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The Dramatic Observer.

splendid views are the attractions of the piece,-the Blue Mountainsthe Magic Cavern-Flying Palace-Desarts-Bridges-and streetsdissolved and changed under the influence of "the wonderful lamp," with a swiftness that leaves reflection no pause-and in the moment we would consider how the last scene has vanished from us, another starts up in all the brilliancy that painting and ornament can bestow ;-we are hurried by the Magician from "town to town"-and the eye, while it wanders amongst the beauties before it, loses the power of distinguishing the peculiar attributes of each in the variety that dazzles and delights it.

We have been gratified by seeing Mr. Young in some of his best characters. This gentleman originally appeared in London in the tragedy of "Hamlet," and excited no ordinary expectations. He possesses those external qualifications which throw an appearance of reality over the fictitious beings of the drama, embodying the noble pictures of the tragic poet, in a figure as bold and graceful as the design. When we behold him folded in the toga of ancient Rome, assuming the dignity of her heroes and her philosophers, with all the loftiness of their carriage, and the calmness of their manner, the scenes of antiquity appear revived before us, and we gaze upon the living actor, with those feelings of admiration we would entertain in contemplation of a faultless statue, garbed in the attire of former ages. While we give Mr. Young all the merits of personal superiority, we are willing to admit his claim to a higher degree of praise in the attainments of an accomplished mind-a chaste judgment, and an excellent delivery. We have, perhaps, gone the extent which our opinion will permit, and without dwelling on his talents as they are particularly exhibited in his delineations, we will only glance at them generally. There is a coldness in his manner that wants vigor and animation-a chaste, correct, scholastic precision in his delivery-a studied emphasis in his expression-which no poetry can win into warmth-it is the stilly lake undisturbed by the storm, whose face is lovely and unruffled-no passion agitates his frame, no burst of feeling awakens the wild tumult of conflicting emotions-all is peaceful and serene. "Lear" was, perhaps, his boldest effort, yet it did not reach the climax of rage and madness which his predecessors correctly gave it.— "Macbeth" is a character so full of moral reasoning that it represents a philosopher rather than a soldier; we had the remembrance of Kemble in our minds, and we were dissatisfied with Mr. Young's performance. He is now too grave for Hamlet, in which, however, he had no competitor some years ago. We esteem his Zanga to be a perfect and finished piece of acting, and at the present day we think he stands unrivalled in this part. We have seen him in Virginius-we regret we are obliged to pass this in silence-there is but one Virginius on the stage-but one whose sway over the heart in this character is as unlimited as it is irresistible, and to him alone we can allow unqualified applause. Any performance will suffer by comparison with that which is superior, and the fine conception and chaste execution of M'Cready

The Dramatic Observer.

in the injured "Centurion" left so strong an impression on our imagination, that the recollection of it was intruding on us every moment to Mr. Young's disadvantage. Our space will not permit us to dwell on him any further-we take this opportunity of offering a few remarks upon this Tragedy, which is a perfect novelty in this kingdom, as a copy cannot be obtained at any of the booksellers.

"Virginius" was originally brought out in London in May last. The story is well known, and does not possess the attractions of originality-in Garrick's time a tragedy was produced under this name by the Rev. Mr. Crisp, which owed its success to his performance; we have had several others upon the same subject, but none of them have ever met such a reception from the public as that under our notice. Mr. Knowles has adapted his play so happily to representation that every scene is effective-every character is interesting, and, although we are in possession of the catastrophe before we enter the Theatre, yet we are kept in suspense to the last scene. The scenes in Virginius's house in which his daughter is introduced are naturally and delicately drawn-the anguish of the father-the feelings of the lover-are all faithfully preserved, and, if we except the outrage of the Roman character in the last act by representing Virginius in a state of insanity, the general conduct of the piece is judicious. Siccius Dentatus is a vulgar brawler, and we regret that language more dignified was not given to him. Icilius is too much resigned to the loss of Virginia, and does not at all participate in the sorrow of her father. The following extract is not selected from its peculiar beauty, but as a specimen of the style in which this Tragedy is written.

Mr. Knowles has adopted the obsolete style of dramatic writing, but we do not hesitate in remarking that there is a coloring of nature throughout the entire that few, if any of our modern writers have attained.

Our limits oblige us to close this notice; should a future opportunity offer itself, we will again resume it.

A dramatic burletta called "Don Giovanni, or a Spectre on horseback" was lately produced. It is one of the many riduculous farces which have been founded on the original "Don Juan"—it is unworthy of further mention, and betrays a want of judgment in the author who would waste his attention upon such ridiculous nonsense. It is written by Dibdin.

A new tragedy called "Mirandola," the production of "Barry Cornwall," is coming forward-it was received with considerable approbation in London; next month we will notice it.

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"For rhyme the rudder is of verses,

With which, like ships, they steer their courses."
HUDIBRAS.

No. IV.

