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Il of a natural dramatic action. He was as ESSAYS TO ILLUSTRATE THE PRESENT STATE much superior to Centlivre, and the imitators OF THE DRAMA.No. VI.
of the Spanish school, as Vanburgh was sue
perior to him. The process of our dramatic review bas at
The three best Comedies of this writer, and length brought us to the works of Farquhar,
by which alone he keeps possession of the a writer of whom it is impossible to speak
stage, are the Recruiting Officer, the Inconstant, without something of that pleasantry and com
and the Beaux Stratagem. In these plays there plaçency of temper, with which he himself
is nothing which satisfies the critic's notion seems to have written; a writer, always at
of plot; there is no natural perplexity; no ease; certainly not with the genius of Vau
course of action thrown into an artificial conburgh, but with a pleasing, soldier-like gaiety,
fusion, and fabricated, for the purpose of sur. which always animates, and keeps up the
prising by ingenious extrication. In the Comespirit of an audience, and never overpowers the
dies of this writer we never observe the poet understanding.
in the highest point of his art; there is no As a writer, he is certainly not to be ranked
imitation of life and manners which illudes the with Congreve or Vanburgh; he has not the
fancy by the fidelity of its copy, and improves. poetic brilliancy, or perfection of art, which the barreness of nature by sketches of imagi. belonged to the one, nor the nervous elegance,
nation. It seems indeed beyond the reach of and vigorous grace, which chiefly characterise
this writer, to combine into an orderly dramatic Vanburgh. Farquhar, as it were, merely vents
fable the confused moveinents of the scene of the gaiety and humour of a mind of strong
life, and to select, with the necessary judgperceptions; and produces them with a per
ment, those points of character and action, the fect carelessness; be seems talking, as it were,
imaginary picture of which exceeds the force in his mess-rvom, and is satisfied to entertain and efficacy oftbe reality. his company with mirth poured out at ran
In tbe plots of Farquhar, if plots we may dom, but wanting every other recommenda.
call them, there is action, but no fable; tbere tion but that of the strength of original per is trick, but there is no art; and the issue of ception, and the simplicity with which it is the action is always some artificial point, delivered.
which has no peculiar natural counection, but All tbe comedies of Farquhar partake of might be the termination of any action whatthis character. The dialogue is certainly ever!-His plays are, in fact, a mere pleasant pleasant to a degree, but sometimes relapses series of incidents, the junction of which is not into unmeaning levity, and occasionally into so unnatural, as it is not appropriate. a pertness and petulance, not very suitable to
The Comedy of the Recruiting Officer is lively the condition of his characters.
to a degree. Kite is a character whose very His plots are the loose connection of inci- l appearance is pleasantry itself; be is a charac. deuts, having no natural union, or tendency ter which, divested of his wit, and leaving a to any other main desigu than the conclusion
very considerable part of his humour, may be of the piece in five acts. His characters, how
seen in every regiment. This is the true artiever, are good sketches of persons whom most fice of comic writing, where the ground-work probably be bimself bad met with. His Re- is natural, and the pencil of the artist is no cruiting Officer is perbaps his own portrait. Il further employed than to rais
further employed than to raise the painted His Boniface is one of those hosts who is to be complexion to that effect, which, in the reseen in every country town, and is natural and mote representation of the drama, is necessary strongly drawn.
to give it the resemblance of nature. Plume The great defect jo all the plays of this is not so vigorous a character as Kite, but he writer is a general want of vigour, and a total is gay and pleasant; he has a fault, however, absence, particalarly in his female characters,
into which Farquhar too often falls; he is too of grace and refinement. He possessed, how inelegaut for the gentleman, and wants the de. ever, in a very eminent degree, the art of fix. corum of common intercourse. The humour ing tbe attention of his audience, by a stream of Brazen is natural, but overcharged. The of incident, equally distant from the extra. women-we wish we had a more decent word vagance of romance, and the regular progress || to express our meaning--are something between the Bagnio and Arcadia; they bave | Covent Garden.-On Tuesday, Feb 4th grossness and indelicacy, added to the folly of a new Drama entitled The Knight of Snowdoun, rumance. They are merely creatures of the was produced at this theatre. The plot of it writer's imagination.
