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Sudingham Our Lovers talking to themfelves, for want
Of others, make the Pit their Confident:
Nor is the matter mended yet, if thus
They trust a Friend, only to tell it us.
Th' occafion fhould as naturally fall,
As when *) Bellario confeffes all.
Figures of speech, which Poets think fo fine
(Art's needless varnish, to make Nature shine)
Are all but paint upon a beauteous face,
And in Defcriptions only claim a place:
But to make Rage declaim, and Grief difcourfe,
From Lovers in defpair fine things to force,
Muft needs fucceed, for who can chufe but pity
A dying Hero miferably witty?
But oh! the Dialogues, where jest and mock
Is held up, like a reft at Shittle-cock!
Or elfe, like bells, eternally they chime;
They figh in Simile, and die in Rhime.
What things are thefe who would be Poets
By Nature not infpir'd, nor Learning taught?
Some wit they have, and therefore may deferve
A better course than this by which they starve
But to write Plays! why, 'tis a bold pretence
To judgment, breeding, wit, and eloquence:
Nay more, for they must look within to find
Thofe fecret turns of Nature in the mind.
Without this part, in vain would be the whole,
And but a body all without a foul.
All this united yet but makes a part
Of Dialogue, that great and pow'rful Art,
Now almoft loft, which the old Grecians knew,
From whom the Romans fainter copies drew,
Scarce comprehended fince but by a few.
Plato and Lucian are the best remains
Of all the wonders which this Art contains:
Yet to ourselves we juftice must allow,
Shakspeare and Fletcher are the wonders now.
(*) In Philaster, a play of Beaumont and Fletcher.
Confider them, and read them o'er and o'er,
Go, fee them play'd, then read them as before,
For tho' in many things they grossly fail,
Over our paffions ftill they fo prevail,
That our own grief by theirs is rock'd afleep,
The dull are forc'd to feel, the wife to weep.
Their beauties imitate, avoid their faults.
First on a plot employ thy careful thoughts;
Turn it with time a thoufand feveral ways:
This oft alone has giv'n fuccefs to Plays.
Reject that vulgar error, wich appears
So fair, of making perfect characters:
There's no fuch thing in Nature, and you'll
A faultlefs Monster, which the world ne'er faw.
Some faults must be, that his misfortunes drew;
But fuch as may deferve compaifion too.
Befides the main defign compos'd with art,
Each moving Scene must be a Plot apart.
Contrive each little turn, mark ev'ry place,
As Painters firft chalk out the future face:
Yet be not fondly your own flave for this;
But change hereafter what appears amifs.
Think not fo much where fhining thoughts to pla.
As what a Man would fay in fuch a cafe,
Neither in Comedy will this fuffice,
The Player too must be before your eyes;
And tho' 'tis drudgery to ftoop fo low,
To him you muft your fecret meaning show.
Expofe no fingle Fop, but lay the load
More equally, and fpread the folly broad.
Mere Coxcombs are too obvious; oft we fee
A Fool derided by as bad as he,
Hawks fly at nobler game, in this low way;
A very Owl may prove a Bird of prey.
Small Poets thus will one poor Fop devour;
But to collect, like Bees, from ev'ry flow'r
Ingredients to compofe that precious juice,
Which ferves the world for pleasure and for ufe,
Buckingham. In spite of faction, this would favour get;
But Falstaff* ftands inimitable yet.
Another fault which often may befall,
Is, when the wit of fome great Poet shall
So overflow, that is, be none at all,
That even his Fools fpeak fenfe, as if poffeft,
And each by infpiration breaks his jeft.
If once the juftnefs of each part be loft,
Well we may laugh, but at the Poet's coft.
That filly thing men call fheer-wit, avoid,
With which our Age fo naufeously is cloy'd,
Humour is all. Wit should be only brought
To turn agreably fome proper thought.
But fince the Poets we of late have known,
Shine in no drefs fo much as in their own,
The better by example to convince,
Cast but a view on this wrong fide of sense.
First a Soliloquy is calmly made,
Where ev'ry reafon is exactly weigh'd;
Which once perform'd, moft opportunely comes
Some Hero frighted at the noife of drums,
For her fweet fake, whom at firft fight he loves,
And all in Metaphor his paffion proves;
But fome fad accident, tho' yet unknown,
Parting this pair, to leave the Swain alone;
He ftreight grows jealous, tho' we know not why,
Then, to oblige his Rival, needs will die:
But first he makes a speech, wherein he tells
The abfent Nymph, how much his flame excells.
And yet bequeaths her generously now
To that lov'd Rival whom he does not know;
Who ftreight appears, but whe can Fate with-
Too late, alas! to hold his hafty hand,
That juft has giv'n himself the cruel stroke,
At which his very Rival's heart is broke;
*) An admirable Character in fome Plays of Shakspeare.
He more to his new Friend than Mistress kind,
Moft fadly mourns at being left behind;
Of fuch a death prefers the pleasing charms
To love, and living in a Lady's arms.
What fhameful, and what monft'rous things are
And then they rail at thofe they cannot please;
Conclude us only partial to the dead:
And grudge the fign of old Ben-Johnson's head:
When the intrinfic value of the stage
Can fcarce be judg'd, but by a following Age;
For Dances, Flutes, Italian fongs, and Rhime,
May keep up finking nonfenfe for a time.
But that must fail, which now fo much o'er-rules,
And fenfe no longer will fubmit to Fools.
Wentworth Dillon, Graf von Roscommon, geb. in Irland ums J. 1633, gest. 1684. Man hat von ihm nur wenige Gedichte, die aber noch immer sehr geschäßt werden, und von ihnen keines so sehr als sein Effay on Translated Verse. Dr. Johnson giebt ihm (Lives, Vol. I, p. 325.) das rühmliche Zeugniß, daß er vielleicht der einzige korrekte ens glische Schriftsteller vor Addison sey; und Pope erklärt ihn für den einzigen moralisch unstråflichen Dichter unter Rarls 1. Regierung:
in all Charles's days
Rofcommon only boafts unfpotted lays.
Viel Neues und Eigenthümliches enthält freilich der Unterz
richt nicht, der in diesem Versuche dem Uebersezer eines poez
tischen Werks ertheilt wird. Er schränkt sich vornehmlich
auf die Pflichten ein, daß jener ein seinem Genie gemåfes,
der Uebersehung würdiges, Original wählen, daß er daffelbe
völlig verftchen, alles Dunkle und Sprachwidrige vermeiden,
und alle die verschiednen Schattirungen der Schreibart beiz
behalten müsse. Aber das größte Verdienst dieses Gedichts
ist die Art seiner Ausführung, die gewiß, des an sich trock
nen Gegenstandes wegen nicht wenig Schwierigkeiten hatte,
und der edle, männliche, eindrucksolle Lehrton, der diesen
Versuch zu dem Nange eines würdigen Gegenstücks von Pos
pe's Versuch über die Kritik erhebt.
The first great Work, (a Tafk perform'd by
Is, that yourself may to yourself be true :
No Mafk, no Tricks, no Favour, no Referve;
Diffect your Mind, examine ev'ry Nerve.
Whoever vainly on his Strength depends,
Begins like Virgil, but like Maevius, ends,