THE MIRROR OF TASTE,
Vol. I. JUNE, 1810. No. 6.
HISTORY OF THE STAGE.
THE ROMAN DRAMA.
In proportion as the Romans yielded to the habit of imitating the Greeks, they advanced into refinement, and receded from their characteristic roughness and ferocity. Their pace, however, was very slow, for imagining rudeness and brutality to be synonimous with independence, they indulged and prided themselves in an adherence to their original coarseness and despised the manners of the Grecians, as the latter did those of the Persians, for their extreme refinement and effeminacy. Of the drama there is not to be found a trace on the records of Rome till more than three hundred and fifty years after the building of the city. The people had revels and brutal debauches at which rude compositions filled with raillery and gross invective were sung, accompanied with indecent action and lascivous gestures. But the raillery they used was so personal and calumnious that riots constantly ensued from the resentment of the injured parties, in consequence of which the senate passed a law, in the three hundred and second year of the city, condemning to death any person who should injure the reputation of his neighbour.
It was a full century after that law when, on occasion of great public calamity, they, in order to appease the divine wrath instituted feasts in honour of the gods, and those feasts for the first time exhibited a sort of irregular theatrical performances, composed wholly of imitation. The actors in those may in all probability be placed on a level with those called Mummers in Great Britain, and Livy describes them as Balladines who travelled to Rome from Tuscany. Though their merit could not have been great, they were very much applauded. Applause produced improvement, and they soon formed themselves into companies called histrioni, who performed regular pieces called satires. These, which were at best entitled to no higher rank than bad farces, kept exclusive possession of the public regards for a hundred and twenty years.
It was at the end of that period, and about two hundred and forty years before the Christian aera that the first play performed after the manner of the Greeks, was brought forward in Rome, by Livius Andronicus, the earliest of the Roman dramatic poets. He turned the personal Satires and Fescenine verses so long the admiration of the Romans, into regular form and dialogue, and though the character of a player, so long valued and applauded in Greece, was reckoned vile and despicable among the Romans, Andronicus himself acted a part in his dramatic compositions. At the time of Cicero the works of this poet were obsolete; yet some passages of them are preserved in the Corpus Poetarum.
It is related of Livius Andronicus that he at first formed and sung his pieces in the manner of his predecessors, despairing of being able to accomplish any improvement in the Roman theatre, but that one day being surrounded by the multitude and excessively fatigued, he called a slave to relieve him while he recovered his breath. Displeased with the bungling manner in which the slave performed this new task, Livius rebuked him very severely, the slave justified, the master replied, and a dialogue ensued which the spectators imagining to be a part of the plan of the piece, greatly applauded. The drama at once broke upon their view in a new and superior aspect—they perceived that it was in familiar colloquial communications, such as men use in real life, that human affairs and the hearts of men could be justly imitated, and Andronicus taking advantage of this singular and felicitous incident, composed and represented regular dramas in dialogue.
To Livius Andronicus is due the praise of having first refined the Roman taste in dramatic poetry, as Ennius had but a short time before done in Epic, by introducing the Greek model, as the standard of literature. Both were, according to Suetonius, half Greeks, and were masters of both languages. The taste for tragedy, however, held its ground but for a short time; for the Romans, as fickle as ferocious, soon grew weary of it, and were falling back into their barbarous enjoyment of gladiators and cruel spectacles, when the poet Pacuvius arose, and restored tragedy as far as it could be restored among such a people. He was a nephew of Ennius, and, by descent, tinctured with the Grecian manner. Pacuvius was not only a poet of considerable merit, but a painter also, whose productions were greatly admired; particularly his decorations of a temple of Hercules, which Pliny has mentioned with lavish praise.
To Pacuvius succeeded his disciple ACCIUS, whose first drama appeared in the very same year that Pacuvius produced his last. By the advice of his master he chiefly adhered to the subjects which had before made the business of the dramatists of Athens, translated several of the tragedies of Sophocles into the Latin language, and wrote a vast number of pieces, some of which were comedies. Thus he gained a considerable share, and in fact reaped the harvest of which Andronicus and Pacuvius had sown the seed. Thus it often happens in life that the fruits of one man's virtues, genius, and industry are devoured by a successor.[A]
Yet Accius was unquestionably a lofty and excellent poet, though his style was censured for harshness. Being told of this fault by Pacuvius, he replied "I have no cause to be ashamed of it: I shall hereafter write the better for it. It is with genius as with fruit, that which is sour, grows sweet as it ripens, while that which is early mellow rots before it ripens."
No man was held in higher respect than Accius. He received the greatest marks of honour at Rome. A high magistrate severely reprimanded a man for uttering the name of Accius without reverence; and an actor was punished for mentioning his name on the stage. His exalted opinion of his own dignity may be inferred from the following anecdote respecting him, transmitted to posterity by Valerius Maximus. Once when Julius Caesar entered an assembly of poets, Accius alone abstained from rising to do him homage. He respected Caesar as much as any of them, but he thought that in an assembly of the learned, the superiority lay on the part of the poets, and the grandeur of the greatest conqueror was diminished before the lustre of the best writer.[B]
As the writings of Livius Andronicus, Pacuvius and Accius constitute the first epoch in the Roman drama, they are generally spoken of together, and the best critics of antiquity mention them with high commendation and respect. Of the first, much less is known than of the other two. He is nowhere, that we know of, spoken of directly, but often collaterally. He is sometimes coupled with Ennius—the praise of invention is generally allowed him, and his name is brought forward by Horace rather for the purpose of marking an aera than of giving an opinion of his talents.
Ambigitur quoties uter utro fit prior; aufert Pacuvius docti famam senis, Actius alti: Dicitur Alfrani toga convenisse Menandro; Plautus ad exemplar siculi properare Epicharmi, Vincere Coecilius gravitate, Terentius arte Hos ediscit, et hos areto stipata theatro Spectat Roma potens: habet nos numeratque poetas Ad nostrum tempus, LIVI scriptoris ab aevo.[C]
From which lines it appears that in the time of Horace learning was considered to be the characteristic feature of Pacuvius and loftiness of thought that of Accius; and Quintilian speaks of both in the following terms. "Those splendid writers combined sublimity of conception with vigorous style in their tragedies; and on the whole if they have not diffused through their compositions more gracefulness, it was not their fault, but the fault of the age they lived in."
Unquestionably the first dramatic poets of Rome laboured under great disadvantages. They had not only to form a drama, but to mould to a taste for the reception of it a barbarous people, whose softest and most luxurious enjoyments partook of that ferocity which rendered that race terrible in the eyes of the world, but to the philosophic mind not truly great—never, in the slightest measure, amiable or estimable. Nature, moreover, had been ransacked by the Greek poets, so that nothing but imitation was left for the Romans, who in letters, science, or arts, and particularly in the drama, attained no excellence but in proportion as they copied their Grecian predecessors. Even their copies are allowed by their own best authors to be wretched productions when compared with the works of the great originals.[D] Compared with Menander Terence was frigid and unaffecting, in sublimity even Accius was incomparably inferior to Eschylus, Pacuvius in philosophic knowledge to Euripides, and the whole body of the tragic writers of Rome, including Seneca, sink when put in competition with Sophocles.
A poet of the name of Seneca wrote some tragedies—but it yet remains, and in all likelihood will ever remain, undecided whether it was Lucius Annoeus Seneca, the same who distinguished himself as a philosopher, and whose admirable moral sentiments have been given to the world in an English dress and arrangement, by Sir Roger Lestrange. There have not been wanting critics of considerable eminence to maintain that the name of Seneca was assumed in order to conceal that of the real author. Quintilian ascribes to him the tragedy of Medea. The Troas and the Hippolytus are also said to be of his composition, while the Agamemnon, the Hercules Fureus, and the Thyestes and Hercules in Oeta, are supposed to have been written by his father Marcus Annoeus Seneca, the declaimer. Be the author of them who he may, there can be but one opinion on the merit of the compositions. The style is nervous and replete with beauties, but, according to the corrupted taste of the time in which they were written, abounds too much with ornament, is often turgid and inflated. Those tragedies, however, contain much good morality, conveyed in brilliant sentences and illustrated by lofty and glowing imagery.
As it became the fashion of every writer of eminence, as well as every pretender to letters, among the Romans to dabble with the drama, there were a multitude of tragic poets whose names were soon forgotten, and many whose names alone are incidentally mentioned while their works shared the fate of their bodies, and were buried in their graves. Gracelius wrote a tragedy called Thyestus; Catullus one intitled Alemeon; Caesar Adrastus; Augustus Ajax; Maecenas Octavio; and Ovid Medea. Marcus Attilius translated the Electra of Sophocles into Latin verse, and wrote some comedies also, but in language so barbarous and unintelligible that it procured him the name of Ferreus, or the iron poet. A poet of the name of Publius Pontonius, a relative and bosom friend of Pliny, wrote tragedies which were greatly admired by the emperor Claudius: and he was of so bold and independent a temper, that when ordered by the emperor to strike certain passages out of one of his plays, he peremptorily refused, and said he would appeal to the people. This man was a great soldier as well as a poet, and once had the honour of a triumph.
There were many others—Diodorus an Alexandrian of whom Strabo speaks handsomely, and Sulpitius whose eloquence Cicero has praised, calling him the tragic orator. All those had their day of celebrity, as our Lewises, Reynoldses, &c. &c. have now, but their productions have long since been buried in oblivion, and there is reason to believe that the world has greater cause to rejoice at, than regret their loss.
