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How few are found with real talents bless'd, Fewer with Nature's gifts contented rest. Man from his sphere eccentric starts astray; All hunt for fame; but most mistake the way. Bred at St. Omer's to the shuffling trade, The hopeful youth a Jesuit might have made, With various readings stor'd his empty skull, Learn'd without sense, and venerably dull; Or, at some banker's desk, like many more, Content to tell that two and two make four, His name had stood in city ANNALs fair, And prudent Dullness mark'd him for a mayor. What then could tempt thee, in a critic age, Such blooming hopes to forfeit on a stage 2 Could it be worth thy wondrous waste of pains To publish to the world thy lack of brains? Or might not Reason e'en to thee have shown Thy greatest praise had been to live unknown P Yet let not vanity, like thine, despair: Fortune makes Folly her peculiar care. A vacant throne high plac'd in Smithfield view, To sacred Dullness and her first-born due, Thither with haste in happy hour repair, Thy birthright claim, nor fear a rival there. Shuter himself shall own thy juster claim, And venal Ledgers puff their Murphy's name, Whilst Vaughan * or Dapper, call him which you will, Shall blow the trumpet, and give out the bill. There rule secure, from critics and from sense, Nor once shall Genius rise to give offence; Eternal peace shall bless the happy shore, And little factions break thy rest no more. From Covent Garden crowds promiscuous go, Whom the Muse knows not, nor desires to know. Vetrans they seem’d, but knew of arms no more Than if, till that time, arms they never bore: Like Westminster militia train'd to fight, They scarcely knew the left hand from the right. Asham'd among such troops to show the head, Their chiefs were scatter'd, and their heroes fled. Sparks at his glass sat comfortably down Tosep'rate frown from smile, and smile from frown; Smith, the genteel, the airy, and the smart, Smith was just gone to school to say his part; Ross (a misfortune which we often meet) Was fast asleep at dear Statira's feet; Satira, with her hero to agree, Stood on her feet as fast asleep as he: Macklin, who largely deals in half-form'd sounds, Who wantonly transgresses Nature's bounds, Whose acting 's hard, affected, and constrain'd, Whose features, as each other they disdain'd, * variance set, inflexible and coarse, Ne'er know the workings of united force, Ne'er kindly soften to each other's aid, Nor show the mingled pow'rs of light and shade, No longer for a thankless stage concern'd, To worthier thoughts his mighty genius turn'd, Harangu'd, gave lectures, made each simple elf ălmost as good a speaker as himself; Whilst the whole town, mad with mistaken zeal, An awkward rage for elocution feel; cits and grave divines his praise proclaim, And join with Sheridan's their Macklin's name; Šuter, who never car'd a single pin Whether he left out nonsense, or put in,
"A gentleman who published, at thisjuncture, a
Who aim'd at wit, though, levell'd in the dark,
Poem entitled The Retort,
And teach een Brent a method not to please; M m
But never shall a truly British age
With rival excellence of love and rage,
When poor Alicia's madd’ning brains are rack'd, And strongly imag’d griefs her mind distract.
Struck with her gricf. I catch the madness too! My brain turns round, the headless trunk I view! The roof cracks, shakes, and falls!— New honours
rise, And Reason buried in the ruin lies. Nobly disdainful of each slavish art, She makes her first attack upon the heart: Pleas'd with the summons, it receives her laws, And all is silence, sympathy, applause. . But when, by fond ambition drawn aside, . Giddy with praise, and puff"d with female pride, She quits the tragic scene, and, in pretence To comic merit, breaks down Nature's fence; I scarcely can believe my ears or eyes... . Or find out Cibber through the dark disguio. Pritchard, by Nature for the stage design'd, In person graceful, and in sense refin'd; Her art as much as Nature's friend became, Her voice as free from blemish as her fame, Who knows so well in majesty to please, Attemper'd with the graceful charms of ease? When Congreve's favour'd pantomime to go She comes a captive queen of Moorish race; When Love, Hate, Jealousy, Despair, and Roo, With wildest tumults in her breast engage; Still equal to herself is Zara seen; Her passions are the passions of a queen. When she to murder whets the timorous Thame, I feel ambition rush through ev'ry vein; Persuasion hangs upon her daring tongue, My heart grows flint, and ev’ry nerve's new of In comedy — “Nay there,” cries Critic, “bold, Pritchard's for comedy too fat and old. Who can, with patience, bear the grey coque” Or force a laugh with over-grown Juletto. Her speech, look, action, humour, all are is: But then, her age and figure give disgust. Are foibles then, and graces of the mind, In real life, to size, or age confin'd? Do spirits flow, and is good-breeding plac" In any set circumference of waist? As we grow old, doth affectation cease, Or gives not age new vigour to caprice? If in originals these things appear, 2 Why should we bar them in the copy here: | The nice punctilio-mongers of this age, The grand minute reformers of the stage, Slaves to propriety of ev'ry kind, Some standard-measure for each part should find, Which when the best of actors shall exceed. Let it devolve to one of smaller breed. | All actors too upon the back should bear Certificate of birth,-time, when;—place. * For how can critics rightly fix their worth. 