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fall into her Tail: I mean the broad sweeping Train that follows her in all her Motions, and finds constant Em. ployment for a Boy who stands behind her to open and Ipread it to Advantage. I do not know how others are affected at this Sight, but I must confess, my Eyes are wholly taken up with the Page's Part; and as for the Queen, I am not so attentive to any thing the speaks, as to the right adjusting of her Train, left it should chance to trip up her Heels, or incommode her, as she walks to and fro upon the Stage. It is, in my opinion, a very odd Spectacle, to see a Queen venting her Passion in a disordered Motion, and a little Boy taking care all the while that they do not ruffle the Tail of her Gown. The Parts that the two Persons act on the Stage at the same Time, are very different: The Princess is afraid left she should incur the Displeasure of the King her Father, or lose the Hero her Lover, whilft her Attendant is only concerned left she should entangle her Feet in her Pets ticoat.
We are told, That an ancient Tragick Poet, to move the Pity of his Audience for his exiled Kings and diftreffed Heroes, used to make the Actors represent them in Dresses and Cloaths that were thread-bare and decayed. This Artifice for moving Pity, seems as ill-contrived, as that we have been speaking of to inspire us with a great Idea of the Persons introduced upon the Stage. In short, I would have our Conceptions raised by the Dignity of Thought and Sublimity of Expression, rather than by a Train of Robes or'a Plume of Feathers.
ANOTHER mechanical Method of making great Men, and adding Dignity to Kings and Queens, is to accompany them with Halberts and Battle-axes. Two or three Shifters of Scenes, with the two Candle-snuffers, make up a compleat Body of Guards upon the English Stage; and by the Addition of a few Porters dressed in red Coats, can represent above a dozen Legions. I have sometimes seen a couple of Armies drawn up together upon the Stage, when the Poet has been disposed to do Honour to his Generals. It is impossible for the Reader's Imagination to multiply twenty Men into such prodigious Multitudes, or to fancy that two or three hundred thousand Soldiers are fighting in a Room of forty or fifty
Yards in Compass. Incidents of such a nature should be told, not represented.
Non tamen intus Digna geri promes in scenam : multaque tolles Ex oculis, qua mox narret facundia prafens. Hor, Yet there are things improper for a Scene, which Men of Judgment only will relate.
I fhould therefore, in this particular, recommend to -my Countrymen the Example of the French Stage, where the Kings and Queens 'always appear unattended, and leave their Guards behind the Scenes. I should likewise be glad if we imitated the French in banishing from our Stage the Noise of Drums, Trumpets, and Huzzas ; which is sometimes so very great, that when there is a Battle in the Hay-Market Theatre, one may hear it as far as Charing-Cross.
I have here only touched upon those Particulars which are made use of to raise and aggrandize the Persons of a Tragedy; and shall shew in another Paper the several Expedients which are practised by Authors of a vulgar Genius to move Terror, Pity, or Admiration, in their Hearers.
THE Taylor and the Painter often contribute to the Success of a Tragedy more than the Poet. Scenes affect ordinary Minds as much as Speeches; and our Actors are very sensible, that a well-dressed Play has sometimes brought them as full Audiences, as a well-written one. The Italians have a very good Phrase to express this Art of imposing upon the Spectators by Appearances: They call it the Fourberia della Scena, The Knavery or trickish Part of the Drama. But however the show and Outside of the Tragedy may work upon the Vulgar, the more understanding Part of the Audience immediately see thro' it, and despise it.
A good Poet will give the Reader a more lively Idea of an Army or a Battel in a Description, than if he actually saw them drawn up in Squadrons and Battalions, or engaged in the Confusion of a Fight. Our Minds should be opened to great Conceptions, and inflamed with glorious
Sentiments, by what the Actor [peaks, more than by what he appears. Can all the Trappings or Equipage of a King or Hero, give Brutus half that Pomp and Majesty which he receives from a few Lines in Shakespear ?
H& tibi erunt artes ; pacisque imponere morem,
Misfor. tune it is that they were not bound to Mechanick
Arts or Trades, it being absolutely necessary for them to be led by some continual Task or Employment, *These are such as we commonly call dull Fellows; Perfons, who for want of something to do, out of a certain Vacancy of Thought, rather than Curiosity, are ever meddling with things for which they are unfit. I cannot give
you a Notion of them better than by presenting you with á Letter from a Gentleman, who belongs to a Society of this Order of Men, residing at Oxford.
