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A noble object for his skill he chose,
A martyr dying 'midft insulting foes.
Resign’d with patience to religion's laws,
Yet braving monarchs in his Saviour's cause,
Fill'd with th' idea of the sacred part,
He felt a zeal beyond the reach of art,
While look and voice, and gesture, all expreft
A kindred ardour in the player's breast;
Till as the flame through all his bofom ran,
He lost the Actor, and commenc'd the Man;
Profeft the faith; his pagan gods denied,
And what he acted then, he after died.

The Player's province they but vainly try,
Who want these pow'rs, Deportment, Voice, and Eye.

The Critic Sight 'tis only Grace can please,
No figure charms us if it has not Ease.
There are, who think the stature all in all,
Nor like the hero, if he is not tall.
The feeling sense all other want supplies,
I rate no actor's merit from his fize.
Superior height requires superior grace,
And what's a giant with a vacant face?

Theatric monarchs, in their tragic gait,
Affect to mark the folemn

pace

of state. One foot put forward in position strong, The other, like its vassal, dragg'd along. So

grave each motion, so exact and slow, Like wooden monarchs at a puppet show. The mien delights us that has native grace, But affectation ill fupplies its place,

Unskilful

mimic apes,

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Unskilful actors, like your Will writhe their bodies in a thousand shapes; However foreign from the poet's art, No tragic hero but admires a start. What though unfeeling of the nervous line, Who but allows his attitude is fine ? While a whole minute equipois'd he stands, Till praise dismiss him with her echoing hands! Resolv'd, though nature hate the tedious pause, By perseverance to extort applause. When Romeo forrowing at his Juliet's doom, With eager

madness bursts the canvas tomb, The sudden whirl, stretch'd leg, and lifted staff, Which please the vulgar, make the critic laugh.

To paint the passion's force, and mark it well, The proper action nature's self will tell; No pleasing pow'rs distortions e'er express, And nicer judgment always loaths excess. In fock or buskin, who o'erleaps the bounds, Disgufts our reason, and the taste confounds,

Of all the evils which the stage molest, I hate your fool who overacts his jeft; Who murders what the poet finely writ, And, like a bungler, haggles all his wit, With shrug, and grin, and gesture out of place, And writes a foolish comment with his face. Old Johnson once, though Cibber's perter vein But meanly groupes him with a num'rous train,

a

* See Cibber's Apology, 8vo, 1750,

With steady face, and sober hum'rous mien,
Fill'd the strong outlines of the comic scene,
What was writ down, with decent utt'rance spoke,
Betray'd no fymptom of the conscious joke;
The very man in look, in voice, in air,
And though upon the stage, appear'd no Play'r.

The word and action should conjointly suit,
But acting words is labour too minute.
Grimace will ever lead the judgment wrong;
While fober humour marks th' impression strong.
Her

proper traits the fixt attention hit,
And bring me closer to the poet's wit;
With her delighted o'er each scene I go,
Well-pleas’d, and not asham'd of being fo.

But let the generous Actor ftill forbear To copy

features with a Mimic's care!
poor

skill which ev'ry fool can reach,
A vile stage-custom, honour'd in the breach.
Worse as more close, the disingenuous art
But shews the wanton looseness of the heart.
When I behold a wretch, of talents mean,
Drag private foibles on the public scene,
Forfaking nature's fair and open road
To mark fome whim, fome strange peculiar mode,
Fir'd with disgust I loath his fervile plan,
Despise the mimic, and abhor the man.
Go to the lame, to hospitals repair,
And hunt for humour in distortions there!
Fill
up

the measure of the motley whim
With shrug, wink, snuffle, and convulfive limb;

Then

a

'Tis a

a

Then shame at once, to please a trifling age,
Good fenfe, good manners, virtue, and the fage!

'Tis not enough the voice be found and clear,
'Tis modulation that must charm the ear.
When desperate heroines grieve with tedious moan,
And whine their sorrows in a see-saw tone,
The fame foft sounds of unimpassioned woes
Can only make the yawning hearers doze.

The yoice all modes of paflion can express,
That marks the proper word with proper stress.
But none emphatic can that actor call,
Who lays an equal emphasis on all.

Some o'er the tongue the labour'd measures roll
Slow and delib’rate as the parting toll,
Point ev'ry stop, mark ev'ry pause so strong,

fo
Their words, like ftage-procefsions ftalk along.
All affectation but creates disgust,
And e'en in speaking we may seem too juft.

Nor proper, Thornton, can those founds appear
Which bring not numbers to thy nicer ear;
In vain for them the pleasing measure flows,
Whose recitation runs it all to prose;
Repeating what the poet fets not down,
The verb disjointing from its friendly noun,
While pause, and break, and repetition join
To make a difcord in each tuneful line.

Some placid natures fill th' allotted scene
With lifeless drone, infipid and ferene;
While others thunder ev'ry couplet o’er,
And almost crack your ears with rant and roar,

More

9

a

More nature oft and finer strokes are shown,
In the low whisper than tempestuous tone.
And Hamlet's hollow voice and fixt amaze,
More powerful terror to the mind conveys,
Than he, who, fwol'n with big impetuous rage,
Bullies the bulky phantom off the stage.

He, who in earnest studies o'er his part,
Will find true nature cling about his heart.
The modes of grief are not included all
In the white handkerchief and mournful drawl;
A single look more marks th' internal woe,
Than all the windings of the lengthend Oh.
Up to the Face the quick sensation flies,
And darts its meaning from the speaking Eyes;
Love, transport, madness, anger, scorn, despair,
And all the passions, all the soul is there.

In vain Ophelia gives her flowrets round,
And with her straws fantastic strews the ground,
In vain now sings, now heaves the desp’rate figh,
If phrenzy fit not in the troubled eye.
In Cibber's look commanding sorrows speak,
And call the tear fast trick'ling down my cheek. .
There is a fault which stirs the critic's

rage;
A want of due attention on the stage.
I have seen actors, and admir'd ones too,
Whose
tongues
wound

up

fet forward from their cụe;
In their own speech who whine, or roar away,
Yet seem unmov'd at what the rest may say;
Whose eyes and thoughts on diff'rent objects roam,
Until the prompter's voice recal them home,

Divest

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