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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 faw me ftretch out my hand "towards the apparition, and heard me fpeak "the words; the tenant also heard the words. "The apparition feemed to have a morning (c gown of a darkish colour, no hat nor cap, "fhort black hair, a thin meagre vifage of a "pale fwarthy colour, feemed to be of about "forty-five or fifty years old; the eyes half "fhut, the arms hanging down; the hands "visible beneath the fleeve; of a middle stature. "I related this defcription to Mr. John Lardner, "rector of Havant, and to Major Battin of (6 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 fince.
"The Monday after laft Michaelmas-day, a "man of Chodfon in Warwickshire having been "at Havant fair, paffed by the forefaid parfonage"house about nine or ten at night, and saw a "light in most of the rooms of the house; his H 2 "pathway
<< pathway being close by the house, he, won"dering at the light, looked into the kitchen << window, and faw only a light, but turning "himself to go away, he faw the appearance "of a man in a long gown; he made haste << away; the apparition followed him over a
piece of glebe land of feveral acres, to a lane, "which he croffed, and over a little meadow, "then over another lane to fome pales, which "belong to farmer Henry Salter my landlord, << near a barn, in which were fome of the "farmer's men and fome others; this man went "into the barn, told them how he was frighted "and followed from the parfonage-house by an << apparition, which they might fee standing "against the pales, if they went out; they went << out, and faw it scratch against the pales, and "make a hideous noife; it ftood there fome "time and then difappeared; their defcription "agreed with what I faw. This last account "I had from the man himself, whom it followed, "and alfo from the farmer's men.
“THO. WILKINS, Curate of W. "Dec. 11, 1695, Oxon."
I fhall make no remark upon this genuine account, except as to the paffage which I have put in italics: If Mr. Wilkins was thoroughly poffeft
poffeft of himself at that moment, as he deposes, and is ftrictly correct in his fact, the narrative is established.
SHALL now proceed to lay before the public, fuch an account as I have been enabled to collect of the feveral Greek writers of comedy.
The learned reader needs not to be informed, how little is to be found in Ariftotle's Poetics on the subject of comedy; that treatise by no means answers to the general profeffion 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 prefented 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 confidered by the learned commentator Daniel Heinfius, who in his fupplementary treatise annexed to his edition,
tion, profeffedly fpeaks only of the construction of tragedy, and endeavours with great diligence and perfpicuity to methodize the whole work, and difpofe his author's fyftem into fome order and regularity.
With the exception of a few obvious remarks upon the epic, as tending to illuftrate the drama, and two or three passages where comedy is fpoken of only as contrafted with tragedy, the whole of this celebrated differtation is nothing more than a fet of rules for the drama, which are mere transcripts from the compofitions of the great writers of the Homeric tragedy, Efchylus, Sophocles, and Euripides: He analyzes and defines a poem, then actually carried to its perfection; but gives no new lights, no leading inftructions, for the furtherance and improvement of what had not arrived to the like ftate of maturity.
With the remains of the three tragic poets above mentioned in our hands, I profefs I do not see how we are edified by Ariftotle's differtation, which offers nothing but what occurs upon the reading of their dramas; unless pofterity had feen fit to abide by the fame laws, which they obferved, and the modern tragedy had been made exactly to conform to the Greek -model.
Ariftotle, as we have before remarked, fpeaks of no comedy antecedent to the comedy of Epicharmus: There is reafon to think that this author did not fall in with the perfonal comedy in the licentious manner it prevailed upon the Athenian ftage, even to the time of Aristotle; for it was not reformed there, till the perfonal fatirists were awed into better refpect by the Macedonian princes, who fucceeded to Alexander; whereas Epicharmus wrote for the court of an abfolute prince.
Now it is remarkable, that Aristotle makes no ftrictures upon the licentioufness of the Athenian comedy, nor offers any rules for the correction of the ftage, though the fchools proscribed it, and the tribunals were at open hoftility with it. It is plain he ftates things as they were, not as they ought to have been; for he pronounces of comedy that it is a picture of human nature, worfe and more deformed than the original,
I cannot hold this to be a juft character of comedy, as it food at the time when Ariftotle pronounced it: The only entire comedies we have to refer to, are a contradiction to the afsertion; for no one will contend that the corrupt and abominable manners of the times in which Ariftophanes wrote, did not fully warrant