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But let the generous actor still forbear To copy features with a mimic's care! 'Tis a poor skill, which ev'ry fool can reach, A vile stage-custom, honor'd in the breach. Worse as more close, the disingenuous art But shews the wanton looseness of the heart. When I behold a wretch, of talents mean Drag private foibles on the public scene, Forsaking nature's fair and open road To mark some whim, some strange peculiar mode, Fir'd with disgust, I loath his servile plan, Despise the mimic, and abhor the man. Go to the lame, to hospitals repair, And hunt for humor in distortions there! Fill up the measure of the motley whim With shrug, wink, snuffle, and convulsive limb; Then shame at once, to please a trifling age, Good sense, good manners, virtue, and the stage b

'Tis not enough the voice be sound and clear, 'Tis modulation that must charm the ear. When desperate heroines grieve with tedious moan; And whine their sorrows in a see-saw tone, The same soft sounds of unimpassioned woes Can only make the yawning hearers doze.

The voice all modes of passion can express,
That marks the proper word with proper stress.
But none emphatic can that actor call,
Who lays an equal emphasis on all.

Some o'er the tongue the labor'd measures roll Slow and delib'rate as the parting toll, Point ev'ry stop, mark ev'ry pause so strong, Their words, like stage-processions, stalk along. All affectation but creates disgust, And e'en in speaking we may seem too just.

Nor proper, Thornton, can those sounds appear Which bring not numbers to thy nicer ear: In vain for them the pleasing measure flows, Whose recitation runs it all to prose; Repeating what the poet sets not down, The verb disjointing from its friendly noun, While pause, and break, and repetition join To make a discord in each tuneful line.

Some placid natures fill th' allotted scene With lifeless drone, insipid and serene; While others thunder ev'ry couplet o'er, And almost crack your ears with rant and roar.

~. More nature oft and finer strokes are shown,
In the low whisper than tempestuous tone.
And Hamlet's hollow voice and fixt amaze
More powerful terror to the mind conveys,
Than he, who swol'n with big impetuous rage,
Bullies the bulky phantom off the stage.


He, who in earnest studies o'er his part, Will find true nature cling about his heart.

The modes of grief are not included all

In the white handkerchief and mournful drawl;
A single look more marks th' internal woe,
Than all the windings of the lengthen'd O.
Up to the face the quick sensation flies,
And darts its meaning from the speaking eyes!
Love, transport, madness, anger, scorn, despair,
2 And all the passions, all the soul is there.

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In vain Ophelia gives her flowrets round,
And with her straws fantastic strews the ground,
In vain now sings, now heaves the desp❜rate sigh,
If phrenzy sit not in the troubled eye.

In Cibber's look commanding sorrows speak,
And call the tear fast trickling down my cheek.

There is a fault which stirs the critic's rage;
A want of due attention on the stage.

I have seen actors, and admir'd ones too,
Whose tongues wound up set forward from their cue;
In their own speech who whine, or roar away,
Yet seem unmov'd at what the rest may say;
Whose eyes and thoughts on diff'rent objects roam,
Until the prompter's voice recal them home.

Divest yourself of hearers, if you can,
And strive to speak, and be the very man.
Why should the well-bred actor wish to know
Who sits above to-night, or who below?

So, 'mid th' harmonious tones of grief or rage,
Italian squallers oft disgrace the stage;
When, with a simp'ring leer, and bow profound,
The squeaking Cyrus greets the boxes round;
Or proud Mandane, of imperial race,
Familiar drops a curt'sie to her grace.

To suit the dress demands the actor's art, Yet there are those who over-dress the part. To some prescriptive right gives settled things, Black wigs to murd'rers, feather'd hats to kings: But Michael Cassio might be drunk enough, Tho' all his features were not grim'd with snuff. Why should Poll Peachum shine in sattin cloaths? Why ev'ry devil dance in scarlet hose?

But in stage-customs what offends me most
Is the slip-door, and slowly-rising ghost.
Tell me, nor count the question too severe,
Why need the dismal powder'd forms appear?

When chilling horrors shake th' affrighted king,. And guilt torments him with her scorpion sting; When keenest feelings at his bosom pull, And fancy tells him that the seat is full; Why need the ghost usurp the monarch's place, To frighten children with his mealy face?

The king alone shou'd form the phantom there, And talk and tremble at the vacant chair.

If Belvidera her lov'd loss deplore,

Why for twin spectres bursts the yawning floor
When with disorder'd starts, and horrid cries,
She paints the murder'd forms before her eyes,
And still pursues them with a frantic stare,
'Tis pregnant madness brings the visions there.
More instant horror would enforce the scene,
If all her shudd'rings were at shapes unseen.

Poet and actor thus, with blended skill, Mould all our passions to their instant will; 'Tis thus, when feeling Garrick treads the stage, (The speaking comment of his Shakspere's page) Oft as I drink the words with greedy ears, I shake with horror, or dissolve with tears.

O! ne'er may folly seize the throne of taste, Nor dullness lay the realms of genius waste! No bouncing crackers ape the thund'rer's fire, No tumbler float upon the bending wire ! More natural uses to the stage belong, Than tumblers, monsters, pantomime, or song, For other purpose was that spot design'd: To purge the passions, and reform the mind,

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