Imatges de pÓgina
PDF
EPUB

"The people," added he, "adore you, for you are as beneficent as the Almighty; history will record your name with veneration for your love of justice, but you should consider that your own actions are blended indiscriminately with those of your favourites; for under the protection which your name affords them, they do as they please; and every robbery, every act of oppression which they commit, dero gates from your honour and greatness. I I de mand justice, and request that the wife of my friend may be liberated: you cannot reject my request, since you are the father and judge of your people."

The caliph surveyed with surprise and awe

PUBLIC AMUSEMENTS FOR MARCH

HAYMARKET THEATRE.

Ox Thursday, March 9, a new Comedy was produced at this Theatre, under the title of Independence; or, The Trustee. The author is not known.

The Plot of this Play was very trite.-A younger brother is enjoying a good fortune under the will of his father, who had disinherited his eldest son upon the misrepresentations of the youngest, but the old gentleman baving discovered before his death the villainy of the younger son, who had persuaded hin that his brother was dead, makes a new will, and appoints an honest country Grocer a Trustee under it. This revocation of his former will is carefully concealed from the younger brother, who, upon his father's death, enters upon the estate, and excites a general disgust by his conduct. As he is about to carry off an heiress in the neighbourhood, his eldest brother arrives, the latter will of the father is produced; the younger brother is exposed, and the eldest restored to the estate.

Such is the outline of the plot of this piece; || which, it must be confessed, attempted the best end of Comedy, by delineating manners, and bringing into action the humours of familiar character. The Dramatis l'ersone are, for the most part, a phalanx of sturdy Independents,— | scorning servility, and asserting their freedom of sentiment with churlish pride. This humour is encountered by the violence and caprice of those with whom they are connected. At length, however, they triumph by the pertinacity of their virtue, and are crowned with wives, with money, and happiness.

There was something pleasing enough in the design of this Play, but the execution was very unskilful.-There was not much relief to

the bold and interesting old man, whose eyes flashed with indignant courage. "And what advantage do you expect to derive from exposing your life to imminent danger?"

"The cousciousness of dying in the perform ance of a good action; bat my prince surely cannot commit an act of injustice."

"No," replied the caliph; "your words, old man, bave had a wonderful effect upon me. A good angel has assisted you; for 10 mortal has as yet dared to speak with such an independent spirit in my presence. Go now, I shall send for you when your presence is

wanted."

[To be concluded in our next.]

the serious parts by any humour either of incident or character; the country Grocer was a very wretched attempt; and the Clerk (a part performed by Liston) a very slight and insignificant sketch. The piece was violently opposed during the two last acts, and escaped with difficulty a final condemnation.

KEMBLE'S LEAR.

On Monday, Feb. 20, was performed at this Theatre the tragedy of King Lear; the part of Lear by Mr. Kemble.

This is perhaps one of the most affecting of all the tragedies of Shakespeare.-It is a tragedy without the dagger and the bowl.—It is a tragedy which, stript of the common appendages and decorations of the drama, would lose nothing of its effect; such is the force of its character, and the natural discrimination of its passion.

The wound of filial ingratitude, a suffering of the domestic kind, which, from other authors, might have produced a prosiac play, like George Barnwell or the Gamester, has been elevated by the genius of Shakespeare to the rank of a tragic passion; and a father, complaining of the ingratitude of his daughters, is made to command an universal sympathy.

The madness of Lear is perhaps the only natural madness on the stage. It is not the intoxication of an Alexander, or the poetic phrenzy of an Orestes; it is passion worked into natural fury; the bursting of a mind unable to compress its feelings, the extravagance and sensibility of a royal lunatic.

