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cate misery seeking sympathy from a chambermaid, made up of all the tarnished gewgaws of the wardrobe. There is something also most repugnant to common sense and experience in the doctrine of monologue or soliloquy. In hearing soliloquy, the audience must suppose one of two things, viz. the actor talking to himself, or thinking aloud. In real life, a man, who is in the habit of the former, is invariably the subject of Haughter and ridicule ; thinking aloud is mere metaphor. But in the presence of the clorus, the hero was amongst his own friends, and, of course, had a plain dramatick right of addressing them, and communicating to them his purposes and feelings, which reached the ear of the audience, without absurdity or disgust.
Another defect of modern tragedy is in general action and display. The ancients, though they had no variety of local scene, had a magnificence in the drama, which is almost altogether wanting in our own. The cothurnus is now reduced to the common shoe. So little attention was once paid to the splendour, and even propriety of costume, that such a character as Cato was flourishing and flouncing on the Drury-Lane stage in a big sleeve coat and full bottomed periwig, and thus were metamorphosed the heroes of ancient times,
“A motley mixture in long wigs, in bags,
In silks, in opes, in garters, and in rags.”
Shakespeare, who needed, less than any writer, splendour and display of action, has move than any of the modern school. Tragedy, from solemnity of sentinent and Pomp of language, requires repre
sentation, filled with magnificence and grandeur. Every tone is solemn, so ought to be every step, and the cause and effect of sentiment and action to be correspondcht and proportionate. Aristotle lays down offect as the true test and proof of excellence in drama. This canon of antiquity is altogether favourable to the pretensions of modern tragedy. If Melpomeme could sit in judgment on her Æschylus and Shakespeare, her Sophocles and Otway, and her Euripides and Rowe, would not the spirits of her younger offspring receive the iustre of her smile 2 But, however high and bright these names may stand, together with the convention of Congreve, Southern,and Young, for the latter times of tragedy we must hide our faces. Holnic and Douglas, and the Carmelite and Cumberland, live long in their dotage, and we think it not rashness to predict, that their tragedies will be, by and by, amongst the rubbish before the flood ; and if Xumberland be not remembered by his Carmelite, Gustavus and Brooks, and the Grecian Daughter and Murphy, must be also forgotten. We have been tracing the sober steps of the Muse through the dusky paths of antiquity, and been charmed with her demure and plaintive mein, as she stalked with slow and solemn pace through more modern times. Her air was then mighty and majestick, her toncs thri:iing, and her utterance deep, her visage contemplative and sorrowful, her eyes full, and dini with grief, and as they were listed upwards, their lashes hanging with tear drops. But,in our own country, how is she her own caricottire : Her change, with us, is like that of the actress, who, a suv homcil's past, was holding our senses and passions in chains, in the character of lady Macbeth, now scolding in Nell ; or the weeping Belvidera holding forth in the vulgarity of Betty Blackberry. The Hibernian Burke has entertained us with the bullbaiting of “Bunker Hill ;” and we forget the name of the youth,who played such Tom-Thumb-tragedy with the woes of “Edwy and Elgiva.” He, whose eyes have been parched with the dry lines of the “Persian Patriot,”* will remember them only from annoyance, and its dry author—as
“A meagre muse-rid mope, adust and thin,
In a dun night-gown of his own loose skin,
He grins, and looks broad nonsense with a stare '''
But enough of these “thin thirdmight” authors. For so much preliminary matter we have to offer, in apology, the barbarism and ignorance, under which tragedy labours, on this side the water. Foscari is fit for criticism, and therefore holds the first rank in American drama. Indeed, this is something with a beginning, a middie, and an end, containing a certain share of dramatick action, sentiment, and ornament of language. The fable runs thus :...Foscari, son of the Doge of Venice, was banished to the island of Candia, having been charged with the murder of Count Donato, one of the council, and father of Almería, to
* There is another tragedy, produced by a Rhode-Island Poet , we forget its name, as well as that of the sublime author. Amongst its bright touches, are these lines : “Orc hund-col founds, in cost IN ENTAL
M O N E Y,
To the anan, who first shall scale yon
high zal's ' " .
