Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

1

and smoking tobacco, playing at cards, the case, to believe him correct in his eating and drinking, were generally pre- theory. Such a contrivance could not valeat among them. The hours of per- have escaped our ancestors. All the ma. formance were also earlier : the play terials were ready to their hands. They commencing at one o'clock. During the had not to invent for themselves, but representation a flag was unfurled at the merely to adapt an old invention to that top of the theatre ; and the stage, accord- peculiar purpose ; and at a time when ing to the universal practice of the age, every better-furnished apartment was was strewn with rushes ; but, in all other adorned with tapestry ; when even the respects, the theatres of Elizabeth and rooms of the commonest taverns were James's days seem to have borne a perfect hung with painted cloths ; while all the resemblance to our own. They had their materials were constantly before their pit, where the inferior class of spectators, eyes, we can hardly believe our forethe groundlings, vented their clamorous fathers to have been so deficient in incensure or approbation ; they had their genuity, as to have missed the simple boxes—rooms as they were called to contrivance of converting the common which the right of exclusive admission ornaments of their walls into the decorawas engaged by the night, for the more lions of their theatres. But, in fact, the affluent portion of the audience ; and use of scenery was almost co-existent with there were again the galleries, or scaffold- the introduction of dramatic representaings above the boxes, for those who were tions in this country. In the Chester content to purchase less commodivus si- Mysteries (1268), the most ancient and tuations at a cheaper rate. On the stage, complete collection of the kind which we in the same manner, the appointments possess, is found the following stage diappear to have been nearly of the same rection : “ Then Noe shall go into the description as at present. The curtain arke with all his familye, his wife exdivided the audience from the actors, cepte. The arke must be boarded round which, at the third sounding, not indeed about ; and upon the boardes all the of the bell, but of the trumpet, was drawn beastes and fowles, hereafter rehearsed, for the commencement of the performance. must be painted, that their wordes may Malone, in his account of the ancient agree with their pictures." + In this theatre, supposes that there were no move. passage we have a clear reference to a able scenes ; that a permanent elevation painted scene. It is not likely that, in of about nine feet was raised at the back the lapse of three centuries, while all of the stage, from which, in many of the other arts were in a state of rapid imold pays, part of the dialogue was spoken; provement, and the art of dramatic writand that there was a private box on eaching, perhaps, more rapidly and sucside this platform. Such an arrangement cessfully improved than any other, the would have destroyed all theatrical illu art of theatrical decoration should have sion; and it seems extraordinary that any alone stood still. It is not improbable spectators should desire to fix ihemselves that their scenes were few; and chat they in a station where they could bave seen

were varied, as occasion might require, nothing but the backs and trains of the by the introduction of different pieces of performers; but, as Malone himself ac- stage furniture. Mr. Gifford, who adknowledges the spot to have been incon- heres to the opinions of Malone, says,— venient, and that “ it is not very easy to

A table with a pen and ink thrust in, ascertain the precise situation where these signified that the stage was a counting. boxes really were,'

” * it may very rea- house; if these were withdrawn and two sonably be presumed, that they were not stools put in their place, it was then a placed in the position that the historian tavern." And this might be perfectly of the English stage has supposed. As satisfactory as long as the business of the to the permanent floor, or upper stage, play was supposed to be passing, within of which he speaks, he may or may not doors; but when it was removed to the be correct in his statement. All that his open air, such meagre devices would no quotations upon the subject really esta- longer be sufficient to guide the imagiblish is, that in the old, as in the modern nation of the audience, and some new theatre, when the actor was to speak method must have been adopted to indifrom a window, or balcony, or the walls cate the place of action. After giving of a fortress, the requisite ingenuity was the subject very considerable attention, I not wanting to contrive a representation cannot help thinking that Steevens was of the place. But with regard to the use right in rejecting Malone's theory, and of painted moveable scenery, it is not concluding that the spectalors were, as at possible, from the very circumstances of * Reed's Shakspeare, vol. ill. p. 83, note 3.

+ Ilid, vol. iii. p 15.
* Gifford's Massinger, vol. I, p. 103.