2 Unless they know the minute of their birth: An audience too, deceiv'd, may find too late That they have clapp'd an actor out of date. Figure, I own, at first may give offence, And harshly strike the eye's too curious *; But when perfections of the mind breako". Humour's chaste sallies, judgment's solid worth; when the pure genuine flame, by Nature * Springs into sense, and ev'ry action's thought; Before such merit all objections fly; Pritchard's genteel, and Garrick's six feet o Oft have I, Pritchard, seen thy wondrouo" Confess'd thee great, but find thee greater still That worth, which shone in scatter’ārays to Collected now, breaks forth with double Po"
The Jealous Wife! on that thy trophies raise, Inferior only to the author's praise, From Dublin, fam'd in legends of romance For mighty magic of enchanted lance, With which her heroes arm'd victorious prove, And like a flood rush o'er the land of Love, Mossop and Barry came — names ne'er design'd By Fate in the same sentence to be join'd. Rais'd by the breath of popular acclaim, They mounted to the pinnacle of Fame; There the weak brain, made giddy with the height, Spurr'd on the rival chiefs to mortal fight. Thus sportive boys, around some bason's brim, Behold the pipe-drawn bladders circling swim: But if from lungs more potent, there arise Two bubbles of a more than common size, Eager for honour they for fight prepare, Bubble meets bubble, and both sink to air. Mossop, attach'd to military plan, Still kept his eye fix'd on his right-hand man. Whilst the mouth measures words with seeming skill, The right-hand labours, and the left lies still; For he resolv'd on scripture-grounds to go, What the right doth, the left-hand shall not know. With studied impropriety of speech, He soars beyond the hackney critic's reach; To epithets allots emphatic state, Whilst principals, ungrac'd, like lacquies wait; In ways first trodden by himself excels, And stands alone in indeclinables; Conjunction, preposition, adverb join To stamp new vigour on the nervous line: In monosyllables his thunders roll, Hr, she, Ir, AND, we, Ye, they, fright the soul. In person taller than the common size, where Barry draws admiring eyes! When lab'ring passions, in his bosom pent, Convulsive rage, and struggling heave for vent; Spectators, with imagin'd terrours warm, Anxious expect the bursting of the storm: But, all unfit in such a pile to dwell, His voice comes forth, like Echo from her cell ; To swell the tempest needful aid denies, And all a-down the stage in feeble murmur dies. What man, like Barry, with such pains can err In elocution, action, character? What man could give, if Barry was not here, Such well-applauded tenderness to Lear? Who else can speak so very, very fine, That sense may kindly end with ev'ry line? Some dozen lines before the ghost is there, Behold him for the solemn scene prepare. *how he frames his eyes, poises each limb, Puts the whole body into proper trim. – From whence we learn, with no great stretch of art, Five lines hence comes a ghost, and has a start. When he appears most perfect, still we find ing which jars upon, and hurts the mind. Whatever lights upon a part are thrown, We see too plainly they are not his own. No flame from Nature ever yet he caught; Nor knew a feeling which he was not taught; He rais'd his trophies on the base of art, And conn'd his passions, as he conn'd his part Quin, from afar, lur’d by the scent of fame, A stage Leviathan, put in his claim, Pupil of Betterton and Booth. Alone,
For how should moderns, mushrooms of the day, Who ne'er those masters knew, know how to play? Grey-bearded vet'rans, who, with partial tongue, Extol the times when they themselves were young, Who, having lost all relish for the stage, See not their own defects, but lash the age, Receiv'd with joyful murmurs of applause, Their darling chief, and lin'd his fav'rite cause. Far be it from the candid Muse to tread Insulting o'er the ashes of the dead, But, just to living merit, she maintains, And dares the test, whilst Garrick's genius reigns; Ancients in vain endeavour to excel, Happily prais'd, if they could act as well. But though prescription's force we disallow, Nor to antiquity submissive bow; Though we deny imaginary grace, Founded on accidents of time and place; Yet real worth of ev'ry growth shall bear Due praise, nor must we, Quin, forget thee there. His words bore sterling weight, nervous and strong, In manly tides