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.

  ’and as the strongest proof of it we find that upon the stage, and in
  the dramatic contests, such tragedies, if they succeed, have always
  the most tragic effect.’

Poetics, Part II.  Sec. 12.]

[Footnote 2:  Of the two plays in this list, besides ‘Othello’, which have not been mentioned in the preceding notes, ‘All for Love’, produced in 1678, was Dryden’s ‘Antony and Cleopatra’, ‘Oroonoko’, first acted in, 1678, was a tragedy by Thomas Southerne, which included comic scenes.  Southerne, who held a commission in the army, was living in the ‘Spectator’s’ time, and died in 1746, aged 86.  It was in his best play, ‘Isabella’, or the Fatal Marriage, that Mrs. Siddons, in 1782, made her first appearance on the London stage.]

[Footnote 3:  Congreve’s ‘Mourning Bride’ was first acted in 1697; Rowe’s ‘Tamerlane’ (with a hero planned in complement to William III.) in 1702; Rowe’s ‘Ulysses’ in 1706; Edmund Smith’s ‘Phaedra’ and ‘Hippolitus’ in 1707.]

[Footnote 4:  The third Act of ‘OEdipus’ was by Dryden, the fourth by Lee.  Dryden wrote also the first Act, the rest was Lee’s.]

* * * * *


Having spoken of Mr. Powell,
as sometimes raising himself Applause from the ill Taste of an Audience;
I must do him the Justice to own,
that he is excellently formed for a Tragoedian,
and, when he pleases, deserves the Admiration of the best Judges;
as I doubt not but he will in the Conquest of Mexico,
which is acted for his own Benefit To-morrow Night.


* * * * *

No. 41.  Tuesday, April 17, 1711.  Steele.

‘Tu non inventa reperta es.’


Compassion for the Gentleman who writes the following Letter, should not prevail upon me to fall upon the Fair Sex, if it were not that I find they are frequently Fairer than they ought to be.  Such Impostures are not to be tolerated in Civil Society; and I think his Misfortune ought to be made publick, as a Warning for other Men always to Examine into what they Admire.


Supposing you to be a Person of general Knowledge, I make my Application to you on a very particular Occasion.  I have a great Mind to be rid of my Wife, and hope, when you consider my Case, you will be of Opinion I have very just Pretensions to a Divorce.  I am a mere Man of the Town, and have very little Improvement, but what I have got from Plays.  I remember in The Silent Woman the Learned Dr. Cutberd, or Dr. Otter (I forget which) makes one of the Causes of Separation to be Error Personae, when a Man marries a Woman, and finds her not to be the same Woman whom he intended to marry, but another. [1] If that be Law, it is, I presume, exactly my Case.  For you are to
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