Hoyt & Roberts, comps. Hoyts New Cyclopedia of Practical Quotations. 1922.
Acting; The Stage
Farce followd Comedy, and reachd her prime, In ever-laughing Footes fantastic time; Mad wag! who pardond none, nor spared the best, And turnd some very serious things to jest. Nor church nor state escaped his public sneers, Arms nor the gown, priests, lawyers, volunteers; Alas, poor Yorick! now forever mute! Whoever loves a laugh must sigh for Foote. We smile, perforce, when histrionic scenes Ape the swoln dialogue of kings and queens, When Chrononhotonthologos must die, And Arthur struts in mimic majesty. ByronHints from Horace. L. 329.
But as for all the rest, Theres hardly one (I may say none) who stands the Artists test. The Artist is a rare, rare breed. There were but two, forsooth, In all me time (the stages prime!) and The Other One was Booth. Edmund Vance CookeThe Other One was Booth.
I think I love and reverence all arts equally, only putting my own just above the others; because in it I recognize the union and culmination of my own. To me it seems as if when God conceived the world, that was Poetry; He formed it, and that was Sculpture; He colored it, and that was Painting; He peopled it with living beings, and that was the grand, divine, eternal Drama. Charlotte Cushman.
Like hungry guests, a sitting audience looks: Plays are like suppers; poets are the cooks. The founders you: the table is this place: The carvers we: the prologue is the grace. Each act, a course, each scene, a different dish, Though were in Lent. I doubt youre still for flesh. Satires the sauce, high-seasond, sharp and rough. Kind masks and beaux, I hope youre pepper-proof? Wit is the wine; but tis so scarce the true Poets, like vintners, balderdash and brew. Your surly scenes, where rant and bloodshed join. Are butchers meat, a battles sirloin: Your scenes of love, so flowing, soft and chaste, Are water-gruel without salt or taste. George FarquharThe Inconstant; or, The Way to Win Him. Prologue.
Everybody has his own theatre, in which he is manager, actor, prompter, playwright, sceneshifter, boxkeeper, doorkeeper, all in one, and audience into the bargain. J. C. and A. W. HareGuesses at Truth.
Its very hard! Oh, Dick, my boy, Its very hard one cant enjoy A little private spouting; But sure as Lear or Hamlet lives, Up comes our master, Bounce! and gives The tragic Muse a routing. HoodThe Stage-Struck Hero.
To wake the soul by tender strokes of art, To raise the genius, and to mend the heart; To make mankind, in conscious virtue bold, Live oer each scene, and be what they behold For this the tragic Muse first trod the stage. PopePrologue to Addisons Cato. L. 1.
Your scene precariously subsists too long, On French translation and Italian song. Dare to have sense yourselves; assert the stage; Be justly warmd with your own native rage. PopePrologue to Addisons Cato. L. 42.
Good, my lord, will you see the players well bestowed? Do you hear, let them be well used; for they are the abstract and brief chronicles of the time: after your death you were better have a bad epitaph than their ill report while you live. Hamlet. Act II. Sc. 2. L. 545.
Is it not monstrous that this player here, But in a fiction, in a dream of passion, Could force his soul so to his own conceit That from her working all his visage wannd. Hamlet. Act II. Sc. 2. L. 577.
Whats Hecuba to him, or he to Hecuba, That he should weep for her? What would he do. Had he the motive and the cue for passion That I have? He would drown the stage with tears. Hamlet. Act II. Sc. 2. L. 585.
I have heard That guilty creatures sitting at a play, Have, by the very cunning of the scene, Been struck so to the soul that presently They have proclaimd their malefactions; For murder, though it have no tongue, will speak. With most miraculous organ. Hamlet. Act II. Sc. 2. L. 617.
Speak the speech, I pray you, as I pronounced it to you, trippingly on the tongue; but if you mouth it, as many of your players do, I had as lief the town-crier spoke my lines. Nor do not saw the air too much with your hand, thus, but use all gently; for in the very torrent, tempest, and, as I may say, the whirlwind of passion, you must acquire and beget a temperance that may give it smoothness. Hamlet. Act III. Sc. 2. L. 1.
O, there be players that I have seen play, and heard others praise, and that highly, not to speak it profanely, that, neither having the accent of Christians nor the gait of Christian, pagan, nor man, have so strutted and bellowed that I have thought some of natures journeymen had made men and not made them well, they imitated humanity so abominably. Hamlet. Act III. Sc. 2. L. 32.
A play there is, my lord, some ten words long, Which is as brief as I have known a play; But by ten words, my lord, it is too long, Which makes it tedious. Midsummer Nights Dream. Act V. Sc. 1. L. 61.
And, like a strutting player, whose conceit Lies in his hamstring, and doth think it rich To hear the wooden dialogue and sound Twixt his stretchd footing and the scaffoldage. Troilus and Cressida. Act I. Sc. 3. L. 153.
The play is done; the curtain drops, Slow falling to the prompters bell: A moment yet the actor stops, And looks around, to say farewell. It is an irksome word and task: And, when hes laughed and said his say, He shows, as he removes the mask, A face thats anything but gay. ThackerayThe End of the Play.
In other things the knowing artist may Judge better than the people; but a play, (Made for delight, and for no other use) If you approve it not, has no excuse. Edmund WallerPrologue to the Maids Tragedy. L. 35.