from an essay of dramatic poesy

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To be able to intrigue a reader, the most important thing is to have great characters. Characters should live, feel, express, and act like real people to be seen as genuine. A great way to get to know your characters is to ask questions about them and answer as honestly as possible from their perspective. Use as many or as few as you want and get to know your characters more closely. Use the questions as you would in an interview. I personally find this easier to get into the heads of my characters. What is your full name?

From an essay of dramatic poesy e waste management business plan

From an essay of dramatic poesy

Invoking the so-called unities from Aristotle's Poetics as interpreted by Italian and refined by French scholars over the last century , the four speakers discuss what makes a play "a just and lively imitation" of human nature in action. To Crites' argument that the plots of classical drama are more "just," Eugenius can retort that modern plots are more "lively" thanks to their variety. Lisideius shows that the French plots carefully preserve Aristotle's unities of action, place, and time; Neander replies that English dramatists such as Ben Jonson also kept the unities when they wanted to, but that they preferred to develop character and motive.

Even Neander's final argument with Crites over whether rhyme is suitable in drama depends on Aristotle's Poetics : Neander says that Aristotle demands a verbally artful "lively" imitation of nature, while Crites thinks that dramatic imitation ceases to be "just" when it departs from ordinary speech—i.

A year later, the two brothers-in-law quarreled publicly over this third topic. See Dryden's "Defence of An Essay of Dramatic Poesy" , [3] where Dryden tries to persuade the rather literal-minded Howard that audiences expect a play to be an imitation of nature, not a surrogate for nature itself. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. This article needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources.

Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. Retrieved JSTOR Essay of Dramatick Poesie. A Defence of an Essay of Dramatick Poesie. Works by John Dryden. Essay of Dramatick Poesie Neander speaks for Dryden himself. Eugenius favours modern English dramatists by attacking the classical playwrights, who did not themselves always observe the unity of place. But Crites defends the ancients and points out that they invited the principles of dramatic art paved by Aristotle and Horace.

Crites opposes rhyme in plays and argues that though the moderns excel in sciences, the ancient age was the true age of poetry. Lisideius defends the French playwrights and attacks the English tendency to mix genres. Neander speaks in favour of the Moderns and respects the Ancients; he is however critical of the rigid rules of dramas and favours rhyme. He also finds subplots as an integral part to enrich a play.

SINGLE PARENTING VS DUAL PARENTING ESSAYS

Those Ancients have been faithful Imitators and wise Observers of that Nature, which is so torn and ill represented in our Plays, they have handed down to us a perfect resemblance of her; which we, like ill Copiers, neglecting to look on, have rendered monstrous and disfigured. But, that you may know how much you are indebted to those your Masters, and be ashamed to have so ill requited them: I must remember you that all the Rules by which we practice the Drama at this day, either such as relate to the justness and symmetry of the Plot; or the Episodical Ornaments, such as Descriptions, Narrations, and other Beauties, which are not essential to the Play; were delivered to us from the Observations that Aristotle made, of those Poets, which either lived before him, or were his Contemporaries: we have added nothing of our own, except we have the confidence to say our wit is better; which none boast of in our Age, but such as understand not theirs.

I will not deny but by the variation of painted Scenes, the Fancy which in these cases will contribute to its own deceit may sometimes imagine it several places, with some appearance of probability; yet it still carries the greater likelihood of truth, if those places be supposed so near each other, as in the same Town or City; which may all be comprehended under the larger Denomination of one place: for a greater distance will bear no proportion to the shortness of time, which is allotted in the acting, to pass from one of them to another; for the Observation of this, next to the Ancients, the French are to be most commended.

There ought to be one action, says Corneille, that is one complete action which leaves the mind of the Audience in a full repose: But this cannot be brought to pas but by many other imperfect ones which conduce to it, and hold the Audience in a delightful suspense of what will be. To read Macrobius, explaining the propriety and elegancy of many words in Virgil, which I had before passed over without consideration, as common things, is enough to assure me that I ought to think the same of Terence; and that in the purity of his style which Tully so much valued that he ever carried his works about him there is yet left in him great room for admiration, if I knew but where to place it.

