Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

though the most prominent and general points of character may have been fully represented in their narration yet, from the particular circumstance of their being foreigners, they could not penetrate fairly into the minutiae. A series of writings, which brand the vicious with the mark of shame and punishment, and level the shaft of irony and laughter at folly, while they encourage and support real virtue and good sense, explained and put in their true light, with as much impartiality as human nature will allow in speaking of one's own country, must open a good field for the display of character. Hence the whole is accompanied with notes, explanatory of the localities and such circumstances as are liable to a double interpretation.

We cannot conclude this preface better than by laying before our readers a passage from the “lectures on Rhetoric and Belles Lettres,” by that excel!ent critic Dr. Blair. In the third volume, when comparing the French and English comedy, he says, “from the English there we are naturally led to expect a greater variety of original characters in comedy and bolder strokes of wit and humour than are to be found on any other modern stage. Humour is in a great measure the peculiar province of the English nation. The nature of such a free government as ours, and that unrestrained liberty which our manners allow to every man of living entirely after his own lasle, afford full scope to the display of singularity of character and to the indulgence of humour in all its forms. Whereas in France the influence of the court, the more established subordinations of ranks and the universal observance of the forms of politeness and decorum, spread a much greater uniformity over the outward behaviour and characters of men. Hence comedy has a more ample field and can flow with a much freer vein in Britain, than in France."

[ocr errors]
[blocks in formation]

867

.

874

[ocr errors]

881

The Duenna by R. B. Sheridan

830 Thc Mayor of Garrat by S, Foote
FARCES.

The Apprentice by A. Murphy ..
High Life Below Stairs by J. Townley 848 The Lying Valet by D. Garrick
Bon Ton, or High Lisc Above Stairs by Fortune's Frolic by J. T. Allingham
D. Garrick.

857 Who's thc Dupe by Cowley
* weten & Carrick.

890

898

[ocr errors]

1

CATO.
MOURNING BRIDE.
ZARA.
DOUGLAS.

GEORGE BARNWELL.
DUKE OF MILAN.
GAMESTER.
VENICE PRESERVED.

ORPHAN OF CHINA.
DISTREST MOTHER.
FAIR PENITENT.
SIEGE OF DAMASCUS.

ADDISON. JOSEPH Addison was born May 21, 1672, at Milston, of which his father was then Rector, near Ambrosebury in Wiltshire. He was early sent to school, there, under the care of the Rev. Nr. Naish; from whence he was removed to Salisbury school, and then to the Charlerhouse, under the tuition of the learned Dr. Ellis. Acre he first contracted an intimacy with Mr. Steele, which continued almost to his death. Ai fifteen he was entered of Queen's College, Oxford, and in about two years admilted to the degrees of bachelor "and master of arts in that college; at which time he was celebrated for his latin poems, to be found in a second volume of the Musae Britanicae, collected by Addison. Being at the universily, he was upon the point of ceding to the desires of his father and several of his friends, to enter into holy orders; but having, through Mr. Congreve's means, become a favourite of Lord Halifax, he was prevailed upon by that nobleman, lo give up the design. He successively filled the public stations, in 1792, of Commissioner of the Appeals in the Excise; 1707, Under-Secretary of Slale ; 1709, Secretary of Ireland, and Keeper of the Records in Ireland; 1713 (the grand climacteric of Addison's reputation, Cato appeared) Secretary to the Lords' Justices; 1714 one of the Lords Commissioners of Trade; and at last, 1717, one of the first Secretaries of State. Dr. Johnson says, For this employment he might justly be supposed qualified by long practice of business, and by his regular ascent through other offices; bat expectation is often disappointed; it is universally confessed, that he was unequal to the duties of his place. In the House of Cummons he could not speak, and ther:lone was useless to the defence of the Government. In the office, says Pope, he could not issue an order without losing his time in quest vf fine expressions." He solicited his dismissal with a pension of 1500 pounds a year. He married the Countess Dowager of Warwick, 1716; and is said to have first known her by becoming tutor to her son. Johnson says, “The Lady was at last prevailed upon to marry him, on terms much like those, on which a Turkish princess is espoused, to whom the solian is reported to pronounce, ‘Daughter, 1 give thee this man for thy slave.' The marriage made no addition to his happiness; it neither made them nor found them equal." In 1718 — 19, he had a severe dispute on The Peerage Bill with steele, who, in veterale in his political opinions, supported them in a pamphlet called The Plebeian, which Addisono answered by another, under the title of The On Whig. Some epithets, let drop by Addison, answered by a cutting quotation from Cato, by Steele, were the cause of their friendship’s being dissolved; and every person acquainted with ine friendly terms on which these two great men had lived so long, must regrets that they should finally part in acrimonious opposition. Addison died of au asthma and dropsy, on the 17th June, 1719, aged 48, leaving only one daughter behind him. The general esleem ia which his productions, both serious and humorous in The Spectator, The Tailer, and The Guardian are beld, "pleads (as Spakspeare says), like engels, trumpet-longued, in their behalf” As a poet, his Culo, in the dramatic, and his Campaign, in the heroic way, will ever maintain a place among the first-rato works of either kind. - And a good man's death displays the character of his life. Al his last boor, he sent for a relation of his, young Lord Warwick, whose youth he supposed might be infl nenced by, an awful lesson, when, laking hold of the young man's hand, he said "See in what peace a Christian eau die!” and immediately expired.

