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There is another remarkable ftory, which Mr. Vertue is faid to have been told by Ruffel the Painter, refpecting the fale of fome Pictures done by the Olivers, to Charles II. wherein the meanness, which frequently betrayed itself in the character of that monarch, is confpicuous. "The greater part of the collection of King Charles being difperfed in the troubles, among which were feveral of the Olivers, Charles II. who remembered, and was defirous of recovering them, made many inquiries about them after the restoration. At laft he was told by one Rogers of Ifleworth, that both the father and fon were dead, but that the fon's widow was living at Ifleworth, and had many of their works. The King went very privately and unknown, with Rogers, to fee them. The widow fhewed feveral, finished and unfinished, with many of which the King being pleased, asked if she would fell them. She replied, the had a mind the King fhould fee them firft, and if he did not purchase them, fhe fhould think of difpofing of them. The King difcovered himfelf; on which the produced fome more Pictures, which the feldom fhewed. The King defired her to fet a price; fhe faid, fhe did not care to make a price with his Majefty, fhe would leave it to him; but promifed to look over her husband's books, and let his Majefty know what prices his father the late King had paid. The King took away what he liked, and fent Rogers to Mrs. Oliver with the option of 1000 l. or an annuity of 300 1. for life. She chofe the latter. Some years afterwards it happened the King's miftreffes having begged all or most of thefe Pictures, Mrs. Oliver, who was probably a prude, and apt to exprefs herself like a prude, faid, on hearing it, that if she had thought the King would have given them to fuch whores, and ftrumpets, and baftards, he never fhould have had them. This reached the court; the poor woman's falary was stopped, and the never received it afterwards."-Imprudent, however, as it was for the good woman to exprefs herself fo freely on the occafion, it was certainly very unbecoming a monarch to ftoop fo low, as to fhew his refentment by flagrant difhonefty.

But we must now take leave of this ingenious and entertaining performance, adding only a word or two relative to the Prints intended to embellish the publication. These are upwards of forty in number, confiiting chiefly of Por traits; engraved by Grignion, Chambers, Bannerman, and Miller. We could with, for the real embellishment of the work, as well as for the honour of the artifts, that more pains


had been taken, and more fkill manifefted, in the execution of fome of the Engravings. Thofe of Mr. Grignion indeed are performed with his ufual elegance. Some of Mr. Chambers's alfo are well executed; but there are others which feem by no means worthy to appear in fuch good company.


Solyman and Almena. 12mo. 2s. Payne.


UCH is the raging appetite for romance, that, to engage the public ear, even academic gravity is forced to lay afide its didactic dignity, and sport in the flowery fields of fiction. Many Writers of diftinguished talents have lately figured in the rank of Novelifts. The folemn Johnson had his Eaftern Tale; Hawkfworth had his Genii; and Langhorne now leads us into the valley of Mefopotamia.

From the poetical pieces of this ingenious Writer, the Public have probably formed expectations in favour of the little Volume before us; and it affords fuch pregnant proofs of genius, as render it not altogether unworthy of the Author. In the plan and conduct of the piece, there is, indeed, little of invention or originality; and a Reader, who is but moderately acquainted with this modifh kind of literature, may anticipate moft of the incidents. In truth, few of the Oriental Novels differ very effentially from each other. In most of them, the hero of the tale, whom we must suppose to be the parragon of mankind, is deeply enamoured with fome accomplished fair one, who is the non-pareille of her sex. After an affiduous and fentimental courtship, fcrupulously conducted through the feveral gradations of decorum and delicacy, the lady at length yields to her lover's importunity, and ftands a woman confeffed. Every moment we expect to fee them drop from their elevation of character, and fink into mere man and wife-when lo! to preserve the dignity of the piece, fome foreft ruffians, or fome barbarous pyrates, tear the thrieking fair one from the ftrong embraces of her distracted lover, and convey her to the feraglio of a Bafhaw, or some fuch high-fed voluptuary, where the performs miracles, to preferve that jewel her chastity, against the affaults of imperious appetite. Her conftant lover, in the mean time, escapes from bondage; and, wandering in defpair per opaca & afpera, at length, by fome amazing accident, difcovers his beloved miftrefs; and to gain accefs to her, enacts, as Shakespear fays, more wonders than a man. A dungeon, however, proves


the portion of his fond rafhnefs; and the lordly Bafhaw, having fecured his rival, raging with resentment and defire, renews his efforts to triumph over the fair one's virtue and refolution. We tremble left she should fall a victim to brutal violence, when suddenly her cries pierce the ears of her imprifoned lover; who, by prodigies of ftrength and valour, breaks through all oppofition, and flying to her aid, juft as her powers of refiftance grow faint, faves her honour, and destroys the tyrant. In the end, the plot winds up like an old English comedy; and from that time we may conclude, that the fublime pair talk and act like the rest of the world.

These, in general, are the out-lines of Oriental Novels, which are vifibly traced in the piece before us, though we cannot fay that it bears any ftrong marks of the Eastern style or manners. In fhort, the Author has forgotten the Poet's precept, Convenientia fingere. And to confider,


Colchus an Affyrius; Thebis Nutritus, an Argis.

