The Spectator, Volumes 1, 2 and 3 eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 3,418 pages of information about The Spectator, Volumes 1, 2 and 3.

Otway [7] has followed Nature in the Language of his Tragedy, and therefore shines in the Passionate Parts, more than any of our English Poets.  As there is something Familiar and Domestick in the Fable of his Tragedy, more than in those of any other Poet, he has little Pomp, but great Force in his Expressions.  For which Reason, though he has admirably succeeded in the tender and melting Part of his Tragedies, he sometimes falls into too great a Familiarity of Phrase in those Parts, which, by Aristotle’s Rule, ought to have been raised and supported by the Dignity of Expression.

It has been observed by others, that this Poet has founded his Tragedy of Venice Preserved on so wrong a Plot, that the greatest Characters in it are those of Rebels and Traitors.  Had the Hero of his Play discovered the same good Qualities in the Defence of his Country, that he showed for its Ruin and Subversion, the Audience could not enough pity and admire him:  But as he is now represented, we can only say of him what the Roman Historian says of Catiline, that his Fall would have been Glorious (si pro Patria sic concidisset) had he so fallen in the Service of his Country.


[Footnote 1:  From Seneca on Providence: 

“‘De Providentia’, sive Quare Bonis Viris Mala Accidant cum sit Providentia’ Sec. 2, ’Ecce spectaculum dignum, ad quod respiciat intentus operi suo Deus:  ecce par Deo dignum, vir fortis cum mala fortuna compositus, utique si et provocavit.”

So also Minutius Felix, ‘Adversus Gentes:’ 

  “Quam pulchrum spectaculum Deo, cum Christianus cum dolore
  congueditur? cum adversus minas, et supplicia, et tormenta componitur?
  cum libertatem suam adversus reges ac Principes erigit.”

Epictetus also bids the endangered man remember that he has been sent by God as an athlete into the arena.]

[Footnote 2:  shall]

[Footnote 3:  ‘Poetics’, Part I. Sec. 7.  Also in the ‘Rhetoric’, bk III. ch. i.]

[Footnote 4:  These chiefs of the French tragic drama died, Corneille in 1684, and his brother Thomas in 1708; Racine in 1699.]

[Footnote 5:  It is the last sentence in Part III. of the ’Poetics’.]

[Footnote 6:  Nathaniel Lee died in 1692 of injury received during a drunken frolic.  Disappointed of a fellowship at Cambridge, he turned actor; failed upon the stage, but prospered as a writer for it.  His career as a dramatist began with ‘Nero’, in 1675, and he wrote in all eleven plays.  His most successful play was the ‘Rival Queens’, or the Death of Alexander the Great, produced in 1677.  Next to it in success, and superior in merit, was his ‘Theodosius’, or the Force of Love, produced in 1680.  He took part with Dryden in writing the very successful adaptation of ‘OEdipus’, produced in 1679, as an English Tragedy based upon Sophocles and Seneca.  During two years of his life Lee was a lunatic in Bedlam.]

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