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contribute in this respect to rectify and enlarge the sentiments of the philosopher :' And, if so, they would have the additional merit of conducting us to the temple of truth, by an easier and more agreeable path than that of mere metaphyfics.
We often confound the writer who imitates the passions with him who only describes them. Shakespeare imitates, Corneille describes. Poets of the second clafs, no less than thofe of the first, may invent the most elegant fictions, may paint the most beautiful imagery, may exhibit fituations exceedingly interesting, and conduct their incidents with propriety : Their versification may be harmonious; and, above all, their characters may be judiciously composed, partaking of no incongruous qualities, and free from the discord of jarring principles. But the end of draw matic poetry not only requires that the characters be judiciously moulded and aptly
circumstanced, but that every passion be naturally expressed. There is certainly a wide difference between the description of the fallies, the repulses, and impatience of a violent affection, whether they are described by the agent or the spectator, and their actual imitation and expression. But perfect imitation can never be effectuated, unless the poet in some measure becomes the person he represents, clothes himself with his character, aflumes his manners, and transposeth himself into his situation: The texture of his mind must be exquisitely fine and delicate; susceptible of every feeling, and easily moved by every impression. Together with this delicacy of affection, he must possess a peculiar warmth and facility of imagination, by which he may retire from himself, become insensible 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 stronger evidence of the active, versatile nature of the soul, and of the amazing rapidity of its motions, than these seemingly inconceivable and inconsistent exertions.
Shakespeare, inventing the characters of Hamlet, Macbeth, or Othello, actually felt the passions, and contending emotions ascribed to them. Compare a soliloquy of Hamlet, with one of the descriptions of Roderigue in the Cid. Nothing can be more natural in the circumstances and with the temper of Hamlet, than the following reflections.
0, that this too too solid flesh would melt,
Fie on't! O fie! 'Tis an unweeded garden,
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 mistress; and he delineates the distress of his situation, in the following manner; certainly with great beauty of expression and verfification, and with peculiar elegance of description, but not as a real fufferer.
Percé jusqu'au fond du coeur.
This harangue would better suit a descriptive novelift or narrator of the story, than the person actually concerned. Let us make the experiment. Let us change the verbs and pronouns from the first person into the third ; and, instead of supposing that Rodirigue speaks, let us imagine that the state of his mind is described by