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“ it immediately. They lay their heads together, with their snuff- boxes in " their hands, as Mr. Bayes has it, and feague it away. But, in the midst " of that wise scene, Syphax seems to give a seasonable eaution to Sem
“ Syph. But is it true, Sempronius, that your senate
Is call'd together? Gods! thou must be cautious; “ Cato has piercing eyes.
76 There is a great deal of caution shewn indeed, in meeting in a governor's “ own hall to carry on their plot against him. Whatever opinion they have “ of his eyes, I suppose they had none of his ears, or they would never
have talked at this foolish raté so near;
« Oh! yes, very cautious : for if Cato should overhear you, and turn you < off for politicians; Cesar would never take you ; no, Cæsar would never
se také you.
cc When Cato, Act II. turns the senators out of the hall, under pretence * of acquainting Juba with the result of their debates, he appears to me to “ do a thing which is neither reasonable nor civil. Juba might certainly
have better been made acquainted with the result of that debate in some i private apartinent of the palace. But the poet was driven upon this ab-ci surdity to make way for another ; and that is, to give. Juba an opportu" tunity to demand Marcia of her father. But the quarrel and rage of Juba e and Syphax, in the same Act, the invectives of Syphax against the " Romans and Cato; the advice that he gives Juba, in her father's hall, " to bear away Marcia by force; and his brutal and clamorous rage upon " his refusal, and at a time when Cato was scarce out of sight, and perhaps
not out of hearing, at least, some of his guards or domesticks must necessi sarily be supposed to be within hearing; is a thing that is so far from being probable, that it is hardly possible.
Sempronius, in the second Act, comes back once more in the same morning to the governor's hall, to carry on the conspiracy with Syphax " against the governor, his country, and his family; which is so stupid, that si it is below the wisdom of the () --'s, the Mac's, and the Teague's ; éven · Eustace Commins himself would never have gone to Justice-hall, to have " conspired against the government. If ofacers at Portsmouth should lay " their heads together, in order to the carrying off * J-G-'s niece or
The perron meant by the initials J.C. is Sir John Gibson, Lieutenant-Govetros of Portsmouth ibile per 1710, and afterwards. He was much beloved in the army, and by the common soldiers cabied joiary Gibaca. H.
a daughter, would they meer in J-G-s hall, to carry on that conspiracy? « There would be no necessity for their meeting there, at least till they came “ to the execution of their plot, because there would be other places to meet “ in. There wouid be no probability that they should meet there, because " there would be places more private and more commodious. Now there « ought to be nothing in a tragical action but what is necessary or pro6 bable.
“ But treason is not the only thing that is carried on in this hall: that, « and love, and philosophy, take their turn in it, without any manner of
necessity or probability, occasioned by the action, as duly and as regularly, “ without interrupting one another, as if there were a triple league between “ them, and a mutual agreement that each should give place to and make
way for the other, in a due and orderly succession. “ We now come to the third Act. Sempronius, in this Act, comes into “ the governor's hall, with the leaders of the mutiny: but as soon as Cato " is gone, Sempronius, who but just before had acted like an unparalleld
knave, discovers himself like an egregious fool, to be an accomplice in " the conspiracy.
« ' Semp. Know, villains, when such paltry slaves presume
They're thrown neglected by ; but, if it fails,
Here, take these faetious monsters, drag them forth * To sudden death
“ 'Tis true, indeed, the second leader says, there are none there bur friends; " but is that possible at such a juncture ? Can a parcel of rogues attempt
to assassinate the governor of a town of war, in his own house, at mid
day, and, after they are discovered and defeated, can there be none near “ them but friends ? Is it not plain from these words of Sempronius,
Here, take these factious monsters, drag them forth “ To sudden death
and, from the entrance of the guards upon the word of command, that " those guards were within ear-shot? Behold Sempronius then palpably
discovered. How comes it to pass, then, that, instead of being hanged up with the rest, he remains secure in the governor's hall, and there ".carries on his conspiracy against the government, the third time in the Ss2
same day, with his old comrade Syphax, who enters at the same time " that the guards are carrying away the leaders, big with the news of the “ defeat of Sempronius ; though where he had his intelligence so soop is " difficult to imagine ? And now the reader may expect a very extraordinary “scenę: thers is not abundance of spirit indeed, nor a great deal of passion; " but there is wisdom more than enough to supply all defects,
« Syph. Our first design, my friend, has prov'd abortive;
Still there remains an atter-game to play :
My troops are mounted, their Numidian steeds
Semp. Corfusion! I have fail'd of half my purpose;
" Well ! but though he tells us the half purpose he has failed of, he does
not tell us the half that he has carried. But what does he mean by
“ Marcia, the charming Marcia's left behind ?