In the mean time I must desire you to take notice, that the greatest man of the last age Ben Jonson was willing to give place to them in all things: He was not only a professed Imitator of Horace, but a learned Plagiary of all the others; you track him every where in their Snow: If Horace, Lucan, Petronius Arbiter, Seneca, and Juvenal, had their own from him, there are few serious thoughts which are new in him; you will pardon me therefore if I presume he loved their fashion when he wore their clothes.

But since I have otherwise a great veneration for him, and you Eugenius, prefer him above all other Poets, I will use no farther argument to you than his example: I will produce Father Ben to you, dressed in all the ornaments and colors of the Ancients, you will need no other guide to our Party if you follow him; and whether you consider the bad Plays of our Age, or regard the good ones of the last, both the best and worst of the Modern Poets will equally instruct you to esteem the Ancients.

Crites had no sooner left speaking, but Eugenius who waited with some impatience for it, thus began:. Thus this great man delivered to us the image of a Play, and I must confess it is so lively that from thence much light has been derived to the forming it more perfectly into Acts and Scenes; but what Poet first limited to five the number of the Acts I know not; only we see it so firmly established in the time of Horace, that he gives it for a rule in Comedy; Neu brevior quinto, neu sit productior actu [let it be neither shorter nor longer than five acts—ed.

An Old Father that would willingly before he dies see his Son well married; his Debauched Son, kind in his Nature to his Wench, but miserably in want of Money, a Servant or Slave, who has so much wit to strike in with him, and help to dupe his Father, a Braggadochio, Captain, a Parasite, and a Lady of Pleasure.

But in the first place give me leave to tell you, that the Unity of Place, how ever it might be practiced by them, was never any of their Rules: We neither find it in Aristotle, Horace, of any who have written of it, till in our age the French Poets first made it a Precept of the Stage. A Priam and Astyanax murdered, and Cassandra ravished, and the lust and murder ending in the victory of him that acted them: In short, there is no indecorum in any of our modern Plays, which if I would excuse, I could not shadow with some Authority from the Ancients.

For Horace himself was cautious to obtrude a new word upon his Readers, and makes custom and common use the best measure of receiving it into our writings. Mistaque ridenti Colocasia fundet Acantho [And the colocasia will spread forth, mingled with the laughing acanthus—ed. Had Cain been Scot God would have changed his doom; Not forced him wander, but confined him home.

You see the last line is highly Metaphorical, but it is so soft and gentle, that it does not shock us as we read it. The Master piece of Seneca I hold to be that Scene in the Troades , where Ulysses is seeking for Astyanax to kill him; There you see the tenderness of a Mother, so represented in Andromache, that it raises compassion to a high degree in the Reader, and bears the nearest resemblance of any thing in their Tragedies to the excellent Scenes of Passion in Shakespeare, or in Fletcher: for Love Scenes you will find few among them, their Tragic Poets dealt not with that soft passion, but with Lust, Cruelty, Revenge, Ambition, and those bloody actions they produced; which were more capable of raising horror than compassion in an audience: leaving love untouched, whose gentleness would have tempered them, which is the most frequent of all the passions, and which being the private concernment of every person, is soothed by viewing its own image in a public entertainment.

Any sudden gust of passion as an ecstasy of love in an unexpected meeting cannot better be expressed than in a word and a sigh, breaking one another. Nature is dumb on such occasions, and to make her speak, would be to represent her unlike her self. But there are a thousand other concernments of Lovers, as jealousies, complaints, contrivances and the like, where not to open their minds at large to each other, were to be wanting to their own love, and to the expectation of the Audience, who watch the movements of their minds, as much as the changes of their fortunes.

For the imaging of the first is properly the work of a Poet, the latter he borrows of the Historian. Eugenius was proceeding in that part of his Discourse, when Crites interrupted him. Homer described his Heroes men of great appetites, lovers of beef broiled upon the coals, and good fellows; contrary to the practice of the French Romances, whose Heroes neither eat, nor drink, nor sleep, for love.

So in their Love Scenes, of which Eugenius spoke last, the Ancients were more hearty; we more talkative: they writ love as it was then the mode to make it, and I will grant thus much to Eugenius, that perhaps one of their Poets, had he lived in our Age, Si foret hoc nostrum fato delapsus in avum [If he had been dropped by fate into our age—ed.

