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Art. 22. Poems, by Robert Ferguffon.
12mo. 2 s. 6 d.
Edinburgh printed, fold by Murray in London.
Mr. Ferguson's mufe appears in the different characters of a Lady of Quality and a Scotch Moggy. In the former fhe is fometimes tolerably graceful; as in ftanzas against repining at Fortune, for inftance:
Can he who on the tide of Fortune fails,
More pleasure from the fweets of Nature hare?
To me the heav'ns unveil as pure a sky,
To me the flow'rs as rich a bloom disclose;
But take her upon the whole, and fhe is more in nature when she is lilting o'er the Lea.
Art. 23. The Matron; an Elegy. 4to. 6d.
She led me oft through meads with bloffoms gay,
Or earlier Spring on trembling tendrils hung.
The rest of this fhort poem is much in the fame ftyle; in which there appears a fimplicity, distinguished more by truth than by elegance.
Art. 24. Poems on feveral Occafions. By John Bennet, a Journeyman Shoemaker. 8vo. 2s. 6d. Evans. 1774.
We are pleafed to fee fuch a comfortable number of fubfcribers prefixed to honest John's poems. Particularly, as, unlike the reft of the Crifpinian fraternity, he feems to have a fense of virtue and religion; to fpiritualize his profeffion, and to be working at his laft, and thinking of his end..
Art. 25. The Stage of Ariftophanes. 4to. 1 s. Setchell. 1774. An infignificant account of the fummer-actors at Foote's theatre, in the Haymarket.
-Art. 26. Poems written by William Shakespeare. 8vo. .3-s. 6d. Evans. 1774.
If there be any thing more in this volume than was contained in the edition formerly published by Theobald, it does not immediately occur to us. For the authenticity of the poems, perhaps, we have little more to depend upon than internal evidence. Tradition, and even publication under a name are uncertain grounds for appropriations of this kind. For the bookfellers in Ben Johnson's time were as little scrupulous about the veracity of a title-page, as their fucceffors were in the days of Addison and Pope. However, though
very thing here may not belong to Shakespeare, there is, evidently, much from his hand:
In Praise of his Mistress, though black.
As thofe two mourning eyes become thy face, &c.
Art. 27. The Patriot King; or, Irish Chief: A Tragedy. Performed at the Theatre in Smock-Alley, Dublin. By Francis Dobbs, 8vo. 1 s. 6d. Bew. 1774.
From a fhort advertisement prefixed to this Hibernian tragedy, it appears that the Author's production has already been reviewed by Meffrs. Garrick aud Colman, who feverally pronounced it unfit for representation on their refpective theatres. It has, however, fince been performed at the playhouse in Dublin, as mentioned in the title; but, as it should feem, with no great fuccefs, as the Writer flatters himself that he has much improved his play fince that period.'
What merit it might have boafted, antecedent to that period, the abovementioned obdurate managers alone can determine; but we, who only fee it in its prefent ftate, cannot but concur with the Author in declaring that his play has, without doubt, a thousand imperfections, and perhaps a much greater number than are fufficient to juftify its rejection from the theatres of Covent-Garden and DruryLane.'
Art. 28. Airs, Duets, Choruffes, &c. in the new Mafque called, The Druids. As performed at the Theatre Royal, Covent Garden. The words chiefly taken from Ben Johnfon; the Mufic compofed by Mr. Fisher. 8vo. 6d. Evans. 1774.
The title of mafque, and the venerable name of Ben Johnson, are miferably prostituted in this dull farrago of nonfenfe, this motley mixture of Venus and Shepherdefs, Harlequin and Druid, in which the old bard no longer retains the dignity of an English minstrel, but is robbed of his vigour in order to qualify him for the operatical ixterfperfion of a pantomime.
Art. 29. A new Interlude called, The Election. As it is performed at the Theatre-Royal in Drury-Lane. 8vo. 6 d. Griffin.
