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ACT II. SCENE VII. Page 199.
The rugged Pyrrhus he, &c.] tion; but called it an benefit trasa The two greatest poets of this tboite They who suppose the and the lalt age, Mr. Dryden, in pafiage given to be ridiculed, the preface to Troilus and Crelli- muit needs suppose this character da, and Mr. Po;e, in his note on to be purely ironical. But if so, this place, have concurred in it is the frangest irony that ever thinking that Shakespear pro- was written. It pleased not ile duced this long passage with de- multitude. This we must cocsign to ridicule and expose the clude to be true, however ironi. bombast of the play from whence çal the rest be. Now the rearon it was taken; and that Hamlei's given of the designed ridicule is commendation of it is purely the supposed bombaft. But those ironical. This is become the
ge were the very plays, which at 'neral opinion. I think just c that time we know took with the
therwise ; and that it was given multitude. And Fletcher wrote with commendation to upbraid a kind of Rebearsal purposely to the false taste of the audience of expose them. But say it is bomthat time, which would not suf. bast, and that, therefore, it took fer them to do justice to the fim- not with the multitude. Hazlet plicity and sublime of this pro- presently tells us what it was that duction. And I reason, Fırít, displeased them. There was na From the Character Hamler gives ļalt in the lines to make the matter of the Play, from whence the Savoury,
no matter in the paffage is taken. Secondly, From "pbrase that might indite the axthe passage itself. And Thirdly, thor of afection; but called it as From the effect it had on the au- bonifi method. Now whether a dience,
perion speaks ironically or no, Let us consider the character when he quotes others, yet comHamlet gives of it: The Play, I mon sense requires he should remember, pleas'd not the m llion, quote what they say. Now it powas Caviar to ike general; but could not be, if this play disit was (as I received it, and pleased because of the bombaft, orhers, whole judgment in such that those whom it displeased matters cried in the tep of mine) should give this reason for their an excellent Play well digified in difike. The same inconsisten. the scines, fet down with as much çies and absurdities abound in modefly as cunning. I remember, every other part of Hamlet's one said, there was no falt in the speech fuppofing it to be ironical: lines to make the matter favoury; but take him as speaking his senmor no matter in the phrase that timents, the whole is of a piece; might indite the author of affec. and to this purpose: The Play, I
remember, pleased not the mul- very much more HANDSOME than tiiude, and the reason was, its FINE, i. e. it had a natural being wrote on the rules of the beauty, but none of the fucus of ancient Drama; to which they false art. were entire ftrangers. But, in 2. A second proof that this my opinion, and in the opinion speech was given to be admired, of those for whose judgment I is from the intrinsic merit of the have the highest esteem, it was speech itself: which contains i he an excellent Play, well di ested in description of a circumstance very the frenes, i.e. where the three happily imagined, namely lium unities were well preserved. Ser and Priam's falling together, with down with as much modefly as the effect it had on the destroyer. cunning, i.e. where not only the -The helligh Pyrrhus, &c. are of composition, but the fim- To, Rifugnant to command. plicity of nature, was carefully Thunnerver father falls, &c, attended to. The characters To, -So after Pyrrhus' pause. were a faithful picture of life and Now this circumstance, illustrated manners, in which nothing was with the fine fimilitude of the overcharged into Farce. But storm, is so highly worked up as these qualities, which gained my to have well deserved a place in esteem, loft the public's. For I Virgil's second Book of ihe Æremember one said, There was no neid, even tho' the work had Salt in the lines to make the mal been carried on to that perfection ter favoury, i. e, there was not, which the Roman Poet had conaccording to the mode of that ceived. time, a fool or clown to joke, 3. The third proof is, from quibble, and talk freely. Nor no the effects which followed on the matter in the phrase that might in- recital. Hamlet, his best charac-, dite the author of affe&tion, i, e. ter, approves it; the Player is nor none of those pallionate, pa- deeply affected in repeating it; thetic love scenes, so essential to and only the foolish Polonius modern tragedy. But be called it tired with it. We have said ean honest method, i. e. he owned, nough before of Hamlet's senti. however tasteless this method of ments. As for the player, be writing, on the ancient plan, was changes colour, and the tears to our times, yet it was chaste start from his eyes. But our auand pure; the distinguishing cha- thor was too good a judge of naracter of the Greek Drama. I ture to make bombast and unna. need only make one observation tural sentiment produce such an on all this ; that, thus interpret- effect. Nature and Horace both ed, it is the justest picture of a inltructed him, good tragedy, wrote on the ar Si vis me fiere, dolendum eft cient rules. And that I have Primùm ipfi tibi, tunc tua me rightly interpreted it appears far. infortuna ledeni, ther from what we find added in Telephe, vel Pelcu. MALE SI the old Quarto, an honest method, MANDATA LOQUERIS, as wholefome as sweet, and by Aut dormitabo ant ridebo.
And it may be worth observing, that Shakespear intended to rethat Horace gives this precept present a player unnaturally and particularly to shew, that bom- fantastically affected, we muft bait and unnatural sentiments are appeal to Hamlet, that is, to incapable of moving the tender Shakespear himself, in this matpaffions, which he is directing ter who on the reflection he the poet how to raise. For, in makes upon the Player's emothe lines just before, he gives this tion, in order to excite his own rule,
revenge, gives not the lead bing Telephus & Peleus, cùm pauper that the player was unnaturally & exul uterque,
or indjudiciously moved. On the Projicit Ampullas, & fefquipecontrary, his fine description of dalia verba.
the Actor's emotion thews, he Not that I would deny, that very thought just otherwise. bad lines in very bad tragedies
- this Player bere, have had this effect. But then it But in a fiction, in a dream of always proceeds from one or o passion, ther of these causes.
