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Oh! she is found out then, it seems.
“But how to gain admission ? for access
Is giv'n to none, but Juba and her brothers.” But, raillery apart, why access to Juba ? For he was owned and received as a lover neither by the father nor by the daughter. Well! but let that pass. Syphax puts Sempronius out of pain immediately; and, being a Numidian, abounding in wiles, supplies him with a stratagem for admission that, I believe, is a nonpareille [pareillo]:
Syph. Thou shalt have Juba's dress, and Juba's guards;
'Sempronius is, it seems, to pass for Juba in full day at Cato's house, where they were both so very well known, by having Juba's dress and his guards : as if one of the marshals of France could pass for the duke of Bavaria at noon-day at Versailles by having his dress and liveries. But how does Syphax pretend to help Sempronius to young Juba's dress? Does he serve him in a double capacity, as general and master of his wardrobe ? But why Juba's guards? For the devil of any guards has Juba appeared with yet. Well! though this is a mighty politick invention, yet, methinks, they might have done without it; for, since the advice that Syphax gave to Sempronius was
“To hurry her away by manly force," in my opinion the shortest and likeliest way of coming at the lady was by demolishing, instead of putting on an impertinent disguise to circumvent two or three slaves. But Sempronius, it seems, is of another opinion. He extols to the skies the invention of old Syphax:
“Sempr. Heavens! what a thought was [is] there !”
Now I appeal to the reader if I have not been as good as my word. Did I not tell him that I would lay before him a very wise scene?
150 'But now let us lay before the reader that part of the scenery
of the Fourth Act, which may shew the absurdities which the author has run into, through the indiscreet observance of the Unity of Place. I do not remember that Aristotle has said any thing expressly concerning the Unity of Place! 'Tis true, implicitly he has said enough in the rules which he has laid down for the Chorus. For, by making the Chorus an essential part of Tragedy and by bringing it on the stage immediately after the
?'The unity of place is not once mentioned, or even hinted, in the whole book. T. Twining's Aristotle's Treatise on Poetry, 1812, i. 339.
opening of the scene, and retaining it there till the very catastrophe, he has so determined and fixed the place of action that it was impossible for an author on the Grecian stage to break through that unity. I am of opinion that if a modern tragic poet can preserve the unity of place without destroying the probability of the incidents 'tis always best for him to do it, because by the preservation of that unity, as we have taken notice above, he adds grace, and cleanness, and comeliness to the representation. But since there are no express rules about it and we are under no compulsion to keep it, since we have no Chorus as the Grecian poet had ; if it cannot be preserved without rendering the greater part of the incidents unreasonable and absurd, and perhaps sometimes monstrous, 'tis certainly better to break it'.
'Now comes bully Sempronius, comically accoutred and equipped with his Numidian dress and his Numidian guards. Let the reader attend to him with all his ears; for the words of the wise are precious : Sempr. The deer is lodg'd, I've track'd her to her covert ?."
'Now I would fain know why this deer is said to be lodged, since we have not heard one word since the play began of her being at all out of harbour; and if we consider the discourse with which she and Lucia begin the Act we have reason to believe that they had hardly been talking of such matters in the street. However, to pleasure Sempronius let us suppose, for once, that the deer is lodged:
“The deer is lodg'd, I've track'd her to her covert.” 'If he had seen her in the open field what occasion had he to track her, when he had so many Numidian dogs at his heels, which with one halloo he might have set upon her haunches? If he did not see her in the open field, how could he possibly track her? [. . .] If he had seen her in the street, why did he not set upon her in the street, since through the street she must be carried at last? Now here, instead of having his thoughts upon his business and upon the present danger ; instead of meditating and contriving how he shall pass with his mistress through the southern gate, where her brother Marcus is upon the guard, and where she would certainly prove an impediment to him, which is the Roman word for the baggage ; instead of doing this, Sempronius is entertaining himself with whimsies:
“ Sempr. How will the young Numidian rave to see His mistress lost! If aught could glad my soul, Beyond th' enjoyment of so bright a prize, 'Twould be to torture that young gay Barbarian. Remarks, &c., p. 47.
Works, i. 212.
But hark! what noise ? Death to my hopes, 'tis he,
Through those his guards." 'Pray, what are those his guards? I thought at present that Juba's guards had been Sempronius's tools, and had [now] been dangling after his heels.
151 But now let us sum up all these absurdities together.
Sempronius goes at noon-day, in Juba's clothes and with Juba's guards, to Cato's palace, in order to pass for Juba, in a place where they were both so very well known ; he meets Juba there, and resolves to murder him with his own guards. Upon the guards appearing a little bashful, he threatens them:
“ Hah! Dastards, do you tremble !
Or act like men, or by yon azure heav'n!" But the guards still remaining restive Sempronius himself attacks Juba, while each of the guards is representing Mr. Spectator's sign of the Gaper', awed, it seems, and terrified by Sempronius's threats. Juba kills Sempronius, and takes his own army prisoners, and carries them in triumph away to Cato. Now I would fain know if any part of Mr. Bayes's tragedy is so full of absurdity as this?
Upon hearing the clash of swords Lucia and Marcia come in. The question is, why no men came in upon hearing the noise of swords in the governor's hall? Where was the governor himself? Where were his guards? Where were his servants? Such an attempt as this, so near the person of a governor of a place of war, was enough to alarm the whole garrison; and yet, for almost half an hour after Sempronius was killed, we find none of those appear, who were the likeliest in the world to be alarmed; and the noise of swords is made to draw only two poor women thither, who were most certain to run away from it. Upon Lucia and Marcia's coming in, Lucia appears in all the symptoms of an hysterical gentlewoman:
“Luc. Sure 'twas the clash of swords! my troubled heart Is so cast down, and sunk amidst its sorrows,
It throbs with fear, and akes at every sound ! And immediately her old whimsy returns upon her:
“O Marcia, should thy brothers, for my sake
I die away with horror at the thought.” ? 'The Dutch, who are more famous the head of an idiot, dressed in a cap for their industry and application and bells, and gaping in a most imthan for wit and humour, hang up moderate manner. This is a standin several of their streets what they ing jest at Amsterdam.' ADDISON, call the sign of the Gaper; that is The Spectator, No. 47.
