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Dramatic essays free spanish american war essays

Dramatic essays

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About this Item: hardcover. Dust Jacket Condition: Acceptable. Volume one. Everyman's Library, no. Ex-library copy: label on spine of dust jacket; bookplate on pastedown; torn out return slip; ink stamps on endpapers, page block, title and copyright. Wear to dust jacket; book covers and contents sound and clean. Published by London: Dent Everyman Hardbound: cloth, no dustjacket.

Previous owner's name on front free endpaper. Delivery Confirmation number sent for domestic orders. Volume Two. Edited with an introduction by George Watson. Underlining in pencil on a few pages. Very good in very good unclipped dust jacket HB Dent. Condition: Acceptable. About this Item: Hardback. Most of their new Plays are like some of ours, derived from the Spanish Novels. There is scarce one of them without a veil, and a trusty Diego, who drolls much after the rate of The Adventures.

As for their new way of mingling mirth with serious Plot I do not with Lysideius condemn the thing, though I cannot approve their manner of doing it: He tells us we cannot so speedily recollect our selves after a Scene of great passion and concernment as to pass to another of mirth and humor, and to enjoy it with any relish: but why should he imagine the soul of man more heaven than his Senses? Does not the eye pass from an unpleasant object to a pleasant in a much shorter time than is required to this?

The old Rule of Logic might have convinced him, that contraries when placed near, set off each other. A continued gravity keeps the spirit too much bent; we must refresh it sometimes, as we bait upon a journey, that we may go on with greater ease. A Scene of mirth mixed with Tragedy has the same effect upon us which our music has betwixt the Acts, and that we find a relief to us from the best Plots and language of the Stage, if the discourses have been long.

I must therefore have stronger arguments ere I am convinced, that compassion and mirth in the same subject destroy each other; and in the mean time cannot but conclude, to the honor of our Nation, that we have invented, increased and perfected a more pleasant way of writing for the Stage than was ever known to the Ancients or Moderns of any Nation, which is Tragicomedy.

Their Plots are single, they carry on one design which is pushed forward by all the Actors, every Scene in the Play contributing and moving towards it: Ours, besides the main design, have under-plots or by-concernments, of less considerable Persons, and Intrigues, which are carried on with the motion of the main Plot: just as they say the Orb of the fixed Stars, and those of the Planets, though they have motions of their own, are whirled about by the motion of the primum mobile [prime mover—ed.

In the mean time he must acknowledge our variety, if well ordered, will afford a greater pleasure to the audience. When the French Stage came to be reformed by Cardinal Richelieu, those long Harangues were introduced, to comply with the gravity of a Churchman. Look upon the Cinna and the Pompey , they are not so properly to be called Plays, as long discourses of reason of State: and Polieucte in matters in Religion is as solemn as the long stops upon our Organs.

Since that time it is grown into a custom, and their Actors speak by the Hour-glass, as our Parsons do; nay, they account it the grace of their parts: and think themselves disparaged by the Poet, if they may not twice or thrice in a Play entertain the Audience with a Speech of an hundred or two hundred lines.

I deny not but this may suit well enough with the French; for as we, who are a more sullen people, come to be diverted at our Plays; they who are of an airy and gay temper come thither to make themselves more serious: And this I conceive to be one reason why Comedy is more pleasing to us, and Tragedies to them.

But to speak generally, it cannot be denied that short Speeches and Replies are more apt to more the passions, and beget concernment in us than the other: for it is unnatural for any one in a gust of passion to speak long together, or for another in the same condition, to suffer him, without interruption.

Grief and Passion are like floods raised in little Brooks by a sudden rain; they are quickly up, and if the concernment be poured unexpectedly in upon us, it overflows us: But a long sober shower gives them leisure to run out as they came in, without troubling the ordinary current. As for Comedy, Repartee is one of its chiefest graces; the greatest pleasure of the Audience is a chase of wit kept up on both sides, and swiftly managed.

But this hinders not that there may be more shining characters in the Play many persons of a second magnitude, nay, some so very near, so almost equal to the first, that greatness may be opposed to greatness, and all the persons be made considerable, not only by their quality, but their action. If then the parts are managed so regularly that the beauty of the whole be kept entire, and that the variety become not a perplexed and confused mass of accidents, you will find it infinitely pleasing to be led in a labyrinth of design, where you see some of your way before you, yet discern not the end till you arrive at it.

