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ntentionally, as was ufual with the earlier poets; and as Euripides alfo has reprefented Medea deftroying her children.

It may likewife be perpetrated by thofe who are ignorant at the time of the connection between them and the injured perfon, which they afterwards difcover; like Oedipus in Sophocles. There indeed, the action itself does not make a part of the drama: the Alcmæon of Aftydamas, and Telegonus in the Ulyffes Wounded, furnish inftances within the tragedy *.

There is yet a third way, where a perton upon the oint of perpetrating, through ignorance, fome dreadful deed, is prevented by a fudden difcovery.

Befide thefe, there is no other proper way. For the action muft of neceffity be either done or not done, and that either with knowledge or without: but of all thefe ways, that of being ready to execute knowingly, and yet not executing, is the worft; for this is, at the fame time, fhocking, and yet not tragic, because it exhibits no difaftrous event. It is, therefore, never, or very rarely, made ufe of. The attempt of Hæmon to kill Creon, in the Antigone, is an example.

Next to this is the actual execution of the purpose.

To execute through ignorance, and afterwards to discover, is better: for thus, the fhocking atrociousness is avoided, and at the fame time, the difcovery is striking.

" But the best of all thefe ways is the last. Thus in the tra gedy of Crefphontes, Merope, in the very act of putting her fon to death, difcovers him, and is prevented. In the Iphigenia, the fitter in the fame manner difcovers her brother; and in the Helle, the fon difcovers his mother at the inftant when he was going to betray her.'

In the whole of this paffage we can scarcely find room for criticifm it is tranflated with great judgment, ability, and accuracy. Yet, as it is our duty to difcover what appear to be blemishes, as well as to praife, we may remark, that the fubject is improperly and unneceffarily broken by divifions: a well connected, or, occafionally, a contrafted language, would have produced the fame effect more pleasingly. In the paffage too but when fuch difafters,' &c. we think the reverie' is not the full or the ftridily proper meaning of η τοίου τον τι αλλο δρα. We should tranflate it-when, for intance, the brother kills



Of these two dramas nothing more is known than the little that Aristotle here tells us. In the first, the poet adhered fo far to hiftory, as to make Alemæon kill his mother Eriphyle, but with the improvement, (according to Aristotle's idea) of making him do it ignorantly. The fory of Telegonus is, that he was a fon o Ulyffes by Circe; was fent by her in queft of his father, whom he wounded, without knowing him, in a skirmish relative to fome sheep, that he attempted to carry off from the island of Ithaca. It is fomewhat fingular, that the wound is faid to have been given with a kind of Otaheite fpear, headed with a fharp fish-bone. See Pope's Odyffey XI. 167. and the note.'

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his brother, the fon his father, the mother her fon; when they have it only in contemplation, or commit any fimilar enormity, &c. In a fubfequent paffage, Befides thefe,' &c. the dif ficulty which has puzzled tranflators is eafily evaded or explained. Ariftotle had mentioned three different methods; but he now enumerates four; and the fourth he immediately adds is villainous (hocking' is perhaps too ftrong a word for the fubftitute of argos) and not tragic, because no one fuffers. The fhocking atrocioufnefs' afterwards, we fufpect, is equally exceptionable. The difliculty is evaded by the tranf lation which our author has given of παρα ταύτα εκ έσιν αλλῶς Befides thefe there is no other proper way, or no other way ad'miffibles and have more than once, particularly in Homer, the force of licet.

We may perhaps find room for one other fpecimen, and it must be the laft. We fhall felect it from Ariftotle's comparifon between the epopeia and tragedy. The following is Mr. Twining's tranflation of the latter part of the twenty-fourth chapter.

The furprising is neceffary in tragedy; but the epic poem goes farther, and admits even the improbable and incredible, from which the highest degree of the furprising refults, becaufe there the action is not feen. The circumftances, for example, of the purfuit of Hector by Achilles, are fuch, as upon the flage would appear ridiculous ;-the Grecian army standing fill, and taking no part in the purfuit, and Achilles making figus to them by the motion of his head not to interfere*. But in the epic poem this efcapes our notice. Now the wonderful always pleafes, as is evident from the additions which men always make in relating any thing, in order to gratify the hearers.

It is from Homer principally that other poets have learned the art of feigning well. It confifts in a fort of fophifm. When one thing is obferved to be conftantly accompanied or followed by another, men are apt to conclude, that if the latter is, or has happened, the former must alfo be, or must have happened. But this an error. * * * * * For, knowing the latter to be true, the mind is betrayed into the false inference, that the firft is true alfo.


