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- the inhabitants and peasantry in the neighbourhood before the arrival of this celebrated festival.
« For weeks before this fête sae clever,
At marks practizing
And turning coats, and mending breeks,
Is black or blue ;)
The stockings too.”
The muster also, and review, are described with much humour :
« And ne'er, for uniform or air,
Side coats, and dockit:
Round hats, and cockit!
As to their guns--thae fell engines,
Or shooting cushies
And blunder-busses !
Maist feck, tho' oil'd to make them glimmer,
Instead o' Aints.
Some guns, she threeps, within her ken,
Held on their locks!”
After the review, the different squads march to the Craigs, the scene of action, followed by the acclamations of the multitude, while
« As thro' the town their banners fly,
Were a uproar ! These short extracts will shew something of the style and spirit of the poem,
Plot and Counterplot ; or, The Portrait of Michael
Cervantes ; a Farce, in two acts. By Charles Kemble. As performed at the Theatre Royal, Haymarket. 8vo. 1s. 6d. Appleyards. 1808.
We have already spoken of this farce. It is a bustling, lively entertainment, founded on a very novel incident, and, aided by the rich humour of the actors of Fabio and Pedrillo, irresistibly ludicrous in representation. The dialogue is neatly written; but it is somewhat disjugenuous in Mr. C. Kemble not to have acknowledged the source from whence he derived his Plot and Counterplot. They are evidently of foreign invention, and in justice to the original author, as well as in common fairness to the publie, he should not have made it appear that the whole merit of this popular and ingenious production is imputable to himself.
The Blind Boy : a Melo-drama," in two acts. As per
formed at the Theatre Royal Covent Garden. 8vo. 28. Longman & Co. 1808.
The Blind-boy has, likewise, a French parent, but as no writer in this country, publicly claims the offspring as his own, we have no body to accuse of child-stealing. The truth is, there is a miserabie lack of invention in the English dramatists, and there is no concealing the fact, that every thing for the last ten years that is novel in idea, artful in plot, powerful in interest, striking in situation, grand in spectacle, and captivating in general effect, has been supplied or suggested by the French and German theatres. The merits of this little drama are sufficiently known. Its construction is very ingenious: the interest which commences with the piece, increases with every scene, and all the incidents conduce to the general developement.
ALL THE WORLD'S A STAGE.
(FORMELY MISS BRUNTON.) This lady, who died at Alexandria in America on the 5th of July, was born in Drury Lane, Westminster, May 30, 1769, and was the eldest daughter of Mr. John Brunton. She had seen very few plays, and but a short time before her apperance in her first character, had not the least idea of ever treading upon the stage. In February, 1785, however she made her first appearnce in the character of Euphrasia, (Grecian daughter) which was then performed at Bath for the benefit of her father. Previous to the play, the following address, written by Mr. Meyler, was spoken by her father.
Sweet hope! for whom his anxious parent burns,
Now the food father thinks his boy of age,
And now what fears! what doubts, what joys I feel!
Some sparks of genius-if I right presage,
If your applause give sanction to my aim,
She shall proceed-but if some bar you find,
The unfavourable reports circulated by those who formed their opinions rather from external appearance than mental ability, operated in her favour :--The audience expecied to see a mawkin, but saw a CuBER. The applause was proportionate to the surprize ; every mouth 'emitted her praise, and she performed several parts in Bath and Bristol, a phenomen in the theatrical hemisphere.
She afterwards undertook, with the same success, the parts of Horatio, (Roman Father) and of Palinira, (Mahomet). Her fume now spread to the metropolis ; and soon excited the attention of Mr. Harris, who was determined to visit Bath, to view in person, this new theatrical constellation. He went-he saw--he resolved. He immediately engaged Miss Brunton and her father, for three years certain, at very handsome salaries. On the 17th of October, 1785, Miss Brunton made her first appearance at Covent Garden Theatre, in the character of Horatio, before an audience uncommonly numerous, who received her with incessant exclamations of rapture and applause. Her entrance was prefaced by a prologue, written by Mr. Murphy, and spoken by Mr. Holman, which contained an elegant compliment to Mrs. Siddons. During the succeeding summer seasons, she performed at several respectable towus with increased reputation.
On her marriage with Mr. Merry the poet, she quitted the stage, but following her husband to America, she resumed her profession in that country, and soon became a prodigious favourite. Mr. Merry died suddenly in 1798. His widow inarried, some time after, Mr. Wignell, manager of some of the theatres there, and on his death, was induced to enter a third time into the matrimonial state with Mr. Warren. This lady's figure was rather of the under size, but she was nevertheless elegant in her person, and graceful and easy in her action and deportment. Her voice was beautifully feminine, and extremely melodious, when exercised in what is termed level speaking.-Her countenance was agreeable, and her features regular and expressive; happily so where the situation demanded a smile. She spoke naturally, and laid her accent and emphasis with critical correctness.
PARALLEL BETWEEN CORNEILLE AND RACINE.
The mind of Corneille was naturally vigorous. He possessed an elevated imagination; and the power of reasoning, the noblest thoughts and the genuine effu. sions of eloquence, are predominant in his compositions: He would have displayed them with equal energy in any other kind of writing which he might have chosen. As the dramatic art is the result of an union of diversified talents, he was the first who furnished the model of those that belong to an exalted soul, and proceed from the vigorous combination of ideas. But he was from the same cause, subject to defects. His most admired authors, and the studies of which he was fondest were analogous to the bent of his inind. It is well kuown that his favourite writers were Seneca, Lucan, and the Spanish poets. Like Lucan, the love of the sublime betrayed him into bombast; like Seneca, he was so attached to reasoning, that he became subtle and uninteresting; like the Spanish writers, he outraged probability, for the pur. pose of producing effect. But the beauties for which he was indebted to his natural powers, placed him, for thirty years, so far above his cotemporaries, that it was im possi, ble for him to enter into a mature examination of himself, and perceive in what he was deficient. Racine, born with that lively imagination, that inflexibility of mind and heart, that tender sensibility, the most essential qualities for tragedy, which Corneille did not possess, with the finest and most delicate sentiment of harmony and elegance, and the happiest facility of elocution, the most essential qualities for all poetry, of which Corneille was also devoid, had to do with judges whom Corneille had instructed by his successes and his faults. He wrote at a time when every kind of literature was approaching to perfection, when true taste was formed; and he found in D’Espréaux, the severest and most judicious judge of his age, at once a friend and a critic. Thus nature and the circumstances of the tiines in which he lived, combined to make Racine a perfect writer, and he was one. The progressive display of his talents is the best proof of his observations and exertions, and of that constant study of himself so necessary to every writer who wishes to approach perfection.'