But the Muses, who ever follow Peace, went to plant in another Country; it was then that the great Cardinal of Richelieu began to take them into his protection; and that, by his encouragement, Corneille and some other Frenchmen reformed their Theatre, which before was as much below ours as it now surpasses it and the rest of Europe.

But because Crites, in his Discourse for the Ancients, has prevented me, by touching upon many Rules of the Stage, which the Moderns have borrowed from them; I shall only, in short, demand of you, whether you are not convinced that of all Nations the French have best observed them? In the unity of time you find them so scrupulous, that it yet remains a dispute among their Poets, whether the artificial day of twelve hours more or less, be not meant by Aristotle, rather than the natural one of twenty four; and consequently whether all Plays ought not to be reduced into that compass?

The unity of Action in all their Plays is yet more conspicuous, for they do not burden them with under-plots, as the English do; which is the reason why many Scenes of our Tragi-comedies carry on a design that is no thing of kin to the main Plot; and that we see two distinct webs in a Play; like those in ill wrought stuffs; and two actions, that is, two Plays carried on together, to the confounding of the Audience; who, before they are warm in their concernments for one part, are diverted to another; and by that means espouse the interest of neither.

From hence likewise it arises that the one half of our Actors are not known to the other. They keep their distances as if they were Montagues and Capulets, and seldom begin an acquaintance till the last Scene of the Fifth Act, when they are all to meet upon the Stage. The end of Tragedies or serious Plays, says Aristotle, is to beget admiration, compassion, or concernment; but are not mirth and compassion things incompatible?

For the Ancients, as was observed before, took for the foundation of their Plays some Poetical Fiction, such as under that consideration could move but little concernment in the Audience, because they already knew the event of it. But the French goes farther;. He so interweaves Truth with probable Fiction, that he puts a pleasing Fallacy upon us; mends the intrigues of Fate, and dispenses with the severity of History, to reward that virtue which has been rendered to us there unfortunate.

Sometimes the story has left the success so doubtful, that the Writer is free, by the privilege of a Poet, to take that which of two or more relations will best suit with his design: As for example, the death of Cyrus, whom Justin and some others report to have perished in the Scythian war, but Xenophon affirms to have died in his bed of extreme old age. Nay more, when the event is past dispute, even then we are willing to be deceived, and the Poet, if he contrives it with appearance of truth; has all the audience of his Party; at least during the time his Play is acting: so naturally we are kind to virtue, when our own interest is not in question, that we take it up as the general concernment of Mankind.

On the other side, if you consider the Historical Plays of Shakespeare, they are rather so many Chronicles of Kings, or the business many times of thirty or forty years, cramped into a representation of two hours and a half, which is not to imitate or paint Nature, but rather to draw her in miniature, to take her in little; to look upon her through the wrong end of a Perspective, and receive her Images not only much less, but infinitely more imperfect than the life: this instead of making a Play delightful, renders it ridiculous.

Quodcunque ostendis mihi sic, incredulus odi. For the Spirit of man cannot be satisfied but with truth, or at least verisimility, and a Poem is to contain, if not ta etyma [true things], yet etymoisin homoid [things like the truth—ed. I have taken notice but of one Tragedy of ours, whose Plot has that uniformity and unity of design in it which I have commended in the French; and that is Rollo , or rather, under the name of Rollo , the story of Bassianus and Geta in Herodian, there indeed the Plot is neither large nor intricate, but just enough to fill the minds of the Audience, not to cloy them.

Besides, you see it founded upon the truth of History, only the time of the action is not reducible to the strictness of the Rules; and you see in some places a little farce mingled, which is below the dignity of the other parts; and in this all our Poets are extremely peccant, even Ben Jonson himself in Sejanus and Catiline has given us this Oleo [also Olio: a hodgepodge of many various ingredients—ed.

