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Full text of "The Dynasts : Parts First And Second"

THE DYNASTS
contrasted Choruses and other conventions of this external feature was shaped with a single view to the modern expression of a modern outlook, and in frank divergence from classical and other dramatic precedent which ruled the ancient voicings of ancient themes.
It may hardly be necessary to inform readers that in devising this chronicle-piece no attempt has been made to create that completely organic structure of action, and closely-webbed development of character and motive, which are demanded in a drama strictly self-contained. A panoramic show like the present is a series of historical " ordinates" (to use a term in geometry): the subject is familiar to all; and foreknowledge is assumed to fill in the junctions required to combine the scenes into an artistic unity. Should the mental spectator be unwilling or unable to do this, a historical presentment on an intermittent plan, in which the dramatis persona number some hundreds, exclusive of crowds and armies, becomes in his individual case unsuitable.
In this assumption of a completion of the action by those to whom the drama is addressed, it is interesting, if unnecessary, to name an exemplar as old as Aeschylus, whose plays are, as Dr. Verrall reminds us,1 scenes from stories taken as known, and would be unintelligible without supplementary scenes of the imagination.
Readers will readily discern, too, that The Dynasts is intended simply for mental performance, and not
1 Introduction to the Chocpkori. X