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conversion, of the tribe of Benjamin, and named Saul-Eaux, Earλ, TI μe diWXEIS; Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me ?*
To endeavour to conceive his previous and subsequent sentiments, seems a wild speculation; and the piety and genius of Lavater could alone have impressed us with any favourable idea of the undertaking. Nothing wholly bad could come from such a mind, and we confess that there is much in these letters, which is calculated to improve the good dispositions of mankind, but we are by no means ready to applaud the medium adopted for a purpose so desirable. The editor's remark that he "will not pretend to determine" whether they are spurious or genuine, is profoundly absurd. The epistles of Paul to Seneca are not half so clearly imaginary, though the learned have entirely abandoned the question.
The Wild Irish Girl. By Miss Owenson. 3 Vols. 12mo. Phillips. 1806.
A REPORT has been industriously circulated, with more regard probably to interest than truth, that the last book read by Mr. Pitt was the Novice of St. Dominic, a novel by this lady. This is one of the taxes, which greatness pays, and the profit, derived from it, is what needy or avaricious booksellers put into their purses. We doubt not that, without the silly actions ascribed through this channel to Fox and Pitt, we might, using the words of Cicero, say of them magni homines, homines tamen! Peace to their ashes! and let no bookselling trick add more weaknesses to their characters than they already possess. We need no Clytus to teach us that this great being was mortal. His last acts are on record, and if he had continued in the same style of mind as he enjoyed during the period of making his will, he might have read all the novels in Lane's library, without honour to their writers. We suspect that the ground of this fabrication is, that he was unfit, in his last illness, to read any thing but nonsensesuch trash as, requiring no understanding, might be read with
The "Novice" is composed of the usual materials. "The Wild Irish Girl," now before us, has this advantage:-It con
* We say necessary," because Mr. Paull, the apostle of liberty, (to mingle profane with sacred things) who undertook to defend the constitution, and of course our church establishment, appears to have been ignorant of this fact. The unseemly jest, with regard to his impeachment of the Marquis Wellesley, "Paul, Paul, why persecutest thou me ?" was first uttered by himself.
tains an abundance of matter, which has nothing to do with the story, and whose injudicious introduction much injures its interest. Without the ill-timed tiresome essays on the manners of the Irish, their harp and poetry, it might pass with some commendation. Indeed, we consider Miss Owenson as better than the common run of novelists; and if she thinks this a compli ment, she is easily pleased and heartily welcome.
Human Beings, a Novel. By F. Lathom, Author of the Mysterious Freebooter, &c. 3 Vols. Crosby.
THE genius of Mr. Lathom, after having for a long time deserted its original track, and strayed into the flowery fields of romance, has returned to dwell amongst men as they are. He now draws from life, and gives us "Human Beings." If a va riety of incidents, some strength of character, and no small share of interest, have any attraction, this novel will not be without many readers,
Tristia, or the Sorrows of Peter; Elegies to the King, Lords Grenville, Petty, Erskine. &c. By P. Pindar, Esq. 5s. Walker. 1806.
Tristia indeed! There is no writing down in the world which, for effect, can be compared with that produced by a man's own diligence and industry. Several times have we exclaimed to Peter "Solve;" but no, his Pegasus, though "food for the hounds," must still attempt to run, to fall, and to be laughed at. In his former effusions, with all their infamy, (for who can question the principles of a depraved man?) there was not rarely a spark of genius; and even in these tristia, there is here and there a glimmering of light; but it is as a few grains of wheat buried in a bushel of chaff. If, by writing on, Peter may be supposed to have doubted our judgment of his inability, he has certainly, by his perseverance, confirmed and proved its righteousness. These sorrowful, or sorry verses, are principally taken up with the idle abuse of others, who have some virtues, and the fulsome praise of himself, who has none, either public or private. Instead of continuing to slander mankind, would it not much better become this poor, wretched, wicked old man, to spend the remnant of his days in making peace with heaven?
Here is one of the scintilations, which we perceived in contemplating this rush, expiring offensively in the socket.
"Lines to Lord Nelson, with his lordship's night-cap, that caught fire on the poet's head at a candle, as he was reading in bed at Merton. "Take your night-cap again, my good lord, I desire,
For I wish not to keep it a minute;
What belongs to a Nelson, where'er there's a fire,
Query, as he was reading in"-should it not be " going drunk to" bed at Merton?
Three Letters to that greatest of political Apostates, the R. H. George Tierney, one of the late Representatives for the Borough of Southwark; along with a correct State of the imperfect Representation of the Commons of the United Kingdom. 8vo. 1s. 6d. Crosby. 1806.
