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outcry, but it is empty of every thing this vital one, scil. departure from but air. I never read a speech of the true language of the drama. But Lee's (the Coryphæus of the decla- they differ, also, in that one substimatory school) but I repeat Shak- tuted declamation, the other mere speare's bombastical lines:
poetry,for the genuine, proper phraseThou trumpet, there's my purse.
ology of the stage. Thus, if we canNow crack thy lungs and split thy brazen
not award the honours of dramatic pipe :
triumph to the present, poetic, or Blow, villain, till thy sphered bias cheek third school, we must at least acOutswell the cholic of puft Aquilon : knowledge that its disciples have esCome, stretch thy chest, and let thy eyes hibited considerable ingenuity:-they spout blood
have invented a new mode of error : I'roilus and Cressida, Act 4, Sc. 5. and their aberration deserves all the Here is a sample of Nat Lee's praise which extremity of divergence speechification:
from the straight road to legitimate
drama can possibly challenge. The Away! begone! and give a whirlwind faculty of choosing the worst method room,
in any design is next in reputation Or I will blow you up like dust! Avaunt ! Madness but meanly represents my toil.
to that of choosing the best. It was Roxana and Statira, they are names
easy to confound drama with spoken That must for ever jar : Eternal discord,
rhetoric, dialogue with reciprocal Fury, revenge, disdain, and indignation, declamation.
an obvious Tear my swoln breast, make way for fire error to make every buskineer, Busiand tempest.
ris and beef-eater, speak in heroics My brain is burst, debate and reason from entrance to exit at the very top quench'd,
of his magnanimity, and traverse the The storm is up, and my hot bleeding heart proscenium in seven-league cothurni Splits with the rack, while passions like the at the risk every moment of snapping winds
his tendo Achillis; without ever lowerRise up to heav’n, and put out all the stars! ing his voice beneath the pitch of a Rival Queens, Act. 3, Sc. I.
speaking-trumpet, or contracting his The cardinal blunder committed stride to the mortal measure of locoby this school, is the translation of motion. There was little felicity of the figures, flourishes, pomposity, invention displayed in augmenting and inflated language of the rhetori- energy to rant, or swelling passion to cian's scaffold, to the public stage. bombast. The transition was easy, The Os rotundum and the Os sonans, natural, and imperceptible, from the are perpetually mistaken for the Os grandeur of Macbeth to the grandiloMagna sonans, which is a very diffe- quence of Zanga. This was the derent thing from either; they regard- viation of the second, or rhetoric ing words alone; this, ideas and words school; to wander from the stage to togetherThe writers of the decla- the hustings, to mistake verse purely matory sect occasionally indeed talk rhetoric for tragic. The blank traeffrenato ore, but their characteristic gedy of this school was nothing more attribute is a certain full-mouthed than reboant speechification; oratory phraseology, by which an actor, if he emitted from different mouths in albe tolerably well off in lungs and ternate snatches; heroic poetry of larynx, is enabled to “beratile the the first person, exclaimed by sevecommon stages," without the trouble ral sets of lips in succession. But of displaying either action, passion, such pitiful aberration deserves no feeling, or faculty of any kind whats applause. It had not the merit of soever, but the mere extent and bota originality, for drama is a species of tom (to use a Newmarket word) of brief and repercussive oratory, not his oral abilities. Vox et preterea nihil always or easily to be distinguished is the motto of this dramatic order of from it. Tragedy slides with sponerrantry.
taneous proclivity into declamation. Of the three schools into whi Neither was it provocative of that I have distinguished our national interesting amazement with which drama, the first and second have lit- we behold a display of mental eccentle in common; the first and third- tricity, where the magnificence of the nothing. The second and third agree irregularity almost disarms reprein many particulars; especially in hension, by exciting a kind of insane
admiration at the unruliness of that always attempts to be so;'and as I spirit which could err so abundantly. call the first, the Dramatic, because
It was reserved for the dramatists it always succeeds in being so.—Now of the present age to invent a species for a patch of dialogue from the moof tragedy which should have no re- dern drama. It is, by the bye, not semblance at all to the first, or dra- a little difficult to pitch upon a patch matic proper. This feat of invention eligible for our purposes. By the consists in applying a mode of lan- principles of this Poetic school, all guage to the stage which is wholly verbal vivacity, all diction involving inconsistent with dramatical effect'; action, is excluded from the piece; a mode, which no sober mind could and by the nature of running dialogue, think an author would be guilty of poetical luxuriation is excluded. So perverting to theatrical purposes, ex- that our unhappy dramatists are in a cept for the mere pleasure of at- most awkward, two-stooled predicatempting to reconcile incongruities, ment, by this means; and their runor through the wild hope of making ning dialogue (which is generally the extravagance of design a stepping- heaviest and least graceful part of a stone to immortality. It is needless tragedy) necessarily comes to the to repeat that the manner of phrase ground. They have no room to exadopted by this third, last, and worst patiate or diffuse themselves in poetschool, is pure, specific, soul-entranc- ical imagery, and there is a bull aing poetry; without any intermixa gainst exerting their active powers; ture of diction approaching to the le consequently their running dialogue gitimate, effective, spirit-stirring dra- is, for the most part, only poetry by matic. The serious dramas now courtesy, i. e. prose with a capital gushing from the press are, if we letter beginning every eleventh or would rightly denominate them, not twelfth syllable. This description of tragedies, but-Amabean Poems, in it is really neither sarcasm, hyperbole, five cantos each.
