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the lower scenes. Both, especially the former, retain deservedly a high rank among our acting plays. But the glory of the British stage is to be found in the writings of an author “ lost but too soon in yonder house ." Without pretending to say whether the Rivals and the School for Scandal are to be considered as genteel comedies in the strictest sense of the word, they display that nice and delicate taste which seizes the manners as they rise and disappear, combined with the broader and more laughable delineation of coinic character. The wit of the author, though its flashes are as bright as those of Congreve, being held under due restraint, serves, on the one hand, to enliven the easy and natural dialogue of high life, while the portion of it which is imparted to that of the lower characters, is so well accommodated to their more vulgar language and habits of thinking, that none of its coruscations could be transferred to another person of the drama than him by whom it is spoken, without an obvious offence against propriety. The plots of Mr Sheridan's plays are happily contrived, and developed with much stage effect, though without any complication of intrigue. They have, doubtless, their faults ; but, as we must own we were never able to observe any which ought to be mentioned in comparison with their merits, we shall leave their dissection to more acute critics. The bounds of our collection do not permit us to prosecute this investigation any farther; a circumstance which we cannot regret, since we could only trace the declension of the art from Attic comedy to German importations of false sensibility, and domestic productions, where the humour rests upon grimace, cant, and catch-words. Yet it is but just to say, that comedy still receives some countenance from the British audience, and that its revival, upon a true and classic model, may be more reasonably hoped than that of tragic representation.
Tho' need make many poets, and some such Nor nimble squib is seen, to make afear'd
But deeds, and language, such as men do use, As, for it, he himself must justly hate :
And persons, such as comedy would choose, To make a child now swaddled, to proceed When she would shew an image of the times, Man, and then shoot up in one beard and weed, And sport with human follies, not with crimes; Past three-score years : or, with three rusty Except we make 'em such, by loving still swords,
Our popular errors, when we know they're ill. And help of some few foot and half-foot words, I mean such errors as you'll all confess, Fight over York and Lancaster's long jars, By laughing at them, they deserve no less : And in the tiring-house bring wounds to scars. Which, when you heartily do, there's hope left He rather prays, you will be pleased to see
then, One such to-day, as other plays should be ; | You, that have so graced monsters, may like Where neither chorus wafts you o'er the seas,
men, Nor creaking throne comes down, the boys to
ROGER FORMAL, his Clerk. KITELY, a Merchant.
Master MATTHEW, the Town Gull. Captain BOBADIL, a blustering Coward.
CASH, Kitely's Man. KNO'WELL, an old Gentleman.
COB, a Water-bearer.
Mrs BRIDGET, Sister to Kitely. WELL-BRED, his Half Brother.
TIB, Cob's Wife. Justice CLEMENT, an old merry Mugistrate.
SCENE,-London, VOL. III.