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"Th' adorning thee with so much art,
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 galley-pots and washes, and carried off his handkerchief full of brushes, scraps of Spanish wool, and phials of unguents. The lady went into the country: the lover was cured.
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 cught to be allowed the covering it with paint, as a punishment for choosing to be the worst piece of art extant, instead of the masterpiece 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 fear offending a beauty as a woman of sense; I shall therefore produce several faces which have been in public these many years, and never appeared. It will be a very pretty entertainment in the playhouse, (when I have abolished this custom) to see so many ladies, when they first lo it down, incog, in their own faces.
n the mean time, as a pattern for im
proving their charms, let the sex study the agreeable Statira. Her features are enlivened with the cheerfulness of her mind, and good humour É. an alacrity to her eyes. She is graceful without affecting an air, and unconcerned without appearing careless. Her having no manner of art in her mind, makes her want none in her person.
How like is this lady, and how unlike is a Pict, to that description Dr. Donne gives of his mistress?
- Her pure and eloquent blood
Spoke in her cheeks, and so distinctly wrought, 5. one would almost say her body thought."
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-colour, wants a place, and is to be heard of at the house of Mynbeer Grotesque, a Dutch painter in Barbican.
N. B. She is also well skilled in the drapery part, and puts on hoods, and mixes ribands so as to suit the colours of the face with great art and success. R.
No. 42.] Wednesday, Ahril 18, 1711.
Garganum mugire putes nemus, autmare Tuscum;
IMITATED. Loud as the wolves, on Orca's stormy steep, Hewl to the rearings of the northern deep:
Such is the shout, the long applauding note, At Quin's high plume, or Oldfield's petticoat: Or when from court a birth-day suit bestow'd Sinks the lost actor in the tawdry load. Booth enters—hark' the universal peal!— But has he spoken—Not a syllable What shook the stage, and made the people stare 1 Cato's long wig, flowr'd gown, and lacker'd chair. Pope. AR1stotle has observed, that ordinary writers in tragedy endeavour to raise terror
and pity in their audience, not by proper
sentiments and expressions, but by the dresses and decorations of the stage. There is something of this kind very ridiculous in the English theatre. When the author has a mind to terrify us, it thunders; when he would make us melancholy, the stage is darkened. But among all our tragic artifices, I am the most offended at those which are made use of to inspire us with magnificent ideas of the persons that speak. he ordinary method of making a 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
lume of feathers from falling off his head.
or my own part, when I see a man uttering his complaints under such a mountain of feathers, I am apt to look upon him rather as an unfortunate lunatic than a distressed hero. As these superfluous ornaments upon the head make a great man, a
rincess generally receives her grandeur }. 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 sight, but I must confess, my eyes are wholly taken up with the page's part; and as for the queen, I am not
so attentive to any thing she o: as to the right adjusting of her train, lest it should
chance to trip up her heels, or incommode her, as she walks to and fro upon the o It is, in my opinion, a very odd spectacle, to see a queen venting her passion in a disordered motion, and a little boy taking care all the while that they do not ruffle the 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, lest she should incur the displeasure of the kin her father, or lose the hero her lover, whilst her attendant is only concerned lest she should entangle her feet in her petticoat. We are told, that an ancient tragic poet, to move the pity of his audience for his exiled kings and distressed heroes, used to
make the actors represent them in dresses and clothes that were thread-bare and decayed. This artifice for moving pity, seems as ill-contrived as that we have been speaking of, to inspire us with a great idea of the P. introduced upon the stage. In short, 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 makin great men, and adding dignity to kings an queens, is to accompany them with halberds and battle-axes. Two or three shifters of scenes, with the two candle-snuffers, make up a complete body of guards upon the Enish stage; and by the addition of a few porters dressed in red coats, can represent above a dozen legions. I have sometimes seen a couple of armies drawn up together upon the . 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 should be told, not represented. *— Non tamen intus Dignageri promes in scenam: multaque tolles
Ex oculis, quae mox narret facundia præsens.” Hor. Ars Poet. ver. 182.
‘Yet there are things improper for a scene,
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 Havmarket theatre, one may hear it as far as CharingCrOSS.
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 practised 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 ‘. 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 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 actu saw them drawn up in squadrons so or engaged in the confusion of a fight. Our minds should be opened to great conceptions, and inflamed with glorious senti by what the actor speaks more what he appears. Can all the tra or equipage of a king or hero, gi half that pomp and majesty which he receives from a few lines in Shakspeare?
No. 43.] Thursday, Ahril 19, 1711.
Ha tibierunt artes; pacisque imponere morem,
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. 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 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, 4 o'clock in the morning. ‘SIR,-In some of your late speculations, I find some sketches towards a history of clubs; but you seem to me to show them in somewhat too ludicrous a light. I have well weighed that matter, and think, that the most important negociations may best be 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 ex* sake. *I must confess that 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 dome 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 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 —Me guid detrimentires cafiat foublica.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 what manner we see
fit. If other o: are not of our opinion, we cannot o at. 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 #rench 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 ass, “I must let you know likewise, good sir, that we lookupon a certain northern prince's march, in conjunction with infidels, to be palpably against our good-will and liking; and, for 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 least 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, 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 all 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 through 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 neighbours, 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.”
