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a spectator : “ Pierced, even to the heart, “ by an unforeseen, as well as mortal “ stroke, the miserable avenger of a just " quarrel, and the unhappy object of un

just severity, he remains motionless,

and his broken spirit yields to the blow " that destroys him.”

Il demeure immobile, et son ame abattue

Cede au coup qui le tue. Try the soliloquy of Hamlet by the same test; and, without inserting the words " he said," which render it dramatic, the change will be impossible. Try also the following lines from Virgil : they are taken from that celebrated and well-known passage, where Dido expresses to Anna the passion she had conceived for Æneas. Quis novus hic noftris fucceffit sedibus hofpes ? Quem sese ore ferens ! quam forti pectore et armis! Credo equidem, nec vana fides, genus esse deorum, &c.

It may be observed in general, that, whenever a speech seems proper and intel

ligible

66 he re

ligible with the change of persons above mentioned, and without inserting some such words as,

" he said,” or, plied,” it is narration, it is description; but can scarcely be called the language of paffion. I am aware, that some passages, even in Shakespeare, may be opposed to this observation. When Macbeth returns from the aflaffination of Duncan, Lady Macbeth tells him to carry back the daggers, and smear with blood the faces of the king's attendants, meaning to fasten upon them the suspicion of the murder. Macbeth replies,

I'll go no more ;
I am afraid to think what I have done ;

Look on't again, I dare not. Is this the direct and natural expression of fear? If so, it bears hard against the foregoing remark. But let us reflect attentively. Fear is not the present passion in the mind of Macbeth: A transient desire of another

kind

* I am

kind for a moment engages him, namely, the desire of giving Lady Macbeth a reason for not returning into the King's apart. ment. The man who tells

you, exceedingly angry, or exceedingly in love, and therefore I act in such or such a manner,” does not in these words fpeak the language either of love or of anger, but of his desire of giving you a reason, or of his making an apology for his behaviour. You believe him, because you truft in his veracity, and because you see corresponding evidence in his deportment; not that the words, am angry, or I am in love,” independent of tones of voice, looks or gestures, express either love or anger.

An objection of the following kind may also be advanced : • The excellence of dramatic writing consists in its imitating with truth and propriety the manners and paflions of mankind : If, therefore, a

dramatic

66 I

dramatic writer, capable of describing and of narrating with elegance and propriety, is nevertheless incapable of expressing the language and sentiments of passion, he fails in the sole end and purpose of his art, and of consequence can afford no pleasure. Contrary to this, many tragedies are seen and read with uncommon applause, and excite even the liveliest feelings; but which, if they were tried by the abovementioned standard, would be reckoned defective." To remove this objection, it may be observed, that those sympathetic emotions that interest us in the happiness and misery of others, and yield us the highest pleasure at theatrical entertainments, are, by the wife and beneficial institutions of nature, exceedingly apt to be excited : So apt, that if any concomitant circumstances, though of a different kind, whether melancholy or joyful, draw the mind from its usual state of indifference, and dispose it to a state of exс

treme vents

treme sensibility ; the slightest incident or expression will call forth our sympathy. Now, in dramatic performances, there are many things to put the mind into a sufceptible and tender mood, and chiefly, elegance of expression, harmony of composition, and delightful imagery. These working upon the mind, and being all concerned to impress us with the notion of certain events or circumstances very interesting to persons of certain qualities and dispositions, our imaginations are immediately stimulated and in action; we figure to ourselves the characters which the poet intends to exhibit; we take part in their interests, and enter into their passions as warmly as if they were naturally expressed. Thus it appears, that it is often with beings of our own formation that we lament or, rejoice, imagining them to be the workmanship of another. And indeed this delusion will ever prevail with people of warm imaginations, if what the poet in

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