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A fort of creeping kind of lethargy.
Are you e'er leiz'd thus? Hah! here comes my antidote. Titus. Brutus! true; he's a doctor for the fpleen.
You mention'd Delphos; when we two went thither
The fnake portentous, which with dreadful creft
A direful omen! Brutus then went with us.
The oracle too faid,
Chief fway in Rome,
You may remember
that he should bear
who firft should kiss his mother.
When we came home, both at one time we kifs'd her.
Our brother Sextus, jointly we reign
Why, thou art running like a loaded horfe.
I mult return again.
But wert thou fent
Only to fee us? Tell the king our father
We're in good health; we thank him for the meffage,
Oh! my good Lord, I had forgot indeed.
But in the multitude of public cares
And daily business-if my memory fails
Memory is fuch a thing as
As a cart-wheel.
Brutus. Indeed, my Lord, you've hit it; mine turns round,
Aruns. I too have thought it oft.
Have you, my Lord ?
I'm always glad when you and I agree:
You have juft fuch a wit as I should choose.—
A a 4
Into my brain! Yet so I fear 'twould split
My head, as air fhut up does water bubbles.
Titus. Thou haft spoke wittier, Brute, than thou'rt aware. Aruns. But what wilt give me now for a recipe
To make a wit? I had it from the Sibyl,
Her thou faw'ft t'other day, who fold to th' king
Pray let me fee it ;
Afk the king my cousin :
He knows full well: I thank him, he's my fleward,
Who told thee fo?
Brutus. The king himself.-Now twenty years are paft, And more, when he fent for me from the farm Where I had liv'd fome time ftudying philofophy, And fuch like serious matters.
Yes, yes, all men
Thefe thy qualities,
Of damn'd confpiracy against thy fovereign
Titus. Indeed for that, I'll be thy bondfman, Brutus.
I'll take it for thy ufe; all that I ask
Of thee, is gratitude.
And art thou not
Grateful for goodnefs fo unmerited?
Brutus. Am I not? Never, by the holy Gods,
To heaven, that I may one day have the power
Oh-take it gratis➡
First then; attend with caution-But the message
That I fhould loiter thús! Why would you keep me
And fay you're coming?
If thou wilt, good Brutus ;
[Exeunt Aruns and Titus.
Brutus alone. Yet, 'tis not this which ruffles me-the gibes
These many a day? Is't bent afide, and warp'd
T'avenge my father's and my brother's murder!
Ne'er know me by another name, but that
We confefs ourselves to be in the number of thofe, who with that the lefs ftudied diction, and more plain and level metre of the school of that immortal poet (which seems to have ended with Southern) had been continued to the prefent time.' And as far as our Author has adopted the diction of the school of Shakespeare, we approve of his dialogue, which is often flowing, eafy, nervous, and characteristic; but it cannot be denied that it often finks into grofs familiarity and meanness, and fometimes goes in fuch a hobbling pace, and falls into fuch low expreffions, that it cannot with juftice be termed even ́ meafured profe.'
A diverfification of character' hath not only been attempted in this play, but in many inftances fuccefsfully executed : nor can we think with the Writer, that his piece is, on that account, lefs proper for the ftage, or lefs adapted to the multitude. The stage and the multitude are equally favourable to pieces of character, and receive, with equal coldness, such dramas as are void of that ingredient; which is the chief reason why fo many tragedies (ince the days of Southern) have "ftrutted and fretted their short hour upon the stage, and then been heard no more!"
It is a very unfortunate circumftance for an Author to indulge his felf-complacency fo far, as to take it for granted that his taste and abilities are fuperior to the age in which his works are published. This idea is the parent of flovenliness and inaccuracy; and there is in the piece before us, if we may hazard the expreffion, a kind of laboured incorrectnefs; the Author feeming to disdain the trouble of giving the neceffary compactness to his fable, or the laft polifh to his ftyle.
Notwithstanding thefe defects, which it was our duty to obferve, this hiftorical tragedy abounds with uncommon beauties of language and fituation, and much exquifite delineation of character; all which excellencies would be ftill heightened, if the Author would vouchlafe to amend the irregularities, and fupply the deficiencies, which would, in its prefent ftate, prove the only obftacles to its fuccefs in theatrical representation. Such corrections would alfo render it still more pleafing in the closet.
ART. VIII. The Hiftory of Edinburgh. By Hugo Arnot, Efq; Advocate. 4to. 11. 5 s. Boards. Edinburgh printed; fold by Murray in London. 1779.
N the viciffitudes and accidents which characterife the hiftory of towns, we find, in general, many important objects of research and curiofity; but when the towns described have the peculiarity of being the capitals of a nation, the inftruction communicated is of the greater moment, and the materials
of the author are the more connected with great events. The plan of the work before us was originally of a limited nature; and we are informed, by Mr. Arnot, that it grew into its prefent magnitude from his attention to a variety of matter which tended to illuftrate the ftate of manners in Scotland, and to throw a new light upon its public tranfactions. There is nothing, indeed, which appears more certain, than that the affairs of a kingdom and its capital are deeply interwoven. To give a wide range to inquiry and inveftigation is, of confequence, the most instructive method which can be adopted in works of this kind.
The minutenefs of this Hiftorian will, perhaps, be confidered, by fome readers, as a merit. The search which he acknowledges was made by him into moft of the public records of Scotland, was highly proper. The colleges of St. Andrews, Aberdeen, and Edinburgh confented to afford him the aids he required; and to feveral private gentlemen he returns his acknowledgments for the politeness of their communications.
Whatever has a particular relation to the city of Edinburgh, in the civil and ecclefiaftical hiftory of Scotland, is detailed by this laborious Inquirer, and furnishes fuch materials as are the most capable of compofition and ornament. The manners of the Scottish nation, the prices of provifrons, and the value of money, engage his attention. He describes the public buildings of Edinburgh, its religious houses, its population, and its amufements. He treats of the legislative and the judicial affemblies; and, on this subject, he advances the evidence of many improper acts of magiftrates. His freedom and fpirit, in this particular, are worthy of praise, as they have in view the promotion of the interests of liberty and mankind.
The account he has given of the Court of Jufticiary in Scotland will afford entertainment to our Readers, and will be accepted as a specimen from which they may form a judgment of the abilities of the Author:
It has been already explained, that the Juftice-ayre, or Court of Jufticiary, was the fupreme court, civil as well as criminal, over the barons, and thofe refiding within their domains. After the original Court of Seffion was inftituted, it ftill retained its civil jurisdiction; but, upon the erection of the College of Juftice, the authority of the Court of Jufticiary was reftricted to criminal affairs. The judges were the Lord Juftice General, Juftice Clerk, and certain affeffors added to them by the Privy Council, who were chofen from among perfons not verfant in the laws, and whofe commiffions only latted during the particular trials upon which they were appointed to prefide. A conftitution fo highly improper, was altered by Charles II. and the court modelled into its prefent form. It now confifts of the
Charles II. parl, 2. feff. 3. c. 16.'