The Reputation of METASTASIO, Author of the following Drama, is too well Eſtabliſhed in the learned World, to need any Apology for giving the Public a Tranſlation of Artaxerxes, an Opera performed and admired all over Europe. But as the narrative Part of this Drama may ſeem too barren of forcible Epithets, which, in reading or ſpeaking, dignify the Stile, it may be neceſſ5ary to give Mr. Dryden's and Lord Lanſdowne's Sentiments on the Occaſion, which exactly correſpond with thoſe of our Author. Mr. Dryden ſays,--'That no Critic can juſtly determine the Merit or Difficulty of writing a Poem for Muſic, 'till he has been frequently converſant with ſome ſkilful Muſician, and acquired, by Experience, a Knowledge of what is moſt proper for Muſical Expreſſion:' And Lord Lansdowne, in his Preface to the Britiſh Enchanters, exclaims againſt that Species of Dramatic Dialogue, which (inſtead of being free, natural, and eaſy, as Converſation ſhould be) is preciſe, or formal, argumenting pro and con, like Diſputants in a School; he further asks the Queſtion, Whether in Writing, as in Dreſs, it is not poſſible to be too exact, too ſtarch'd, and too formal? and concludes thus,-- 'Pleaſing Negligence many have ſeen; who ever ſaw pleaſing Formality?'
A2 Metaſtaſio . . .