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The Mutual Deception ; a Comedy. the affairs of the English ministry with those of the Regency of Hanover...
If the taste, or rather appetite, of an English and Irish audience requires a large portion of theatrical entertainment for an evening meal, it would be more elegant, as well as palatable, when served up in two separate courses, than fet on the table at once, with disorderly and disgusting profusion. Two tragedies or comedies would please us better in succession, than when confused and huddled together in one monstrous mass : and this rule we recommend to the observance of our dramatic poets, in all time coming.
The comedy before us has little, with regard to fable, cha. racter, or manners, to recommend it to notice. The stile is forced, barbarous, and ungrammatical; and by no means the stile of conversation. The following is a specimen.
Sir Harly. Has our bright northern star, at length, moved from its stationary distance, revolving nearer us, to beam its brilliant and benign influence on the south, to enlighten me, and thine a conitedlation in the hemisphere of our metropolis !
!-Caroline. If this flaming compliment is designed for me, Sir Harly, I assure you it is thrown away, and much more than I den serve; as it was neither to planet-strike you, or make an illumination in the city, that I came to it; for I shall beam very little abroad.
Sir Harly. Come, come, Miss Belgrade, this formal, icy lan. guage is not congenial to the warm regions of London ; - we'll not let you be envelop'd and conceal'd in a cloud, hiding your lustre from us with all the prudery of a Lady Grace; Thall we, Miss Meanwell ?'
Sir Harly Paramour is, indeed, represented as a member of parliament, but there was no occafion for so much brilliancy of figure, on this occafion, as he was only talking to his mistress, and not making a speech in the House of Commons. But the wittiest and most laboured scene of the whole is, when the aforesaid Sir Harly Paramour was at Madame Bordelle’s lodge ing (to which he wanted to convey his mistress, but being detected by the father, who came all the way from India, in the critical moment) attempted to make his escape, disguised in womens clothes, from a closet window ; but, being sufpended by the train of the gown, was caught in the attempt : Belgrade the father, Blenheim the honourable lover, and Madam Bordelle the bawd, appearing at an opposite window laughing.
Sir Harly. Help! help! help! do, Madame Bordelle, order fomo of your damn'd rascals to assist me.
Blen. What! for running off with her clothes, and making a woman of yourself? Belg. O! the gods of old always intrigued in disguise, you know !
Bien. And he that has the heart of a woman should always appear like one.
Sir Harly. Do, dear Madame Bordelle.
Blen. O no, he's a capital sign.poft, and might have answered for a golden fieece, had chance suspended him by the middle !
Blen. But he is better as he is. for a battered rake, you know, is the fittest emblem for a brothel like this.
Beig. Aye, and if Madame Bordelle was hung next him as a companion - what a pair of spectacles they would make!
(Both laugh.) Sir Harly. Curse my unlucky fate! Do cut me down, pray! Blen. What! would you make hangmen of us ?
Belg. We should be very bad ones, indeed, if we took you down before your execution.--(Both laugh.) Sir Harly. I'll be the laughing-stock of all passengers
and the ridicule of the world as long as I live.
Blen. No ; they will only call you the enchanted knight, or macaroni in tribulation !
Belg. Or, perhaps, say-you were over head and ears in love, or soused in claret, and so hung yourself up to dry.
Both. Hah! hah! hah!
Blen. Suppose you plead your privilege - and get a habeas corpus to remove the body.
M. Bord. O, mon Dieu! vat busmess have de corpse here ! fure you be not going to kill de body in my house !
Belg. Hah! hah! hah!-No, never fear he will live to punish himself, if he survives the shame of it.
Blen. We have plagued him sufficiently – Madame Bordelle, order us a ladder.“
(Sir Harly, in sruggling, breaks down, and falls into the freet.) Beig. He has fav'd us the trouble-' for down drops the gallant, gay Lothario."
Sir Harly. I have had a hard fall of it; but all is safe--and now, legs do your duty.---(R:n off) Blen, Eut he shall not escape me this way.'
