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and the clothing of common thoughts in holiday suits, ami of setting some dwarf of a phrase upon the stilts of embellishment, have become universal.
We think that we were the first to give an impetus to this innovation on the occidental side of the Atlantic. It is not so generally bruited as it should have been, either on the continent of America, or throughout the boundaries of Europe, or in Ispahan, Jeddo, Jerusalem, or Bagdad, that We first refined that well-known adage of 'proceeding the entire swine' — the indirisvm porailum. That stupendous conception was our own; and to whomsoever may charge us therewith, we own the soft impeachment, looking to the public to protect our bays.
Hereunto we append some fresh doings, of a similar kind. Two of the saws have exotic trimmings; the others are indigenous. We grew them:
Original. Go to the Devil and shake yourself.
Improved. Proceed to the Arch-enemy of Man, and agitate your person.
Or. Of one who squints. He looks two ways for Sunday.
Imp. One who, by reason of the adverse disposition of his optics — a natal defect— is forced to scrutinize in duple directions for the Christian Sabbath.
Or. Don't count your chickens before they are hatched.
Imp. Enumerate not your adolescent pullets, ere they cease to be oviform.
Or. Sauce for the goose, is sauce for the gander.
Imp. The culinary adornments which suffice for the female of the race Anscr, may be relished, also, with the masculine adult of the same species.
Or. Let well enough alone.
Imp. Suffer a healthy sufficiency to remain in solitude.
Or. None so deaf as them that won't hear.
Imp. No persons are obtuse in their auricular apprehension, equal to those who repudiate vocal incomes by adverse inclination.
Or. Put a beggar on horseback, and he will ride to the deviL
Imp. Establish a mendicant on the uppermost section of a charger, and he will transport himself to Apolyon. t
On. Accidents will happen in the best of families. .
Imp. Disasters will eventuate even in households of the supremest integrity.
Or A still sow drinks the most swill.
Imp. ' The taciturn female of the porcine genus imbibes the richest nutriment.'
Or. The least said, the soonest mended.
iMr. The minimum of an offensive remark, is cobbled with the greatest promptitude. v Or. 'T is an ill wind that blows nobody good.
Imp. That gale is truly diseased, which puffeth benefactions to nonentity.
Or. A stitch in time, saves nine.
Imp. The ' first impression' of a needle on a rent, obviatelh a nine-fold introduction.
On. A nod 's as good as a wink, to a horse that is n't blind.
Imp. 'An abrupt inclination of the head, is equivalent to a contraction of the eye, to a steed untroubled with obliquity of vision.'
Or. 'Tis a wise child, that knows its own father.
Imp. That juvenile individual is indeed sage, who possesses authentic information with respect to the identity of his paternal derivative.
Or. There's no accounting for taste.
Imp. The propensities of the palate defy jurisdiction.
On. Two and two make four.
IMr. (As per Sam. J.) The number four is a certain aggregate of units; and all numbers being the repetition of an unit — which, though not a number in itself, is the parent, root, or original of all number—four is the denomination assigned to a certain number of such repetitions.
Or.—Three removes are as bad as a fire.
Imp.—The triple transmission of a household, with chattels, from one domicil to another, is as vicious as a conflagration.
Here we pause. For the nonce, our speculation has done its worst.
