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wonderfully pleased to see a man insulting kings, her not to be the same woman whom he intended or affronting the gods, in one scene, and throwing to marry, but another. If that be law, it is, I prehimself at the feet of his mistress in another. Let sume, exactly my case. For you are to know, Mr. him behave himself insolently towards the men, and Spectator, that there are women who do not let abjectly towards the fair one, and it is ten to one their husbands see their faces till they are married. but he proves a favourite of the boxes. Dryden 'Not to keep you in suspense, I mean plainly that and Lee, in several of their tragedies, have prac part of the sex who paint. They are some of them tised this secret with good success.

so exquisitely skilful this way, that give them but a But to show how a rant pleases beyond the most tolerable pair of eyes to set up with, and they will just and natural thought that is not pronounced make bosom, lips, cheeks, and eye-brows, by their with vehemence, I would desire the reader, when own industry. As for my dear, never was man so he sees the tragedy of Oedipus, to observe how enamoured as I was of her fair forehead, neck, and quietly the hero is dismissed at the end of the third arms, as well as the bright jet of her hair; but to act, after having pronounced the following lines, in my great astonishment I find they were all the which the thought is very natural, and apt to move effect of art. Her skin is so tarnished with this compassion:

practice, that when she first wakes in a morning,

she scarce seems young enough to be the mother «To you, good gods, I make my last appeal;

of her whom I carried to bed the night before. I Or clear my virtues, or my crimes reveal. Il in the maze of fate I blindly run,

shall take the liberty to part with her by the first And backward tread those paths I sought to shun; opportunity, unless her father will make her por. Impule my errors to your own deeree :

tion suitable to her real, not her assumed counteMy hands are guilty, but my heart is free.'

nance. This I thought fit to let him and her know Let us then observe with what thunder-claps of by your means. applause be leaves the stage, after the impieties

“I am, sir, and execrations at the end of the fourth act; and

Your most obedient, humble servant.' you will wonder to see an audience so cursed and so pleased at the same time.

I cannot tell what the law, or the parents of the

lady will do for this injured gentleman, but must "O that, as oft I have at Athens seen, (Where, by the way, there was no stage till many have indeed very long observed this evil, and dis

allow he has very much justice on his side. I The stage arise, and the big clouds descend;

tinguished those of our women who wear their So now', in very deed, I might behold This pond'ous globe, and all yon marble roof,

own, from those in borrowed complexions, by the Meet like the hands of Jove, and crush maukind : Picts and the British. There does not need any For all the elements,' &c.

great discernment to judge which are which. The

British have a lively animated aspect; the Picts, ADVERTISEMENT.

though never so beautiful, have dead uninformed Having spoken of Mr. Powell, as sometimes raising countenances. The muscles of a real face somehimself applause from the ill taste of an audience; 7 times swell with soft passion, sudden surprise, and must do him the justice to own, that he is excellently are flushed with agreeable confusions, according formed for a tragedian, and when he pleases, deserves as the objects before them, or the ideas presented the admiration of the best judges ; as I doubt not but to them, affect their imagination. But the Picts he will in the Conquest of Merico, which is acted for behold all things with the same air, whether they his own benefit tomorrow night.

are joyful or sad; the same fixed insensibility ap. ADDISON.

C. pears upon all occasions.

A Pict, though she takes all that pains to invite the approach of

lovers, is obliged to keep thiem at a certain disNo 41. TUESDAY, APRIL 17, 1711. tance; a sigh in a languishing lover, if fetched too

near her, would dissolve a feature; and a kiss

snatched by a forward one, might transfer the OVID, Met. i. 654.

complexion of the mistress to the admirer. It is So found, is worse than lost.

hard to speak of these false fair ones, without say. ADDISON,

ing something uncomplaisant, but I would only re

commend to them to consider how they like comCompassion for the gentleman who writes the fol. ing into a room new painted; they may assure lowing letter, should not prevail upon me to fall themselves, the near approach of a lady who uses upon the fair sex, if it were not that I find they this practice is much more offensive. are frequently fairer than they ought to be. Such

