Sidor som bilder

in situation; their conduct towards their VOLTAIRE'S LITERARY CONmother, to whoin so much was due, and

FESSIONS. whom they loved so fincerely, was uni; [The Soirées de Ferney, printed at Paris in formly every thing that gratitude could 1802, has not received an English dress. dictate, and affection inspire. ller two It appears to be the work of some French other sons were in the army; the eldest of Boswell, who has been as successful in ex. them a Lieutenant Colonel, now on fer hibiting Voltaire in conversation with his vice with his regiment, whose conduct as friends, as our Bofwell has been, in the a fon, a gentleman, and a soldier, has same respect, with regard to his friend ever been molt truly gratifying to the

Johnson. feelings of a mother. The youngest fun, From this publication, which may be called who with fuch a brother to excite his

Voltaire's Table Talk, have been selected emulation, was advancing with credit

such articles as cannot fail to be interesting

to our readers. ] fell a

CONSIEUR de Voltaire had for nam, the 10th of September, 1806, in forne his 22d year. His mother, who was par- of health; he appeared to be entirely ticularly attached to him, was fortunate frce-from complaint, and, with his bodily in being spared the misery of knowing he trength, he had recovered his utuai had preceded her to the grave; the tranquillity and peace of mind. His sad tidings not having reached England friends were no longer under the netill after her deceafc.

cellity, in order to raise his fpirits, of Mrs. Smith's poetical works are too Jaunching out into praises of his literary well known, and have been too long the works in his prefence. It was some admiration of the public, to require any months since he had been observed to farther illustration; the number of edi- ned tcars. The happiness be felt seemed tions through which they have passed, to be communicated to all about hin. fufficiently establishes their merit. "Those Ferney was become the scat of every which have been published since her de- kind of amusement: entertainments fucceafe, offer an attonishing proof of the ceeded each other without intermillion ; energy of her genius, for they were all no foreigner of distinction passed the written within the last two years, while place without paying a visit to Voltaire ; The was undergoing such bodily suffering, dramatic pieces were performed in the and her mind was still harrafled with theatre; and Voltaire's niece, Madame many cares. Yet none of her earliest Denys, instructed the young folks of the poems are superior either in taste or ima- Pays de Gex in the art of declaination. gination to those which comprise this vo-, After a dinner, to which a numerous Juine, and in the opinion of some very company bad been invited, whilft every excellent judges they even exceed any one was in the highest fpirits, Voltaire Mhe had ever written.

addresled his guests in the following manIt would swell this article to too great ner : a length, were we to enter into an acute My worthy friends, to Mew you the examination of the various novels of this confidence I repose in you, and to give lady; that they brought on her much un- you a perfect idea of the frankness of my deserved abuse, is not very surpriling, her disposition, I will make my Literary Conintellectual superiority was too obvious felions in presence of all who are now to escape the shafts of envy and malig. here. I do declare, it is my intention nity; and when those who have censured to acknowledge faults of whatever nature and calumniated her have suffered under they may be. I shall restrict my conthe fame aggressions, we will allow thein feßions to my literary labours, because it to be adequate judges of her conduct. is on thein my reputation is founded; Fortunately the idle remarks of the stupid, and because it is through them I have the unfeeling, or the envious, either are, raised such a host of enemies. Religious or will be forgotten, while the brilliancy people will tell you, my works have done of Mrs. Sinith's genius will fine with much harm, that they have led maliy undiminished lustre, as long as the Eng- souls astray from the paths of godliness, linh language exists. Of her prosc works, and have stahbed religion in its very her School-books are amongst the mott ritals. My works have been tran(ated admirable which have been written for into every language; they have been the yfe of young perfons, and are emi- read, they have been imitated, and are nently calculated io form the taste, inic quoted by people of every country. ttruct the mind, and correct the beart, Sometimne fince an ex-jesuit wrote me


