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ling all the World how ardently I Love and Honour You; and that I am with the utmost Gratitude for

all Your Favours,


Your Lordship's

moft Obliged,

moft Obedient and


moft Humble Servant,

The Spectator.

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N° 39. Saturday, April 14, 1711.

Multa fero, ut placem genus irritabile vatum
Cum fcribo.


S a perfect Tragedy is the nobleft Production of human Nature, fo it is capa ble of giving the Mind one of the moft delightful and most improving Entertainments. A virtuous Man (fays Seneca) ftrugling with Misfortunes, is fuch a Spectacle as Gods might look upon with Pleasure: And fuch a Pleasure it is which one meets with in the Representation of a well


written Tragedy." Diverfions of this kind wear out of our Thoughts every thing that is mean and little. They cherish and cultivate that Humanity which is the Ornament of our Nature. They foften Infolence, footh Affliction, and fubdue the Mind to the Difpenfations of Providence.

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IT is no Wonder therefore that in all the polite Nations of the World,. this Part of the Drama has met with publick Encouragement.

THE modern Tragedy excels that of Greece and Rome, in the Intricacy and Difpofition of the Fable; but, what a Chriftian Writer would be ashamed to own, falls infinitely fhort of it in the Moral part of the Performance.


THIS I may fhew more at large hereafter; and in the mean time, that I may contribute fomething towards the Improvement of the English Tragedy, I fhall take notice, in this and in other following Papers, of fome particular Parts in it that feem liable to Exception.

ARISTOTLE obferves, that the Jambick Verfe in the Greek Tongue was the most proper for Tragedy: Because at the fame time that it lifted up the Difcourfe from Profe, it was that which

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approached nearer to it than
it than any other
kind of Verfe. For, fays he,
obferve that Men in ordinary Difcourfe
without taid
king Notice of it. We may make the
fame Obfervation of our English Blank
Verfe, which often
ters into our
common Discourse, though we do not
attend to it, and is fuch a due Medium
between Rhyme and Profe, that it
feems wonderfully adapted to Tragedy
I am therefore very much offended when
I fee a Play in Rhyme, which is as ab
furd in Englife, as a Tragedy of Hexa-
meters would have

very often speak Iambicks make the

tin. The Solæcien in Grreek or La

is, I think, oftilli greater, in thofe Plays that have fome Scenes in Rhyme and fome in Blank Verfe, which are to be looked upon as two feveral Languages; or where we fee fome particular Similies dignified with Rhyme, at the fame time that every thing about them lyes in Blank Verfe. I would not however debar the Poet from concluding his Tragedy, or, if he pleases, every Act of it, with two or three Couplets, which may have the fame Effect as an Air in the Italian Opera after a long Recitativo, and give the Actor a graceful Exit. Befides, that


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