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pompously pronounces that to write one perfect comedy should be the labour of one entire life produced from a concentration of talents, which hardly ever met in any human perfon.

After all it will be confessed that the production of such a drama as The Fox in the space of five-weeks is a very wonderful performance; for it must on all hands be considered as the master-piece of a very capital artist, a work, that bears the stamp of elaborate design, a strong and frequently a fublime vein of poetry, much sterling wit, comic humour, happy character, moral fatire and unrivalled erudition; a work

Quod nos imber edax, non aquilo impotens
Pollit diruere, aut innumerabilis .
Anxorum series et fuga temporum,

In this drama the learned reader will find him, self for ever treading upon classic ground; thç foot of the poet is fo fitted and familiarized to the Grecian fock, that he wears it not with the awkwardness of an imitator, but with all the easy confidence and authoritative air of a privileged Athenian: Exclusive of Aristophanes, in whose volume he is perfect, it is plain that even the gleanings and broken fragments of the Greek stage had not escaped him ; in the very fire speech of Volpone's, which opens the co

medy,

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medy, and in which he rapturously addresses himself to his treasure, he is to be traced moft decidedly in the fragments of Menander, Sophocles and Euripides, in Theognis and in Hesiod, not to mention Horace. To follow him through every one would be tedious, and therefore I will give a sample of one passage only; Volpone is speaking to his gold

Thou being the best of things and

far transcending
All Aile of joy in children, parents, friends
Thy looks when they to Venus did ascribe,
They should have given ber twenty thousand Cupids,
Such are thy beauties and our loves

Let the curious reader compare this with the following fragment of Euripides's Bellerophon and he will find it almost a translation.

Ω χρυσε δεξίωμα κάλλισον βρύτοις,
Ως εδε μήτηρ ηδονας τοιας έχει, ,
Ου παιδες ανθρώποισιν, ου φίλος πατήρ.
Είδη Κύπρις τοιουτον οφθαλμοίς ορα,

Ου θαυμ έρωτας μυρίους αυτήν τρέφειν. Cicero made a selection of passages from the Greek dramatic authors, which he turned into Latin veçse for the purpose of applying them, as occasion should offer, either in his wriçings of pleadings, and our learned countryman seems on his part to have made the whole circle of Greek

and

and Roman poets his own and naturalized them to our stage. If any learned man would em, ploy his leisure in following his allusions through this comedy only, I should think it would be na unentertaining task,

The Fox is indubitably the best production of it's author, and in some points of substantial merit yields to nothing, which the English stage can oppose to it; there is a bold and happy {pirit in the fable, it is of moral tendency, female chastity and honour are beautifully dispļayed and punishment is inflicted on the delinquents of the drama with strict and exemplary justice; The characters of the Hæredipeta, depicted under the titles of birds of prey, Voltore, Corbacçio and Corvino, are warmly coloured, happily contrasted and faithfully supported from the outset to the end: Volpone, who gives his name to the piece, with a fox-like craftiness deludes and gulls their hopes by the agency of his inimitable Parasite, or (as the Greek and Roman authors expressed it) by his Fly, his Mofca; and in this finished portrait Jonson may throw the gauntlet to the greatest masters of antiquity; the character is of classic origin; it is found with the contemporaries of Aristophanes, though not in any comedy of his now existing; the Middle Dramatists seem to have handled it very fre

quently, quently, and in the New Comedy it rarely failed to find a place; Plautus has it again and again, but the aggregate merit of all his Parasites will not weigh in the scale against this fingle Fly of our poet: The incident of his concealing Bonario in the gallery, from whence he breaks in upon the scene to the rescue of Celia and the detection of Volpone, is one of the happiest contrivances, which could possibly be devised, because at the same time that it produces the catastrophe, it does not sacrifice Mosca's character in the manner most villains are facrificed in comedy by making them commit blunders, which do not correspond with the address their first representation exhibits and which the audience has a right to expect from them throughout, of which the Double Dealer is amongst others a notable instance. But this incident of Bonario's interference does not only not impeach the adroitness of the Parasite, but it furnishes a very brilliant occasion for setting off his ready invention and presence of mind in a new and superior light, and serves to introduce the whole machinery of the trial and condemnation of the innocent perfons before the court of Advocates : In this part

the fable the contrivance is inimitable, and here the poet's art is a study, which every yotarist of the dramatic muses ought to pay ats

tention tention and respect to; had the same address been exerted throughout, the construction would have been a matchless piece of art, but here we are to lament the hafte of which he boasts in his prologue, and that rapidity of composition, which he appeals to as a mark of genius, is to be lamented as the probable cause of incorrectness, or at least the best and most candid plea in excuse of it: For who can deny that nature is violated by the abfurdity of Volpone’s unseasonable insults to the very persons, who had witnessed falsely in his defence, and even to the very Advocate, who had so fuccessfully defended him? Is it in character for a man of his deep cunning and long reach of thought to provoke those, on whom his all depended, to retaliate upon him, and this for the poor triumph of a filly jest? Certainly this is a glaring defect, which every body must lament, and which can escape nobody. The poet himself knew the weak part of his plot and vainly strives to bolster it up by making Volpone exclaim against his own folly

I am caught in my own noofcmm

And again

To make a snøre for mine own neck, and run
My head into it wilfully with laughter !
Wben I bad newly scap d, was free and clear,

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