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The Works Of John Dryden, Volume 4 (Of 18) (Fiscal Part I ) Almanzor And Almahide, Marriage-A-La-Mode, The Assi

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The Works Of John Dryden, Volume 4 (Of 18) (Fiscal Part I )  Almanzor And Almahide,  Marriage-A-La-Mode,  The Assi
This Play,--For The Two Parts Only Constitute An Entire Drama Betwixt
Them,--Seems To Have Been A Favourite With Dryden, As Well As With The
Public. In the Essay Upon Heroic Plays, As Well As In The Dedication,
The Character Of Almanzor Is Dwelt Upon With That Degree Of
Complacency Which An Author Experiences In analyzing A Successful
Effort Of His Genius. Unquestionably The Gross Improbability Of A
Hero, By His Single Arm, Turning The Tide Of Battle As He Lists, Did
Not Appear So Shocking In the Age Of Dryden, As In Ours. There Is No
Doubt, That, While Personal Strength And Prowess Were Of More
Consequence Than Military Skill And Conduct, The Feats Of A Single Man
Were Sometimes Sufficient To Determine The Fate Of An Engagement, More
Especially When Exerted By A Knight, Sheathed In complete Mail,
Against The Heartless And Half-Armed Mass, Which Constituted The
Feudal Infantry. Those, Who Have Perused Barbour'S History Of Robert
Bruce, Geoffrey De Vinsauf'S Account Of The Wars Of Richard Coeur De
Lion, Or Even The Battles Detailed By Froissart And Joinville, Are
Familiar With Instances Of Breaches Defended, And Battles Decided, By
The Prowess Of A Single Arm. The Leader Of A Feudal Army Was Expected
By His Followers Not Only To Point Out The Path To Victory But To Lead
The Way In person. It Is True, That The Military Art Had Been Changed
In This Particular Long Before The Days Of Dryden. Complete Armour Was
Generally Laid Aside; Fire-Arms Had Superseded The Use Of The Lance
And Battle-Axe; And, Above All, The Universal Institution Of Standing
Armies Had Given Discipline And Military Skill Their Natural And
Decisive Superiority Over Untaught Strength, And Enthusiastic Valour.
But The Memory Of What Had Been, Was Still Familiar To The Popular
Mind, And Preserved Not Only By Numerous Legends And Traditions, But
Also By The Cast Of The Fashionable Works Of Fiction. It Is, Indeed,
Curious To Remark, How Many Minute Remnants Of A System Of Ancient
Manners Can Be Traced Long After It Has Become Totally Obsolete.

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