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long languished, he thought fit to break from his
Th' adorning thee with so much art
Is but a barbarous skill;
The Pict stood before him in the utmost confusion, with the prettiest smirk imaginable on the finished side of her face, pale as ashes on the other. Honeycomb seized all her gallipots and washes, and carried off his handkerchief full of brushes, scraps of Spanish wool, and vials of unguents. The lady went into the country, the lover was cured.
audience, not by proper sentiments and sions, but by the dresses and decorations stage. There is something of this kind ve culous in the English theater. When the has a mind to terrify us, it thunders; w But among all our tragic artifices, I am t would make us melancholy, the stage is da offended at those which are made use of to us with magnificent ideas of the speak. The ordinary method of making perso which rises so very high that there is is to clap a huge plume of feathers greater length from his chin to the top of that we thought a great man and a tall than to the sole of his foot. One would actor, who is forced to hold his neck ex same thing. This very much embarras stiff and steady all the while he speaks; a withstanding any anxieties which he pret his mistress, his country, or his friends, is to keep the plume of feathers from fallin see by his action that his greatest care and head. For my own part, when I see a ma ing his complaints under such a mountain
It is certain no faith ought to be kept with cheats, and an oath made to a Pict is of itself void. I would therefore exhort all the British ladies to single them out, nor do I know any but Lindamira who should be exempt from discovery: for her own complexion is so delicate, that she ought to be allowed the covering it with paint, as a punishment for choosing to be the worst piece of art extant, instead of the master-piece of nature. As for my part, who have no expectations from women, and consider them only as they are part of the species, I do not half so much fearers, I am apt to look upon him rather as a offending a beauty, as a woman of sense; I shall tunate lunatic than a distressed hero. therefore produce several faces which have been superfluous ornaments upon the head mak in public these many years, and never appeared. from those additional incumbrances that It will be a very pretty entertainment in the play- her tail-I mean the broad sweeping t man, a princess generally receives her house (when I have abolished this custom) to follows her in all her motions, and finds see so many ladies, when they first lay it down, employment for a boy who stands behin incog. in their own faces. In the meantime, as a pattern for improving how others are affected at this sight, bu their charms, let the sex study the agreeable Sta-confess my eyes are wholly taken up open and spread it to advantage. I do n
tira. Her features are enlivened with the cheerful-
Her pure and eloquent blood
A young gentlewoman of about nineteen years of age (bred in the family of a person of quality, lately deceased), who paints the finest flesh-color, wants a place, and is to be heard of at the house of Mynheer Grotesque, a Dutch painter in Barbican.
N. B. She is also well skilled in the drapery part, and puts on hoods, and mixes ribbons so as to suit the colors of the face, with great art and
page's part: and, as for the queen, I ar attentive to anything she speaks, as to adjusting of her train, lest it should chan up her heels, or incommode her, as she and fro upon the stage. It is, in my o very odd spectacle, to see a queen ver passions in a disordered motion, and a l taking care all the while that they do the tail of her gown. The parts that the sons act on the stage at the same time different. The princess is afraid lest sh lose the hero her lover, while her attenda incur the displeasure of the king her concerned lest she should entangle her f petticoat.
We are told, that an ancient tragic poet the pity of his audience for his exiled distressed heroes, used to make the act sent them in dresses and clothes that wer seems as ill contrived as that we have be bare and decayed. This artifice for mo ing of to inspire us with a great idea of sons introduced upon the stage. would have our conceptions raised by th of thought and sublimity of expressio than by a train of robes or a plume of fea
Another mechanical method of maki men, and adding dignity to queens, is pany them with halberts and battle-ax or three shifters of scenes, with the tw snuffers, make up a complete body of gua the English stage; and by the addition porters dressed in red coats can represen dozen legions. I have sometimes seen a armies drawn up together upon the sta the poet has been disposed to do hon generals. It is impossible for the reade ination to multiply twenty men into digious multitudes, or to fancy that room of forty or fifty yards in compass. three hundred thousand soldiers are figh of such nature should be told, not rep
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 huzzas, which is sometimes so very great, that when there is a battle in the Haymarket theater, 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 show, in another paper, the several expedients which are practiced by authors of a vulgar genius to move terror, pity, or admiration in their hearers.
