Page images
PDF
EPUB

IS.

cach of his poems would perhaps furnish subjects for an Essay, hut not one of them could ever be converted into an Opera-Song. We prefer his • Miscellaneous Poems' to the longer • Moral Tales,' and the allegory of Fortune and her six Boxes? is moral and ingenious. The two poems on Smiles' and · Frowns' have also smartness and originality ; the Point of Identity' and the lines suggested by a foggy walk, are written with considerable humour; and the . Samples of Sonnets' have the pleasantry without the personality of Peter Pindar's burlesque compositions. • The Monthly Memorial' is the only poem that is unworthy of the collection in which it is placed : the ideas are as trite as the subject ; and twenty minor poets have written stanzas on the months of the year, which equalled these in merit. Art. 23. British Loyalty ; or Long live the King! A dramatic

Effusion, in two Acis, with Songs, Dance3, &c. By Joseph Moser, Esq. D. L., one of His Majesty's Justices of the Peace for Middlesex, Essex, Surrey, Kent, &c. &c. 8vo. As. perne. Mr. Moser has probably amused himself, a.d will probably amuse others, whose taste is not fastidious, by this loyal drama in hooour of the Jubilee. Sailois, soldiers, and country-people are brougbt together on this joyful occasion, and their sentiments and songs are all expressive of attachment to the Sovereign. At the country-seat of Lord Liberal, a sort of Mask is performed; the object of which will be seen from the following stage-directions and song : When the company is seated, a curtain flies up and displays a transparency, in which is exhibited the figure of Fame standing upon a pedestal, on which is depicted the arms of England. On the one side she holds in her hand a trumpet, on the banner of which is the number FIFTY. In the cther hanil, she holds one end of an extended scroll, which is unfolded by TIME, who stands on the ground with his scyibe and hour-glass beside him.. On the scroil is writien, in large characters,

LONG LIVE THE KING!!! The distance displays a view of the front of Windsor Castle. In the

clouds appear, on the one side, the emblems of the order of the garter : and, on the other, the Saxon standard, jointly touched ; the distant wings are formed by groups of trees in the park.

Dryad advances.
The sounds of joy reverb'rate thro' the plains,
Where smiling plenty shows a BRUNSWICK reigns ;
From distant hamlets brilliant trains arise,
Whose star'd explosions blaze in sable skies ;
Proclaiming general joy. These from the dell,
Where silence rests, and murky spirits dwell,
Have call'd me forth, once more to greet my eyes,
And hail the royal standard as it flies :
Long may it wave o'er Windsor's towers august
In honour of a Monarch term’d THE JUST ;
Who wishes, tho' the bolts of fate are huri'd,
To biud in love, and peace, a suffering world !'

A long

18.

A long speech from the Genius of Britain, complimentary to Majesty, concludes the piece.

COVENT-GARDEN THEATRE. Art. 24. Justice and Generosity against Malice, Ignorance, and Poi

verly : or an Attempt to shew the Equity of the New Prices at the Theatre Royal, Covent Garden. By Attalus. Svo.

Sherwood and Co. Art. 25. Considerations on the past and present State of the Stage';

with reference to the late Contests at Covent Garden; to which is added a Plan for a New Theatre, for the Purpose of hearing Plays. Svo. 29. 6d. Chapple. 6. The Drama's law's the Drama's patrons give,

And they who live to please must please to live.” This has been the acknowleged doctrine of the Play-house, and on this principle John Bull has always been very despotic in the Pit and Galleries of our theatres : but his despotism, on the opening of the New Houre in Covent Garden, has been so very violent and uproarious, that his conduct will afford matter of deliberation in our courte of law. The new pricer, and the annual or private boxes, are the subjects of John's complaints; the former he considers as unjustifiable, and the latter as 'not proper, for moral reasons, to be tolerated in a British place of public entertainment. Various opinions are given for and against the Proprietors. Attalas sets out with an eulogy on the New Theatre, which is too expressive of his partiality. He calls it a structure which stands the greatest ornament of the British capiral?' but, though it does credit to the architect, we should be sorry if it could be said that the noblest specimen of architecture in our grand metropolis was a play-house. Atcalus treats the opponents the new prices with contempt, as being composed of the lowest classes ; and he contends that the shilling and the sixpence, advanced in the price of admission to the Boxes and the Pit, were justified by the expences of the Proprietors in the new erection, as well as by the decreased value of money : asserting also that, if Drury-lane theatre kad been standing, the demand would still have been made. He does not enter into the

question of the private boxes, against which so mang placards are directed; nor into any details respecting the nightly ex. pences, and the receipts of a full house.

