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« Narit. I must disclose it,
“ Iran. Let Rimuni stab me
“ Narit. Now bv that wish-Oh, by thy firm assurance Of heaven, and bliss hereafter, I conjure thee, Thus, on my knee
« Ivan. Rise! rise!
“ Narit First grant my prayer.
“ Ivan. No, I dare pot.
“ Narit. Yet hear me, Ivan-swear thou wilt reject it;
" Iran. No, I dare pot.
“ Narit. (to himself, in utmost agony) Must I slay him?
The lute, and song, and feast? Unchain the lion, · Whom time, and famine, and sore blows, have taught
To crouch beneath man's foot in seeming tameness,
Then bid him lick the hand that beckons him
" Narit. Tis sworn-this dagger slays thee.
“ Ivan. Away! who made thee arbiter of empires ?
Draw down Heaven's mercy on thee.” A fastidious critic might point out several defects in the conduct of the story, and some faults in the language employed to convey it; among those faults, a few affectations of originality, that are even offensive: but we will not attempt to lessen, by such minutiæ, the favourable impression made on the minds of our readers, where so much is given to compensate partial and unimportant defects. Were our opinion likely to have any influence, we would sincerely recommend to the managers of our theatres, with regard to this tragedy, to re-consider their decision, or rather the decision of those to whom they delegate their authority.
Chaucer's Assem. of Foules, st. 4. Art. XIII.-An Apology for Actors, containing three briefe
Treatises :-1. Their antiquity; 2. Their ancient Dige nity; 3. The true vse of their Quality. Wrilten by Tho. MAS Heywood. Et prodesse solent et delectare. London,
printed by Nicholas Okes, 1612. Pp. 62. In a period scarcely exceeding twenty years, dramatic poetry in England had its birth, and arrived at its maturity; for twenty years it may be said to have continued at its height; and in twenty years more, occupied by its decline and fall, it was entirely extinguished : we speak here of dramatic poetry, as it existed in the time of Shakspeare and his contemporaries.
During the whole of this period, the Puritans were aime ing at, and gradually acquiring power: against the stage (including, in that general term, authors, works, and actors) the attacks of that body were peculiarly and unceasingly directed ;* and many and tedious are the discourses (quot. ing and misquoting the authorities of the Fathers of the Christian Church, and perverting, with all the ingenuity of malice, the Scriptures themselves) which have been ha pded down to posterity upon this subject. Those who expect to find in them any interesting intelligence of the then state of the stage, will be grievously disappointed ; for bold assertion always supplies the place of proof, and vehement invective of argument.t Finally, as our readers
* In his Troia Britanica, 1609, canto 3, Heywood very severely satirizes the Puritans : with reference to our present subject, he says He Wood
“ He can endure no Organs, but is vext
Raile against hunting, hawking, cocks, and plays." + A duller, or more incoherent book, was never written, than Pryone's thick quarto, called Histriomastir, the Players Scourge, which was printed in 1633 : the only amusing thing in it is, the ridiculous sectarian zeal with which he attacks his opponents, Philip Stubbes wrote about fifty years. before his Anatomie of Abuses, which on other topics contains much curious. and entertaining matter, but when he speaks of " stage-plaies and interludes, with their wickednesse," he is equally vehement, equally stupid and unargumentative--a sentence is enough. “And whereas, you say there are good examples to be learned in them (stage-plaies): truly so there are: if you will learne falshood: if you will learne cosenage: if you will learne to deceive: if you will learne to plaie the hypocrite—to cogge, to lye, and falsifie: if you will learne to jest, laugh, and feere-to grinne, to nodd and mowe: if you will learne to plaie the vice, to sweare, teare, and blas pheme both Heauen and Earth,' &c. &c. The whole of this part of the work is just in the same style; and, Dr. Rainoldes' laborious Overthrow of Stage Playes is quite a match for it.
To these productions, and to the anathemas delivered even from the pul. pit, Whetstone adverts in his Touchstone for the Time, 1584. “ The godly Divines (says he) in publique sermons, and others in printed bookes, haue (of late) very sharply inuayed against Stage-plaies (unproperly called Tragedies, Comedies, and Moralles) as the Sprynges of many vices, and the stumblyng-blockes of Godlynesse. Truely the use of them upon the Saboth day, and the abuse of them at al times, with scurilytie and vnchaste convayance, ministred matter sufficient for them to blame, and the Macestrate
are aware, the Puritans succeeded in closing these sources of knowledge and liberality of sentiment; and, by the efforts of Prynne and his 6 straight-haired” associates, a stop was, for a time, put to public theatrical representations: By this calamitous event, the exercise of the good sense and taste of the people of England, which had reared our early stage, was suspended for about ten years; and an opportunity was afforded, after the Restoration, to introduce a new school of dramatic poetry, formed upon the fashionable, though absurd model, of France. .
