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classes of animals should be endued their bent. No half measures for, with any quality which might re- me: I would go roundly to work. semble human reason in some of its For this purpose the first thing I lowest capacities. Yet let the won- should do would be to engage a der cease when we reflect how free German dramatist who could produce quently the higher class approximates at least one regular certificate of into the lower, so as to differ from it sanity, - who had attempted to in shape and outward appointments shoot others and hang himself, --who only. How many men do we meet had drunk blood out of scull-cups with in society, endowed with less and played at skittles with dead men's sensibility than an oyster ? how bones, who could boast the acmany who are distinguishable from quaintance of every wild grave, waasses only by the shortness of their ter-king, old witch, &c. &c. within the ears? What paddock in Elysium is belt of the nine Circles,—who was a fool fit for? Or must he not ra- cup and can with Von Goethe and ther drop, like his brother-brutes, per consequence hand in glove with into the river of Oblivion, and die for Mephistopheles,—who was in short ever when he dies at all ? How practically conversant with all the much more grateful to its divine crimes in the calendar and on terms Creator must the breathing field- of easy familiarity with all the deflower be, than the vile and offensive mons at either side of Hell-gate. tenement of a sinful and (even though Such a noble Trojan as
this would I it were pure as a cherub's) a scarcely engage for my Major Domo, were I save-worthy soul?
a manager; and with his assistance But the question is :- Who are would I cater for the public stomach the real patrons of the quadrupeds till it sickened with the very hue of and the monsters ? Three classes the viands. It would be then time. of candidates are named for this enough to turn about and serve up honourable distinction: and the pre- Adam and Eve in fig-leaves, as a tensions of each generously allowed pleasant contrast of nature in a green by the others. The managers are dress with every thing unnatural in a raised by universal acclamation of German one. To relieve the audience, the two other parties to this bad however, by a grateful variety of eminence. Ah! disinterested rivals! amusement whilst my tragedist was But indeed the sacrifice is too great; playing off his men-monsters, and to Truth nor Justice will allow it. So indulge them in their propensity for pusillanimous, so little ambitious quadrupeds, I would occasionally in this way have the managers been, favour them with a performer of this. that it is only lately they have dared number of legs. But horses would to exhibit any thing out of the com- be too common-place for my ingemon track,-such as pantomime, nuity; were I theatrical purveyor to opera, maudlin tragedy, farces in an English audience, and did they five acts and in two. They have persevere in their present taste, by neglected with the most blameworthy all that is solemn and serious, í indifference to cultivate the perspi- would give them a bear! cient taste of the public, which has young biped sewed up in a rug, nor long been declining towards the the stuffed Greenlander from Monfourth, or Monstrous School of the tague-house,—but a real, perpendidrama.*
For my part, were I a cular, dancing bear! By thus turnmanager,'I would make a bold stroke ing the stage every now and then for popularity, and introduce “ the into a bear-garden I would endeadevil and all his works" at once. If the vour to afford the public a conpublic were determined to be fooled, summation of their refined taste in I would fool them to the very top of intellectual enjoyments, an union of
* To the three which I have already enumerated in my“ Letters,"—the Dramatic, the Rhetóric, and the Poetic, I am now to add a fourth,--the Monstrous, as making up the very respectable number of schools through which English Tragedy has successively permeated. The last is only now beginning to engage general admiration, but its merits are of so unequivocal a description as to render its ultimate success with a discerning public inevitable. I have not been premature therefore in branding it with a suitable title and speaking of it as the fourth school of our national drama.
the double and dissimilar qualifi- line of the latter. I profess myself a cations of a quadruped and a bia critic in these matters, and yet I hoped; if it should ever happen to nestly declare that I would rather see be my lot to turn bearward for Mr. Ducrow canter up to the clouds the profit and delight of the British as a knight of a modern pantomime, I nation.