The poet fhould prefer impoffibilities + which appear probable,



Pope's liad, XXII. 267.-Perhaps the idea of stopping a whole army by a nod or fake of the head, (a circumftance diftinely mentioned by Homer, but funk in Mr. Pope's verfion), was the abfurdity here principal ly meant. If this whole Homeric fcene were reprefented on our ftage in the best manner poffible, there can be no doubt, that the effect would juf fy Ariftotle's oblervation. It would certainly fet the audience in a Tvar.'

This includes all that is called faery, machinery, ghosts, witches, enchantments,

bable, to fuch things as, though poffible, appear improbable. Far from producing a plan made up of improbable incidents, he fhould, if poffible, admit no one circumftance of that kind; or if he does, it fhould be exterior to the action itfeif, like the ignorance of Oedipus concerning the manner in which Laius died; not within the drama, like the narrative of what happened at the Pythian games in the Electra; or in the Myfians, the man who travels from Tegea to Myfia without fpeaking. To fay, that without thefe circumstances the fable would have been deftroyed, is a ridiculous excufe: the poet fhould take care from the first, not to conftruct his fable in that manner. If, however, any thing of this kind has been admitted, and yet is made to pafs under fome colour of probability, it may be allowed, though even in itself abfurd. Thus in the Odyfley, the improbable account of the manner in which Ulyffes was landed upon the fhore of Ithaca, is fuch, as in the hands of an ordinary poet would evidently have been intolerable: but here, the abTurdity is concealed under the various beauties of other kinds with which the poet has embellished it. • The diction should be most laboured in the idle * of parts the pocm-thofe in which neither manners nor fentiments prevail; for the manners and the fentiments are only obfcured by too splendid a diction.'

We may, perhaps, remark, that ahoyor, for we admit Victorius' emendation, fince the fentence is unintelligible without it, is not accurately rendered by improbable and incredible;' and that the fingle word, unreasonable, would come nearer to the fenfe and the tenour of the paffage; but the whole is tranflated fo well, and with fo much force and propriety, that we ought not to attend to minute, inconfiderable errors. of courfe admit of our author's explanation of av de In, xxi Faiκαται ἐυλιγοτερον; the agγα μέρη and of διανοητικος. Τhefe paffages have been differently understood, but our chief object was that marked with aftericks, for which our tranflator refers to the note; and it is one of the most difficult fentences


chantments, &c.-things, according to Hobbes, "beyond the actual bounds, and only within the conceived poflibility of nature." [See the Letters on Chivalry, as above.] Such a being as Caliban, for example, is impofiible. Yet Shakspeare has made the character appear probable; not certainly to reafon, but to imagination: that is, we make no difficuity about the poffibil ty of it in reading. Is not the Lovelace of Richardfon, in this view, more out of nature, more improbable, than the Caliban of shakfpeare? The latter is, at leaft, confiftent. I can imagine fuch a moniter as Caliban: I never could imagine such a man as Lovelace.'

In the ftrictly narrative, or defcriptive parts, where the poet fpeaks in his own perfon, and the imitation, the drama, which Ariftotle confiders as the true bufinefs of poetry, is fufpended. Thefe he calls the idle parts. The expreflion is applicable alfo to tragedy; for though its imitation throughout, yet every drama must have its comparatively idle parts.'

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in the whole work. The words are (we quote from Duval's edition*), δι ̓ ὁ δη, ἄν το προτον ψευδος ἄλλα δε τε τότε ίντος (Vidtorius reads ἀλλ ̓ ἐδὲ τότε ὄντος) ἀνάγκη εἶναι ἤ γενέσθαι προσθεῖναι. The text our author gives up as doubtful; but we shall take the opportunity of giving a fpecimen of the notes from that which Mr. Twining has added to this paffage. Our author enquires in what manner Ariftotle meant to apply this logical paralogifm to Homer's management of fiction. After explaining the nature of a logical paralogifm a confequenti, he goes

on :

