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while it excited the admiration, melted the heart of every spectator, performed the last offices to himself. He then requested that all around him would bear witness to the world, THAT HE DIED LIKE A BRAVE MAN !!” He perished universally esteemed and lamented; indeed, a general sorrow at his fate pervaded all ranks of people through the continent of America.
The volume is embellished with a portrait of Major Andre froin a drawing by himself; an engraving of his monument in Westminster Abbey, and a map of North America. Miss Seward's affecting monody with the major's letters to her when he was a youth of eighteen, form a proper sequel to the volume, which in addition to the facts it discloses respecting Major Andre, contains much curious information respecting the American war, and several original anecdotes of the leading characters engaged in that arduous contest.
Evening Amusements; or, the Beauty of the Heavens displayed : in which several striking appearances to be observed on various Evenings in the Heavens, during the years 1805, 1806, 1807, and 1808, are described, 8c. by W. Frend, M. A. 12mo. Four volumes, 12s. Mawman.
These lessons in astronomy are well calculated for young students; and to general readers, the information and amusement they contain must be very acceptable. Where the use of the globes cannot readily be obtained, Mr. Frend's volumes will be found particularly useful.
Legendary Tales. By Eaglesfield Smith. 4s. large 8vo.
Longman. 1807. It is a common fault with writers of Legendary Tales, to mistake feebleness for simplicity, and Mr. Smith is answerable for this error in no trifling degree. If poetry, that is nothing more than bad prose, trite sentiments, flat and lengthened descriptions, and bastard rhymes, will satisfy the reader, he may here indulge himself even to satiety:
ESSAYS ON LITERATURE AND HUMANITY.
REMARKS ON THE DRAMA. .“ Pour l'instruire, il faut lui donner non seulement des idèes puree qui l'eclairent, mais encore des images sensibles qui le frappent et qui L'arrêtent dans un vue fine de la vérité."
Discours de la Poësie Epique. That the stage may be rendered subservient to the ámendment of public morals, is admitted on all hands. It must, consequently, be an object of considerable moment, to inquire upon what principles of construction, dramatic compositions may be most effectually adapted to this important purpose, without impairing their ability to furnish an interesting species of amusement.
It is a common opinion that the moral end of the drama, can be attained by no other means than a strict adherence to the laws of poetical justice. This I apprehend is a mistaken notion.—That a mock distribution of happiness and misery to the characters of a dramatic piece, in proportion to their vices or virtues, should have any material influence on the conduct or sentiments of the persons that witness it, is, in my judgment, an absurd supposition. It is at least evident that such a regard to justice could have no effect on our morals, unless we draw from it some conclusion, as to the usual consequences of vice and virtue. But would not the certainty of its being fictitious, prevent such a conclusion ? Supposing, however, that any one should be weak enough to infer from what he had observed on the stage, that virtue inust always be attended with success, and vice with defeats and misfortunes, a few hours experience would entirely efface the impression, since every day presents us with instances of virtue languishing in want and wretchedness, of vice triumphant in impunity.
These considerations being, as I think, sufficient to prove that the moral tendency of the drama does not
consist in a rigid observance of poetical justice, I proceed to inquire upon what principles this tendency does really depend.
When virtue and vice are exhibited together in their native colours, the one must invariably command admiration and love, the other as constantly, contempt and abhorrence. But as the appearance of the human figure, whether it will be graceful or awkward, pleasing or ridiculous, must depend upon the attitude into which it is thrown ; in like manner, the impressions we receive from the contemplation of virtue, may vary according to the dress and the light in which they are represented. From these considerations, we may infer that the art of moralizing the drama, consists, in a great measure, in a peculiar mode of delineating its characters--in exhibiting virtue in her most alluring aspect-in tearing the delusive mask from the countenance of vice---and in exposing its horrid features in all their naked deformity. But here another question may be started—What description of characters are best suited to the purpose ? To characters of an uniform and unmixed kind, either perfectly virtuous or utterly depraved, it has been objected that they are unnatural. -To shew the futility of this objection, it need only be observed, that the object of a dramatic piece, is not to present us with a complete account of the lives and moral dispositions of its personages it is confined to the representation of a single action, and the occurrences of a few hours-Is it then unnatural for a man to act with consistency, either as a virtuous or vicious character, during so short a period ! But even if the premises of this objection were admissible, yet, we may dispute the legality of the conclusion. The maxinn, that nothing is suitable to the stage but what is natural, and its converse, are by no ineans invariably true.' " To hold as it were the mirror up to nature,” is a rule which should certainly be adhered to as closely as propriety will admit; but there are many cases in which a deviation from this rule is not only justifiable, but absolutely necessary. It is unquestionably natural for persons of every description, from the peasant to the prince, occasionally to relax a little in their dignity, and condescend to employ familiar and sometimes coarse language. Yet if this kind of language were introduced into tragic compositions,
it would entirely destroy their proper effect, which is, to elevate the mind by grand and lofty sentiments. The case of the poet, is exactly similar to that of the painter -they have the same object in view, and employ the same means for its accomplishment.
