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the new opinion started by Mr. Irwin rests only upon an extract from the Chinese annals which he received from a mandarin, a friend of his, and consequently upon the good faith alone of that mandarin; and, besides, that he was a stranger to the manner in which the game of chess is related to have been invented
PUBLIC AMSEMENTS FOR JANUARY.
in India; for he says that it was designed by a Bramin to cure the melancholy of the daughter of a rajah. This origin he justly thinks highly improbable; but he would scarely have said the same of the account given in the preceding part of this article.
Ox Friday, January 6, the season of Operas commenced. The theatre has been refitted with great care; the boxes new papered and painted, and the benches as well as chairs renewed.
It seems the affairs of the Opera this season will be conducted with much better harmony. Amongst the latest and best arrangements of the Managers, they have thought proper to cause the Composers of the Opera to assist at the piano-forte. So that the celebrated Maestro Punitta, already in London, and likewise Maestro Griglielmi, who is expected from Portugal (both celebrated on the Continent), will aid and assist, alternately, at the piano; which will, no doubt, give the public that pleasure and satisfaction so necessary in the Italian Opera. Naldi, who is re-engaged and made director of the Operas, we hail as a
A new Comic Opera, intitled La Cappricciosa
fully influenced the spectators in her favour.
A new Divertisement and Ballet displayed
ON Thursday January 5, a new Comedy, entitled Man and Wife; or, More Secrets than One, was produced for the first time. The following are the Dramatis Persona :—
Lord Austincourt........ Mr. HOLLAND.
Charles Austincourt...... Mr ELLISTON.
Falconer (disguised as } Mr. WROUGHTON.
Abel Grouse) ....
Cornelius O'Diddimus.... Mr. JOHNSTONE.
.... Mrs. JORDAN. Mrs. H. SIDDONS.
The plot of this piece is not that of a Comedy, but of a Romance. It is not an imitation of life, nor has it that sufficient probability which gives to a fiction the decorum of nature, and the resemblance of truth. It is cold, insipid extravagance; reason is violat ed for what is monstrous, without being pleas
the structure of this character, by those arti fices of stage-display, of which, the writers of latter times have made such abundant use. However admirable the play, it may be remark.
without indignity to the genius of Shake. spear, that the character of Macbeth is not very various, nor very nicely distinguished. Such is the solemnity and grandeur of the events in this play, that individual character is either neglected or absorbed. Such is the overwhelming terror of the witchcraft and the magic; such the abounding variety and mystery of the plot, that the poet perhaps had no leisure, or no inclination, to point his characters with any nice discrimination, or to expand them to that excellence of which they were capable.
There is another plot-It is that of a mock marriage and a sham parson, by which the Peer conceives that he has cheated the credulity of a silly girl; but as the agents of rogues are often confederates against them, so in this case, the Peer is fairly caught in his own suare by a scheming Attorney, who prepares as good a licence as Doctors' Commons could issue, and as substantial a priest as ever Bishop ordained.
ing, and the wind is disgusted by falsehood, which wants the common charm of novelty.
Two children, by a kind of gipsy trick, are changed in their cradles; one becomes a Baron bold, the other a gallant tar. The catastropheed, of the play divests the pseudo Baron of his title, and elevates the sailor to the Peerage. This improbability is rendered more disgusting by its being more trite.
To represent the character of Macbeth with suitable propriety, a good actor should bring to it, not only the ordinary excellencies of his art, but a degree of refined taste, an acute aud
Such is this silly plot, which, foolish as it is, was conducted with matchless absurdity. There was no pause or division in the narra-versatile sensibility, a characteristic grandeur, tive: there was no middle part-all was either involution or catastrophe.
and a royal dignity; in short, such qualities as are peculiar to a chosen few of his profession.
The Characters were of a piece with the Fable. The cattle and the cart were perfectly well matched. There was a Noble Lord who richly deserved the gallows; and a Baronet who had very fair claims for the pillory.-It is difficult to distinguish which was most offensive, the penitence or roguery of the Attorney and his Clerk-The part of the Sailor was that of a clamorous Patriot, aud Helen was a coquette without smartness or repartee.
The language of the piece, however, was sometimes elegant This is its only recommendation, and brought it safely into port,having kept an even, quiet tenor, in a voyage in which little was ventured, and nothing gained but safety.
On Wednesday, January 11, Mr. Young, to whom the Managers of this theatre have afforded an opportunity of appearing in the leading characters of the drama, with no other limit than that of his own discretion, came forward in the character of Macbeth.
