Racine, who began to write when the classical fetters were clinched and rivetted upon the French Drama, did not make that effort of struggling with his chains, which we observe in the elder dramatists; he was strong where Corneille evinced weakness, and weak in the points where his predecessor showed vigour. Racine delineated the passion of love with truth, softness, and fidelity; and his scenes of this sort, form the strongest possible contrast with those in which he, as well as Corneille, sacrificed to the dull Cupid of metaphysical romance. In refinement and harmony of versification. Racine has hitherto been unequalled; and his Athalie is, perhaps, likely to be generally acknowledged as the most finished production of the French Drama. '
The text above is included in Sir Walter Scott's "Essay on the Drama". French dramatist Jean Racine died on April 21, 1699.