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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,

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Your Lordship’s

moft Obliged,

moft Obedient and

most Humble Servant,

The Spectator.

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N° 39. Saturday, April 14, 1711.

Multa fero, ut placem genus irritabile vatum
Cum scribo.



S a perfect Tragedy is the noblest Production of hu. man Nature, so it is capable of giving the Mind one

of the moft delightful and most improving Entertainments. A virtuous Man (says Seneca) strugling with Misfortunes, is such a Spectacle as Gods might look upon with Pleasure : And such a Pleasure it is which one meets with in the Representation of a well


written Tragedy, Diversions 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 Insolence, footh Affliction, and subdue, the Mind to the Dispensations of Providence.

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 Disposition of the Fable; but, what a Chriftian Writer would be ashamed to own, falls infinitely short of it in the Moral part of the Performance.

THIS I may shew more at large hereafter; and in the mean time, that I may contribute something 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 seem liable to Exception.

ARISTOTLE observes, that the lambick Verse in the Greek Tongue was the most proper for Tragedy: Because at the fame time that it lifted up the Discourse from Prose, it was that which

his ery

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approached nearer to it than
kind of Yerle. For, says he, we may
observe that Men'in ordinary Discourse
very often speak lambicki, without tasd:
king Notice of it. We may make the
fame Observation of our English Blank
Verse, which often enters into our
common Discourse, though we do not?
attend to it, and is such a

is such a due Medium
between Rhyme and Prose, that it
seems wonderfully adapted to Tragedya's
I am therefore very much offended when
I see a Play in Rhyme; which is as ab
surd in English, as a Tragedy of Hexa-
meters would have been in Grreek or La.
tin. The Solæcism is, I think, ftill
greater, in those Plays that have some
Scenes in Rhyme and some in Blank
Verse, which are to be looked upon as
two several Languages; or where we see
fome particular Similies dignified with
Rhyme, at the same time that every
thing about them lyes in Blank Verse.
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
same Effect as an Air in the Italian 0
pera after a long Recitativo, and give
the Actor a graceful Exit. Besides that


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