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And if, perchance, the Public Prints proclaim 775
yet condemn, though founded on some plot The theme of novels, or the tale of Scott
* Mr. Reynolds has formed a tragi-comic, melo-dramatic, farcical opera from a French novel, by Madam Cottin; and Mr. Morton, another from the “ Lady of the Lake.”
Mais j'apprends qu'aujourd'hui Melpomène se propose
I have a more serious charge against Mr. Reynolds. He had the dangerous vanity to attempt, and the Public the folly to applaud, an alteration from one of Dryden's best plays in prose !!!. In this respect he has, indeed, only followed. Mr.
Still these are harmless; as their Authors live
Bayes' “ first rule,” i. e. “ the rule of transversion, changing verse into prose.” But Mr. Bayes's was a regula duplex," for he tells us he sometimes changed “ prose into verse ; " a fault I am far from imputing to Mr. Reynolds-Solvitur sphinx. — This is the whole mystery of Mr. Reynolds's playmaking transactions, and thus it is that the “ Renegade” is “ founded," as he modestly calls it, on Don Sebastian. The latter, however, has undergone a further amputation; for, it seems, a melo-drama must not consist of more than three acts-Be it so- Yet, strange to say, as it now stands, it is still too long by Shakspeare's standard.
A play there is, my lord, some (three acts) long,
To proceed to the dialogue.-- This is almost literally preserved, in the serious part, as in the original, except that care has been taken to break the rhythm and prevent the ear being sensible that But wben a Man, whom Genius never blest,
Who never yet one requisite possess'd
it ever was verse. But it is whimsical to follow Mr. Reynolds, when he walks upon his own stilts.- Take a specimen :
Ant. ... •oft we've gain’d by townsmen's glowing zeal; for let some popular chief but cry“ Halloo !” – lo! in a trice, the shouting herd rush forth--the gates are barricadoed -- and “ one and all's” the word — true cocks o' the game!- that never ask for what or whom they fight — but turn them out and shew them but a foe- cry“ Liberty”— that's glorious cause of quarrel!- I augur triumph from these stout allies !- come, and contest o'er, thine, fair Olivia, only thine.
I cannot so easily pass over the under-plot, which is entirely borrowed, without the slightest acknowledgment in the printed copy, from the Spanish Fryar. In some parts, not only the business of the scene, but the words are nearly the same: as in act iii, scene 2.
Pedro. ......if I don't prove he was as errant a disguised desperado! with a Demogorgon face! with a Sampson's arm! [ANTONIO, who has entered behind, unseen by all but PEDRO, holds up his stick at him :] No, I own, I own, he was so mild — so well behaved - s0 feeble ! that a child....
That forms the Bard, and his inspired line,
Spanish Fryar, act v. [Enter Lorenzo, who comes behind the company, and stands at his
father's back unseen, over against Gomez.] Gomez. · He's the first begotten of Beelzebub, with a face as terrible as Demagorgon : (LORENZO peeps over Alphonso's head, and stares at Gomez:] No, I lie; he's a proper handsome fellow! well proportioned, and clean shaped, with a face like a cherubim
If this mode of adoption be allowed, I shall soon expect to see“ a Grand Historical Drama” from King Henry the Vtli, or Hamlet.-So much, then, for Mr. Reynolds' prose. Of his poetry I shall say nothing. The Performers who are condemned to sing such ineffable stuff, are heartily to be pitied.
Should round his tomb in arms united stand,
Is then the Stage of all its honors ʼreft?
* Si nescis illum, scire te nihil
JACOBI PINONIS Elogium Bonefonii.
† Praised, admired, and loved by the brilliant assemblage of Wits that graced the earlier part of the present reign, Mr. Cumberland survived them all. Survived to see an age of lead succeed to one of golden splendor. But his was a green old age.
Aquilæ senectus.” The decline of a vigorous intellect, whose faculties seemed almost unimpaired by Time.