The part of Macbeth is not very nicely adapted to popular effect. The ambition of the performer has not been much consulted in
Mr. Young, who is an actor of great merit, and, as a tragedian, second perhaps to none but Kemble, is no wise suited to this charac
His manner is precise, dry, and rigid; there is a formal and studied accuracy in his style, a want of diguity, and a total defect of sensibility.
He seems never to forget himself into feeling, or to plunge into the scene with the artless promptitude of passion. There was nothing absurd in his performance; on the contrary, there were many points of great and shining excellence; but the effect produced The was that of languor and indifference. audience were never roused by the impetuosity of his courage, and had no sympathy with the compunctions of his guilt. He was at no time master of the genius of the scene; and though in some parts he satisfied the judgment, he seldom touched the heart.
We must not omit, however, without its due praise, his admirable delivery of the lines in the banquet scene,
"Can such things be, and overcome us like a summer's cloud, &c."
These lines were spoken as we have never heard them before, and the effect was such as justified the novelty.
EPISTLE TO DR. ARBUTINOT,
BEING THE PROLOGUE TO THE
Tie up the knocker; say I'm sick, I'm dead.
P. SHUT, shut the door, good John, fatigu'd || Rhymes ere he wakes, and prints before term
Oblig'd by hunger and request of friends;
"I'm all submission, what you'd have it make
All fly to Twit'nam, and in humble strain
If foes, they write; if friends, they read me
Seiz'd and tied down to judge, bow wretched I!
With honest anguish, and an aching head;
Nine years! cries he, who high in Drury-
Lull'd by soft zephyrs thro' the broken pane,
Three things another's modest wishes bound,
"I want a patron; ask him for a place."
"Dare you refuse him? Curl invites to dine;
"A virgin tragedy, an orphan muse."
The players and I are, luckily, no friends.
"And shame the fools-Your int'rest, Sir, with Lintot."
Lintot, dull rogue! will think your price too much :
"Not, Sir, if you revise it, and retouch."
(Midas, a sacred person and a king),
And is not mine, my friend, a sorer case,
I'd never name Queens, Ministers, or Kings;
Out with it, Dunciad! let the secret pass,
The truth once told (and wherefore should we lie?)
The Queen of Midas slept, and so may I.
You think this cruel? take it for a rule,
Thou unconcern'd canst hear the mighty crack:
He spins the slight self-pleasing thread anew :
Who shames a scribbler? break one cobweb The courtly Talbot, Somers, Sheffield read;
Ev'n mitred Rochester would nod the head;
The muse but serv'd to ease some friend, not
To help me thro' this long disease, my life;
But why then publish? Granville the polite,
No names-be calm-learn prudence of a
I too could write, and I am twice as tall;
Of all mad creatures, if the learn'd are right,
'tis ten times worse when they repent.
Go on, obliging creatures, make me see
Well-natur'd Garth, inflam'd with early praise,
Why did I write! what sin to me unknown
While pure description held the place of sense?
Did some more sober critic come abroad;
One from all Grub-street will my fame defend, || And 'twere a sin to rob them of their mite.
Yet ne'er one sprig of laurel grac'd their ribalds,
There are who to my person pay the court,
With open arms receiv'd one poet more.
Not from the Burnets, Oldmixons, and Cooks.
Each wight who reads not, and but scans and
Each word-catcher that lives on syllables,
Of hairs or straws, or dirt, or grubs, or worms!
Were others angry: I excus'd them too; Well might they rage, I gave them but their due.
A man's true merit 'tis not hard to find;
Just writes to make his barrenness appear, And strains from hard-bound brains eight lines a year;
He who still wanting, tho' he lives on theft, Steals much, spends little, yet has nothing left: And he who now to sense, now nonsense leaning,
Means not, but blunders round about a meaning,
And he whose fustian's so sublimely bad,
All these my modest satire bade translate,
And swear, not Addison himself was safe. Peace to all such! but were there one whose
True genins kindles, and fair fame inspires ; Blest with each talent and each art to please, And born to write, converse, and live with
Should such a man, too fond to rule alone,
Or plaster'd posts, with claps, in capitals?
I ne'er with wits or witlings pass'd my days,
With bandkerchief and orange at my side:
Proud as Apollo on his forked hill,
To some a dry rehearsal was assign'd;
May ev'ry Bavius have his Bufo still!
Blest be the great for those they take away,
Above a patron, tho' I condescend
Why am I ask'd what next shall see the light?
Heavens! was I born for nothing but to write?
I found him close with Swift."-" Indeed? no doubt "(Cries prating Balbus) something will come out."
'Tis all in vain, deny it as I will, "No, such a genius never can lie still ;" And then for mine obligingly mistakes The first lampoon Sir Will or Bubo makes. Poor guiltless 1! and can I choose but smile, When ev'ry coxcomb knows me by my style.