Dialogues of the Dead: And Other Works in Prose and Verse

Dialogues of the Dead: And Other Works in Prose and Verse

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Dialogues of the Dead: And Other Works in Prose and Verse

Dialogues of the Dead: And Other Works in Prose and Verse

Read FREE!

Excerpt

the Favourers of the Hind and Panther will be apt to say in its Defence, That the best things are capable of being turn'd to Ridicule; that Homer has been Burlesque'd, and Virgil Travested without suffering any thing in their Reputation from that Buffoonry; and that in like manner, the Hind and the Panther may be an exact Poem, though 'tis the Subject of our Raillery: But there is this difference, that those Authors are wrested from their true Sense, and this naturally falls into Ridicule; there is nothing Represented here as monstrous and unnatural, which is not equally so in the Original. First as to the General Design, Is it not as easie to imagine two Mice bilking Coachmen, and supping at the Devil; as to suppose a Hind entertaining the Panther at a Hermits Cell, discussing the greatest Mysteries of Religion, and telling you her son Rodriguez writ very good Spanish? What can be more improbable and contradictory to the Rules and Examples of all Fables, and to the very design and use of them? They were first begun and raised to the highest Perfection in the Eastern Countries; where they wrote in Signs and spoke in Parables, and delivered the most useful Precepts in delightful stories; which for their Aptness were entertaining to the most Judicious, and led the vulgar into understanding by surprizing them with their Novelty, and fixing their Atten[tion]. All their Fables carry a double meaning; the Story is one and intire; the Characters the same throughout, not broken or chang'd, and always conformable to the Nature of the Creatures they introduce. They never tell you that the Dog which snapt at a shadow, lost his Troop of Horse, that would be unintelligible; a piece of Flesh is proper for him to drop, and the Reader will apply it to mankind; they would not say that the Daw who was so proud of her borrow'd Plumes lookt very ridiculous when Rodriguez came and took away all the book lu the 17th, 24th . . .

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