Imatges de pàgina
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not men of genius effect, when, in an age of liberty, they have power to exert their fą. culties ? ! Popish mysteries and moralities -were the public entertainments, and encouraged by the Romish priests, however in themselves ridiculous or blasphemous. But no sooner did the dawn of liberty arise, but critics began to exercise their art. Sydney and Ascham drew

their i Ludovicus Vives, in his notes on Augustin de Civit. Dei. 1. 8. c. 27. mentions these.

« Ibi ridetur Judas, quàm poteft ineptiffima ja&tans dum Chriftum prodit. Ibi

difcipuli fugiunt militibus perfequentibus, nec fine cachinnis actorum et fpe&tatorum. Ibi Petrus auriculam rescindit Malcho, applaudente pullata turba, ceu ita vindicetur Chrifti captivitas. Et poft paulum qui tam frenue modo « dimicarat, rogationibus unius ancillulae territus abnegat magiftrum, ridente multitudine ancillam interrogantem, et exhibilante Petrum negantem, &c." Polydore Vergil, 1. 5. c. 2. Solemus vel more priscorum spectacula edere

populo, ut ludos, &c. &c. item in templis vitas divorum

ac martyria repraefentare, in quibus ut cunctis par fit von « luptas, qui recitant vernaculam linguam tantum ufurpant.See Rabelais, book IV. chap. xiii. In the late edition of Stow's survey, &c. Vol. I, p. 247. is the following account.

" But London for the shows upon “ theatres, and comical pastimes, hath holy plays, repre« fentations of miracles, which holy confessors have “ wrought; or representations of torments, wherein the

constancy of martyrs appeared.” From Fitzstephen. And again, " These or the like exercises, have been con

“ tinued

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their observations from the best models of ans
tiquity. Spencer moralized his song ; Fairfax
translated ; and the stage had it's Shakespeare
and Johnson. When nature meets no check,
she works instantaneously almost, 'till she ar-
rives at perfection
• Thus in the more free states of Greece it being
usual, at the times of vintage, to sing extem-
poral songs in praise of Bacchus, Thespis taking
the hint made a portable stage, and acted a

« tinued till our time, namely in stage plays, whereof we

may read, in anno 1391, a play to be play'd by the

parish clerks of London at the Skinners well besides “ Smithfield ; which play continued three days together, “ the king, queen and nobles of the realm being present. “ And of another played in the year 1409, which lasted

eight days, and was of matter from the creation of the world ; whereat was present most part of the nobility " and gentry of England.”

2 aouala q dovles aútooxédia. Max. Tyr. diff. 37. f. 4. p. 437. edit. Lond. yevojévns év ár' d'exñs attoo Xedsæoloxñs n. 7. n. Arist. wapi muint. xeQ. 8. Virgil. Georg. II, 380, &c. Tibullus eleg. 1.

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1. I.

Agricola adsiduo primum celatus aratro

Cantavit certo ruftica verba pede.
Et satur arenti primum eft modulatus avená

Carmen, ut ornatos diceret ante deos.
Agricola et minio suffufus, Bacche, rubenti,

Primus inexpertâ duxit ab arte choros.

kind of plays, made up entirely of singing and dancing, with a chorus of satyrs. As this invention of Thespis preserved still the original fuperstitious inftitution, what poet would be so bold as to vary from so sacred a model ? Yet some time after Aeschylus ventured to bring his 3 heroes, and heroic stories on the stage, without one word concerning Bacchus. or his satyrs.

This

3 Eis rúdos sy acon o gobyółwy. Plut. Symp. 1. C. 1.. He is speaking of Phrynichus and Aeschylus. So that before these the drama was satiric. Aeschylus exhibited his first play at olymp. LXX. Thespis flourished in the times of Solon. When Phrynichus and Aeschylus brought their plays on the stage, the people ask'd, “ What's all this to “ Bacchus ?" To content the people, they superadded a satiric drama, a farce with satyrs, formed upon some story of Bacchus or Silenus.

