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which however it was not solely confined, but extended to no less than forty or fifty of the most common words which occur in conversation, and bearing not the least affinity whatever to the former expreflions.
• This new language every inhabitant is under the necessity of adopting; as any negligence or contempt of it is punished with the greatest severity. Their former expressions were, however, retain. ed in their recollection; and, for our better communication, were, I believe, permitted to be used in conversation with lis, without incurring displeasure. Pomurrey however would frequently correct me on my accidentally using the former mode of expression, fay. ing, I knew it was wrong, and ought not to practise it. Were such a pernicious innovation to take place, generally, at the arbi. trary will of the sovereigns throughout the South Sea islands, it would be attended with insurmountable difficulties to strangers ; but it appears to be a new regulation, and, as yet, confined to these islands, or it would be impossible to reconcile the affinity which has been hitherto found to subsist in the language of different parts of the Great South-Sea nation. The new-falliioned words produce a very material difference in those tables of comparative affinity which have been constructed with so much attention and labour; and may, possibly, when the reasons for the alteration are known and developed, be a matter of interesting political inquiry. This, however, required more leisure, and a more intimate knowledge of the language, than I possessed. Circumstances of greater importance to the expediting the various services, which the grand object of our voyage here demanded, and 'on which my mind was every hour anxiously engaged ; augmented by the difficulties we had to encounter, in the new modification of so many terms; rendered most of my inquiries ineffectual. These perplexities and disadvantages were also materially increased, by the difficulty of obtaining the truth from a race who have a constant desire to avoid, in the flightest degree, giving offence; infomuch, that, on the least appearance of displeasure, even in conversation ; to disengage themselves from any such inconvenience, they would often, by that extensive and specious comprehenfion, which their languade admits of, seemingly fo qualify, what they before had asserted, as to contradict, according to our acceptation, a positive inatter of fact; or, what amounted to nearly the same thing, a completely different construction was by us very frequently put on a second conversation, from that which we had conceived from, or had attributed to, the first. Had we been more competent linguists, we might, in all probability, have found both their modes of expreffion tending to the same point, and differing only in the figurative relation of the circumstances, to which these people are much accustomed.' Vol. i. p. 135.
Here we must pause for a time, as the importance of the work requires a continuation of our remarks in another number.
A Series of Plays, in which it is attempted to delineate the
Aronger Passions of the Mind ; each Pasion being the Subjext of a Tragedy and a Comedy. 8vo. 6s. Boards. Cadell and Davies. 1798.
THIS title impressed us with no favourable prepoffeffion; we were inclined to smile at a plan so methodical and so arduous. The preface, however, gave us a better opinion of the author, whose good sense and modesty it strongly exhibits ; we perused the volume with attention and delight ; and it is with fincere pleasure that we announce this commencement of a work which, we trust, will not only be honourable to the writer, but to the literature of our country.
Three plays only of the intended feries now appear, and the author afsigns a distrust of his own powers as the reason.
“ To bring forth only three plays of the whole,' he says) and the last without its intended companion, may seem like the haste of those vain people, who, as soon as they have written a few pages of a discourse, or a few couplets of a poem, cannot be easy till every body has seen ihem. I do protest, in honeft fimplicity! it is distrust and not confidence, that has led me at this early stage of the undertaking, to bring it before the publick. To labour in uncertainty is at all times unpleasant; but to proceed in a long and difficult work with any impression upon your mind that your labour may be in vain, that the opinion you have conceived of your ability to perform it may be a delusion, a false suggestion of self-love, the fantasy of an aspiring temper, is molt discouraging and cheerless. I have not proceeded so far, indeed, merely upon the strength of my own judgment; but the friends to whom I have fnewn my manuscripts are partial to me, and their approbation which in the case of any indifferent person would be in my mind completely decisive, goes but a little way in relieving me from these apprehensions. To step beyond the circle of my own immediate friends in quest of opinion, from the particular temper of my mind I feel an uncominon repugnance : I can with less pain to myself bring them before the publick at once, and submit to its decision. It is to my countrymen at large that I call for assistance. If this work is fortunate enough to attract their attention, let their strictures as well as their praise come to my aid: the one will encourage me in a long and arduous undertaking, the other will teach me to improve it as I advance. For there are many errours that may be detected, and improvements that may be fuggefted in the prosecution of this work, which from the observations of a great varieiy of readers are more likely to be pointed out to me, than from those of a small number of persons, even of the best judge ment.' P. 67.
Love is the passion of which the progress is traced in the
first and second of these plays; but it is not the common-place love of the drama. It is grafted not on those open communicative impetuous characters, who have so long occupied the dramatic station of lovers, but on men of a firm, thoughtful, reserved turn of mind, with whom it commonly makes the longest stay, and maintains the hardest struggle.'
The scene of the first tragedy lies in Mantua. Count Basil is upon his march through that town, to join the imperial general Pescara. The duke of Mantua is in the French interest; and, knowing that an engagement is on the point of taking place, he endeavours to delay the march of Bafil. With this view he employs his daughter Victoria to detain the count one day in Mantua.
Bafil is represented as a severe character, ardent for military fame, rigid in command, yet beloved by those who are under him. The princess paties near his troops in a proceffion; and he recognises in her the female whom he had seen hunting two years before. He says,
< Her name and state I knew not;
It ne'er had been forgotten.' P. 100.
Fred. Nay, it is treason but to call her woman;
• Rof. I would not rate then at a price so mean;
not see her hand,
her eyes smild too;
roused soul within me start, Like something wak'd from fleep.
• Rof. Ah! many a slumb'rer heav'n's beains do wake
What dost thou mean?
Baf. What doft thou think I am beside myself,
• Rof, taking his hand. Now am I satisfied. Forgive
• Baf. I'm glad thou art, we'll talk of her no more, Why should I vex my friend?
Rof. Thou hast not giv’n orders for the march.
Baf. I'll do it soon; thou need’st not be afraid.
• Baf. The fight of what may be but little prizid,
• Rof. No, not a whit to wand'ring men like us,
We part with fadly, tho? we prize it not ;
• Rof. I'm not impatient. 'Faith, I only wish
• Baf. O! wish it, wish it not! bless'd be that route !
• Rof. What, midst the dangers of eventful war,
• Baf. Happy art thou ! who is this wond'rous woman?
• Rof. And yet I might be jealous of her love, For the bestows too much of it on thee, Who haft no claim but to a nephew's Mare.
• Baf. going. I'll meet thee some time hence. I must
Rof. A private conf'rence will not stay thee long. I'll wait thy coming near the palace gate. • Baf. 'Tis to the public court I mean to go.
Rof. I thought you had determin'd otherwise.
Bas. Yes, but on farther thought it did appear As though it would be failing in respect