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PHILOSOPHICAL INQUIRY

INTO

THE SOURCE

OF

THE PLEASURES

DERIVED FROM

TRAGIC REPRESENTATIONS:

PROM WHICH IS DEDUCED THE SECRET OF GIVING

Dramatic Interest

TO

TRAGEDIES INTENDED FOR THE STAGE.

PRECEDED BY A

CRITICAL EXAMINATION

OF THE

VARIOUS THEORIES ADOPTED ON THE SUBJECT BY THE

ENGLISH, FRENCH, AND GERMAN

PHILOSOPHERS.

By Mind

M DERMOT,
AUTHOR OF “ A CRITICAL DISSERTATION ON THE NATURE

AND PRINCIPLES OF TASTE," &c.

Sunt lacrymæ rerum, et mentem mortalia tangunt.- VIRGIL.

London:

PRINTED FOR SHERWOOD, JONES, AND CO.

PATERNOSTER-ROW.

D. SIDNEY & Co. Printers, Northumberland Street, Strand.

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Madam, The object of the Work, to which I have the honour of prefixing your name, is to ascertain the source of the Pleasures derived from Tragic Representations, that branch of the drama in which you so eminently excel. Other names, it is true, enjoy a more fixed and established reputation than your's, that reputation which, when once established, critics dare not ventore to molest; but this reputation awaits you, and in the estimation of those who judge for themselves, and who need not the slow but certain decisions of time to confirm their judgment, you have obtained it already. Were I to inscribe this Work to any of those names, I could not pretend to exercise any judgment in doing so ; I should only travel in the footsteps of the public, and re-echo the praises which they have already abundantly enjoyed. By inscribing it to you, I exercise a judgment which I am certain will soon be confirined by the universal suffrages of the public, and discharge, at the same time, that duty which Pope justly imposes opon all writers and critics :

Be thou the first true njerit to befriend,

His praise is lost wlio waits till all commend. Cold, indeed, must be that public, and indurated to all the finer influences, and corresponding feelings of humanity,

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