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in such a way as is found most delightful to us; that is, IN AN ORNAMENTED AND NUMEROUS STYLE-IN THE WAY OF FICTION AND IN VERSE. Whatever deserves the name of POEM must unite these three properties ; only in dif.ferent degrees of each, according to its nature. For the art of every kind of poetry is only this general art so modified as the nature of each, that is, its more immediate and subordinate end, may respectively require.
We are now, then, at the well-head of the poetic art; and they who drink deeply of this spring, will be best qualified to perform the rest. But all heads are not equal to these co- ; pious draughts; and, besides, I hear the sober reader admonishing me long since - . .
Lusisti satis atque BIBISTI;
PROVINCES OF THE DRAMA.
In the former Essay, I gave an idea, or slight sketch, of Universal Poetry. In this, I attempt to deduce the laws of one of its kinds, the Dramatic, under all its forms. And I engage in this task, the rather, because, though much has been said on the subject of the drama, writers seem not to have taken sufficient pains to distinguish, with exactness, its several species.
I deduce the laws of this poem, as I did those of poetry at large, from the consideration of its end: not the general end of poetry, which alone was proper to be considered in the former case, but the proximate end of
this kind. For from these ends, in subordination to that, which governs the genus, or which all poetry, as such, designs and prose-, cutes, are the peculiar rules and maxims of each species to be derived.
THE PURPOSE OF THE DRama is, universally, “ to represent human life in the way of " action.” But as such representation is made for separate and distinct ENDS, it is, further, distinguished into different species, which we know by the names of Tragedy, COMEDY, and FARCE.
By Tragedy, then, I mean that 'species of 'dramatic representation, whose end is “ to excite the passions of pity and TERROR, and perhaps some others, nearly allied to them.”
By Comedy that, which proposeth, for the ends of its representation, “ the sensation of pleasure arising from a view of the truth of CHARACTERS, more especially their specific differences.”
By Farce I understand, that species of the drama, “ whose sole aim and tendency is to excite LAUGHTER."