« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
No detail is omitted: Tupiter then in the end, as Pope tells us, ab. speaks his whole mind to her, and be- jured again. "Robbed of their Protesfore the maids; and next morning, tant ballast, these shallow brains rap when he is going away, she outdoes from dogma to dogma, from supersti him: she hangs on to him, and indulges tion to incredulity or indifference, to in the most familiar details. All the end in a state of fear. He had learnt noble externals of high gallantry are at M. de Montausier's * residence the torn off like a troublesome garment; it art of wearing gloves and a peruke, is a cynical recklessness in place of which sufficed in those days to make a aristocratic decency; the scene is writ- gentleman. This merit, and the success ven after the example of Charles II. of a filthy piece, Love in a Wood, drew And Castlemaine, not of Louis XIV. upon him the eyes of the Duchess of and Mme. de Montespan. *
Cleveland, mistress of the king and
of anybody. This woman, who used VIII.
to have amours with a rope-dancer, I pass over several writers : Crowne, picked him up one day in the very author of Sir Courtly Nice; Shadwell
, midst of the Ring. She put her head an imitator of Ben Jonson ; Mrs. Aphra to him before all, * Sir, you are
out of her carriage-window, and cried Behn, who calls herself Astræa, a spy a villain, the son of a
.” Touched and a courtesan, paid by government to set the example of imitative comedy those of the king. He lost them, marand the public. Etherege is the first by this compliment, he accepted her
favors, and in consequence obtained in his Man of Fashion, an to depict rest he is an open roisterer, and frankly mained seven years in prison, passed only the manners of his age; for the ried the Countess of Drogheda, a wo
man of bad temper, ruined himself, redescribes his habits :
the remainder of his life in pecuniary “ From hunting whores, and haunting play, difficulties, regretting his youth, losing
And minding nothing all the day,
his memory, scribbling bad verses,
which he got Pope to correct, amidst Such were his pursuits in London; and many twitches of wounded self-esteem, further on, in a letter from Ratisbon to stringing together dull obscenities, Lord Middleton,
dragging his worn-out body and ener“ He makes grave legs in formal fetters,
vated brain through the stages of misConverses with fools and writes dull letters;" anthropy and libertinage, playing the and gets small consolation out of the miserable part of a toothless roisterer German ladies. In this grave mood and a white-haired blackguard. Eleven Etherege undertook the duties of an days before his death he married a ambassador. One day, having dined young girl, who turned out to be a too freely, he fell from the top of a strumpet.. He ended as he had begun, staircase, and broke his neck; a death by stupidity and misconduct, having of no great importance. But the hero succeeded neither in becoming happy of this society was William Wycherley, nor honest, having used his vigorous the coarsest writer who ever polluted the intelligence and real talent only
to his stage. Being sent to France during the own injury and the injury of others. Revolution, he there became a Roman
The reason was, that Wycherley Wat Catholic; then on his return abjured ;
not an epicurean born. His nature,
genuinely English, that is to say, ener: * As Jupiter is departing, on the plea of getic and sombre, rebelled against the daylight, Alcmena says to him :
easy and amiable carelessness which “ But you and I will draw our curtains close,
enables one to take life as a pleasure Extinguish daylight, and put out the sun. Come back, my lord.
party. His style is labored, and trou You have not yet laid long enough in bed blesome to read. His tone is virulent To warm your widowed side."-Act ii. 2.
and bitter. He frequently forces his Compare Plautus' Roman matron and Moliere's honest Frenchwoman with this expan- Himself a Huguenot, who had become a sive female. (Louis XIV. and Made: de Roman Catholic, and the husband of Julia Montespan were not very decent either. See d'Angennes, for whom the French poets come Mémoires de Saint Simon.TR.
posed the celebrated Guirlanda. Ir.
