British Dramatists from Dryden to Sheridan

By George Henry Nettleton; Arthur Eillicot Case | Go to book overview

[DEDICATION]
TO SIR JOHN EYLES, BARONET, MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT FOR, AND ALDERMAN OF THE CITY OF LONDON,
AND SUB-GOVERNOR OF THE SOUTH SEA COMPANY

Sir,
If tragic poetry be, as Mr. Dryden has somewhere said,1 the most excellent and most useful kind of writing, the more extensively useful the moral of any tragedy is, the more excellent that piece must be of its kind.

I hope I shall not be thought to insinuate that this, to which I have presumed to prefix your name, is such; that depends on its fitness to answer the end of tragedy, the exciting of the passions in order to the correcting such of them as are criminal, either in their nature, or through their excess. Whether the following scenes do this in any tolerable degree, is, with the deference that becomes one who would not be thought vain, submitted to your candid and impartial judgment.

What I would infer is this, I think, evident truth; that tragedy is so far from losing its dignity by being accommodated to the circumstances of the generality of mankind that it is more truly august in proportion to the extent of its influence and the numbers that are properly affected by it, as it is more truly great to be the instrument of good to many who stand in need of our assistance, than to a very small part of that number.

If princes, etc. were alone liable to misfortunes arising from vice or weakness in themselves or others, there would be good reason for confining the characters in tragedy to. those of superior rank; but, since the contrary is evident, nothing can be more reasonable than to proportion the remedy to the disease.

I am far from denying that tragedies, founded on any instructive and extraordinary events in history, or well-invented fables, where the persons introduced are of the highest rank, are without their use, even to the bulk of the audience. The strong contrast between a Tamerlane and a Bajazet2 may have its weight with an unsteady people, and contribute to the fixing of them in the interest of a prince of the character of the former, when, through their own levity or the arts of designing men, they are rendered factious and uneasy, though they have the highest reason to be satisfied. The sentiments and example of a Cato may inspire his spectators with a just sense of the value of liberty, when they see that honest patriot prefer death to an obligation from a tyrant who would sacrifice the constitution of his country and the liberties of mankind, to his ambition or revenge. I have attempted, indeed, to enlarge the province of the graver kind of poetry, and should be glad to see it carried on by some abler hand. Plays founded on moral tales in private life may be of admirable use, by carrying conviction to the mind with such irresistible force as to engage all the faculties and powers of the soul in the cause of virtue, by stifling vice in its first principles. They who imagine this to be too much to be attributed to tragedy, must be strangers to the energy of that noble species of poetry. Shakespeare, who has given such amazing proofs of his genius, in that as well as in comedy, in his Hamlet has the following lines:

Had he the motive and the cause for passion
That I have, he would drown the stage with tears
And cleave the general ear with horrid speech;
Make mad the guilty, and appall the free;
Confound the ign'rant, and amaze indeed
The very faculty of eyes and ears.3

And farther, in the same speech:

I've heard that guilty creatures at a play
Have, by the very cunning of the scene,
Been so struck to the soul, that presently
They have proclaimed their malefactions.

____________________
07om. the dedication.
12]0102MD4D5D607 by it. As it.
19]0102 a well-invented fable.
20]01 (some copies) contract.
1
This exact statement has not been found in Dryden's works.
2
The spelling of the names indicates that Lillo is referring to Nicholas Rowe's play, Tamerlane, in which Tamerlane is a benevolent monarch and Bajazet a tyrant.
3
This quotation and the two following are taken, with some inaccuracies, from Hamlet, II. ii, 595-642.

