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SOP HON IS B A.

A TRAGEDY.

As written by Mr. THOMSON.

AND PERFORMED AT THE

Theatre Royal in Duury-Lane.

BOD

LONDON:

Printed for John BELL, near Exeter-Excbange, in the Strends

MDCCLXXVIII

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MADAM,

THE
HE notice your Majesty has condescended to take of

the following tragedy, emboldens me to lay it, in the humblest manner, at your Majesty's feet. And to whom can this illustrious Carthaginian so properly fly for protection, as to a Queen, who commands the hearis of a people, more powerful at sea than Carthage, more flourishing in commerce than those first merchants, more fecure against conqueft, and, under a monarchy more free than a common-wealth itself.

I dare not, nor indeed need I here attempt a character, where both the great and the amiable qualities shine forth in full perfection. All words are faint to speak what is universally felt and acknowledged by a happy people. Permit me therefore only to subscribe myself, with the truest zeal and veneration,

MADAM,
Your Majesty's
Most humble,
Most dutiful, and

Most devoted servant,

JAMES THOMSON..

A 2

P. R E.

P R E F A CE..

IT

T is not my intention, in this preface, to defend any

faults that may be found in the following piece. I am , afraid there are too many : but those who are best able to discover, will be most ready to pardon them. They alone know how difficult an undertaking the writing of a : tragedy is: and this is a first attempt.

I beg leave only to mention the rcason that determined me to make choice of this subject. What pleased me particularly, tho' perhaps it will not be least liable to objection with ordinary readers, was the great fimplicity of the story. It is one, regular, and uniform, not charged with a multiplicity of incidents, and yet affording several revolutions of fortune; by which the passions may be excited, varied, and driven to their full tumult of emotion.,

This unity of design was always sought after, and ad. mired by the antients: and the most eminent among the moderns, who understood their writings, have chosen to imitate them in this, from an intire conviction that the reason of it must hold good in all ages. And here allow me to translate a passage from the celebrated Monsieur Racine, which contains all that. I have to say on this , head.

• We must not fancy that this rule has no other foun. dation but the caprice of those who made it. Nothing

can touch us in tragedy, but what is probable. And what probability is there, that, in one day, should hap

pen a multitude of things, which could scarce happen in several weeks? There are some who think that this i fimplicity is a mark of barrenness of invention. But : they do not consider, that, on the contrary, invention confifts in making something out of nothing: and that this huddle of incidents has always been the refuge of poets, who did not find in their genius either richness

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