1

the present day, assisted in following the In one respect only do I perceive any progress of the story by means of painted material difference between the mode of moveable scenery. This opinion is con- representation at the time of Massinger firmed by the ancient stage directions, and at present : in his day, the female In the folio Shakspeare, 1623, we read parts were performed by boys. This “ Enter Brutus in his orchard ; Enter custom, which must in many cases have Timon in the woods ; Enter Timon from materially injured the illusion of the scene, the cave." In Coriolanus, " Marcius was in others of considerable advantage ; follows them to the gates and is shut it furnished the stage with a succession of in." Innumerable instances of the same youths, regularly educated for the art, to kind might be cited to prove that the fill

, in every department of the drama, ancient stage was not so defective in the the characters suited to their age. When necessary decorations as some antiquaries the lad had become too tall for Juliet, he of great authority would represent. “ It had acquired the skill, and was most admay be added," says Steevens, " that mirably fitted, both in age and appearthe dialogue of our old dramatists has ance, for performing the part which Garsuch perpetual reference to objects sup- rick considered the most difficult on the posed visible to the audience, that the stage, because it needed “ an old head want of scenery could not have failed to upon young shoulders,” the ardent and render many of the descriptions absurd. arduous character of Romeo. When the Banquo examines the outside of Inverness voice had " the mannish crack," that castle with such minuteness, that he dis- rendered the youth unfit to appear as the tinguishes even the nests which the mar. representative of the gentle Imogen, the tens had built under the projecting part stage possessed in him the very person that of its roof. Romeo, standing in a gar was wanting to do.justice to the princely den, points to the tops of fruit-trees, gild. sentiments of Arviragus or Guiderius. ed by the moon. The prologue speaker Such was the state of the stage when to the second part of Henry the Fourth Massinger arrived in the metropolis, and expressly shows the spectators. This dedicated his talents to its service. He worm-eaten hold of ragged stone,', in joined a splendid fraternity, for Shakwhich Northumberland was lodged.- speare, Jonson, Beaumont, Fletcher, Lachimo takes the most exact inventory of Shirley, were then flourishing at the height every article in Imugen's bed-chamber, of their reputation, and the full vigour of from the silk and silver of which her ta. their genius. Massinger came among pestry was wrought, down to the Cupids them no unworthy competitor for such that support her andirons. Had not the honours and emoluments as the theatre inside of the apartment, with its proper could afford. Of the honours, indeed, he furniture, been represented, how ridicu- seems to have reaped a very fair and lous must the action of lachimo have ap- equitable portion; of the emoluments, the peared ! He must have stood looking harvest was less abundant. In those days out of the room for the particulars sup- very little pecuniary reward was to be posed to be visible within it.” The works gained by the dramatic poet, unless, as of Massinger would afford innumerable indeed was most frequently the case, he instances of a similar kind to vindicate the added the profession of the actor to that opinion which Steevens has asserted on the of the author, and recited the verses which testimony of Shakspeare alone. But on he wrote. The distinguished perforiners this subject there is one passage which of that time, Alleyn, Burbage, Heminge, appears to me quite conclusive. Must Condell, Shakspeare, all appear to have not all the humour of the mock play in died in independent, if not affluent cirThe Midsummer Night's Dream have cumstances ; but the remuneration obtain been entirely lost, unless the audience ed by the poet was most miserably cur. before whom it was performed were ac- tailed. The price given at the thealre for tomed to all the embellishments requisite a new play fluctuated between ten and to give effect to a dramatic representa- twenty pounds; the copyright, if the piece tion, and could consequently estimate the was printed, might produce from six to absurdity of those shallow contrivances ten pounds more; in addition to these and meani substitutes for scenery devised sums, the dedication-fee may be reckonby the ignorance of the clowns*? ed, the usual amount of which was forły

shillings. Fam. Lib. Dramatic Series. • This quiestion ought to be set at rest, methinks, by the following extract from the Book twenty dozen ells, 121."-See Boswell's Shakof Revels, the oldest that exists, in the office speare, vol.'iii. p. 364, et seq. of the auditors of the imprest : “ Mrs. Dune,

* The first woman who appeared in a reçuthe lynnen dealer. for canvass to paynte for lar drama, on a public stage, played Desde. houses for the players, and other properties, mona, about the year 1660. Her name is un. as monsters,great bollow trees, and such other,

koown.

