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will throw a light upon the subject: for example, the too frequent instances of conjugal infidelity may tairly be traced from the famous marriage act, before that æra they were very rare in this country; many other kinds of degeneracy may in like manner be easily traced to their sources :-here are two methods of pursuing the enquiry I would recommend.
“ The first tedious, dry, diffuse, unsatisfactory; the second short, clear, and demonítrative ; the first takes a circuit, and enquires into the various methods of education in different times and countries, and from thence reasons of their effects upon the manners; the second briefly considers the manners first, and traces from then the good or evil methods of education ; for example, if we look back to any period of time, when the fons of Britain were hardy, manly and virtuous, and her daughters fober, delicate and chaste, we cannot doubt but they were properly educated.
66 When we consider the manners of the youth of our days, we cannot but believe there is something wrong in the present syitem of education, and in the manner of their introduction into the world, as they approach to the age of maturity. If our sons are effeminate and dillolute, and our daughters pert,, affected and diffipated, we may draw these brief conclusions in defiance of Rousseau and all his disci. ples; that restraint is absolutely neceiiary in the education of the youth of both sexes.
That a too early introduction into life as it is called, is dettructive to that modesty which nature intended for the guard of virtue. That a too early intercourle between the two sexes, whether in public or private afsemblies, renders them cheap in the eves of each other, and initead of promoting matimony, produces celibacy, which needs no proof; for as Slender says, “ upon further fainiliarity there grows more contempt.”
" Laitly, ihat by reading books of all kinds and tendencies indiscriminately, young people acquire a dangerous kind of knowledge, that cultivates their pallions, and weakens their reason; it litters the head and corrupts the heart ; and that one of the great corrup'ers of the principles and practice of the youth of this age and country 18 A CIRCULATING LIBRARY." ,
In this we are in fome degree of Euphrasia's opinion; but the reason is not that such libraries are circulating, but that the books circulated are in general Yuch' terrible tralh. S.
The Englishman's Fortnight in Paris; or the Art of ruining him.
self there in a few Days. By an Obferver. Translated from the French. 8vo. 35. Durham.
This Observer is neither a Rousseau nor a Smollett * ; his re: marks are, nevertheless, shrewd and pertinent, and may affor
* Who have, both, given a spirited and entertaining account of the trick. and impofitions of the Parisians; the former in his Eloisa, and the latter 1 the Meinoirs of Ferd...and Count Fathom..
not only agreeable entertainment but beneficial instruction to such as are in a situation to require or profit by his animadversions. If what the translator says, indeed, in his preface, be true, the publication of this piece in the English language may possibly be much more useful than at first fight it promiles.
“ It is seen," says the wrirer, " by the books of the Lieutenant of the Police in Paris, that there are three thousand English travellers in that capital, and we should be glad to think that the moderate estimate of one hundred a year for the expences of each of them, making a sum of three hundred thousand pounds spent there, and lost to this Country, was the worst consequence. But alas ! these excursions not only prove ruinous to many individuals who become dupes to the Knights of Industry, assembled from all quarters at Paris, but help to corrupt the manners and morals of those who remain at home by the introduction of many pernicious enervating luxuries.
Our female Cnteries, our Savoir-vivre, and other clubs, that have reduced gaming to a system, cannot fail to bring this nation to deftruction; for what posterity can be expected from a Generation of Gamblers, but a nation of Dunces?".
This performance contains a relation of the adventures of a young English milord, in Paris, during the space of fifteen days; in which time he makes shift, with the affistance of opera-girls, Irislı pimps, and French sharpers, to run through twelve thousand guincas, for which he brings back to England the fole acquisition of the compliment usually paid by the freehearted ladies of that country to those amorous young Englishmen, who pay their devotions at the shrine of their charms.
It will not be expected that we should enter into the particulars of such a relation. As the relater, however, was sometimes disengaged from scenes of diffipation, we find his observations on literature and the fine arts on such occasions not unworthy notice. Those on the French stage and the literary character of Voltaire merit citation.—Bouillac proposed to spend the evening at the French comedy. My lord, says he, this is the theatre, which should be frequented by foreigners : it is here where the French language is spoken in the greatest purity, and where you will find the truest picture of the manners of our nation. Here you may acquire the first, and learn to know the other."
i The trayedy of Phædra was the piece to be played that night on the French stage. I should not have been able to have relished the beauties of this play, if my conductor had not prepared me for it, by giving me some idea of it beforehand, and, at each scene, haftily iketched over the detail. By this means, he enabled me to follow the sublime and pathetic expression of an old actress, whose abilities seemed to me to be as unquestionably great, as those of our celebrated Gar
6. When the first piece was over, Bouillac entertained me with his opinions on the difference between the French and English drama. Befde the national character which prescribes the limits to genius in a theatrical career, said he, nature has given you a matchless poet in your great Shakespeare; whose just and true imagination, in the im. mensity of its flight, comprehended all ages, all men, and all places. His deicriprions present to our view the unconfined free manner of nature herselt. He eonstantly follows her, and never fails to possess her, with all her variety and copiousness. What an advantage for the Eng. lith stage to have had such an extraordinary man for its founder! He has disentangled nature from those fetters' made facred by antiquity, and extended her laws for the benefit of those, who, after him, would run the same career, though without che hope of reaching such a flight; and, unquestionably, it is to himn you owe that superiority which the English have over the French tragedies. The French pieces of that kind are little more, in my eyes, than romances in diaJoguie, written in very fine verse, but whose cold uniform action tires and freezes. The conduct has a general famchefs, and continual mo. notony. Perhaps, the nation may one day come to see this fault, if erer that phantom, wbich is worthiped by the name of case, happens to be despoiled of his affumed importance. I should be ashamed, my Lord, to explain myfelf with fuel freedom, in presence of our connoilleurs;--Mould run a risk of being treated as barbarous. This pation must always imitate the Greeks; they do it; at lead, by shewing a contempt for every thing which is not of their own literary growih, and which departs from those rults within which two or three beaux esprits have thought proper to confine genius, by writing com. mentaries on Aristotle.
