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" from my feet as high as my middle, though " I was not in great fear; I went into the bed « betwixt the tenant and his man,, and they « complained of my being exceeding cold. " The tenant's man leaned over his master in «the bed, and saw me stretch out my hand “ towards the apparition, and heard me speak " the words; the tenant also heard the words: " The apparition seemed to have a morning
gown of a darkish colour, no hat nor cap, < fhort black hair, a thin meagre visage of a “pale swarthy colour, seemed to be of about
forty-five or fifty years old; the eyes half “ fhut, the arms hanging down ; the hands « visible beneath the sleeve ; of a middle stature. « I related this description to Mr. John Lardnerz “rector of Havant, and to Major Battin of « Langstone in Havant parish ; they both faid “ the description agreed very well to Mr. P. "a former rector of the place, who has been « dead above twenty years : Upon this the “tenant and his wife left the house, which has
remained void since. “ The Monday after last Michaelmas-day, a
of Chodson in Warwickshire having been "at Havant fair, passed by the forefaid parsonage66 house about nine or ten at night, and saw a - light in most of the rooms of the house, his
“ pathway being close by the house, he, won“dering at the light, looked into the kitchen « window, and saw only a light, but turning “ himself to go away, he saw the appearance “ of a man in a long gown; he made haste
away; the apparition followed him over a
piece of glebe land of several acres, to a lane, « which he crossed, and over a little meadow, " then over another lane to some pales, which “ belong to farmer Henry Salter my landlord,
a barn, in which were some of the “ farmer's men and some others; this man went « into the barn, told them how he was frighted « and followed from the parsonage-house by an “ apparition, which they might fee standing « against the pales, if they went out; they went “out, and saw it scratch against the pales, and “make a hideous noise; it stood there some u time and then difappeared; their description “ agreed with what I faw. This last account “ I had from the man himself, whom it followed, « and also from the farmer's men.
“ THO. WILKINS, Curate of W. “Dec. 11, 1695, Oxon."
I shall make no remark upon this genuine account, except as to the passage which I have put in italics : If Mr. Wilkins was thoroughly
pofsest of himself at that moment, as he deposes, and is strictly correct in his fact, the narrative is established.
SHALL now proceed to lay before the
public, such an account as I have been enabled to collect of the several Greek writers of comedy.
The learned reader needs not to be informed, how little is to be found in Aristotle's Poetics on the subject of comedy; that treatise by no means answers to the general profession of its title; if it had come down to us as perfect and entire, as it probably was when the author put the laft hand to it, and presented a correct copy of his work to Alexander, we might conclude otherwise of it; but to speak of it as it is, we can call it nothing more than a differtation upon tragedy, in which many things are evidently out of place and order, fome no doubt loft, and others mutilated : It is thus considered by the learned commentator Daniel Heinsius, who in his supplementary treatise anpexed to his edi
tion, professedly speaks only of the construction of tragedy, and endeavours with great diligence and perspicuity to methodize the whole work, and dispose his author's system into some order and regularity
With the exception of a few obvious remarks upon the epic, as tending to illustrate the drama, and two or three passages where comedy is spoken of only as contrasted with tragedy, the whole of this celebrated dissertation is nothing more than a set of rules for the drama, which are mere transcripts from the compofitions of the great writers of the Homeric tragedy, Æschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides: He analyzes and defines a poem, then actually carried to its perfection ; but gives no new lights, no leading instructions, for the furtherance and improvement of what had not arrived to the like state of maturity.
With the remains of the three tragic poets above mentioned in our hands, I profess I do not fee how we are edified by Aristotle's disser. tation, which offers nothing but what occurs upon the reading of their dramas; unless pofterity had feen fit to abide by the same laws, which they observed, and the modern tragedy had been made exactly to conform to the Greek model.
Aristotle, Aristotle, as we have before remarked, speaks of no comedy antecedent to the comedy of Epicharmus: There reason to think that this author did not fall in with the personal comedy in the licentious manner it prevailed upon the Athenian stage, even to the time of Aristotle ; for it was not reformed there, till the personal satirists were awed into better respect by the Macedonian princes, who succeeded to Alexander; whereas Epicharmus wrote for the court of an absolute prince.
Now it is remarkable, that Aristotle makes no strictures
upon the licentiousness of the Athenian comedy, nor offers any rules for the correction of the stage, though the schools proscribed it, and the tribunals were at open hoftility with it. It is plain he states things as they were, not as they ought to have been; for he pronounces of comedy -- that it is a picture of human nature, worse and more deformed than the original,
I cannot hold this to be a just character of comedy, as it stood at the time when Aristotle pronounced it: The only entire comedies we have to refer to, are a contradiction to the alsertion; for no one will contend that the corrupt and abominable manners of the times in which Aristophanes wrote, did not fully warrant