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these performances are traced as far We find no traces of their perforback as 1530. Goldoni, born in the mances later than 1697 ; but one of beginning of the eighteenth century, the company, Evariste Gherardi by may be said to be the founder of mo name, made a collection of some of dern Italian comedy. Avoiding classic the best performances, and of select subjects, and proposing to himself to scenes of others, and published them represent life in its ordinary phases, in six volumes in the year 1700. The he took the personages of the “ Co- male characters are dressed according medy of Art,” gave them more re to the tradition of the Italian stagespectable names, and language more harlequin with his blackened visage correct than they had been accus- and diamond motley; the doctor tomed to, wrote their parts, and for- with a false nose, a skull-cap, and a bade all unnecessary buffoonery. large frill ; Pierrot in a jerry hat, a Columbine alone retained her name belted frock, and modern trowsers; along with her duties as Cameriera the ladies in long hanging sleeves, (chambermaid) to Signora Eleonora, long-bodied gowns, and high ramand her smartness, flippancy, and in- parts occupying the same position as trigue. Harlequin exercised his stu- the peaks of the spoon-bonnets of pid cunning and committed his blun- 1863. ders under other names. On his in Some extracts from this collection troduction to a Parisian audience, at will give a better idea of the spirit the end of the seventeenth century, and character of these whimsical prohe appears to have acquired consider- ductions than a laboured essay. The able pretensions to wit or something first shall be from the resembling it.
Modern critics may despise the apparent poverty of a piece restricted in machinery and situation, and de
Harlequin, with Mercury's cadupending for its interest on these few the air, mounted on Jupiter's eagle.
ceus, hat, and heel wings, is seen in ersonages;
you leave them out of any of our present acting comedies dress below him, he cries out, “Good
Spying his master in a shepherd's of ordinary life, what character of
day, Jupiter.” importance will remain ? A company of Italian comedians Jupiter.-How comes it that Mercury is
Has he not had established themselves at the using my eagle for his steed? Hotel de Bourgogne, in Paris, about wings at his heels ? the year 1682, under royal patronage. not make use of them. Coming along the
Mercury.-Alas, Signor Jupiter, I can It was up-hill work with them to street, a maid at an upper window emptied please the Parisians, though some of a basin upon me, and so wetted my wings the characters were closely related to that only I had the good luck to tumble on the Sganarelles, and Mascarelles, and a dung heap, my neck would have been Pierrots of Molière ; and it ought to broken. So finding the eagle tied to the have been a relief to people who had rack in the stable, I took the liberty to besat out so many correctly classical, stride him to go on my various messages. but not the less dreary, pieces in the
Jupiter.—Come down, and tell me all the
latest news from above. Salle of the Palais Royal, to enjoy a
Mercury.- Truly, Olympus is in an uphearty series of explosions at the
roar since you left. Vulcan, who, as your irresistible drolleries of the versatile lordship knows, is as spiteful as the devil
, Italians. As quickly as they could took it into his head to make snares for they acquired some knowledge of Mars and Venus; and so, under this pretence, French and delivered some of their he went to take a walk along the Zodiac. fun in that language. Still, consider- He drew near the sign of the Fishes, and able portions continued to be uttered took them in his net, and was off without in the native tongue. The doctor delay to the Halle, to sell them to a fishwas, however, obliged to give up his monger. Mars, seeing this piece of roguery,
ran after him with his naked sword, but Bologna dialect, and harlequin that happening, unfortunately, to tread on the of Bergamo, his natal soil, their best Scorpion, it stung him in the leg, and the educated auditors being supposed swelling is now the size of your head. So ignorant of the Italian spoken in those he is afraid of the poison penetrating, and places.
has sent me to buy a box of Orvietan.*
* A counter poison, named from Orvieto, in Italy, the native place of its discoverer,
Another commission. The moon is in ter Pasquariel, Doctor, Harlequin as nurse. rible trouble. She is uttering a thousand
Harlequin.-Sir (to the Doctor), I am nonsensical things, and I fear that it is not
looking for a man named Pasquariel. I am long till Luna herself becomes a lunatic.
