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THE ROMAN FATHER.

TRAGEDY,

AlterED FROM MR. W. WHITEHEAD.

ADAPTED FOR

THEATRICAL REPRESENTATION,

AS PERFORMED AT THE

THEATRES-ROYAL,

DRURY-LANE AND COVENT-GARDEN.

REGULATED FROM THE PROMPT-BOOKS,

By Permission of the Managers.

"The Lines distinguished by inverted Commas, are omitted in the Representatior."

LONDON:

Printed for the Proprietors, under the Direflion of - John Bell, British-Library, STRAND, Bookseller to His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales.

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THE ROMAN FATHER.

MR. Whitehead does not disguise his obligations to CORNEILLE; and there are who think it would have been better if they had been even yet more con. siderable.

But WhiteheAD was wedded to classic models, and he thought the complexity of the French Intrigue would violate the unity of his subject. The tragedy of CORNEILLE has therefore the most business—yet its scenes are cold and declamatory, and WHITEHEAD, who saw this, could not keep the chill invasion from his own Scenes.

When Henderson, as it were shewing a lightning before death, threw into one exclamation in the character of HORATIUS, the true tragic tone of nature and passion, he reached the perfection of the art For the opportunity he rather made it, than found it. When Valeria demands.

What could be do, my lord, when three opposed him ? the Actor collected himself, and with an energy of voice and action, that struck the heart like the thunderbolt, piercingly exclaimed, Die!

The tone vibrates still upon our ear, it was never surpassed, not even by the shriek of Mrs. Crawford's “ Was he alive?" Both electrified.

PROLOGUE.

BRITONS, to-night, in native pomp we come,
True heroes all, from virtuous ancient Rome ;
In those far distant times, when Romans knew
The sweets of guarded liberty, like you ;
And, safe from ills which force or fa&lion brings,
Saw freedom reign beneath the smile of kings.

Yet from such times, and such plain chiefs as these, What can we frame a polish'd age to please? Say, can you listen to the artless woes Of an old tale, which every school-boy knows ? Where to your hearts alone the scenes apply; No merit theirs but pure simplicity.

Our bard has play'd a most adventurous part, And turn'd upon himself the critic's art: Stripp'd each luxuriant plume from Fancy's wings, And torn up similies from vulgar things : Nay, evn each moral, sentimental stroke, Where not the character but poet spoke, He lopp'd as foreign to his chaste design; Nor spar'd an useless, tho' a golden line.

These are his arts; if these cannot atone For all those nameless errors yet unknown,

If, shunning faults which nobler bards commit,
He wants the force to strike th' attentive pit,
Be just, and tell him so; he asks advice,
Willing to learn, and would not ask it twice.
Your kind applause may bid him write-beware!
Or kinder censure teach him to forbear.

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