CATO, Acted at Drury Lane, 1713. It is one of the first of our dramatic poems, and was performed 18 nights successively; this very successful run for a tragedy, is attributed by Dennis, who wrote a very bitter critique upon Cato, to proceed from Addison's having raised preindices in his own favour, by false positions of preparatory criticism; and with his having poisoned the town by contradicting, in The Spectator, the established rule of poetical justice, because his own hero, with all his virlues, was to fall before a tyrani. Jolinson says, "ihe iact is certain; the motives we must guess. Stecle packed an audience. The danger was soon over. The whole nation was, at that time, on fire with faction. The Whigs applanded every line, in which liberty was mentioned, as a salire on the Tories; and the Tories echwed every clap, to ebew, that the satire was unfell." I was ushered into notice by eight complimentary copies of verses to the author, among which, one by Steele, leads the van; besides a prologne by Pope, and an epilogue by Dr. Garth: De, Johnson, with the abovementioned persons, nay, even Dennis's gall, has marked this tragedy as a British classic, and a succession of audiences for above u century has proved, that it has deserved "Goldin opinions from all sorts of people." Johnson vbserves, “Of a work so much read, it is difficult to say any thing new. About things on which the pubiie thinks leng, it commonly altains to think right; and of Cato it has been nol unjustly determined, that it is rather a poem in dialogue than a drama; rather a suceession of just sentiments in elegant language, than a representation of natural ailections, or of any stale probable or possible in human life. Nothing here excites or assuages emotion; here is no magical power of raising phantastic terror or exciting wild anxiety. The evenis are expected without solicitude, and remembered without joy or sorrow. of the agents we have no care. Cato is a being 'above our solicitude, a man of whom "the gods take care," and whom we leave to their care with heedless confidence. To the rest, neither gods nor men can have much attention ; for there is nol one amongst them, that strongly attracts either affection or esteem. But they are made the vehicles of such sentiments and such expressions that ihere is scarcely a scene in the play, which the reader does not wish to impress upon his memory.

CATO.
PORTIUS.
MARCUS.

DRAMATIS PERSONAE.
SEMPRONIUS.

LUCIOS.

LUCIA.
JUBA.

DECIUS.

MARCIA.
SYPHAX.

JUNIUS.

MUTINEERS. GUARDS. etc. SCENE.-The Governor's Palace in Ulica.

[ocr errors]

ACT 1.

And heavily in clouds brings on the day, SCENE I.-A Hall.

The great, th' important day, big with the fate Enter PORTIUS and MARCUS. of Cato and of Rome-our father's death Por. The dawn is overcast, the morning Would fill up all the guilt of civil war, low'rs,

And close the scene of blood. Already Caesar

ease

bim;

Has ravag'd more than half the globe, and sees Love is not to be reason'd down, or lost
Mankind grown thin by his destructive sword: In high ambition and a thirst of greatness;
Should be go further, numbers would be wanting 'Tis second life, that grows into the soul,
To form new battles, and support his crimes. Warms every vein, and beats in every pulse:
Ye gods, what havoc does ambition make I feel it here: my resolution melts-
Among your works!

