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ard III, or Macbeth? The scene in which appears astonishing to us, was not one of them begins in Delphi, and con- only justifiable on this principle, but absoclades al Athens ; this surely violates lutely essential ; and far from considering the unity of place; and that which be-them in the light of a last resource, the gins with the taking of Troy, and passes
Greeks would with justice bave considered
as a last resource the being obliged to over a sea-voyage äs swiftly as a sea
allow a player with vulgar, ignoble, or voyage is passed over in Othello, equally strongly marked individual features, to reviolates the unity of time. In the mean present an Apollo or a Hercules. To them while the subject preserves its wuity; this would have appeared downright proand quite as much in the modern tra- fantion). gedy as in the antient; since, probably, Now, this is partly true; and comthe spectators, after having seen one bines with the idea, that the appearpiéce, went away during the interval, ances of the gods on the stage, were and followed their inclinations, till the
mere appearances, and were so undersucceeding piece was announced. stood. The deities could assume what
It does not follow, that we allow the shape they pleased; but in the Greek Poet an unlimited privilege of transport- tragedies they retained their characteing us, at his pleasure, from place to ristic lineaments, (always exempt from place, in an instant. A scene in Bri- passion and suffering) though the spectain shifted to a scene in Rome, and iator was at liberty to think them inagain shifted, in a moment, to Britain, substantial. The forms of masks for is not to be endured. This is licen- human characters, which were to shew tiousness, not liberty ; it cannot be pre-greater susceptibility of feeling, are pared for, as it ought to be; and to more embarrassing. The lecturer praises censure, on this account, Shakespeare the artists of Athens, who were, howmust continue liable.
ever, cautious in forming likenesses of M. Schlegel has done his best to ren- great men, for satirical comedy: Arisder the form and arrangement of the tophanes could find uo workman who Grecian staye intelligible; but, for want would take off Creon. The art of maskof a delineation, his labours terminate making is not wholly unknown in Italy : in darkness visible. We consider our for, says our author s-lves as being pretty much at home on We have obtained a knowledge of the the subject; yei dare not affirm, that masks from the imitations in stone which we fully understand him. His explana- have come down to us. They display both tions of the causes for the use of masks beauty and variety. That great variety among the antients, are among the best partment (in the comic, we can have 1:0
must have taken place in the tragical dewe have seen ; but, by what inadver- doubt about the matter) is evident from the ience he could forget the whole suite of rich store of technical expressions in the tasks, with the other theatrical accom Greek language for every gradation of the paniments in the volumes containing the aye, and character of masks. See the OnoAntiquities found at Herculaneum, ex- masticon of Jol. Poilux. In the marble ceeds our coniprehension. They would masks, however, we can neither see the have furnished wuch illustration, gene-thinness of the mass from which the real rally; and of some things, in parti- colouring, nor the exquisite mechanism of
masks were executed, the more delicate cular. Nor would it have been usworthy the joinings. The abundance of excell at of him to bave binted, at least, at the workmen possessed by Athens, in every tickets for admission, (though a humble thing which had a reference to the plastic subjeet) which he would have found in arts, will warrant the conjecture that they iha! important work,
were in this respect inimitable. Those As this subject--Masks is among the, who have seen the masks of wax in the most obscure to modern readers, we grand stile, which in some degree contain shall admit an extract or two, which
the whole head, lately contrived at the Ro. may assist in illustrating it.
