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for giving that title to the play of Philaster. If Lear, Hamlet, Othello, &c. &c. notwithstanding the casual introduction of comick circumstances in the natural course of the action, are tragedies ; Philaster is so too. The duke of Buckingham entitles hiș alteration a Tragi-comedy; but that word, according to its present acceptation, conveys the idea of a very different species of composition ; a play like the Spanish Friar, or Oroonoko, ini which two distinct actions, one serious and the bther comick, are unnaturally woven together; as absurd a medley (in the opinion of Addison) as if an epick writer was to undertake to throw into one poem the adventures of Æneas and Hudibras.
As to the form in which the piece is now submitted to the publick, fome, perhaps, will think that the editor has taken too many liberties with the original, and many miay censure him for not having made a more thorough alteration. There are, it must be confeffed, many things still left in the play, which may be thought to lower the dignity of Tragedy, and which would not be admitted in a fable of modern construction : But where such things were in nature, and inoffensive, and served at the fametime as so many links in thechain of circumItances that compose the action, it was thought better to fubdue in some measure the intemperance
of the scenes of low humour, than wholly to reject or 'omit them. It would not have been in the power, nor indeed was it ever in the intention or desire, of the editor, to give Philafter the air of a modern performance; no more than an architect of this age would endeavour to embellish the magnificence of a Gothick building with the orņaments of the Greek or Roman orders. It is imposfible for the feverest reader to have a meaner opinion of the editor's share in the work than he entertains of it himself. Something, however, was necessary to be done, and the reasons for what he has done have already been assigned ; nor can he repent of the trouble he has taken, at the instance of a friend, whom he is happy to oblige, when he sees himself the instrument of restoring Philaftet to the theatre, of displaying new graces in Mrs. Yates, and of calling forth the extraordinary powers of fo promifing a genius for the itage as Mr. Powell.
Spoken by Mr. KING.
HILE modern Tragedy, by rule exact,
Spins out a thin-wrought fable, act by act, We dare to bring you one of those bold plays Wrote by rough English wits in former days; Beaumont and Fletcher! those twin stars, that run Their glorious course round Shakespeare's golden
fun; Or when Philaster Hamlet's place supplied, Or Beffus walk'd the stage by Falstaff's fide. Their souls, well pair’d, shot fire in mingled rays, Their hands together twin'd the social bays, 'Till fashion drove, in a refining age, Virtue from court, and Nature from the stage. Then nonsense, in heroicks, feem'd sublime; Kings rav'd in couplets, and maids figh'd in rhime. Next, prim, and trim, and delicate, and chaste, A hash from Greece and France,came Modern Tafte. Cold are her fons, and so afraid of dealing In rant and fuftian, they ne'er rise to feeling.
Oh, say, ye bards of phlegm, say, where's the name
Thus of our bards we boldly speak our mind;
KING, PHILASTER, PHARAMOND, Dion, CLEREMONT, THRASILINE, Captain, Countryman,
"} Mrs. Yates.
the name of Bellario)
1 Mrs. Hippisley.
SCENE, SICIL Y.