John Dryden An Essay On Dramatic Poetry

John Dryden An Essay On Dramatic Poetry-20
The personages who conduct the discussion are all of a social rank higher than that to which Dryden belonged. Sir Robert Howard, the son of the Earl of Berkshire, assumed the poet's lyre or the critic's stylus with an air PREFACE.

The personages who conduct the discussion are all of a social rank higher than that to which Dryden belonged. Sir Robert Howard, the son of the Earl of Berkshire, assumed the poet's lyre or the critic's stylus with an air PREFACE.

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His first play, The Wild Gallant, was in prose ; it is coarse and not much enlivened by wit, and it was not well received. He seems to have convinced himself that the attraction of rhyme was necessary to please the fastidious audiences for which he had to write; vi PREFACE.

and after The Rival Ladies, of which a small part is in rhyme, and The Indian Queen (1664), a play entirely rhymed, in which he assisted his brother-in-law Sir Robert Howard, he brought out, early in 1665, his tragedy of The Indian Emperor, which, like The Indian Queen, is carefully rhymed throughout.

To the English stage as a whole he will not allow a position of inferiority ; for * our nation can never want in any age such who are able to dispute the empire of wit with any people in the universe' (p. Crites now introduces the subject of rhyme, which he maintains to be unsuitable for serious plays.

His argu ment, and Neander's answer, take up the rest of the Essay.

that no Elizabethan blank verse tragedy, besides those of Shakespeare, can be endured on the stage now, and that those of later dramatists have not been successful, might lead us to the conclusion that Shakespeare triumphed rather in spite of blank verse than because of\i.

Rhyme is merely one of the devices to which the poetic artist has recourse, for the purpose of making his work attractive and successful.

OXFORO AT THE CLARENDON PRESS 1918 PR /UA7 .1.31$ PREFACE.

Dryden and others were not slow to consult the taste prevailing at Court.

x Ix of superiority which showed that he thought it a con descension in himself, a man of fashion, to associate with the poverty-stricken tribe of authors".

This tone is very noticeable in the Preface to The Duke of Lerma, which Dryden answered in his Defence of the Essay.

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