Could force his foul lor to bit 1. Either when the subject is own conceit, domeftic, and the scene lies at That from her working all bis home: The spectators, in this visage wan'd: case, become interested in the Tears in his eyes, diffraction is fortunes of the distressed; and
kis aspect, their thoughts are so much taken A broken voice, &c. up with the subject, that they And indeed had Hamlet esteemed are not at liberty to attend to the this emotion any thing unnatupoet; who, otherwise
, by his ral, it had been a very improper faulty sentiments and diction, circumstance to spur him to his would have stifled the emotions purpose. springing up from a sense of the Às Shakespear bas here shewn difrels. But this is nothing to the effects which a fine descripthe case in hand. For, as Ham- tion of Nature, heightened with let says,
all the ornaments of art, had What's Hecuba te bim, or he upon an intelligent Player, to Hecuba ?
whole business habituates him to 2. When bad lines raise this enter intimately and deeply into affection, they are bad in the the characters of men and manother extreme; low, abject, and ners, and to give nature its free groveling, instead of being high- workings on all occasions; fo he ly figurative and swelling; yet has artfully fhewn what effects when attended with a nacural the very same scene would have fimplicity, they have force e. upon a quite different man, Po. nough to ftrike_ illiterate and lonius; by nature, very weak and fimple minds. The Tragedies very artificial (two qualities, tho' of Banks will justify both these commonly enough joined in life, objervations.
yet generally fo much disguised But if any one will fill fay, as not to be seen by common
eyes to be together s and which effect that all pathetic relations, an ordinary Poet durst not have naturally written, should have brought so near one another) by and it is condemned, or regard discipline, practifed in a species of ed with indifferente, by one of a wit and eloquendé, which was wrong, unnatural täfte. From Alif, forced, and pedantic, and hence (to observe it by the way) by trade á Politician, and there the Acors, in their representafore, of consequence, without tion of this play, may learn how any of the affe&ting notices of this speech ought to be spoken, Humanity. Such is the man and what appearance Hamlet whom Shakespear has judiciously ought to affume during the rechosen to represent the false tafte cital. of that audience which had con That which fupports the comdemned the play here reciting. mon opinion, concerning this When the ałtor comes to the passage, is the turgid expreffion finest and moft pathetic part of in some parts of it; which, they the speech, Polonius cries out, think, could never be given by this is too long ; on which Ham. the poet to be commended. We let, in contempt of his ill judg- fall therefore, in the next place, ment, replies, It jhall to the bar. examine the lines molt obnoxious ber's wirb thy beard. [intimating to censure, and see how much, that, by this judgment, it ap- allowing the charge, this will peared that all his wisdom lay in make for the induction of their his length of beard.] Pr’yiber, conclusion. fay on. He's for a jig or a tale of Pyrrhus at Priam drives, ir bawdry, (the common entertain.
rage strikes wide, ment of that time, as well as this, But with the whif and wind of of the people) or be flueps, fay on. bis fell fword And yet this man of modern Tb unnerved Father
falls. taste, who stood all this time And again, perfe&tly unmoved with the for Out, out, thou Arumpet Forcible imagery of the relator, no tune! All you Gods, sooner hears, amongt many good In general Synod, take away things, one quaint and fantasti her power : cal word, put in, I suppose, pur Break all the Spokes and fellies posely for this end, than he pro from her wheel, fesses his approbation of the pro
And bowl the round nave down priety and dignity of it. That's the bill of Heaven, good. Mobled Queen is good. On As low as to the Fiends. the whole then, I think, it plain Now whether these be bomly appears, that the long quota- baft or not, is not the question; tion is not given to be ridiculed but whether Shakespear esteemed and laughed at, but to be ad- them so. That he did not fo mired. The character given of esteem them appears from his the Play, by Hamlet, cannot be having used the very fame ironical. The passage itself is thoughts in the same expreffion, extremely beautiful. It has the in his best plays, and given them
to his principal characters, where Play; which, letting us into a he aims at the sublime. As in circumstance of our Author's life the following passages.
(as a writer) hitherto unknown, Treilus, in Troilus and Cresida, was the reason I have been fa far outstrains the execution of large upon this question. I Pyrrhus's sword, in the character think then it appears, from what he gives of Hector's,
has been said, that the Play in Wben many times the cative dispute was Shakespear's own : Grecians fall
and that this was the occasion of Ev'n in the fan and wind of writing it. He was desirous, as your fair sword,
foon as he had found his strength, You bid them rise and live. of restoring the chaftness and re
Cleopatra, in Antony and Cleo- gularity of the ancient Stage ; patra, rails at Fortune in the and therefore composed this Trasame manner,
gedy on the model of the Greek No, let me speak, and let me Drama, as may be seen by throwrail so high,
ing so much a&tion into relation. That the false huswife Fortune But his attempt proved fruitless ; break her wheel,
and the raw, annatural taste Provok'd at my offence. then prevalent, forced him back
But another use may be made again into his old Gothic manner. of these quotations ; a discovery For which he took this revenge of the Author of this recited upon his Audience. WARB,