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its felf, and greatly difcovers our Author's Mr. AddiKnowledge and Refearches into Nature.

Between the acting of a dreadful Thing,
And the firft Motion, all the Interim is
Like a Phantafma, or a hideous Dream:
The Genius, and the mortal Inftruments
Are then in Council; and the State of Man,
Like to a little Kingdom, fuffers then
The Nature of an Infurrection.

That nice Critick Dionyfius of Halicarnaf fus confeffes, that he could not find those great Strokes, which he calls the terrible Graces, in any of the Hiftorians, which he frequently met with in Homer. I believe, the Success would be the fame likewife, if we fought for them in any other of our Authors befides our Britifh HOMER, Shakespeare. This Defcription of the Condition of Confpirators has a Pomp and Terror in it, that perfectly aftonishes. Our excellent Mr. Addifon, whofe Modesty made him fometimes diffident in his own Genius, but whofe exquifite Judgment always led him to the fafeft Guides, as we may fee by thofe many fine Strokes in his Cato borrow'd from the Philippics of Cicero, has paraphrafed this fine Defcription; but we are no longer to expect thofe terrible Graces, which he could not hinder from evaporating in the Transfufion.

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fon and He compared, on a Similar

Topick

O think, what anxious Moments pafs between
The Birth of Plots, and their laft fatal Periods.
Oh, 'tis a dreadful Interval of Time,

Fill'd up with Horror all, and big with Death.

I fhall obferve two Things on this fine Imitation: first, that the Subjects of these two Confpiracies being fo very different, (the Fortunes of Cæfar and the Roman Empire being concern'd in the Firft; and That of only a few Auxiliary Troops, in the other;) Mr. Addifon could not with Propriety bring in that magnificent Circumftance, which gives the terrible Grace to Shakespeare's Defcription.

The Genius and the mortal Inftruments
Are then in Council.

For Kingdoms, in the poetical Theology, befides their good, have their evil Genius's likewife: reprefented here with the most daring Stretch of Fancy, as fitting in Council with the Confpirators, whom he calls the mortal Inftruments. But this would have been too great an Apparatus to the Rape, and Defertion, of Syphax, and Sempronius. Secondly, The other Thing very obfervable is, that Mr. Addifon was fo warm'd and affected with

intre of Shakespeare's Description; that,

inftead of copying his Author's Sentiments, he has, before he was aware, given us only the Image of his own Impreffions on the reading his great Original. For,

Oby

Oh, 'tis a dreadful Interval of Time,

Fill'd up with Horror all, and big with Death; are but the Affections raised by such forcible Images as thefe ;

All the Int'rim is

Like a Phantafma, or a hideous Dream.
the State of Man,

Like to a little Kingdom, Juffers then
The Nature of an Infurrection.

Comparing the Mind of a Confpirator to an Anarchy, is juft and beautiful; but the Interim to a hideous Dream has fomething in it fo wonderfully natural, and lays the human Soul fo open, that one cannot but be furpriz'd, that any Poet, who had not himself been, fome time or other, engaged in a Confpiracy, could ever have given fuch Force of Colouring to Truth and Nature.

Shake

bandled

It has been allow'd on all hands, how The Quef far our Author was indebted to Nature; it is tion on not fo well agreed, how much he ow'd to fpeare's Languages and acquir'd Learning. The De-Learning cifions on this Subject were certainly fet on Foot by the Hint from Ben Jonson, that he had fmall Latin and lefs Greek: And from this Tradition, as it were, Mr. Rowe has thought fit peremptorily to declare, that, "It "is without Controverfy, he had no Know"ledge of the Writings of the ancient Poets, " for that in his Works we find no Traces of

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any thing which looks like an Imitation of "the Ancients. For the Delicacy of his "Tafte (continues He,) and the natural Bent "of his own great Genius (equal, if not fuperior, to fome of the Beft of theirs ;) "would certainly have led him to read and study them with fo much Pleasure, that "fome of their fine Images would naturally have infinuated themselves into, and been "mix'd with, his own Writings: fo that his not copying, at leaft, fomething from "them, may be an Argument of his never

having read them." I fhall leave it to the Determination of my Learned Readers, from the numerous Paffages, which I have occafionally quoted in my Notes, in which our Poet feems closely to have imitated the Claffics, whether Mr. Rowe's Affertion be fo abfolutely to be depended on. The Refult of the Controverfy muft certainly, either way, terminate to our Author's Honour; how happily he could imitate them, if that Point be allow'd; or how gloriously he could think like them, without owing any thing to Imi

tation.

Tho' I fhould be very unwilling to allow Shakespeare fo poor a Scholar,as Many have labour'd to reprefent him, yet I fhall be very cautious of declaring too pofitively on the other fide of the Queftion; that is, with regard to my Opinion of his Knowledge in the dead Languages. And therefore the Paffages, that

I occafionally quote from the Claffics, fhall not be urged as Proofs that he knowingly imitated thofe Originals; but brought to fhew how happily he has exprefs'd himself upon the fame Topicks. A very learned Critick of our own Nation has declar'd, that a Sameness of Thought and Sameness of Expreffion too, in Two Writers of a different Age, can hardly happen, without a violent Sufpicion of the Latter copying from his Predeceffor. I fhall not therefore run any great Rifque of a Cenfure, tho' I fhould venture to hint, that the Refemblance, in Thought and Expreffion, of our Author and an Antient (which we fhould allow to be Imitation in One, whofe Learning was not question'd) may fometimes take its Rife from Strength of Memory, and thofe Impreffions which he ow'd to the School. And if we may allow a Poffibility of This, confidering that, when he quitted the School, he gave into his Father's Profeffion and way of Living, and had, 'tis likely, but a flender Library of Claffical Learning; and confidering what a Number of Tranflations, Romances, and Legends, ftarted about his Time, and a little before. "(most of which, 'tis very evident, he read ;) I think, it may eafily be reconcil'd, why he rather schemed his Plots and Characters from thefe more latter Informations, than went back to thofe Fountains, for which he might entertain

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