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certainly stood next to, though far below, Corneille; and was
as much superior to the others as Corneille was to him.
Thomas Corneille, though greatly inferior to his brother, pos-
sessed considerable merit as a dramatic poet. His genius, however,
was totally different from that of his brother—the works of the one
being the effusions of a mind splendid, stupendous, and too self-
dependent servilely to adhere to the rules and orders of the Aris-
totelean school: the other having little else than plain good sense
and measured regularity to boast of Thomas wrote several plays,
some of which can scarcely be considered above mediocrity, and
had but very moderate success: nor was it till the year 1656, that
his muse acquired any extraordinary mark of public approbation.
In that year he produced a tragedy of indisputable merit, the fate
of which will ever remain among the many signal monuments of
French fickleness and caprice.
This tragedy, which bears the title of Timocrate, was followed
with a degree of eagerness unexampled in the history of the
drama, having been performed eighty times in regular succession
without the intervention of a single performance of any other
piece. For the last twelve or fourteen nights the actors attempted
to announce other plays; but the audience would not listen to
them: Timocrate! Timocrate! Timocrate! was the general cry, and
Timocrate the players were obliged to perform. At length an
actor came forward and said (impudently enough by the by)
“Ladies and Gentlemen, if you are not tired of seeing Timocrate,
“we are really tired of performing it. We run the risk of forgetting
“all our other pieces, and the stage will sustain the greatest injury.
“Permit us, therefore, to represent something else.” This per-
mission was granted, but not without murmurings of disapproba-
tion; and, behold! Timocrate was never after performed or called
for at that theatre!—but a still more extraordinary circumstance
followed. The first representation and the singular interruption of
it took place at the theatre Au Marais. Being suspended there by
the intrusive misconduct of the actors, it was taken up by the com-
pany of the Hotel de Bourgogne, who were infinitely better perfor-
mers than those of the theatre Mu Marais; but there, it completely
failed; for after two or three ineffectual attempts to attract the
public, the benches were left quite empty every time it was
announced for representation.
Of the merits of this tragedy we have no certain means of

forming an idea, as it has not found its way down to us through the press. It was however, for a time, well spoken of by T. Corneille's friends, who advised him to write no more, but build his reputation finally on Timocrate. The king went to see it, and spoke of it in high terms. But it became the received opinion that its uncommon success at first was owing to a surmise which prevailed that the author's brother had a share in the composition of it: yet so little was it thought of by those who some years after collected the works of the two brothers, and published them together, that it is not included among them. Nevertheless many of his pieces, at this day, keep the stage with reputation. It is, after all, not improbable that the sudden turn of the people from Timocrate might, in some measure, be owing to the ascendency which comedy was, at that period, every day acquiring over tragedy in public opinion. Moliere, the immortal Moliere, was striding rapidly to fame; his works daily rendered comedy more attractive and popular, and at length made it the chief delight of the French. On the part of Melpomene the warfare was miserably supported by T. Corneille who, in 1757, 1758, and 1759, brought out three new tragedies—Berenice, Darius and Commode, with but middling applause. The admirers of Melpomene, among whom the most enlightened literary men were numbered, perceiving the declension of tragedy, and apprehending its total extinction, if it did not receive some great weight to counterbalance the success of comedy under Moliere, exerted themselves to prevail on Peter Corneille to return to its support. At length they, with much seeming difficulty, succeeded and prevailed upon him once more to resume his dramatic station. Among those who most ardently interested themselves in the business was the celebrated Nicholas Foucau ET, procurator general of the parliament of Paris and superintendent of the finances.” He not only warmly urged Corneille to return to the drama, but got others, high in power, to back him in his persuasions—nay, when the poet in answer said that he should find himself awkward in a business to which he had been so long unused, and that he had not even thought of a subject, Foucquet, who possessed a fruitful mind, suggested no less than three to him, and thus overruled all the objections made by Corneille, who in all * This man becoming afterwards a defaulter to the amount of one hundred and fifty thousand pounds sterling, was disgraced and banished.

