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“Pray, what are those his guards?' I thought at present, that Juba's guards had been Sempronius's tools, and had been dangling after his heels.

“ But now let us sum up all these absurdities together. Sempronius goes at noon-day, in Juba's clothes, and with Juba's guards, to Cato's palace, in order to pass for Juba, in a place where they were both so very well known: he meets Juba there, and resolves to murder him with his own guards. Upon the guards appearing a little bashful, he threatens them:

Hah! Dastards, do you tremble?

Or act like men, or, by yon azure heav'n-“But the guards still remaining restive, Sempronius himself attacks Juba, while each of the guards is representing mr. Spectator's sign of the gaper, awed, it seems, and terrified by Sempronius's threats. Juba kills Sempronius, and takes his own army prisoners and carries them in triumph away to Cato. Now, I would fain know, if any part of mr. Bayes's tragedy is so full of absurdity as this?

Upon hearing the clash of swords, Lucia and Marcia come in. The question is, why no men come in upon hearing the noise of swords in the governor's ball? Where was the governor himself? Where were his guards? Where were his servants? Such an attempt as this, so near the person of a governor of a place of war, was enough to alarm the whole garrison: and yet, for almost half an hour after Sempronjus was killed, we find none of those appear, who were the likeliest in the world to be alarmed; and the noise of swords is made to draw only two poor women thither, who were most certain to run away from it. Upon Lucia and Marcia's coming in, Lucia appears in all the symptoms of an hysterical gentlewoman: Luc. Sure 'twas the clash of swords! My troubled heart

Is so cast down and sunk amidst its sorrows,

It throbs with fear, and aches at every sound !
" And immediately her old whimsey returns upon

her:
O Marcia, should thy brothers, for my sake
I die away with horror at the thought.

“ She fancies that there can be no cutting of throats, but it must be for her. If this is tragical, I would fain know what is comical. Well! upon this they spy the body of Sempronius; and Marcia, deluded by the habit, it seems, takes him for Juba; for, says she,

The face is muffled up within the garment. “Now, how a man could fight, and fall with his face muffled up in his garment, is, I think, a little hard to conceive. Besides, Juba, before he killed him, knew him to be Sempronius. It was not by his garment that he knew this; it was by his face then; his face therefore was not muffled. Upon seeing this man with his muffled face, Marcia falls a-raving; and, owning her passion for the supposed defunct, begins to make his funeral oration. Upon which Juba enters listening, I suppose on tip-toe; for I cannot imagine how any one can enter listening in any other posture. I would fain know how it came to pass, that during all this time he had sent nobody, no, not so much as a candle-snuffer, to take away the dead body of Sempronius. Well! but let us regard him listening. Having left his apprehension behind him, he, at first, applies what Marcia says to Sempronius. But finding, at last, with much ado, that he himself is the happy man, he quits his eve-dropping, and discovers himself just time cnough to prevent his being cuckolded by a dead man, of whom the moment before he had appeared so jealous; and greedily intercepts the bliss which was fondly designed for one who could not be the better for it. But here I must ask a question: how comes Juba to listen here, who had not listened before throughout the play? Or how comes be to be the only person of this tragedy who listens, wher love and treason were so often talked in so public a place as a hall? I am afraid the author was driven upor all these absurdities only to introduce this miserable mistake of Marcia, which, after all, is much below the dignity of tragedy, as any thing is which is the effect or result of trick.

“But let us come to the scenery of the fifth act. Calo - appears first upon the scene, sitting in a thoughtful posture;

in his hand Plato's treatise on the immortality of the soul, a drawn sword on the table by him. Now, let us consider the place in which this sight is presented to us. The place, forsooth, is a long hall. Let us suppose, that any one should place himself in this posture, in the midst of one of our halls in London; that he should appear solus, in a sullen posture, a drawn sword on the table by him; in his hand Plato's treatise on the immortality of the soul, translated lately by Bernard Lintot: I desire the reader to consider, whether such a person as this would pass, with them who beheld him, for a great patriot, a great philosopher, or a general, or some whimsical person, who fancied himself all these? and whether the people, who belonged to the family, would think that such a person had a design upon their midriffs or his own?

