Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

Shou'd I reveal the source of ev'ry grief,
If soft humanity e'er touch'd your breasts,
Your hands wou'd not withhold the kind relief,
And tears of pity could not be represt.

• Heav'n sends misfortunes—why should we repine ?
'Tis Heav'n has brought me to the state you fee:
And your condition may be foon like mine,
-The child of sorrow—and of misery.

• A little farm was my paternal lot,
Then like the lark I sprightly hail'd the morn;
But ah! oppression forc'd me from my cot,
My cattle dy'd, and blighted was my corn.

• My daughter-once the comfort of my age!
Lur'd by a villain from her native home,
Is cast abandon’d on the world's wide stage,
And doom'd in scanty poverty to roam.

« My tender wife-sweet soother of my care !
Struck with fad anguish at the stern decree,
Fell-ling'ring fell a victim to despair,
And left the world to wretchedness and me.

• Pity the sorrows of a poor old man !
Whose trembling limbs have borne him to your door,
Whose days are dwindled to the shortest span,

Oh! give relief-and Heav'n will bless your store." Whether it is consistent or not with the character of a bega gar, to bewail his miseries in refined language and harmonious numbers, may be a question with some readers : but the can. did and the benevolent, who pay no regard to such a point of critical nicety, may perceive in this poetical lamentation an agreeable fimplicity, and an air of melancholy, which will please the imagination, and excite the tender sentiments of humanity.

The subsequent pieces in this collection are, an Epistle to a Female Friend, on the Death of her father; a Tale; an Invitation to a Brother Collegian; an Epistle to Lorenzo on Compasion; the Sparrow and Hawk, a Fable; Offian's Address to the Sun, in blank Verse ; an Address which was spoken by one of the Charity Children at the Anniversary Meeting at W ; Chearfulness, a Poem ; a Caution to a Debauchee; an Epistle to Miss — ; another to a married Lady of injured Character; a third on the Death of the Author's Sister; and an Ode in lmitation of Anacreo.

[ocr errors][merged small]

VIII. Timanthes : a Tragedy. As it is performed at the Tbeatres

Royal in Covent Garden. By John Hoole. 8vo. Pr. 15. 6d.
Becket and De Hondt.
Emophoon, king of Thrace, was commanded by the ora-

cle of Delphi to sacrifice annually a virgin to Apollo, till the true heir to his crown should be found and acknowledged, who was supplanted by a false one. Timanthes, his fon, had privately married Ismena, the daughter of Mathusius, the king's old friend, and experienced general, who had trained Timanthes to the art of war; because it was a capital crime in Thrace for a fubject to marry one of the blood royal. Demo. phoon, with the arbitrary policy of Thrace, kept his daughter Arsinoe in retirement, that he might not run the risk of being one of the annual viêtims which were drawn by lot; and that, by her presence, the injustice of her exemption from the fate of the other virgins might not be more strongly ob. truded upon the minds of the people. Mathusius, the father of Ismena, warmly remonstrates to Demophoon against this tyranny, The king resents the freedom of Mathufius with indignation; and to punish his temerity, destines Ismena to be the propitiatory victim, and allows her not the usual chance of the lots. Timan., thes comes home victorious over the enemies of the Thracian state ; and his younger brother Cherinthus, Demophoon's son by his second queen, Serena, arrives with Cephisa, the daugh. ter of Nicanor, king of Phrygia. The two kings had entered inio å treaty of affinity, and Cephisa was sent to Thrace to be married to Timanthes. Cherinthus, and this princess, had conceived a strong passion for each other during the voyage. Mathusius resolves to fly from Thrace with his daughter, in a vefsel prepared by him for the purpose ; Timanthes opposes the flight of Ismena, and in the warmth of his dispute with Mathufius, he asserts the right he had to her person, and discovers their marriage, hitherto kept a profound secret. Dur. ing their altercation, the guards enter, and seize Ismena. Ti. manthes, enraged at this violence, is determined at whatever hazard, to rescue his wife, and fy the country with her and her father. In the mean time Ismena, the destined victim, is conducted to the temple : Timanthes meets her in the way, is agitated with the strongest emotions of grief and rage, and flies, to call together a band of chosen friends to deliver her from the holy inhumanity. He returns ; drives the priests from the temple ; is surprised by Demophoon, whose paternal reproaches disarm the fon. He owns to his fa:her that he is married to Ismena ; their tender and disinterested vindication of each other, seconded by the intreaties of Cherinthus, make VOL. XXIX. March, 1770.

him

him suspend his resolution. They are committed separately to prison. By the interceffion of Cephifa, Ismena's son Olin.' thus is sent to her while she is in the prison : Cephisa prevails upon Demophoon to go along with her to visit Ismena. By the tender supplications of Cephisa and Ismena, the heart of the old king is melted; he promises forgiveness to the husband and the wife. Cherinthus acquaints his brother Timanthes ' with his father's reconciliation : his joy is soon changed into

grief and horror by Mathufius, who brings him a paper, which by Argea, his former queen, was committed to the care of Barcene, the late wife of Mathusius. This paper discovers that Ismena is not the daughter of Mathusius, but of Demophoon ; it was to be discovered when Ismena's safety required it, and it referred to another paper to be found in the household temple, which explained why Ismena was to pass for the daughter of Mathufius. This was a contrivance of Argea, who had no male children, and wanted an heir to the crown. Mathufius finds the other paper, and Demophoon reads its contents; it informs them, that Timanthes is the son of Mathufius. Thus is the whole knot fortunately unravelled : Ti. manthes, and the princess Ismena, are at last happy ; Cherinthus is declared lawful heir to the crown of Thrace, and marries Cephisa.

