« EdellinenJatka »
Rather than be guilty of so foul a Dead,
For here the Adion must be expressed by the Left Hand, because the Right is the Member to Luffer. When you speak of your self, the Right not the Left Hand must be apply'd to the Bosom, declaring your own Faculties, and Passions
3 your Heart, your Soul, or your Conscience, but this Adion generally speaking, should be only apply'd or express’d by laying the Hand gently on the Breast, and not by thumping it as some People do. The Gesture must pafs from the Left to the Right, and there end with Gentleness and Moderation, at least not stretch to the Extremity of Violence. You must be sure as you begin your Adion with what you say, so
you mult end it when you have done speaking ; for Action either before or after Utterance is highly ridiculous. The Movement or Gestures of your Hands must always be agreeable to the Nature of the Words, that you speak; for when you fay, Come in or approach, you must not stretch out your Hand with a repulsive Gesture į nor, on the contrary, when you say, Stand back, must your Gesture be inviting ; nor must you join your Hands, when you cominand Separation; nor open thein, when your order is closing ; nor hang them down, when you bid raise fucb a thing, or Person,; nor lift them'up,
you fay, throw them down. For all these Gestures
would be so visibly against Nature, that you would be laugh'd at by all that saw or heard you. By these Instances of faulty Adion, you may easily see the right, and gather this Rule, that as much as poslīble every Gesture you use should express the Nature of the Words you utter, which would sufficiently and beautifully employ your Hands.
It is impossible to have any great Emotion or Gesture of the Body, without the Adion of the Hands, to answer the Figures of Discourse, which are made use of in all Poetical, as well as Rhetorical Di&ion; for Poetry derives its Beauty in that from Rhetoric, as it does its Order and Justness from Grammar ; which surprizes me, that some of our modern taking Poets value themselves on that, which is not properly Poetry, but only made use of as an Ornainent, and drawn from other Arts and Sci
Thus when Medea says,
These Images of Jason,
With my own Hands I'll strangle, &c. 'tis certain the Adion ought to be express’d by the Hands to give it all its Force.
In the lifting up the Hands to preserve the Grace, you ought not to raise them above the Eyes ; to stretch them farther might disorder and distort the Body ; nor must it be very litthe lower, because that PoGtion gives a Beauty
to the Figure : Besides, this posture being geteral on some Surprize, Admiration, Abhorrence, &c. which proceeds from the Object, that affects the Eye, Nature by a sort of Mechanic Motion throws the Hands out as Guards to the Eyes on such an Occasion.
You must never let either of your Hands hang down, as if lánie or dead; for that is
dil agreeable to the Eye, and argues no Passion in the Imagination. ''In short, your Hands must always be in View of your Eyes, and so corresponding with the Motions of the Head, Eyes and Body, that the Spectator may see their Concurrence, every one in its own way to signify the same thing, which will make a more agreeable, and hy Consequence a deeper Jinpression on their Senses, and their Understanding.
Your Arms you should not stretch out fideways,
above half a Foot from the Trunk of your Body, you will otherwise throw your Gesure quite out of your Sight, unless you turn your Head also aside to pursue it, which would
In Swearing, Attestation, or taking any solemn Vow or Oath, you must raise your Hand; an Exclaination requires the fame Adion : But so that the Gesture may not only answer the Pronunciation, or Utterance, but both the Nature of the thing, and the Meaning of the Words. In public Speeches, Orations, and Sermons, it is true your Hands ought not to be always in Motion, a Vice which was once call'd the Baba
than it is ar? 98 The Life of Mr. Tho. Betterton. ling of the Hands
and perhaps, it may reach fome Characters, and Speeches in Plays; but i am of Opinion, that the Hands in Ading ought very feldoin to be wholly quiescent, and that if we had the Art of the Pantomimes, of expressing things so clearly with their Hands, as to make the Gestures fupply Words, the joining these significant Actions to the Words and Paffions justly drawn by the Poet, would be no contemptible Grace in the Player, and render the Diversion infinitely more entertaining, Business of the Stage, and an Error is more pardonable on the right, than the wrong side.
There are some Aɛtions or Gestures, which you must never make use of in Tragedy, any more than in Pleadings, or Sermons, they being low and fitter for Comedy or Burlesque Entertainments. Thus you must not put your self into the Posture of one bending a Bow, presenting a Musquet, or playing on any Musical Instrument, as if you had it in your Hands. .
You must never iinitate any lewd, obscene or indecent Postures, let your Discourse be on the Debaucheries of the Age, or any thing of that Nature, which the Description of an Anthony and Verres might require our Discourse of.
When you speak in a Prosopopæia, a Figure by which you introduce any (thing or) Person speaking, you must be sure to use such Actions only, as are proper for the Character, that you speak for. I can't reinember at present one in
Tragedy, but in Comedy Melantha, when the speaks for a Man, and answers him in her own Perfon, inay give you some Image of it. But these feldom happen in Plays, and in Orations not very frequently.
Thus I have gone through the Art of Action or Gesture, which tho I have directed chiefly for the Stage, and there principally for Tragedy, yet the Bar and the Pulpit may learn some Leffons from what I have said, that would be of mighty use to make their Pleadings and Sermons of more Force and Grace. But, I think, the Pulpit chiefly has need of this Doctrine, because that converses more with the Passions, than the Bar; and treats of more sublime Subjects, meritorious of all the Beauty and Solemnity of Adion. I am persuaded, that if our Clergy would apply themselves more to this Art, what they preach would be more efficacious, and themfelves more respected, nay, have a greater Awe on their Auditors. But then it must be confefs'dit is next to impossible for them to attain this perfe&ion,while thatCustom prevails of reading of Sermons, which no Clergy in the World do but those of the Church of England. For while they read they are not perfect enough in what they, deliver, to give it its proper A&ion and Einphasis, either in Pronunciation or Gesture. But the Tatler has handled this particular very well; and if what he has said will have no Influence upon them, it will be much in vain for me to: