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rision in the discussion os a subject which did not admit of them."

These Memoirs likewise contain some pleasant anecdotes agreeably told. Among the rest is the account of a visit which Goldoni had the honour of making to the Po]>e, to whom he was introduced, by special grace, in his own chamber1.

"This Venetian Pontiff, wham I had the honour of knowing in his episcopal city of Padua, and whose exaltation had been celebrated by my muso, gave me the mod gracious re* ception. He discoursed nie for three quarters of an hour, on the subject of his nephew's and nieces, and was charmed with the news which I had it in my power to give him of therm

"His Holiness at length rung the little bell that stood on his table; this was a lignal for my departure. As I withdrew I made abundance of reverences and acknowledgments ) but the holy father seemed to be unsatisfied; he agitated his feet and hands, he coughed, he looked at me, but said nothing. What stupidity had seized me! Enchanted, and wholly engrossed with the honour that was done me, I had forgot to kiss the venerable feet of the successor of St Peter. At last, however, I recovered from my distraction, and prostrated myself before him. The gracious Clement XII I. loaded me with benedictions; and I took my leave, mortified with my own forgetfulness, and cha ■ ted witii his condescension."

The author informs us of a circumstance which (hews us that the rage for French fashions is as prevalent in Italy as in the other countries of Europe.

"At the beginning of every season, there is exhibited at Venice, fays ho, in a street namod La Merctrie, a female figure in high dress, called the Doll os France; this is the model by xvhich the women are to dress themselves during that season, and any extravagance is elegant, provided it Le authorised by this original. The Venc ; Vol. VII. No 41.

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ti.'.n ladies are not less fond of change and variety than those of France. Tailors and mistiness, and traffickers in modes, take advantage of this taste; and if Prance does not furnish fashions in sufficient variety, there are workpeople at Venice who have fancy enough to invent changes of dress for the'DoU."

Comedy in Italy, though its conceptions were truly dramatic, employed characters and customs by rlo means natural: this made the man of taste* who looks for deception at the theatre, and who, without truth, admits no illusion, to be/«:vcre and even unjust in his judgment of the Italian stage.

These characters were called the sour masks of the Italian comedy. Perhaps the reader will not be displeased to hear Goldoni's own account of the origin, employment, and effects of diese four masks.

*' The stage, Which has always bcefl a favourite amusement with polished nations, shared the fate of the arts and sciences} and was buried in the ruins of the empire and in the fall of letters.

"The germ of comedy, tho' buried, did not, however, perish in the fruitful bosom os the Italians. Those who first endeavoured to revive it, as they could not find, In an age of ignorance, anthots of ability to furniih them With plays, had the boldness of themselves to compose plahS* to distribute them into ,\t).% and scenes* and to till them up* extempore, with the discourse) the thoughts, and the pleasantries that had been agreed upon among themselves*

"Those who could read (and these were neither the great nor the rich) sound thatj in the comedies of Plauttis and Terence, there were always fathers who were made dupes, sons who were dissipated and debauched, daughters in love, servants who were knaves, and maids who took bribes: and as they travelled over the different provinces of Italy, they drew the characY 7 ters

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ters of their fathers at Venice and Bilogna, of their servants at Bergamo, of their lovers, their love-sick maids and waiting-women, in the states of Rome and of Tuscany.

"In proof of this, we must not expect written authorities, for we are talking of a period when no body wrote. But my asseition is proved by this, that Pantaloon was always a Venetian, the Doctor was always a Bolognese, the Brighella and the Harlequin always of Bergamo. From these places, therefore, the plAyers drew the Characters of those personages that are called the four maiks of the Italian comedy.