whom Foscari was betrothed. The play opens with Foscari's return from a five year's exile, being remanded to Venice, on account of his soliciting relief from the Duke of Milan. This being a high of. fence against the state, he is again arraigned before the council, and banishment for life is decreed against him. Count Erizzo, the enemy of the family of Foscari, in love with Almeria, persecutes him with deadly enmity. Before Foscari departs, he obtains an interview with Almeria, when Erizzo and his accomplice, Policarpo, rush on Almeria; Foscari fights them in her defence, and in the struggle Policarpo, through mistake, stabs Erizzo. Erizzo, in his last agonies, sends for the Doge, confesses his guilt, and avows the innocence of his son, and himself the murderer of Count Donato. Trouble turns Almeria mad ; and as soon as the Doge informs his wife Valeria of the innocence of their son, they receive intelligence of the death of Foscari, who dies on his way to the ship, in which he was to embark for Candia. If the rule of tragedy be true, and it comes from too high authority to be doubted, that the character of the poet is rather derived from the composition of the fable, than the verse ; because imitation constitutes the poet, and the fable is the imitation of an action, Mr. White cannot hold the highest elevation. His fable and his plot have no novelty, and not much interest. As a tragedy, we hardly know where to look for its peripetia, and where to feel for its pathos. Foscari has evidently no change of fortune whatever, for he is just as miserable at his first appearance, as at his last ; he enters in his return from exile with a new polit: ical crime, and all his additional
misery is the extension of his banishment, which was the necessary consequence. The pathos is scarcely perceptible in his hero ; Foscari suffers not enough, and his dying off the stage with only a very short, and rather a ridiculous, narration of his death, gives the audience not even a chance for grief or surprise. The poet has not altogether forgotten to excite pity, though he has neglected terrour; what is wanting in the latter, is amply made up in the former. The character of Aimeria is tender and affecting. Her frensy scene, though long, is no where disgusting ; and if that highwrought action, which ends in madness, be not absolutely disgusting, it must produce very powerful sympathy. Erizzo is an old-fashioned rascal,and Policarpo a wornout assassin. The character of the Doge is manly and dignified, and through the whole is very plainly and thoroughly delineated. Some of the scenes between him and Foscari are happy and affecting, and display the truth of paternal and filial affection.
And leave his name untained by feproach. Eriz. To pass five years in exile, and under Imputation, foul as that of murder, Is a reproach not wip'd away with ease. Doge. Truly, my lord, I ne'er should seek thy aid To vindicate my name, tho' blacker than thine own. Eriz. So then, my lord, I've rous'd thy indignation ; By hell, I'm glad to know thou hast some temper... I’ve touch'd thee in a tender point, I find— Doge. Hold, hold...thy pride becomes offensive,...Count, Thou dost forget thyself. Eriz. Most bravely said... Perhaps Erizzo may still more offend When he demands to be inform'd the fate Of lady Almería. Dage. Yes, signor...yes... Thou shalt hear it,...to thy shame shalt - hear it... 'Twas no other than thyself who drove her From the world....She hopes by close retirement To avoid thy gross solicitations. Act I. p. 11.
The madness of Almería, as was observed before, produces very forcible sympathy. Her frensy, like Ophelia's, has something in it, which bewitches the fancy, and so touches the heart, that he, who, has not felt his dry balls of sight moistened for years, must “shake the holy waters from his eyes” in the scene between lady Valeria and Almeria. We transcribe it, as the warmest expression of praise for the poet's powers in tender and exquisite misery.
Enter Almería, drest fantastically, her hairflowing in wild disorder. Val. My sweet Almeria, how farcs it with thee : Alm. Good, my lady, this is a day of. mirth, of great rejoicing, throughout all ve. nice : I am glad to day, my heart has holidays. o, I could dance for joy "...But do you know The cause of all this mirth Young Foscari, They say is to be married....O, no! he's - dead – Dead 'tis impossible !...No, no,...not dead, 'Tis only five years since I saw him last, So 'tis impossible he can be dead Val. Sweet Aimeria, tell me the cause of this . Alm. Ha!...I see you're making preparations For the wedding ; look...I've adorn'd myself, Altho’ some told me 'twas a funeral.— - Val. Lovely Almeria! thou wilt distract me ! . Alm. Now, pray tell me, how do you like this hood 2 Say,...doth it well become a youthful
Is very cold,....'twill chill my blood with horrour ! But see...even the Doge himself is merry ; Merry, because his son's about to wed, So I'll go deck his nuptial bed with flowers. [Exit. Act V. pp. 45–46.
It is needless to say, after so many favourable specimens, what Mr. White is capable of performing in tragedy, with a little correction. He, who has done so much well, will probably do more better. So favourable a beginning promises a very successful end ; and, by long and silent communion and meditation with the Muses, our poet may, hereafter, catch a smile and a beck from Melpomene to a seat in their temple.
The Trial of the Journeymen Boot and Shoemakers of Philadel/thia, on an indictment for a combination and consfiracy to raise their wages. Taken in short hand, by Thomas Lloyd. Philadelphia, B. Graves. 1806. ff. 159.
The cities of the United States flourish and rapidly increase in population, wealth, arts, and commerce. With these it is reasonable to expect an influx of their concomitant vices and inconveniences. Regular government and strict internal police are necessary to preserve order and administer justice, where the business and concerns of man are so multiplied aud complicated. Gain is the occupation of all ; and the powerful love of lucre, like the principle of gravitation, impels to action even stocks and stones. Co-operation and concert are so useful to a multitude, pursuing a common end, that wefrequently find brethren of the same craft constitut