תמונות בעמוד
PDF
ePub

Dangle. Very true, egad-sho'he's my friend.

Sneer. Then his affected contempt of all newspaper Itrictures ; tho', at the same time, he is the forest man alive, and Drinks like scorch'd parchment from the fiery ordeal of true criticism: yet he is so cavetous of popularity, that he had rather be abused than not mea. tioned at all.

Dangle. There's no denying it-tho' he is my friend.

Sneer. You have read the tragedy he has just finished, hav'n's you?

Dangle. O yes; he sent it to me yesterday.
Sneer. Weil, and you think it execrable, don't you?

Dangle. Why between ourselves, egad I must own-tho' he's my
friend--that it is one of the moit- He's here [ Aside]-finished and
most admirable perform
(Sir Freiful without.) Mr. Sneer with him did you say?

Enter Sir Fresful. Ah, my dear friend!-Egad, we were just speaking of your tragedy. -Admirable, Sir Fretful, admirable!

Sneer. You never did any thing beyond it, Sir Fretful-never ia your life.

Sir Fretful. You make me extremely happy;--for without a compliment, my dear Sneer, there isn't a man in the world whose judg. ment I value as I do yours.-And Mr. Dangle's.

Mrs. Dangle. They are only laughing at you, Sir Fretful; for it was but just now that ---

· Dangle. Mrs. Dangle!-- Ah, Sir Fretful, you know Mrs. Dangle. -My friend Sneer was rallying just now-He knows how the admires you, and

Sir Fretful. O Lord, I am sure Mr. Sneer has more taste and fincerity than to A damn'd double-faced fellow!

(Aside, Dangle. Yes, yes,-Sneer will jeft-but a better humour'd• Sir Fretful. O, I know

Dangle. He has a ready turn for ridicule-his wit costs him no. thing. Sir Fretful. No, egad—or I should wonder how he came by it.

[Afde. Mrs. Dangle. Because his jest is always at the expence of his friend.

Dangle. But, Sir Fretful, have you sent your play to the managers yet!--or can I be of any service to you?

Sir Fretful. No, no, I thank you; I believe the piece had sufficient recommendation with it.-I thank you tho'.--I sent it to the manager of Covent-GARDEN THEATRE this morning.

Sneer. I should have thought now, that it might have been caft (as the actors call it) better at Drury-Lane.

Sir Fretful. O lud! no-never send a play there while I liveharkee! [Whispers Sneer.]

Sneer. Writes himself!--I know he does

Sir Fretful. I say nothing- take away from no man's merit am hurt at no man's good fortune-I say nothing.-But this I will say --through all my knowledge of life, I have observ'd--that there is not a pallion so Itrongly rooted in the human heart as envy!

Snier.

[merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors]

16 Sneer. I believe you have reason for what you say, indeed. "

Sir Fretful. Besides, I can tell you it is not always so afe to leave a play in the hands of those who write chemselves.

Sneer. What, they may steal from them, hey, my dear Plagiary?

Sir Fretful. Steal!.to be sure they may; and, egad, serve your best thoughts as syphies do stolen children, disfigure chem io make 'em pass tor their own.

Sner. But your present work is a sacrifice to Melpomene, and He, you know, never –

. Sir Fretful. That's no fecurity.--A dex’trous plagiarist may do any thing. Why, Sir, for ought I know, he might take out some of the best things in my tragedy, and put them into his own comedy.

Sneer. That might be done, I dare be sworn.

o Sir Fretful. And then, if such a person gives you the least hint or afistance, he is devilih ape to take che merit of the whole

Dangle If it succeeds.

Sir Fretful, Aye- but wi h regard to this piece, I think I can hit that gentleman, for I can safely swear he never read it.

Sneer. I'll tell you how you may hurt him more
Sir Fretful. How?-
Smeer. Swear he wrote it.

Sir Fretful. Plague on't now, Sneer, I shall take it ill.--I believe you want to cake away my character as an author!

' Sneer. Then I am sure you ought to be very much obligd to me. • Sir Fretful. Hey!-Sir!Dangle O you know, he never means what he says. Sir Fretful. Sincerely then-you do like the piece? Sneer. Worderfully!

Sir Fretful. But come now, there must be something that you think might be mended, hey?- Mr. Dang'e, has nothing truck you?

Dangle. Why faith, it is but an ungracious thing for the inolt

part to

Sir Fretful, — With most authors it is just fo indeed; they are in general Itrangely tenacious!- But, for my part, I am never so well pleased as when a judicious critic points out any defect to me; for what is the purpose of thewing a work to a friend, if you don't mean to profit by his opinion ?

