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fituation of the distressful perfonages who speak them. When Shore first meets with her hufband, fhe fays,

* Art thou not rifen by miracle from death?
Thy shroud is fall'n from off thee, and the grave
Was bid to give thee up, that thou might'ft come,
The meffenger of grace and goodness to me.-

He has then added fome lines, intolerably flowery and unnatural;

Give me your drops, ye foft defcending rains,
Give me your ftreams, ye never-ceafing springs,
That my fad eyes may still supply my duty,
And feed an everlasting flood of forrow.

This is of a far diftant ftrain from those tender and fimple exclamations fhe uses, when her husband offers her fome rich conferves;

And again;

+ How can you be so good?

Have you forgot

The coftly ftring of pearl you brought me home,
And ty'd about my neck? how could I leave you?

* A&t 5. Sc. 4.

ibid.

She

She continues to gaze on him with earnestness, and instead of eating as he entreats her, she

obferves,

-----You're ftrangely alter'd

Say, gentle Belmour, is he not? how pale

Your visage is become? Your eyes are hollow,-
Nay, you are wrinkled too-

To which the inftantly fubjoins, ftruck with the idea that she herself was the unhappy cause of this alteration;

Alas the day!

My wretchedness has coft you many a tear,

And many a bitter pang fince laft we parted.

What she answers to her husband, when he asks her movingly,

Why doft thou fix thy dying eyes upon me
With fuch an earnest, such a piteous look,
As if thy heart was full of some fad meaning,
Thou couldst not speak !—

Is pathetic to a great degree; and,

Forgive me! but forgive me!-

These few words far exceed the most pompous

Nn 2

decla

declamations of Cato. The interview betwixt Jane Shore and Alicia, in the middle of this act, is also very affecting: where the madness of Alicia is well painted. But of all reprefentations of madnefs, that of Clementina, in the History of Sir Charles Grandison, is the most deeply interesting. I know not whether even the madness of Lear is wrought up, and expreffed by so many little strokes of nature, and genuine paffion. It is abfolute pedantry to prefer and compare, the madness of Oreftes in Euripides, to this of Clementina.

Ir is probable, that this is become the most popular and pleafing tragedy of all Rowe's works, because it is founded on our own hiftory. It is to be wished, that our writers would more frequently fearch for fubjects, in the annals of England, which afford many ftriking and pathetic events, proper for the ftage. We have been too long attached to Grecian and Roman ftories. In truth, the DOMESTICA FACTA, are more interesting, as well as more useful: more interesting, be

caufe

cause we all think ourselves concerned in the actions and fates of our countrymen; more ufeful, because the characters and manners, bid the fairest to be true and natural, when they are drawn from models with which we are exactly acquainted. The Turks, the Perfians, and Americans, of our poets, are in reality distinguished from Englishmen, only by their turbans and feathers; and think, and act, as if they were born and educated within the bills of mortality. The historical plays of * Shakespeare, are always particularly grateful to the spectator, who loves to fee and hear our own Harrys and Edwards, better than all the Achille'ss or Brutus's that ever exifted. In the choice of a domestic story, however, much judgment and circumfpection must be exerted, to felect one of a proper æra; neither of too ancient, or

*Milton has left, in a manufcript, thirty three fubjects for tragedies, all taken from the English annals; which manuscript the curious reader may see printed in Newton's Edit. of Milton, O&t. Vol. 3. pag. 331. And in Birch's life of Milton, prefixed to his edition of Milton's profe-works; and in Peck's Miscellanca Curiofa.

of

of too modern a date. The manners of times very ancient, we fhall be as apt to falfify, as those of the Greeks and Romans. And recent events, with which we are thoroughly acquainted, are deprived of the power of impreffing folemnity and awe, by their notoriety and familiarity. Age softens and wears away all those disgracing and depreciating circumftances, which attend modern tranfactions, merely because they are modern. Lucan was much embarraffed by the proximity of the times he treated of. On this very account, as well as others, the best tragedy that could be poffibly written on the murder of Charles I. would be coldly received. Racine ventured to write on a recent history, in his Bajazet; but would not have attempted it, had he not thought, that the distance of his hero's country repaired, in some measure, the nearness of the time in which he lived, Major a longinquo reverentia."

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