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AN IMITATION FROM THE GODODIN.
[See “ The Death of Hoel,” p.98.]
Have ye seen the tusky Boar,
Conan's name, my lay, rehearse,
A PASSAGE FROM STATIUS.
[This was made by Mr. Gray while at Cambridge in
the Year 1736, and at the age of 20.-It is placed here as a curiosity, Mr. Mason having expressed his belief that it was Gray's first attempt in English Verse.]
THIRD in the labours of the Disc came on,
The ponderous mass sinks in the cleaving ground,
Cambridge, May 8, 1736.
FIRST SCENE OF A TRAGEDY,
DESIGNED IN 1742, BY MR. GRAY,
ON THE SUBJECT OF
THE DEATH OF AGRIPPINA
[Mr. Mason's account of this Fragment is as follows: “ The Britannicus of M. Racine, I know, was one
of Mr. Gray's most favourite plays; and the « admirable manner in which I have heard him “ say that he saw it represented at Paris, " seems to have led him to choose the death of “ Agrippina for this his first and only effort in the “ drama. The execution of it also, as far as it “ goes, is so very much in Racine's taste, that I « suspect, if that great poet had been born an En“ glishman, he would have written precisely in the “ same style and manner. However, as there is at “ present in this nation a general prejudice against “ declamatory plays, I agree with a learned friend, “who perused the manuscript, that this fragment
 See Tacitus' Annals, Book xiii. xiv.
“ will be little relished by the many ; yet the admi66 rable strokes of nature and character with which 6 it abounds, and the majesty of its diction, prevent 6 me from withholding from the few, who I expect « will relish it, so great a curiosity (to call it no“ thing more) as part of a tragedy written by Mr. “ Gray. These persons well know, that till style “ and sentinjent be a little more regarded, mere “ action and passion will never secure reputation « to the Author, whatever they may do to the Ac
tor. It is the business of the one « to strut and “ fret his hour upon the stage ;” and if he frets and “ struts enough, he is sure to find his reward in the “ plaudit of an upper gallery ; but the other ought “ to have some regard to the other judgment of the “ closet : For I will be bold to say, that if Shakes“ peare himself had not written a multitude of pas“ sages which please there as much as they do on “ the stage, his reputation would not stand so uni“ versally high as it does at present. Many of " these passages, to the shame of our theatrical “ taste, are omitted constantly in the representation: “ But I say not this from conviction that the mode
of writing, which Mr. Gray pursued, is the best “ for dramatic purposes. I think myself, that a ~ medium between the French and English taste 66 would be preferable to either; and yet this me6 dium, if hit with the greatest nicety, would fail of 6 success on our theatre, and that for a very obvious « reason. Actors (I speak of the troop collective« ly) must all learn to speak as well as act, in or
« der to do justice to such a drama. < But let me hasten to give the reader what little in
« sight I can into Mr. Gray's plan, as I find, and