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In Five Acts,
BY JOSEPH ADDISON.
PRINTED FROM THE ACTING COPY, WITH REMARKS,
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL, BY D-G.
To which are added,
A DESCRIPTION OF THE COSTUME,-CAST OF THE CHARACTERS, EXITS AND ENTRANCES,- RELATIVE POSITIONS OF THE PERFORMERS ON THE STAGE, AND THE WHOLE OF THE STAGB
EMBELLISHED WITH A FINE ENGRAVING,
MR. R. CRUIKSHANK.
JOHN CUMBERLAND, 19, LUDGATE HILL.
Cato. Pore's sublime Prologue explains in a few words all that is exhibited in this tragedy:
“ A brave man struggling in the storms of fate,
And greatly falling with a falling state." A patriot who devotes his life to the public weal, and gloriously lays it down when it can no longer contribute to the good of his country.
An example so illustrious is the finest subject that can be conceived for a tragic poem. But the drama regnires something more than the exhibition of one character and of one passion. To those whose minds are familiar with the classic ages-who have been accustomed to meditate with silent pleasure and reverential awe on their images of departed greatness-this tragedy will afford exquisite delight. The virtues of Cato elevate him above humanity: his sorrows are not like those of other men; he therefore claims no sympathy from the million. His soul is as much raised above theirs, as the heavens are above the earth : it were therefore unreasonable to expect any. thing beyond decent endurance froin those who can neither under. stand nor participate in the scenes before them. Philosophy and declamation, however sublime and lofty, are but ill substitutes for passion; without which there can be no real tragedy. For the intent and aim of tragedy are to create a wild anxiety, to inspire terror and pity, and, passing the bounds of nature, to be something more. 1a these essentials Cato is deficient.— It has imagery and sentiment in a very high degree. We are charmed with the clegance of the scholar, but we miss the divine inspiration of the poet. There is enough of philosophy and morais ; but it is a stoical philosophy, that
“ Plays round the head, but comes not to the heart"a morality that pursues the rule of right, and the true fitness of things, and makes virtue to consist too much in external3.
V/ hat ali awful beauty is the virtuous Marcia :
“ The virtuous Marcia tow'rs above her sex:
But still the lovely maid improves her charms
And sanctity of munners.”
This tragedy is written with strict adherence to what are arbitrarily called the unities-a plan that involves some inconsistencies. This drew down the animadversions of that furious critic, John Dennis, whose strictures, though full of invective and horse play raillery, display much ingenuity and critical acumen. Every character is subordinate to that of Cato, in whom all the interest centres. The episode of the loves of Juba and Marcia was introduced to insure the piece a favourable reception with those who must needs bave a love-scene tu soften the rigour of Ca'u's virtue. The spirit of party