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state of the Italian national comedy, crowded theatres, as proof of their
advertised by the Sacchi Company, Goldoni himself, had, at the out- his well-known reputation for taset of his career, been well aware of lent and satirical humour, secured a the capabilities of the Italian masks, brilliant and numerous attendance at and bad frequently written dramas the theatre of St Samuel, then the in which they were introduced; residence of the company. Many though, in general, by tracing out were probably aware that some saminutely for them beforehand the tirical explosion lurked under this whole turn of the dialogue, he de- whimsical title. Some came to witprived the national comedy of what ness a bona fide nursery tale, others was at once its most remarkable to see what a man of talent could feature, and its peculiar attraction, possibly make of a theme so extra-the improvisation which made vagant and incomprehensible. The every actor at once a poet as well as curtain rose to soft music; a pro& player. Latterly, however, as the logue directed against the weak imitation of French models became points of his opponents, put the more and more visible in his man audience upon the proper scent, and per, the hapless masks were gradual- this strange capriccio, which had ly laid aside; the crowds which had formed the subject of conversation once flocked to witness, with shouts in Venice for weeks before, comof laughter, the bêtises of Arlequin, menced. The King of Diamonds, or the jokes of Truffaldino, now sat, dressed like his prototype upon a as Wordsworth mildly says, “all si- pack of cards, was discovered in lent and all damned,” during the re- deep conversation with his prime mipresentation of the Donna di Garbo; nister Pantalon, (the time-honoured and the Sacchi Company at Venice, Pantaloon of the Masked Comedy,) at that time the most celebrated per on the critical condition of his son formers of the masked drama, found, Tarlaglia, who had fallen into a state with infinite annoyance both to their of incurable melancholy. A thoupurse and feelings, their occupation sand specifics are suggested by Pangone.
talon, each embodying some piece Charity, good taste, and personal of satire against some noted Venetian feeling, therefore, combined to en- quack,—but all in vain. He even list Count Gozzi in their behalf. He ventures to insinuate some hints as wished to humble a little the pride to the possibility of the Prince's of the present dictators of the Ve- malady being owing to the youthnetian etage,-Chiari and Goldoni, ful indiscretions of the monarch —who triumphantly pointed to their himself, though his majesty imme
375 diately reprobates the idea” in upon the Prince, at least convulsed some spirited sentences, in which the audience with laughter, followhe vindicates his conjugal fidelity, ed. Truffaldino, by smelling to the and general correctness of deport- Prince's breath, at once discovers ment. He assures Pantalon, that his the odour of the undigested Alexanson's malady is mental, not corpore- drines, which he had been feloniously al, and that his only chance of reco induced to swallow. The Prince is very consists in his being induced, seized with a cough—a copious exby some device or other, to enjoy a pectoration follows. Truffaldino exhearty laugh—a consummation of amines the contents of the vesselwhich he began to despair. Panta- and detects, beyond all doubt, a quanlon endeavours to console him, ad. tity of semiputrescent Alexandrines vises bim to bave recourse to Truf- in a most offensive state. The main faldino, an experienced practitioner cause of the Prince's disorder is now in the art of laughter, and recommends evident; ointments, boxes, and phials, a course of festivals, tournaments, are forth with thrown out of the winplaye, and other expedients, as the dows, and Truffaldipo laying hands only means of combating the fatal on the indolent and unresisting melancholy of the heir-apparent. Prince, drags him away, almost by
Meantime, a counterplot, in which force, to witness the scene of gaiety the leading actors are Clarice, the which the King has arranged as a niece of the King of Diamonds, and specific for his cure. Leander, the Knave of Diamonds, and The Prince is placed on a balcony prime minister, is maturing, the ob- to witness the various spectacles in ject of which is to poison the unfor- the court below; masks of all sorts, tunate prince with a course of Alex some ludicrous, some melancholy, andrine verses, to make way for are seen moving about, performing Leander, to whom Clarice is attach- the most extraordinary antics, under ed. In this detestable scheme they the direction of Truffaldino. Among are abetted by the Fairy Morgana, others, the fairy Morgana has found who hates the King of Diamonds on admittance under the disguise of a account of the monies she has lost hideous old woman, with a view to upon his painted Image, but favours destroy the Prince on the spot by the Knave, because by means of some new attack of melancholy. The him she had partly recovered her gambols of Truffaldino's troop are in losses. The news of the arrival of vain; the Prince weeps, and desires Truffaldino (the representative of the to be put to bed. Ai last a mimic Masked Comedy) strikes the con- scuffle takes place among the popuspirators with dismay; but learning lace, round the two fountains in the that he has been supposed to be sent court, one of which discharges oil, by the Magician Celio, (the repre- and the other wine; and in the
course Bentative of Goldoni,) they console of this contest, Morgana, in the chathemselves by thinking, that by form- racter of the old woman, is suddenly ing a coalition with him, they may overturned in a position so ludicrous, put an end entirely to the formidably that the Prince, to the delight of the comic powers of Truffaldino.