these words; no doubt he thought to had merit in that kind of compofition. Hatter me: "Sir, (faid he,) your works About this time iny Epistle to Urania was will remain to all future times the stand- publifhed: the publication of it was, ard of tafie, of philosophy, of obscenity, however, unknown to me. In this perand of blasphemy.". It is pretty cer- formance is allowed to be an excellent train, that if my writings had been as colouring, great harmony, and correctlittle known as those of the reverend nels; with foine fire, but too much Father Hayer, or the advocate M. Soret, boldness. I had put the name of the I could not have corrupted all mankind. Abbé Chaulicu to it; hut I honclily conI ought now to inform you, that I thall fets I thould have becu very forry if any tot contine myself to the order of events. one had thought that he wrote it. You I have forgotten dates, and I had always have, undoubtedly, read my fatirical an infuperable aversion to chronological poemn upon Fleuri's Ecclefiaftical History. difcuflions. I fall endeavour to be con- Whatever people inay say, this writer is cife, plain, and exact; but being unac- neither philosopher nor painter. His cuftoined to adapt any ítyle Atrictly to the work is cramined with miracles and pueoccafion, I may chance to fly out into rilities; luis hiltory of Contiantiuc is an profuneness of exprellion. The impe- enigma which I could never make out, tuolity of my imagination will fometimes any more that I could comprehend an hurry me away, in spite of all my efforts infinite number of other relations in that to refut it...

history. I could never reconcile the A Friend. My good Sir, do not fuffer extraordinary praises which this author, yourself to be tied down to rules and re- who is always very moderate and jutt, gulations. Al will be well, provided has lavithed on a prince, whose whole you are, as you promise us to be, inte life is made up of vices. Murderer of his refting, ingenuous, and inpartial. wife and his wife's father; wholly resigned

Voltaire. Well then, to make a be- to effeminate pleasures, with a pallion ginning.- I must premise, my friends, for poinp and thew ; fufpicious, faperthat a spirit of independence was a very stitious ; -fucb is his character in the early pallion with me, as was a taste or light it appears to me. The story of his turn for poetry. At the age of ten years wite Fautta and his fon Crispus, would I composed fome very pretty little pieces be an excellent fubject for tragedy; but in verle; I could repeat the best pieces it would be another tragedy of Phædra of Corneille, and had all La Fontaine's under different names. His contest with tales by heart. I was sent to college, Maximianus Herculius, and his exceffive where I made a rapid progress in feveral ingratitude to him, has furnished Thomas branches of knowledge. My fonduess Corneille with the subject of a tragedy: for philofophy discovered itself very early; and Thomas has inodelled it in his own I opeuly ridiculed many of the tenets of manner. Faufta is introduced in this religion, and in fome of my boyish pro- piece betwixt her husband and father, duations had made a display of what was and some tender scenes are worked up. then deemned impiety. One of the pro- The plot is very intricate; it is written in felfors came up to me one day, and seiz- 'the taste of Camma and Timocrates. ing me by the collar in an emotion of It had good fuccess when it was first pro zealous rage, cried ont, in a prophetic duced, but it is now forgotten : as are doain, You little scoundrel! you will almost all the pieces of Thomas Corneille. be certainly at the head of the free- This will always be the case when the thinkers.' i hailed the prophecy; for it plot is too much perplexed; because in fattered my vanity not a little; and I. such pieces the pallions have not room dut I have fulhlled it.

to display themselves: bcfides, Corneille's My first work after I left college was verses are weak; and, in short, his plays an add which I wrote with a reliance want that energy which can only hand that it would obenin the French Acades down any performance whatever, whe

sprac. It was a good one; and for ther it be in profe or verse, to pofterity. seulon, I suppose, was not crowned Mad. Denys.--My dear uncle, permit

the fuccefa I looked for. I followed me to observe to you, that you have with an epigram, in which the French run away from the subject of your disAcaciones wou expofed to ridicule. I was course. digeland with the Academy, and resol- Volt.–Very right, niece. At my age

po connexion with it. I ra- digressions are rather more pardonable too much into fatire, and I than arts of pallion Bat let me go on out flatring myfelf, that I with my contellions; and let me strive to