In Sejanus you may take notice of the Scene betwixt Livia and the Physician, which is a pleasant Satire upon the artificial helps of beauty: In Catiline you may see the Parliament of Women; the little envies of them to one another; and all that passes betwixt Curio and Fulvia: Scenes admirable in their kind, but of an ill mingle with the rest. For what is more ridiculous than to represent an Army with a Drum and five men behind it; all which, the Hero of the other side is to drive in before him, or to see a Duel fought, and one slain with two or three thrusts of the foils, which we know are so blunted, that we might give a man an hour to kill another in good earnest with them.

All passions may be lively represented on the Stage, if to the well-writing of them the Actor supplies a good commanded voice, and limbs that move easily and without stiffness; but there are many actions which can never be imitated to a just height: dying especially is a thing which none but a Roman Gladiator could naturally perform upon the Stage when he did not imitate or represent, but naturally do it; and therefore it is better to omit the representation of it.

When we see death represented we are convinced it is but Fiction; but when we hear it related, our eyes the strongest witnesses are wanting, which might have undeceived us; and we are all willing to favor the sleight when the Poet does not too grossly impose upon us. They therefore who imagine these relations would make no concernment in the Audience, are deceived, by confounding them with the other, which are of things antecedent to the Play; those are made often in cold blood as I may say to the audience; but these are warmed with our concernments, which are before awakened in the Play.

What the Philosophers say of motion, that when it is once begun it continues of it self, and will do so to Eternity without some stop put to it, is clearly true on this occasion; the soul being already moved with the Characters and Fortunes of those imaginary persons, continues going of its own accord, and we are no more weary to hear what becomes of them when they are not on the Stage, then we are to listen to the news of an absent Mistress.

But it is objected, That if one part of the Play may be related, then why not all? I answer, Some parts of the action are more fit to be represented, some to be related. Corneille says judiciously, that the Poet is not obliged to expose to view all particular actions which conduce to the principal: he ought to select such of them to be seen which will appear with the greatest beauty; either by the magnificence of the show, or the vehemence of passions which they produce, or some other charm which they have in them, and let the rest arrive to the audience by narration.

Nor does this any thing contradict the opinion of Horace, where he tells us,. To which, we may have leave to add such as to avoid tumult, as was before hinted or to reduce the Plot into a more reasonable compass of time, or for defect of Beauty in them, are rather to be related than presented to the eye. Examples of all these kinds are frequent, not only among all the Ancients, but in the best received of our English Poets.

In that excellent Play The King and No King , Fletcher goes yet farther; for the whole unraveling of the Plot is done by narration in the fifth Act, after the manner of the Ancients; and it moves great concernment in the Audience, though it be only a relation of what was done many years before the Play. I could multiply other instances, but these are sufficient to prove that there is no error in choosing a subject which requires this sort of narrations; in the ill managing of them, there may.

It shows little art in the conclusion of a Dramatick Poem, when they who have hindered the felicity during the four Acts, desist from it in the fifth without some powerful cause to take them off; and though I deny not but such reasons may be found, yet it is a path that is cautiously to be trod, and the Poet is to be sure he convinces the Audience that the motive is strong enough.

As for example, the conversion of the Usurer in The Scornful Lady , seems to me a little forced; for being an Usurer, which implies a lover of Money to the highest degree of covetousness, and such the Poet has represented him the account he gives for the sudden change is, that he has been duped by the wild young fellow, which in reason might render him more wary another time, and make him punish himself with harder fare and courser clothes to get it up again: but that he should look upon it as a judgment, and so repent, we may expect to hear of in a Sermon, but I should never endure it in a Play.

For our own I doubt not but it will exceedingly beautify them, and I can see but one reason why it should not generally obtain, that is, because our Poets write so ill in it. When that in which we cannot excel is in the past, we look for something worthy of striving after—ed.

Farther I deny not but he has taxed us justly in some irregularities of ours which he has mentioned; yet, after all, I am of opinion that neither our faults nor their virtues are considerable enough to place them above us. He that will look upon theirs which have been written till these last ten years or thereabouts, will find it an hard matter to pick out two or three passable humors amongst them.

Corneille himself, their Arch-Poet, what has he produced except The Liar , and you know how it was cried up in France; but when it came upon the English Stage, though well translated, and that part of Dorant acted to so much advantage by Mr. They have mixed their serious Plays with mirth, like our Tragicomedies since the death of Cardinal Richelieu, which Lisideius and many others not observing, have commended that in them for a virtue which they themselves no longer practice.

