페이지 이미지
PDF
ePub

N° V. TUESDAY, MARCH 6.

STICTATUM ADMISSI RISUM TENIATIS?

Hor. Ars POETVER. 5. ADMITTED TO THE SIGHT, WOU'D YOU NOT LAUGH?

N Opera may be allowed to be ex • end of the firit act, and to fly about

• the stage.' tions, as it's only design is to gratify the This itrange dialogue awakened my senses, and keep up an indolent attention curiosity lo far, that I immediately in the audience. Common fente how. bought the opera, by which means I ever requires, that there should be no. perceived ihat the sparrows were to act thing in the scenes and machines which the part of singing birds in a delightful may appear childish and absurd. How grove; though upon a nearer enquiry I would the wits of King Charles's time found the sparrows put the same trick bave laughed to have seen Nicolini ex upon the audience, that Sir Martin Marposed to a tempest in robes of ermine, all practised upon his mistress; for and failing in an open boat upon a sea though they fiew in light, the music of pasteboard? What a field of raillery proceeded from a consort of fagelets would they have been let into, had they and birds-calls which were planted bebeen entertained with painted dragons hind the scenes. At the same time I Spitting wild-fire, enchanted chariots made this discovery, I found by the drawn by Flanders mares, and i'calcat. discourse of the actors, that there were cades in artificial landskips? A little great designs on foot for the improvement kill in criticism would inform us, that of the opera; that it had been proposed Thadows and realities ought not to be to break down a part of the wall, and mixed together in the saine piece; and, to surprise the audience with a party of that the scenes which are designed as the an hundred horse; and that there was representations of nature, fiould be filled actually a project of bringing the New with resemblances, and not with the River into the house, to be einployed in things themselves. If one would repre jetteaus and water-works. This profent a wide champain country filled with jeet, as I have since beard, is postponed herds and flocks, it would be ridiculous till the summer season; when it is thought to draw the country only upon the the coolness that proceeds from founscenes, and to croud several parts of the tains and cascades will be more accept. Stage with theep and oxen. This is able and refreshing to people of quality, joining together inconsistencies, and In the mean time, to find out a more making the decoration partly real and agreeable entertainment for the winter partly imaginary. I would recommend season, the opera of Rinaldo is filled what I have said here to the directors, with thunder and lightning, illuminaas well as to the adınirers of our mo tions and fire-works; which the audience

may look upon without catching cold, As I was walking in the streets about and indeed, without much danger of a fortnight ago, I saw an ordinary fel. being burnt; for there are several enlow carrying a cage full of little birds gines filled with water, and ready to upon his moulder; and, as I was won play at a minute's warning, in case any dering with myself what use he would such accident should happen, Howput them to, he was met very luckily by ever, as I have a very great friendship an acquaintance, who had the fame cua for the owner of this theatre, I hope riosity Upon his asking him what he that he has been wile enough to insure had upon his shoulder, he told him that his house before he would let this opera he had been buying sparrows for the be acted in it, opera. Sparrows for the opera,' says It is no wonder that those scenes his friend, licking his hips, 'what, are Thould be very surprising which were • they to be roasted?'— No, no,' says contrived by two poets of different nathe other, they are to enter towards the tions, and raised by two magicians of

different

dern opera.

1

different sexes. Armida (as we are told as for the poet himself, from whom the in the argument) was an Amazonian dicains of this opera are taken, I must enchantrels, and poor Signior Calfani intirely agree with Monsieur Boileau, (as we learn from the persons repre- that one verse in Virgil is worth all the sented) a Chriftian conjuror (mago clincant or tinsel of Taffo. Christiano.) I must confess I am very But to return to the Iparrows; there much puzzled to find how an Amazon have been so many flights of them let fhould be versed in the black art; or how loose in this opera, that it is feared the a good Christian, for such is the part of house will never get rid of them; and the magician, should deal with the devil. that in other plays they may make their