Oxford, April 13. 1711. S I R.
Four a Clock in the Morning. N some of your late Speculations, I find some Sketme to Thew them in somewhat too ludicrous a Light, • I have well weighed that Matter, and think, that the . most important Negotiations may best be carried on in • such Assemblies. I shall therefore, for the good of Man• kind (which, I truft, you and I are equally concerned • for) propose an Instituticn of that Nature for Example s sake.
'I must confess the Design and Transa&tions of too many Clubs are trifling, and manifestly of no Consequence to the Nation or Publick Weal : Those I'll give you up. But
you must do me then the Justice to own, s that nothing can be more useful or laudable, than the • Scheme we go upon. To avoid Nicknames and Witticisms, we call our felyes The Hebdomadal Meeting : Our
« President continues for a Year at leaft, and sometimes • four or five: We are all Grave, Serious, Designing Men, ' in our Way: We think it our Duty, as far as in us lies,
to take care the Conftitution receives no Harm, • Ne quid detrimenti Res capiat publica — To censure Do• &rines
or Facts, Persons or Things, which we don't • like; To settle the Nation at home, and to carry on the • War abroad, where and in what manner we fee fit. If • other People are not of our Opinion, we can't help that. < 'Twere better they were. Moreover, we now and then • condescend to direct, in some measure, the little Affairs of our own University,
• VERILY, Mr. SPECTATOR, we are much offended • at the A& for Importing French Wines: A Bottle or two • of good solid Edifying Port at honest George's, made a • Night cheerful, and threw off Reserve. But this pla.
guy French Claret will not only cost us more Money • but do us less Good: Had we been aware of it, before s it had gone too far, I must tell you, we would have • petitioned to be heard upon that Subject. But let that pass.
I muft let you know likewise, good Sir, that we • look upon a certain Northern Prince's March, in Cono junction with Infidels, to be palpably against our good • Willand Liking; and, for all Monsieur Palmquist, a most • dangerous Innovation; and we are by no means yet • sure, that some people are not at the Bottom on’t. At • least, my own private Letters leave Room for a Politi• cian, well vers’d in Matters of this Nature, to suspect * as much, as a penetrating Friend of mine tells me.
O W E think we have at last done the Business with the • Malecontents in Hungary, and shall clap up a Peace there.
• WHAT the Neutrality Army is to do, or what • the Army in Flanders, and what two or three other • Princes, is not yet fully determined among us; and we • wait impatiently for the coming in of the next Dyer's, who, you must know, is our Authentick Intelligence, our Aristotle in Politicks. And 'tis indeed but fit there
should be some Dernier Refort, the absolute Decider of • all Controversies.
WE were lately informed, that the Gallant Train'dBands had patrollid all Night long about the Streets of London: We indeed could not imagine any Occasion for
it, we guessed not a Tittle on't aforehand, we were in nothing of the Secret; and that City Tradesmen, or their Apprentices should do Duty, or work, during the Holidays, we thought absolutely impossible. But Dyer being pofitive in it, and some Letters from
other People, who had talked with some who had it ' from those who should know, giving some Countenance to it, the Chairman reported from the Com
mittee, appointed to examine into that Affair, That ' 'cwas Poftible there might be something in't. I have * much more to say to you, but my two good Friends ' and Neighbours, Dominick and Slyboots, are just come ' in, and the Coffee's ready. I am, in the mean time,
YOU may observe the Turn of their Minds tends only to Novelty, and not Satisfaction in any thing. It would be Disappointment to them, to come to Cer. tainty in any thing, for that would gravel them, and put an end to their Enquiries, which dull Fellows do not make for Information, but for Exercise. I do not know but this may be a very good way of accounting for what we frequently fee, to wit, that dull Fellows prove very good Men of Business. Business relieves them from their own natural Heaviness, by furnishing them with what to do; whereas Business to Mercurial Men, is an Interruption from their real Existence and Happiness. Tho' the dull Part of Mankind are harmless in their Amusements, it were to be wished they had no vacant Time, because they usually undertake something that makes their Wants conspicuous, by their manner of supplying them. You shall feldom find a dull Fellow of good Education, but (if he happens to have any Leisure upon his Hands) will turn his Head to one of those two Amulements, for all Fools of Eminence, Politicks or Poetry. The former of these Arts, is the Study of all dull People in general; but when Dullness is lodged in a Person of a quick Animal Life, it generally exerts it Vol. I.