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probability was not a little inclined to yield to his request. That it
is reasonable to think so, will appear from the pursuits of our poet
in the interval which took place between his retiring from the
occupation of writing for the stage and his return to it.
The Jesuits were desirous to have a translation made in the best
manner of a celebrated work called THE IMITATION of Jesus
CHRIST. That body, being remarkable no less for refined taste
than for profound erudition, cast their eyes on Corneille, whom
they had long held in esteem and favoured with their particular in-
timacy. As they knew that he was an eminent scholar as well as a
fine poet, and that he had all his lifetime been a very devout
christian, they thought that they should not be able to find any
person so well qualified to translate the work, and accordingly ap-
plied to him: he undertook it; and it is universally allowed that he
translated it finely. The work had great success; and so far as re-
garded pecuniary profit, reprised him most amply for the loss he
sustained in quitting the stage. Yet, though the translation was
generally admired and extremely popular, there were not wanting
some judges who considered the style of Corneille unsuitable to it,
and objected that the nature, the truth, and the simplicity of the
original were lost in the blaze of grandeur and the pomp of thought
which pervaded the great mind of Corneille. Of that opinion was
Fontenelle who, in the language of an accomplished critic, speak-
ing of this translation, says—“This book, though for grandeur and
“ force the finest that ever came from the hand of man, has so
“little of the Evangelist, that it cannot, like that, penetrate imme-
“diately to the heart, nor 'seize the mind with that force, so
“natural and tender, which sometimes is greatly assisted by a
“negligence of style.”
Since then dramatic poetry was that to which Corneille had the
first and strongest propensity, it is rather probable that so sudden
a disruption from it, and this direct application to a subject so very
different from it as the translation of a work on religious topics,
would rather increase than lessen his original bent, and that, even
while engaged in the latter, he could not but now and then rumi-
mate on the former with a sigh, and “cast one longing lingering
“look behind.” In such a state of feeling, he might from prudery
affect to resist; but it is most likely that he was rejoiced at the
application of his friends to take up his pen again as a dramatic
writer. It is highly probable too that the rapid progress which
Vol. IV. B

Moliere was making to fame, had its share in exciting a laudable rivalry, and stimulating the ambition of our Corneille to secure to himself the preeminence he had acquired. Be that as it may, he complied with the requisition of his friends; and his first return to the stage was in his tragedy of CEDIPE. This had such prodigious success that Corneille felt himself once more perfectly reconciled to the public and to the stage.

His next production was La Toison D’or, performed in 1660, the year in which Scarron died:—and here it is that we are called upon to make some strictures upon Corneille, which mortify and grieve us, as indeed they must every one who venerates genius, and wishes to see it at all times pay due reverence to itself: it is here we have to remark, that this truly great man, with all his merit, had not the fortitude to resist that rage for machinery and decoration which, thanks to Mazarine and his operas, pervaded France and corrupted the taste of its people. And here it is that, for the same reasons, we must revert to the introduction of that absurd species of entertainment, the opera, which we postponed doing for the purposes mentioned in our first page.

(To be continued.)



Of the very extraordinary personage, whose history and character constitute the subject of the following brief sketch, more has been written than of any other man of his day. His genius and the drama of Great Britain were for a large portion of the last century so interwoven with and dependent on each other; his vast theatrical powers in the twofold office of actor and manager were so various, extensive, useful and conspicuous; and the lights which he threw upon the science of acting were at once so luminous, so just, so natural, and yet so new, that he has been for above half a century identified with the theatre; and his life and the history of the British stage have long been looked upon as convertible terms. While the best of other players are held to be sufficiently honouring a laudable le to Secure (0 at as it may, his first return ach prodigious otly reconciled

rmed in 1660, t we are called oh mortify and erates genius, to itself: it is n, with all his machinery and eras, pervaded reit is that, for of that absurd oned doing for

nd character ore has been ld the drama intury so inst theatrical s so various, ch he threw

so just, so If a century tory of the ible terms. tly honour"

ed with the title of favourite children, he has always stood con-
fessed the FATHER of the stage, by a title so clear that as few during
his life had the hardihood to contest it with him; so none, since his
death, have been so shameless as to deny his supremacy. And
now, far from being impaired by the lapse of two and thirty years
which have passed over his grave, his fame seems to have acquired
additional expansion and solidity; and time, which in every other
instance has drawn the dusky veil of oblivion over the departed
actor, seems to take delight in emblazoning the talents, and lending
new lustre to the name of Garrick. The sentence of the author of

the Rosciad
“Garrick, take the chair,

“Nor leave it till you place an equal there,”

is in as perfect force on this day as on that in which it was pro-
nounced: and of Cooke himself (the next born child of nature, and
the only follower of Garrick, and common sense, on the stage)
even his greatest panegyrists and admirers would be afraid to
say, that he approximates to his great original.—Yet most of
those who live at this time take the character of Garrick upon
trust; and, aware of the vast mass and the imposing authority of the
evidence upon which it is built, regard it as too sacred to be

doubted, and yield it their implicit faith. But since it is fixed in "

the very nature of things that opinion grounded, not on our own
senses, but on the testimony of others, must necessarily be vague
and inconclusive; and that when, in matters merely human, the
judgment is resigned to the direction of faith, it sees its object
through a very dense medium; it is not improbable that the con-
ceptions now entertained of Mr. Garrick may a little exceed those
of his cotemporaries; and that, viewed through the expanse of time
which has elapsed since his meridian hour of glory, and through
the mist raised by the productions of marvel-mongers, idolatrous
essayists, fanatical panegyrists, jest-book compilers, and conundrum
writers, on the one hand, and of satirists, jibers, and jesters, on
the other, this extraordinary man, like the great luminary of the
physical world, seen through a fog, may appear much more large
than he did in the unclouded brightness of his own day. For our
parts, being from infancy taught, by those whose opinions we were
bound to reverence, to contemplate the character of this great man
with admiration, we shall always reckon our being denied the ad-
vantage of seeing him, among the minor misfortunes of life; but

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