THE secession of Mr. Fox gave Mr. Tierney, then, like a French falconer, flying at any thing he saw, an opportunity of becoming more noticed than his talents deserved. Without genius, and with a mere plodding intellect, he carries himself in the world in a manner by no means becoming his true character, and may be justly said to be notorious and not popular. Of his apostacy we think little, and we are surprised to find Mr. Waddington, the author of these letters, making, at this hour of the day, such a mountain of wonder of so common an Occurrence. If he had discovered that Mr. Tierney, coming into parliament under his particular circumstances, possessed any great political virtues, we should have been less struck with his marvel. Mr. Tierney is not the only sufferer in this pamphlet. Mr. Waddington deals out his abuse with an impartial hand, and no one person or thing within his reach escapes-not even our courts of law; they have done him wrong, and he does not spare them Beware, Mr. Samuel Ferrand Waddington! Committing yourself often to the press in this temper, you may perhaps find that they will do you more justice than you like.
Five Miles off; or the
Finger Post. A Comedy, in three Acts.
To publish most of our modern dramas, is the absurdity of a conjuror handing round his cups and balls, to be examined, after he has amused us with playing them off. Mr. Dibdin is amongst the best of our dramatic conjurors; and it is possible that we might go five miles to see the Finger Post, such is our love of laughter, but as to the reading, we had rather be "five miles off."
THE BRITISH STAGE.
εσι, το δοθεν ὑποκρίνασθαι προσωπον καλώς εκλέξασθαι δ' αυτο, αλλά.
ACT WELL YOUR PART, THERE ALL THE MERIT LIES. Pope.
TO ACTORS AND MANAGERS.
Tur chapter in Epictetus, from which the above motto is chosen, contains so much good advice to all who figure either on the stage of life, or its representative, that I shall here translate the whole, for their edification.
Remember that you are an actor in such a drama as the manager chuses; either long or short. If he desire you to play the part of a mendicant, do it skilfully; so if a cripple, a prince, or a plebeian: it belongs to you to act well the part given, but to another to chuse it.
The performers on the great stage of human existence, will take this to themselves as they please, but for our friends the players, we do require, on the pain of our critical displeasure, that they consider it well, and be not found sinning against a canon so wise and prudent. As Providence chuses the lot of man according to his constitution, so should the providing power of a theatre select the parts which, in his judgment, are best fitted to the capacities of an actor. Experience proves, in both cases, the necessity of it. In the first, we frequently observe one, who was qualified to be a respectable cobler, moving out of his sphere, and becoming a very wretched critic.-In the other instance, we have often, with pity, seen an excellent actor in one line, taking upon himself, through his interest and folly, another of an oppo site nature, in which he has made himself truly ridiculous. Not to swell the list with many names, I shall briefly remind the reader, that Mr. Kemble plays comedy, Mrs. Jordan and Mr. Bannister think that their forte is tragedy, Mr. Barrymore, chusing for himself, came out as a singer, and Mr. Incledon believes that he is an actor. "Is it not monstrous ?" Again then I say, and I repeat it for the good of the public, the stage, and the performerit belongs to you to act well the part given, but to another to chuse it.
I counsel all managers to have these words written in legible characters, and, without delay, conspicuously exhibited in every
green-room throughout the kingdom. A lecture on the subject, once a month, would have no bad effect. I recommend Mr. Munden to read it at Covent Garden theatre, after playing Menenius in Coriolanus, and Mr. Elliston, at the theatre royal Drury Lane, after performing the part of Macbeth.-" The word to the action."
THE FEELINGS OF AN ACTOR,
WITH AN ANECDOTE OF GARRICK.
MUCH stress has always been laid on this passage in Horace, de arte poeticâ sive Dramaticá;
Si vis me flere, dolendum est
Primum ipsi sibi
and it is supposed, that, in a highly wrought scene of woe, the actor suffers sensibly from the distress of that passion. We have all heard it said, that the effect produced on Mrs. Siddons, from entering too deeply into the feelings, which she so admirably excites in the character of Isabella, has been very alarming; and that other performers have been unable, at the end of a piece, to walk off the stage. Such may have been the effect, but we are not ready to admit that the true cause has been alledged. Affec tation out of the question, it may, in my opinion, arise from excessive fatigue, through violent efforts, but never from the indulgence of the passion which they mimic. Take this anecdote to support the assertion.
Garrick roused the feelings more than any actor on record, and most probably suffered as much from their exertion. However, I have lately learned, from a medical gentleman of eminence, that on his once making the above remark to Tom King, the comedian, he received this reply :-"Pooh-he suffer from his feelings! Why, Sir, I was playing with him one night in Lear, when in the middle of a most passionate and afflicting part, and when the whole house was drowned in tears, he turned his head round to me, and putting his tongue in his cheek, whispered "Damme, Tom, it'll do! So much for stage-feeling! In fine, an actor may make others feel, without feeling himself, as a whetstone can work up steel until it cuts, which the whetstone never does. OLD NICKY