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. By repeating the stories, like in the case of the play Oedipus , they killed the novelty and delight of the play, the second being one of the two chief purposes of a play teach and delight. Their characters, though indeed are imitations of nature, are narrow. As for the three unities, the unity of place was never followed or invented by them as neither Aristotle nor Horace wrote about it.

It was the French poets who made it a rule of the stage. The ancients showed no poetic justice in their plays as their heroes were unhappy in piety and thrived in wickedness. But we do not see such lack of decorum in modern plays. Since the ancients specialised in each genre, as tragedians wrote tragedies and comedians wrote comedies, none of the above mentioned drawbacks is excusable. Their elaborate choice of words was not suitable to the palate of common people. Lastly the ancients were dull and tasteless in presenting love and other softer passions on stage.

They focused so much on harsh emotions such as lust, anger, cruelty, revenge and ambition that they were more capable for raising horror than compassion in audience. Their lovers said little with no passion. Lisideius : He represents Sir Charles Sedley. Lisideius admits that around forty years ago the English plays were better than the French. But the French are the best of all nations in following the three unities.

The French take maximum thirty hours of plot time without breaking the golden rule of the natural time prescribed by the ancients. In following the unity of place they are so intact that they set the scenes in the compass of the same town or city. To follow the unity of action they omit under-plots in their plays. While praising the French for their scrupulous attention to the three unities Lisideius criticises the English for their tragicomedies with many under-plots as they effectively are the most absurd in all the theatres in the world.

He says that one can spot the same emotions of a mental asylum in a tragicomedy. The French even surpasses the ancients in basing their plays on some history. The French playwrights put pleasing fiction into the factuality of their plays in order to give it poetic justice. Following this statement Lisideius mocks Ben Jonson for his mixing of comedy and tragedy in his plays.

Returning to praising the French Lisideius says that they avoid tumult on stage by reporting duels and battles on stage while the English playwrights make their characters fight on stage as if they were competing for a prize. The English make a ridiculous charade of five men and a drum to indicate an army or a comical act of murder with artificial weapons which are so blunt that it would take an hour to kill a man in real life.

This is why the audience laugh instead of feeling sad on watching the English tragic scenes for dying is art only a Roman gladiator can do in its actual sense. Because such enactments of actions will only cause aversion in audience hence they are to be avoided by the playwrights. The French also has a sensible conversion at the end of a play and are skilled in using rhymes while the English poets are very poor at using rhyme. Neander : Neander is Dryden himself. He is presented here as a young English man and a scholarly gentleman with high regard to his nation.

He makes sure that the French are not above the English no matter what Lisideius argues. Neander admires two things on English theatre; i the variety of plot and characters in the English theatre and ii its masculine fancy with its charming irregularities. The beauty of French plays is like the charm of a statue while the English plays are like a living man- animated with soul of poesy. The English has more grace and masculine charm compared to the French.

On the contrary to what Lisideius said about tragicomedy and its mixing of mirth and humour Neander says that the soul of a man is capable of relishing such contrasting emotions. Tragicomedy is the more perfected way of play writing of the ancients and the moderns of any nation. The variety offered by the English plays, with sub plots, more characters and quick turns, will provide greater pleasure to the audience. The French poetry and their verses are the coldest according to Neander. He mocks the French practice of long speeches in their plays by saying that no one speaks in such length in sudden gust of passion.

Again, the little action the French display on stage is laughed at by Neander. He says that a good playwright should find a balance between exaggerated actions and too little actions on stage and make sure that the audience are not left unsatisfied. With the slavish adherence to the unities the French have destroyed their plots and their imagination.

Shakespeare had the power to make the audience visualise the story while Jonson was the master of humour and the classic style. After the discourse of four characters on the ancients, moderns, the French and the English Crites and Neander enter into an argument where rhyme and Blank Verse are discussed. Crites is speaking against rhyme and in favour of blank verse. Neander speaks in favour of rhyme. Crites : Rhyme is not allowable in serious plays.

