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not the unhappy exuberance of his wit, Parallel between the FRENCHand ENG- in numberless instances, lo entirely got LISH Writers,
the better of his judgment, as to run him
into a forced unnatural string of meta(Continued from page 484.]
phors, fimilies, and witticisms, quite foW
HILE Moliere was forming the reign from real life and conversation ; this powerful and magnificent monarch,* that they turn our attention from the chaand Thewing his countrymen what true racters to the author, and only expose him Comedy was, the unbounded licence that to deserved contempt for the pitiful ambiprevailed in our Charles II.'s court, was tion of seeking to shine, by obtruding rather impeding than forwarding, rather himself on our notice, instead of sheltering corrupting than improving the taste for it himself artfully behind the personages among us.--Wycherly, tho'a man of great of his drama.-Beside this material and wit, hath descended to such ribaldry in his visible blemish, (almost peculiar to this dramatic compositions, that no modest writer) it must be observed, that a spirit ear can suffer the representation of them ; of libertinism breathes thro' most of his moreover, his two best comedies, the Plain- plays, which is by no means favourable to Dealer and Country-Wife, are closely the caufe of morality; but, indeed, this copied from Moliere, so that we can only fault may be imputed to many others allow them the secondary praise of being with as much justice as to him ; so true is good imitations. The first of these is, it, that though humour and chastity have however, an excellent play; the charac- sometimes inet, as in Moliere and Addison, ters of the litigious Widow and her son yet we have ftill futficient reason to regret Jerry, are, natural and well conceived ; that they have not oftener been companie nor was their author indebted for them to ons.-Notwithstanding these defects in any foreign aid by the help of proper Congreve, his Old Batchelor and Sir Sampalterations and suppressions, ibis humor- fon Legend, must be allowed to be in the ous comedy hath lately met with great main both natural and striking charac-. and deserved applause. Among an infic ters; those of Lætitia and Mrs. Frail, are nite number of plays beneath all criticism, entertaining, and unfortunately but 'too Dryden hath left us some very good ones: .common; nor is it either hard or unfrethat this great genius was by no means quent in the variegated theatre of our deficient in the rare talent of t humour, little island, to meet with the originals of his Spanish Fryar is a fufficient proofy the Sir Willful Witwou'd, Fondlewife, and comic part of this motley piece being per. Sir Paul Plyant; yet even these require the haps equal to any thing we have of the pruning hook, and whoever would avoid kind: and, tho it is certain he laid both partiality must confess, that some bright Plautus and Moliere under contribution for itrokes in all of them might much better the whole of his Amphytrion, yet are there have been spared. The super-abundance many original Atrokes in it, and its dialogue of wit with which this author hath fea, on the whole bath infinite merit.-Con- foned the part of Ben, hath made it an greve, who Aourished soon after the two absolute caricatura ; but, if he has failed latt-mentioned authors, had written a few in this and other instances, he hath made comedies, which would have reflected a ample compensation for these errors in much greater honour on his memory, had Lady Wishfor't, which the feverest critic Ν Ο Τ Ε.
muft allow to be a master-piece that has' * Lewis the Fourteenth.
seidom been equalled, and, I believe, ne+ Mr. Johnson, in his notes on Shake- ver excelled. What life and propriety are spear's Romeo and Juliet, gives the fol- there in the following little dialogue belowing opinion of Dryden : "His genius twen her and her maid ?
not very fertile of merriment, nor “ Foi. Your ladyship has frowned too ductile to humour, but acute, argumen- rafhly indeed, Ma'am ; there are fonie tative, comprehensive and sublime:”. cracks discernible in the wliite varnish. This is a very exact character of this great La.W. Cracks fay'lt thou !-- why, I'm poet : my assertion does not contradict it, arrantly flea'd.-(Looking in the glass.) as it is confined within certain Jimits, and I look like an old peeled wall. the instance I bring, is inoreover sufficient Thou must repair me, Foible, before Sir to justify it.
Rowland comes ; or I shall never keep up comedy.-Sallies of wit might often rea to my picture.
Cur in Mirabel and Millamant, and yet Foi.'I warrant you, Madam: a little escape censure, on account of these being art once made your pi&ture like you, and persons of a gay turn and fine education : now a little of the same art must make we might also excuse them in Witwou'd, you like your pi&ture.Your picture must becaure he may be fupposed to have ttufit for you, Madam.
