« AnteriorContinuar »
imuted into verbs, as to bulwark-to base-to scabbard-o bluff. The poet's next offence, doubtless at the instigation of the Devil, against the peace of English scholars and their dignity, is a most violent propensity to the introduction of strange new-fangled words-words from which Lexiphanes himself would have shrunk back in dismay. In place of the honest old English word " sad” he astounds us with trist and contristed. Then he thunders upon us with his crasse, condependent, cosmogyre, cosmogyral, colon (not in a grammatical or anatomical sense, but in a French idiom, for cultivator, colonist) croupe, role, fluvial, multifluvian, brume, impalm, beamful, fulminents, imbeaded, ludibrious, and many more, which, to pronounce, would require the lungs Stentor, and the mouth of Garagantua.
We have now, we trust, with much impartiality, delivered our opinion of the poetical merits of the Columbiad. We will not elevate our American bard to the rank of the Dii majorum gentium of poetry, nor degrade him to the level of the heroes of the Dunciad. We place his work “ behind the foremost, and before the last,” on the same shelf with Wilkie's Epigoniad, Hoole's Arthur, and Pye's Alfred; and perhaps but little below the Madoc of Southey, the Conquest of Canaan of Dwight, and the Esodiad of Cumberland and Burgess. The notes to the Columbiad are full of strange and curious matter; these may perhaps furnish a subject for some future review.
LITERARY INTELLIGENCE FOR THE PORT FOLIO.
LAURA-A new Novel.
We took up this book, as we generally do modern novels, with the expectation of finding an ordinary love adventure insipidly told, or wrought up with far-fetched words and labcured sentences into a production still more insupportable; but we must confess that we never have been more agreeably disappointed. It is true, the story has nothing in it marvellous or extraordinary; it neither surprises nor rivets the attention by intricacy of plot. The heroine, a young female, endowed with beauty, uncommon powers of mind, and a glowing imagination, loses her mother, her only friend, at the age of fifteen, and while deploring her loss becomes accidentally acquainted with a gentleman who discerns her worth, falls in love with her, and finds his attachment returned. Pressed by cold relatives to a marriage at which her feelings revolt, she prefers putting herself to escape from it under the protection of her lover. From this first false step further imprudencies arise, and misery and destruction, as usual, are the consequences. No tale can be more simple; the occurrences are such as every observer of life too frequently meets with; but they are related with a choice of expression so happy, in a language so elegant and melodious, and at the same time so chaste and unaffected, that we cannot discover the sentence which could be spared, or the word that seemed to be sought for. The thoughts of the author appear to be neatly and harmoniously conceived in the first instance, and such is the genius pervading the whole narrative that we could read it, and actually have read it, again and again, with that exquisite pleasure with which we would attend the execution of a first rate piece of music, though often heard previously, or stand for hours fascinated before the same beautiful picture.
We forbear making extracts, for were we to begin we should not know when to stop; nor do we think it requisite, for we cannot doubt that the book to be read needs only to be known, and that the American public, by showing a duc sensibility on the occasion, will encourage a writer of whom it ought to feel proud.
This writer, as we have since perceived by the advertisement, is the same lady who published about a year ago a collection of letters written from St. Domingo. We recognize the style and the talents, which had already obtained our admiration; but the work before us is more finished, and we sincerely hope that the fair author may diligently prosecute a career of mental exertion for which she seems so eminently qualified.
How she acquired or retained the purity of taste to which this narrative is indebted for all its beauties, in an age when writers, from want of superior abilities seem reduced to scek in eccentriçity and deviation from nature the means of awakening interest; when most of the fashionable novels disgust by a bombastical assemblage of unmeaning words, appearing themselves astonished how they came together, and are rendered only somewhat less obnoxious by being crammed with the spoils of better times, as a
French ragout is with forced balls we are at a loss to conceive. But we are glad that the fact exists, and while we have availed ourselves of this opportunity of thus expressing the praise due to merit, we feel confident that it will be reechoed by every one who peruses this charming performance.
Miss Pope and Signora Storace. Miss Pope and Signora Storace, two actresses in the Drury Lane Theatre, who for many years have been favourites of the British metropolis, retired from the stage in May last, to spend the remainder of their days in the enjoyment of that fortune which their youth had acquired.