In our last number we had occasion to refer to, and to quote, the curious tract we have chosen for our present article: it is one of the comparatively few pieces in reply to the senseless accusations of the real enemies of poetry, and the pretended friends of purity; and the author, in bis dedication to the Earl of Worcester, states, that he has endeavoured “ to make good a subject, which many through envy, but most through ignorance, have sought violently and beyond merit to oppugne.” . In the long list of writers for the stage, at the latter end of the reign of Elizabeth, and in the beginning of that of James I., no name is better known than that of Thomas Heywood, the author of this Apology for Actors, although scarcely a single fact of his life has been recorded. Neither the time of his birth, nor of his death, are known; and we can only trace him by the dates affixed to his works, which extend from 1601 to 1641. Thus for 40 years he was a writer; and, as he states in the preface to his General His.. tory of Women, he had been “long and much conversant with poets.” In an address prefixed to his English Traveller, he asserts the almost incredible fact, that in no less than 220 plays, he “ had either an entire hand, or, at the least, a main finger," besides numerous other works; so that some persons have calculated that, comparing the length of his life and the quantity he wrote, he must have got through about a sheet a-day. That Heywood was a fellow of Peterhouse, Cambridge, is mentioned by William Cartwright,* who, under the initials W. C., republished
to reforme."--It will be observed, that Whetstone being himself the author of several dramatic pieces, is very cautious in his concurrence in these censures,
• Cartwright was an actor, as is plain from the terms of his dedication; and Oldys asserts that he was also a bookseller. His edition, on the title, states that it was printed on bis account. He presented a fine collection of plays to Dulwich College, which have all disappeared : his picture still hapgs there, and it has been engraved.
the Apology for Actors with the title of The Actor's Vindication, shortly after the decease of its author. It is not a little singular, that Cariwright, in inscribing it to the Mar. quis of Dorchester, observes, that “the Author of this ensuing Poem, not long before his death, discovering how undeservedly our quality lay under the envious and igno. rant, made our Vindication bis subject.” This edition bas no date; but it seems remarkable that Cartwright should have been ignorant that the piece had actually been printed as early as 1612, nearly thirty years before the death of its author. * Possibly Cartwright might be ignorant of the fact, and printed his edition from a MS., with alterations, which are often more than verbal. We have both the original and the reprint before us, but we shall make our extracts from the former, which was put to press probably under the immediate care of Heywood; as may be inferred from a letter from him, annexed to the edition of 1612, “to his approved good friend, Mr. Nicholas Okes,” the printer. The numerous typographical errors in works of the time, have been often lamented by the critical correctors of syllables and letters; and as this epistle contains both general and particular information on the point, we will quote it. . “ The infinite faults escaped in my booke of Britaines Troy, by the negligence of the Printer, as the misquotations, mistaking of sillables, misplacing of halfe lines, coining of strange and vererheard of words. These being without number, when I would have taken a particular account of the Errata, the Printer answered me, he would not publish his owne disworkemanship, but rather let bis owne fault lie upon the necke of ibe Author: and being fearful that others of his quality had beene of the same nature and condition, and finding you, on the contrary, so carefull and industrious, so serious and laborious to do the Author all the rights of the presse, I could not chuse but gratulate your honest endeavours with this short remembrance. Here likewise I must necessarily insert a manifest injury done me in that worke, by taking the two epistles of Paris to Helen and Helen to Paris, and printing them in a lesse volume under the name of another, which may put the world in opinion I might steale them from him; and he to do himselfe right, hath since pub. lished them in his owne name: but as I must acknowledige my hines not worthy his patronage under whom he bath publisht them, so
* In the edition of 1612, Heywood observes, in a short aduness “ to the Judicial Reader," “ my pen hath seldome appeared in Presse 'till now." This is perfectly irreconcileable with the assertion, that the piece was written “pot long before his death.” It appears extraordinary that the author should so state, even in 1612, no less than seven dramatic works by Heywood having been printed before that year,