Tải bản đầy đủ - 0trang
CATHARINE TROTTER, 'To Mr. Congreve, on his Tragedy, the Mourning Bride', 1697
Has to its ancient beauty thus restor’d;
Where with amazement we at once may see
Nature preserv’d pure, unconstrain’d, and free,
And yet throughout, each beauty, ev’ry part,
Drest to the strictest forms of gracing art:
Thus perfected, on such a finish’d piece,
Where can my praise begin, or admiration cease!
Sublime thy thoughts, easy thy numbers flow,
Yet to comport with them, majestic too!
But to express how thou our souls do’st move,
How at thy will, we rage, we grieve, we love,
Requires a lofty, almost equal flight,
Nor dare I aim at such a dang’rous height,
A task, which well might Dryden’s muse engage,
Worthy the first, best poet of the age;
Whose long retreat that we might less bemoan,
He left us thee, his greatest darling son,
Possessor of the stage, once his alone.
Tho’ even he gain’d not thy height so soon,
And but the young great Macedonian, none;
Alike in youth you both sought early fame,
Both sure to vanquish too where’er you came;
But he by others aid his conquests gain’d,
By others too the fame of them remain’d;
Thou sov’reign o’er the vast poetic land,
Unaided, as unrival’d, do’st command,
And not oblig’d for fame, which records give,
In thy own works thou shalt for ever live.
19. Sir Richard Blackmore in the Preface
to King Arthur
From King Arthur: An Heroic Poem (London: 1697), pp.
The second of Blackmore’s Arthurian epics was entered in the
Term Catalogues for June 1697. The preface renews the general
T H E C R I T I C A L H E R I TA G E
attack on the stage begun in its predecessor of two years before,
Prince Arthur, but singles out for praise The Mourning Bride,
first acted in February.
Since the writing of this, I have seen a Tragedy call’d the Mourning
Bride; which I think my self oblig’d to take notice of in this place.
This Poem has received, and in my Opinion very justly, Universal
Applause; being look’d on as the most perfect Tragedy that has been
wrote in this Age. The Fable, as far as I can judge at first sight, is a
very Artful and Masterly Contrivance. The Characters are well
chosen, and well delineated. That of Zara is admirable. The Passions
are well touch’d, and skillfully wrought up. The Diction is Proper,
Clear, Beautiful, Noble, and diversify’d agreeably to the variety of
the Subject. Vice, as it ought to be, is punish’d, and Opprest Innocence
at last Rewarded. Nature appears very happily imitated, excepting
one or two doubtful Instances, thro’ the whole Piece, in all which
there are no immodest Images or Expressions, no wild, unnatural
Rants, but some few Exceptions being allow’d, all things are Chast,
Just, and Decent. This Tragedy, as I said before, has mightily obtain’d;
and that without the unnatural and foolish mixture of Farce and
Buffoonry, without so much as a Song, or Dance to make it more
agreeable. By this it appears, that as a sufficient Genius can
recommend it self, and furnish out abundant matter of Pleasure and
Admiration without the paultry helps above nam’d, so likewise that
the Tast of the Nation is not so far deprav’d, but that a Regular and
Chast Play will not only be forgiven, but highly Applauded. And
now there is some reason to hope that our Poets will follow this
excellent Example, and that hereafter no slovenly Writer will be so
hardy as to offer to our Publick Audiences his obscene and prophane
Pollutions, to the great Offence of all Persons of Vertue and good
Sense. The common pretence that the Audience will not be otherwise
pleas’d, is now wholly remov’d; for here is a notorious Instance to
the contrary. And it must be look’d on hereafter as the Poet’s fault,
and not the People’s, if we have not better Performances. All men
must now conclude that ’tis for want of Wit and Judgment to support
them, that our Poets for the Stage apply themselves to such low and
unworthy ways to recommend their Writings; and therefore I cannot
but conceive Great Hopes that every good Genius for the future will
look on it self debas’d by condescending to Write in that leud Manner,
that has been of late years introduc’d, and too long Encourag’d. And
if this comes to pass the Writers in the late Reigns will be asham’d of
their own Works, and wish they had their Plays in again, as well as
their fulsome Dedications.
20. Charles Hopkins, dedication of
Boadicea, Queen of Britain
From Boadicea, Queen of Britain. A Tragedy (London: 1697),
Boadicea was possibly given its first performance in November
and published soon after. It was the second of Hopkins’s three
tragedies, which were all performed at Lincoln’s Inn Fields by
Betterton’s company. Congreve had written a prologue for
Hopkins’s first play, Pyrrhus, King of Epirus, acted in 1695.
Let other Poets other Patrons Chuse,
Get their best Price, and prostitute their Muse.
