Imatges de pÓgina

manners should accompany it. A fuperficial decorum is kept up if Agamemnon appears a great chief; but he fhould be a Greek chief too, if he is to facrifice his daughter to Diana. The fame magnanimity of sentiment might certainly have been found in Gustavus Adolphus, and in other generals; but then how monftrous would appear the great catastrophe of the play!

If Shakespear had not preferved the Roman character and fentiments, in his play of the Death of Julius Cæfar, we should have abhorred Brutus as an Affaffin, who by this artifice appears a Tyrannicide: and had not Mr. Addifon made Cato a Patriot, according to the Roman mode, we should think he was mad for killing himself because Cæfar was likely to become perpetual


It is difficult to fympathize with a man's paffions, without adopting, for the time, his opinions, customs, and prejudices: but it is certainly neceffary to exhibit the man as


ftrongly tinctured with those prejudices and cuftoms as poffible.

To all but fuperficial Critics would it not appear as ridiculous to fee Thefeus and Achilles wear French manners, as a French drefs? A little reflection would fhew it is more fo for there are relations between fentiments and manners, and none between fentiments and drefs.

It is ftrange that Painters, who are to give the mute inanimate figure, are required to be rigid obfervers of the Coftumi, and that the dramatic Poet, who is to imitate fentiment, difcourfe, and action, should be allowed to neglect them.

[blocks in formation]




M A.

Nec minimum meruere decus, veftigia Græca
Aufi deferere, et celebrare domeftica facta.

D 3

[ocr errors]
« AnteriorContinua »