Will Honeycomb told us one day an adventure impostures are not to be tolerated in civil society, he once had with a Pict. This lady had wit, as and I think bis misfortune ought to be made pub- well as beauty, at will; and made it her business lic, as a warning for other men always to examine to gain hearts, for no other reason but to rally the into what they admire.

torments of her lovers. She would make great advances to insnare men, but without any manner

of scruple break off when there was no provoca: • Supposing you to be a person of general know. tion. Her ill-nature and vanity made my friend ledge, I make my application to you on a very par. very easily proof against the charms of her wit and ticular occasion. i have a great mind to be rid of conversation : but her beauteous form, instead of my wife, and hope, when you consider my case, being blemished by her falsehood and inconstancy, you will be of opinion I have very just pretensions every day increased upon him, and she had new to a divorce. 1am a mere man of the town, and attractions every time he saw her. When she obhave very little improvement, but what I have got served Will irrevocably her slave, she began ta from plays. I remember in the Silent Woman, the use him as such, and after many steps

towards such learned Dr. Cutberd, or Dr.Otter, (I forget which) a cruelty, she at last utterly banished him. The makes one of the causes of separation to be Error unhappy lover strove in vain, by servile epistles Persone, when a man marries a woman, and finds to revoke his doom; till at length he was forced

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to the last refuge, a round sum of money to her raid. This corrupt attendant placed him early in the morning behind the hangings in his mistress's N° 42. WEDNESDAY, APRIL 18, 1791. dressing-room. He stood very conveniently to obcerve, without being seen. The Pict begins the jice she designed to wear that day, and I have Garganum mugire putes nemuis aut mare Tuscum ;

Tanto.cum strepitu indi sprctantur, et artes, Feard him protest she had worked a full half-hour

Divitiaque peregrinæ; quibus oblitus actor jefore he knew her to be the same woman. As soon Cum stetit in scena, concurrit de.xtera lava.

Dixit ad huc aliquid? Nil sane. Quid placet ergo? is he saw the dawn of that complexion for which he

Lana Tarentino violas imitata veneno. I so long languished, he thought fit to break

HOR, 2 Ep. i. 202, Erum his concealment, repeating that of Cowley: "Th' adorning thee with so much art,

Loud as the wolves on Orea's stormy steep
Is but s barbarous skill;

Howl to the roarings of the northern deep:
'Tis like the pois'ning of a dart,

Such is the shout, the long applauding note,
Too apt before to kill.'

At Quin's high plume, or Oldfield's petticoat:

Or when from court a birth-day suit bestow'd The Pict stood before him in the utmost confu-,

Sinks die lost actor in the lawdry load.

Booth enters-hark! the universal peal! Lion, with the prettiest smirk imaginable on the But has le spuken-Not a syllable.prished side of her face, pale as ashes on the other. What shook the stage, and made the people stare?

Cato's long wig, flow's'd gown, and lacquer'd chair. Honeycomb seized all her gallypots and washes, ad carried off his handkerchiet full of brushes, *aps of Spanisi wool, and phials of unguents. ABISTOTLE has observed, that ordinary writers in i se lady went into the country, the lover was tragedy endeavour to raise terror and pity in their cured.

audience, not by propersentiments and expressions, It is certain no faith ought to be kept with but by the dresses and decorations of the stage. beats