nursing one of his infants; and for his love She is particularly wroth with the astrono
I have lost my fortune, my good monsieur. mers for saying she has got blotches on her
Doctor:-How's this? face. She is proud of her beauty, and keenly
Harlequin.--Oh, when I think of it I'm feels the insult. She has begged me to get quite beside myself. I, that might be nurse her a cure, and I intend to bring five or six
to the Republic of Ragusa's son! Oh, oh, of the best practitioners of Paris to her.
oh! (weeps.) Saturn has caught a cold, and I must fetch
Doctor.-Courage, madam! here is Monhim some Sirop de Capillaire. Bacchus
sieur Pasquariel. wants a box of onions to take after supper.
Harlequin.—Ah, good day, Monsieur ! But the worst of all is the visit of a comet
Isn't it a pretty thing for you to have been with a tail two hundred leagues long. She
three years without once inquiring for your asked me to be her trainbearer; but, said I, child ? Here is a neglect that cries for “Madame, I'm sorry I must decline. When
vengeance. you would be sitting to dinner in the salon,
Pasquariel.-—What do you say about a Í should be two hundred leagues off, with
child? You are mad, young woman;
I out a chance of a morsel.”
never had a child in my life. Jupiter.- Now for your reports.
Harlequin.--0, Heaven, what do I hear ? Mercury (reads).—The people of the An
Disown his son! Isn't this giving nature tipodes are impatient to know whether they herself a slap in the face? My cap turns or we have heads down and feet up.
pale with horror; my milk goes the wrong The great Khan of Tartary has brought
way. The ass himself pricks up his ears at his wife before the courts, and condemned
your want of nature. Cruel father, to disher to the galleys for mistaking his turban
own the child that loves you since he was for a china vase.
in the cradle! The poor little fellow! the The husbands of Paris are in great consternation. Government has ordered every he runs to pet it, thinking it's his “little
moment he sees an ass, a pig, or a bullock, man tired of his wife to be enlisted.
papa.” Jupiter.-It would be better to enrol the What a fine regiment of Dragons
Pasquariel.--Monsieur the Doctor, this
woman has lost her senses. they would make! Mercury.—Others say that all husbands old, he has all your pretty ways. He is
Harlequin.--Ever since he was two months may remarry, in consideration of a sum pro
never quiet unless he has his little hands full portioned to the wickedness of his wife.
of cards. He'll have no toys except tobaccoJupiter.—Ah! this act will soon fill the pipes; and he won't take the breast unless exchequer.
it is first rubbed with wine. Mercury (reads).—News from Spain.
Doctor:- This is wonderful. Some days since a man presented himself to combat a very furious bull. To every one's
Harlequin.-Indeed, sir, our collectors,
who are learned men, say that the births of surprise, the bull knelt in submission to the
great people are always attended by proman; but the wonder ceased when they re
digies. collected the character of his wife. The
:-True enough. bull, seeing his forehead so strongly armed, knew he had no chance, and so yielded with
Harlequin.—When the little Pasquariel
was born, the candle burned blue three a good grace.
times, the wine turned sour in the cask, and
the little pot boiled over. And what can Cinthio desires Eularia for wife.
these foretell, but that he will be the glory She returns his love, but Scaramouch, of the tobacco-shops, the stay of the taverns, her father, prefers Pasquariel for son and the terror of the little pots ? in-law. Harlequin, Cinthio's valet, Doctor.—But where is the child? Have sets all manner of snares for Pasqua- you brought him with you? riel, so that he may appear to his in
Harlequin.—To be sure I have. (To the tended father as gambler and de- ass-leader) Take down little Pasquariel. bauchee. In
They bring down the cradle, and a
child dressed like Pasquariel gets out, HARLEQUIN NURSE
and rushes to him, crying, “O, papa,
papa !" Pasquariel, turning from him, he presents himself to the victim in bestows a sound kick on Harlequin, the presence of those who will make who cries, “Oh! I'm dead; and so no secret of it, dressed as a nurse, and soon expecting to be confined ! Murattended by a man who has charge of der, police, police !" an ass, bearing the cradle of the supposed infant Pasquariel.