[ocr errors]


be more humble and modell, if it is poi- priest of Jupiter! What dearth of intible for me to be fo. I had hitherto vention! what stupidity! How is it poffuck to my plebeian naine of drouct ; fible, for a moment, to mistake and call I now took one that founded better, and this a noble fimplicity? Furtlier ; let us I obtained at length the court diterious own the truth is it poisible or likely of gentleman in ordinary, with the ho. that Edipus, after reizuing so long a nour of chumberluin. Shull I, my gond time as le did, thould be inacquainted friends, relate to you the particulars of a with the particulars of the afaitinatiog trick I played a Jew very innocently. I of Lajus, who was his predecefloron ile have only a contufed recoilection of it throue, and that hic thould not know at this tine-and, indeed, I ain wbether it was on a plain or in a losn? willing to trouble you with tritling mat This ignorance was no more than pre

tence. Be it io: but he does not tell us Friend.Say nothing abant ii, Sir; why he pretended ignoruce. I want but proceed to give us the more tirikmy a teror to express my idea of such ab. parts of your contcliions, and that in the furdity. manner according to which you have Friend.—But it may be urged in erwritten your hitiory.

cuse, that this is a detect of the stary Volt.-Be it fothen, my worthy friends; itself; and not any fault of the author of I will be interacted by you. But, pray the tragedy. now, excuse forne occasional digreffions, Polt.-Mercy on us! what an cxcuse especially from such a kind of off-hand is this! Have it your own way tbcu: literary conteliion as I am about to inake tay the story is defective. But is not an to you. I was eighteen years of age; author to turn and fathion his fubject as my name was alrcady known, and my beli tuits his own deiign? is he not to plans were extentive. 'My Edipus had amend and fupply whatever is wanting been acted, was well received, and I or deficient? I gue's loix you will rewas considered another Racine. I was ply; and I am fenfible that I am 16 introduced at court, I was loaded with clear of the fame charve, it brought pensions: it was not postible for me to against me. I will be as severely jali in keep within the bounds of modeliy. La my own cause, and will thow mysest no Mothe, who had reason to complain of more favour than I have done Sophocles; me, forgot his resentment, and wrote in and I thall hope that the tincenty wil favour of my piece. Crébillon, who was which I acknowledge my own faulis, erail inclined to be jealous, taw only in me a juftity me fully in the bolducts with fuccessful rival. Fontenelle, the father which I bare taken upon mne to bring this of literature, gave me a leiton of advice: charge again an ancient tragic poethe sent me word that my tragedy had But here am I running into another too much fire in it, and I returned for digretiion! It is your fault this time, answer, that I would read bis pattorals friend. Oblerve, whenever my digrcin order to damp it.

tions are occationed by yourfelves, I irare Friend. --Will your favour the coun no pardon io folicit. pany with an analytis of the tragedy of The trecets of my own (Edipus had @dipus, that piece which you produced turned iny brain : I was resolved to make at so early an age?

wint of another tragerly. I believe 10 Volt.-With pleasure, my friend; but was in the year 1720, that I bronght my it Mall be at another time. You may Artumuia on the itage at Paris. I had well suppose, it will be no thort buliness. intro liced a young actress who was new It is sufficient to tell you now, that I use to lie theatre, and who was supposed to Sophocles with freedoin, and do justice beroy initiefs. Catcalls were then in to inyreif. llc is far from having brought 11 at the theatres. The firii act was tragedly to thai degree of pertection it is faluted by catcalis, and the pertiorme: thought he has. What is your opinion were disconcerted with the none. I was are we unjuft in this are, when we retule pielent; and you may fuppoie, my him our entire admiration? What are friends, I was not in a little agitation. we to think of a poet who can devise no The noiles were uenendous, billes, other means of making us acquainted groans, catcalls, refonuded from every with the characters of his drama, tha part of the theatre. I ans ncar running by putting words like these into the mad, I foamed with race. I was inans mouth of the chief of them I am times induced to fally into the pit, fward that (Edipus so renowned in fory;" in hand; at length I came to the more whilit another tells us, he is the high prudent resolution of leaping on tite flase