-601-

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British Dramatists from Dryden to Sheridan
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page i
  • Preface iii
  • Contents v
  • Restoration Drama 1
  • Heroic Drama 3
  • Reference Works 6
  • Prologue to the First Part 9
  • Act I 11
  • [scene I] 11
  • Act II 15
  • [scene I] 15
  • Act III 18
  • [scene I] 18
  • Act IV 24
  • [scene I] 24
  • [scene Ii] 25
  • Act V 31
  • [scene I] 31
  • [scene Ii] 32
  • [scene Iii] 33
  • Epilogue 38
  • The Rehearsal 39
  • Prologue 41
  • Act I 43
  • Scene I 43
  • [scene Ii] 44
  • Act II 48
  • Scene I 48
  • Scene II 49
  • Scene III 50
  • Scene IV 50
  • Scene V 52
  • Act III 52
  • Scene I 52
  • Scene II 54
  • Scene III 54
  • Scene IV 55
  • Scene V 55
  • Act IV 57
  • Scene I 57
  • Scene II 61
  • Act I 62
  • Scene I 62
  • Epilogue 67
  • Blank-Verse Tragedy (1677-1700) 69
  • Reference Works 72
  • Preface 75
  • Prologue 81
  • Act I 83
  • Scene [i] 83
  • Act II 88
  • [scene I] 88
  • Act III 94
  • [scene I] 94
  • Act IV 100
  • [scene I] 100
  • Act V 107
  • [scene I] 107
  • Epilogue 114
  • Prologue 117
  • Act I 119
  • Scene I 119
  • Act II 123
  • [scene I] 123
  • Scene [ii] 124
  • [scene Iii] 125
  • Act III 128
  • [scene I] 128
  • Scene II 130
  • Act IV 136
  • [scene I] 136
  • Scene [ii] 137
  • Act V 143
  • [scene I] 143
  • [scene Ii] 145
  • [scene Iii] 147
  • [scene Iv] 149
  • Epilogue 150
  • Comedy of Errors 151
  • Reference Works 154
  • Prologue 157
  • Act I 159
  • Scene I 159
  • Act II 165
  • [scene I] 165
  • Scene II 167
  • Act III 170
  • [scene I] 170
  • Scene II 172
  • Scene III 176
  • Act IV 180
  • [scene I] 180
  • Scene II 185
  • Scene III 187
  • Act V 188
  • [scene I] 188
  • Scene II 191
  • Epilogue 197
  • Dedication 201
  • Prologue. Spoken by the Plain Dealer. 205
  • Act I 207
  • Scene I 207
  • Act II 214
  • Scene I 214
  • Act III 226
  • Scene I 226
  • Act IV 236
  • Scene I 236
  • [scene Ii] 241
  • Act V 246
  • Scene I 246
  • [scene Ii] 248
  • [scene Iii] 254
  • Epilogue 257
  • The Preface 261
  • Prologue 263
  • Act I 265
  • Scene I 265
  • [scene Ii] 266
  • [scene Iii] 268
  • Act II 271
  • Scene I 271
  • Act III 279
  • [scene I] 279
  • [scene Ii] 281
  • [scene Iii] 284
  • [scene Iv] 285
  • [scene V] 286
  • Act IV 286
  • [scene I] 286
  • [scene Ii] 288
  • [scene Iii] 290
  • [scene Iv] 291
  • [scene V] 292
  • Act V 295
  • [scene I] 295
  • [scene Ii] 297
  • [scene Iii] 299
  • [scene Iv] 301
  • [scene V] 303
  • Epilogue 307
  • Dedication to the Right Honorable Ralph, Earl of Mountague, &c. 311
  • Act I 313
  • Scene I 313
  • Act II 318
  • Scene I 318
  • Act III 324
  • Scene I 324
  • Act IV 332
  • Scene I 332
  • Act V 340
  • Scene I 340
  • Epilogue 347
  • Prologue 351
  • Act I 353
  • Scene I 353
  • [scene Ii] 359
  • Act III 362
  • [scene I 362
  • [scene Ii] 363
  • [scene Iii] 365
  • Act IV 370
  • Scene I 370
  • [scene Ii] 376
  • [scene Iii] 381
  • [scene Iv] 383
  • An Epilogue Designed to Be Spoke in 'the Beaux' Stratagem.' 386
