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Those creatures slrange, until he saw the foe
Made no advancement, and the gay brunette Laugh heartily in the o'erpowering flow
Of mirth that she was bursting with—she set Her flowers upon the ground, and needs must go
Towards the stranger, who in terror yet _ Couch'd his keen hunting-spear, retiring still As she came on, but could not find the will To deal a blow—she was unarm'd as well,
Her power look'd small to his, and then her face, Her beauty might a raging tiger quell,
And its enchantment every moment's space
She smiled upon him, askM him if the chace
Her long bright locks in waves luxuriant spread;
Part of the youth's wild gaze, her lovely head
Of her fait hair hung rich, bordering the red,
Seat yourselfin that bower, for rest is good;
When you have eat some fruit or homely food."— "Yes, come," the gay brunette rejoin'd with glee,
And took his wrist to put him in the road.
Into his frame he never knew before—
In lightning fire from every bursting pore :—
And all before a moment had gone o'er—
Thus offering no resistance, passive led
As by superior power where will is vain,
Speechless, confused, and on his brow like rain
Fever and faintness held alternate reign;
On one side walk'd the fair and blue-eyed maid,
Smiling upon him with a witching air; On the other she with eyes of darkest shade,
As moonless heaven when clouds are mustering there; But they had living fire deeply inlaid
That now and then flash'd forth—she knew not care; Generous and gay, in spirit passionate, She fcar'd not fortune, and she laugh'd al fate—
In short at every thing—her sister showed
Easily impress'd, and her mind's current flowed
Much she had thought, though nothing had she owed
Like an automaton the youth they led,
And the brunette ran on for fruit and bread.
TO THE EDITOR OF THE NEW MONTHLY MAGAZINE.
Mr. Editor.—The gentleman to whom I addressed the following letter, having taken no notice of it; I conclude (mistakes or miscarriage out of the question) he is wroth against me for only discharging the duties, by himself often solicited, of a very old friendship; and as, in such a mood of mind, misconceptions of my letter may get abroad, I appeal to you, for the sake of public as well as individual justice, to honour it with insertion in The New Monthly Magazine. C. P.
To George Cotman, Esq. Deputy-Licenser of Plays.
Dear George.—Thanks for the MS. two first acts of your new play; but do you really wish my opinion ?—Am I to speak out in earnest? or are all your ardent demands for my criticism, like those of the archbishop to his dear enfant Gil Bias? You are so peremptory, however, that come what may come, I must tell you the blessed truth; therefore, dear old friend, burn those two acts. They will never do. People will say, if you persist in them, that the author gives proof of the dotage, (your pardon, but you know I only quote,) of which a royal academician, and others, had delicately accused the licenser. Put them up, at least, if you do not light your cigar with them; tie a little string round them, and fling them into a corner of your deepest drawer, and don't look at them again till we meet.
How is all this, George? what have you been at? in what steeped your brains? or have you wrung them so hard, that they are only fit for hanging out to dry, like a Sunday shirt, of old, under the hands of our esteemed washerwoman ?—The "Law of Java" was bad enough, as the booksellers know to their cost; a thin mixture of maudlin sentiment and melodrama; but your embryo play !—take my advice, my good fellow, about it.
Can it be that your late religious turn, while it laudably inspires the reforming course you take with all other authors, destroys your own powers as an author? And is snnday-reading and psalm-singing necessarily at war with poetical spirit in the same person? I suspect so, and exhort you to look about you; beware of drivel, and twaddle, and the sonorousness of mere cant. I own 1 thought the last set of pious people you introduced me to, rather dangerous: even in your official capacity, such violent though good-hearted enthusiasts may injure you. I see no objection, indeed, to your recent change, particularly at your time of life, and after such a life ; it is decorous, and becomes a little elderly gentleman in a Christian country; but every thing still in reason, my dear deputy-licenser; impossibilities are not expected from even the most perfect of us; and you are not called upon, by any text I know of, to play the zany in your situation, while you pervert or overstrain the duties of it.
Your austere resolve to banish from the stage, as far as it can be done by chastening the modern drama, all disloyalty, immorality, and wickedness, I admire; you know my principles, though my election is not yet as decided as your own, and you will credit this assertion; yet, I say, have a care of nonsense, even for your place sake.
