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operation; but still it pervades our existence: the lowest feel it; the proud cannot dispense with it. “ We are born,” says Burke, "to shun contempt;" and the peasant who delves the earth is as full of the ethereal spirit, which wings its flight from contempt, as the proud and dignified baron. How exquisitely has a luminous dramatic poet expressed this feeling and its effects upon the human heart:
Surely, out of this,
TOBIN'S CURFEW. Having so far unfolded our sentiments upon this subject, we hope our readers will favour us with their company a little farther, while we endeavour to prove from the play itself the correctness of the opinions we have hazarded.
The Marquis DE MONFORT and his eldest sister, the Lady Jane De Monfort, had, by the death of their parents, become the natural guardians of their younger brothers and sisters, and, for the purpose of discharging the office with fidelity and effect, had forgone all the advantages of connubial life, and remained unmarried. With high rank, hereditary honour, large fortune, the respect of the world, and the love, approaching to adoration, of their friends and dependents, it would seem as if nothing could be wanting to their perfect felicity. To augment those grounds of happiness, they mutually love and revere each other to a degree unexampled in such connexions: yet, both are unhappy: he from some cause, which he keeps in sullen concealment; she, on account of his situation, and her total inability to discover his motives or to remove his sadness.
Her tenderness has at length become irksome to him; her solici. tude and inquiries give him pain; and, in order to relieve himself from them, he leaves his house without informing her of his intention, goes to Amberg, a town in Germany, and there puts up at a house he was once before in the habit of frequenting, kept by an old faithful host and humble friend of the name of JEROME. Just on his arrival at Amberg, the play commences.
(To be Continued.)
A NEW PLAY.....OF AMERICAN PRODUCTION. A correspondent at New York informs us, that a new play in.. titled, ALBERTI ALBERTINI OR THE ROBBER KING, was on the 25th of January performed, with very flattering applause, at the theatre of that city. It is said to be the production of Mr. DUNLAP, once manager of that theatre, and author of some original dramatic pieces; as well as translator of several others from the German. On the merit of this play, we cannot at present offer so much as a conjecture, having not yet had a perusal of it. Of the fable the fol. lowing sketch has been transmitted to us by our correspondent; and our readers may look for a critical review of the piece, in a future number, provided a copy of it shall fall into our hands.
Feraya, a knight of Malta, in early life falsifies his vows, and contracts an illegal marriage. The fruit of this marriage is a son and daughter. The mother dies. The daughter, Dianora, is educated in a convent, and the son, under the name of Alphonso Albini, is prepared, by Faraya, his father, in the assumed character of Orsino) for the army. Alphonso, soon after commencing his military career, is brutally misused by a superior officer, and in a paroxysm
himself on the spot. His life becomes forfeit. He flies; falls into the hands of banditti; is eventually elected their leader, and renders himself the terror of Italy under the name of Alberti Albertini, the Robber King.
Feraya, lately appointed general of the Neapolitans, is sent to subdue the Robber King. He disperses the band; but in an accidental rencontre discovers in the dreaded Albertini his long lost son, Albertini also recognises his protector and instructor in the Neapolitan general. The father favors his son's escape; and returning to court, pleads to his master in favor of the Robber King, but in vain; for the monarch, instead of relenting, sets a price of two thousand ducats upon Albertini's head.
At this point the drama commences. Feraya, the father of Albertini, who is known to him only as his instructor, devotes his whole attention to the safety of his son. He disguises himself as a venerable and mysterious hermit, seeks the robber to his wilds, and finds him on the point of another battle. By showing Albertini that he is perfectly acquainted with his early history; and by an artful use of the names of Alphonso and Orsino, Feraya, in this disguise, prevails upon Albertini to intrust with him Rosali, a young girl in whom he (Albertini) is interested, and makes him promise to repair to the house of Feraya, in Naples, disguised as count Mondochini. At Naples, Albertini finds his Rosali again; and Dianora, his sister, now in her father's house, becomes enamoured of him. This breaks off an intended marriage with count Astutti, a soldier of fortune, who determines to revenge himself. The secret of Albertini is betrayed to Astutti, by Lodovico, his servant, who is seduced by Astutti into a fit of intoxication. Astutti, to gratify his diabolical resentment, and gain the two thousand ducats offered for Albertini, pursues him with unremitting industry, and in one instance attempts to take his life, but is prevented by Lodovic, the Robber King's servant; and they both return to the banditti.