  • Jeremy Collier's Attack on the Stage 387
  • Reference Works 388
  • Eighteenth-Century Drama 395
  • Sentimental Comedy 397
  • Reference Works 398
  • The Prologue 401
  • Act I 403
  • Scene I 403
  • Act II 408
  • Scene I 408
  • [scene Ii] 410
  • Act III 413
  • Scene I 413
  • Act IV 420
  • Scene I 420
  • Act V 426
  • Scene I 426
  • [scene Ii] 427
  • [scene Iii] 428
  • [scene Iv] 429
  • [scene V] 429
  • [scene Vi] 430
  • [scene Vii] 432
  • The Epilogue 436
  • The Preface 439
  • Prologue 441
  • Act I 443
  • Scene I 443
  • Scene II 447
  • Act II 450
  • Scene I 450
  • [scene Ii] 451
  • Act III 455
  • Scene I 455
  • Act IV 460
  • Scene I 460
  • Scene [ii] 463
  • Scene [iii] 465
  • Act V 466
  • Scene I 466
  • Scene [ii] 467
  • Scene [iii] 468
  • Epilogue 472
  • Blank-Verse Tragedy 473
  • Reference Works 475
  • Prologue 479
  • Act I 481
  • Scene I 481
  • Scene II 482
  • Scene III 483
  • Scene IV 483
  • [scene V] 485
  • [scene Vi] 485
  • Act II 486
  • Scene I 486
  • [scene Ii] 487
  • [scene Iii] 488
  • [scene Iv] 489
  • [scene V] 489
  • [scene Vi] 491
  • Act III 492
  • Scene I 492
  • [scene Ii] 492
  • [scene Iii] 494
  • [scene Iv] 494
  • [scene V] 494
  • [scene Vi] 495
  • [scene Vii] 495
  • Act IV 496
  • Scene I 496
  • [scene Ii] 496
  • [scene Iii] 497
  • [scene Iv] 498
  • Act V 500
  • Scene I 500
  • [scene Ii] 500
  • [scene Iii] 501
  • [scene Iv] 501
  • Epilogue 503
  • Prologue 507
  • Act I 509
  • Scene I 509
  • Scene II 510
  • Act II 512
  • Scene I 512
  • Act III 516
  • Scene I 516
  • Act IV 519
  • [scene I] 519
  • Act V 524
  • Scene I 524
  • Epilogue 530
  • Ballad Opera 531
  • Reference Works 532
  • Introduction 534
  • Act I 537
  • Scene I 537
  • Scene II 537
  • Scene III 538
  • Scene IV 538
  • Scene V 540
  • Scene VI 540
  • Scene VII 540
  • Scene VIII 541
  • Scene IX 543
  • Scene X 543
  • Scene XI 544
  • Scene XII 545
  • Scene XIII 545
  • Scene XIII 546
  • Scene II 546
  • Scene II 550
  • Scene VI 551
  • Scene VII 551
  • Scene VIII 551
  • Scene IX 552
  • Scene X 553
  • Scene XI 554
  • Scene XII 554
  • Scene XIII 555
  • Scene XIV 556
  • Scene XIV 557
  • Scene II 557
  • Scene II 559
  • Scene III 559
  • Scene IV 559
  • Scene V 560
  • Scene VI 561
  • Scene VII 562
  • Scene VIII 563
  • Scene IX 564
  • Scene X 564
  • Scene XI 564
  • Scene XII 566
  • Scene XIII 566
  • Scene XIV 567
  • Scene XV 568
  • Scene XVI 568
  • Scene XVII 568
  • Mid-Eighteenth-Century Drama (1730-1770) 571
  • Reference Works 573
  • H. Scriblerus Secundus His Preface 577
  • Act I 581
  • Scene I 581
  • Scene II 582
  • Scene III 583
  • Scene IV 585
  • Scene V 585
  • Scene VI 586
  • Act II 586
  • Scene I 586
  • Scene II 586
  • Scene III 587
  • Scene IV 588
  • Scene V 588
  • Scene VI 589
  • Scene VII 590
  • Scene VIII 590
  • Act II 593
  • Scene I 593
  • Scene II 593
  • Scene III 594
  • Scene IV 594
  • Scene V 595
  • Scene VI 595
  • Scene VII 595
  • Scene VIII 596
  • Scene IX 596
  • [dedication] 601
  • Prologue 603
  • Act I 605
  • Scene I 605
  • Scene II 606
  • Act II 609
