Слике страница

Prince, when he hears the lesson, adopts the sarcastic manner with Master Hulker, and says, "Mr. Hulker, may I take the liberty to inquire if your brilliant intellect has enabled you to perceive the difference between those words which grammarians have defined as substantive and adjective nouns? if not, perhaps Mr. Ferdinand Timmins will instruct you." And Timmins easily hops over Hulker's head. I wish Prince would leave off girding at the poor lad. He's an only son, and his mother is a widow woman, who loves him with all her might.



These exhortations of Hamlet to the players afford an exercise in which there may be a happy combination of the colloquial with the didactic style of delivery. By the groundlings is meant those of the audience who sat in the pit of a playhouse. Termagant is the name given in old romances to the tempestuous god of the Saracens. Pressure is impression, resemblance. Allowance is estimation.

Speak the speech, I pray you, as I pronounced it to you, trippingly on the tongue; but, if you mouth it, as many of our players do, I had as lief the town-crier spoke my lines. And do not saw the air too much with your hand, thus: but use all gently; for, in the very torrent, tempest, and, as I may say, WHIRLWIND of your passion, you must acquire and beget a temperance that may give it smoothness. Oh! it offends me to the soul, to hear a robustious, periwig-pated fellow tear a passion to tatters, to very rags, to split the ears of the GROUNDLINGS; who, for the most part, are capable of nothing but inexplicable dumb show and noise. I would have such a fellow whipped for o'erdoing Termagant; it out-Herods Herod. Pray you avoid it.

Be not too tame, neither, but let your own discretion be your tutor: suit the action to the word, the word to the action; with this special observance, that you o'erstep not the modesty of nature; for anything so overdone is from the purpose of playing, - whose end, both at the first and now, was and is, to hold, as 't were, the mirror up to nature; to show virtue her own feature; scorn, her own image; and the very age and body of the time, his form and pressure. Now, this overdone,

or come tardy off, though it make the unskillful laugh, cannot but make the judicious grieve; the censure of which one must, in your allowance, o'erweigh a whole theatre of others. Oh! there be players that I have seen play, — and heard others praise, and that highly, not to speak it profanely, that, neither having the accent of Christians, nor the gait of Christian, pagan, nor man, have so strutted and bellowed, that I have thought some of Nature's journeymen had made men, and not made them well, they imitated humanity so abominably!

§ 69. The Argumentative Style. (See § 49.)



Once let men thoroughly believe that secret crimes have no witness but the perpetrator; that human existence has no purpose, and human virtue no unfailing friend; that this brief life is everything to us, and that death is total, everlasting extinction: once let men thoroughly abandon religion, and who can conceive or describe the extent of the desolation which would follow! We hope, perhaps, that human laws and natural sympathy would hold society together. As reasonably might we believe that, were the sun quenched in the heavens, our torches would illuminate, and our fires quicken and fertilize, the creation! What is there in human nature to awaken respect and tenderness, if man be the unprotected insect of a day? And what is he more, if atheism be true?

[blocks in formation]

The gentleman has spoken of "the laboring poor." Sir, the laboring people are poor only because they are numerous. Numbers, in their nature, imply poverty. In a fair distribution among a vast multitude, none can have much. That class called the rich is so extremely small, that if all their throats were cut, and a distribution made of all that they consume in a year, it would not give a bit of bread and cheese for one night's supper to those who labor.

[ocr errors]

Sir, it is the common doom of man, that he must eat his bread by the sweat of his brow, that is, by the sweat of his body, or the sweat of his mind. If this toil was inflicted as a curse, it is, as might be expected from the Father of all blessings, it is tempered with many alleviations, many comforts. Every attempt to fly from it, and to refuse the very terms of our existence, becomes much more truly a curse; and heavier pains and penalties fall upon those who would elude the tasks which are put upon them by the great Master of the world.

§ 70. The Meditative Style. (See § 50.)



These lines should be delivered in a pitch between middle and low. The time should be slow, the force gentle, the tones pure, having a quality of pathos, and the inflections varied, though the falling slide is chiefly appropriate.