is the story of the Lady of the Lake, with one The Inconstant is a play in which there is a or two alterations so as to augmeut its dra. pleasantry both of character and incidents, matic effect. One of these alterations, the which animates the spirits, and, like a laugh | omission of Malcolm Greeve, is doubtless an or jest in conversation, forces its way, without improvement in the play, and would have been suffering any subtraction from its effect in the one in the poem, the effect of the character of point of truth and justice. It has no rigour Roderick being much impaired by transferring eitber of character or humour, but it has an the affections of Eller upon Malcolm. Roderick infinite gaiety, and a kind of active progress, fights for her, and therefore according to the which fastens upon the attention, and renders laws of poetry, as well as the laws of war, the audience as pleasant as the writer. There ought in good reason to have her. In this reis still however something unpleasing in this spect, therefore, the play is certainly inproved comedy. There is a mixture of French man. upon the story of the poems. ners, which is pointedly contrary to an English The dramatic distribution of the fable, howtaste. There are, both in Duretete and Bisarre, lever, is very clumsy and inartificial; it follows a whiin and degree of bumour, but they are the lagging course of the narrative, and forevidently forced, and in caricature. The in- gets the distinction betweep action and narraconstancy of Mirabel is a most odious inde- tion. What is good in a poem is intolerable corum. He has potbing of the young man iu a drama; the passions are quick and wkrich naturally recommends him to indul- abrupt, and nothing is so tedious as somegence; he is gay without feeling; gallant thing to be said, when the attention is looking without elegauce; and is only at last yeclaim- out for something to be done. ed by one of those romantic absurdities which This fault, however, would be more tolerable are found necessary to redeern a character from if the poetry were better. But the dialogue is absolute detestation.
as vile as it is imprudently introduced. It is The Beaux Stratagem is the last, and most i emptiness on stilts; a beavy dress of words perfect, of the comedies of this writer.-It has enveloping very little sense. The hearer is such a spirit of dialogue from beginuing to puzzled to make out the ineaning, and when end, such an equal blaze of hurnour; it abounds he does make it out, he finds it to be nothing with domestic character, so faithfully and but the most common truism shrouded in ununaffectedly painted, that it is never seen common words. but with uniform pleasure. Like the Con The scenery in this piece was delightful, federacy, its wit is familiar and vigorous; and and fully indemnifies for the wearisome insithough totally without fable, the interest pidity of the dialogue. which every one takes in the characters sup We have seldom seen a more effective scene plies the want of it.
upon the stage, than that in which Rhoderick Scrub is a character drawn with so much the Dhu avows himself to Filz-James of Snowdoun, more difficulty, as his character consists and summons up bis ambush of Highland rather in what painters would call a whole, troops at the call of his bugle.--As this scene than in any prominent lines and features; for is faithfully copied from the poetic picture of it though every point is humorous, there is no in the Lady of the Lake, we shall lay the detbing extravagant or forced.
scription before our readers. To a word, this is a comedy which wants nothing to perfection but a natural plot, and a
“ Have, then, thy wish!"- be whistled shrill, little more decorum in the female characters.
And he was answered from the hill; The dialogue is extremely happy, both in the
Wild as the scream of the curlieu, vein of humour which sparkles through it
From crag to crag the signal flew. wjibout intermission, and the ease and facility
Instant, through copse and heatlı, arose of its verbal texture. The concluding scene is
Bonnets and spears and bended bows; a strange Right of improbability; and whilst
On right, on left, above, below, all around bin reforn, Archer is left by the
Sprung up at once the lurking foe; author in confident and unblusbing knavery,
From shingles grey their lauces start, as too pleasant a fellow to be exhibited as a
The bracken-bush sends forth the dart, penitent.
The rushes and the willow wand (To be continued.)
Are bristling into axe and brand,
And every tuft of broom gives life
Il gination, in which, trusting to the native vi. To plaided warrior armed for strife.
gour of his powers, he has avoided all labour, That whistle garrison'd the glen
with the exception of what he has casually At once with fall five hundred men,
bestowed upon two or :hree scenes. As if the yawning hill to heaven
This play, however, exhibits great dexterity A subterranean host bad given.
in the plot. The resemblance between 88Watcbing their leader's beck and will,
bastian and Viola, though borrowed from Plau. All silent there they stood and still;
tus, and employed for other purposes it The Like the loose trags whose threatening mass Comedy of Errors, is made the subject of such Lay tottering o'er i he hollow pass,
ingenious confusion, as to entitle it to the As if an infant's touch could urge
big best praise of comic invention. It is, perTheir headlong passage down the verge, haps, a defect in this piece, that a plot is With step and weapon forward fung,
scarctly apparent at all till the fourth act, and Upon the mountain-side they hung.
