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has pretended that the lines of Virgil can only be applied to Jesus Christ. Finally, the most clever moderns maintain the same opinion.*
SINGING. Questions on Singing, Music, Modulation, Gesticu
lation, $c. Could a Turk conceive that we have one kind of singing for the first of our mysteries when we celebrate it in music, another kind which we call • motetts' in the same temple, a third kind at the opera, and a fourth at the theatre?
In like manner, can we imagine how the ancients blew their flutes, recited on their theatres with their heads covered by an enormous mask, and how their declamation was written down?
Law was promulgated in Athens nearly as in Paris we sing an air on the Pont-Neuf. The public crier sang an edict, accompanying himself on the lyre.
It is thus that in Paris the rose in bud is cried in one tone; old silver lace to sell, in another; only in the streets of Paris the lyre is dispensed with.
After the victory of Cheronea, Philip, the father of Alexander, sang the decree by which Demosthenes had made him declare war, and beat time with his foot. We are very far from singing in our streets our edicts, on finances, or upon the two sous in the livre.
It is very probable, that the melopee, or modulation, regarded by Aristotle in his poetic art as an essential part of tragedy, was an even, simple chaunt, like that which we call the preface to mass, which in my opinion is the Gregorian chaunt, and not the Ambrosian, and which is a true melopee.
When the Italians revived tragedy in the sixteenth century, the recitative was a melopee, which could not be written; for who could write inflections of the voice which are octaves and sixths of tone? They were learned by heart.
This custom was received in France when the French began to form a theatre, more than a
* Noel Alexander, century i.
century after the Italians. The Sophonisba of Mairet was sung like that of Trissin, but more grossly; for throats as well as minds were then rather coarser at Paris. All the parts of the actors, but particularly of the actresses, were noted from memory by tradition. Mademoiselle Bauval, an actress of the time of Corneille, Racine, and Molière, recited to me, about sixty years ago or more, the commencement of the part of Emilia, in Cinna, as it had been played in the first representations by La Beaupré.
This modulation resembled the declamation of the present day much less than our modern recitative resembles the manner of reading the newspaper.
I cannot better compare this kind of singing, this modulation, than to the admirable recitative of Lulli, criticised by adorers of double crotchets, who have no knowledge of the genius of our language, and who are ignorant what help this melody furnishes to an ingenious and sensible actor.
Theatrical modulation perished with the comedian Duclos, whose only merit being a fine voice without spirit and soul, finally rendered that ridiculous which had been admired in Des Euillets, and in Champmêlé.
Tragedy is now played drily; if we were not heated by the pathos of the spectacle and the action, it would be very insipid. Our age, commendable in other things, is the age of dryness.
Is it true, that among the Romans one actor recited, and another made gestures?
It was not by chance, that the abbé Dubos imagined this pleasant method of declaiming. Titus Livius, who never fails to instruct us of the manners and customs of the Romans, and who in that respect is more useful than the ingenious and satirical Tacitus, informs us, I say,* that Andronicus, being hoarse while singing in the interludes, got another to sing for him while he executed the dance; and from thence came the custom of dividing interludes between dancers and singers—“ Dicitur cantum egisse magis vigente motu quùm nihil
* Book vii.
vocis usus impediebat.” The song is expressed by the dance. “ Cantum egisse magis vigente motu
-With more vigorous movements.
But they divided not the story of the piece between an actor who only gesticulates, and another who only sings. The thing would have been as ridiculous as impracticable.
The art of pantomimes, which are played without speaking, is quite different, and we have seen very striking examples of it; but this art can only please when a marked action is represented, a theatrical event which is easily presented to the imagination of the spectator. It can represent Orosmanes killing Zaira and killing himself; Semiramis wounded, dragging herself on the frontiers to the tomb of Ninus, and holding her son in her arms. There is no occasion for verses to express these situations by gestures to the sound of a mournful and terrible symphony. But how would two pantomimes paint the dissertation of Maximus and Cinna on monarchical and popular governments ?