than Mr. Young stalk across the Yet neither is it the public who stage as the hero of a modern tragedy. are to be looked upon as the original But granting the postulate, that the patrons of the quadrupeds; nor is public taste is irrational, whose it to their encouragement that the fault is this ? Acknowledging the Monstrous school of drama in Eng- lamentable truth that the million is land primarily owes its existence prone to idolatry of quadrupeds and and success. We, that is, the public, monsters, and that it still retains the have many pairs of shoulders ; you old Jewish propensity to adore devils may lay any weight of obloquy upon for deities (at least on the stage); them. Nothing is more easy than to acknowledging this truth, and that ascribe the present degraded state of the reigning taste of the public exthe stage to the perversity or depraa' emplifies it,—whose fault is it? Supvity of the public taste in theatricals. pose the pedagogues of all the schools This is a ready and a favourite solu- in Great Britain were to drop, as by tion of the phenomenon, especially a thunderstroke, their books and with those who know it to be false. birches, with all other orthodox inDo I then pretend to assert that the struments of edification, and assault public taste is not vitious and irra- the ears alone of their pupils with tional, at present? No. Do I pre- home-made poetry,-would it be any tend to assert that the countenance crime if the sufferers were immediand applause with which the qua- ately to cry. “Whoop!”. and sally drupeds and the monsters meet every out to trap-ball and cricket ? Cernight, is not the cause of their pre- tainly not. If those who ought to be sent occupation of the stage? No. their teachers desert the office, and But how far is the public guilty in neglecting legitimate modes of in\this? Entertainment of one kind or struction seek to overwhelm their unother must be had. If we can- offending auditors with a perpetual not have legitimate drama, we must effusion of poetry,--the inattention of have illegitimate: if we cannot have the latter is a subject for praise not the noble deeds of men, we must blame, and their consequent ignorance have the damnable gesticulations of or bad taste is not their fault, but monsters; if we cannot have heroes their misfortune. Exactly by the to amuse us, we must have horses. same rule we may regret the degeneWhat choice has the public? or how rate taste of the public which can can it show its taste and discrimi-indulge itself so gratefully in contemnation ?-By tearing the concave (I plating night after night the menagesuppose), by blowing the house-roofto rial exhibitions at Drury Lane and the moon, when such splendid ebulli-. Covent Garden, but we cannot fairly tions of dramatic genius as “ The censure it. We may deplore that want Vespers of Palermo," “ Caius Grac- of public feeling which permits the chus, &c. &c. are played off before boards where Macbeth and Othello us? --and by groaning at the quadru. have trod to be profaned by the hoof peds whenever they attempt to enter of a quadruped, -which permits the the lists against the heroes of such temples of Shakspeare to be inetadoughty performances! This is so morphosed into little hells where reasonable ! Seriously, and upon every unhallowed species of tragic my sincerity, I think the public diablerie may be perpetrated with evinces nothing short of the purest. impunity,--we may deplore the want, good-taste in preferring the quadru- but we cannot set it down to the pubpeds and the monsters to the mise- lic as a crime with which they are rable tragedies from which the Dra- justly chargeable. Those who should matists of the Day expect so much have directed the public taste and inimmortality and money. There is structed the public judgment, have something to please at least in one deserted their post. The shepherds sense in the former;“ nil admirari 'in have left their flocks, which have a passive sense sounds through every therefore naturally gone astray. They
return every now and then to be sure Drama. What a splendid office it with a scrip-full of “ home-made was to be vaunt-couriers to-His poetry," but the flock will not to Majesty's Servants, the four-footed fold for such insipid provender,-or company of comedians ! What matter if they do enter the theatrical pen it of gloriation it is to have introduced is only to ba-a! at the shepherd and Centaurs upon the stage, to have his collation. This is perhaps alle treated the people to a show of gorizing away too much of the public actors with double the usual number character. I have been astonished at of legs ! bay, black, piebald, creamthe interest excited in the breast of coloured, high-maned, long-tailed, the many-headed, by the announce- solidungular performers !— Bravo ! ment of a new tragedy, by the gene- How the echoes of Parnassus are ral anxiety to witness its exhibition, ringing with the names of Mr. by the facility with which every poet the author of a tragedy; Mr. can agglomerate a sufficient number of * ", the author of * *, a drama in ears dispassionately to hear his play, five acts; &c. &c. who paved the way and a competent number of tongues with these their performances for a satisfactorily to damn it. Does not regiment of horse-players to ride this afford some proof that taste is triumphant in Drury Lane! How not dead in the general palate, but Pegasus must kick up his heels in dormant? is not the judicious exer- the Muses' paddock, striking out as cise of it in the negative sense a par- many Hippocrenes for your drinking tial demonstration that it would be as make the hill look like a quage exerted with equal discernment in' mire! As Demosthenes said (or any the positive ? Let any dramatist of one might say), improvisamente, the day just tempt the public with such a play as Julius Cesar, or even
By earth, by all her fountains, streams,
and foods, Venice Preserved (which is now looked upon as decidedly“ a bad you are glorious gentlemen !-But thing.". by our living tragic-poets), this is not all: you are likewise pa--and if the public reject or condemn trons, not ostensible, but sub rosa pait, then let the public be gibbeted as trons of the Monstrous School of the those who have turned the theatre Drama. Another bow in your boninto a riding-house and the stage into nets. It is you who have conjured a Pandemonium.
