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HE great encouragement we have received, during the twelve
months that have elapsed since the late improvement of our Miscellany, has assured us of the public approbation of a measure, which we adopted with great deference and submission; and the tranfactions of that period have concurred to evince its indispensable neceflity. Exclusive of fome domestic events, of which another century, perhaps, will entertain a more unanimous opinion, the nation has been engaged in a war, which may involve in its consequences the security of our Oriental possessions; a consideration, which has led many intelligent persons to enquire, how far the acquisition of those poflessions has been beneficial, and how far the lofs of them may be detrimental, to the real prosperity and happiness of the nation; experience having already demonstrated, that, with a diminished empire, our political fun continues to shine with undiminished lustre.-The. events too, in a neighbouring kingdom, are of such magnitude, as to attract the attention of every enlightened mind; a sovereign, flying from the capital of his dominions ; conducted back, like a captive, by his subjects, yet acknowledged fill as their king, and caresfed by all the wise and moderate ; those subjects, so lately the flaves, and even the idolators, of despotism, presenting to their king a new constitution, founded on what they conceive to be the inherent rights of every free people ; this constitution (which we have presented to our readers entire) accepted by the king, with all the appearances of that goodness of heart which he undoubtedly possesses; an affembly of legislators, after having long acted as dictators of the national will, voluntarily announcing their own dissolution, the moment they had completed their great conftitutional labours, and confenting to their own exclusion from the succeeding legiflature; and this new assembly uniting with the king, in preparations for war against all the enemies of the revolution, whether foreign or domestic.
These circumstances (of which such opposite opinions have been formed in our own country, as to produce all the agitation, and even outrages, which fometimes succeed intemperate discussions) indicate events, in the present year, of equal magnitude; events, which we fhall not attempt to divine, or to anticipate; but which, whatever aspect affairs may affume, will form, no doubt, a remarkable epocha in the political history of Europe. To events of such consequence to mankind in general, (and in which our own country, from its vicinity to the scene of action, may be more particularly interested) we could not have given that attention which their importance required, in the limits to which our Miscellany was before confined. We are now enabled to relate them, not by the desultory notice of occasional paragraphs, in which the connection could seldom be kept entire, but in the regular form of historical narration; uniting thus the immediate advantages of a Monthly Communication with the deliberate and mature information of an Annual Register.
The various articles of instruction and entertainment, which are best calculated to enrich a Miscellaneous Publication, shall continue to be selected with assiduity and care ; and the most respectful attention will be paid to the favours of our correspondents, for which, on this commencement of our NINETIETH VOLUME, we are happy to return our grateful acknowledgements. In a word, our best endeavours will be exerted, not only to render the UNIVERSAL MAGAZINE an accurate and faithful HISTORY OF THĘ Times, but to merit its wonted distinction as the FAVOURITE REPOSITORY, not merely of what may entertain the vacant hour, but of whatever may engage the attention of an intelligent and inquisitive mind, and affist the efforts of ingenuous and aspiring virtue.
KNOWLEDGE AND PLEASURE,
AN ESSAY ON TRAGEDY:
Illustrative of the Frontispiece, representing MELPOMENE, the
of the drama, which we call pleasure we meet with in the repreTragedy, should have met with uni- fentation of a weil-written tragedy. versal encouragement in all the polite nations of the world : for a perfect tra
With pleasure Heaven itself gedy is one of the noblest productions
surveys of human nature, and is capable of A brave man Rruggling with the storms affording one of the most delightful And greatly falling with a falling state. and improving entertainments. A
Pope. virtuous man, struggling with misfortunes, is such a spectacle,' says an
Diverfions of this kind wear out of illuftrious ancient, as the gods might our thoughts every thing that is mean
and little. They cherish and cultivate and spirit, it is favourable to virtue. that humanity which is the ornament Love and admiration of virtuous cha: of our nature. They soften insolence, racters, compassion for the injured and footh afiction, and reconcile the mind distressed, and indignation against the to the dispensations of Providence. authors of their sufferings, are the
Tragedy, indeed, is no other than sentiments the most generally excited philosophy introduced upon the tiage, by this high and distinguished species retaining all its natural properties, of moral composition. remitting nothing of its native gra The Tragic Muse, moreover, has vity, but aíliited and embellished by been thought highly favourable to other favouring circumstances : for it Liberty. À noble writer, speaking, is not only of a truly philofophical of the French nation, as it existed nature, but to all the force and gra- long before the late great revolution vity of wisdom it adds graces and al- in that country, expresses himself thus : lurements which are peculiarly its • In the dramatic art, the French have cwn – the harmony of verse, the con- been so happy, as to raise their stage trivarce of the fable, the excellence to as great perfection as the genius of of imitation, and the truth of action *. 'their nation will permit. But the high
Confidered as an exhibition of the spirit of Tragedy can ill subsist where characters and behaviour of men, in the spirit of liberty is wanting.
The some of the most trying and critical genius of this poetry consists in the situations of life, Tragedy exhibits a lively representation of the disorders noble idea of poetry. It is a direct and misery of the Great ; to the end imitation of human manners and ac- that the people, and those of a lower tions. Unlike the epic poem, it does condition, may be taught the better to not exhibit characters by the narration content themselves with privacy, enand description of the poet: for the joy their safer state, and prize the poet himself disappears; and the very equality and justice of their guardian personages are set before us, acting laws. If this be found agreeable tơ and speaking what is suitable to their the just tragic model, which the An. characters. Hence, no kind of writ- cients have delivered to us, it will ing is so great a trial of the author's easily be conceived how little such a profound knowledge of the human model is proportioned to the capacity heart. No kind of writing has fo or taste of those, who, in a long femuch power, when happily executed, ries of degrees, from the lowest peato raise the strongest emotions. It is fant to the higheft slave of royal blood, a mirror in which we beholů ourselves, are taught to idolize the next in power and the calamities to which we are above them, and think nothing fo exposed; a faithful copy of the hu. adorable as that unlimited greatness, man passions, with all their dreadful and tyrannic power, which is raised effects, when they are fuffered to be- at their own expence, and exercised come extravagant and uncontrouled. over themselves ti?
The intention of Tragedy, in short, Tragedy, like other arts, was rude is to improve our virtuous fenfibility; and imperfect in its commencement: and, in course, in its general strain Among the Greeks, from whom our
* A tragedly is a falle exhibited to the view, and rendered palpable to the senses; and every daration of the stage is contrived to impose the delusion on the spectator, try con, in
19*. the initation. It is addreiled to the imagination, through which it opens to & sunmunication to the heart, where it is to excite certain passions and aft ion
water being personified, and each event exhibited, the attention of the air e greatly captivated, and the imagination so far aids in the delufion, as te me with the representation. Mrs. Montague's Ejay on the * Writings and Gé
holipeare. | Lord Charter ;'s Advice to an Author, Part II. 3