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A reader must be acquainted with O'Keeffe on the stage, to admire him in the closet. Yet he is ena titled 10 more praise, in being the original author of a certain species of drama, made up of whim and frolic, than numberless retailers of wit and sentiment with whom that class of readers are charmed; who are not in the habit of detecting plagiarism.
From Operas, since the Beggars' Opera, little has been required by the town except music and broad humour. The first delights the elegant, the second the inelegant part of an audience; by which means all parties are gratified.
Had O'Keeffe written less, his reputation would have stood higher with the public; and so would that of many an author besides himself: but when a man makes writing his only profession-industry, and prudent forecast for the morrow, will often stimulate him to produce, with heavy heart, that composition which his own judgment condemns. Yet is he compelled to bear the critic's censure, as one whom vanity has in. cited to send forth crude thoughts with his entire good will, and perfect security as to the high value they will have with the world.
Let it be known to the world that more than half the authors who come before them thus apparently bold, and self-approved, are perhaps sinking under the shame of their puerile works, and discerning in them more faults, from closer attention and laudable timidity, than the most severe of their censurers can point out.
These observations might be some apology for this Opera, if it required any. But it has pleased so well in representation, that its deserts as an exhibition are acknowledged; and if in the reading there should appear something of too much intricacy in the plot, cr of improbability in the events, the author must be supposed to have seen those faults himself; though want of time, or, most likely, greater reliance upon the power of music than upon his own labour, impelled him gladly to spare
one, in reverence to the other. The songs have great comic effect on the stage; particularly those by some of the male characters : and the mistakes which arise from the impositions of Spado are highly risible.
As the reader, to form a just judgment on Castle of Andalusia,” should see it acted; so the auditor, to be equally just, must read it.