and such modes of speech are proper and graceful, others improper and ungraceful j but they pronounce on such words and expressions only, as are actually extant."
If we were to give our readers every part of this essay which affords us pleasure, we should nearly transcribe the whole; the extracts we have given, will, we make no doubt, sufficiently excite the curiosity of all those who have not seen the original.
T # e v
C O tt ■■ T £ N T S;
■'■.. ttr^tORY* 6> EtTROPE.
Ssatf of the falHgtrtnt power's. kxpediliM to the Mediterranean. Tush. (uTiiUal state fif fhdt inspire. State es Paidnd. ConduB of the neighbouring sowers in' fegafd fa tht <wen>. Austria. Pruffia. Denmark. Disputes between the king and she seriate in Sweden. Diet degrades and punijhes the senate. Treaty os subsidy concluded with France. France. Bankruptcy and suspension of the Ftenth East India company. Spain. Portugal. Mdxagan taken by the Moors. p, [!
State bf the hostile afm'fts' on she borders of Poland. Irruptions of the 'Tartars. Ruffians pass the Nitster; first battle, and siege of Ghocs&im. General R.omanzow is repulsed at Oczacow. Battle between the Calmuck dnd Cuban' 'Tartars. Grand SigHior declares war against the king of PolOnd. Secindbattle heat- Gbdczim; prince Gallilzin lays siege again to thai fortfess. Turks and Tdftars attack the Ruffians in their camp; but are repulsed. General Prosorowjki defeated. Prince Gallitzin raises the siege of Choczim, and repa/ses the Nieftcr. [ 13
C H A P. III.
Prudent conduB of thet late grand vizir, produces his disgrace; Moldovani Alt. Pacha, is appointed his successor. Great losses sustained by the Turks in their rash attempts to cross the Niester. Turkifo army break up their camp, abandon Choczim, ana retire tuniultuoujly to the Danube. Ruffians over-run the provinces dr Moldavia and Walachia; Greek inhabitants of those provinces acknowledge the empress of Rtiffia as their sovereign, and take oaths of fidelity to her. Uufitccisssul attempt en the citadel of Brailow. Count Panin sails in his design upon the city of Bender. Deposition of the , Ruffian troops for the winter. Preparations made by tht Grand Signiorfor carrying on the ivar. [z2
"Tlew confederacies formed in Poland upon the departure cf the Ruffian troops to the frontiers? Spirited manifesto by the nobility of the grand dutch' of
Vol. XII.' U 'Lkbvm Lithuania. Great number of engagements between the Ruffians and confederates; dreadful excesses commit ted on both sides. King of Poland fends ministers to the guarantees of the treaties of Carlowits and OIi<va. Harmony at present subsisting between the great powers of the empire. Emperor's journey to Italy; makes a considerable stay at Milan; on his return reforms many abuses in the government of that duchy; visits the king of Pruffit, arNeifs. Aix la ChapeUe taken and quitted by the eleelor Palatine's forces.Marriage concluded upon between the dauphin and the archduchess Maria Antonia L3°
CHAP. V. Italy. Death of the pope procures a respite to the troubles of the court 'f Rome. The emperor, and great duke of-Tuscany, come to Rome. Cardinal Ganganelli declared pope, the new pontiff refuses to comply with the solicitations of the Bourbon princes, for the extincJiqn of the order of Jesuits. Is obliged to cede Avignon and the Vanaifin to France. King of ■ Naples keeps possession of the duchy of Benevento. Precarious state of thi monks. ConduB observed by the Italian states, in regard to the Ruffian fleet in the Mediterranean. Claims made by the courts of Vienna and Turin, upon part of tie Genoese territories. . [3^
Hopeless Jiate of Corsica. French negociate with the chiefs during the winter. Unsuccessful attempts upCn the French posts. Ecclesiastics take up arms in defence of their country. Count de Faux arrives with fifteen battalions from
'France, and takes' the principal command. Corsicans defeated near Rostinu. Corte taken without opposition. The whole island subdued. Paoli flies to Leghorn. Affiembly held at Corte; French government established. Sovereign council of the istand abolished; a new one created under the direclion of the parliament of Provence. Corsica annexed to the French king's dominions, and brought within the jurisdiBion of the Galilean church. Unsuccessful attempts tc conciliate the minds of the people to the new government. Loss sustained by the French in this conquest. French domestic affairs; East India Company. Interest on the public funds reduced. Parliament of Britany restored. Disturbances in St. Domingo. [+°
War in India. Hyder Aly ravages the Carnatic. Battle near Mulwaggle. Hyder Aly advances within a few miles of Madrafs. Peace concluded with Hyder Aly. New treaty with Sujah Doulah. supervisors appointed to Po to India. ■ Great debates upon the powers to be granted to the supervisors. A naval force applied for to go to India. Extraordinary powers demanded for the commanding naval officer; the demands are rejeBed by a general court. Sir John Lindfey Jails with a small squadron to the gulpb of Persia. U8
RetrospeBive view of some matters previous to the General EleBion. Mr. IFiUe* electedfor the county of Middlesex. Great licentiousness pnvails, which it mt
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