Miss Pope, in early life, is said to have been a successful representative of the liveliest parts in lower comedy. Churchill particularly mentions her excellence in Cherry, Corinna, and two or three more such parts. Though she was not remark ably excellent in elegant comedy, probably from her want of those physical requisites of voice and person, which are necessary for the Lady Townlys and the Lady Teaztes ; yet, in what is called genteel comedy she was almost always admirable. She also excelled in some parts of vulgar comedy; but the species of character in which her most complete merit evinced itself, was that of pert, forward, intriguing chambermaids. There is no one of the common emotions discernible in persons of this class, which did not appear to have been studied by Miss Pope ; and the effect of her study was an exquisite resemblance of nature. The secession of Miss Pope is considered a great, and, at present, irreparable loss to Drury Lane Theatre.
Signora Storace took leave of the stage in a musical address written by Coleman. She was so affected that she fainted, and was carried off amid loud peals of applause from all parts of the house. Many of the spectators thinking she was still acting, gave ber credit for more theatrical skill than genuine feeling.
Signora Storace was an excellent singer; and her voice is not yet worn out. The loss of her theatrical powers will not be felt. She was not considered an agreeable actress though she possessed a kind of boisterous merriment that pleased some classes of the audience.
Mysterious Bride. A Play called the Mysterious Bride, the production of the wellknown and fashionable Mr. Skiffington, has appeared in London, and been received with no inconsiderable interest.
Mrs. Mattocks. Though the last theatrical season in London has not been fertile, in performances creditable to the managers, or entertaining to the people, it has produced several important secessions among the veterans of the stage. Among others, we have to notice the secession of Mrs. Mattocks. She took her benefit on the 7th of June last. After the play of The Wonder, in which, for the last time, she played the character of the Chambermaid, an ode on Shakspeare was recited; and then, Mrs. Mattocks came forward and took her last farewell of the stage. She was very much affected, and expressed her gratitude for the kindness that had been shown her in a tremulous tone. Every body was touched, and the sympathetic feeling of the audience was increased when she said, she had been for fifty-eight years before the public. When she expressed a belief that though no one would be found more grateful than herself for the favours of the public, yet, many might be found better entitled to that favour, loud cries of “ no, never," burst from all quarters of the house. She repeated her ackowledgments, and, supported by Mr. Cook retired forever.
Mrs. Mattocks was a most truly entertaining comedian. Her lalent, indeed, was of a broad and farcical, rather than a chaste and elegant turn. Her greatest excellence was in the representation of chambermaids and of would-be-fashionables; and the broad pertness of intrigue required for the former cast of characters, as well as the farcical whim that is necessary for the latter, is not, it is thought, likely to find for a long while a representative who inay put in claims to an equality with Mrs. Mattocks.
Mrs. Mattocks was the sister of the late Mr. Lewis Hallam, the great father of the American stage. Worldly embarrassments compelled their father when his daughter was only four years old, to quit England, and try his fortune in America. Their aunt Barrington, an actress of merit, with true sisterly affection, prevailed on Mr. Hallam to leave our heroine under her protection. She did not neglect her charge; her husband and herself became parents to her in the tenderest sense of the word, and gave her an expensive and a finished education.
Her father, soon after his arrival in this country, became manager of the theatres in New York, Charleston and Philadelphia, and realized a fortune of ten thousand pounds; but his family lost the whole in the revolution.
At four years and a half old, Miss Hallam performed for her uncle's benefit, at Covent Garden, the part of the “ Parish Girl" in Gay’s “ What d'ye Call it.” She was so very diminutive, that a gentleman whimsically said, “ he could hear her very well, but he could not see her without a glass."
At fifteen, our heroine made her regular debut at the same theatre, in the character of Juliet; and from that time till her retirement from the stage ( with the exception of one winter, passed in Liverpool, when Mr. Mattocks was manager there) she inva. riably continued at Covent Garden, and has been for a long series of years a distinguished favourite. It is reported that the queen has allowed Mrs. Mattocks a pension of 2001 a year.
SPORTING INTELLIGENCE-FOR THE PORT FOLIO.
If the non-intercourse Bill, now before Congress, should be passed into a Law, and take effect at an carly period, it will be a most unfortunate occurrence for our friends of the Whip. For, be it known, to whom it may concern, that driving is now “ all the go” among the “ clever-ones" in London, and that two rival clubs, " The Barouche,” and “ Four-in-hand," lately established, intend to send out to us a pair of fashionable Plenipos, said to be « knowing-ones," with appropriate equipages, to contend for supremacy on the American Turf. As the law may give sufficient time for