The tailor 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 welldressed 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 through ít, and despise it.
A good poet will give the reader a more lively idea of an army or a battle, 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 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 from a few lines in Shakspeare ?-C.
No. 43.] THURSDAY, APRIL 19, 1711.
VIRG. Æn., vi, 854. Be these thy arts; to bid contention cease, Chain up stern wars, and give the nations peace; O'er subject lands extend thy gentle sway, And teach with iron rod the haughty to obey. THERE are crowds of men, whose great misfortune it is that they were not bound to mechanic arts or trades; it being absolutely necessary for them to be laid 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. "SIR, Four o'clock in the morning. "In some of your late speculations, I find some sketches toward a history of clubs; but you seem to me to show them in somewhat too ludierous a light. I have well weighed that matter,
and think, that the most important negotiations may be best carried on in such assemblies. I shall, therefore, for the good of mankind (which I trust you and I are equally concerned for), propose an institution of that nature for example sake.
I must confess the design and transactions of too many clubs are trifling, and manifestly of no consequence to the nation or public weal. Those I will 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 witticisms, we call ourselves The Hebdomadal Meeting. Our president continues for a year at least, and sometimes for 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 do not like; to settle the nation at home, and to carry on the war abroad, where and in what manner we think fit. If other people are not of our opinion, we cannot help that. It were 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 act 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 plaguy 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 petitioned to be heard upon that subject. But let that pass.
"I must let you know likewise, good Sir, that we look upon a certain northern prince's march, in connection 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 of 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 malcontents 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 authentic intelligence, our Aristotle in politics. And, indeed, it is but fit there should be some dernier resort, the absolute decider of controversies.
We were lately informed, that the gallant trained-bands had patrolled all night long about the streets of London. We indeed, could not imagine any occasion for it, we guessed not a tittle on it 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 positive 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 committee appointed to examine into that affair, that it was possible there might be something in it. I have much more to say to you, but my two good friends and neighbors, Dominic and Slyboots are just come in, and the coffee is ready. I am, in the meantime, "Mr. Spectator, "Your admirer and humble servant, "ABRAHAM FROTH."
several tragedies with good effect; and have the whole assembly in a very great alarm al while it has been ringing. But there is not which delights and terrifies our English th so much as a ghost, especially when he app in a bloody shirt. A specter has very often s a play, though he has done nothing but sta across the stage, or rose through a cleft of it sunk again without speaking one word. 1 may be a proper season for these several ter and when they only come in as aids and a ances to the poet, they are not only to be exc but to be applauded. Thus the sounding o clock in Venice Preserved makes the hearts o whole audience quake; and conveys a stro terror to the mind than it is possible for wor do. The appearance of the ghost in Ham a master-piece in its kind, and wrought up all the circumstances that can create attention or horror. The mind of the read wonderfully prepared for his reception by th courses that precede it. His dumb behavio his first entrance strikes the imagination strongly; but every time he enters, he is more terrifying. Who can read the speech which young Hamlet accosts him without bling?
You may observe the turn of their minds tends | tyrant. I have known a bell introduced only to novelty, and not satisfaction in anything. It would be disappointment to them to come to certainty in anything, for that would gravel them, and put an end to their inquiries, 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 seeto 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. Though 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 seldom 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 amusements for all fools of eminence; politics 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 itself in poetry. One might here mention a few military writers, who give great entertainment to the age, by reason that the stupidity of their heads is quickened by the alacrity of their hearts. This constitution in a dull fellow, gives vigor to nonsense, and makes the puddle boil which would otherwise stagnate. The British Prince, that celebrated poem, which was written in the reign of King Charles the second, and deservedly called by the wits of that age incomparable, was the effect of such a happy genius as we are speaking of. From among many other distichs no less to be quoted on this account, I cannot but recite the two following lines:
A painted vest Prince Voltiger had on,
Here, if the poet had not been vivacious as well as stupid, he could not, in the warmth and hurry of nonsense, have been capable of forgetting that neither Prince Voltiger nor his grandfather could strip a naked man of his doublet; but a fool of a colder constitution would have staid to have flayed the Pict, and made buff of his skin, for the wearing of the conqueror.
