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soul is represented on the canvas, was a lawless nobleman, who, fortified in his own castle, became the terror and abhorrence of the neighbourhood. As neither the life of man, nor the honour of woman, was safe from the violence of his passions, none willingly dwelt upon his lands, or approached the gate of the castle. It chanced, however, that two Franciscan friars, having lost the way in a stormy night, applied for shelter at the wicked nobleman's gate, where they met with nothing but insult and scorn. It was well for them that the fame of Saint Francis filled the world at that time. The holy saint, with the assistance of Saint Paul, had lately cut the throat of an Italian bishop, who had resisted the establishment of the Franciscans in his diocese.* The fear of a similar punishment abated the fierceness of the nobleman, and he ordered his servants to give the friars some clean straw for a bed, and a couple of eggs for their supper. Having given this explanation, the painter trusts to the appropriate language of his art, and takes up the story immediately after the death of the noble sinner. Michael the archangel—who by a traditional belief, universal in Spain, and probably common to all Catholic countries, is considered to have the charge of weighing departed souls with their good works, against the sins they have committed—is represented with a large pair of scales in his hand. Several angels, in a group, stand near him, and a crowd of devils are watching, at a respectful distance, the result of the trial. The newly-departed soul, in the puny shape of a sickly boy, has been placed, naked, in one scale, while the opposite groans under a monstrous heap of swords, daggers, poisoned bowls, love-letters, and the portraits of females who had been the victims of his fierce desires. It is evident that this ponderous mass would have greatly outweighed the slight and nearly transparent form which was to oppose its pressure, had not Saint Francis, whose figure stands prominent in the painting, assisted the distressed soul by slipping a pair of eggs and a bundle of straw into its own side of the balance. Upon this seasonable addition, the instruments and emblems of guilt are seen to fly up and kick the beam. It appears from this that the Spanish painter agrees with Milton in the system of weighing Fate; and that, since the days of Homer and Virgil, superior weight is become the sign of victory from being that of defeat-quo vergat pondere lethum.
• This curious scene is the subject of another picture in the cloisters of Saint Francis, at Seville. The bishop is seen in his bed, where Saint Francis has neatly severed the head from the body with Saint Paul's sword, which he had borrowed for this pious purpose. As the good friars might have been suspected of having a hand in this miracle, the saint performed an additional wonder. The figures of Saint Paul and Saint Francis stood side by side in a painted glass window of the principal convent of the order. The apostle had a sword in his hand, while his companion was weaponless. To the great surprise of the fathers, it was observed, one morning, that Saint Paul had given away the sword to his friend. The death of the bishop, which happened that very night, explained the wonder, and taught the world what those might expect who thwarted the plans of heaven in the establishment of the Franciscans.
MAN-VERSIFIED FROM AN APOLOGUE BY DR. SHERIDAN.
Affliction one day, as she hark'd to the roar
Of the stormy and struggling billow,
With the branch of a weeping willow.
As he roam'd on the verge of the ocean,
Endued it with life and motion.
So stamp'd with each parent's impression,
Each claiming the right of possession.
I alone am his cause of creation :-
I gave him, said Jove, animation.
After hearing each claimant's petition,
And thus settled his fate's disposition.
Of life cease to harass and goad it;
And his spirit to Jove, who bestow'd it.
THE NEW PLAY.
With all his imperfections on his head!'”—GARRICK. " It will certainly be damned,” said I, peeping, with třemulous anxiety, through the curtain of a side box, and surveying the lengthening visages of several grave elderly gentlemen, seated in formidable array, and most significantly shrugging up their shoulders, about the fifth row from the orchestra.« Confound that gaping booby in the stage-box !" uttered I, in an agony of despair,—“gaping is catching, you rascal !- Another yawn, and I am certainly undone.” But thanks to the gods above! this expectant forerunner of my irretrievable ruin was succeeded by the deafening, though welcome shouts of “over with him!" " kick him out !" “ turn him over!" proceeding from the stentorian lungs of the thunder-cloud gods, at the summit of Mount rascal. Peal on peal re-echoed above, and, to my inconceivable delight, the apparent frown of merciless criticism, and the native yawn of a country clown, were dissipated by the rude gust of an overwhelming clamour.
