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or adventures are liable to fall into this error; and tragedies with many turns are subject to it; for the manners can never be evident, where the surprises of fortune take up all the business of the stage; and where the poet is more in pain to tell you what happened to 5 such a man, than what he was. 'Tis one of the excellencies of Shakespeare, that the manners of his persons are generally apparent, and you see their bent and inclinations. Fletcher comes far short of him in this, as indeed he does almost in everything: there are but 10 glimmerings of manners in most of his comedies, which run upon adventures; and in his tragedies, Rollo, Otto the King and no King, Melantius, and many others of his best, are but pictures shown you in the twilight; you know not whether they resemble vice or virtue, and 15 they are either good, bad, or indifferent, as the present scene requires it. But of all poets, this commendation is to be given to Ben Johnson, that the manners, even of the most inconsiderable persons in his plays, are everywhere apparent.


By considering the second quality of manners, which is, that they be suitable to the age, quality, country, dignity, etc., of the character, we may likewise judge whether a poet has followed Nature. In this kind, Sophocles and Euripides have more excelled among 25 the Greeks than Eschylus; and Terence more than Plautus, among the Romans. Thus, Sophocles gives to Edipus the true qualities of a king, in both those plays which bear his name; but in the latter, which is the Edipus Colonaus, he lets fall on purpose his tragic 30 style; his hero speaks not in the arbitrary tone; but remembers, in the softness of his complaints, that he is an unfortunate blind old man; that he is banished from his country, and persecuted by his next relations. The present French poets are generally accused, that where- 35

soever they lay the scene, or in whatsoever age, the manners of their heroes are wholly French. Racine's Bajazet is bred at Constantinople; but his civilities are conveyed to him, by some secret passage, from Ver5 sailles into the Seraglio. But our Shakespeare, having ascribed to Henry the Fourth the character of a king and of a father, gives him the perfect manners of each relation, when either he transacts with his son or with his subjects. Fletcher, on the other side, gives neither 10 to Arbaces, nor to his king, in the Maid's Tragedy, the qualities which are suitable to a monarch; though he may be excused a little in the latter, for the king there is not uppermost in the character; 'tis the lover of Evadne, who is king only in a second consideration; 15 and though he be unjust, and has other faults which shall be nameless, yet he is not the hero of the play. 'Tis true, we find him a lawful prince (though I never heard of any king that was in Rhodes), and therefore Mr. Rymer's criticism stands good; that he should not 20 be shown in so vicious a character. Sophocles has been more judicious in his Antigona; for, though he represents in Creon a bloody prince, yet he makes him not a lawful king, but an usurper, and Antigona herself is the heroine of the tragedy: but when Philaster 25 wounds Arethusa and the boy; and Perigot his mistress, in the Faithful Shepherdess, both these are contrary to the character of manhood. Nor is Valentinian managed much better; for, though Fletcher has taken his picture truly, and shown him as he was, an effeminate, volup30 tuous man, yet he has forgotten that he was an emperor, and has given him none of those royal marks which ought to appear in a lawful successor of the throne. it be inquired, what Fletcher should have done on this. occasion; ought he not to have represented Valentinian 35 as he was;-Bossu shall answer this question for me, by


