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The world to its centre shall shake with delight,
As thus she announces their fall,
“ The ocean has buried them all.”
Academic Correspondence, 1803, containing Extracts, No. II. from &
Correspondence with the Academies of Vienna and St. Petersburg, on the present Cultivation of the Arts of Painting, Sculpture, and Architecture. A summary Report of the Transactions of the Royal Academy of London, from the Close of the Exhibition, 1802, to the same Period, 1803. And a Description of public Monuments, voted by the Parliament of Great-Britain, to the Memory of distinguished Naval and Military Officers, since the year 1798. Published by Desire of the Academy, by Prince Hoare, Member of the Academies of Florence and Cortona, and Secretary for Foreign Correspondence to the Royal Academy of London. 4to. 3s. 6d. -on fine Paper, 5s. Robson, Payne, Hatchard, and Barker, London. 1804.
MR. HOARE cannot more honourably, or more usefully, testify his love for the Arts, than by persevering in a correspondence which promises to throw upon them so new and interesting a light. He has yet received information only from the Academies of Germany and Russia, but he is induced to hope “ that. another year or two will enable bim to collect such general and comprehensive documents relative to the arts of painting, sculpture, and architecture, as will constitute an authentic récord of their degree of cultivation at the present period of time, in most of the countries of Europe; a colJection, which (he very justly conceives) cannot fail to be valuable in the estimation of artists, and may, at some future period, become serviceable to the researches of the virtuoso and the historian.” The success of Mr. Hoare's communications with the academies in other courts, has been retarded by the unpropitious state of public affairs throughout Europe.
The letters from M. de Labzin, the secretary at Petersburg ; and Mr. Füger, director of the academy at Vienna; with the notes accompanying both articles, from the pen of Mr. Hoare, will be perused with great interest. The munificence of the present emperor of Russia is entitled to particular admiration. It appears that his Imperial majesty has deigned, not only to increase the salaries of the professors, and other persons employed in the Academy: but still further to extend his bounty, by lately appropriating for the maintenance of the institution, the annual sum of 146,000 rubles, instead of 60,000 formerly assigned to that purpose, by the Academy establishment of 1764; and also by adding the yearly sum of 10,000 rubles for the payment of those artists whose works shall be judged worthy to adorn the public institution.
In Mr. Füger's letter, reference is made to the antique statue of Ceres, now in this country, and said to be the workmanship of Phidias., Mr. F. observes, that the Academy of Vienna is very desirous to learn the opinion of the Academy of London, touching the merit of this statue. Mr. Hoare, in consequence of this intimation, applied to Mr. Flaxman, who thinks that “it is certainly a work of the time of Phidias, of an elevated beauty, and powerful execution,” but he does not seem to be so confident as the author of a tract, published at Cambridge, (in the public library of which university the statue is set up) that it is the undoubted performance of that great artist. There is an etching prefixed to the present publication from a drawing made by Mr. Flaxman, from this remarkable fragment of antiquity.
The monuments, of which particular accounts are given in these pages, are those of Captains Burges and Westcott, by Mr. Banks; Captain Montagu and Lord Howe, by Mr. Flaxman; Captain Faulkner and Captains Mosse and Riou, by Mr. Rossi; Captains Harvey and Hutt and General Dundas, by Mr. Bacon, jurtior; and Sir Ralph Abercromby, by Mr. Westmacott, jun. · The academy and the public are certainly much indebted to Mr. Hoare, for his zeal and diligence in a situation that, we believe, has usually been looked upon as little other than an honorary distinction; but to use the concluding words of his elegant prefatory Address to the President and Academicians. “ Exertions of this nature are always honourable to the individuals who make thein, and have a tendency to assist the progress of that advancement, to which every virtuous and enlightened people must necessarily aspire.”
DRAMATIC, The Caravan, or the Driver and his Dog. A grand serio-comic Ro
mance, in two Acts, written by Frederick Reynolds. The Music by : William Reeve.
In our memoranda dramatica, for December, we briefly sketched the plot and character of this pleasing little production; and, although grand serio-comic romances in general, without the aid of the mechanist and scene-painter, and the “ Caravan" in particular, without the exertions of the unrivalled and inimitable“ Carlo," can be supposed to produce little effect, we cannot deny having received considerable pleasure in its perusal, from the neatness of its dialogue, the chasteness of its humour, and the vigour and patriotic cnergy of its sentiments.
THE BRITISH STAGE.
The Imitation of Life.--The Mirror of Manners--- The Representation of Truth.
THE DRAMATIC ESSAYIST.
ON TRAGEDY. BY DR. BLAIR,
THE GREEK STAGE. Having thus treated of all the different parts of tragedy, I shall conclude the subject with a short view of the Greek, the French, and the English stage, and with observations on the principal writers.