So that to judge equally of it, it was an excellent fifth Act, but not so naturally proceeding from the former. Farther I think it very convenient, for the reasons he has given, that all incredible actions were removed; but, whither custom has so insinuated it self into our Country-men, or nature has so formed them to fierceness, I know not, but they will scarcely suffer combats and other objects of horror to be taken from them. And indeed, the indecency of tumults is all which can be objected against fighting: For why may not our imagination as well suffer itself to be deluded with the probability of it, as with any other thing in the Play?

For my part, I can with as great ease persuade my self that the blows which are struck are given in good earnest, as I can, that they who strike them are Kings or Princes, or those persons which they represent. A Play which has been frequented the most of any he has writ?

If the Perseus, or the Son of an Heathen God, the Pegasus and the Monster were not capable to choke a strong belief, let him blame any representation of ours hereafter. Those indeed were objects of delight; yet the reason is the same as to the probability: for he makes it not a Ballette or Masque, but a Play, which is to resemble truth. To conclude on this subject of Relations, if we are to be blamed for showing too much of the action, the French are as faulty for discovering too little of it: a mean betwixt both should be observed by every judicious Writer, so as the audience may neither be left unsatisfied by not seeing what is beautiful, or shocked by beholding what is either incredible or undecent.

But what will Lisideius say if they themselves acknowledge they are too strictly tied up by those laws, for breaking which he has blamed the English? How many beautiful accidents might naturally happen in two or three days, which cannot arrive with any probability in the compass of hours? There is time to be allowed also for maturity of design, which amongst great and prudent persons, such as are often represented in Tragedy cannot, with any likelihood of truth, be brought to pass at so short a warning.

Many times they fall by it into a greater inconvenience; for they keep their Scenes unbroken, and yet change the place as in one of their newest Plays, where the Act begins in the Street. There a Gentleman is to meet his Friend; he sees him with his man, coming out from his Fathers house; they talk together, and the first goes out: the second, who is a Lover, has made an appointment with his Mistress; she appears at the window and then we are to imagine the Scene lies under it.

This Gentleman is called away, and leaves his servant with his Mistress: presently her Father is heard from within; the young Lady is afraid the Servingman should be discovered, and thrusts him in through a door which is supposed to be her Closet. After this, the Father enters to the Daughter, and now the Scene is in a House: for he is seeking from one room to another for this poor Philipin, or French Diego, who is heard from within, drolling [jesting—ed.

In this ridiculous manner the Play goes on, the Stage being never empty all the while: so that the Street, the Window, the two Houses, and the Closet, are made to walk about, and the Persons to stand still. Now what I beseech you is more easy than to write a regular French Play, or more difficult than to write an irregular English one, like those of Fletcher, or of Shakespeare.

Besides, in performing them, it will be first necessary to speak somewhat of Shakespeare and Fletcher, his Rivals in Poesy; and one of them, in my opinion, at least his equal, perhaps his superior. All the Images of Nature were still present to him, and he drew them not laboriously, but luckily: when he describes any thing, you more than see it, you feel it too.

Those who accuse him to have wanted learning, give him the greater commendation: he was naturally learned; he needed not the spectacles of Books to read Nature; he looked inwards, and found her there. I cannot say he is every where alike; were he so, I should do him injury to compare him with the greatest of Mankind. He is many times flat, insipid; his Comic wit degenerating into clenches [puns—ed.

But he is always great when some great occasion is presented to him: no man can say he ever had a fit subject for his wit, and did not then raise himself as high above the rest of the Poets. Quantum lenta solent, inter viburna cupressi. The consideration of this made Mr. Beaumont especially being so accurate a judge of Plays, that Ben Jonson while he lived, submitted all his Writings to his Censure, and he thought, used his judgement in correcting, if not contriving all his Plots.

What value he had for him, appears by the Verses he writ to him; and therefore need speak no farther of it. The first Play which brought Fletcher and him in esteem was their Philaster : for before that, they had written two or three year unsuccessfully; as the like is reported of Ben Jonson, before he writ Every Man in his Humor.

