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mas Fitzgerald, commonly called Silk- murder Walsingham, whose life is en Thomas, son of Gerald, the great saved by Alasco. A plan for an inEarl of Kildare, who was Lord Deputy surrection has been formed, which of Ireland in the reign of Henry VIII. Alasco had at first discouraged, but None of these three dramas have ever when he finds that his countrymen are been acted.
determined to take up arms, in the SIR MARTIN ARCHER SHEE, the late hope of recovering their liberty, he President of the Royal Academy, who thinks it his duty to place himself at died on the 9th of August, 1850, was their head. The insurgents take the born in Dublin in 1769, a year memo. arsenal, and prepare to assault the rable for the birth of many distin castle. Hohendahl is a man of too guished men. The friend of Edmund much courage to shelter bimself within Burke, and the protege of Sir Joshua the walls. He marches out to attack Reynolds, we have no occasion here to the armed peasantry, whom he looks descant on his celebrity as a portrait on with contempt, is defeated, and painter, his pretensions as a poet, killed. Walsingham arrives with rewhich were admitted by Lord Byron,* inforcements, and the insurgents are while mercilessly lashing nearly all his subdued. Alasco is taken prisoner, contemporaries; or his eloquence as and condemned to the scaffold, in an orator, as demonstrated in his an- spite of the entreaves of Walsingham. nual discourses from the presidential Amantha stabs herself. Walsingham chair. We have to speak more imme. enters, with pardon from the king for diately of the tragedy of Alasco, which Alasco, and amnesty for all. Amanestablishes his title to admission in tha joins the hands of her father and the band of Irish dramatists. From her husband, and dies. Walsingham the peculiar circumstances connected is borne off. Alasco kills himself, and with it, the play is entitled to a special falls on the body of Amantha. notice. Alasco was offered, and ac There is merit of a superior order, cepted at Covent Garden, in 1823, both in the construction and writing of when the author was in his fifty-fourth this play, but there is at the same time year — rather a late period of life to much ground for objection to those commence a courtship of the dramatic who judge the drama by apostolic muse--and the treatment which the principles. The double suicide is not votary received did not encourage him to be justified on christian grounds, to repeat his addresses. The principal neither do the laws of tragedy render character was intended for Mr. C. it indispensable. The catastrophe Kemble. The plot may be briefly de- might have been reversed, and the scribed as follows. The scene lies in end wound up happily, without dimiPoland. The principal characters are, nishing the interest or destroying the Alasco, a young Polish nobleman; effect. The burning thirst for stageColonel Walsingham, an Englishman, murder, with wbich Voltaire has so in the Prussian service ; Baron Hohen- justly reproached English taste, bas dabl, Governor of a Polish province; considerably cooled down since he Conrad, foster-brother and friend of wrote, and more than ever within the Alasco; Jerome, the Prior of an Ab- last twenty years. bey; and Amantha, Walsingham's When Alasco was presented in due daughter. The play is written in form to the Lord Chamberlain's office, blank verse. Colonel Walsingham is George Colman had lately been apan ultra-loyalist. He had brought up pointed licenser, and having become Alasco as his son, and anxiously de- tenderly sensitive on points of religion sired to have him united to Amantha; and political discipline, he objected to but at the opening of the play he all insertions of the name of the Deity; strongly suspects that Alasco wavers in and ordered the excision of about his loyalty, and wishes his daughter ninety lines, which bore too strongly to espouse Hohendahl. Alasco avows upon fervent aspirations after liberty, that he is privately married to Aman. together with the usual anathemas tha. Hohendabl employs assassins to against tyrants, with their abettors,
* " And here let Shee and Genius take a place,
-See ExGLISH BARDS AND SCOTCH REVIEWERS.
Those deeper tactics, well contriv'd to work
" All who dare dispute the claims of pride,
Or question the high privilege of oppression."