comedy in order to get at spiteful sa- cause it contributes almost equally to tire. Effort and animosity mark all explain the anatomy of the heart. It that he says or puts into the mouths of is quite necessary to expose moral disothers. It is Hobbes, not meditative eases, especially when this is done to and calm, but active and angry, who add to science, coldly, accurately, und sees in man nothing but vice, yet feels in the fashion of a dissection. Such a himself man to the very core. The book us by its nature abstruse ; it niust only fault he rejects is hypocrisy; the be read in the study, by lamp-light only virtue he preaches is frankness. But transport it to the stage, exagger He wants others to confess their vice, ate the bed-room liberties, give them and he begins by confessing his own. additional life by a few disreputable
Though I cannot lie like them (the scenes, bestow bodily vigor upon them poets), I am as vain as they ; I can- by the energetic action and word; of not but publicly give your Grace my the actresses; let the eyes and the humble acknowledgments. This senses be filled with them, not the eyes is the poet's gratitude, which in plain of an individual spectator, but of a English is only pride and ambition."* thousand men and women mingled toWe find in him no poetry of expres-gether in the pit, excited by the insion, no glimpse of the ideal, no set- terest of the story, by the correctness tled morality which could console, of the literal imitation, by the glotter raise, or purify men. He shuts them of the lights, by the noise of applause, up in their perversity and uncleanness, by the contagion of impressions which and installs himself among them. He run like a shudder through fiery and shows them the filth of the lowest longing minds. That was the specta. depths in which he confines them; he cle which Wycherley furnished, and expects them to breathe this atmos- which the court appreciated. Is it phere; he plunges them into it, not to possible that a public, and a select disgust them with it as by an acci- public, could come and listen to such dental fall, but to accustom them scenes ? In Love in a Wood, amidst to it as if it were their natural ele- the complications of nocturnal rendezment. He tears down the partitions vous, and violations effected or begun, and decorations by which they en- we meet with a witling, named Dap. deavor to conceal their state, or reg. perwit, who desires to sell his mistress ulate their disorder. He takes plea- Lucy to a fine gentleman of that age, sure in making them fight, he delights Ranger. With what minuteness he in the hubbub of their unfettered in. bepraises her! He knocks at her stincts ; he loves the violent changes of door ; the intended purchaser meanthe human mass, the confusion of their time, growing impatient, is treating him wicked deeds, the rawness of their like a slave. The mother comes in, bruises. He strips their lusts, sets but wishing to sell Lucy herself and them forth at full length, and of for her own advantage, scolds them course feels them himself; and whilst and packs them off. Next appears an he condemns them as nauseous, he en- old puritanical usurer and hypocrite, joys them. People take what pleasure named Gripe, who at first will not bar they can get: the drunkards in the gain :suburbs, if asked how they can relish their miserable liquor, will tell you it “ Mrs. Joyner. You must send for some makes them drunk as soon as 'better thing to entertain her with. . . . Upon my leo stuff , and that is the only pleasure they a groat! what will this purchase ?
and a cake a have.
the cellar.-Come, the wine has arsenic in't. I can understand that an author may Mrs. 7. A treat of a groat! I will not wag. dare much in a novel. It is a psycho
G. Why dont you go? Here, take mon logical study, akin to criticism or his- money, and fetch whai you will; take here,
half-a-. tory, having almost equal license, be- Mrs. 7. What will half-a-crown do?
G. Take a crown then, an angel, a piece ;• The Dramatic Works of Wycherley, begone! Congreve, Vanbrugh, and Farquhar, ed. Mrs. 7. A treat only will not serve my rur Leigh Hunt, 1840. Dedication of Love in a I must buy the poor wretch there some toys. Wood to her Grace the Duchess of Cleveland. G. What toys ? 'what ? speak quickly.
Mrs. 5. Peydants, necklaces, fans, ribbons, But the special and most extraor points, laces, stockings, gloves.