The scene opens on the banks of the Irwan, but the ftyle of the Dialogue is not far removed from the banks of the Thames. It is, neverthelefs, in general, eafy and elegant; and the design of the piece is perfectly chafte and moral, tending to confirm the habits of virtue, and to infpire us with a confidence in Providence. The ftory is as follows:

Solyman, the fon of Ardavan the fage, who was early inftructed in all the learning of the Eaft, grew weary of the labours of ftudy, and thirfted only for the knowlege of mankind. With much importunity he prevailed on his father to permit him to travel, and paffed over the Tigris into the kingdom of Perfia. In his progrefs, he was alarmed by an adventure between two lovers, who had stolen a fecret interview before their final feparation. He beheld them in all the agonies of forrow, till at length the lover fainted at the feet of his weeping miftrefs; the daughter of a mercenary wretch, who had fold her to the Khan of Bukharia, to whom she was to be conveyed the next day, without expoftulation or reprieve. Solyman inveighs against the inhumanity of parents, and offers to conduct the lovers to the valley of Irwan. "They put themselves under the conduct of Solyman, and he now repaffed the roads he had travelled by the light of the fun, with fuperior pleasure, even in the gloom of night; fo delightful is beneficence to a virtuous mind!"

Having pointed out to them the house of Ardavan, Solyman parted with the lovers; and proceeding on his journey, in

five days arrived at Ifpahan. Among those whofe converfation he found most inftructive and entertaining there, he was particularly fond of an English merchant, who spoke the language of the country. They frequently met; and their converfation generally turning on the manners and pursuits of men, they mutually gratified each other by accounts of their different countries; in which our Author takes occafion to make fome very pertinent reflections on the government and literature of Great-Britain. :.

Solyman, however, is at length obliged to quit the merchant, whofe affairs detained him in Perfia; and, pursuing his travels, he came to Dehli, the capital of the Mogul's em-pire, where he conceived a violent and refined paffion for Almena, whofe accomplished mind and benevolent heart, were perfectly fuited to his own. To her Solyman poured forth the natural and paffionate fenfations of love; and Almena, whofe heart was far from being indifferent to him, eafily caught the enthusiasm. In the end, he prevailed on her to retire with him to the valley of Irwan. Within a few days they fet forward from Dehlí; and for the greater expedition, and the lefs fatigue, they determined to go by fea, and accordingly went on board a trading veffel bound to the Perfian gulph.

"At that time there was war between two petty princes of the hither peninfula of India; and, unfortunately, the ship in which they embarked belonged to one of these powers. They had not proceeded above five leagues from the coast, when they were purfued by the foe. After an obftinate and bloody engagement, they were boarded; and their enemies, when they had ftripped the veffel of every thing valuable, difmiffed it:

"They difmiffed the veffel, but they took Almena. What heart does not bleed, what eye does not fhed a tear, for the miferable Solyman? They difmiffed the vessel, but they took Almena. Prayers, and tears, and agony and anguifh, were vain. The lover faw his dear, trembling, fainting maid, dragged by the hands of the unfeeling failors into their own fhip, after they had bound him to prevent the effects of his rage. I afk not for your mercy, (cried the wretched youth) only take me into your veffel along with that lady, and


prepare your tortures, your racks, and wheels; for me prepare them, and let me perish before thefe eyes lofe fight of Almena!


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"While Solyman was vainly uttering thefe pitiable exclamations, the enemy fteered away, and was in a fhort time. out of fight. The men of the ship in which he was, apprehenfive of fome, bad confequences from the violence of his rage, were prudent enough to let him continue bound; while he now loaded them with the reproachful terms of flaves and cowards, and how excited them by promifes, or intreated them by prayers, to perfue the foe. The fhip having lost her, freight, did not procéed on her intended voyage, but returned to the coaft of India.

"When they arrived, Solyman was informed, that the veffel which had taken them belonged to the King of Sundah, who at that time was at war with the King of Kanara. Upon this information, as foon as he had received intelligence of the fituation of the kingdom of Sundah, he went imme diately in quest of Almena. Though almost worn to death with fatigue and forrow, he travelled night and day, till he reached the country. But alas! when he was there, what could he do? Stranger as he was to the people, and in' a great measure to their language, he had as much to hope from chance, as from application, for the difcovery of Al


"He would now have funk under the weight of his miffortunes, had he not availed himfelf of the first advice of Ardavan, and firmly relied on the Eternal Providence. Im

mortal Mithra! (faid the afflicted youth) thou beholdest 'me oppreffed with mifery, but thy beams ftill fhine upon 'me; and while I enjoy thy light, I will hope for thy fa"vour!'

"Thus comforting himfelf, he fill continued his fearch; depending, for the neceffary fupports of nature, on the precarious bounty of the villages through which he paffed; frequently making the mountain rocks the refuge of his night's repofe, when nature, exhaufted with toil and forrow, in her own defence inclined him to fleep. He wandered inceffantly from town to town, and from province to province; often expofed to the attacks of favage beafts, and often fuffering the infults of the more favage people.

"Having in vain gone over a large tract of the inland country, he now confined his fearch to the coaft, in hopes that he might again fee the veffel which took his Almena. Day by day he wandered on the beach, conftantly cafting his eyes on the immenfe wafte of waters, and watching the apREV. April, 1762.



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