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A NOTE ON GULLIVER'S TRAVELS.

If I may argue from the silence of the latest edition of Gulliver's Travels, with Notes, with which I am acquainted, viz. that by W. C. Taylor, LL.D., Trinity College, Dublin, the Preface to which is dated May 1st, 1840, I may say that all the commentators on Swift—all, at least, down to that late date—have omitted to refer to a work containing incidents closely resembling some of those recorded in the "Voyage to Lilliput."

The work to which I allude is a little dramatical composition, the Bambocciata, or puppet-show, by Martelli, entitled The Sneezing of Hercules. Goldoni, in his Memoirs, has given us the following account of the manner in which he brought it out on the stage:

"Count Lantieri was very well satisfied with my father, for he was greatly recovered, and almost completely cured: his kindness was also extended to me, and to procure amusement for me he caused a puppet-show, which was almost abandoned, and which was very rich in figures and decorations, to be refitted.

"I profited by this, and amused the company by giving them a piece of a great man, expressly composed for wooden comedians. This was the Sneezing of Hercules, by Peter James Martelli, a Bolognese.

· · · · · · · · · ·

"The imagination of the author sent Hercules into the country of the pigmies. Those poor little creatures, frightened at the aspect of an animated mountain with legs and arms, ran and concealed themselves in holes. One day as Hercules had stretched himself out in the open field, and was sleeping tranquilly, the timid inhabitants issued out of their retreats, and, armed with prickles and rushes, mounted on the monstrous man, and covered him from head to foot, like flies when they fall on a piece of rotten meat. Hercules waked, and felt something in his nose, which made him sneeze; on which, his enemies tumbled down in all directions. This ends the piece.

"There is a plan, a progression, an intrigue, a catastrophe, and winding up; the style is good and well-supported; the thoughts and sentiments are all proportionate to the size of the personages. The verses even are short, and everything indicates pigmies.

"A gigantic puppet was requisite for Hercules; everything was well executed. The entertainment was productive of much pleasure; and I could lay a bet, that I am the only person who ever thought of executing the Bambocciata of Martelli."—Memoirs of Goldoni, translated by John Black, 2 vols., duod. vol. i. chap. 6.

It is certainly not necessary to point out here in what respects the adventures of Hercules, the animated mountain, and those of Quinbus Flestrin, the man mountain, differ from, or coincide with, each other, as the only question I wish to raise is, whether a careful analysis of Martelli's puppet-show ought, or ought not, to have been placed among the notes on Gulliver's Travels.

C. Forbes. Temple.

From

Notes and Queries, Number 187, May 28, 1853, A Medium of Inter-communication for Literary Men, Artists, Antiquaries, Genealogists, etc.


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