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themselves in the soul of him who presents this attitude, or if only the first of these sentiments affects his soul, whilst the second is simply the object which produces the first, and so vice versa ; and, in the last case, how shall I be able to decide which of these two sentiments is typical, or which is imitative ? Since these two things are equally possible: love can excite sadness-sadness love.
I am not ignorant that in this case the connexion and series of ideas are capable of affording much eclaircissement. Nevertheless one should not require too much, for in doing so we run the risk of not gaining any intelligence concerning the subject which we are investigating.
More Remarks on the ancient Pantomime Dancers, The
Art of Gesture considered musically-Remark to prove that all musical Arts are founded on the same Rules and Principles.
The rapid reflections with which I finished my last letter, and the fear, either of being prolix, or falling into minute subtilties, prevent me from much amplification. The discovery of a pantomimical language, I have urged, if not proved, is a very difficult problem to resolve. Notwithstanding all that has been said concerning the age of Augustus, I find it impossible to join in opinion with those moderns who exalt the marvellous effects of dancing among the ancients to the skies. According to the testimony of authors, the pantomimes of antiquity certainly had some particular signs. I will even grant more than this, that they possessed farther than what solely appertained to their art, which they made it a particular, and, probably, a unique study, during the whole course of their lives, to raise, on all occasions, the most expressive and most characteristical traits, that oral language furnished them with a number of happy images and allusions; that they executed all these signs with a truth and energy of which we have a difficulty of forming any conception in our cold climates; that they carried expression to its highest pitch, and seized hold of its finest traits. But, allowing them all these advantages, at what an immense distance must they yet have been from oral language. A Pylades and a Bathyllus surely had not in themselves more knowledge than all the rest of mankind put together.
By a general and marvellous impulsion, the whole Roman people would not have applied to a new language, useless to every other need and occasion. After this reasoning, I cannot forin any idea to myself of the execution of an intelligible pantomime, intelligible in its own proper resources, or scenes of a tranquil discussion, and of the developement of an intrigue, carried on with art and address, without the aid of words. The collection of the signs of these pantomime dancers, perhaps, was no more than in our own days we should expect from the dictionary of a people whose minds were hardly emerged from barbarism. Common and material ideas will suf
fice for a narrow circle ; but it will be too poor, in calculative and abstracted ideas, for a play, or even a scene of Euripides, to have been translated into a similar language.
I hope you will not here oppose to me the pantomime language of the Sicilians, of which M. Le Comte de Borch speaks with such raptures in his Letters upon Sicily and the Isle of Malta, Tom. 2. Letter 20. p. 36.
“ Another particularity, not less singular (the characteristical properties of the Sicilian language had been the argument), is the usage of gestures and signs commonly employed here, and of which the language is so expressive for the natives that at a considerable distance, in the midst of a numerous company, two persons, without opening the mouth, mutually comprehend and communicate their thoughts one to the other : these signs and these gestures are by no means general. A woman has several different kinds of them; one sort for her husband, another for her lover, and a third for her friends. This difference of alphabet produces three distinct languages, of which the same person makes use with all possible facility. The same skill is remarkable amongst the children, who, from the most tender age, commence composing, with their