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• Half Crown, and made a fair Purchase of as much of • the pleasing Melancholy as the Poet's Art can afford me, o or my own Nature admit of, I am willing to carry • some of it home with me ; and can't endure to be at • once trick'd out of all, tho' by the wittieft Dexterity in • the World. However, I kept my Seat t'other Night, * in hopes of finding my own Sentiments of this Matter • favour'd by your Friend's; when, to my great Surprize, "I found the Knight entering with equal Pleasure into • both Parts, and as much fatisfied with Mrs. Oldfield's • Gaiety, as he had been before with Andromache's Great• nefs. Whether this were no other than an Effect of • the Knight's peculiar Humanity, pleas'd to find at last,
that after all the tragical Doings every thing was fafe and well, I don't know. But for my own part, I must
confess I was so diffatisfied, that I was sorry the Poet " had saved Andromache, and could heartily have wished • that he had left her stone-dead upon the Stage. For you • cannot imagine, Mr. SPECTATOR, the Mischief she • was resery'd to do me. I found my Soul, during the
Action, gradually work'd up to the highest Pitch; and • felt the exalted Passion which all generous Minds con• ceive at the Sight of Virtue in Distress. The Impres• fion, believe me, Sir, was so strong upon me, that I am o persuaded, if I had not been let alone in it, I could at • an Extremity have ventured to defend your self and • Sir Roge R against half a Score of the fiercest Mo• hocks : But the ludicroas Epilogue in the Close ex• tinguilh'd all my Ardour, and made me look upon all • such noble Atchievements as downright filly and ro.
mantick. What the rest of the Audience felt, I can't • so well tell : For my self I must declare, that at the • end of the Play I found my Soul uniform, and all of a « Piece ; but at the end of the Epilogue it was so jumbled • together, and divided between Jett and Earnest, that if • you will forgive me an extravagant Fancy, I will here • set it down. I could not but fancy, if my Soul had at • that Moment quitted my Body, and descended to the po• etical Shades in the Posture it was then in, what a strange · Figure it would have made among them. They would 'not have known what to have made of my motley • Spectre, half Connick and half Tragick, all over resem« bling a ridiculous Face, that at the same time laughs on 6 one side and cries o tother. The only Defence, I
think I have ever heard made for this, as it seems to • me, the most unnaturalTack of the Comick Tail to the • Tragick Head, is this, that the Minds of the Audience
must be refreshed, and Gentlemen and Ladies not sent away to their own Homes with too dismal and me• lancholy Thoughts about them : For who knows the • Consequence of this ? We are much obliged indeed to • the Poets for the great Tenderness they express for the « Safety of our Persons, and heartily thank them for it. • But if that be all, pray, good Sir, assure them, that we • are none of us like to come to any great Harm ; and • that, let them do their best, we shall in all probability • live out the Length of our Days, and frequent the • Theatres more than ever. What makes me more de
firous to have some Reformation of this matter, is bet cause of an ill Consequence or two attending it : For a • great many of our Church-Musicians being related to the
Theatre, they have, in Imitation of these Epilogues, in
troduced in their farewel Voluntaries a sort of Musick • quite foreign to the Design of Church-Services, to the « great Prejudice of well-disposed People. Those finger• ing Gentlemen should be informed, that they ought to • suit their Airs to the Place, and Business ; and that the • Musician is obliged to keep to the Text as much as the • Preacher. For want of this, I have found by Expe• rience a great deal of Mischief: For when the Preacher • has often, with great Piety and Art enough, handled o his Subject, and the judicious Clerk has with utmost • Diligence culled out two Staves proper to the Discourse, • and I have found in my self and in the rest of the Pew
good Thoughts and Dispositions, they have been all in a • moment dissipated by a merry Jig from the Organ-Loft. • One knows not what further ill Effects the Epilogues I • have been speaking of may in time produce : But this I • am credibly inform'd of, that Paul Lorrain has resolv'd • upon a very sudden Reformation in his tragical Dramas; • and that at the next monthly Performance, he designs, « instead of a Penitential Píalm, to dismiss his Audience • with an excellent new Ballad of his own composing.