[A] The writer of this remembers to have had a curious illustration of this several years ago from Dr. Colley Lucas, then surgeon general for the East India company's establishment at Madras. Lucas was the son of the celebrated Irish patriot, Doctor Charles Lucas. When the parliament voted Mr. Grattan L50,000 for doing what had been done before to his hand by Lucas and Flood, Colley speaking of it said, with some bitterness, "Ay, my father laid the egg—Flood hatched it, but Grattan has run away with the chicken."
[B] This reminds us of Doctor Johnson's proud observation on Lord Chesterfield, "his lordship may be a wit among peers, but he is only a peer among wits."
[C] Thus translated by Francis,
Whate'er disputes of ancient poets rise, In some one excellence their merit lies; What depth of learning old Pacuvius shows! With strong sublime the page of Accius glows; Menander's comic robe Afranius wears, Plautus as rapid in his plots appears, As Epicharmus; Terence charms with art And grave Coecilius sinks into the heart. These are the plays to which our people crowd, 'Till the throng'd playhouse crack with the dull load. These are esteemed the glories of the stage From the first drama to the present age.
[D] See last number page 351, 352.
ACCOUNT OF LE KAIN.
The celebrated French Actor.
Henry Louis Le Kain, born at Paris in 1729, of parents employed in the trade of a goldsmith, was himself designed for that business, after having received a careful education. He excelled, from his earliest youth, in the manufacture of chirurgical instruments, and was already known as a skilful artist in that way, when his inclination for the stage caused him to neglect his profession, in order to declaim tragedy. He sought for an opportunity of playing in public: he had the good fortune to be introduced to M. de Voltaire, who had at that time, in the street of Traversiere, a small theatre, where this great man loved to make a trial of the pieces he had newly composed. The celebrated tragic poet soon discovered in Le Kain the actor who seemed formed to feel and express the sublime beauties of his performances. He gave him frequent lessons; he made him give up every pursuit except that of the theatre, and lodged him in his own house. Le Kain played successively the parts of Leide and Mahomet; and astonished and delighted his master by his forcible manner of playing. He transported him by pronouncing these words in the fifth act of Mahomet—"Il est donc des remords!"—Voltaire could not contain his admiration, and the actor has acknowledged that he never felt a more lively and profound sensation than he did at that moment. To be brief he made his appearance on the French stage, in the part of Titus, in the tragedy of Brutus, and that of Leide, in Mahomet.
Nature had given to Le Kain a disadvantageous countenance, a thick and rough voice, a short figure, and, indeed, appeared to oppose almost insurmountable obstacles to his success: but art developed the feelings concentered on his heart, animated his whole person, suggested to him the most graceful attitudes, strengthened his voice, and impressed in every motion of his body the grand character of passion. Indeed, in the parts of Orosmanes, Tancred, Mahomet, Gengiskan, Bayard, &c. he appeared superior even to nature, and every object was eclipsed around him. He fixed the attention and interest of every spectator. Nevertheless, Le Kain had not only to conquer nature, but also the efforts of envy, the intrigues of the green-room, and of the fashionable world, and the precipitate opinions of bad judges. The parterre alone constantly admired and applauded him. His debut continued seventeen months, and every body anticipated his disgrace, when he was appointed to play before the court the part of Orosmanes. Even Louis XV, had been prejudiced against him. But that king, who possessed judgment, intelligence, and a natural taste that nothing could pervert, appeared astonished that any person should have formed so ill an opinion of the new actor, and said—"Il m'a fait pleurer, mot qui ne pleure guere."—He has drawn tears from me, 'albeit unused to the melting mood.' This expression was sufficient. He could not do otherwise than admit him into his company. The French theatre possessed at that time, in tragedy, Dumesnil, Gaussin, Clairon, Sarrasin, Lanoue, &c. and this combination of eminent talents gave to the stage a degree of perfection and eclat, which will hardly ever be seen again. It served to form the style of Le Kain, and to unite in this actor all the perfections of which he was then a witness, and of which he afterwards became the preserver and the model. It is well known that Le Kain and Mad. Clairon cast off the ridiculous dresses of the old actors, and consulted the costume of their characters, and that they were the first who established it on the French stage. Le Kain himself designed dresses suitable to his parts: he spared nothing to render them as brilliant as he judged necessary, at a time when these decorations were very indifferent. He paid equal attention to all the minutiae of the performance. He made himself master of the scene, and at one view commanded every surrounding object. He was well versed in history, letters, and every species of knowledge connected with his art. He was passionately fond of poetry, and nobody knew how to recite verses better than himself. Le Kain carried into company much of simplicity, a deal of information independent of his professional knowledge, good sense, wit, and sometimes gayety, although his character, in general, was inclined to melancholy, in consequence of being so constantly employed in conceiving and expressing the higher passions. It were vain to attempt to analyse his talents;—they who have seen him play can alone form any just idea of them. He was not an actor; he was the very person he represented. He finished his theatrical career with the part of Vendome, in Adelaide Duguesclin, eight days before his death. Just before he went on the stage, he said, he felt an ardor that he had never felt before, and that he hoped to play his character very well. In fact, he appeared to surpass himself; he astonished and charmed the whole audience, and he could not refrain from an indulgence upon this occasion which he seldom allowed himself. He appeared to give out the play, and received the loudest applause from all parts of the theatre, which was continued long after he had quitted the stage.
This fine actor, it is said, from an imprudent exposure of his health, was seized with an inflammatory fever, which in four days brought him to his grave. He met the approaches of death without alarm, and surrounded by his friends, resigned himself cheerfully to his fate. He died on the 8th of February, 1778.
The manner in which Le Kain made his way to distinction, on the French stage, is very remarkable, and it proves that a performer may sometimes be a better judge of his own abilities than the manager; but how few actors are there that possess the talents of Le Kain, and how numerous are those who think themselves equal to the most arduous and conspicuous characters in the drama.
When Le Kain first appeared on the French stage, Grandval played the principal tragic characters. He did not perceive the talent of Le Kain; he saw only the natural defects of this sublime actor, and knew not how to appreciate the sensibility and intelligence which so amply atoned for them.
Le Kain, nevertheless, vegetated, for more than sixteen months in the rank of a pensioner. At length, disgusted with his situation, the impetuous Le Kain went in search of the haughty Grandval, and, without being intimidated at the uncivil reception he met with, said to him—"I come, sir, to request that you will let me play Orosmanes before the king." "You, Sir," said Grandval; "Orosmanes! before the court!—Surely you are not serious—do you mean to ruin yourself at once?"—"I have weighed every thing, Sir," replied the young tragedian; "I know the risk I run. It is time in short, that my fate were decided."—"Very well, Sir," said Grandval, "I consent to your playing the part; but if the result should turn out contrary to your wishes, remember that it is entirely your own act." Le Kain withdrew, and hastened to study, with the attention due to the important task he had undertaken, the character he was about to perform.
The day arrived—the new actor appeared on the stage. His figure and height excited at first some surprise, and even the women, accustomed to the grace and handsome person of Grandval, suffered a slight murmur, of disappointment to escape them. Le Kain had forseen this; he was not astonished at it; but the little vexation he felt at it gave him additional energy, and the success he experienced in the first act prepared the way only to his triumph in those which succeeded. In proportion as the interest of the scene advanced, his soul expanded itself over and beamed through his features; and soon the eyes of every spectator, dimmed with the tears that overflowed them, could no longer distinguish whether the actor was beautiful or ugly, and he left nothing upon the minds of the audience but the most powerful impression of the feelings which had animated him through his whole performance.
After the representation, the first gentleman of the chamber asked his majesty what he thought of him. The king made the reply which we have quoted above.
This reception, so novel in its nature, astonished his brother performers; but they were obliged to yield to his superiority, and Grandval, who acknowledged his error, no longer delayed to put Le Kain in possession of the first characters in tragedy.
Le Kain published shortly after his success, the following particulars of his first connexion with M. de Voltaire, to which he prefixed this expressive motto from the play of Oedipus.
"L'amite d'un grand homme est un bienfait des Dieux."
"May I not be permitted to boast of a title which at once fixed my condition, my fortune, and the happiness of my life? The brief account I am about to give, will justify the motto I have chosen, which may, at the first view, have the appearance of too much vanity.
"The peace of 1748 reviving amusements of every kind in the city of Paris, gave birth at the same time to the institution of several societies of citizens, who assembled together to enjoy the pleasure of acting plays.
"The first was established at the hotel de Soyecourt, St. Honore; the second at the hotel de Clermont-Tonnerre, Marais; and the third at the hotel de Jabac, in the street of St. Mery. Of this last theatre I was the founder.
"Of all the young people who acquired celebrity upon these stages, and some of whom are settled in the provincial theatres, I am the only one who have obtained a situation in Paris; and for this favour I am indebted more to my good stars, than to my poor talents. The circumstances which led to it are these.
"The proprietor of the hotel de Jabac, being obliged to make some repairs on the inside of the hall which we occupied, laid us under the necessity of requesting permission from the comedians of Clermont-Tonnerre, to play alternately with them upon their stage. It was stipulated between us, in the month of July 1749, that we should pay a moiety of the expenses; and accordingly we made our debut there with Sidney and Georges Dandin.
"It may be easily conceived, that the competition of these two societies excited much difference of opinion in the public, the result of which could not be favourable to one company, without diminishing the credit with which the other had till then performed. Some divided in our favour, and some in favour of our rivals. 'These ladies,' observed one party, 'are prettier than the other.'—'Ah!' replied their neighbours, 'but then the latter have better knowledge of the stage, more grace and vivacity, &c. &c.'
"In this manner the public amused themselves, and selected their favourites either from Messrs. de Tonnerre, or Messrs. de Jabac. But who could imagine that a society of young people, who attended to decorum in the midst of their amusements, would have excited the jealousy and complaint of the great disciples of Melpomene.