died all his metaphors, fimilies, and reLa.W. But art thoù sure Sir Rowland partees, but what apology can we adwill not fail to come ?- Or, will he not mit, or what extenuation can we offer, fail when he does come? Will he be im- for the poet, when we see bim lavith this portunate, Foible, and pufh? For, if he uncommon and ekimablequality on Wait. thould not be importunate I Thall ne- 'well and Foible, two ignorant servants ? ver break decorums.- fhalt die with It it not an apparent absurdity Yet confusion if I am forced to advance - I sus does this finart waiting-gentlewoman fall fwoon if he should expect advances! speak to her miftrefs. -No !--I hope Sir Rowland is better * No new theriff's wife expeets the rebred than to put a lady to the neceffity of turn of her husband after knighthood, breaking her forms- I won't be too coy with that impatience in which Sir Row neither - I won't give him despair ;- but land burns for the dear honour of killing a little disdain is not amiss a little fcorn your ladyfhip’s hand." is alluring
And again, speaking of Mirabell, Fui. A little scorn becomes your lady • Hel I hope to see him lodge in LudHip.
gate firft, and angle into Blackfryars for La. W. Yes, but tenderness becomes brass farthings with an old mitten." me beft: - fort of a dyingness !--you Thus does Waitwell begin his court. fee that picture has a sort of a-halfhip, when disguised for Sir Rowland, Foible.A swimmingnels in the eyes. My impatience, Madam, is the effect Ys, 1 look fo.- My niece affects it, of my transport, and till I have the posbut she wants features. - Is Sir Rowland feffion of your adorable person, I'am handsome ! -Let my toilet be removed. tantalized on the rack, and do but hang, I'll dress above..I'll receive Sir Rowland Madam, on the tenter of expectation." here. Is he handsome? - Don't answer And thus does he declare his feigned me: I won't know : I'll be furprised ; intention of being revenged on Mirabel, I'll be taken by furprise.
when Lady Withfor't fays, Foi. By storm, Madam.-Sir Rowland « Don't kill him at once, Sir Rowland; is a brikk man.
tarve him gradually, inch by inch. La. W. Is he ?-O then he'll impor at Wall I'll do't. In three weeks he túpe, if he's a brisk man. thall save thall be barefoot, in a month out at decorums, if Sir Rowland importunes.- knees with begging an alms : he fhall I have a mortal terror at the apprehenfon farve upward and upward till he has doof offending against decorums.-Oh, I thing living but his head, and then go out am glad he ss a brifk man !"
in a Atink, like a 'candle's end upon a laveIf this author had had his wit under all." any tort of command, he might have pro As a superabundance of wit is far from duced comedies of equal merit with
any being the defect of our very late comes extant; but, like the fale fire of a glowo dies, I fall pot detain the reader with worm, it hath milled him in the most un any more of these quotations; which, fortunate and unpardonable manner. while they are necessary to point out the Instances of his departing from truth of proper path, (by marking the deviations character to indulge his favourite propen- of eminent men from it) leave at the Gry, are so very frequently to be met same time a disagreeable impresfion on the with, that, were I to enumerate but the mind, of the abuse of great powers. tentt part of them, I should be fearful to In the pieces which sir Jain Vanbrugh trespais both on the reader's time and pa. hath taken from the French, he can claim tience; I fhall therefore content myself no other merit than that of an easy and with pointing out two or three ; and humorous tranfator ; but his Provoked there I shall leleet from his Way of the Wife, and the unfinished feketch he left World, as that is juftly reckoned his belt behind kita under the side of a Journey
to London, afford us a fufficient proof that mind hath on his love is natural and well
-fur ma passion
« Je ne suis point de tout ne pour le mamake it one of the molt fingular, original,
Tiage. and entertaining on our theatre.
* Des parens, des enfans, une femme, Regnard, whom we may oppose indif. ferently to either of the above mentioned « Tout cela me fait peur ; j'aime la li
un menage, authors, hath produced some pieces of
berte. great merit, and feems universally to
"... Il n'est point dans la monde un hold the next place to Moliere among the French comic writers, tho' Dancourt by « Qui celui d'un joueur ; sa vie est agre
etat plus aimable, the following lines seems willing to dis
able, pute with bim that honour.
“ Ses jours font enchainez par des plai• Pres du public je tache a trouver grace,
firs nouveaux, « C'elt lon gout qui forme le mien ; " Comedie, opera, bonne-chere, cadeaux; “ Comme il lui plait, j'ajoute, change, ef- " Il traine en tous les lieux la joie et l'a. face
bondance. * Dans tout ce qui j'ecris, et se me
« On voit regner sur lui l'air de magnis trouve bien
ficence, “ De ne m'écarter point du chemin qu'il « Tabatieres, bijoux, sapoche est un tre. me trace;
sor, " Trop heureux si par ce moyen,
* Sous les heureuses inaios la cuivre de« Quand Moliere eft affis le premier au
vient, or ; Parnasse,
« Hec. Et l'or devient a rien." « Je pouvois prendre un jour mon rang fi
Observe the contratt when the dice have pres du fien,
taken another turn, and left him without " Qu'entre nous deux aucun autre n'eut,
a Milling. place." Notwithhanding this self-sufficient with, « A vos seules bonteso je veux avoir re
“ Ah! charmante Angelique!
