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INTRODUCTION IN THE THEATRE.*
STAGE POET. HUMOURIST.
SAY, my two friends, who have failed not to stand
In the length and the breadth of old Germany's land,
Pleasure I wish to the public to give,
For it acts on the maxim, to live and let live;
The booth is prepared, and the stage is bedecked,
* In Germany, the theatres are frequently the property of the sovereign or the state, and their organization more resembles that of the staff of a public office than with us, the appointments to many branches being permanent.
How to humour the taste of the people I know;
But I never before found myself puzzled so.
may be that they have not been bred To the best-but a terrible deal they have read. How shall we manage, that all shall be new, And such as both pleases and means something too? • For it gladdens my eyes to see the hot throng, When the stream towards our booth sets in heavy and strong,
And before four o'clock-aye, by broad light of day,* With throe upon throe makes its turbulent way;
* In Germany, theatrical hours, as well as all others, are much earlier than in England. At Weimar, when the translator was there, the theatre began at six o'clock, and was over at nine, and probably that is the case now. One reason why theatricals are so much more flourishing on the continent than in England, is, that instead of interfering directly with the meals of the higher classes, as here, they fill up intervals between them, and the consequence is, a preponderance of cultivation and taste in the audience, to which the actor, to attain character in his profession, must act up, instead of as here, acting down to the audience, the overwhelming majority of whom, are very accurately described by the Manager, a few lines further on. It is to be remembered, that this is not supposed to take place in a regular theatre, but in the temporary theatre, or rather booth, of a strolling company.
+ Wehen is not a verb, but a real substantive. Geburtswehen are the pains of labour.
Scrambling and elbowing, through the choked wicket, Our portal of heaven, to where sits the cash taker; Risking their necks for the chance of a ticket,
Like a famishing mob at the door of a baker. On such manifold minds, such miraculous sway, Is the Poet's alone! My dear friend, oh, exert it to-day.
Oh! speak not to me of the mob; at the sight
Where alone for the bard true enjoyment can flourish ;
Where friendship and love join the bliss of the heart, With the hand of a god to create and to nourish.
In the depths of our bosoms, how many a thought, Through the faltering lips climbing faintly to-day, Now eluding our grasp, now exultingly caught,
Is devoured by the moment's tumultuous sway.
In the present, what glitters will often succeed;
I wish of posterity less I might hear;
Would make for the present the fun and the cheer
The presence, besides, of a spirited lad,*
Is something methinks well worth being had,
The wider his circle, the better he likes it,
For he's sure to awaken more chords when he strikes
Now set to like a man-shew a brilliant example,
Understanding and reason,† let feeling abound,
+ Vernunft reason; Verstand understanding. Kant divides intellect into understanding and reason. The understanding, acting upon experience, merely compares, judges and measures its representations, and is conversant solely with their mutual limits and relations, classifying them according to certain schemes of its own, which are called categories. While, how