from the boses, and addresling the au- Numa." I began to read, and Rousseau dience. I waved my hand to obtain interrupted me with, Hold, Sir, read filence, but the clamour still continued. no further ; this impiety is shocking." I At length the author of (Ediprs was re put the poem again into my pocket, and cognized, and filence was obtained. I faid, " Come, let us go to the play; I am represented the claim to foine indul forry the author of the Moïtade has not gence, which a new piece and a young yet informed the public that he was author had a right to make; and, with grown devout.” When the comedy was out discovering any marks of relentinent, over, ! resumed the subject of bis Ode I offered such other arguments in my to Potterity, and told him in a farcaftie favour as occurred to me. In thort, Í way, “Do you know, mafter, that I obtained applaufe by my speech, and my


your ode will never reach those you piece was fuffered to be represented

design it for." without further interruption : but I with Mad. Denys.- Thus, my dear uncle, drew my tragedy in discuit. I have been an interview of friendship and confidence always "furprised that it did not fucceed was clofed by an open rupture. better on the stage, for it is a good piece. Tolt.-I grant it, niece; but the fault The critics allow the plot to be well con was not mine, and I leave you all to ducted, and the catastrophe, or conclu- judge whether it was fo or not. von, to be very natural. It is true they Friend. Will you give me leave to found fault with the versification, as being tell you my thoughts of the matter? I too much of the epic kind; but on my ain of opinion that Routeau had for a word, as well as I can judge at this dit long time before harboured a secret jeatance of time, I think it before any loury of you, and I believe the success of Tancred.

your Mariamne was the real cause of his To drive away all thoughts of this animofity. Rouflem had compofed a mortification, I inade a journey to Hol Marianne, after au old piece of Trifian: land. There, by way of relaxation, I it was very defervedly billed, and

your paid my addreflies to one of the daugle tragedy was represented forty times. tors of the faino is Madame Dunoyer. I Voti.-The inifchief had an carlier met with obstacles I was not able to lure rise than that you mention. About the end mount, and canne off with little credit. of the year 1711, as well as I can reBetween ourselves, my friends, I was collect, Suurin, whom Rouleau accused never able to play the part of a lover of being the author of the famous Coup glory was my mistress. Agreeable to the lets, was cleared by the sentence of the resolution I had formed of palling on Châtelet, and was allowed to proceed and making fome stay at Bruffels. I re criminally againt the Sicur Rouffeau and paired to that city. There I joined iny- his witnesses. A female fervant in my felf to Rousseau, whoin I bad withed to father's house was interested in the caufe. lse for a long time. Though le hnd She was, in fa&, the mother of that been banished upwards of ten years, I poor wretch, a journeyman thoemaker, considered hiun only as n great poet, and whose evidence Routeau fiborned. This the man of Inisfortune. So great was woman, fuppofing her fon would be my confidence in him, that I left my hanged for perjury, was constantly makpoem of the Heuriad in his poffeffiou for ing her lamientations and complaints

till fire days. Daring one of our walks, he the exhausted our patience. Comfort Teart me his Ode to Pofterity, and the yourself. good woinan." said I to her, Judgment of Plato. This lait was a ri- you linve nothing to fear: Rousseau, a Tilent Satire aminti the parlia:nent of Moemaker's fun, fuborns your son, Paris n be alked my opiniou of it. “ This coller, who you say is the accomplice of a is not our master's the good and great Moeblack; when your fon gtes to be tried Rollay, said I The felf-love of the for the perjury, throw an old fline after old maker of verfes was offended with him for luck, and all will go well." This any freedom. « Master of mine," con- pleafıntry was repeated in the neighbour foged 1take your revenge: kere is a lund, and told by one goody gollip to htde poem wlich I submit to the cor another, till it reached the cars of Roul tection and judgment of the father of feuu himself, who never forgave me for

it. But what excited his releutnient This is not Jean Jagues Rousseau, the Atill more was, that I endeavoured to alabate delen of Genera's biit n French convince himn of Hie impolicy of his alloa wholtingued by the nanie of the gorical poem, which he had written, later called the Judgment of Pluto. I told

