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the Scornful Lady—the Editors of the B. D. say that it is taken from the Elder Brother of Beaumont and Fletcher-a more gross and unpardonable mistake never issued from the
press. Muses in Mourning 1760 — the Editors of the B. D. say—“this piece is a burlesque on Operas « and Pantomimes, under the idea of a lamentation “ made by the Tragic and Comic Muse” — the Muses in Mourning is a short Opera—there is no burlesque on Operas or Pantomimes-nor does the Tragic or Comic Muse speak a syllable—the Genji of Italy-Spain — France — Holland and England contend for superiority of wit-Apollo decides in favour of the Genius of England.
The B. D., after all that can be said against it, is so useful a work, that it ought never to be off the table of a person who is fond of theatrical information-but in order to make the B. D. correct and complete, it would be necessary for the next Editor, to read numberless plays, of which the former Editors have only read the titlepage, or servilely copied a prior account—there seems good reason to suspect, that some of the best articles in the B. D. were not written either by Baker or Jones, but bor. rowed from some other persons.
MISS JOANNA BAILLIE.
Miss Baillie published, at different times, 4 vols. of plays-her object was to delineate the stronger passions of the mind in a series of Dramas.
Two things are requisite to make a good dramatic poet-genius and a knowledge of the stage.
“ Alterius sic “ Altera poscit opem res et conjurat amice.” Hor.
Miss Baillie possessed in a very high degree the first and more essential of these qualificationsshe was very deficient in the second—the consequence has been, that she has presented to the public much fine poetry in a dramatic shape, without having written one single play which is well calculated for representation—as she wished her plays to have been acted, she should have frequented the theatre herself, or have consulted some person who was conversant with the stage-Shakspeare's profession was of great service to him as a dramatic writer
still less will a perfect knowledge of stage effect, and the artifices by which applause may be gained, do without genius—some persons of this last description have written successful pieces, but they have seldom written pieces which deserved to succeed.
The 5th edition of this volume was published in 1806-according to the B. D. the first edition came out in 1798.
1. Basil—the passion depicted in this play is Love -Basil is a General in the service of the Emperour Charles the 5th — he arrives at Mantua with his troops--at the opening of the play, his sole object seems to be, to distinguish himself in his profession
- he sees Victoria, the Duke's daughter, in a procession—and falls in love with her—she falls in love with him, but does not exactly avow her passionshe prevails on him to defer his march for a day or two-the battle of Pavia takes place— Basil, in con. sequence of this delay, is not present at it—the Commander in chief of the Imperial forces sends him word, that he may march his tardy troops into distant quarters—Basil kills himself— Victoria throws herself on the dead body in despair—this is an interesting T., but there is too much said and too little done—some of the scenes might be omitted, or shortened to advantage--Geoffry, an old soldier, who has been very much maimed in the wars, is a good character, but he does not in the slightest degree contribute to the conduct of the plot-Basil, in the last scene of the 4th act, reminds one of Penius in Bonduca.
2. The Tryal — Love is the subject of this C.Agnes and Mariane are the nieces of Withringtonthe former is an heiress, the latter is dependent on her uncle—the Ladies change characters, and are
treated accordingly by several of the D. P.--Harwood falls in love with Agnes, not knowing that she is really the heiress--she pretends to be ill-tempered and expensive_Harwood's love for her makes him overlook these faults-in the last scene she puts him to a severe Trial-a letter is delivered into his hands, in which Agnes pretends to have been guilty of malicious falsehoods-Harwood is so affected that he faints - on his recovery he tells Agnes that they must part for ever-an explanation takes place, and every thing is set to rights - this is a moderate play—Sir Loftus Prettyman is a good character-in the 4th act Harwood makes his exit from his lodgings at Bath-he is instantly discovered at Withrington's house in the environs of Bath-in the 5th act Agnes, &c. exeunt from Withrington's house-they instantly re-enter at Bath-these absurdities are disgusting.
3. De Monfort—the subject of this T. is Hatred -see D. L. April 29 1800.
The 3d edition of this volume was printed in 1806 - the 1st seems to have come out in 1802.
4. The Election - Baltimore is of an ancient family, but decayed estate-Freeman is a clothier who has acquired a very large fortune by his own industry-he settles in Baltimore's neighbourhood
-purchases a considerable part of the land which belonged to Baltimore's ancestors-and unintentionally annoys Baltimore in so many ways that Baltimore conceives a most violent hatred to him—they are both candidates for the borough of Westown— in the 4th act Freeman falls into Baltimore's pond -this is a bad incident, as it is not at all accounted for-Baltimore saves Freeman's life - Freeman is grateful--but this does not abate Baltimore's animosity-at the conclusion, Baltimore and Freeman turn out to be brothers by the father's side-and a reconciliation takes place-Miss Baillie's object in this C. was to represent Hatred-in this she has been completely successful-Baltimore and Freeman are very good characters, and well contrasted-the other parts of the play have not much to recommend them - and the resemblance between it and the Nabob seems too great to have been accidentalMiss Baillie has been guilty of her usual fault-in the 3d scene of the 5th act one attorney says to another—“ Have not you and I
between them “ with at least half a dozen messages ? ” —this is utterly impossible under the existing circumstances ---at p. 34 Mrs. Freeman says_“If there should be “ no other alternative" there can be but one alternative.
The Election was turned into an Opera (as the bill says) with the approbation of Miss Baillie-it was acted at the English Opera House in the Strand for the 3d time on June 10th 1817-Baltimore= H. Johnston : Freeman = Bartley: Charles Baltimore = Horn: Truebridge=T. Short: Peter = Chatterley: Servet = Wilkinson : Mrs. Baltimore=Mrs. Chatterley : Mrs. Freeman = Mrs. Grove: Charlotte Freeman=Miss Kelly :-Bartley looked and acted Freeman particularly well.
5 and 6. Ethwald-Ambition is the subject of