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« to be the Murderers of the Soldiers. 'Answer,
Blæfus, where haft thou thrown his Body; “ the most mortal Enemies deny not Burial to “ the dead Enemy : When to his Corps I have
perform’d my last Duties in Kisses, and flow
ing with Tears, command me to be flain at “ his Side, so that these our Fellow-Soldiers may
have leave to bury us. He put the Army into such a Ferment and Fury by this Speech, that if it had not immediately been made
appear, that there was no such Matter, that he never had any Brother, the Soldiers would hardly have spard the Lieutenant's Life; for he acted it as if it had been fome Interlude on the Stage.
There is not so great a Pathos in the Words uttered by the Soldier, as to stir the Army into so very great a Ferment, they must therefore receive almost their whole Force from a most moving and pathetic Action, in which his Eyes, Hands, and Voice join'd in a most lively Expression of his Misery and of his Lofs. 'Tis true that, when an Army is tumultuous in it self, it is no difficult matter to run them into Madness; but then it must be done by fome, who either by their foriner Interest there, had purchas'd an Opinion among them, or some one who by the Artfulness of his Address should touch their Souls, and so engage them to what he pleases. The later I take to be our Cafe in Vibulenus, who by the Advantage of his Skill in Action recommended himself and his supposi
titious Cause so effectually to them, as to make the General run a great hazard of his Life for an imaginary Murder.
This has made some of the old Orators give the fole Power and sovereign Command in Speech to Action, as I have read in fome of those learned Men who have treated of this Subject in English and French. And I am persuaded, that our Parsons would move their Hearers far more, if tbey added but graceful Action to loud Speaking. This often sets off indifferent Matter, and makes a Man of little Skill in any other Part of Oratory, pass for the most eloquent ; this, I have read, was the Case of Trachallus, who tho none of the best Orators of his Time for the Composition and Writing part, yet 'excelld all the Pleaders of that Age, his Appearance and Delivery was so plausible and pleasing. The Stateliness of his Person and Port, the Sparkling of his Eyes, the Majesty of his Looks, and the Beauty of his Mien ; and his Voice added to these Qualities, which not only for Gravity and Composedness came up to that of a Tragedian, but even excelld any Actors, that ever yet trod the Ştage, as my Author assures us from Quintilian. Philistus, on the other hand, for want ot these Advantages of Utterance, lost all the Beauty and Force of his Pleadings, tho for Language and the Art of Composition excell'd all the Greeks of his Time.
The fame Advantage of Pericles and Hortenfius, with this difference, Hortensius afcrib'd all
the Success of his Pleadings to the Merit of the Writing, and convinc'd the World of his Error by publishing his Orations; Pericles, tho 'tis faid he had the Goddess Persuasion on his Lips, and that he thundred and lightned in an Assembly, and made all Greece tremble when he spoke, yet would never publish any of his Orations, because their Excellency lay in the ACTION.
What I have said here of Action in general, and the particular Examples I have given of it, is I believe fufficient to satisfy any one, that is ftudious of Excellence on the Stage, that it ought to be his chief Aim and Application. But next to this is the Art of Speaking, in which also a Player ought to be perfectly skilld; for as a learned Country-man of ours observes « The Operation of Speech is strong, not only « for the Reason or Wit therein contained, but
by its Sound. For in all good Speech there " is a sort of Music, with Respect to its Mea
sure, Time and Tune. Every well-measur'd « Sentence is proportional three ways, in all its « Parts to the Sentences, and to what it is in“ tended to express, and all Words that have “ Time allow'd to their Syllables, as is suitable « to the Letters whereof they confift, and to “ the Order, in which they stand in a Sentence. 66 Nor are Words without their Tune or Notes
even in common Talk, which together com
pose that Tune, which is proper to every Sen« tence, and may be prick'd down as well as any musical Tune: only in the Tunes of
Speech the Notes have much less Variety,
and have all a short Time. With Respect al“ so to Time and Measure, the Poetic is less
various and therefore less powerful, than that “ of Oratory ; the former being like that of a « short Country Song repeated to the End of the
Poem, but that of Oratory is vary'd all along, “ like the Divisions, which a skilful Musician
runs upon a Lute.
He proceeds to our former Consideration, faying 6 The Behaviour and Gesture is also of “ Force; as in Oratory so in Converse, consist
ing of almost as many Motions, as there are " moveable Parts of the Body, all made with is a certain agreeable Measure between one an
other, and at the same tiine answerable to " that of Speech, which when easy and unaf«« fected is becoming.
A Mastery in these two Parts is what compleats an Actor : And I hope the Rules I shall give for both will be of Use to such as have truly a Genius for this Art; the Rules of which, like those of Poetry, are only for those, who have a Genius, and are not perfe&tly to be understood by those, who have not.
To begin therefore with Aětion, the Player is to consider, that it is not every rude and undesigning Action, that is his Business, for that is what the Ignorant as well as skilful may have, por can indeed want : But the Action of a Player is that, which is agreeable to Personation, or the Subject he represents. Now what he represents
is Man in his various Characters, Manners, and Paslions, and to these Heads he must adjust every Action; he must perfectly express the Quality and Manners of the Man, whose Perfon he assumes, that is, he inust know how his Manners are compounded, and from thence know the several Features, as I inay call 'em, of his Passions. A Patriot, a Prince, a Beggar, a Clown, &c. must each have their Propriety, and Distinction in Action as well as Words and Language. An A&tor therefore must vary with his Argument, that is, carry the Person in all his Manners and Qualities with him in every Action and Passion ; he must transform himself into every Perfon he represents, since he is to act all forts of Actions and Paffions. Sometimes he is to be a Lover, and know not only all the foft and tender Addresses of one, but what are proper to the Character, that is in Love, whether he be a Prince or a Peafant, a hot and fiery Man or of more moderate and flegmatick Constitution, and even the Degrees of the Passion he is possessed with. Sometimes he is to reprefent a choleric, hot and jealous Man, and then he must be throughly acquainted with all the Motions and Sentiments productive of thofe Motions of the Feet, Hands, and Looks of fuch a Person in such Circumstances. Sometimes he is a Person all dejected and bending under the Extremities of Grief and Sorrow ; which changes the 'witole Form and Appearance of him in the Representation, as it does really in Nature. Some