Mr. Kemble is the only actor of the present day who at all enters into the character of Lear; but his performance, rather from natural impossibility, than from any defect of

skill, fails in making that impression of which the character is capable. In the parts of heroic vigour, more particularly in that in which the old King contends with the assassins of Cordelia, and, exhausted by the efforts which he makes in her defence, sinks into the arms of his attendants, Mr. Kemble presented a perfect image of Lear. In the parts of abrupt, passion, when the mind of the aged monarch shifts between insanity and reason, Mr. Kemble was equally happy; but he was not successful in representing the decrepitude of Lear; he was any thing but an old man-He stalked with all the firmness of juvenility, and when he assumed the feebleness of age, the art was too apparent to deceive.

To make the limbs totter, to bend the body, and dim the eyes, is more a trick of art than a requisite of natural talent; and as this is the only part of Lear in which Mr. Kemble does not succeed, his failure cannot be imputed to any want of judgment or skill.

ON THE

CONSTRUCTION OF THEATRES.

SIR,

SINCE the year 1792 there have been seven Theatres burnt down in this metropolis. The following observations on the construction of edifices of this description, tending in some measure to prevent a recurrence of similar accidents, may not perhaps be unacceptable to our readers.

The church of Santa Sophia, at Constantinople, is related to have been burnt down se veral times; and the Emperor Justinian is stated to have made the discovery, that if it were to be built of naterials not combustible, a similar accident would not again occur. One would really imagine that there would be no need either of a ghost or Emperor to point out this obvious truth; but experience shews that this is one of the lost secrets; therefore permit me to revive it in the mind of our Theatre-builders.

The naves of Lincoln, Ely, and Westminster Cathedrals, are vaulted with stone; the first is 39 feet wide, and 82 feet high; the second 35 feet wide, and 73 feet high; the third 33 feet wide, and 103 feet high: and these vaults are built of materials of which few architects of the present age would dare to erect a wine vault. The perpendicular supports to these vaults are comparatively slender columns, and the thrust of the vaulting is resisted by flying buttresses over the side aisles; and the naves of the Cathedrals are intersected by towers, against which their vaultings abut. Hence the form of a Theatre and a Cathedral bear a great resemblance; the part over the pit may be compared with the tower, the choir end of the nave to the stage, the other end to the retiring boxes, &c. and the aisles to the lobbies.

grams issuing from the section for the stage and the retiring boxes and galleries. Behind the part appropriated to the audience there are lobbies for communication.

There is always sufficient distance behind the boxes and galleries in a Theatre to erect flying buttresses, the abutments to which will be concealed partly in the walls to the lobbies, and in the waiting rooms, or may project beyond the fronts; the widths of Theatres vary from 40 to 70 feet between the backs of the side boxes; the heights under the ceiling seldom exceed 70 feet. Hence it appears from precedent, that a vaulting to a Theatre is by no meaus impracticable.

The roof over the pit may be a dome, and over the other parts cylindrical vaulting intersecting the dome. If the vaults be erected with stone ribs, and the spandrels filled in with bricks, a few boards and scaffolding will be sufficient without centering, except for the ribs to erect them on; the dome in either case will not require a centre. The dome and vaults may be afterwards covered with lead or composition; no other roof will then be ne

cessary.

A Theatre is divided into two parts, the one appropriated to the actors and scenery, and the other to the audience; the latter is again divided into two parts, the one being the area, inclosed by the backs of the boxes, and the other, the retiring boxes in the middle of the Theatre; the plan is generally a circle, ellipsis, or mixed curve truncated, having parallelo-much space must be lost, and the expence of

It is evident that while the roof of the building can be preserved, only partial tires can injure the Theatre, and the injuries will be conGined to what with propriety may be called the furniture of the building; and it is also evident, that upon this principle, in any times, this mode of construction, as it relates to the shell of the building, is considerably less expensive; but when the present high price of timber is recollected, it appears with still greater force. It may at first appear that there must be a great increase of thickness in the walls, and that from this circumstance

walling must be enormous; but a recurrence to the principles upon which our Cathedrals are erected, will warrant a very different conclusion. X.

[ocr errors]

OF

DR. GOLDSMITH.