, and an oath made to a Pict is of itself There is something of this kind very ridiculous in 1. I would therefore exhort all the British la- the English theatre. When the author has a mind es to single them out, nor do I know any but to terrify us, it thunders; when he would make us

amra who should be exempt from discovery: melancholy, the stage is darkened. But among all vi her own complexion is so delicate, that she our tragic artifices, I am the most offended at those gut to be allowed the covering it with paint, as which are made use of to inspire us with magnifi. punishment for choosing to be the worse piece cent ideas of the persons that speak. The ordinary

art extant, instead of the masterpiece of nature. method of making an hero, is to clap a huge plume soor my part, who have no expectations from of feathers upon his head, which rises so very high, en, and consider them only as they are part that there is often a greater length from his chin to the species, I do not half so much fear offending the top of his head, than to the sole of his foot. culty, as a woman of sense; I shall therefore One would believe, that we thought a great man cuce several faces which have been in public and a tall man the same thing. This very much se many years, and never appeared. It will be embarrasses the actor, who is forced to hold his very pretty entertainment in the playhouse, neck catremely stiff and steady all the while he ea I have abolished this custom) to see so many speaks; and notwithstanding any anxieties which rs, when they first lay it down, incog. in their he pretends for his mistress, his country, or his afaces.

friends, one may see by his action, that his greatest i the mean time, as a pattern for improving care and concern is to keep the plume of feathers Fir charms, let the sexstudy the agreeable Statira from falling off his head. For my own part, when s teatures are enlivened with the cheerfulness I see a man uttering his complaints under such a in mind, and good-humour gives an alacrity to mountain of feathers, I am apt to look upon him eyes. She is graceful without affecting an air, rather as an unfortunate lunatic, than a distressed unconcerned without appearing careless. Her hero. As these superfluous ornaments upon the ng no manner of art in her mind, makes her bead make a great man, a princess generally re.

ceives her grandeur from those additional encumEuw like is this lady, and how unlike is a Pict, brances that fall into her tail : 1 mean the broad at description Dr. Donne gives of his mis-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 advan-Ker pure and eloquent blood Spoke in her cheeks, and so distinctly wrought,

tage. I do not know how others are affected at That one would almost say her body thought.'

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 ang gentlewoman of about nineteen years of age

speaks, as the right adjusting of her train, lest it in the family of a person of quality, lately de should chance to trip up her heels, or incommode

who paints the finest flesh-colour, wants a place, her, as she walks to and fro upon the stage. It is, Ein be heard of at the house of Mynheer Grotesque,

in my opinion, a very odd spectacle, to see a queen - painter, in Barbican.

venting her passion in a disordered motion, and a B. She is also well-skilled in the drapery part,

little boy taking care all the while that they do. " on hoods and mises ribbons so as to suit the not ruffle the tail of her gown. The parts that the of the face with great art and success.

two persons act on the stage at the same time are R.

very different. The princess is afraid lest she

should incur the displeasure of the king her father, is not the fact. The verses were written on Miss Eliza. or lose the hero her lover, whilst her attendant is Drury-lane Donne and his family had apartments. This in her petticoat,

daughter of Dounes patrun, Sir Robert D). at whose only concerned lest she should entangle her feet tsoonig lady (who was said to have been the intended Elutos Jaunes's eldest son Prince Henry) died in 1910, in her

We are told that an ancient tragic poet, to move the pity of his audience for his exiled kings


'none in her person.



VIRG. Æn, vi, 852.



at the bottom of it. At least my own private let hk)

ters leave room for a politician, well versed in the

and distressed heroes,used to make the actors repre-
sent them in dresses and clothes that were thread.
bare and decayed. This artifice for moving pity, N° 43. THURSDAY, APRIL 19, 1711
seems as ill contrived as that we have been speak.
ing of to inspire us with a great idea of the per-

tibi erunt artes ; pacisque imponere morem,
sons introduced upon the stage. In short, I would Parcere subjectis, et debellare superbos.
have our conceptions raised by the dignity of
thought and sublimity of expression, rather than Be these thy arts; to bid contention cease,
by a train of robes or a plume of feathers.