"Through their interference we were obliged to shut up our theatre. A Jansenist priest, however, procured its re-establishment. M. l'Abbe Chauvelin of the parliament of Paris, condescended to interest himself for the pupils, in opposition to their masters, and got us to play Le Mauvais Riche, a five act comedy in verse, by M. d'Arnaud. The piece did not possess much merit in the opinion of the most brilliant assembly that was at that time to be met with in all Paris. This was in the month of February 1750.
"M. de Voltaire was invited by the author to attend the representation: and whether it was to gratify M. d'Arnaud, or through pure kindness to the actors, who exerted themselves to the utmost to give effect to a very feeble and uninteresting drama, that great man appeared tolerably satisfied, and anxiously inquired the name of the person who had performed the part of the lover. He received for answer, that he was the son of a goldsmith at Paris, who played at present for his amusement, but who had a serious intention of making the stage his profession. He expressed to M. d'Arnaud a desire to be acquainted with me, and begged that he would prevail upon me to go and see him the next day but one.
"The pleasure that this invitation afforded, was greater even than my surprise at receiving it. But I have never been able to describe what passed in my mind at the sight of this man, whose eyes sparkled with fire, genius, and imagination. When I spoke to him, I felt myself penetrated with respect, enthusiasm, admiration, and fear. I was almost overpowered by these several sensations, when M. de Voltaire had the goodness to put an end to my embarrassment, by opening his paternal arms, and thanking God for having created a being who had moved and affected him in the recitation of such wretched verses. He afterwards put several questions to me respecting my own condition, and that of my father; the manner in which I had been educated, and my future prospects in life. Having satisfied him in all these particulars, and taken my share of a dozen cups of chocolate mixed with coffee[E], I told him, boldly, that I knew no other happiness on earth than that of acting plays; that a severe and afflicting event having left me master of my actions, and enjoying a small patrimony of 750 livres a year, I had reason to hope, that by abandoning my father's business, I should lose nothing by the change, if I might hope one day to be admitted into the king's company of comedians.
"'Ah, my friend!' cried M. de Voltaire, 'never form this resolution. Be ruled by me; play comedy for your amusement, but never make it your profession. It is the finest, the most rare and difficult talent that can be; but it is disgraced by blockheads, and proscribed by hypocrites. At some future day France will esteem your art, but then there will be no more Barons, Lecouvreurs, nor Dangevilles. If you will renounce your project, I will lend you 10,000 francs to form your establishment, and you shall repay me when you can. Go, my friend, return to me towards the end of the week, reflect maturely upon my advice and proposal, and give me a positive answer.'
"Stunned, confused, and moved even to tears at the goodness and generosity of this great man, who had been called avaricious, severe and pitiless, I wished to pour forth my gratitude. I attempted to speak no less than four times, but was unable to articulate my thanks. I was about to retire, when he called me back, and requested that I would recite to him a few passages from the characters that I had already played.
"Scarcely knowing what I was about, I unfortunately proposed to declaim the great speech from Gustavus, in the second act—'No Piron! no Piron!' he cried out, in a thundering and terrific voice, 'I do not love bad verse; let me have all you know from Racine.'
"I luckily recollected, that when I was at the College Mazarin, I had learnt the entire tragedy of Athaliah, from having heard it often repeated by the scholars who were about to play it.
"I began, therefore, the first scene, speaking alternately the parts of Abner and Joad; but I had hardly finished, before M. de Voltaire exclaimed, with the highest enthusiasm—'Ah! my God! what exquisite verses! and how very astonishing it is that the whole play should be written with the same spirit, and the same purity, from the first scene to the last. The poetry is inimitable. Adieu, my child!' he continued, embracing me, 'I predict that you will possess a most heart-rending voice [la voice dechirante]; that you will one day be the delight of all Paris; but for God's sake never appear upon any public stage.'
"This is a faithful account of my first interview with M. de Voltaire: the second was more determinative, since he consented, after the most earnest solicitations on my part, to receive me as his pensioner, and to cause a small theatre to be erected near his dwelling, where he had the kindness to let me play in company with his nieces, and the whole society to which I belonged. He expressed great dissatisfaction at learning that it had hitherto cost us a good deal of money to afford the public and our friends amusement.
"The expense to which this establishment put M. de Voltaire, and the disinterested offer that he had made me a few days before, proved to me, in the strongest manner, that his conduct was as generous and noble as his enemies were unjust, in attributing to him the vice of avarice.
"These are facts of which I have been the witness. I owe yet another acknowledgment to truth. M. de Voltaire not only assisted me with his advice, for more than six months that I lived with him, but he also defrayed all my expenses during the same period; and since my admission into the theatre, I can prove that I have received from his liberality more than 2000 crowns. He calls me at this moment his great actor, his Garrick, his dear son. These are titles that I owe entirely to his kindness. I only presume to call myself his respectful pupil, who feels every sentiment of gratitude for his disinterested acts of friendship.
"Ought I not so to feel, when it is to M. de Voltaire alone that I am indebted for my first knowledge of the art I profess, and from respect to him, that M. the Duc d'Aumont, granted the order for my debut in the month of February, 1750?
"By constant perseverance upon every occasion I have now, in the month of February, 1752, after a debut of seventeen months, surmounted all the obstacles raised against me both by the city and the court, and procured myself to be inserted on the list of King's comedians."
[E] This was M. de Voltaire's only nourishment, from five in the morning till three in the afternoon.
LIFE OF WILLIAM GIFFORD, ESQ. AUTHOR OF THE BAEVIAD AND MAEVIAD, AND TRANSLATOR OF JUVENAL.
(Continued from page 367.)
The repetitions of which I speak were always attended with applause, and sometimes with favours more substantial: little collections were now and then made, and I have received sixpence in an evening. To one who had long lived in the absolute want of money, such a resource seemed like a Peruvian mine. I furnished myself by degrees with paper, &c. and what was of more importance, with books of geometry, and of the higher branches of algebra, which I cautiously concealed. Poetry, even at this time, was no amusement of mine: it was subservient to other purposes; and I only had recourse to it, when I wanted money for my mathematical pursuits.
But the clouds were gathering fast. My master's anger was raised to a terrible pitch by my indifference to his concerns, and still more by the reports which were brought to him of my presumptuous attempts at versification. I was required to give up my papers, and when I refused, my garret was searched, my little hoard of books discovered, and removed, and all future repetitions prohibited in the strictest manner.
This was a very severe stroke, and I felt it most sensibly; it was followed by another severer still; a stroke which crushed the hopes I had so long and so fondly cherished, and resigned me at once to despair. Mr. Hugh Smerdon, on whose succession I had calculated, died, and was succeeded by a person not much older than myself, and certainly not so well qualified for the situation.
I look back to that part of my life, which immediately followed this event, with little satisfaction; it was a period of gloom, and savage unsociability: by degrees I sunk into a kind of corporeal torpor; or, if roused into activity by the spirit of youth, wasted the exertion in splenetic and vexatious tricks, which alienated the few acquaintances compassion had yet left. So I crept on in silent discontent; unfriended and unpitied; indignant at the present, careless of the future, an object at once of apprehension and dislike.
From this state of abjectness I was raised by a young woman of my own class. She was a neighbour; and whenever I took my solitary walk with my Wolfius, in my pocket, she usually came to the door, and by a smile or a short question put in the friendliest manner, endeavoured to solicit my attention. My heart had been long shut to kindness, but the sentiment was not dead in me: it revived at the first encouraging word: and the gratitude I felt for it, was the first pleasing sensation I had ventured to entertain for many dreary months.
Together with gratitude, hope, and other passions still more enlivening, took place of that uncomfortable gloominess which so lately possessed me: I returned to my companions, and by every winning art in my power, strove to make them forget my former repulsive ways. In this I was not unsuccessful; I recovered their good will, and by degrees grew to be somewhat of a favourite.
My master still murmured; for the business of the shop went on no better than before: I comforted myself, however, with the reflection, that my apprenticeship was drawing to a conclusion, when I determined to renounce the employment forever, and to open a private school.
In this humble and obscure state, poor beyond the common lot, yet flattering my ambition with day-dreams which, perhaps, would never have been realized, I was found in the twentieth year of my age by Mr. William Cookesley, a name never to be pronounced by me without veneration. The lamentable doggerel which I have already mentioned, and which had passed from mouth to mouth among people of my own degree, had by some accident or other reached his ear, and given him a curiosity to inquire after the author.
It was my good fortune to interest his benevolence. My little history was not untinctured with melancholy, and I laid it fairly before him: his first care was to console: his second, which he cherished to the last moment of his existence, was to relieve and support me.
Mr. Cookesley was not rich: his eminence in his profession which was that of a surgeon, procured him, indeed, much employment; but in a country town, men of science are not the most liberally rewarded; he had, besides, a very numerous family, which left him little for the purposes of general benevolence; that little, however, was cheerfully bestowed, and his activity and zeal were always at hand to supply the deficiencies of his fortune.
On examining into the nature of my literary attainments, he found them absolutely nothing; he heard, however, with equal surprise and pleasure, that amidst the grossest ignorance of books, I had made a very considerable progress in the mathematics. He engaged me to enter into the details of this affair; and when he learned that I had made it in circumstances of discouragement and danger, he became more warmly interested in my favour, as he now saw a possibility of serving me.
