صور الصفحة
PDF
النشر الإلكتروني

Art. IV. Percy; a Tragedy. As it is acted at the Theatre Royal

in Covent Garden. Svo. I s. 6 d. Cadell. 1777.

A page, it cannot "properly be called anonymous, fince the

, Jast leaf announces several other productions lately published by the fame AUTHOR *; some of which, if not all, we remember to have come forth as the avowed works of Miss Hannah More, an ingenious female, of Bristol.

A very laconic advertisement, immediately preceding the piece, acquaints the Reader, that the French drama, founded on the famous old story of Raoul de Coucy, suggested to the Author fome circumstances in the former part of this tragedy.' The French drama here obscurely alluded to, is the Gabrielle de Vergy of M. de Belloy, the popular author of the Siege of Calais, and other tragedies; to one of which our stage is indebted for the well-received drama of the Grecian Daughter.

Gabrielle de Vergy is the undoubted parent of Percy, not having given birth only to some circumstances in the former part of the tragedy,' but having manifestly engendered the whole. Such, however, is the operation of time, that French tragedy is now become too horrible for the English ftage, and Miss More thought herself obliged to soften some of the leading incidents in the drama of M. de Belloy : a singular change of taste in two rival nations !-unless we folve the miracle by reflecting that Gabrielle is the work of a man, and Percy the production of a lady: the result is, that Miss More's tragedy is the most delicate, M. de Belloy's the most nervous.

Percy, however, holds no contemptible station in the ranks of modern tragedy. The fable is, with much address, accommodated to the cold story of Chevy Chace; the characters, with the happy addition of Lord Raby, are copied from Belloy; the sentiments are, many of them, natural and delicate; and the language, in general, is flowing and easy, though not totally free from female prettinesses: as, for example,

• How look'd, what said she? Did the hear the tale

Of my imagin d death without emotion ?
Sir Hubert. Percy, thou hast seen the musk rose newly blown,

Disclose its bashful beauties to the sun,
Till an unfriendly, chilling form descended,
Crush'd all its blushing glories in their prime,
Bow'd its fair head, and blattes all its sweetness.
So droop'd the maid, beneath the cruel weight
Of my lad tale.

• Sir Eldred of the Bower-Search after Happiness - Efays on various Subjects—and an Ode to Dragon : for an account of these, fee our past Reviews,

Percy.

C4

Percy:

So tender, and so true!
Sir Hubert. I left her fainting in her father's arms,

The dying flower yet hanging on the tree.'The judicious Reader will perhaps be more pleased with the following extract from the fourth act, founded on an incident which M. de Belloy informs us, was one of the most favourite passages in the French drama ; Elwina. Look down, thou awful, heart-inspecting judge, kneels,

Look down with mercy, on thy erring creature,
And teach my soul the lowliness it needs !
And if some fad remains of human weakness,
Shou'd sometimes mingle with my best resolves,
O breathe thy spirit on this wayward heart,
And teach me to repent th' intruding fin,
In its first birth of thought!

(Noise without

What noise is that?
The clash of swords ! Shou'd Douglas be return'd

Enter DOUGLAS and PERCY fighting,
Douglas, Yield, villain, yield.
Percy.

Not till this good right arm
Shall fail its master.
Douglas.

I his to thy heart then.
Perry. Defend thy own. [They fight. Perry difarms Douglas.)
Douglas. Confufion, death, and hell!

Edric. (Without.) This way I heard the noise.
Enter Edric and many Knights and Guards from every part of the Stage.)
Percy.

Curs'd treachery!
But dearly will I sell my life.
Douglas.

Seize on him.
Perry. I'm taken in the toils.

(Percy is surrounded by Guards, who take his fword, Douglas.

In the curs'd snare
Thou laid'nt for me, traytor, thyself art caught.
Elwina. He never sought thy life.
Douglas.

Adulteress, peace.
The villain Harcourt too -but he's at rest.
Percy. Douglas, I'm in thy pow'r ; but do not triumph,

Percy's betray'd, not conquer'd. Come, dispatch mę.
Elwina. (to Douglas,) O do not, do not kill him !
Percy.

