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he do's it fo very finely, that one is easily drawn in to have more Faith for his fake, than Reason does well allow of. His Magick has fomething in it very Solemn and very Poetical: And that extravagant Character of Caliban is mighty well fuftain'd, fhews a wonderful Invention in the Author, who could strike out such a particular wild Image, and is certainly one of the finest and most uncommon Grotefques that was ever feen. The Obfervation, which I have been inform'd * three very great Men concurr'd in making upon this Part, was extremely juft. That Shakespear had not only found out a new Character in his Caliban, but had alfo devis'd and adapted a new manner of Language for that Character. Among the particular Beauties of this Piece, I think one may be allow'd to point out the Tale of Profpero in the First A&t; his Speech to Ferdinand in the Fourth, upon the breaking up the Mafque of Juno and Ceres; and that in the Fifth, where he diffolves his Charms, and refolves to break his Magick Rod. This Play has been alter'd by Sir William D'Avenant and Mr. Dryden; and tho' I won't Arraign the Judgment of those two great Men, yet I think I may be allow'd to fay, that there are fome things

* Ld. Falkland, Ld. C. J. Vaughan, and Mr. Selden,

things left out by them, that might, and even ought to have been kept in. Mr. Dryden was an Admirer of our Author, and, indeed, he owed him a great deal, as thofe who have read them both may very easily observe. And, I think, in Juftice to 'em both, I should not on this Occafion omit what Mr. Dryden has faid of him.

Shakespear, who, taught by none,did first impart To Fletcher Wit, to lab'ring Johnson Art. He, Monarch-like, gave thofe his Subjects Law, And is that Nature which they Paint and Draw. Fletcher reach'd that which on his heights did grow,

Whilft Johnson crept and gather'd all below: This did his Love, and this his Mirth digeft, One imitates him most, the other best.

If they have fince out-writ all other Men, [Pen.
Tis with the Drops which fell from Shakespear's
The* Storm which vanish'd on the neighb'ring

Was taught by Shakespear's Tempeft first to roar.
That Innocence and Beauty which did fmile
In Fletcher, grew on this Enchanted Ifle.
But Shakespear's Magick could not copied be,
Within that Circle none durft walk but he.

* Alluding to the Sea-Voyage of Fletcher.

I must confefs 'twas bold, nor would you now
That Liberty to vulgar Wits allow,
Which works by Magick fupernatural things:
But Shakespear's Pow'r is Sacred as a King's.

Prologue to The Tempest, as it
is alter'd by Mr. Dryden.

It is the fame Magick that raifes the Fairies in Midfummer Night's Dream, the Witches in Macbeth, and the Ghost in Hamlet, with Thoughts and Language fo proper to the Parts they fuftain, and fo peculiar to the Talent of this Writer. But of the two last of these Plays I fhall have occafion to take notice, among the Tragedies of Mr. Shakespear. If one under took to examine the greatest part of these by thofe Rules which are establish'd by Ariftotle, and taken from the Model of the Grecian Stage, it would be no very hard Task to find a great many Faults: But as Shakespear liv'd under a kind of mere Light of Nature, and had never been made acquainted with the Regularity of those written Precepts, fo it would be hard to judge him by a Law he knew no thing of. We are to confider him as a Man that liv'd in a State of almost universal License. and Ignorance: There was no establish'd Judge, but every one took the liberty to Write ac cording to the Dictates of his own Fancy. When


When one confiders, that there is not one Play before him of a Reputation good enough to entitle it to an Appearance on the present Stage, it cannot but be a Matter of great Won der that he should advance Dramatick Poetry fo far as he did. The Fable is what is generally plac'd the first, among those that are reckon❜d the constituent Parts of a Tragick or Heroick Poem; not, perhaps, as it is the most Diffi cult or Beautiful, but as it is the first properly to be thought of in the Contrivance and Course of the whole; and with the Fable ought to be confider'd, the fit Difpofition, Order and Conduct of its feveral Parts. As it is not in this Province of the Drama that the Strength and Mastery of Shakespear lay, so I shall not undertake the tedious and ill-natur'd Trouble to point out the feveral Faults he was guilty of in it. His Tales were feldom invented, but rather taken either from true History, or No. vels and Romances: And he commonly made use of 'em in that Order, with those Incidents, and that extent of Time in which he found 'em in the Authors from whence he borrow'd them. So The Winter's Tale, which is taken from an old Book, call'd, The Delectable Hi ftory of Doraftus and Faunia, contains the space of fixteen or seventeen Years, and the Scene


is fometimes laid in Bohemia, and fometimes in Sicily, according to the original Order of the Story. Almost all his Historical Plays comprehend a great length of Time, and very different and diftinct Places: And in his Antony and Cleopatra, the Scene travels over the greatest Part of the Roman Empire. But in Recompençe for his Carelessness in this Point, when he comes to another Part of the Drama, The Manners of his Characters, in Acting or Speaking what is proper for them, and fit to be Shown by the Poet, he may be generally juftify'd, and in very many places greatly commended. For thofe Plays which he has taken from the English or Roman Hiftory, let any Man compare 'em, and he will find the Character as exact in the Poet as the Hiftorian. He seems indeed fo far from propofing to himself any one Action for a Subject, that the Title very often tells you, 'tis The Life of King John, King Richard, Sc. What can be more agreeable to the Idea our Historians give of Henry the Sixth, than the Picture ShakeSpear has drawn of him! His Manners are every where exactly the fame with the Story; one finds him still defcrib'd with Simplicity, paffive Sanctity, want of Courage, weakness of Mind, and eafie Submiffion to the Gover


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