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contribute in this refpect to rectify and enlarge the fentiments of the philofopher :' And, if fo, they would have the additional merit of conducting us to the temple of truth, by an eafier and more agreeable path than that of mere metaphyfics.

We often confound the writer who imitates the paffions with him who only defcribes them. Shakefpeare imitates, Corneille defcribes. Poets of the fecond clafs, no less than thofe of the firft, may invent the most elegant fictions, may paint the most beautiful imagery, may exhibit fituations exceedingly interefting, and conduct their incidents with propriety: Their verfification may be harmonious; and, above all, their characters may be judiciously compofed, partaking of no incongruous qualities, and free from the difcord of jarring principles. But the end of dra matic poetry not only requires that the characters be judiciously moulded and aptly


circumftanced, but that every paffion be naturally expreffed. There is certainly a wide difference between the defcription of the fallies, the repulfes, and impatience of a violent affection, whether they are defcribed by the agent or the spectator, and their actual imitation and expreffion. But perfect imitation can never be effectuated, unless the poet in fome measure becomes the perfon he reprefents, clothes himself with his character, affumes his manners, and tranfpofeth himself into his fituation: The texture of his mind muft be exquifitely fine and delicate; susceptible of every feeling, and easily moved by every impreffion. Together with this delicacy of affection, he muft poffefs a peculiar warmth and facility of imagination, by which he may retire from himself, become infenfible of his actual condition, and regardless of external circumstances, feel the very incidents he invents: Like


the votaries of a pagan religion, he must worship idols, the works of his own hands, and tremble before the daemons of his own creation. Nothing affords a ftronger evidence of the active, verfatile nature of the foul, and of the amazing rapidity of its motions, than these feemingly inconceivable and inconfiftent exertions.

Shakespeare, inventing the characters of Hamlet, Macbeth, or Othello, actually felt the paffions, and contending emotions afcribed to them, Compare a foliloquy of Hamlet, with one of the descriptions of Roderigue in the Cid. Nothing can be more natural in the circumftances and with the temper of Hamlet, than the following reflections.

O, that this too too folid flesh would melt, Thaw, and refolve itself into a dew!

Or that the Everlasting had not fix'd

His canon 'gainft felf-flaughter! O God! O God!

How weary, ftale, flat, and unprofitable

Seem to me all the ufes of this world!


Fie on't! O fie! 'Tis an unweeded garden,

That grows to feed; things rank, and gross in nature
Poffefs it merely. That it fhould come to this!
But two months dead! nay, not fo much; not two
So excellent a king, that was, to this,

Hyperion to a fatyr: So loving to my mother,
That he might not let e'en the winds of heaven
Vifit her face too roughly.-Heaven and earth!
Muft I remember? Why, fhe would hang on him,
As if increase of appetite had grown

By what it fed on: and yet, within a month-
Let me not think on't-Frailty, thy name is woman
A little month; or ere thofe fhoes were old,
With which the follow'd my poor father's body,
Like Niobe, all tears.-Why fhe, even she-
O heaven! a beast, that wants discourse of reason,
Would have mourn'd longer-married with my uncle
My father's brother; but no more like my father
Than I to Hercules. Within a month-
Ere yet the falt of moft unrighteous tears
Had left the flushing in her gauled eyes→→→

She married. Oh, moft wicked speed, to po
With fuch dexterity to inceftuous fheets!

It is not, nor it cannot come to good.

In the Cid, Rodirigue, who is the hero of the tragedy, and deeply enamoured of


Chimene, is called upon to revenge a heinous infult done to his father by the father of his miftrefs; and he delineates the diftress of his fituation, in the following manner; certainly with great beauty of expreffion and verfification, and with peculiar elegance of defcription, but not as a real fufferer.

Percé jufqu' au fond du coeur

D'une atteinte imprevue auffi bien que mortelle ;
Miferable vengeur d'une trop jufte querelle,
Et malheureux objet d'une injufte rigueur,
Je demeure immobile, et mon ame abattue
Cede au coup qui me tue.

This harangue would better fuit a defcriptive novelift or narrator of the story, than the perfon actually concerned. Let us make the experiment. Let us change the verbs and pronouns from the first perfon into the third; and, instead of suppofing that Rodirigue fpeaks, let us imagine that the ftate of his mind is defcribed by

a fpec


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