« السابقةمتابعة »
to Polygnotus among the painters: for Polygnotus was excellent in expressing manners, in which the pictures of Zeuxis were deficient. If a set of moral sentences should be put together with the language and sentiment well executed, it would by no means produce the effect of tragedy, which would be much rather obtained by a tragedy, that, possessing these in an inferior degree, had a fable, and combination of incidents. It must further be added, that the peripetia, or sudden revolution of fortune, and the discovery, which are the principal causes of a tragedy being interesting, are parts of the fable. And, besides, those who first attempt to write dramatically, can sooner excel in the language and the manners, than in combining the incidents, as was the case of almost all the earliest poets.
"The fable, then, is the chief part, and, as it were, the soul of tragedy. The manners hold the second place, which we may compare to the colouring of a picture; the finest colours, laid on promiscuously, will not please so much as a figure only in chalk. The professed end of tragedy is to imitate an action, and chiefly by means of that action to shew the qualities of the persons acting."
PYE'S ARISTOTLE, 4to Edit. p. 18.
Mr. Pye, commenting on the above passage, remarks, that the opinion of Aristotle " is undoubtedly founded on nature, and is not only applicable to tragedy, but to every other kind of imitative composition, whether dramatic or narrative.
"Perhaps there is no circumstance in which the tragedies of the present day are so deficient, as in the want of interesting action. This is, in à great measure, owing to the strict adherence to the French rule, of not suffering the supposed time of action to exceed the real time of representation. Dramatic poetry is, by this regulation, almost confined to the boundary of painting, and can only represent a single scene of any great event. And this is attended by another inconvenience; for the allotted space of five acts becomes as much
too great for that single scene, as the confined period of three hours would be too small for the whole action; and hence the poet is obliged to spin out his tragedy by means of the dialogue, and falls under the same inconvenience as would attend a proper and complete dramatic fable, without episodic parts, if swelled to the size of the epopee,"
PYE'S ARISTOTLE, p. 162.
ODE TO HORROR.
In the Allegoric, Descriptive, Alliterative, Epithetical, Fantastic, Hyperbolical, and Diabolical Style of our modern Ode-Wrights and Monody-Mongers.
Ferreus ingruit Horror.
O Goddess of the gloomy scene,
Of shadowy shapes thou black-brow'd queen;
On yonder mould'ring abbey found;
Oft wont from charnels damp and dim,
Till fear-struck fancy has her fill:
Dark pow'r, whose magic might prevails
O goddess, erst, by Spenser * view'd,
Thou that through many a darksome pine
O thou with whom, in cheerless cell,
What felt the Gallic traveller, +
* Spenser's Fairy Queen, Book iii. Canto 12. Gier, Liberat, B. xiv.
Alluding to a story of a French gentleman (mentioned by several Oriental travellers) who, going into the catacombs, not far from Cairo, with some Arabs his guides, was there robbed by them, and left; a huge stone being placed over the entrance. I do not remember that apy poetical use has been made of this story,
While many a mummy, through the shade,
O mother of the fire-clad thought,
The willowy leaves o'er Isis' head,
O thou! whom wand'ring Warton saw,
Let me with her, in magic trance,
At length, recline the fainting head,
STUDENT, vol. ii. P
This Ode, though intended as a ridicule on the school of the Wartons, possesses so much merit in point of imagery, that were it not for its alliterative extravagance, it might pass for a serious effort of descriptive poetry; the allusion to the story of the Egyptian catacomb is highly poetical.