*« What I have just now asserted is liot altogether my own supposition ; for I am in possess.on of a manuscript cs the fifteenth century, in good preservation and bound in parchment, which contains one hundred and twenty subjects, or sketches of Italian pieces, called Comedies of Art; in these the principal personages are Pantaloon, a Venetian merchant; the Dotlor, a lawyer of Bologna; Brighella and Harlequin, two servants of Bergamo; the one a cunning knave, the other a clown. Their antiquity, and the long possession they kept of the Italian stage are proofs of their origin."

Mi Goldoni afterwards (hews that the model of Pantaloon the merchant ■was taken at Venice, because that city then carried on the richest and most extensive commerce in Italy, and his theatrical dress is exactly that of those times.

The Lawyer was made a Bolognese on account of the university then established at Bologna. His costurhe is the ancient dress of the University and of th« Bolognese bar. A tradition, universally received in Italy, informs us, that the mask with which bis forehead and nose are covered took its rise from a wine maik on the face of a celebrated lawyer of that time.

Lastly, Brighella and Harlequin were taken from the Bergamese, be

cause the first was represented as exceedingly artful and cunning, while the other was extreme'v stupid an.l a simpleton: these two extremes, saysM. Goldoni, being to be found only among the people at Bergamo. The costume ot Harlequin represents the dress of a poor wretch who gathers whatever he can find to patch his cloaths, without regarding the colour or the stuff: and the hare's tail which adorns his cap is to this day commonly worn by the peasants at Bergamo.

The malic not only annihilated all expression of the pasiions and affections of the person, but the necessity of casting in the same mould four of the principal characters in every comedy, restrained the fancy of the poet, which ought to be employed in exhibiting on the stage every turning and winding of the human heart, and in exposing all the follies of civilized life.

M. Goldoni, being endowed with a true taste and native genius for the drama, being conscious of his powers, and possessing a thorough knowledge of his art and of the human heart, refused to submit to a system as humiliating to genius as repugnant to reason, and he ventured to introduce a reformation equally difficult and laudable* As he meant to represent only such sentiments as arc natural, he did not think it necessary that they should be concealed under an artificial countenance ', and, as each of his personages had a peculiar character, He meant also that each should have his natural physiognomy. It may easily be supposed that the fenium pecus of Hon.ce would instantly rise up against him. When prejudices are deeply rooted, the happiest innovation has always the air of a kind of profanation. The anurenrs protected the masks,- but the reformer answered his detractors only by producing excellent comedies both for sentiment and plot; the pleasure he afforded his countrymen was the only art he employed; and at last the success of his works established that

Goldoni's Success as a French Authir.

of his system, which is now generally adopted by all the Italian poets.

It is certainly very extraordinary to fee a stranger at the age of fifty-three arriving in France, but superficially acquainted with the language of the country, and venturing, in the space of nine years, to compose a piece for the first theatre of the nation. This, however, Goldoni performed, and the French taste happily coinciding with his particular genius, he produced his comedy of the B',nrru Bietifiiipint, which may .be considered as his master-piece, and it is still acted with the greatest approbation. It will not perhaps be unentertaining to hear the author's own account of what pasted at its first representation.

"I was concealed, fays he, behind the scenes, in a place where I could fee nothing, but where I could listen to the actors, and hear the applause of the audience. I walked backwards and forwards during the whole time of the representation, quickening my pace when the situations were busy and required vivacity; and treading softly and slowly at the scenes of interest or of passion. I felt myself content with the performance of the actors, and echoed the plaudits of the spectators.

"When the piece was sinisticd, I heard a clapping of hands and shouts that continually increased. M. Dauberval at last came to me; this was the gentleman who was to conduct me to Fontainebleau. I imagined he was about to set off, and wanted me. No such thing. Come along, says he, Monsieur, yop must bp shewn.— Shewn ! to whom ?i—To the audience, who are calling for you.—No, no, my friend, let us instantly depart, 1 cannot suppqrt—But now appear M. le Kain and M. Brizard, who take me by the arm, and drag me on the stage.