There was a time when meadow, grove, and stream,
The earth, and every common sight,

To me did seem

Appareled in celestial light,

The glory and the freshness of a dream.
It is not now as it hath been of yore;
Turn wheresoe'er I may,

By night or day,

The things which I have seen, I now can see no more.

The rainbow comes and goes,

And lovely is the rose,

The Moon doth with delight

Look round her when the heavens are bare;

Waters on a starry night

Are beautiful and fair;

[blocks in formation]

That there has passed away a glory from the earth.

§ 71. Personation. (See § 40.)



Remember that Hotspur is a choleric, passionate, easily roused character, blunt, impulsive, courageous, fiery. The passages in quotation-marks are supposed to be parts of the letter he is reading.

"But for mine own part, my lord, I could be well contented to be there, in respect of the love I bear your house." He could be contented! Why is he not then? In respect of the love he bears our house! Let me see some more. (Reads.) "The purpose you undertake is dangerous." Why, that's

certain; 't is dangerous to take a cold, to sleep, to drink: but I tell you, my lord . . . fool, out of this nettle, danger, we'll pluck the flower, safety. (Reads.) "The purpose you undertake is dangerous; the friends you have named, uncertain; the time itself unsorted; and your whole plot too light for the counterpoise of so great an opposition." Say you so? say you so? I say unto you again, You are a shallow, cowardly hind, and you lie! What a lack-brain is this! Our plot is a good plot as ever was laid; our friends true and constant; a good plot, good friends, and full of expectation; an excellent plot, very good friends. What a frosty-spirited rogue is this! Why, my Lord of York commends the plot, and the general course of the action. 'Zounds! an I were now by this rascal, I could brain him with his lady's fan. Is there not my father, my uncle, and myself? Lord Edmund Mortimer, my Lord of York, and Owen Glendower? Is there not, besides, the Douglas? Have I not all their letters, to meet me in arms by the ninth of next month? And are they not, some of them, set forward already? What a pagan rascal is this! An infidel! Ha! you shall see now, in very sincerity of fear and cold heart, will he to the king, and lay open all our proceedings. Oh! I could divide myself, and go to buffets, for moving such a dish of skimmed milk with so honorable an action! Hang him! let him tell the king: we are prepared: I will set forward tonight.



Sir Anthony is angry with his son, who, before consenting to marry, has modestly expressed a wish to see the lady his father has selected for him.

Can't you be cool, like me? What good can passion do? passion is of no service, you impudent, insolent, overbearing reprobate! There, you sneer again! don't provoke me! but you rely upon the mildness of my temper; you do, you dog! you play upon the meekness of my disposition! Yet, take care, the patience of a saint may be overcome at last. But mark! I give you six hours and a half to consider this; if you then agree, without any condition, to do everything on earth that I choose, why — confound you! I may in time forgive you. If not, zounds! don't enter into the same hemisphere with me! don't dare to breathe the same air, or use the same light with me; but get an atmosphere and a sun of your own! I'll strip you of your commission; I'll lodge a five and threepence in the hands of trustees, and you shall live upon the interest. I'll disown you, I'll disinherit you!

[ocr errors]



Croaker must preserve throughout a tone of exaggerated lamentation; Honeywood must be cheerful in manner, till the melancholy of his fellow dialogist partially affects him, though by starts he must still show his habitual cheerfulness.

Cro. A pleasant morning to you, Mr. Honeywood, and many of them. How is this? You look shockingly to-day, my dear friend. I hope this weather does not affect your spirits. To be sure if this weather continues

I say nothing; but Heaven send we be all better this day three months. Hon. I heartily concur in the wish, Mr. Croaker, though I own, not in your apprehension.

Cro. May be not. Indeed, what signifies what weather we have in a country going to ruin like ours? Taxes rising, trade falling; money flying out of the kingdom, and Frenchmen. swarming into it to eat us up, and pervert our morals and religion.

Hon. They will scarcely pervert you or me, I should hope.

« ПретходнаНастави »