Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

Do pity me;
Pity's akin to love, and every thought
Of that soft kind is welcome to my soul.

Oroonoko. Act ii.

And Dryden, in his Alexander's Feast, after de. scribing the power of Timotheus in exciting his hero's pity for the sad fate of Darius, says,

The mighty master smild to see,
That love was in the next degree ;
'Twas but a kindred sound to move,
For pity melts the soul to love.

And Julia, in the Two Gentlemen of Verona, says of Proteus,

Because he loves her he despises me;
Because I love him, I must pity him. Active

Poets, who, where the passions are concerned, are generally the best philosophers, constantly describe love and pity as melting the soul : but how does this agree with the intense muscles with which Hill marks the expression of both these passions ? And how, according to this writer, can the muscles be intense and the eye languid at the same time, as he has described them in pity ; or is it conceivable that the eye can express an emotion directly contrary to the feelings of the whole frame ? The distinction, therefore, of braced and unbraced muscles, upon which his whole system turns, seems at best but a doubtful hypothesis ; and much too hidden and uncertain for the direction of so important a matter as the expression of the passions.

In the display of the passions which I have adopted, nothing farther is intended, than such a description of them as may serve to give an idea of their external appearance, and such examples of their operations on the soul as may tend to awaken an origin., al feeling of them in the breast of the reader. But

it cannot be too carefully noted, that, if possible, the expression of every passion ought to commence within. The imagination ought to be strongly impressed with the idea of an object which naturally excites it, before the body is brought to correspond to it by suitable gesture. This order ought never to be reversed, except when the mind is too cold and languid to imbibe the passion first; and, in this case, an adaptation of the body to an expression of the passion, will either help to excite the passion we wish to feel, or in some measure supply the absence of it.

The two circumstances that most strongly mark the expression of passion, are the tone of the voice, and the external appearance of countenance and gesture; these we shall endeavour to describe, and to each description subjoin an example for practice.

In the following explanation and description of the passions, I have been greatly indebted to a very ingenious performance, called the Art of Speaking; this work, though not without its imperfections, is on a plan the most useful that has hitherto been adopted. The passions are first described, then passages are produced which contain the several passions, and these passions are marked in the margin as they promiscuously occur in the passage. This plan I have adopted, and I hope not without some degree of improvement. For after the description of the several passions, in which I have frequent. ly departed widely from this author, I have subjoined examples to each passion and emotion, which contain scarcely any passion or emotion but that de. scribed ; and by thus keeping one passion in view at a time, it is presumed the pupil will more easily acquire the imitation of it, than by passing suddenly to those passages where they are scattered promiscuously in small portions. But though this association of the similar passions is certainly an advantage, the greatest merit is due to the author above men. tioned; who, by the division of a passage into its several passions, and marking these passions as they occur, has done real service to the art of speaking, and rendered his book one of the most useful that has been hitherto published.

The first picture of the Passions (if it may be called so) is

TRANQUILLITY. Tranquillity appears by the composure of the countenance, and general repose of the whole body, without the exertion of any one muscle. The countenance open, the forehead smooth, the eyebrows arched, the mouth just not shut, and the eyes passing with an easy motion from object to object, but not dwelling long upon any one. To distinguish it, however, from insensibility, it seems necessary to give it that cast of happiness which borders on cheerfulness.

CHEERFULNESS.

When joy is settled into a habit, or flows from a placid temper of mind, desiring to please and be pleased, it is called gaiety, good humour, or cheerfulness.

Cheerfulness adds a smile to tranquillity, and opens the mouth a little more:

[merged small][ocr errors]

Now my co-mates, and brothers in exile,
Hath not old custom made this life more sweet
Than that of painted pomp? Are not these woods
More free from peril than the envious court?
Here feel we but the penalty of Adam,
The season's difference ; as the icy fang
And churlish chiding of the winter's wind,
Which, when it bites and blows upon my body
Ev'n till I shrink with cold, I smile and say,

This is no flattery ; these are counsellors
That feelingly persuade me what I am.
Sweet are the uses of adversity,
That, like a toad, ugly and venomous,
Wears yet a precious jewel in its head ;
And this our life exempt from publick haunts,
Finds tongues in trees, books in the running brooks,
Sermons in stones, and good in every thing.

Shakespeare's As You Like It.

MIRTH.

When joy arises from ludicrous or fugitive amuse. ments in which others share with us, it is called merriment or mirth.

Mirth, or laughter, opens the mouth horizontally, raises the cheeks high, lessens the aperture of the eyes, and, when violent, shakes and convulses the whole frame, fills the eyes with tears, and occasions holding the sides from the pain the convulsive laughter gives them.

Invocation of the Goddess of Mirth.
But come, thou goddess, fair and free,
In heav'n yclep: Euphrosyne,
And of men heart-easing Mirth;
Whom lovely Venus at a birth,
With two sister graces more,
To ivy-crowned Bacchus bore.
Come, thou nymph, and bring with thee
Mirth and youthful Jollity ;
Quips, and cranks, and wanton wiles ;
Nods, and becks, and wreathed smiles ;
Such as hang on Hebe's cheek,
And love to live in dimples sleek :
Sport, that wrinkled Care derides,
And Laughter, holding both his sides :
Come, and trip it as ye go,
On the light fantastick toe;
And in thy right hand bring with thee
The mountain nymph, sweet Liberty.

Milton's Comus,

Laughter on seeing a shrewd Bufoon.
A fool, a fool, I met a fool i'th'forest,
A motley fool, a miserable varlet ;
As I do live by food, I met a fool,
Who laid him down, and bask'd him in the sun,
And raild on lady Fortune in good terms;
In good set terms, and yet a motley fool;
Good morrow, fool, quoth I ; no, sir, quoth he,
Call me not fool, till heav'n hath sent me fortune ;
And then he drew a dial from his poke,
And, looking on it with lack-lustre eye,
Says, very wisely, it is ten o'clock;
Thus may we see, quoth he, how the world wags;
"Tis but an hour ago since it was nine,
And after one hour more 'twill be eleven,
And so from hour to hour we ripe and ripe,
And then from hour to hour we rot and rot,
And thereby hangs a tale. When I did hear
The motley fool thus moral on the time,
My lungs began to crow like chanticleer,
That fools should be so deep contemplative ;
And I did laugh sans intermission
An hour by his dial. O noble fool !
A worthy fool! motley's the only wear.

Shakespeare's As You Like It.

RAILLERY.

Raillery, without animosity, puts on the aspect of cheerfulness; the countenance smiling, and the tone of voice sprightly.

Rallying a Person for being melancholy.
Let me play the fool
With mirth and laughter; so let wrinkles come,
And let my liver rather heat with wine,
Than my heart cool with mortifying groans.
Why should a man, whose blood is warm within,
Sit like his grandsire cut in alabaster ?
Sleep when he wakes, and creep into the jaundice
By being peevish? I tell thee what, Anthonio,
(I love thee, and it is my love that speaks ;)
There are a sort of men whose visages
Do cream and mantle like a standing pond,

« ZurückWeiter »