To consider the poet after the con entrance in very wrong and improper juror, I shall give you a taste of the Ita. fcenes, so as to be seen flying in a lady's lian from the first lines of his preface. bed-chamber, or perching upon a king's Eccoti, benigno lettore, un parto di poche throne; besides the inconveniencies fere, abe se ben nato di notte, non è però which the heads of the audiences may

aborto di tenebre, si farà conoscere sometimes suffer from them. I am cre' figlio d'Apollo con qualcheraggiodi Par- dibly informed, that there was once a najjo.—Behold, gentle reader, the birth design of casting into an opera the story

of a few evenings, which, though it of Whittington and his cat, and that in • be the offspring of the night, is not order to it, there had been got together • the abortive of darkness, but will a great quantity of mice; but Mr. Rich,

make itself known to be the son of the proprietor of the playhouse, very • Apollo, with a certain ray of Par- prudently considered that it would be • nailus.' He afterwards proceeds to impossible for the cat to kill them all, cail Mynheer Handel the Orpheus of and that consequently the princes of the our age, and to acquaint us, in the stage might be as much infested with fame fublimity of ftile, that he com mice, as the prince of the island was beposed this opera in a fortnight. Such fore the cat's arrival upon it; for which are the wits to whose tastes we lo am reason he would not permit it to be bitiously conform ourselves. The truth acted in his house. And indeed I canof it is, the finest writers among the not blame him; for, as he faid very well modern Italians express themselves in upon that occasion, I do not hear that such a florid form of words, and such any of the performers in our opera pretedious circumlocutions, as are used by' tend to equal the famous pied piper, Done but pedants in our own country; who made all the mice of a great town and at the same time fill their writings in Germany follow his music, and by with such poor iinaginations and con that means cleared the place of those ceits, as our youths are ashamed of be- little noxious animals, fore they have been two years at the Before I dismiss this paper, I must university. Some may be apt to think informn my reader, that I hear there is a that it is the difference of genius which treaty on foot with London and Wile produces the difference in the works of (who will be appointed gardeners of the two nations; but to fhew there is the playhouse) to furnith the opera of nothing in this, if we look into the Rinaldo and Armida with an orangewritings of the old Italians, such as grove; and that the next time it is acted, Cicero and Virgil, we shall find that the finging-birds will be personated by the English writers, in their way of tom-tits; the undertakers heing resolved thinking and expressing themselves, re- to fpare neither pains nor inoney for the semble those authors much more than gratification of the audience, the nodern Italians pretend to do. And

с

NO VI.

[merged small][ocr errors]

CREDEBANT HOC GRANDE NERAS, ET MORTE PIANDUM,
SI JUVENIS VETULO NON ASSURREXERAT.

Juv. S.AT. X111. 34.
'TWAS IMPIOUS THEN (SO MUCH WAS AGE REVER'D)
FOR YOUTH TO KEEP THEIR SEAT, WHEN AN OLD MAN APPEAR'I.

a

H

as the abuse of the understanding, • Scarecrow. But,' continued he, for and yet there is no one vice more com ' the lots of public and private virtue, mon. It has diffused itself through both we are beholden to your men of parts sexes and all qualities of mankind; and ' forsooth; it is with them no matter there is hardly that person to be found, "what is done, so it be done with an who is not more concerned for the re air. But to ine, who am so whimsical putation of wit and sense, than honetty ' in a corrupt age as to act according and virtue. But this unhappy affeota to nature and reason, a selfish man, tion of being wise rather than honest, ' in the most shining circumstance and witty than good-natured, is the source equipage, appears in the same condiof moit of the ill habits of life. Such ' tion with the fellow above-mentioned, false impressions are owing to the aban • but more contemptible, in proportion doned writings of men of wit, and the • to what more he robs the public of, aukward imitation of the rest of man ' and enjoys above him. I lay it down kind.

' therefore for a rule, that the whole man For this reason Sir Roger was saying is to move together; that every action last night, that he was of opinion none ' of any importance, is to have a probut men of fine parts deserve to be • spect of public good; and that the hanged. The reflections of such men ' general tendency of our indifferent are 10 delicate upon all occurrences • actions ought to be agrceable to the which they are concerned in, that they • di&tates of reason, of religion, of good. Mould be exposed to more than ordinary 'breeding; without this a man, as I beinfamy and punishment for offending 'fore have hinted, is hopping instead of againtt such quick admonitions as their 'walking, he is not in his entire and own fouls give thein, and blunting the fine edge of their minds in fich a man. While the honest knight was thus ner, that they are no more hocked at bewildering himself in good Itarts, I vice and folly, than men of flower ca looked attentively upon him, which pacities. There is no greater monster made him, I thought, collect his mind in being, than a very ill man of great

a little.