"I have seen authors support such

a ceremony with courage. I was not

accustomed to it. In Italy authors

are not called upon tjie stage to re

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ceive compliments. I did not conceive how a man could tacitly fay to the audience, here I am, Gentlemen, give me your applause.

"After having supported, for a few seconds, a situation to me the molt singular and most irksome, I retired; and as I went towards the carriage that was waiting for me, I found numbers of people that had assembled to see me. I knew no body, but foU lowed my guide and entered the car* riage, where I found my wife and my nephew already seated. The success of my piece made them weep for joy, while the history of my apparition on the stage made them almost burst with laughing."

After the success of the Bourru Biertftiisant, M Goidoni, as he fays, reposed for some time under his laurels: but yielding at last to the solicitations of his friends, and his own self-love, he casts about for a new character, and lights on the Avare FuJlueux, an original perfectly in nature, and of whom society affords numberless examples. The piece was destined for the theatre of Fontainebleau; but, on account of the indisposition of M. Preville, it could not be performed till the eve of the king's departure from that place. The At vare Fajlueux was coldly received; and the author, without appealing from the judgment of the court to the tribunal of the public, immediately withdrew his comedy. In these Memoirs he gives an ample account of it, with some of its best scenes j and as, from these, we must be convinced that the piece had great merit, perhaps it owed its fall to circumstances, or to indifferent acting. In general, characr ters, such as that of the Avare Fajlueux, formed of two contending passions, are not striking or forcible enough for the multitude ; it requires a very intimate acquaintance with the human heart to perceive the delicate shades and nice discriminations that enter the, picture of such a character. y 2 Continuation

Continuation os an Answer to a Dissert nthn to prove that Troy m>as not taken

by the Greeks.

to worship. Hence, before Homer, we find scarce any thing but allegory and f.ible ; (tones which we know r,o» when to believe, and when to reject as incredible. But with Homer a new æra seems to commence. If Le giyi's us tales and allegories, these are the inventions pf other tirr.es. When men had united ip society,h:J.d invented some of the useful aris, and h,.J acquired some knowledge os nature, that wonder, fear, and ignorance, which had been so active in creating di\initics, ceased to operate with the same force pn their mintjs. Hence we rind, in Homer a series of prorwble and consistent events; his theolujy and mythology being the invention of art earlier age. Thus the story of Castor and Pollux, when cartfully examined, affords nq evidence against the authority of Hon]er- With regard tq the Argonautic expedition, Homer's chronology differs frprn that which has been observed by some other writers; but he is, at least, of equal authority with them, and consistent witij himself.'

Herodotus, in the cqurse of his travels, made every poflible inquiry, preparatory to the writing of his history. He seems to have allied the Egyptian priests concerning Helen; pot from a disbelief of Homer's relation, but in order to obtain all polLble information concerning the Trojin war. And this was evidently his duty as an historian. But it will be readily acknowledged, that if Herodotus had pot been misled by th£ fond veneration which the Greeks entertained for the learning and antiquity of the Egyptians, he must haye regarded the authority of Homer as far preferable to that of an Egyptian priest, in regard, to the affairs of Greece. At the time when Thucydidcs wrote, the office of poetry, in Greece, was no longer what it had originally been. We find this,

