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State of Bliss, and were cast into Hell upon their Disobe. dience. Besides this great Moral, which may be looked upon as the Soul of the Fable, there are an Infinity of Under-Morals which are to be drawn from the several parts of the Poem, and which makes this Work more useful and instructive than any other Poem in any Language.
THOSE who have criticized on the Odyssey, the Iliad, and Æneid, have taken a great deal of Pains to fix the Number of Months and Days contained in the Action of each of those Poems. If any one thinks it worth his while to examine this Particular in Milton, he will find that from Adam's first Appearance in the fourth Book, to his Expulsion from Paradise in the twelfth, the Author reckons ten Days. As for that part of the Action which is described in the three first Books, as it does not pass within the Regions of Nature, I have before observed that it is not subject to any Calculations of Time.
I have now finished my Observations on a Work which does an honour to the English Nation. I have taken a general View of it under these four Heads, the Fable, the Characters, the Sentiments, and the Language; and made each of them the Subject of a particular Paper. I have in the next Place spoken of the Censures which our Author may incur under each of these Heads, which I have confined to two Papers, though I might have en larged the Number, if I had been disposed to dwell on so un grateful a Subject. I believe, however, that the severeft Reader will not find any little Fault in Heroick Poetry, which this Author has fallen into, that does not come under one of those Heads among which I have distributed his several Blemishes. After having thus treated at large of Paradise Loft, I could not think it sufficient to have celebrated this Poem in the whole, without descending to Particulars. I have therefore bestowed a Paper upon each Book, and endeavoured not only to prove that the Poem is beautiful in general, but to point out its Particular Beauties, and to determine wherein they confift. I have endeavoured to thew how some Passages are beautisul by being Sublime, others by being Soft, others by being Natural ; which of them are recommended by the Palion, which by the Moral, which by the Sentiment;
and which by the Expression. I have likewise endeavoured to fhew how the Genius of the Poet shines by a happy Invention, a diftant Allusion, or a judicious Imitation ; how he has copied or improved Homer or Virgil, and raises his own Imaginations by the Ufe which he has made of several Poetical Passages in Scripture. I might have inserted also several Pallages in Tafo, which our Author has imitated ; but as I do not look upon Talo to be a sufficient Voucher, I would not perplex my Reader with such Quotations, as might do more Honour to the Italian than the English Poet. In short, I have endeavoured to particularize those innumerable kinds of Beauty, which it would be tedious to recapitulate, but which are essential to Poetry, and which may be met with in the Works of this great Author. Had I thought, at my first engaging in this Design, that it would have led me to so great a length, I believe I should never have entered upon it; but the kind Reception which it has met with among those whose Judgments I have a value for, as well as the uncommon Demands which my Bookseller tells me have been made for these particular Discourses, give me no reason to repent of the Pains I have been at in composing them. .
N° 370. Monday, May 5.
Totus Mundus agit Histrionem. M A NY of my fair Readers, as well as very gay and V w ell-received Persons of the other Sex, are ex.
tremely perplexed at the Latin Sentences at the Head of my Speculations; I do not know whether I ought not to indulge them with Translations of each of them : However, I have to day taken down from the Top of the Stage in Drury-Lane a bit of Latin which often stands in their View, and fignifies that the whole World acts the Player. It is certain that if we look all round us, and be. kold the differentEmployments of Mankind, you hardly see
one who is not, as the Player is, in an assum'd Charac. ter. The Lawyer, who is vehement and loud in a Cause wherein he knows he has not the Truth of the Question on his fide,is a Player as to the personated Part, but incom. parably meaner than he as to the Prostitution of himself for hire ; because the Pleader's Fallhood introduces Injuftice, the Player feigns for no other end but to divert or instruct you. The Divine, whose Passions transport him to say any thing with any View but promoting the Interests of true Piety and Religion, is a Player with a still greater Imputation of.Guilt, in proportion to his depre. ciating a Character more sacred. Consider all the dif. ferent Pursuits and Employments of Men, and you will find half their Actions tend to nothing else but Disguise and Impofture ; and all that is done which proceeds not from a Man's very self is the Action of a Player. For this reason it is that I make so frequent mention of the Stage: It is, with me, a Matter of the highest Consideration what