“What I aiin at,'lays be,' is parts: he lives like a man in a palsy, to represent, that I am of opinion, to with one side of him dead.

• polish our understandings and neglect haps he enjoys the fatisfaction of luxury, our manners, is of all things the most of wealth, of ambition, he has lost the • inexcusable. Reason Bould govern taste of good-will, of friendship, of in paslion, but instead of that, you fee,

Scarecrow, the beggar in it is often fubfervient to it; and as Lincoln's - Ion-Fields,who disabledhim. ' unaccountable as one would think it, felf in his right leg, and asks alıs all a wise man is not always a good man. day to get himself a warm supper and a • This degeneracy is not only the gift trull at night, is not half lo despicable ' of particular persons, but at fome a wretch as such a man of lense. The • times of a whole people: and perhaps beggar has no relish above sensations; . it may appear upon examination, that he finds reft more agreeable than mo. the most polite ages are the least virtion; and while he has a warm fire and

This may be attributed to his doxy, never reflects that he deserves • the folly' of admitting wit and learn. to be whipped. “Every man who ter . ing as merit in themselves, without • minates his fatisfactions and enjoy. I considering the application of them. 'ments within the supply of his own By this means it becomes a rule, not • neceffities and passions, is,' says Sir • so much to regard what we do, as how

proper motion.

While per

nocence.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

we do it. But this false beauty will mon than that we run in perfect con'not pass upon men of honeft minds • tradiction to them? All which is sup" and true taste: Sir Richard Black ported by no other pretension, than

more says, with as much good senfe as " that it is done with what we call a 'virtueIt is a mighty dishonour good grace. " and shame to employ excellent fa. Nothing ought to be held laudable "culties and abundance of wit to hu or becoming, but what nature itfelf “ mour and please men in their vices ' should prompt us to think so. Re« and follies. The great enemy of ' fpect to all kind of superiors is found" mankind, notwithstanding his wit ed, methinks, upon inftinét; and yet " and angelic faculties, is the most what is so ridiculous as age? I make * odious being in the whole creation.” this ahrupt tranfition to the mention • He goes on soon after to say very ge

• of this vice more than any other, in nerously, that he undertook the writ. ' order to introduce a little flory, which

ing of his poem “ to rescue the Muses • I think a pretty instance that the most * out of the hands of ravilhers, to re polite age is in danger of being the " fore them to their sweet and chatte i moft vicious. " manfions, and to engage them in an ' It happened at Athens, during a "einployment suitable to their dignity. • public reprefentation of some play ex'This certainly ought to be the pur.

«hibited in honour of the commonpose of every man who appears in 'wealth, that an old gentlemen camě public, and whoever does not proceed too late for a place fuitable to his age upon that foundation, injures his and quality. Many of the young country as fast as he fucceeds in his gentlemen who observed the difficulty ftudies. When modesty ceases to be and confusion he was in, made signs the chief ornament of one fex, and to him that they would accommodate integrity of the other, society is upon * hiin if he came where they fat: the a wrong balis, and we Thalí be ever good man bustled through the crowd after without rules to guide our judg. • accordingly; but when he came to ment in what is really becoming and " the feats to which he was invited, the ornamental. Nature and reason di- • jest was to fit close, and expose him,

ręt one thing, paffion and humour as he stood out of countenance, to the ' another: to follow the dictates of the (whole audience. The frolic went two latter, is going into a road that is • round all the Athenian benches. But

both endless and intricate; when we on those occasions there were also par'pursue the other, our passage is de . ticular places assigned for foreigners: "lightful, and what we aim at easily (when the good man skulked towards • attainable.