up that pestilent fry of reptiles, GerBut it is in truth neither the ma- mans, and cacodemons, which is nagers nor the public who have ex- nightly set before the devouring eyes ploded the English drama to make of this highly intellectual nation. way for the German and Eques. You are justly put into this active trian ;-it is the Poets. The real pa- capacity, for the nuisance only exists trons of the quadrupeds are our tra- by your passiveness. Yet I myself, gedy-poets: it is they who have loud as I am upon paper, I myself danced in the van (crying-Oh, hor- do not as eloquently reprobate, as rible ! all the time), while these four- sonorously bewail, as tristfully defooted “ gentlemen of the sock and precate, as vociferously anathemabuskin.” curvetted every step of the tize, the Germans and Equestrians, way from Astley's to Elliston's. It the quadrupeds and the monsters, as is they who have led the equestrian the least eloquent, sonorous, tristful, troop of performers from Westmin- vociferous trago-poet of the day! ster to Vinegar Yard, who have pro- You are all in a tale : What venal cured engagements for horses, and dogs are the managers! What tastewho have established a squadron of less blockheads are the people !--One mountebank cavalry on the stage for cries, that he would as soon bestow a a prospective eternity. Euge! Well good tragedy on the public, as a done! philotetrapodal fellows ! It is fine pearl on a pig: I believe him. you who deserve well of your coun- Another exclaims, that no mixed try, is it not? You should be pre- audience could appreciate his works: sented, each, with a turban of three he is wrong, for it damned them. A tails, a leather apron, and a horse- third (a noble poet, now dead and shoe, like the primitive Turks of the never a dramatist) concludes the total Selinga, for your negative but effi- absence of dramatic taste among his cient patronage of the Equestrian countrymen from-mark the infal
lible premises, reader !--from their the shape of a horse-shoe.; soup for insensibility to the dramatic powers dinner, soup for supper, and soup for of “ Joanna Baillie, and Milman, dinner again; yet we are expected and John Wilson.' 0 Aristotle ! to swallow it with as much aviThere's an enthymeme! I have no dity as if it were the first time of taste for the drama because I am dishing! The miracle is, that these blind to the dramatic powers of Miss sempiternal plays have not been cut Baillie, Milman, and Wilson! Three short in the midst of their immorvery meritorious persons, but as fit tality, and that the gods. have not to write dramas for the stage, as the long since cried out in plain English man in the moon to write music for Ohe jam satis! when the Madman, the spheres. In a note to the preface the Moor, and the other perennial of his Doge of Venice the above- heroes of our stage have put forth mentioned noble author says: “While their speech and their noses. But I was in the sub-committee of Drury granting that we are tasteless and inLane Theatre, I can vouch for my sensate : Again I ask, whose fault is colleagues, and I hope for myself, it? We were not always without that we did our best to bring back taste; the nation was at one time the legitimate drama. I tried what dramatic in its feelings. Why then I could to get De Monfort revived, not re-create that taste, why not rebut in vain, equally in vain in novate those feelings? This is the favour of Sotheby's Ivan, which was office of our poets ; taste for any art thought an acting play; and I en- and sensibility to its beauties must deavoured also to wake Mr. Cole- originate with the finest spirits of the ridge to write a tragedy." De Mon nation, i. e. (in drama), as they are fort, legitimate drama! Ay, as like nowise backward to proclaim themas Shakspeare in petticoats to Joanna selves,—the poets. It is not our part Baillie in breeches. If any lady could to make them play-writers, hut theirs write legitimate drama, Miss Baillie to make us play-goers. What is exis that lady ; but the hypothesis is as pected from us? Are we to be ever baseless as a sick man's dream. So- in the dramatic lune, without any theby's Ivan, an acting play! Pooh! fuel to sustain our ardour? Must we pooh !—But best of all,- Mr. Cole- be ever open-mouthed for a tragie ridge write a tragedy! Momus ! O morceau, though we have not tasted god of laughter, hear that! “Wake as much for these last forty years as Mr. Coleridge to write a tragedy?” would satisfy a craving Lilliputian? Who ever thought of asking an What! is it expected that without Eolian lyre to whistle the Dead why or wherefore we are suddenly to March in Saul? or a wild reed to get up as if stung by a tragic oestrus, blow Rule Britannia? Would any and having maddened round the person with brains enough to keep whole land of Lud, ransacking every him from walking on all-four (ex- bookseller's shop, and pillaging every cepting always poets, who have a poet's pocket, for five-act pieces, we licence to be foolish) expect a gossa- are to cry aloud with a common mer to fly in a mathematical right throat--More tragedy! More traline from Durham to Dover?