Chain up stern wars, and give ihe nations peace; Another mechanical method of making great

O'er subject lands extend thy gentle sway, men, and adding dignity to kings and queens, is to

And teach with iron rod the hauglity to obey. accompany them with halberts and battle-axes. THERE are crowds of men, whose great misfortune Two or three shifters of scenes, with the two can. it is that they were not bound to mechanic arts or dle-snuffers, make up a complete body of guards trades; it being absolutely necessary for them to upon the English stage; and by the addition of a be led by some continual task or employment. few porters dressed in red coats, can represent These are such as we commonly call dull fellows; above a dozen legions. I have sometimes seen a persons, who, for want of something to do, out of a couple of armies drawn up together upon the stage, certain vacancy of thought, rather than curiosity, when the poet has been disposed to do honour to are ever meddling with things for which they are his generals. It is impossible for the reader's ima- unfit. I cannot give you a notion of them better, gination to multiply twenty men into such prodi-than by presenting you with a letter from a gen. gious multitudes, or to fancy that two or three teman, who belongs to a society of this order of. hundred thousand soldiers are fighting in a roon men, residing at Oxford. of forty or fifty yards in compass. Incidents of such a nature should be told, not represented.

'Oxford, April 13, 1711,

Four o'clock in the morning. Non tamen intus Digna geri promes in scenam : mull aque tolles

'In some of your late speculations, I found some Ex oculis, quos mor narret facundia præsens.

sketches towards an history of clubs: but you seem

HOR. Aus Poet, ver, 182. to me to show them in somewhat too ludicrous a • Yet there are things improper for a scene,

light. I have well weighed that matter, and think, Which men of judgment only will relate.'

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 I should, therefore, in this particular, recommend are equally concerned for) propose an institution to my countrymen the example of the French of that nature for example sake. stage, where the kings and queens always appear

. I must confess the design and transactions of unattended, and leave their guards behind the too many clubs are trifling, and manifestly of no scenes. I should likewise be glad if we imitated consequence to the nation or public weal. Those I the French in banishing from our stage the noise

will give you up. But you must do me then the of drums, trumpets, and huzzas; which is some. laudable, than the scheme we go upon. To avoid

justice to own, that nothing can be more useful or times so very great, that when there is a battle in

nicknames and witticisms, we call ourselves The the Haymarket theatre, one may hear it as far as Charing.cross.

Hebdomadal Meeting Our president continues I have here only touched upon those particulars

for a year at least, and sometimes four or five; we which are made use of to raise and aggrandize the are all grave, serious, designing men in our way, we

think it our duty, as far as in us lies, to take care persons of a tragedy; and shall show in another paper the several expedients which are practised

the constitution receives no harm-Ne quid detri. by authors of a vulgar genius to move terror, pity, facts, persons or things, which we do not like; to

menti res capiat publicaTo censure doctrines or or admiration, in their hearers. The tailor and the painter often contribute to abroad, where and in what manner we see fit. If

settle the nation at home, and carry on the war the success of a tragedy, more than the poet. other people are not of our opinion, we cannot Scenes affect ordinary minds as much as speeches ;

Moreover and our actors are very sensible, that a well dress. help that. It were better they were ed play has sometimes brought them as full au

we now and then condescend to direct, in some diences as a well-written one. The Italians have measure, the little affairs of our own university. a very good phrase to express this art of imposing at the act for importing French wines. A bottle

Verily, Mr. Spectator, we are much offended upon the spectators by appearances; they call it the 'Fourberie della scena, 'The knavery, or trick or two of good solid edifying port, at honest ish part of the drama.' But however the show and George's, made a night cheerful, and threw off reoutside of the tragedy may work upon the vulgar, cost us more money, but do us less good.

serve. But this plaguy French claret will not only one

Had wc the more understanding part of tlie audience im- been aware of it, before it had gone too far, mediately see through it, and despise it. A good poet will give the reader a more lively

must tell you, we would have petitioned to be heard idea of an army or a battle in a description, than upon that subject. But let that pass. if he actually saw them drawn up in squadrons and look upon a certain northern prince's march, in