Parts are well or ill performed, what Pasfions or Sentiments are indulged or cultivated, and confequently what Manners and Customs are transfused from the Stage to the World, which reciprocally imitate each other. As the Writers of Epick Poems introduce shadowy Persons, and represent Vices and Virtues under the Cha. racters of Men and Women; so I, who am a SPECTATOR in the World, may perhaps sometimes make use of the Names of the Actors on the Stage, to represent or admonish those who transact Affairs in the World. When I am commending Wilks for representing the Tenderness of a Husband and a father in Macbeth, the Contrition of a reformed Prodigal in Harry.the Fourth, the winning Emptiness of a young Man of Good-nature and Wealth in the Trip to the Jubilee, the Officiousness of an-artful Servant in the Fox: when thus I celebrate Wilks, I talk to all the World who are engaged in any of those Cir: cumstances. · If I were to speak of Merit neglected, misapplied or misunderstood, might not I say Eastcourt has a great Capacity ? But it is not the Intereft of others who bear a Figure on the Stage that his Talents were underitood; it is their Business to iinpose upon him what cannot become him, or keep out of his hands any thing in which he would shine. Were one to raise a
Suspicion Suspicion of himself in a Man who passes upon the World for a fine Thing, in order to alarm him, one might say, if Lord Foppington were not on the Stage, (Cibber acts the false Pretensions to a genteel Behaviour so very juftly) he would have in the generality of Mankind more that would admire than deride him. When we come to Cha. racters directly Comical, it is not to be imagin'd what Effect a well-regulated Stage would have upon Mens Manners. The Craft of an Usurer, the Absurdity of a rich Fool, the awkward Roughness of a Fellow of half Courage, the ungraceful Mirth of a Creature of half Wit, might be for ever put out of Countenance by proper Parts for Dogget. Johnson by acting Corbacchio the other Night, must have given all who saw him a thorough Detestation of aged Avarice. The Petulancy of a peevish old Fellow, who loves and hates he knows not why, is very excellently performed by the ingenious Mr. William Penkethman in the Fop's Fortune ; where, in the Character of Don Cholerick Snap Shorto de Testy, he answers no Questions but to those whom he likes, and wants no account of any thing from those he approves. Mr. Penkethman is also Master of as many Faces in the Dumb-Scene, as can be expected from a Man in the Circumstances of being ready to perish out of Fear and Hunger: He wonders throughout the whole Scene very masterly, without neglecting his victuals. If it be, as I have heard it fometimes mentioned, a great Qualification for the World to follow Business and Pleasure too, what is it in the Inge. nious Mr. Penkethman to represent a Sense of Pleafure and Pain at the same time ; as you may see him do this Evening?
AS it is certain that a Stage ought to be wholly fuppressed, or judiciously encouraged, while there is one in the Nation, Men turn'd for regular Pleasure cannot employ their Thoughts more usefully, for the Diverfion of Mankind, than by convincing them that it is in themselves to raise this Entertainment to the greatest Height. It would be a great Improvement, as well as Embellishment to the Theatre, if Dancing were more regarded, and taught to all the Actors. One who has the Advantage of such an agreeable girlih Person as Mrs. Bicknell, joined with her Capacity of Imitation, could in proper
Gesture and Motion represent all the decent Characters of Female Life. An amiable. Modesty in one Aspect of a Dancer, an affumed Confidence in another, a fud. den Joy in another, a falling off with an Impatience of being beheld, a Return towards the Audience with an unsteady Resolution to approach them, and a well-acted Solicitude to please, would revive in the Company all the fine Touches of Mind raised in observing all the Ob. jects of Affection or Paffion they had before beheld. Such elegant Entertainments as these, would polish the Town into Judgment in their Gratifications; and Delicacy in Pleasure is the first step People of Condition take in Reformation from Vice. Mrs. Bicknell has the only Ca. pacity for this sort of Dancing of any on the Stage ; and I dare say all who see her Performance to-morrow Night, when sure the Romp will do her best for her own Benefit, will be of my mind.
Jamne igitur laudas quod de fapientibus unus
. Juv. T Shall communicate to my Reader the following Letter
for the Entertainment of this Day. SIR, 6 V OU know very well that our Nation is more fa
I mous for that sort of Men who are called Whims • and Humourifts, than any other Country in the 6 World; for which reason it is observed that our English • Comedy excels that of all other Nations in the Novel• ty and Variety of its Characters.
· AMONG those innumerable Sets of Whims which • our Country produces, there are none whom I have • regarded with more. Curiosity than those who have • invented any particular kind of Diversion for the En. ( tertainment of themselves or their Friends. My Letter