- He is now in her own house ; and we have neither seen her nor heard “ her any where else since the play. began. But now let us hear Syphax:
" But #hat does old Syphax mean by finding her out? They talk as if she “ were as hard to be found as a hare in a frosty morning.
Semp. But how to gain admission !
« Oh ! she is found out then, it seems,
“ But how to gain admission! for access
Is giv'n io none, but Juba and her brothers. But, raillery apart, why access to Juba? For he was owned and received “ as a lover neither by the father nor by the daughter. Well ! but let that "pass. Syphax puts Sempronius out of pain immediately ; and, being a " Numidian, abounding in wiles, supplies him with a stratagem for admis“sion, that, I believe, is a non-pareille :
Syph. Thou shalt have Juba's dress, and Juba's guards ;
*** Sempronius is, it seems, to pass for. Juba in full day' at Cato's house, * where they were both so very well known, by having Juba's dress and his guards ; as if one of the marshals of France could pass for the duke of
Bavaria, at noon-day at Versailles, by having his dress and liveries. " But how does Syphax pretend to help Sempronius to young Juba's dress? " Does he serve him in a double capacity, as general and master of his * wardrobe ? But why Juba's guards ? For the devil of any guards has Jubá
appeared with yet. Well ! though this is a "mighty 'politick invention, " yet, methinks, "they might have done without it: for since the advice " that Syphax gave ro Sempronius was,
"To hurry her away by manly force,
"in my opinion, the shortest and likeliest way of coming at the lady' was by
demolishing, instead of putting on an impertinent disguise to circumvent two or three slaves. But Sempronius, it seems, is of another opinion, He extols to the skies the invention of old Syphax:
Sempr. Heavens! what a thought was there!
"Now I appeal to the reader, if I have not been as good as my word. Did I not tell him, that I would lay before him a very wise scene? " But now let us lay before the reader that part of the scenery of the Fourth Act, which may shew the absurdities which the author has run
into, through the indiscreet observance of the Unity of Place. I do not j* remember that Aristotle has said any thing expressly concerning the Unity of Place. 'Tis true, implicitly he has said enough in the rules which he has laid down for the Chorus. For, by making the Chorus an essential part of Tragedy, and by bringing it on the stage immediately after the
opening of the scene, and retaining it there till the very catastrophe, he * bas so determined and fixed the place of action, that it was impossible for
an author on the Grecian stage to break through that unity. I am of opi" nion, that if a modern tragick poet can preserve the unity of place, with
out destroying the probability of the incidents, 'tis always best for him to do it; because, by the preservation of that unity as we have taken notice above, he adds grace, and cleanness, and comeliness, to the representation. But since there are no express rules about it, and we are under ng
compulsion to kepit, since we have no Chorus as the Grecian poet had; * if it cannot be preserved, without rendering the greater part of the inci*.dents unreasonable and absurd, and perhaps sometimes monstrous, 'tiş certainly better to break it.
“ Now comes bully. Sempronius, comically accoutred and equipped with “ his Numidian dress and his Numidian guards. Let the reader attend to “ him with all his eare ; for the words of the wise are precious :
“ Sempr. The deer is lodg'd, I've track'd her to her covert.
"Now I would fain know why this deer is said to be lodged, since we. “ have not heard one word, since the play began, of her being at all out of “ harbour ; and if we consider the discourse with which she and Lucia “ begin the Act, we have reason to believe that they had hardly been talką “ ing of such matters in the street. However, to pleasure Sempronius, le
us suppose, for once, that the deer is lodged:
“The deer is lodged, I've tracked her to her covert.
“ If he had seen her in the open field, what occasion had he to track her, “ when he had so many Numidian dogs at his hee!s, which, with one hallo, “ he might have set upon her haunches? If he did not see her in the open “ field, how could he possibly track her? If he had seen her in the street, “ why did he not set upon her in the street, since through the street she must « be carried at last ? Now here, instead of having his thoughts upon his
business, and upon the present danger; instead of meditaring and contrir“ ing how he shall pass with his mistress through the southern gate, where “ her brother Marcus is upon the guard, and where he would certainly prove
an impediment to him, which is the Roman word for the buggage; instead se of doing this, Sempronius is entertaining himself with whimsies :
Sempr. How will the young Numidian rave, to see
Beyond th' enjoyment of so bright a prize,
Through those his guards.
“ Pray, what are those his guards? I thought at present that Juba's guards had been Sempronius's tools, and had been dangling after his heels. “ But now let us sum up all these absurdities together. Sempronius goes
at noon-day, in Juba's clothes, and with Juba's guards, to Cato's pa.. “ lace, in order to pass for Juba, in a place where they were both so very “ well known: he meets Juba there, and resolves to murder him with his
own guards. Upon the guards appearing a little bashful, he threatens
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