“ him whom he has murdered, or who have « been the occasion of the tragedy. The « terror is likewise in the punishment of “ the same criminal ; who, if he be repre“ sented too great an offender, will not be

pitied: if altogether innocent, his punish« ment will be unjust.

“ Another obscurity is, where he says So

phocles perfected tragedy by introducing " the third actor ; that is, he meant, three • kinds of action; one company singing,

or another playing on the mufick ; " third dancing,


“ To make a true judgement in this com“ petition betwixt the Greek poets and the

English, in tragedy :

" Confider, first, how Aristotle has de“ fined a tragedy. Secondly, what he af* figns 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.

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Then secondly, confider whether Ari$« stotle has made a just definition of tra

gedy ; of its parts, of its ends, and of its “ beauties; and whether he, having not seen

any others but those of Sophocles, Euri

pides, &c, had or truly could determine " what all the excellences of tragedy are, “ and wherein they consist.

« Next shew in what ancient tragedy was “ deficient: 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 excel• lency was so great, when the variety was “ visibly so little ; or whether what they 5 did was not very easy to do.

“ Then make a judgement 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, « scarce touched on by the ancients, except in this one example of Phædra, cițed by " Mr. Rymer ; and in that how short they " were of Fletcher !

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“ Prove also that love, being an heroick pafsion, is fit for tragedy., which cannot be

denied, because of the example alledged “ of Phædra ; and how far Shakspeare 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 be“ lieve, upon a true definition of tragedy, 66 it will be found that its work extends sc farther, and that it is to reform manners,

by a delightful representation of human “ life in great persons, by way of dịalogue, “ 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, tho' it be shewn un“ fortunate; and vice detestable, though it “ be shewn triumphant.

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“ 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 fuch in their cha" racters, 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.

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" And here Mr. Rymer's objections against these plays are to be impartially weighed, that we may fee whether they

are of weight enough to turn the balance “ against our countrymen.

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“ 'Tis evident those plays, which he arso raigns, have moved both those passions in

a high degree upon the stage.

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

« One reason is, because whatever aĉtors

they have found, the event has been the " fame; 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 with“ in 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 'tis night, the rest of the world “ conclude it to be day; there needs no “ farther argument against him, that it

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