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he should have given us the picture of a rough young man of the Amazonian strain, a jolly huntsman, and both by his profession and his early rising a mortal enemy to love, he has chosen to give him the turn of gallantry, sent him to travel from Athens to Paris, taught him to make love, and transformed the Hippolitus of Euripides into Monsieur Hippolite."
· From the same preface, we are tempted to make another extract; not from any connection which it has with the preceding subject, but because we have cast our eye upon it, and are so taken with its jocose and ludicrous character, that we cannot prevail upon ourselves to pass it over.
“Horace was certainly in the right, where he said, that no man is satisfied with his own condition. A poet is not pleased because he is not rich, and the rich are discontented because the poets will not admit them of their number. Thus the case is hard with writers: if they succeed not, they must starve; and if they do, some malicious satire is prepared to level them, for daring to please without their leave. But while they are so eager to destroy the fame of others, 'their ambition is manifest in their concernment; some poem of their own is to be produced, and the slaves are to be laid flat with their faces on the ground, that the monarch may appear in the greater majesty. . “ Dionysius and Nero had the same longings, but with all their power they could never bring their business well about. It is true, they proclaimed themselves poets by sound of trumpet; and poets they were, upon pain of death to any man who durst call them otherwise. The audience had a fine time on't, you may imagine, they sat in a bodily fear, and looked as demurely as they could : for it was a hanging matter to laugh unseasonably; and the tyrants were suspicious, as they had reason, that their subjects had them in the wind; so every man in his own defence set as good a face upon the business as he could. It was known beforehand that the monarchs were to be crowned laureats; but when the shew was over, and an honest man was suffered to depart quietly, he took out his laughter which he had stifled, with a firm resolution never more to see an emperor's play, though he had been ten years a making it. In the mean time, the true poets were they who made the best markets, for they had wit enough to yield the prize with a good grace, and not contend with him who had thirty legions. They were sure to be rewarded, if they confessed themselves bad writers; and that was somewhat better than to be martyrs for their reputation. Lucan's example was enough to teach them manners; and after he was put to death for overcoming Nero, the emperor carried it without dispute for the best poet in his dominions; no man was ambitious of that grinning honour; for if he heard the malicious trumpeter proclaiming his name before his betters, he knew there was but one way with him.”
· He exposes in rather unqualified terms the poverty of the ancients, with regard to the subjects of the drama, but lays a greater stress upon it than, we think, the occasion requires. If the passions be forcibly represented, it matters very little whether the story be previously known to the audience or not; for curiosity is a feeling which seldom arises within the walls of a theatre. They are, or ought to be, too much occupied with the present, to be solicitous about what is to ensue, or how the play is to terminate. The latter part, which treats of the Roman senate, contains an admirable exposition of a Terentian play.
“ It has already been judiciously observed by a late writer on their tragedies, that it was only some tale derived from Thebes or Troy, or at least something that happened in those two ́ages; which was worn so threadbare by the pens of all the epick poets, and even by the tradition itself of the talkative Greeklings, (as Ben Jonson calls them,) that before it came upon the stage, it was already known to all the audience; and the people, so soon as ever they heard the name of Oedipus, knew as well as the poet, that he had killed his father by a mistake, and committed incest with his mother, before the play: that they were not to hear of a great plague, an oracle, and the ghost of Laius : so that they sat with a yawning kind of expectation, till he was to come with his eyes pulled out, and speak a hundred or more verses in a tragick tone, in complaint of his misfortunes. But one Oedipus, Hercules, or Medea, had been tolerable: poor people, they escaped not so good cheap; they had still the chapon bouillé set before them, till their appetites were cloyed with the same dish, and, the novelty being gone, the pleasure vanished; so that one main end of Dramatick Poesy in its definition, which was to caụse delight, was of consequence destroyed.