Notwithstanding the brightness of all this wit, some of it is borrowed. " What a pair of spectacles they would make !” is taken from a well-known story of two thieves, who were condemned to be hanged. After the first was turned over, the other thus harrangued the audience : “ You see my “ companion swinging, and that is a sad spectacle; you will " foon fee me swinging, and that will be- a pair of spectacles.” But here, as in most cases, the beauty of the original is loft in the imitation. English comedy has been often and much, indebted to the jests of Ben Johnson, Joe Millar, and other great wits, as well as to Wagitaffe's Dialogues on Polite Conversation ; but this is the first instance we recollect of any author who has attempted to fieal from Tyburn.
It was rather unfortunate, that communicating the vis comica to Ireland made no part of Mr. Orde's propositions.
Art. IV. Plain Sermons on Practical Subje&s, by the late Mr. Thomas
Gordon, Minister of the Gospel at Speymouth. 8vo. 2 vols. Igs. boards.
was distinguished by his zeal for liberty, and a regard to the rights of mankind. These, in him, were not the feeble sentiments which glow only in the closet, and evaporate in fpeculation. His zealous attachment to government, in the year 1745, and the decided part which he took, when religion and liberty were in danger, made him so obnoxious to the rebels, that he resolved to join the Duke of Cumberland's army; and he was present at the battle of Culloden.
The same liberal and independent spirit followed him into retirement, and marked his ecclesiastical life. Though he conformed to the religious opinions of the church of Scotland, his notions of church government were somewhat singular. These he expressed in an excellent Treatise, which he published in the year 1776, which he called An Inquiry into the Powers of Ecclefiaftics, on the Principles of Scripture and Reason. There he strongly asserts the sacred rights of conscience and of private judgment, and defends them with a fervour and force which will be highly acceptable to all rational Christians. During the intervals that he could spare, from the duties of his ministeriał function, he composed a variety of Essays on morality, politics, agriculture, and criticism, many of which appeared in a periodical paper at Edinburgh, under the signature of Urbanus.
The sermons are of the plain and practical kind. The modest author makes no pretence to new discoveries in theo.. logy, to refinement of reasoning or embellishment of compofition. He delivers what he reckons the doctrines of the gospel in their native fimplicity; adapts his initructions to the different characters of men ; and endeavours to recommend and enforce vital religion, stript of every human addition. The following passage in the sermon on The True Import of Goodness sex ms to give a picture of the author's heart, and will be acceptable to every serious reader.
.(1.) This divine principle, where it hath arrived at any confiftence, is accompanied with the finest and most pleasing of all feelings. It is accompanied with a ferenity and composure of foul which can arife from no other source. It enables one to possess his whole soul and enjoy himself. And in this happy situation one is not easily ruffled, is seldom provoked. In quarre:ling with the world, it would be of. ten found, if we would search deeper than prelent appearance, that at bottom we are quarrelling with ourselves. The ground work, the infiammable matter, lies within, and the least spark kindles it. For to
* This Inquiry is sold by Ms. Murray, No. 32, Fleet-ftreet, Loa don. 8vo, boards. 4s.
one self-fatisfied, that can converse with his Creator, as the fource of being and happiness, and with himself as a dependent accountable Creature, and as a sinful and guilty creature with his Redeemer and Interceffor-looking with humhle hope to his all-atoning perfect work, as the alone ground of his acceptance; all nature around looks gay and smiles ; the fajreft side of things presents itself; nor is he greatly moved in circumstances, where the restless, self-troubled, rankled mind would storm, rage, and discharge all its spleen and fury.-Hence arise two confiderations of great importance to our own peace and security, and to the peace and happiness of society,
• This divine principle will, on the one hand, fit as admirably to be members of civil community. It will dispose us to be quiet, obliging, useful. It will prompt to every duty which justice could demand, or humanity suggest ;-which religion, in her divinest form, inspires and dictates. The good man studies to be a living picture of Charity. “ He suffers long, and is kind; he vaunteth not himself, he is not puffed up; dath not behave himself unseemly, seeketh not his own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil, rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; heareth all things, believech all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things ”—And who would harm so amiable, fo divine a character !
