« PreviousContinue »
All this may be conceived to have passed, in a mind under the strong impression of two such powerful passions as love and fuperftitious fear.
In the prospect of death, Abelard consoles himself with the expectation that his body will be conveyed to the Paraclete, and that his tomb will be visited by Eloisa:
« The virtuous Cluni still relieves my pains,
• Forgive this last effúsion of a heart
• Prepare, prepare for that relentless day
Breathe in loud accents terrible applause.' If there be, in the image of Eloisa's shade reposing along the spot where her Abelard's remains are laid, something too playful for the gloomy state of Abelard's mind; there is cer. tainly, on the contrary, a degree of extravagance in the last image, and especially in the last line, which could only suit a state of absolute phrenzy. We must farther remark, that this poem is not wholly free from that affected kind of phraseology,
which is the reverse of fimplicity; for example, in the following lines:
• Fame met me in her path, and round my brow
Engarlanded the wreath of fplendor's glow.'
• While o'er her victim (to dishonour led)
Her cloud of iron extirpation spread.' We notice these dele&ts in a writer whose talents we respect, in hopes to give some check to the increasing propensity of modern poets to substitute far-fetched conceit for the fimple language of Nature.
Art. XIV. The Fugitive: a Comedy. As it is performed at the
King's Theatre, Haymarket. By Joseph Richardson, Esq. Bar
rister at Law. 8vo. pp. 86. Is. 6d. Debrett. 1792. THE "He plot of this comedy is fimple: it is the narrative of the
escape of a young lady, who, in order to avoid the addresses of a young nobleman whom she detests, consents to elope with a man, from whose charaéter and pretensions her family are averse. The business of the play is therefore confined to few characters, though, in order to fill up the story, and to diversify the entertainment, many personages are introduced.
The reasons for the young lady's fight are certainly urgent, but there are improbabilities attending it. She consents to wsque her happiness by putting herself in the power of a man, for whom the shews no very violent partiality, and whose prudence and affection she evidently doubts. That she had cause for fufpicion is too quickly proved; for no fooner is the affignation made, than the lover returns to the tavern whence he had issued, and gets drunk in order to deceive the tedious interval till his fair day-ftar arises.' The interview which follows is well described, if we can fancy an enamoured hero to be so far inebriated to forget his mistress when he meets her, though he has recollection enough to keep the appointment which he has made. If, however, this comes within the bounds of probability, what follows certainly transgresses them: for no one can ajlow that, after the state of ebriety had been removed by a night's sleep, the lover thould wake and totally forget the appointment with his mistress, and the circumstances which had happened previously to his intoxication, and when he was perfectly in his senses.-Other instances of similar improbability are visible in different parts of the drama: but it is needless to numerale them.
Among Among the characters, no one is conspicuous for novelty of design, nor for brilliancy of colouring. Old Manly and Admiral Cleveland are, on the whole, the best drawn. We Tall extract a scene between these personages, as being the best in the play, and one which affords a good specimen of the writer's language.-Old Manly had been debating with Miss Herbert, a sprightly young lady, when the Admiral enters.
• Enter Admiral Cleveland, • Admiral. Hey day! What form's a brewing now? Why neighbour Manly this is a rough gale upon so fair a coat-wbat, quarrelling with my niece?
• Miss Herbert. Dear uncle, I'm quite rejoiced to see you, you never came so seasonably to the relcue of a poor little disabled frigate in your life~Mr. Maniy here
* Old Manly. Your niece is an impertinent, forward, malicious young woman, Mr. Cleveland, and I desire never to see her face again-I'll never, never forgive her—No, if I were to live sill i was fixty.
• Miss Herbert. What a formidable resentment! Why the period of it has expired these five years.
• Admiral. [ Aside.] Leave him to me, I'll teaze the old fellowI came on purpose.
• Miss Herbert. I will. • Admiral. But how did the brul happen? What is the cause of
• Miss Herbert. Why, fir, I spoke, I am afraid, somewhat too justly of your friend's age, and appeared to entertain too favourable an opinion of his morality-offences which a lively, determined rover, in his climacteric, can never reconcile to his forgiveness. • Admiral. Oh, is that all.
Miss Herbert. So good, Mr. gallant, gay Lothario of fixtyfive, a good morning to you.
[Exit Miss Herbert, • Old Manly. A saucy minx.
• Admiral. Come, Manly, you have too many of the substancial affliations of life to contend with at present to be ruffled by little breezes of this sort-But I am your friend, and I thought it my duty, as such, to call upon you, and to do what a friend ought, to comfort you.
Old Manly. Why that was very kind, my old neighbour, very kind indeed-be seated I beseech you-Yes, indeed, 'tis very true, as you fay Admiral, I am a wretched, miserable, unhappy man, oppress'd with sorrows, laden with affliction--overtaken before my time, by many cares. Yet 'is something, my worthy neighbour, to have a trusty friend to take a kind interest in one's misfortunes to share, as it were, the sad load of life to ride and tye with one in the weary pilgrimage-O'tis a charming thing to have a friend!