of sense they roll'd along. Happy in art, he chiefly had pretence To keep up numbers, yet not forfeit sense. No actor ever greater heights could reach In all the labour'd artifice of speech. Speech Is that all ? – And shall an actor found An universal fame on partial ground? Parrots themselves speak properly by rote, And, in six months, my dog shall howl by note. I laugh at those, who, when the stage they tread, Neglect the heart, to compliment the head; With strict propriety their cares confin'd To weigh out words, while passion halts behind. To syllable-dissectors they appeal, Allow them accent, cadence, — fools may feel; But, spite of all the criticising elves, Those who would make us feel, must feel themselves. His eyes, in gloomy socket taught to roll, Proclaim'd the sullen habit of his soul. Heavy and phlegmatic he trod the stage, Too proud for tenderness, too dull for rage. When Hector's lovely widow shines in tears, Or Rowe's gay rake dependant virtue jeers, With the same cast of features he is seen To chide the libertine, and court the queen. From the tame scene, which without passion flows, With just desert his reputation rose; Nor less he pleas'd, when, on some surly plan, He was, at once, the actor and the man. In Brute he shone unequall'd: all agree Garrick's not half so great a brute as he. When Cato's labour'd scenes are brought to view, With equal praise the actor labour'd too; For still you’ll find, trace passions to their root, Small diff'rence 'twixt the stoic and the brute. In fancied scenes, as in life's real plan, He could not, for a moment, sink the man. In whate'er cast his character was laid, Self still, like oil, upon the surface play'd. Nature, in spite of all his skill, crept in : Horatio, Dorax, Falstaff, -still 't was Quin. Next follows Sheridan – a doubtful name, As yet unsettled in the rank of Fame. This, fondly lavish in his praises grown, Gives him all merit; that allows him none. Between them both we'll steer the middle course,
Bullen he walk'd, and deem'd the chair his own.
Nor, loving praise, rob Judgment of her force.
Just his conceptions, natural and great: His feelings strong, his words enforc'd with weight. Was speech-fam'd Quin himself to hear him speak, Envy would drive the colour from his cheek: But step-dame Nature, niggard of her grace, Deny'd the social pow'rs of voice and face. Fix'd in one frame of features, glare of eye, Passions, like chaos, in confusion lie: In vain the wonders of his skill are try’d To form distinctions Nature hath deny'd. His voice no touch of harmony admits, Irregularly deep and shrill by fits: The two extremes appear like man and wife, Coupled together for the sake of strife. His action 's always strong, but sometimes such, That candour must declare he acts too much. Why must impatience fall three paces back? Why paces three return to the attack? Why is the right leg too forbid to stir, Unless in motion semicircular 7 Why must the hero with the Nailor vie, And hurl the close-clench'd fist at nose or eye? In royal John, with Philip angry grown, I thought he would have knock'd poor Davies down. Inhuman tyrant! was it not a shame, To fright a king so harmless and so tame? But, spite of all defects, his glories rise; And Art, by Judgment form'd, with Nature vies: Behold him sound the depth of Hubert's soul, Whilst in his own contending passions roll; View the whole scene, with critic judgment scan, And then deny him merit if you can. Where he falls short, "t is Nature's fault alone; Where he succeeds, the merit's all his own. Last Garrick came. — Behind him throng a train Of snarling critics, ignorant as vain. One finds out, - “He’s of stature somewhat low — Your hero always should be tall, you know.— True nat'ral greatness all consists in height.” Produce your voucher, Critic. — “Sergeant Kite.” Another can't forgive the paltry arts By which he makes his way to shallow hearts; Mere pieces of finesse, traps for applause — “Avaunt, unnat'ral start, affected pause.” For me, by Nature form'd to judge with phlegm, I can't acquit by wholesale, nor condemn. The best things carried to excess are wrong: The start may be too frequent, pause too long;
But, only us'd in proper time and place, Severest judgment must allow them grace. If bunglers, form'd on Imitation's plan, Just in the way that monkies mimic man, Their copied scene with mangled arts disgrace, And pause and start with the same vacant face; We join the critic laugh; those tricks we scorn, Which spoil the scenes they mean them to adorn. But when, from Nature's pure and genuine source, These strokes of acting flow with gen’rous force, When in the features all the soul 's pourtray'd, And passions, such as Garrick's, are display'd, To me they seem from quickest feelings caught: Each start is Nature; and each pause is Thought. When Reason yields to Passion's wild alarms, And the whole state of man is up in arms; What but a critic could condemn the play'r, For pausing here, when Cool-Sense pauses