nor misrepresentation. I open WerI have elucidated my nomenclature NER, at random, and extract the folin two instances out of the three, by lowing piece of metrical gossip: examples of dialogue, and of mono
Gabor. Where is your husband ? logue (i. e. protracted speech of one
Josephine. Here, I thought: I left him person, either alone or in presence of Not long since in his chamber. But these others). Similar specimens from the third school will, I think, demon- Have many outlets, and he may be gone strate the applicability of the name, To accompany the intendant. Poetic pure, to it, as a characteristic Gab, Baron Stralenheim entitlement. Let me, however, ap- Put many questions to the intendant on prise the reader, that in most of these The subject of your lord, and, to be plain, quotations from the drama, I have I have my doubts if he means well. endeavoured to select such as are in
Jos. Alas! &c. Act 1, Sc. l. trinsically valuable, as well as illus- And alas ! say I, that such should trative of my individual positions. be the standard dialogue of modem So that, if upon opening a modern tragedy. Indeed, the noble author tragedy, for instance, he unluckily does not even attempt to disguise the happens to pitch upon an unpoetical prose here; but the printer does what passage, he must not thence conclude he can to deceive us, with his gaudy that the said passage is not “ pure capitals. O Shakspeare! Shakspoetry,” as I have denominated it; peare! what would have tempted but merely that it is bad poetry, bad you to make Melpomene talk so like pure poetry. In the same way, Lee's our grannum ? O Swan of Avon! plays are not the less rhetoric, be- what would have tempted you to cause they are rhetoric “run mad;" sing so like a sparrow? And mark ! and, on the other hand, Young's tra- I beseech ye: these nine lines are gedies are not the less undramatical, intended for “ gorgeous Tragedy !” because they may be good declama- She is to “sweep by," with such tion. I call the third school, the waiting-maid parley as this in her Poetic, not because it is always poe- mouth! These verses are given us tical, but because it always attempts by the writer as the-Sophocleo digna to be so, or nothing ; just as I call cothurno! These sentences, which a the second, the Rhetoric, because it parrot ought to have its neck wrung
for abusing our patience with, are That you know well: Something it is I offered to us as Imperial Drama, by would, a man who implicitly designates O, my oblivion is a very Antony, Shakspeare a barbarian!
And I am all forgotten.Act 1, Sc, 3. But let us take another patch from There is scarcely a poetical image Fazio, which, as far as my judgment here, it is all action and passion. reaches, is the most animated drama
A modern monologue is to one from of the poetic school:
the dramatic-proper school, what the Fazio. Lady, there was a time when I sound of a humming-top is to a peal did dream
of thunder, or the drone of a beetle to Of playing the miser to another treasure, the rushing of an eagle, or the ripple One not less stately than thy precious self.
of a sleepy lake to the roar of an Aldabella. O yes, my lord, O yes; the tale did run
angry ocean. The difference between That thou and I did love: so ran the tale.
the monologue of the rhetoric and That thou and I should have been wed— poetic schools, is something about the tale
that between “ a sounding brass" Ran so, my lord.—O memory! memory! and "a tinkling cymbal.” Only be memory!
sure that the cymbal tinkles ; if it "It is a bitter pleasure, but 'tis pleasure. happens to clash, my simile disapFaz. A pleasure ! lady-why then cast pears like a ghost at cock-crow. The
following effusion exhibits much of Like an indifferent weed ?—with icy scorn the beauty, more of the defects, and Why choke the blossom that but woo'd thy exactly the manner of the modern
sunshine ? Ald. Ay, what an easy robe is scorn to
or poetic-pure school: wear!