man carnival, may form to themselves a
pretty good idea of the theatrical masks of The fidelity of the representation was ihe ancients. They imitate life even to its less their object than its beauty; with us it novements in a most masterly manner, and *exactly the reverse. The use of masks, at such a distance as that from which the
ancient players were seen, the deception is from which he steps at once to the Itamost perfect. They always contain the lian, to Tasso and Guarini, to Metasapple of the eye, as we see it in the ancient tasio and Alfieri. The French stage he masks, and the person covered sees merely treats rather roughly: the rules by through the aperture left for the iris. The
vihich it has been guided, he exposes, ancients must have gone still farther, and contrived also an iris for the masks, accord- as founded on mistakes of Greek prining to the anecdote of the singer Thamyris, ciples; and the great Voltaire dwindles who, in a piece which was probably of under his crushing band to a mere malSophocles, made bis appearance with a blue kin of antient learning. The costume of and a black eye. Even accidental circum- the former French school he ridicules : istances were imitated; for instance, the cheeks of Tyro, down which the blood had
Let us hear the description of Voltaire of rolled from the cruel conduct of his step his discourse to Cinna and Maximus in the
the manner in which Augustus delivered mother. The head from the mask must no
Augusius entered doubt have appeared somewhat large for time of Louis XIV. the rest of the figure; but this dispropor- with the step of a braggadocio, his head
covered with a four-cornered tion, in tragedy at least, would not be
peruque perceived from the elevation of the cothur- which hung down to his girdle; the pe
ruque was stuck full of laurel leaves, and
above this he wore a large hat with a double The Grecian mythology was a web of row of red feathers. He seated himself on local and national traditions: and the a huge easy chair with two steps, Cinna Poets had much the same advantage in and Maximus on two small chairs; and the treating the appearance of superuatural pompous declamation fully corresponded to beings, as Shakespeare had' in intro- he ostentatious manner in which be made ducing his fairies. The public voire his appearance. As at that time, and even allowed there were, or had been, such long afterwards, tragedies were acted in the
newest fashioned court dress, with large beings, and that they had visited, and cravats, swords, and hats, no other moveprobably still did visit, this lower world; ments were practicable but such as were their feats, too, were preserved by a po- allowable in an anti-chamber, or, at most, pular persuasion, just strong enough to a slight waving of the hand; and it was ensure the Poet a balance in his favour. even considered a bold theatrical attempt, Of this he took advantage; and, pro- wben, in the last scene of Polyeucte, Sevevided he kept within the bounds of pru
rus entered with his hat on his head for the dence, all was well,
purpose of accusing Felix of treachery, and
the latter listened to him with his hat under lities, also, were carefully studied : be
his arm. fore an Athenian andience, Athens was
The costume of the English stage kept praised to the skies; before an English audience, the popularity of Queen Eliza
even pace with that of the French. Ad.
dison's Cato made his appearance in a beth protected from severity, one of the
full-bottom boldest adventures of the stage, in the
peruque of enormous dimen. play of Henry VIII. The music, and sions, flowing down below his Roman the dancing, were religious, on the girdle ; while his daughter spread her Greek theatre; not so, on the modern hoop across the stage, and in the dy
ing scene attended her father, who in a is now different; but pomp
fashionable Banian robe, died comme il whether it is more affecting, may be doubted. The Comedy of Greece was
fuut, in an easy chair of the newest
taste and construction. But our author certainly too personal: Mr. S. has at
does not coufine bis censures to times tempted to justify Aristophanes; but, the attempt cannot be thought successful past : he even ventures to criticise the
French players,-the present French his object was any thing, but patriotic
players, with all thir improvements. and virtuous, We cannot follow this writer through
I have found occasionally, even in the the whole of his work; but must con
action of the very best players of the present tout ourselves with reporting, that he al-day, sudden leaps from the measured so Justs six lectures to the Grecian stage, which the general tone of the composition
lemnity in recitation and gesticulation and dramatic writers :-His reference required, to a boisterousness of passion abto the Rowan theatre is very succinct; solutely convulsive, without any due pro
paration or softening by intervening gra- of his partiality for the British Bard. dations. They are led to this by a sort of the following passage may be quoted: obscure feeling, that theconventional forms of poetry generally impede the movements
Shakspeare's comic talent is equally of nature; when the poet any where leaves wonderful with that which he has shown them at liberty they then indemnify them in ihre pathetic and tragic: it stands on an selves for the former constraint, and load, equal elevation, and possesses equal extent as it were, this rare moment of abandon and profundity; all that I before wished ment with the whole amount of life and
was, not to admit that the former preponanimation which had been kept back, and derated. He is bighly invective in comic which ought to have been equally diffissed situations and motives : it will be hardly over the whole. Hence their convulsive possible to shew whence tie has taken any and obstreperous violence. In bravura thes of them; whereas in the serious part of his take care not to be deficient; but they fre
dramas he has generally laid hold of somequently lose sight of the true spirit of the thing already known. His comic characcompositioii. Tu general, they consider teriza ion is equally true, various, and protheir parts as a sort of mosaic work of bril
found with his serious. So little is he disliant passages (with the single exception of posed to caricature, that we may rather the powerful Talma), and they rather en.
szy many of his traits are almost too nice deavour to make the most of each separate and delicate for the stage, that they can be passage, independently of the rest, than to only properly seized hy a great actor, and go back to the invisible central point of the folly understood by a very acute audience. character, and to consider the whole of the Not only has hie delineated many kinds of expressions as so many emanations from folly, he has also contrived 10 exhibit more that point. They are always afraid of no- stupidity in a most diverting and enterderdoing their parts; and hence they are
taining manner. There is also a peculiar worse qualified for reserved action, for elo species of the farcica! to be found in lijs quent silence, where,under an appearance of pieces, which seems to us to be introduced outward tranquillity, the most hidden emo
in a more arbi'rary manner, but which, tions of the mind are betrayed. However, however, is founded in imitation of actual this is a part wbich is seldum imposed on
custom, This is the introduction of the them by their poets; and if the cause of the buffoon; the fool with his cap aud motly above excessive violence in the expression dress
, called in English, Cloun, who apof passion is not to be found in their works, pears in several comedies, though not in they at all events occasion the actor to lay all, but in Lear alone of the tragedies, and
who greater stress on superficial brilliancy than
generally exercises his wit merely in on a profound knowledge of character.