• It will prevent, on the other hand, that indiscreet and assuming spirit which mars the peace of religious community, and inflames one denomination against another. It will preserve from, or foften, that intemperate and fiery zeal, which, under the base pretence of love to the truth, imbitters the passions of men-producing often a brutal fierceness; equally defructive to public and private happiness, to the rights of humanity and conscience. The belief of the truth and the love of the truth are inseparable ; but the love of the truth, however fincere or fervent, is a thing totally different from these prejudices, and that resentment, which often too plainly appears against those who cannot believe and think as we do. Goodness of heart will ever lead to act with modesty and deference, and to judge with moderation and lenity.-If we have been happily directed to the paths of truth, while others wander in the maze of darkness and error, it is our duty, indeed, to endeavour to reclaim them by every friendly, gentle, rational means in our power; to pity them, and pray for them-a truly good man would perhaps drop a tear over them; but to proceed to violence, or to dare to fanctify the most baneful passions that disgrace humanity, under the sacred name of zeal for religion, his heart forbids him-a divine impulse restrains him. Goodness of heart, in its genuine and proper fense, therefore, is the only permanent security against this most dreadful of all terreittrial evils-religious persecution!
(2.) There is a majesty in real goodness that strikes with veneration, and overawes the consciences of wicked men, and makes them, as it were, bow before it. Hardly is any man fo abandoned—where ipiritual usurpatien, originating from ambitious and interested views, hath not rendered the mind dead to every moral feeling ; hath not worn out every fenfibility, and erased every trace of humanity-as not to admire, as not to envy the amiable, the blessed character which the divine graces adorn, however little disposed to follow the noble copy. Goodness, therefore, where it is not itself a principle in
the heart of the beholder, constitutes a moral restraint in the minds of others, and proves as a mound around its poffeffor : I do not say impregnable ; but, next to the power of repelling every injury, it is the best and most permanent security. And however bad men may act, impelled by their passions, good men have the secret verdict of the consciences of these very men in their favour. They may express their disgust or their spleen, they may discover more injurious marks still of their displeasure ; but, if they listen but for a moment, there is something within them that will whisper in their ears the true cause of all this.--That the conduct and virtues of the good man reproach them, and, in spite of themselves, throw an allay into their own estimate of themselves, and into the lap of all their pleasures.'
Mr. Gordon's theological opinions are Calvinistical, or what are commonly called orthodox; but even his speculative discourses have a moral tendency, and are favourable to vis.
He does not belong to that fanatical fraternity, who think they please their Maker by renouncing their reason, and exalt revealed religion by undermining natural. He is a Chriftian and a moralist, and addresses the heart as well as the understanding. Readers of sermons are chiefly found in the middle stations of life, and to such this collection will
be of signal service. The author was induced to publish them from an impresion on his mind, that they would be useful; and the fincerity of his piety, and the fervour of his goodness, cannot fail to make the best impressions on others.
ART. V. The Works of Mr. Chevalier de Florian. Translated, from the
laft Paris Edition, by Mr. Robinson. Two volumes 12mo. 55. sewed.
Becket, London, 1786. THE first of these volumes contains a translation of Galatea,
a pastoral romance; to which is prefixed an introductory essay on that species of composition, addressed to Miss Thurlow. Pastoral romance is, in our language, a new species of writing Italy gave birth to it, and is still without a rival in that branch of literature. Taflo's Aminta is still the fuft of paftoral productions. His imitators bave not been so happy. The delight of the Italians is to start an image hidden in some remote region of fancy; to present it in a variety of forms; and to substitute wit and fancy for passion and nature. Not all the wit of Guarini, the prettiness of Bonarelli, or the luftre of Marino, can vie with the simple beauties of Gellner. A German writes as he feels; the heart finds a language for itself; a language easy and expressive, without the aid of art. The Germans are our masters in rural harmony; and have carried off the palm of paftoral poetry.