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Author of the piece before us endeavours to establish his position in favour of the comic muse. To the gorgeous fiétions of tragedy, with all its tumid graces of imagery and diction, he prefers the more humble portraits of comedy, and the delineation of manners, Comedy, he observes, is founded in nature ; tragedy is supported by art. The performer who represents terrific phrenzy, or excels in studied declamation, may be entitled to praise ; but the actor who gives a picture of contemporary manners is more valuable to the interests of society : by the former we are astonished; by the latter we are taught.
Having thus taken his ground, the Essayist thinks he may safely allow to Mrs. Siddons the highest excellence in tragedy-secure of his point in favour of Mrs. Jordan. He describes the latter in a va. riety of characters, such as the Country Girl, the Romp, the Virgin Unmasked, Miss Hoyden, and many others. The conclusion of this fyllogism is obvious.
The pre-eminence of the comic genius once established, and Mrs. Jordan being displayed in the brightest colours, it follows that Mrs. Siddons muit descend from her throne.
Of this little tract it is but justice to say, that it is written with art and elegance. To decide upon the merit of actors or actresses is not within our province, as Reviewers. * Should the ingenious writer of this pamphlet have a number of
followers, we shall not think it a matter of wonder. Dryden says, were Virgil and Martial to stand for parliament men, we all know who would carry the election. · Art. 18. The Country Wife; an Entertainment. In two Acts.
Altered from Wycherly. As performed at the Theatre Royal,
Covent Garden. 8vo. 15. Lowndes, &c. 1786.
one Act. By Henry Fielding, Esg. With Alterations. As per-
Of the two preceding articles it may be sufficient to observe, that the former has been cut down to an after-piece, and the latter has undergone some criding alcerations, evidently for the purpose of introducing Mrs. Brown and Mrs. Jordan (rival actresses) to a London audience. Art. 20. The Children of Thespis; a Poem. Part I. 4to. 35.
Bew, &c. 1786. The Rofcind of Churchill feems to have usurped all dominion over the performers of both our theatres. Since his time many attempts have been made. The late Mr. Hugh Kelly wrote Thelpis *, or, a Critical Examination, &c. in which were found many good lines, and some brilliant passages; but the vigour of Churchill still remained unrivalled. Of the poem now before us, the fate will probably be the same as that of Thespis: it will divert for a time, and be forgotten. Churchill will long be remembered, and the reason is, he has given the distinctive features, the specific qualities of the
* See Review, Vol. XXXV. p. 388.
several performers, whom he thought proper to pass in review before
of the performers are not described, and their characteristic defects ires a remain untouched. The Author seems to have a rapid and flowing
facility in the kind of versification which he has chosen, the hande are gallop of Anstey; but it may be owing to that very facility that we
do not find any acuteness of criticism, nor indeed much expence of
fent Theatrical Performers, by a genuine Reflection. Svo. 25.
It is not enough that the actors are reviewed and lashed in the
makes them again pass muster in plain prose. The piece is beneath 10 the dignity of criticism. We Mall only say of it, “ įf the jargon of
unintelligible language, unnatural metaphor, and false glitter de
Serve recommendation, the Public are solicited in favour of this
Citizens of the United States. By David Humphreys *, Esquire.
This Writer unites in himself the two characters of the Vates of the
early Period of Life. 410. 25. 6d. Swift. 1786,
Mrs. Weft speaks of her natural inclination for poetry, in an in-
† We were better pleased with this gentleman's former piece, intitled, " A Poem addressed to the United States of America :" See Review, Vol. LXXII. p. 388.
• Oft, as the fwains their joyous concourse held,
As Mirth and Song prolong'd the festal day,
Her devious feet have wander'd far away. .
To times remote her pensive thoughts have turn'da
And fell ambition its destruction mourn'd.
The rising tumult rends the trembling air !
Mourns for the fate of some much-injur'd fair,
Ah! vagrant Muse, by thee too soon deceiv'd,
My infant heart thy choral songs approv'd ;
And thee, ere reason dawn'd, to madness lovid,
With magic power enslav'd my ductile mind,
Her touch to extacy each joy refin'd.
A truth thy feeling heart must oft deplore?
Till weary nature can sustain no more.
* * * These lines will suffice to introduce Mrs. West to the acquaintance of our Readers.
The pieces in this little collection are chiefly of the Elegiac kind; beside which, there is a Legendary Tale, of considerable length; and a pretty Ode on Spring.
In her prefatory address, the Poetess modestly apologizes for such defects as may be observed in performances which have only been to her “ an agreeable relaxation, without having the power to detach her from the essential duties of domestic life.” Art. 24. A Monody on the much-lamented Death of Samuel John
fon, LL.D. By the Author of The Field Negroe, Antigua Plan. ter, Grey's Cliff, Kirkstall Abbey, and other Miscellaneous Pieces. 4to. Is. Baldwin.
