Whether plays arc more perfect in proportion as they conform to the dramatic rules laid down by the ancients. On the ancients vs. You see in Catiline and Sejanus, where the argument is great, he sometimes ascends to verse, which shews he thought it not unnatural in serious plays: I will produce before you Father 25 Ben 2 , dressed in all the ornaments and colours of the ancients ; you will need no other guide to our party, if you follow him ; and whether you consider the bad 1 know it, A. But when, by the inundation of the Goths and Vandals into Italy, new languages were introduced 1 , and barba rously mingled with the Latin, of which the Italian, Spanish, French, and ours, made out of them and 5 the Teutonick, are dialects, a new way of poesy was practised; new, I say, in those countries, for in all probability it was that of the conquerors in their own nations: Only I think it may be permitted me to say, that as it is no lessening to us to yield to some Plays, and those not many of our own Nation in the last Age, so can it be no addition to pronounce of our present Poets that they have far surpassed all the Ancients, and the Modern Writers of other Countries. For the way of writing plays in verse, 5 which I have seemed to favour, I have, since that time, laid the practice of it aside, till I have more leisure, because I find it troublesome and slow.

Coleridge, Young, Addison, Byron, Shelley, Lytton- Bulwer, all attempted tragedy in blank verse ; and none of their tragedies can be said to live. When he Milton began to write blank verse, the blank verse of the dramatists, his contemporaries, was fast degenerating into more or less rhythmical prose. Yet, my lord, you must suffer me a little to complain of you, that you too soon withdraw from us a con- 20 tentment, of which we expected the continuance, because you gave it us so early. The French are able to avoid the representation of scenes of bloodshed, violence and murder on the stage, such scenes of horror and tumult has disfigured many English plays. To which, we may have leave to add such as to avoid tumult, as was before hinted or to reduce the Plot into a more reasonable compass of time, or for defect of Beauty in them, are rather to be related than presented to the eye.

But among the English ’tis otherwise: Those Ancients have been faithful Imitators and wise Observers of that Nature, which is so torn and ill represented in our Plays, they have handed down to us a perfect resemblance of her; which we, like ill Copiers, neglecting to look on, have rendered monstrous and disfigured.


dryden essay dramatic poesy sparknotes

But the Muses, who ever follow peace, went to plant in another country: You say the Stage is the representation of Nature, and no man in ordinary conversation speaks in rhyme. This therefore will be poezy good Argument to us either not to write at all, or to attempt some other way. The Dramatist set the voyage of dividing a play into five acts.

dryden essay dramatic poesy sparknotes

Besides, that he has here described the conversation of Gentlemen in the persons of True-Wit, and his Friends, with more gayety, air and freedom, than in the rest of his Comedies. Waller; nothing so Majestic, so correct as Sir John Denham; nothing so elevated, so copious, and full of spirit, as Mr.

Nescivit says Seneca quod bene cessit relinquere n: Among the rest, it was the fortune of Eugenius, Crites, Lisideius, and Neander, to be in company 5 together ; three of them persons whom their wit and quality have made known to all the town ; and whom I have chose to hide under these borrowed names, that they may not suffer by so ill a relation as I am going to make of their discourse. As for comedy, re partee is one of its cjiiefest graces ; the greatest 10 pleasure of the audience.

Essay of Dramatick Poesie – Wikipedia

Mac Flecknoe as a Mock-heroic Poem. The debate goes on about the sparjnotes between ancient writers and modern writers. But in certain kinds of romantic comedy, the artificiality of effect produced by those fetters might conceivably be only a grace the more. However, he is not a rule bound critic, tied down to the classical unities or to notions of what constitutes a “proper” character for the stage.

An Essay of Dramatic Poesy Summary by John Dryden

Cette versification est peut-etre utile a la comedia, mais elle est trop speciale pour ne pas lui faire tort en pays Stranger. We do not see that the ensemble of the facts of the case, viz.

Therefore, the spectators found nothing new in them. Does not the eye pass from an unplea sant object to a pleasant in a much shorter time than is required to this? IV that the elaborate Greek metres were unsuited for tra gedy, and that the iambic trimeter, as ‘nearer to com mon discourse,’ was its proper instrument, so it is quite possible that in ppoesy dramatic verse rhyme may fix the attention too much upon the manner si saying a thing, when the thing itself ought to concentrate upon it the thoughts and feelings of the spectators.


I cannot say he is every where alike; were he so, I should do him injury to compare him with the greatest of Mankind. It is Unnatural to shift the action from dgamatic place to another, especially to distant places.

Dryden Dramatic Poesy – WikiEducator

The English, by contrast, show their characters having changes of heart that are over-reactions to circumstances and therefore not believable. A Priam and Astyanax murdered, and Cassandra ravished, and the lust and murder ending in the victory of him that acted them: But the English serious drama 1 at this moment is in such a low condition as to be almost non-existent. The third unity, that of action, requires that the play “aim at one great and complete action”, but the English have all kinds of sub-plots which destroy the unity of the action.

Doubt less many things appear flat to us, the wit of which 6 depended on some custom or story, which never came 1 writ, A. Crites opposes rhyme in plays and argues that through the moderns excel in science; the ancient age was the true age of poetry.

And yet this miserable necessity you are forced upon. On the day that the English fleet encounters the Dutch at sea near the mouth of the Thames, the four friends take a barge downriver towards the noise from the battle. But they do it 1 to the most mean ones, those which, A.

An Essay of Dramatic Poesy by John Dryden: An Overview

It had formerly been said, that the easiness of blank verse, renders the Poet too luxuriant; but that the labor of Rhyme bound and circumscribes an over-fruitful fancy, The sense there being commonly confined to the couplet, and the words so ordered that the Rhyme naturally follows them, not they the Rhyme. By using vryden site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Eramatic. Eugenius whose name may mean “well born” favors the moderns over the ancients, arguing that the moderns exceed poey ancients because of having learned and profited from their example.

He also favors English drama-and has some critical -things to say of French drama: Instead of punishing vice and rewarding virtue, they have often shown a prosperous wickedness, and an unhappy piety.