After several escapes, the author brings Albertini into the presence of Feraya, who acknowledges Albertini to be Alphonso, his son. The father congratulates himself that by removing from Italy he may enjoy the society of his children in safety, and forget, in a peaceful old age, the crime which had destroyed their mother and endangered them. At that moment Astutti, having traced Albertini, enters with the officers of justice, and, determining to make sure of vengeance, discharges a pistol at him. Dianora in her anxiety to promote her newly found brother's flight, having thrown herself in the way, receives the ball. Albertini's flight is stopt by his solicitude for his sister; and being once in the power of the officers of justice, all hope of life is cut off. Dianora dies. Albertini kills himself; and the erring father is convinced that there is no peace or safety but in virtue.
BENEFITS OF THE ACTORS. AS, before the publication of our next number, the benefits of our actors will begin to take place, we will not dismiss this article, without offering our readers a few words on that subject, and submiting our thoughts upon it to their consideration.
Most people look upon the benefit given to a performer as a mere gratuity; a something allowed to him over and above the emoluments, to which his labours fairly intitle him; but, this is to view the thing in an erroneous and, we must say it, not very generous light. The benefit is a sort of test of the opinion entertained by the public of the performer's merit; and is, in fact, a portion of his compensation, made wholly distinct from his fixt salary, in order that so much of it at least may be measured by the general esti'mate of his services, and the value set upon his acting by the public. This is the true reason, why actors feel so much about their benefit; for, upon an average, very little profit accrues to them
after paying the expenses, even when the house is what they call a middling one. Considering it as symptomatic of the state of their professional fame, they feel most poignantly at any neglect upon the part of the public, on that occasion. Indeed, who would not feel acutely any disappointment on an expectation in which the two most important concerns of life are involved: character and subsistence?
Yet it is not always a true test of the performer's merit; nor is it, by any means, an infallible diagnostic of the public opinion. Caprice has much to do in it. We have seen actors, who, after playing almost every night in play or farce, many nights in both, being justly applauded every time and keeping the house in a roar of merriment, have at their benefit been left as completely in the lurcb, as if they were wholly unknown in the city. This is not acting generously. This is not acting justly.
Here are in Philadelphia, perhaps, between two and three thousand people, who are in the constant habit of attending the theatre. Night after night, they receive great pleasure from a particular actor; they express that pleasure by plaudits, and by laughter; and they say to those near them, “ Vastly well indeed!- very comical! exceedingly diverting!” and yet, when the time comes for giving that actor his reward, they turn aside; and the only time they neglect attending his performance is-at his benefit.
Though there be no positive expressed obligation, on the part of the public, there is an implied one, a kind of tacit contract that if the actor pleases them for the season, they will mark their approbation by going to his benefit at the end of it. To fail in this is a manifold wrong: withholding his reward from the labourer, refusing to give their testimony to his deserts, and thereby hurting his feelings and injuring his professional character. We know that the actor's claim to this cannot be entertained in a court of law; but it will hold good in foro conscientiae, and no just, generous, or proud spirit will demur to it.
We therefore earnestly exhort all who read this, all lovers of the drama, all who wish to draw around us here the most valuable performers by a fair and flattering retribution, not to be over frugal on the ensuing benefit season; but on the contrary, to call to recollection the services of those, who have during the season contributed to their happiness four nights of each week, and in return, to make each of them happy for one,
TO SUBSCRIBERS. The new arrangements adopted, for conducting The MIRROR OF TASTE, have necessarily retarded the appearance of this Number, a few days beyond the time appointed for publication; which hereafter will, without fail, take place on the fifth day of each month for the number belonging to the preceding. The removal of the work to a new printing office, of itself, occasioned some delay; the total change in the form of the play, rendered the printing of it, in the first instance, more arduous and slow; and the commencement of the new plan, like the beginning of every operose process, met with difficulties which it will not have to encounter in its fu. ture progress. To use a sea-phrase, we have now "got under way;" our sails feel the breeze of Hope; and all impediments being passed, our little bark steers to her destined port.
Tendimus in Latium; sedes ubi fata quietas
Ostendunt. The best concerted and most diligent exertions have not enabled us to procure the portrait due to our subscribers for December month. Till yesterday Mr. Edwin had it not in his power to proceed with the portrait of Mr. Warren. Measures were, therefore, taken to procure an engraving of Mr. Cooke from New-York; and in the certain expectation of receiving it in due time, a biographical sketch of that great actor now constitutes an article of this number: but a something, for which we are unable to accouut, has prevented our request being complied with. We consider ourselves, however, as bound to make good to our subscribers the stipulated number of plates; among which we pledge ourselves for an excellent portrait of Mr. Cooke: Mr. Edwin being now able to apply himself to the work of the Mirror; and having agreed to an arrangement which will preclude the possibility of disappointment for the future.
We regret our inability to accompany the print of Master Payne with a few words respecting the life of the original, whose popularity would no doubt render it grateful to the public. We have to thank that young gentleman for his portrait; but lament that his modesty withheld the rest.