Obrázky na stránke
PDF
ePub

we

[ocr errors]

of life, and the rubs and stops were to give all the striking which nature throws in its way, passages, we should give half the where fortune has placed none. play. We will only recall a few of Touchstone is not in love, but he the most delightful to the reader's will have a mistress as a subject for recollection. Such are the meeting The exercise of his grotesque hu- between Orlando and Adam; the mour, and to shew his contempt for exquisite appeal of Orlando to the the passion, by his indifference about humanity of the Duke and his comthe person. He is a rare fellow. pany to supply him with food for He is a mixture of the ancient the old man, and their answer ; the cynic philosopher with the modern Duke's description of a country life ;

' buffoon, and turns folly into wit, and the account of Jaques moraland wit into folly, just as the fit izing on the wounded deer; his takes him. His courtship of Audrey meeting with Touchstone in the not only throws a degree of ridicule forest ; his apology for bis own meon the state of wedlock itself, but lancholy and his satirical vein ; and he is equally an enemy to the pre- the well-known speech on the stages judices of opinion in other respects of human life; the old song of The lofty tone of enthusiasm, which « Blow, blow, thou winter's wind;" the Duke and his companions in Rosalind's description of the marks exile spread over the stillness and of a lover, and of the progress of solitude of a country life, receives a time with different persons ; the pleasant shock from Touchstone's picture of the snake wreathed round sceptical determination of the ques- Oliver's neck while the lioness tion.

watches her sleeping prey; and Corin. And how like you this Touchstone's lecture to the shepshepherd's life, Mr. Touchstone ? herd; his defence of cuckolds, and

" Clown. Truly, shepherd, in re- panegyric on the virtues of "an If spect of itself, it is a good life ; but all of these are familiar to the in respect that it is a shepherd's life, reader: there is one passage of it is naught. In respect that it is equal delicacy and beauty which solitary, I like it very well; but in may have escaped him, and with it respect that it is private, it is a we shall close our account of As

Now in respect it is You Like It. It is Phebe's descripin the fields, it pleaseth me well; tion of Ganymede at the end of the but in respect it is not in the court, third act : it is tedious. As it is a spare life, look you, it fits my humour ; but

Think not I love him, tho' I ask for him ; as there is no more plenty in it, it

'Tis but a peevish boy, yet he talks well; goes much against my stomach." But what care I for words! yet words do well, · Zimmerman's celebrated work When he that speaks them pleases those that

hear :
on Solitude discovers only half the
sense of this passage.

It is a pretty youth; not very pretty ;

But sure he's proud, and yet his pride be“ There is hardly any of Shakes

comes him; pear's plays that contains a greater He'll make a proper man ; the best thing number of passages that have been in him quoted in books of extracts, or a

Is bis complexion; and faster than his

tongue greater number of phrases that have

Did make otience, his

eye

did heal it up become in a manner proverbial. If He is not very tall, yet for his years he's tall;

very vile life.

[ocr errors]

His leg is but so so, and yet ’tis well; In parcels as I did, would have gone bear
There was a pretty redness in his lip, To fall in love with him : but for my part
A little riper, and more lusty red

I love him not, nor hate him not ; and yet Than that inix'd in his cheek; 'twas just I have more cause to hate him than to love the diference

him; Betwixt the constant red and mingled For what had he to do to chide at me ***

damask. There be some women, Silvius, had they

mark'd him

ARTICLE II.-Laou-Seng-Urh, or an Heir in his Old Age. A Chinese

Drama.

[ocr errors]

WHE opinion that the Chinese so much zeal, perseverance, and

were models of wisdom and success employed to gain a minute virtue, has now given way to more and thorough acquaintance of the just and correct notions respecting physical geography, the natural them; but though they no longer history, and the manners, &c. of retain their claims to our admiration that portion of the globe ; and that for these qualities, and are indeed so many of our countrymen bave proved to be a very ridiculous, and, even penetrated into the arcana that even among Asiatics, an unprio- were concealed by the most difficult cipled people, yet the very antiquity of the eastern languages. The preand singularity of their laws, cus- sent Chinese Drama was translated toms, manners, and habits of think by Mr. Davis, a writer on the estaing, feeling, and acting, must always blishment of the East India Comrender them ad interesting study to pany at Canton. To it there is the philosopher.

prefixed (we presume by the editor) It is highly to the credit of the a Brief View of the Chinese Drama, British that the advantages they and of their Theatrical Exhibitions. possess in the East have been with

VIEW OF THE CHINESE DRAMA.

