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This play has many just sentiments, some natural dialogues, and some pleasing scenes, but they are obtained at the expense of much incongruity. To remark the folly of the fiction, the absurdity of the conduct, the confusion of the names and manners of different times, and the impossibility of the events in any system of life, were to waste criticism upon unresisting imbecility, upon faults too evident for detection, and too gross for aggravation. *)
*) Johnson's remark on the gross incongruity of names and manners in this play is just, but it was the common error of the age; in The Wife for a Month, of Beaumont and Fletcher, we have Frederick and Alphonso among a host of Greek names, not to mention the firing of a pistol by Demetrius Poliocortes in The Humorous Lieutenant. PYE,
It is hardly necessary to point out the extreme injustice of the unfounded severity of Johnsou's animadversions upon this exquisite drama. The antidote will be found in the reader's appeal to his own feelings after reiterated perusal. It is with satisfaction I refer to the more just and discriminative opinion of a foreign critic, to whom every lover of Shakspeare is deeply indebted, cited in the preliminary remarks,
S. W. S.
BY GUIDERIUS AND ARVIRAGUS OVER FIDELE,
SUPPOSED TO BE DEAD.
BY MR. WILLIAM COLLINS.
To fair Fidele's grassy tomb,
Soft maids and village hinds shall bring Each opening sweet, of earliest bloom,
And rifle all the breathing spring.
No wailing ghost shall dare appear
To vex with shrieks this quiet grove; But shepherd lads assemble here,
And melting virgins own their love.
No wither'd witch shall here be seen,
No goblins lead their nightly crew : The female fays shall haunt the green,
And dress thy grave with pearly dew,
The redbreast oft at evening hours
Shall kindly lend his little aid,
To deck the ground where thou art laid,
When howling winds, and beating rain,
In tempests shake the sylvan cell; Or midst the chase on every plain,
The tender thought on thee shall dwell.
Each lonely scene shall thee restore ;
For thee the tear be duly shed; Belov'd till life could charm no more;
And mourn'd till pity's self be dead.