THE TWO UNCLES.-A SKETCH. the Lions. He cautiously avoided public (For the Olio.)

dinners and considered them as luxuries,

like doctors, and unnecessary. He was " If they were living, I would try them yet.” constant to church, to his disposition to

getting money, to early rising and early THOUGH uncle Edward and uncle rest. He read little from books, but Henry were brothers, brought up under much from countenances. He studied the same roof, educated at the same school men and escaped their follies. He loved and had all things in common together, pleasure to a cheap and gratuitous degree, yet they differed in person, taste, habil, but husbanded it sparingly, shrinking occupation and dress. Edward was fair from excess

as from a viper.

If he complexioned, under the middle size, and took a liking to a person, he was sincere nimble ; his profile was archwise, and in his friendship and gave advice with indicated close observation, and a close precepts, setting himself by example in fist to keep what he could get. His heart advantageous light. He lived a life of was bent more on gain than love ; more eccentricity and departed in the same on personal safety from want, than the spirit. generous exercise of liberal opinions, My uncle Henry was thin, tall and feelings and principles. That he at an well formed. As soon as he gained early age left home, and soon wore the liberty, he made nature his study and, yoke for himself, and acquired the pel. like Bloomfield's Farmer's Boy, the lation of being a niggard, he cared little field his books.' He excelled in walking, for, since it obtained his independence, riding, running, swimming, skaiting, though mean it were in others' considera- jumping. He was a Walton-like angler, tion, and gave him an importance with and none of his day could cast a net like his country relations, who were waiting him. A good shot, and he might have anxiously in the prospect of being be vied with Osbaldistone, for few could nefited by his demise at a future day. equal him in bringing a hare, wild duck, Edward, however, lived long enough to or snipe into his bag. He could use his. disappoint even the youngest of his ex. voice at a Rent Feast in the ro

High pectant heirs, and he would have been Mettled Racer.” He knew the secret the last of his race, but for an accident movements of fish, flesh and fowl. He which befel him and brought him to his could raise the "Tállyho!" in a foxchase, death-bed unexpectedly, when he deter or command his course in a stag hunt. mined his property to those who had the He always, on sporting occasions, mountleast relative claims on his bequests. ed Merriman, his Bull, in company with

In all his vicissitudes, which were many, the Squire and the Parson, and he venhe never felt the power of the tender tured through bog and over ditches where passion, but treated females with no other none dared follow, wisely pursuing the regard than politeness to be agreeable in scrambling method in preference to that their society. His notions of the mar- of leaping gates, an art in which Mr. riage state were peculiar, and he expected Merriman was not practised. He could to find such qualities in a woman as are tell a long narrative and smoke a long rarely, if ever, concentrated. " She pipe; keep a party in laughter, by suitmust have been rich, beautiful, young, ing the action to the word, and mimic the affectionate, refined, forbearing, forgiving, known eccentric characters of his time. healthy, notable, industrious, bland, very He was the best promoter of St. Valentemperate, sweet-tempered, with many tine, by getting up meetings with persons other indescribable properties.” Thus for cross purposes, which his merry ecuncle Edward, the old bachelor, lived laircissements only could make straight. without a wife and died, like King Wil. He was the most spirited contriver of the liam, without issue.

Maypole, and the most ardent continuer When living, he wore a three-cornered of it, affording means and his active sube hat, used a gold-headed cane, buttons of stance for jocundity. Yet he was diligent an unvaried pattern for his coat and in business, and the farm prospered with waistcoat, cuffs, flaps and collars ;, and his regulation. He was shapened out of buckles of the same pattern, for his wrist- the rock of manly substance for agricul. bands, knees and shoes. His watch was tural pursuits, and improved many of regulated by the time-beaters at St. Dun- their implements. His time of toil and stan's clock, and his pocket-book an- pleasure accorded with the seasons. He nually “ Baldwin's Journal.” He never could pitch a load of hay quicker and went more than once to Mary-le-bonne better than his neighbours. He could put Gardens, once to Ranelagh, and once to his hand to the plough, into the seedlip the Dibdinian Melange ;--then he was and grasp the sickle. He evinced a treated by his cousin, to whom he shewed practical willingness to lend a horse and

woe,

bow;

saddle and generate the spirit of hospi. seers, Meadows, a Marsh, Beau-mont, tality to friendship, distress or misfortune. Lovegrove, twó Woods, Woodward, Those who knew him respected his life Stump, Hens-haw, Beech-ey, Stan-field, and lamented his death. He admired the Lonsdale, and two Du-jardins. fair sex, made a good husband and father, Kindred,,Sons, Olderson, Wildman, leaving three sons behind him, none of boys, Childe, two of Dearman! a Cheesewhom reached to his stature, or have been man, an Inman, a Prentis, Johnsons, distinguished for his peculiarities, except- Davisons, Richardsons, Robertsons, and ing like in good nature and the estimation Wilsons. of a good name, which it is their disposi Public Characters.—Bonner, Vincent, tion to preserve.

