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plied by the simple expedient of writing the names of the Vol. I. ditterent places where the scene was laid in the progress of PROLEGO
NO TE S.
• Sometimes we see a cloud that's dragonish,
Antony and Cleopatra.
& “ Sir Crack, I am none of your fresh pi&tures that use to beautify the decayed old arras, in a publick theatre.” Induction to Cynthia's Revels, by Ben Jonson, 1601.
• In the induction to an old tragedy called A Warning for fair W'emer, 1599, three personages are introduced under the names
" Lic. Have you no news o' the fage ?
“ And all disguises, &c."
" Tho. O yes;
VOL. I. the play, which were disposed in such a manner as to be PROLEGO- visible to the audience.
Though the apparatus for theatrick exhibitions was thus scanty, and the machinery of the fimplest kind, the invention of trap-doors appears not to be modern; for in an old morality, entitled, All for Money, we find a marginal direction, which implies that they were very early in use s.
It appears from Heywood's Apology for Astor's ", that the covering, or internal roof of the stage, was anciently termed the heavens. It was probably painted of a sky-blue colour ; or perhaps pieces of drapery tinged with blue were suspended across the stage, io represent the heavens.
NO TE S. of Tragedy, Comedy, and History. After some contest for fuperiority, Tragedy prevails; and History and Comedy retire with these words : Hif.“ Look, Comedie, I mark'd it not till now,
“ The stage is hung with blacke, and I perceive
" The auditors prepar'd for tragedie.
66 These ornaments beseem not thee and me;
" We'll make them laugh with mirthful jests to-morrow.'. So, in Marston's Insatiate Countel, 1603 :
“ The fage of heaven is hung with folemn black,
66 A time best fitting to act tragedies."
Hung be the heavens with black, &c.”
“ Black fiage for tragrilies, and nurthers fell.”'
with some fine conveyance, Pleasure shall appeare from beneathe." All for Money, 1578. So, in Mariton's Antonio's Revenge, 1002:
" Enter Bilurdo from under the page." In the fourth act of Macbeth, several apparitions arise from beneath the stage and again dcfcend.—The cauldron likewise finks :-“ Why fiks that cauldron, and what noise is this?"
In the Roaring Girl, a comedy by Middleton, 1611, there is a character called Trap-door. h Apol. for Aflors, 1612. Sig. D 3.
From a plate prefixed to Kirkman's Drolls, printed in Vol. La 1672, in which there is a view of a theatrical booth, it should PROLEGOseem that the ftage was formerly lighted by two large MENA. branches, of a form similar to those now hung in churches. They being, I suppołe, found incommodious, as they obfructed the right of the spectators', gave place in a subse. quent period to small circular wooden frames, furnished with candles, eight of which were hung on the stage, four at either Gide: and these within a few years were wholly removed by Mr. Garrick, who, on his return from France, first introduced the present commodious method of illuminating the stage by lights not visible to the audience.
If all che players whose names are enumerated in the first folio edition of our author's works, belonged to the same theatre, they composed a numerous company; but it is doubtful wherber they all performed at the same period, or in the same house k. Many of the companies, certainly were so thin, that one person played two or three parts';
NOT E S.
i Fleckno, in 1664, complains of the bad lighting of the ftage, even at that time : "Of this curious art [scenery] the Italians (this latter age) are the greatest masters; the French good proficients; and we in England only scholars and learners yet, having proceeded no farther than to bare painting, and not arrived to the ftupendous wonders of your great ingeniers ; especially not knowing yet how to place our lights, for the more advantaze and illuminating of the scenes.” Short Discourse of the Englise frage.
An actor, who wrote a pamphlet against Mr. Pope, foon after the publication of his edition of Shakspeare, fays, he could prove that they belonged to several different companies. It appears from the MS. Register of lord Stanhope, treasurer of the chambers to king James I. that Jofeph Taylor, in 1613, was at the head of a distinct company from that of Hemminge, called the lady Elizabeth's servants, who acted at the Hope on the Bankfde. Some of the players too, whose names are prefixed to the firft folio edition of our author, were dead in the year 1600, or foon after; and others there enumerated, might have appeared in a subsequent period, to supply their loss. See the Can talogae of Astors, poft.
In the induction to Marston's Antonio and Mellida, 1602, Piero aiks Alberto, what part he acts. He replies, “the neces
Vol. I. and a battle on which the fate of an empire was supposed to Prolego. depend, was decided by half a dozen combatants in It ap
pears to have been a common practice in their mock engage. ments, to discharge small pieces of ordnance on the stage ".
Before the exhibition began, three flourishes or piece of musick were played, or, in the ancient language, there were three soundings. Musick was likewise played between the acts P. The instruments chiefly used were trumpets, cornets, and hautboys. The band, which did not consist of more than five or six performers, sat (as I have been told by a very ancient stage veteran, who had his information
NOT E S. fity of the play forceth me to act two parts." See also the Dra. matis Persona of many of our ancient plays; and poit. p. 28. (Note').
mis And so our scene must to the battle fly,
" Where, O for pity! we shall much disgrace
“ The name of Agincourt.” K. Henry V. act IV.
So, in The True Tragedie of Richard Duke of Yorke, and the Death of good King Henrie the Sixt, 1600 : ** Alarmes to the battaile.—York flies—then the chambers be discharged—then enter the king, &c."
o • Come let's but think ourselves what may be found
Notes from Black-fryars, by A. Fitz-Jeoffery, 1617. See also Decker's Gul's Horn-bouke, 1609 : " Throw the cardes about the stage jutt upon the third found, as though you had lost."
It has been thought by some that our author's dramas were exhibited without any pauses, in an unbroken continuity of scenes. But this appears to be a mistake. In a copy of Romeo and Juliet, 1599, now before me, which clearly belonged to the play-house, the endings of the acts are marked in the margin; and directions are given for musick to be played between each act. The marginal directions in this copy appear to be of a very old date, one of them being in the ancient Ityle and hand Play muficke.”
from Bowman, the contemporary of Betterton) in an upper Vol. I. balcony, over what is now called the stage box.
PROLEGOThe person who spoke the prologue, was ushered in by MENA. trumpets 9, and usually wore a long black velvet cloak, whicb, I suppose, was considered as best suited to a supplicatory address. Of this custom, whatever might have been its origin, some traces remained till very lately; a black coat having been, if I mistake not, within these few years, the constant stage-habiliment of our modern prologuespeakers. The dress of the ancient prologue-speaker is still retained in the play that is exhibited in Hamlet, before the king and court of Denmark.
An epilogue does not appear to have been a regular ap-
See the Induction to Cynthia's Revels, 1601:
i Child. “ Sir, I plead possession of the cloak. Gentlemen,
" Since 'tis become the title of our play,
“ Present a welcome to these gentlemen."