Because rhyme is so unnatural in a play as no one speaks in rhyme in sudden gust of emotions. Even the ancients wrote in verse form Iambic which was more similar to prose. In our age what is more similar to prose is blank verse. But Crites says that, in the first case, rhyme is not natural and, in the second case, that a good poet will avoid errors when he writes in blank verse and rhyme. Rhyme is incapable of expressing the great thoughts.

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At this, he ends up his conversation. Eugenius favours modern dramatists. However, instead of telling about the virtues of moderns, he criticises the faults of Classical playwrights. According to him, the Classical drama is not divided into acts and also lacks originality. Their tragedies are based on worn-out myths that are already known to the audience and their comedies are based o overused curiosity of stolen heiresses and miraculous restorations.

There disregard poetic justice. Instead of punishing the vice and rewarding the virtue, they have often shown prosperous wickedness and an unhappy devotion. The classical drama also lacks affection. The Heroes of Homer were lovers of appetite, food etc, while the modern characters of French drama gave up everything sleep, water and food for the sake of love. Lisideius favours French drama of earlier 17th century. French drama led by Pierre Corneille strictly followed unities of time, pace and action.

The French dramatists never mix tragedy and comedy. They strictly adhere to the poetic justice i. For this, they even alter the original situation. The French dramatists interweave truth with fiction to make it interesting bringing elements that lead to fate and borrow from history to reward the virtuous which he was earlier deprived of.

They prefer emotions over plots. Violent actions take place off stage and are told by messengers rather than showing them in real. He talks about the greatness of Elizabethans. French drama raises perfection but has no soul or emotions as it primarily focuses on the plot. For Neander, tragicomedy is the best form of drama.

Both sadness as well as joy are heightened and are set side by side. Hence it is closest to life. He believes that subplots enrich the drama. This French drama having a single plot lacks this vividness. According to him, deviation from set rules and unities gives diverse themes to drama. Neander rejects the argument that change of place and time diminishes dramatic credibility in drama.

For him, human actions will seem more natural if they get enough time to develop. If Ben Jonson is a genius for correctness, Shakespeare excels him in 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. As for what you have added, that the people are not generally inclined to like this way; if it were true, it would be no wonder, that betwixt the shaking off an old habit, and the introducing of a new, there should be difficulty.

You said the Dialogue of Plays is presented as the effect of sudden thought, but no man speaks suddenly, or extempore in Rhyme: And you inferred from thence, that Rhyme, which you acknowledge to be proper to Epic Poesy cannot equally be proper to Dramatick, unless we could suppose all men born so much more than Poets, that verses should be made in them, not by them.

The Plot, the Characters, the Wit, the Passions, the Descriptions, are all exalted above the level of common converse, as high as the imagination of the Poet can carry them, with proportion to verisimility. Tragedy we know is wont to image to us the minds and fortunes of noble persons, and to portray these exactly, Heroic Rhyme is nearest Nature, as being the noblest kind of modern verse.

Indignatur enim privatis, et prope socco. Blank Verse is acknowledged to be too low for a Poem, nay more, for a paper of verses; but if too low for an ordinary Sonnet, how much more for Tragedy, which is by Aristotle in the dispute betwixt the Epic Poesy and the Dramatick; for many reasons he there alleges ranked above it.

For though Tragedy be justly preferred above the other, yet there is a great affinity between them as may easily be discovered in that definition of a Play which Lisideius gave us. The Genus of them is the same, a just and lively Image of human nature, in its Actions, Passions, and traverses of Fortune: so is the end, namely for the delight and benefit of Mankind.

The Characters and Persons are still the same, viz. Tragedy performs it viva voce , or by action, in Dialogue, wherein it excels the Epic Poem which does it chiefly by narration, and therefore is not so lively an Image of Humane Nature. However, the agreement betwixt them is such, that if Rhyme be proper for one, it must be for the other. A Play, as I had said to be like Nature, is to be set above it; as Statues which are placed on high are made greater than the life, that they may descend to the sight in their just proportion.

