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meet in J-G-'s hall, to carry on that conspiracy? There would be no necessity for their meeting there, at least till they came to the execution of their plot, because there would be other places to meet in. There would be no probability that they should meet there, because there would be places more private and more commodious. Now there ought to be nothing in a tragical action but what is necessary or probable.
"But treason is not the only thing that is carried on in this hall; that, and love, and philosophy, take their turns in it, without any manner of necessity or probability occasioned by the action, as duly and as regularly, without interrupting one another, as if there were a triple league between them, and a mutual agreement that each should give place to, and make way for, the other, in a due and orderly succession.
"We now come to the third Act. Sempronius, in this Act, comes into the governor's hall, with the leaders of the mutiny: but, as soon as Cato is gone, Sempronius, who but just before had acted like an unparallelled knave, discovers himself, like an egregious fool, to be an accomplice in the conspiracy.
Syph. Our first design, my friend, has proved abortive;
Still there remains an after-game to play:
Semp. Confusion! I have failed of half my purMarcia, the charming Marcia's left behind. pose;
Well! but though he tells us the half purpose he has failed of, he does not tell us the half that he has carried. But what does he mean by
Marcia, the charming Marcia's left behind?
He is now in her own house! and we have neither seen her, nor heard of her, any where else since the play began. But now let us hear Syphax:
What hinders then, but that you find her out,
But what does old Syphax mean by finding her
Semp. Know, villains, when such paltry slaves pre- out? They talk as if she were as hard to be
To mix in treason, if the plot succeeds,
They're thrown neglected by; but, if it fails, They're sure to die like dogs, as you shall do.
found as a hare in a frosty morning.
Semp. But how to gain admission!
Here, take these factious monsters, drag them forth Oh! she is found out then, it seems.
"It is true, indeed, the second leader says, there are none there but friends; but is that possible at such a juncture? Can a parcel of rogues attempt to assassinate the governor of a town of war, in his own house, in mid-day? and, after they are discovered, and defeated, can there be none near them but friends? Is it not plain from these words of Sempronius,
Here, take these factious monsters, drag them forth To sudden death
and from the entrance of the guards upon the words of command, that those guards were within ear-shot? Behold Sempronius then palpably discovered. How comes it to pass, then, that instead of being hanged up with the rest, he remains secure in the governor's hall, and there carries on his conspiracy against the government, the third time in the same day, with his old comrade Syphax, who enters at the same time that the guards are carrying away the leaders, big with the news of the defeat of Sempronius; though where he had his intelligence so soon is difficult to imagine? And now the reader may expect a very extraordinary scene; there is not abundance of spirit indeed, nor a great deal of passion, but there is wisdom more than enough to supply all defects.
But how to gain admission! for access
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 non-pareille.
Syph. Thou shalt have Juba's dress, and Juba's The doors will open when Numidia's prince guards. Seems to appear before them.
"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 a 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 politic invention, yet, methinks, they
might have done without it; for, since the advice that Syphax gave to Sempronious 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 :
"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 he 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:
Semp. How will the young Numidian rave o sce
Semp. Heavens! what a thought was 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? "But now let us lay before the reader that part of the scenery of the fourth Act which may show 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. It is 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 opening of the scene, and retaining it 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 "But now let us sum up all these absurdities preserve the unity of place without destroying together. Sempronius goes at noon-day, in Juthe probability of the incidents, it is always best ba's clothes and with Juba's guards, to Cato's for him to do it; because, by the preserving of palace, in order to pass for Juba, in a place that unity, as we have taken notice above, he where they were both so very well known; he adds grace, and clearness, and comeliness, to the meets Juba there, and resolves to murder him representation. But since there are no express with his own guards. Upon the guards appearrules about it, and we are under no compulsioning a little bashful, he threatens them: 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, it is 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:
"Pray, what are 'those his guards?' I thought, at present, that Juba's guards had been Sempronius's tools, and had been dangling after his heels.
Hah! Dastards do you tremble!
Or act like men; or, by yon azure heaven
"But the guards, still remaining restive, the guards is representing Mr. Spectator's sign Sempronius himself attacks Juba, while each of of the Gaper, awed, it seems, and terrified by and takes his own amy prisoners, and carries Sempronius's threats. Juba kills Sempronius. them in triumph away to Cato. Now I would Semp. The deer is lodged, I've track'd her to her fain know if any part of Mr. Bayes's tragedy
"Now I would fain know why this deer is said to be lodged, since we have heard not 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.
is so full of absurdity as this?
"Upon hearing the clash of swords, Lucia and Marcia come in. The question is, why no men come 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 oL.}
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
Is so cast down, and sunk amidst its sorrows,
Act, Cato 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 hall.