This Humor of which Ben Jonson derived from particular persons, they made it not their business to describe: they represented all the passions very lively, but above all, Love. I am apt to believe the English Language in them arrived to its highest perfection; what words have since been taken in, are rather superfluous than necessary.

He was a most severe Judge of himself as well as others. One cannot say he wanted wit, but rather that he was frugal of it. In his works you find little to retrench or alter. Wit and Language, and Humor also in some measure we had before him; but something of Art was wanting to the Drama till he came. He managed his strength to more advantage than any who preceded him. You seldom find him making Love in any of his Scenes, or endeavoring to move the Passions; his genius was too sullen and saturnine to do it gracefully, especially when he knew he came after those who had performed both to such an height.

Humor was his proper Sphere, and in that he delighted most to represent Mechanic [laboring, vulgar—ed. He was deeply conversant in the Ancients, both Greek and Latin, and he borrowed boldly from them: there is scarce a Poet or Historian among the Roman Authors of those times whom he has not translated in Sejanus and Catiline.

But he has done his Robberies so openly, that one may see he fears not to be taxed by any Law. He invades Authors like a Monarch, and what would be theft in other Poets, is only victory in him. With the spoils of these Writers he so represents old Rome to us, in its Rites, Ceremonies and Customs, that if one of their Poets had written either of his Tragedies, we had seen less of it than in him.

If I would compare him with Shakespeare, I must acknowledge him the more correct Poet, but Shakespeare the greater wit. To conclude of him, as he has given us the most correct Plays, so in the precepts which he has laid down in his Discoveries , we have as many and profitable Rules for perfecting the Stage as any wherewith the French can furnish us. A beauty perhaps not much observed; if it had, we should not have looked upon the Spanish Translation of five hours with so much wonder.

The Scene of it is laid in London; the latitude of place is almost as little as you can imagine: for it lies all within the compass of two Houses, and after the first Act, in one. The continuity of Scenes is observed more than in any of our Plays, excepting his own Fox and Alchemist. The Intrigue of it is the greatest and most noble of any pure unmixed Comedy in any Language: you see it in many persons of various characters and humors, and all delightful: At first, Morose, or an old Man, to whom all noise but his own talking is offensive.

Some who would be thought Critics, say this humor of his is forced: but to remove that objection, we may consider him first to be naturally of a delicate hearing, as many are to whom all sharp sounds are unpleasant; and secondly, we may attribute much of it to the peevishness of his Age, or the wayward authority of an old man in his own house, where he may make himself obeyed; and this the Poet seems to allude to in his name Morose.

Besides this, I am assured from diverse persons, that Ben Jonson was actually acquainted with such a man, one altogether as ridiculous as he is here represented. Others say it is not enough to find one man of such an humor; it must be common to more, and the more common the more natural.

To prove this, they instance in the best of Comical Characters. Falstaff: There are many men resembling him; Old, Fat, Merry, Cowardly, Drunken, Amorous, Vain, and Lying: But to convince these people, I need but tell them, that humor is the ridiculous extravagance of conversation, wherein one man differs from all others.

And here having a place so proper for it I cannot but enlarge somewhat upon this subject of humor into which I am fallen. The Ancients had little of it in their Comedies; for the to geloion [the laughable—ed. Thus when you see Socrates brought upon the Stage, you are not to imagine him made ridiculous by the imitation of his actions, but rather by making him perform something very unlike himself: something so childish and absurd, as by comparing it with the gravity of the true Socrates, makes a ridiculous object for the Spectators.

In their new Comedy which succeeded, the Poets fought indeed to express the ethos [moral character], as in their Tragedies the pathos [emotion—ed. But this ethos contained only the general Characters of men and manners; as old men, Lovers, Servingmen, Courtesans, Parasites, and such other persons as we see in their Comedies; all which they made alike: that is, one old man or Father; one Lover, one Courtesan so like another, as if the first of them had begot the rest of every sort: Ex homine hunc natum dicas [You would say that this man is born from that one—ed.

The same custom they observed likewise in their Tragedies. As for the French, though they have the word humeur among them, yet they have small use of it in their Comedies, or Farces; they being but ill imitations of the ridiculum , or that which stirred up laughter in the old Comedy.