After a delightful interlude of five minutes' whistling and screaming, tranquillity was at length restored, and, with fear and trembling, I betook myself to my peep-hole, watching, like a mouse from his hiding-place, with anxious and scrutinizing eye, the hostile movements of the great grimalkin Criticism.
No gentle reader's heart ever palpitated with the anxiety that perturbed my half-distracted brain, when my ear caught, on turning round to wipe away the distillations with which hope and fear had flooded my cheek, the whispering sound of a lurking hiss. It vibrated to my very soul, and the chill of horror thrilled my whole frame. Half breathless, and my knees trembling beneath me, I awaited the threatening thunders of the approaching storm; but the hiss died away harmlessly, and, to my unspeakable delight, the thunder of public approbation started me from my reverie, and hope animated the declining warmth of my drooping heart, which crowned the conclusion of the first act.
Now! thought I, am I about to become immortalized-to be pointed at, as the favourite poet of the day—the wonder and admiration of thousands—the topic of general conversationthe “ sine qua non” of the beau monde in short! the enviable author of the sweet, charming, delightful “ new play.” Elated with these ideas, and puffed up in my own conceit,” I speedily resumed my post of observation, rejoiced beyond measure with the success that attended the first representation of the first act of my first attempt at theatricals.
At length! the mighty judge was seated, and the murmuring hum of busy voices was soon hushed in the calm quietude of listening anxiety, awaiting, on “ tip-toe expectation,” the commencement of the second act. Soon the tinkling harbinger "gave note of dreadful preparation,” and all was “still as night.” But scarce had the drop-scene risen, when the most enthusiastic greetings welcomed the entrance of a favourite actor, and relieved me for the moment, to prepare for yet more trying scenes of " doubts and hopes.” From right to left I watched-then listened-and then watched again, eager to catch the faintest whisper of the public voice.
For two scenes, all went on “smooth as a flowing tide,” save here and there a temporary interruption of “ Pray, Ma'am, be so kind as to have the goodness to take off that there bonnet of yours.”—“La Pa! I vish you'd shove off that there gentleman's hat,” with various other fretful ejaculations, humorous enough in the abstract, but distressingly fidgeting to an agitated author.
At last the lightning of a bright conception fired the audience. Shouts of “ Bravo! bravo !" simultaneously burst forth from pit, boxes, and gallery. And “ Bravo! my boy!". reiterated an impertinent, rushing into my box, and saluting me with a slap on the shoulder, that nearly felled me to the ground, exclaiming, “ By the genius of Shakspeare, Hal, we'll carry it through bravely;-half a dozen friends in every box in the house, slips and all,-five hundred in the pit,--and a roaring thousand in the galleries;”-adding a damme—a devilish glad, to see ye-and a similar salute at parting—this brainless fuc si. mile of a milliner's band-box, was off in the skip of a grasshopper; leaving me wonder-struck at the consummate effrontery of one who was, to me, a perfect stranger. Recovering from my fit of amazement, yet certainly much roused by such an unceremonious greeting, I shook my feathers ---took another pinch of snuff,-rubbed my hands, and hugged myself with the idea of pocketing the hard-earned profits of my literary labours. For authorship is, at best, but a laborious sort of profession, a name without a trade.
I hear a sound that chills my blood !" The ghosts of Richard's victims were not more unwelcome than were the stifled symptoms of disapprobation which grated on my ear. “ This passage must certainly come out,” said I, ploughing a long black line of pencil-mark through half a page of self-imagined beautiful soliloquy. “There ! 'tis done, I may be yet immortalized," continued I, sorrowfully surveying the havoc I had made.“ But n'importe-Nil desperandum, must be my motto.” Shouts of “ Bravo! bravo !” succeeded to this momentary inquietude, which was amply compensated for, by the soothing voice of the audience, whose plaudits closed the last scene of the second act, and buoyed me up, in the hope of success, with “ trials yet to come.”