--Such gedy! More tragedy else we die! Yet a person would expect Mr. Coleridge this is what they look for who accuse to write a regular tragedy ; and, in the public of want of taste and reboth cases, his hopes would be about lish for the drama. No, my friends; equally gratified.-Again : Our legi- we must have some provocation betimate tragedies, it is said, bring no fore you can hope to find us in a houses: And why in the name of new genuine rage for theatricals. Give us cessity should they? Our very best one good tragedy, and you shall have pieces of that description are played no reason to complain of public apato empty benches: Why not, my thy for the future. arithmetician? We have a dozen The sum of the matter is this: A stock plays, “old stagers” as they tragedy is written, offered, perused, may well be called; Lear, Othello, received, rehearsed, puffed, presentHamlet, Macbeth, Richard, Venice ed, and damned. The managers cry Preserved, and a few others. These out on the poet, the poet on the pubhave been running a perpetual gaunt- lic, and the public on both. The det of admiration ever since we knew managers (after condemnation) pro
fess themselves unable to see the wit the pit begins to squabble; the of the piece, though it is pointed out boxes to chatter, and the galleto them by the author as plain as ries grow noisy, boozy, and atheir own noses. The poet com
morous : nothing like interest, attenplains of want of taste in the public, tion, or enjoyment-till the horses though he has just received the very or the dancing-girls enter! Why? best contradictory proof that his Why because the people (blockheads charge is groundless. The public, in and barbarians as they are !) cannot fine, call the manager a goose, and perceive the excellence of the piece. the poet, more than I'll say, or Exactly so'; and this being the case he'd believe.” Another tragedy is with every piece written by the Draproduced : three acts are suffered to matists of the Day, we naturally fly pass over in noiseless tranquillity ; to Germany and Westminster Bridge no sound whatever, but the drawing for a supply of amusement. In this of an occasional cork, or the blowe manner are the Quadrupeds natuing of a solitary nose: but at the ralized upon the stage; in this manclose of the fourth, the audience be- ner is the Monstrous School of the gin to yawn, gape, sneeze, cough, Drama permanently established, aand throw orange-peel at the mu- mongst the most enlightened people sicians: in the fifth some fall fast on the face of the habitable globe. asleep, others retire to the lobbies,
REPORT OF MUSIC.
One great provincial meeting has other sacred performances, she took taken place since our last, which the bravura, Rejoice greatly, in the closes the autumnal music of the Messiah, and several other things. year, namely, the Edinburgh festival. Braham, and Signor and Madame de It was directed by a committee, and Begnis, carried away the palm ; but conducted by Sir George Smart, and Miss Stephens, Vaughan, Phillips, the scale was about equal to that of and Miss Goodall, were heard with last year at Liverpool. Miss Stephens, scarcely less delight. The Scotch Miss Goodall, and Madame de Beg- critics admit that the performances nis, Messrs. Vaughan, Sapio, Phillips, were, as a whole, nearly perfect, and Bellamy, and Signor de Begnis, were only quarrel with the superabundoriginally engaged, but the indis- ance of singers ; a discovery very position of M. Sapio compelled the sensible as we esteem the matter, directors to negociate with Mr. Bra- but one to which they have probably ham, who attended. The band and been led by the balance of the rechorus numbered under two hun- ceipts and expenditure, leaving very dred. We shall not go deeply into little for the charities, for whose bethe selections, which were of the same nefit the festival was instituted. One character, and, indeed, nearly the same thing we cannot but remark: the obindividual pieces which are common servations made by the press are ato all concerts of such magnitude. mongst the most sensible we ever reMadame de Begnis sang English for member to have seen, and indicate, if the first time, and took Haydn's not a general diffusion of musical beautiful song in the Creation, on science, a very philosophical underMighty Wings (we wish musicians standing of the art, and very good would prefer old
Mr. Milton to young taste in the individual authors of Mr. Webbe), which she sang exqui- those reports. Scotland has but lately sitely, pronouncing the words with been invaded by the passion for great propriety. She also performed exotic music, but she seems to be Cimarosa's il Sacrifizio d'Abram, alive to its fullest enjoyment. Mr. with deep pathos and effect. This Kalkbrenner gave one Concert at was on the same morning. At the Edinburgh just before the Festival, Dec. 1824.