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the intervals of toitsome exertion, as salutary recreations of the mind, and seasonable unbendings from contentious activity."! There is one other fact also, very pertinently mentioned by Mr. Bumthat Aristotle, whom Plato calls the philosopher of Truth, Jays down a model for the formation of the Greek drama and stage. I think you have now, Sir, had sufficient of the Greeks; but before I close these literary details relative to that glorious people, the handmaids of the Arts and Scieuces, may I be allowed some brief allusion to their present struggle for liberty and religion against a barbarian and bigoted invader. Let the inhabitants of Birmingham aid the public exertions throughout the kingdom in support of this holy cause, and bring home to their own feelings the violation of their families, their property, and their temples of worship! Let them picture to themselves such miseries, and base indeed must be the apathy that can remain dead to the calls of the Greeks on the sympathy and liberality of the whole world : it is but the repayment of a debt of honor towards that land where the gardens of the Academy florished the soil where the tree of freedom first blossomed and shed its luxuriant seed throughout the earth to the representatives of those great spirits of antiquity now no more, fighting for their natural and ancient rights in. . Iepi Tortos Tijvédeudegia
LIBERTY ABOVE ALL THINGS. I shall now introduce you to the Romans ; to begin with Cato, it is impossible to know whom you mean by this agnomen of the Porcian family, and perhaps you do not know yourself. There were twoillustrious individuals of this namecelebrated by the severity of their private character and their efforts to reform the public morals of Rome. If you were acquainted with their characters however, you would hardly consider them as models for the private or the public character of the present day. : If you mean M. Porcius Cato, the Censor, it is true that early in life he strongly opposed the intro. duction of the fine arts from Greece into Italy, fearing their effect on the valor and simplicity of the Roman people ; but it is also true that in his advanced age he altered his opinion (as you may possibly do), applied himself to the study of Greek, educated his son in the literature of Greece, and became a great admirer of their political and dramatic writers. But I think it is most probably that you mean the Utican, Cato the younger, the great grandson of the Censor: and if so, you are still further mistaken. It is remarkable that this Cato first distinguished himself in a juvenile play, or tournament of boys, of the noblest families of Rome, given by
· Aristotle, by Gillies, London, 1797, vol. ii, p. 254.
Sylla, and of whom Cato by the youthful suffrages was elected captain.. As to his opinions and conduct in after life, Plutarch in his biography writes, that when Favonius was ædile «s he had the assistance of Cato, particularly in the theatrical entertainments that were given to the people! In these Cato gave another specimen of his economy; for he did not allow the players and musicians crowns of gold, but of wild olive, such as are used in the Olympic games.” Curio, the colleague of Favonius, Plutarch also says, gave noble entertainments in another theatre, but that the people were much more entertained with seeing Cato master of the ceremonies :" and Plutarch makes this remark, It is probable however, that Cato took this on him only to show the folly of troublesome and expensive preparations in matters of mere amusement, and that the benevolence and good humor suitable to such occasions would have a better effect." .
You have made extremely free with Cicero. The study of Greek literature was the foundation of his Roman eloquence. Roscius and Æsopus, two stage actors, were his tutors in oratory His oration for Archias, and on behalf of Roscius, two of the most noble specimens of his eloquence, are proofs of the estimation in which he held the legitimate Drama and the Stage, and the respect he entertained for actors of talent and private worth. If you refer to his Letters, (Melmoth's Translation, b. ii.) you will read in his letter to Marcus Marius, many interesting facts directly contradicting your assertions. He there speaks of his old friend Æsopus” the actor, and though he certainly condemns some public entertainments then going on, it was because they were gladiatorial and equestrian exhibitions : the letter proves his frequent attendance on theatrical amusements, such as they were. In his tenth Letter (b. iii.) addressed to Caius Curio, he does indeed advise that patrician against « entertaining the people with public games ;" but if you turn to the letter you will see the reason of this advice because they are instances of wealth only, not of merit," and
: 'Troy;, a game-celebrated in the public circus by companies of boys of the noblest families, of Rome. See an interesting description in Virgil Æneid. v. 545. * 2 “ Yes, I own myself to be enchanted with these studies. Por had not my youthful mind, from many precepts, from many writings, drank in this truth, that glory and virtue ought to be the darling, nay the only wish in life, never had I exposed my person in so many encounters, and to these daily conflicts with the worst of men, for your deliverance. How many pictures of thie bravest men have the Greek and Latin, authors left us! A poet is formed by the hand of nature; he is aroused by mental vigor, and inspired by what we may call the spirit of divinity itself. Therefore our Ennius has a right to give to poets the epithet of hoiy, because they are, as it were, lent to mankind by the indulgent bounty of the gods."-Oration for A. Licinius Archias.
