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It is impossible not to suspect that the native vigour of Tobin's mind was in some measure warped by the influence of this artificial system, to which he perceived it would be hopeless to oppose resistance. Fortunately, he had acquired a familiar acquaintance with the mechanism of the stage; and as he was not unskilful in adapting, according to established usage, certain parts to
down such applauses as the bewitching dialogue of Cibber and of Farquhar pants for in vain. The patient developement of character, the repeated touches which colour it up to nature, and swell it into identity and existence, we have now no relish for: the combinations of interest-the strokes which are meant to reach the heart, -we are equally incapable of tasting. Not a word must be uttered that looks like instruction, or a sentence which ought to be remembered. With actors capable of all that is intellectual, is it not a pity to condemn them to such drudgery? They are no longer necessary. Let Sadlers Wells and the Circus empty themselves to furnish our stage: the understanding and education which distinguish our modern actors are useless to them, Preface to The Town before you.
certain performers *, his ill success cannot be ascribed to ignorance or inexperience. It should, however, be remarked, that he had to enter the lists with authors of undisputed talents and well merited eminence; of whom some were veterans in literature; and others at once warm with youth, and ripe in experience.
It was probably from this conviction that he had been originally induced to direct his attention to operatic pieces, for which heconceived it might be comparatively an easytask to obtain admission to the stage; but he soon discovered, that in this over populous suburb of the drama, he should be absolutely lost in a crowd of competitors, each of whom might perhaps enjoy an advantage he never possessed, in the favour of some popular composer. - Nil desperan
* Not one of his plays appears to have been acted by those performers for whom they were written, yet all were successful.
dum appears to have been Tobin's favourite motto. Excluded from tragic or operatic entrance to the theatre, he turned to comedy; and during an indisposition which confined him to his room, beguiled his sufferings by writing the play of the Faro Table. A much longer interval of time was consumed before he could procure for it a manager's eye; but in this more arduous task he had now the assistance of his brother, who, in 1796, came to reside with him in his chambers in the Temple, and from this period is to be considered, not merely the confident, but almost the partner of his literary pursuits.
Abstracted from the ties of consanguinity, there existed for this domestic coalition a melancholy cause, in an increasing malady of sight, by which Mr. James Tobin was not only precluded the choice of a profession, but thrown on the kindness of his friends for the means of pursuing either his studies
or his amusements. In this painful state of privation he gladly embraced the oppor. tunity of lodging beneath the same roof with a beloved brother; in becoming whose auxiliary, he found an object of sufficient interest to fill the blank in his bereaved existence. Although reciprocal benefits flowed from this happy union, the balance was obviously in favour of the dramatist, to whom it secured the privileges of home, divested of its cares, and supplied the pleasures of society, without its distractions. With the two kinsmen was associated an old school-fellow, with whom they lived in a degree of intimacy, such as almost supposed a community of cares and pleasures. To this trio were occasionally added a few intelligent friends, and often, in their plain and externally gloomy apartment, was formed a circle in which philosophers might have gathered instruction, and poets caught inspiration from the lips of kindred genius.
At their simple table, where all that comes vulgarly under the denomination of luxury was proscribed, the mental delicacies abounded. Every subject of taste and science was discussed : opinions, moral and political, freely canvassed ; and controversy enlivened by wit, without the blandishments of convivial indulgence. From associations such as these it was impossible but that the younger Tobin should derive incalculable advantage; and from this moment there appears a very perceptible improvement in the character and style of his compositions.
The harmony of the brothers was not interrupted by occasional discrepancy of opinion: hour after hour passed in amicable altercation, and the debatable ground was freely traversed on either side. It is, however, admitted, that on subjects connected with, his brother's interests, Mr. James