an instance of the like nature: Mauritius, the Greek emperor, was a prince far surpassing Valentinian, for he was endued with many kingly virtues; he was religious, merciful, and valiant, but withal he was noted of extreme covetousness, a vice which is contrary to the character 5 of a hero, or a prince: therefore, says the critic, that emperor was no fit person to be represented in a tragedy, unless his good qualities were only to be shown, and his covetousness (which sullied them all) were slurred over by the artifice of the poet. To return once more 10 to Shakespeare; no man ever drew so many characters, or generally distinguished 'em better from one another, excepting only Johnson. I will instance but in one, to show the copiousness of his intention; it is that of Caliban, or the monster, in the Tempest. He seems 15 there to have created a person which was not in Nature, a boldness which, at first sight, would appear intolerable; for he makes him a species of himself, begotten by an incubus on a witch; but this, as I have elsewhere proved, is not wholly beyond the bounds of credibility, at least the vulgar still believe it. We have the separated notions of a spirit, and of a witch (and spirits, according to Plato, are vested with a subtle body; according to some of his followers, have different sexes); therefore, as from the distinct apprehensions of 25 a horse, and of a man, imagination has formed a centaur; so, from those of an incubus and a sorceress, Shakespeare has produced his monster. Whether or no his generation can be defended, I leave to philosophy; but of this I am certain, that the poet has most 30 judiciously furnished him with a person, a language, and a character, which will suit him, both by father's and mother's side: he has all the discontents and malice of a witch, and of a devil, besides a convenient proportion of the deadly sins; gluttony, sloth, and lust, are 35


manifest; the dejectedness of a slave is likewise given him, and the ignorance of one bred up in a desert island. His person is monstrous, and he is the product of unnatural lust; and his language is as hobgoblin as 5 his person; in all things he is distinguished from other mortals. The characters of Fletcher are poor and narrow, in comparison of Shakespeare's; I remember not one which is not borrowed from him; unless you will accept that strange mixture of a man in the King 10 and no King; so that in this part Shakespeare is generally worth our imitation; and to imitate Fletcher is but to copy after him who was a copyer.

Under this general head of manners, the passions are naturally included as belonging to the characters. 15 I speak not of pity and of terror, which are to be moved in the audience by the plot; but of anger, hatred, love, ambition, jealousy, revenge, etc., as they are shown in this or that person of the play. To describe these naturally, and to move them artfully, is one of the 20 greatest commendations which can be given to a poet : to write pathetically, says Longinus, cannot proceed but from a lofty genius. A poet must be born with this quality yet, unless he help himself by an acquired knowledge of the passions, what they are in their own 25 nature, and by what springs they are to be moved, he will be subject either to raise them where they ought not to be raised, or not to raise them by the just degrees of nature, or to amplify them beyond the natural bounds, or not to observe the crisis and turns of them, in their 30 cooling and decay; all which errors proceed from want of judgment in the poet, and from being unskilled in the principles of Moral Philosophy. Nothing is more frequent in a fanciful writer, than to foil himself by not managing his strength; therefore, as in a wrestler, 35 there is first required some measure of force, a well-knit

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body and active limbs, without which all instruction would be vain; yet, these being granted, if he want the skill which is necessary to a wrestler, he shall make but small advantage of his natural robustuousness: so, in a poet, his inborn vehemence and force of spirit will only run him out of breath the sooner, if it be not supported by the help of Art. The roar of passion, indeed, may please an audience, three parts of which are ignorant enough to think all is moving which is noise, and it may stretch the lungs of an ambitious ro actor, who will die upon the spot for a thundering clap; but it will move no other passion than indignation and contempt from judicious men. Longinus, whom I have hitherto followed, continues thus: If the passions be artfully employed, the discourse becomes vehement and 15 lofty: if otherwise, there is nothing more ridiculous than a great passion out of season: and to this purpose he animadverts severely upon Eschylus, who writ nothing in cold blood, but was always in a rapture, and in fury with his audience: the inspiration was still upon 20 him, he was ever tearing it upon the tripos; or (to run off as madly as he does, from one similitude to another) he was always at high-flood of passion, even in the dead ebb and lowest water-mark of the scene. He who would raise the passion of a judicious audience, says 25 a learned critic, must be sure to take his hearers along with him; if they be in a calm, 'tis in vain for him to be in a huff: he must move them by degrees, and kindle with 'em ; otherwise he will be in danger of setting his own heap of stubble on fire, and of burning out by 30 himself, without warming the company that stand about him. They who would justify the madness of Poetry from the authority of Aristotle, have mistaken the text, and consequently the interpretation: I imagine it to be false read, where he says of Poetry, that it is Evpvous 35

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