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Eud. Much baser he,
Hor. Why then farewell the tranquil mind I bore
Here, it is probable, we might take permission to relinquish our extracts, conscious that the merit ascribed to this tragedy has been copiously proved by the passages already quoted. There is, however, a more lofty walk of passion in which the efforts of this transcendent writer deserve to be noticed, and we shall therefore do ourselves the pleasure to furnish a final exaniple of the towering height to which genius, on her eagle pinions, , is capable of ascending. The annexed speech is an incentive from the Abbot della Pietà to the regiment of which he is colonel, when upon the point of maintaining the supremacy in church and state, that Horatius and his rebel adherents have so impiously attacked. This precious fragment appears to surpass every specimen of oratory delivered since the days of the Bishop of Pavia, when the mellifluous prelate harangued the crusaders in the holy land.
To arms, ye great companions of my toil,
An obsolete author, whose volumes are sometimes dipped into by the curious, -one Shakspeare,-it is singular enough, has something of the same sort, which, if we could persuade ourselves that his plays were ever seen, might have given birth to both the passage in the text, and that already quoted. So, in the “ Life of King Henry the Fifth," -Act 5, fol. 1623.
“ Base is the slave that pays."
If fate proposes, with her giant shears,
We have thus discharged our duty, a pleasant though an arduous one, to the author of this play, the spirit of which is uniformly sustained in its brilliant alternations of pathos and humour. Those great dramas, the Hebrew and Virginius, produced a few months since at Drurylane Theatre, are alone worthy to cope with the claps and flashes of tremendous excellence, the thunder and lightning of poetry,-in which this tragedy abounds, and we therefore bope that our academical friend will not confine his labours to the stage, while their paramount success must be so welcome in the closet. There is a great moral influence attaching to productions of this sort, which we wish to see extended.
The dresses and decorations were singularly wild and inappropriate, and even the title of the play was a refreshing misnomer. The Romans were all Milanese, and, to show the dexterity of the projector, standards of S. P. Q. R. were coupled with the ensigns of Christianity, and the pileus and toga were cordially associated with the surplice and initre. These are the
exploits of genius, the emanations of a mighty mind, which dares to delight us by a congregation of embellishments that inferior energy would tremble to collect. For such a treat we thank the author most devotedly, and his merit in bringing before us what had ample reason to be elsewhere, is so conspicuous, that we shall retire from the fields of criticism in disgust, if our colleagues, to any amount, are either senseless or ungrateful enough to depreciate his merit, or resist his claims.
Of the company in general we may say, as Churchill said before us,
Never did play’rs so well an author fit,
This is unqualified, and to some persons may appear immerited praise, but we can safely repeat our conviction that there was not an individual in the troop to whom such praise could be unfairly attributed. Mr. Lewis delighted us in Gonzaria, by his vigorous personation of the feeble father; Horatius was admirably portrayed in all respects but those of youth, grace, and animation, by Junius Brutus Julian; and Mr. Clifford's drollery in the Italian patriarch paralyzes our faculty of description. The sensitive and retiring Eudocia was finely depicted by the masculine firmness and declamatory tone of Mrs. Montague, who made us very often recollect her palpable prototypes, Mrs. Brookes and Mrs. Bunn. Nothing could exceed the softness of Miss Saunders in the fiery and vindictive passions of the turbulent Marcia ; and the Ghost of Mrs. Saker was a spirited and lively personation. It reminded us very forcibly of Mrs. Baker in the “ Romp," and we think a
power of approximating at any time to the talent of that clever little woman is the greatest proof that can be afforded of Mrs. Saker's ability.
Our exhausted limits will not permit us to enlarge upon the beautiful scenery and ingenious tricks of the harlequinade, which was replete with the best of those pretensions that are generally attached to this species of performance. The market-place of St. Alban's, and the panoramic view of St. Helena, were rare specimens of pictorial power, and we hope to see the artists employed upon this pantomime engaged for pursuits of a more perinanent nature.
We are sorry to learn that the worthy Lessee of this national undertaking considers himself to be seriously injured by the conduct of Mr. Elliston, who not only opened at the very period appointed for the reaping of his little scanty harvest, but absolutely engaged the very actors of which his company was intended to consist. That the gentlemen and ladies then exerting their talents at Drury-lane Theatre, in conjunction with Mr. Kean, were eminently fitted for the purposes of Bartholomew-fair, we can easily suppose; but that they could reject their old manager's splendid terms of five shillings per day, for the seven and sixpence a-week awarded by Mr. Winston, is a fact, which, under present circumstances, we can hardly bring ourselves to believe. A friend has just assured us that he saw Mr. Elliston inspecting every booth in the fair, but very candidly mentions that he came, for the first time, to select a number of comedians, by whose united efforts the impression which Mr. Kean has produced for several seasons past might be maintained till his return. There is a good deal of probability in this experiment, and we confess that Mr. Richardson is still bound to verify his charge.
The success of this theatre, we understand, has been singularly great, and arrangements are making for next season, to render it still more worthy of public support. A tragedy by Leigh Hunt, called the “ Cid,” which has been refused at both the Winter Theatres, will rank
among the earliest productions, and the “ Examiner" already teens with paragraphs in its praise. Mr. Moncrieff, it is also said, has undertaken to treat us with a “ Giovanni in New South Wales ;” and Mr. Beazley, the builder, will dramatize another of the Scotch novels on the top of a stage-coach. Mr. Yates is engaged to mimic the whole of his particular friends, and Madame Vestris will appear for the first and only time in the character of a lady.
SUNDAY IN PARIS.
"Tis morning—the shops are all open-the cries
As the loaded waggons pass us,
'Tis church-time, and half of the shops are half shut, Except in the quarters of trade, where they put
At defiance what Louis enacted;
Some mummery pageant is acted.
To pray for the forwardest places,
Perform pantomimic grimaces.
Or his flounces of violet satin:
The prayers that he mumbles in Latin.