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HISTORICAL DRAMA;

A SECOND SERIES OF

National Tragedies,

INTENDED TO ILLUSTRATE THE MANNERS, CUSTOMS, AND RELIGIOUS

INSTITUTIONS OF DIFFERENT ERAS IN BRITAIN

BY

J. F. PENNIE.

“ Tragedy, as it was anciently composed, hath been ever held the gravest,
moralest, and most profitable of all poems. The Apostle Paul himself thought
it not unworthy to insert a verse of Euripides into the text of Holy Scripture.
Therefore men in highest dignity have laboured not a little to be thought able
to compose a Tragedy."— Milton.

LONDON:

HENRY STOCKING, 25, KING WILLIAM STREET,

LONDON BRIDGE.

MDCCCXXXIX.

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INTRODUCTION.

If, in this enlightened age, there still exist any lingering prejudice against Dramatic Poems, it arises, no doubt, from their supposed connexion with the Stage ; and if such moral and philosophic writers as Milton, Thomson, Mason, Milman, Graham, and Mrs. Joanna Baillie, have not yet been able wholly to eradicate all groundless objections, it would be unavailing for us to argue against them. The best confutation we can advance, must be found in the innocence, morality, and usefulness of the Historical Dramas themselves, which we submit to the judgment of the Public. We will, however, quote a noble defence in favour of ancient and modern fiction, written by that learned and pious historian, Mr. Sharon Turner.

“ Fictitious compositions are so many concentrations of the scattered virtues of life; so many personifications of whatever is amiable and admirable in the manners or conceptions of the day. . . . . .We may, indeed, say that most of the romances of our forefathers were advantageous, in some respect or other, to the progress of their social life. In every one some vice is made revolting, and some virtue interesting. . . . . . It is probable that our best romances and tales have been, on the whole, nearly as efficacious in their moral operations as our sermons and our ethics. They have, at least, been great auxiliaries : society would not have been what it is without them... It is the fault of

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