'the boxes appointed for the Lacede"I do not doubt but England is at • monians, that honest people, more virpresent as polite a nation as any in the tuous than polite, rose up all to a

world; bút any man who thinks can man, and with the greatest respect reseasily fee, that the affectation of be. ceived him among them. The Athe

irg gay and in fashion, has very near • nians being fuddenly touched with a eaten up our good sense and our reli ' sense of the Spartan virtue, and their gion. 'Is there any thing fo just, as own degeneracy, gave a thunder of that mode and gallantry hould be applaufe; and the old man cried out 'built upon exerting ourselves in what « The Athenians understand what is

is proper and agreeable to the initia “ good, but the Lacedemonians prac. 'tutions of justice and piety among us?

* tife it," And yet is there any thing inore com.

R

[ocr errors]

N• VII.

NO VII. THURSDAY, MARCH 8.

SOMNIA, TERRORES MAGICOS, MIRACULA, SAGAS,
NOCTURNOS LEMURES, PORTENTAQUE THESSALA RIDES?

Hor. Ep. 11. 208.
VISIONS, AND MAGIC SPELLS, CAN YOU DESPISI,
AND LAUGH AT WITCHES, GROSTS, AND PRODIGIES?

[ocr errors]

OING yesterday to dine with an all the pasions and humours of his fortune to find his whole family very :child,' says she,' that the pig-onmuch dejected. Upon asking him the ' house fell the very afternoon that our occasion of it, he told me that his wife careless wench spilt the salt upon the had dreamt a strange dream the night table?'— Yes,' says he, ' my dear, before, which they were afraid por- ' and the next post brought us an aca tended some misfortune to themselves or !count of the battle of Almanza.' The to their children. At her coming into reader may guess at the figure I made the room I observed a settled melancholy after having done all this mischief. I in her countenance, which I should have dispatched my dinner as soon as I could, been troubled for, had I not heard from with my usual taciturnity; when, to my whence it proceeded. We were no utter confusion, the lady seeing me Sooner fat down, but after having looked quitting my knife and fork, and laying upon me a little while-'My dear,' says them across one another upon the piate, The, turning to her husband, you may desired me that I would humour hier so

now see the stranger that was in the far as to take them out of that figure, • candle last night. Soon after this, and place them side by side. What the as they began to talk of family affairs, absurdity was which I had coinmitted I a little boy at the lower end of the table did not know, but I suppose there was told her, that he was to go into join. fome traditionary fuperftition in it; and hand on Thursday; .' Thursday,' says therefore, in obedience to the lady of The,no, child, if it please God, you the house, I disposed of my knife and • Thall not begin upon Childermas-day; fork in two parallel lines, which is the į tell your writing-mafter that Friday figure I shall always lay them in for the ! will be soon enough.' I was reflect future, though I do not know any reaing with myself on the oddness of her son for it. fancy, and wondering that any body It is not difficult for a man to see would establish it as a rule to lose a that a person has conceived an aversion day in every week. In the midst of to him: For my own part, I quickly these my musings, she desired me to found, by the lady's looks, that the rereach her a little falt upon the point of garded me as a very odd kind of fellow, my knife, which I did in such a trepida. with an unfortunate aspect. For which tion and hurry of obedience, that I let reason I took my leave inmediately after it drop by the way; at which she imme- dinner, and withdrew to my own lodgdiately startled, and said it fell towards ings. Upon my return home, I fell into her. Upon this I looked very blank; a profound contemplation on the evils and, observing the concern of the whole that attend these superititious follies of table, began to consider myself, with mankind; how they subject us to ima. foine confusion, as a person that had ginary afflictions, and additional forbrought a difafter upon the fami- rows, that do not properly come within ly. The lady, however, recovering our lot. As if the natural calamities herself after a little space, said to her of life were not sufficient for it, we turn husband, with a figh- My dear, mis, the most indifferent circumstances into • fortunes never come single.' My misfortunes, and suffer as much from friend, I found, acted but an under - trilling accidents as from real evils. I part at his table, and being a man of have known the shooting of a far spoil more good-nature than underitanding, a night's rest; and have seen a man in thinks himself obliged to fall in with love grow pale and lose his appetite,

upon

« 이전계속 »