G. But here, take hall a piece for the other dinary sign of the times is, that amid things.
all these provocatives, no repellent Mrs. 7. Half a piece!
circumstance is omitted, and that G. Prithee, begone I-take other piece the narrator seems to aim as much then-two pieces-three pieces-fivel here; 'tis all I have.
at disgusting as at depraving us. Mrs: 7. I must have the broad-seal ring too, Every moment the fine gentlemen, or I stir not." +
even the ladies, introduce into theií She goes away at last, having extorted conversation the ways and means by all, and Lucy plays the innocent, seems which, since the sixteenth century, So think that Gripe is a dancing-mas- love has endeavored to adorn itself. ter, and asks for a lesson. What Dapperwit, when making an offer of scenes, what double meanings ! At Lucy, says, in order to account for the last she calls out, her mother, Mrs. delay; "Pish! give her but leave to Crossbite, breaks open the door, and put on :::
the long patch unenters with men placed there before- der the left eye; awaken the roses on hand; Gripe is caught in the trap: her cheeks with some Spanish wool, they threaten to call in the constable, and warrant her breath with some lem. they swindle him out of five hundred on peel.” | Lady Flippant, alone in pounds.
the park, cries out : “Unfortunate Need I recount the plot of the Coun- lady that I am! I have left the herd or. try Wife? It is useless to wish to purpose to be chased, and have wan: skim the subject only: we sink deeper dered this hour here; but the park af. and deeper. Horner, a gentleman re- fords not so much as a satyr for me ; turned from France, spreads the re- and no Burgundy man or drunken port that he is no longer able to trouble scourer will reel my way. The rag. the peace of husbands. You may im- women and cinder-women have better agine what becomes of such a subject luck than I." I in Wycherley's hands, and he draws Judge by these quotations, which are from it all that it contains. Women the best, of the remainder! Wycherconverse about Horner's condition, ley makes it his business to revolt even even before him; they suffer them the senses; the nose, the eyes, every selves to be undeceived, and boast of thing suffers in his plays; the audience it. Three of them come to him and must have had the stomach of a sailor. feast, drink, sing—such songs ! The And from this abyss English literature excess of orgie triumphs, adjudges it- has ascended to the strict morality, the self the crown, displays itself in max. excessive decency which it now posims. "Our virtue,” says one of them, sesses ! The stage is a declared wai “ is like the statesman's religion, the against beauty and delicacy of every quaker's word, the gamester's oath, and kind. If Wycherley borrows a char. the great man's honor; but to cheat acter anywhere, it is only to do vio those that trust us.” † In the last lence, or degrade it to the level of his scene, the suspicions which had been own characters. If he imitates the arouse1, are set at rest by a new dec- Agnes of Molière, 8 as he does in the laratiga of Horner. All the mar riages are polluted, and the carnival * “ That spark, who has his fruitless designs ends by a dance of deceived husbands. Sucking heiress in her ... clout."-Love in a
upon the bed-ridden rich widow, down to the To crown all, Horner recommends Wood, i. 2. his example to the public, and the Mrs. Flippant : “ Though I had married the actress who comes on to recite the fool, I thought to have reserved the wit as w1
as other ladies.”-Ibid. epilogue, completes the shamefulness
Dapperwit : “ I will contest with no rival, of the piece, by warning gallants that not with my old rival your coachman."--Ibid. they must look what they are doing ; She has a complexion like a holland cheese, for that if they can deceive men,
no more teeth left, than suck as give a haci
goût to her breath."-Ibid. ii. i women-there's no cozening us." I # Ibid. iii. 2.
1 Ibid. v. 2 * Act ii. 3. † The Country Wife, v. 4: $ The letter of Agnes, in Molière's l'Econ
* Read the epilogue, and see what words and des Femmes, üi. 42 begins thus: “ Je veux Details authors dared then to put in the mouths vous écrire, et je suis bien en peine par où je of actresses.