Let me peruse the face where loveliness Tis but to wrinkle up the level brow, Stays, like the light after the sun is set. To arch the pliant eyelash, and freeze up Sphered in the stillness of those heav'n. The passionless and placid orb within.Act 2, Sc. 2. The soul sits beautiful; the high white
front, Perhaps there is more action in this Smooth as the brow of Pallas, seems a piece of dialogue, than in any other temple, extract of the same length which Sacred to holy thinking! and those lips could be taken from a modern tra
Wear the small smile of sleeping infancy, gedy. Yet still there is a predomi- They are so innocent.-Ah! thou art still nant poeticity, or attempt to be sweet The same soft creature, in whose lovely and poetical, about it, which keeps, Virtue and beauty seem'd as if they tried as it were, the head of energy under which should exceed the other. Thou hast water,—drowns and suffocates the
got rising passions of the speakers. Com- That brightness all around thee, that appare it with a patch from Antony
pear'a and Cleopatra, which the author of An emanation of the soul, that loved Fazio evidently had in his eye when To adorn its habitation with itself, he wrote the above:
And in thy body was like light, that looks
More beautiful in the reflecting cloud
Evadne, Act l, Sc. 2.
Why this is poetry !—not drama.
There is no more action in it than a Cleop. You can do better yet; but this statue might exert, could it recite the is meetly.
speech. A man might speak it as Ant. Now by my sword
well in a strait-waistcoat as in primiCleop. And target.-Still he mends; tive deshabille; as well, were he But this is not the best: Look, prythee, pinioned like a fowl at an alderman's Charmian,
table, as if he were free to fling his How this Herculean Roman does become
arms like the sails of a windmill; as The carriage of his chafe. Ant. I'll leave you, lady.
well, swathed like a mummy, as deCleop. Courteous lord, one word.
nuded like an ape or an opera-dancer. Sir, you and I must part, -- but that's not Why then, if this be the case, it is no it :
more drama than a graven image is Sir, you and I have loved, but there's a tumbler, or the Green Man of Welnot it;
lington-corner a fighting gladiator.
Yet this is the kind of merchandize as stage-potions; in the closet, we in which all our dramatists speculate: quaff them at intervals, and with this is the drug they all deal in. It other enlivening intermixtures. may be very beautiful: who denies. I have a great deal more to say it? So is “ Young Celadon and his upon the Poetical school of Drama; Amelia.”- But “ Young Celadon and especially upon that sub-sect of it his Amelia" is not drama, though which cultivates the doctrine of quite as like drama as this is. It is Prose-poetry. We shall hereafter demere elegant volubility, mere music nominate this minor heresy, the Byof the tongue, and nothing more. All ronian school of drama ; and as his our modern tragedists indulge in a lordship is, if not the introducer, at similar liberal effusion of the talking- least the upholder and prime advoprinciple within them: the same in- cate of this enervate, Sybarite sysdolent dicacity, the same proneness tem of versification, the luminary to disburse copious harangues and from whose countenance all the inmonotonous dissertations, charac- ferior satellites catch their particular terize the poetical school of the lustre, we shall dub his right honourdrama in general. A verbal diarrhæa able lordship,—Professor of Proseis the epidemic disease which afflicts poetry; If his lordship chooses to the whole tribe. They also appear bestride a broken-back'd Pegasus, to write, universally, in a listless and he must not think to ride over our relaxed state of their mind; when minds, and trample our judgment; their energies are taking a siesta. “ the very stones at this would Their soul seems to sprawl with a “ rise and mutiny.” It is, however, serpentine prolixity over acres of too late in my diatribe to enlarge paper, and to lay out its limbs with all upon this very fertile subject; I the languor of voluptuous debility, must postpone it till my next letter. as if the air which it breathed had Beside, I have somewhat to add dissolved all its sinews to a jelly. In respecting the triple division with every point of view is this attenuated which I commenced this epistle. suaviloquence, this beautiful babble, When I trisected our National unfit for the stage. The ideas it pre- Drama, and distinguished each school sents to the mind are almost all taken by a family-name, I did not by any from inanimate or immovable ob- means pretend to assert, that every jects; its furniture consists of a sort tragedy which has escaped from the of stilly imagery, pictures of placidity pen of an English author, belonged and quiescent nature: such as, moon- exclusively to one or the other delight, sunset, sleeping babies, lakes, partment. There may be non-demirrors, heaven-blue depths, evening- scripts, for instance ; such as that stars, and marble-beauties. It seems mad thing BERTRAM, which defies to be forgotten—whilst the verse is all the limits of classification. Again: thus “ round a holy calm diffusing,” we divide a rainbow into seven inte-that the end of tragedy is not to grant zones of colour, yet the bountranquillise, but to rouse; and that daries