With flattering hopes, and fruitless labour wait,
And Court the slippery Friendship of the Great:
Some trifling Present by my Lord is made,
And then the Patron thinks the Poet paid.
On you, my surer, nobler Hopes depend,
For you are all I wish; you are a Friend.
From you, my Muse her Inspiration drew,
All she performs, I Consecrate to you.
You taught me first my Genius and my Power,
T H E C R I T I C A L H E R I TA G E
Taught me to know my own, but gave me more,
Others may sparingly their Wealth impart,
But he gives Noblest, who bestows an Art.
Nature, and you alone, can that confer,
And I owe you, what you your self owe her.
O! Congreve, could I write in Verse like thine,
Then in each Page, in every Charming Line,
Should Gratitude, and Sacred Friendship shine.
Your Lines run all on easie, even Feet;
Clear is your Sense, and your Expression sweet.
Rich is your Fancy, and your Numbers go
Serene and smooth, as Crystal Waters flow.
Smooth as a peaceful Sea, which never rolls,
And soft, as kind, consenting Virgins Souls.
Nor does your Verse alone our Passions move,
Beyond the Poet, we the Person Love.
In you, and almost only you; we find
Sublimity of Wit, and Candour of the Mind.
Both have their Charms, and both give that delight,
’Tis pity that you should, or should not Write;
But your strong Genius Fortune’s power defies,
And in despight of Poetry, you rise.
To you the Favour of the World is shown;
Enough for any Merit, but your own.
Your Fortune rises equal with your Fame,
The best of Poets, but above the Name.
O! may you never miss deserv’d success,
But raise your Fortunes ’till I wish them less.
Here should I, not to tire your patience, end,
But who can part so soon, with such a Friend.
You know my Soul, like yours, without design,
You know me yours, and I too know you mine.
I owe you all I am, and needs must mourn,
My want of Power to make you some return.
Since you gave all, do not a part refuse,
But take this slender Offering of the Muse.
Friendship, from servile Interest free, secures
My Love, sincerely, and entirely, yours,
21. Anon. in The Justice of Peace
From The Justice of Peace: Or a Vindication of Peace from
Several Late Pamphlets, Written by Mr. Congreve, Dennis, &c.
(London: 1697), pp. 1–4.
The following are the opening verse paragraphs of a poem on
the Peace of Ryswick, which was concluded in September 1697.
As its title page makes clear, it is a retort to poems by Congreve
and John Dennis, ‘The Birth of the Muse’ and ‘The Nuptials of
Britain’s Genius and Fame. A Pindaric Poem on the Peace’
ON THE PEACE.
Dedicated to a Young LADY.
Assist me Muse, who oft has been
Kind Midwife to my Teeming Brain;
Who to its Pangs no sooner didst
Apply thy gentle Artful Fist,
But out came Bantling, Scan’d by Finger,
And soon as Born turn’d Ballad-singer;
And as ’twould crack its tender Weazon,
In Rhyme ’gan Squawling without Reason.
Assist me Muse in this last Issue;
For which may ever Gown of Tissue
Grace thy fair Corps, and double Nancy
Fill Helicon to Inspire thy Fancy:
And Thou, First-Cousin to the Nine,
In whom both Wit and Beauty shine,
Bright Nymph, my kind Inspiring Guide,
Oh, sit down gently by my Side;
T H E C R I T I C A L H E R I TA G E
Make tuneful Crambo thy Pastime,
And help thy Slave to pump for Rhyme;
That in lewd Doggrel I may fall at
Making of Peace, so quaint a Ballad,
That may, as Simple as my Pen is,
Congreve out-Rhyme, and out Rage Dennis.
Instead of saying what we want,
One Banters us with rumbling Cant;
Talks of deep Pindar’s sounding Lyre,
Of Rapture, Fury, Flame and Fire:
As if no Peace cou’d e’er be had,
But Hairbrain’d Poet must run Mad.
Another writes such soothing Number,
’Twoud almost lull one to a Slumber;
In Frontispiece stands Birth of Muse,
A Porch too big for such a House:
In gentle Strains he tells a Tale
Of Heavenly Orb, and Earthly Ball,
By dint of Rhyme he proves it clear,
That the World hangs in Ambient Air;1
Sings of Creation, and rehearses
Good Prose of Moses in bad Verses.
But sure Transported Bard forgot,
Peace was the thing he shou’d be at;
For what is Genesis pray to it,
More than Religion to a Poet?
But I shan’t Moses filch, nor Pindar;
Since nought my honest Heart can hinder,
But in a plain unborrow’d Dress,
I’ll treat of nothing but meer Peace.
cf. ‘The Birth of the Muse’, l. 272: ‘He launch’d the World to float in