« Ip the missionaries have com- drama, or of the refinement of the municated little information respect- people. The most singular and ining the actual state of theatrical re- explicable part of the subject is, presentations in China, the descrip- that those representations would aptions, which occasional visitors to pear to descend into lowness and that country bave given of the actual vulgarity, in the inverse ratio of state of scenic exhibitions, convey a the rank and situation in life of the tolerably correct notion of what parties for whose amusement they they are : and they certainly are are exhibited. Thus, at the court not of a nature to give us any very of Pekin, and in presence of his Imexalted notion of the state of the perial Majesty, Ysbrandt Ives, the

Russian

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

Russian ambassador in 1692, was ed on the stage seven warriors, all entertained with jugglers, posture- in armour, with different weapons makers, and harlequins; while on in their hands, and terrible vizards his way thither, and not far from on their faces. After they had the Great Wall, the governor of a taken a few turns about the stage, city entertained himn with a regular and surveyed each other's arınour, play. “ First," says he, “entered they at last fell a quarreling; and, a very beautiful lady, magnificently in the encounter, one of the heroes dressed in cloth of gold, adorned was slain. Then an angel descendwith jewels, and a crown on hered from the clouds, in a flash of head, singing her speech, with a lightning, with a monstrous sword charming voice, and agreeable mo- in his hand, and soon parted the

, tion of the body, playing with her combatants, by driving them all off hands, in one of which she held a the stage; which done, he ascended fan. The prologue thus performed, in the same manner he came down, the play followed, the story of which in a cloud of fire and smoke. This turned upon a Chinese emperor, scene was succeeded by several colong since dead, who had behaved mical farces, which, to me, seemed himself well towards his country, very diverting, though in a language and in honour of whose memory I did not understand.” But the the play was written. Sometimes comedy performed at a tavern in he appeared in royal robes, with a Fekin,“ by a company of players flat ivory sceptre in his hand, and maintained by the house,” at an sometimes his officers shewed them- entertainment given to them by selves with ensigns, arms and drums, "a young Chinese gentleman," &c. and by intervals a sort of farce afforded to all great pleasure ; and was acted by their lacqueys, whose “the performers consisted of both anrick dress and painted faces, were men and women, well dressed, and as well as any I have seen in Eu- of decent behaviour." rope; and as far as was interpreted “Lord Macartney, in his to me, their farce was very divert- journal, describes the wrestling,

, ing, especially part of it which re- tumbling, wire-dancing, conjuring, presented a person who had in his and fire-works, that were exhibited marriage been cheated by a de- at his introduction to the late embauched wife, and fancying her peror Kien-lung, and seems to speak constant to him, had the mortifica- of them with great contempt, extion to see another make love to her cept the ingenuity with which the before his face."

Chinese had displayed their art in Mr. Bell, who accompanied the clothing fire with all manner of Russian ambassador to Pekin in colours and shapes. Their “ wretch1719, describes the court amuse- ed drainas,” as he calls them, ments to consist of wrestling, sham- are thus described. " The theafights, tumbling, posture-making, trical entertainments consisted of and fire-works. At an entertain- great variety, both tragical and ment given to the gentlemen of the comical; several distinct pieces were embassy, by one of the emperor's acted in succession, though withsons, the amusements were some. out any apparent connexion with what better. Speaking of the one another. Some of them were comedians, he says, “ There enter- historical, and others of pure fancy,

partly

own

[ocr errors]

partly in recitativo, partly in sing- at the same time Hao! hung bao! ing, and partly in plain speaking, -cbarming, delightful!" without any accompaniment of in- “ Mr. Barrow, in describing the strumental music, but abounding in amusements given to the Dutch battles, murders, and most of the ambassadors in 1795, from the usual incidents of the drama. Last journal of a gentleman in their suite, of all, was the grand pantomime, speaks of posture-making, rope. which, from the approbation it met dancing, “and a sort of pantomiwith, is, I presume, considered a mic performance, the principal chafirst-rate effort of invention and in- racters of which were men dressed genuity. It seemed to me, as far in skins, and going on all fours, inas I could comprehend it, to re- tended to represent wild beasts ; present the marriage of the Ocean and a parcel of boys, habited in the and the Earth. The latter exhibited dresses of mandarins, who were to her various riches and productions, hunt them.” And again, after the dragons and elephants and tigers whole court bad been terribly and eagles and ostriches, oaks and frightened by an eclipse of the pines, and other trees of different moon, an entertainment was given kinds. The ocean was not behind to the ambassadors, during which hand, but poured forth on the stage “a pantomime, intended to be an the wealth of his dominions, under exhibition of the battle of the drathe figures of whales and dolphins, gon and the moon, was represented porpoises and leviathans, and other before the full court. In this ensea-monsters, besides ships, rocks, gagement, two or three hundred shells, sponges, and corals, all per- priests, bearing lanterns suspended formed by concealed actors, who at the ends of long sticks, performwere quite perfect in their parts, ed a variety of evolutions, dancing and performed their characters to and capering about, sometimes over admiration. These two marine and the plain, and then over chairs and land regiments, after separately tables, affording to his Imperial parading in a circular procession for Majesty, and to his courtiers, the a considerable time, at last joined greatest pleasure and satisfaction." together, and, forming one body, De Guignes also, who accompanied came to the front of the stage, these ambassadors, describes this when, after a few evolutions, they

