Dramatic poesy other critical essays
particular (as I said before) to some one person: by the oddness of which, he is immediately distinguished from the rest of men; which being lively and naturally. Or Hector: for with us the Knight takes occasion to walk out, or sleep, to avoid the vanity of telling his own Story, which the trusty Squire making a great thesis is ever to perform for him. Since the mind of man does naturally tend to, and seek after Truth; and therefore the nearer any thing comes to the imitation of it, the more it pleases. I answer, no Poet need constrain himself at all times.
Dramatic poesy other critical essays
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But because Crites, in his Discourse for the Ancients, has prevented me, by touching upon many Rules of the Stage, which the Moderns have borrowed from them; I shall only, in short, demand of you, whether you are not convinced that of all Nations the. When we see death represented we are convinced it is but Fiction; but when we hear it related, our eyes (the strongest witnesses) are wanting, which might have undeceived us; and we are all willing to favor the sleight when the Poet does not too. All of them were thus far of Eugeniuss opinion, that the sweetness of English Verse was never understood or practiced by our Fathers; even Crites himself did not much oppose it: and every one was willing to acknowledge how much our Poesy is improved,. But I find I have been too long in this discourse since the French have many other excellencies not common to use, as that you never see any of their Plays end with a conversion, or simple change of will, which is the ordinary way. I grant the French have performed what was possible on the groundwork of the Spanish Plays; what was pleasant before they have made regular; but there is not above one good Play to be writ upon all those Plots; they are too much alike. Beaumont especially being so accurate a judge of Plays, that Ben Jonson while he lived, submitted all his Writings to his Censure, and he thought, used his judgement in correcting, if not contriving all his Plots. I fear, replied Neander, That in obeying your commands I shall draw a little envy upon my self. Blank Verse is acknowledged to be too low for a Poem, nay more, for a paper of verses; but if too low for an ordinary Sonnet, how much more for Tragedy, which is by Aristotle in the dispute betwixt the Epic Poesy and the Dramatick;. And thus far you may find the practice made good in many Plays; where you do not, remember still, that if you cannot find six natural Rhymes together, it will be as hard for you to produce as many lines in blank Verse, even among. As for his other argument, that by pursuing one single Theme they gain an advantage to express and work up the passions, I wish any example he could bring from them would make it good: for I confess their verses are to me the coldest. The sweetness of Rhyme, and observation of Accent, supplying the place of quantity in words, which could neither exactly be observed by those Barbarians who knew not the Rules of it, neither was it suitable to their tongues as it had been to the Greek.
There are indeed some prosaic persons in the Ancients, whom they make use of in their Plays, either to hear, or give the Relation: but the French avoid this with great address, making their narrations only to, or by such who are some way interested. Judgment is indeed the Master-workman in a Play: but he requires many subordinate hands, many tools to his assistance. However good the thought may be; however apt the words in which tis couched yet he finds himself at a little unrest while Rhyme is wanting: he cannot leave till that comes naturally, and then is at ease, and sits down contented.