صور الصفحة
النشر الإلكتروني

to print his concerto, but we must fairly assure him, that it will not bear transplanting to the metropolis.

Maria's Adieu," As sung by Mr. Vaughan, with the greatest applause, adapted from Prefessor Carlisle's translation of the original Arabic, and set to music, with an accompaniment for the harp or piano forte, by William Fish. Broderip and Wilkinson, price 18. 6d.

Maria's Adieu, like another of Mr. Fish's ballads which we noticed two months ago, is certainly not destitute of merit. We have only again to recommend Mr. Fish to be a little more sparing in his embellishments: his vulgar cadence at the close of the song shews a lamentable want of taste, and his half Italian, half English directions to the singer are really quite ludicrous. These faults excepted, we think the ballad entitled to commendation,

Andante and Waltz for the Piano forte, composed and dedicated to

Miss G. Thelluson, by T. Haigh. Birchall; price 1s. This Waltz is written in a familiar and pleasing stile; it will afford juvenile performers a good five minutes amusement.

Monthly Minstrelsy, Nos. IV. and V. written and composed by T. D.

Worgan, price 1s. each. We are afraid that the character which we should give of these numbers, would not induce any of our readers to purchase them, in plain truth we think the musical part of them very dear at a shilling

How tenderly I Love her," A Ballad written, by J. Lewes, Esq. Liverpool, composed by Dr. Johr

Clarke, of Cambridge. Birchall, price 1s. Dr. Clarke has here exhibited that elegance of expression which so frequently distinguishes his productions. He has given the sentiment of the words with peculiar propriety and effect, and has arranged his melody with great judgment.

Gentle Lyre." Recitatire and Air, sung with the greatest applause by Mr. Harrison

at the Vocal Concerts, und by Mr. Nield, at Bath, composed by W. Horsley. Mus. Bac. Oxon.-Birchall, price 23. 6d.

This composition consists of three movements. The introductory recitative, which is opened by an elegant symphony, is well conceived, and leads with effect into a bold and animated air, the subject of which is well kept up, and assisted by a powerful accompaniment. The chief fault of this movement is, that the accompaniment is too prominent, some of the vocal passages are rather insipid, and depend entirely upon the instruments for effect; it contrasts, however, well with the concluding cantabile. Although we do not rank this song among Mr. Horsley's happiest productions, yet it bears clear and evident marks of a cultivated and correct fancy.

(Notices of musical publications will be thankfully received, and in. serted in this department of our work.)

[blocks in formation]



[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

BY EDMOND MALONE, ESQ. IT is well known, that in the time of Shakspeare, and for many years afterwards, female characters were represented solely by boys, or young men. Nashe, in a pamphlet published in 1592, speaking in defence of the English stage, boasts that the players of his time

were not as the players beyond sea, a sort of squinting bawdie comedians, that have whores and common curtizans to play women's parts." What Nashe considered as an high eulogy on his country, Prynne has made one of his principal charges against the English stage'; having employed several pages in his bulky volume, and quoted many hundred authorities, to prove " that those playes wherein any men act women's parts in woman's apparell must needs be sinful, yea, abominable unto christians.t The grand basis of his argument is a text in scripture; Deuteronomy xxii. 5; “The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto man, neither shall a man put on a woman's. garment::

A precept which Sir Richard Baker has justly remarked is no part of the moral law, and ought not to be unders stood literally. “ Where,” says

Sir Richard, “finds he this precept? even in the same place where he finds also that we must not wear cloaths of linsey-woolsey; and seeing we lawfully now wear cloaths of linsey-woolsey, why may it not be as lawful for men to put on women's garments?"

[ocr errors]

* Pierce Penniless his supglication of the devil. 4to 1592. + Histriomastix, 4to. 1633. p. 179.

Theatrum triumphans, 8vo. 1670. p. 16. Martin Luther's comment on this text is as follows: Hic non prohibetur quin ad vitan. dum periculum, aut ludendum joco, vel ad fallendum hostes mulier

It may perhaps be supposed, that Prynne, having thus vehemently inveighed against inen's representing female characters on the stage, would not have been averse to the introduction of women in the scene; but sinful as this zealot thought it in men to assume the garments of the other sex, he considered it as not less abominable in women to tread the stage in their own proper dress : For he informs us “ that some Frenchwomen, or monsters rather, in Michaelmas term, 1627, attempted to act a French play at the play-house, in Blackfriers," which he represents as “an impudent, shameful, unwomanish, graceless, if not more than whorish atteinpt.” *

Soon after the period he speaks of, a regular French theatre was established in London, where without doubt women acted. They had long before appeared on the Italian as well as the French stage. . When Coryate was at Venice, (July 1608) he tells us he was at one of their play-houses, and saw a comedy acted. “ The house, he adds, is very beggarly and base, in comparison of our stately playhouses in England; neither can their actors compare with us for apparell, shewes and musicke. Here I observed certaine things that I never saw before; for I saw women act, a thing that I never saw before, though I have heard that it hath been sometimes used in London; and they performed it with as good a grace, action, gesture, and whatsoever convenient for a player, as ever I saw any masculinę actor.” *

possit gerere arma viri, et vir uti veste muliebri ; sed ut serio et usitato habitu talia non fiant, ut decora utrique sexui servetur dig. nitas.” And the learned Jesuit, Dorin, concurs with him : Dissi. mulatio vestis potest interdum sine peccato fieri, vel ad represen, tandam comice tragiceve personam, vel ad affugiendum periculum, vel in casu simili.” Ibid. p. 19.