Madam, forbear;
For by the glorious shades of my great fathers,
Their godlike spirit is not so extinct,
That I Thou'd owe my life to that vile Scot.
Though dangers close me round on every side,

And death besets me-I am Percy still.
Douglas. Sorceress, I'll disappoint thee-he shall dic;

Thy minion shall expire before thy face,
That I may feast my hatred with your pangs,
And make his dying groans, and thy fond fears,

A banquet for my vengeance.
Elwina.

Savage tyrant !
I wou'd have fall'n a flent sacrifice,

[ocr errors]

So thou had't spar'd my fame. I never wrong'a thee. Percy. She knew not of my coming; I alone,

Have been to blame-spite of her interdiction,

I hither came. She's pure as spotless saints.
Klawina. I will not be excus'd by Percy's crime;

So white my innocence, it does not al
The shade of others' faults to set it off;
Nor shall he need to fully his fair fame,

To throw a brighter luftre round my virtue,
Douglas. Yet he can only die--but death for honour !

Ye pow's of hell, who take malignant joy,
In human bloodshed, give me some dire means,

Wild as my hate, and desperate as my wrongs !
Percy. Enough of words. Thou know't I hate thee, Douglas;

'Tis fledfalt, fix'd, hereditary hate,
As thine for me ; our fathers did bequeach it,
As part of our unalienable birthright,

Which nought but death can end.-Come, end it here, Elwina. (kneels.) Hold, Douglas, hold !--not for myself I kneel,

I do not plead for Percy, but for thee :
Arm not thy hand against thy future peace,
Spare thy brave breast the tortures of remorse,
Stain not a life of unpolluted honour,
For oh! as surely as thou strik'st at Percy,

Thou wilt for ever ftab the fame of Douglas.
Percy. Finish the bloody work.
Douglas.

Then take thy wilh.
Percy. Why doft thou ftart?

(Percy bares his bofom, Douglas advances to fab bim, and

discovers the Scarf. Douglas.

Her scarf upon his breaft!
The blasting light converts me into ftone ;
Withers my powers, like cowardice, or age;
Curdles the blood within my shiv'ring veins,

And palsies my bold arm.
Percy. (ironically to the Knights.) Hear you, his friends!

Bear witness to the glorious, great exploit,
Record it in the annals of his race,
That Douglas the renown'd--the valiant Douglas,
Fenc'd round with guards, and safe in his own calle,

Surpriz'd a knight unarm’d. and bravely flew him.
Douglas. (throwing away bis dagger.) 'Tis true-I am the very
How is my glory dimm'd!

[ftain of knighthood. Elwina.

It blazes brighter! Douglas was only brave-he now is gen'rous ! Percy. This action has restor'd thee to thy rank,

And makes thee worthy to contend with Percy.
Douglas. Thy joy will be as short, as 'tis insulting. (40 Elwira.)

And thou, imperious boy, reftrain thy boasting.
Thou hast sav'd my honour, not remov'd my hate,
For my soul loaths thee for the obligation,
Give him his sword.

Pargy. Peror.

Now thou'rt a noble foe,
And in the field of honour I will meet thee,

As knight encountring knight.
Elwina.

Stay, Percy, stay,
Strike at the wretched cause of all, Itrike here,

Here fhearhe thy thirsty sword, but spare my husband.
Douglas. Turn, Madam, and address those vows to me,

To spare the precious life of him you love.
Ev'n now you triumph in the death of Douglas,
Now your loose fancy kindles at the thought,
And wildly rioting in lawless hope,
Indulges the adultery of the mind,
But I'll defeat chat with.-Guards bear her in.
Nay, do not struggle.

(She is borne in, · Percy.

Let our deaths fuffice,
And rev'rence virtue in that form in shrin'd.
Douglas. Provoke my rage no farther.--I have kindled

The burning torch of never-dying vengeance
At Love's expiring lamp — But mark me, friends,
If Percy's happier genius Thou'd prevail,
And I shou'd fall, give him safe conduct hence,
Be all observance paid him.-Go-I follow thee.
Within I've something for thy private ear.