The following trifle (fays the prefatory advertisement) is the production of an hafty hour. In an ill hour, alas, was this trifle produced! for we cannot proceed in the words of the advertisement to declare that it is evidently calculated to amufe at this juncture.' At no juncture could this dull interlude be amusing, the Author having contrived to unite the oppofite qualities of tediousness and brevity. The conclufion has the chief merit ; not only that it is the conclufion, but because there is some pleasantry in the idea of chair
ing the member patriotically SINGING (like many patriots FARCI CALLY Speaking) to his conftituents.
Art. 30. The Cobler; or, a Wife of Ten Thousand: A Ballad Opera, in Two Acts. As performed at the Theatre Royal in Drury-Lane. 8vo. 1 s. Becket. 1774.
If the French piece, from which the present is faid to be taken, is in ftyle and conftruction in any degree a model worthy of imitation, the English Author is doubly criminal, not only for stealing, but for robbing the Spital.
Art. 31. Meditations and penitential Prayers, written by the celebrated Dutchefs de la Valliere, Mistress of Lewis the Fourteenth of France, after her Recovery from a dangerous Illness, when the firft formed the Refolution of devoting herfelf to a religious Life. Tranflated from the French. With fome Account of her Life and Character, extracted from Voltaire, Sevigne, &c. By Mrs. Charlotte Lennox. Small 8vo. 2s. 6d. Dodfley. 1774.
A woman engaged in a criminal connexion so flattering to female vanity as that with a royal perfonage, and turning devotee when foured by disappointment, as well as depreffed by fickness, however her story may be varnished over by those who undertake to blazon her reformation, exhibits too natural a transfer of the warm paffions to excite much admiration, or to merit extraordinary applause. The joy over one finner that repents, cannot extend cordially to repentance dictated by infuperable obftructions to a continuance in fin: there being a clear diftinction between genuine virtue, and virtue engrafted upon neceflity. La Valliere was certainly confcious of the ftate of her own mind, when the penned the following ejacu lations :
Suffer me not fo fatally to deceive myself, as to think I am thoroughly converted, when indeed I have only changed the fins of fenfe for those of the mind; a prophane and fenfual life, whose softeft pleafures were embittered by remorfe; whofe brightest scenes were clouded by my reflections on the crimes that purchased them; for a life in which, unperceived by myself, I am continually gratifying my prefent predominant paffions, while felf-love daily holds up a flattering mirror to my eyes, and reprefents all my actions virtuous, be cause they are no longer flagrantly wicked.'
These Meditations are chiefly conceived in the style of the Pfalms, and may perhaps be read with fatisfaction by thofe who indulge the peculiar fervors with which the mind is animated by monaftic exercises. MISCELLANEOUS.
Art. 32. Select Fables from Gulistan, or the Bed of Roses, translated from the original Perfian of Sadi. By Stephen Sulivan, Efq; 12mo. 2 s. 6d. Ridley. 1774.
Though we have read thefe Fables with attention, we have met with nothing particularly ftriking, either in the delineation of charácter or in the deduction of moral. They have, in general, a political tendency, recommending' juftice and humanity to princes, which, in the regions of the Eaft, can never be too much inculcated.
Art. 33. Rules for the French Genders. By Nicholas Salomon, Author of the French Teacher's Affiftant; and Master of the Academy, Red-Lion-street, Clerkenwell. 8vo. 6d. Richardson and Urquhart.
The diftinctions under which the genders are here classed, appear to be clear and fatisfactory; they feem to be the refult of experience and practice; and their concifenefs will be an additional recommendation.
Art. 34. The Sentimental Spouter; or young Actor's Companion. Containing I. a Treatife on Oratory in general, and Theatrical Acquirements in particular. II. A Collection of the most celebrated Scenes, Speeches, and Soliloquies, &c. &c. 12mo. 1 s. 6d. Wheble. 1774
For the information of our country Readers we must observe, that the spouters are in general the journeymen and apprentices of barbers, taylors, and other crafts, who, to the grief of their masters and parents, meet once a week to guzzle porter and imitate the speeches and attitudes of that wicked wight, Garrick, who has done more mischief than the king of Pruffia.-What a fentimental spouter is, we are unable to discover: as to this publication, the title-page gives a fufficient account of the contents of the book, and its nonsense, of the abilities of the Author.
