« VorigeDoorgaan »
it. If the definition of wit is just, that it discovers real congruities not before apparent (and to me it appears a very just one) the effusions of Falstaff are, in most instances, entitled to that name. It would be useless to demonstrate what is selfevident in every scene of his appearance. Much of his wit, so called, however, is of another description, and arises from his assigning wrong causes, which, from their seeming probability and relation, produce the same effects as the bulls attributed to the Irish.
The effects of wit upon the hearers, are generally favourable. In addition to its known influence upon the muscles, which are never moved without a degree of pleasure, it opens a new source of gratification, by flattering our vanity. We feel almost as though we ourselves were the authors of it, when we give ourselves the credit of understanding and experiencing its full force. It is, perhaps, from this cause likewise, that we look with favour on the more objectionable parts and profligacies of this "gray iniquity," sir John. The man who would win upon our affections, or rather our partiality, cannot do better than to address himself to our self-love. This kept alive the prince's affection for Falstaff; and continues to excite in us the same favourable sentiments.
Having said thus "much in bc, half of that Falstaff," I cannot help adverting to the prospect of a New Theatre. Whatever may be the intended plan of such an establishment, I am sure the lovers of rational amusement (for if it ceases to be rational, it had better cease altogether) look forward to a long wished for reformation in theatrical representation. I am far from think
per," and "sleeping upon benches at noon, "because he tells us "he
has more flesh, and therefore more frailty;" and we may allow him to ask: "Shall I not take mine ease in mine inn?" but no indulgence must blind us to his real faults, and he must be reprobated for too often "leaving the fear of God upon the left hand;" in his dishonesty to dishonesty to Dame Quickly, and Master Shallow; for his enormous lies and obscenities; and the vices consequent upon his avarice. Hence, the exhibition of such a character to a young person, should be attended always with an admonition to distinguish between the fascinations of poetry, and the depravity which it may seem to extenuate, by the beauty of the resemblance to nature.*
But, it is astonishing how much the attention is drawn aside from these dark parts of his character, by his wit and incessant humour. I before hinted to you, that there are persons who value his wit no more than the jests and scurrilities of a buffoon; who look upon him as no better than the clowns in Twelfth Night, and, As You like it; and who conceive that the same degree of talents would be requisite to personate them all. To these Falstaff might answer in his own words: "Men of all sorts take a pride to gird at me; the brain of this foolishcompounded clay, man, is not able to produce any thing that tends to laughter, more than I invent, or is invented on me. I am not only witty myself, but the cause that wit is in other men." Contrary to the fashion of Shakspeare's age, Falstaff's wit is, for the most part, pure and sterling; and often supported through a whole soliloquy. Few men can read half a dozen lines of any of them, without acknowledging
Plutarch gives the same advice at greater length: De Audiendis Poetis. Sec. 11, 12, 13, 14. Speaking of subjects of this kind, he adds: ev ois, manisa des rov ebikerdai, diδασκόμενον ότι, τον πραξιν και επαινε, μεν, ως γεγονενή μίμησις αλλά την τέχνην, ει με μιμηται προ σηκόντως το υποκειμενον.
ing it fastidious pedantry, to condemn, with very few exceptions, the whole mass of modern dramatick poetry.
It has mistaken the plan, the means, and the end, of such compositions. The plots, intrigues, and characters, of these plays, are either bad imitations of originals, unnecessarily neglected, grotesque transcrips from low life, or they are so unnatural and unmeaning, as to disgust even the criticks of the gallery. As to the means, I believe no one ever thought of fixing in his memory a single line or sentiment of these plays, for the instruction contained in them; and with regard to their wit, none but raw apprentices would ever consider them worth repetition. But, to the publick are these authors amenable for their deviation from the great end of dramatick writing. I am not inclined to cant, when I declare my abhorrence of the oaths, obscenities, immoralities; nay, of the solemn addresses and prayers to the Deity, which are without number so perniciously introduced. This may be called stage-effect. The only effect I know of from such representations and expressions, is the gradual depravity of the ignorant
and inexperienced part of the audi ence; and the familiarizing all with words and actions at which they ought to shudder. Let us, there fore, hope, that the theatre now in contemplation to be erected, will give the lie to those who think propriety and popular amusement incompatible. The first step towards this will be the formation of an "Index Expergatorius," containing the names of plays not to be represented on any terms, and the names of those which shall be prohibited, "donec corrigantur." It is absurd to imagine that we want new plays: we have already a great sufficiency, whose merits have been approved. Let these, and these only, find admission on our new stage; and when the evening's amusement is announ ced, every man will know whether he may safely indulge his children, or introduce a female, where, as the stage is now constituted, common prudence fordids their appearance. Much more might be advanced upon the regulation of such a theatre, which, if I had influence to effect, it should be almost exclusively a Shakspeare theatre. A. B. E.