court, bursts out into a fit of laughter. The scene changes to the chamber of Morgana rises, and copying exactly the invalid. The unfortunate Prince the style of Chiari, discharges on the of Diamonds was discovered seated in head of the Prince some bombastic anarm-chair, attired in the mostextra- stanzas, of which the import is, that ordinary raiment, and with an array the Prince is condemned to fall in of phials, ointments, pills, boluses, love with three oranges, and his life draughts and spit-boxes spread be to be spent in their acquisition. fore him in most admired disorder. He The remainder of the piece, in allamented, in mock-pathetic strains, most every scene of which some of filled with the most ludicrous techni- the weak points of Chiari or Goldoni calities, his wretched situation, when were exposed, followed, in its general Truffaldino was introduced for the outline, the fairy tale from which purpose of making the first experi. Gozzi had taken the hint of the piece. ment on his risible muscles. A scene, It would be useless to analyze a series entirely all improvista, which, if it of prodigies, mingled with the most did not produce the proper effect whimsical caricatures and allusions
e to wit. e, others ut could 0 extrale. The
; a pro
e weak put the ent, and ich had Persation e, comamonds,
ered in rime mionoured omedy,)
D a state A thou. by Pane piece enetian e eren vints as 'rince's
to passing events; it is sufficient to it constantly reiterated by the gen. observe, that the deep attention and tlemen of the press that the secret delight with which the audience lis- of his success lay in his fairy patened to the fairy, wonders of the geantry; in his speaking ravens, his tale, satisfied Gozzi that he had not men transformed into statues, his overrated their natural sensibility to statues into men; and that, without a style of poetry, in which imagina- the aid of the supernatural machine tion, rather than prosaic pictures of ery, he would find himself unable to actual manners, should be the lead- sustain the interest of a dramatic ing feature.
piece. This led him to select from Venice in the meantime was in an the Persian Tales the story of the uproar. The partisans of Chiari and Princess of China, who imposes on of Goldoni united in abusive attacks her suitors the necessity of solving on the Count through the newspa. three riddles as the condition of obpers. Goldoni himself, unable to bear taining her hand—the disagreeable " the deep damnation of his taking alternative, in case of failure, being off,” began to think of taking himself that the unsuccessful candidate was off, on pretence of reforming the to atone for his presumption with Italian opera at Paris—a project his head. The Count, however, in which the continued and increasing his preface, is rather too anxious to success of Gozzi's pieces, soon after magnify the difficulties of his task, induced him to carry into effect. The by representing the fable as one afnext of Gozzi's Dramatic Fables fording in itself little materials for (Fiabe Teatrali), shewed that he did tragic interest. “ Three riddles and not require the art of satirical allu- two names,” says he, “ are but a sions, to excite a deep and general slender basis for a theatrical work, interest. It was called 'Il Corvo, (The which was to engage for three hours Raven,) the hint being taken from a the serious attention of a cultivated tale in the well-known Neapolitan audience.” A squabble about a Collection, the Pentamerone. The pound of flesh, and a lottery drawLoves of the Oranges had been a mere ing scene at Belmont, it might as outline, no part of it being written well be said, are but slender mateexcept the burlesque verses and pa- rials for a tragedy. Gozzi should rodies occasionally uttered by the have remembered that life and love representatives of the Abate or the depend on the solution of those ridAdvocate ; but on this occasion, the dles, as they do on the bargain for whole of the tragic scenes, and the the pound of Aesh, or the choice of greater part of the comic, were com the caskets. The truth is, the story, posed and written out with care. as every one must recollect, is highFraternal love is the mainspring of ly dramatic, stimulates curiosity in the piece; one brother, to avert a the highest degree, and by its gracefatal prediction from the other, sub- ful close satisfies every condition of mits to be suspected by him, impri- a well-constructed plot. We have soned, and at last turned into a living accordingly selected this as the fable statue. Out of this subject Gozzi has most likely to interest our readers, produced a piece of the most vivid and give an idea of Gozzi's dramatic interest, transporting the reader,with talent. As such it appeared to Schilthe magic of genius, into those im- ler, who has translated it for the aginary regions of Frattombrosa German stage, occasionally shortenwhere the scene is laid, and making ing and improving the dialogue, the most improbable marvels springs which, from the rapidity of the of emotion, curiosity, and pity. He Count's composition, and a certain now shewed that the mind so acutely diffuseness into which the fatal faalive to the ludicrous, was not less cility of the Italian iambics is apt to master of the pathetic and impas- lead, is frequently marked by a great sioned; and that, while he could dis- degree of carelessness and want of play,with all the comic talent of Ruz- condensation. ante, the capabilities of the masks, he
The piece opens before the gate could, with equal case, eclipse the of Pekin, above which are Maffeis and Ruccellais in the more grimly frowning the heads of the regular and serious drama.
unfortunate suitors of Turandot, But Gozzi was annoyed to hear who have already unsuccessfully at
to ic m
tempted to solve the riddles. Calaf, dot; and at last his own arrival at
Ismael (stretches out his hand to Barak, weeping bitterly.)
Barak. Merciful Heaven !-But why permit the Prince
Ismael. Think'st thou my misery needs this new reproach ?
Barak. O calm thyself!
Ismael. Calm! sayest thou ? Never ! never !
“ When he beholds its beauty,
[Dashes the picture with indignation on the ground.
Nol-Samarcand shall see my face no more.
[Exit. SCENE III.
Calaf and BARAK.
I stand at once
[Goes to lift up the miniature.
Calaf (smiling.) Nothing, but lift
(Stretches towards the miniature, and lifts it up.
Calaf. Art in thy senses? If thou feel'st so weak,
[Is about to look at the miniature.
[Draws him back, gazes at the miniature, and stands
fixed in astonishment. After a pause, What do I see
Barak (wringing his hands in despair.) Woe's me-0 wretched chance!
Calaf (seizing him hastily by the hand.) Barak!
Barak Bear witness,
Calaf. O Barak ! in these gentle dovelike eyes,
Barak. Unhappy prince, what say'st thou? fairer fai
Calaf. Hold off! thou seek'st to startle me in vain.'
then turns suddenly to Barak, and grasps his hand.