(Afide to Edric, Perry. Now shall this mutual fury be appeas'd!

These eager hands shall soon be drench'd in flaughter !
Yes-like too familh'd vultures fnuffing blood,
And panting to dellroy, we'll rush to combat;
Yet I've the deepest, deadliest cause of hate,

I'm but Percy, thou'rt-Elwina's husband, The prologue and epilogue to this tragedy were written by Mr. Garrick, and both are conceived in that easy, happy vein, which, for these last thirty years, bath so successfully contributed to aslist English writers, and exhilarate an English audience.

c

[ocr errors]

ART. V. Travels through Spain and Portugal in 1774, with a foors

Account of the Spanish Expedition against Algiers in 1775. By Major Williain Dalryinple. 4to.

78. 6 d. Boards. Almon. 1777. ERHAPS there is no effect of political government, which

impedes the progress of liberal knowledge so much as the idea of arbitrary power.- In the book that lies before us we have strong and painful proofs of it.-We behold a country, formed by nature with every advantage of climate and fertility, losing those advantages under the languor of hopeless

, industry and unsupported labour. In the charming provinces of Seville, Andalufia, and La Mancha, where Nature herself invites the easiest efforts of cultivation, there is nothing to be found but a general deficiency, even of the common neceffaries of life ; nothing but a meazre aspect of want even in a region that Pro

vidence

[ocr errors]

vidence seemed to have assigned to plenty.--We may amuse ourselves with moral differtations on liberty, and trace out its social influence and extent; but it is only from the practical effects of Navery that we can discern its true value ; they are here written in characters which he who runneth may read : ask the wretched Castilian, the miserable Andalusian, the not less hapless, though less sensible man of La Mancha, what is his idea of the common privileges of human nature: he will say, that it is to pay fo many reals to the King, and so much to his Confessor at Easter for absolution. Ask him how he supports himself and his family, he will answer you, by coarse bread and the whey of goat's milk. Ask him what becomes of the flower of his crop and his dairy, he tells you, that the Steward of his Lord lays hold of every thing of that kind, and sends it to Madrid. There is certainly an happiness resulting from a comparative ignorance of misery; but it may admit of a philosophical doubt, whether misery thus felt in the essencial requisitions of nature is not misery indeed,

As the countries here described are still but little known to us, we shall present our Readers with short extracts from Mr. Dalrymple's account of some of the principal towns.

CORDOV A. • Cordova is a very ancient city, fituated in a most beautiful and spacious plain, extending itself, on the right of the Guadalquivir, over which there is a stone bridge of sixteen arches, said to have been built about the year 720. On the north fide of the town runs the Sierra Morena, a noted chain of mountains, that stretch themselves from the fea, above 200 miles inland. This place was cele: brated in the time of the Romans; and when the Moorish monarchs ruled this land, was a capital, according to Mariana, of the greatet confideration. The walls of the town are, in many places, very intire, partly Roman, partly Moorish. It is at present a considerable city, but badly built: narrow and irregular streets; in many of them are to be seen Roman ruins, capitals and Mafts of columns, milliaries with inscriptions, &c. The houses are chiefly stone, conftructed in the Moorish taste, on each side of a square court-yard. People of condition inhabic the lower rooms in summer, and the opper ones in winter : in the hot season they keep the sun and air out of their apartments in the day.time, which renders them cool and agreeable; though to an Englishman it has a very odd effect, to make a visit in a dark room, where he must be sometime before he can discover the prison whom he visits. Some of the Titulos de Caftilla, an order of nobility, of whom there may be about ten or twelve families, from one to three thousand pounds a year, that conftantly reside here, have very good houses, in which there are handsome fuites of apartments ; but their furniture is by no means adequate : we find elegant mirrours, rich flk hangings, and matted bottom chairs, in their principal rooms. Moil of these families have tortullas or assemblies: I was at that of the Condessa de Villa

« السابقةمتابعة »