The description of these humors, drawn from the knowledge and observation of particular persons, was the peculiar genius and talent of Ben Jonson; To whose Play I now return. Besides, that he has here described the conversation of Gentlemen in the persons of True-Wit, and his Friends, with more gayety, air and freedom, than in the rest of his Comedies. But I dare not take upon me to commend the Fabric of it, because it is altogether so full of Art, that I must unravel every Scene in it to commend it as I ought.

Here every one is a proper Judge of all he sees; nothing is represented but that with which he daily converses: so that by consequence all faults lie open to discovery, and few are pardonable. But our Poet, who was not ignorant of these difficulties, had prevailed himself of all advantages; as he who designs a large leap takes his rise from the highest ground.

One of these advantages is that which Corneille has laid down as the greatest which can arrive to any Poem, and which he himself could never compass above thrice in all his Plays, viz. Thus, in Bartholomew Fair he gives you the Pictures of Numps and Cokes, and in this those of Daw, Lafoole, Morose, and the Collegiate Ladies; all which you hear described before you see them.

So that before they come upon the Stage you have a longing expectation of them, which prepares you to receive them favorably; and when they are there, even from their first appearance you are so far acquainted with them, that nothing of their humor is lost to you. The second is greater than the first; the third than the second, and so forward to the fifth. There too you see, till the very last Scene, new difficulties arising to obstruct the action of the Play; and when the Audience is brought into despair that the business can naturally be effected, then, and not before, the discovery is made.

But that the Poet might entertain you with more variety all this while, he reserves some new Characters to show you, which he opens not till the second and third Act. In the second, Morose, Daw, the Barber and Otter; in the third the Collegiate Ladies: All which he moves afterwards in by-walks, or under-Plots, as diversions to the main design, lest it should grow tedious, though they are still naturally joined with it, and somewhere or other subservient to it.

Thus, like a skilful Chess-player, by little and little he draws out his men, and makes his pawns of use to his greater persons. But we need not call our heroes to our aid; Be it spoken to the honor of the English, our Nation can never want in any Age such who are able to dispute the Empire of Wit with any people in the Universe.

And though the fury of a Civil War, and Power, for twenty years together, abandoned to a barbarous race of men, Enemies of all good Learning, had buried the Muses under the ruins of Monarchy; yet with the restoration of our happiness, we see revived Poesy lifting up its head, and already shaking off the rubbish which lay so heavy on it.

I will set aside Flattery and Envy: it cannot be denied but we have had some little blemish either in the Plot or writing of all those Plays which have been made within these seven years and perhaps there is no Nation in the world so quick to discern them, or so difficult to pardon them, as ours : yet if we can persuade our selves to use the candor of that Poet, who though the most severe of Critics has left us this caution by which to moderate our censures—.

Only I think it may be permitted me to say, that as it is no lessening to us to yield to some Plays, and those not many of our own Nation in the last Age, so can it be no addition to pronounce of our present Poets that they have far surpassed all the Ancients, and the Modern Writers of other Countries. I will grant it was not altogether left by him, and that Fletcher and Ben Jonson used it frequently in their Pastorals, and sometimes in other Plays.

Farther, I will not argue whether we received it originally from our own Countrymen, or from the French; for that is an inquiry of as little benefit, as theirs who in the midst of the great Plague were not so solicitous to provide against it, as to know whether we had it from the malignity of our own air, or by transportation from Holland. I have therefore only to affirm, that it is not allowable in serious Plays, for Comedies I find you already concluding with me.

To prove this, I might satisfy my self to tell you, how much in vain it is for you to strive against the stream of the peoples inclination; the greatest part of which are prepossessed so much with those excellent Plays of Shakespeare, Fletcher, and Ben Jonson, which have been written out of Rhyme that except you could bring them such as were written better in it, and those too by persons of equal reputation with them, it will be impossible for you to gain your cause with them, who will still be judges.

This it is to which in fine all your reasons must submit. But when Laberius, a Roman Knight, at his request contended in the Mime with another Poet, he was forced to cry out, Etiam favente me victus es Laben [Even with me favoring you, Laberius, you are beaten—ed. But I will not on this occasion, take the advantage of the greater number, but only urge such reasons against Rhyme, as I find in the Writings of those who have argued for the other way. First then I am of opinion, that Rhyme is unnatural in a Play, because Dialogue there is presented as the effect of sudden thought.