« that the public is quite satiated with their frequent returns." Cicero well knew the profusion of Curio's disposition: the latter neglected his advice, contracted debts he was unable to pay, and eventually sold himself to Cæsar. That the drama was a subject particularly interesting to Cicero, is evident in numerous passages of his literary correspondence : the following extract from his letter to Papyrius Pætus is ample evidence. - “But to turn from the serious to the jocose part of your letter, the strain of pleasantry you break into immediately after having quoted the tragedy of nomanus, puts me in mind of the modern method of introducing at the end of these graver dramatic pieces; the buffoon humor of our low Mimes, instead of the more delicate burlesque of the old Attellan farces.” • I-nów proceed to Livy: your reference to him will no more suit your purpose than the last classic, Livy was last introduced as an opponent of the stage and drama in a pamphlet, entitled “The Stage the High-road to Hell, 1768”—from whence Dr. Styles brought him into his essay. That anonymous author interpolates Livy's history with the following sentence . That plays were brought in on the score of religion ; but that the remedy proved worse than the disease, for the plays did more hurt to the mind than the pestilence to the body," he accompanies this impudent forgery with no reference to Livy and no Latin. Livy never said any such thing : his words are, in reference to the introduction of players to propitiate the gods during a pestilence, that “they neither freed their minds from superstition nor their bodies from the plague.” If you will take Baker's translation of Livy's History of Rome, and consult the index in the sixth volume, article games, as founded by Romulus and Tarquinius Priscus, and also on the Capitoline, Apollonarian, Circensian, Megalesian, Plebeian, funeral ceremonies, and public amusements, and refer to the several books in Livy where their origin and nature are treated of, you will be ashamed of ever again mentioning the name of Livy, with whose works you cannot have the slightest acquaintance. In Livy you may see how these entertainments were originally connected with heathen notions of piety and religion ; and you will see how progressively with art and science the display and eloquence of public amusements and festivals also advanced. • You could not possibly have summoned a more mal-apropos name than Seneca. The only Roman tragedies extant bear his name! And the passage in his writings, which has been construed by your party against the theatre, has nothing to do with
Melmoth's Translation. B. viii. lett. 20. ? Nec tamen ludoruin primum initium procurandis religionibus datum, aut religione animos, aut corpora morbis levavit. Livy, L. vii. c. 3. in
that question : Seneca merely recommends to Luciliùs retirement, by showing the interruption a philosopher or man of letters is subject to' in a public life; he censures, on this principle, all public assemblies, and concludes with reflections on the barbarities of gladiatorial exhibitions--but as to stage plays, he has not a syllable about them; and do you not confess, that if he had been inimical to them, the author of the Morals in such a compendium for the conduct of life, would not have omitted the expression of his opinion ?