there? Whilst, working from the heart, the fire I trace, i And mark it strongly flaming to the face; | Whilst, in each sound, I hear the very man; I can't catch words, and pity those who can. Let wits, like spiders, from the tortur'd brain, Fine-draw the critic-web with curious pain: The gods,-a kindness I with thanks must pay, Have form'd me of a coarser kind of clay; Not stung with envy, nor with pain diseas'd, A poor dull creature, still with Nature pleas'd; Hence to thy praises, Garrick, I agree, And, pleas'd with Nature, must be pleas'd with thee. Now I might tell, how silence reign'd throughout, And deep attention hush'd the rabble rout: How ev'ry claimant, tortur'd with desire, Was pale as ashes, or as red as fire: But, loose to fame, the Muse more simply acts, Rejects all flourish, and relates mere facts. The judges, as the several parties came, [claim, With temper heard, with judgment weigh’d each And, in their sentence happily agreed, In name of both, great Shakspeare thus decreed. “If manly sense; if Nature link'd with Art; If thorough knowledge of the human heart; If pow'rs of acting vast and unconfin'd; If fewest faults with greatest beauties join'd; If strong expression, and strange pow'rs which lie Within the magic circle of the eye; If feelings which few hearts, like his, can know, And which no face so well as his can show, Deserve the pref'rence – Garrick, take the chair; Nor quit it—till thou place an equal there.”
Evans Young, a poet of considerable celebrity, was the only son of Dr. Edward Young, fellow of Winchester College, and rector of Upham, Hampshire. He was born at his father's living, in 1684, and was educated at Winchester school, whence he was removed to New College, and afterwards to Corpus Christi College, Oxford. By the favour of Archbishop Tenison he obtained a law-fellowship at All-Souls. At this time his chief pursuit appears to have been poetry; and it is little to his credit, with respect to his choice of patrons, that he has sought them through all the political changes of the time. Tragedy was one of his favourite pursuits, in which his “Revenge,” dedicated in 1721 to the Duke of Wharton, was regarded as his principal effort. Many other performances, however, took their turn, of which the most noted at this time were his “Paraphrase on Part of the Book of Job;” and “The Love of Fame, or the Universal Passion.” Young, now in his forty-fourth year, having given up his prospects as a layman, took orders, and was nominated one of the Royal Chaplains. He published some prose works as the fruits of his new profession, of which were, “The True Estimate of Human Life,” representing only its dark side; and “An Apology for Princes, or the Reverence due to Government,” a sermon, well suited to a court chaplain. In 1730 he was presented, by his college, to the rectory of Welwyn, in Hertfordshire; and in the following year he married Lady Elizabeth Lee, widow of Colonel Lee, and daughter of the Earl of Lichfield. This lady he lost in 1741, after she had borne him one son. Other affecting family losses occurred about that period, and aggrawated his disposition to melancholy; and it was in this year that he commenced his famous poem,
on PART OF THE BOOK OF JOB.
Tinct happy Job long liv'd in regal state,
the “Night Thoughts.” This production is truly original in design and execution: it imitates none, and has no imitators. Its spirit is, indeed, gloomy and severe, and its theology awful and overwhelming. It seems designed to pluck up by the roots every consolation for human evils, except that founded on the scheme of Christianity which the writer adopted; yet it presents reflections which are inculcated with a force of language, and sublimity of imagination, almost unparalleled. It abounds with the faults characteristic of the writer, and is spun out to a tedious length, that of nine books; but if not often read through, it will never sink into neglect. It was evidently the favourite work of the author, who ever after wished to be known as the composer of the “Night Thoughts.” The numerous editions of the work sufficiently prove the hold which it has taken of the public mind.
The lyric attempts of Young were singularly unfortunate, not one of his pieces of that class having a claim for perusal; and, indeed, many of his other poetical writings display inequalities, and defects of taste and judgment, very extraordinary for a writer of his rank. In an edition of his works, published during his life, in four vols. 8vo., he himself excluded several compositions, which he thought of inferior merit, and expunged many dedications, of which he was doubtless ashamed. A letter to him, from Archbishop Secker, proves, however, that at a late period of life he had not ceased to solicit preferment. He latterly fell under domestic sway, and was entirely subdued to the controul of a housekeeper. Young continued to exist till April 1765, when he expired in his 84th year.
And spotted plagues, that mark'd his limbs all o'er