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~ Now stay thee, sir Pilgrim, and hear my tale,
I crave by thy holy shells!
And sad too to him that tells.”
Be to him that or hears or tells,
And these only oyster shells.”
To hear out thou art willing;
Do but stop-I'll give thee a shilling."
And so sore by want I'm accurst,
And for two I'd hear your worst."
In sale of thine oysters and ling:
But I gave him five shil-ling:
Perhaps thou'st had a long walk ?”
And the stranger began to talk !' P. 3. The ridicule in this prelude is admirable, and the burlesque tales which follow are excellently imagined: if the pandæmonium of terror-mongers can bear, without wincing, a few such floggings as this volume contains, we shall give them up as incorrigible.
DRAMA. Art.45.- Mutius Scavola; or, the Roman Patriot. An Historical
Drama. By W. H. Ireland. 8vo. 25. 6d. Badcock. 1891.
The expulsion of the Tarquins from Rome by Lucius Junius Brutus, for the violation of Lucretia by Sextus, is a story well known to all our readers. On an event immediately following that transaction the author has founded the drama before us.
Tarquin applied for assistance to Porsenna, king of Clusium, to reinstate him in the possession of his crown. We must here notice a small mistake of Mr. Ireland, who calls Porsenna by the general name of king of Etruria, instead of defining him to be king of the Clusini, one of the twelve nations of Etruria. In the second consulate of Poplicola, Rome was invested by Porsenna, and so furious an attack made, that the Etrurians had nearly entered the city, the two consuls being wounded and carried out of the battle.
In the third consulate of Poplicola, Titus Lucretius, the brother of Lucretia, being his collegue, the Romans were defeated and five thousand men slain ; at this period Mutius Scævola formed the bold resolution of relieving Rome, by entering the camp of the Clusini and killing Porsenna : in the execution of this design, how, ever, he failed ; for, instead of the king, he stabbed his 'secretary, The magnanimity exercised both by Porsenna and Scævola, on the discovery, led to happy consequences; for they were struck with admiration of each other's virtue, and the two nations concluded a peace.
We do not think Mr. Ireland's performance entitled to much commendation. An old story thrown into blank verse will not be very entertaining, unless the sentiments be strong, the diction spirited, and the incidents bold and unexpected. This is not the case in the present drama--the author is always languid, frequently obscure. From a number of instances of the latter defect, we will select one. Clælia asserts,
• Mutius, I seal my faith upon my heart.' The best excuse we can make for these ? muge canora' is, that Mr. Ireland did not take time to consider what he was writing. We certainly do not understand them.
Art. 46.-Elisha ; or, the Woman of Shunem. A new sacred Orato
rio. . Written by Thomas Hull, of the Theatre-Royal Covent-Garden, Set to Music by Dr. Arnold. 8vo. Is. Cawthorn. 1801.
It will not do to bring works of this nature to the test of criti. cism. They are generally a mixture of a small portion of Scripture, with a great deal of rhodomontade of the author's own ; but, as they are only vehicles for music, we must even so let thein pass.
NOVELS. Art. 47.–The Welshman, a Romance. By William Earle, jun.
4 Vols. 12mo. 165. sewed. Earle and Hemet. 1801. This romance is a most perfect jumble of absurdities, a hodge-podge of unmixable ingredients. We have a convent of nuns presented to us the day after we had parted from a Druid, and such a Druid too-one who was acquainted with the Catholic doctrine of purgatory. It is a pity that William Earle, jun. 'had not perused the History of England used by schoolmistresses and governesses, be fore he ventured to write on the subject himself. He would there have found that Suetonius Panhinus extirpated the Druids, by roasting them in their own fires, more than a thousand years before the birth of either Edward I. or prince Llewellin. We cannot offer a better excuse for him than the apology which he puts into the mouth of one of his characters.
• I wish I could entertain you better in unfolding my ideas ;-I am but an uninformed youth, without the power of rhetoric; and crowding my thoughts, rapid as they cross me, without studying what I am going to say.' Vol. ii. P. 121,
It is not however in our power, to offer so good an apology for some other parts of the work. The narration of Madoc's behaviour to Gunifred on the couch is certainly too libidinous : and the same epithet will almost equally apply itself to the different descriptions of Emma and Athena. We really wonder that the relatives, to whom the novel is dedicated, had not forbidden the young man from making such ideas public—they, assuredly, are not becoming in a stripling who has 6 scarcely seen his twentieth year,' any more than are the loose thoughts on marriage scattered through the volumes. When we give also the following confusion of tenses, &c. as a sample of the language, the reader will be satisfied that Mr. Earle's fame would not have suffered if the romance of the Welshman had never been printed.
"A victory over the English was not to be gained but with the loss of many lives; many widows that went wives to bed would rise with the next morning's sun, and many that had parents shall be orphaned; the flaming sword of war shall cut short the days of the brave, and the blood of Britone shall clot their parent earth.' Vol. i. P. 225. Art. 48.- Mysterious Friendship; a Tale. 2 Vols. 12mo. Sr.
sewed. Earle and Hemet. The virtuous and innocent actions of two rural families in Devonshire, whose respective masters are with their regiment in America, are the subject matter of this novel. It contains no one incident that has not been many times represented in other works of this na. ture; yet it may be perused with pleasure by persons fond of novel. reading ; for, generally speaking, there is nothing in it to find fault with, unless it be the folly of the catastrophe. William Bennet must, forsooth, turn out in the end to be a lord, by the hackneyed method of being changed at nurse; without the probability of becoming better by the practice of one additional virtue, or in any other wise, as far as we see, being an iota more respectable.
MISCELLANEOUS LIST. ART. 49. - Remarks on the Character of Richard the Third; as
played by Cooke and Kemble. 8vo. 15. 6d. Parsons. 1801.
