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Loud fhouts and falutations from their mouths,
Even in the presence of the crowned king.
Afford no extraordinary gaze;
Our author is so little under the discipline of Art, that we are apt to ascribe his happiest successes, as well as his most unfortunate failings, to Chançe. But I cannot help thinking, there is more of contrivance and care in his execution of this play, than in almost any he has written. It is a more regular drama than his other historical plays, less charged with absurdities, and less involved in confusion. It is indeed liable to
thole objections, which are made to Tragicomedy. But if the pedantry of learning could ever recede from its dogmatical rules, I think that this play, instead of being condemned for being of that species, would obtain favour for the species itself, though perhaps correct taste may be offended with the transitions from grave and important, to light and ludicrous subjects: and more ftill with those from great and illustrious, to low and mean persons. Foreigners, unused to these compositions, will be much disgusted at them. The vulgar call all animals that are not natives of their own country, monsters, however beautiful they may be in their forin, or wisely adapted to their climate, and natural destination. The prejudices of Pride are as violent and unreasonable, as the superstitions of Ignorance. On the French Parnassus, a tragi-comedy of this kind will be deemned a monster fitter to be Newn to the people at a fair, than exhibited to circles of the learned and polite. From fome peculiar circumstances
relating to the characters in this piece, we may, perhaps, find a sort of apology for the motley mixture thrown into it. We cannot but suppose, that at the time it was written, many stories yet subsisted of the wild adven, tures of this Prince of Wales, and his idle companions. His subsequent reformation, and his conquests in France, rendered him a very popular character. It was a delicate affair to expose the follies of Henry V. before a people proud of his victories, and tender of his famé, at the same time so informed of the extravagancies, and excesses of his youth, that he could not appear divested of them with any degree of historical probability. Their enormity would have been greatly heighteried, if they had appeared in a piece entirely serious, and fullof dignityand decorum. How happily therefore was the character of Falstaffe introduced, whose wit and festivity in some measure excuse the Prince for admitting him into his familiarity, and suffering himself to be led by him into some irregularities. There is hardly a
young Hero, full of gaiety and spirit, who, if he had once fallen into the society of so pleasant a companion, could have the severity to discard him, or would not say, as the Prince does,
He could better spare a better man.
How skilfully does our author follow the tradition of the Prince's having been engaged in a robbery, yet make his part in it a mere frolic to play on the cowardly and braggart temper of Falstaffe! The whole conduct of that incident is very artful : he rejects the proposal of the Robbery, and only complies with the playing a trick on the Robbers; and care is taken to inform you, that the money is returned to its owners. There is great propriety likewise in the behaviour of Prince Henry, when he supposes Falstaffe to lie dead before him : to have expressed no concern, would have
appeared unfeeling; to have lamented such a companion too seriously, ungraceful: with a suitable mixture of tenderness and contempt he thus addresses the body;