satellites, and executioners. It is for tunate that the worthy author of Broad Grins was not in place when Knowles's Virginius and William Tell were of. fered, or we should have lost or suffered the mutilation of two of our no. blest modern dramas. Shee, under indignant feelings, but in temperate and respectful terms, remonstrated with the Duke of Montrose (then Lord Chamberlain), by letter, on the decision of his deputy, saying that the omissions he required would render the work as inconsistent in sense as ridiculous in representation. He concluded by asking his Grace to read the play, and judge for himself. His Grace, as might be expected, declined the invitation, supported his official, and replied as follows:
“Grosvenor-square, 19th Feb., 1824. “SIR,_Thinking Mr. Colman a very sufficient judge of his duty, and as I agree in his conclusion (from the account he has given me of the tragedy called Alasco), I do conclude that, at this time, without considerable omissions, the tragedy should not be acted ; and whilst I am persuaded that your intentions are upright, I conceive that it is precisely for this reason (though it may not strike authors), that it has been the wisdom of the Legislature to have an examiner ap. pointed, and power given to the Chamberlain of the household to judge whether certain plays should be acted at all, or not acted at particular times. I do not mean to enter into an argument with you, sir, on the subject; but think that your letter, conceived in polite terms to me, calls upon me to return an answer, showing that your tragedy has been well considered.—I remain, sir, with esteem, your obedient servant,
“MONTROSE. " Martin Archer Shee, Esq., &c."
If such passages as these, uttered in a play by Poles striking for emancipation from the most brutish tyranny that ever enthralled a nation, are to be considered inflammatory, revolutionary, or dangerous, when spoken to a public audience in England - alas for the government and people of our fair country! The thin-skinned licenser imagined a train of gunpowder where none existed. As Lord Grizzle says of Tom Thumb, “ he made the giants first, and then he killed them," and lays himself fairly open to the retort, “qui capit, ille facit.” Had the office existed in the days of good Queen Anne of glorious memory, and Colman been the incumbent, Cato would surely have been interdicted, and Booth would never have received the often.commemorated purse of fifty guineas from Lord Bolingbroke, “ for so ably defending the cause of liberty against a perpetual dictator."
Shee's preface, which accompanies Alasco, extends to fifty-six pages, and is unnecessarily amplified. He defends himself boldly and eloquently, and retorts with sharp words, but at too great length, on the Lord Chamberlain and his deputy. Neither was there any occasion to step out of his way, and to assert broadly and unjustly that Brooke's Gustavus Vasa was made the vehicle of a pointed satire on kings and priests in general; and that Thompson's Edward and Eleonora was equal.
In 1824, Shee published his play, “as excluded from the stage by the au. thority of the Lord Chamberlain.” In this he strained the fact a little, for Alasco might still have been performed, and very probably would have succeeded, minus the proscribed passages ; but the author acted with more spirit than prudence, and withdrew it altogether, rather than submit to what he considered an arbitrary exercise of power. We subjoin two or three sam. ples of the condemned speeches (printed by the author in Italics), that our readers may form their own judgment as to their value and tendency :
ly intended as an instrument of factious hostility against the court and the ministry of the day. He here assumes the office of a judge with no better foundation than idle gossip. The two plays he has named furnished the two most glaring instances of the arbitrary exercise of the Licensing Act which had preceded his own case; but neither of them, according to any reasonable deductions, had in view the object im. puted. Even the loyal and conscientious Johnson, in his “Lives of the Poets," when alluding to the official treatment of these two productions, observes that it is difficult to discover on what grounds they were suppressed. Johnson, it will be remembered, had an intense horror of republicanism, and the spread of democratic principles.
FREDERIC EDWARD JONES, well known and remembered in Dublin as
having been for many years patentee of the Crow-street theatre, is entitled to a passing mention in this record, as author of The Duke of Burgundy, a tragi.comic play; and Tom Jones, a comedy, adapted from Fielding's celebrated novel-the one produced during the last year of his own management, in 1819; the other at Hawkins', street, in 1826, under Mr. W. Abbott. Neither lived beyond three nights, and have never been revived. The first was acted because the author, then an absolute monarch, willed it; the second, because he wanted a benefit, and bis successor felt happy to oblige him. The first was the most ambitious, as being original, but it was at the same time obscure; while the story of the second, as more familiar, enjoyed the advantage of being generally intelli. gible.
LOVE IN CURL-PAPERS; A TALE.-PART I.
There is an old fable-- we would ad. vise none to look it up in Æsop, Pilpay, or Lafontaine-of a worthy autocrat of olden tiine, who being blessed with an inquiring turn of mind, called together the five hundred sages who adorned his realm, and put to them the following poser
“If man be nought but a superior animal, tell me, most learned philosophers, in what particular he differs entirely from all the others ?"
Five hundred right hands proceeded to stroke five hundred long and hoary beards, and five hundred fore-fingers were applied to the thoughtful wrin, kles of five hundred furrowed brows, and for a moment all were deep in thought, while the monarch, delighted at his rivalship of the Sphinx, rubbed his hands in a fever of complacency. At length a hoary septuagenarian made bold to answer
“Oh! mighty Brother of the Sun, and Father of all the Planets ! man
“Oh! sire, man builds houses and maketh bim divers things."