DOCTOR ARBUTHNOT has remarked, that the polite Augustus, the mighty ruler of the world, whose smile was happiness, and whose frown was death, never, in his utmost plenitude of power, enjoyed the comforts of glass in his windows, or a shirt on his back. But the use of glass and linen is not the only advantage which our happy times can boast, of which the venerable ages of antiquity were destitute. Centuries have rolled away and left us their discoveries; and the many comforts we enjoy are records of the ingenuity of our forefathers. Our soldiers are less ferocious, and our battles are less destructive, since gunpowder has given that advantage to discipline and military skill, which was formerly attached to brutal strength; the magic of the compass has poured into our lap the riches of the east, and the productions of a continent of whose existence Alexander was ignorant when he sighed for other worlds to conquer; the almost supernatural powers of the steam-engine have contributed to increase our enjoyments, by enabling us to overcome difficulties which would otherwise be insurmountable; and the telescope has aroused and gratified our desire of knowledge, by exhibiting to our nearer view the stupendous works of a CREATOR, whose benevolence is as boundless as his power, and whose glory exceeds the conception of the most ardent imagination. Even from the very errors

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VOL. I.-NO. IV.

On the use of Rhyme.

and absurdities of former ages we have reaped an abundant harvest of useful information; and to the delusive researches of the alchymists, our chemistry owes its present state of comparative perfection. Spending their lives amidst the furnaces from whence they hoped to obtain their imaginary powder of projection, though they have failed in their chimerical projects, they have led the way to those discoveries of our later philosophers, by which many of the most hidden properties of the vegetable and mineral world are rendered familiar to our notice. Possessing thus the accumulated improvements of ages, we may safely and without hesitation pronounce the times in which we live to be infinitely superior, in every branch of useful knowledge, to the most polished periods of antiquity.

There is nothing, however, which more tends to increase our enjoyments than the facilities we possess for the propagation of literature. The noble inventions of paper-making and printing have rendered it easy for men of genius and erudition to disseminate their labors among us; and the illumination of our souls, and the strengthening of our understandings have been their immediate and necessary consequence. We feel greater pleasure in slaking our thirst at the springs of Helicon, than did these doughty warriors of olden time, who were well contented with such share of intellectual enjoyment as might be found in the works of their moral philosophers, the songs of their bards, or the compo. sitions of the uninformed and superstitious directors of their souls; but who dreamed not of those avenues of improvement which have been opened to us by the fervid fancies of our novelists and poetasters. Thanks to those gentlemen, to whom the ministers of the press are under such multitudinous obligations, we shall never be liable to suffer, as heretofore, from any want of "food for the mind;" since, if our literary appetites are keen, we may, from the morning to the evening of our lives enjoy a most delightful repast, without transgressing the precincts which they have liberally assigned for our amusement.

In the times of our progenitors, the century was blessed which saw the birth of a poet; but we are happily born in an age which may be called THE AGE OF THE THOUSAND AND ONE POETS. If we enquire into the cause of this wonderful increase, we shall find it to originate in the gradual improvement of our language, which now, more easily than ever, admits the agency of RHYME in the construction of our Poetry.

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On the use of Rhyme.

Of this useful and sublime ornament we cannot discover any traces in the Poetry of the Greeks and Romans. They were obliged to depend on their native vigour of genius, and the nervous strength of their languages; and, except in a very few instances, we are unable to praise them for any -but intrinsic excellencies. The Greeks are indebted to Simmias of Rhodes, or Theocritus the celebrated author of the Idyls, (the honor is disputed,) for some quaint devices which would be creditable to the most experienced writer of acrostics, &c. of the present day; the Rhodian or Syracusan bard, by varying the length of his verses, has been enabled to present them to us in the alluring shapes of an egg, a pair of wings, a battle-axe, a pandêan pipe, an altar; these, however, are almost solitary instances of industry, in which the Greeks can dare a comparison with us. The Romans approached nearer to our standard of perfection. They had not judgment sufficient to appreciate the advantages of rhyme; but the practice of mingling their own with the language of their Grecian subjects, may well be regarded as a grand improvement. Among the poems of Ausonius, who enjoyed the dignity of consul under the emperor Gratian, I find an epistle to his son Paulus, which well exemplifies my assertion; it begins thus

Ελλαδικῆς μετέχων μέσης Latiæque Camcnæ,
Afi Avorio sermone alludo bilingui.

Musæ quid facimus? τί κενᾶισιν ἐπ ̓ ἐλπίσιν αύτωσ
Ludimus ἀφραδίησιν ἐν ἤματι γηράσκοντεσ ;

Σαντόνικοισ campοισιν ὅποι κρύος ασπετόν ἐστιν.
Erramus gelido-reqμiçoì rigidique poetæ, &c.

It would require a mixture of French and English words to preserve the spirit of these lines in a translation; but the classical reader will perceive that more than half their beauty consists in their ingenious confusion. Ausonius has also left us specimens of poetry, in which each line is finished by a monosyllable; and in one of them he has had the astonishing ingenuity to begin each line with the concluding syllable of the preceding. These are efforts worthy of such a writer;efforts, which many authors of our own day have endeavored to imitate, by borrowing every tenth word in their novels from their French masters, and by writing acrostics.

An enquiry into the origin of Rhyme would perhaps carry me beyond my depth. I would therefore without

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