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And lent her fostering breast :
And sooth'd my soul to rest.
When my prophetic soul,
What could my fears control ?
Nor let one murmur rise:
The sweet domestic ties.
PUBLIC LIBRARIES OF FRANCE.
WHATEVER may be the state of the press in France, the extent and munificence of her public libraries must command our admiration. This is the more extraordinary, when we consider that the country which produced a Newton and a Locke, names with which Malebranche and Des Cartes can bear no comparison, is very deficient in public libraries. When the King's Library shall be added to the Sloanean, Harleian, and Cottonian collections at the British Museum, the whole will not then amount to one-third of the books contained in the Bibliothèque du Roi at Paris. The following list will appear sufficiently extensive. In Paris the royal library has above 700,000 printed volumes, and 70,000 MSS. The library of Monsieur 150,000 printed volumes, and 5000 MSS. The library of St. Géneviéve 110,000 printed volumes, and 2000 MSS. The Mazarine library 92,000 printed volumes, and 3000 MSS. The library of the city of Paris 20,000 volumes. All these are daily open to the public. In the Departments there are twenty-five public libraries, with above 1,700,000 volumes, of which Aix has 72,670, Marseilles 31,500, Toulouse 30,000, Bourdeaux 105,000, Tours 30,000, Lyons 106,000, Versailles 40,000, and Amiens 40,000. In the Royal Library at Paris, there are several uncollated MSS. of the Scriptures.
When grief intrudes, when pains assail,
bark, and set me safe on shore.
Didst thou not 'suage each galling care!
And lo! the desert teems with flow'rs,
While nature tells her pangs in sighs ;
Implore thine healing aid, and in thee find a friend.
OBSERVATIONS ON THE MODERN DRAMA.
The play's the thing
By which we catch the manners.-SHAKSPEARE. The stage has, by many able writers, been considered a means of imparting lessons of morality to the mind it has also been termed “ The brief chronicle of the times," designed “to hold, as 'twere, the mirror up to nature, to shew
The very age and body of the time,
Its form and pressure.' The first is a very important and noble object. The second is a pleasing and useful exhibition, which might probably produce very beneficial results, by way of example, if only the virtuous were exalted, and the vicious debased, in our modern dramas. It may, however, be very true, that there are but few subjects having any claim to originality, which could be converted to such purposes, and without novelty there may, in the opinion of many, be but little chance of success. We are told that character, plot, and incidents, are all exhausted. That machinery, show, splendour,
-the springing of mines,--the blowing-up of castles,-hurricanes,—volcanoes,-water-spouts,—cascades, and cataracts, are the only materials that can possibly draw the attention, and secure the admiration and patronage, of the public. If this be true, is it not equally lamentable ? for is it not an indication of our degeneracy almost to a state of barbarism, to acknowledge, in these which are termed enlightened times, that we can have no relish for that which is natural ? for that which being conveyed to the mind, shall call up some moral reflection, some noble sentiment, and virtuous feeling, to rouse and stimulate the soul to the admiration and pursuit of all that is good and valuable in life? Is it not lamentable that we cannot enter into the spirit of those elevated thoughts so well expressed by the immorta! Shakspeare, and so admirably delivered by some of our performers ? Shall we tacitly acknowledge, that our admiration is only to be excited, when we see stately elephants, splendid cars, prancing steeds, and learned dogs ? and that we listen with more attention to an artificial thunder-storm, than to the more solid dictates of wisdom and morality?
Among the various amusements of a rational and enlightened people, the drama stands certainly entitled to the first consideration, possessing as it does, the power of combining, in a most admirable and comprehensive manner, the “ utile et dulce.” Nor does the rage for theatrical amusements appear to have declined with dramatic merits; for I believe the theatres of the metropolis at the present day, are upon many occasions scarcely able to afford accommodation for their numerous, visitors. Whether this circumstance deserves to be acknowledged as an indication of refined taste, and solid judgment, may be a question subject to a variety of opinions according to the judgment and taste upon which such opinions are formed, or by which they may be suggested : but I freely confess that I cannot hail it as entitled to such an acknowledgment.
To rail at popular opinions, must at all times appear unpopular: but I cannot, in the present instance, reconcile my mind to agree with the voice of the public, if such really be the prevailing sentiment: and that it is, there can be little doubt, since instruction, which ought upon all occasions to be blended with theatrical amusements, appears no longer to be con
sidered the most important, or even a requisite ingredient, in the composition of a modern drama. The heart is no longer to be elevated or depressed, reproved and corrected, through the medium of the senses. Minerva appears to have deserted the spot, and pastime or folly, with her cap and bells, to have usurped undivided sway. And yet crowded audiences shower down their unqualified applauses upon the glittering nothings, upon which all the decorations of the artist and machinist are bestowed, without considering that the morality of the fable, the propriety of the language, and the consistency of the spectacle, ought to constitute the principal merits of the piece. Indeed it is notorious, that the combined efforts of the scene painter, and the mechanic, have often more weight in the salvation of a play, than all the vigour and energy
of the author's imagination. It must, however, be admitted, that originality of thought, grandeur of design, and the inculcation of moral feeling, are but seldom discoverable in the productions of modern genius ; and that a something of deception resembling the juggler, who while he waves the box in the air, is endeavouring to take advantage of the senses and pockets of his audience, is substituted in their stead.* This allusion will also apply to the stage tricks of the performers, which, however injudiciously introduced, have, in many instances, been known to establish a play in the estimation of the public.
In making these observations I am not inclined to censure the stage on puritanical principles, but rather to point out some of the inconsistencies which are occasionally, and I think I may say frequently, introduced in our dramatic exhibitions ; and, to ask a plain question, how is it that they are tolerated? We are told that
The drama's laws the drama's patrons give,
And those who live to please, must please, to live, Hence the responsibility of the managers in pursuit of novelty is entirely removed, provided the patrons of the drama give their approbation to such representations.
LINES FOR AN ALBUM.
Various as creation's dyes,
Charm the ears and please the eyes.
Neat morceaux sublime and bold;
Turn the pages and behold:
Though a motley patch-work group;
A sort of Salmagundi soup :
Yielding laughter and delight,
J. * Of course there are exceptions to this proposition; in particular the new comedy, which we had the pleasure of commending in our critical notice of it (p. 118), may be cited as a bright example of the contrary.-ED.
PASTORAL. By a Quaker.
PLACED at his table, lonely Colin sate,