You may observe the turn of their minds tends only to novelty, and not satisfaction in any thing. It would be disappointment to them, to come to certainty in any thing, for that would gravel them, and put an end
to their inquires, 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 see, to 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 ho 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 dulness 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 vigour to nonsense, and makes the puddle boil, which would otherwise stagnate. The British Prince, that celebrated m, 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 Voltager had on, Which from a naked Pict his grandsire won.” 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 Voltager, nor his grandfather, could strip a naked man of his doublet; but a fool of a colder constitution would have stayed to have flayed the Pict, and made buff of his skin, for the wearing of the conqueror. To bring these observations to some useful purpose 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 writ a posy of a ring. R.
*Absurd as these lines are, they found an apologist in the late Edward King, esq. who, in his Munimenta Antiqua, after alluding to the practice of tattooing being prevalent amongst the Britons, Picts, and other northern nations, continues—“The figures thus marked, however, were as indelible as they were honourable; and they were even badges of their chieftains; inso: much that it is not quite impossible to make sense of those lines, so elegantly censured in the Spectator, for their burlesque nonsense:
“A painted west Prince Voltager had on,
For amongst a people, such as the ancient Britons, who
No. 44.] Friday, Ahril 20, 1711. "Tu quid ego, et populus mecum desideret, audi. Hor. Mrs Poet. ver. 153. Now hear what every auditor expects. Roscommon. AMong the several artifices which are putin 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 tyrant. I have known a bell introduced into several tragedies with good effect; and have seen the whole assembly in a very at alarm all the while it has been ringing. But there is nothing which delights and terrifies our English theatre so much as a ghost, especially when he appears in a bloody shirt. A spectre has very often saved a play, though he has done nothing but stalked across the stage, or rose through a cleft of it, and sunk again without speaking one word. There may be a proper season for these several terrors; and when they only come in as aids and assistances to the o: they are not only to be excused, but to be applauded. Thus the sounding of the clock in Venice Preserved, makes the hearts of the whole audience quake; and conveys a stronger terror to the mind than it is possible for words to do. The appearance of the ghost in Hamlet is a master-piece in its kind, and wrought up with all the circumstances that can create either attention or horror. The mind of the reader is wonderfully prepared for his *:::: tion by the discourses that precede it. His dumb behaviour at his first entrance, strikes the imagination very strongly; but every time he enters, he is still more terrifying. Who can read the speech with which young Hamlet accosts him, without trembling. “Hor. Look, my lord, it comes' “Ham. Angels and ministers of grace defend us! Be thou a spirit of health, or goblin damn'd; Bring with thee airs from heav'n, or blasts from hell; Be thy intents wicked or charitable; Thou com’st in such a questionable shape That I will speak to thee. I'll call thee Hamlet,
King, Father, Royal Dane.—Oh! answer me. Let me not burst in ignorance; but tell
Why thy canoniz'd bones, hearsed in death,
I do not therefore find fault with the artifices above mentioned, when they are introduced with skill, and accompanied by proportionable sentiment and expressions in the writing. For the moving of pity, our principle machine is the handkerchief: and indeed in our common tragedies, we should not know very often that the persons are in distress by any thing they say, if they did not from time to time apply their handkerchiefs to their eyes. Far be it from me to think of banishing this instrument of sorrow from the stage; I know a tragedy could not subsist without it: all that ... contend for, is to keep it from being misapplied. In a word, I would have the actor's tongue sympathize with his eyes. A disconsolate mother, with a child in her hand, has frequently drawn compassion from the audience, and has therefore gained a place in several tragedies. A modern writer, that observed how this had took in other plays, being resolved to double the distress, and melt his audience twice as much as those before him had done, brought a princess upon the stage with a little boy in one hand, and a girl in the other. This too had a very good effect. A third poet being resolved to outwrite all his predecessors, a few years ago introduced three children with great success: and, as I am informed, a young gentleman, who is fully determined to break the most obdurate hearts, has a tragedy by him, where the first#. that appears upon the stage is an afflicted widow in her mourning weeds, with half a dozen fatherless children attending her, like those that usually han about the figure of Charity. Thus seve 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 what more exposes us to the contempt and ridicule of our neighbours, than that dreadful butchering of one another, which is 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 practised before the British audience, several French critics, who think these are grateful spectacles to us, take occasion from them to represent us a people that delight in blood. It is indeed very odd to see our stage strewed with carcases 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. Murders and executions are always transacted behind the scenes in the French theatre; 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 . he follows his sister to the whole o 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 kil ing 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 tra§. under the like delicate circumstances. Drestes was in 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 o 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 fa. ther; after which she shrieks out 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 been in any thing transacted before the audience. Orestes immediately after meets the *: 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 despatch 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 afterwards established by a rule, of forbearing to commit parricides or unnatural murders before the audience. “Nec pueros coram populo Medea trucidet." ...Ars Poet. wer. 185.
“Let not Medea draw her murd'ring knife, And spill her children's blood upon the stage.” Roscommon. 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 in it 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;
Aut humana palam coquat exta nefarius Atreus;
Ant in avem Progne vertatur, Cadmus in anguem,
Quodcunque ostendis mihi sic, incredulis odi.’
‘Medea must not draw her murd'ring knife,
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 skilful to improve it; some of which I could 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 a 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 *got a very good jest, in King Charles the Se— cond’s time; and invented by one of the