• Admiral. I think ro indeed, and hope to prove as much-I bave no other object but to comfort you-None, nonc. - You are indeed very unhappy,
• Old Manly. Very, very!
[ A long figh. • Admiral. Nay be comforted, my friend--be comforted – Why she is of herself a sufficient load of misery for any one poor pair of mortal shoulders. Always fretful, her suspicions never asleepand her tongue always a wake-constantly making her observations, like a vessel sent out upon discovery-ever on the watch, like an armed cutter, to cut off any little contraband toy, and to intercept any harmless piece of smuggled amusement.
• Old Manly. Oh! 'is dreadful, neighbour, quite dreadful iadeed.
• Admiral. Take comfort, my friend - What did I come here for? take comfort, I say-There is your son too.
• Old Manly. Yes, my fon too, an abandon'd profligate.
• Admiral. Nay, if that were all, there might be hopes—the carly little irregularities that grow out of the honest passions of our nature, are sometimes an advantage to the ripened man; they carry their own remedy along with them, and when remedied, they ge. nerally leave the person wiser and better than they found himwiser for his experience, and better for the indulgence which they give him towards the infirmities of others--but a canting, whining, preaching profligate-a fermon-maker at twenty-a fellow that becomes a faint before he's a man--a beardless hypocrite-a scoundrel that cannot be content with common homely finning, but must give it a relish by joining a prayer with it in his mouth--of such a fellow there can be no hopes--no hopes indeed.
• Old Manly. None, none. Oh miserable that I am, where will my affliction end? Where shall I find confolation?
• Admirel. Consolacion !-In me to be sure !--What else was the purpose of my visit? I forbear to say any thing of your daughter, poor unhappy girl.
· Old Manly. Conceal nothing from me. What has happened to my poor child-hat has happened to her? She was my favourite. Miserable man! O miserable man!
• Admiral. Nay, if it will give you any comfort, I will tell you. It is my duty to do so - why, she, you know, was desperately in love with Charles Welford. He has turned her off, I find-dilcharged her the service, and has fallen in with somebody else; so that I luppose by to-morrow morning we may lock for her birth, poor girl, in the ambush of a willow, or the retirement of a filh. pond.
Old Manly. Now the sum of my calamities is complete [Weeps]. Now, indeed, the cup is full-poor undone man-miserable hui. band--wretched father!
• Admiral. Aye, and all to come upon you at your cime of life too-Had your misfortunes reached you when you were in the vigour of your days-[Old Manly dries his eyes, and looks refintfully] when you retained enough of bodily ttrength and force of mind to cope with them-but-at your time of day, when the timbers are 9
approaching fast towards decay, when the lights of the understanding are upon the glimmer, and the reckoning of life is pretty nearly out-Oh! ’ris too horrible. Faith, after all, I don't know how to comfort you.
• Old Manly, [in a rage.] [Both rising.) I believe not, indeed; you fulty, multy, oid, foul-mouthed, weather-beaten coxcombtimbers approaching fast to decay. Whose timbers do you mean, old jury-maft? look at your own crazy hulk-do-and don't keep quoting your damn'd log-book criticisms upon your juniors and yoor betters.
• Admiral. Nay, my good friend.
• Old Manly. Damn your friendship, and your goodness too. I don't like friendship that only wants me to hate myself—and goodness that only goes to prove every thing bad about me. So, good Mr. Yellow Admiral sheer off-do-and till you can stuff your old vefsel with a cargo of more commoditable merchandize, don't let me see you in my latitude again.
• Admiral. Sir, let me tell you, you may repent of this language; and were it not for pity of your age and your milfortunes
• Old Manly. O curse your pity; and as for misfortunes, I know of none equal to your consolation.
• Admiral. You shall hear more of this, Mr. Manly.
• Old Manly. Not for the present, if you please-if you want my life, take it --take any thing-only take yourself off.
• Admiral. Very well, fir. You shall hear from me at a proper time. (Afde.] I have made the old fool nobly miserable ; that's some comfort, however.
• Old Manly, [Golus.] What an ass was I, to listen so long to the hollow croakings of this melancholy sea-monster-a rusty old weather cock; always pointing one way, and that to the quarter of misfortune-I miserable! - What should make me so?--İs not my wife kind and faithful, and only a little troublesome now and then for my good—Is not my son generous and gay-and--and like his father as a son should be—and a’n’t I ftout in body, and found in mind, and is not every thing as I would have it?-a disinal oldnow has he given me a sample of the view with which advice is al. ways bestowed, and I him a proof of the effect with which it is al. ways taken- he came to me to increase my distresses by consolation, and I have made use of his counsel as a new argument for pleasing myself.
[Exit.' The prologue, by Mr. Tickell, and the Epilogue, by General Burgoyne, are well-written.
The admirable acting displayed in the performance of this comedy certainly makes it appear to much greater advantage on the stage than it possesses in the study.