March 24,

ing Letter has treated it in the Essay he speaks of in No. 334. such a Manner, that I am beholden to him for Resolution, that I will never hereafter think meanly of 1712, any Thing, till I have heard what they who have another Opinion of it have to say in its Defence,


Since there are scarce any of the Arts or Sciences that have not been recommended to the World by the Pens of some of the Professors, Masters, or Lovers of them, whereby the Usefulness, Excellence, and Benefit arising from them, both as to the speculative and practical Part, have been made publick, to the great Advantage and Improvement of such Arts and Sciences; why should Dancing, an Art celebrated by the Ancients in so extraordinary a Manner, be totally neglected by the Moderns, and left destitute of any Pen to recom mend its various Excellencies and substantial Merit to Mankind?

The low Ebb to which Dancing is now fallen, is altogether owing to this Silence. The Art is esteemed only as an amusing Trifle; it lies altogether uncultivated, and is unhappily fallen under the Imputation of Illiterate and Mechanick: And as Terence, in one of his Prologues, complains of the Rope-dancers drawing all the Spectators from his Play, so may we well say, that Capering and Tumbling is now preferred to, and supplies the place of, just and regular Dancing, on our Theatres. It is therefore, in my Opinion, high time, that some one should come in to its Assistance, and relieve it from the many gross and growing Errors that have crept into it, and over-cast its real Beauties; and to set Dancing in its true Light, would shew the Usefulness and Elegancy of it, with the Pleasure and Instruction produced from it; and also lay down some fundamental Rules, that might so tend to the Improvement of its Professors, and Information of the Spectators, that the first might be the better enabled to perform, and the latter rendred more capable of judging, what is (if there be any thing) valuable in this Art

To encourage therefore some ingenious Pen capable


No. 334. of so generous an Undertaking, and in some measure Monday, to relieve Dancing from the Disadvantages it at present March 24, lies under, I who teach to dance, have attempted a

⠀ 1712.

small Treatise as an Essay towards an History of
Dancing; in which I have enquired into its Antiquity,
Original, and Use, and shewn what Esteem the Ancients
had for it: I have likewise considered the Nature and
Perfection of all its several Parts, and how beneficial
and delightful it is, both as a Qualification and an
Exercise; and endeavour'd to answer all Objections that
have been maliciously rais'd against it.
Í have pro
ceeded to give an Account of the particular Dances of
the Greeks and Romans, whether Religious, Warlike,
or Civil; and taken particular Notice of that Part of
Dancing relating to the ancient Stage, and in which
the Pantomimes had so great a Share: Nor have I been
wanting in giving an historical Account of some parti
cular Masters excellent in that surprizing Art; after
which I have advanced some Observations on the
modern Dancing, both as to the Stage, and that Part of
it so absolutely necessary for the Qualification of Gentle
men and Ladies; and have concluded with some short
Remarks on the Origin and Progress of the Character
by which Dances are writ down, and communicated to
one Master from another. If some great Genius after
this would arise, and advance this Art to that Per-
fection it seems capable of receiving, what might not
be expected from it? For if we consider the Origin
of Arts and Sciences, we shall find that some of them
took Rise from Beginnings so mean and unpromising,
that it is very wonderful to think that ever such sur
prizing Structures should have been raised upon such
ordinary Foundations. But what cannot a great Genius
effect? Who would have thought that the clangorous
Noise of a Smith's Hammer should have given the
first Rise to Musick? Yet Macrobius in his second
Book relates, that Pythagoras, in passing by a Smith's
Shop, found, that the Sounds proceeding from the
Hammers were either more grave or acute, according
to the different Weights of the Hammers. The Philo
sopher, to improve this Hint, suspends different Weights



by Strings of the same Bigness, and found in like No. 334, manner that the Sounds answered to the Weights, Monday, This being discovered, he finds out those Numbers which March 24, produced Sounds that were Consonants: As, that two Strings of the same Substance and Tension, the one being double the Length of the other, give that Interval which is called Diapason, or an Eighth; the same was also effected from two Strings of the same Length and Size, the one having four times the Tension of the other. By these Steps, from so mean a Beginning, did this great Man reduce, what was only before Noise, to one of the most delightful Sciences, by marrying it to the Mathematicks; and by that means caused it to be one of most abstract and demonstrative of Sciences, Who knows therefore but Motion, whether Decorous or Representative, may not (as it seems highly probable it may be taken into Consideration by some Person capable of reducing it into a regular Science, though not so demonstrative as that proceeding from Sounds, yet sufficient to entitle it a Place among the magnified Arts,

Now, Mr. SPECTATOR, as you have declared your self Visitor of Dancing-Schools, and this being an Under taking which more immediately respects them, I think my self indispensibly obliged, before I proceed to the Publication of this my Essay, to ask your Advice; and hold it absolutely necessary to have your Approbation; and in order to recommend my Treatise to the Perusal of the Parents of such as learn to dance, as well as to the Young Ladies to whom, as Visitor, you ought to be Guardian,

Salop, March 19, 1711-12.

