Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

found of his name, and put him into the midft of these adventures : there let bin work for twelve books ; at the end of which you may take him out, ready pre. pared to conquer or to marry: it being necessary that the conclusion of an epic poem be fortunate.

To make an EPISODE. Take any remaining adventure of your former collectie on, in which you could no way involve youre hero : or any unfortunate accident, that was too good to be thrown away ; and it will be of use, applied to any other per. Jon, who may be lost and evaporate in the course of the work, without the least damage to the composition.

For the MORAL and ALLEGORY. These

you may extract out of the fable afterwards, at your leilure :- be sure you sirain them fufficiently,

For the MANNERS. For those of the hero, take all the best qualities you can find in the most celebrated heroes of antiquity ; if they will not be reduced to a consistency, lay them all on a heap upon hin. But be sure they are qualities, which your patron would be thought to have ; and to prevent any mistake which the world may be subject to, select froin the alphabet those capital letters that compofe bis name, and let them at the head of a dedication before your poem. However, do not absolutely observe the exact quantity of these virtues, it not being determined whe. ther or no it be neceit ry for the hero of a pocin to be an honest man. For the urider characters, gather them from Homer and Virgil, and change the names as occa. fiun ferves.

For the MACHINES. Take of Deities, male and female, as many as you can use : separate them in.o two equal parts, and keep Jupiter in the middle ; let Juno put him in a ferment, and Ven'is molli:y bit. Remember, on all occasions, to make use of volatile Mercury. If you have need of

devils,

devils, draw them out of Milton's Paradise, and extract your spirits from Talso. The use of these machines is evident; since no epic poem can possibly fut list without them, the wiselt way is to referve them for your greatest necessities ; when you cannot extricate your hero by any human means, or your elf by your owu wit, feek relief from beaven, and the gods will do your

bulinels

very readily. This is according to the direct prescription of Horace in his art of poetry.

Nec deus interfit, nisi dignus vindice nodus

Inciderit. That is to say, a poet should never call upon the gods for their assistance, but when he is in great perplexity,

For the DESCRIPTION3. For a tempeft. Take Eurus, Zephyr, Aufter, and BoTeas, and catt them together in one verle : add to thele, of rain, lightning and thunder (the loudest you can) quantum fufficit. Mix your clouds and billows well together will they foam, and thicken your description here and there with a quick-land, Brew your tempelt well in your head, before you set it a:blowing.

For a battle. Pick a large quantity of images and descriptions from Homer's Iliads, with a spice or two of Virgil, and if there remain any overplus, you may lay theni by for a skirmish. Season it well with similies, and it will inake an excellent battle,

For a burning town. If such a description be necessary (because it is certain there is one in Virgil), old Troy is "Tady burnt to your hands. But if you fear that would "be thought borrowed, a chapter or two of Burnet's The. ory of the couflagration, well circumstanced and done into verle, will be a good succedaneum.

As for fimilies and metaphors, they may be found all over the crea:ion ; the most ignorant may gather them, but the difficulty is in applying thein. For this advile with your bookseller.

СНАР,

C H A P. XVI,

ITA

A projekt for the adv ancement of the siage, my be thought that we should not wholiy omit the

drama, which makes so great and so lucrative a part of poetry.

But this province is so well taken care of by the present managers of the theatre, that it is perfeally needless to suggeit to them any other methods than they have already practiled for the advancement of the bathos.

Here therefore, in the name of all our brethren, let me return our sincere and humble thanks to the soft Ave gult Mr Birton Booth, tie most Serene Mr Robert Wilks, and the most imdaunted Mi Colly Cibber; of whom let it be known, when the people of this age ball be ancefiors, and to all the liicceljion of our fiucceffors, that to this present day they coutinue to outedo even their own (utedo. ings; and when the inevitable hund of sweeping time thail have brulhed off all the works of to-day, may this testimony of a co tempor ary critic 10 their fame be extended as far as to morrow.

Yet if to fo wise an administration it be possible any thing can be added, it is that more ample and compre. hensive scheine which Mr Dennis and Mr Gildon (the two greatest critics and reformers then living) made public ia the year 1720, in a project signed with their nanies, and dated the second of February. I cannot better conclude than by presenting the reader with the substance of is.