m'y prendrai. J'ai des pensées que je désiren
Country Wife, he marries her in order not of se! purpose, as the calists of to profane marriage, deprives her of our day, but naturally. In a violent honor, still more of modesty, still more manner he lays on his plaster over the of grace, and changes her artless ten- grinning and pimpled faces of his ras derness into shameless instincts and cals, in order to bring before our very scandalous confessions. If he takes eyes the stern mask to which the li ing Shakspeare's Viola, as in the Plain imprint of their ugliness has stuck oi Dealer, it is to drag her through the the way. He crams his plays with in: vileness of infamy, amidst brutalities cident, he multiplies action, he pushes and surprises. If he translates the part comedy to the verge of dramatic effect : of Molière's Célimène, he wipes out at he hustles his characters amidst sur one stroke the manners of a great prises and violence, and all but stulti. lady, the woman's delicacy, the tact ñes them in order to exaggerate his of the lady of the house, the politeness, satire. Observe in Olivia, a copy of the refined air, the superiority of wit Célimène the fury of the passione and knowledge of the world, in order which he depicts. She describes her to substitute for them the impudence friends as does Célimène, but with and deceit of a foul-mouthed courte. what insults! Novel, a coxcomb, says
If he inven's an almost innocent girl, Hippolita,* he begins by putting all the ceremony and kindness imaginable at my
“ Madam, I have been treated to-day with into her mouth words that will not lady Autumn's. But the nauseous old woman bear transcribing. Whatever he does at the upper end of the table or says, whether he copies or origin of serv'ng in a death's head with their banquets.
Olivia: “ Revives the old Grecian custom, ates, blames or praises, his stage is a ::. I detest her hollow cherry cheeks : sho defamation of mankind, which repels looks like an old coach new painted. even when it attracts, and which sick is stiil most splendidly, gallantly ugly, and ens a man while it corrupts.
looks like an ill piece of daubing in a rich
frame." # A certain gift hovers over all namely, vigor-which is never absent
The scene is borrowed from Mo. in England, and gives a peculiar char-lière's Misanthrope and the Critique de acter to their virtues as well as to l'Ecole des Femmes ; but how trans. their vices. When we have removed formed! Our modern nerves would the oratorical and heavily construct- not endure the portrait Olivia draws ed phrases imitated from the French, of Manly, her lover; he hears her unwe get at the genuine English tal- awares; she forthwith stands before ent a deep sympathy with nature him, laughs at him to his face, declares and life. Wycherley possessed that herself to be married ; tells him she lucid and vigorous perspicacity which means to keep the diamonds which he in any particular situation seizes
has given her, and defies him. Fidelia gesture, physical expression, evident says to her: detail, which pierces, to the depth of “ But, madam, what could make you di. the crude and base, which hits off, not semble love to him, when 'twas so hard a thing men in general, and passion as it for you; and Aatter his love to you?”.
Olivia. “ That which makes all the world ought to be, but an individual man, Aatter and dissemble, 'twas his money: I had and passion as it is. He is a realist, a real passion for that. As soon as I had ais que vous sussiez ; mais je ne sais comment
his money, I hastened his departure like a wife, faire pour vous les dire, et je me défie de mes husband's breath, pulls away
who when she has made the most of a dying paroles,” etc. Observe how Wycherley trans
his pillow." | lates it: "Dear, sweet Mr. Horner, my hus- The last phrase is rather that of a no band would have me send you a base, rude, unmannerly letter ; but I won't-and would have
rose satirist than of an accurate ob me forbid you loving me ; but I won't--and server. The woman's impudence is would have me say to you, I hate you, poor like a professed courtesan's. In love Mr. Horner ; but I won't tell a lie for him--for I'm sure if you and I were in the counters at takes for a young man, she hangs upon
at first sight with Fidelia, whom she cards together, I could not help treading on your toe under the table, or rubbing knees with her neck, “ stuffs her with kisses,” you, and staring in your face, till you saw me, gropes about in the dark, crying, and then looking down, and blushing for an boar together," etc.-Country Wife, iv. 2.
“Where are thy lips ?” here is a * In the Gentleman Dancing Master.
* The Plain Dealer, ü. 1.