“ Beavers build houses and birds make nests," answered the sovereign, rubbing his hands ferociously.
Thereupon an aged philosopher made bold to speak
“Sire, man hath reason.”
“ And how knowest thou, sirrah !" cried the king, savagely, “ that my pet lap-dog, who whines when I weep, and wags his tail when I laugh, has not as much and more reason than a dotard like thee?"
And he stamped his foot, and swore upon the big diamond in his royal crown, that all should lose their use. less heads if they could not devise an answer.
Thereat the five hundred beards trembled with mortal anxiety, and the five hundred brows were knit in profoundest thought. And the monarch stamped his foot, "one!" and a shud. der shook the infirm forms of all the assembly. Another stamp, “two !" and they all, with one accord, fell on their knees before his irate majesty.
" Spare us!" cried one, as the foot was descending for the third and fatal time. “Spare us, oh, most intimate friend of the divine moon, and first
“So does my pet parrot," replied the monarch, “and so do several asses, Balaam's and yourself among the number. Try again."
Then a pottering old buffer, with a head as white as snow, spoke up
cousin to all the gods, and I will answer your majesty. All animals but man are food for some stronger animal. The king of the forest, when slain by the hunter, becomes a dinner for vultures and jackals ; the blood of the unoffending fly is sucked by the spider, and the noble horse is mangled by wolves. But man — who eateth him?"
"No!" roared the monarch in a voice of thunder; " I feed on the people, and ye, vile sons of dogs, bave till now been feeding on me. More. over, all men are food for worms, to say nothing of ghouls, djions, and vampires. But, by the pose of the Prophet, I will tell you where the difference lies. It is this--that when a man is enraged by a parcel of idiots, who call themselves wise men, he has their heads chopped off with a hatchet, and I'll now prove the case to you practically."
It is scarcely necessary to add, that ere ten minutes had elapsed five hundred aged heads, with five hundred hook noses, and five hundred sweep. ing white beards, were neatly ranged before the throne of the appeased monarch.
It was these words of this bloodthirsty old “ Rooshian " (for Turk, which in my younger days was the comprehensive representative of every species of villany, has now become a term of the fondest endearment), which were running loose in my head, as I lay one spring morning in my bed, at a hotel in the Rue de Rivoli. I was thinking bow true it is that we all feed on one another. I was gloomily meditating on helpless orphans and miteless widows, whose substances had been sucked up by rascals under the wing of the law - jackals and vultures incarnate in the persons of attorneys and solicitors; of spendthrift lords squandering at Hamburg or Baden the sovereigns they had wrung from starving tenants in Kent and Yorkshire; and-being an author myself- of the villas, and carriages, and dinners revelled in by grinding Sosii, and gained by the labour of other men's brains. It was but a poor consolation that we shall all, publishers and authors, lords and labourers, widows and lawyers, be one day food for those worms, which make no distinction of persons.
It was the carnival at Paris, and I
had been leading what is erroneously 'yclept, a life of gaiety. Never was anything more oppressively lugubrious than the sight of the worldliness of the world during that season in the good city, which they call le paradis des femmes, le purgatoire des maris et l'enfer des vieilles filles. My misanthropy had been brought to a climax the night before, by the banquet of a commercial Lucullus, and a soirée of small talk and scandal at Lady Harriet Backbiter's. In short, I felt as morbid as Rosseau at the Hermitage, or Byron on the Lisbon packet, and as disgusted with life, and suicidal in feelings, as le grand Vatel, when the dinner-bell rang before the turbot had arrived.
I looked out upon the blue sky, " There, at least," I muttered, "is beauty without paint ;” and I thought of the Comtesse de B- , in the hands of her inaid and coiffeur. I saw the green tops of the trees in the Tuileries gardens," They, at least, require no padding;" and again my thoughts turned to the old Duke of S , and his confidential tailor. I could bear it no longer, I would get up and throw myself into the arms of Nature.
I rang in vain for my hot water. What! a respectable waiter up before eight - impossible! I sacrificed my chin to my misanthropy, dressed and strolled out.
