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Old Man. I have a daughter.
I could bear all;
In nature's course,—but my poor darling child !
years has been my prop-to see her
And see her wasting ;-
I have not ate, old man, since-Pshaw! the wind
(The Old Man takes the wallet, falls upon his knces, and
attempts to speak.)
The idea of this scene is evidently taken from the incident of Sir Philip Sidney and the soldier. But it is happily introduced in this place, and admirably well executed. These are valuable exhibitions,
V. p. 39.
As my knowledge of the English Drama extends to little more than some of our most popular acting plays at the end of the last century, I am not able to give any thing like an enumeration of the plays in which the above subjects are treated. I will, however, mention a few which occur to me, by way of specimens.
The Subject of HUSBAND and Wife, is, upon the whole, well treated in the characters of Queen Catharine, -Hermione, -Desdemona, -Imogen,-Portia and Brutus, in Julius Cæsar,— Portia and Bassanio, in The Merchant of Venice, -Lady Randolph, - Shore and Jane Shore, - Hortensia, in The Count of Narbonne, --Elwina, in Percy, Zenobia, — Mrs. Beverley, in The Gamester, - Lady Davenant, in The Mysterious Husband, -Lord and Lady Torenly, in The Prodok'd
Husband, -Sir George and Lady Touchwood, in The Belle's Stratagem,
Mr. and Mrs. Oakly, in the Jealous Wife,-Lady Priory, in Wives as they were,—and Rashly in The Lord of the Manor.
Parent and Child: Cordelia, - Constance and Arthur, Prospero and Miranda, --King and Prince, in Henry the Fourth, Hamlet and Queen, -Volumnia,- Lady Randolph and Douglas, Merope and Dorilas,—Austin and Theodore, in The Count of Nurbonne,-Evander and Euphrasia, in The Grecian Daughter,--Charalois, in The Fatal Dowery, and Altamont in The Fair Penitent, (See The Observer, Vol. III. No. LXXXVIII. 2nd Edition.) —Sir William and Miss Dorillon, in Wives as they Were-Sealand and Indiana, and Sir John and Young Beoil, in The Conscious I.overs - Aubrey and Augusta, in The Fashionable Lover,--Captain Dudley and Louisa, in The West Indian,--Sir John Flowerdale and Clarissa, in The School for Fathers --Captain Douglas and. Amelia, in The English Merchant, -Mrs. Ratclife and Eliza, in The Jew,-Rashly and Sophia, in The Lord of the Manor,--and Blackberry, in the Farmer.
The following sentiment in this Farce, is worthy of notice. I never heard it spoken on the Stage, but the audience always gave their warm approbation to it. Valentine makes a dishonourable proposal to the Farmer, respecting his daughter : He replies, “ Sir, you may yet be a parent, then you'll be capable of a father's feeling, at the cruel offer to make him a party in the prostitution of bis child." A. I. S. 1.
BROTHERS and SISTERS, &c. Henry the Vth, and his Brothers, -The Young Princes in Cymbeline, - Clarence, and Edward the IVth, see Richard the IIId. A. I. S. 4. and A. II. S. i. Brutus and Cassius, - Isabella and Claudio,- Laertes and Ophelia, —and The Bertrams, in The Birth-Day.
Some few instances of Lovers I have mentioned before. * See Note J. to this Discourse, p. 163.
* In some of Mr. Dibdin's Sailors' Songs, the affection of a Sailor towards his sweetheart, or his wife, is treated with much delicacy and beauty; and I make no doubt they have contributed to refine the ideas of that class of persons towards the other sex: I allude particularly to the songs of The Token, Tom Bowling, Lovely Nan, Tom Truelove's Knell, The Sailor's Journal, Ned that died at Sea, The Nancy, Love's ;
MAGISTRATE and Subject: The Reflections Macbeth makes on the character of Duncan, A. I. $. 7.—Malcolm and Macduf, A. IV. S. 3.--Henry the IVth, Part I. A. III. S. 2. Part II. A. III. S. 1.-Henry the Vth, A. IV. S.l. --Henry the VIth, Part III. A. II. S. 5. and A. III, S. 1.-Henry the VIIIth, A. I. S. 2, and A. II. S. li--Measure for Measure, A. I. S. 1.-The following lines are from Cymbeline, as altered by Garrick. A. III, S. I.
Our countrymen, the Britons,
The conclusion of The Battle of Hexham, and that of Osway, are in the same strain. There are some good sentiments on this subject in The Siege of Damascus, in The Surrender of Calais, and in Pizarro. But there are two short pieces, The King and the Miller of Mansfield, with the sequel to it, Sir John Cockle at Court, both by Dodsley, which are very interesting in themselves, have much humour, and contain some most excellent sentiments, for both the prince and the subject. These pieces have very little that is exceptionable in them,, and might be easily corrected. The fourth verse of the Song, in the first of these, sanctions stealing from other men's sacks. All the songs in the second are but indifferent. Master and SerVANT: Orlando and Adam, in As
Like 11, --Imogen and Pisanio, in Cymbeline, -King Lear and Kent -
Probation, Nancy, Nature and Nancy, Anna, The Letter N, Water." Cresses, The Sapling, Three Cheers, Seaman's Ditty, The Wife, The Sailor's Will, Nancy and Home, Tom Transom, The Veteran in Retirement, Constant Tom, and Gallant Tom. I by no means wish to be understood as approving every word and sentiment in these songs, but I think them calculated, upon the whole, to do good. There are other of Mr. D.'s songs, which I consider as calculated to have an effect in the opposite way, and to encourage the bad principles, which these might, otherwise, more effectually counteract.