him that it would create him many ene« against him. The application spoke for mies, but this zeal drew from him no- itself; nó proćtor-general would be flead. thing but reproaches. Let me ask you Rousseau had forgot the maxim, “ We all,, whether you do not think it the are not to fight naked with those who height of imprudence in him to represent have arms in iheir hands." Pluto ordering a proctor-general to be Friend.—This poem it was that flut flead, and covering his feat with the him out of France; and yet Paris was ikin? And only think at what time he become the only place of refuge left hin, hazardee such a liroke of fatire : at the for after his disgrace with the Duke very time he was under prosecution at d'Arcmberg, Brullels was no longer an the Châtelet, and in parliament ; and, asylum. · [To be continued.] moreover, when every thing was going




TO THE MEMORY OF THE AUTHOR or The playhouse Momas, and his noisy court, THE " CURFEW."

Where Whim, not Wit, where Trick, not

Taste difport; WRITTEN BY MR.PRATT, IMMEDIATELY AFTER HAVING SIEN THE REPRESEN. Where some cant word, or slang, the scenes

engage, The Quiz, the Go, the TWADDLE, and

the RAGE OBLEST by Nature, arm'd with every art; Too Soon will these, in Folly's patch-work To woo, command, or agonize the beart!

dress Thou who haft proudly dar'd to lift thy page The public voice, the public shout possess; Above the mockery that insults the stage; While the strong charm, which now thy gee To fpurn the ribbald jest, the sense to raise

nius draws ; High o'er those motley misnomers called plays, Nature's rich Atures, too vast for hand-apDrolls and buffooneries, which, act by act,

plause; All thought confound, and memory distract; The deep fufpence which waits thy potent art, Thou, who haft skill the passions to controul, And checks awhile the current of the heart; Or bid them awe and sooth the ductile soul ; Then hurried onward with impetuous force, How do the softest feelings own thy (way! That threatens to exhaust its ruddy fource ; How do the sternest tremble and obey ! The gen'rous terror, the refiftless fighs, How does thy full.plum'd pinion, born to Which in obedience to thy mandate rise ; tower,

All there must yield to fashions light and Of force sublime, and conscious of its power, vain, Leave the weak wing, that impotently tries And of thy spirit not a trace remain! To gain, O Genius! thy unclouded skies!

Yet Time will come, and as it draws more Ah! luft too soon, cre time had lent its aid,

near, To fix the substance and dispel the fhade ;

Nature thall hail it with her smile and tear : To mark, high-favour'd youth! the bounty All booth-born jefts to Smithfield's scenes res given,

tign'd, -Spark of the God, a lambent Aame of By Truth up-born fhall mummery leave be

heav'n The potent magic of thy sun-bright strain, When mental manhood shall again aspire, From the thin vapours of the misty brain Aud catch from flame thinc elcaric fire! The exhalations of the low-born mind, Then all the Drama re-assume its pride, From duft proceeding and to dust confign'd! And Wisdom (pread her sacred intluence wide,

Then thall the race ephemeral be v'er,
What tho', to emulate each future bard, To " ftrut their hour upon the stage" no more:
His bright example, as his best reward, The genuine bards their future fate hall tell.
Part of thy facred mantle caught his eye, Bards, such as thee and Colman, coll their
Ere yet thy spirit sought its native fky;

And ev'ry colour “ dipt in heaven" confeft
The genuine Muse alone could form the vett; THE NEGRO's PRAYER.
And none but her true fons presume to wear,

For naught but Genius to the Muse is dear.

O SPIRIT ! that ridit in the whirlwind and Yet ah! the Drama's rabble-rout again,

storm, Thalia-Columbine, and all her train

Whose voice in the thouder is heard, Of Tragi-Comic, Farlic, Pantomime, If cver from man, the poor indigent worm, Scorn of the Musc and error of the time, The prayer of affliction was heard;


« FöregåendeFortsätt »