In the following extracts it will be
observed that the modern clown is Glaucus.--True enough ; but I will be indebted to the old-world Harlequin only like the fiddle that works, and sets for many of his characteristic traits others dancing. I heat the viands, and others
feast on them. and habits.
Proteus.-By my faith you are hard to please. I give it up.
Glaucus.- I won't. I have found it. (He
laughs.) Oh, what an exquisite name! it Neptune is seen, in his marine cha- will delight every one. riot, expelling Proteus and Glaucus Proteus.-Right, right. I'll take it; it from his damp domains; and when will fit me to a T. they are left high and dry on the Glaucus.-Fit you, will it? And what beach, Harlequin thus vents his opi- is the name, if you please ? nion on life in the ocean, in the pre- &c., &c.
Proteus.--I have not found it out yet. sence of its lord.
The names finally selected are HarHarlequin. Little I care to remain in your devil of a salt-park, where there is
lequin and Mezzetin. Harlequin, none to converse with but cod-fish, with dressed grotesquely, a sugar-loaf hat minds as flat as their sides. A nice country,
on his head, and an enormous sword indeed! where you never see a man, unless by his side, and passing for a foreign some fool that comes to bathe; and where merchant, is accosted in the middle of you can get nothing to eat but fish, even on the street by two rival
tel-keepers; Shrove Tuesday. Well, perhaps, I would and he insists on a small room for stand this, if I could get a moment's repose himself, and a large one for his sword. among these rolling hills, but there's no
After much mutual abuse of each such thing to be had. If I wish to sleep, other, one pays Harlequin the comthese pests of salmon snort so loud, that I can't close an eye. If I turn to one side a
pliment of calling him a great lord. lobster pricks me in the head. If I turn to
Harlequin.-Not at all; I am only a the other, the sprats get into my nose and
dealer in stones (Marchand pierreux, stone ears. The crabs seize me behind, and these
merchant). cursed whales spirt a whole hogshead of
Inn-keeper.- I understand ; Marchand water into my face. No one but a fool
Tailleur de pierres, (Merchant Tailor in would remain here longer.
stone, or Merchant stone-cutter). Glaucus, even in the first exulting stones-diamonds, pearls, rubies, topazes,
Harlequin.--No, no! Dealer in precious sense of liberty, recollects that they emeralds, roasted apples. have not a sou; but Proteus reminds
Inn-keeper.–And what do you charge for him of his own powers of shape- them by the yard ? changing. Glaucus objecting that Harlequin. —You dunce, they are not sold under any form they must find some that way. Look here (opens the bor). Is thing to eat, Proteus expresses his de- there anything in the world finer than these? termination to become a cutpurse, or
Inn-keeper (pointing to a large diamond).
- What is that, monsieur? pickpocket. Then a country is to be
Harlequin.---That stone I extracted from selected for their debut. Spain is too
the inside of the Great Mogul.' This other proud and too poor ; they would is a petrified tear of the King of Morocco. searcely get water to drink there. They would find good fruit and wine While they are intent on the conin Italy, but then the husbands are so tents of the box, he steals the purse very suspicious! They decide upon of one and the watch of the other. Paris ; but Proteus and Glaucus are He then shuts the box, and the rivals, not names to be announced at a ball; intent on securing him, call out to they must assume others. Proteus their boys, who proceed, one side to suggests Paillasse for his companion, invest him with a night gown and but he rejects it unless the other con- night cap, and the other to pull off sents to be called Bedstead. Proteus his boots. The fiddlers belonging to then selects Bruzier (the utensil, not the establishments strike up a lively the artizan).
tune, and harlequin, seizing one of his Proteus.—There is a significant name for ravished boots, thrashes and routs the you. In my eyes you are the very model innkeepers and their followers. Seeof a copper-smith at this moment, and asing the doctor's house-door ajar, he Brazier, and lover of good cheer, you will walks in, leaving his valise in the have the advantage of being present at all street. The Bonifaces, finding themchoice repasts.
