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Are not the rules we have just outlined legitimate, human, and vital? It only remains to apply them with artistic integrity. The dramatists have only themselves to blame if modern melodrama, which is left to the first comer, is so stupid. Let them improve it! Let them stop writing the facile outmoded plays now in fashion, and turn their efforts to writing people's plays, ridding these of the accumulated crudeness that generations of unscrupulous purveyors have allowed to infest them; let them put truth and body into the form, and embellish it with dignified French. They would derive no less benefit than the people themselves, for they would escape the fashionable and consequently the transitory, and come nearer to the eternal realities of mankind.

As a matter of fact, there is no form so difficult and so sublime as great poetic melodrama. A perfect specimen is the product of genius. The form cannot be reduced to rules. To put the great and simple passions into the breasts of great and simple human beings as universal as Romeo, Macbeth, Othello, and Cordelia, to extract from the naturally developed story or the conflict between human beings true tragic action, to write a play that blinds with its light and groans as from a convulsion of nature—no one can do this unless he is a superhuman creature, an Æschylus, a Shakespeare, a Wagner. For such there is no rule.

It only remains to express the hope that our poetry may come a little nearer to the tragic in