apong

,. 'I ""HE popular tradition here 3 X referred to, !tis the story of Castor and Pollux. They are said to have been the sons of Lxda, and brothers of Helen; the one mortal, the other immortal. At the death of Castor, who was mortal, Pollux obtained leave of his father Jupiter, to (hare with hjm his immortality. "This Itury," fays our author, 'i is thought to be an astronomical allegory: and, if Castor and Pollux were allegpncal personages, what was Helen? If HeJen was also an allegorwal person, what occasioned the Trojan war?'' But, I Would again ask. may not the history of Castor and Pollux be partly allegorical, partly real? The adventures of Hercules, of Cadmus, of Theseus, and of most of the gods and heroes of Greece appear to be compositions of this kind. The early history of almost every nation contains many similar characters and stories. But, ty'hcre it is possible to distinguish between them, we ought to beware of confounding the allegorical with the real. The brothers of Helen may Jiitve been adventurers in the Argo; 'but when we are told of their alternate life and death, the consequence pf their strong fraternal affection, we will naturally think of the meteors which bear their names. But neither {he beauty nor virtue of Helen have raised her to the rank of a divinity, RT given hej: a pi ice among the stars. She occupies an humbler sphere, and figures on|y in real history. At the time of the Trojjn war, men were no longer so lucky as their ancestors had jaeen, in meeting new deities by every mountain, grove, or stream. They began also to be less disposed to deify their friends and benefactors. Yet they still continued to commemorate the actions, and to sing the praises of those heroes, gods, and demi-gods, whom their ancestors bad taught them

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imbng all nations to whose history we have access, poetry w;is the first species of literary composition. The earlicit uses of poetry have been to perpetuate the glory of the warrior, and to diffuse the wisdom of the sage. The poet feels not then the necessity of singing fictitious persons and events. His page is then sacred to truth: or, if he record fictions, these are only ihe dreams of superstition and enthusiasm; which with him and his cotemporaries bear the character of solemn truths. But ether species of composition arise, and the province of poetry becomes gradually more limited. The orator, the legislator, and the historian, learn to express themselves in prose. Fiction and fable are pow assigned to the poet: and with these he still labours to attract the attention, and to charm the hearts of mankind. Thucydides, therefore, writing at a period when the proper province of poetry was held to be fiction, naturally expresses himself with caution, when he makes use of poetical authority. He knew that Homer's Teracity was not generally questioned; but he thought it became him, as an historian and a philosopher, to be cautious in referring to the authority of a poet; not reflecting that poetty is, at a certain period, the genuine language of history, Pausanias, observing with what disrespect Herodotus and Thucydides had treated Homer's veracity, naturally takes notice of that, as the Essayist mentions, when he himself professes to regard Homer as worthy of credit. Neither, therefore, the story of Castor and Pollux, nor the sentiments of Herodotus, Thucydides, and Pausanias, of which our author takes advantage, are such as to weaken or destroy the authority of Homer's relation.

Having now, I hope, obviated those arguments against the credit of the great poet which the author of the dissertation has adduced, from the circumstances of the age which Homer

3ft

celebrates, from the general character of the Greeks, and from the senti-"1 ments which their great historians seem to have entertained concerning Homer's veracity; I shall next pioceed to consider the probability and consistency of the several parts of the poet's relation, against which our author cavils.

He acknowledges himself to have derived considerable assistance, in his attack on Homer, from Dio Chrysostomus, a Greek sophist, who lived in the time of Trajan, and employed himself, among other studies,-both in illustrating Homer's beauties as a poet, and in contesting his authority as an historian. From Dio, indeed, in his reasonings on the inconsistency of Homer's story, he draws not only arguments, but also facts; though Dio quotes, in support of those facts, no writer prior to the blind Ionian bard, or cotemporaty with him. This sophist, like the rest of the profession, wandered through Greece and Asia, maintaining paradoxes, and delivering lectures to ail who would praise and pay him. Arriving, in the course of his peregrinations, at a town in Phry. gia, situated nearly where ancient Troy had flood ; he very ingeniously contrived to recommend himself to the inhabitants of that town, by maintaining, that Troy had never been taken or destroyed by the Greeks. He knew that truth was not here so requisite as plausibility, and ingenuity, and wit. The sophists and rhetoricians of his age had often declaimed upon more ridiculous topics. It was not so much their province to tell and to defend the tmth, as to fay what could be said against it.

Such is the chatacter of him who has furnished the author of the dissertation with those weapons which he brandishes so furiously against Homer.

Paris, no doubt, must have been extremely nice in his taste for beauty, who could not be satisfied without traversing the Ionian sea for a mistress.

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