The plan that occurred to him was naturally that which had so often suggested itself to me. There were, indeed, several obstacles to be overcome. I had eighteen months yet to serve; my hand-writing was bad, and my language very incorrect; but nothing could slacken the zeal of this excellent man; he procured a few of my poor attempts at rhyme, dispersed them amongst his friends and acquaintance, and when my name was become somewhat familiar to them, set on foot a subscription for my relief. I still preserve the original paper; its title was not very magnificent, though it exceeded the most sanguine wishes of my heart: it ran thus, "A subscription for purchasing the remainder of the time of William Gifford, and for enabling him to improve himself in Writing and English Grammar." Few contributed more than five shillings, and none went beyond ten-and-six-pence: enough, however, was collected to free me from my apprenticeship (the sum my master received was six pounds) and to maintain me for a few months, during which I assiduously attended the Rev. Thomas Smerdon.
At the expiration of this period, it was found that my progress (for I will speak the truth in modesty) had been more considerable than my patrons expected: I had also written in the interim several little pieces of poetry, less rugged, I suppose, than my former ones, and certainly with fewer anomalies of language. My preceptor, too, spoke favourably of me; and my benefactor, who was now become my father and my friend, had little difficulty in persuading my patrons to renew their donations, and continue me at school for another year. Such liberality was not lost upon me; I grew anxious to make the best return in my power, and I redoubled my diligence. Now, that I am sunk into indolence, I look back with some degree of scepticism to the exertions of that period.
In two years and two months from the day of my emancipation, I was pronounced by Mr. Smerdon, fit for the university. The plan of opening a writing school had been abandoned almost from the first; and Mr. Cookesley looked round for some one who had interest enough to procure me some little office at Oxford. This person, who was soon found, was Thomas Taylor, Esq. of Denbury, a gentleman to whom I had already been indebted for much liberal and friendly support. He procured me the place of Bib. Lect. at Exeter College: and this, with such occasional assistance from the country as Mr. Cookesley undertook to provide, was thought sufficient to enable me to live, at least, till I had taken a degree.
During my attendance on Mr. Smerdon I had written, as I observed before, several tuneful trifles, some as exercises, others voluntarily, (for poetry was now become my delight) and not a few at the desire of my friends. When I became capable, however, of reading Latin and Greek with some degree of facility, that gentleman employed all my leisure hours in translations from the Classics; and indeed I do not know a single school book, of which I did not render some portion into English verse. Among others JUVENAL engaged my attention, or rather my master's, and I translated the tenth Satire for a holyday task. Mr. Smerdon was much pleased with this (I was not undelighted with it myself) and as I was now become fond of the author, he easily persuaded me to proceed with him, and I translated in succession the third, the fourth, the twelfth, and I think the eighth Satires. As I had no end in view but that of giving a temporary satisfaction to my benefactors; I thought little more of these, than of many other things of the same nature which I wrote from time to time, and of which I never copied a single line.
On my removing to Exeter College, however, my friend, ever attentive to my concerns, advised me to copy my translation of the tenth Satire, and present it, on my arrival, to the Rev. Dr. Stinton (afterwards Rector) to whom Mr. Taylor had given me an introductory letter: I did so and it was kindly received. Thus encouraged, I took up the first and and second Satires (I mention them in the order they were translated) when my friend, who had sedulously watched my progress, first started the idea of going through the whole, and publishing it by subscription, as a means of increasing my means of subsistence. To this I readily acceded, and finished the thirteenth, eleventh, and fifteenth Satires: the remainder were the work of a much later period.
When I had got thus far, we thought it a fit time to mention our design; it was very generally approved of by my friends; and on the first of January, 1781, the subscription was opened by Mr. Cookesley at Ashburton, and by myself at Exeter College.
So bold an undertaking so precipitately announced, will give the reader, I fear, a higher opinion of my conceit than of my talents: neither the one nor the other, however, had the smallest concern with the business, which originated solely in ignorance. I wrote verses with great facility, and I was simple enough to imagine that little more was necessary for a translator of Juvenal! I was not, indeed, unconscious of my inaccuracies: I knew that they were numerous, and that I had need of some friendly eye to point them out, and some judicious hand to rectify or remove them: but for these as well as every thing else, I looked to Mr. Cookesley, and that worthy man, with his usual alacrity of kindness, undertook the laborious task of revising the whole translation. My friend was no great Latinist, perhaps I was the better of the two; but he had taste and judgment, which I wanted. What advantage might have been ultimately derived from them, there was unhappily no opportunity of ascertaining, as it pleased the Almighty to call him to himself by a sudden death, before he had quite finished the first Satire. He died with a letter of mine unopened in his hands.
This event, which took place on the 15th of January, 1781, afflicted me beyond measure.[F] I was not only deprived of a most faithful and affectionate friend, but of a zealous and ever-active protector, on whom I confidently relied for support: the sums that were still necessary for me, he always collected; and it was feared that the assistance which was not solicited with warmth, would insensibly cease to be afforded.
In many instances this was actually the case; the desertion, however, was not general; and I was encouraged to hope, by the unexpected friendship, of Servington Savery, a gentleman who voluntarily stood forth as my patron, and watched over my interests with kindness and attention.
Some time before Mr. Cookesley's death, we had agreed that it would be proper to deliver out with the terms of subscription, a specimen of the manner in which the translation was executed:[G] to obviate any idea of selection, a sheet was accordingly taken from the beginning of the first Satire. My friend died while it was in the press.
After a few melancholy weeks, I resumed the translation; but found myself utterly incapable of proceeding. I had been accustomed to connect Mr. Cookesley's name with every part of it, and I laboured with such delight in the hope of giving him pleasure, that now, when he appeared to have left me in the midst of my enterprise, and I was abandoned to my own efforts, I seemed to be engaged in a hopeless struggle, without motive or end: and his idea, which was perpetually recurring to me, brought such bitter anguish with it, that I shut up the work with feelings bordering on distraction.
To relieve my mind, I had recourse to other pursuits. I endeavoured to become more intimately acquainted with the Classics, and to acquire some of the modern languages: by permission too, or rather recommendation, of the Rector and Fellows, I also undertook the care of a few pupils: this removed much of my anxiety respecting my future means of support. I have a heartfelt pleasure in mentioning this indulgence of my college: it could arise from nothing but the liberal desire inherent, I think, in the members of both our Universities, to encourage every thing that bears the most distant resemblance to talents: for I had no claims on them from any particular exertions.
The lapse of many months had now soothed, and tranquillized my mind, and I once more returned to the translation to which a wish to serve a young man surrounded with difficulties, had induced a number of respectable characters to set their names: but alas, what a mortification! I now discovered, for the first time, that my own inexperience, and the advice of my too, too partial friend had engaged me in a work, for the due execution of which, my literary attainments were by no means sufficient. Errors and misconceptions appeared in every page. I had, indeed, caught something of the spirit of Juvenal, but his meaning had frequently escaped me, and I saw the necessity of a long and painful revision, which would carry me far beyond the period fixed for the appearance of the work. Alarmed at the prospect, I instantly resolved (if not wisely, yet I trust honestly) to renounce the publication for the present.
In pursuance of this resolution, I wrote to my friend in the country (the Rev. Servington Savery) requesting him to return the subscription money in his hands, to the subscribers. He did not approve of my plan; nevertheless he promised, in a letter which now lies before me, to comply with it: and, in a subsequent one, added that he had already begun to do so.
For myself, I also made several repayments; and trusted a sum of money to make others with a fellow collegian, who, not long after, fell by his own hands in the presence of his father. But there were still some whose abode could not be discovered, and others, on whom to press the taking back of eight shillings would neither be decent nor respectful: even from these I ventured to flatter myself that I should find pardon, when on some future day I presented them with the work (which I was still secretly determined to complete) rendered more worthy of their patronage, and increased, by notes, which I now perceived to be absolutely necessary, to more than double its proposed size.
In the leisure of a country residence, I fancied this might be done in two years; perhaps I was not too sanguine: the experiment, however, was not made, for about this time a circumstance happened which changed my views, and indeed my whole system of life.
I had contracted an acquaintance with a person of the name of ——, recommended to my particular notice by a gentleman of Devonshire, whom I was proud of an opportunity to oblige. This person's residence at Oxford was not long, and when he returned to town, I maintained a correspondence with him by letters. At his particular request, these were enclosed in a cover, and sent to Lord GROSVENOR: one day I inadvertently omitted the direction, and his Lordship necessarily supposing it to be meant for himself, opened and read it. There was something in it which attracted his notice; and when he gave the letter to my friend, he had the curiosity to inquire about his correspondent at Oxford; and, upon the answer he received, the kindness to desire he might be brought to see him upon his coming to town; to this circumstance, purely accidental on all sides, and to this alone, I owe my introduction to that nobleman.
On my first visit, he asked me what friends I had, and what were my prospects in life; and I told him that I had no friends, and no prospects of any kind. He said no more; but when I called to take leave, previous to returning to college, I found that this simple exposure of my circumstances had sunk deep into his mind. At parting, he informed me that he had charged himself with my present support, and future establishment: and that till this last could be effected to my wish, I should come and reside with him. These were not words of course: they were more than fulfilled in every point. I did go and reside with him; and I experienced a warm and cordial reception, a kind and affectionate esteem, that has known neither diminution nor interruption, from that hour to this: a period of twenty years!
In his Lordship's house I proceeded with Juvenal, till I was called upon to accompany his son (one of the most amiable and accomplished young noblemen that this country, fertile in such characters, could ever boast) to the continent. With him, in two successive tours, I spent many years: years of which the remembrance will always be dear to me, from the recollection that a friendship was then contracted, which time, and a more intimate knowledge of each other, have mellowed into a regard that forms at once the pride and happiness of my life.