1. It is propoled, that the two theatres be incorpora:ed into one company; that the royal.academy of music be added to them as an orchefira; and that Mr Figg with his prize fighters, and Violante with the rope-dancers, be admitted in partnership.

2. That a spacious building be erected at the public expence, capable of containing at least ten thousand fpectators, which is become absolutely necesary by the great addition of children and nurles to the audience, fiuce the new entertaioments *.

That there be a stage as large as the 'Athenian, which was near ninety thousand geome

Pantomimes were then fitst exhibited in England, Hawkes.

[ocr errors][merged small]

trical paces square, and separate divisions for the two koules of parliament, my lords the judges, the honourable the directors of the avademy, and the court of aldermen, who shall all have their places frank.

3. If Westminster hall be not alloted to this service (which, by reason of iis proximity to the two chambers: of parliament alorementioned, seems not altogether improper), it is left to the wisdom of the nation, whether Somerset-house

may not be demolished, and a theatre: built upon that site, which lies convenient to receive fpec. tators from the county of Surry, who may be watted: toither by water-carriage, esteemed by all projectors the cheapest whatsoever. To this may be added, that the river Thames inay, in the readiest manner, convey those eniilent personages from courts beyond the seas, who may be drawn either by curiosity to behold fone of our moit celebrated pieces, or by affecting to lee their countrymen,, the harlequins and eunuchs; of which convenient notice may be given, for two or three months before, in the public prints.

4. That the theatre abovefaid be environed with a fair quadrangle of buildings, fitted for the accommodation of decayed critics and poets; out of whom fix of the most aged (their age to be computed from the year wherein their first work was published). shall be elected to manage the affairs of the society, provided nevertheless that the Laureat, for the tiine being, may be always one.

The head or president over all (!o prevent disputes, but too frequent among the learned) fall be the most anticnt poet and critic to be found in the whole island.

5. The male players are to be lodged in the garrets of the faid quadrangle, and to attend the perfons of the poets dwelling under them, by brushing their apparel, drawing on their shoes, and the like. The.atireljes are to make their beds and wash their liven.

6. A large roo:n Mall be let apart for a library, to consist of all the modern dramatic poems, and all the cri. ticisms extant. In the midst of this

thall be a rouud table for the council of fix to fit and deliberate on the merits of plays,

The majority mall det vine the dispute; and if it should lia pen, that three and three. fhould be of each side, the president shall have a calling

room

1

ovice, unless where the contention may run so high as to require a decision by single combat.

3. It may be convenient to place the council of six in fone conspicuous situation in the theatre, where, after the manner of ally practised by composers in music, they miy give figus (before settled and agreed upon) of dullike or approbation. In coolequence of thefe figns the whole audience shall be required to clap or hiss, that the town may leara certainly, when and how far they ought to be pleased.

8. It is fub nitted, whether it would not be proper to distinguish the council of fix by some particular babit or gown of an honourable mape and colour, to which may be added a quare cap and a white wand.

9. That to prevent unmarried istrelles making away with their infants, a competent provision be allowed for the nurture of thein, who shall for that reason be deemned the children of the fociety; and that they may be educa. ted according to the genius of their parents, the laid actresses Call declare upon oath (as far as their memory will allow) the true nuines and qualities of their several fathers. A private gentleman's fon shall, at the public expence, be brought up a page to attend the council of fix: a more ainple provision shall be made for the fou or a poet, and a greater still for the son of a critic.

10. If it be discovered, that any actress is got with child during the interludes of any play wherein she bath a part, ic hall be reckoned a neglect of her business, and Me thall forfeil accordingly. If any actor for the future shall commit murder, except upon the stage, he shall be left to the laws of the land; the like is to be understood of robbery and theft. In all other cases, particularly in those for dibt, it is propoled that this, like the other courts of Whitehall and St Ja nes's, may be held a place of privilege. And whereas it has been found, that an obligation to satisfy paltry creditors has been a discourage. inent to men of letters, if any person of quality or others shall send for any poet or critic of this fociety to any remote quarter of the town, the said poet or critic shall freely pals and repass, without being liable to an arreft.

11. The forementioned scheme, in its feveral regulations, may be fupported by profits arising from every third

« AnteriorContinuar »