The anthor of the Considerations, after having given a well-compressed history of the Stage, and a view of the present state of the law respecting country.theatres, adverts to the case of the cheatres of the metropolis, which are not under the same regulations, and intro. duces the case of the New Theatre':

• The contests between the proprietors of the new theatre io Co. vent-Garden, and the audiences which have hitherto frequented that house, have displayed no small degree of violence and pertinacity. I proceed to enquire, whether there be any justifiable ground of complaint on either side ; and if there be, in what madrer it may be most prudently removed by the hand of authority. Such an investigation

may

1

Y 3

may perhaps tend to elucidate the general principles on which the drama ought to be regulated in the present state of the metropolis.

• After the remarkable concurrence of calamities which destroyed the two chief theatres by fire, it became obvious, that expedition in rebuilding either of them would be doubly compensated by profit. The experienced proprietors of Covent Garden possessed a great advantage over those of Drury-Lane in the clearness and disembarrassment of their accounts. 7 hey therefore seized the favourable opportunity ; opened a scheme which readily met with subscribers, and proceeded instantly to put it into execution. In consequence, a mosy ingenious young architect, whose reputation depended on the attempt, was judiciously selected ; and the new edifice arose with unexampled rapidity, and in an admirable style of exterior beauty and grandeur. 'So far the conduct of the proprietors, though perfectly consonant to their private interest, seemed to demand general approbation. But when the night of opening the theatre arrived, many circumstances, of a totally different complexion, prebented themselves. The prices of admission to the pic and boxes were raised ; the interior of the house was even larger, and less adapted to hearing plays than that of the preceding structure ; the public, in general, was excluded from a whole tier of boxes, whose privacy was secured by new and singular means ; and lastly, a band of foreigners was engaged, at most exorbitant salaries, to Bing in a language unknown to ninety-nine bundredths of the au. dience.

. It is not very surprising, that some or all these causes should excite on the first night a clamour of disapprobation. Thai clamour bas since risen to outrage. The proprietors, after attempting explanation by various methods in vain, have opposed force to foice ; and thus we have seen an unprecedented spectacle of hostility between those who live by the stage, and those who contribute to its support. It must be a very strong case indeed which can justify the proprietors, in point of policy as well as of justice, in thus mak: jng head against their natural patrons : accordingly they rely in the first instance on a very high authority, that of a patent from the Crowo. It unfortunately happens, however, that the public are pretty much in the dark with respect to the history, nature, and contents, of that important document.'

The patent is clearly a monopoly, and monopolies are established not for the benefit of the holders, but for that of the public. If therefore the patent in question be not regulated by such principles as I have here supposed, it ought to be instantly quashed; and there is no doubt but that His Majesty's advisers would much rather recommend such a measure, than suffer l.is royal authority to be used as a cloak for imposition.'

By this statement, it will be seen that the author does not eolist on the side of the proprietors, and that Attalus is not justified in restricting the opposition to the mob. In the first place, the agcuracy of the public statement is called in question, and then the authority of the proprietors, under the patent, to demand the new prices. It is added :

• Leo

· Let these prices be proved to be ever so fair, equitable, and legah, yet the time and manner of advancing them must be con. sidered as singularly injudicious. It had every appearance of im, position, to raise the price of an article, at the very moment, when the only possible competitor was taken out of the market.'

The size of the New Theatre is disapproved, as being too large for the audience to hear plays. The private boxes are said to be made in open defiance of public decency ;' and it is also objected that the house has not the air of a British theatre ; which, in its very appearance, ought to breathe the freedom and manliness of our national character.' The complaint against the introduction of Italian singers we need not examine, as this point is abandoned.

Though the author does not wholly vindicate the incessant rome that has been kept up at the Theatre, he rather pleads for the. populace :

• One or two remarks are due in justice to them ; as first, that, they had, at least in the outset, some right on their side ; secondly, that they committed no very extraordinary, or destructive acts of violence; and lastly, that they were irritated by a kind of conduct, on the part of the proprietors, as unprecedented, as it was indecorous.

