**** ROTATE **** **** ROTATE **** **** ROTATE **** **** ROTATE ****

Find this Story

Print, a form you can hold

Wireless download to your Amazon Kindle

Look for a summary or analysis of this Story.

Enjoy this? Share it!


by [?]

Of PARODIES, we may safely approve the legitimate use, and even indulge their agreeable maliciousness; while we must still dread that extraordinary facility to which the public, or rather human nature, is so prone, as sometimes to laugh at what at another time they would shed tears.

Tragedy is rendered comic or burlesque by altering the station and manners of the persons; and the reverse may occur, of raising what is comic or burlesque into tragedy. On so little depends the sublime or the ridiculous! Beattie says, “In most human characters there are blemishes, moral, intellectual, or corporeal; by exaggerating which, to a certain degree, you may form a comic character; as by raising the virtues, abilities, or external advantages of individuals, you form epic or tragic characters;[7] a subject humorously touched on by Lloyd, in the prologue to The Jealous Wife.

Quarrels, upbraidings, jealousies, and spleen,
Grow too familiar in the comic scene;
Tinge but the language with heroic chime,
‘Tis passion, pathos, character sublime.
What big round words had swell’d the pompous scene,
A king the husband, and the wife a queen.

[Footnote 1:
Henry Stephen appears first to have started this subject of parody; his researches have been borrowed by the Abbe Sallier, to whom, in my turn, I am occasionally indebted. His little dissertation is in the French Academy’s “Memoires,” tome vii. 398. ]

[Footnote 2:
See a specimen in Aulus Gellius, where this parodist reproaches Plato for having given a high price for a book, whence he drew his noble dialogue of the Timaeus. Lib. iii. c. 17. ]

[Footnote 3:
See Spanheim Les Cesars de L’Empereur Julien in his “Preuves,” Remarque 8. Sallier judiciously observes, “Il peut nous donner une juste idee de cette sorte d’ouvrage, mais nous ne savons pas precisement en quel tems il a ete compose;” no more truly than the Iliad itself! ]

[Footnote 4:
The first edition of this play is a solemn parody throughout. In the preface the author defends it from being, as “maliciously” reported, “a burlesque on the loftiest parts of Tragedy, and designed to banish what we generally call fine writing from the stage.” When he afterwards quotes parallel passages from popular plays which he has parodied, he does so saying, “whether this sameness of thought and expression which I have quoted from them proceeded from an agreement in their way of thinking, or whether they have borrowed from our author, I leave the reader to determine!” ]

[Footnote 5:
Les Parodies du Nouveau Theatre Italien, 4 vols. 1738. Observations sur la Comedie et sur le Genie de Moliere, par Louis Riccoboni. Liv. iv. ]

[Footnote 6:
The Tailors; a Tragedy for Warm Weather, was originally brought out by Foote in 1767. There had been great disturbances between the master tailors and journeymen about wages at this time; and the author has amusingly worked out the disputes and their consequences in the heroic style of a blank verse tragedy. ]

[Footnote 7:
Beattie on Poetry and Music, p. 111. ]