For a Play is the imitation of Nature; and since no man, without premeditation speaks in Rhyme, neither ought he to do it on the Stage; this hinders not but the Fancy may be there elevated to a higher pitch of thought than it is in ordinary discourse: for there is a probability that men of excellent and quick parts may speak noble things extempore : but those thoughts are never fettered with the numbers or sound of Verse without study, and therefore it cannot be but unnatural to present the most free way of speaking, in that which is the most constrained.

These numbers therefore are fittest for a Play; the others for a paper of Verses, or a Poem. Blank verse being as much below them as rhyme is improper for the Drama. And if it be objected that neither are blank verses made extempore , yet as nearest Nature, they are still to be preferred. But there are two particular exceptions which many besides my self have had to verse; by which it will appear yet more plainly, how improper it is in Plays. And the first of them is grounded upon that very reason for which some have commended Rhyme: they say the quickness of repartees in argumentative Scenes receives an ornament from verse.

Now what is more unreasonable than to imagine that a man should not only light upon the Wit, but the Rhyme too upon the sudden? This nicking [striking—ed. The hand of Art will be too visible in it against that maxim of all Professions; Ars est celare artem. That it is the greatest perfection of Art to keep it self undiscovered.

For a Play is still an imitation of Nature; we know we are to be deceived, and we desire to be so; but no man ever was deceived but with a probability of truth, for who will suffer a gross lie to be fastened on him? Thus we sufficiently understand that the Scenes which represent Cities and Countries to us, are not really such, but only painted on boards and Canvass: But shall that excuse the ill Painture or designment of them; Nay rather ought they not to be labored with so much the more diligence and exactness to help the imagination?

And yet this miserable necessity you are forced upon. But Verse, you say, circumscribes a quick and luxuriant fancy, which would extend itself too far on every subject, did not the labor which is required to well turned and polished Rhyme, set bounds to it. Yet this Argument, if granted, would only prove that we may write better in Verse, but not more naturally.

Neither is it able to evince that; for he who wants judgment to confine his fancy in blank Verse, may want it as much in Rhyme; and he who has it will avoid errors in both kinds. Latin verse was as great a confinement to the imagination of those Poets, as Rhyme to ours: and yet you find Ovid saying too much on every subject. Nescivit says Seneca quod bene cessit relinquere [He did not know how to leave off when it was proper to do so—ed. Omnia pontus erat, deerant quoque Litora Ponto.

Now all was Sea, Nor had that Sea a shore. Some other exceptions I have to Verse, but being these I have named are for the most part already public; I conceive it reasonable they should first be answered. Yet since you are pleased I should undertake this Province, I will do it, though with all imaginable respect and deference both to that person from whom you have borrowed your strongest Arguments, and to whose judgment when I have said all, I finally submit. But before I proceed to answer your objections, I must first remember [remind—ed.

May not I conclude against blank verse by the same reason? If the words of some poets who write in it, are either ill chosen, or ill placed, which makes not only rhyme, but all kind of verse in any language unnatural, shall I, for their vicious affectation condemn those excellent lines of Fletcher, which are written in that kind?

Is there anything in rhyme more constrained than this line in blank verse? Therefore, Crites, you must either prove that words, though well chosen, and duly placed, yet render not Rhyme natural in it self; or, that however natural and easy the rhyme may be, yet it is not proper for a Play. If you insist upon the former part, I would ask you what other conditions are required to make Rhyme natural in itself, besides an election of apt words, and a right disposing of them?

For the due choice of your words expresses your sense naturally, and the due placing them adapts the rhyme to it. If you object that one verse may be made for the sake of another, though both the words and rhyme be apt; I answer it cannot possibly so fall out; for either there is a dependence of sense betwixt the first line and the second, or there is none: if there be that connection, then in the natural position of the words, the latter line must of necessity flow from the former: if there be no dependence, yet still the due ordering of words makes the last line as natural in itself as the other: so that the necessity of a rhyme never forces any but bad or lazy Writers to say what they would not otherwise.

He may break off in the Hemistich, and begin another line: indeed, the not observing these two last things, makes Plays which are writ in verse so tedious: for though, most commonly, the sense is to be confined to the Couplet, yet nothing that does perpetuo tenore fluere , run in the same channel, can please always. Variety of cadences is the best rule, the greatest help to the Actors, and refreshment to the Audience.