selves robbed, re-enter, and fall on the
valise, expecting to find the precious one entered my house, and cleared away the stones inside, but they only light on furniture. rags and paving-stones. They rush Harlequin.--You will have the less trouott, crying out, “ thieves, police, po- how I do justice to you all.
ble in your next flitting. Now, observe lice !!! Mezzetin, re-appearing, spies Harle
Harlequin's chair of justice becomes quin at the first-floor window, and receives a signal from him to be on the casts fire and smoke from its jaws and
at once a wicked-looking monster, and alert. Harlequin now proceeds to nostrils. The complainants make a burglary upon a large scale
, and pitches hasty retreat, and the scene closes. out into the open arms of Mezzetin, a
We find in this and other pieces, mattress, a feather-bed, quilts, and Harlequin acting in the spirit of hangings, and a young child. He
the clown of our own times; and flings him a mouse-trap, bidding him eschewing the blundering stupidity set it in his bed-chamber, to catch a mouse who has been nibbling a piece Italian drama. Audiences would tire
bestowed on him in the infancy of the of a ten-year-old Milan cheese concealed in the paillasse. The doctor of seeing an actor, however popular, enters, and Harlequin makes good his though with some variety of dialogue.
always personating the same character, retreat.
So later writers for this simple drama Scaramouch, now comes on, bending under a basket of plate, which, on
were obliged to vary his business and his laying it down to rest himself, is life served as transition to the comedy
his humours; and this phase of mimic carried otř by Harlequin. Searamouch, of real life, so successfully introduced finding himself robbed, roars out his grief ; the doctor, discovering his by Goldoni. house gutted, joins in chorus; and
Gherardi's company even underthe two inn-keepers returning, swell
took to present an imitation of our
“Timon of Athens,” under the title of the clamour. All cry for help to the powers and terrors of the law, and the fat opening, discovers Harlequin as Commissaire, clad in robe and fur bonnet, and occupying the magisterial
The first scene presents a wood, to seat.
which our hero has retired. At the
rising of the curtain, he salutes the Second Inn-keeper.--Monsieur the Com- wild animals in this style : missaire, they have stolen from me a purse containing thirty crowns.
“Good day, comrades! I am your obeHarlequin.--Had you counted them? dient valet. No animal with more bruSecond Inn-keeper--Yes, sir.
tality or less humanity than man. Harlequin.--You were wrong.
Counted about me none of these captious spirits who sheep all go to the wolf.
never agree to any thing asserted by anoFirst Inn-keeper.--Sir, I complain with a ther. I live according to my humour, and plaintive complaint.
the lions--the high justiciaries and chief Harlequin.- I seldom hear a joyous one. magistrates, do not require me to waste my First Inn-keeper.—Sir, they have stolen time on their stairs, or weary
yself to my watch that cost twelve pistoles; the best death in their ante-chambers. I am not watch in the world it was.
spattered by a parvenu who wonders to Harlequin.-—If it was so good, why did find himself inside a carriage which his fa. it not mark the hour it was to leave you? ther formerly drove. I have not to endure Do you know the thief ?
the impertinences of the Petits-Maitres, nor First Inn-keeper.-No, sir; only that he's to go into raptures at the five or six aneca stranger.
dotes of an Ass of Quality, which he has pilHarlequin. —Ah, there's the misfortune. laged from the Espiègle, or the Tomb of MelBe very cautious what you do. Perhaps it's ancholy, and relates a score times in the day. the custom of his province. What if he's a Complaisance does not oblige me to enjoy low-country Norman ?
the infantine ways of a superannuated beauty, Scaramouch.--Sir, they have taken from who forgets that she has not a tooth on me a basket of plate, which I was carrying which Carmeline (a dentist) does not hold a home.
mortgage. I am freed from all the annoyHarlequin.-And from whom did you ances of Paris, and find that it is only take it?
among these animals one can get rid of the Scaramouch.-From no one at all. I had ferocity contracted among men. I detest just bought it.
men; and--women still more. Doctor. --While I was on a visit, some sented herself here I would treat her with
If one pre
the contempt she merits. I would—(per- really loves the romantic lady, is receives Columbine)-Oimé !"
covered, and makes amends for the Columbine.-Ah, sir, how happy I am to
sorrows he has inflicted. find a human being where I thought there
The misanthrope's next visitors are were none but beasts. Harlequin --Human being! How hand
a country doctor, and his son and some she is! I begin to distrust myself. daughter-a family of genius, coming Let me be firm!
up to Paris to make their fortunes. Columbine. He turns his back. How un.