Howard, Creswick, Alexander, Duncan,

Percy, Irving, three Allens, and a MidTHE SUFFOLK GALLERY.

dleton. For the Olio.

Poets-Watts, Collins, Shenston, Wal

ler, Shiels, and two Scotts. Feeling is hallowed by the quiet tone

Pleaders.-One Denman, and a PhilThis shrine inspires. How versatile the zone lips. Of Genius! How delightful, fervid thought 18 ransomed here! Into one orbit brought,

Liquids.-Perry, Cape, and a Poole. What concentrated gems!

Edibles.-Bacon, Fry, three Bones,

Not in the shine Or festal ' halls, the gap light hours of wine,

and a Crabb. In pleasure's eun, nor in the clam'rous burst Birds.-Two Martins, and one Dawe. of lox'ry's scenes, by fancied fortune nursed, Measures.-A Gill and a Gallon. Are these produced. But oft in scant and Christian Names.-George, Jaques, With broken, heart-like lute, and unstrung Giles, and Barney:

House Afinities.-La Porte, seven An aged parent to support, or dove, Herself a Picture of unshaken love !

Wards, Chambers, a Garrett, a Hall. Children in smiles, recipients of disease,

Artisans.-A Barber,' a Glover, a Or climbing, playful, for affectioned ease ; Turner, a Cooke, and a Barker. Orif, perchance, immersed in deep, lone thrall, Stature.-Long. With a-young beauty deaf to passion's call, To shed a pleasing lustre on the brow.

Implements.-A Mace and a Lance. Behold! the canvass all but breathing now,

A Wind-up.--Physic, Graves, a RedAppeallag to the Patrons of the Art,

grave, and a Churchyard. Of which pure Nature forms the vital part ! For the Fair Sex.-A Shepherd, a

P

Call, a Clack, a Price, a Carter, a Box

all, a Sharp, a Timbrell. BRITISH ARTISTS METAMOR. Read.-A Walker, two Moore, and a PHOSED.

Buss. (For the Olio.)

And finally, what we hope the funds of

the Society will have, because it is what Amid the varieties with which the Suf- they richly deserve, a Good-year. folk Street Galleries abound, the names

P. R. J. of many of the exhibitors may be thus resolved :

Primogenitors, there are three Adams. THE JEW OF HAMAH.

Titles.-Two Kings, a Duke, an Earl, an Abbott, three Knights, one Marshall, ONCE upon a time there lived in a Serjeant, a Burgess, a Noble, and a Hannah a certain Turk called Mustapha, Purser.

who, having accumulated some wealth Colours.-Bright, White, Brown, two by carrying on a trade in goats' hair, Corbeaux, and four Greens.

determined to make a pilgrimage to Animals.-One Fox, two Bullocks, a Mecca. His family consisted of his wife Kidd, a Hart, and a Cudlip.

and two slaves ; and as the lady insisted Names, of Derby, Essex, Hastings, on not being left behind, the good man Bromley, Bosworth, Richmond, Preston, resolved to sell off his stock of goats' Leeds, Romney, Holland, Sutherland, hair, to take all his household with him, Leigh, &c.

and to shut up his house till his return. Craftsmen.--An Archer, a Parker, The only difficulty that presented itself two Farriers, a Faulkner, Fowler, Fisher, was what to do with his money. He did Capper, Puller, two Wrights, Húrlstone, not like to run the risk of being robbed an Arrowsmith, five Smiths, and a Smithé of it in his journey through the desart, he

did not like to leave it in an empty house, Agricultural.-Two Hilditches, Fair. and there was not any of his friends to land, a Field, a Lane, a Chase, two Land- whom he wished to trust the secret of his

wealth. After much deliberation he · A Cow.