Je n'aimerai que vous; m'aimeriez vous bold and striking, his dialogue lively and
toujours ! just. If we examine his pieces fingly This is nature ; and the poet is dethey will not all indeed appear equal : his ferving of praise for not-making his GameDemocrite, for inftance, tho' it has its her reform, but keeping up his character beauties, is rather infipid, and his Folies to the very endof the play.--He had inany Amoureuses, ibo' extremely diverting, is examples before him of an opposite con wild and out of nature; but his Legataire duct, for it seems an established rule with and Diftrait are exceeding good come all the modern drainatifts that the hero of dies; and his Joueur is, I think, equal in a comedy, be he ever so faulty, Ahall day every respect to any on the French ftage. aside every one of his imperfections at the AH'the transitions in the chief charac- winding up of the cataitrophe, and beter are managed with confummate art; come a new man, for no other earthly we find all his passions take their spring reason, but that the poet forfooth wants from his predominant paffion, the itch of to get him off his hands by marrying him play; and the effect this frong bias of his to the heroine of the piece, to be doly
qualified for which exalted happiness he and some others to be represented on their muit be free from vice, and, in one in- stage, they must forbear to call it “ Itant entirely change his character.-Now. “ Ichool of good morais." Regnard by following a different method Our Farquhar js certainly not the most in the instance before us, hath preserved correct or laborious writer, but bis diaprobability, and at the lame time execut- logue is generally natural without infipied poetical justice : but it were to be with. dity, Iprightly without quaintness, quibed he had been as careful of this last ar- ble, or buffoonery, and witty without that ticle in some of his other plays, as in the affectation of metaphor, fimile, and allusione we are speaking of.--Here a vicious on which flowed to profusely from Cone' propensity is exhibited in an unfavourable greve's pen, and threw an air of study on light, and is properly punished; but in his plays, which is totally inconsistent the Legataire a scene of such consummate with ordinary conversation - The works villainy is presented to our view, that, if of this author do not indeed abound with it was not heightened with the finest moral lessons, or exalted fentiments, but touches of humour (which however, only his comedies are busy, and extremely well make the author the more culpable) we calculated for theatrical representation, should be ntore apt to * shudder than to and they can claim a ftill higher praise, laugh at it. While the French suffer this I mean that of containing many wellpiece, La Femme d'intrigues, George drawn and truly original characters.-Of Dandin t, Les Bourgeoises a la mode, this number may justly be reckoned Du
and retete in the Inconftant, and the Mid. NO TE.
wife in the Twin-Rivals.-The awkward I should be apt to imagine, that a balhfulness of the first in women's com. man of Regnard's fine genius might, if pany is however not natural in a Parisian; he had plealed, have found some method the character is therefore so far faulty, of introducing this truly comic, though but, considered in itself, it hath a good dangerous incident, without leaving his deal of merit, and gives rise to some coplay open to the imputation which, as it mic incidents.-Mrs. Mandrake is ftill Itands, must ever attend it. Suppose the fuperior to it, being perhaps one of the servant had contrived the scheme without most masterly on our theatre ; her cant, his father's knowledge or participation; her cunning and villainy of every kind, that the young man on a discovery of it, are painted in the strongest colours, and had exclaimed loudly against the baleness though the Nurse in Romeo and Juliet of the device; and that the father, ftruck may have suggested some strokes in it, with his filial affection, and the genero- yet these are so very trifling, that the chafiry of his sentiments, had acted from rea- racter may with great justice be Ağled an son and choice, as he is made to do from original one.- This play being 'reldom Itratagem and compulsion : besides which, acted, tempted Mr. Fooie to new-model the fervant should be severely punished this character in his humorous piece, for his wicked intention.-On the con- called the Minor : the use that has been trary, as the ingenious, but immortal au- made of Mandrake in Mrs. Cole is too thor has managed it, the gentleman (who palpable to be overlooked ; and all the is proposed as a model for imitation) is. humour which this facetious. pilferer has consenting to, and present at, the shock- thrown into that will never make it cease ing contrivance. But after all, I humbly to be a copy, tho' a bold one from Farconceive it would have been better not to quhar.-- In the Tatler (Numb. 19 ) we have brought this incident on the stage at find the following paragraph concerning all; fo surely that transient gleam of plea. The Trip to the Jubilee." This pero sure which is purchased at the expence of formance is the greatest instance that we virtue and innocence is dearly
bought, and can "ave of the irresistible force of proper can yield but little satisfaction on re- action. The dialogue in itself has foineficxion.
thing too low, to bear a criticilin upon it; + This is the original of Sir John Van- but Mr. Wilks enters into the part with brugh's Confederacy, and, if our coun- so much skill, that the gallantry, the tryman is praise-worthy in so well trans- youth, and gaiety, of a young man of a fuling the wit of his author into his piece, plentiful fortune, is looked upon with as he is not less blameable in having follow- much indulgence on the stage as in real od his indecent, and immoral catastrophe.