صور الصفحة
PDF
النشر الإلكتروني

LADY JANE GRAY.

This play has the general characteristics of Rowe's Tragedy; suavity, rather than strength, is the mark of his verse, and his thoughts rather swell with pomp than nature, are much more splendid than great.

In pathetic power it is infinitely below his Shore; yet the resignation of Jane may affect those whose moral rectitude might refuse in the former play their sympathy to the sufferer, stained by illicit conduct, and only expiating ingratitude by penury and pain.

The chief praise of character must however be given to GARDINER-He displays the usual feelings of a Churchman; and we could extend a greater portion of applause to Rowe for the delineation, if we had not latterly been so much more gratified by a fuller development of the sacerdotal mind in the Myste. RIOUS MOTHER of Horace Walpole.

B

A PROLOGUE.

SENT BY AN UNKNOWN HAND.

WHEN waking terrors rouze the guilty breast, And fatal visions brenk the murd'rer's rest; When vengeance does ambition's fate decree, And tyrants bleed, to set whole nations free; Tho' the muse saddens each distressed scene, Unmov'd is ev'ry breast, and ev'ry face serene : The mournful lines no tender heart subdue ; Compassion is to suff'ring goodness due. The poet your attention begs once more, T'atone for characters here drawn before; No royal mistress sighs through ev'ry page, And breathes her dying sorrows on the stage: No lovely fair by soft persuasion won, Lays down the load of life, when honour's gone. Nobly to bear the changes of our state, To stand unmou'd against the storms of fate, A brave contempt of life, and grandeur lost : Such glorious toils a female name can boast. Our author draws not beauty's heavenly smile, T'invite our wishes, and our hearts beguile; No soft enchantments languish in her eye, No blossoms fade, nor sick’ning roses die. A nobler passion ev'ry breast must move, Than youthful raptures, or the joys of love,

A mind unchang’d, superior to a crown,
Bravely defies the angry tyrant's frown;
The same, if fortune sinks, or mounts on high,
Or if the world's extended ruins lie:
With gen'rous scorn she lays the sceptre down ;
Great souls shine brightest by misfortunes shown.
With patient courage she sustains the blow,
And triumphs o'er variety of woe.
Through ev'ry scene the sad distress is new :
How well feign'd life does represent the true!
Unhappy age! who views the bloody stain,
But must with tears record Maria's reign;
When zeal by do&trine flatter'd lawless will,
Instructed by Religion's voice to kill ?
Ye British fair, lament in silent woe;
Let ev'ry eye with tender pity flow;
The lovely form, through falling drops, will seem
Like flow'ry shadows of the silver stream.
Thus beauty, heaven's sweet ornament, shall prove
Enrich'd by virtue, as ador'd by love.
Forget your charms, fond woman's dear delight,
The fops will languish here another night.
No conquest from dissembling smiles we fear;
She only kills, who wounds us with a tear.

PROLOGUE.

To-night the noblest subject swells cur scene,
A heroine, a martyr, and a queen ;
And tho the poet dares not boast his art,
The
very

theme shall something great impart, To warm the gen'rous soul, and touch the tender heart. To you, fair judges, we the cause submit ; Your eyes

shall tell us how the tale is writ. If your soft pity waits upon our woe, If silent tears for suff'ring virtue flow; Your grief the muse's labour shall confess, The lively passions, and the just distress. Oh, could our author's pencil justly paint, Such as she was in life, the beauteous saint! Boldly your strict attention might we claim, And bid you mark and copy out the dame. No wand'ring glance one wanton thought confessid, Noguilty wish inflam'd her spotless breast : The only love that warm’d her blooming youth, Was husband, England, liberty, and truth. For these she fell, while, with too weak a hand, She strove to save a blind, ungrateful land. But thus the secret laws of fate ordain ; William's great hand was doom'd to break that chain, And end the hopes of Rome's tyrannic reign. For ever, as the circling years return,

Ye grateful Britons crown the hero's urn;
To his just care you ev'ry blessing owe,
Which, or his own, or following reigns bestow.
Tho? his hard fate a father's name denyid;
To you a father, he that loss supply'd.
Then while you view the royal line's increase,
And count the pledges of your future peace ;
From this great stock while still new glories come,
Conquest abroad, and liberty at home :
While you Behold the beautiful and brave,
Bright princesses to grace you, kings to save,
Enjoy the gift, but bless the hand that gave.

« السابقةمتابعة »