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HIS ROYAL HIGHNESSS

FREDERICK,
PRINCE OF WALES.

SIR,

The honour your Royal Highness has done me in the protection you was pleased to give to this Tragedy, emboldens me to lay it now at your feet, and beg your permission to publish it under Royal Patronage. The favorring and protecting of letters has been, in all ages and countries, one distinguishing mark of a great prince; and that with good reason, not only as it shews a justness of taste, and elevation of mind, but as the

influence of such a protection, by exciting good writers is to labour with more emulation in the improvement of

their several talents, not a little contributes to the embellishment and instruction of society: But of all the different species of writing, none has such an effect upon the lives and manners of men, as the dramatic; and therefore, that of all others most deserves the attention of princes; who, by a judicious approbation of such pieces as tend to promote all public and private virtue, may more than by any coercive methods, secure the purity of the stage, and in consequence thereof, greatly advance the morals and politeness of their people. How eminently your Royal Highness has always

extended your favour and patronage to every art and science, and in a particular manner to dramatic pere formances, is too well known to the world for me te mention it here. Allow me only to wish, that what I have now the honour to offer to your Royal Highness, may be judged not unworthy of your protection, at least in the sentiments which it inculcales.

A warm and grateful sense of your goodness to me, makes me desirous to seize every occasion of declaring in public, with what profound respect and dutiful attachment,

I am,

Sir,

Your Royal Highness's

most obliged,

most obedient, and

most devoted servant,

JAMES THOMSON.

1

TANCRED AND SIGISMUNDA.

This is the only play of Thomson's that has been of late performed upon our theatres. The genius of this amiable Poet did not naturally lead him to Tragedy: the desire of profit seeins to have induced him to become a Tragic Poet, in which walk of literature his superiors are much more numerous than in the descriptive and the allegoric.

Drawing, however, from a master so consummate as LE SAGE, the present play could not but be interest. ing and busy ; displaying events suitable to the ends of Tragedy, as calling forth terror, and demanding pity.

It is singular that THOMSON should not have hinted at the source from which TANCRED was derived. His age, however, might have scrupled a drama drawn from GILBLAs. The incidents therein are closely followed, and there appears to be much poetic address and classical purity in the disposition of the circumstances and the colouring of the sentiments.

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BOLD is the man! who, in this nicer age,
Presumes to tread the chaste corrected stage.
Now, with gay tinsel arts, we can no more
Conceal the want of nature's sterling ore.
Our spells are vanishd, broke our magic wand,
That us’d to waft you over sea and land.
Before your light the fairy people fade,
The demons fly---the ghost itself is laid.
In vain of martial scenes the loud alarms,
The mighty prompter thundering out to arms,
The playhouse passe clattering from afar,
The close-wedg’d battle, and the din of war.
Now, even the senate seldom we convene;
The yawning fathers nod behind the scene.
Your taste rejects the glittering false sublime,
To sigh in metaphor, and die in rhime.
High rant is tumbled from his gallery throne :
Description, dreams-nay, similies are gone.

What shall we then? to please you how devise,
Whose judgment sits not in your ears nor eyes?
Thriçe happy! could we catch great Shakspere's art,
To trace the deep recesses of the heart:
His simple, plain sublime, to which is given
To strike the soul with darted flame from heaven:

.

Could we awake soft Otway's tender woe,
The pomp of verse and golden lines of Rowe.

We to your hearts apply: let them attend; Before their silent, candid bar we bend. If warm'd, they listen, 'tis our noblest praise : If cold, they wither all the muse's bays.

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