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same for both; to guide the undertaking, and to preserve the remembrance of such things whose natures are difficult to retain.
To avoid absurdities and incongruities is the same law established for both arts.
“ The painter is not to paint a cloud at the bottom of a picture, but in the uppermost parts ;” nor the poet to place what is proper to the end or middle in the beginning of a poem. I might enlarge on this; but there are few poets or painters who can be supposed to sin so grossly against the laws of nature and of art. I remember only one play, and for once I will call it by its name, The Slighted Maid, where there is nothing in the first act but what might have been said or done in the fifth ; nor any thing in the midst which might not have been placed as well in the beginning or the end.
" To express the passions which are seated on the heart by outward signs," is one great precept of the painters, and very difficult to perform. In poetry the same passions and motions of the mind are to be expressed; and in this consists the principal difficulty, as well as the excellency of that art. “ This," says my author, “is the gift of Jupiter;" and, to speak in the same heathen language, we call it the gift of our Apollo, not to be obtained by pains or study, if we are not born to it: for the motions which are studied are never so natural as those which break out in the height of a real passion. Mr. Otway possessed this part as thoroughly
of the ancients or moderns. I will not defend everything in his Venice Preserved; but I must bear this testimony to his memory, that the passions are truly touched in it, though, perhaps, there is somewhat to be desired both in the grounds of them, and in the height and elegance of expression; but nature is there, which is the greatest beauty.
“ In the passions,” says our author, “ we must have a very great regard to the quality of the persons who are actually possessed with them.” The joy of a monarch for the news of a victory must not be expressed like the ecstacy of a Harlequin on the receipt of a letter from his mistress : this is so much the same in both the arts, that it is no longer a comparison. What he says of face-painting, or the portrait of any one particular person, concerning the likeness, is also applicable to poetry : in the character of an hero, as well as in an inferior figure, there is a better or worse likeness to be taken; the better is a panegyric, if it be not false, and the worse is a libel. Sophocles, says Aristotle, always drew men as they ought to be; that is, better than they were. Another, whose name I have forgotten, drew them worse than naturally they were. Euripides altered nothing in the character, but made them such as they were represented by history, epic poetry, or tradition. Of the three, the draught of Sophocles is most commended by Aristotle. I have followed it in that part of Oedipus which I writ; though, perhaps, I have made him too good a man. But my characters of Antony and Cleopatra, though they are favourable to them, have nothing of outrageous panegyric; their passions were their own, and such as were given them by history, only the deformities of them were cast into shadows, that they might be objects of compassion; whereas, if I had chosen a noon-day light for them, somewhat must have been discovered, which would rather have moved our hatred than our pity.
“ The gothic manner, and the barbarous ornaments which are to be avoided in a picture," are just the same with those of an ill-ordered play. For example: our English tragi-comedy must be confessed to be wholly gothic, notwithstanding the success which it has found upon our theatre; and in the Pastor Fido of Guarini, even though Corsica and the Satyr contribute somewhat to the main action: neither can I defend my Spanish Friar, as fond as otherwise I am of it, from this imputation; for though the comical parts are diverting, and the serious moving, yet they are of an unnatural mingle: for mirth and gravity destroy each other, and are no more to be allowed for decent, than a gay widow laughing in a mourning habit.
I had almost forgot one considerable resemblance. Du Fresnoy tells us, “ That the figures of the groupes must not be all on a side, that is, with their faces and bodies all turned the same way, but must contrast each other by their several positions." Thus in a play, some charàcters must be raised to oppose others, and to set them off the better, according to the old maxim, contraria juxta se posita, magis elucescunt. Thus in the Scornful Lady, the usurer is sent to confront the prodigal : Thus in my Tyrannic Love, the atheist Maximin is opposed to the character of St. Catharine.
I am now come, though with the omission of many likenesses, to the third part of painting, which is called the chromatic or colouring. Expression, and all that belongs to words, is that in a poem which colouring is in a picture. The colours well chosen, in their proper places, together with their lights and shadows which belong to them, lighten the design, and make it pleasing to the eye. The words, the expressions, the tropes and figures, the versification, and all the other elegancies of sound, as cadences, turns of words upon the thought, and many other things, which are all parts of expression, perform exactly the same office both in dramatic and epic poetry. Our author calls colouring lena sororis ; in plain English, the bawd of her sister, the design or drawing; she clothes, she dresses her up, she paints her, she makes her appear more lovely than naturally she is, she procures for the design, and makes lovers for her; for the design of itself is only so many naked lines. Thus in poetry, the expression is
that which charms the reader, and beautifies the design, which is only the outlines of the fables. It is true, the design must of itself be good; if it be vicious, or, in one word, unpleasing, the cost of colouring is thrown away upon it. It is an ugly woman in rich habit, set out with jewels : nothing can become her. But granting the design to be moderately good, it is like an excellent complexion with indifferent features ; the white and red well mingled on the face, make what was before but passable, appear beautiful. “Operum colores” is the very word which Horace uses to signify words and elegant expression, of which he himself was so great a master in his Odes. Amongst the ancients, Zeuxis was most famous for his colouring: amongst the moderns, Titian and Corregio. Of the two ancient epic poets, who have so far excelled all the moderns, the invention and design were the particular talents of Homer. Virgil must yield to him in both; for the design of the Latin was borrowed from the Grecian; but the “ Dictio Virgiliana,” the expression of Virgil, his colouring, was incomparably the better; and in that I have always endeavoured to copy him. Most of the pedants, I know, maintain the contrary, and will have Homer excel even in this part. But of all people, as they are the most ill-mannered, so they are the worst judges, even of words which are their province; they seldom know more than the grammatical construction, unless they are born with