Sneer. Very true.- Why then, tho? I seriously admire the piece upon the whole, yet there is one small objection; which, if you'll give me leave, I'll mention

Sir Fretful. Sir, you can't oblige me more. • Sneer. I think it wants incident. Sir Fretful, Good God !--you surprize me!-wants incident! ' Sneer. Yes; I own Iibink che incidents are too few.

Sir Fretful. Good God! Believe me, Mr, Sneer, there is no per. son for who e judgment I have a more impiivit deference,-Buc I prie teit to you, Mr. Ineer, I am only apprehensive that the incidents are too crowded. - My dear Dangle, how does it Arike you!

Dangle. Really I can't agree with my friend Saecr. I think the plot quite sutticient; and the four first acis by many degrees the best I ever read or law in my life. If I might venture to suggest any thing, it is that the interest ra:her falls off in the fifth. Rsv. O. 1781.

Sir Sir Fretful. - Rises; I believe you mean, Sir. • Dangle. No; I don't upon my word.

Sir Fretful. Yes, yes, you do upon my soul-it certainly don't fall off, I assure you-No, no, it don't fall off. .

Dangle. Now, Mrs. Dangle, didn't you say it struck you in the fame light?

Mrs. Dangle. No, indeed, I did no:- I did not see a fault in any part of the play from the beginning to the end,

Sir Fretful. Upon my fout the women are the best judges after all!

Mrs. Dangle. Or if I made any objection, I am fure it was to nothing in the piece ; but that I was afraid it was, on the whole, a little too long.

Sir Fretful. Pray, Madam, do you speak as to duration of time; or do you mean that the story is tediously spun out?

Mrs. Dangle. O Lud! no.-I speak only with reference to the usual length of acting plays.

.6 Sir Fretful. Then I am very happy-very happy indeed-because the play is a short play, a remarkably short play :-I should not venture to differ with a lady on a point of talte ; but on these occafions, the watch, you know, is the critic.

Mrs. Dangle. Then, I suppose, it must have been Mr. Dangle's drawling manner of reading it to me.

Sir Fretful. O, if Mr. Dangle read it! that's quite another affair !- But I assure you, Mrs. Dangle, the first evening you can spare me three hours and an half, I'll undertake to read you the whole from beginning to end, with the Prologue and Epilogue, and allow time for the music between the acis.

Mrs. Dangle. I hope to see it on the stage next.

Dangle. Well, Sir Fretful, I wish you may be able to get rid as easily of the news-paper criticisms as you do of ours.

Sir Fretful. The News- PAPERS !-Sir, they are the most vil. lainous-licentious-abominable, infernal - Not ihat I ever read them-No-I make it a rule never to look into a news-paper. .

Dangle. You are quite righe--for it certainly must hurt an author of delicate feelings to see ihe liberties they take.

Sir Fretful. No-quite the contrary ;-their abuse is, in fact, the best panegyric-I like it of all ihings.--An author's reputation is only in danger from their support.

Sneer. Why that's true and that attack now on you the other day

Sir Fretful. What? where?

Dangle. Aye, you mean in a paper of Thursday; it was completely ill-natur'd to be sure.

Sir Fretful. O, so much the better.-Ha! ha! ha!-- I wou'dn't have it otherwise.

· Dangle. Certainly it is only to be laugh`d at; for

Sir Fretful. -You don't happen to recollect what the fellow said, do you?

Sneer. Pray, Dangle-Sir Fretful seems a little anxious

Sir Fretful. -O lud, no!-anxious,--00t I, - not the least.-I -But one may as well hear you know. ! Dangle, Sneer, do you recollect? -Make out something. (Afidi,

Sneste

Sreer. I will, (to Dangle.] — Yes, yes, I remember pero fectly.

Sir Fretful. Well, and pray now—Not that it fignifies - what mighe the gentleman say?

i Sneer. Why, he roundly asserts that you have not the slightest invention, or original genius whatever; tho' you are the greatest fra. ducer of all other authors living.

Sir Fritful. Ha! ha! ha! very good!

Sneer. That as to COMEDY, you have not one idea of your own, he believes, even in your common place-book-where stray jokes, and pilfered witricisms are kept with as much method as the ledger of the loss and stoLEN-Office.

Sir Fretful, -- Ha! ha! ha!-very pleasant!

Sneer. Nay, that you are so unlucky as not to have the skill even to fieal with taite.-But that you glean from the refuse of obscure voJumes, where more judicious plagiarists have been before you; so that the body of your work is a composition of dregs and sediments-like a bad tavern's worst wine.

