Page images
PDF
EPUB

And if, perchance, the Public Prints proclaim 775
Some new production with a sounding name,
Some child that Morton, Reynolds helped to raise,
(Undaunted rivals for the vacant bays,)
Hundreds with eager eyes and footsteps haste,
Decide its fate, and form the Public Taste. 780
Friends of the Drama's spurious son, they meet,
Thund'ring their judgment from the Critic's seat,
Nor yet condemn, though founded on some plot

The theme of novels, or the tale of Scotto.

NOTES.

* 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 Melpomenese propose

D'abaisser son cothurne et de pleurer en prose.

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. H

Still these are harmless; as their Authors live 785

On the poor nourishment their brains can give.

NOTES.

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,
Which is as brief as I have known a play;
But by (three acts), my lord, it is too long,
Which makes it tedious.

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 when a Man, whom Genius never blest,

Who never yet one requisite possess'd

NOTES.

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 I [AN to Nio, 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—so feeble! that

a child. . . .

That forms the Bard, and his inspired line,
Dares, with unhallow'd hopes, approach the shrine,
Where, pillow'd by the Muses, Dryden lies,
And from his temples would purloin the prize;
All who, to cheer the slowly-passing day,

Have linger'd o'er the Poet, and his Lay,

NOTES.

Dow AN. . . . . . . Prevarication 1

8panish Fryar, act v. [Enter Lorenzo, who comes behind the company, and stands at his Jather's back unseen, over against Gomez.] Gomez. . . . . . . He's the first begotten of Beelzebub, with a face as terrible as Demagorgon : [Lon ENzo peeps over Alphonso's head, and

stares at Gomez ..] No, I lie; he’s a proper handsome fellow ! well pro

portioned, and clean shaped, with a face like a cherubim

Penno. . . . . . . What, backward and forward 2 —

If this mode of adoption be allowed, I shall soon expect to see “a Grand Historical Drama” from King Henry the Vth, 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, 795

To save his relics from a Spoiler's hand.

Is then the Stage of all its honors 'rest?
“Are none, none living,” not one Poet left?
Too true, that Wit with Sheridan” retir’d,
And Nature's Bard in Cumberland expir'd. 800
Last of a good old schoolt! what pow'rs were thine,

When petty Wits, with wonder, saw thee shine

NOTES. * Sinescis illum, scire te nihil quoque Parest decoris, et leporis, et salis, Et Gratiarum; quicquid et Phoebus docet Charos alumnos. Jacobi PINoNIs Elogium Bonefonii. t 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. “Aquilae senectus.” The decline of a vigorous intellect, whose

faculties seemed almost unimpaired by Time.

« PreviousContinue »