Pray, Sir, do what you can to put a stop to those growing Evils, and you will very much oblige
Your bumble Servant,
- Ut his exordia primis Omnia, & ipfe tener Mundi concreverit orbis. Tum durare sölum & discludere Nerea ponto Cæperit, & rerum paulatim fumere formas. Virg.
T ONGINUS has observed, that there may be a 1. Loftiness in Sentiments where there is no Passion,
. and brings Instances out of ancient Authors to sup. port this his Opinion. The Pathetick, as that great Cri, tick observes, may animate and inflame the Sublime, but is not essential to it. Accordingly, as he further remarks, we very often find that those who excel inost in stirring up the Passions, very often want the Talent of writing in the great and sublime manner, and so on the contrary. Milton has shewn himself a Master in both these ways of Writing. The seventh Book, which we are now entring upon, is an Instance of that Sublime which is not mixed and worked up with Passion. The Author appears in a kind of composed and fedate Majesty; and tho the Sentiments do not give so great an Emotion as those in the former Book, they abound with as magnificent Ideas. The sixth Book, like a troubled Ocean, represents Greatness in Confufion; the seventh affects the Imagination like the Ocean in a Calm, and fills the Mind of the Rea, der, without producing in it any thing like Tumult or Agitation.
THE Critick above-mentioned, among the Rules, which he lays down for succeeding in the sublime way of writing, proposes to his Reader, that he should imitate the most celebrated Authors who have gone before him, and have been engaged in Works of the same nature ;
as in particular, that if he writes on a poetical Subject, he should consider how Homer would have spoken on such an Occasion. By this means one great Genius often catches the Flame from another, and writes in his Spirit. without copying servilely after him. There are a thoufand shining Passages in Virgil, which have been lighted up by Homer.
‘MILTON, tho' his own natural Strength of Genius was capable of furnishing out a perfect Work, has doubtless very much raised and enobled his Conceptions by such an Imitation as that which Longinus has recommended.
IN this Book,which gives us an Account of the fix Days Works, the Poet received but very few Affiftances from Heathen Writers, who were Strangers to the Wonders of Creation. But as there are many glorious Strokes of Poetry upon this Subject in Holy Writ, the Author has numberless Allufions to them through the whole course of this Book. The great Critick I have before mentioned, though an Heathen, has taken notice of the sublime Manner in which the Lawgiver of the Jews has describ'd the Creation in the first Chapter of Genesis ; and there are many other Passages in Scripture, which rise up to the same Majesty, where this Subject is touched upon. Milton has shewn his Judgment very remarkably,in making use of such of these as were proper for his Poem, and in duly qualifying those high Strains of Eastern Poetry, which were suited to Readers whose Imaginations were set to an higher pitch than those of colder Climates.
ADAM's Speech to the Angel, wherein he desires an Account of what had passed within the Regions of Nature before the Creation, is very great and folemn. The following Lines, in which he tells him, that the Day is not too far spent for him to enter upon such a Subject, are exquisite in their kind.
And the great Light of Day yet wants to run
THE . THE Angel's encouraging our first Parents in a modeft pursuit after Knowledge, with the Causes which he assigne for the Creation of the World, are very just and beautiful. The Meffiah, by whom, as we are told in Scripture, the Heavens were made, comes forth in the Power of his Father, surrounded with an Hoft of Angels, and clothed with such a Majesty as becomes his entring upon a Work, which, according to our Conceptions, appears the utmost Exertion of Omnipotence. What a beautiful Description has our Author raised upon that Hint in one of the Prophets! And behold there came four Chariots out from between two Mountains, and the Mountains were Mountains of Brass.
About his Chariot numberless were pour'd
I have before taken notice of these Chariots of God, and of these Gates of Heaven ; and shall here only add, that Homer gives us the fame Idea of the latter, as opening of themselves ; tho'he afterwards takes off from it, by telling us, that the Hours first of all removed those pro. digious heaps of Clouds which lay as a Barrier before them.
I do not know any thing in the whole Poem more sublime than the Description which follows, where the Messiah is represented at the head of his Angels, as looking down into the Chaos, calming its Confusion, riding into the midst of it, and drawing the first Out-Line of the Creation.
On Heavenly Ground they food, and from the Shore