· The two winter theatres being announced to open with the tragedy of Richard the Third, naturally gave rise to an idea of competition. The writer of these pages being entirely unacquainted with any performer off the stage, must certainly be considered an impartial judge.' P. 3.
There are two positions laid down, which at least appear to us to be doubtful. Why must competition be the necessary consequence of two theatres playing the same piece? Or why must a man, because he is impartial, be a judge of what he pretends to write upon ? In reply to the first, we should hope that two bodies of men of liberal sentiment would not envy one another when both are so bountifully protected, would not let their eye be evil because the public are good:' and to the second we must say, after reading this pamphlet
through, that we question much the author's judgement, and more his impartiality. Art. 50.-Kemble and Cooke : or, a Critical Review of a Pamphlet
published under the Title of · Remarks on the Character of Richard the Third, as played by Cooke and Kemble. With other Critical Re. marks on the Performances of these two Gentlemen. 8vo. Is. 6d. Westley. 1801.
This pamphlet, in answer to the former article, is written with so much warmth and spirit, that we can hardly question its being the production of one of Mr. Kemble's intimate friends. The author must forgive us for distrusting him when he says he does not know that gentleman. So much earnestness would hardly be employed, we think, for a stranger. If it really be so, Mr. Kemble is much obliged to him. In the first part of his review the writer deserves considerable reprehension : his eagerness to vindicate his friend makes him forget that manners make the man, and he descends almost to scurrility; but, as he goes on, this abuse ceases, and his language becomes more moderate. At the conclusion are niade a great many pertinent observations in reply to the author of • Remarks,' which evince a great share of critical ability, and which we hope have convinced his adversary of the impropriety of his publication.
Art. 51. An historical and practical Essay on the Culture and Com
merce of Tobacco. By William Tatham. 8vo. 6s. Boards. Vernor and Hood. 1801.
Our author, who has long resided in Virginia, gives a particular account of the cultivation of the tobacco-plant, and its management, in a commercial view ; and traces the various alterations in the demurd which fashion or political interests have occasioned. It is by no means crident that this plant is indigenous in the new world; and, in 'every vestige which history has left, it appears to be cultivated in every part of America. If any portion of the new continent can claim it as its own, the Windward Islands or South America will be found to merit the distinction. To the history we have no important additions; culture, management, package, exportation, &c. of tobacco, are detailed with minuteness, and apparently with truth. The cultivation and the exportation are gradually declining. Those who are interested in the subject will find much useful information in this volume, detailed with accuracy and perspicuity.
Art. 52.-A Letler, humbly addressed to the most Rev. and Right Rev.
the Archbishops and bishops of the Church of England. 8vo. Cobbett and Morgan. 1801.
This letter is an offspring of the Porcupine press. It points out to the bishops a truth too well known, that some of the clergy are become most notorious schismatics;' for when a minister of the church oficiates in any place of public worship, independent on èpiscopal jurisdiction, he officiates in schism. This is justly called a malum in se; and the bishops are requested to suspend the delinquents. • To this we can have no objection ; but when the writer would preclude the use of the church liturgy by any one who is not of the church, we cannot see any possible good purpose such intolerance would produce. By using the church liturgy, the sectaries not only give a testimony to its excellence, but prepare their hearers for a better union with the establishment. The abuse of the act of toleration is ridiculous : let the church be maintained if the legislature please; but let not those who differ from it, and follow their own ways of worship, be injured. If Gospel preaching by illiterate persons be become a grievance, it may easily be removed by the more earnest preaching of the bishops and their clergy. Let zeal be opposed by zeal; and the state will receive no injury if it prevent only religious polemics from acts of public outrage against each other. We applaud highly the attempt to afford the poor better accommodation in the body of the church; but the evident drift of the letter, to tighten the strings of the church instrument, and to infringe. on the act of toleration, will, we trust, meet with no encouragement. ART. 53.—The Life of ********* Esq. with the Circumstance of his
Conversion, under the preaching of the Gospel at Providence Chapel, in London. Being a Testimonial of unmerited free Grace, and the Sovereignty of God in the Choice of his elect People. Written by himself. 8vo. Is. Priestly. 1801.
********* esq. the son of an old-clothesman in Monmouth-street, was apprenticed to a chimney-sweeper, which occupation he left for that of a pickpocket. The methodist-meetings afforded him practice; but, in the pursuit of his profession, he was arrested by the energies of the preacher, and instantaneously converted. It was difficult at first to reconcile his practice to his new faith; but a due consideration that he was now one of the Lord's elect got the better of his carral and natural scruples, and he continued the devotee and the pickpocket till he had amassed a sufficient sum to take the business and house of a pawnbroker. His faith he here retained ; the dangerous employment of a pickpocket gave way to one more lucrative, in which he assiduously exercised every knavish trick, covering them with the consoling thought, that however foully he might act he never could finally fall from grace. His business so prospered, that he soon acquired a sufficiency to purchase an estate, and to become a magistrate for the county, in which capacity, as in every other, whe. ther of brother, father, husband, tradesman, he showed himself devoid equally of honesty, virtue, and Christian charity, but full of the appearance and cant of religion. That such a character might exist we cannot doubt ; but it would be unjust to associate Calvinism with such villany. The life here presented is a caricature of the principles of that sect, and in this point of view it may be usefully presented to those Calvinistic tradesmen who are in danger of palliating their vices by their religious professions--to such as are tricking, over-reaching, morose, canting, intolerant, uncharitable. On the other hand, an equally strong caricature may be drawn of the mere moral man, with a better education, who is constant to his church, but as strongly attached to playhouses, masquerades, balls, routs, bathing-places, dinners, and the whole routine of idle amusements.