It is long since I have been returned and settled in the bosom of competence and peace: my translation frequently engaged my thoughts, but I had lost the ardour and the confidence of youth, and was seriously doubtful of my abilities to do it justice. I have wished a thousand times that I could decline it altogether; but the ever-recurring idea that there were people of the description I have already mentioned, who had just and forcible claims on me for the due performance of my engagement, forbade the thought; and I slowly proceeded towards the completion of a work in which I should never have engaged, had my friend's inexperience, or my own, suffered us to suspect for a moment the labour and the talents of more than one kind, absolutely necessary to its success in any tolerable degree. Such as I could make it, it is now before the public.
[F] I began this unadorned narrative on the 15th of January, 1801: twenty years have therefore elapsed since I lost my benefactor and my friend. In the interval I have wept a thousand times at the recollection of his goodness: I yet cherish his memory with filial respect: and at this distant period, my heart sinks within me at every repetition of his name.
[G] Many of these papers were distributed; the terms, which I extract from one of them, were these. "The work shall be printed in quarto (without notes) and be delivered to the subscribers in the month of December next."
"The price will be sixteen shillings in boards, half to be paid at the time of subscribing, the remainder on delivery of the book."
FOR THE MIRROR.
SKETCH OF THE LIFE OF THE LATE MR. HODGKINSON.
(Continued from page 380.)
We have now brought the extraordinary personage who makes the subject of this memoir to that time of life when his character assumes a high rank, and his conduct an importance, which entitle him to a much more serious consideration from the reader. As a strict regard to truth forbids us to deny that, in common with all his fellow creatures, he deserves censure for some part of his conduct in life, so candour, and indeed common integrity, enjoin it upon us to accompany that acknowledgment with all such circumstances, and the reasonings upon them that occur to us, as may serve to extenuate the criminality of those acts, and to show that his misconduct was the natural, or rather the necessary and inevitable result of the circumstances to which he was exposed, and nothing more than the every-day issues of human infirmity. If in discharging the office of a biographer, and canvassing the character of the dead, we are compelled to utter truths that will be unwelcome to many a heart, and to speak lightly of the bad members of a profession for the good ones of which we have a high respect, let it be remembered that we do it perhaps reluctantly, but certainly in obedience to the imperious commands of a duty paramount to all form and ceremony, which dictates that truth must be investigated, no matter what galled jade may feel its withers wrung by it.
The indiscriminating, unjust, and illiberal spirit of persecution, with which actors have been followed up for ages, has not a greater enemy in any bosom upon earth than in ours; and we should not only libel the opinions we have uniformly avowed, but violate our conscientious persuasion, and suppress truth if we neglected to state that a multitude of the ladies and gentlemen of that profession, justly stand as high in moral character, as any of those who, in the other departments of life, are most conspicuous for virtue and nice honour. The time was, indeed, when instances of the kind were so very rare, that they were scarcely credited, and when the general maxim was, that the public had nothing to do with the private lives of performers. But now, when the spotless purity of successive actresses in England has so far diminished the prejudice entertained against the body, that actresses of irreproachable character are received into good company, and many of them even married into high families, a correspondent ambition on their part fills most ladies of the stage with an honourable spirit of emulation in the race of fame; while, on the other hand, the people exercise a very rigid scrutiny upon the stage, hold the actresses amenable for their private conduct, and declare that they will not suffer one who is notoriously vitious to come forward on the stage and make a mockery of discretion by uttering the precepts of virtue.
Still, however, there hang about the stage in every country too many actresses of abandoned character. As may well be supposed, the private attachments of those are as perfectly feigned, as any of the passions or characters they represent in public, and their allurements are employed chiefly, if not solely, for the gratification of their vanity, or the furtherance of their pecuniary interest. Here and there, may perhaps be found an example of the influence of personal love: but in general they make their charms tributary to their purses, and to their standing in the theatre. To prove this it need only be stated as a general rule, to which there are but very few exceptions, that in England the greatest favourites with that class of females, and those for whose preference they most artfully vie with each other, is some ordinary, or perhaps hoary manager, who, if he be so disposed, is sure to carry away those precious prizes from the finest youths or prime men of the theatre, unless to youth and personal elegance the latter should add great professional merit and the power and influence consequent to it.
A moment's consideration will show that, for the purposes of women of this description, there could not possibly be found a more hopeful object than such a young person as Hodgkinson must necessarily have been at this period of his life. Unassisted by early instruction
——No parent's care Shielded his infant innocence with prayer; No father's guardian hand his youth maintained; Called forth his virtues or from vice restrained.
Raised by his own talents and industry to great celebrity, and at a time of life, when others have not ventured to cross the threshold of the profession, honoured with the patronage of the first dramatic personage living, it would be a miracle if he had not been rendered giddy by his unexpected height. He had as yet had no experience to make him wise, no sufferings to make him cautious. From his boyish days he was compelled, by the necessity of his situation, to associate with persons of all others the most likely to corrupt his morals, and continually exposed to dangers which he was incapable of suspecting, and therefore could not defeat. On the other hand every circumstance attending his condition had a tendency to intoxicate his brain: the first dawn of manhood broke upon him with the dazzling glare of a full and fervid prosperity, which no modesty could prevent him from knowing to be the fruits of his own extraordinary merit. Along with this, his personal endowments, which were of themselves sufficient in private life to have filled the best regulated young mind with vanity, were the continual subject of public approbation—his face was remarkably handsome, he was tall, well proportioned, and graceful. He had one of the finest voices in England, and played well on several musical instruments. These not only disqualified him for resisting, but increased the amount of the temptations that surrounded him. Thus, while his personal accomplishments fitted him for gaining the affections of the sex, fortune made him a desirable prey for their cupidity. The breath of flattery blew upon him in every direction, and inflamed his vanity and self-love, while all the wiles and allurements which artful wantonness could practise upon unsuspicious youth, were played off against his heart; and thus his passions, which in all probability were complexionally strong, became ungovernable. Coarse undisguised flattery too often makes its way to the hearts of the wisest and the best—How then could a poor youth like Hodgkinson be expected to refuse it, when administered by beauty, and disguised by elegance and refinement.
Co-ordinate with the rise of his fame and fortune therefore was the growth of the evils which were fated to endanger the one, and to make shipwreck of the other; and his professional success and his gallantries, running parallel to each other like the two wheels of a gig, left their marks on every road he travelled in the north of England, to the great delight of the major part of his profession, who sickened at his superiority, and exulted in every thing that threatened to injure his reputation and degrade him in the eyes of the public. Nor did their malice want subjects to work upon: The Statiras and the Roxanas by turns got possession of our young Alexander, and the demon of licentiousness seems to have exercised more than his customary dominion over the ladies, for the ruin of the young man. In whatever company Hodgkinson played, he became the object, too often the victim of their arts, and some unfortunate husband or lover had to deplore the unconcealed infidelity of his cara sposa. Nay, in one instance, theatrical sovereignty itself found its rights invaded, and had to lament a treason which it could not punish. In plain English, the wife of one of his managers played "All for love, or the world well lost," and ran away with him. It was on this occasion he left the northern line of theatres, and joined the company of Bath and Bristol, whither his great professional fame had preceded him.
Persons are every day to be found, who having enjoyed the advantages of early instruction, imbibed in childhood the principles of religion, and grown up in the practice of virtue under the control of a well regulated restraint, have not only deviated lamentably from the paths of rectitude, but been willing to call in sophistry to disarm conscience, or as doctor Johnson says, to lull their imaginations with ideal opiates. Can it appear surprising then that a hot-brained giddy youth like Hodgkinson should find it easy to compound that affair, immoral as it was, with his conscience, and to let it pass by, without making any beneficial impression upon his morals. That there was something belonging to it, which, aided with his sophistry, served to diminish the guilt of it in his eyes, is pretty certain. Hodgkinson was naturally benevolent and just, and filled with those sentiments and sympathies which engender pity for the injured and regret for doing wrong; yet of the man whom he had thus injured, he many times spoke with bitterness and reproach. One day this writer questioned him upon the subject in the warmth of friendship: "How comes it to pass, Hodgkinson, that you never hear the name of —— mentioned without treating it with an asperity foreign to your usual way of speaking, and indeed contrary to your natural disposition?" "He wronged me, most wickedly wronged me," was the answer—"He endeavoured to crush me in my youth."—"You were even with him, then, with a vengeance," replied this writer. "You have heard that unfortunate affair then," said he. "Yes, I have."—"It was greatly his own fault, sir—very little mine. I was young, hot-headed, foolish, very foolish; but never meditated the affair you allude to. The woman was a wanton—I never suspected that the kindnesses she showed me were to lead to guilt. His jealousy stimulated her, and his injustice and malice fired me to revenge, and supplied me with specious arguments of justification. I am sorry it so happened on many accounts. I forgive him, but I cannot hear him mentioned without giving vent to my opinion of him, which is, that he is a very bad fellow, with a very rancorous heart."
On his arrival at Bath, Hodgkinson became acquainted with some of the most respectable people, and was elected a member of the Noblemen's Catch-Club, which was composed of some of the first men in that part of England for rank and opulence. This was of itself, a very honourable mark of distinction, and a signal testimony of the respect in which his talents were held by those gentlemen. He continued to be a member of it, and conducted himself in a manner which every day increased their respect for him, till he left England.
While he belonged to the Bath and Bristol theatres he received an invitation to play at Brighton during the summer residence of the Prince of Wales there, with which invitation he complied. He had been advantageously mentioned to the prince, and his royal highness was desirous to see him perform. Upon this visit an incident occurred which we should think it unpardonable to omit mentioning, not only on account of its importance as it relates to our subject, but as it serves to throw a ray of light on the character of one of the most illustrious personages lining.