Brutus and Lucius, in Julius Cæsar, A. IV. S. 3. in this scene are some very beautiful touches. Flavius in Tiron of Athens,—Thoroughgood, Trueman and Barnwell, in George Burnwell,---Jarvis, in The Gamester, -Humphry and The Bevils, in The Conscious Lovers, Mortimer and Jarvis, in The Fashionable' Lover,--John Moody, in The Provok'd Husband, ---Sir George Thunder and John Dory, in Wild Oats,-Captain Bertram and Jack Junk, in The Birth Day. and Lieutenant Worthington, and Corporal Foss, in The Poor Gentleman, which three last are evidently taken from Uncle Toby, and Corporal Trim. To these I add The Stranger and Francis, in the Play Of The Stranger.
Rich and Poor: There is an excellent passage on this head in King Lear, A. III. S. 3. and A. IV. S. 1.-See also Lady Randolpk, and Douglas, and Old Norval,—The Mountaineers, A. II. S. 2. The Stranger, -The School of Reform,- A Cure for the Heart-ache,The Quaker,—Rosina ; and I think I recollect, that in the Play of False Colours, there is a scene where a lady of rank, leads her father to visit the cottages of the Poor ;-and, on this head, I recommend to perusal, for imitation, both on the stage and off, The Cheap Repository Tracts, particularly The Shepherd of Salisbury Plain, Sorrowful Sam, and Tom White ; nor can I forbear recommending Gilpin's Dialogues, between Doctor Lucas, and John Mitchell, and between Dr. L. and Farmer Hardcastle.
FRIENDS: Hamlet, and Horatio,- Antonio, and Bassanio,-Esser and Southampion, — Altamont, and Horatio, - Damon and Pythias, and Osway and Ethelbert, taken from the same story. An instance of friends in a humbler sphere, are the Soldiers, Lenor and Sinclair, in Sprigs of Laurel.
A friend observed to me once, that he thought one lesson, and that the chief, to be learned from almost all Tragedies, is PATIENCE; if the guilty persons had had patience, the catastrophies had never befallen them, If, in this light, we consider Othello, Lear, Macbeth, Cymbeline, Henry the VIIIth, The Winter's Tale, Julius Cæsar, Timon of Athens, Douglas, &c. &c. we shall see, that a want of patience has been the cause of almost all the wickedness and misfortunes which have happened. It will indeed frequently require some ingenuity to point out and illustrate this moral. But so, likewise, do all parables, fables, and instructive tales; and he is a bad teacher, who, when
he has proposed a fable, does not, at the same time, shew the application.
There is an excellent and beautiful Sermon of Bishop Horne's, entitled Patience POURTRAYED, vol. ii. Discourse X. which I most cordially recommend to the reader's perusal in this place.
Mrs. More says,
Thin, I will not say empty benches would too probably be the reward of the conscientious reformer." Preface, p. 8.
Mr. Styles, speaking likewise of those who wish to reform the theatre, says,
“ I think I could venture to assure them, that a blameless Stage would afford them no amusement.” p. 44.
X. p. 41. Mr. Hill objects to the Oratorios performed at our theatres : “ Let the language of our praises be scriptural, and, at least in my opinion, it will never be in our power to lift up the holy song, by every aid that vocal and instrumental music can produce, beyond what the sacred subject demands. But if, for the sake of these enjoyments, I am to hire such places, built for such purposes ; and pay those people to sing for me Songs so sacred, when with the same lips and instruments, and from the same principle of hire, they can employ the same powers on Songs so abominably profune, – I will never disgrace my person, or spend my property, by visiting a synagogue like theirs." Warning, p. 35.
Mr. Hill appears to me to be here entertaining different sentiments from what he had before stated. Speaking of Comedy, he says, (p. 5.) “ The charms of Music are next brought forward to aid the comic song, and to enrich the fascinating scene. And what sort of songs are theirs ? Should we not be shocked, were the least of fensive of them to be introduced into the houses of our God:-And why not? Things are the same in themselves wherever they may be exhibited; the grand question is how we act-oot where we act. As for the mere places, I conceive that if we could convert a playhouse, or any of the other haunts of wickedness and dissipation, to the accommodation even of the worship of God itself, or for any other purposes which are pure and good, the most scrupulous conscience could scarcely recoil at the event.” Mr. H.'s practice certainly here is conformable to his principles, for when he was at Edinburgh, in 1798, he preached in the Circus there. I must con