Obrázky stránek
PDF
ePub

ས པ ས པ ས ས 1:|:ཀྱི ན པ ཀྱི 1:|:ཀྱིས་གནམ་ཆོག 1:|: ཁོང

No. 4,

[blocks in formation]

bear a blacker Aspect, than Infidelity in Friendship, or Monday Villany in Business. For this great and good End, all March 5, Breaches against that noble Passion, the Cement of

1711.

Society, shall be severely examined. But this, and all other Matters loosely hinted at now, and in my former Papers, shall have their proper Place in my following Discourses: The present Writing is only to admonish the World, that they shall not find me an idle but a very busie Spectator,

No. 5,
[ADDISON,]

Tuesday, March 6,

R

Spectatum admissi risum teneatis ?-Hor, N Opera may be allowed to be extravagantly lavish in its Decorations, as its only Design is to gratifie the Senses, and keep up an indolent Attention in the Audience, Common Sense however requires, that there should be nothing in the Scenes and Machines which may appear Childish and Absurd. How would the Wits of King Charles's Time have laughed, to have seen Nicolini exposed to a Tempest in Robes of Ermin, and sailing in an open Boat upon a Sea of Paste-Board? What a Field of Raillery would they have been let into, had they been entertain'd with painted Dragons spitting Wild-fire, enchanted Chariots drawn by Flanders Mares, and real Cascades in artificial Land-skips? little Skill in Criticism would inform us, that Shadows and Realities ought not to be mix'd together in the_same Piece; and that Scenes, which are designed as the Repre sentations of Nature, should be filled with Resemblances, and not with the Things themselves. If one would represent a wide Champian Country filled with Herds and Flocks, it would be ridiculous to draw the Country only upon the Scenes, and to crowd several Parts of the Stage with Sheep and Oxen. This is joining together Inconsistencies, and making the Decoration partly Real and partly Imaginary, I would recommend what I have here said, to the Directors, as well as to the Admirers, of our Modern Opera.

A

As I was walking in the Streets about a Fortnight ago

1

I saw an ordinary Fellow carrying a Cage full of little No. 5. Birds upon his Shoulder; and, as I was wondering with Tuesday, my self what Use he would put them to, he was met March 6, very 1711. luckily by an Acquaintance, who had the same Curiosity, Upon his asking him what he had upon his Shoulder, he told him, that he had been buying Sparrows for the Opera. Sparrows for the Opera, says his Friend, licking his lips, what, are they to be roasted? No, no, says the other, they are to enter towards the end of the first Act, and to fly about the Stage,

This strange Dialogue awakened my Curiosity so far, that I immediately bought the Opera, by which means I perceived that the Sparrows were to act the part of Singing Birds in a delightful Grove: though upon a nearer Enquiry I found the Sparrows put the same Trick upon the Audience, that Sir Martin Mar-all practised upon his Mistress; for, though they flew in Sight, the Musick proceeded from a Consort of Flagellets and Bird calls which was planted behind the Scenes. At the same time I made this Discovery, I found by the Discourse of the Actors, that there were great Designs on foot for the Improvement of the Opera; that it had been proposed to break down a part of the Wall, and to surprize the Audience with a Party of an hundred Horse, and that there was actually a Project of bringing the New River into the House, to be employed in Jetteaus and Water works. This Project, as I have since heard, is post-poned 'till the Summer-Season; when it is thought the Coolness that proceeds from Fountains and Cascades will be more acceptable and refreshing to People of Quality. In the mean time, to find out a more agreeable Entertainment for the Winter-Season, the Opera of Rinaldo is filled with Thunder and Lightning, Illuminations and Fire works; which the Audience may look upon without catching Cold, and indeed without much Danger of being burnt; for there are several Engines filled with Water, and ready to play at a Minute's warning, in case any such Accident should happen. However, as I have a very great Friendship for the Owner of this Theater, I hope that he has been wise enough to insure his House before he would let this Opera be acted in it.

No. 5,

It is no wonder, that those Scenes should be very Tuesday, surprizing, which were contrived by two Poets of different March 6, Nations, and raised by two Magicians of different Sexes.

1711.

Armida (as we are told in the Argument) was an Amazonian Enchantress, and poor Signior Cassaní (as we learn from the Persons represented) a ChristianConjurer (Mago Christiano), I must confess I am very much puzzled to find how an Amazon should be versed in the Black Art, or how a good Christian, for such is the Part of the Magician, should deal with the Devil.

