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and exercise, her clustering curls dancing in the wind, and her pretty bonnet hanging loosely and carelessly on the back part of her head, she is a truly beautiful and poetical object. But your boyman is a monster wherever you meet with him. In the country he is an "unlicked cub," a lout, a bumpkin ; in town, a half made up coxcomb, an unfinished puppy, a thing with nearly all the vices and follies of a man, without his sense or passions. It is his oath that rings loudest in the tavern, and his tongue that is most clamorous in its demands for strong drink to destroy his puny constitution, merely because he thinks it looks manly. He is altogether a foolish and contemptible creature; for even his vicious habits do not afford him pleasure. He does not, like the real voluptuary, “ roll sin like a sweet morsel under his tongue;" but he counterfeits bad habits, and will drink and smoke, though both be unpleasant to him and make him sick, merely because older people do so; and this it is which prevents him from ever becoming what it is the height of his ambition to appear-a man. Then the swearing of these grown children is perfectly disgusting. From a man, borne away by passion, or from an old sailor, to whom it has become a trick of custom, and who, moreover, seems a sort of perperson privileged to wish his eyes no good, a few
anathemas do not come with so bad a grace; but to hear these would-be men repeating, like parrots, all the vulgar oaths that low blackguardism has invented and perpetuated, merely because they have arrived at the dignity of shaving, is very nauseous. These too are the small fry that swarm about billiard-rooms and theatre-lobbies; that open box-doors and stand in the doorways adjusting their ringlets, much to the discomfort of shivering ladies and rheumatic old gentlemen, imagining all the time that the eyes of the whole audience are turned to the particular spot which they occupy. They are, indeed, take them altogether, simply the most empty, impudent, noisy, impertinent, obtrusive set of varlets that can be imagined, and are not ashamed of any thing—except having no whiskers.
OLD ENGLISH COMEDIES.
“Comedy is a graceful ornament to the civil order; the Corinthian capital of polished society. Like the mirrors which have been added to the sides of one of our theatres, it reflects the images of grace, of gaiety, and of pleasure double, and completes the perspective of human life.”
The above sentence, it is presumed, was written with reference to the comedies that held possession of the stage in the days of our unenlightened ancestors, some century and a half ago; for, if applied to the three and five-act farces which modern manufacturers impudently baptize by the name of "comedies," and which the present generation are well contented to receive as such, instead of a graceful truth, it becomes a piece of caustic irony, from the pointed severity of which neither the public nor the playwrights of the year eighteen hundred and twenty-nine have wherewithal to shield themselves. Without at all canting about the “good old times," it must be conceded on all hands, that whatever may have been the faults and deficiencies of our ancestors, and however well assured the present self-sufficient race of mortals may feel, of their general superiority, they are at present at an immeasurable distance behind them in every department of dramatic literature, but more particularly in comedy. Formerly a comedy was a work of geniusa green leaf added to the literary coronal of the land ; it was then composed of sparkling wit and rare invention of characters rich and racy, yet natural; and of incidents gay and sprightly, yet probable; and was, indeed, a mirror to show "the very age and body of the time, its form and pressure.” Now, what is a comedy? Messrs. Morton, Peake, and Poole can best answer that question. Ay, tell us that, and unyoke." It is a thing where the broad and coarse extravagancies of farce are jumbled together with mawkish and lachrymose sentimentality, where the characters are caricatures vilely executed, and the incidents precisely such as could not by any possibility ever have taken placewhere the dialogue consists of puns, slang, stray jests, and flowers of rhetoric from the circulating libraries, with a copious infusion of ordinary slip-slop conversation--where the jokes are all practical, and stumbling over a chair, or drawing out a ragged pockethandkerchief, are among the happiest inventions of
the author; and though, at times, a few gleams of humor may shine athwart the gloom, yet wit, who is a little more aristocratical and choice in his company, absents himself altogether. And what is it that makes this farrago of abominations escape the fate decreed against all sinful transgressions? It is stage effect. To this every thing is sacrificed this the authors have studied, and this they understand, and hence the secret of their disgraceful
It is not meant, however, to be said, that this and this alone strictly applies to the three gentlemen mentioned above, though any one who will take the trouble of reading their works, (particularly Morton's) will find that a great part may be truly applied to most of their productions. They are mentioned by name because they are the three best of the numerous herd of stage writers of the present day; and Poole, in his Paul Pry, has even given us a glimpse of better things. True, the dialogue in that piece is meagre enough, but there is a good deal of broad humor and no sentiment; the situations are extremely laughable, and the character of the inquisitive Mr. Pry himself very cleverly sketched.
It would be well if we had more pieces like this, instead of such plays as “Town and Country," which Kean honored and brought into