Most of the distinguishing characters of the Greek tragedy have been already occasionally mentioned. It was embellished with the lyric poetry of the chorus, of the origin of which, and of the advantages and disadvantages attending it, I treated fully in the preceding. lecture. The plot was always exceedingly simple. It admitted of few incidents. It was conducted, with a very exact regard to the unities of action, time, and place. Machinery, or the intervention of the gods, was employed; and, which is very faulty, the final unravelling sometimes made to turn upon it. Love, except in one or two instances, was never admitted into the Greek tragedy. Their subjects were often founded on destiny, or inevitable misfortunes. A vein of religious and moral sentiment always runs through them; but they made less use than the moderns.of the combat of the passions, and of the distresses which our passions bring upon us. Their plots were all taken from the ancient traditionary stories of their own nation, Hercules furnishes matter for two tragedies. The history of Edipus, king of Thebes, and his unfortunate family, for six. The war of Troy, with its consequences, for no fewer than seventeen. There is only one of later date than this; which is the Persæ, or expedition of Xerxes, by Æschylus.
Æschylus is the father of Greek tragedy, and exhibits both the beauties and the defects of an early original writer. He is bold, nervous, and animated; but very obscure and difficult to be understood; partly by reason of the incorrect state in which we have his works (they having suffered more by time, than any of the ancient tragedians), and partly on account of the nature of his style, which is crowded with metaphors, often harsh and tumid. He abounds with martial ideas and descriptions. He has much fire and elevation; less of tenderness than of force. He delights in the marvellous. The ghost of Darius in the Persæ, the inspiration of Cassandra, in Agamemnon, and the songs of the furies in the Eumenides, are beautiful in their kind, and strongly expressive of his genius.
Sophocles is the most masterly of the three Greek tragedians; the most correct in the conduct of his subjects; the most just and sublime in his sentiments. He is eminent for his descriptive talent. The relation of the death of Edipus, in his Edipus Coloneus, and of the death of Hæmon and Antigone, in his Antigone, are perfect patterns of description to tragic poets. Euripides is esteemed more tender than Sophocles; and he is fuller of moral sentiments. But, in the conduct of his plays, he is more incorrect and negligent; his expositions, or openings of the subject, are made in a less artful manner; and the songs of his chorus, though remarkably poetical, have, commonly, less connection with the main action, than those of Sophocles. Both Euripides and Sophocles, however, have very high merit as tragic poets. They are elegant and beautiful in their style; just, for the most part, in their thoughts; they speak with the voice of nature; and, making allowance for the difference of ancient and modern ideas, in the midst of all their simplicity, they are touching and interesting.
The circumstances of theatrical representation on the stages of Greece and Rome, were, in several respects, very singular, and widely different from what obtains among us. Not only were the songs of the chorus accompanied with instrumental music, but as the Abbé du Bos, in his Reflections on Poetry and Painting, has proved, with much curious erudition, the dialogue part had also a modulation of its own, which was capable of being set to notes; it was carried on in a sort of recitative between the actors, and was supported by instruments. He has farther attempted to prove, but the proof seems more incomplete, that, on some occasions, on the Roman stage, the pronouncing and gesticulating parts were divided; that one actor spoke, and another performed the gestures and motions corresponding to what the first said. The actors in tragedy wore a long robe, called Syrma, which flowed upon the stage. They were raised upon Cothurni, which rendered their stature uncommonly high; and they always played in masques. These masques were like helmets, which covered the whole head; the mouths of them were so contrived, as to give an artificial sound to the voice. in order to make it be heard over their vast theatres; and the visage was so formed and painted, as to suit the age, characters, or dispder sitions of the persons represented. When, during the course of one scene, different emotions were to appear in the same person, the masque is said to have been so painted, that the actor, by turning one or other profile of his face to the spectators, expressed the change of the situation. This, however, was a contrivance, attended with many disadvantages. The masque must have deprived the spectators of all the pleasure which arises from the natural animated expression of the eye and the countenance; and, joined with the other circumstances which I have mentioned, is apt to give us an unfavourable idea of the dramatic representations of the ancients. In defence of them, it must, at the same time, be remembered, that their theatres were vastly more extensive in the area than ours, and filled with immense crowds. They were always uncovered, and exposed to the open air. The actors were beheld at a much greater distance, and, of course, much more imperfectly, by the bulk of the spectators, which both rendered their looks of less consequence, and might make it, in some degree, necessary that their features should be exaggerated, the sound of their voices enlarged, and their whole appearance magnified beyond the life, in order to make the stronger impression. It is certain, that, as dramatic spectacles were the favourite entertainments of the Greeks and Romans, the attention given to their proper exhibition, and the magnificence of the apparatus bestowed on their theatres, far exceeded any thing that has been attempted in modern ages.
THE DOG AND THE SLIPPER,
SHAKSPEARE. It is impossible for any one who has observed the recent proceedings at our two great theatres, not to wonder at the event, and endeavour, if he be a thinking man, to account for so remarkable and apparently disgraceful a revolution.
The common and received opinion ascribes it to that general depravity of sentiment, too often resulting from habitual dissipation