The last day I saw you, you may recollect I parted in great anxiety to begin my journey to the country that evening; yet I believe I mentioned I should hazard a flying visit to \V. H. late as it was. 1 did so; and found poor H. in a tolerable three-pair apartment, with Mrs. H. and the two Misses and little Master H. I knocked at his door, and hailed him, in good spirits, but was chilled at the gloom of his welcome. Mrs. H. too met me in a mysterious manner, and even the elder girl looked dull, and sighed as she curtsied. The same strange depression continued around me. I rallied our old acquaintance, complimented his wife, chucked Miss H. under the chin, and took the little boy on my knee; all to no purpose. I mentioned I had just seen you, and that you looked fresh-faced and lumbering as ever; and then they stared at each other, and turned pale; and, in fact, after a warm preface from H. the murder came out at last; another "trick" of yours, George, in your "brief authority :", our poor friend H. stept to a drawer, and placed before me a drama that had been accepted at a Theatre Royal, but that you had prohibited; with two others, also approved by the manager, but that you had so bravely cut up and cut down, he had scarce any hopes left about them. By the first, that is, by your sweeping prohibition of it, the poor fellow lost an almost certain two hundred and fifty; Mrs. H. a long-ambitioned and long-promised addition to her summer finery! and the Misses and Master H. 1 know not what.
All very fair, however, if on fair grounds; but as a common friend between you and H. I must conscientiously reject the if. He has let me have the MSS. home to the country with me; I have attentively perused the drama that you altogether prohibited, and attentively weighed the official cuts you have made in the two others, and laugh at you I must, my dear George: you are either hoaxing us, or you in reality approach that archbishop's state, before glanced at, and indeed require my friendly interference. If you do not jest, you dribble— dote; that's certain.
First and foremost, in the name of the consistency of things, how could you, in such a wholesale way, condemn that piece with the queer name?—you know little of logic; but on what grounds of reasoning competent to any journeyman carpenter who reads the Mechanic's Magazine ?—Let me remind you of the facts, in two words. A drama comes before you, called after a petty disturber of his Majesty's peace, and having him for its hero, but of which the tendency and catastrophe are to read a lesson to all who have been led astray by that doughty hero; and in this view, the brigand himself absolutely renounces and expresses contrition for his evil courses, and commands his followers to go home and become peaceable subjects. This you never denied. You did not call the tendency of the piece disloyal; but it brought forward (only to reprobate them) local disturbances; it brought forward (only to denounce him) a local disturber; and you prohibited it. Why, George? If those acts and that incendiary were shewn in an approved light, then indeed must you have been warranted by the duties of your office, by your sense of religion, and by your common sense (if any is left), in suppressing the play ; but when it is on all hands admitted that the thing is all the other way, by what kind of ratiocination have you acted as if it were not?
But no " political allusions" of any kind will you allow. No! Not even such as must promote the King's peace and serve to discountenance those who break it! And if not, George, uhy not? Answer us, my friend. Is it treason or disaffection to write a play against the Government, and in favour of its enemies, and is it also treason or disaffection to write one in favour of it, and against its enemies ?—Ridicule must overtake the wight that reasons with you j but would you conceive yourself behaving like a man of the humblest good-sense in prohibiting, this moment, a play of which the object should be to laud the principles that called the house of Brunswick to the throne, and to brand, at the same time, the adverse principles ?—Or, coming closer on the point—suppose a little drama was sent in to you with a little Radical for its hero, and the plot built on Radical nonsense, but serving, every line, temperately to denounce it and him—how would you decide? Suppress it, as you have suppressed your old friend's drama, which, from your admissions, is so precisely a case in point? Would you, George? As, "in one fell swoop," you have excluded from the stage the totality of the piece here spoken of, I cannot, in illustration of your loyalty, quote a whole play against you; but through another, which you have partially damned, I find abundance of passages that serve this purpose. To begin. An Irish reaper enters, singing four lines of an old song that has been sung a hundred times before, indeed as often thrummed as Mrs. Carey, or Paddy Carey, which you ought to know something about;—Scene, a street—in London; mark, in London; "'Twas there I met wid Bonyparle, who tuck me by de hand, An', says he, how's poor ould Ireland, an' how does she stand? Och ! a poor distressed nation, as never yet war seen, Where dey 're Itangin' men an' women for de icearin' o' de green."—