The day after his arrival at Brighton, Hodgkinson took a walk, by himself, down the Stein side, and was studiously employed in conning over the part of Belcour in the West Indian, in which character he was that night to make his debut, when his attention was called off by loud words of men high in quarrel. He cast his eyes towards the place from which the noise issued, and perceived at a little distance a crowd apparently engaged in a tumultuous scuffle, he ran up, under the impulse of curiosity to see what the matter might be. Upon reaching the place, he found a well-dressed young man surrounded by a number of persons who looked like gentlemen and who struck at him together, while he, having got his back to a tree, gallantly defended himself, and returned their blows with much energy and good will. Foul play of that kind is rarely attempted in England, and when attempted, seldom fails to bring down just chastisement from the standers by. In fact it is a thing never permitted by the people, who make it a universal rule to show fair play in all cases of quarrel, be the parties who they may; so that if a battle takes place between an Englishman, and even a Frenchman, the latter is as secure of justice, and of his second, and of his bottleholder too, if necessary, as if he were a true-born Englishman. "Fair play, fair play! a ring, a ring! d—n my eyes why should not poor frog-eater have as fair play as any other?" The writer has heard this John Bullish effusion before now, and what was better, seen it generously and justly acted upon.
Hodgkinson was too much a man of that kidney to stand by, a tame spectator of such scandalous foul play, he therefore rushed through the croud, and joining the young man, made the assailants feel the force of his arm, which nature, aided by some skill in the pugilistic art, had in no ordinary degree qualified for that useful purpose. On the present occasion he acted under the impulse of a two-fold duty, first as a generous man bound to sustain the weak and oppressed against injustice and outrage, and secondly, as the person so injuriously attacked, was one who had, on his own private account, a claim to his friendship and assistance. The name of this young man was Fox; he had been a writer for some of the London prints, and having taken to the stage, was stationed with the Brighton company, when Hodgkinson being engaged there for a few nights, was particularly requested by a gentleman who had once been friendly to him, to do any service he could, and to take care of him, as he was very young, wild, and giddy.
The cause of the ungenerous assault upon the young man was this: he had written a very severe philippic on the well known lord Barrymore, and Mr. Barry, the brother of his lordship, having found means to discover it, they both vowed to take personal vengeance for the affront, the first time they could lay hands upon the writer. This day they were in company with a set of gentlemen, some of whom were well suited to their respectable designs. Seeing young Fox in the walk on the Stein, Mr. Barry pointed to him and exclaimed, there, my lord, there is the rascal who libelled you! "Knock him down!" said one, "flog the scoundrel," said another, "break the villain's bones," said a third; and (very magnanimously, no doubt) they endeavoured to do it. But Fox, though young, was not so easy a conquest: To a frame, active, hardy, and muscular, nature had blessed him by bestowing on him a bold, intrepid, independent spirit; and his dauntless heart was no more to be intimidated by the blows and menaces of the MOB about him, than his mind was to be bent to respect for their rank and titles, when their conduct was a disgrace to both. He was, therefore, busily employed returning their favours in kind, when he was joined by Hodgkinson, who did not at the time know the person or name of one single being in the crowd, Fox alone excepted.
As soon as Hodgkinson appeared assisting his young friend "Here is another of the rascally players," exclaimed one of those gentlemen, "knock him down!"—"If you be really gentlemen, as you would be thought," said Hodgkinson, "give us fair play; turn out man to man, or even three of you to us two, and we'll fight you." Then finding that several of them continued to strike while the others urged them on, he exclaimed: "So, you cowardly gang of villains you want to murder us—then by Heavens we'll sell our lives dearer than you think of," and, still supported by Fox, laid about him with desperation. Just at that moment he heard a person on the outside of the mob cry out aloud, "D—n the rascal, knock his brains out—knock his brains out with your stick!" Hodgkinson, blind with rage, exclaimed in reply, "D—n you, you cowardly rascal, and all your d—n'd breed." At this time a crowd of people ran up, and fair play becoming necessary, lord Barrymore and his friends thought proper to decline the battle. Among those who came up and dispersed the combatants, was his royal highness the prince of Wales.
Fox and his friend were severely beaten, and bore the marks of it; but what were the reflections of poor Hodgkinson when he learned that the very person to whom he had said "D—n you, you cowardly rascal, and all your d——d breed," was no other than that very duke who has since cut so conspicuous a figure in the annals of gallantry with Mrs. CLARK, of meretricious notoriety, or in other words the duke of York himself. By means which shall hereafter be related, the interest of the royal family had been engaged for Hodgkinson, and even the first personage of it had agreed to do him a signal favour, on his first appearance in London. What then must have been his mortification and regret to think that by one rash expression he had not only lost those bright prospects, but incurred the censure and abhorrence of every thinking man in the kingdom; since, however censurable the duke of York might be, it afforded no pretence for a general expression of disrespect to the whole of his family.
In the desperate state of mind which succeeded these reflections, Hodgkinson saw but one measure that was becoming him, or indeed safe for him to take; and he resolved to adopt it without delay—that was, to leave Brighton and live in retirement till the whole of the affair, with his total ignorance of the identity of the person he had insulted, should be universally understood, and his innocence be made apparent. To this end he directly went to the manager of the playhouse, laid the whole affair before him, and pointed out the absolute necessity there was for changing the play and giving him up his bond of engagement. "The prince of Wales," added he, "is omnipotent in Brighton; he is so beloved and admired here, that his will is the law of every one's conduct, the town will of course enter with violence into the resentment which his highness will justly feel, and therefore for me to appear before them after what has happened, will inevitably produce a riot which will probably end in the destruction of the house. It would be considered by the people, and very properly too, as an insult to them, for me to come forward in such circumstances."
Hodgkinson's remonstrances had no effect upon the manager, who peremptorily insisted upon his appearance in the character of Belcour, be the consequences what they might. This, Hodgkinson always considered as the most trying moment of his existence; and it was not until the manager swore that he would have him arrested before he could leave the county if he did not perform his engagement, that he could be prevailed upon to stand his ground, and face the storm that threatened him. The affair had got abroad, and when evening came, the house was uncommonly full, partly owing to the attractive circumstance of a celebrated actor's appearing among them, for the first time, and partly to the curiosity of individuals to see what would be done to the new performer for the part he had played that morning on the Stein.
(To be continued.)
QUIZZICAL CRITIQUE ON THE SONG OF
"Et tragicus dolet plerumque sermone pedestri: Telephus ac Peleus, quum pauper et exul uterque Projicit ampullas ac sesquipedalia verba Si curat cor spectantis, tetigisse querela."
Hor. Art Poet.
I hope that I shall not appear to degrade the office of criticism by making a ballad the subject of it, especially since that now before me is of so excellent a nature. If it is objected to, I must shelter myself under the authority of Addison, who has written a critique on Chevy-Chace, to which, I venture to affirm, this ballad is infinitely superior. That I may not appear too presumptuous in my assertion, let us proceed to the examination of this justly celebrated poem. I call it a poem—I had almost called it an epic, seeing it has a beginning, middle, and end: the action one, namely the death of the hero Taylor: it is replete with character, but suggested by incidents the most interesting and touching. Let us first examine it verse by verse. The author has no tedious prelude, not even an invocation; but, like Homer, immediately enters into the middle of his subject, and in a few words gives us the name, character, and amour of his hero. Observe the gayety of the opening:—
"Billy Taylor was a brisk young feller, Full on mirth and full on glee."
How admirably, how judiciously is this jocund beginning contrasted with the melancholy sequel! how affecting to the reader's feelings when he reflects how soon Billy's joy will be damped! Unhappy Taylor!—Let us proceed to the next lines:—
"And his mind he did diskiver To a lady fair and free."
Taylor was a bold youth: he feared not to tell his mind to the lady; he did not stand shilly-shally, like a whimpering lover. But we are here presented with a new character, a lady fair and free. Some commentators have thought that she was a lady of easy virtue, from the epithet free; and indeed the violence of her love and jealousy seems to favour the suspicion: but let us not be too severe; free may signify no more than that she was of a cheerful disposition, and thus of the same temper with her lover: concordes animae! Thus far all is pleasant and delightful: but the scene is now changed—and sorrow succeeds to joy.
"Four and twenty brisk young fellers, Drest they vas in rich array, They kim and they seized Billy Taylor, Press'd he vas and sent to sea."
Taylor, the brisk, the mirthful Taylor is pressed and sent to sea. I cannot help observing here the art of the poet in letting us into the condition of Taylor: we may guess from his being pressed that he was not free of the city, and was most likely a journeyman cobler, coblers being famous for their glee. I will not positively say he was a cobler: Scaliger thinks he was a lamp-lighter; "adhuc sub judice lis est." But to proceed—Taylor is on board ship: what does his true-love?
"His true-love she followed arter, Under the name of Richard Car; And her hands were all bedaubed With the nasty pitch and tar."
Many ladies would have comforted themselves with other lovers; not so Billy's mistress, she follows him; she enters the ship under the name of Richard Car. She condescends to daub her lilly-white hands with the pitch and tar. What excessive love, and how ill rewarded! I have two things to remark here. 1. Her disregard for herself in daubing her hands. When I consider a lady in Juvenal who did the same, I am led to think she was Billy's mistress. But then Billy disregards her; this makes me think again she was his wife. Yet perhaps not; Billy had got another mistress. 2. The second observation is upon the name she assumes, Richard Carr. Commentators are much divided upon this head; why she chose that name in preference to any other. I must confess they talk rather silly on this topic; I conjecture the name was given here because it was a good rhyme to tar; this is no mean or inconsiderable reason, as the poets will all testify. But let the reader decide this at his leisure; let us now proceed:—
"An engagement came on the very next morning: Bold she fit among the rest; The wind aside did blow her Jacket, And diskivered her lily-white breast."