THE TRAVELLER; OR, A PROSPECT OF SOCIETY.

INSCRIBED TO THE REV. MR. H. GOLDSMITH.

REMOTE, unfriended, melancholy, slow,
Or by the lazy Scheld, or wand'ring Po;
Or onward, where the rude Carinthian boor
Against the houseless stranger shuts the door:
Or where Campania's plain forsaken lies,
A weary waste expanding to the skies:
Where'er I roam, whatever realms to see,
My heart, untravell'd, fondly turns to thee;
Still to my brother turns, with ceaseless pain,
And drags, at each remove, a length'ning chain.

Eternal blessings crown my earliest friend,
And round his dwelling guardian saints attend;
Bless'd be that spot where cheerful guests retire
To pause from toil, and trim their evening fire;
Bless'd that abode where want and pain repair,
And ev'ry stranger finds a ready chair;
Bless'd be those feasts, with simple plenty
crown'd,

Where all the ruddy family around
Laugh at the jests or pranks that never fail,
Or sigh with pity at some mournful tale;
Or press the bashful stranger to his food,
And learn the luxury of doing good.

But me, not destin'd such delights to share,
My prime of life in wand'ring spent, and care;
Impell'd, with steps unceasing to pursue
Some fleeting good that mocks me with the
view;

That, like the circle bounding earth and skies,
Allures from far, yet as I follow flies;
My fortune leads to traverse realms alone,
And find no spot of all the world my own.

E'en now, where Alpine solitudes ascend,
I sit me down a pensive hour to spend ;
And plac'd on high, above the storm's career,
Look downward where an hundred realms
appear;

Lakes, forests, cities, plains extending wide, The pomp of kings, the shepherd's humbler pride. [bine, When thus Creation's charms around comAmidst the store should thankless pride repine? Say, should the philosophic mind disdain That good which makes each humbler bosom vain?

Continued from No. 42.]—No. XLIII.

Let school-taught pride dissemble all it can,
These little things are great to little man;
And wiser he, whose sympathetic mind
Exults in all the good of all mankind.
Ye glitt'ring towns, with wealth and splendour
crown'd;

Ye fields, where summer spreads profusion round;

Ye lakes, whose vessels catch the busy gale;
Ye bending swains, that dress the flow'ry vale;
For me your tributary stores combine;
Creation's heir, the world, the world is mine!
As some lone miser visiting his store,
Bends at his treasure, counts, recounts it o'er;
Hoards after hoards his rising raptures fill,
Yet still he sighs, for hoards are wanting still:
Thus to my breast alternate passions rise,
Pleas'd with each good that Heaven to man
supplies;

Yet oft a sigh prevails, and sorrows fall,
To see the hoard of human bliss so small;
And oft I wish, amidst the scene to find
Some spot to real happiness consign'd,
Where my worn soul, each wand'ring hope at
rest,

May gather bliss to see my fellows blest.

But where to find that happiest spot below, Who can direct, when all pretend to know; The shudd'ring tenant of the frigid zone Boldly proclaims that happiest spot his own; Extols the treasures of his stormy seas, And his long nights of revelry and ease: The naked negro, panting at the line, Boasts of his golden sands and palmy wine; Basks in the glare, or stems the tepid wave, And thanks his gods for all the good they gave. Such is the patriot's boast, where'er we roam : His first, best country, ever is at home. And yet, perhaps, if countries we compare, And estimate the blessings which they share, Though patriots flatter, still shall wisdom find An equal portion dealt to all mankind; As different good, by art or nature given, To different nations, makes their blessings

even.

M

Nature, a mother kind alike to all,
Still grants her bliss at labour's earnest call;
With food as well the peasant is supplied
On Idra's cliffs as Arno's shelvy side;
And tho' the rocky-crested summits frown,
These rocks by custom turn to beds of down.
From art more various are the blessings sent;
Wealth, commerce, honour, liberty, content.
Yet these each other's power so strong contest,
That either scems destructive of the rest.
Where wealth and freedom reigu, contentment
fails;
[vails.
And honour sinks where commerce long pre-
Hence ev'ry state, to one lov`d blessing prone,
Conforms and models life to that alone.
Each to the fav'rite happiness attends,
And spurns the plan that aims at other ends;
Till carried to excess in each domain,
This fav'rite good begets peculiar pain.