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
And immediately her old whimsy returns upon sullen posture, a drawn sword on the table by ker:
O Marcia, should thy brothers, for my sake-
She fancies that there can be no cutting of
him; in his hand Plato's treatise on the Im mortality of the Soul, translated lately by Bernard Lintot: I desire the reader to consider, whether such a person as this would pass, with them who beheld him, for a great patriot, à great philosopher, or a general, or 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 midriffs 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 show 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."
There is, as
Such is the censure of Dennis. Dryden expresses it, perhaps " too much horseplay in his raillery;" but if his jests are coarse, his arguments are strong. Yet, as we love better to be pleased than be taught, " Cato" is read and the critic is neglected.
The face is 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 his 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 comes 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-dropping, and discovers himself just time enough to prevent his being cuckolded by a dead Iman, of whom the moment before he had ap-nute objections. peared 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 public 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.
Flushed with consciousness of these detections of absurdity in the conduct, he afterwards attacked the sentiments, of Cato; but he then amused himself with petty cavils and mi
Of Addison's smaller poems, no particular mention is necessary; they have little that can employ or require a critic. The parallel of the princes and gods, in his verses to Kneller, is often happy, but is too well known to be quoted.
His translations, so far as I have compared them, want the exactness of a scholar. That he understood his authors cannot be doubted; but his versions will not teach others to understand them, being too licentiously paraphrastical. They are, however, for the most part, smooth and easy; and, what is the first excellence of a translator, such as may be read with pleasure by those who do not know the ari
"But let us come to the scenery of the fifth ginals.
His poetry is polished and pure; the product of a mind too judicious to commit faults, but not sufficiently vigorous to attain excellence. He has sometimes a striking line, or a shining paragraph; but in the whole he is warm rather than fervid, and shows more dexterity than strength. He was however one of our earliest examples of correctness.
The versification which he had learned from Dryden he debased rather than refined. His rhymes are often dissonant; in his "Georgic" he admits broken lines. He uses both triplets and Alexandrines, but triplets more frequently in his translations than his other works. The mere structure of verses seems never to have engaged much of his care. But his lines are very smooth in "Rosamond," and too smooth in "Cato."
Addison is now to be considered as a critic; a name which the present generation is scarcely willing to allow him. His criticism is condemned as tentative or experimental, rather than scientific; and he is considered as deciding by taste* rather than by principles.
It is not uncommon for those who have grown wise by the labour of others to add a little of their own, and overlook their masters. Addison is now despised by some who perhaps would never have seen his defects, but by the lights which he afforded them. That he always wrote as he would think it necessary to write now, cannot be affirmed: his instructions were such as the characters of his readers made proper. That general knowledge which now circulates in common talk was in his time rarely to be found. Men not professing learning were not ashamed of ignorance; and, in the female world, any acquaintance with books was distinguished only to be censured. His purpose was to infuse literary curiosity, by gentle and unsuspected conveyance, into the gay, the idle, and the wealthy; he therefore presented knowledge in the most alluring form, not lofty and austere, but accessible and familiar. When he showed them their defects, he showed them likewise that they might be easily supplied. His attempt succeeded; inquiry was awakened, and comprehension expanded. An emulation of intellectual elegance was excited; and, from this time to our own, life has been gradually exalted, and conversation purified and enlarged. Dryden had, not many years before, scattered criticism over his prefaces with very little parsimony; but though he sometimes condescended to be somewhat familiar, his manner was in general too scholastic for those who had yet their rudiments to learn, and found it not easy to understand their master. His observations were framed rather for those that were learning to write, than for those that read only to talk.
Taste must decide. Warton.-C.
An instructor like Addison was now wanting, whose remarks, being superficial, might be easily understood, and being just, might prepare the mind for more attainments. Had he presented "Paradise Lost" to the public with all the pomp of system and severity of science, the criticism would perhaps have been admired and the poem still have been neglected; but by the blandishments of gentleness and facility he has made Milton a universal favourite, with whom readers of every class think it necessary to be pleased.
He descended now and then to lower disquisitions; and by a serious display of the beauties of "Chevy-Chase," exposed himself to the ridicule of Wagstaffe, who bestowed a like pompous character on "Tom Thumb;" and to the contempt of Dennis, who, considering the fundamental position of his criticism, that " ChevyChase" pleases, and ought to please, because it is natural, observes, that "there is a way of deviating from nature, by bombast or tumour, which soars above nature, and enlarges images beyond their real bulk; by affectation, which forsakes nature in quest of something unsuitable; and by imbecility, which degrades nature by faintness and diminution, by obscuring its appearances, and weakening its effects." In "Chevy-Chase" there is not much of either bombast or affectation; but there is chill and lifeless imbecility. The story cannot possibly be told in a manner that shall make less impression on the mind.