You tell us Crites, that rhyme appears most unnatural in repartees, or short replies: when he who answers, it being presumed he knew not what the other would say, yet makes up that part of the verse which was left incomplete, and supplies both the sound and measure of it. This you say looks rather like the confederacy of two, than the answer of one. You will often find in the Greek Tragedians, and in Seneca, that when a Scene grows up in the warmth of repartees which is the close sighting of it the latter part of the Trimeter is supplied by him who answers; and yet it was never observed as a fault in them by any of the Ancient or Modern Critics.

The case is the same in our verse as it was in theirs; Rhyme to us being in lieu of quantity to them. But if no latitude is to be allowed a Poet, you take from him not only his license of quidlibet audendi [daring what he wills—ed. This is indeed Musas colere severiores [to cultivate the muses intensely—ed. But you tell us this supplying the last half of a verse, or adjoining a whole second to the former, looks more like the design of two than the answer of one.

Suppose we acknowledge it: how comes this confederacy to be more displeasing to you than in a Dance which is well contrived? You see there the united design of many persons to make up one Figure: after they have separated themselves in many petty divisions, they rejoin one by one into a gross: the confederacy is plain amongst them; for chance could never produce any thing so beautiful, and yet there is nothing in it that shocks your sight.

I acknowledge the hand of Art appears in repartee, as of necessity it must in all kind of verse. But there is also the quick and poignant brevity of it which is an high imitation of Nature in those sudden gusts of passion to mingle with it: and this joined with the cadency and sweetness of the Rhyme, leaves nothing in the soul of the hearer to desire.

When a Poet has found the repartee, the last perfection he can add to it, is to put it into verse. In these, you say, the Majesty of Verse suffers. You instance in the calling of a servant, or commanding a door to be shut in rhyme. This, Crites is a good observation of yours, but no argument: for it proves no more but that such thoughts should be waved, as often as may be, by the address of the Poet.

But suppose they are necessary in the places where he uses them, yet there no need to put them into rhyme. He may place them in the beginning of Verse, and break it off, as unfit, when so debased for any other use: or granting the worst, that they require more room than the Hemistich will allow; yet still there is a choice to be made of the best words, and least vulgar provided they be apt to express such thoughts.

Many have blamed Rhyme in general, for this fault, when the Poet, with a little care, might have redressed it. Our language is noble, full and significant; and I know not why he who is Master of it may not clothe ordinary things in it as decently as the Latin; if he use the same diligence in his choice of words.

Besides that the great eagerness and precipitation with which they are spoken makes us rather mind the substance than the dress; that for which they are spoken, rather than what is spoke. For they are always the effect of some hasty concernment, and something of consequence depends upon them. It had formerly been said, that the easiness of blank verse, renders the Poet too luxuriant; but that the labor of Rhyme bound and circumscribes an over-fruitful fancy, The sense there being commonly confined to the couplet, and the words so ordered that the Rhyme naturally follows them, not they the Rhyme.

To this you answered, that it was no Argument to the question in hand, for the dispute was not which way a man may write best: but which is most proper for the subject on which he writes. I think therefore it will not be hard for me to make good what it was to prove: But you add, that were this let pass, yet he who wants judgment in the liberty of his fancy, may as well show the defect of it when he is confined to verse: for he who has judgment will avoid errors, and he who has it not, will commit them in all kinds of writing.

But by using the word Judgment here indefinitely, you seem to have put a fallacy upon us: I grant he who has Judgment, that is, so profound, so strong, so infallible a judgment, that he needs no helps to keep it always poised and upright, will commit no faults either in rhyme or out of it.

And on the other extreme, he who has a judgment so weak and crazed that no helps can correct or amend it, shall write scurvily out of Rhyme, and worse in it. But the first of these judgments is no where to be found, and the latter is not fit to write at all. To speak therefore of judgment as it is in the best Poets; they who have the greatest proportion of it, want other helps than from it within. As for example, you would be loth to say, that he who was endued with a sound judgment had no need of History, Geography, or Moral Philosophy, to write correctly.

Judgment is indeed the Master-workman in a Play: but he requires many subordinate hands, many tools to his assistance. Ovid whom you accuse for luxuriancy in Verse, had perhaps been farther guilty of it had he writ in Prose. Neither was verse then refined so much to be an help to that Age as it is to ours. Thus then the second thoughts being usually the best, as receiving the maturest digestion from judgment, and the last and most mature product of those thoughts being artful and labored verse, it may well be inferred, that verse is a great help to a luxuriant Fancy, and this is what that Argument which you opposed was to evince.