FROM THE EUROPEAN MAGAZINE.
OBSERVATIONS ON THE NEWLY DISCOVERED ART OF PRINTING WITH STONE.
IT will probably be in the recollection of many of our readers, at least we will endeavour to bring the circumstance to their knowledge, that, in our review of that splendid and truly ingenious work, "The Antiquities of Westminster, by John Thomas Smith," a method of drawing and engraving on STONE, invented and practised by Mr. Aloys Senefelder, is mentioned, and two specimens of the different methods of increasing copies alluded to. We there, although we allowed the discovery to have been extremely curious, from
a minute inspection and deep contemplation of the engravings, stated, that there was a coarseness in the art, or rather in the material upon which it was practised, which only adapted it to the production of large works; at the same time we admitted, that it included properties capable of great improvement. This improvement has, we understand, been in progress, and learn that experiments have been made, and are now making, that afford the prospect of very considerable advantage to the arts in general, and to those
dependent upon the multiplication, stone can be easily cut, and takes a and consequent wide dispersion, of good polish. These stones may thus copies in particular. We, therefore, be compared to the copper plates, or in order to facilitate the improve- wooden blocks, for which they are, ment to which we have alluded, feel indeed, substituted. They ought to great pleasure in inserting the fol. be from two inches to two inches lowing account of the elementary and a half thick, and of a size proprinciples of the art of printing with portioned to that of the work which stone, in order to introduce, or super. it is meant to engrave upon them. induce, disquisition, which, in the When the stone is dried and well efforts of ingenuity, has been deempolished, the next operation is, to ed the portal that leads to perfec- draw the design, notes, or letters, tion.
that are intended to be printed upon
it with a pencil, and afterwards re. THE art of printing from stone, trace the pencil marks with an ink originally discovered in Germany, made of the solution of gum lac, in about nine years ago, and which has pot-ash, coloured with lamp-black, since been successfully practised in produced from burning wax. In Italy and France, appears till lately about two hours, the letters, or mu. to have been but little used, or even sical notes, impregnated with the known, in this country, though me- ink, will be dry, when there is pasriting, from its simplicity, its expe- sed over them nitrick acid (aqua for. dition, and its economy, to rank tis] more or less diluted, according high among modern discoveries, to the relief or hollow which it is de. and offering some real and impor- sired to form upon the stone. The acid tant advantage to the arts. Its in- attacking all parts of the stone, but ventor was, as already stated, Aloys those which have been impregnated Senefelder, a native of Prague, in with the resinous ink only, the notes Bohemia, who first obtained, in or drawing remain untouched. The 1801, an exclusive privilege for the slab of marble is then washed with exercise of it from the then elector of clean water, and a printer's ball is Bavaria: and, in 1803, a like privi. charged with an ink analagous to lege from the emperour of Germany. that used in other kinds of printing, Senefelder, in consequence, esta- and being pressed by the hand only, blished stone printing houses at Mu- the letters or notes take the ink nich and at Vienna: and, under his from the ball, so that they are found directions, similar establishments to be properly coloured. After this, have been formed in France and a sheet of paper being put in a Italy. It is at Munich, however, that frame, the latter is lowered, and an the art has been brought to the impression is obtained by a brass greatest perfection.
cylinder being passed over the paThere are three different methods per; or a copper plate press may be of printing with stone, namely, the used. At each proof it is necessary method in relief (most generally to wash the plate with water. When used) and particularly adapted for the intended number of copies are musick; the hollow method, prefe- printed, and there is no further use rable for engravings; and the flat for the work, the stone is polished method, which is neither hollow nor again; and thus the same siab will, in relief, but which is very useful according to its thickness, serve for for the imitation of chalk and other thirty or forty different works. drawings. To print or engrave ac- The hollow method does not dif. cording to this process, a slab offer greatly from the method in rea inverrated marble, or any other cal- lief, except that the nitrick acid is careous stone, is used, provided the made to act stronger upon the stone,
so that the letters are more relieved, the same space of time, two thou. and the stone itself much hollower: sand impressions. An engraved copstronger and heavier rollers are like- per plate will seldom yield 1000 im. wise requisite.
pressions; but the stone slab will The flat method requires less ni. yield several thousand, and the last trick acid than either of the other will be every whit as good as the two; and great care must be taken, first. It has been tried in the stone. that the stone prepared for this pur. printing office at Vienna to take off pose is quite flat:
thirty-thousand impressions of the The kinds of work that are engra- same design; and even then the last ved on stone are the following: imic impression was nearly as handsome tations of wood cuts, imitations of as the first.* They have even car. the dot manner, drawings, musical ried this number of copies to a works, all kinds of writing, geogra- greater extent in printing bank phical maps, and engravings in notes.f The most industrious and mezzotinto.