Mr. Hoole has constructed his Timanthes on the Demo. phoon of Metastasio. In forming this tragedy, if, indeed, the word tragedy may with any propriety be applied to the piece by an EngliMman, the author must have had nothing but immediate interest in view. It may gratify the prevailing passion for novelty, and it may reward the labour of the wri. fer, but it will not be honoured with lasting fame. If an Italian opera deserves to be called a tragedy, we may apply that title to Timantbes. Nor can we allow a dramatic performance to be either a comedy or a tragedy, merely because it is, according to Horace's rule-Neu minor, ncu quinta produce tior ačtů. We are willing to give up, in favour of the piece now under examination, many of the other more interpal, and minute old rules, as equally immaterial and absurd : but certainly the man who has reputation in view, muft endeavour to adapt his plan and his sentiments to the custom, the taste, and the genius of the country in which he writes. The famous Metastasio, whose whole works are not worth a single speech that might be produced from Shakespeare or Otway, wrote as much to the gamut as to the heart. The Italian drama is a constant and preposterous war with nature ; its object is, to feast the ear and the eye, not to move, invigorate, and im

prove prove the heart. Its heroes and patriots are eunuchs: its kings not only warble out their love, but their resentment; the thunder of their majesty; and, to use a superlative antithesis of Mr. Colman,

They roar--but roar like any nightingale. But these who yet retain a true English taste, expe&t in an English tragedy, variety of characters, elevated sentiments, the prominent and striking features of nature, a number of unexpected and great incidents, and the signal punishment of vice. In these essentials Timanthes, it must be owned, is deficient, Horace said formerly,

Mediocribus efle Paeris Non Dii, non bomines, non conceffere columna. The idea of mediocrity here should be confined to mere verlifiers, to mere turners of verses. There are degrees of excel. lence in poetry as well as in the other fine arts. Parnel and Gay are true poets, and are likely to live, though they are very far inferior to Pope and Dryden.

Mr. Hoole's verses are very easy and harmonious ; and his imagination is just and tender. When Demophoon, in the firft act, proposes a bride to his son Timanthes, on his return from war, the succession of love to arms, the decline of life, and the old man's recollection of past pleasures, are well imagined and expressed in the speech of the king. "Demophoon.

Thou canst not tell
How dear I hold thee-to the toil of arms
Loves gives its soft relief, and beauty best
Smooths the rough front of war : thoʻnow my years
Roll forward, and the summer of my life
Yields to declining autumn, well I know
What youth has been, and what befits the age

When jocund spring leads up the laughing hours." Timanthes, in the fame act inquires of Ismena after the welfare of their son Olinthus. In Ilmena's answer, the ten. derness of the mother, and the wife, are beautifully pictured.

Ifm. Some God, that watches o’er this pledge of love,
Sure crowns his tender age with growing beauty,
Or the fond mother with imagin'd grace
Has deck'd his infancy; his looks already
Assume thy manly sternness; when he smiles,
He's all thyself; and oft as I can steal
A wilh'd for look, I gaze with rapture on him,
And think I view Timanthes, till deceiv'd
Pa

With

With the dear thought, I strain him to my breast,

And in the son embrace the absent father. The secret workings of love are naturally and expressively painted by Cherinthus, where he thus addresses Cephisa, in the fecond act.

Cberin. And yet sometimes I felt a ffattering hope : Methought I oft observ'd a tender figh Steal from thy breast, view'd in thy eyes a softness

That seem'd much more than friendship'-
When Timanthes reveals the secret of his marriage, to
Mathusius, Ismena pathetically deprecates his resentment, in
the following lines,

Ilm. Here proftrate at your feet, permit me now
To own the fault excess of love inspir'd:
And yet you can forgive ; for if I read
Those looks aright, resentment dwells not there :
Nor will I plead the virtues of the prince,
Tho' thefe, my lord, were oft your lip's fond theme,
While under covert of yon'arching Tade,

I drank, with greedy ears, his grateful praise.' The speech of Ismena, when the guards take her off, is very picturesque, and expressive of her strong emotions.

Ifm. Think not, Mathufius,
Though black adversity now folds me round,
That aught of anguish for myself can fhake
Thy daughter's mind-No! I could bear it all!
But when we view the pangs of those we love,
The firmest temper shrinks, and even the tear
Of weakness then is virtue-Gracious heaven!
Protect, defend I would, but must not speak-
Ye powers ! who read my thoughts, supply the prayer
I cannot utter, and, whate'er her doom,

At least, in those she loves, preserve Ismena !! Timanthes begs of Demophoon the life of Ilmena with very affecting and forcible eloquence; we owe this speech to the mule of Metastasio. < Timan,

Alas! my father,
I cannot now ebey you-0! if ever
I have deserv'd a parent's tenderness,
If with a borom seam'd with honest scars,
I have return'd a conqueror to your arms,
If e'er my triumphs in the glorious field,
Have drawn the tear of pleasure from your eyes,
Release, forgive Ismena--loft, unhappy,

Sho

« ZurückWeiter »