To bring these observations to some useful purposes of life-what I would propose should be, that we imitated those wise nations, wherein every man learns some handicraft work.-Would it not employ a beau prettily enough, if, instead of eternally playing with a snuff-box, he spent some part of his time in making one? Such a method as this would very much conduce to the public emolument, by making every man living good for something; for there would then be no one member of human society but would have some little pretension for some degree in it: like him who came to Will's coffee-house, upon the merit of having written a posy of a ring.-R.
No. 44.] FRIDAY, APRIL, 20, 1711.
AMONG the several artifices which are put in practice by the poets to fill the minds of an audience with terror, the first place is due to thunder and lightning, which are often made use of at the descending of a god, or the rising of a ghost, at the vanishing of a devil, or at the death of a
HOR. Look, my Lord, it comes!
HAM. Angels and ministers of grace defend us!
I do not therefore find fault with the a
For the moving of pity, our principal m is the handkerchief; and indeed, in our co tragedies, as we should not know very ofte the persons are in distress by anything the if they did not from time to time apply handkerchiefs to their eyes. Far be it from think of banishing this instrument of sorro the stage; I know a tragedy could not without it; all that I would contend for keep it from being misapplied. In a w would have the actor's tongue sympathize w eyes.
A disconsolate mother with a child in he has frequently drawn compassion from t dience, and has therefore gained a place in tragedies. A modern writer, that observe this had took in other plays, being reso double the distress, and melt his audience t much as those before him had done, bro princess upon the stage with a little boy hand, and a girl in the other. This too ha good effect. A third poet being resolved write all his predecessors, a few years ag duced three children with great success: a am informed, a young gentleman, who is f
termined to break the most obdurate heart
tragedy by him, where the first person that upon the stage is an afflicted widow in her
*Events for advents, comings, or visits. We read copies, intents.
ing weeds, with half-a-dozen fatherless children attending her, like those that usually hang about the figure of Charity. Thus several incidents that are beautiful in a good writer, become ridiculous by falling into the hands of a bad one.
But among all our methods of moving pity or terror, there is none so absurd and barbarous, and which more exposes us to the contempt and ridicule of our neighbors than that dreadful butchering of one another, which is so very frequent upon the English stage. To delight in seeing men stabbed, poisoned, racked, or impaled, is certainly the sign of a cruel temper: and as this is often practiced before the British audience, several French critics, who think these are grateful spectacles to us, take occasion from them to represent us as a people that delight in blood. It is indeed very odd, to see our stage strewed with carcasses in the last scenes of a tragedy, and to observe in the wardrobe of the playhouse several daggers, poniards, wheels, bowls for poison, and many other instruments of death. Murder and executions are always transacted behind the scenes in the French theater; which in general is very agreeable to the manners of a polite and civilized people: but as there are no exceptions to this rule on the French stage, it leads them into absurdities almost as ridiculous as that which falls under our present censure. I remember in the famous play of Corneille, written upon the subject of the Horatii and Curiatii; the fierce young hero who had overcome the Curiatii one after another (instead of being congratulated by his sister for his victory, being upbraided by her for having slain her lover), in the height of his passion and resentment kills her. If anything could extenuate so brutal an action, it would be the doing of it on a sudden, before the sentiments of nature, reason, or manhood, could take place in him. However, to avoid public bloodshed, as soon as his passion is wrought to its height, he follows his sister the whole length of the stage, and forbears killing her till they are both withdrawn behind the scenes. I must confess, had he murdered her before the audience, the indecency might have been greater; but as it is, it appears very unnatural, and looks like killing in cold blood. To give my opinion upon this case, the fact ought not to have been represented, but to have been told, if there was any occasion for it.
