« PreviousContinue »
HIS ROYAL HIGHNESSS
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,
Your Royal Highness's
most obedient, and
most devoted servant,
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.
BOLD is the man! who, in this nicer age,
What shall we then? to please you how devise,