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These Poesie Liriche are dedicated to Sir Richard Worsley, and the title page is ornamented with a very delicate vignette, by Bartolozzi. A Sermon preached on the Fast Day, October 19, 1803, at the Parish
Church of Alhallows Barking, Tower Street, by the Rev. Henry White, A. M. Curate. To which is added, a Prayer delivered by the Author, at the Consecration of the Colours of a provincial Corps of Volunteer Infantry, in 1798. Second Edition. 4to. pp. 30. 2s.
We take the earliest opportunity of recommending to the serious perusal of our readers this interesting and animated discourse, which, to borrow the energetic language of Johnson, “ the critic may read for its eloquence, the philosopher for its argumeut, and the saint for its devotion."
Thế notes are numerous and well written, and display in the clearest terms the sense and spirit of the author.
DRAMATIC. Royalty Theatre. A solemn Protest against the Revival of scenic
Exhibitions and Interludes at the Rayalty Theatre ; contalning Remarks on Pizarro, the Stranger, and John Bully with a Postscript, 2nd Edition, by the Rev. Thomas Thirlwall, M. A.
This“ solemn protest” is a string of common-place invective against theatrical exhibitions, too trite for reply, and too contemptible for animadversion; and serves only, from the fallacy of its reasoning and the grossness of its language, to detect the malevolence and expose the vulgarity of its illiberal author. Observations on the Drama, with a View to its more beneficial Effects
on the Morals and Manners of Society. In 3 Parts. By Edward Green, corresponding Member of the Literary and Philosophical Society of Manchester, 8vo. 2s. 6d. Cadell and Davies. 1803.
Nothing can be more commendable than the object of this pamphlet, and though we are not struck with any great novelty in the arguments, yet we have seldom seen them put with so much simplicity and force, in more lucid arrangement, or more elegant language. It would be too much to expect from these pages
all the effect desired by Mr. Green, but we know not what might not be hoped from the observance, even in a few, of the wholesome rules which he lays down. The society was honoured by Mr. Green, when he favoured them with this communication.
THE BRITISH STAGE,
Initatio vita, speculum consuetudinis, imago veritatis. Cicero.
Scenery introduced at Drury-Lane Theatre,
IN THE COMEDY OF
« A BOLD STROKE FOR A WIFE.”
Mr. Editor, So much has been already said and written on the unconnected manner in which scenes are brought to the view of the audience at our theatres, in order to give to effusions of our dramatists the stamp of locality, that you will probably think the time and trouble of any individual much misapplied, who again enlarges upon this subject. Be that as it may, should the few remarks which I now mean to offer, meet the approbation of him who conducts a publication so justly admired as the “
Mirror," my utmost wishes will be gratified. A few days have now elapsed since I happened to be at Drury Lane theatre, to witness the representation of Mrs. Centlivre's diverting, but certainly immoral, and very unnatural, comedy of the " Bold Stroke for a Wife.” On the scenery, &c. of this piece, it is my present intention to animadvert: To fulfil this intention, I shall, endeavour to proceed with some regularity. The rising of the curtain discovers Feignwell and his friend Freeman, over a bottle, in a room which, we are to understand, forms part of a tavern : with this I will not be very severe, but, doubtless, something more is requisite than a small table, two chairs, and a scene, which appears as though the bristles of a painter's brush had not disturbed its surface since the zenith of Garrick's attraction. The next scene is supposed to convey a lively representation of a room in the house of a Quaker; that is Obadiah Prim. To effect this, we have the pleasure of beholding a scene, apparently copied from the gaudy architecture so frequently to be seen in the bed-chambers, and rooms of state, helonging to the chateaus and seats of our nobility.-Corinthian pillars, festoons, and painted pannels. Can all this convey an adequate idea of the abode of a hosier, and member of a sect, who, as it is well known, and from the words of the authoress of this very play, look upon the luxurious
style, and extravagant manners of the age, with an eye of contempt and abhorrence?-Surely not. The same remarks may, of course, be applied to all the scenes, intended to represent the house of Prim, and of Sackbut. The fourth act opens with, what is meant for, Jonathan's Coffee House. This is done by a paltry scene, and two tables, five men at one, and four boys at the other. How well this conveys to the eye the noise, bustle, and confusion, which were the characteristics of that famed resort of stock-jobbers, it is almost needless to observe; not to mention how admirably the bulls and bears are personified by the beardless boys !
Though these observations do not form the extent of what struck me so forcibly at the time, yet, having proceeded thus far, and not intending to write a criticism on the performers, and on the comedy, I shall close with remarking, that the representation of this play reflects no credit on the taste and manners of the present age; and though it has so often received the sanction of our forefathers, and has been considerably curtailed, yet there still are passages highly improper for the ear of a modest female, and which are spoken, by the different performers, so as to give them all possible effect.
