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EVERY MAN IN HIS HUMOUR.
This is one of the boldest Comedies in any language -Every sentence is stamped for sterling by the mintage of dramatic excellence.
Its characters are, however, all of them SHAKSPERIAN, from the tortur'd imagination of the jealouš Kitely down to the slight insufficiency of Master Stephen.--As we do not recollect to have seen the contiguous characters in the great Bard particularly opposed to those of Jonson, it may not be unentertaining to point them nominally out, for leisure and curiosity to compare. KITELY is obviously like FORD and LEONTES. BOBADIL is between Pistol and ARMADO. KNO’well, as a father, is POLONIUS. Mr. STEPHEN resembles Sir ANDREW AGUE-CHEIK. DOWNRIGHT performs the functions of FLUELLEN. Justice CLEMENT is like our Host of the GARTER. Mr. MATTHEW is Mr. FROTH. Cash speaks the very language of EMILIA, And so on.
But they are coloured with a skill so profound, that the copies are nearly as valuable as the originals.
In the perusal of this Piece lately, it has risen considerably in our estimation-We could not resist weighing together Ford and Kitely in the balance of comparison, and it was long ere we could determine upon the superiority of power; at length a slight difference in their ages induced us, but with hesitation, to give the place of honour to Ford.
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CRITICS, your favour is our author's rightThe well-known scenes we shall present to-night Are no weak efforts of a modern pen, But the strong touches of immortal Ben; A rough old Bard, whose honest pride disdain'd Applause itself, unless by merit gain'd And wou'd to-night your loudest praise disclaim, Shou'd his great shade perceive the doubtful fame, Not to his labours granted, but his name. Boldly he wrote, and boldly told the age, “ He dar'd not prostitute the useful stage, “Or purchase their delight at such a rate, “ As, for it, he himself must justly hate : “ But rather begg'd they wou'd be pleas'd to see “ From him, such plays as other plays shou'd be: “Wou'd learn from him to scorn a motley scene, “And leave their monsters, to be pleas'd with men.” Thus spoke the bard and tho' the times are chang'd, Since his free muse for fools the city rang’d; And satire had not then appear'd in state, To lash the finer follies of the great, Yet let not prejudice infe&t your mind, Nor slight the gold, because not quite refin'd;
With no false niceness this performance view,