the mystery is no sooner presented, than it is The mountaineer cast glance of pride
understood by the audience. Aloog Bepledi's living side,
There is so istething truly cowic in the chaThen tixed his eye and sable brow
rácter of Malrolio; he has a dry conceit, á soFall on Fitz-James-." How say'st thou non? lemu iinportance, which mark him off, and These are Clan-Alpine's warriors true;
distinguish him froin the levity of the com. And Saxon-1 am Roderick Dłu !"
mon place coxcombs; and, what constitutes. Mr. Č. Kemble, in Fitzjames, acted with
the excellence of the part, he becomes ridi. great ease, and what is to his credit, did not
culous, and is punished by the delusion of his
own pride. Sir Andrew Aguecheck is a characoveract his part. It was not his fault that the
ter too weak for satire, and his natural folly is character wanted effect. The writer followed
so spirie and barren, that it scarcely affords a the narrative too closely, and Mr. C. Kemble
foundation for dramatic humour. could not help following the writer. Miss
Sir Toby Belch is a natural character, but Booth was not altogether the Ellen we wished;
not strongly inarked. Olvia, Viola, and the she is, however, a very spirited actress. Young,
Duke, are not very sigorously conceived, or in Roderick Dhr, made the most of his part;
happily pourtrayed ; but the actioni, in which and Mrs. Dickons sang with great excellence.
they are engaged, fastenis so much upon curio. Listoo, as usual, was the fool of the piece, a ||
Il sity, as to leave littlè attention for any ini. mere Grizzle, without the propriety of such a ||
dependent excellence. In a word, this Cocharacter being introduced in this piece.
inedy displays a happy onion of scenes alIt is highly creditable to the Managers of ||
ternately serious avd lively, in which what is this house to observe them intent upon the
grave is familiar and graceful, and what is revival of such plays as are honourable to the
comic is forcible and just. genius of the nation, and stand foremost as I
It has been objected that the subseqoent: the work of our most distinguished classics.
ost distinguished classics. I marriage of Olivia wants credibility. This. With the advantages which their theatre pos is true; but tbe Comedy of Twelfth Night sesses of scenery and exterior decoration, it is must not be considered as a copy of nature in. really gratifying to see tbem profuse upon the trutb of fable, and the fidelity of real cir. works of real taste and value. It has all the cumstances, but as attempting a more diffcharacteristics of public spirit, to observe cult and destructive imitation the accuracy. them liberal in decorating the plays of of just humour, and the faithful portraiture. Shakespeare and of others, and thus admitting of living character. them, in the revival of their pieces, to be par With respect to the performavice of this takers of our national wealth and refinement.
play, we are pleased that, in the main, we can To be liberal in those pleasures which are
speak favourably. -Mrs. C. Kemble repréreally intellectual, and in which the moral sented Olivin with great propriety, and Miss. sense is solely consulted, is the characteristic
Booth, in Viola, if not very forcible, was in. of a people who cherish the arts for their teresting and agreeable. Empery's Sir Toby noblest purposes.
Belch was a coarse conception, and we can One of the most pleasing revivals at this speak no better of Fawcett's Clownia bard Theatre during the present season, is Shake-outline, rude and unfinished. Liston, in Matspeare's Comedy of Twelfth Night. This is rotin, was scarcely dry enougir, and he disap.. one of those dramatic Romances in which the pointed us in the scene in wbich he finds tfiefancy of Shakespeare is more conspicuous than letter. It is but justice, however, to say, that his judgment. It is a level, easy Aight of ima. this character is not easily made effective.
