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TO HORATIO VISCOUNT AND BARON NELSON, Vice-Admiral of the White, and Knight of the most Honourable Order of the Bath:
A Man, amongst the few who appear
At different periods, to have been created
Inciting by their high example their fellow mortals
Necessary to the great purposes
At an early period of life
And early were the instances which mark'd
The fearless nature and enterprise of his character:
A strict and humble obedience to
Rising by due gradation to command,
Which animated his own;
He inspired a universal confidence
It will be for History to relate
He became the glory of his profession!
To say, that he commanded and conquered
Victories never before equalled.
The Battle of TRAFALGAR!
He fell, mortally wounded;
Him that the destruction of the enemy being completed,
Then laying his hand on his brave heart,
With a look of exalted resignation to the will
Of the City of London,
Have caused this Monument to be erected;
But to manifest their estimation of the Man,
And their admiration of his deeds.
They trust will remain as immortal
The period to
Can only be
NEW PLAYS. It were to be wished that, without violating the rights of the people, some legal power could be erected to prevent the representation of stupid plays; and that, instead of a lord chamberlain, a committee were to be appointed to examine each production, and report upon its qualities. This committee we would have composed of gentlemen of acknowledged taste; and if it were for nothing else but one saying of his, we would make Mr. Sheridan perpetual chairman. On the 12th of May, 1807, he, from the election hustings at Covent-garden, paid this keen and just compliment to his cotemporary dramatists. Talking of a low blackguard in the crowd, who had been railing at him with such coarse wit as the nomenclatureof St.Giles's supplied him with, Mr.Sheridan said to the people, “ I can assure you that, if political affairs had not drawn my atten« tion of late from the theatre, I would back that person for writing « a play against all the authors who bring out the TRASH of the pre“ sent day!!”
The present year is likely to be more than ordinarily prolific of this TRASH, this murderer-drama trash. Before us lies a list of plays such trash!! Were the bones of Shakspeare yet sticking together, his skeleton would turn in its coffin at the bare mention of them. Yet we must introduce them to our readers. First, a play called
OURSELVES. Mark, reader, how much even a partial English writer, endeavouring to make the most of it, can say of this piece.
“A new play has been presented at the Lyceum, under the title of Ourselves. This play is certainly not intitled to take very high ground, but it would certainly be equally unjust to deny it a very considerable merit. The authoress of it is the lady to whom the public is indebted for the School for Friends. It is accordingly marked with the character of that drama; it is somewhat too sentimental and too heavy, but is not deficient in nature and interest. The plot, moreover, has all the ordinary faults of plots taken from novels rather than from the shifting scene of life. Concealed fathers, fortunes unexpectedly dropt from the clouds, and thousands tossed about as so much dirt, are all too removed from common life and daily use to intitle any comedy to take a high rank which deals in them. The world however is not so barren, but that even intricate
plots may be really found on the stage of life, and the dramatist would do well to transfer them as they are to his canvas.
“ The dramatists of the present day are all spoiled by the puerile taste after what they term incident and bustle; in pursuit of which incident and of which bustle they outrage all nature and probability, and reduce the drama to a mere brisk farce. Another class, on the other hand, being determined to instruct, forget that it is necessary to amuse; they accordingly plunge into sentiment, and become insufferably dull. There are not more than three sentimental plays in the whole catalogue of acting dramas; and it is a matter of astonishment to us why this kind of writing has not gone out of fashion.
“ The dialogue of these kind of plays is of the same nature with the plot. It is a mixture of silk and worsted, of fustian and satin, which has no existence but on the stage. The ordinary language of life is never in measured sentences. Nothing is so tedious, so intolerable, as these speaking ladies and gentlemen.
“ The drama of Ourselves, however, seems to be one of the best of the kind; but as the whole kind is in no favour with us, we cannot find it in our hearts to give it much praise.--It is, perhaps, as good as Kelly's False Delicacy, the parent of all this sentimental trash.” The next is a comedy, called
THE GAZETTE EXTRAORDINARY. By an advertisement in a London paper, we are told that this is the production of Mr.HOLMAN.—And the following is the account given of it by the London critics.
