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The reply of the Bailiff is worth preserving : “ Why, that may be; but, remember, old gentleman, that for one unfeeling creditor, we get hold of a hundred hard-hearted debtors, who, to have twentydishes on their own table, will prevent twenty honest men from having one upon theirs."
There are many faults in this play, but there is much that is valuable.
In Jane Shore, A. IV. after Gloster has sentenced her to be turned out into the street to perish, she kneels, and prays thus :
Oh, thou most righteous Judge -
forfeit life receive; No pity for my sufferings here I crave,
And only hope forgiveness in the grave. Perhaps some, even if they should admit the general question of the lawfulness of introducing prayers, will not approve this form, and think that it ought wholly to have been omitted, or else that redemption by a Mediator should have been mentioned. In A. V. S. 2. she says of Alicia, who had denied her assistance,
In mercy look upon her, gracious Heav'n,
In The Siege of Damascus, A. V, S. 2. Abudah, a Saracen, is represented as praying in these words,
O Power Supreme,
Or pardon unknown error !-In Percy there are several prayers; and, as Mrs. More has revised the play, I conclude, had she considered them improper, she would have omitted them. Elwina says,
Thou, who in judgment still remember'st mercy,
Blest be the fountain of eternal mercy.
Ditto, Receive me to thy'mercy-gracious Heaven. (She dies.) Ditto, There is a passage in Macbeth, which, though it be rot a prayer in itself, yet is an account of one, which is highly beautiful and affecting, and a good lesson. Macbeth is giving an account to his Lady of the murder which he has just committed, and of the conduct of those who were in the same room; and his reflections on his own inability to say Amen to their prayers are very fine:
There's one did laugh in his sleep, and one cry'd murder!
Again to sleep.
As they had seen me with these hangman's hands,
When they did say, God, bless us.
I had most need of blessing, and Amen
A. II. S. 2. In The Robbers, if my memory serve me rightly, there is a very beautiful passage on this subject. Ckurles Moore, in an interval of reflection, is looking back with keen regret, upon his days of comparative innocence, and says,
“The time has been, when I could not have slept, had I not said my prayers."
In some of Mr, Dibdin's Songs there are passages which strike me as being useful, particularly when we consider the persons into whose bands they are likely to fall, namely, soldiers and sailors. The first I shall produce is in The Soldier's Adicu:
When on the wings of thy dear love,
Thy fervent orisons are down,
The tender prayer
To watch me in the battle.
The other is The Sailor's Journal:
Scarce winds and waves had ceas'd to rattle,
And, dauntless, we prepar'd for battle.
Like light'ning rush'd on ev'ry fancy,
Put up a prayer, and thought on Nancy.
upon For only that can save us now.
G. p. 30. On the subject of introducing Prophecies upon the Stage, I have before noticed (p. 28) the Wilches in Macbeth, who are represented as having an absolute foreknowledge of events.
In King Henry the VIIIth. Cranmer, at the christening of Elizabeth, says to the King,
Let me speak, Sir,
A. V. S. last. He then proceeds to give an account of what is to happen in the reigns of Queen Elizabeth and James the First.
A similar passage is introduced at the conclusion of the Royal Convert, respecting the reign of Queen Anne.
In King Lear, A. III. S. 2. the Fool speaks a burlesque pro.. phecy. This, however, is omitted on the Stage. In the Crusade is another of the same kind.
H. p. 31. So common are curses on the Stage, that it were easy to point out hundreds. The character of Queen Margaret in Richard the Third, consists of little besides. I have before noticed one in
* I would read may.
Macbeth, (p. 148) and the curse uttered by King Lear, A. I. S. 4. against his daughter, I wonder any actor will speak. In Richard the Second, A. III. S. 2.
Richard vents a curse against Bushy, Bagot and Green, when he supposes them to be traitors, which is very shocking; and the calling them “ three Judasses,” and “ each one thrice worse than Judas," is impious. A reply is made to it by Scroop, which is good, but not sufficiently strong:
Sweet love, I see, changing his property,
And lie full low, grav'd in the hollow ground. In Othello, Æmilia introduces the following, which contains a direct reference to Scripture :
If any wretch hath put this in your head,
Let Heaven requite it with the serpent's curse! A. IV. S. 2. In Jane Shure, A. III. Hastings, under the idea of patriotism, pronounces a curse, which is always received with applause.
I have in a former page (!48) noticed a curse in the Poem of the Landscape.
I. p. 31. On this head, I will refer the reader to Bedford's Serious Remonstrance, ch. xviii. particularly p. 279, and ch. xx. p. 316, and will merely give some few other instances of the abuse of Scripture phrases, and light allusions to sacred history, &c. which have come under my own notice. In Jane Shore, Dumont says to her, Banish your fears, cast all your cares on me.
A. II. which is certainly an improper application of 1 Pet. v. 7. where, speaking of God, he says, “ Casting all your care upon him, for he careth for you."
In the same play, A. V. S. 1. Dumont, speaking of the sufferings of Jane Shore, says,
Hence with her past offences, They cre aton'd at full. In the Suspicious Husband, Ranger says of Clarinda, A. I. S. 1.
" It is plain she is not one of us.” A phrase taken from Gepesis iii. 22. “ And the Lord God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us."
In Macbeth, A. IV. S. 3. Macduff says of Malcolm, that he “ does blaspheme his breed :" blasphemy according to the common acceptation of the word, is speaking against God. So again, in The Road to Ruin, Young Dornton says,
“ Utter no blaspheniy against my father.". A. IV. S. 2.
In The Gamester, A. V. S. 3. When Stukely tells Charlotte that Lewson is dead, she says, “ Say he lives, and I'll kneel and worship you.”
It was, I believe, an usual phrase with the late Mr. Brown, the ornamental gardener, to say, that he had created such a place; and some of his followers use the term to this day. I cannot furbear, in this place, relating an anecdote, which I had from very good authority.
A nobleman who had made many improvements in his grounds, and was very fond of shewing them, was walking round them one evening with a visitor, accompanied by his little grandson and his Tutor. He came at length to a spot, where much had been done to embellish the scene, and contemplating it with great satisfaction, he said to his guest, “ I can assure you, every thing you see here is my own creating." His grandson immediately replied,
“What! and the skies and all, grandpapa ?" see Ezekiel xxix. 3. and Isaiah xlv. 5-7. 12. 18.
I have been told, that in some modern farce, there is a scene, where there is an arbour in a tree, and where some person is concealed, while two of the characters are conversing on the stage; one
• There is one above sees all.” As this expression is commonly applied to the Deity, I consider it as profane.
Of light allusions to Scripture I will mention but a few. In The Mysterious Husband, A. I. Sir Edmund Travers talks of " a detail as tedious as the courtship of Jacob and Rebecca:" and in The West Indian, when Captain Dudley says, he has “been above thirty years in the service," Fulmer says “ 'tis an apprenticeship to a profession fit only for a patriarch.” A. II. S. 1.
In The Belle's Stratagem, A. IV. S. 1. when Doricourt wishes Lætitia to unmask, she says, “ Beware of impertinent curiosity, it lost Paradise.
Doricourt. Eve's curiosity was raised by the Devil, 'tis an Angel tempts mine. So your allusion is not in point.”
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