conversation with the principal persons,
though he is also sometimes incorporated After perusing this passage, can the with the action. lu those times it was not reader wonder at the universal combi-only usual for princes to keep court fools, gation of the French journals against but in many distinguished fimilies they reMr. Schlegel? What! dispute the rained, along with other servants, such an taste of the Great Nation !
exhijerating house-mate as a good antidote they wish him, as Voltaire wished all of ordinary life, as a welcome interruption
against the insipidity and wearisomeness German critics, “ more wit, with fewer of established formalities. Great men, and consonants."
even churchmen, did not consider it beTo the Comedy and Comedians of neath their dignity to recruit and solace
themselves after important concerns with France, the author does full justice; the couversation of their fools; the cek and it must be acknowledged, that they brated sir Thomas More had bis fool play these pieces with a gentility, an painted along with himself by Holbein. ease, a vivacity, and an apparent pler- Shakspeare appears to have lived immesure, which captivates the spectator. diately before the time when the custom This is the natural disposition of the began to be abolished ; in the English people; and is strongly aided by the comic authors who succeeded him the force of a long continued study and dis
clown is no longer to be found. The discipline, to which the actors of few (if missal of the fool has been extolled as a
proof of refinement ; and our honest foreany) other nations can bring themselves fathers have been pitied for taking delight to submit. After all, however, Mr. in such a coarse and farcical entertainment. 8. seems to recur to Shakespeare I am much rather however disposed to bewith peculiar pleasure. As an instance lieve, that the practice was dropped from
the difficulty in finding fools able to do full fication of errors : good sense and sujustice to their parts : on the other hand, perior information should guide, should reason, with all its conceit of itself, has be- controul; and these will always be supcome too timid to tolerate such bold irony; it is always careful lest the mautie.of it's ported by an enlightened public. It is gravity should be disturbed in any of its true, indeed, that some reformations have foids ; aud rather than allow a privileged
been made ; that the dissoluteness of place to folly beside itself, it has uncon
the scene as exhibited formerly, would sciously assumed the part of the ridicu- not be endured by a modern audience; lous; but, alas! a heavy and cheerless riyet all confess, that much reinains 10 dicule.
be done, to satisfy the judicious; and From these remarks, the reader will to render this branch of public annuseperceive that Mr. S. had taken pains to meut such as Mr. Schlegel, with all make himself master of the leading friends to truth, nature, morality, and points in Shakespeare's History. Had patriousm, would wish it. he consulted Mr. Douce's Essay on the Clowns of Shakespeare, he might greatly have enriched his observitions, as Histoire de l'Origine, des Progres, et well by accurary, as by completeness, de la Décudenci vis Diverses Fuctions, &c.
An examination, seriuim, of Shakes Histoi y of the Origin, Progress, and Despeare's dramas which follow these re cay of the Several Factions which agimarks, must be taken, as proof, that tated France from July 14, 1789, to the the audience to which these Lectures Abdication of Napoleoni. By Joseph were delivered, were more or less, ac
Lavaliér. 3 Vols. 810. Price 1. 7s. quainted with the English Pori: and
Murray, London. 1816. this, in its turn, príves ihat such must be the fashion in Germany. Dryden N. Lavallée observes, justly enough, is lowered by Mr. S. almost to pity, that foreign nations, England included, The present state of the English Drame could not see the factions which agiaffords boi few remarks. The Spanish tated France, truly, through the mestage succeeds: and the German coses dium of these documents, which the the series, with the bope of real im- rulers of those factions published: ,while proveinenis and brilir unes.
the sufferings of all the neighbouring These Lectures must be considered as nations, with their natural consequences, addressed--as
--as they really were-10 a a bad prism, through which to German audience: we cannot recom- contemplate the French nation during mend them as inodels in every part to a
those turbulent times. There ought similar course addressed to an English to he, uvdoubtedly, some distinction audience. There are many things known made, bet veen the pation, and that among us, which are not known in Ger-soi-disant representative of it, Paris, many; on the other hand, there are, yo which was the seat, or at least, the cendoubt, many prejudices, and many feel- tre, of those atrocities which degraded ings, popular in Germany, which are France, in the eyes of lutegrity and peculiar to that country. These colla Honour. But, after all, the people must tribute to establish essential differences, take their share of the blame ; had they differences to be well considered, and been virtuous, they had not been plagued regulated or waived, with great discre- so deeply and so desperately. tion.
