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While Cato gives his little Senate laws,
Britons, attend: be worth like this approv'd,
Dare NOTES. VER. 27. Ev'n when] The twenty-seventh, thirtieth, thirtyfourth, thirty-ninth, and forty-fifth lines, are artful allufions to the character and history of Cato himself.
WARTON. VER. 37. Britons, attend :] Spence told me, that Pope had written it-“ Britons, arise”; but that Addison, frightened at so strong an expression, as promoting insurrection, lowered and weakened it by the word, attend,
WARTON. Ver. 42. On French translation,] He glances obliquely at the Distreft Mother of his old antagonist Philips, taken, evidently, from Racine. Cato's last foliloquy is translated with great purity and elegance by Bland.
It is a little remarkable that the last line of Cato is Pope's ; and the last of Eloisa is Addison's.
Dare to have sense yourselves; assert the stage,
NOTES. VER. 45. Such Plays alone] Addison, having finished and laid by, for several years, the firit four acts of Cato, applied to Hughes for a fifth ; and Dr. Johnson, from entertaining too mean an opinion of Hughes, does not think the application serious. When Hughes brought bis fupplement, he found the author himself had finished his play. Hughes was very capable of writing this fifth act. The Siege of Damascus is a better tragedy than Cato; though Pope affected to speak flightingly of its author. An audience was packed by Steele on the first night of Cato; and Addison suffered inexpreilible uneasiness and folicitude during the reprefentation. Boling broke called Booth to his box, and gave him fifty guineas for defending the cause of liberty to well, against a perpetual dictator.
WARTON. VER. 46. As Cato's felf, &c.] This alludes to that famous ftory of his coming into the Theatre, and going out again, related by Martial.
EPILOGUE TO MR. ROWE’S
THE Epilogue to Jane Shore is written with that air of gallantry and raillery which, by a strange perversion of taste, the audience expects in all Epilogues to the most serious and pathetic pieces. To recommend cuckoldom, and palliate adultery; is their usual intent. I wonder Mrs. Oldfield was not suffered to speak it; for it is superior to that which was used on the occasion. In this taste Garrick has written fome that abound in spirit and drollery. Rowe's genius was rather delicate and soft, than strong and pathetic ; "his compositions foothe us with a tranquil and tender sort of complacency, rather than cleave the lieart with pangs of commiseration.
His distresses are entirely founded on the passion of love. His diction is extremely elegant and chaste, and his versification highly melodious. His plays are declamations, rather than dialogues ; and his characters are general, and undistinguished from each other. Such a furious character as that of Bajazet, is easily drawn; and, let me add, easily acted. There is a want of unity in the fable of Tamerlane. The death's head, dead body, and stage hung in mourning, in the Fair Penitent, are artificial and mechanical methods of affecting an audience. In a word, his plays are musical and pleasing poems, but inactive and unmoving tragedies. This of Jane Shore is, I think, the most interesting and affecting of any he has given us; but pro. bability is sadly violated in it by the neglect of the unity of time. For a person to be supposed to be starved, during the representation of five acts, is a striking instance of the absurdity of this violation.
Ít is probable that this is become the most popular and pleafing tragedy of all Rowe's works, because it is founded on our own history. I cannot forbear wishing, that our writers would more frequently search for subjects in the annals of England, which afford many striking and pathetic events, proper for the
ftage. We have been too long attached to Grecian and Román stories. In truth, domestica facta are more interesting, as well as more useful; more interesting, because we all think ourselves concerned in the actions and fates of our countrymen ; more useful, because the characters and manners bid the faireft to be true and natural, when they are drawn from models with which we are exactly acquainted. The Turks, the Persians, and Americans, of our poets, are, in reality, distinguished from Englishmen, only by their turbans and feathers ; and think and act as if they were born and educated within the Bills of Mortality. The historical plays of Shakespear are always grateful to the spectator, who loves to see and hear our own Harrys and Edwards, better than all the Achillefes or Cæsars that ever exifted. In the choice of a domestic story, however, much judgment and circumspection must be exerted, to select one of a proper æra; neither of too ancient, nor of too modern a date. The manners of times very ancient, we shall be apt to falsify, as those of the Greeks and Ro. mans. And recent events, with which we are thoroughly acquainted, are deprived of the power of imprefsing folemnity and awe, by their notoriety and familiarity. Age foftens and wears away all those disgracing and depreciating circumstances, which attend modern transactions, merely because they are modern. Lucan was much embarrassed by the proximity of the times he treated of,
I take this occasion to observe, that Rowe has taken the fable of his Fair Penitent, from the Fatal Dowry of Maffinger and Field.
WARTON. Thsee observations are in general very juít, but Dr. Warton should not have cited Shakespear, as having founded his most in. teresting Plays on “ domeftica facta.” Who ever read Julius Cæsar, without sympathy and interest ? Who ever read, without a tear, the passage where Brutus, after his disagreement with Caslius, speaks of his wife's death? Who is not a partaker of his griefs, and fortunes ? In truth, Genius can make at all times a “ Cæsar," as interesting as an “ Edward, or Henry."
EPILOGUE TO MR. ROWE’S
DESIGNED FOR MRS. OLDFIELD.
PRODIGIous this! the Frail-one of our Play
From her own Sex should mercy find to-day! You might have held the pretty head aside, Peep'd in your fans, been serious, thus, and cry'd, The Play may pass but that strange creature, Shore, I can't-indeed now I fo hate a whore
6 Just as a blockhead rubs his thoughtless skull, And thanks his stars he was not born a fool; So from a sister sinner
shall hear, “ How ftrangely you expose yourself, my dear ?" But let me die, all raillery apart, Our sex are still forgiving at their heart; And, did not wicked custom so contrive, We'd be the best, good-natur'd things alive.
There are, 'tis true, who tell another tale, 15 That virtuous ladies envy while they rail ; Such rage without betrays the fire within ; In some close corner of the soul, they sin; Still hoarding up, most scandalously nice, Amidst their virtues a reserve of vice. The godly dame, who fleshly failings damns, Scolds with her maid, or with her chaplain cramış.
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