It may not be unacceptable to the reader to see how Sophocles has conducted a tragedy under the like delicate circumstances. Orestes was under the same condition with Hamlet in Shakspeare, his mother having murdered his father, and taken possession of his kingdom in conspiracy with her adulterer. That young prince, therefore, being determined to revenge his father's death upon those who filled his throne, conveys himself by a beautiful stratagem into his mother's apartment, with a resolution to kill her. But because such a spectacle would have been too shocking to the audience, this dreadful resolution is executed behind the scenes; the mother is heard calling out to her son for mercy; and the son answering her, that she showed no mercy to his father; after which she shrieks out that she is wounded, and by what follows we find that she is slain. I do not remember that in any of our plays there are speeches made behind the scenes, though there are other instances of this nature to be met with in those of the ancients and I believe my reader will agree with me, that there is something infinitely more affecting in this dreadful dialogue between the mother and her son behind the scenes, than could have beer in anything transacted before the au
dience. Orestes immediately after meets the usurper at the entrance of his palace; and by a very happy thought of the poet, avoids killing him before the audience, by telling him that he should live some time in his present bitterness of soul before he would dispatch him, and by ordering him to retire into that part of the palace where he had slain his father, whose murder he would revenge_in_the very same place where it was committed. By this means the poet observes that decency, which Horace afterward established by a rule, of forbearing to commit parricides or unnatural murders before the audience.
Nec pueros coram populo Medea trucidet.
ARS. POET., ver. 185.
Let not Medea draw her murd'ring knife, And spill her children's blood upon the stage.
The French have therefore refined too much upon Horace's rule, who never designed to banish all kinds of death from the stage; but only such as had too much horror in them, and which would have a better effect upon the audience when transacted behind the scenes. I would therefore recommend to my countrymen the practice of the ancient poets, who were very sparing of their public executions, and rather chose to perform them behind the scenes, if it could be done with as great an effect upon the audience. At the same time I must observe, that though the devoted persons of the tragedy were seldom slain before the audience, which has generally something ridiculous in it, their bodies were often produced after their death, which has always something melancholy or terrifying; so that the killing on the stage does not seem to have been avoided only as an indecency, but also as an improbability.
Nec pueros coram populo Medea trucidet;
Medea must not draw her murd'ring knife,
I hate to see, and never can believe.-ROSCOMMON.
I have now gone through the several dramatic inventions which are made use of by the ignorant poets to supply the place of tragedy, and by the skillful to improve it; some of which I would wish entirely rejected, and the rest to be used with caution. It would be an endless task to consider comedy in the same light, and to mention the innumerable shifts that small wits put in practice to raise a laugh. Bullock in a short coat, and Norris in a long one, seldom fail of this effect. In ordinary comedies, a broad and narrow-brimmed hat are different characters. Sometimes the wit of the scene lies in a shoulder-belt, and sometimes in a pair of whiskers. A lover running about the stage with his head peeping out of a barrel*, was thought a very good jest in King Charles the Second's time; and invented by one of the first wits of that age. But because ridicule is not so delicate as compassion, and because the objects that make us laugh are infinitely more numerous than those that make us weep, there is a much greater latitude for comic than tragic artifices, and by consequence a much greater indulgence to be allowed them.-C.
The comedy of "The Comical Revenge; or, Love in a Tub," by Sir Goorge Etheridge, 1064.
No. 45.] SATURDAY, APRIL 21, 1711. Natio comoda est.-Juv., Sat. iii, 100. The nation is a company of players. THERE is nothing which I desire more than a safe and honorable peace, though at the same time I am very apprehensive of many ill consequences that may attend it. I do not mean in regard to our politics, but to our manners. What an inundation of ribbons and brocades will break in upon us! What peals of laughter and impertinence shall we be exposed to! For the prevention of these great evils I could heartily wish that there was an act of parliament prohibiting the importation of French fopperies.
The female inhabitants of our island have already received very strong impressions from this ludicrous nation, though by the length of the war (as there is no evil which has not some good attending it) they are pretty well worn out and forgotten. I remember the time when some of our well-bred country-women kept their valet de chambre, because, forsooth, a man was much more handy about them than one of their own sex. I myself have seen one of these male Abigails tripping about the room with a looking-glass in his hand, and combing his lady's hair a whole morning together. Whether or no there was any truth in the story of a lady's being got with child by one of these her handmaids, I cannot tell: but I think at present the whole race of them is extinct in our own country.