Paris has been described as often as it bas been denounced ; but, thanks to excursion - trains and offensive alliances, every one begins to know it too well for scribbling travellers any longer to pay their expenses by describing its charms. We have bad Paris at noon, Paris in the afternoon, Paris in the evening, and Paris at night, till we know him as well as white-armed Helen could have known his namesake. But we have never heard of Paris in the morning, un. dressed, unshaven, uncurled, and uncomfortable, for the simple reason that no one has ever been up early enough to see him in that condition. When I speak of morning I mean, of course, the natural morning, which begins with sunrise, for, in point of fact, Paris and London rejoice in many mornings. The morning of those people who lounge in clubs and drive in the Bois-de-Boulogne, begins at mid-day, and, we presume, lasts till
six, since a “morning call ” is still pagne was but water to me, and immade at that hour. The morning of perial tokay mere small-beer-I, whom the markets begins at midnight, when, the wiles and smiles of all the coryphées as we don our stiff white neckcloth for at the grand opera could not have some grand festivity, we may hear the aroused from insensibility-I, in short, heavy rumble of those country carts for whom nothing on earth had any which supply the city tables with every longer a charm, save, perhaps, Blind luxury of the garden and hothouse, Hookey for “ ponies," or a scandalous from camelias to cabbages. Then, libel on one's best friend - my spirits again, in the Quartier St. Antoine rose from “dull and murky” to is fair morning begins at five; in the Quar- weather” at once, and I walked on tier St. Honoré, at ten o'clock; and with a bounding step, drinking in thus the otherwise short-lived Aurora the novel pleasure of animal exhilirais civilised into two-thirds of the city's tion. day. The elderly gentleman who M ine was not the only step that views his own portrait, taken when pressed lightly on the flags. Before yet in long-clothes, and smiles at its me trod a figure which at any other naive simplicity, where now is the moment would have passed unnoticed. dignified expression of a pater familias, All I saw was the graceful form of a or the flaxen and silky locks on a young woman, covered with an old crown that has now yielded to the shawl of that speckled pattern which hyacinthan charms of an invisible answers in France to our coarse whithead of hair,” could not be more as- tle. The bonnet was of black straw, tonished at the metamorphosis, than with a single neat but not over-fresh the idler of the Champs Elysees at ribbon passed across it, and the whole the appearance of Paris before its costume was that of some respectable morning toilette. The sturdy gens workwoman. However, whether it d'armes, and the hard-handed work were my own unusual good temper, man, whistling as he goes, are the or a certain elegance beneath the only treaders of a trottoir which we humble garb, I felt an anxiety to see are accustomed to see covered by the features concealed from me, and rustling silks or sleek patent-leathers followed the shawl and bonnet, as in The early cart has not yet removed my younger days I had curiously purthose miscellaneous heaps of refuse sued a cashmere and flounces, often to which form the world of some groping be disappointed by the face of a chiffonnier, whose constant dream is negress or the wrinkles of fifty authe discovery of some lost diamond, tumns. I soon perceived that the inor mislaid bank-note, amid the rub. cognita was not unaccompanied. A bish. The smoke of a million hearths little boy of four years old, with a has not yet leadened the pure blue of head of flaxen curls, and a face beamheaven, nor filled the air with that ing with the innocence of childhood, heavy and healthless odour which forran on before her, and, as she turned ever stamps the climate of a city. The down another street, I could hear a gay shops are still closed, and all but voice of ringing music calling to the the poor and the hardworking are still little truant - " Komm her, Kärlslumbering away the best hours of the cben !" day. There is a melancholy beauty She was, then, a German ; one, per. about this unenjoyed freshness, this haps, of those many industrious Teu. unheeded sunshine of the day's child. tons who undergo a voluntary exile hood, which is an excellent cure for from their “Vaterland,” attracted by dyspeptic morbidness, as I found it; by the higher wages of a Paris manu. and morning in a city where man's factory. This was a disappointment; works are, and man himself is not, for two seasons passed at Berlin and visible, if less beautiful, is scarcely less Dresden, and three summers wasted at interesting, than day dawning on the Hamburg and Baden, bad inspired me Righi or the Pyramids. For my part, with a sincere aversion to the heavy I felt like a demon set down in the and coarse character of those sour. middle of Paradise; I blushed at my kraut philosophers. Still, the “ blueown unworthiness of such pure enjoy- eyed daughters of the Rhine" found ment as a fresh, unladen breeze, and favour in Byron's eyes, and I followed the sun's smiles through an unpolluted her in silence. atmosphere. I, so blazé, that cham She turned into the Marché St.