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There is another remarkable story, which Mr. Vertue is faid to have been told by Russel the Painter, respecting the sale of some Pictures done by the Olivers, to Charles II. wherein the meanness, which frequently betrayed itself in the character of that monarch, is conspicuous. «The greater part of the collection of King Charles being dispersed in the troubles, among which were several of the Olivers, Charles II. who remembered, and was desirous of recovering them, made many inquiries about them after the restoration. At last he was told by one Rogers of Isleworth, that both the father and fon were dead, but that the son's widow was living at Ifleworth, and had many of their works. The King went very privately and unknown, with Rogers, to see them. The wis dow shewed several, finished and unfinished, with many of which the King being pleased, asked if she would sell them. She replied, she had a mind the King should see them first, and if he did not purchase them, she should think of disposing of them. The King discovered himself; on which the produced some more Pictures, which she feldom shewed. The King desired her to set a price; she said, she did not care to inake a price with his Majesty, she would leave it to him ; but promifed to look over her husband's books, and let his Majesty know what prices his father the late King had paid. The King took away what he liked, and sent Rogers to Mrs. Oliver with the option of 1000 l. or an annuity of 300 l. for life. She chose che latter. Some years afterwards it happened the King's mistresses having begged all or most of these Pictures, Mrs. Oliver, who was probably a prude, and apt to express herse!f like å prude, faid, on hearing it, that if the had thought the King would have given them to such whores, and strumpets, and bastards, he never should have had them. This reached the court; the poor woman's falary was stop: : ped, and she never received it afterwards." ---Imprudent, however, as it was for the good woman to express herself so freely on the occasion, it was certainly very unbecoming a monarch: to stoop so low, as to thew his resentment by flagrant difhonesty.
But we must now take leave of this ingenious and entertaining performance, adding only a word or two relative to the Prints intended to embellish the publication. These are upwards of forty in number, confiiting chiefly of Portraits ; engraved by Grignion, Chambers, Bannerinan, and Miller. We could with, for the real embellishment of the work, as well as for the honour of the artists, that more pains
had been taken, and more skill manifested, in the execution of some of the Engravings. Those of Mr. Grignion indeed are performed with his ulual elegance. Some of Mr. Chambers's also are well executed ; but there are others which seem by no means worthy to appear in such good company.
Solyman and Almena. 12mo. 2s. Payne. CUCH is the raging appetite for romance, that, to engage
the public ear, even academic gravity is forced to lay aside its didactic dignity, and sport in the flowery fields of fiction. Many Writers of distinguished talents have lately figured in the rank of Novelists. The solemn Johnson had his Eastern Tale; Hawksworth had his Genii; and Langhorne now leads us into the valley of Mesopotamia.
From the poetical pieces of this ingenious Writer, the Public have probably formed expectations in favour of the little Volume before us ; and it affords such pregnant proofs of genius, as render it not altogether unworthy of the Author. In the plan and conduct of the piece, there is, indeed, little of invention or originality; and a Reader, who is but moderately acquainted with this modish kind of literature, may anticipate most of the incidents. In truth, few of the Oriental Novels differ very essentially from each other. In most of them, the hero of the tale, whom we must suppose to be the parragon of mankind, is deeply enamoured with some accomplished fair one, who is the non-pareille of her sex. After an assiduous and sentimental courtship, scrupulously conducted through the several gradations of decorum and delicacy, the lady at length yields to her lover's importunity, and stands a woman confessed. Every moment we expect to see them drop from their elevation of character, and sink into mere man and wife—when lo! to preserve the dignity of the piece, some forest ruffians, or some barbarous pyrates, tear the shrieking fair one from the strong embraces of her distracted lover, and convey her to the feraglio of a Bashaw, or some such high-fed voluptuary, where the performs miracles, to preserve that jewel her chastity, against the assaults of imperious appetite. Her constant lover, in the mean time, escapes from bondage ; and, wandering in despair per opaca & afpera, at length, by some amazing accident, discovers his beloved mistress; and to gain access to her, enacts, as Shakespear says, more wonders than a man. A dungeon, however, proves
deltr powers of retinopposition digies of the ears of b brutal
the portion of his fond rashness; and the lordly Bashaw, having secured his rival, raging with resentment and desire, renews his efforts to triumph over the fair one's virtue and resolution. We tremble left she should fall a victim to brutal violence, when suddenly her cries pierce the ears of her imprisoned lover; who, by prodigies of strength and valour, breaks through all opposition, and flying to her aid, just as her powers of resistance grow faint, saves her honour, and destroys the tyrant. In the end, the plot winds up like an old English comedy; and from that time we may conclude, that the sublime pair talk and act like the rest of the world.
