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Remarks on fore English Plays, from Mifcellanies in
The City Wives, or the Confederacy; a Comedy, by
THIS is one of those plays which throw infamy upon the London ftage, and general taste, though it is not deftitute of wit and humour. people must be in the last degree depraved, among whom fuch public entertainments are produced and encouraged. In this fymptom of degenerate manners, we are, believe, unmatched by any nation that is, or ever was, in the world. There is one good tine in the epilogue; but neither judgment nor moral in the play, though there are ftrokes of wit, and fome detached scenes of humour in it.
The Sufpicious Hufband, a Comedy, by Hoally.
It is well that I am only a private critic, otherwife I could hardly avoid being torn to pieces for many offences; and, amang the rest, for av ›wing no great admiration of this play. Perhaps, even in the finall circle of readers, who may chance to meet with, and choose to read my odd irregular remarks, fome few may not materially differ from my opini ons. But as I have broke all terms of peace with the many, I defire to keep in my lurking place, and fairly out of their fight. I have always thought, that this favourite play is not founded on a real knowledge of life and manners. but upon a motely imitation of characters and incidents in other plays. Benedict, Don John, and Captain Plume, are the models of Ranger. Strickland is but an ill copy of Kitely. Meggot is a collective imitation of Marplot, Captain Brazen, Wittol, and other dramatic good natured half wits. The rest of the characters are undiftinguishable, and ferve only to fill up a great part of the drama; for the whole diverfion lies in Ranger. Till he appear, the audience yawn. Clariffa is ariana, ill drawn, from Fielding's mifer. But, though I am clear that this play cannot be july esteemed as an original piece, it has the merit of better imitation than ordinary, in our later comedy; and when the parts of Ranger and Clariffa are well acted, it is a good entertainment on the ftage; yet ftill it is a poor one, at best, in the closet. And when examined with more attention and judgment than is, or ought to be employed by spectators, it will be found that there are only two good fcenes in it.
The Capricious Lady, a Comedy, altered from Beaumont
WHATEVER in this play is lively, proper, and characteriftic, belongs to the ancient poet. The modern part of it is motely, constrained, and
deviates from nature moft widely; yet it is not inferior to fome other modern alterations of good old plays. Indeed, the original, though it contains fome excellent fcenes, is not of a piece, and is not, on the whole, one of the best of Beaumont's and Fletcher's plays. I fuppofe this play had a great run, and high applause, at Covent Garden.
The Hiftory and Fall of Caius Marius, a Tragedy, by Otway.
WHEN I read this, and other plays in which Shakespeare's writings are partly introduced, I always reflect on a beautiful paffage in his Richard the Second, which Dryden has juflly celebrated in one of his prefaces.
This distinction is handfomely confeffed in the prologue to Otway's play.
"Like greedy beggars that fteal fheaves away,
The Fair Quaker of Deal, a Comedy.
THE fea characters are well-drawn and preferved; there are fome fcenes of humour and natural conversation; but the two laft acts fall off. The plot is neither well invented, well wrought up, nor interesting.
She would, and She would not, a Comedy, by Cibber. THESE modern plays have fome merit, and afford entertainment when well acted on the age, but are liable to many exceptions, and juft, criticifm, when coolly confidered in the closet.
Ulyffes, a Tragedy, by Rowe.
THE genius of Shakespeare formed natural characters and converfation, and probable entertaining plots, dignified above common life, by the power of true poetry. This author has ventured to imitate his manner, but very unsuccessfully. Though there are fome happy ferains of poetry intermixed, yet, in general, the circumftances of the plot are romantic and uninteresting. The conversation is laboured in one uniform style; and the characters, like the compofition in modern drama, studied and artificial.
LITERARY WEEKLY INTELLIGENCER,
WEDNESDAY, JUNE 22, 1791.
To the Editor of the Bee.
Education of young Ladies.
YOUR kind reception of the letter I fent you under the fignature A fortunate daughter of idleness, induces me to hope you will not be difpleased to have a few further obfervations on that important fubject, the refult chiefly of my own experience, which I fhall use the freedom in this, and perhaps a few other letters, to communicate to you. It is a fubject that has long ingroffed a great share of my attention; and could I flatter myself with the hope of turning the attention of those of my own fex more towards it than has been the fashion of late, I should not despair of very foon feeing happy effects resulting from it.
It is an aftonishing fact, for the truth of which I appeal to all your most intelligent readers in Europe, that VOL. III. +