I must let you know likewise, good sir, that we battalions, or engaged in the confusion of a fight. conjunction with


, to be palpably against and inflamed with glorious sentiments, by what the our

good-will and liking; and, for all Monsieur

Palmquist, a most dangerous innovation ; and we actor speaks, more than by what he appears. Can

are by no means yet sure, that some people are not all the trappings of equipage of a king or hero, give Brutus half that pomp and

majesty which he receives from a few lines in Shakspeare?

matters of this nature, to suspect as much, as a C. penetrating friend of mine tells me.

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“We think that we have at last done the busi- Here, if the poet* had not been vivacious, as ness with the malcontents in Hungary, and shall well as stupid, he could not, in the warmth and clap up a peace there.

hurry of nonsense, have been capable of forgetting What the neutrality army is to do, or what the that neither Prince Voltager, nor his grandfather, army in Flanders, and what two or three other could strip a naked man of his doublet; but a fool princes

, is not yet fully determined among us; and of a colder constitution would have staid to have we wait impatiently for the coming in of the next lead the Pict, and made buff of his skin, for the Dyer's, who you must know is our authentic intel. wearing of the conqueror. ligence, our Aristotle in politics. And indeed it is To bring these observations to some useful purbat fit there should be some dernier resort, the puse of life, what I would propose should be, that absolute decider of all controversies.

we imitated those wise nations, wherein every man 'We were lately informed that the gallant train- learns some handicraft-work. Would it not emcd-bands had patrolled all night long about the ploy a beau, prettily enough, if, instead of eterstreets of London. We indeed could not imagine nally playing with a snuff box, he spent some part any occasion for it, we guessed not a tittle on it of his time in making one? Such a method as this

forehand, we were in nothing of the secret; and would very much conduce to the public emolu. = 'a: city tradesmen, or their apprentices, should ment, by making every man living good for some.

? duty or work during the holidays, we thought thing; for there would then be no one member of Esolutely impossible. But Iyer being positive in human society, but would have some little preten6 and some letters from other people, who had sion for some degree in it; like him who came to a ked with some who had it from those who should Will's coffee-house, upon the merit of having writ Ecow, giving some countenance to it, the chairman a posy of a ring. Torted from the committee appointed to examine

R. sto that affair, that it was possible there might be mething in it. I have much more to say to you, !! my two good friends and neighbours, Dominic N° 44. FRIDAY, APRIL 20, 1711. =;) slyboots, are just come in, and the coffee is edy. Tam, in the mean time,

Tu, quid ego et populus mecum decideret, audi. * Mr. Spectator,

HOR. Ars Poet. ver. 153. • Your admirer and humble servant, 'ABRAHAM Fnorh.'

Now hear what ev'ry auditor expects.

ROSCOMMON, Fou may observe the turn of their minds tends Among the several artifices which are put in prac- v to novelty, and not satisfaction in any thing. tice by the poets to fill the minds of an audience

Aould be disappointment to them, to come to with térror, 'the first place is due to thunder and etainty in any thing, for that would gravel them lightning, which are often made use of at the de. Es do not make for information, but for exercise. scending of a god, or the rising of a ghost, at the

vanishing of a devil, or at the death of a tyrant. I = not know but this may be a very good way of have known a bell introduced into several trageaunting for what we frequently see, to wit, that dies with good effect; and have seen the whole ! fellows prove very good men of business. * 'ness relieves them from their own natural assembly in a very great alarm all the while it has

been ringing. But there is nothing which delights viness, by furnishing them with what to do ; and terrifies our English theatre so much as a reas business to mercurial men, is an interrup-ghost, especially when he appears in a bloody from their real existence and happiness.