Art. 35. A Letter to the Author of the Proposal for the Establishment of public Examinations. Cambridge printed. Svo. 6d. Sold by Crowder in London. 1774.
Against the Propofal; but feriously and candidly written, on the principles of prudence and caution. Our opinion of Dr. Jebb's fcheme may be seen in our laft Review, p. 402. Art. 36. An Obfervation on the Design of establishing annual Examinations at Cambridge. 4to. 16 pages. Not fold. Strenuously oppofes the plan for annual examinations. The Author's brief state of facts, and train of reafoning upon them, lead to this conclufive obfervation: that the bufinefs of education, both of government and instruction, is conducted with more fuccefs, as it has been condu&ed for fome ages, under the domestic discipline of each college, than it could be under the direction of the fenate.' In this opinion he agrees with the writer of the preceding tract. Our Obferver adds, "It is fufficient, that the exercises, the examinations, and the petitions, for degrees, are all referred by our laws and cuftoms to the whole body; but the private difcipline of colleges has much more influence than all these.'
Art. 37. The Grecian Hiftory, from the earlieft State to the Death of Alexander the Great. By Dr. Goldsmith. 8vo. 2 Vols. 10 s. Rivington, &c. 1774.
The advertisement prefixed to this abitract of the History of Ancient Greece, informs us, that the applaufe beflowed on the Roman Hiftery, written by Dr. G. induced that gentleman to complete his plan, by writing a Hiftory of Greece;' that the work was printed off when the republic of letters was deprived of one of its brightest ornaments;' and that fince the Author's decease, it has been perused
by leveral of his learned friends, who are of opinion, that it has an equal claim to that approbation which the Roman History received from the public.'
Our opinion of the merit of Dr. G.'s Roman Hiftory was given, at large, in our 41ft volume, p. 183-190; and to that article we refer the Reader, who wishes to know our thoughts of the Dr.'s qualifications for compilements of this kind. -Sorry we are that we yet fee no reason to recall the reflection with which we concluded the account of the Roman Hillory, viz. "What can be more mortifying than to fee a good poet degenerate into a bad compiler of hiftorical epitomes." M. Rev. for Sept. 1769.
Dr. G. feems to have candidly acquiefced in the propriety of the foregoing reflection; as may be fairly concluded from the glance which he pleasantly caft at his compiling employment, in his RETALIATION, published immediately after his deceafe.
Art. 38. An Addrefs to the Public: occafioned by the very extraordinary Behaviour of the Mayor and Corporation of Southampton, the Recorder, the Town-Clerk, John Miffing, Efq; Barrister at Law, and other Gentlemen, &c. By William Andrews, Attorney at Law. 4to. 13. Beecroft, &c.
The public is very little concerned in the fubject of this addrefs, which relates to certain manœuvres, and personal differences, which occurred in the time of the late election at Southampton.
Art. 39. A few Obfervations on Mr. Andrews's Addrefs to the Public; and fome Reflections on the Telt propofed, and other Proceedings, &c. By a Gentleman of the Town of Southampton. 4to. 6d. Beecroft.
Written in a manner becoming the character which the Author affumes :-moderate, candid, decent.
Art. 40. Ideal Trifles, published by a Lady. 8vo. 3. Boofey.
We have been many times deceived by title-pages, but this is honest and juft. The deception lies not there; but in a new artifice of perfuading the Reader, and making him verily believe, through half a fcore of preliminary pages, that he is to meet with fome fubftantial fare at a wholesome meal of reafon and philofophy; when, all on a · fudden, instead of being feated at fo defirable a board, he is ushered into a roomful of romantic girls, Almiras, Eudocias, Hypatias, and Sir Harrys, and tormented with a most dismal and tragical love tale.
To the AUTHORS of the MONTHLY REVIEW. GENTLEMEN, Rygate, Nov. 30, 1774. CAN easily believe what your Correfpondent affirms, That there are fome flave-holders who have a little humanity left: and that the Georgian laws fell the blood of one flave only to each master, and prescribe the inftruments wherewith he is to torture the rest.
• Rev. O&t. p. 374.