Corrections to the blogosphere, the consensus, and the world

Monday, February 21, 2011

Damned for a ducat

Nahum Tate:
But still so many Master-Touches shine
Of that vast Hand that first laid this Design,
That in great Shakespear's Right, He's bold to say
If you like nothing you have seen to Day
The Play your Judgment damns, not you the Play.


This is from Tate's rewrite, mind you, where he explains the happy ending by pointing out that the hetacomb at the end of the old tragedies incited giggles:
This Method necessarily threw me on making the Tale conclude in a Success to the innocent distrest Persons: Otherwise I must have incumbred the Stage with dead Bodies, which Conduct makes many Tragedies conclude with unseasonable Jests. Yet was I Rackt with no small Fears for so bold a Change, till I found it well receiv'd by my Audience; and if this will not satisfie the Reader, I can produce an Authority that questionless will. Neither is it of so Trivial an Undertaking to make a Tragedy end happily, for 'tis more difficult to Save than 'tis to Kill: The Dagger and Cup of Poyson are alwaies in Readiness; but to bring the Action to the last Extremity, and then by probable Means to recover All, will require the Art and Judgment of a Writer, and cost him many a Pang in the Performance. [Marginal note: "Mr. Dryd. Pref. to the Span. Fryar."]


Today also notable for my discovery that what I have for my entire life spelled and said as hetacomb is in fact hecatomb, which I suppose does make more sense.

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