Park Theatbe. — Mh. Reeve. — If theatrical people are to receive commendation according to their merits as legitimate actors of Tragedy or Comedy, then, we are sorry to say, Mr. John Reeve can lay claim to only a very small share of approbation. In the true sense of the word, he has no right to call himself an 'Actor.' His forte is Burlesque, a line of acting so broad, that there is seldom any thing like it 'on earth, in the heavens above, or in the waters beneath.' And yet, in some characters, so very low that they have nothing but their coarse vulgarity to distinguish them, Mr. Reeve certainly does seem the very animal itself. Yates must have been, in this particular, his prototype: else could he not have suggested to Churchill these biting lines:
'In characters of low and vulgar mould,
The worst compliment that can be bestowed upon a performer, who pretends to be the representative of a humorous character, we feel compelled to pay Mr. Reeve—he keeps a part of his audience constantly in a roar, not at the wit of the author, as displayed in the character he is supposed to represent, but at himself. They are not forced into a laugh because they behold the vivid representation of some droll original, but are compelled to roar at the grotesque tricks and grimaces of the caricaturist before them. Nor is this the only method by which Mr. Reeve shows his contempt, both for the author and the audience. He is constantly mangling the text, and distorting its meaning, by the substitution of words and ideas of which he alone is the legitimate father, thereby declaring his author a fool, and gently insinuating the conviction, that the individuals composing his audience are not much better. Let such a man attempt' FalslaffJ' and the part might as well have been written by any Grub-street penny-a-liner, as by the immortal bard himself, for all the respect the performer would pay to the words or ideas of the character. It is true, that in most of the pieces in which we have seen Mr. Reeve, he may be as capable as the authors of saying a good thing, and as much to the purpose; but when for the whimsical notions and peculiar phraseology of Sheridan's 'Bob Acres,' he substitutes his own, we are not willing tamely to suffer the infliction. As a mimic, Mr. Reeve is, in some particulars, the best we have ever seen. His portrait of poor Mathews was a perfect likeness, and, considering the great natural difference between the two individuals, in voice and personal appearance, the imitation seemed truly wonderful. As 'Cupid,' in the Burletta of that name, he excited the 'eachinnatorics' of the audience to no small degree. His dance, a la Taglioni, was a curiosity in iis way; and indeed in all the extravagant burlesque of character, in which he appeared, he made great fun. His 'Paul Pry' was good: to say it was better than poor Hilson's, however, would be paying it a compliment it does not deserve. The medley song in 'Catching an Heiress' was admirably given, and was almost worth the trouble and fatigue of sitting out the abundant nonsense of that execrable farrago of dulness. The pieces which Mr. Reeve has brought out are certainly, one and all, the worst of the bad, — a fact that should be taken into consideration, when judging of the effects he was able to produce, in despite of their lavish insipidity. Mr. Reeve certainly can and does create a laugh, whenever he chooses to do so. To him, this may appear the end and aim of a comedian, and to some of his auditors may he quite satisfactory, and seem all that can be required: but again we repeat, it is not so. If an individual appears before the public as an actor, he must be measured by the legitimate standard, and as an actor, stand or fall: if he pretends to no higher profession than that of a buffoon, as a buffoon let him be judged.
'Gagging' is a very expressive, although not a strictly classical, term; and is used to signify certain trickeries of the stage, to which some professors fearlessly descend, in order to force applause. It is the quackery of the mimic art, and argues a deficiency of legitimate power, and a great depravity of taste, in the person who resorts to it. It is a part of that same spirit against which Hamlet warns the players, when he says: 'And let those that play your clowns, speak no more than is set down for them; for there be of them that will themselves laugh, to set on some quantity of barren spectators to laugh too; though in the mean time some necessary question of the play be then to be considered: that's vile, and shows a most pitiful ambition in the fool that uses it.' It is of this ambition that we would like to see some of our comedians divest themselves. It is unworthy of talent, such as it is said Mr. Reeve really possesses, and altogether unnecessary, to create the effect he desires, in such audiences as he should aim to please, while performing at the Park Theatre. We would not be too hard upon Mr. Reeve, but as impartial spectators of the drama, as it is nightly presented to us upon the stage, we cannot tamely abide the abuses of the art, which are constantly creeping in upon us from foreign shores, as well as from our western wilderness. Mr. Reeve is not always to be censured: there are times when he seems to feel the true spirit of the art, and satisfied to produce effect, without descending to trick and gagging. His comedy (if that is the name) is of the very broadest character. Many of the personages whom he appears to represent, are entirely unknown on this side of the water; some of his best points, therefore, are absolutely lost. Localities are every thing, in most of his representations, and consequently many things which were irresistible at the Adelphi, are utterly thrown away upon an American audience. As a comic singer, and dancer, Mr. Reeve certainly excels. These two qualifications are useful in their way, but do not alone constitute him a comedian. After all, we do sincerely hope that we have been deceived in our estimate of Mr. Reeve, and that on his return he may give evidence of the possession of powers superior to any for which we now feel inclined to yield him credit. Should he improve in the estimation of the public, we shall be among the first 10 signify their approbation.