And here 1 have preserved your cuts; and this is a sample of your sense of disloyalty. In the mouth of such a character, in such a situation, and at such a time as the present, the Irish reaper's mention of "Bonyparte," and the playful and, on the face of it, ridiculous allusion to events now nearly thirty years gone by—this is disloyalty, and something too violent to be hummed in a song; you smell a rat, here ; and with an intense gravity, that none but Dogberry and yourself were ever able to assume, you "cry stand in the Prince's name."—Talking of princes, do you remember the burlesque farce of which the name smelt odious in your nostrils, the other day at Drury Lane ? and what was that name ?—" The Prince of—Pimlico!''—yes, George; "Disloyalty, again," said you; "this name must be changed."—Well; returning to H.'s pieces, just another instance from them. The same Irishman comes before a magistrate, (not as an offender,) and the magistrate, in calling on him for an account of himself, jocosely observes, "Deserted from Captain Rock, I presume?"—to which Pat anxiously answers,—" No, in truth, then; I '11 never deny there was a trifle o' that same goin' on in the place, an' they war for swearin' me; but I never liked their night-walkin', from a boy up; an', 'case they might be angry,-I left them all, an' came to where there's pace an' plenty, God bless your reverance, an' a fine harvest only for cuttin' it; so, there's the blessed truth, since your Honor put me on sayin' it out."
Every word of which, question and answer, you have angrily drawn your pen over. In the awful discharge of official duty, this, too, spoken in such a vein, by such persons, is disloyalty. Tell me quietly, George, is it to such a bungling and most absurd "comprehension" of "flat perjury" and " flat burglary," that literary gentlemen, and the enlightened many whom they write to amuse, are to knuckle down? Do you think it can long be tolerated, that, in such a view of right and wrong, of fit and unfit, of jest and earnest, you shall enjoy the unquestioned and unquestionable privilege of depriving honest people of the results of their talent or industry? Or do you think, while you run on at such a rate, thera is one of those, for whose honour and glory you imagine yourself acting—I put out of the question your immediate master, the Lord Chamberlain, because his note to Mr. Shee had had grammar in it, and at once decides his qualifications as a judge ; — but do you suppose there is one grammarian among all the other lords and gentlemen you die to fascinate, who (although "the angels" may "weep") does not laugh heartily and contemptuously at your "tricks before high heaven?" But more of this before I conclude:—now to pass from your loyalty to your morality.
Your Licenser's Act, you say, empowers you to strike from every new play that comes before you, the most holy name. This is no place to transcribe a long-winded Act of Parliament, but I join issue with :you on the following point; I assert (disprove it if you can) that the spirit and aim of the bill only go to control the irreverent and wanton use of that name; to hinder it from being invoked lightly, or in passion; from being sworn by, or rashly imprecated. And so far the bill is right, and you are right, and all sensible men think you arc right. But all sensible men also think, that, in some instances, the name may be properly and beautifully uttered on the stage; and in others, harmlessly. You know I could cite, from Shakspeare alone, a score illustrations of the first case; one, however, will fully explain my meaning.
"The quality of mercy is not strain'd,"—&c.
Here,—recollecting the situation, with which all are familiar, and the sermon-like form in which the whole of the fine speech is delivered,— here, surely, the occurrence of the name is not impious: the effect always produced by it, is deeply impressive, deeply religious; and unless you have so entirely embraced the raving bigotry of your new religious friends as to deny to the stage all power of conveying to the heart good, nay, pious feelings, most certainly, George, you could not, if the speech came before you, in a new play, destroy altogether its climax and effect, by erasing the name. Yet, look at an erasure of it, under your hand, in one of poor H.'s unpretending dramas. A simple country girl, come up with her sister to London, after suffering ill-treatment from certain persons, meets' others who offer her assistance; her necessities urge her to accept, her dread of renewed injury to decline