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1736, and received most favourably-it then was with drawn from the stage till about the year 1782, when Colman the elder revived it at his theatre during the

summer.

Mr. Colman was a warm admirer of Lillo's works, and of this play in particular. He caused it to rehearsed with infinite care; and, from the reception of the two first acts, and part of the third, he had the hope that it would become extremely popular—but, on the performance of a scene which followed soon after, a certain horror seized the audience, and was manifested by a kind of stifled scream.

After having shuddered at this tragedy, even as a fiction, it is dreadful to be told,--that the most horrid event which here takes place, is merely the representation of a fact which occurred at a village on the western coast of England.

That the direful circumstance thus brought upon the stage 'might probably occur, is the great hold which it has upon the heart ;-had probability been violated, that powerful force would have failed—but Lillo is an author whose characters are such as inhabit the world, and do not reside merely in romances.

Fielding, another copyist of nature, says of the play, in his prologue :

“ No fustian hero rages here to-night; - No armies fall to fix a tyrant's right : " From lower life we draw our scene's distress : " Let not your equals move your pity less."

DRAMATÍS PERSONÆ.'

DRURY-LANE. HAYMARKET. OLD WILMOT Mr. Kemble. Mr. Bensley. YOUNG WILMOT Mr.Barrymore. Mr. Palmer. EUSTACE

Mr. Trueman. Mr. R. Palmer. RANDAL

Mr. C. Kemble. Mr. Bannister jun.

AGNES
CHARLOTTE
MARIA

Mrs, Siddons.
Mrs. Powell.
Miss Leake.

Miss Sherry. Mrs. Bulkeley. Miss Hooke.

SCENE-Penryn, in Cornwall.

FATAL CURIOSITY.

ACT THE FIRST.

SCENE I.

WILMOT's House.

Old WILMOT alone. 0. Wilm. The day is far advanc'd. The cheerful

sun

Pursues with vigour his repeated course :
No labour lessens, nor no time decays
His strength, or splendour : evermore the same,
From

age
to
age

his influence sustains
Dependent worlds, bestows both life and motion
On the dull mass, that forms their dusky orbs,
Cheers them with heat, and gilds them with his

brightness. Yet man, of jarring elements compos'd, Who posts from change to change, from the first hour Of his frail being to his dissolution, Enjoys the sad prerogative above him, To think, and to be wretched! What is life To him that's born to die! Or, what the wisdom, whose perfection ends In knowing, we know nothing? Mere contradiction all! A tragic farce,

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Tedious, though short, elab'rate without art,
Ridiculously sad

Enter RANDAL.
Where hast been, Randal?

Rand. Not out of Penryn, sir; but to the strand, To hear what news from Falmouth, since the storm Of wind last night.

0. Wilm. It was a dreadful one.

Rand. Some found it so. A noble ship from India
Ent’ring the harbour, run upon a rock,
And there was lost.

0. Wilm. What came of those on board her ?
Rand. Some few are sav'd, but much the greater

part,
'Tis thought, are perish'd.

0. Wilm. They are past the fear
Of future tempests, or a wreck on shore :
Those who escap'd, are still expos’d to both.
Where's your mistress?
Rand. I saw her pass the High-street, t'wards the

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Minster.
0, Wilm. She's gone to visit Charlotte. She doth

well.
In the soft bosom of that gentle maid,
There dwells more goodness than the rigid race
Of moral pedants e'er believ'd, or taught.
With what amazing constancy and truth,
Doth she sustain the absence of our son,
Whom more than life she loves! How shun for him,
Whom we shall ne'er see more, the rich and great ;
Who own her charms, and sigh to make her happy!
Since our misfortunes we have found no friend,
None who regarded our distress, but her ;
And she, by what I have observ'd of late,
Is wearied, or exhausted. Curs’d condition !
To live a burden to one only friend,
And blast her youth with our contagious woe!

I

Who, that had reason, soul, or sense, would bear it
A moment longer ? Then this honest wretch !
I must dismiss him—Why should I detain
A grateful, gen'rous youth, to perish with me?
His service may procure him bread elsewhere,
Though I have none to give him.-Prythee, Randal,
How long hast thou been with me?

Rand. Fifteen years.
I was a very child when first

ye
took

me, To wait upon your son, my

dear

young master, I oft have wish'd I'd gone to India with him, Though you, desponding, give him o'er for lost.

[OLD Wilmot wipes his Eyes, I am to blame: this talk revives your sorrow For his long absence.

0. Wilm. That cannot be reviv'd Which never died.

Rand. The whole of my intent Was to confess your bounty, that supplied The loss of both my parents : I was long The object of your charitable care. 0. Wilm. No more of that: Thou'st serv'd me

longer since Without reward ; so that account is balanced, Or, rather, I'm the debtor. I remember, When Poverty began to show her face Within these walls, and all my other servants, Like pamper'd vermin from a falling house, Retreated with the plunder they had gain'd, And left me, too indulgent and remiss For such ungrateful wretches, to be crush'd Beneath the ruin they had help'd to make, That you, more good than wise, refus’d to leave me.

Rand. May, I beseech you, sir !

0. Wilm. With my distress,
In perfect contradiction to the world,
Thy love, respect, and diligence, increas'd.
Now, all the recompence within my power,

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