of each it is impossible to dethough in pure poetry these sedatives fine; a streak may be selected, wbich of the spirit may be very grateful to it will puzzle the keenest optician to the patient, they should seldom be award to one annulus rather than its administered in the drama. We next-door neighbour. Thus it is with don't go to the theatre to hear inter- the varying hue of our national drama. locutory requiems, and with a half-' It distinctly exhibits three different open eye to see the players distilling layers of tragedies; but there may be Lethe, and all the drowsy syrups of lamine which lie in the intermediate the world,” in the shape of poetry, confines and partake of two opposite from their lips ;--yet, was the Col- dramatical natures. Some critic may lege of Physicians to put its inge- for example ask me, and threaten to nuity on the rack, it could not possi- disprove my infallibility if I do not bly invent sleeping-draughts more satisfy his fastidious malignity,-To efficacious than such discourses as which of the three schools do I asthe above. They are the veritable sign Venice Preserved? With a cud“ oblivious antidotes," the true gel thus singing about my ears, I " opiates of the soul;” they all should perhaps hesitate before 1 irsmack strong of the poppy: I'mean revocably condemned it to the rhetó
ric. To push poor Otway from his Detest me utterly : Oh! look upon me, dramatic school, and make him a Look back, and see my sad, sincere subbully in the Ordnance division, a mission, gunner in the Engineer department How my heart swells
, as even 'twould burst of the drama, is an ungrateful office:
my bosom, But I cannot help it, I cannot give What shall I do? what say to make thee
Fond of its goal, and labouring to be at thee ; an opinion against the hair of my
hear me ? judgment. I am, however, ready to
Pier. Hast thou not wrong'd me? darest allow, that if he does march with
thou call thyself this squad, he is the best cap and That once loved, valued friend of mine, feather in the company. Indeed, And swear thou hast not wrong'd me? were I to speak with my usual acu
Whence these chains ? men and nice discrimination, I should Whence the vile death, which I may meet say, that Venice Preserved was of this moment ? the dramatic-rhetóric school: the link Whence this dishonour, but from thee, thou in the long chain of our national tra
false one -Act 4, Sc. 2. gedies, which connects passion with What an illustrative epitome of the declamation; the menstruum in which false passion and bellowing hollowenergy and pomposity mingle :- ness of the rhetoric school, is the line, and, that its author was a mongrel Fond of its goal, and labouring to be at thee! descendant of Melpomene and a rhe- Indeed, we have cotemporary testorician. After all, the chrononhoton- timony that Tom Otway was a born thological phrase, the bow-wow style, devil at heroics, a boen agathos genis predominant in this tragedy, as
Yet Pierre's first speech the following combination of dialogue and monologue will exemplify: real energy and dramatic animation
(as given above) has much of the Pierre. What whining monk art thou? which distinguishes genuine tragedy. what holy cheat,
Again: the rhetoric-poetic heresy That would'st encroach upon my credulous has some proselytes. This medley ears,
of And cant'st thus vilely? Hence : 1 know Home as its champion. We see in
pomp and poeticity pushes forth thee not. Jaffier. Not know me, Pierre ?
his celebrated play, the gradual dePier. No, know thee not; what art
clination of elaborate magniloquence thou ?
into pure poetry and romance,-draJaf. Jaffier, thy friend, thy once loved, matic spirit being, in the mean time, valued friend,
wholly neglected, as an attribute of Though now deservedly scorned, and used tragedy quite unimportant and omismost hardly.
sible at pleasure. Home's shouhlers Pier. Thou Jaffier ! thou my once loved, were the slipping-blocks over which valued friend !
the rhetoric man-of-war launched By heavens, thou lie'st! the man so call’d, into the smooth ocean of poetry.
my friend, Was generous, honest, faithful, just, and of Douglaz is a fair specimen of this
The opening speech of the fifth act valiant, Noble in mind, and in his person lovely,
doubtful school: Dear to my eyes, and tender to my heart; This is the place, the centre of the grove; But thou a wretched, base, false, worthless Here stands the oak, the monarch of the coward,
wood. Poor even in soul, and loathsome in thy How sweet and solemn is this midnight aspect;
scene! All eyes must shun thee, and all hearts de. The silver moon, unclouded, holds her way test thee;
Through skies where I could count each Prythee avoid, no longer cling thus round
The fanning west-wind scarcely stirs the Like something baneful that my nature 's leaves; chill'd at.
The river, rushing o'er its pebbled bed, Jaf. I have not wrong’d thee, by these Imposes silence with a stilly sound. tears I have not,
In such a place as this, at such an hour, But still am honest, true, and, hope too, If ancestry can be in aught believed, valiant ;
Descending spirits have conversed with men, My mind still full of thee, therefore still And told the secrets of the world unknown.
noble. Let not thy eyes then shun me, nor thy
“ My name is Norval on the Gramheart
pian hills" - is still more characteris