« PreviousContinue »
which borders very nearly on vulgarism. Unwilling, however, to dwell on little blemishes, we rather select those parts of the poem which, by awakening tender affection, may meliorate the heart.The following extract may not be without a tendency of this sort :
• Amidst the craggs, and scarce discern'd so high,
Hangs here and there a sheep, by its faint bleat
All shall be well.' Though the author's sentiments on seeing a solitary cottage on the top of a hill are such as many persons have felt, few perhaps could have expressed them so happily as he has done :
• But lo! upon the hilly croft, and scarce
The wildly-roving fancy BACK TO LIFE.' Two Latin inscriptions, which close this pamphlet, will gratify the lovers of classical clegance. Art. 22. The New Margate Guide ; or Memoirs of Five Families out of Six; who,
“ In Town discontent with a good Situation,
Make Margate the place of their Summer Migration.” With Notes, and occasional Anecdotes,
25. 6d. sewed. London, Dutton ; Margate, Silver; &c.
If the humorous Anstey had never written his celebrated Bath Guide, this slight resemblance of it could never have existed,-(a truism which we believe no reader will dispute ;) and the same re
I 2 mo.
mark may safely be extended to the many imitations of that celes brated performance.- None of these had that advantage of originality which their model possessed in so eminent a degree. His design has, indeed, been borrowed : but of his manner we have yet seen only a faint resemblance, in the best of his copyists.
Like Mr. Anstey's performance, this is rather a satire on the Company than on the Place ;-and had not the Bath-guide preceded it, we might have set down the present writer as “a Comical Fellow,” with whom, or at whom, we have enjoyed some laughter over his merry. begotten pages. We opened his book with no ill-timed inclination for gravity: but the numerous inaccuracies and blemishes in this little volume soon interrupted the flow of our good-humour.
Among other slips of a too hasty pen, observable in this publica. tion, we could not but notice the singularity of sundry bastard rhimes, which seem to discover the author's affinity to a certain family, several branches of which we have at various times encountered ; a family noted for having no “ ideas," but abundance of “idears ;” and who are remarkable for persecuting every body whose name unfortunately ends with the letter a, such as Anna, Celia, Sophia, &c. which they fail not to burthen with a superfluous r; thus transforming them into Annar, Celiar, and Sophiar; nor will they even allow
Hannah the laundry-maid to know her own name when she meets with it, despoiled of its final h, loaded with an useless r, and transfigured to “ Hanner;" yet, to do the family justice, they seem to have no idear” of their own improper behaviour in such proceedings.- Now for the curious rhimes, which have given birth to this our important stricture : P. 60. • Then my Lady has all her acquaintance from Esher,
• Here's old Doctor Rhubarb and Lady Magnesia :' The word intended as a rhime to Esber must be pronounced Magnesiar ; and this poet, no doubt, always pronounces it so. P.70. Down stairs, cap in hand, did my worthy mama go,
• Prepar'd for the first that should turn out its cargo.' Here, for mama we must be careful to read “ mammar.” P. 120. • But let me assure you, tis much the best manner,
. For you to return with your Sister and Anna.' Have the goodness, kind reader, to clap an r to the tail of Miss Anna, and then she will answer very properly to Manner :-though you must take the farther trouble of exchanging her second a for an e, - Anner.
Other examples of ilcorrectness might have been brought forwards, but these
suffice : “ Go,” Man of Wit, “and sin no more.” Art. 23. Pizarro; a Tragedy, in Five Acts; as performed at the
Theatre Royal in Drury-Lane: taken from the German Drama of Kotzebue ; and adapted to the English Stage by Richard Brinsley Sheridan. 8vo. 2s. 6d. Finc Paper, 5s. Ridgway. 1799.
We rise from the perusal of this piece, in the closet, with very different feelings from those which have been excited by its represente ation. Mr. Sheridan has, indeed, elevated the sentiments and meliorated the general character of the original play, but we have still to
regret the want of his improving touch, in too many passages; and the dialogue still preserves too much of the Teutonic stiffness. It is agreeable to trace, however, even in this state, symptoms of an approaching union between sense and splendour on the theatre. In the last age, good writers were apt to disregard the allurements of spectacle, and they too easily resigned it to the dunces :
“ 'Twas theirs to shake the soul With thunder rumbling from the mustard bowl ; With horns and trumpets now to madness swell,
Now sink in sorrows with a tolling bell.” [Dunciad.] It has long been our opinion, that some of our finest dramatic pieces would admit the display of stage-magnificence, and dec ption, in a degree superior to any of the present vehicles of shew. What splendid machinery might be introduced into Shakspeare's Tempest! Some of his historical plays would even require the use of battering cannon; and how soothing would it prove to the feelings of a manager, to repair the meanness of the scanty warlike shews of the antient theatre, of which Shakspeare complained so feeling!y?
“ And 80 our scene must to the battle fly;
Where, O for pity, we shall much disgrace,
The name of Agincourt.” * If the public taste be so sickened and depraved, that it rejects the once prized delicacies of our best authors, it would be a deed worthy of its guardians to reconcile it to its natural food ry intermingling with it somewhat of the favourite seasoning :
“ Veluti pucris absinthia tetra medentes y Cum dare conantur, prius oras pocula circurn
Contingunt mellis dulci, flavoque liquore + :' In the mean time, we must examine, “ with what appetite we may,” the olio here provided for us.
