the peasant who showed him the way, and is drawn in the map, be yet living. A gentleman from the university, who is deeply intent on the study of humanity, desires me to be as particular, if I had opportunity, in observing the whole interview be. tween his highness and our late general. Thus do men's fancies work according to their several edu. cations and circumstances; but all pay a respect, mixed with admiration, to this illustrious character. I have waited for his arrival in Holland, before I would let my correspondents know that I have not been so uncurious a Spectator as not to have seen prince Eugene*. It would be very difficult, as I said just now, to answer every expectation of those who have written to me on that head; nor is it possible for me to find words to let one know what an artful glance there is in his countenance who surprised Cremona; how daring he appears who forced the trenches at Tarin : but in general I can say that he who beholds him will easily expect from him any thing that is to be imagined, or executed, by the wit or force of man. The prince is of that stature which makes a man most easily become all parts of exercise; has height to be graceful on occasions of state and ceremony, and no less adapted for agility and dispatch: his aspect is erect and composed; his eye lively and thoughtful, yet rather vigilant than sparkling ; his action and address the most easy imaginable, and his behaviour in an assembly pe. culiarly graceful in a certain art of mixing insensi. bly with the rest, and becoming one of the company, instead of receiving the courtship of it. The shape of his person, and composure of his limbs, are remarkably exact and beantiful. There is in his looks something sublime, which does not seem to

* He stood godfather to Steele's second son, who was named Eugene after this prince.

arise from his quality or character, but the innate disposition of his mind. It is apparent that he suffers the presence of much company, instead of taking delight in it; and he appeared in public, while with us, rather to return good-will, or satisfy curio. sity, than to gratify any taste he himself had of being popular. As his thoughts are never tumultuous in danger, they are as little discomposed on occasions of pomp and magnificence. A great soul is affected, in either case, no further than in considering the properest methods to extricate itself from them. If this hero has the strong incentives to uncommon enterprises that were remarkable in Alexander, he prosecutes and enjoys the fame of them with the justness, propriety, and good sense of Cæsar. It is easy to observe in him a mind as capable of being entertained with contemplation as enterprise; a mind ready for great exploits, but not impatient for occasions to exert itself. The prince has wisdom, and valour in as high perfection as man can enjoy it; which noble faculties, in conjunction, banish all vain-glory, ostentation, ambition, and all other vices which might intrude upon his mind, to make it unequal. These habits and qualities of soul and body render this personage so extraordinary, that he appears to have nothing in him but what every man should have in him, the exertion of his very self, abstracted from the circumstances in which for. tune has placed him. Thus, were you to see prince Eugene, and were told he was a private gentleman,

say he is a man of modesty and merit. Should you be told that was prince Eugene, he would be diminished no otherwise, than that part of your

distant admiration would turn into a familiar good will.

This I thought fit to entertain my reader with, concerning an hero who never was equalled but by

you would

one man"; over whom also he has this advantage, that he has had an opportunity to manifest an esteem for him in his adversity.


N° 341. TUESDAY, APRIL 1, 1712.

-Revocate animos, næstumque timorem

VIRG. Æn. i. 906.
Resume your courage, and dismiss your fear.

DRYDEN. HAVING, to oblige my correspondent Physibulus, printed his letter last Friday, in relation to the new epilogue, he cannot take it amiss if I now pub. lish another, which I have just received from a gentleman who does not agree with him in his sen. timents upon that matter,



I am amazed to find an epilogue attacked in your last Friday's paper, which has been 80 generally applauded by the town, and received such honours as were never before given to any

in an English theatre.

• The audience would not permit Mrs. Oldfield to go off the stage the first night till she had re. peated it twice; the second night the noise of ancora was as loud as before, and she was obliged again to speak it twice; the third night it was still called for a second time; and, in short, contrary to all other epilogues, which are dropped after the

* The duke of Marlborough, who was at this time turned out of all his public employments.

third representation of the play, this has already been repeated nine times.

I must own, I am the more surprised to find this censure in opposition to the whole town, in a paper which has hitherto been famous for the can. dour of its criticisms.

'I can by no means allow your melancholy correspondent, that the new epilogue is unnatural because it is gay. If I had a mind to be learned, I could tell him that the prologue and epilogue were real parts of the ancient tragedy ; but every one knows, that, on the British stage, they are distinct performances by themselves, pieces entirely detached from the play, and no way essential to it.

"The moment the play ends, Mrs. Oldfield is no more Andromache but Mrs. Oldfield; and though the poet had left Andromache stone-dead upon the stage, as your ingenious correspondent phrases it, Mrs. Oldfield might still have spoke a merry epilogue. We have an instance of this in a tragedy where there is not only a death, but a martyrdom, St. Catherine was there personated by Nell Gwin; she lies stone-dead upon the stage, but, upon those gentlemen's offering to remove her body, whose business it is to carry off the slain in our English tragedies, she breaks out into that abrupt beginning of what was a very ludicrous, but at the same time thought a very good epilogue:

• Hold! are you mad? you damn'd confounded dog,
I am to rise and speak the epilogue.'

This diverting manner was always practised by Mr. Dryden, who, if he was not the best writer of tragedies in his time, was allowed by every one. to have the happiest turn for a prologue, or an epilogue. The epilogues to Cleomenes, Don Sebastian,

The duke of Guise, Aurengzebe, and Love Tri. umphant, are all precedents of this nature.

I might further justify this practice by that ex. cellent epilogue which was spoken, a few years since, after the tragedy of Phædra and Hippolytus*; with a great many others, in which the authors have endeavoured to make the audieuce merry.

If they have not all succeeded so well as the writer of this, they have however shown, that it was not for want of good-will.

I must further observe, that the gaiety of it may be still the more proper, as it is at the end of a French play; since every one knows that nation, who are generally esteemed to have as polite a taste as any in Europe, always close their tragic enter. tainments with what they call a petite pièce, which is purposely designed to raise mirth, and send away the audience well pleased. The same person who has supported the chief character in the tragedy very often plays the principal part in the petite pièce; so that I have myself seen, at Paris, Orestes and Lubin acted the same night by the same


“Tragi-comedy, indeed, you have yourself, in a former speculation, found fault with very justly, because it breaks the tide of the passions while they are yet flowing; but this is nothing at all to the present case, where they have had already their full course..

6 As the new epilogue is written conformably to the practice of our best poets, so it is not such a

* A tragedy by Mr. Edmund Neal, known by the name of Smith, 8vo. 1707. Addison wrote a prologue to this play when Italian operas were in vogue, to rally the vitiated taste of the town in preferring sound to sense. Prior wrote the epilogue here mentioned.

« ForrigeFortsett »