Apropos of the theatrical execution of the Romans: the abbé Dubos says, that the dancers in the interludes were always in gowns. Dancing requires a closer dress. In the Pays de Vaud, a suit of baths, built by the Romans, is carefully preserved, the pavement of which is mosaic. This mosaic, which is not decayed, represents dancers dressed precisely like opera-dancers. We make not these observations to detect errors in Dubos; there is no merit in having seen this antique monument which he had not seen; and besides, a very solid and just mind might be deceived by a passage of Titus Livius.
Why do we denominate slaves those whom the Romans called servi,' and the Greeks duloi ? Etymology is here exceedingly at fault; and Bochart has not been able to derive this word from the
The most ancient record that we possess, in which the word slave is found, is the will of one Ermangaut, archbishop of Narbonne, who bequeathed to bishop, Fredelon his slave Anaph—"Anaphinus Slavonium." This Anaph was very fortunate in belonging to two bishops successively.
It is not unlikely, that the Slavonians came from the distant north with other indigent and conquering hordes, to pillage from the Roman empire what that empire had pillaged from other nations, and especially in Dalmatia and Illyria. The Italians called the misfortune of falling into their hands schiavitu,' and schiavi' the captives themselves.
All that we can gather from the confused bistory of the middle ages is, that in the time of the Romans, the known world was divided between freemen and slaves. When the Slavonians, Alains, Huns, Heruli, Ostrogoths, Visigoths, Vandals, Burgundians, Franks, and Normans, came to despoil Europe, there was little probability that the multitude of slaves would diminish. Ancient masters in fact saw themselves reduced to slavery, and the smaller number enslaved the greater, as negroes are enslaved in the colonies, and according to the practice in many other cases.
We read nothing in ancient authors concerning the slaves of the Assyrians and the Babylonians.
The book which speaks most of slaves is the Iliad. In the first place, Briseis is slave to Achilles; and all the Trojan women, and more especially the princesses, fear becoming slaves to the Greeks, and spinners for their wives.
Siavery is also as ancient as war, and war as human nature.
Society was so accustomed to this degradation of the species, that Epictetus, who was assuredly worth more than his master, never expresses any surprise at his being a slave.
No legislator of antiquity ever attempted to abrogate slavery; on the contrary, the people the most enthusiastic for liberty--the Athenians, the Lacedemonians, the Romans, and the Carthaginians—were those who
enacted the most severe laws against their serfs. The right of life and death over them, was one of the principles of society. It must be confessed, that of all wars, that of Spartacus was the most just, and possibly the only one that was ever absolutely so.
Who would believe, that the Jews, created as it might appear to serve all nations in turn, should also possess slaves of their own? It is observed in their laws, that they may purchase their brethren for six years,* and strangers for ever. It was said, that the children of Esau would become bondsmen to the children of Jacob; but since, under a different dispensation, the Arabs, who call themselves descendants of Esau, have enslaved the posterity of Jacob.
The evangelists put not a single word into the mouth of Jesus Christ, which recals mankind to the primitive liberty to which they appear to be born. There is nothing said in the New Testament on this state of degradation and suffering, to which one half the human race was condemned. Not a word appears in the writings of the apostles and fathers of the church, tending to change beasts of burthen into citizens, as began to be done among ourselves in the thirteenth century. If slavery be spoken of, it is the slavery of sin.
It is difficult to comprehend how, in St. John, the Jews can say to Jesus—“ We have never been slaves to any one.” They who were at that time subjected to the Romans; they who had been sold in the market after the taking of Jerusalem ; they of whom ten tribes, led away as slaves by Salmanazar, had disappeared from the face of the earth, and of whom two other tribes were held in chains by the Babylonians for seventy years; they who had been seven times reduced to slavery in their promised land, according to their own avowal ; they who in all their writings speak of their bondage in that Egypt which they abhorred,
* Exodus, xxi. Leviticus, xxv. and Genesis, xxvii. 32. + Chap. viii.