Por. Bebold young Juba, the Numidian Marc. Thy steady temper, Portius,

prince, Can look on guilt, rebellion, fraud, and Caesar, With how much care he forms himself to glory, In the calm lights of mild philosophy; And breaks the fierceness of his native temper, I'm tortur'd, e'en to madness, when I think To copy out our father's bright example. On the proud victor: ev'ry time he's nam'd He loves our sister Marcia, greatly loves her; Pharsalia rises lo my view!-I see

His eyes, bis looks, his actions, all betray it; Th’ insulting tyrant, prancing o'er the field, But still the smother'd fondness burns within Strew'd with "Rome's citizens, and drench'd

him: in slaugbter;

When most it swells, and labours for a vent, His horses hoofs wet with patrician blood! The sense of honour, and desire of fame, Oh, Portius! is not there some chosen curse, Drive the big passion back into his heart. Some hidden thunder in the stores of heav'n, What, shall an African, shall Juba's heir Red with uncommon wrath, to blast the man Reproach great Cato's son, and show the world Who owes bis greatness to his country's ruin? A virtue wanting in a Roman soul? Por. Believe me, Marcus, 'tis an impious Marc. Portius, no more! your words leave grealness,

stings behind them. And mix'd with too much horror to he envied: Whene'er did Juba, or did Portius, show How does the lustre of our father's actions, A virtue that has cast me at a distance, Through the dark cloud of ills that cover him, And thrown me out in the pursuits of honour? Break out, and burn with more triumphani Por. Oh, Marcus! did I know the way to

brightness! His sufferings shine, and spread a glory round Thy troubled heart, and mitigate thy pains,

Marcus, believe me, I could die to do it. Greatly unfortunate, he fights the cause Marc. Thou best of brothers, and thou best Of honour, virtue, liberty, and Rome.

of friends! Marc. Who knows not this? But what can Pardon a weak, distemper'd soul, ibat swells Cato do

With sudden gusts, and sinks as soon in calms, Against a world, a base, degen'rate world, The sport of passions. But Sempronius comes: That courts the yoke, and bows the neck to He must not find this softness hanging on me. Caesar?

[Exit. Pent up in Utica, be vainly forms

Enter SEMPRONIUS. A poor epitome of Roman greatness,

Sem. Conspiracies no

sooner should be And, cover'd with Numidian guards, directs

form'd A feeble army, and an empty senate,

Than executed. What means Portius here? Remnants of mighty battles fought in vain. I like not that cold youth. I must dissemble, By beav’n, such virtues, join'd with such success, And speak a language foreign to my heart. Distracts my very soul! our father's fortune

[Aside. Would almost templus to renounce his precepts. Good morrow, Portius; let us once embrace, Por. Remember what our father oft has Once more embrace, while yet we both are free.

To-morrow, should we thus

express The ways of heav'n are dark and intricate;

friendship, Puzzled'in mazes, and perplex'd with errors, Each might receive a slave into his arms. Our understanding, traces them in vain, This sun, perhaps, this morning sun's the last, Lost and bewilderd in the fruitless search; Tbat e'er shall rise on Roman liberty. Nor sees with how much arl the windings run, Por. My father has this morning callid toNor where the regular confusion ends.

gelber Marc. These are suggestions of a mind at To this poor ball, bis little Roman senate

(The leavings of Pharsalia), lo consult Oh, Portius, didst thou taste but half the griefs If he can yet oppose the mighty torrent That wring my soul, thou couldst not talk That bears down Rome and all her gods before it, thus coldly.

Or must at length give up the world to Caesar. Passion unpilied, and successless love,

Sem. Not all the pomp and majesty of Rome Plant daggers in my heart, and aggravate Can raise her senate more than Cato's presence. My other griefs.-Were but my Lucia kind- His virtues render our assembly awful, Por. Thou seest not that thy brother is thy They strike with something like religious fear, rival;

And make ev'n Caesar tremble at the head But I must hide it, for I know thy temper.

of armies flush'd with conquest.

Oh, my [Aside.

Portius! Now, Marcus, now thy virtue's on the proof, Could I but call that wondrous man my father, Put forth thy utmost strength, work ev'ry nerve, Would but thy sister Marcia be propitious And call up all thy father in thy soul: To thy friend's vows, I might be blesi indeed! To quell the lyrant love, and guard thy heart Por. Alas, Sempronius! wouldst thou talk On this weak side, where most our nature fails,

of love Would be a conquest worthy Cato's son. To Marcia, whilst her father's life's in danger?

Mart. Alas, the counsel which I cannot take, Thou might'st as well court the pale, tremInstead of healing, but upbraids my weakness.

bling vestal,

told us:

our

ease:

« ZurückWeiter »