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Fled are the grimly shadows of Romance,
Escap'd, and scattering flow'rs that sweetlier bloom !
Like tepid airs of Spring, their genial influence.
Oft mar the splendor of thy noon-tide skies:
Ban Art. 21.
Coombe Ellen : a Poem, written in Radnorshire. By the Rev. W. L. Bowles, A. M. 4to. 25. Dilly. 1798. Having spoken so fully of the merits of St. Michael's Mount, in the preceding article, we shall have less occasion to enlarge on the work before us. Yet it may be necessary to say something of the comparative excellencies and defects of the two poems. There is much fine description in both, but the former is more bold and animated, the latter more tender and pathetic. The versification of both is liable to the same exceptions : but in Coombe Ellen the faults are more glaring, owing perhaps to the loose and unrestrained measure of our English blank verse. "Witching and swink'd are terms neither elegant nor harmonious; and booted and strapt is an expression
A a 2
which borders very nearly on vulgarism. Unwilling, however, to dwell on little blemishes, we rather select those parts of the poem which, by awakening tender affection, may meliorate the heart.-The following extract may not be without a tendency of this sort :
• Amidst the craggs, and scarce discern'd so high,
Hangs here and there a sheep, by its faint bleat
My mother!" she is buried, and at rest,
All shall be well.'
• But lo! upon the hilly croft, and scarce
The wildly-roving fancy BACK TO LIFB.'
Ban? Art. 22. The New Margate Guide ; or Memoirs of Five Families out of Six ; who,
“ In Town discontent with a good Situation,
Make Margate the place of their Summer Migration." With Notes, and occasional Anecdotes.
25. 6d. gewed. London, Dutton ; Margate, Silver; &c.
If the humorous Anstey had never written his celebrated Bath Guide, this slight resemblance of it could never have existed, -(a truisin which we believe no reader will dispute ;) and the same re
mark may safely be extended to the many imitations of that celebrated performance. ---None of these had that advantage of originality which their model possessed in so eminent a degree. His design has, indeed, been borrowed: but of his manner we have yet seen only a faint resemblance, in the best of his copyists.
Like Mr. Anstey's performance, this is rather a satire on the Company than on the Place ;—and had not the Bath-guide preceded it, we might have set down the present writer as “a Comical Fellow," with whom, or at whom, we have enjoyed some laughter over his merrybegotten pages. We opened his book with no ill-timed inclination for gravity: but the numerous inaccuracies and blemishes in this little volume soon interrupted the flow of our good-humour.
Among other slips of a too hasty pen, observable in this publication, we could not but notice the singularity of sundry bastard rhimes, which seem to discover the author's affinity to a certain family, several branches of which we have at various times encountered ; a family noted for having no “ ideas,” but abundance of “idears ;” and who are remarkable for persecuting every body whose name unfortunately ends with the letter a, such as Anna, Celia, Sophia, &c. which they fail not to burthen with a superfluous r; thus transforming them into Annar, Celiar, and Sophiar; nor will they even allow poor Hannah the laundry-maid to know her own name when she meets with it, despoiled of its final b, loaded with an useless r, and transfigured to “ Hanner;" yet, to do the family justice, they seem to have no idear” of their own improper behaviour in such proceedings.-Now for the curious rhimes, which have given birth to this our important stricture : P. 60. Then my Lady has all her acquaintance from Esher,
• Here's old. Doctor Rhubarb and Lady Magnesia :'
and this poet, no doubt, always pronounces it so.
Prepar'd for the first that should turn out its cargo.'
• For you to return with your Sister and Anna.'
Other examples of incorrectness might have been brought forwards, but these
Go,” Man of Wit, “ and sin no more.”
Theatre Royal in Drury-Lane : taken from the German Drama of
We rise from the perusal of this piece, in the closet, with very different feelings from those which have been excited by its represent. ation. Mr. Sheridan has, indeed, elevated the sentiments and melio. rated the general character of the original play, but we have still to
regret the want of his improving touch, in too many passages ; and the dialogue still preserves too much of the Teutonic stiffness. It is agreeable to trace, however, even in this state, symptoms of an approaching union between sense and splendour on the theatre. In the last age, good writers were apt to disregard the allurements of spectacle, and they too easily resigned it to the dunces :
“ 'Twas theirs to shake the soul With thunder rumbling from the mustard bowl ; With horns and trumpets now to madness swell,
Now sink in sorrows with a tolling bell." [Dunciad.] It has long been our opinion, that some of our finest dramatic pieces would admit the display of stage-magnificence, and deception, in a degree superior to any of the present vehicles of shew, What splendid machinery might be introduced into Shakspeare's Tempest ! Some of his historical plays would even require the use of battering cannon ; and how soothing would it prove to the feelings of a manager, to repair the meanness of the scanty warlike shews of the antient theatre, of which Shakspeare complained so feelingly?
