« ForrigeFortsæt »
« Wilson thus recommends the force of circumstantial description, or what he calls an evident or plain setting forth of a thing as though it were presently doen.”
An example. If our enemies shall invade and by treason win the victory, we shall all die every mother's son of us, and our city shall be destroyed stick and stone: I see our children made slaves, our daughters ravished, our wives carried away, the father forced to kill his own son, the mother her daughter, the son his father, the sucking child slain in his mother's bosom, one standing to the knees in another's blood, churches spoiled, houses plucked down, and all set on fire round about us, every one cursing the day of their birth, children crying, women wailing, &c. Thus, where I might have said, we shall all be destroyed, and say no more, I have by description set the evil forth at large.
“ It must be owned that this picture of a sacked city is literally translated from Quintilian. But it is a proof, that we were now beginning to make the beauties of the ancients dur own."
“ On the necessity of a due preservation of character he has the following precepts, which
seem to be directed to the writers of historical plays."
In describing of persons, there ought always a comeliness to be used, so that nothing be spoken which may be thought is not in them. As if one should describe Henry the sixth, he might call him gentle, mild of nature, led by persuasion and ready to forgive, careless for wealth, suspecting none, merciful to all, fearful in adversity and without forecast
his misfortune. Again, for Richard the third, I might bring him in cruel of heart, ambitious by nature, envious of mind, a deep dissembler, a close man for weighty matters, hardy to revenge and fearful to lose his high estate, trusty to none, liberal for a purpose, casting still the worst, and hoping ever for the best. By this figure also, we imagine a talk for some one to speak, and according to his person we frame the oration. As if one should bring in noble Henry the eight of famous memory, to inveigh against rebels, thus he might order his oration. What if Henry the eight were alive and saw such rebellion in the realm, would he not say thus and thus ? Yea, methinks I hear him speak even now. And so set forth such words as we would have him
" Shakespeare himself has not delineated the characters of these English monarchs with
more truth. And the first writers of the mirror of magistrates," who imagine a talk for some one to speak, and according to his per
frame the oration,' appear to have availed themselves of these directions, if not to have catched the notion of their whole plan from this remarkable passage.”
“ He next shews the advantages of personification in enlivening a composition.”
Sometimes it is good to make God, the country, or some one town, to speak; and look what we. would say in our own person, to frame the whole tale to them. Such variety doeth much good to avoid tediousness. For he that speaketh all in one sort, though he speak things never so wittily, shall soon weary his hearers. Figures therefore were invented to avoid satiety, and cause delight: to refresh with pleasure and quicken with grace the dulness of man's brain. Who will look on a white wall an hour together where no workmanship is at all? 'Or who will eat still one kind of meat and never desire change?
“ Prolix narratives, whether jocose or serious, had not yet ceased to be the entertainment of polite companies : and rules for telling a tale with grace now found a place in a book
of general rhetoric. In treating of pleasant sport made by rehearsing of a whole matter,
They that can lively tell pleasant tales and merry deeds doen, and set them out as well with gesture as with voice, leaving nothing behind that may serve for beautifying of their matter, are most meet for this purpose, whereof assuredly there are but few. And whatsoever he is, that can aptly tell his tale, and with countenance, voice, and gesture, so temper his report that the hearers may still take delight, him count a man worthy to be highly esteemed. For undoubtedly no man can do any such thing unless except that they have a great mother wity and by experience confirmed such their comeliness whereunto by nature they were most apt. Many a man readeth histories, heareth fables, seeth worthy acts doen, even in this our age; but few can set them out accordingly, and tell them lively, as the matter self requireth to be told. The kinds of delighting in this sort are divers; whereof I will set forth many.-Sport moved by telling of old tales.If there be any old tale or strange history well and wittily applied to some man living, all men love to hear it of life. As if one were called Arthur, some good fellow that were well acquainted with king Arthur's book and the knights of his round table, would want no matter to make good sport, and for a need would dub him knight of the round table, or else prove him to be one of his kin, or else (which were much) prove him to be Arthur himself. And so likewise of other names merry panionswould make mad pastime. Oftentimes the deformity of a man's body giveth matter enough to be right merry, or else a picture in shape like another man will make some to laugh right heartily, &c.
“ This is no unpleasing image of the arts and accomplishments, which seasoned the mirth and enlivened the conversations of our forefathers. Their wit seems to have chiefly consisted in mimicry."
“ He thus describes the literary and ornamental qualifications of a young nobleman, which were then in fashion, and which he exemplifies in the characters of his lamented pupils, Henry duke of Suffolk, and lord Charles Brandon, his brother.”
I may commend him for his learning, for his skill in the French or in the Italian, for his knowledge in cosmography, for his skill in the laws, in