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N. B. In questa tragedia, dove l'affare del re diventa quello della nazione, mi parve necessaria la di lei voce ne'cori expressa, i quali però rimangono totalmente distaccati perchè gli stimasse superflui, come ciò accederà facilmente nel moderno
THINKING the foregoing instructions worthy the imitation of every dramatic poet, who has a due regard to his fame, I have been induced to give them a place in this Appendix. Mis-conception of character has often occasioned the failure of many a drama of intrinsic merit, on the public stage : several pieces too have suffered from inattention to costume. Count Pepoli’s example should therefore be followed : every dramatic writer should, like him, accompany his piece with such written directions as he would give if he were present at the rehearsal. Nor should music be forgotten: such airs only should be performed between the acts, as would be likely to promote the delusion by deepening the last impression ; and, during the performance, an occasional symphony should be introduced to aid the intended effect of the poet. Shakspeare and Andreini, both dramatic poets and players by profession, deemed written instructions to the actors, either general or particular, indispensably necessary; and both have recommended the occasional use of appropriate music.
Further thoughts on Addison's obligations to the Catone Uticense;
with some account of that drama.
WHEN I wrote my observations on the Cato of Addison, I had not seen the Venetian opera which he describes; but I am now, through the friendship of Doctor Burney, (the elegant and profound historian of music,) in possession of a copy of that little drama, which, on a careful inspection, has confirmed me in the opinion that I have hazarded in regard to the probable origin of the love intrigue in the English tragedy. The view which Addison has exhibited of the fable of this opera, is clear and correct; and, from the scrupulous exactness of his quotations, it would seem, that he wrote with the libretto lying before him. « Cæsar's first words, says he, “ bid his soldiers fly, for the enemies are
Si leva Cesare e dice à soldati: A la fugga; a' lo scampo." The passage stands thus in the libretto.
Atto i. Scena 2.
Giuliano anelante và da Cesare.
Svegliati mio signor: Cesare: viene
A te dal campidoglio: vedi: abbaglia
Şi leva Cesare, e dice à soldati.
Si levano i soldati.
SA' lo scampo.
Giuliano, who takes so active a part in this scene, is an officer in the service of Cæsar, and a character answering to, and, perhaps, the prototype of, the Sempronius of Addison. He is the secret admirer of Sabina, in whose affections he is rivalled by Florus; and, with the treachery which marks the character of Sempronius, he devises means for the destruction of his rival.
As I do not mean to insinuate that Addison borrowed more than the love intrigue from the Venetian opera, he has himself, by reporting the principal incidents of the fable, related enough for my purpose. But it may gratify the reader to compare the inimitable soliloquy of Cato in the English tragedy, with the following soliloquy in the Italian opera.
After a smart altercation between Scipio and Cato in the library of the latter, Cato seats himself at a table, takes up a Plato, and reads. Scipio retires.
Oggi vedrà Catone
siede, e rilegge.
si leva, e prende un ferro,
E sacerdote, e vittima; Catone,
Tù ferro suenani;
Cato then strikes himself with the dagger which he holds in his hand, and the scene which Addison describes, ensues.
In the following passage in sc. 14. of the same act, we discover, in a seminal state, the parting scene between Cato and his children in the English tragedy.
Catone tolta la veste a gľ occhi, si leva in piedi, e aperte le braccia, dice.
Cedo la piaga, e 'l cor che in essa mostro.
Vengano i figli rei.
Vanno Flaminia, e Floro à Catone. In tanto dice.
Qui si prostrano à piè di Catone Flaminia, e Floro.