After several attempts at ceremony lucky I am!
by the learned head of the party, all Harlequin.--Alas! woman was made to nipped in the bud by this new Timon, deceive us.
the Doctor explains the family Columbine.--Alas, sir! do you dread a plan. poor, unhappy creature, who implores your succour?
Doctor.—Sir, as nothing is now done in Harlequin.--I dread you more than all the country in the literary way, and as the beasts of the wood.
Paris is the only place where a person of Columbine. --Will you have the goodness merit can appear to advantage, I am about to listen, and advise me?
to establish myself and family there, but Harlequin.--Go on; it's useless to forbid
could not think of passing the abode of a a woman's talking. Columbine.--It is eight days since I left ing my respects.
philosopher of your distinction without payParis in search of a villain, a perjured Harlequin.—Please abridge your compli. wretch, a traitor!
ments; but what are you, that you venture Harlequin.—And you have left Paris for
to Paris with such confidence ? that! Ah, if I wanted such an individual, Doctor.—Sir, I am a man of letters, it's direct to Paris I'd go. Well, pretty whose name has made some noise among the child, what's the cause of your grief?
Columbine.—It is just four years since Harlequin. —You then expect to secure a my mother was left a widow; and as my high position ? father had left but little property, she was Doctor.--I have no fear on that head. I obliged to keep furnished lodgings. Many have two or three fine works ready for the people of quality came to her, several of press, and I shall scarcely be settled in the them foreigners.
city, when the publishers, who are all men Harlequin.—That is as much as to say
of intelligence, rich, and honourable, will dupes.
wait on me with most liberal offers for the Columbine.--My mother having no child copyrights. but myself, took good care of my educa
Harlequin.—Ah, the intelligent, rich, and tion, particularly in giving me the air of a honourable pablishers ! How well he is acperson of condition.
quainted with them ! Harlequin.-A well-conditioned educa
Doctor.--And the generous young nobles tion, I'm sure.
of the court will be delighted to have me Columbine. To say truth, I have always at their parties. felt a furious inclination to be a great lady. Harlequin.—He is just as well acquainted Harlequin.-Poor little thing!
with the generous young nobles. Columbine. —When I was twelve my ho
Doctor.–And as my information is vast, roscope was taken, and my palm was found and your young magistrates all benevolent nicely marked with a crown. Among the and eager for knowledge, you will be destrangers was a German Prince, worthy to lighted to see how eagerly they'll seek my be painted, and handsome as the loves. We acquaintance. learned singing from the same master, and
Harlequin.-Young magistrates benevowe read romances out of the same book.
lent and eager for knowledge! He knows Harlequin.—Prognostic partly accom
the gentlemen of the long robe as well as plished-voyage to the Isle of Love. How
those of the sword! My friend, when you did you embark?
arrive at Paris, you'll not find realities Columbine.-One day when we were in
answer your expectation. A life of literathe garden he made me a declaration of
ture is bright in perspective only. And love out of the third volume of the Grand pray, is your son about to make his forCyrus.
tune also ? Harlequin.--Ah, clever youth!
Leander. – I hope so, sir. Columbine.-Faith, as my ideas were to
Harlequin.-In what way? the full as fresh as his, I gave him change Leander. -Sir, I flatter myself as being for his money out of the same book.
tolerably good-looking. I can manage a Harlequin.—Delightful presence of mind! steed, i dance passably, I have some know
ledge of languages. This prince was only a comedian ;
Harlequin. —And thus gifted, you inand it will please our tender-hearted tendreader to know that the truant, who Leander.-To attach myself to some great