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senses as to give a perception of disagreement, with not enougl of belief in the internal motives,--all that which is unseen,--te overpower and reconcile the first and obvious prejudices.* What we see upon a stage is body and bodily action; what we are con. scious of in reading is almost exclusively the mind, and its movemeits : and this I think may suficiently account for the very different sort of delight with which the same play so often affects us in the reading and the seeing.
It requires little reflection to perceive, that if those characters in Shakspeare which are within the precincts of nature, have yet something in them which appeals too exclusively to the imagination, to admit of their being made objects to the senses without suffering a change and a diminution,--that still stronger the ob. jection must lie against representing another line of characters, 'Which Shakspeare has introduced to give a wildness and a supernatural elevation to his scenes, as if to remove them still farther from that assimilation to common life in which their ex. cellence is vulgarly supposed to consist. When we read the incantations of those terrible beings the Witches in Macbeth, though some of the ingredients of their hellish composition savor of the grotesque, yet is the effect upon us other than the most serious and appalling that can be imagined? Do we not feel spell-bound as Macbeth was? Can any mirth accompany a sense of their presence? We might as well laugh under a consciousness of the principle of Evil himself being truly and really present
But attempt to bring these beings on to a stage, and you turn them instantly into so many old women, that men and children are to laugh at. Contrary to the old saying, that 6 ing is believing," the sight actually destroys the faith : and the mirth in which we indulge at their expence, when we see these Creatures upon a stage, seems to be a sort of indemnification which we make to ourselves for the terror which they put us in when reading made them an object of belief,—when we surrendered up our reasoti to the poet, as children to their nurses and their elders, and we laugh at our late fears, as children who thought they saw something in the dark, triumph when the bring
* The error of supposing that because Othello's colour does not offend us in the reading, it should also not offend us in the secing, is just such a fallacy as supposing that an Adam and Eve in a picture shall affect us just as they do in the poem. But in the poem we for a while have Paradisaical senses given us, which vanish when we see a mar and his wife without clothes in the picture. The Painters themselves feel this, as is apparent by the aukward shifts they have recourse to, to make them look not quite naked; by a sort of prophetic anachronism, antedating the invention of fig-leaves. So in the reading of the Play, we see with Desdemona's eyes, in the seeing of it, we are forced to look with our own,
And wake with the lips that we dip in our bowls
* The brilliant little tri-coloured violet, commonly known by the name of Ileart's-ease.
+ I do not profess to have tasted these foreign luxuries, except in the poetry of their admirers. Virgin's Milk and Christ's Tears are names given to two favourite wines by the pious Italians, whose familiarity with the objects of their worship is as well known as it is natural. The former appears to be a white wine ; the latter is of a deep, blood-red colour.Muskat or Moscadell is so called from the odour of it's grape, and is enthu. siastically praised, among a number of other Tuscan wines, by Redi in his Bacco in Toscana. His favourite however seems to have been Montepul. ciano, which at the conclusion and climax of the poem is pronounced by Bacchus himself, in his hour of transport, to be the sovereign liquor.
Onde ognun che di Lieo
in, in an interval of speaking, to make us believe that we hear
Time would run back and fetch the age of gold,
And leave its dolorous mansions to the peering day.
The subject of Scenery is closely connected with that of the
Perhaps it would be no bad similitude, to liken the pleasure
affected just as Judges. When Hamlet compares the two pictures of Gertrude's first and second husband, who wants to see the pictures ? But in the acting, a miniature must be lugged out; which we know not to be the picture, but only to shew how finely a miniature may be represented. This shewing of every thing, levels all things: it makes tricks, bows and curtesies, of importance. Mrs. S. never got more fame by any thing than by the manner in which she dismisses the guests in the Baisquet. scene in Macbeth : it is as much remembered as any of her thrilling tones or impressive looks. But does such a trifle as this enter into the imaginations of the readers of that wild and won. derful scene? Does not the mind dismiss the feasters as rapidly as it can? Does it care about the gracefulness of the doing it? But by acting, and judging of acting, all these non-essentials are raised into an importance, injurious to the main interest of the play.
I have hitherto confined my observations to the Tragic parts of Shakspeare; in some future Number I propose to extend this inquiry to his Comedies; and to shew why Falstaff, Shallow, Sir Hugh Evans, and the rest, are equally incompatible with stage representation. The length to which this essay has alerdy run will make it, I am afraid, sufficiently obnoxious to the Amateurs of the Theatre, without going any deeper into the subject at present,
ART. X.-The Feast of the Poets.
Like most of the poetical inventions of modern times, the idea of Apollo holding Sessions and Elections is of Italian origin; but having been treated in it's most common-place light, with a stu. dious degradation of the God into a mere critic or chairman, it has hitherto received none of those touches of painting, and combinations of the familar and fanciful, of which it appears to be so provocative, and which the following trifle is an attempt to supply. The pieces it has already produced in our language, are the Session of the Poets by Sir John Suckling, another Session by an anonymous author in the first volume of the State Poems, the Trial for the Bays by Lord Rochester, and the Election of a Poct Laureat by Sheffield, Duke of Buckingham,
ART. XI.--Classical Antiquity of the English Language:
MR. REFLECTOR, The classical tone, which your Publication has assumed, will, I am sure, lead you to patronize an attempt, the object of which is to shew, that so far from our being indebted to the Greeks and Romans for the whole of our learning, it is not improba. ble, that those ingenious people derived much of their phrase. ology, and many of their customs, from us : at any rate I have traced so close a resemblance between their and our own expres. șions, that it seems difficult to decide who were the inyentors and who the borrowers. It is well known, that the Greeks derived most of their mythology and astronomy from Egypt and India : þut by the same arts by which the modern French have gained to themselves the credit of all the new improvements in Chemistry and Natural Philosophy, that subtile nation so blended what they stole with their own original inventions, that it is almost impos. sible to draw the line between them, and say which part belongs to their ingenuity in inventing, and which to their judgment in selecting. I cannot pretend to say, that this attempt on my part is wholly original. The witty Dean of St. Patrick was the first who pointed out the close analogy which subsisted between the two languages; and few men of reading, I believe, are now igno. sant, that the Greek appellative Bellerophon means nothing more than our English term “ Billy Ruffian :" that a vow of perpetual virginity brought upon the son of Tydeus the name of Die-a-maid or Diomed; and that the monarch of Macedon is indebted for his more sonorous title to an antipathy for eggs, which obliged all his servants, who did not share in their master's aversion, to throw those glutinary eatables under the grate immediately upon his ap, pearance, and the signal for such discharge was “ All eggs under the grate,” which gradually melted into the name of Alexander the Great. The specimens, which I shall produce as indicative of a close alliance between our own language and that of the classics (and from which I would deduce one of these conclu. sions,“either that we may safely contest the claim of antiquity with any nation now subsisting, or claim a superiority in classical attainment over all nations,—the substantịation of either of wbich claims will be no small honour to my native country, and no trifling compliment to my own patriotic affections will be drawn principally from the same standard as that from which Dean Swift has derived his conclusions; viz. from those, who are generally called the low and vulgar. The terms of fashionable life are fluco