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THE essential thing in the drama is action. It is thus distinguished from the epic, which narrates heroic deeds, and from the lyric which expresses intense emotion. The drama presents a series of grave or humorous incidents that terminate in a striking result. Its ultimate basis is found in our natural love of imitation; and hence it is not restricted to any race or age or country. India and China, Greece and Rome, no less than modern nations, delighted in dramatic exhibitions, and produced a notable dramatic literature. Obviously the drama is not inherently evil; and if it has often been condemned by pagan sage and Christian teacher, the condemnation has been evoked by the degeneracy and dissoluteness of the stage.

The principal species of the drama are tragedy and comedy. Tragedy represents an important and serious action, which usually has a fatal termination; it appeals to the earnest side of our nature, and moves our deepest feelings. Comedy consists in a representation of light and amusing incidents; it exhibits the foibles of individuals, the manners of society, and the humorous accidents of life. The laws of the drama are substantially the same for both tragedy and comedy. There must be unity in the dramatic action. This requires that the separate incidents contribute in some way to the development of the plot and to the final result or dénouement. A collection of disconnected scenes, no matter how interesting in themselves, would not make a drama.

In addition to unity of action, which is obviously the indispensable law of the drama, two other unities have been prescribed from a very early day. The one is unity of time, which requires that the action fall within the limits of a single day; the other is unity of place, which requires that the action occur in the same locality. While evidently artificial and dispensable, these latter unities conduce to clear and concise treatment. Among the Greeks and Romans the three unities, as they are called, were strictly observed; they have been followed also by the French drama; but the English stage, breaking away in the days of Elizabeth from every artificial restriction, recognizes unity of action alone.

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The action of the drama should exhibit movement or progress, in which several stages may be clearly marked. The introduction acquaints us, more or less fully, with the subject to be treated. It usually brings before us some of the leading characters, and shows us the circumstances in which they are placed. After the introduction follows the growth or development of the action toward the climax. From the days of Aristotle, this part of the drama has been called "the tying of the knot," and it needs to be managed with great care. If the development is too slow, the interest lags; if too rapid, the climax appears tame.

The interest of a drama depends in large measure upon the successful arrangement of the climax, or the point in which the opposing forces immediately confront each other. In our best dramas it usually occurs near the middle of the piece. From this point the action proceeds to the close or dénouement. The knot is untied; the complications in which the leading characters have become involved are either happily removed, or lead to an inevitable catastrophe. Avoiding every digression, the action should go forward rapidly, in order not to weary the patience and dissipate the interest of the spectator. The dénouement should not be dependent upon some foreign element introduced at the last moment, but should spring naturally from the antecedent action.

In addition to the five principal parts just indicated — introduction, rise or tying of the knot, climax, fall or untying of the knot, and dénouement — there are three other elements or factors that need to be distinguished. The first is the cause or exciting impulse of the dramatic action, and naturally stands between the introduction and the rise or tying of the knot. The second is the cause or tragic impulse of the counteraction, and stands between the climax and the fall or untying of the knot. The third is the cause or impulse that holds the action in check for a moment before reaching its final issue, and stands between the fall and the dénouement. The structure and eight component parts of a complete drama may be represented in a diagram as follows:

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Rise or tying of knot.
C = Climax.


Fall or untying of knot.

Cause or exciting impulse.
b Tragic impulse.

- Impulse of last suspense.



PROSE. Jeremy Taylor (1613-1667). Theologian and preacher. Author of "Liberty of Prophesying" (1647), "Holy Living and Dying" (1651), etc.

Edward Hyde, Earl of Clarendon (1608-1674).

author of "The History of the Rebellion" (1702).

Statesman and

Richard Baxter (1615-1691). Theologian and preacher. Author of "The Saints' Everlasting Rest" (1649), "A Call to the Unconverted" (1657), "The Reformed Pastor," and a hundred and fifty other works.

Izaak Walton (1593-1683). Author of "The Complete Angler," and several excellent biographies, including that of Hooker.

Sir Thomas Browne (1605-1682). Author of "Religio Medici" (1643), “Vulgar Errors "(1646), and “Urn Burial” (1658).

POETRY. - Edmund Waller (1605-1687). metaphysical or artificial poets.

One of the principal

Abraham Cowley (1618-1667). The most popular poet of his time. Author of "The Mistress," a collection of love verses, “Davideis,” an epic on David, "The Late Civil War," etc.

Francis Quarles (1592-1644). Author of "Divine Emblems" (1635), moral and religious poems, very popular in his day. "Milton was forced to wait," said Walpole, "till the world had done admiring Quarles."

George Herbert (1593-1632). Anglican clergyman, who wrote "The Temple" (1633), a collection of ecclesiastical poems, some of which are still held in favor.

Robert Herrick (1591-1674). Anglican clergyman, who wrote Anacreontic poems hardly in keeping with his profession.




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Puritan ascendency— Civil and religious conflicts-Policy of Charles I. - Petition of Right — Bad advisers of king-House of CommonsIndependents-Voluntary exiles-Civil War-The commonwealth - Puritanism unfavorable to literature - Decay of drama - Jeremy Taylor - Earl of Clarendon - Baxter -- Izaak Walton "Metaphysical Poets"-Johnson's criticism - Edmund Waller - Abraham Cowley-JOHN MILTON-JOHN BUNYAN.

THOUGH short, this period is worthy of careful study. In a brief space of time, the dominant spirit of England was completely changed. The Puritan element gained the ascendency and stamped its character on the representative literature of the time. The religious element of life came into greater prominence; thought was turned from this world to the world to come, and in place of the common interests of humanity literature was largely occupied with religious truth. This difference, as compared with the preceding era, is clearly reflected in the great repre-* sentative writers. Spenser, Bacon, and Shakespeare reflect large and secular phases of the spacious times of Elizabeth; Milton and Bunyan, in their greatest works, set forth the theological beliefs and religious experience of Christendom.

This period is characterized by a great civil and religious conflict. The antagonistic elements that had long existed. in England were brought into armed conflict for suprem

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