The plots of German plays are so characteristically extravagant, that it is hardly necessary to apply the remark to the present pero formance. To make a breach in the wall of the Temple of the Sur, for the admission of a young lover, Kotzebue employed the familiar agency of an earthquake, in the first part of ihe play I; in this, the General of the Peruvian Army quiis his post, and runs to and from the enemy's camp like a coinmon courier, in the most critical situation of affairs, to gratify ihe love-sick wishes of his quondam rristress. We have also sentimental centinels, who disobey the commands of their officers at the glance of a fair Jarly, or on an appeal to their finer feelings made by an enemy. The catastrophe of the piece is greatly injured by the addition now made to it.
Kotzebue judiciously closed bis play with the death of Rolla, and with a reflection on the strength of his passion by Cora ; in the present instance, a fresh alarm is given, (before the
* Chorus to the 3d Act of Henry V. + Lucretius.
| The Virgin of the Sun; of which some translations are before 115, and will soon be noticed.
friends of Rolla have time to wipe their eyes, or to utter a single expression of grief,) that the Spanish army is “just coming in at the door ;' and the action is prolonged to the death of Pizarro. Thus our just admiration of Rolla's generous sacrifice is distracted by other objects, and the concluding dumb-shew loses a considerable part of its effect.
In the characters we perceive little alteration, excepting that of Elvira ; which, originally drawn with a harsh outline, has been corrected and softened by Mr. Sheridan's pencil. The style is evidently improved, and is raised to a kind of measured prose'; which yet in many passages satisfies the ear more than the understanding.
After having examined this play as a literary work, we must now attend to the more powerful attraction of its repeated allusions to the circumstances of the times, which are introduced with great dexterity, and which have contributed much to its success with the public. The following patriotic sentiments are entirely due to the pen of Mr. Sheridan:
Ata. In the welfare of his children lives the happiness of their King: Friends, what is the temper of our soldiers ? • Rol. Such as becomes the
which they support ; their cry is, Victory or death! our King ! our Country! and our God!
• Ata. Thou, Rolla, in the hour of peril, hast been wont to animate the spirit of their leaders, ere we proceed to consecrate the banners which thy valour knows so well to guard.
• Rol. Yet never was the hour of peril near, wlien to inspire them words were so little needed. My brave associates-partners of my toil, my feelings, and my fame !--can Rolla's words add vigour to the virtuous energies which inspire your hearts ?- -No-YOU have judged as I have, the foulness of the crafty plea by which these bold invaders would delude you—Your generous spirit has compared, as mine has, the motives, which, in a war like this, can animate ibeir minds, and ours.—They, by a strange frenzy driven, fight for power, for plunder, and extended rule-WE, for our country, our altars, and our homes.-They follow an Adventurer whom they fear and obey a power which they hate-We serve a Monarch whom we love-a 'God whom we adore.—Whene'er they move in
desolation tracks their progress - Where'er they pause in amity, affliction mourns their friendship!—They boast, they come but to improve our state, enlarge our thoughts, and free us from the yoke of error! Yes-They will give enlightened freedom to our minds, who are themselves the slaves of passion, avarice, and pride.-They offer us their pro. tection-Yes, such protection as vultures give to lambs-covering and devouring them !--They call on us to barter all of good we have inherited and proved, for the desperate chance of something better which they promise. ---Be our plain answer this : The throne we honour is the people's CHOICE- the laws we reverence are our brave Fathers' legacy--the faith we follow teaches us to live in bonds of charity with all mankind, and die with hope of bliss beyond the grave,
Tell your invaders this, and tell them too, we seek no change ; and, least of all, such change as they would bring us.'
We remember that Tom Davies, in one of his lucubrations on the Drama, attributes our naval successes in 1759 to Garrick's popular song of “ Hearts of Oak:” May we have yet greater reason to celebrate the benefits resulting from the Tyrtæan strains of Mr. Sheridan!
Other translations of this play have appeared, but we have not yet had time to peruse them.
IRELAND Art. 24. Substance of the Specch of the Right Hon. Lord Sheffield,
April 22, 1799, on the Subject of Union with Ireland. 8vo. Is. 6d. Debrett.
Lord Sheffield has considered the great and most highly interesting question, which is the subject of this senatoriai oration, with becoming temper, candour, and well-grounded information. He is de. cidedly in favour of the proposed nieasure ; arguing chiefly in support of an union between the Sister Islands, from its absolute neCESSITY. To evince that necessity is the important object of his Lordship’s well digested, well-expressed, and very comprehensive investigation.
The political and commercial welfare of Ireland has long been the subject of Lord Sheffield's inquiries: see our Rev. for Feb. 1785, p. 142. , and for April, in the same year, p. 304. vol. lxxii. of our Old Series. Art. 25. Observations on the Speech of the Right Hon. John FOSTER,
Speaker of the House of Commons of Ireland, delivered there
This acute controversialist seems to think, as he certainly writes, with some degree of contempt both of Mr. F.'s motives and argiments respecting the proposed union of the two kingdoms : exulting over his Right Hon. opponent, as a victor does over a vanquished enemy. Indeed the contest appears to be at an end ; and there re. mains no doubt that this great national measure will be carried into effect.---May it be happily attended with all the advantages to both countries, which may reasonably be expected from it !- Mr. Foster's celebrated oration was respectfully mentioned in the Review for Junc, p. 215.
MEDICAL, &c. Art. 26. Observations on Insanity : with practical Remarks on the · Disease, and an Account of the morbid Appearances on Dissection. By John Haslam, Apothecary to Bethlem-Hospital. 8vo. pp. 147. 38. Rivingtons, &c. 1798.
Practitioners in general have such scanty opportunities of acquiring a knowlege of the symptoms of insanity, that a work of this nature, fron a person who has many instances of the disease always before his eyes, must be highly acceptable to the profession.
Mr. Haslam begins with an attempt to define insanity ; in which, we think, he has not been happy, because it does not include some