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be given to thefe ftri&tures; which accordingly will be found in some notes, fubjoined to those paffages against which the learned profeffor hath pointed his efforts.
"In running over the Vindication, the author of the Confeffional could not avoid obferving feveral flaws in the learned profeffor's foundation, which have, in a great measure, been left untouched by the Examiner; who, perceiving that it would be fufficient for his purpose to expofe the futility of the Profeffor's conclufions, candidly left him his premiffes, whereon to erect another fort of fabrick, in cafe occafion and encouragement fhould once more call him forth to vindicate the right of requir ing fubfcriptions in Proteftant churches.
The author of the Confeffional is not a little concerned, that he cannot follow this benevolent example. For, as it hath been thought proper that he should make his own particular defence, it is become indifpenfably neceffary for him to lay open the several infirmities of the profeffor's foundation, which will now appear in a few short remarks on the three first paragraphs of his Vindication.'
As we have already given a full account of the Confeffional, and the difpute between the author and the profeffor might not be entertaining to the generality of our readers, we fhall conclude this article without any farther extracts: yet in justice to the ingenious writer we must observe, that, as far as we are able to judge, he has effectually confuted his opponent.
IX. The Works of Metaftafio; tranflated from the Italian, by John Hoole. In 2 Vols. 8vo. Pr. 6s Davies.
HOUGH it would be a kind of literary profanity to compare Metaftafio with Shakespear in all the departments of poetry, yet the moft bigotted Englishman muft allow that there is a great fimilarity in their characters as writers. Metaftafio, though far inferior to Shakespear in the drama, undoubtedly poffeffes fome properties common to both the fame happy boldness in fcenes of diftrefs; the fame noble efforts to fupply probability by poetry; and force of fentiment fufficient to reconcile the reader or spectator to the greatest abfurdities in the conduct of the plot. In fhort, Nature has endeavoured to make a Shakespear of Metaftafio; but, inftead of an English genius, has prefented us with an Italian poet. Let not our readers fuppofe that in this comparison we intend to degrade Metaftafio; for we imagine that we have paid him. a fublime compliment, in admitting a refemblance between him and
and Shakespear; an honour, we think, scarcely due to any English poet except Milton, Otway, and Spencer. But the merits of Metastasio as a poet are only fecondary to the purposes of the Reviewers, whose present province is to point out the merits of Mr. Hoole, his tranflator; and we moft fincerely think that no author can congratulate himself upon having more justice done him in a foreign language, than Mr. Hoole has rendered to Metaftafio. In short, we can be at no great lofs for the beauties of the original, while we peruse the translation before us.
To give the reader fome idea both of Mr. Hoole's verfion and the original, we must be a little more precife, and just dip into Artaxerxes, which we felect, not because of any particularexcellency in either, but because it is the firft opera, or whatever the reader pleases to call it, that occurs.
Artaban, commander of the royal guards of Perfia, murders Xerxes, and repairs to his fon Arbaces, to whom he gives the bloody dagger that had performed the impious deed. Arbaces, is at this time under the royal displeasure, for daring to afpire to the hand of Mandane, the daughter of Xerxes, and the fifter of Artaxerxes, next heir to the crown, who is his friend. Arbaces is taken with the bloody dagger in his hand, and brought to trial before the grandees of Perfia, where Mandane appears, (notwithstanding she is distractedly in love with him) as his profecutor, while Semira, the fifter of Arbaces, with whom Artaxerxes is in love, is his advocate.
Artaxerxes, Mandane, Semira, Megabifes, Grandees, Guards.
Vengeance, vengeance, Artaxerxes
I come to urge the death of one that's guilty...
Semira. I afk the life of one that's innocent.
Doubtful is the traitor.
Mandane. But all appearances condemn Arbaces.
Semira. Juftice and reason muft abfolve Arbaces.
Mandane. The father's blood, shed from his veins, requires The murd❜rer's punishment.
Demands a recompenfe for its preferver.
The fon's preferv'd,
Semira. Reflect that mercy is its strongest bafis.
Mandane. O let the forrows of a wretched daughter Excite your indignation!
Of an afflicted sister calm your anger.
Mandane. All whom you here behold, except Semira,
Require this facrifice."
Rife both how are your pains excell'd by mine!
Mandane fears my mercy: Artaxerxes,
At once a friend and fon, feels both your pangs,
Ah! come my Artaban; speak comfort to me:
Haft thou found anght that may defend Arbaces?
Artaxerxes, Mandane, Semira, Megabifes, Artaban, Grandees, Guards. Artaban.
Is all our proffer'd pity: for his fafety
He heeds it not, or now despairs to find it.
Artaxerxes. Ingrate! and will he force me to condemn him?
Semira. Condemn him!-Too inhuman Artaxerxes!
Shall then Semira's brother, Perfia's glory,
The friend of Artaxerxes, his defender,
Bend to the fatal ignominious ax?
Wretched Arbaces! All my tears are vain!
Thou fay'ft that I'm inhuman-can I more?
What wouldst thou do, or what would Artaban?
I truft, in this, my right of fov'reign pow'r.
Shall friendship thus prevail
Artaxerxes. Yes, I commit the sentence to a father, Whose truth is known, who has himself accus'd
A fon, whom now I vainly would defend;
A father, who has greater cause than I
T'enforce his doom.
Yet is he still a father.
Artaxerxes. Thence has he double cause to punish him: I on Arbaces only would revenge
T'he death of Xerxes flain; but Artaban
Muft on his fon revenge, with greater rigour,
Should then Arbaces' guilt be prov'd,
I thus fecure a victim for the king,
Is worthy of thy virtue.
Artaban. How will the world approve your choice?
Be urg'd against it? Speak, ye peers, declare,
[To the Grandees.
Is there a doubt that prompts you to diffent?
Megabifes. Each, by his filence, seems t'approve the choice.
Ah me! [Afide.]
Artaxerxes, Mandane, Semira, Megabifes, Grandees, Arbaces in
Arbaces. Am I to Perfia then become fo hateful, That all are gather'd to behold my fuff'rings?
Call me thy friend; fain would I still
Continue thus, that I might doubt thy guilt..
To my father!
I'm ftruck with horror to behold thee here,
Reflecting what I am, and what thou art.
Canft thou then judge me? Canft thou thus preserve
Whate'er I feel,
"Tis not for thee t'explore my fecret thoughts,
Or fearch how far my heart and face agree.
Before these peers I had not been the judge,
Nor thou the criminal.
Mandane. We come not here t'attend your private griefs: Or let Arbaces now defend himself,
Or let him be condemn'd.
Inhuman princefs! [Afide.]
That speak thy guilt: thy rafh prefumptuous love,
My bloody weapon,
The time, the place, my fear, my flight, I know
All these proclaim me guilty; yet all these
Are other than they seem-I'm innocent.
Artaban. Produce the proofs; clear up thy fully'd fame,
And calm the anger of diftrefs'd Mandane.
Arbaces. Oh! would'st thou have me constant in my suff'rings, Affail me not in that most tender part.
At that lov'd ́name- -Inhuman father
With paffion blind, thou know'ft not where thou art,
With whom thou speak'ft, or what affembly hears thee.
But yet my
Thy inward pangs.
Yet my foul conceal
Artaban. Thy fault
Be ftill my beating heart. [Afide.] demands repentance or defence.