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Of that sort of Dramatick Poem which is
TRAGEDY, as it was anciently composed, bath been ever held the gravest, moralest, and most profitable of all other poems : therefore said by Aristotle to be of power by raising pity and fear, or terrour, to purge the mind of those and such like passions, that is, to temper and reduce them to just measure with a kind of delight, stirred up by reading or seeing those passions well imitated. Nor is Nature wanting in her own effects to make good his assertion : for so, in physick, things of melancholick hue and quality are used against melancholy, sour against sour, salt to remove salt humours. Hence philosophers and other gravest writers, as Cicero, Plutarch, On man, beast, plant, wasteful and turbulent, Like turbulencies in the affairs of men, Over whose heads they roar, and seem to point, They oft fore-signify and threaten ill : This tempest at this desart most was bent; Of men at thee, for only thou here dwell'st. Did I not tell thee, if thou didst reject The perfect season offer'd with my aid To win thy destin'd seat, but wilt prolong All to the push of fate, pursue thy way Of gaining David's throne, no man knows when, For both the when and how is no where told ? Thou shalt be what thou art ordain’d, no doubt ; For angels have proclaim'd it, concealing The time and means. Each act is rightliest done, Not when it must, but when it may be best: If thou observe not this, be sure to find, What I foretold thee, many a hard assay Of dangers, and adversities, and pains, Ere thou of Israel's scepter get fast hold; Whereof this ominous night, that clos'd thee round, So many terrours, voices, prodigies, May warn thee, as a sure fore-going sign.
So talk'd he, while the Son of God went on And staid not, but in brief him answer'd thus.
Me worse than wet thou find’st not; other harm Those terrours, which thou speak'st of did me none; Į never fear'd they could, though noising loud
And threatening high : what they can do, as signs
In what degree or meaning thou art callid
So saying he caught him up, and, without wing Of hippogrif, bore through the air sublime, Over the wilderness and o'er the plain,