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As we intend to take occasion in the introduction to our second volume to make some observations on the principles of dramatic composition, we have in the mean time endeavoured to ascertain what is really meant by dramatic incidents in the cant of the theatres; but hitherto our inquiries have not been very successful. We find, however, that the prevalent opinion for the most part is, that in tragedy, the incidents should consist in drawing swords, stamping with great fury, and in certain ladies and gentlemen, calling themselves ghosts, ascending and descending by square holes cut in the floor of the stage; and that in comedy, they must be made up of chairs and tables overturned, and the actors playing at hide and seek, behind screens and under sophas. The validity of the claims of such sort of phenomena to be regarded as legitimate dramatic incidents, we will assuredly investigate, for we very much suspect that they are only the spurious offspring of those unprincipled creatures, Pantomime and Melo-drama.
SCENE I. Before the cottage of Ambrose.
Enter ETHELWOLFE and ISABEL, disguised as his
ISA. Indeed, Sir, all the band have observed your late dejection, and in vain attempt to discover the cause, they sometimes fear that you suspect their fidelity.
Ethel. No, Lewis, far different are my fears: I do not doubt my band, I am even now going to employ them on a service that will, I trust, restore my peace. Again the
slave of a tyrant passion—
Isa. Of Love? heaven forbid !
Ethel. And why not, Lewis? surely I am not doomed