greater dangers, than that gayety and airines temper which are natural to most of the sex. should therefore be the concern of every wise virtuous woman to keep this sprightliness f degenerating into levity. On the contrary, whole discourse and behavior of the French i make the sex more fantastical, or (as they pleased to term it) more awakened, than is con tent either with virtue or discretion. To sp loud in public assemblies, to let every one you talk of things that should only be mentio in private or in whisper, are looked upon as p of a refined education. At the same time a bl is unfashionable, and silence more ill-bred t anything that can be spoken. In short, discret and modesty, which in all other ages and co tries have been regarded as the greatest orname of the fair sex, are considered as the ingredie of a narrow conversation, and family behavior Some years ago I was at the tragedy of Macb and unfortunately placed myself under a wor of quality that is since dead, who, as I found the noise she made, was newly returned fr France. A little before the rising of the curta she broke out into a loud soliloquy, "When the dear witches enter?" and immediately u their first appearance, asked a lady that sat th boxes from her on her right hand, if those wite were not charming creatures. A little after, Betterton was in one of the finest speeches of play, she shook her fan at another lady who sa far on her left hand, and told her with a whis About the time that several of our sex were ta- that might be heard all over the pit, "We m ken into this kind of service, the ladies likewise not expect to see Balloon to-night." Not l brought up the fashion of receiving visits in their after, calling out to a young baronet by his na beds. It was then looked upon as a piece of ill-who sat three seats before me, she asked h breeding for a woman to refuse to see a man because she was not stirring; and a porter would have been thought unfit for his place, that could have made so awkward an excuse. As I love to see everything that is new, I once prevailed upon my friend Will Honeycomb to carry me along with him to one of these traveled ladies, desiring him, at the same time, to present me as a foreigner who could not speak English, that so I might not be obliged to bear a part in the discourse. The lady, though willing to appear undrest, had put on her best looks, and painted herself for our reception. Her hair appeared in a very nice disorder, as the night-gown which was thrown upon her shoulders was ruffled with great care. For my part, I am so shocked with everything which looks immodest in the fair sex, that I could not forbear taking off my eye from her when she moved in bed, and was in the greatest confusion imaginable every time she stirred a leg or an arm. As the coquettes who introduced this custom grew old, they left it off by degrees, well knowing that a woman of threescore may kick and tumble her heart out without making any impression.
Sempronia is at present the most professed admirer of the French nation, but is so modest as to admit her visitants no farther than her toilet. It is a very odd sight that beautiful creature makes, when she is talking politics with her tresses flowing about her shoulders, and examining that face in the glass which does such execution upon all the male standers-by. How prettily does she divide her discourse between her woman and her visitants! What sprightly transitions does she make from an opera or a sermon to an ivory comb or a pincushion! How have I been pleased to see her interrupted in an account of her travels, by a message to her footman; and holding her tongue in the midst of a moral reflection, by applying the tip of it to a patch!
There is nothing which exposes a woman to
whether Macbeth's wife was still alive; and fore he could give an answer, fell a talking of ghost of Banquo. She had by this time forme little audience to herself, and fixed the attent of all about her. But as I had a mind to hear play, I got out of the sphere of her impertinen and planted myself in one of the remotest corn of the pit.
This pretty childishness of behavior is one the most refined parts of coquetry, and is not be attained in perfection by ladies that do travel for their improvement. A natural and unc strained behavior has something in it so agr able, that it is no wonder to see people endeavori after it. But at the same time it is so very ha to hit, when it is not born with us, that peop often make themselves ridiculous in attempting
A very ingenious French author tells us, th the ladies of the court of France in his ti thought it ill-breeding, and a kind of female P antry, to pronounce a hard word right; for whi reason they took frequent occasion to use ha words, that they might show a politeness in m dering them. He farther adds, that a lady some quality at court having accidentally ma use of a hard word in a proper place, and p nounced it right, the whole assembly was out countenance for her.
I must however be so just to own, that there a many ladies who have traveled several thousan of miles without being the worse for it, and ha brought home with them all the modesty, disc tion, and good sense that they went abroad wit As, on the contrary, there are great numbers traveled ladies who have lived all their da within the smoke of London. I have known woman that never was out of the parish of James's, betray as many foreign fopperies in h carriage, as she could have gleaned in half t countries of Europe.-C.