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• Ann. You are right there ; for such a good place I shall never have again. Be our pittance ever so scanty, my master has no better fare than myself; and when love and affection distribute the bread, no matter whether the slices be large or small. There is many a lady's maid, indeed, that has greater wages than mine, and that dresses in Bilk and muslin : but then the mistresses are sometimes so queer and ill-tempered-never pleasedno pin will do unless pinned ten times over-and every fold in a handkerchief is to be twisted into a thou. sand different shapes, before it will suit their fancy. But my young mistiess, up she gets in a minute, dressed she is in another, and wants no assistance whatever.
• Will. And carries always the smile of a Madonna on her coun. tenance.
• Ann. I never yet heard her utter an angry word in my life. • Will. Her lips seem not to be formed for that neither.
Ann. Ah, she is a good child, indeed! she will never be so much as out of temper. She has borne the long illness of her father with uncommon constancy and resolution. The old man might inutter and grumble ever so much, she would be courteous and resigned. She has not slept a wink these many weeks, and would not suffer me to sit up by the old gentleman ; as soon as the clock struck ten she would bid me go and lie down. In the beginning I was very uneasy about it. Miss is young, thinks I; she may be well-disposed for aught I know, but she may fall asleep; and when young people have once shut their eyes, not even a thunderclap will rouse them. But I was in the wrong box there: Miss Charlotte would nod by her father's bed-side, but at the least cough she would be at his service.'
This, it may be said, is Nature: but it is certainly not la belle Nature. In the description of Village-Manners, the blacksmiths' or barbers' shops would furnish scenes perfectly natural, but very disgusting. The rustics introduced here are distinguished by nothing that can apologize for their production on the stage ; while they talk, the reader yawns, and the plot stands still.
In the character of Frank Bertram and his Servant, we perceive an attempt to copy Uncle Toby and Trim : but the recollection is rather unfavourable to Kotzebue ; for Sterne possessed the art of Blotting too well, to permit insipidity to constitute any part of their qualities. Art. 41. Feudal Times ; or the Banquet Gallery; a Drama, in Two
Acts. Written by George Colman, the Younger. 8vo. 15. 6. Cadell jun, and Davics. 1799.
This drama being, as the author humbly informs us, a mere vehicle for well-painted scenes, ingenious machinery, and music, rather than containing in itself poetry, plot, or character, no fame is to be expected from its dramatic merit. Had Milton, when he wrote his Mask of Comus, been of this opinion, would he have thought it worth while to bestow so much pains and poetry on that exquisite production? Our lyric bards, at present, seem to think that any nonsense, if it be well-tuned, will do for music; or, as Mr. Colman contemptuously calls it, Sing-Songand, under this prejudice, they take it for granted that aeither genius nor pains can be necessary in arranging the fable,
striking out new characters, enlivening the dialogae, or polishing the songs; and thus they perpetuate the idea of 191.serise being a fitter excuse for singing than good poetry would be. We will just remind our lyric scribes, that no musical piece ever fully succeeded on our stage without dramatic merit ; which is the more essential in our national theatres, because the dialogue is declaimed, and intelligible to all hearers, and not recited to musical sounds like the Italian recitative. The French comic operas, performed in the same manner as dars, are all as well-written dramas, exclusively of the nicrit of the musical airs, as any pieces entirely intended for declamation ; and Me. tastasio's Melo-dramas are not the less fit for music, because they are admirably constructed, and abound with beautiful sentiments in the dialogue, as well as exquisite poetry in the airs which terminate each
Though the first act of Fend:l Times chicfy consists in noise (wie beg Mr. Kelly's pardon) and show, the incidents of the second act are sufficiently interesting to excite fear for the success of the plot, and terror for the safety of the principal characters. We cannot help adding to the preceding reflections, that the words of the songs are uncommonly rough, and in want of lyrical selection. However harsh and rude our Celtic dialect may be, compared with that of Italy, Mason, in his Elfrida and Caractacis, has manifested the possibility of giving such a variety and polich to the lyric measures, without enfeebling the sense; as clearly point out to the musical composer, the kind of melody, whether pathetic, graceful, or spirited, that will best suit the numbers, and embellish and fortify the ideas of the poet.
We are not told at what period of time ive are to inagine that Fitzallan, the principal character of the piece, lived: but, as the incidents, scenery, and decorations, carry us up to Gothic periods and feudal contentions, we doubt whether the costume of those times will allow of such a knowlege of the use of gunpowder, as the discharge of cannon and the springing of mines imply.