a very puerile and ludiopened to the right and left, to crous representation. “A number give room for the whale, who of Chinese," he says, “ placed at the seemed to be the commanding distance of six feet from one anoofficer, to waddle forward; and ther, now entered, bearing two long who, taking his station exactly op- dragons of silk or paper, painted posite to the emperor's box, spouted blue, with white scales, and stuffed out of his mouth into the pit, several with lighted lamps. These two tons of water, which quickly dis- dragons, after saluting the emperor appeared through the perforations with due respect, moved up and of the floor. This ejaculation was down with great composure ; when received with the highest applause, the moon suddenly made ber apand two or three of the great men pearance, upon which they began at my elbow desired me to take to run after her. The moon, howparticular notice of it; repeating, ever, fearlessly placed herself be

tween

scene as

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

tween them, and the two dragons, scene; a neighbouring bonze shortly after surveying her for some time, after made love to one of these godand concluding, apparently, that desses, who, in spite of the remonshe was too large a morsel for them strances of her sister, listened to to swallow, judged it prudent to re- the young man, married bim, betire ; which they did with the same came pregnant, and was delivered ceremony as they entered. The of a child upon the stage, who very moon, elated with her triumph, soon found itself in a condition to then withdrew with prodigious walk about. Enraged at this scangravity : a little flusbed, however, dalous adventure, the genii drove with the chase which she bad sus- away the bonze, and finished by tained.

striking the pagoda with lightning, “ It would seem, however, that and reducing it to the ruined conmeanness and vulgarity are not the dition in which it now appears." most objectionable charges to which As scenes like these are stated to the exhibitions of the Chinese stage have thrown the audience into rapare obnoxious; some of them being tures, M. de Guignes very naturally grossly indecent and obscene. An concludes the real character of the instance is mentioned by Mr. Bar- Chinese to be vicious. We must row, of a woman being condemned not, however, judge too harshly on to be flayed alive, for the murder of performances, which, for “licenher husband; she appears on the tious pleasantries,” we could fairly stage not only naked, but com- match them several hundred years pletely excoriated : and he adds, after those of the Chinese were that the European gentlemen at written. Warton has observed, that Canton are sometimes so disgusted

open obscenities" enter with the filthy and obscene exhibi- into our old mysteries or religious tions, as to leave the theatre. “The representations; that in a play of history of husbands deceived by their the “ Old and New Testament," mistresses,” says M. de Guignes, Adam and Eve were both exhibited " being frequently the subject of on the stage naked, and appeared in their comedies, there occur therein the subsequent seene with their figsometimes situations so free, and in leaves; and Malone says, this kind which the actor exhibits so much of primitive exhibition was revived truth, that the scene becomes ex- in ihe time of James the First; tremely indecent”—and he men- " several persons appearing almost tions an instance of which he was entirely naked, in a pastoral exhian eye-witness, where the heroine bited at Oxford before the King of the piece “ devint grosse et ac- and Queen, and the ladies who atcoucha sur le théatre d'un enfant," tended her." The piece was called the See-hou Mr. Barrow has conjectured, that Pagoda, being the bistory of the the low and trilling amusements of destruction of the pagoda in ruins the court, may have been introduced on that famous lake described by by the Tartars, as more congenial Mr. Barrow under the name of Lui- to their rude and unpolished manfung-ta, the temple of the thunder- ners, while the songs and recitative ing winds. “Several genii mounted of the regular drama are more suited upon serpents, and marching along to the genius and spirit of the cerethe margin of the lake, opened the monious Chinese. The two Ma

hornedans

gross and

[ocr errors]
« PredošláPokračovať »