“In short, that Cato should sit long enough in the aforesaid posture, in the midst of this large hall, to read over Plato's treatise on the immortality of the soul, which is a lecture of two long hours; that he should propose to bimself to be private there upon that occasion; that he should be angry with his son for intruding there; then, that he should leave this hall upon the pretence of sleep, give himself the mortal wound in his bed-chamber, and then be brought back into that hall to expire, purely to shew his good-breeding, and save his friends the trouble of coming up to his bed-chamber; all this appears to me to be improbable, incredible, impossible.”

Such is the censure of Dennis. There is, as Dryden expresses it, perhaps “ too much horse-play in his raillery;" but, if his jests are coarse, his arguments are strong. Yet, as we love better to be pleased than be taught, Cato is read, and the critic is neglected.

Flushed with consciousness of these detections of absurdity in the conduct, he afterwards attacked the senti. ments, of Cato; but he then amused himself with petty cavils and minute objections.

Of Addison's smaller poems, no particular mention is necessary; they have little that can employ or require a critic. The parallel of the princes and gods, in his verses to Knoller, is often happy, but is too well known to be quoted.

VOL. I.

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His translations, so far as I have compared them, want the exactness of a scholar. That he understood his authors cannot be doubted; but his versions will not teach others to understand them, being too licentiously paraphrastical. They are, however, for the most part, smooth and easy; and, what is the first excellence of a translator, such as may be read with pleasure by those who do not know the originals.

His poetry is polished and pure; the product of a mind loo judicious to commit faults, but not sufficiently vigorous to attain excellence. He has sometimes a striking line, or a shining paragraph; but in the whole he is warm rather than fervid, and shews more dexterity than strength. He was, however, one of our earliest examples of correct

ness.

The versification, which he had learned from Dryden, he debased rather than refined. His rhymes are often dissonant; in his georgic he admits broken lines. He uses both triplets and alexandrines; but triplets more frequently in his translations than his other works. The mere structure of verses seems never to have engaged much of his care; but his lines are very smooth in Rosamond, and too smooth in Cato.

Addison is now to be considered as a critic; a name which the present generation is scarcely willing to allow him. His criticism is condemned as tentative or experimental, rather than scientific; and he is considered as deciding by taste rather than by principles.

It is not uncommon, for those who have grown wise by the labour of others, to add a little of their own, and overlook their masters. Addison is now despised by who perhaps would never have seen his defects, but by the lights which he afforded them. That he always wrote as he would think it necessary to writo now, cannot be affirmed; his instructions were such as the characters of his readers made proper. That general knowledge which now circulates in common talk, was in his time rarely to be found. Men not professing learning were not ashamed of ignorance; and, in the female world, any acquaintance with books was distinguished only to be censured. His

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purpose was to infuse literary curiosity, by gentle and unsuspected conveyance, into the gay, the idle, and the wealthy: he therefore presented knowledge in the most alluriny form, not lofty and austere, but accessible and familiar. When he shewed them their defects, he shewed them likewise that they might be easily supplied. His attempt succeeded; inquiry was awakened, and comprehension expanded. An emulation of intellectual elegance was excited; and, from this time to our own, life has been gradually exalted, and conversation purified and enlarged.

Dryden had, not many years before, scattered criticism over his prefaces with very little parsimony; but though he sometimes condescended to be somewhat familiar, his manner was in general too scholastic for those who had yet their rudiments to learn, and found it not easy to understand their master. His observations were framed rather for those that were learning to write, than for those that read only to talk.

An instructor like Addison was now wanting, whose remarks, being superficial, might be easily understood; and, being just, might prepare the mind for more attainments. Had he presented Paradise Lost to the public with all the pomp of system and severity of science, the criticism would perhaps have been admired, and the poem still have been neglected; but, by the blandishments of gentleness and facility, he has made Milton a universal favourite, with whom readers of every class think it necessary to be pleased.

He descended now and then to lower disquisitions; and, by a serious display of the beauties of Chevy-Chase, exposed himself to the ridicule of Wagstaff, who bestowed a like pompous character on Tom Thumb; and to the contempt of Dennis, who, considering the fundamental position of his criticism, that Chevy-Chase pleases, and ought to please, because it is natural, observes, “ that there is a way of deviating from nature, by bombast or tumour, which soars above nature, and enlarges images beyond their real bulk; by affectation, which forsakes nature in quest of something unsuitable; and by imbecility, which degrades nature by faintness and diminution, by obscur

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