Mas. Richardson, a lady whom the public will better recognise under the favorite name of Mbs. Chapman, has filled a short engagement at the Park, during the month, much to the gratification of her many admirers. Mrs. Richardson has the great merit of always acting from herself, or in other words, of becoming identified with the character she represents. There is no evidence of effort in her personations; she appears always easy and at home in the situation for the time assumed; and being content with the language and ideas of the author, does all in her power to clothe them with the expression that properly belongs to them. She does not rant; there are no graspings for effect — no pocket-handkerchief business — no 'tearing a passion to tatters' — in the quiet and natural exhibitions of character, as effected by her. It is a pity we have not more such artist? upon the stage, in the place of those obnoxious disciples of the 'rough-and-tumble school,' with whose yearnings after immortality we are occasionally indulged. We hope we may again see this lady enrolled among the stock company of the Park. In this situation, which she once filled with so much honor to herself, and satisfaction to the public, she will be sure to increase in favor, and become in a brief space worthy of the highest rank in her profession. While speaking of favorites, we cannot avoid alluding to Mbs. Versos. In the line of business to which she belongs, she is, to say the least, unexcelled: yet, from some cause or other, while every VOL. VII. 14
body appears contented with her efforts, butfew seem truly to appreciate her worth. Mrs. Vernon is always good—and perhaps it is from this very cause, strange as it may appear, that she is not more particularly noticed. She is always natural; and appears (to borrow an expression,) to suit herself to the various characters she assumes, 'by instinct.' Such continued excellence, however, must receive its guerdon; and Mrs. Vernon has only to go forward with the unexceptionable method she has adopted, to be sure at last of finding herself truly appreciated, and justly rewarded. c.
American Theatre, Bowerv.—The toils of the month have prevented us from witnessing more than three evenings' entertainments at this theatre. On one of these occasions, Booth was the 'feature;' and truly he was 'a bright, particular star.' In Lear, he lacked nothing but a more commanding person, to have lived the monarch. The touching pathos of the fond, abused father—the deep agony of the 'poor, weak, infirm old man' — the proud, yet bursting heart—drew down well-deserved and prolonged applause. Flynn was good in Kent, his lady faultless in Cordelia, and Hamsun's Edgar was well performed. In all else, Booth's support was most wretched. We have latterly overlooked, though we have by no means lost sight of, Mr. J. R. Scott. With a commanding person, expressive and handsome features, a strong, mellow voice, and intellect to appreciate the characters which he assumes, he cannot fail, with assiduous and careful study, to become all that a reasonable ambition may lead him to anticipate— all that his friends hope yet to see him.
1 The. Triumph of Texas,' a new clap-trap nondescript, was an irredeemable, unmitigated failure. Some idea of the clearness of the plot, and the interest excited by the whole, may be gathered from the following pithy dialogue between two box-auditors:
'I say, Tom — how d' ye like it V
'Oh, pshaw! — there's only one passable part in it; that's play'd tolerably well.''Which part is that T
'It 's the part of Triumph! He's good?
Fbankun Theathe. — Mb. Hows, whose appearance at the Park Theatre in January last gave such satisfaction, is performing a short engagement at the Franklin Theatre. The graceful and classical style adopted by this gentleman, has been the subject of general commendation, and has met the decided approbation of discriminating judges of the art. His Shylock has been every where deservedly extolled; and his Shera, in the excellent comedy of The Benevolent Jew, as represented by him on the first evening of his appearance at the Franklin, we are inclined to place at the head of his personations, for truth and originality. We should be pleased to see this fine old play occupy a permanent place among the acting pieces of the day. It might serve as an antidote against the prejudice which the frequent representation of The Merchant of Venice is calculated to engender. Mr. Hows is richly deserving the consideration of the public, and we hope will meet it, in that profession to which his talents are now so entirely devoted.
M». Hill—whose successful engagements in our Atlantic cities are good tests of his merits and studies as an actor — has done much, within a year or two, to foster the talent of native dramatists. Several pieces have been written for him, and in which he performs with skill and judgment, that are probably equal to many works of the sort, in countries where dramatic efforts are much more frequent than in our own.
