Page images
PDF
EPUB

gether 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 nature should be told, not represented.

Non tamen intus
Digna geri promes in scenam : multaque tolles
Ex oculis, quæ mox narret facundia præfens.

Hor. Ars Poet. ver. 182.
Yet there are things improper for a scene,
Which men of judgment only will relate.

ROSCOMMON. 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 theatre, one may hear it as far as Charing-Cross.

Í have here only touched upon those particulars which are made use of to raise and aggrandize the persons of a tragedy; and shall thew 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

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 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 it, 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 Shakespeare?

C*

* By ADDISON, dated it seems, from Chelsea. See N° 7.

*** At Drury Lane, for the benefit of Mrs. Porter, « Love's last Shift; or The Fool in Fashion :” Sir Novelty, Mr. Cibber; Sir W. Wisewoud, Mr. Johnson; Loveless, Mr. Wilks ; Worthy, Mr. Mills; Snap, Mr. Penkethman; Sly, Mr. Bullock; Amanda, Mrs. Porter; Narcisia, Mrs. Oldfield; and Hillaria, Mrs. Bicknell, SPECT. in folien

[blocks in formation]

N° 43. Thursday, April 19, 1711.

TH

He tibi erunt Artes ; pacisque imponere morem,
Parcere subjectis, & debellare superbos.

VIRG. Æn. vi. 854.
Be these thy Arts; to bid contention cease,
Chain up stern war, and give the nations peace;
O’er subject lands extend thy gentle sway,
And teach with iron rod the haughty to obey.

HERE 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 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.

IN

Oxford, April 13, 1711: SIR, Four o'clock in the morning. N some of your late

. SPECULATIONS, I find some sketches towards an History of Clubs: . but you seem to me 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 as

• semblies,

• semblies. I Tall 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 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 witti• cisms, we call ourselves “ The Hebdomadal

Meeting.” Our president continues for a year • at least, 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 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 carry on the war abroad, where and in whak manner we see 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 of. • fended at the act for importing French wines. • A bottle or two of good folid edifying port at • honest George's, made a night chearful, 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

R3

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 conjunction with infidels, to be pal* pably 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 6 friend of mine tells me.

« We think we have at last done the business • with the malecontents in Hungary, and thall • 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 • know is our authentic intellience, our Ariftotle in politics. And indeed it is but fit

there should be some dernier resort, the ab« folute decider of all controversies.

* We were lately informed, that the gallant • trained - bands had patrolled all night long about the streets of London. We indeed could net 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

you must

« EelmineJätka »