There is an obfcurity in this Monody, through which we have in vain attempted to penetrate. The numbers Aow melodiously over the ear, but the words make few distinct impressions on the mind. Speaking of the tombs in Weltininster Abbey, our Poet says,
• Here cold Ambition als a final pause,
Here Genius makes the humble earth its bed,
And makes each tomb as mortal, as each bard.' Young Cupids mocking the cold Spectres of departed love - fad cold tears Vhed from colder stones Sepulchral atoms blotting an æthereal view - and ibe worm of the tomb twining like Virgil's monstrous snake -are phrases which appear to our cold fancies vox et præterea nihil. We might apply the same remark co many other passages in this poem ; particularly when the poet nakes Dr. Johnson
From tangled science prune the spiry thorn,
Which clouded sense and learning's early morn:' when he says, that
• His mind look'd into things with piercing eye,
To charm the desert and 10 brave the sky :' and when he speaks of · death's diffilling affection's purer kiss,' of ' fame's loud trumpet sounding within the stone ;' and of a crimfosi landscape swooning in snow.'
In the midt of many faults, we meet, however, with several good lines; among which are the following:
' And now his urn fhall drink the falling tear,
L A w. (The following article has been sent to us by a Correspondent"; and as the Author of the publication to which it relates maintains a doctrine that' we have ever opposed, the character bere given of tbe work is inserted merely to evince our impartiality.] Art. 25. An Examination into the Rights and Duties of Jurors; with some Observations on the Law of Libels. 28. 6d. Whieldon. 1785.
This pamphlet is written professedly to encounter the popular doctrine, that jurors are judges of the law as well as facts, in all in. ftances; and secondly, to affert their right to determine on all the matter of a libel, as an excepted case from the jurisdiction of the courts of justice. This is an hazardous, because a new method of treating the question, and is requires a very able and experienced pen to manage a subject of so much nicely as the examiner's distinc. tion makes it. How far he merits the former character, will appear from the specimens here offered to the reader. From the boldness of his attempt, it does not seem that he has had time to acquire very
much of the latter; and the fervour of its style justifies the fufpicion of a no very advanced age in its author.
.In considering the rights and duty of jurors, he deduces his prin. ciples from, ift, The nature of the institution ; zdly, the reason of the thing; and adly, the constant practice of the courts of law. On the first he is full and explicit ; and heộtates not to bring into his service even the 29th chap:er of Magna Charta itselt. "No. merous instances,' says he, daily occur of persons suffering the very extremity of these evils against which the chapter of Magna Charta is said to provide, without the intervention of a jury, and solely by the law of the land. A man shall be taken and imprisoned on a capias and respondendum. If he absconds, and cannot be found, but is returned quinto excetus, he shall be outlawed ; this outlawry is attended with a forfeiture of all his goods and chattels to the king: and a man's destruction is completed when, if he pleads guilty to an appeal of murder, he shall be hanged; and not in any one of the cases which we have offered is recourse had to trial by jury. In short, wherever the facts asserted by the plaintiff or prosecutor are allowed by the defendant or prisoner, the lex terre will not suffer the absurd and ureless delay of trial by jury to find what is already admitted, but Heps in with its judgment on the confession.'
On the second head the examiner brings down the authorities of M. De Lolme and Dr. Towers to answer or refute themselves. On the third, he apologizes for seeming to make the courts judges in Jua propria cansa, when they attempt to ascertain the limits of their * power; and inus accounts for his frequent appeal to authorities and precedents." : Where else,' says he, : Thall we seek the boundaries by which the authority of the different courts is restrained, but in the folemn adjudication of the superior courts of justice? If I claim, by prescription, a way through my neighbour's field, I can prove my sight only by evidence that my ancestors have exercised the same right . time immemorial." And this evidence fhall be sufficient to establish my title, becaule it is the very best that can be adduced.'
His general conclusion from all these premises is, that a jury is to take the law from the judge, and him only, because they cannot take it in evidence; and that if they differ from him on any other ground than the facts, they incur all the guilt, though they may escape the punihment, of perjury, But it being essential to a libel that it be false and malicious, the jury are to judge of that falfity and malice as a matter of fact totally and exclusively within their province.
These are ihe general outlines of the work before us. Of the exccution our readers muit judge for themselves. To the principle, if we had room and leisure, we might urge some objections. One of the most material will suffice at present: That it is scarcely necefsary to allist the encreasing authority of the courts in general; and chat jurors will be induced to exert the power, rather by general arguments than by that close and profeflional reasoning which this Author advances in their service. With respect to fiyle, the line labor et mera seems to have been not sufficiently attended to. The beginning a paragraph so often' with a ? then' iş yery tiresome, es, : Wherein then it may be aked--The excellence then consists —