I am appointed to act a Part in the new Tragedy called The Distressed Mother: It is the celebrated Grief of Orestes which I am to personate; but I shall not act it as I ought, for I shall feel it too intimately to be able to utter it. I was last Night repeating a Paragraph to my self, which I took to be an Expression of Rage, and in the middle of the Sentence there was a Stroke of Self-pity which quite unmanned me. Be pleased, Sir, to print this Letter, that when I am oppressed in this manner at such an Interval, a certain Part of the Audience may not think I am out; and I hope with this Allowance to do it to Satisfaction. I am, SIR, Your most humble Servant, George Powell.
As I was walking tother Day in the Park,
I saw a Gentleman with a
very short Face; I desire to know whether it was you. Pray inform me
as soon as you can, lest I become the most heroick Hecatissa’s Rival.
Your humble Servant to command,
It is not me you are in love with, for I was very
ill and kept my
Chamber all that Day.
Your most humble Servant,
[Spirat Tragicum satis, et foeliciter Audet.
[Footnote 2: This is a third blast of the Trumpet on behalf of Ambrose Philips, who had now been adapting Racine’s Andromaque.]
* * * * *
No. 291. Saturday, February 2, 1712. Addison.
Ubi plura nitent in carmine, non ego paucis
Offendor maculis, quas aut Incuria fudit,
Aut Humana parum cavit Natura.
I have now considered Milton’s Paradise Lost under those four great Heads of the Fable, the Characters, the Sentiments, and the Language; and have shewn that he excels, in general, under each of these Heads. I hope that I have made several Discoveries which may appear new, even to those who are versed in Critical Learning. Were I indeed to chuse my Readers, by whose Judgment I would stand or fall, they should not be such as are acquainted only with the French and Italian Criticks, but also with the Ancient and Moderns who have written in either of the learned Languages. Above all, I would have them well versed in the Greek and Latin Poets, without which a Man very often fancies that he understands a Critick, when in Reality he does not comprehend his Meaning.