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KING HENRY V.

a Mufe of fire that would afcend

The brightest heaven of invention!

The tragedians who took their subjects from Homer, had all the advantage a painter could have, who was to draw a picture from a ftatue of Phydias or Praxiteles. Poor Shakespeare from the wooden images in our mean chronicles, was obliged to form his portraits!

MRS. MONTAGU.

The pencil of the divine poet has thrown a light on their characters, far fuperior to the compofition of the most elaborate narratives. What the hiftorian coldly relates, Shakespeare by the glow of genius, animates and realizes.

PREFACE TO THE DRAMATIC MISCELLANIES OF DAVIES.

Vignette.

A sketch might be taken for this department, from page 141.-The groupe would be dreadful—but no ways unfuited to the battle of Agincourt. This fubject would have been feized by Salvator Rofa. And the wild rage of the wounded fteeds, yerking at their dead mafters, would have equally well fuited the spirit of Reubens. See more of this royal fellowship of death, in page 148. If this defign was well sketched, it would be a future ftudy for dying attitudes. Round this proposed Vignette, might be thrown fome trophies of war, fomewhat fimilar to thofe very rich ones, in M. de Loutherbourg's plate to Bell's last edition of this play. See alfo the trophies round those of the last edition of Coriolanus, and the third part of Henry 6th. And fee the ornament by Ramberg, to the fame edition of Julius Cafar.

H 2

Head-Piece.

An entire and exact fac-fimile (equally well engraved) of M. de Loutherbourg's Vignette to Bell's laft edition of this play. Were the Boy fomewhat altered: it would be a perfect defign. And in order to admit of this alteration, the circle may be a little enlarged. After viewing this defign, we cannot much commend the fame figures in Bell's first edition-though two of them are not ill drawn-and the drefs of Piftol is not amiss-yet the foul of this last fantastic character, is but faintly given.

Were the other scenes from our great author, to be drawn with the fame masterly fidelity, as this of M. de Loutherbourg's: an edition might be projected, which would demand, and receive the approbation, of the most critical amateurs of Europe. Mr. Boydell's expected edition, from the names of many of the artists, bids fair to ftand the test of feverest opinion.

Scene

Scene Prints.

Enter CHORUS.*

Chor. Now all the youth of England are on fire,
And filken dalliance in the wardrobe lies;
Now thrive the armourers, and honour's thought
Reigns folely in the breast of every man :
They fell the pafture now to buy the horse;
Following the mirror of all chriftian kings,
With winged heels, as English Mercuries.
For now fits Expectation in the air;

And hides a sword from hilts unto the point,
With crowns imperial, crowns and coronets,
Promis'd to Harry and his followers.
The French, advis'd by good intelligence
Of this most dreadful preparation,

Shake in their fear; and with pale policy

Seek to divert the English purposes.

Like little body with a mighty heart,—

O England!-model to thy inward greatness,

What might'st thou do, that honour would thee do,
Were all thy children kind and natural!

An

*Much picturefque imagery and defcription, is difperfed (in fine language) through the other chorufes (and no wonder, when they were the production of a mufe of fire)-but the imagery is of that kind that cannot well present fubjects to an artist. As Shakespeare, in this hiftorical play, is fo partial to the admiffion of the chorus: what fublime ones would he have composed for the tragic drama of Macbeth, had he there thought their introduction effential. Mr. Mafon, in his letter prefixed to Elfrida, has these words:

"But, whatever thefe play-makers may have gained by rejecting the chorus, the true poet has loft confiderably by it. For he has loft a graceful and natural refource to the embellifhments of picturefque

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An ideal fancy sketch of Expectation in the air-might be taken from the above lines, in order to accompany this page—and it should be engraved in as rich metzotinto, as the Angel contemplating the mystery of the cross, from the painted window of the chapel of New College, Oxford. And were this prefented imagery, drawn from the fublimed idea of grace which would attend the pencil of Sir Joshua Reynolds: Shakefpeare's page would then charm a future age, with a conception of fancy equal to his own.

The sword might not be at all visible; or at best, but dimly seen through the envelopement of curling clouds.

There is somewhere in Italy, a painting of an angel, listening to the found of the last trump.

Page

description, fublime allegory, and whatever else comes under the denomination of pure poetry. Shake speare indeed, had the power of introducing this naturally, and, what is more strange, of joining it with pure passion. But I make no doubt, if we had a tragedy of his formed on the Greek model, we fhould find in it more frequent, if not nobler inftances of his high poetical capacity, than in any fingle compofition he has left us. I think you have a proof of this, in those parts of his historical plays, which are called choruses, and written in the common dialogue metre. And your imagination will easily conceive, how fine an ode, the description of the night preceding the battle of Agincourt would have made in his hands; and what additional grace it would receive from that form of compofition."

Garrick delivered on the stage, the chorufes in Henry 5th with masterly elocution; and Henderson's speaking them, is thus recorded:

"He thought highly, and not unjustly of his own merit, in speaking the chorufes to Henry the Fifth, which being rather an unpopular play, he did not, I believe, appear in after January 1779, when I faw him. His figure acquired grace from the Vandyke habit. His recitation led me to regret it was not repeated. He was accurate, animated, energetic." LETTERS AND POEMS OF HENDERSON, p. 253.

Who

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