6 The plot of The Gazette Extraordinary' arises out of an apparent noncompliance with certain limitations under the will of Lord De Mallory's grandfather; by one of which, Lady Julia Sandforth is compelled either to receive the hand of Lord De Mallory in marriage, or forfeit the whole of her fortune. That young lady, who has not seen his lordship for some years, became early prepossessed against him, and, rather than marry against her inclinations, quits De Mallory castle, and places herself under the protection of Mr. Heartworth, a plain, honest, blunt, country gentleman, whose father having married a sister of the deceased Lord De Mallory, was the innocent cause of her present embarrassing situation. The countess dowager De Mallory, incensed at the refusal of Lady Julia Sandforth to marry her son, upon his return from abroad, endeavours to
incense him against that young lady, by stating, that the cause of her abrupt departure was a secret affection for Sir Harry Aspen, and urges him to fulfil the intentions of his grandfather, by offering his hand to Miss Alford. Lord De Mallory, whose inclinations towards Lady Julia are very different from those of that young lady towards him, goes in pursuit of the runaway; and arriving at the house of Mr. Heartworth under the assumed name of his friend Major Clayton, prevails upon Dr. Suitall (a self-sufficient coxcornb) to be admitted to a party of pleasure on the lake of Windermere, in a fete given by Mr. Heartworth in honour of Lady Julia's arrival. In the course of this aquatic excursion, circumstances occur by which the assumed Major Clayton wins the affections of Lady Julia, and strongly ingratiates himself in the good opinion of Mr. Heartworth, who, upon the recommendation of Dr. Suitall, imagines him to be the officer of that name, whose gallant conduct in the East Indies he had read an account of in the gazette extraordinary. Mr. Heartworth, accidentally discovering the mutual affection of Lord De Mallory and Lady Julia, presses the latter to accept his lordship’s hand; but he, indignant at his rejection as Lord De Mallory, declines that honour, and leaves them abruptly. Lady Julia, in this perplexing situation, is prevailed upon by Randall to return to De Mallory castle, to vindicate her character from the unjust imputations of the dowager Countess De Mallory. An eclaircissement takes place between all the parties concerned in the will of Lord De Mallory's grandfather; and his lordship is united to Lady Julia with the full consent of his mother.
« We regret that we can give very little praise to a plot of this kind, and almost as little to the style in which it is executed in the detail of the acts and scenes.
« Of all plots there are none more vile than what may be called the novel-plots, the nature and manners of a circulating library.
“ The magazine of life produces a very sufficient variety for a writer of genius and observation. Why collect the refuse of Leadenhall-street? Why deal in modes and combinations which were never seen in real life?
“ The proper source of ridicule is in natural humour, and not in situations. Humour attaches to character; situation belongs properly to farce and caricature. It is very easy to introduce a man ignorant of the persons with whom he is discoursing, and thereby, by making him speak under this error and ignorance, cause him to utter things VOL. III.
which are incongruous and contrary to the true state of their respective relations. This incongruity it is that constitutes the ridiculous, and surely nothing is so easy, so common-place, and so absurd, as this kind of humour. The characters were well supported by the performers. The dialogue of this piece was occasionally forcible and vigorous.”
The next, and (we will not say the best, for where nothing is good, nothing can be best) the least bad, because the most interesting, is a melo-drama, intitled
TIMOUR THE TARTAR, concerning which the language of a London critic is as follows:
“ A modern French writer has observed that, on the first night of a new piece, the critic is constrained to attend so much to the performances of the pit, that if some confusion should appear in his account of what passes on the stage, it ought in candor to be forgiven. For this indulgence, on the present occasion, we feel it necessary to put in our claim, as if we were not obliged to pay particular attention to the scenes of the pit, the proceedings of the upper boxes and gallery were such as to give greater interruption to the anxious observer; and the efforts of the majority of the house to overpower the hostility thus manifested, had the effect of height. ening his perplexity.
“ Before the commencement of the piece, it was evident there was a strong party against it. The opposition threw a great number of handbills from the upper boxes, containing (as we understood) something against equestrian perforinances being introduced at the regular theatre. These, however, met with a very unfavourable reception; nearly the whole were torn to pieces, and those who had dispersed them were fervently hissed.
“ This melo-drama (said to be from the pen of M. G. LEWIS) is uncommonly interesting from beginning to end.
66 Timour, the Tartar, having usurped the throne, confines the son of the late king in a tower, the care of which he intrusts to his father, Oglou. Faithful to his sovereign, yet afraid of his fierce son, Oglou becomes the jailer of the young prince, with a view of alleviating his sufferings, and of ultimately restoring him to liberty. The mother of the prince imposes herself on Timour as the Georgian princess (to whom he wished, for purposes of ambition, to be united) in the hope of being enabled to snatch her son from confinement. Oglou knows her, but conceals his knowledge of her