Here every one is a proper Judge of all he sees; nothing is represented but that with which he daily converses: If you insist upon the former part, I would ask you what other conditions are required to make Rhyme natural in itself, besides an election of apt words, and a right disposing of them? Thus, when you see Socrates brought upon the stage, you are not to imagine him made ridiculous by the imitation of his actions, but rather by making 20 him perform something very unlike himself; some thing so childish and absurd, as by comparing it with the gravity of the true Socrates, makes a ridiculous object for the spectators. But what will Lisideius say, if they themselves acknow ledge they are too strictly bounded 1 by those laws, 25 for breaking which he has blamed the English? I cannot say he is every where alike ; were he so, I should do him injury to compare him with the greatest of mankind.

For intending to assault all poets, both ancient and modern, he discovers not his whole design at once, 10 but seems only to aim at me, and attacques me on my weakest side, my defence of verse. Cest bien employer 4 un temps si 10 court, says the French poet “, who furnished me with one of the observations: Neander favours the violation of the unities because it leads to the variety in the English plays. Limberham; or, the Kind Keeper Oedipus Amphitryon But this rjdos contained only the general characters of men and manners ; as old men, lovers, serving-men, cour- tezans, parasites, and such other persons as we see in. Dryden carried out his critical thoughts effectively, stating his own ideas but leaving some room for difference of opinion.

Not that I commend narrations in general, but there dryen two sorts of them. They do not adhere to rules as well. I answer, no Poet need constrain himself at all times to it. Perhaps the most prominent feature of my revision is the copiousness of quotation from Corneille. The Ancient observed the three dramatic unities faithfully, and The Romans, The French, and The English dramatists tried their best to observe them, though not always successfully.

In they appear to have been on good terms ; Dryden having then addressed to him an encomiastick Epistle in prose, which is dated from Charleton, in Wiltshire the seat of the Earl of Berkshireand pofsy prefixed to his Annus Mirabilis, pub lished in 8vo. As for example, the death of Cyrus, whom Justin and some others report to have perished in the Scythian war, but Essy affirms to have died in his bed of extreme old age. Neither was verse then refined so much to be an help to that Age as it is to ours.


Neander rejects the argument that change of place and time diminishes dramatic credibility in drama. While French plays hew closer to classical notions of drama adhering to the cryden of time, place and actionNeander steps in to support English drama precisely because of its subplots, mixture of mirth and tragedy in tragicomedyand spirited, multiple characters. Dryden on The Nature drydne Poetry 1.

This work of quantifying as it may be called after being carried to great perfection among the Greeks, was by them imparted to the Romans.

dryden essay dramatic poesy sparknotes

From hence likewise it arises that the one half of our Actors are not known to the other. Lesideius defends the French playwrights and attacks the English tendency to mix genres.

Dryden Dramatic Poesy – WikiEducator

But before I proceed to answer your objections, I must first remember [remind—ed. Therefore, Crites, you must either prove that words, though well chosen, and duly placed, yet render not Rhyme natural in it self; or, that however natural and easy the rhyme may be, yet it is not proper for a Play.

And though the fury of a Civil War, and Power, for twenty years together, abandoned to a barbarous race of men, Enemies of all good Learning, had buried the Muses under the ruins of Monarchy; yet with the restoration of our happiness, we see revived Poesy lifting up its head, and already shaking off the rubbish which lay so heavy on it. Besides that the great eagerness and precipitation with which they are spoken makes us rather mind the substance than the dress; that for which they are spoken, rather than what is spoke.

However, the agree ment betwixt them is such, that if rhyme be proper for one, it must be for the other.

But, that you may know how much you are indebted to those your Masters, and be ashamed to have so ill requited them: Now the Plots of their Plays being narrow, and the persons few, one of their Acts was written in a less compass than one of our well wrought Scenes, and yet they are often deficient even in this: False reasonings and colours of speech are the certain marks of one who does not understand the stage ; 30 for moral truth is the mistress of the poet, as much as of the philosopher.

To which we may have leave to add, such as, to avoid tumult, as was before hinted, or to reduce the plot into 20 a more reasonable compass of time, or for defect of beauty in them, are rather to be related than presented to the eye.


An Essay of Dramatic Poesy Summary by John Dryden

He praises Shakespeare, ancients and moderns. Our language is noble, full and significant; and I know not why he who is Master of it may not clothe ordinary things in it as decently as the Latin; if he use dryxen same diligence in his choice of words. Dryden is of the view that mingling of the tragic and the comic provides dramatic relief. For what is more ridiculous [than to represent an army with a drum and five men Behind it n ; all which the hero of the other side is 5 to drive in before him ; or to see a duel fought, and one slain with two or three thrusts of the foils, which we know are so blunted, that we might give a man an hour to kill another in good earnest with them.

dryden essay dramatic poesy sparknotes

Most of their new Plays are like some of ours, derived from the Spanish Novels. Set wide the palace gates. One of the lampoons of the time gives a more invidious turn to this suppression, and insinuates that he was compelled to retract.

Ward, whose History of English Dramatic Literature has been constantly at my elbow, and who has moreover rendered to his late friend and kinsman the service of piety involved in his allowing me to consult him upon special points.

They lived afterwards probably in good correspondence together; at least, it appears from an original letter of our author now before me, that towards the close of his life they dramattic on drydrn terms. Since nobody speaks in rhyme in real life, he supports the use of blank verse in drama and says that the use of rhyme sparknotfs serious plays essaay justifiable in place of the blank verse. With the spoils of these Writers he so represents old Rome to us, in its Rites, Ceremonies and Customs, that if one of their Poets had written either of his Tragedies, we had seen less of it than fssay him.

To speak therefore of judgment as it is in the best poets; 10 they who have the greatest proportion of it, want other helps than from it, within. However, none of them exceeds the compass of the same town.