Punch, or the London Charivari, Volume 1, Complete eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 1,359 pages of information about Punch, or the London Charivari, Volume 1, Complete.

Look, look! there’s the grey filly, with the other made-to-measure feather on her back; do you notice how she has crawled up to the chesnut?  Mark, mark! his arms appear to be India-rubber!  Mercy on us, how they stretch! and the bridle, which looked just now like a solid bar of wrought iron, begins to curve!  See how gently he leans over the filly’s neck; while the chesnut’s rider turns his eyes, like a boiled lobster, almost to the back of his head!  Oh, he’s awake! he still keeps the lead:  but the grey filly is nothing but a good ’un.  Now, the Top-boots riding her have become excited, and commence tickling her sides with their flashing silver spurs, putting an extra foot into every bound.  She gains upon the chesnut!  This is something like a race!  The distance-post is reached!  The Top-boots on the grey are at work again.  Bravo! the tip of the white nose is beyond the level of the opposing boots!  Ten strides, and no change!  “She must win!” “No, she can’t!” “Grey for ever!” “Chesnut for a hundred!” “Done! done!”—­Magnificent!—­neck and neck!—­splendid!—­any body’s race!  Bravo grey!—­bravo chesnut!—­bravo both!  Ten yards will settle it.  The chesnut rider throws up his arms—­a slight dash of blood soils the “Day and Martin”—­an earth-disdaining bound lands chesnut a winner of three thousand guineas! and all the world are in raptures with the judgment displayed in the last kick of the little man’s TOP BOOTS.


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It has often struck us forcibly that the science of melo-dramatic music has been hitherto very imperfectly understood amongst us.  The art of making “the sound an echo of the sense”—­of expressing, by orchestral effects, the business of the drama, and of forming a chromatic commentary to the emotions of the soul and the motions of the body, has been shamefully neglected on the English stage.  Ignorant composers and ignoble fiddlers have attempted to develop the dark mysteries and intricate horrors of the melo-drama; but unable to cope with the grandeur of their subject, they have been betrayed into the grossest absurdities.  What, for instance, could be more preposterous than to assign the same music for “storming a fort,” and “stabbing a virtuous father!” Equally ridiculous would it be to express “the breaking of the sun through a fog,” and “a breach of promise of marriage;” or the “rising of a ghost,” and the “entrance of a lady’s maid,” in the same keys.

The adaptation of the different instruments in the orchestra to the circumstance of the drama, is also a matter of extreme importance.  How often has the effect of a highly-interesting suicide been destroyed by an injudicious use of the trombone; and a scene of domestic distress been rendered ludicrous by the intervention of the double-drum!

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Punch, or the London Charivari, Volume 1, Complete from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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