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Eighteenth-century poetry, then, had two strong currents fed by reason and emotion; the latter came to the fore at the time of the French Revolution. The poets one associates most with Neoclassicism are Jonathan Swift and Alexander Pope, the latter being the most influential figure. Swift (1667-1745), who is better remembered as a prose-writer, was an outstanding humorist and a savage satirist whose tales and satires in verse have left a lasting impression. In 1711 he published several Miscellanies in Prose and Verse, among them "Baucis and Philemon", a verse tale and parody of Ovid's metamorphosis, and the two "town eclogues", "A Description of the Morning", and "A Description of a City Shower", both parodies of classic originals but also satires on London's dirt and confusion.

In Shakespeare's plays tragical, romantic, humorous, and farcical elements are often interwoven: the coarse competes with the sublime, and the serious with the humorous. One of the reasons why this should be so is that Shakespeare wrote plays for, and was aware of writing them for, an Elizabethan audience made up of aristocrats, gallants, thieves, sailors, soldiers, and apprentices. This "mixed bag" of people wanted a variety of things, and Shakespeare gave them action and blood, beautiful phrases and wit, thought and debate, subtle humour, boisterous clowning, love stories, songs, and dances.

THE SEVENTEENTH CENTURY 3. 29 Drama The beginning of the century was dominated by William Shakespeare (1564-1616). The works written about his life and work are legion. We know that he was born in Stratford-onAvon, made an unwise marriage there, went to London, amassed a fortune, came back to Stratford a wealthy citizen, and died there. He needed money and wanted property, and he got both by writing his plays. Shakespeare was not interested in leaving exact versions of his works, nor did he think of his plays as literature: he wrote for the audience in the playhouse, not for the reader in the "closet".

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