Here was a trial for the lady: but she sustained it; she fought boldly, fought like a man. But mark the sequel; the wind blows aside her jacket; her lily-white breast is exposed to the lawless gaze of the sailors! Here was a sight! no doubt it inspired them with double valour and gained them a victory: for they certainly were victorious, though the poet judiciously passes over the inferior topic, and hastens to his main subject.
The captain gains intelligence of her heroism, or in the musical simplicity of the original, "kims for to know it:" with honest bluntness he exclaims "Vat vind has blown you to me?" The character of the sea captain is well supported: he does not say, "how came you here?" but in the characteristic language of profession, "vat vind has blown you to me?" The classical reader will be pleased also with the similarity this expression bears to a passage in the AEneid; it is in the speech of Andromache to AEneas on a like occasion of surprise:
"Sed tibi qui cursum venti, quae fata dedere? Aut quisquam ignarum nostris Deus appulit oris?"
It must be confessed, that the Latin is more pompous, perhaps more elegant; but what it gains in refinement, it loses in simplicity. The chief thing however to be remarked is, that the same language always suggests itself on the same occasion. But let us attend to the lady's answer:
"Kind sir: I be kim for to seek my true-love, Vhom you press'd and sent to sea."
The pathos of this speech is inimitable. Observe with what art, or rather with what nature, it is worked up, so as to interest the feelings of the captain. First let us take a view of the speaker; a woman, and her breast diskivered: she begins with, "Kind sir," which shows the gentleness of her disposition, and that she forgave the captain though he had pressed her true-love: she proceeds, "I be kim for to seek my true-love," who could resist this affecting narration? A lady braving the dangers of the sea, and an engagement, to seek her true-love! The last line has suggested to the commentators that the captain headed the press-gang himself. This is a matter of too much consequence for me to decide. But what effect has the speech on the rugged nerves of the captain? All that could be expected or desired. He breaks out—observe the art of the poet!—no frigid preface of "he said," "he exclaimed," but, like Homer, he gives us the speech at once—
"If you be kim for to seek your true-love, He from the ship is gone away: And you'll find him in London streets, ma'am, Valking vith his lady gay."
The captain's feelings are taken by storm: he makes a full discovery of the retreat of the youth, and the company in which he is to be found. Some have thought it very odd that the captain should be so well informed of Billy's retreat and company; and are of opinion that he connived at it; but the captain might from the knowledge of human nature, and especially of sailors' nature, guess where and in what company Billy would be. Let not then the honest tar be condemned. As the poet has put down none, we may suppose the lady to be too much oppressed to make any answer to a speech so cutting and afflicting. Overwhelmed with anger, jealousy, and desire of revenge, she could not speak. Admirable poet, who so well knew nature! "parvae curae loquuntur, ingentes silent," and is not this silence more eloquent, more expressive, nay more awful, than all the angry words that could have been uttered? it is the silence before the tempest: the awful stillness of revenge and death.
"She rose up early in the morning, Long before 'twas break of day."
Mark the impatience of revenge! she will not even wait till day-break; she gets (as we may suppose, though it is not declared) leave of absence, and goes on shore,
"And she found false Billy Taylor, Valking with his lady gay."
Infamous Billy Taylor! while your mistress was braving for you the dangers of the ocean, you were reveling in the arms of another! But your hour is come! The character of Billy is inimitably well supported throughout, or, as Horace says—
"Qualis ab incepto processerit, et sibi constat."
'Tis true, he deserts his mistress; but 'tis for a lady of similar disposition; it is a lady gay with whom he walks: thus, though he is false, he shows himself full of mirth: he is still Billy Taylor. Mark the artifice of the poet! Like Virgil who drops the epithet "pious" on a similar occasion, the poet here calls Billy by the appropriate epithet "false." There is an elegance and simplicity perfectly Homeric in the repetition of the line, "Valking with his lady gay."
"Straight she call'd for swords and pistols, Brought they vas at her command."
Let not the sceptical reader sneer, and ask where she got, or who brought the swords and pistols. Some kind deity, willing to assist the purposes of her just revenge, interposed and brought her arms. Surely Horace would allow that this was "dignus vindice nodus." But to proceed:—
"She fell on shooting Billy Taylor Vith his lady in his hand."
Here is an interesting incident! here a melancholy subject! what a scene for a picture! On one side, a lady impelled by jealousy with a discharged pistol in her hand, and a face expressive of the triumph of revenge; on the other Billy Taylor, stretched on the cold ground, with his hand in that of his lady, now we may suppose no longer gay, and perhaps weeping! Observe, Billy died in the situation in which Tibullus wished to die: he held his mistress, "deficiente manu."[H] O! come here all ye young men! ye Billy Taylors for the world is full of you! ye deserters of true-lovers, ye walkers with ladies gay, come here and contemplate! Taylor, who a few days before was gay like you, is now alas "stone dead," or, to use the pathetic and expressive language of Falstaff—who by the by, was, like Billy, a gay deceiver—is now no better than a "shotten herring!
"When the captain kim for to know it; He very much applauded her for what she had done."
From this passage, some have taken occasion to accuse the captain of a connivance with Billy's escape and connexion with a lady gay, that he might enjoy Billy's first mistress. But surely this is unfounded: the captain saw this mistress of Billy's by chance alone: and could not therefore be supposed to have a longing for a lady whom he had never seen till Billy had left the ship. Some have also accused the captain of cruelty, for applauding the lady for killing her lover. But these are unfounded and calumnious charges: it was a love of justice which induced the captain to applaud her: not that I positively say, that he might not also be swayed by the lady's beauty. The vehemence of the captain's applause is admirably displayed by the quantity of dactyls in the second line of this stanza. Let us proceed:
"And he made her first lieutenant of the valiant Thunder-bomb."
Many are shocked at the apparent indifference of the lady; and foolishly condemn the poet for inconsistency. Such ignorant critics know nothing of the matter. Our poet, who is the poet of nature, did not mean to draw a perfect character, a "sine labe monstrum," but, like Homer, and Euripides, which latter he greatly resembles in his tenderness of expression, draws men and women such as they are. Still there is another objection started: how could a woman be made a lieutenant? It must be confessed that though such things are not entirely unprecedented, that they are very singular: some have therefore thought this a decent allegory of the poet to express that she was the captain's chief mistress, his sultana; and we must remember that she was a free lady, and, after the murder she had committed, glad of the protection of a captain. I hope the ladies will not be offended at this interpretation, and, since a recent inquiry, will pardon me the expression that conveys it.
It remains now to say something concerning the sentiments, characters, incidents, moral, and diction of the poem, and [Greek: oroton apo proton], let us speak of the sentiments. These, as I observed before, are not, like Lucan's, obtruded upon the reader, but suggested by incidents. For instance, does not the circumstance of the lady's going to sea after her true-love suggest more than the most laboured declamation on the force of love? When the captain is melted by the pathetic address, and lily-white breast of the lady, is it not clearly and expressively intimated how great is the power of weeping beauty pleading in a good cause, over even the boisterous nature of a sailor? Again, when the lady shoots Billy Taylor, what a fine sentiment is to be discovered here of the power of jealousy? and in the death of Billy contrasted with his former gayety, who is there whose soul is of so iron a mould as not to be touched by the implied sentiment of the shortlivedness of human pleasure and enjoyment, when even the gay Taylor is overtaken by fate? This is a most masterly piece of nature; and I venture to pronounce that the man who is uninterested by it must have been born on Caucasus and nursed by she-wolves. I come now to the characters; and here it is that the chief art of the poet is displayed. It is wonderful to observe how many and how different characters are to be found in this short poem. To say nothing of the four and twenty "fellers" who are admirably characterized by the epithet "brisk;" we have the mirthful Taylor and the rugged sea-captain, the lady fair and free, and the lady gay. It may be objected that there is too great a sameness in the female characters: but no; the lady fair and free is brave and revengeful; the lady gay is simply gay, a mere insipid character, and introduced by the poet, no doubt, as a contrast to the turbulent and busy character of the other lady. The boisterous captain is a well-drawn and a well-supported character. He is rugged, honest, blunt, illiterate, and gallant. But it is the character of the hero Taylor which is drawn and sustained with the most art and nature. In the first place he is brave, although some have contradicted this, by saying that he did not go to sea voluntarily but was pressed, and then ran away the night before the engagement. But I will not believe he was a coward: no; let the critics remember that Ulysses did not go voluntarily to the Trojan war, and was always willing to escape when he could; and yet surely he was a hero. Thus have I proved the bravery of Taylor. He had also other requisites for a hero: he was amorous, like Achilles and AEneas, and he deserted his love like the latter. Then he was brisk and gay. I do not remember any hero exactly of this character. To be sure, Achilles laughs once in the Iliad, and AEneas in the AEneid; but it does not appear to have been the general character of either of them, and especially of the latter, who was a whimpering sort of hero. It does not appear that Taylor resembled AEneas in piety; but that is a silly kind of antiquated virtue, of which heroes of modern days would be ashamed, and which our poet has most judiciously omitted in the catalogue of Billy's qualities. Again, he resembles the heroes of antiquity in his untimely end, and in the cause of it—a woman. Thus Achilles was shot in the heel; Ulysses was killed, though not very prematurely, by his son; AEneas was drowned like a dog in a ditch; and Alexander was poisoned. Then as to the cause: Sampson (though to be sure the polite reader will call that fabulous, and think me a fool for quoting such an old wife's tale) owed his death to a woman; Agamemnon was even killed by a woman; Hippolitus lost his life by a woman; so did Bellerophon; and Antony lost the world and his life too by a woman. Upon the whole Billy's is a mixed sort of character, composed of good and bad qualities, in which, according to the established character of heroes, the bad predominate. Thus, in the character of Achilles, it would be difficult to find a single good quality; he is "impiger, iracundus, inexorabilis, acer," and a great deal more of the same sort. AEneas is indeed pious: but then he is a perfidious deserter of an injured lady; he invades a country where he has no right, and kills the man who has the audacity to oppose the usurper of his own throne, and the ravisher of his own wife. And as to Alexander, he was a mere brute: he overthrew cities, as children overthrow houses made of cards, for his mere amusement; and, like the same children, wept when he had no more to knock down; he killed some millions of men, for the same reason that country 'squires shoot swallows, for exercise, and because they have nothing else to do: and, in the time of peace and conviviality, he slew two of his best friends, merely to keep his hand in practice. Compared to these heroes, Billy is a perfect saint: and indeed I have often thought that he is too good for a hero; and that a few rapes, and thefts, and murders, would have made a very proper and interesting addition to his character. As to the incidents, I shall merely observe that they are numerous, well chosen, interesting and natural. Let me next speak of the moral to be drawn from the poem. Whether the poet, according to Bossu's rule, and Homer's and AEsop's practice, chose the moral first, I cannot pretend to say, though some, who resolve the whole poem into an allegory, favour that opinion. Certain it is, the moral is excellent: the ill effects of inconstancy; and I am sure the fair sex will be obliged to the poet's gallantry. There are also some of what I may call collateral truths to be derived from the poem; such as not to trust too much to prosperity, exemplified in the mirth and downfall of Taylor; and the reward of virtue, in the lady's being made a first lieutenant. I shall conclude with a few remarks on the diction, or, to speak metaphorically, the dress in which the story is clothed. It has all the requisites of a good style; it is concise, perspicuous, simple and occasionally sublime. The poetry is not of that tumid nature which Pindar uses, but of the graceful simplicity of Homer's verse. The poet has diversified the language by the intermixture of the Doric dialect, in imitation of the Greek tragedians; of this kind are the expressions, vat vind, diskivered, I be kim, and for to know. But what strikes me most is, the solemn, mournful, and pathetic beauty of the chorus, Tol lol de rol de riddle iddle ido. The [Greek: Ai, an,] and [Greek: pheu, pheu], of Euripides and Sophocles, the [Greek: e e e e] and [Greek: oto to toi] [Greek: totoi] of AEschylus, are comparatively frigid and tasteless. Yes; this Tol lol de rol de riddle iddle ido is so exquisitely tender, and so musically melancholy, that I dare affirm, that the mind and ear that are not sensibly affected with it, are barbarous, tasteless, and incapable of relishing beauty or harmony.