She fancies that there can be no cutting of throats, but it must be for her. If this is tragical, I would fain know what is comical. Welll upon this they spy the body of Sempronius; and Marcia, deluded by the habit, it seems, takes him for Juba ; for, says she,
“The face is [lies] muffled up within the garment.” Now how a man could fight and fall with his face muffled up in his garment is, I think, a little hard to conceive! Besides Juba, before he killed him, knew him to be Sempronius. It was not by his garment that he knew this; it was by his face then : his face therefore was not muffled. Upon seeing this man with the muffled face, Marcia falls a-raving; and, owning her passion for the supposed defunct, begins to make his funeral oration. Upon which Juba enters listening, I suppose on tip-toe: for I cannot imagine how any one can enter listening, in any other posture. I would fain know how it came to pass that during all this time he had sent nobody, no not so much as a candle-snuffer, to take away the dead body of Sempronius. Well ! but let us regard him listening: Having left his apprehension behind him he, at first, applies what Marcia says to Sempronius. But finding at last with much ado that he himself is the happy man, he quits his eve[s]-dropping, and discovers himself just time enough to prevent his being cuckoled [cuckolded] by a dead man, of whom the moment before he had appeared so jealous; and greedily intercepts the bliss, which was fondly designed for one who could not be the better for it. But here I must ask a question: how comes Juba to listen here, who had not listened before throughout the play? Or, how comes he to be the only person of this tragedy who listens, when love and treason were so often talked in so publick a place as a hall ? I am afraid the author was driven upon all these absurdities only to introduce this miserable mistake of Marcia ; which after all is much below the dignity of tragedy as any thing is which is the effect or result of trick.
' But let us come to the scenery of the Fifth Act. Cato 152 appears first upon the scene, sitting in a thoughtful posture; in his hand Plato's treatise on the Immortality of the Soul, a drawn sword on the table by him. Now let us consider the place in which this sight is presented to us. The place, forsooth, is a long [large] hall. Let us suppose that any one should place himself in this posture in the midst of one of our halls in London; that he should appear solus, in a sullen posture, a drawn sword on the table by him ; in his hand Plato's treatise on [of] the Immortality of the Soul, translated lately by Bernard Lintot': I desire the i Lintot was
the publisher of of the Immortality of the Soul, transDennis's Remarks upon Cato. lated from the Greek by Mr. Theo1713 he published Plato's Dialogue bald. For Lintot see ante, SMITH, 48.
reader to consider whether such a person as this would pass with them who beheld him for a great patriot, a great philosopher, or a general, or for some whimsical person who fancied himself all these ; and whether the people who belonged to the family would think that such a person had a design upon their midrifs or his own.
'In short, that Cato should sit long enough in the aforesaid posture, in the midst of this large hall, to read over Plato's treatise on the Immortality of the Soul, which is a lecture of two long hours ; that he should propose to himself to be private there upon that occasion; that he should be angry with his son for intruding there; then, that he should leave this hall upon the pretence of sleep, give himself the mortal wound in his bedchamber, and then be brought back into that hall to expire, purely to shew his good-breeding, and save his friends the trouble of coming up to his bedchamber: all this appears to me to be improbable,
incredible, impossible?' 153 Such is the censure of Dennis. There is, as Dryden expresses
it, perhaps too much horse-play in his raillery 3'; but if his jests are coarse, his arguments are strong. Yet as we love better to be
pleased than to be taught, Cato is read, and the critick is neglected. 154 Flushed with consciousness of these detections of absurdity in
the conduct, he afterwards attacked the sentiments of Cato 5 ; but
he then amused himself with petty cavils, and minute objections. 155 Of Addison's smaller poems no particular mention is necessary :
they have little that can employ or require a critickó. The parallel of the Princes and Gods, in his verses to Kneller, is often happy, but is too well known to be quoted?.
" Johnson gives as a second mean- Pleasing.' SOUTHEY, Quar. Rev. ing of lecture, 'the act or practice of xii. 89, quoted in Cunningham's reading ; perusal.'
Lives of the Poets, ii. 174. 2 Remarks, &c., p. 52.
In Original Letters Familiar, Ante, DRYDEN, 175.
Moral, and Critical, 1721, ii. 303. Ante, ADDISON, 70. Dennis, in Ante, ADDISON, 126. The ear1696, published his beliefthat Wycher- liest compositions that I recollect ley was the greatest comic wit that taking pleasure in were The Vision ever England bred.' Letters on Several of Mirza [Spectator, No. 159) and Occasions, p. 7. He suppressed this á hymn of Addison's beginning, when, in 1718-21, he republished these “How are thy servants bless'd, O Letters in his Select Works, ii. 490. Lord !” I particularly remember
Landor placed Dryden as a critic one half-stanza which was music to 'knee-deep below John Dennis.' my boyish ear :Imag. Conver. iv. 275.
'For though on [in] dreadful whirls ‘Dennis will one day have justice we hung, done him as a critic. He wrote vil- High on the broken wave." lainous verses ; but he knew what
[Spectator, No. 489].' poetry ought to be, and did not define BURNS, Poems, 1846, p. 15. it, like some others, to be the Art of ? See Appendix Y.