But let us try these truths with closer eyes,
And trace them through the prospect as it lies:
Here for a while, my proper cares resign'd,
Here let mesit, in sorrow for mankind;
Like you neglected shrub at random cast,
That shades the steep, and sighs at ev'ry blast.
Far to the right, where Appenine asceuds,
Bright as the summer, Italy extends;
Its uplands sloping deck the mountain's side,
Woods over woods in gay theatric pride;
While oft some temple's mould'ring tops be

At her command the palace learn'd to rise,
Again the long-fall'n column sought the skies:
The canvas glow'd beyond e'en nature warm:
The pregnant quarry teem'd with human form;
Till more unsteady than the southern gale,
Commerce on other shores display'd her sail;
While nought remain'd of all that riches gave,
But towns unmanned, and lords without a
slave:

tween

With venerable grandeur mark the scene.

Could nature's bounty satisfy the breast,
The sons of Italy were surely blest.
Whatever fruits in different climes are found,
That proudly rise, or humbly court the ground;
Whatever blooms in torrid tracts appear,
Whose bright succession decks the varied year;
Whatever sweets salute the northern sky
With vernal lives, that blossom but to die:
These here disporting, own the kindred soil,
Nor ask luxuriance from the planter's toil;
While sea-born gales their gelid wings expaud,
To winnow fragrance round the smiling land.

But small the bliss that sense alone bestows,
And sensual bliss is all the nation knows.
In florid beauty groves and fields appear,
Man seems the only growth that dwindles here.
Contrasted faults through all his manners
reign:

Tho' poor, luxurious; tho' submissive, vain;
Tho' grave, yet trifling; zealous, yet untrue;
And e'en in penance planning sius anew.
All evils here contaminate the mind,
That opulence departed leaves behind;
For wealth was theirs, not far remov'd the
date,

[blocks in formation]

sway,
Defac'd by time, and tott'ring by decay,
There in the ruin, heedless of the dead,
The shelter-secking peasant builds his shed;
And, wondering man could want the larger
pile,
Exults, and owns his cottage with a smile.

My soul, turn from them-turn we to survey
Where rougher climes a nobler race display;
Where the bleak Swiss their stormy mansion
tread,

And force a churlish soil for scanty bread:
No product here the barren hills afford
But man and steel, the soldier and his sword.
No vernal blooms their torpid rocks array,
But winter lingring chills the lap of May;
No zephyr fondly sues the mountain's breast,
But meteors glare, and stormy glooms invest.

Yet still e'en here content can spread a
charm,
Redress the clime, and all its rage disarm.
Tho' poor the peasant's hut, his feast tho'
small,

He sees his little lot the lot of all;

Sees no contiguous palace rear its head,
To shame the meanness of his bumble shed;
No costly lord the sumptuous banquet deal;
To make him loath his vegetable meal ;
But calm, and bred in ignorance and toil,
Each wish contracting, fits him to the soil.
When commerce proudly flourish'd through Cheerful at morn he wakes from short repose,
Breathes the keen air, and carols as he goes;

the state:

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

With patient angle trolls the finny deep,
Or drives his vent'rous ploughshare to the
steep;
[way,

Or seeks the den where snow-tracks mark the
And drags the struggling savage into day.
At night returning, ev'ry labour sped,
He sits him down the monarch of a shed;
Smiles by his cheerful fire, and round surveys
His children's looks, that brighten at the
blaze;

While his lov'd partner, boastful of her hoard,
Displays her cleanly platter on the board:
And haply too some pilgrim, thither led,
With many a tale repays the nightly bed.