most skilful engraver of musick can The advantages resulting from hardly engrave four pages of musick the manner of printing or engraving, on pewter in a day, while the endescribed above, are, that it has a graver on stone may engrave twice peculiar character, which cannot be as many in the same time. Every imitated by the other methods of kind of work which årtists engrave printing, and that it can easily imi- upon copper or pewter, and which tate any of the former. But its the printer executes with movable greatest advantage is, the quickness types, may also be performed by with which it may be performed. A using stone. Our limits will not design which an artist could not fi permit us to enter into all the de. nish upon copper in the space of five tails of the cost of this method of or six days, may be engraved upon printing; but experience has shown, stone in one or two. While the cop- that it may be performed with a sa. per plate printer draws off six or ving of one third of the expense, in seven hundred impressions, the comparison of the printing upon printer from stone, can take off, in copper or pewter.
PRESENTIMENT OF DANGER AND DEATH. AT the siege of the Havanna, people was effected every midnight, in 1762, the Namur and Valiant to save from the observation of the took it day and day about to fight a Spanish garrison one party's apsap battery; and the relief of the
proach and the other's retreat. We
• If this art could be in some degree refined, and its productions adapted to periodi. cal publications, for instance, its explanatory advantages must be incalculable,
† The facility of printing these in this country, we are of opinion, need not be increased.
# Contemplating the rise of engraving, and particularly adverting to the wood-cuts of Albert Durer (who was the first that practised the art in that manner) which we erst have frequentiy considered with attention, as we have those of M. Antonio, we cannot help congratulating this age upon the very great improvement that has been made in the art of engraving upon wood. The two celebrated artists whom we have mentioned, though correct, perhaps too correct, in their outlines and their muscular delineations, are, in their general designs, stiff, harsh, and tasteless; which leads us to observe, that the wood cuts that embellish the works of modern times, the Life of Leo X. for instance, exhibit such traits of improvement, indeed of excellence, that. we are induced to hope stone engraving, which, as we have said, seems to promise still greater advantages, will be as sedulously pursued.
had marched forty in number, a lieutenant leading, and myself [a midshipman] bringing up the rear, to relieve the Valiant's, when Moor, one of our men made frequent calls to stop; these at last became quite frivolous, and my distance had got so long from the lieutenant, that the party was halted to close the line. In the interim, Moor fairly owned he had no stomach for the battery that night, knowing he should be killed. Our officer, a hard-headed Scotchman, steady and regular as old time, began sharp upon me: my excuse was the man's tardiness, and I reported his words. "Killed, indeed, and cheat the sheriff of his thirteener and a baubee! No, no, Paddy: trust to fate and the family honour of the O'Moors for all that. Come, sir, bring him along: point your sword in his stern-post." Moor, of course, made no reply, but under a visible corporeal effort and a roused indignation, stepped into the line: our whole party moved on. Now this Moor was seldom out of a quarrel on board ship, and having some knowledge of the fistycuffsart, he reigned pretty much as cock of the walk on the lower gun-deck. When we had relieved the battery, and the Valiant had gone silently off, all the guns were manned. There remained on the parapet only one heavy piece of ordnance, and our very first discharge dismounted it. Elated with that success, up jumped all hands upon the platform, and gave three cheers, when a little devil of a gun took us in a line, and knocked down five men. Sure enough
SIR-Permit me to relate an anecdote of one of the brute species, which, perhaps, would never have appeared before the publick, had not the relation of one partly similar, in the present work, revived the circumstance in my memory.
To the Editor of the Monthly Magazine.
amongst these, Moor, being the foremost upon his legs, was the first person killed. From whence had Moor this fore-knowledge? He quoted no dream. In 1778, to come nearer the recollection of survivors, at the taking of Pondicherry, cap. tain John Fletcher, captain Demorgan, and lieutenant Bosanquet, each distinctly foretold his own death on the morning of their fates.
L'Oriflame, a well appointed 40 gun French ship, had been taken by our Isis of 50. Captain Wheeler, immediately prior to close action, sent for Mr. Deans, surgeon of the Isis, and intrusted him in certain particular injunctions about family concerns. The doctor attempted to parry funeral ideas, but was bluntly told: "I know full well this day's work: Cunningham will soon be your commander. All the great circumstances of my life have been shown in dreams: my last hour is now come." He was killed early in the fight; and lieutenant Cunningham managed so well in the devolved command, that admiral Saunders made him a post captain into L'Oriflame in Gibraltar bay. This fore-knowledge of things at hand is a subject many profess themselves positive about: their strong argument is experience, and all who have not been so favoured, may reasonably enough doubt, stopping short of contradiction. Certain instances then afloat in the navy, I may take the liberty to produce, anticipating, however, an adventure of some such kind, never in my power to comprehend.
Some years ago, having occasion to reside for some time at a farmhouse in the country, I was much alarmed, one morning, by the unusual bellowing of a cow under the window of the apartment wherein I was sitting. Looking out I perceived