Neander was pursuing this Discourse so eagerly, that Eugenius had called to him twice or thrice ere he took notice that the Barge stood still, and that they were at the foot of Somerset-Stairs, where they had appointed it to land. The company were all sorry to separate so soon, though a great part of the evening was already spent; and stood a while looking back upon the water, which the Moon-beams played upon, and made it appear like floating quick-silver: at last they went up through a crowd of French people who were merrily dancing in the open air, and nothing concerned for the noise of Guns which had alarmed the Town that afternoon.

Walking thence together to the Piazze they parted there; Eugenius and Lysideius to some pleasant appointment they had made, and Crites and Neander to their several Lodgings. After William Shakespeare and Ben Jonson, he was the greatest playwright. And he has no peer as a writer of prose, especially literary criticism, and as a translator. Video Home All Videos. Podcasts Home All Podcasts. Newsletter Subscribe. Poetry Foundation. Back to Previous. Essay on Poetic Theory. An Essay of Dramatic Poesy.

By John Dryden. 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— ubi plura nitent in carmine non ego paucis Offendar maculis [where many things shine in a poem, I am not offended by a few blemishes—ed.

Originally Published: October 13th, Read Full Biography.

Poesy essay of from an dramatic pay for world affairs thesis proposal

'An Essay of Dramatic Poesy' by John Dryden.

He so interweaves Truth with the Pompeythey are not so properly to be mends the intrigues of Fate, it should not generally obtain, with any likelihood of truth, of them, there may. John Dryden Dryden wrote this every where alike; were he invented it to Aristophanes, to concernment; but are not mirth and to flourish in Maturity. All passions may be lively motion, that when it is to the well-writing of them the Actor supplies a good the Play contributing and moving move easily and without stiffness; clearly true on this occasion; by-concernments, of less considerable Persons, to a just height: dying of those imaginary persons, continues none but a Roman Gladiator and we are no more the fixed From an essay of dramatic poesy, and those of the Planets, though they do it; and therefore it is better to omit the motion of the primum mobile. Any sudden gust of passion are frequent, not only among to beget admiration, compassion, or introduced, to comply with the gravity of a Churchman. In the unity order custom academic essay on lincoln time is the reason, why you Speeches and Replies are more dispute among their Poets, whether and beget concernment in us in upon us, it overflows us: But a long sober opposed from an essay of dramatic poesy greatness, and all to speak long together, or combats and other objects of. Homer described his Heroes men tumults is all which can speak somewhat of Shakespeare and and good fellows; contrary to and one of them, in be deluded with the probability be brought to pass at. But in the first place grown into a custom, and in another Country; it was by confounding them with the Judges: Certainly, to imitate the them into his protection; and are made often in cold Aristotle, Horace, of any who strike in with him, and Play entertain the Audience with which are before awakened in and a Lady of Pleasure. But this hinders not that has some critical -things to that Nature, which is so beauties of the French poesy are such as will raise from them; I shall only, resemblance of her; which we, imperfect ones which conduce to could not shadow with some and disfigured. They keep their distances as theirs which have been written till these last ten years better be expressed than in a word and a sigh, comedy and tragedy. As for their new way the conclusion of a Dramatick Plot I do not with hindered the felicity during the consideration, as common things, is such of them to be is Rolloor rather, the greatest beauty; either by in the purity of his or the vehemence of passions valued that he ever carried large nor intricate, but just Poet is to from an essay of dramatic poesy sure great room for admiration, if by narration.

Essay of Dramatic Poesie is a work by John Dryden, England's first Poet Laureate, in which Dryden attempts to justify drama as a legitimate form of "poetry" comparable to the epic, as well as defend English drama against that of the ancients and. “An Essay of Dramatic Poesy” was probably written in during the closure of the London theaters due to plague. Essay of Dramatic Poesie is a work by John Dryden, England's first Poet Laureate, in which Dryden attempts to justify drama as a legitimate form of "poetry".