American Literatube. — Mr. Flint concludes, in the London Athena-urn for November, his paper upon American Literature, in which he has acquitted himself with his accustomed ability. The stern, manly, independent American spirit that pervades the article, is characteristic, and worthy of all praise. We are pleased to remark, that a just tribute is paid to the literary labors of the Rev. Dr. Beasley, of New-Jersey, Provost of the University of Pennsylvania. 'His 'Search of Truth in the Science of the Human Mind,' says the writer,'and his defence of Locke against the recent Scottish metaphysicians, are eloquently written, and display vast research and labor.' In a notice of an indigenous Review, Mr. Flint holds the following language. The reader will perceive, that it conveys sentiments similar to those expressed, on one or two occasions, in this Magazine:
'The writing of the Philadelphia Quarterly aims to be more magnificent than that of the North American Review. In reaching at courtly grandeur, it sometimes becomes sesquipedalian. Johnson and Parr are the models, not nature and simplicity. We might evade any attempt at a definition of this 'review style," l>y calling it nje ne saia quoi grandeur; an indescribable magniloquence; a sort of stately rounding of long sentences, full of doubts, and intermediate members, and subjunctives, with a touch of oracular ambiguity, raising the impression, that the writer wore a presentation dress, with a wig, and so much fur, and robe, and furbelow, and velvet, as to make him resolve, feeling rather grand and incumbered himself, that the reader should not fail in due homage to his transient aristocracy, nor altogether escape helping him bear a portion of the burdensome tithe of magnificence. We have attempted to imagine the criticism which Dean Swift, and Oliver (roldsmith — Ho direct, so transparent, so beautifully simple in their style — would have passed upon this modern review writing.
'The department of poetry in this journal is said to be peculiarly intrusted to a Doctor M'Henry, who has given it a most unenviable notoriclv. by attempting to villify the highest efforts of American poetry, particularly those of Bryant. Himself the author of a wretched poem, entitled, we think, 'The Pleasures of Friendship,'—either the dullest namby-pamby, or the undigested surfeit of stolen fragments of verse, so little disguised by having passed through his mind, as, when eructed again, to hear, like the Botany Kny plate, the ciphers and marks of the original owners, — he has stood in the critical sewer, and successively besmeared and abused every good article of verse from the American press, and has only found praise for some poetry, of which the authors themselves have long since been ashamed. Neither the ancient Zoilus, the modern Lintot, nor any hero ofthe Dunciad, was more re<!ouhtnh!y terrible in the use of terms of abuse, than this same critic; and as we have good hope, that this our notice of the villifier of Bryant will reach his eye, we do not despair of the only praise which such a mind can bestow, — the outpouring ofthe whole of his copious vocabulary of terms of aspersion and contempt.'
We extract the paragraphs below, from that portion of the article under notice, which treats of American poetry. The writer gives but a just award, we think, when he says that 'American poetry almost universally bears the stamp of purity and respect for the domestic virtues, for piety and religion. Our poets, as far as they have shown inspiration, evince that they are imbued with the love of goodness, truth, and beauty; that they have strung their lyres in the exultation of the glorious hope of immortality; that they aim to purify public thought, rather than debauch it; and that they have drunk from those perennial fountains that flow fast by the throne of God.' He proceeds:
'We believe, that in just so far as a country is advanced in taste, in just thought, enlargement of mind, and kindness of feeling, it will generate and patronize poetry; for poetry, sprung from genius, enthusiasm and sensibility, is identified with virtue and religion — in fact, is but another form of the religious sentiment, is the band that unites the past with the future, the present with the absent, the living with the dead, the inspiration of friendship, virtue, magnanimity, high thought, and glorious achievement."
* * ''Our primeval age was one of sermons and prose; and the matter of fact of cutting down trees, building cabins, and making enclosures, instead of indulging the imagination. Ecclesiasticaitribunals churched fair delinquents for cutting off the fingers of their gloves, and thereby exposing so much of their fair persons as might prove an unholy leaven to the fancy of beholders. The first gloomy excursions of those times into the ideal world, discovered only witches, and demoniacs; and nearly half a century elapsed, before our progenitors began to think much of poetry; and its first efforts were attempts to versify the psalms, after the manner of Sternhold and Hopkins, in a version entitled the 'Bay Psalm Book." Vet even in the very earliest period of the