shirt. A spectre bas very often saved a play, ish the dull part of mankind are barmless in

ugh he has done nothing but stalked across the Tamisements, it were to be wished they had sant time, because they usually undertake stage, or rose through a cleft of it, and sunk again

without speaking one word. There may be a pro. ething that makes their wants conspicuous, by

per season for these several terrors; and when manner of supplying them. You shall seldom they only come in as aids and assistances to the a dull fellow of good education, but, if he hap- poet, they are not only to be excused, but to be to have any leisure upon his hands, will turn ed to one of those two amusements for all Venice Preserved, makes the hearts of the whole

applauded. Thus the sounding of the clock in of eminence, politics or poetry. The former audience quake; and conveys a stronger terror to Ese arts is the study of all dull people in ge. the mind than it is possible for words to do. The

: but when dulness is lodged in a person of ok animal life, it generally exerts itself in appearance of the ghost in Hamlet is a master

One might here mention a few military piece in its kind, and wrought up with all the cir. s, who give great entertainment to the age,

cumstances that can create either attention or horson that the stupidity of their heads is quick

The mind of the reader is wonderfully prethe alacrity of their hearts. This constipared for his reception by the discourses that prein a dull fellow, gives vigour to nonsense, strikes the imagination very strongly; but every

cede it. His dumb behaviour at his first entrance akes the puddle boil, which would otherwise time he enters, he is still more terrifying. Who te. The British Prince, that celebrated which was written in the reign of King

can read the speech with which young Hamlet acthe Second, and deservedly called hy the costs him, without trembling? that age incomparable, was the effect of Hor. Look, my Lord, it comes ! nhappy genius as we are speaking of. From

* Hom. Angels and ministers of grace defend us ! many other distichs no less to be quoted on

Be thou a spirit of health, or goblin damnd;
Count, I cannot but recite the two following

Bring with thee airs from heav'o.or blasts from hell;
Be thy events † wicked or charitable;

Thou com'st in such a questionable shape
A painted vest Prince Voltager had on,

That I will speak to thee. I'll call thee Hamlet,
Which from a naked Pict his grandsire won.'

• The Hon. Edward Howard. See Tat. No. 21,
+ See No. 536, Letter I.
| Advents; comings or visits."


• See Nos. 222 and 469.

King, Father, Royal Dane. Oh! answer me.

height of his passion and resentment kills her. If
Let me not burst in ignorance; but tell
Why thy canoniz'd bones, hears'd in death,

any thing could extenuate so brutal an action, it
Have burst their cearments? Why the sepulchre, would be the doing of it on a sudden, before the
Wherein we saw thee quietly inurn'd,
Hath op'd his ponderous and marble jaws

sentiments of nature, reason, or manbood, could To cast thee up again? What may chis mean?

take place in him. However, to avoid public That thou dead corse again in complete steel

bloodshed, as soon as his passion is wrought to its Revisit'st thus the glimpses of the moon, Making night hideous ?

beight, he follows his sister the whole length of the

stage, and forbears killing her till they are both I do not therefore find fault with the artifices above withdrawn behind the scenes. I must confess, had mentioned, when they are introduced with skill, he murdered her before the audience, the inde. and accompanied by proportionable sentiments and cency might have been greater; but as it is, it ap. expressions in the writing.

pears very unnatural, and looks like killing in cold For the moving of pity, our principal machine blood. To give my opinion upon this case, the fact is the handkerchief; and indeed in our common ought not to have been represented, but to have tragedies, we should not know very often that the been told, if there was any occasion for it. persons are in distress by any thing they say, if It may not be unacceptable to the reader to sec they did not from time to time apply their hand.how Sophocles has conducted a tragedy under the kerchiefs to their eyes. Far be it from me to think like delicate circumstances. Orestes was in the of banishing this instrument of sorrow from the same condition with Hamlet in Shakspeare, his stage; I know a tragedy could not subsist without mother having murdered his fatlıer, and tirken, it: all that I would contend for, is to keep it from possession of his kingdom in conspiracy with her being misapplied. In a word, I would have the adulterer. That young prince therefore, being de. actor's tongue sympathize with his eyes. termined to revenge his father's death upon