Before the profound observers of the present race repose too securely on the consciousness of their superiority to Addison, let them consider his Remarks on Ovid, in which may be found specimens of criticism sufficiently subtle and refined: let them peruse likewise his "Essays on Wit" and on the "Pleasures of Imagination," in which he founds art on the base of nature, and draws the principles of invention from dispositions inherent in the mind of man with skill and elegance,* such as his contemners will not easily attain.
As a describer of life and manners, he must be allowed to stand perhaps the first of the first rank. His humour, which, as Steele observes, is peculiar to himself, is so happily diffused as to give the grace of novelty to domestic scenes and daily occurrences. He never "outsteps the modesty of nature," nor raises merriment or wonder by the violation of truth. His figures neither divert by distortion nor amaze by aggravation. He copies life with so much fidelity that he can be hardly said to invent; yet his exhibitions have an air so much original, that it is difficult to suppose them not merely the product of imagination.
As a teacher of wisdom, he may be confidently
* Far, in Dr. Warton's opinion, beyond Dryden.--C
followed. His religion has nothing in it enthusiastic or superstitious; he appears neither weakly credulous nor wantonly sceptical; his morality is neither dangerously lax nor impracticably rigid. All the enchantment of fancy and all the cogency of argument are employed to recommend to the reader his real interest, the care of pleasing the Author of his being. Truth is shown sometimes as the phantom of a vision; sometimes appears half-veiled in an allegory; sometimes attracts regard in the robes of fancy; and sometimes steps forth in the confidence of reason. She wears a thousand dresses, and in all is pleasing.
Mille habet ornatus, mille decenter habet. His prose is the model of the middle style; on grave subjects not formal, on light occasions not grovelling; pure without scrupulosity, and exact without apparent elaboration; always equable and always easy, without glowing words or
pointed sentences. Addison never deviates from his track to snatch a grace: he seeks no ambitious ornaments and tries no hazardous innovations. His page is always luminous, but never blazes in unexpected splendour.
It was apparently his principal endeavour to avoid all harshness and severity of diction; he is therefore sometimes verbose in his transitions and connections, and sometimes descends too much to the language of conversation; yet if his language had been less idiomatical, it might have lost somewhat of its genuine Anglicism. What he attempted, he performed: he is never feeble, and he did not wish to be energetic;* he is never rapid, and he never stagnates. His sentences have neither studied amplitude nor affected brevity: his periods, though not diligently rounded, are voluble and easy. Whoever wishes to attain an English style, familiar but not coarse, and elegant but not ostentatious, must give his days and nights to the volumes of Addison.
JOHN HUGHES. the son of a citizen in London, and of Anne Burgess, of an ancient family in Wiltshire, was born at Marlborough, July 29, 1677. He was educated at a private school; and though his advances in literature are, in the "Biographia," very ostentatiously displayed, the name of his master is somewhat ungratefully concealed.*
At nineteen he drew the plan of a tragedy; and paraphrased, rather too profusely, the ode of Horace which begins Integer Vita. To poetry he added the science of music, in which he seems to have attained considerable skill, together with the practice of design, or rudiments of painting.
His studies did not withdraw him wholly from business, nor did business hinder him from study. He had a place in the office of ordnance; and was secretary to several commissions for purchasing lands necessary to secure the royal docks at Chatham and Portsmouth; yet found time to acquaint himself with modern languages.
He was educated in a dissenting academy, of which the Rev. Thomas Rowe was tutor; and was a fellow-student there with Dr. Isaac Watts, Mr. Samuel Say, and other persons of eminence. In the "Hore Lyrica" of Dr. Watts, is a poem to the memory of Mr. Rowe.-H.
In 1697 he published a poem on the "Peace of Kyswick:" and in 1699 another piece, called "The Court of Neptune," on the return of King William, which he addressed to Mr. Montague, the general patron of the followers of the Muses. The same year he produced a song on the Duke of Gloucester's birth-day.
He did not confine himself to poetry, but cultivated other kinds of writing with great success; and about this time showed his knowledge of human nature by an "Essay on the Pleasure of being Deceived." In 1702 he published, on the death of King William, a Pindaric ode, called "The House of Nassau ;" and wrote another paraphrase on the Otium Divos of Horace. In 1703 his Ode on Music was performed at Stationers' Hall; and he wrote afterwards six cantatas, which were set to music by the greatest master of that time, and seemed intended to oppose or exclude the Italian opera, an exotic and irrational entertainment, which has been always combated, and always has prevailed.
His reputation was now so far advanced, that the public began to pay reverence to his name; and he was solicited to prefix a preface to the trauslation of Boccalini, a writer
But, says Dr. Warton, he sometimes is so; and in another MS. note he adds, often so.-C.