placed it in separate parcels at the bottom

son.

of five large earthen jars, which he then any one the place of his confinement. filled up with butter, and on his depar- The Jew, after several days search, not ture sent them to the house of one of his being able to obtain any tidings of him, neighbours, a Jew named Mousa, to keep concluded that he had either been drowntill his return, telling him it was a stock ed, or had strayed out of the town and which he had laid in for winter consump- fallen into the hands of soine of the wantion. The Jew, bowever, from the weight dering Bedouins; and as he was his only of the jars and other circumstances, sus- child, fell into a state of the greatest pected that they contained something despair : till at length he heard by accimore valuable; and as soon as Mustapha dent, that just about the time that the boy was fairly on his way to Damascus to was missing, he had been seen walking in join the caravan, he ventured to open company with Hadgi Mustapha. The them; when finding his expectations rea truth instantly flashed on his mind, and lized, he took out the gold and filled them he recognised in the loss of his son some up again with butter, so carefully, that stratagem which the Turk had planned in nobody could tell that they had been dis- revenge for the affair of the butter-jars. turbed. The poor Turk, on his return He immediately summoned him before the from the pilgrimage, soon found out the Cadi, accused him of having the boy in trick that his neighbour had practised his possession, and insisted on his immeupon him'; but as the jars were exactly diately restoring him. Mustapha at first in the same apparent state as when he strenuously denied the fact ; but when left them, and as there was no evidence one of the witnesses positively declared as to their contents, it was plain that no that be saw the boy go into his house, and legal process could give him any redress. when the cadi was about to pronounce He therefore set about to devise some his decree, that he should bring him into other way of punishing the Jew, and of court dead or alive,-- Yah illah! el recovering if possible his property ; and Allah!he exclaimed, there is no God in the meantime he did noi communicate but Allah, and his power is infinite, he his loss to any person but his wife, and can work miracles when it seemeth good enjoined on her the strictest secrecy. in his sight. It is true, effendi,' continued After long consideration, a plan suggest- he, addressing himself to the cadi,' that ed itself. In one of his visits to the I saw the Jew Mousa's son passing by neighbouring town of Homs, where he my house; and for the sake of the old was in the habit of going to sell his goats' friendship subsisting between his father hair to the manufacturers of the mash- and myself, I invited him to come in and lakbs, for which that place is famous, he to eat some figs which I had just been fell in with a troop of gypsies, who had gathering. The boy, however, repaid my with them an ape of extraordinary saga. hospitality with rudeness and abuse: nay, city. He prevailed on them to sell him he even blasphemed the name of our holy this animal; and conveying it privately prophet; but scarcely had the words to bis house at Hamah, shut it up in a passed his lips, when, to my surprise and room to which no one but himself had horror, he was suddenly changed into a access. He then went to the bazaar, and monkey. In that form I will produce bought one of the dark scanty robes and him: and as a proof that what I tell you the small caps or kalpaks, with a speck. is true, you will see that he will immediately led handkerchief tied closely round it, recognise his father.' At this instant which is the prescribed costume of the servant who was vaiting the outside Jews throughout the Turkish empire. let loose the ape into the divan, who seeThis dress he took care invariably to put ing that the Jew was the only person preon whenever he went to visit his ape; sent in the dress to which he was accus. and as he always carried him his meals, tomed, mistook him for his master, jumped and indeed never allowed any other per- upon him, and clung round his neck with son to see him, the animal in the course all the expressions of fondness which the of a few weeks became extremely attach- child might have been supposed to exed to him, jumping on his neck and hug- hibit on being restored to his parent. ging and caressing him as soon as he Nothing more was wanting to convince entered the room. About this time, as the audience of the truth of Mustapha's he was walking along the streets one day story; 'A miracle, a real miracle ! they he met a lad, the son of the Jew Mousa, cried out, great is Allah, and Mahomet and having enticed him into his house by is his prophet :' and the Jew was ordered. the promise of some figs, he shut him up to take the monkey and retire from the a close prisoner in a detached apartment court. A compromise was now his only in his garden, at such a distance from the resource ; and accordingly, as soon as it street and from the other houses in the was dark, and he could go unobserved, he town, that the boy could not discover to repaired to Mustapha's house, and offered

« AnteriorContinuar »