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a fpectator: Pierced, even to the heart, "by an unforeseen, as well as mortal "stroke, the miferable avenger of a juft ́ " quarrel, and the unhappy object of un"juft feverity, he remains motionless, "and his broken fpirit yields to the blow "that deftroys him."
Il demeure immobile, et fon ame abattue
Try the foliloquy of Hamlet by the fame teft; and, without inferting the words "he faid," which render it dramatic, the change will be impoffible. Try also the following lines from Virgil: they are taken from that celebrated and well-known paffage, where Dido expreffes to Anna the paffion fhe had conceived for Æneas.
Quis novus hic noftris fucceffit fedibus hofpes?
It may be obferved in general, that, whenever a speech feems proper and intelligible
ligible with the change of perfons above mentioned, and without inferting fome fuch words as, "he faid," or, " he re
plied," it is narration, it is description; but can scarcely be called the language of paffion. I am aware, that fome paffages, even in Shakespeare, may be opposed to this obfervation. When Macbeth returns from the affaffination of Duncan, Lady Macbeth tells him to carry back the daggers, and fmear with blood the faces of the king's attendants, meaning to faften upon them the fufpicion of the murder. Macbeth' replies,
I'll go no more ;
I am afraid to think what I have done;
Is this the direct and natural expreffion of fear? If fo, it bears hard against the foregoing remark. But let us reflect attentively. Fear is not the prefent paffion in the mind. of Macbeth: A tranfient defire of another kind
kind for a moment engages him, namely, the defire of giving Lady Macbeth a reason for not returning into the King's apart ment. The man who tells you, "I am exceedingly angry, or exceedingly in love, and therefore I act in fuch or fuch a manner," does not in these words fpeak the language either of love or of anger, but of his defire of giving you a reafon, or of his making an apology for his behaviour. You believe him, because you truft in his veracity, and because you fee correfponding evidence in his deportment; not that the words, "I am angry, or I am in love," independent of tones of voice, looks or geftures, exprefs either love or anger.
An objection of the following kind may alfo be advanced: "The excellence of dramatic writing confifts in its imitating with truth and propriety the manners and paffions of mankind: If, therefore, a dramatic
dramatic writer, capable of describing and of narrating with elegance and propriety, is nevertheless incapable of expreffing the language and fentiments of paffion, he fails in the fole end and purpose of his art, and of confequence can afford no pleasure. Contrary to this, many tragedies are seen and read with uncommon applaufe, and excite even the livelieft feelings; but which, if they were tried by the abovementioned ftandard, would be reckoned defective." To remove this objection, it may be observed, that those fympathetic emotions that intereft us in the happiness and mifery of others, and yield us the highest pleasure at theatrical entertainments, are, by the wife and beneficial inftitutions of nature, exceedingly apt to be excited: So apt, that if any concomitant circumftances, though of a different kind, whether melancholy or joyful, draw the mind from its ufual ftate of indifference, and difpofe it to a ftate of exс
treme fenfibility; the flighteft incident. or expreffion will call forth our fympathy. Now, in dramatic performances, there are many things to put the mind into a sufceptible and tender mood, and chiefly, elegance of expreffion, harmony of compofition, and delightful imagery. Thefe working upon the mind, and being all concerned to imprefs us with the notion of certain events or circumftances very interesting to persons of certain qualities and difpofitions, 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 interefts, and enter into their paffions as warmly as if they were naturally expreffed. 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 delufion will ever prevail with people of warm imaginations, if what the poet in