תמונות בעמוד
PDF
ePub

time and varies place as his convenience requires. To vary the place is not, in my opinion, any violation of Nature, if the change be made between the acts ; for it is no less easy for the spectator to suppose himself at Athens in the second act than at Thebes in the first; but to change the scene, as is done by Rowe in the middle of an act, is to add more acts to the play, since an act is so much of the business as is transacted without interruption. Rowe, by this licence, easily extricates himself from difficulties; as in Jane Grey, when we have been terrified with all the dreadful pomp of publick execution, and are wondering how the heroine or the poet will proceed, no sooner has Jane pronounced some prophetick rhymes, than-passand be gone—the scene closes, and Pembroke and Gardiner are turned out upon the stage.

fome

ст

I know not that there can be found in his plays any deep search into nature, any accurate discriminations of kindred qualities, or nice display of passion in its progress; all is general and undefined. Nor does he much interest or affect the auditor, except in Jane Shore, who is always seen and heard with pity. Alicia is a character of empty noise, with no resemblance to real sorrow or to-natural madness.

Whence, then, has Rowe his reputation? From the reasonableness and propriety of some of his scenes, from the ele

gance

gance of his diction, and the suavity of his verse. He seldom moves either pity or terror, but he often elevates the sentiments; he seldom pierces the breast, but he always delights the ear, and of ten improves the understanding.

His translation of the Golden Verses, and of the first book of Quillet's Poem, have nothing in them remarkable. The Golden Verses are tedious. The version of Lucan is one of the greatest productions of English poetry; for there is perhaps none that so completely exhibits the genius and spirit of the original. Lucan is distinguished by a kind of dictatorial or philosophick dignity, rather, as Quintilian observes, declamatory than poetical; full of ambitious morality and

pointed

[ocr errors]

pointed fentences, comprised in vigorous and animated lines. This character Rowe has very diligently and successfully preserved. His versification, which is such as his contemporaries practised, without any attempt at innovation or improvement, seldom wants either melody or force. His author's sense is sometimes a little diluted by additional infufions, and sometimes weakened by too much expansion. But such faults are to be expected in all translations, from the constraint of measures and diffimilitude of languages. The Pharfalia of Rowe deserves more notice than it obtains, and as it is more read will be more esteemed.

« הקודםהמשך »