Carmine qui tragico vilem certavit ob hircum

Mox etiam agreftes satyros nudavit. Horat. art. poet. p. 220. The poet spends a great number of verses about these fatyrs. But the subject itself is unworthy his pen. He who could not bear the elegant mimes of Laberius, (L. 1. f. 10. ¥. 6. See Macrob. Saturn. 1. 2. A. Gell. 1. 11. c. 9.) that he should think this farcical, and obfcene trash worth his particular notice, is somewhat ftrange. We have but one of all the satiric plays now remaining, and that is the Cyclops of Euripides : where

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heroes

This great man is truly called, the father and author of tragedy, notwithstanding any hints that he might take from others. For he first

heroes, and fatyrs are promiscuoufly introduced just as serves to carry on the thread of the fable.. Diomedes, 1. 3. p. 483. Satyrica eft apud Graecos fabula, in qua item tragici poetae non reges aut heroas [i. e. non modo r.] fed satyros induxerunt ludendi causa jocändique, fimul ut spectator inter res tragicas feriasque, satyrorum quoque jocis et lufibus delectaretur.

4 Tragoedias primus in lucem Aeschylus protulit, sublimis et gravis et grandiloquus faepe ufque ad vitium, Quinet. 1. 10. c. 1. Philostratus, in the life of Apollonius, VI, 6. p. 258. speaking of his several inventions, adds, "Obey 'Αθηναίοι ΠΑΤΕΡΑ μεν της τραΓωδίας αυτον ηγένο. See Athenaeus, 1. 1. p. 121. Horace speaking of him fays, in art. poet. 280.

Et docuit magnumque loqui, nitique cothurno.

And Aristophanes,

'Αλλ' ώ ΠΡΩΤΟΣ των Ελλήνων αυργώσας βήματα σεμνα Και κοσμήσας τραβικόν λήρος.

This will explain what Aristotle says in his poetics, chap. iv. Ετι δε το μέγεθG- έκ μικρών μύθων, και λέξεως γελόκας, δια το ένα calugsað fela Ean:ī, ófè enige voóbn. But however 'twas late Coyd so he calls it, from the times of Thespis to Aeschylus, or rather to Sophocles] e'er it had its proper gravity and grandeur, by getting rid of trifling fables [stories of Bacchus and Silenus] and the burlesque file, which it received from those satirical pieces.

formed

formed his story into a regular and tragic fable ; and s introduced dialogue between the actors, omitting the tedious narration of single persons. His actors were dressed and decorated proper for their parts ; and the stage was furnished with fumptuous scenes, and machines. The mask likewise, which they suited to the character to

be

5 Και τό, τε των υποκριών αλήθG- εξ ενός εις δύο πρώτGΑισχύλΘ- ήΓαΓε, και τα τε χορ ηλάττωσε, και τον λόγον πρωθαγωνισών παρασκεύασε τρείς δε, και σκηνοΓραφίαν Σοφοκλής. Arift. argi WOINT. HEQ. &. ?Tis said here that Sophocles invented the scenes, and decorations for the stage. But that is not true. Horace's verses of Aeschylus prove the contrary in his art of poetry, s. 278, &c. and Athenaeus, 1. 1. p. 121. and Philostratus, l. 6. c. 6. And we know from Vitruvius, that Agatharcus helped Aeschylus in the contrivance of his scenes, and other decorations. But the blunder is easily removed by reducing the words to their proper places thus, και τον λόγον σε. σαρεσκεύασε και σκηνοθραφίαν τρείς δε Σοφοκλής. . And this is their meaning, Aeschylus first increased the number of the actors, bringing two on the flage, instead of one ; and shortened the fongs of the chorus ; and invented principal parts, (or chief charakters, as the chief part, is Hamlet, Macbeth, Othello, in the plays called after their names] and scenes with their proper decora. tions : But Sophocles brought a third actor on the fage.

6 Horace, art. poet. 4. 278. Platonius, in a fragment of his, fill preserved, concerning the three kinds of Greek comedy, tells us, that the masks in the old comedy were made so nearly to resemble the persons to be satirized, that

they

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