  • Scene I 609
  • Scene II 611
  • Scene II 613
  • Act III 613
  • Scene I 613
  • Scene II 615
  • Scene III 616
  • Scene IV 617
  • Scene IV 618
  • Act IV 618
  • Scene I 618
  • Scene II 619
  • Act V 622
  • Scene I 622
  • Scene II 623
  • Epilogue 628
  • Act I 633
  • Scene I 633
  • Scene [ii] 635
  • Act II 638
  • [scene I] 638
  • Epilogue 646
  • Prologue 649
  • Prologue 651
  • Act I 653
  • Act II 656
  • Act III 659
  • Act IV 663
  • Act V 668
  • Epilogue 673
  • Prologue 677
  • Act I 679
  • Scene [i] 679
  • Act II 684
  • [scene Ii] Scene Changes to Oakly's. 684
  • [scene Ii] 686
  • Scene [iii] 687
  • Act III 691
  • Scene [i] 691
  • [scene Ii] 695
  • Act IV 698
  • Scene [i] 698
  • [scene Ii] 701
  • Act V 704
  • Scene [i] 704
  • Scene [ii] 705
  • Scene [iii] 706
  • Epilogue 712
  • Later Eighteenth-Century Drama - (1770-1780) 713
  • Sentimental Versus Laughing Comedy 713
  • Reference Works 717
  • Prologue 721
  • Act I 723
  • Scene I 723
  • Scene II 724
  • Scene III 724
  • Scene IV 724
  • Scene V 725
  • Scene VI 726
  • Act II 728
  • Scene I 728
  • Scene II 728
  • Scene III 729
  • Scene IV 730
  • Scene V 730
  • Scene VI 731
  • Scene VII 731
  • Scene VIII 732
  • Scene IX 733
  • Scene X 734
  • Scene XI 735
  • Act III 736
  • Scene I 736
  • Scene II 737
  • Scene III 737
  • Scene IV 739
  • Scene V 739
  • Scene VI 740
  • Scene VII 740
  • Scene VIII 742
  • Scene IX 743
  • Scene X 743
  • Scene IV 743
  • Scene I 743
  • Scene II 743
  • Scene III 744
  • Scene IV 745
  • Scene V 745
  • Scene VI 745
  • Scene VII 746
  • Scene VIII 746
  • Scene IX 747
  • Scene X 748
  • Act V 750
  • Scene I 750
  • Scene II 751
  • Scene III 751
  • Scene IV 751
  • Scene V 752
  • Scene VI 752
  • Scene VII 753
  • Scene VIII 754
  • Epilogue 756
  • Prologue 767
  • Act I 769
  • Scene [i] 769
  • Scene [ii] 771
  • Act II 773
  • Scene [i] 773
  • Act III 781
  • [scene I] 781
  • Act IV 785
  • [scene I] 785
  • Act V 791
  • [scene I] 791
  • [scene Ii] 792
  • [scene Iii] 794
  • Epilogue 797
  • Epilogue 798
  • Prologue 801
  • Prologue 803
  • Act I 805
  • Scene I 805
  • Scene II 806
  • Act II 810
  • Scene I 810
  • Scene II 816
  • Act III 817
  • Scene I 817
  • Scene II 818
  • Scene III 820
  • Scene IV 822
  • Act IV 824
  • Scene I 824
  • Scene II 826
  • Scene III 829
  • Act V 831
  • Scene I 831
  • Scene II 834
  • Scene III 835
  • Epilogue 839
  • A Portrait; Addressed to Mrs. Crewe, with the Comedy of the School for Scandal 843
  • Prologue 847
  • Act I 849
  • Scene I 849
  • Scene II 854
  • Act II 855
  • Scene I 855
  • Scene II 857
  • Scene III 860
  • Act III 861
  • Scene I 861
  • Scene II 864
  • Scene III 865
  • Act IV 868
  • Scene I 868
  • Scene II 870
  • Scene III 871
  • Act IV 876
  • Scene I 876
  • Scene II 878
  • Scene III 881
  • Epilogue 885
  • [dedication] 889
  • Prologue 891
  • Act I 893
  • Scene I 893
  • Scene II 898
  • Act II 902
  • Scene I 902
  • Scene II 902
  • Act III 908
  • Scene I 908
  • Textual Notes 913
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