Ibid. iv. 2.
kind of animal feroci.y in her love. There is a character who shows in She sends her husband off by an im- a concise manner Wycherley's talent provised comedy ; then skipping about and his morality, wholly formed of like a dancing girl cries out: “Go, energy and indelicacy, – Manly, the husband, and come up, friend; just “plain dealer," so manifestly the authe buckets in the well; the absence thor's favorite, that his contemporaries of one brings the other.” “ But I hope, gave him the name of his hero for a like them, too, they will not meet in the surname. Manly is copied after Alceste, way, jostle, and clash together.”* Sur- and the great difference between the prised in flagrante delicto, and having two heroes shows the difference between confessed all to her cousin, as soon as the two societies and the two coun. she sees a chance of safety, she swal- tries.* Manly is not a courtier, but a lows her ayowal with the effrontery of ship-captain, with the bearing of a sai. an actress :
or of the time, his cloak stained with “ Eliza. Well, cousin, this, I confess, was tar, and smelling of brandy, † ready reasonable hypocrisy; you were the better with blows or foul oaths, calling those for 't. Olivia. What hypocrisy?
he came across dogs and slaves, and E. Why, this last deceit of your husband when they displeased him, kicking them was lawful, since in your own defence.
down stairs. And he speaks in this 0. What deceit? I'd have you know I never fashion to a lord with a voice like a deceived my husband.
mastiff. Then, when the poor noble. E. You do not understand me, sure ; I say, this was an honest come-off, and a good one.
man tries to whisper something in his But 'twas a sign your gallant had had enough ear, “My lord, all that you have made of your conversation, since he could so dexter- me know by your whispering which I ously cheat your husband in passing for a knew not before, is that you have a
0. What d'ye mean, once more, with my gal- stinking breath ; there's a secret for lant, and passing for a woman?
your secret.” When he is in Olivia's E. What do you mean? you see your hus- | drawing-room, with "these fluttering band took him for a woman! 0. Whom?
parrots of the town, these apes, these E. Heyday! why, the man he found with... echoes of men,” he bawls out as if 0. Lord, you rave sure!
he were on his quarter-deck, “ Peace, E. Why, did you not tell me last night. you Bartholomew fair buffoons!" He Fy, this fooling is so insipid, 'tis offensive.
Ó. And fooling with my honour will be more seizes them by the collar, and says: offensive..
“Why, you impudent, pitiful wretches, E. O admirable confidence! ...
in all things so like 0. Confidence, to me I to me such language' women, that you may think it in me a nay, then I'll never see your face again. Lettice, where are you? Let us begone from kind of cowardice to beat you. Begone, I this censorious ill woman. .
say. : : : No chattering, baboons; inE. One word first, pray, madam; can you stantly begone, or”. Then he swear that whom your husband found you turns them out of the room. These with
0. Swear! ay, that whosoever 'twas that are the manners of a plain-dealing man. stale up, unknown, into my room, when 'twas He has been ruined by Olivia, whom he diurk, I know not, whether man or woman, by loves, and who dismisses him. Poor heavens, by all that's good ; or, may I never more nave joys here, or in the other worldi Fidelia, disguised as a man,and whom he Nay, may I eternally
É. Be damned. So, so, you are damned * Compare with the sayings of Alceste, in enough already by your oaths. . . . Yet take Molière's Misanthrope, such tirades as this this advice with you, in this plain-dealing age, “ Such as you, like common whores and pick to leave off forswearing yourself.
pockets, are only dangerous to those you en 0. O hideous, hideous advice ! let us go out brace.' And with the character of Philinte, ir of the hearing of it. She will spoil us, Let the same French play, such phrases as these : dice." +
“ But, faith, could you think I was a friend to Here is animation; and if I dared to those I hugged, kissed, flattered, bowed to ?
When their backs were turned, did not I tell relate the boldness and the assevera.
you they were rogues, villains, rascals, whom ! tion in the night scene, it would easily despised and hated ?"
Olivia " Then shall I bave again my appear that Mme. Marneffe $ had a
alcove smell like a cabin, my chamber perfumed sister, and Balzac a predecessor.
with his tarpaulin Brandenburgh ; and bear * The Plain Dealer, iv. 3.
t Ibidh. v, I.
vollies of brandy-sighs, enough to make a for * See note, ante, page 35.
in one's room."The Plain Dealer, ü. I.