With respect to the revival of Cato, we have sun (Miss Kelly) comes out, and in the act of chiefly to comment upou the perforinance of examining the cloak, is seized by the Duke's it. The njerits of the play itself have been | servants. He is thrown into prison, and at long settled, and criticism and the popular! length brought to trial, when, at the moment taste are in one mind with respect to them.- of sentence, Ludovico appears, and Montalvi is Calo is a play, which, considered as a contri. il convicted of the crime. vance of dramatic artifice, or as a series of This piece is the production of Mr. Dimondi human actions, lias little claim to praise, and in its character, it is one of those pieces which, none at all to approbation. It is a straight by not pretending to merit, is entitled to conTiue of declamation from beginning to end. siderable indulgence. It seems to have no The dialogue, however, is that of the Poet and other purpose, and to aim at no higher object Orator combined. It has a regular majesty, than merely that of amusing a vacant hour, Forthy of the splendour and dignity of Rome and it would be needless rigour, therefore, lo at the highest pitch of ber eloquence. The speak of it with, tvo much severity. There poetry, however, is such as it is not very diffi- are some faulis, however, which ought not to cult to produce. Its excellence consists not be wholly passed over, being of a nature, if so much in the magnificence of its imagery as | allowed to go over in silence, such as to corin the sublimity of its virtue and morality rupt the public taste. They are in fact the That in which it strikes the auditors, and for more vicious, because to a superficial eye they cibly impresses their reason, is its elevation of wear the resemblance of something like excelsentiment.
lences. One of these faults is an absurd overIt would have been absurd to have revived | abondance of that kind of figurative language, this tragedy without the powerful assistance in wbich the terms of the figure are taken of Mr. Kemble's Calo. His performance of from the office, profession, or character iq life, this character was such as satisfied the judg of the speaker. For example, if a barber be ment of every man, and as far as the character introduced, he dresses bis language, and curls vould admit, made its way to the feelings of his compliments; ob.erves, per haps, tbat vir. all. He cannot make Cato amiable, but he tue is in itself innately beautiful, but that a iakes him great ; he displays him in the aw. good head of hair is vot the worse for being ful grandeur of virtue, and in the generous frizzled. In the same manner, if a soldier be devotion of a patriot,-the wreck of sinking introduced, he speaks of every tbiog in mili. liberty, and the ruin of a cause which never lary terms; thinks that candour should be elevated itself after this fall. Ju a word, Mr. always in the advance, and virtue in the rear; kemble's taste and judgment were never more that fortune, perhaps, may dissipate the light conspicuous; he never delivered a finer lesson infantry of Summer Acquaintance, but that a of oratory from the stage. .
true friend is always a heavy-armed cavalry; Mr. C. Kemble, and Mr. Young, in Juba and and ibat it is always well to have one in the Portius, did ample justice to their parts; and corps de reserve. We never saw Egerton to more advantage than Now all this, and all that is like it, which in the rough and wily African, Syphar. makes up the best part of the dialogue of
LYCEUM.-A new Opera called The Peasant || | this piece, and of almost all that are brought Boy, has been produced at tbis theatre. out, is most miserable stuff. And this for
An Italian Duke (Holland) goes to the wars: || two reasons; first, because it is unnatural and bis cousin (Raymond) becomes anxious for the absurd, and, secondly, because it is the easiest title and estates; be attempts to woo the l of all possible nonsense. Duke's niece, but is rejected. Disappointed
| As to the plot of this Play, it is likewise in love, be resolves to murder him, and as the very indifferent. The Peasant Boy is like a Duke is about to return at that precise period, King ; ought to do every thing, and does alhe determiues to murder him. A rencontre most nothing. He is a complete blockhead; ensues, in which, after receiving a slight and all those about him must have been as wound, Alberti is rescued by the sudden ap great fuols as himself, or they would not bave pearance of Ludovico (Lovegrove), who pursues seized him as a murderer, because he picked the assassin, and wounds bim in the right Il up the knife and cloak. hand. The assassin Montalvi Hies, and to Another new piece called The Bee Hive, which escape the pursuit, which is close upon him, Il is extremely pleasant, but not fit to criticise, dcops his cloak, mask, and dagger, at the door has been produced, with success, at this of a peasant's cottage. Julian, the peasant's Theatre.
No. XVI. Vol. II.N.S.
INCIDENTS · OCCURRING IN AND NEAR LONDON, INTERESTING MARRIAGES, &c.