Tacitus must now be examined. i The first mention made by him of the public games and amuse ments, is (Annals, b. xiv.) of the Quinquennial games, instituted by Nero, « after the fashion of the prize-matches amongst the Greeks”—if you refer to the book you will see that he quotes what “ some alleged”-viz. that those games were of excessive continuance ; that “ nights as well as days were bestowed on the infamous revel," and that the most corrupt adulation was lavished on the usurpers in power. What has this to do with the drama of the present day? And with your usual ill-fortune, you oblige me to inform you, (see Annals, b. xi.) that Tacitus, in the Secular games presented by the Emperor Domitian, writes, “I assisted in person, and the more assiduously as I was invested with the quins decemviral priesthood, and at that time prætor.” If you can find one sentence in Tacitus, which can justify your quotation of his name, it is more than I can discover. ",
Now before I close the Roman list, and not to leave any thing undone, I must beg one sentence as to the opinions of Valerius Maximus, whom, it will be seen, Styles catalogues, and you omit, (I suppose because you did not know who he was :) the only passage Dr. Styles can allude to is, Val. Max. I. ii. C. 4. 8. 5-this passage no more relates to stage plays than it does to Dr. Styles's chapel at Kennington : any first form-boy at the Charter-house would tell you so; it relates to the Secular games, according to some historians instituted under Numa, 336 years before plays were known to the Romans ! · Augustus Cæsar considered some of the Roman plays so unex
1. Inimica est multorum conversatio; nemo non aliquod nobis vitium aut commendat, aut imprimit, aut nescientibus allinit. Utique quo major est populus cui commiscemur, hoc periculi plus est. Nihil vero est tam damnosum bonis moribus, quam in aliquo spectaculo desidere. Tunc enim per voluptatem vitia facilius surrepunt. Quid me existimas dicere? Avarior redeo, ambitiosior, luxuriosior, imo vero crudelior et inhumanior quia inter homines fui. Casu in meridianum spectaculum incidi, lusus expectanset sales, et aliquid luxamenti, quo hominum oculi ab humano cruore acquiescant.-Contra est, quicquid apie pugnatum est misericordia fuit; nunc, omissis nugis, mera homicidia sunt. Sen, Op. fol. Par. ed. p. 168.
ceptionable that he allowed the vestal virgins to go to them, and assigned them a place at the theatre !
But I think, Sir, that to set more Romans on you would argue a revengeful spirit. You will doubtless be content with Roscias for an actor ; Cicero, his pupil, for a spectator; Brutus, Pompey, and Augustus, for patrons of the stage.
I hasten therefore, though not without some misgiving, to Prynne, the Goliath of your party against plays.
William Prynne, a satirical and Prynne, whose name is dear to Propungent writer, who suffered many testantism, &c. in the reign of King cruelties for his admirable produc- Charles the 1st, &c. has made a cata. tions in the time of Charles I. has logue of authorities against the stage made a catalogue of authorities which contains every name of emi against the stage, which contain nence in the Heathen and Christian every name of eminence in the Heam worlds; it comprehends the united then and Christian worlds: it com- testimony of the Jewish and Christian prehends the united testimony of the churches; the deliberate acts of 54 Jewish and Christian churches; the ancient and modern general, provindeliberate acts of fifty-four ancient cial, and national councils and synods, and modern general national and pro- both of the Eastern and Western vincial councils and synods both of churches ; 'the condemnatory sen. the Western and Eastern churches; tence of 71 ancient fathers, and 150 the condemnatory sentence of seven- modern Popish and Protestant auty-one ancient fathers, and one hun- thors; the hostile endeavors of phi. dred and fifty modern Popish and losophers, and of even poets; with Protestant authors; the hostile en- the legislative enactments of a great deavors of philosophers, and even number of Pagan and Christian poets, with the legislative enactments states, nations, emperors, princes, and ofa great number of Pagan and Chris- magistrates. tian states, nations, magistrates, em
"Styles, p. 140. perors, and princes.
. : James, p. 32. This literary monster, the Histrio-mastix, the substantial work of the most " voluminous zealot that ever wrote in controversy, now lies before me, with its 1006 quarto pages, exclusive of a proportionate preface and index, with a thick garnish of marginal notes and reference! There was a time, Sir, when the energy of youth carried me through a great portion of this vast labor : but if ever I am to refresh my memory with its contents, it shall be by getting a man to read it for me at your expense.
“ Histrio-mastix, The Player's Scourge or Actor's Tragedie, divided into two parts, wherein it is largely evidenced, by divers arguments, by the concurring authorities and resolutions of sundry texts of Scripture, of the whole primitive church, both under the law and gospel; of 55 synodes and councels; of 71 fathers and Christian writers, before the yeare of our Lord 1200; of above 150 foreign and domestique Protestant and Popish authort, since; of 40 heathen philosophers, historians, poets and many Heathen, many Christian nations, republiques emperors princes magistrates, of sundry apostolical canonical imperial constitutions and our own English statutes, magistrates universities writers preachers--that popular stage playes (the