The fimilitude of the logical and poetic fophifm appears to me to be this. It is not merely that where there is a mixture of hiflory and fiction, the truth makes the fiction pafs; but the comparison, I think, relates to the connection between the fictions of the poet, confidered as cause and effect, as antecedent and confequent. The poet invents certain extraordinary cha racters, incidents, and fituations. When the actions and the language of thofe characters, and in general, the consequences of those events or fituations, as drawn out into detail by the `poet, are fuch as we know, or think, to be true-that is to fay, poetically true, or natural; fuch, as we are fatisfied muft neceffarily, or would probably, follow, if such characters and fituations actually exifted; this probability, nature, or truth of re prefentation, impofes on us fufficiently for the purposes of poetry. It induces us to believe with hypothetic and voluntary faith, the existence of thofe falfe events and imaginary perfonages, thofe aduvata, ancya, &sun-thofe marvellous and incredible fictions, which, otherwife managed, we fhould have rejected: that is, their improbability or impoffibility, would have fo forced themfelves upon our notice, as to destroy or disturb even the flight and willing illufion of the moment.

Whenever, fays the philofopher, fuppofing such a thing to be, it would certainly be followed by fuch effects; if we fee thofe effects, we are difpofed to infer the existence of that caufe. And thus in poetry, and all fiction, this is the logic of that temporary impofition on which depends our pleafure. The reader of a play or a novel, does not indeed fyllogife, and fay to himfelf

Such beings as are here fuppofed, had they exifted, must have acted and fpoken exactly in this manner; therefore, I believe they have exifted:"-but he feels the truth of the premises, and he confents to feel the truth of the conclufion; he does not revolt from the imagination of fuch beings. Every thing fol lows fo naturally, and even, as it feems, fo neceffarily, that the probability and truth of nature in the confequences, fteals, in a manner, from our view, even the impoffibility of the caufe, and flings an air of truth over the whole. With refpect to fact, indeed, all is equally d; for if the caufes exist not, neither

• P. 672. D. «feems to be omitted by mistake before woodeival.


can the effects. But the confequent lies are fo told, as to impofe on us for the moment, the belief of the antecedent or fundamental lie.'

Inftances of thefe lies, for we have Ariftotle's authority for this harsh word, are numerous: Homer's fpeciofa miracula; the monsters from the creative powers of our own Shakspeare, and the fancies of Ariofto as well as of the wilder and enchanted poets, one of whom we lately followed in his vifionary world, might, if neceffary, be adduced.

We fhall now turn to Mr. Pye; and, to take a more ample range through the Poetic, we had defigned to felect other paffages, to determine the merit of his tranfiation. This would have been neceffary if our object was to review the work of Ariftotle inftead of examining the rival verfions; but, if we felect the tranflation of the fame parts, our readers will be better able to judge of their different attempts, our article will be brought into a fmaller compafs, and the contraft at laft will be neither difficult nor tedious.

The introduction, which was the part we first tranfcribed from Mr. Twining, is rendered in the following manner by Mr. Pye,

I propofe to treat of the poetic art itfelf, and its feveral fpecies; of the power poffeffed by each, and how the fables fhould be conftructed that the poety may have a beautiful arrangement; of the quality and number of its parts, and of other things belonging to the fubject; beginning, according to the natural order, with its first principles.

The epopee and tragedy, and alfo comedy and dithyram bics, and the greatest part of thofe compofitions which are set to the flute and the lyre, all agree in the general character of being imitations; but they are diftinguished from each other by three circumstances; either by ufing means of imitation different in their kind, or by the difference of the things imitated, or by imitating in a different manner.

For as there are fome artifts who either through skill or practice, imitate many things by lines and colours, and others by the voice; fo all the arts juft mentioned effect an imitation

† 1 fce no reafon for fubftituting δι ̓ ἀμφον, fur διὰ τῆς φωνῆς, in this place, as is propofed by Heinfius, Dacier, and Batteux: Xpaμasi, Exhuast, and φωνῆς, are the words oppofed to ῥυθμῷ, λόγῳ, and ἁρμονίᾳ, and not δια Tix, and did onesias, as Batteaux has fuppofed. "Les uns exécutent par certains pratiques de l'art, les autres par l'habitude feul, quelquefans par l'un et l'autre enfemble; de même-l'imitation fe fait ou par un feul de ces moyens, (i. e. le rhythm, la parole, et le chant,) ou par plufieurs, enfemble." But I do not fee what oppofition there can be between the manner by which a perfon acquires excellence in one art, and the means he uses to effect an imitation in another. The imitation dia rs win; does not mean by words, but by founds, like the imitation of the finging of birds, or that effected by vocal mufic, when the artist tries to make the found an echo to the fenfe."


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