« ZurückWeiter »
not bring out all. As for instance, th is pronounced by thrusting the tongue hard to the teeth, therefore that sound they cannot make, but something like it. For that reason you will often find in Bartoline's part, instead of th, ay, as yat, for that; yish, for this; yosh, for those ; sometimes a t is left out, as housand, for thousand; hirty, for thirty. S they pronounce like sh, as sher, for sir ; musht for must; t they speak like ch; therefore you will find chrue, for true; chreaz son, for treason; cho, for to; choo, for two; chen, for ten; chake, for take. And this ch is not to be pronounced like k, as 'tis in christian, but as in child, church, chest. I desire the reader to observe these things, because otherwise he will hardly understand much of the lawyer's part, which in the opinion of all is the most divertising in the comedy; but when this ridiculous way of speaking is familiar with him, it will render the part more pleasant."
One hardly expects so curious a piece of orthoepy in the preface to a comedy. It may have required great observation and ingenuity to have discovered the cause of old toothless men mumbling their words. But as a piece of comic humour, on which the author appears to have prided himself, the effect is far from fortunate; humour, arising from a personal defect, is but a miserable sub
stitute for that of a more genuine kind. I shall give a specimen of this strange gibberish as it is so laboriously printed. It may amuse the reader to see his mother's language transformed into so odd a shape that it is with difficulty he can recognise it. : Old Bartoline thus speaks :-" I wrong'd my shelf, cho entcher incho bondsh of marriage, and could not perform covenantsh, I might well hinke you would chake the forfeiture of the bond; and I never found equichy in a bedg in my life; but i'll trounce you boh; I have paved jaylsh wi' the bonesh of honester people yen you are, yat never did me nor any man any wrong, but had law o’yeir shydsh and right o’yeir shydsh, but because yey had not me o'yeir shydsh, I ha’ 'hrown 'em in jaylish, and got yeir eshchatsh for my clyentsh, yat had no more chytle to 'em yen dogsh."
THE COMEDY OF A MADMAN!
DESMARETS, the friend of Richelieu, mentioned in the article Richelieu, Vol. I. was a very extraordinary character, and produced many effusions of genius in early life, till he became a mystical fanatic. It was said of him, that “he was the greatest madman among poets, and the best poet among madmen.” His comedy of “ The Visionaries" is one of the most extraordinary of dramatic projects, and in respect to its genius and lunacy, may be considered as a literary curiosity.
In this singular comedy all Bedlam seems to be let loose on the stage, and every character has a high claim to an apartment in it. It is indeed suspected that the cardinal had a hand ir: this anomalous drama, and in spite of its extravagance it was favourably received by the public, who certainly had never seen any thing like it.
Every character in this piece acts under some hallucination of the mind, or a fit of madness. Artabaze, is a cowardly hero, who believes he has conquered the world. Amidor, is a wild poet, who imagines he ranks above Homer. Filidan, is a lover who becomes inflammable as gunpowder, for every mistress he reads of in romances. Phalante, is a beggarly bankrupt, who thinks himself as rich as Crcesus. Melisse, in reading the “ History of Alexander," has become madly in love with this hero, and will have no other husband than “ him of Macedon." Hesperie imagines her fatal charms occasion a hundred disappointments in the world, but prides herself on her perfect insensibility. Sestiane, He accepts
who knows no other happiness than comedies, and whatever she sees or hears immediately plans a scene for dramatic effect, renounces any other occupation; and finally, Alcidon, the father of these three mad girls, as imbecile as his daughters are wild. So much for the amiable characters!
The plot is in perfect harmony with the genius of the author, and the characters he has invented -perfectly unconnected, and fancifully wild. Alcidon resolves to marry his three daughters, who, however, have no such project of their own. He offers them to the first who comes. for his son-in-law the first who offers, and is clearly convinced that he is within a very short period of accomplishing his wishes. As the four ridiculous personages whom we have noticed frequently haunt his house, he becomes embarrassed in finding one lover too many, having only three daughters. The catastrophe relieves the old gentleman from his embarrassments. Melisse, faithful to her Macedonian hero, declares her resolution of dying, before she marries any meaner personage. Hesperie refuses to marry out of pity for mankind; for to make one man happy, she thinks she must plunge a hundred into despair. Sestiane, only passionate for comedy, cannot consent to any marriage, and tells her father, in very lively verses,
Je ne veux point mon pere, espouser un censeur ;
No, no, my father, I will have no critic,
At length these imagined sons-in-law appear: Filidan declares that in these three girls he cannot find the mistress he adores.
Amidor confesses he only asked for one of his daughters out of
pure gallantry, and that he is only a lover-in verse! When Phalante is questioned after the great fortunes he hinted at, the father discovers that he has not a stiver, and out of credit to borrow: while Artabaze declares that he only allowed Alcidon, out of mere benevolence, to flatter himself for a moment, with the hope of an honour,