The Spectator, Volume 2. eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 1,123 pages of information about The Spectator, Volume 2..

In the mean while, I cannot but take notice of the great Use it is to an Audience, that a Person should thus preside over their Heads like the Director of a Consort, in order to awaken their Attention, and beat time to their Applauses; or, to raise my Simile, I have sometimes fancied the Trunk-maker in the upper Gallery to be like Virgil’s Ruler of the Wind, seated upon the Top of a Mountain, who, when he struck his Sceptre upon the Side of it, roused an Hurricane, and set the whole Cavern in an Uproar. [2]

It is certain, the Trunk-maker has saved many a good Play, and brought many a graceful Actor into Reputation, who would not otherwise have been taken notice of.  It is very visible, as the Audience is not a little abashed, if they find themselves betrayed into a Clap, when their Friend in the upper Gallery does not come into it; so the Actors do not value themselves upon the Clap, but regard it as a meer Brutum fulmen, or empty Noise, when it has not the Sound of the Oaken Plant in it.  I know it has been given out by those who are Enemies to the Trunk-maker, that he has sometimes been bribed to be in the Interest of a bad Poet, or a vicious Player; but this is a Surmise which has no Foundation:  his Stroaks are always just, and his Admonitions seasonable; he does not deal about his Blows at Random, but always hits the right Nail upon the Head. [The [3]] inexpressible Force wherewith he lays them on, sufficiently shows the Evidence and Strength of his Conviction.  His Zeal for a good Author is indeed outrageous, and breaks down every Fence and Partition, every Board and Plank, that stands within the Expression of his Applause.

As I do not care for terminating my Thoughts in barren Speculations, or in Reports of pure Matter of Fact, without drawing something from them for the Advantage of my Countrymen, I shall take the Liberty to make an humble Proposal, that whenever the Trunk-maker shall depart this Life, or whenever he shall have lost the Spring of his Arm by Sickness, old Age, Infirmity, or the like, some able-bodied Critick should be advanced to this Post, and have a competent Salary settled on him for Life, to be furnished with Bamboos for Operas, Crabtree-Cudgels for Comedies, and Oaken Plants for Tragedy, at the publick Expence.  And to the End that this Place should be always disposed of according to Merit, I would have none preferred to it, who has not given convincing Proofs both of a sound Judgment and a strong Arm, and who could not, upon Occasion, either knock down an Ox, or write a Comment upon Horace’s Art of Poetry.  In short, I would have him a due Composition of Hercules and Apollo, and so rightly qualified for this important Office, that the Trunk-maker may not be missed by our Posterity.


[Footnote 1:  Thomas Doggett, an excellent comic actor, who was for many years joint-manager with Wilkes and Cibber, died in 1721, and bequeathed the Coat and Badge that are rowed for by Thames Watermen every first of August, from London Bridge to Chelsea.]

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The Spectator, Volume 2. from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.