There a Gentleman is to meet his Friend; he sees him with his man, coming out from his Fathers house; they talk together, and the first goes out: I answer, no Poet need constrain himself at all times to it. The Ancients are the acknowledged models of the Moderns. Farther, I will not argue whether we received it originally from our own Countrymen, or from the French; for that is an inquiry of as little benefit, as theirs who in the midst of the great Plague were not so solicitous to provide against it, as to know whether we had it from the malignity of our own air, or by transportation from Holland. If then the parts are managed so regularly that the beauty of the whole be kept entire, and that the variety become not a perplexed and confused mass of accidents, you will find it infinitely pleasing to be led in a labyrinth of design, where you see some of your way before you, yet discern not the end till you arrive at it. Aristotle indeed divides the integral parts of a Play into four: Neander says that Aristotle demands a verbally artful “lively” imitation of nature, while Crites thinks that dramatic imitation ceases to be “just” when it departs from ordinary speech—i.

The narration of things happening during the course of the play. The French follow this rule in practice and so avoid much of the tumult of the English plays by reducing their plots to reasonable limits. I can assure you he is, this day, the envy of a great person, who is Lord in the Art of Quibbling; and who does not take it well, that any man should intrude so far into his Province. Besides, you see it founded upon the truth of History, only the time of the action is not reducible to the strictness of the Rules; and you see in some places a little farce mingled, which is below the dignity of the other parts; and in this all our Poets are extremely peccant, even Ben Jonson himself in Sejanus and Catiline has given us this Oleo [also Olio: Thus, The Ancients are our first law-givers as well as models for the Moderns to follow. Lisideius suggests that the French are superior to the English.

For though Tragedy be justly preferred above the other, yet there is a great affinity between them as may easily be discovered in that definition of a Play which Lisideius gave us.

dryden essay of dramatic poesy sparknotes

He cites in this context the case of Shakespeare who so deftly exploited elements of the supernatural and elements of popular beliefs and superstitions. Advocacy of writing plays in Rhymed Verse 1. Unknown 27 March at They therefore who imagine these draamatic would make no concernment in the Audience, are deceived, by confounding them with the other, which are of things antecedent to the Play; those are made often in cold blood as I may say to the audience; but these are warmed with our concernments, which are before awakened in the Play.


As far as the unities of the time, place and action are concerned.

John Dryden: An Essay of Dramatic Poesy

Reserate clusos Regii postes Laris [Set wide the palace gates. The description of these humors, drawn from the knowledge and observation of particular persons, was the peculiar genius and talent of Ben Jonson; To whose Play I now return. The real test of excellence is not strict adherence to rules or conventions, but whether the aims of dramas have been achieved. At last the debate goes on about the comparison between Ancient and Modern writers.

In a form of tragedy they used Rhyme. He tells us we cannot so speedily recollect our selves after a Scene of great passion and concernment as to pass to another of mirth and humor, and to enjoy it with any relish: At first, Morose, or an old Man, to whom all noise but his own talking is offensive.

Lisideius defends the French playwrights and attacks the English tendency to mix genres.

dryden essay of dramatic poesy sparknotes

Dryden is a neoclassic critic, and as such he deals in his criticism with issues poest form and morality in drama. He also favors English drama-and has some critical -things to say of French drama: An Essay of Dramatic Poesy deals with the views of major critics and the tastes of men and women of the time of Dryden.

Latin verse was as great a confinement to the imagination of those Poets, as Rhyme to ours: Posted by Unknown at But to do this always, and never be able to write a line without it, though it sparkbotes be admired by some few Pedants, esssy not pass upon those who know that wit is best conveyed to us in the most easy language; and is most to be admired when a great thought comes dressed in words so commonly received that it is understood by the meanest apprehensions, as the best meat is the most easily digested: As far as the unity of place is concerned, he suggests that the Ancients were not the ones to insist on it so much as the French, and that insistence has caused some artificial entrances and exits of characters.

The Ancient versus Modern Playwrights. I must therefore have stronger arguments ere I am convinced, that compassion and mirth in the same subject destroy each other; and in the mean time cannot but conclude, to the honor of our Nation, that we have invented, increased essat perfected a more pleasant way of posey for the Stage than was ever known to the Ancients or Moderns of any Nation, which is Tragicomedy.


Further, he suggests that English plays are more entertaining and instructive because they offer an element of spaknotes that the Ancients and the French do not. He may break off in the Hemistich, and begin another line: Ovid whom you accuse for luxuriancy in Verse, had perhaps been farther guilty of it had he writ in Prose.

This you say looks rather like the confederacy of two, than pesy answer of one. Farther, by tying themselves strictly to the unity of place, and unbroken Scenes they are forced many times to omit some beauties which cannot be shown where the Act began; but might, if the Scene were interrupted, and the Stage cleared for the persons to enter in another place; and therefore the French Poets are often forced upon absurdities: Though “the moderns have profited by the rules of the ancients” they essqy “excelled them.

An Essay of Dramatic Poesy by John Dryden: An Overview

In Dryden, then, we find a “liberal” neo-classicist, although he is most coherent a trait of classicism when he is dealing with that which xparknotes be understood and reduced to rule. I could multiply other instances, but these are sufficient to prove that there is no error in choosing a subject which requires this sort of narrations; in the ill managing of them, there may.

But if, for the most part, the words be placed as they are in the negligence of Prose, it is sufficient to denominate the way practicable, for we esteem that to be such, which in the Trial oftener succeeds than misses. Now what is more unreasonable than to imagine that a man should not only light upon the Wit, but the Rhyme too upon the sudden?

Bharat Bhammar’s Assignment: Essay on Dramatic Poesy

But the first of these judgments is no where to be found, and the latter is not fit to write at all. Unlike Italians and Spaniard, ancients have not been consistent on number of acts. Eugenius then replies to Crites and speaks in favour of the Moderns.