CEREMONY OF THE INSTALLATION.-Med. || Council, among whom were Earl Moira, Lords besday, Feb. 6, being the day appointed for Keith, Cassilis, Hutchinson, Mr. Sheridan, Mr. swearing in the Prince of Wales as Regent, be- | M. Angelo Taylor, Mr. Tyrwhitt, Colonel Mac fore his taking upon himself that important of Mahon, Colonel Bloomfield, General Hulse, fice, about twelve o'clock a party of the flank Mr. Bicknell, &c. &c. (His Chancellor was by companies of the grenadiers, with their colours, accident not present, and there was a delay in the band of the 1st regiment, drums and 6 fes, consequence of his Royal Higliness's anxious dewith wliite gaiters on, marched into the court. sire of his presence.) The Prince was also acyard of Carlton-horse, where the colours were companied by all the Royal Dukes. They passed pitched in the centre of the grand entrance; the through the room where the Privy Councillors band struck up “ God save the King," and con
were assembled, throngh the Circular Drawing tinued playing that national piece alternately room, into the Grand Saloon (a beautiful room with martial airs during the day till near five in scarlet drapery, embellished with portraits of o'clock. Colonel Bloomfield, one of the Prince's
all the inost distinguished Admirals who have principal attendants, having written to the Earl fought the battles that have given us the domiof Macclesfield, the Captain of his Majesty's Yeo pion of the seas), aud here the Prince seated men of the Guard, informing him it was his himself at the top of the table-his Royal Royal Highness's commands that as many of the Brothers and Cousin seated themselves on each Yeomen of the Guard should attend at Carlton hand according to senjority, and all the Officers house, as usually attend upon Councils being
of his Household, not Privy Concillors, ranged held by the King in state. The Noble Earl not | themselves on each side of the entrance to the being in London, the letter was opened by the Saloon. The Privy Councillors then proceeded, Exon in waiting, who ordered six Yeomen and | all in full dress, according to their rank--the an Usher to attend at Carlton-house, which they Archbishop of Canterbury, tbe Lord Chancellor, accordingly did; and they, together with the the Archbishop of York, the Lord President, the Prince's servants in state, lined the grand hall i Lord Privy Seal, &c. &c. and as they severally and staircase; several of the Life-Guardsmen eutered, they made their reverence to the Prince, were also in some of the rooms, in a similar man who made a graceful return to each, and they per as on Court-days at St. James's, About a successively took their places at the table, and quarter before two o'clock, the Duke of Mon Tastly, Mr. Falkener and Sir Stephen Cotterell trose arrived, being the first of the Privy Coun took their seats, as Clerk and Keeper of the Recillors wlio attended; he was followed by all the cords. The Prince then spoke to the following Royal Dukes, and a very numerous assemblage of effect:Privy Councillors, who had all arrived by a quar My Lords I understand that by the Act ter before three o'clock. The whole of the mag passed by the Parliament appointing me Regent nificent suite of state apartments were opened, of the United Kingdom, in the name and on be. and the illustrious persons were all ushered into l half of his Majesty, Lain required to take certain the Gold Room (so called from the style of the oaths, and to make a declaration before your ornaments.) Almost every Privy Councillor now || Lordships, as prescribed by the said Act. I am in town was present--and they were above an now ready to take these oaths, and to make the hundred in number. About half past two o'clock, declaration prescribed. Eorl Moira, of his Royal flighness's Council, be The Lord Privy Seal then rose, made his reing also a Privy Councillor of the King, brought verence, approached the Regent, and read from a a inessage from the Prince to the President of the parchment the oath as follows The Prince, Council, Earl Camden, desiring bis attendance with an audible voice, pronounced after him :on the Prince in an adjoining room, according to «I do sincerely promise and swear that I will the usual form, to communicate to him officially “ be faithful and bear true allegiance ta the return to the summons, &c. The Noble Earl “bis Majesty King George.--So help we accordingly went with Earl Voira, made the ne « God." cessary intimations to his Royal Highness, and “I do solemnly promise and swear, that I will returned to the company; who during this time “ truly and faithfully execute the offic. of of waiting, were highly gratified with seeing the “ Regent of the United Kingdom of Great Princess Charlotto on horseback, accompanied “ Britain and Ireland, according to an Act of by two grooms, make the tour of the beautivul ..“ Parliament possed in the fifty-first year of gardens at the back of the Palace. Her Royal " the reign of his Majesty King George the Highness appeared to be in excellent health and « Third (intitled, An Act, &c.) and that I spirits. After Earl Camdeu's return, the Prince “ will administer, according to law, the approached in grand processiou, preceded by the “ power and authority vested in me by virtue Officers of his own Household, and several of his “ of the said Act; and that I will is all things