What frequenter of a London theatre is there, who, after the close of a long act, has not felt benefited by the comforts of sedentary relaxation; either by stretching his limbs, trumpeting his nasal organs, or yawning out a responsive gape of drowsy indulgence? And how many little masters and misses—aye! and grown people too, are there, who have unintentionally incurred the petulant displeasure of Miss Deborah Spotless on the one side, or Mr. Spick and Span on the other, by sucking the grateful juice of a well-squeezed orange ? Even country Nan and Sue must have their “ fidgetings and gigglings,” straining their beauteous eyes upon the start” to devour with all their might the novel spectacle of a London theatre. Critics, too, can “smooth their wrinkled fronts,” and sometimes smile a ray of hope to an author in a side-box, who now, with them, resumes in eager haste his seat, to wait “ the coming storm."
Never did the creative brain of authorship teem with such pleasing dreams, as the ignis fatuus visions which danced before me in perspective playfulness, previous to the commencement of the last act. At one time methought the labours of my youthful pen were rummaged from the dusty confines of a cornice shelf, put into “apple-pie order," habited in the modern apparel of double-gilt morocco, or russia, and honoured with a conspicuous station, “'mid bards of old, immortal sons of praise.” Now I fancied myself Sir Oracle of a Sunday conversazione, receiving the homage of a fluttering host of fashionable literati, at the shrine of their prosperous saint. At another time methought I occupied a distinguished station in the Poet's corner, with a hic jacet encomiastic inscription, blazing, in highly varnished black letters, the merits of departed genius. Then I thought on when the prompter's bell awoke me from my dream.
This, said I exultingly, will be the last trial I shall undergo. “ Mind actors,” said I, in the joy of my heart,“ an author expects every actor to do his duty:” that well done, the victory is ours. “ Truce with your vanities,” said a listening critic.
Public opinion !” “ Deuce take public opinion,” faltered on my lips. * But,” rejoined I, cooling with icy celerity,“ public opinion is here lord chief justice, or commander-in-chief, and I am but a poor, ragged, half-starved, raw recruit, training under the nimble-wristed round rattan flourish of a drill-serjeant, whose will is law.” “ Yes,” at the same time pressing down my book upon the cushion, and preparing the blunted point of my pencil for another coup de main," it is so, and by that law I am willing to be judged--so now for the last act.” How smilingly the critics look to-night, thought I. “ Poor Ned's piece was damned last night-lost all his time, and" Here a most tremendous uproar commenced between the boxes and pit; each contending with stubborn perseverance the merits of a contested point. Hisses and shouts of bravo raged with contending equality; whilst I, pale and trembling, would gladly have conceded the disputed point, to save the piece. But who shall decide when doctors disagree?” So the wind blew, and the sea roared, and my play was buffeted about, at the mercy of contending partisans,
“ And with the sea, rose mountains high,
Then dipp'd again as low-as hell's from heaven." At length Mr. Manager came forward, amid loud cries of off-off-hear-hear-bravo-bravo—and went through the appeasing elocutives of dumb show. At last a hearing was obtained, and Mr. Manager addressed the audience by “ Ladies and gentlemen, your will is law. If it is your pleasure that the piece be withdrawn, we shall feel it incumbent on us to comply.” Shouts of no-go on-go on, at length became almost unanimous, and the play proceeded to the delight of some and the grumbling of others, and was given out for repetition on the following evening, by which time I resolved within myself to curtail the last act one-third, a resolution that fortunately saved the piece, set me upon the pinnacle of popularity, filled my pocket, immortalized my name, realized my hopes, and paved a way for the foundation of another new play, to be written for the forthcoming season.
W. D, St. C. VOL. II. No. 7.-1821.