* He there calls it only an attempt, but in a former page (215) he says “ they have now their female players in Italy, and other foreign parts, as they had such French women actors in a play not long since personated in Blackfrier's playhouse, to which there was great resort.In the margin he adds- "in Michaelmas, 1629.” His account is confirmed by Sir Henry Herbert's Office-book.

Prynne, in conformity to the absurd notions which have been stated in the text, inserted in his index these words : “ Women actors notorious whores : by which he so highly offended the king and queen, that he was tried in the star-chamber, and sentenced to be imprisoned for life, fined £5000, expelled Lincoln's Inn, disbarred, and disqualified to practise the law, degraded of his degree in the university, to be set on the pillory, his ears cut off, and his book burnt by the common hangman, “which rigorous sentence," says Whitelocke, was as rigorously executed.”

In page 708 of Prynne's book is the following note, the insertion of which probably incensed their majesties, who often performed in the court-masques, not less than what has been already mentioned :

*“ It is infamous in this author's judgment (Dion Cassius] for emperors or persons of quality to dance upon a stage, or act a play."


The practice of men's performing the parts of women in the scene is of the highest antiquity. On the Grécian stage no woman certainly ever acted. From Plutarch's life of Phocion, we learn, that in his time (about three hundred and eighteen years before the christian æra) the perforinance of a tragedy at Athens was interrupted for some time by one of the actors, who was to personate a queen, refusing to come on the stage, because he had not a suitable mask and dress, and a train of attendants richly habited ; and Deinosthenes, in one of his orations, mentions Theodorus and Aristodemus as having often represented the Antigone of Sophocles. This fact is also ascertained by an actor preserved by Aulus Gellius. A very celebrated actor, whose name was Polus, was appointed to perform the part of Electra, in Sophocles's play; who in the progress of the drarna appears with an urn in her hands, containing as she supposes, the ashes of Orestes. The actor having been some time before deprived by death of a beloved son, to indulge his grief, as it should seem, procured the urn which contained the ashes of his child, to be brought from his tomb; which affected him so much, that when he appeared with it on the scene, he embraced it with unfeigned sorrow, and burst into tears.

That on the Roman stage also, female parts were represented by men in tragedy, is ascertained by one of Cicero's letters to Atticus, in which he speaks of Antipho, who perforined the part of Andromache; and by a passage in Horace, who informs us, that Fusius Phom cæus being to perform the part of Ilione, the wife of Polymnestur, in a tragedy written either by Accius or Pacuvius, and being in the course of the play to be awakened out of sleep by the cries of the shade of Polydorus, got so drunk, that he fell into a real and profound sleep, from which no noise could rouse hiin.

* Coryate's Crudities, 4to. 1611. p. 247. I have found no ground for this writer's assertion, that female performers had appeared on the English stage before he wrote.

| Epistol. ad Atticum, Lib. IV. c. XV.

Horace, indeed, mentions a female performer, called Arbuscula; but as we find, from his own authority, that men personated women on the Ronan stage, she probably was only an emboliaria, who performed in the interludes and dances exhibited between the acts, and at the end of the play. Servius calls her Mima, but that may mean nothing more than one who acted in the mimes, or danced in the pantomime dances ; and this seems the more probable from the manner in which she is mentioned by Cicero, from whom we learn that the part of Andromache was performed by a male actor on that

very day when Arbuscula exhibited with the highest applause.

The same practice prevailed in the time of the emperors; for in the list of parts which Nero, with a preposterous ambition, acted in the publie theatre, we find that of Canace, who was represented in labour on the stage.

In the interludes exhibited between the acts, undoubtedly women appeared. The elder Pliny informs us, that a female, named Lucceïa, acted in these interludes for an hundred years; and Galeria Copiola for above ninety years, having been first introduced on the scene in the fourteenth year of her age, in the year of Rome 672, when Caius Marius the younger, and Cneidus Carbo, were consuls, and having performed in the 104th year of her

years before the death of Augustus, in the consulate of C. Poppæụs and Quintus Sulpicius, A. U. C. 762.

Eunuchs also sometimes represented women on the Roman stage, as they do at this day in Italy; for we find that Sporus, who made so conspicuous a figure in the time of Nero, being appointed in the year 70, [A. U. C. 823,) to personate a nymph, who, in an interlude exbibited before Vitellius, was to be carried off by a ravisher, rather than endure the indignity of wearing a female dress on the stage, put himself to death; a sin. gular end for one, who, about ten years before, had been publickly espoused to Nero, in the Hymeneal veil, and had been carried through one of the streets of Rome by the side of that monster, in the imperial robes of the empresses, ornamented with a profusion of jewels.

Thus ancient was the usage, which, though not

age, six

« السابقةمتابعة »