The Peckham Frolic : or Nell Gwyn. A Comedy, in
Three Acts. 8vo. is. 6d. Hatchard. 1799. The scene of this little drama is laid at Peckhair in Surry, whicre Charles the Sccond frequently resided with some' select friends. The jokes and freaks of this witty and thoughtless monarch and his facetious companions have been so well preserved by tradition, and retailed from Joe Miller, 'that they are become too old and thread-bare for present wear. Yet we must own that the lawguage of the dialogue is new, however antient may be the jokes. We believe that the fol. lowing words and fashionable cant-phrases were not current during the last century: revolts, retrospective, felicitous, eventful, hebdomadal babit of intimacy, matrimonial contact, decided approbation, give you credit for that pun, bold to tell you, &c.--The title of Miss was not given to spinsters, however young and beautiful, in the time of Nell Gwyn: it was Mrs. Eleanor Gwyn, Mrs. Ann Killigrew, Mrs. Arabella Hunt, and even Mrs. Anastasia Robinson, at the beginning of the present century.
The bons mots of Voltaire and his friends have been lately drama. rized at Paris, in a similar manner, in a pace entitled Une journée de
Fernay, written by a junto of four different authors: Piés, Barré, Radet, and Desfontaines. We have not seen this drama: but the French journalists say that, its object being to unite all the characteristic features of Voltaire in one frame, the attempt has perfectly succeeded - We have heard that Mr. Jerningham is the author of the drama before us. Art. 43. The Discarded Secretary ; or, the Mysterious Chorus. An
Historical Play, in Three Acts. By Edmund John Eyre, of the Theatres Royal Bath and Bristol. 8vo. 29. Longman.
Prefaces complaining of the ill-behaviour of managers, and of the plagiarisms of rival bards, are so frequently penned by authors of rejected plays, that we can scarcely prevail on ourselves to read them : but to comment on them, or to enter into the merits of the cause for the information of our readers, is beyond our most industrious efforts. Many complainants are indeed unable, in telling their own story, to make either the hearer or the reader understand their grievances; and if they do, inquiry still remains to be made into the accuracy of their deposition. So much for the Preface.
The writing of this piece appears, in some scenes, far from contemptible; yet the author is not always correct in his historical facts, nor in his delineation of the principal characters. The culogium of Queen Elizabeth on Admiral Blake, previously to the year 1588, indeed surprized us: as that great seanian and supporter of Cromwell was not born till 1599! We do not very well understand bow the son of the Earl of Leicester comes to be Lord Frederic; the title of Lord before the christian-name only belonging to the younger sons of Dukes and Marquisses. If Frederic was the eldest son of the then Earl of Leicester, his title must have been Frederic Lord Dudley, the first honour conferred by Elizabeth on her favourite. On the whole, we do not much wonder that this production was not received by a London manager : indeed it does not appear, as yet, to have been represented on any stage. Art. 44. Laugh when you can: a Comedy, in Tive Acts. As per
formed at the Theatre Royal, Covent Garden. By Frederic Rcynolds. 8vo. cs. Longinan. 1799.
It ever seems inauspicious, when much mirth is promised previously to the relation of a story, or to the appearance of a new play or new character on the stage. Perhaps expectation may be raised to aa insatiable degree; or, from a perversity in human nature, there may be an unwillingness even to laugh by confulsion. There is a great disticulty in obtaining a laugh or a tear on the credit of an author's promissory notes. Traps for wit, and traps for mirth, are alike uicertain of their object.-We have never been present at the represtiltation of this comedy, and are unable to judge of its cifects on the stage: but we must own that, on perusal, our old and rigid muscies were seldom convulsed, or our dignity diminished by risibility:-1:deed the chief business of this jocular play being the seduction of a married woman, and the dishonour and distress of a worthy husband, it cannot possibly be rendered comical by the flippant jokes of profligate characters
The Prologue is a parody on Pope's celebrated Prologue to Addion's Cato. The first act begins with the developement of a fine-gentleman-inn-keeper, a modern Boniface; who does not indeed associate with highwaymen, though he is extremely familiar with jockeys and gamblers. The insolence of this gentleman's self.importance is sarcastically comic: but the subsequent scenes are serious villainy, mixed with the grave censure and moral reflections of an honest negro sera vant, and the inischievous calumny and plots of an envious old maid. This seems to be the business of la comédie larmoiante, not of contes à rire. Indeed, Miss Emily's wish to be married, and the hoaxing bet, are not unpleasant.