Sir Fretful. Ha! ha! Sneer, in your more serious efforts, he says, your bombast would be less intolerable, if the thoughts were ever suited to the expression ; but the homeliness of the sentiment ftares thro' the fantastic encumbrance of its fine language, like a clown in one of the new uniforms! Sir Fretful. Ha! ha!

Sneer. That your occasional tropes and flowers suit the general coarsenes of your stile, as tambour sprigs would a ground of linsey. wolsey; while your imitations of Shakspeare resemble the mimicry of Falstaff's Page, and are about as near the standard of the original.

Sir Fretful. Ha!

Sneer. In short, that even the finest passages you steal are of no service to you; for the poverty of your own language prevents their affimilating; so that they lie on the surface like lumps of marl on a barren moor, encumbering what it is not in their power to fertilize!

Sir Fretful. (After great agitation.) -Now another person would be vex'd at this.'

Sneer. Oh! but I wou'dn't have told you, only to divert you.

Sir Freiful. I know it-I om diverted, -Ha! ha! ha! -not the least invention !-Ha! ha! ha! very good!—very good!

! Sneer. Yes-no genius! Ha! ha! ha!

Dangle. A severe rogue! Ha! ha! ha! But you are quite right, Sir Fretful, never to read such nonsense.

Sir Fretful. To be sure—for if there is any thing to one's praise, it is a foolish vanity to be gratified at it, and if it is abuse, why one is always sure to hear of it from one damn'd good-nacur'd friend or another!

Enter Servant. Serv. Sir, there is an Italian gentleman, with a French inter. preter, and three young ladies, and a dozen musicians, who say they are sent by LADY RONDEAU and Mrs. Fuge.

Dangle. Gadso! they come by appointment. Dear Mrs. Dangle do let them know I'll see them dire&ly. U 2

• Mrs.

Mrs. Dangle. You know, Mr. Dangle, I shan't underland a word they say..

Dangle. But you hear there's an interpreter.

Mrs. Dangle. Well, I'll try to endure their complaisance till yod come.

. Exit. Serv. And Mr. Puff, Sir, has sent word that the last rehearsal is to be this morning, and that he'll call on you presently.

Dangle. That's true-I Mall certainly be at home. [Exit Servant.] Now, Sir Fretful, if you have a mind to have justice done you in the way of answer-Egad, Mr. Puff's your man.

Sir Fretful. Pshaw! Sir, why hould I wish to have it answered, when I tell you I am pleased at it?

Dangle. True, I had forgot that. But I hope you are not fretted at what Mr. Sneer

Sir Fretful. –Zounds ? no, Mr. Dangle, don't I tell you these things never fret rne in the least. Dangle. Nay, I only thought-

Sir Fretful.' --And let me tell you, Mr. Dangle, 'tis damn'd af. fronting in you to suppose that I am hurt, when I tell you I am not.

Sneer. But why so warm, Sir Fretful ?

Sir Fretful, Gádlife! Mr. Sneer, you are as absurd as Dangle ; how often must I repeat it to you, that nothing can vex me but your fuppoäng it poflible for me to mind the damn'd nonsense you have been repeating to me!-and let me tell you, if you continue to be. Jieve this, you must mean to insult me, gentlemen--and then your disrespect will affect me no more than the news-paper criticisms-and Ihall treat is with exally the same calm indifference and philosothis contempt--and to your servant.

Sncer. Ha! ha! ha! Poor Sir Fretful! Now will he go and vent his philosophy in anor yinous abuse of all modern critics and au: hors -But, Dangle, you must get your friend Purt to take me to the re. hearsal of his tragedy.

Dangle. I'll anfwer for’t, he'll thank you for defiring it. But come and help me to judge of chis musical family; they are recommended by people of consequence, I assure you.

Smeer. I am at your disparai the whole morning-but I thought you had been a decided critic in unic, as well as in liserature ?

Dangle. So I am- bucl have a bad es.-Efaiih, Sneer, cho', I am afraid we were a little too severe on cir Fretful-tho' he is my frierd.

Sneer. Why 'is certain, that unneceffarily to mortify the vanity of any wriier, is a cruelty which mere dulness never can deserve ; bus where a base and personal malignity usurps the place of fiterary emu. lation, the aggreffor deserves neither quarter nor pity.

Dargle. That's true egad !--sho'he's my friend.'

This dramatic piece is uhered in by a well-turned Dedication to Mrs. Greville, and a well-turned Prologue, by the Honourable Richard Fitzpatrick. We do not quite comprehend, why this drama is entitled ?he Critic.

[Exit.

ART.

« הקודםהמשך »