Their principal aim is, to-gratify the mind with imitations of natural objects.--These objects, however, they do not fix upon at, random, without discrimination.com Although they are restricted to such objects as are natural, yet, they are at liberty to select and combine in the most pleasing manner, such as are best calculated to answer their purpose, and to reject all others. But the idea of confining the drama, to the representation of charac. ters that are either perfect or atrocious, is liable to an objection of real weight. The want of variety necessarily incident to this scheme, is sufficient to demonstrate its inexpediency. Variety is essential to the efficacy of dramatic compositions ; deprived of this quality, they cease to amuse; and when they are no longer capable of engaging the attention, it is impossible they should have any effect on the heart.
But though it is evident, that the characters best suite ed for dramatic representation, must be such as are composed from an union of good and evil qualities; it does not follow that the choice and arrangements of these qualities are matters of indifference, in which we are at liberty to adopt an arbitrary method. On the contrary, in selecting, proportioning, and blending the different ingredients, there is ample room for the exercise of inventive genius, and discriminating taste. Characters of this nised nature, by an artful combination of qualities, are easily calculated to serve the most infamous purposes; to engage the affections in favour of licentiousness, and depreciate the excellence of morality. The means by which these detestable ends inay be accomplished are easily conceived ;-a character, which on the whole our reason would pronounce to be virtuous, if it include in its composition but a single quality of an opposite nature, will frequently be viewed with aversion instead of regard. - Thus a man of a cowardly disposition, however numerous or excellent his other virtues may be, will never be looked upon with admiration. His unfortunate pusillanimity will expose him to general contempt. On the other hand, the possession of one attractive quality, too frequently shelters the vicious man, from that odium which he merits. We become so infatuated with fondness for this supposed excellence, as to over-look all his imperfections. It is thus with the conqueror. Of such a character we seldom form a true estimate, since we behold him, .
in a false glaring light, “ Which conquest and success have thrown upon him." Dazzled and overpowered with the splendor of his military glory, our attention is entirely diverted from his moral depravity.
Let us now consider in what way this general failing in human nature, is taken advantage of by Dramatic writers.-" The Robbers," of Schiller will furnish us with an apposite exarnple-De Moor, the hero of this extraordinary piece, evinces in all his actions and sentiments, a disposition, in the highest degree ferocious and haughty.—To an ungovernable pride, is added a contemptible weakness of mind. Yielding to the influence of fanaticism, and unable or indisposed to restrain the ex. cessive violence of his passions, he submits to their dominion without a struggle; and in consequence of this weakness, is hurried to the commission of the most atrocious crimes. Yet the vices of De Moor are so artfully tempered with a large portion of generosity, an enthusiastic turn of mind, and an air of sublimity, that the character seldom fails to command the most passionate admiration. .
It is thus, by exposing virtue to contempt, by varnishing the imperfections and disguising the deformity of vice, that the purposes of morality are defeated, and opposite ends promoted.
The conclusion to which these observations lead, is obvious. In order to calculate mired characters for producing their proper effect, much art and discrimination are requisite; and the degree in which the dramatist possesses these qualifications must depend upon the extent and depth of his acquaintance with the principles of human nature. · Liverpool, May 14, 1801.
E. W. (To be continued.)
OLD MR. SHERIDAN. That Mr. Sheridan had the hereditarý credit of being the son of Swift's friend, who growing out of a school