Works, Made English from the French Original: With the Author's Life, Volume 2

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J. Churchill, 1714 - Criticism
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Page 16 - ... their tears. Aristotle was sensible enough what prejudice this might do the Athenians, but he thought he sufficiently prevented it by establishing a certain purgation, which no one hitherto has understood, and which in my opinion he himself never fully comprehended. For can anything be so ridiculous as to form a science which will infallibly discompose our minds, only to set up another, which does not certainly pretend to cure us?
Page 17 - ... than a virtuous love. A man who may cowardly suffer himself to be insulted by a contemptible enemy will yet defend what he loves, though to the apparent hazard of his life, against the attacks of the most valiant. The weakest and most fearful creatures — those creatures that are naturally inclined to fear and to run away — will fiercely encounter what they dread most, to preserve the object of their love. Love has a certain heat which supplies the defect of courage in those that want it most....
Page 14 - Virgil gives us of his deities. The latter has clothed his gods with human infirmities to adapt them to the capacity of men; the other has raised his heroes so as to bring them into competition with the gods themselves.
Page 19 - I dare be bold to affirm that nothing in the world would appear to us more cruel, more opposite to the true sentiments which mankind ought to have. Our age has at least this advantage over theirs, that we are allowed the liberty to hate vice and love virtue. As the gods occasioned the greatest crimes on the...
Page 17 - We divest it of all its weakness, and leave it all that we call charitable and human. I love to see the misfortune of some great unhappy person lamented; I am content with all my heart that he should attract our compassion; nay, sometimes, command our tears; but then I would have these tender and generous tears paid to his...
Page 87 - ... funeral; sadness becomes so sorrowful in their mouths that they roar rather than complain; and sometimes they express a languishing passion as a natural fainting. Perhaps there may be at present some alteration in their way of singing, and by conversing with us they may be improved as to the justness of a neat execution, as we are improved by them as to the beauties of a stronger and bolder composition. I have seen plays in England wherein there is a great deal of music, but to speak my thoughts...
Page 20 - I shall conclude with a new and daring thought of my own, and that is this: we ought, in tragedy, before all things whatever, to look after a greatness of soul well expressed, which excites in us a tender admiration.
Page 79 - ... difference which is to be found betwixt theirs and ours. It consists in this: that being zealous to copy the regularity of the ancients, we still drive to the principal action without any other variety than that of the means that bring us to it. It is not to be denied but that the representation of one principal event ought to be the sole scope and end proposed in tragedy, for we cannot without some violence and pain find ourselves taken off from what employed our first thoughts.
Page 13 - The theatre loses all its agreeableness when it pretends to represent sacred things, and sacred things lose a great deal of the religious opinion that is due to them by being represented upon the theater.
Page 85 - ... spectators. Thus you might find enough to satisfy both the senses and the mind, wanting neither the charms of singing in a bare representation nor the beauty of acting in a long, continued course of music.

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