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Ere yet her state corruption stain'd,
When virtue bloom'd, and Alfred reign'd.” The same sensibility that induced Captain Morris then to take part with a nation now unhappily subdued un er the iron yoke of military despotism, urged him, nearly at the same time, to declare against the slave trade. It was with this view, that in 1796 he composed and published, “Quashy, or the Coal Black Maid," a Tale :
“ Her eyes, like gems, beneath their brows were set ; Her teeth were iv'ry, and her face was jet; Tall was her stature, as her shape was neat; Her fingers small, and delicate her feet; Then from her lips such melting accents broke, That drivers almost felt when Quashy spoke." He tells us in the notes, and we believe he tells truly, that Christians are less humane than those infidels whom they affect to despise ; for “ by the laws of Mahomet, no female slave can be separated from her child.” He also asserts, “ that the drivers, even when they do not strike, continue to crack their whips over the negroes, as carters do to keep their horses alert."
In the course of this poem, the author introduces a simile relative to the fall of Niagara, which leads to a description of an event already alluded to. Having been told that it was possible to
1,.“Gain the proud arch by rock and water made," so as to be in that situation where
“ Below the torrent roars, with foam o'erspread,
And bursting billows tumble o'er the head," he actually determined to make the experiment. His
friend, General Montgomery, had attempted it, and declared it was impossible to breathe there : notwithstanding this, the subject of this memoir descended, with three other gentlemen, and, after much toil and difficulty, reached the bottom of the fall. To arrive at the immense sheet that constituted the principal object of curiosity, it was necessary to rush through a small one. Two out of the three who had accompanied him, declined the achievement; but one har. ing promised, and kept his word, they effected their purpose, and stood entirely at their ease during the space of five minutes, “ under an arch formed on one side of hollow rock, one hundred and thirty-six feet high, and on the other of water precipitated from that rock, which arch might contain five hundred men, in a situation perfectly free from wet. The noise was stunning," it is added, " and the strait, as far as the eye could trace it, was nothing but a heap of foam."
When they had stood here during five minutes, a
whistling wind” arose, and drove the spray in their faces, in a manner that was very disagreeable, and at last intolerable. They staid on the whole ten minutes, and then retired as they went.
Captain Morris was one of the first to patronise the institution called the Literary Fund; and when Richard III. was acted by some of the members, he undertook to personate the tyrant, for the benefit of such of his fellow labourers as did not happen to be blessed with the gifts of fortune. It was his original wish to have played Othello, but by a strange dis
avowal of every thing in the shape of merit, he deemed the former more suitable to his person *.
The character of Richard requires great powers, as it is made up of dissimulation, abilities, and valour, qualifications seldom compatible with each other. To play the lover to Lady Anne, to act the hypocrite at court, and display the warrior in the field, demand a compass of voice, a variety of gesticulation, and a command of intellectual powers, seldom to be met with but in a first-rate performer.
• Teach not thy lip such scorn; for it was made
“Nay, do not pause, for I did kill King Henry ;
* “ But I, that am not shap'd for sportive tricks,
Nay, now dispatch ; 'twas I that stabb'd young Edward,
[Sbe lets fall the sword. Take up thy sword again, or take up me.” When this speech is contrasted with the following, the difficulty attendant on the undertaking will be evident; and on this occasion it is no common praise to say, that Captain Morris, while he fulfilled a very honourable and charitable task, conducted himself so as at once to merit and ensure applause. “ Slave, I have set my
upon a cast,
A horse! a horse! my kingdom for a horse !" It will convey no contemptible specimen of his powers of criticism, when we observe, that he has reviewed and suggested emnendations to the works of Pope, the most correct of all our English poets. Nor will it afford a contemptible specimen of his learning, when we observe, that we generally find Homer open on his desk, and that he regularly reads both the Iliad and Odyssey every year.
Captain Morris at present lives with all the sequestered obscurity of a hermit, in the neighbourhood of Hampstead; but we hope that he will soon return to the more immediate vicinity of the metropolis, and mix as heretofore with his old friends,
CAPTAIN CHARLES MORRIS.
AN attempt has been often made to define man by his peculiarities, and the most prominent of these have accordingly been selected for that purpose. Risibility, produced by the flexibility or rather distortion of the muscles, and generally accompanied by a sudden convulsive noise, denoting merriment, is usually referred to on this occasion, by way of elucidation ; but we see no reason why the biped to whom we now allude, may not with equal propriety be designated a singing as well as a langbing animal. In the former, as in the latter case, a certain degree of grimace is usually adopted; and notwithstanding mankind develop their faculties gradually, yet the one is likely to have been within a few years, and perhaps a few months, as ancient as the other.
Having said thus much respecting the antiquity of the art, it may be expected we should not omit its utility. It appears in ancient times to have been the grand and original instrument of civilization : for we are told that the ballads supposed to have been sung by Homer taught the first precepts of morals and politics to the Grecian cities, which afterwards contended for the honour of giving him birth. The effects produced by the war songs of an inhabitant of Miletus, have furnished a subjcct for admiration, perhaps doubt, in modern times; and yet, wonderful as they may appear, were an invasion of this country to take place, we doubt not but that every