Thus ev'ry good his native wilds impart,
Imprints the patriot passion on his heart;
And e'en those hills that round his mansion

rise,

Enhance the bliss his scanty fund supplies. Dear is that shed to which his soul conforms, And dear that bill which lifts him to the storms;

And as a chiid, when scaring sounds molest, Clings close and closer to the mother's breast; So the loud torrent, and the whirlwind's roar, But bind him to his native mountains more.

Such are the charms to barren states assign'd: Their wants but few, their wishes all confin'd. Yet let them only share the praises due ; If few their wants, their pleasures are but few: For ev'ry want that stimulates the breast, Becomes a source of pleasure when redrest. Whence from such lands cach pleasing science flies,

That first excites desire, and then supplies; Unknown to them, when sensual pleasures cloy To fill the languid pause, with finer joy; Unknown those pow'rs that raise the soul to flame,

Catch ev'ry nerve, and vibrate through the frame.

Their level life is but a mould'ring fire, Unquench'd by want, unfanu'd by strong desire;

These far dispers'd. on timorous pinions fly,
To sport and flutter in a kinder sky.

To kinder skies, where gentler manners
reign,
[main.

I turn, and France displays her bright doGay sprightly laud of mirth and social ease, Pleas'd with thyself whom all the world can please,

Unfit for raptures; or, if raptures cheer
On some high festival of once a year,
In wild excess the vulgar breast takes fire,
Till baried in debauch the bliss expire.

But not their joys alone thus coarsely flow;
Their morals, like their pleasures, are but low:
For, as refinement stops, from sire to son,
Unalter'd, unimprov'd, the manners ran;
And love's and friendship's finely pointed dart
Falls blunted from each indurated heart.
Some sterner virtues o'er the mountain's breast
May sit like falcons cow'ring on the nest;
But all the gentler morals, such as play
Thro' life's more cultur'd walks, aud charm
the way;

How often have I led thy sportive choir [Loire!
With tuneless pipe, beside the murm'ring
Where shading elms along the margin grew,
And freshen'd from the wave, the zephyr flew;
And haply, tho' my harsh touch falt'ring still,
But mock'd all tune, and marr'd the dancer's
skill,
[pow'r,
Yet would the village praise my wond'rous
And dance, forgetful of the noontide hour!
A like all ages: dames of ancient days
Have led their children thro' the mirthful

maze;

And the gay grandsire, skill'd in gestic lore,
Has frisk'd beneath the burden of threescore.
So blest a life these thoughtless realms dis-
play,

Thus idly busy rolls their world away:
Theirs are those arts that mind to mind endear,
For honour forms the social temper here.
Honour, that praise which real merit gains,
Or e'en imaginary worth obtains,

Here passes current; paid from hand to hand
It shifts in splendid traffic round the land:
From courts to camps, to cottages, it strays,
And all are taught an avarice of praise :
They please, are pleas'd, they give to get
esteem;
[seem.
Till, seeming blest, they grow to what thev

But while this softer art their bliss supplies,
It gives their follies also room to rise;
For praise too dearly lov`d, or warmly sought,
Enfeebles all internal strength of thought;
And the weak soul, within itself unblest,
Leans for all pleasure on another's breast,
Hence ostentation here, with tawdry art, [part:
Pants for the vulgar praise which fools im-
Here vanity assumes her pert grimace,
And trims her robes of frize with copper-lace;
Here beggar pride defrauds her daily cheer,
To boast one splendid banquet once a year;
The mind still turns where shifting fashion
draws,

Nor weighs the solid worth of self-applause.
To nien of other minds my fancy flies,
Enbosom'd in the deep where Holland lies.
Methinks her patient sons before me stand,
Where the broad ocean leans against the land;
And, sedulous to stop the coming tide,
Lift the tall rampire's artificial pride.
Oaward methinks, and diligently slow,
The firm connected bulwark seems to grow;

« AnteriorContinua »