Our judgment on the more remote It is but just that what the public causes of the French Revolution is well pay for, they should receive with as known : they had been long brooding ;, much advantage as possible. Every de- they dated far back ; they combined, partment of art has its rules : to violate and burst out at a favourable moment, those rules is, to treat the public with when the spirits of the nation were agicontempt; for, among a mixed audience tated; but, they had their origin in the there will always be some who under-ill-advised measures of Louis XIV. in stand proprieties suficiently well. It is the hicentiousness of the Regency, no Bot enough to plead precedent in justi- less than in the extravagance and dis
solutess of Louis XV. and, in that blan- | If the Public Officer to whom that most der in Politics, the American War.- important concern, the care of ihe NaThis is partly the opinion of the author; / tional Finances, was entrusted, were fit though he takes another view of the for his office, he was fit for it iudepensubject.
dent of this trifling jeu d'esprit, and A man who was a party to some of ought to have been maintained in bis the transactions of the times, and who place, accordingly: if his powers were saw the maddest of them, from the unequal to the burden of his place; it window of his official apartment, if not was injustice to the state to continue him closer, is likely enough to be acquainted in office, by whatever arts, and tricks of with many anecdotes ; and to recollect another nature, he might recommend many observations made by himself, and himself
. He was not Coach-maker geothers. This is the principal merit of neral, but comptroleur Genteral. these volumes. They record some facts, M. de Calonge, in whose hands the pot known to all the world; but also finances now were, was not liked by the others, and those the major part, which king ; but he possesed the great art of inare not distinguished by novelty, or by Nuencing the Queen, furnishing funds for
ber completeness : the narrator hints at expences, without closely examining them; but does not know them tho-them, and playing off a multitude of those roughly.
lively gallantries of which men in public
life kuow so well how to avail themselves, We presume that the writer of this to establish their credit. If kings are not work was not the Editor of it: as a always proof against these fascinations, native of France, he must have correct their success is more certain among queens; ed much of the style in revising it, with for this single reason, that queens are femany of the press errors, which give of the journey to Fontainebleau, a period
males. Thus, for instance, in expectation pain to the reader. From some pas usually marked by the fall of soine minisages, we judge favourably of his ta- ster, and foreseeing the possibility that the lents; others seem to be injured by king might demand his portfolio from haste, or negligence; they are mere him, the wily courtier prepared his procurrent composition. Weshall not, there-ject, and in the most profound secrecy, fore, attempt to analyse the perform- waited the event of his scheme, to parry ance, but shall describe it as a History of off the blow. The journey took place; a section of the French Revolution, pro
and the dismission of M. de Calone was per to be known; but, not equal to what whispered by every body. The minister's
serenity never forsook him; and one moru. might be expected froin an Actor really admitird behind the scenes.
ing he obtained an interview with the
As the chief ose
queen, under pretence of official business, to be derived from these
After a conversation of some minutes. pages, is that of enlarging our know- dismissing his ministerial gravity, well preledge of the French character, we shall served, to the moment, he assumed a datdo little more than translate a few ex- tering smile, by which he well knew how tracts, which may assist our endeavours to apimate his countenance, on occasion. for that purpose. It is of minor import,
Madam, said he, I have a favour to beg of at the present moment, to become ar
your Majesty.—What is that?--It is, to be quaiuted with the past, as a matter of Dauphin, of a trifling toy, which may
allowed to make a present to Monsieur le History ; but, if it enable us to form a afford that august child a moment's amusebetter judgment on the present, or to ment. The Queen, knowing M. de Cacombine more rational probabilities into lonne's ivgenuity, began to laugh. Very our conjectures on the future, it per- readily, said she; let us see this toy.--I am forms an office at once valuable and sa- quite shaned of my importunity, but in lutary: the Historian lays us under an order to see it your Majesty will condesobligation, and we derive po inconsi- cend to step as far as the balcony. The derable benefit from his labours,
windows are open. The Queen advances
towards them: What does she see? A To what puerilities the statesmen of little coach, of the most elegant form, enFrance were reduced, we may learu riched with the most valuable paintings, from ao anecdote, which very strongly drawn by eight ponies of the smallest size, parks the state of the French Court. and perfectly well malched, driven by