“ In their comedies, the Romans generally borrowed their plots from the Greek poets; and theirs was commonly a little girl stolen or wandered from her parents, brought back unknown to the city, there got with child by some lewd young fellow, who, by the help of his servant, cheats his father, and when her time comes, to cry-Juno Lucina, fer opem, one or other sees a little box or cabinet which was carried away with her, and so discovers her to her friends, if some god do not prevent it, by coming down in a machine, and taking the thanks of it to himself.
“ By the plot you may guess much of the characters of the persons. An old father, who would willingly, before he dies, see his son well married ; his debauched son, kind in his nature to his mistress, but miserably in want of money; a servant or slave, who has so much wit to strike in with him, and help to dupe his father; a braggadocio captain, a parasite, and a lady of pleasure.
“ As for the poor honest maid, on whom the story is built, and who ought to be one of the principal actors in the play, she is commonly a mute iņ it: she has the breeding of the old Elizabeth way, which was for maids to be seen and not to be heard; and it is enough you know she is willing to be married, when the fifth act requires it.
“ These are plots built after the Italian mode of houses,-you see through them all at once: the characters are indeed the imitations of nature, but so narrow, as if they had imitated only an eye or an hand, and did not dare to venture on the lines of a face, or the proportion of a body.”
ART. IV. A Small Treatise betwixt Arnalte and Lucenda ;
entitled ; The Evil-intreated Lover ; or, The Melancholy Knight. Originally written in the Greeke Tongue by an unknowne Author. "Afterwards translated into Spanish; after that, for the excellency thereof, into the French Tongue by N. H. [Nicholas Herberai;] next by B. M. [Bartholomew Maraffi] into the Thuscan; and now turned into English verse by L. L. [Leonard Lawrence,] a well-wisher to the Muses. London, 1639. p.p. 128.
The principal, we had almost said the only, merit of this little work is its extreme rarity; but, in spite of its manifold offences against good taste, and even against common sense, there is a redeeming spirit about it which must preserve it from unmingled reprobation. The story is meagre in design and clumsy in execution; the sentiments extravagant and unnatural; and the language alternately bombastic and grovelling. But the author, (or, as he modestly calls himself, the translator,) had evidently the seeds of true poesy in him, which, with careful and judicious culture, might, instead of its poor and stinted crop, have brought forth a golden harvest. His feeling of his subject is deep and strong, but his power of utterance is unequal to his conceptions, and his passion evaporates in fantastic hyperboles and unnatural conceits. His descriptions of natural scenery, though minute, are rather vague and general than distinct and local ; but he looks on nature with the enthusiasm of a poet's love, and sometimes succeeds in conveying to the reader a lively perception of his imaginings.
The story of Arnalte and Lucenda is faithfully copied from an Italian tale, which was already familiar to the English reader in the prose translation of Claudius Hollyband, * but the poetical embellishments, such as they are, are the exclusive property of Leonard Lawrence. The poem is prefaced by a dedication “ to his honoured uncle, Adam Lawrence ;" a metrical address “to the noble-minded reader;" another “to all faire ladies famous for their virtues ;" a third to “all ingenious poets ;” and six copies of commendatory verses by the author's friends. It thus commences :
* Published in his Italian Schoole Maister, 1608.
“ There's but a summer past; the golden sunne,
The incidents of the poem, which are detailed with a prolixity which would exhaust the patience of any one but a reviewer, may be comprised in a very few words. The supposed narrator of the tale, in his travels is bewildered in
- a desart place
Unlesse 'twere such whose chirping notes did sound
The traveller, at last, reaches a stately but dismal mansion, where he is hospitably welcomed, and courteously entertained by Arnalte, the melancholy owner. The latter relates to his guest the cause of his voluntary seclusion in this desert place : he was a native of Thebes, and in viewing the funeral of “ an eminent man, in Thebes city known,” became enamoured of the charms of his grieving daughter, Lucenda, who is thus delineated :
his daughter, who, alas! did seeme