“ And so our scene must to the battle fly;
Where, O for pity, we shall much disgrace,
The name of Agincourt.” * If the public taste be so sickened and depraved, that it rejects the once-prized delicacies of our best authors, it would be a deed worthy of its guardians to reconcile it to its natural food by intermingling with it somewhat of the favourite seasoning :
“ Veluti pueris absinthia tetra medentes, Cum dare conantur, prius oras pocula circum
Contingunt mellis dulci, flavoque liquore f: :" In the mean time, we must examine, “ with what appetite we may,” the olio here provided for us.
The plots of German plays are so characteristically extravagant, that it is hardly necessary to apply the remark to the present pere formance. To make a breach in the wall of the Temple of the Sud, for the admission of a young lover, Kotzebue einployed the familiar agency of an earthquake, in the first part of the play t; in this, the General of the Peruvian Army quits his post, and runs to and from the enemy's camp
like common courier, in the most critical situation of affairs, to gratify the love-sick wishes of his quondam mistress. We have also sentimental centinels, who disobey the commands of their officers at the glance of a fair lady, or on an appeal to their finer feelings made by an enemy. The catastrophe of the piece is greatly injured by the addition now made to it. Kotzebue judiciously closed his play with the death of Rolla, and with a reflection on the strength of his passion by Cora; in the present instance, a fresh alarm is given, (before the
* Chorus to the 3d Act of Henry V. + Lucretius,
| The Virgin of the Sun: of which some translations are before us, and will soon be noticed.
friends of Rolla have time to wipe their eyes, or to utter a single expression of grief,) that the Spanish army is “just coming in at the door ;" * and the action is prolonged to the death of Pizarro. Thus our just admiration of Rolla’s generous sacrifice is distracted by other objects, and the concluding dumb-shew loses a considerable part of its effect.
In the characters we perceive little alteration, excepting that of Elvire; which, originally drawn with a harsh outline, has been cor. rected and softened by Mr. Sheridan's pencil. The style is evidently improved, and is raised to a kind of measured prose; which yet in many passages satisfies the ear more than the understanding.
After having examined this play as a literary work, we must now attend to the more powerful attraction of its repeated allusions to the circumstances of the times, which are introduced with great dexterity, and which have contributed much to its success with the public. The following patriotic sentiments are entirely due to the pen of Mr. Sheridan:
Ata. In the welfare of his children lives the happiness of their King. Friends, what is the temper of our soldiers ?
• Rol. Such as becomes the cause which they support ; their cry is, Victory or death! our King ! our Country! and our God!
• Ata. Thou, Rolla, in the hour of peril, hast been wont to animate the spirit of their leaders, ere we proceed to consecrate the banners which thy valour knows so well to guard.
! Rol. Yet never was the hour of peril near, when to inspire them words were so little needed. My brave associates-partners of my toil, my feelings, and my fame!-can Rolla's words add vigour to the virtuous energies which inspire your hearts ? — No-YOU have judged as I have, the foulness of the crafty plea by which these bold invaders would delude you-Your generous spirit has coma pared, as mine has, the motives, which, in a war like this, can animate their minds, and OURS.—THLY, by a strange frenzy driven, fight for power, for plunder, and extended rule-we, for our country, our altars, and our homes.—They follow an Adventurer whom they fearand obey a power which they hate-We serve a Monarch whom we, love-a God whom we adore. Whene'er they move in anger, desolation tracks their progress !-Where'er they pause in amity, afliction mourns their friendship!—They boast, they come but to improve our state, enlarge our thoughts, and free us from the yoke of error! Yes-They will give enlightened freedom to our minds, who are them. selves the slaves of passion, avarice, and pride. They offer us their protection—Yes, such protection as vulțures give to lainbs-covering and devouring them !—They call on us to barter all of good we have in. herited and proved, for the desperate chance of something better which they promise.–Be our plain answer this: The throne we ho. noúr is the PEOPLE'S choice—the laws we reverence are our brave Fathers' legacy-the faith we follow teaches us to live in bonds of charity with all mankind, and die with hope of bliss beyond the grave,