* * * * *
ON THE CHOICE OF A WIFE.
The variety of men's tastes is nowhere more remarkable than in the choice of their wives. With many, beauty is the first consideration; to others, fortune is more attractive; by some, excellence in the culinary art is esteemed the most engaging accomplishment; while others deem submission the fittest disposition in a partner for life. Indeed, from a man's character and habits we may make a pretty good guess what sort of wife he will choose. The avaricious man will gratify his passion with his wife's fortune; the vain man with his his wife's beauty; and the epicure with his wife's ragouts.
Gloriosus is sensible and accomplished, but egregiously fond of admiration. To gratify this passion, he paid his addresses to Sempronia, whose beauty and fortune attracted a crowd of suitors, and made her the belle of the town in which she lived. The lady was not insensible of his attentions, and he succeeded in gaining the prize, for which so many had sighed in vain. His vanity was highly gratified with the preference he had obtained, and nothing could exceed his satisfaction during his courtship and the first weeks of his marriage. The men called him a lucky fellow, the women praised Sempronia's discernment, and the handsome couple was the theme of general conversation. But, in a short time after the visits, which are usual on such occasions, had been duly paid and as duly returned, admiration, always fickle, lavished its regards on new objects, and Gloriosus and his wife were forgotten. He now found, that she, whom he had chosen for the companion of his life, was deficient in every qualification that could render such a companion useful or agreeable. She had been told from her earliest youth, that her charms of person were such as always to ensure her admirers, without being at the pains of cultivating the graces of her mind. Her mother thought she could not too early introduce into the world such a beautiful creature; and, from the age of fifteen to the day when she married Gloriosus, her time was almost wholly taken up in visiting and receiving visits, and her mind was entirely employed in devising some new mode of decorating her person. Such a one was little calculated to sustain with dignity, "the mild majesty of private life." Her ideas were few and trivial; and her conversation was consequently trifling and insipid. Her former habits made her ill qualified for a nurse; and her love of pleasure made home a restraint to her, and the duties of a mother insupportable. The disappointed Gloriosus, disgusted with his home, sought for relief in the circles of pleasure and dissipation. His wife was too much engrossed with her person and her parties to concern herself about him; so that finding themselves mutually disagreeable, they agreed to a final separation.
Apicius married for the sake of having a good housekeeper and cook. He is a Mahometan in his opinion of women, and deems submission to her husband the cardinal virtue in a wife. He has no idea of making a friend and adviser of one whom he looks upon merely as his head-servant. He has the same objection to any sort of learning in women which many people have to the education of the poor: he thinks it must render them averse from the performance of those menial duties of life, for which, he imagines, they were exclusively created. It was his good fortune to meet with a woman exactly suited to his disposition. She understood "the whole art of cookery," the four rules of arithmetic, and could read the New Testament without much difficulty. She had never been taught to think for herself; the duty of obedience, which had been early inculcated upon her by a severe father, had grown easy by habit; and she was glad to save herself the trouble of relying upon her own resources. She is, therefore, the mere echo of her husband's sentiments; she believes him to be "the greatest wight on ground," and would as soon think of contradicting the scriptures, as any thing that he says. This acquiescence gratifies the vanity of her husband; he thinks her an admirable wife, but to every one else, she appears a very insignificant woman.
Imperitus was early a worshipper of the showy attractions of Clelia. She was always a forward girl, and took the command of all the little parties of her own age. This forwardness her parents mistook for mental superiority, and thought they could not bestow too much pains in the cultivation of her extraordinary talents. They accordingly provided her numerous masters, and Clelia attained a smattering in many things. She could draw tolerably, play tolerably, speak French tolerably, and write tolerably pretty verses. Her parents thought her a prodigy of genius; and her brothers and sisters were early taught to pay a proper deference to her superior endowments. Her will was law, and her opinions infallible. Imperitus contemplated her with amazement, and thought he should be completely happy if he could obtain such an accomplished character for his wife. But several long years did he languish in vain for that blessing; and when at last she consented to become his wife, she yielded with that air of condescension, which a high-bred dame assumes when she suffers herself to be handed across the way by a person of inferior condition. From that time, Imperitus became a cypher in his own house; for the poor man was not only obliged to submit to all his wife's proceedings, but she expected him to acquiesce in all her opinions. Nothing under absolute authority could satisfy her high opinion of her own abilities. Imperitus is almost afraid to speak in her company; for, instead of assisting and palliating his natural deficiencies, she is the first to ridicule and expose them. Her passions, having never been checked, have become exceedingly violent. She converses on politics and divinity with all the fury of a partizan and a polemic; she seems impatient of the trammels of her sex; and her conversation frequently goes beyond the bounds of decency and good manners. One cannot help pitying the lot of Imperitus, who has a large share of good-nature, and who (whatever may be his deficiencies) cannot certainly be reproached with a want of constancy and tenderness towards his wife.
Benignus's notions of the married state were of the noblest kind. In his estimation, it was the institution the best calculated for the permanent happiness of a rational being. Fully sensible how much the colour of his future life must depend upon the person whom he should call his wife, he determined to make his choice with circumspection. Surely, said he, if we are solicitous respecting the character and temper of a person who is to make a short excursion with us, it behoves us to be extremely careful respecting one who is to be our companion in the journey of life. He was first introduced to Charlotte at a ball. The dancing had just begun, and she was entering into it with all that gayety which youth and health inspire (for it was a diversion of which she was very fond) when she was informed that her father was suddenly taken ill and would be glad to see her, if she could consent to give up the evening's pleasure. She waited not for consideration; but regardless of place or person, she flew out of the room, and totally forgot, in the desire to relieve her parent, that she should thereby lose a diversion, to which she had looked forward with the greatest delight. Benignus, who had been charmed with her person and conversation, was delighted with this proof of the goodness of her heart, and determined to offer her his hand, if he should find her as amiable at home as she was captivating abroad. He was introduced the next day into her father's house by a friend of his, who was a relation of the old gentleman's. They were shown into the invalid's room. Charlotte, with her arms round her father's waist, was gently helping him to rise in the bed; and her expressive countenance showed how tenderly she sympathized in the pain he felt. As soon as she was gone out of the room, her father, whose heart was warm with gratitude, could not help breaking out into an exclamation of his happiness in possessing such a daughter, whose dutiful and affectionate attention, he said, disarmed sickness of its sting. Benignus went home, in love with Charlotte, and from that time he became a constant visiter at her father's house. He found her mind as accomplished as her heart was benevolent. He doubted not but that so amiable a daughter would make as amiable a wife. He married her, and has not been disappointed. Blessed in each other's affections, they enjoy as much happiness as this life is capable of affording: theirs is
——"the mild majesty of private life, Where peace with ever-blooming olive crowns The gate, where Honour's liberal hands effuse Unenvied treasures, and the snowy wings Of innocence and love protect the scene."