those A disconsolate mother, with a child in her hand, who filled his throne, conveys himself by a beautihas frequently drawn compassion from the audi- ful stratagem into his mother's apartment, with a ence, and has therefore gained a place in several resolution to kill her. But because such a spectacle wanabe tragedies. A modern writer, that observed how would have been too shocking to the audience, this this had took in other plays, being resolved to dreadful resolution is executed behind the scenes: double the distress, and melt his audience twice the mother is heard calling out to her son for as much as those before him had done, brought a mercy; and the son answering her that she showprincess upon the stage with a little boy in one ed no mercy to his father; after which she shrieks hand, and a girl in the other. This too had a very out that she is wounded, and by what follows we good effect. A third poet being resolved to out- find that she is slain. I do not remember that in write all his predecessors, a few years ago intro- any of our plays there are speeches made behind duced three children with great success: and, as the scenes, though there are other instances of this am informed, a young gentleman who is fully de nature to be met with in those of the ancients: termined to break the most obdurate hearts, has a and I believe my reader will agree with me, that tragedy by him, where the first person that appears there is something infinitely more affecting in this upon the stage is an afflicted widow in her mourn- dreadful dialogue between the mother and her ing weeds, with half a dozen fatherless children son behind the scenes, than could have been in any attending her, like those that usually hang about thing transacted before the audience. Orestes the figure of Charity. Thus several incidents that immediately after meets the usurper at the en. are beautiful in a good writer, become ridiculous trance of his palace ; and by a very happy thought by falling into the bands of a bad one.

of the poet avoids killing him before the audience, But among all our methods of moving pity or by telling him that he should live some time in his terror, there is none so absurd and barbarous, and present bitterness of soul before he would dispatch

what more exposes us to the contempt and ridicule him, and by ordering him to retire into that part ? of our neighbours, tban that dreadful butchering of the palace where he had slain bis father, whose

of one another, which is very frequent upon the murder he would revenge in the very same place English stage. To delight in seeing men stabbed, where it was committed. By this means the poet probeer poisoned, racked, or impaled, is certainly the sign observes that decency, which Horace afterwards of a cruel temper: and as this is often practised established as a rule, of forbearing to commit parbefore the British audience, several French cri- ricides or unnatural murders before the audience. tics, who think these are grateful spectacles to us, • Nec coram populo nalos Medea crucida.' take occasion from them to represent us as a peo. ple that delight in blood. It is indeed very odd, • Let not Medea draw her murd'ring knife, to see our stage strewed with carcasses in the last And spill her children's blood upon the stage scenes of a tragedy; and to observe in the ward. robe of the playhouse several daggers, poniards, The French have therefore refined too much upon wheels, bowls for poison, and many other instru. Horace's rule, who never designed to banish all ments of death. Murders and executions are al kinds of death from the stage ; but only such as ways transacted behind the scenes in the French had too much horror in them, and which would theatre ; which in general is very agreeable to the have a better effect upon the audience when transmanners of a polite and civilized people: but as acted behind the scenes. I would therefore recomthere are no exceptions to this rule on the French mend to my countrymen the practice of the anstage, it leads them into absurdities almost as ridi. cient poets; who were very sparing of their public culous as that which falls under our present cen. executions, and rather chose to perform them besure. I remember in the famous play of Corneille, hind the scenes, if it could be done with as great written upon the subject of the Horatii and Curi- an effect upon the audience. At the same time, atii; the fierce young

hero, who had overcome the must observe, that though the devoted persons of Curiatii one after another (instead of being con- the tragedy were seldom slain before the audience, gratulated by his sister for his victory, being up which has generally something ridiculous in it, braided by her for having slain her lover), in the their bodies were often produced after their death,

Ars Poet. ver. 185.

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