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of the persons that speak. The ordinary method of making an hero, is to clap a huge plume of feathers upon his head, which rises so very high, that there is often a greater length from his chin to the top of his head, than to the sole of his foot. One would believe, that we thought a great man and a tall man the same thing. This very much embarrasses the actor, who is forced to hold his neck extremely stiff and steady all the while he speaks; and notwithstanding any anxieties which he pretends for his mistress, his country, or his friends, one may see by his action, that his greatest care and concern is to keep the plume of feather from falling off his head. För my own part, when I fee a man uttering his complaints under such a mountain of fcathers, I am apt to look upon him rather as an unfor'tunate lunatic, than a distressed hero. As these superfluous ornaments upon the head make a great man, a princess generally receives her grandeur from those additional incumbrances that fall into her tail; I mean the broad sweeping train that follows her in all her motions, and finds constant employment for a boy who stands behind her to open and spread it to advantage. I do not know how others are affected at this fight, but I must confels, my eyes are wholly taken up with the page's part; and as for the queen, I am not fo 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 fpeétacle, to see a queen venting her pallion in a disordered motion, and a little boy taking care all the while that they do not ruffle che 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 could incur the displeasure of the king her father, or lose the hero her lover, whilst her attendant is only concerned left the should entangle her feet in her petti
We are told, that an ancient tragic poet, to more the pity of his audience for his cxiled kings and dir
trefled heroes, used to make the actors represent them in dresses and clothes that were thread-bare and deal cayed. This artifice for moving pity, seems as illcontrived 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 ihree shifters of scenes, with the two candle-snuffers, make up a complete body of guards upon the Englith stage; and by the addition of a few porters dressed in red coats, can represent above a dozen legions. I have fometimes 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 fhould be told, not represented.
-Non tamen intùs
I should 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 huzza's; which is lometimes so very great, that when there is a battle in Q
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 perfons of a tragedy; and shall fhew 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 Fourbcria della scena, the knavery or trickih
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 fee through it and despise it. A good poet will give the reader a more lively idea
an army or a batt 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 thould be opened to great conceptions, and inflamed with glorious sentiments, by what the actor speaks, 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 froin a few lines in Shakespear?
No. XLIII. THURSDAY, APRIL 19.
Hæ tibi erunt artes; pacisque imponere morem,
THERE are crowds of men, whose great misfortune
it is that they were not bound to meclianic 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; persons, 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 a letter from a gentleman, who belongs to a society of this order of men, residing at Oxford.
• Oxford, April 13, 1711.
« Four o'clock in the morning. IN fome of your late fpeculations, I find some sketches
towards an history of clubs : but you seem to me to shew them in somewhat too ludicrous a light. I have
well weighed that inatter, and think that the most im• portant negotiations may best be carried on in such as« femblies. I fall, therefore, for the good of mankind
(which, I trust, you and I are equally concerned for) propose an institution of that nature for example fake.
* I must confess the design and transactions of too « many clubs are triiling, and manifeftly of no confequence to the nation or public wcal: those I'll give
you up. But you must do me then the justice to own, • that nothing can be more useful or laudable, than the <scheme we go upon.
To avoid nicknames and witti& cisms, we call ourselves The Hebdomadal Meeting : our President continues for a year at least, and fomeQ2
6 times 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 constitution receives no harm• Ne quid detrimenti Res capiat publica–To censure • doctrines 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 nut of our opinion, we cannot help • that. "I were better they were. Moreover, we now
en condescend to direct, in some measure, the little affairs of our own University.
• Verily, Mr. Spectator, we are much offended at the o act for importing French wines: a bottle or two of • good solid edifying port at honest George's made a • night chearful, 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 it . had gone too far, I must tell you, we would have pe«titioned to be heard upon that subject. But let that
I must let you know likewise, good Sir, that we look upon a certain northern prince's march, in conjunction « with infidels, to be palpably against our good-will and
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 it. At least,
my own private letters leave room for a politician,
well versed in matters of this nature, to suspect as • much, as a penetrating friend of mine tells me.
• We think we have at last done the business with the • malecontents in Hungary, and shall clap up a peace ( there.
• What the nệutrality 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 im• patiently for the coming-in of the next Dyer, who, • you must know, is our authentic intelligence, our • Aristotle in politics. And it is indeed but fit there • hould be some dernier resort, the absolute decider of all controversies.