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strength was in versatility. What he wanted in force he supplied by vivacity: without the depth of an original thinker, he had á felicity in appropriating to himself the ideas of others, that assumed the merit of novelty, and rivalled its attractions. In the career of authorship he appears to have been rather an active speculatist, than a daring adventurer; he explored no new regions of poetry, but selected with peculiar skill the spot most susceptible of cultivation and embellishment. Of materials, although he possessed no original mine of wealth, he had access to many auxiliary funds; and in literature, was in a manner a citizen of the world, who carried everywhere his passport and his privilege. He felt that he had received that measure of poetical talent, which enables the dramatist to aspire to distinction. This impression gave a new impulse to his existence : the stage was ever present to his imagination ; a succession of scenes and personages passed constantly before his mental view; and if he did not, like Goethe, sustain an audible conversation with visionary companions, he was surrounded by an ideal representation, engaged in constructing dialogues appropriate to certain personages, or in contriving situations to exemplify particular humours and eccentricities. In attending the inns of court, he was sometimes surprised by an idea, which insensibly expanded to a scene: in traversing the streets he often composed the single stanzas of a song, and at the close of every day was accustomed to insert in a common-place book, whatever happy "thoughts had occurred in its progress; and this repertory of wit and fancy afterwards furnished materials for his operatic pieces. During his clerkship he produced but one finished piece, and that was a farce, of which mention will be made in its proper place.
Tobin continued in the same office, with the expectation of being admitted to partnership; but having learnt that he could not obtain this advantage without superseding the claims of a senior clerk, who was in equity entitled to the preference, he insisted that this gentleman should be included in the arrangement; and to obviate the objections which were suggested to the admission of two distinct names in the firm, he proposed to divide with his friend his share of the concern, and equally with him to submit to the restrictions imposed on a dormant partner. With this arrangement all parties were satisfied * ; but the poet appears to have gained neither leisure nor liberty by his nominal independence; with an alienated mind he persisted in his official labours, whilst it became every day too
* This connexion : subsisted until Mr. Wildman's death ; after which Tobin and his friend entered into an independent partnership. . .
palpable that he would never be able to attach himself to business: whether he admitted or resisted this conviction, he was too happy in the consciousness that he had discovered the true bias of his mind, to waste one moment in unprofitable regrets, although he appears by the following letter to have been cruelly impeded in his favourite pursuit.
30th July. “I have hitherto deferred answering your last, in hopes of being able to give you some satisfactory intelligence of my dramatics, which however I cannot yet do; the opera is in Mr. Harris's hands, and waits for his judgment; and the farce, which is less material, I have not yet determined upon trying at Covent Garden : however, both of them shall certainly take their chance (if I can effect it) the ensuing winter. I have not been quite idle since you left town, having entirely completed a tragedy of four acts, and written songs and part of the dialogue for another opera, which I hope to finish also soon after the theatres open; (these I shall bring with me to Bristol, and have your advice and assistance in). I have some other dramatic designs floating in my fancy,which I hope some time or other to realize, and give to them a local habitation and a name. I find the cacothethes dramaticæ increases so much upon me, that had I time and independence, I think I should undertake in that way some enterprise of great -pith and moment; but the scraps of time I occasionally dedicate to my muse, will: not allow of the trial. My chief difficulty is in getting good plots, or in making them, which I think you will be able to give me great help in ; and when we meet I mean to have much serious conversation with you: upon this subject.”