Imatges de pÓgina
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CRITICAL ESSAYS.

ESSAY on TRAGEDY;

Addressed to Henry St. John, Lord

Viscount Bolingbroke.

T

HOUGH I dedicate to an Englishman a play represented at Pa

ris, it is not, my lord, that there are wanting in France men of great merit, and excellent judges, to whom I might have paid that homage. But, you know, the tragedy of Brutus * was begun in England : you remember when I was re

* There is an English Brutus by an author named Lee; but it is a performance unknown, and never represented in London. Voltaire. B

tired

tired to Wandsworth at my good friend, Sir Everard Falkener's, that worthy and virtuous patriot, I applied myself to write, in english prose, the first act of this play, pretty much in the same manner as it now stands in the french verse. I spoke to you of it fometimes, and we were both furprized that no english writer had handled this subject, which is fo extremely well adapted to your theatre. You emboldened me to continue a subject_fo susceptible of

great sentiments.

Give me leave then, my lord, to offer you Brutus, tho' wrote in a foreign tongue, dočte sermones utriusque lingua to you who could give me instructions in the french as weil as in the english, to you who at least, might teach me to add to my native language that energy and force which a noble liberty of thinking inspires : for the vigorous sentiments of the soul pass always to the tongue; a strength of mind always commands a strength of expresfion. I must own that at my return from England, where I spent a couple of years in a continual study of your language,

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