These, in general, are the out-lines of Oriental Novels, which are visibly traced in the piece before us, though we cannot say that it bears any strong marks of the Eastern style or manners. . In short, the Author has forgotten the Poet's precept, Convenientia fingere. And to consider,
Colchus an. Asfyrius ; Thebis Nutritus, an Argis. The scene opens on the banks of the Irwan, but the style of the Dialogue is not far removed from the banks of the Thames. It is, nevertheless, in general, easy and elegant; and the design of the piece is perfectly chaste and moral, tending to confirm the habits of virtue, and to inspire us with a confidence in Providence. The story is as follows :
Solyman, the son of Ardavan the sage, who was early instructed in all the learning of the East, grew weary of the labours of study, and thirsted only for the knowlege of inankind. With much importunity he prevailed on his father to permit him to travel, and passed over the Tigris into the kingdom of Perfia. In his progress, he was alarmed by an adventure between two lovers, who had stolen a secret interview before their final separation. He beheld them in all the agonies of forrow, till at length the lover fainted at the feet of his weeping inistress; the daughter of a mercenary wretch, who had fold her to the Khan of Bukharia, to whom she was to be conveyed the next day, without expoftulation or reprieve. Solyman inveighs against the inhumanity of parents, and offers to conduct the lovers to the valley of Irwan. • They put themselves under the conduct of Solyman, and he now repassed the roads he had travelled by the light of the sun, with superior pleasure, even in the gloom of night; so delightful is beneficence to a virtuous inind!”
Having pointed out to them the house of Ardavan, Solyman parted with the lovers; and proceeding on his journey, in
. . five
five days arrived at Ispahan. Among those whose conversation he found most instructive and entertaining there, he was particularly fond of an English merchant, who spoke the language of the country. They frequently met; and their conversation generally turning on the manners and pursuits of men, . they mutually gratified each other by accounts of their dif
ferent countries ; in which our Author takes occasion to make some very pertinent reflections on the government and literature of Great-Britain. in
Solyman, however, is at length obliged to quit the merchant, whose affairs detained him in Persia ; and, pursuing his travels, he came to Dehli, the capital of the Mogul's em pire, where he conceived a violent and refined passion for Almena, whose accomplished mind and benevolent heart, were perfectly suited to his own. To her Solyman poured forth the natural and passionate sensations of love ; and Almena, whose heart was far from being indifferent to him, easily caught the enthusiasm. In the end, he prevailed on her to retire with him to the valley of Irwan. Within a few days they set forward from Dehli; and for the greater expedition, and the less fatigue, they determined to go by sea, and accordingly went on board á trading vessel bound to the Persian gulph.
« At that time there was war between two petty princes of the hither peninsula of India; and, unfortunately, the ship in which they embarked belonged to one of these powers. They had not proceeded above five leagues from the coast, when they were pursued by the foe. After an obstinate and bloody engagement, they were boarded ; and their enemies, when they had stripped the vessel of every thing valuable, difmissed it: .
« They dismisfed the veffel, but they took Almena. What heart does not bleed, what eye does not shed a tear, for the miserable Solymnan? They dismissed the vessel, but they took Almena. Prayers, and tears, and agony and anguish, were vain. The lover saw his dear, trembling, fainting maid, dragged by the hands of the unfeeling failors into their own fhip, after they had bound him to prevent the effects of his rage. I ask not for your mercy, (cried the wretched youth) s only take me into your vessel along with that lady, and < prepare your tortures, your racks, and wheels; for me pre
pare thein, and let me perish before these eyes lose fight of Almena!'
rinasks, and with thatched youthi
6 While Solyman was vainly uttering these pitiable exclamations, the enemy steered away, and was in a short time out of sight. The men of the ship in which he was, appred hensive of some, bad consequences from the violence of his rage, were prudent enough to let him continue bound; while he now loaded them with the reproachful terms of slaves and cowards, and now excited thein by promises, or intreated them by prayers, to persue the foe. The ship having loft her freight, did not proceed on her intended voyage, but returned to the coast of India. ,
" When they arrived, Solyman was informed, that the vessel which had taken them belonged to the King of Şundah, who at that time was at war with the King of Kanara. Upon this information, as soon as he had received intelligence of the situation of the kingdom of Sundah, he went immediately in quest of Almena. Though almost worn to death with fatigue and sorrow, he travelled night and day, till he reached the country. But alas ! when he was there, what could he do ? Stranger as he was to the people, and in a great measure to their language, he had as much to hope from chance, as from application, for the discovery of Almena.
“ He would now have sunk under the weight of his milfortunes, had he not availed himself of the first advice of Ardavan, and firmly relied on the Eternal Providence. Im« mortal Mithra! (laid the amicted youth) thou beholdest ( ine oppressed with misery, but thy beams still shine upon
me; and while I enjoy thy light, I will hope for thy fa6 vour !
66 Thus comforting himself, he ftill continued his search; depending, for the neceffary supports of nature, on the precarious bounty of the villages through which he passed; frequently making the mountain rocks the refuge of his night's repose, when nature, exhausted with toil and forrow, in her own defence inclined him to sleep. He wandered inceffantly from town to town, and from province to province; often exposed to the attacks of favage beasts, and often suffering the insults of the more favage people.'
« Having in vain gone over a large tract of the inland country, he now confined his search to the coast, in hopcg that he might again see the vessel which took his Almena. Day by day he wandered on the beach, constantly caiting his eyes on the immenfe waste of waters, ar.d watching the ap• Rev. April, 1762.