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soon attracted an immense crowd, who expressed their admiration, by filling the hat of Helviot who held it for the benefit of the beggar, with pieces of silver. The joy of the old man may easily be conceived.


The presence of Scenery in the booths and temporary erections in Inn-yards, where the first rude companies of comedians exhibited, is not to be supposed; and the evidence collected on the subject goes, for the most part, to prove, that the first regular Theatres were nearly as destitute of scenic decorations as their beggarly predeces

The absence of this essential article of theatrical furniture affords a decisive proof of the excessive poverty of the first dramatic establishments; since the account-books of the Master of the Revels, for 1571, and several subsequent years, clearly point out the use of four varieties of scenery, in almost every play or masque exhibited at court. 1, temporary erections on the stage; 2, painting on canvas, stretched on frames; 3, mechanical contrivances; and 4, furniture and properties generally. The following are extracts from the office books:



« One hundred and fifty ells of canvas, for the houses and properties made for the players.”

“ A paynted cloth, and two frames.”

“Wm. Lyzarde for size, cullers, pots, nails, and pensills, used and occupied upon the painting uf seven cities, one village, one country-house, one battlement, &c.”

“ One city and une battlement of canvas.” “ Wm. Lyzarde, for paynting by great, CCX. yards of can


Six plays “furnished, perfected and garnished, necessarily, and answerable to the matter, person, and part to be played; having apt howeses made of canvass, framed, fashioned and paynted accordingly, as might best serve their several purposes."

In fact, all sorts of scenery and machinery were put in requisition for the “ garnishing" of those representations which took place in the royal presence ; castles, battlements, houses, arbours, prisons, altars, tombs, rocks and caves, devices of hell and hell-mouth, and, on one occasion, a church is specified, which appears, from another item, to have contained a light. Trees, hobby-horses, lions, dragons, and fish, also frequently recur in the accounts.

With respect to machinery, the sun suspended in a cloud; “ flakes of yse, hayle stones, and snowballs," delicately composed of " sugar plate,

“ musk cumfetts, corianders prepared, clove cum.

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fetts, synnamon cumfetts, &c.;" thunder and lightning; "a charrott of 14 foote long and 8 foote brode, with a rocke upon it, and a fountain therein, for Apollo and the Nine Muzes ;” are striking instances of the complicated nature of many of the contrivances made use of at Court.

On the public stage, however, at the same period, a simple hanging of arras or tapestry was all that appeared in the way of ornament; and this, as it became decayed or torn, was clumsily repaired by the display of pictures over the fractured places. A plain curtain, suspended in a corner, separated the most distant regions; and a board, inscribed with the name of a country or city, indicated the scene of action, the change of which was marked by the removal of one board, and the substitution of another. A table, with pen and ink, thrust in, signified that the stage was a counting-house; if these were withdrawn, and two stools put in their places, it became a Tayern. When the Theatres were entirely destitute of scenery, the protruded board indicated that the empty stage was to be considered as a city, a house, a wood, or any other place; and when scenes were first introduced,

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the board was not immediately discontinued, but was used to denote, that the painting exhibited represented such a particular city, house, or wood.

It was long before the Theatres became rich enough to afford a change of scenery for every change of place throughout a play, so that it was frequently the lot of one painting, in the space of a few hours, to represent the metropolis of several different countries. Temporary erections for the purposes of the scene were, however, not uncommon: the tomb, in the last act of “ Romeo and Juliet;" and, in the early historical plays, the frequent recurrence of the walls of towns, attacks


the gates, the appearance of the citizens and others, on the battlements, &c., rendered some representation of these places indispensable. A very rude contrivance in front of the balcony would, however, generally be sufficient for the purpose. Very complicated machinery was also necessary in the representation of many

of the old dramas. In proof of this, we need only refer to two or three stage directions, in Shakspeare. In the “ Tempest," Ariel enters like a harpy, claps his wings on the table, and, with a quaint device, the banquet vanishes.”-In “ Cymbeline," Jupiler descends in thunder and lightning, sitting upon an Eagle. The caldron sinks, and apparitions rise, at the bidding of the witches, in “ Macbeth,” &c. &c.


ADDISON planned this tragedy during his travels, and wrote the first four acts many years before it was produced. These were shown to such as were likely to spread their admiration, although it was much doubted if he would ever have sufficient courage to subject the play to the criticism of a British audience.

The time, however, arrived, when those who affected to think liberty in danger, imagined that a play might preserve it; and Addison was importuned, in the name of the tutelary deities of Britain, to show his courage and his zeal, by finishing his design. To resume his work, he seemed perversely and unaccountably unwilling ; he, at length, wrote the fifth act, like a task performed with reluctance, and hurried to its conclusion.

Dennis attacked the tragedy with great severity; and charged him with raising prejudices in his favour, by false positions of preparatory criticism, and with poisoning the town, by contra


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