Following the preceding drama was that very pleasing piece, the " Caravan," in which an impropriety struck me, not yet noticed in the public prints -I allude to the caravan being drawn by camels. The scene is laid at, and near, Barcelona in Spain. Who ever heard of camels being used as common beasts of draught in Europe !--Then why, in the name of astonishment, should a public caravan be drawn by them?
By inserting these remarks in your valuable miscellany, you will very much oblige a constant subscriber, and one who, under different signatures, has occasionally sent communications. Dec. 16, 1803.
CIREDERF NorCa. P, S. It is not my wish to carp, cavil, and abuse without a cause; but, actuated by a fervid desire of seeing the regulation and propriety of scenery confided to more able hands than that of scene, shifters, I have penned the above. A well-managed theatre should “ catch the manners, living, as they rise," pourtray to the eye
what things were, should be, and are nowmor, why the motto, “ Veluti in Speculum 2
AN OCCASIONAL PROLOGUE,
'PERFORMED AT THE OPENING OF THE THEATRE-ROYAL IN THE
WRITTEN BY SAMUEL FOOTE, ESQ.
(Not inserted in the Editions of Mr. Foote's Works.]
Scene, the STREET.
Enter LACONIC and SNARL. Snar. What! master Laconic, whither are you rambling this even. ing? To collect, I reckon, the coffee-house compliments on your late epigrammatical efforts. Well, I must say, for a tierse point, a happy surprise, or a risible quibble, there is no man in this town can match little Laconic.
Lac. O! fye, Snarl, this amongst friends!
Snar. Nay, so much detraction itself must allow : why, man, you are the very life and soul of the Chronicle; shut but the poets out of their corner, and we shall soon see an end of that paper.
Lac. I can't but say, Mr. Snarl, my conceits are pretty current in town;-but then my genius is cramp'd; I could, perhaps, produce an epic equal to Virgil, or Iliad, or any of them there fellows of old; but to what end? Lack-a-day! I should never be read; no man's attentions hold out now for more than six or eight lines-No, no, poor poetry is but a drug.
Snar. Then why do you deal in it?
Whilst but a child, and yet unknown to fame,
I lisp'd in numbers, for the numbers came.
[aside, Lac. Could I bridle my impulse, damme, Mr. Snarl, if I would hitch a ryme, or clench a couplet again, as long as I liv’d.-No, no, the land of prose is the land of promise, aye, and of performance too: why I dare swear you make more by a single letter from Leonora, or Buckhorse, or the Cobler of Cripplegate, than I do by a quire of epigrams.
Snar. Our compositions are of a different kind, and have a different tendency: your purpose, my dear Laconic, is to amuse, mine to reform; you tickle the ear with a rattle, a kind of jingling chime, which suits well enough with women and children; whilst I with
my flapper rouse the public attention, and like another Hercules, my broom in my hand, cleanse this great Augean 'stable from every nuisance. To mend the world's a great design! Martial and Cato were different characters, Laconic.
Lac. I beg your pardon, my man of importance. Cato ! ha, ha, ha: what, because you have filled up a ditch in Fleet-street, rouza a slumbering watchman in the Strand, sent half a score beggars from pitch and hustle to bridewell, widen'd the Devil's Gap for the lawyers, and brought a babeas corpus for a dunghill in Halo born
Snar. Why, thou little clumsy fetterer of freeborn English, thon slave to sounds, thou botcher of syllables, thou bawd to an echo; is it for thy circumscribed insignificant quilt to record the public services of a Snarl ?
Lac. They might with ease be cramm’d.into a distich.
Snar. Why, you wasp of the buzzing creation, that hast nought of the bee but his sting, answer me: who is it has given decency to churches, politeness to play-houses, stability to the stocks, and secue rity to the state, but a Snarl ?
Lac. Why, as to the churches, if they all resemble that where I was on Sunday, the reform is not great; the ladies curtsied and whisper'd all the first part of the service, and the church-wardens snor'd so loud, there was no hearing the sermon.
Snar. Some paltry, pewless place in the suburbs, which the Game zetteer never reaches.
Lac. The play-houses still have their pantomimes: they have made one improvement, indeed, for most of their new things are Row set to music; so that though our ears are wounded, our understandings are safe.
Snar. Barbarian! unharmonious Goth!
Lac. Change-Alley is still crowded: the stocks are a staple commodity, witness the bulls, bears, &c. and as to the state, I'm sure you can't think that secure, for your paper overturns it at least three times a week.
Snar. What a little satirical whelp!
The critics call me cur from what I write,
With reason too, for like a cur I bite, There's an extempore for you, that I composed before breakfast this morning.