Severe reprehension, it is here thought, attaches to the Proprie. tors; the suspension of the patent is recommended ; and new regulations, with a new plan, are suggested. We interfere not in this contest : but however the question at issue may be decided, it is evident from this last pamphlet, that it is not merely an affair of the mob.

MILITARY AFFAIRS. Art. 26. A few Remarks explanatory of the Motives which guided the

Operations of the British Army, during the late short Campaign in Spain. By Brigadier General Henry Clinton, Adjutant-General to the Army late under the Command of Lieutenant-General Sir Joba. Moore, K.B. 8vo. 15. Egerton,

With the glow of friendship, and with high respect for the memory of that great Soldier Sir John Moore, Brigadier-General Clinton here endeavours to dispel the shade of imputation which has been cast on Sir John, with reference to his forward move from Salamanca, and to the route and mode of his final retreat. It has been sufficiently shewn in Mr. Moore's narrative of his brother's Campaign, (see our Review for September,) that the representations made to Sir John at Salamanca, with regard to the position of the enemy's several corps, and to the spirit of the Spaniards, at the time of his advance to Sahagun, fully justified that measure ; which Gen. Clinton defends on the same grounds. As to the direction of the retreat, by Corunna instead of Vigo, it is remarked : such was the state of the army, that it was an object of the very first importance, to shorten its march as much as possible ; the distance from Lugo to Vigo is just double that from Lugo to Corunna ; and, secondly, had Sir John Moore marched by the direct' road to Vigo, i.e. by Mellid, he must have resolved to abandon the whole of his artillery, as that road was not Y 4

practicable

practicable for guns or carriages of any sort. He always looked to the probability of having to fight a battle before he could re-embark ; and in that view, he probably would not, even under more pressing circumstances, have been reconciled to abandon his artillery ; he therefore gave the preference to Corunna with all its disadvantages, and sent an express for the removal of the transports. With respect to the expedition used on this occasion, the Brigadier urges similar reasons to those which have been developed in the above mentioned Narrative; and when it is recollected that the vastly superior force of the enemy reached Astorga only the day after Sir John Moore's last division quitted it,--and that French officers have acknowleged Bonaparte's astonishment and vexation to have been equally great, on finding that an army had thus escaped him, on the destruction of which he had reckoned as a certainty, - we do not see how it can be denied that the desperate nature of the case required the desperate efforts which were inade, with all their sad consequences. Art. 27. Observations on the Movements of the British Army in Spain

in Reply to Brigadier General H. Clinton's Statement. By a Bria tish Officer. Svo. 25. Murray.

Not only the conduct of Sir John Moore, but even the correctness of B. G. Clinton's statements, are arraigned by this anonymous opponent; who declares that, in the Brigadier's pamphlet, some facte were misrepresented, many circumstances suppressed, and the whole so strangely distorted, that the most ordinary occurrence is sometimes Unintelligible, even to the best informed reader;' who talks of illiberal and unfounded accusations' against the Spaniards, and of their having been treated with calumny and aluse, with arrogance and contempi, with in ult and injustice; and who represents that we depended, for our safety, on the rapidity of our flight ; not on the vigour of our arms. We fed with precipitation, through the strong and very defensible passes of Gallicia, and sacrificed, without remorse, our men and our reputation.'

After these strong prefatory remarks, the writer proceeds to controvert the points urged in the Brigadier's pamphlet : but these Obsérvations also appeared before the publication of Mr. Moore's Nar. rative; which, we think, affords an ample reply to them, and must give this officer himself a different view of the subject, unless he be so much more anxious for the character of the Spaniards than for that of his countrymen, that he will admit no charges against the former, and no justitications of the latter.

The writer chiefly and positively insists on the practicability of the British atmy having maintained itself in the mountainous country of Gallicia, and disputed every inch of ground, in spite of the immense numerical superiority of the French, and of the alleged want of proa visions. As to the former difficulty; he adverts to it as little as if he striously adopted the vulgar saying that “one Englishman can always beat three Frenchmen:" but we would ask what would have been the consequences of the battle of Talavera, (making it as splendid à sictory as we can,) if the French had been able subsequently to pour in such reinforcements of fresh troops as they could have produced

against

« PreviousContinue »