To consider the Poets after the Conjurers, I shall give you a Taste of the Italian, from the first Lines of his Preface. Eccoti, benigno Lettore, un Parto di poche Sere, che se ben nato di Notte, non è però aborto dí Tenebre, mà si farà conoscere Figlio d' Apollo con qualche Raggio di Parnasso, Behold, gentle Reader, the Birth of a few Evenings, which, tho' it be the Offspring of the Night, is not the Abortive of Dark ness, but will make it self known to be the Son of Apollo, with a certain Ray of Parnassus. He afterwards proceeds to call Minheer Hendel the Orpheus of our Age, and to acquaint us, in the same Sublimity of Stile, that he Composed this Opera in a Fortnight. Such are the Wits, to whose Tastes we so ambitiously conform our selves. The Truth of it is, the finest Writers among the Modern Italians express themselves in such a florid Form of Words, and such tedious Circumlocu tions, as are used by none but Pedants in our own Country; and at the same time fill their Writings with such poor Imaginations and Conceits, as our Youths are ashamed of before they have been two Years at the University, Some may be apt to think, that it is the difference of Genius which produces this difference in the Works of the two Nations; but to shew there is nothing in this, if we look into the Writings of the old Italians, such as Cicero and Virgil, we shall find that the English Writers, in their way of thinking and expressing themselves, resemble those Authors much more than the Modern Italians pretend to do. And as for the Poet himself, from whom the Dreams of this Opera are taken, I must entirely agree with Monsieur Boileau,

that

that one verse in Virgil is worth all the Clincant or No. 5. Tinsel of Tasso,

Tuesday, March 6, SO 1711,

But to return to the Sparrows; there have been many Flights of them let loose in this Opera, that it is feared the House will never get rid of them; and that in other Plays they may make their Entrance in very wrong and improper Scenes, so as to be seen flying in a Lady's Bed-Chamber, or pearching upon a King's Throne; besides the Inconveniencies which the Heads of the Audience may sometimes suffer from them. I am credibly informed, that there was once a Design of casting into an Opera the Story of Whittington and his Cat, and that in order to it there had been got together a great Quantity of Mice; but Mr. Rich, the Proprietor of the Play-House, very prudently considered that it would be impossible for the Cat to kill them all, and that consequently the Princes of his Stage might be as much infested with Mice, as the Prince of the Island was before the Cat's Arrival upon it; for which Reason he would not permit it to be Acted in his House, And indeed I cannot blame him; for, as he said very well upon that Occasion, I do not hear that any of the Per formers in our Opera pretend to equal the famous Pied Piper, who made all the Mice of a great Town in Germany follow his Musick, and by that means cleared the Place of those little Noxious Animals,

Before I dismiss this Paper, I must inform my Reader, that I hear there is a Treaty on foot with London and Wise (who will be appointed Gardeners of the Play House) to furnish the Opera of Rinaldo and Armida with an Orange Grove; and that the next time it is Acted, the Singing Birds will be Personated by Tom Tits: The Undertakers being resolved to spare neither Pains nor Mony, for the Gratification of the Audience.

C

Wednesday

No. 6.

Wednes day, March 7, 1711.

No. 6,
[STEELE.]

Wednesday, March 7,

I

Credebant hoc grande nefas & morte piandum, Si juvenís vetulo non assurrexerat——.—Juv. KNOW no Evil under the Sun so great as the Abuse of the Understanding, and yet there is no one Vice more common. It has diffus'd it self through both Sexes and all Qualities of Mankind; and there is hardly that Person to be found, who is not more concern'd for the Reputation of Wit and Sense, than Honesty and Virtue. But this unhappy Affectation of being Wise rather than Honest, Witty than Good-natur'd, is the Source of most of the ill Habits of Life. Such false Impressions are owing to the abandon'd Writings of Men of Wit, and the awkard Imitation of the rest of Mankind.

For this Reason, Sir ROGER was saying last Night, That he was of Opinion_none but Men of fine Parts deserve to be hanged. The Reflections of such Men are so delicate upon all Occurrences which they are concerned in, that they should be exposed to more than ordinary Infamy and Punishment, for offending against such quick Admonitions as their own Souls give them, and blunting the fine Edge of their Minds in such a Manner, that they are no more shocked at Vice and Folly, than Men of slower Capacities. There is no greater Monster in Being, than a very ill Man of great Parts: He lives like a Man in a Palsy, with one Side of him dead. While perhaps he enjoys the Satisfaction of Luxury, of Wealth, of Ambition, he has lost the Taste of Good-will, of Friendship, of Innocence, Scarecrow, the Beggar in Lincoln's-Inn-Fields, who disabled him self in his Right Leg, and asks Alms all Day to get himself a warm Supper and a Trull at Night, is not half so despicable a Wretch as such a Man of Sense. The Beggar has no Relish above Sensations; he finds Rest more agreeable than Motion; and while he has a warm Fire and his Doxy, never reflects that he deserves to be whipped. Every Man who terminates his Satisfactions and Enjoyments within the Supply of his own Necessities and Passions, is, says Sir ROGER, in my Eye as poor a Rogue

« PředchozíPokračovat »