I am, Sír,
Your most humble Servant,'



No. 335, No. 335,

Tuesday, [ADDISON,]
March 25,


Tuesday, March 25,

Respicere exemplar vitae morumque jubebo

Doctum imitatorem, & vívas hinc ducere voces,-Hor,

[ocr errors]

Y Friend Sir ROGER DE COVERLY, when we last met together at the Club, told me, that he had a great Mind to see the new Tragedy with me, assuring me at the same Time, that he had not been at a Play these twenty Years. The last I saw, says Sir ROGER, was the Committee, which I should not have gone to neither, had not I been told before-hand that it was a good Church of England Comedy, He then pro ceeded to enquire of me who this Distress'd Mother was, and upon hearing that she was Hector's Widow, he told me, that her Husband was a brave Man, and that when he was a School-Boy, he had read his Life at the end of the Dictionary, My Friend asked me, in the next Place, if there would not be some Danger in coming home late, in case the Mohocks should be abroad. I assure you, says he, I thought I had fallen into their Hands last Night, for I observ'd two or three lusty black Men that followed me half way up Fleet street, and mended their Pace behind me, in Pro portion as I put on to get away from them. You must know, continued the Knight with a Smile, I fancied they had a mind to hunt me; for I remember an honest Gentleman in my Neighbourhood, who was serv'd such a Trick in King Charles the Second's Time; for which Reason he has not ventured himself in Town ever since, I might have shown them very good Sport, had this been their Design, for as I am an old Fox-hunter, I should have turned and dodged, and have play'd them a thousand Tricks they had never seen in their Lives before, Sir ROGER added, that if these Gentlemen had any such Intention, they did not succeed very well in it; for I threw them out, says he, at the End of Norfolk-street, where I doubled the Corner, and got Shelter in my Lodgings before they could imagine what was become of me. However, says the Knight, if Captain SENTRY will make one with us


to Morrow Night, and if you will both of you call No. 335, upon me about Four a-Clock, that we may be at the Tuesday, House before it is full, I will have my own Coach in March 25, Readiness to attend you, for John tells me he has got the Fore Wheels mended,

The Captain, who did not fail to meet me there at the appointed Hour, bid Sir ROGER fear nothing, for that he had put on the same Sword which he made use of at the Battel of Steenkirk, Sir ROGER'S Servants, and among the rest my old Friend the Butler, had, I found, provided themselves with good Oaken Plants, to attend their Master upon this Occasion. When we had plac'd him in his Coach, with my self at his Left Hand, the Captain before him, and his Butler at the Head of his Footmen in the Rear, we convoy'd him in Safety to the Play-house; where, after having march'd up the Entry in good Order, the Captain and I went in with him, and seated him betwixt us in the Pit, As soon as the House was full, and the Candles lighted, my old Friend stood up and looked about him with that Pleasure, which a Mind seasoned with Humanity naturally feels in it self, at the Sight of a Multitude of People who seem pleased with one another, and par take of the same common Entertainment. I could not but fancy to my self, as the old Man stood up in the Middle of the Pit, that he made a very proper Center to a Tragick Audience. Upon the Entring of Pyrrhus, the Knight told me, that he did not believe the King of France himself had a better Strut, I was indeed very attentive to my old Friend's Remarks, because I looked upon them as a Piece of Natural Criticism, and was well pleased to hear him at the Conclusion of almost every Scene, telling me that he could not imagine how the Play would end. One while he appear'd much concerned for Andromache; and a little while after as much for Hermione; and was extremely puzzled to think what would become of Pyrrhus.

When Sir ROGER saw Andromache's obstinate Refusal to her Lover's Importunities, he whispered me in the Ear, that he was sure she would never have him ; to which he added, with a more than ordinary Vehem



« VorigeDoorgaan »