Act the second contains serious distress and determined liberti. nism throughout, except in the farcical determination of the hoaxing bet.
In Act the third, the fable is but little advanced. Indeed we discover now, for the first time, who is Emily's guardian: but though the young lady is in close confinement, she offers her service to make inquiries after Mortimer.'
The fourth and fifth Acts are confused, and the denouement is brought about in an aukward manner. We know not what turn Mr. Lewis may have given to the part of Gossamer, the Momus of the piece : but, in pernsal, the jokes are flat, and the humour is neither natural nor pleasant.
POLITICS, FINANCE, &c.
Three Essays, on Taxation of Income. With Remarks on the late Act of Parliament on that Subject. On the National Debt; the Public Funds; on the probable Consequences of the Law for the Sale of the Land Tax; and on the present State of Agriculture in Great Britain : with a Scheme for the Improve. ment of every Branch of it, and Remarks on the Difference be. tween National Produce and Consumption. 8vo. pp. 140. 38. Cadell jun. and Davies. 1799.
The author of these essays recommends that all assessments should be laid on income, and that articles of consumption should be entirely relieved from taxation. He argues respecting the inequality of taxation on consumption, that those who expend their full income must contribute in a greater proportion than those who live only on a small part ; and that such taxes are objectionable on account of the great additional expence which the mode of collection throws on the consumer. It is obvious that taxes on consumption must greatly obstruct commerce : but, where the necessities of government are so great as at present they are in Great Britain, a branch of revenue so productive as the customs and excise could not be spared, nor indeed any other tax, without an equivalent. It is likewise a principle in the author's plan of finance, to raise sufficient for the whole of the expenditure, and a surplus beyond, within each year. All this, he is of opinion, can with case be obtained by means of taxing income only.
In so short a time as that which has elapsed since the adoption of the income tax, it has become a fashion in financial speculations to regard it as a resource inexhaustible, and capable of effects far REV. JUNE, 1799.
beyond the most sanguine of all former calculations. Fortunately for us,' says the author, it appears still to be in our power, by placing all future assessments upon income, instead of laying them on articles of consumption, to raise such an ample sum yearly, as may not only put it in the power of government to add a large sum annually to the sinking fund, and thus speedily to lessen many of those taxes which chiefly seem to require it; but to provide fully for the expences of the war, of whatever duration it may be. Let the people be convinced, that an efficient plan is set on foot for removing, in a moderate length of time, the severest part of the bur. dens with which they are assessed, and they will cheerfully give whatever may be required. If a tenth part of their income will not prove sufficient, there is much reason to believe that they would give an eighth, a sixth, or even a fourth, if it should be requisite. Most amply, indeed, would they be repaid for this kind of sacrifice ; the effect of which would be permanent, while any inconvenience or distress which such an extraordinary advance might induce, would prove short and temporary.'
With respect to taxation on consumption, should it ever be inrended to give relief, it would be reasonable to make a distinction in favour of useful and necessary consumption; as all beyond that, being a species of waste, may properly be regarded as a just object of taxation, by which it would be rendered of some use.
The sale of the land tax, which is the subject of the second essay, is disapproved as being not only disadvantageous to the purchaser, but, in the opinion of the author, detrimental to the public, • by giving a high artificial value to the funds, thereby attracting too great a proportion of the national wealth towards them.'
The agriculture of Great Britain, in the author's judgment, is capable of improvement so as to yield considerably more than double, probably three times, the present amount of it.' The principal part of the scheme of improvement proposed is the giving large and properly directed premiums; and, by lending sums of inoney, to the amount of a million in every year, to the cultivators and proprietors of land, to be free of interest for twenty years :- or even double that sum. The author shews a tenderness for the proprietors of land, for which we can see no just reason. • The proprietors of the whole territory of the kingdom' he describes as being the poorest class in the community ;' and in their favour he would have the land tax repeal d. The occupiers of land are those who are most immediately interested in its improvement ; yet, the general benefit being so much concerned, there appears good reason for giving encourage. ment, and, perhaps, occasionally, assistance, to the cultivator. Where the occupier is the propri tor, having no rent to pay out of the pro. duce, he must be supposed to be the less in need of assistance.
It appears to us that the author entertains too high an opinion of the resources of the country; that he thinks too lightly of the burthens of high taxes; and that he much under-rates our necessities. If, under the present circumstances, the affairs of the nation can be conducted so as to prevent any considerable increase in the present debt, it will be doing much ; more we think it would not be wise to