You say the Stage is the representation of Nature, and no man in ordinary conversation speaks in rhyme. But you foresaw when you said this, that it might be answered; neither does any man speak in blank verse, or in measure without rhyme. Therefore you concluded, that which is nearest Nature is still to be preferred. But you took no notice that rhyme might be made as natural as blank verse, by the well placing of the words, etc.

All the difference between them when they are both correct, is the sound in one, which the other wants; and if so, the sweetness of it, and all the advantage resulting from it, which are handled in the Preface to The Rival Ladies , will yet stand good.

As for that place of Aristotle, where he says Plays should be writ in that kind of Verse which is nearest Prose; it makes little for you, blank verse being properly but measured Prose. Now measure alone in any modern Language, does not constitute verse those of the Ancients in Greek and Latin, consisted in quantity of words, and a determinate number of feet.

But when, by the inundation of the Goths and Vandals into Italy new Languages were brought in, and barbarously mingled with the Latin of which the Italian, Spanish, French, and ours, [made out of them and the Teutonic] are Dialects : a new way of Poesy was practiced; new, I say in those Countries, for in all probability it was that of the Conquerors in their own Nations.

This new way consisted in measure or number of feet and rhyme. The sweetness of Rhyme, and observation of Accent, supplying the place of quantity in words, which could neither exactly be observed by those Barbarians who knew not the Rules of it, neither was it suitable to their tongues as it had been to the Greek and Latin. No man is tied in modern Poesy to observe any farther rule in the feet of his verse, but that they be disyllables; whether Spondee, Trochee, or Iambic, it matters not; only he is obliged to rhyme: Neither do the Spanish, French, Italian or Germans acknowledge at all, or very rarely any such kind of Poesy as blank verse amongst them.

Farther, as to that quotation of Aristotle, our Couplet Verses may be rendered as near Prose as blank verse it self, by using those advantages I lately named, as breaks in a Hemistich, or running the sense into another line, thereby making Art and Order appear as loose and free as Nature: or not tying our selves to Couplets strictly, we may use the benefit of the Pindaric way, practiced in The Siege of Rhodes ; where the numbers vary and the rhyme is disposed carelessly, and far from often chiming.

Neither is that other advantage of the Ancients to be despised, of changing the kind of verse when they please with the change of the Scene, or some new entrance: for they confine not themselves always to Iambics, but extend their liberty to all Lyric numbers, and sometimes, even to Hexameter.

But I need not go so far to prove that Rhyme, as it succeeds to all other offices of Greek and Latin Verse, so especially to this of Plays, since the custom of all Nations at this day confirms it: All the French, Italian and Spanish Tragedies are generally writ in it, and sure the Universal consent of the most civilized parts of the world, ought in this, as it doth in other customs, include the rest. I answer, no Poet need constrain himself at all times to it. It is enough he makes it his general Rule; for I deny not but sometimes there may be a greatness in placing the words otherwise; and sometimes they may sound better, sometimes also the variety itself is excuse enough.

But if, for the most part, the words be placed as they are in the negligence of Prose, it is sufficient to denominate the way practicable, for we esteem that to be such, which in the Trial oftener succeeds than misses. And thus far you may find the practice made good in many Plays; where you do not, remember still, that if you cannot find six natural Rhymes together, it will be as hard for you to produce as many lines in blank Verse, even among the greatest of our Poets, against which I cannot make some reasonable exception.

But it is to raise envy to the living, to compare them with the dead. They are honored, and almost adored by us, as they deserve; neither do I know any so presumptuous of themselves as to contend with them. Yet give me leave to say thus much without injury to their Ashes, that not only we shall never equal them, but they could never equal themselves, were they to rise and write again. There is scarce an Humor, a Character, or any kind of Plot, which they have not blown upon: all comes sullied or wasted to us: and were they to entertain this Age, they could not make so plenteous treatments out of such decayed Fortunes.

This therefore will be a good Argument to us either not to write at all, or to attempt some other way. For the Genius of every Age is different; and though ours excel in this, I deny not but that to imitate Nature in that perfection which they did in Prose, is a greater commendation than to write in verse exactly.

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