« AnteriorContinuar »
ACT II. SCEN E VII. Page 199.
The rugged Pyrrhus he, &c.] tion; but called it an honest mer The two greatest poets of chis thot. They who fuppofe the and the last age, Mr. Dryden, in passage given to be ridiculed, the preface to Troilus and Crelli- mult needs fuppofe this character da, and Mr. Po; e, in his note on to be purely ironical. But if so, this plaçe, have concurred in it is the firangest irony that ever thinking that Shakefrear pro- was written. It pleased not the duced this long passage with de- multitude. - This we must consign to ridicule and expose the clude to be true, however ironibombast of the play from whence cal the rest be. Now the reason it was taken; and that Hamlet's given of the designed ridicule is cominendation of it is purely the supposed bombast. But those ironical. This is become the
ge- were the very plays, which at neral opinion. I think just o- that time we know took with the therwise ; and that it was given multitude. And Fletcher wrote with commendation to upbraid a kind of Rehearsal 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 sim- not with the multitude. Hamler plicity and sublime of this pro- presently tells us what it was that duction, And I reason, Firil, displeased them. There was no From the Character Hamlet gives Jalt in the lines to make the matter of the Play, from whence the Javoury; nor no matter in the pas ge is taken. Secondly, From phrase that might indite the authe passage itself. And Thirdly, thor of affection; but called it an From the effect it had on the au. honest method. Now whether a dience,
person speaks ironically or no, Let us consider the character when he quotes others, yet comHamlet gives of it: The Play, 1 mon sense requires be should remember, pleas’d not the m llion, quote what they fay. Now it 'Iwas Caviar to the general; but could not be, if this play disit was (as I received it, and pleased because of the bombaft, others, whose judgment in such that those whom it displeased matters cried in the top of mine), should give this reason for their an excellent Play well digelied in dislike. The same inconsistenthe scenes, set down with as much cies and absurdities abound in modefly as cunning. I remember, every other part of Hamlet's one said, there was no falt in the speech supposing it to be ironical: lines to make the matter savoury; but take him as speaking his sennor 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. titude, 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 the an excellent Play, well digefied in description of a circumstance very the scenes, 2. e. where the three happily imagined, namely Ilium unities were well preserved. Set and Priam's falling together, with down with as much modesty as the effect it had on the destroyer. funning, i. e. where not only the -The hellifo Pyrrhus, &c. are of composition, but the fim- To, Repugnant to command. plicity of nature, was carefully Tb' unnerved father falis, &c. attended to. The characters To,--So after Pyrrhus' pause. were a faithful pi&ture of life and Now this circumstance, illuit rated 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, lost the public's. For i Virgil's second Book of the Æremember one faid, There was no ncid, even tho' the work had Jalt in the lines to make the mai- 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 beft characdite the author of affe&tion, i, e. ter, approves it; the Player is nor none of those passionate, pa- deeply affected in repeating it; thetic love scenes, fo 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 sentihowever tasteless this method of ments. As for the player, he 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 ppre; the distinguishing cha- thor was too good a judge of naracter of the Greek Drama. I ture to make bombast and unnaneed 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 instructed 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 fare infortunia ladent, ther from what we find added in Telephe, vel Peleu. Male SI the old Quarto, an honeft method, MANDATA LOQUERIS, as wholesome as sweet, 'and by Aut dormitabo aut 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 must bast and onnatural sentiments are appeal to Hamlet, that is, to incapable of moving the tender Shakespear him felf, 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 leaft hint Telephus & Peleus, cùm pauper that the player was unnaturally & exul uterque,
or indjudiciously moved. On the Projicit Ampullas, & fefquipe. contrary, his fine defcription 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 af always proceeds from one or o- pasion, ther of these causes.
Could force his foul fo to bis 1. Either when the subject is own conceit, domestic, and the scene lies at That from her working all bis home: The spectators, in this vifage wan'd: cafe, become interested in the Tears in his eyes, distraction in fortunes of the distressed ; and their thoughts are so much taken A broken voice, &c. up with the subject, that they And indeed had Hamlet efteemed 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 fpur him to his would have stifled the emotions purpose. springing up from a fenfe of the
As Shakespear has here shewn diftrels. But this is nothing to the effects which a fine defcripthe case in hand. For, as Ham- tion of Nature, heightened with let fays,
all the ornaments of art, had What's Hecuba to tim, or be upon an intelligent Player, to Hecuba?
whore business habituatés 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 occafions; fo he ly figurative and swelling; yet has artfully shewn what effects when attended with a natural the very fame scene would have fimplicity, they have force e.
upon à quite different man, Po. nough to strike_illiterate and lonius ; by nature, very weak and fimple minds. The Tragedies very artificial (two qualities, tho' of Banks will juftify both these commonly enough joined in life, observations.
yet generally so much disguised But if any one will still say, as not to be seen by common
eyes to be together; and which effect that all pathetic relations,
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. Moble i 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 so 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 expression, extremely beautiful. It has the in his best plays, and given them
ber power :
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, Troilus, in Troilus and Cressida, was the reason I have been so far outstrains the execution of large upon this question. F Pyrrhus's sword, in the character think then it appears, from what he gives of Hector's,
has been said, that the Play in When 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 chaîtness and re
Cleopatra, in Antony and Cleo- gularity of the ancient Stage; patra, rails at Fortune in the and therefore composed this Trafame 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 action into relation. That the false huswife Fortune But his attempt proved fruitless ; break her wheel,
and the raw, unnatural 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 revengo of the Author of this recited upon his Audience.