“ It is forbidden, for example, to open the scene, but by a flat and infipid narration. The rigorous law, which they call the three uni; ries, obliges the author to give this dull explanation, which would frequently appear ridiculous, it custom did not prevent them from being foolible of this absurdity. One actor inforins another, in sounding rhimes, of his genealogy, birth, history of his parents, and a number of other things which the last ought to know better than the speaker. It is commonly some confidant, who, in favour of the audience, studs with infipid repetitions, the hero of the piece, who is ready to yaw'll. The unity of the place obliges the author to see his characters in mo: tion like puppets, that thcy may incessantly return in a moft whimlical childish manner to the gallery of the palace, where we are tired with a melancholy dreain of recitals and discoveries:--and this is nearly the whole of what is permitted. No additional incident, no second-rale character, which is to uletul with you, in bringing on the catattrophe; and in supporting the spirit of the icene, but, at best, fome dull, itupia confilants, whole parts are so wretchedly composed, that none are found to fill them but interior actors, whose pertorinance throws into burlesque the lines which ought to be the most powerfully engaging Surely, vou will nerer be brought to think the most perfect of the compolitions to be a maiter-piece: for, it is plain, that they, preto nothing but a mass of dull unaffecting insipidity, where, at belt, " find no recompence for our attention, but in the richness and bcam of the narrativa.
" It is not so with the French comedies, continued Bouillac: Plautus and Terence, as well as Aristophanes, live again in Moliere, or rather he has surpassed thein all. It is true, that he had not the faine obstacle to contend with as our tragic poets. Comedy may be made interesting by means of more fimple accessaries than can be admitted into tragedy. That merciless chimera, taste, who su strongly circumscribes the field where genius might range, has less important consequences, in a less elevated species of writing. The action, as well as the characters, being taken from common life, they may be unfolded by the fame kinds of incidents. Moliere then was more at his ease in this respect. You will see the native simplicity and truth of his touch. Here he also analysed to me the Precieuses Ridicules, which was going to be played, and putting the piece in my hand, he advised me to take the advantage of reading, that I might more easily follow the performance. You see, continued he, that upon this stage, both the actors and authors succeed much better in comedy, which is a con- . stant and evident proof of its superiority. Tragedy being, in this country, constrained and unnatural; those people, who perform the characters, inevitably contract an affected blustering tone of voice, and tray so far from nature, that to be able to play both kinds well, happens very seldom ; but in England, on the contrary, the tone and gait of tragedy being that of nature, does not destroy the comic talents of the actor, and it is to this difference, undoubtedly, that Garrick, and some others, owe that union and equal abilities in both kinds, which contrary causes make the people of Paris believe to be incompatible, or wonderful. The actress whom you have just now seen, knew how to reconcile them (thanks to the powers of her mind), which made her abjure the emphasis of the French Melpomene: but she has been obliged, sometimes, to appear low and undeserving, to please an audience who have been spoiled by the practice of over-acting those emotions, where the English would have found her sublime; and is content with, now and then, extorting from the pit involuntary expres. fions of admiration, or rather of feeling, with strokes of nature une known to other actors. This woman would have furpassed Garrick, if she had known Shakespeare; but it will be a great while before he is known to her or to this country. It would not be enough that the French language acquired an energy which it has not at present. If the national character which prefides over language, as in every thing else, does not change, the maiter-pieces of this immortal and singular geni's will be for ever lost to them."
On Mr. Voltaire's literary character and his late opposition to the translation of Shakespeare, are made the following pertiphent reflections in the Preface. They are stiled a vindication of the above-cited panegyric on Shakespeare.
"The memory of that extraordinary genius (Shakespeare] is hoDoured by a tribute of endless encomiums :-His dramatic works have beer for more than an age the subject of universal admiration in a most respectable nation, among whom the belles-lettres and the sciences flourish : yet a man of genius, to whom France has given birth, has dared to reach forth a profane and ungrateful hand to blast the laurels which adorn his immortal brow. Vol. V, :: R9
« Is Mr. de Voltaire insensible of the superiority of that honour with which candour and gratitude crown a man of celebrated genius, to that arising from the illusions with which he may millead an infatuated vulgar? Are not his eyes good enough to see that such a kind of enthusiasm can, at best, only draw, a party of his own times after him, which probably he may long ourlive? Besides, there is so great an affinity between justness of thought, elegance of expression, and vigour of imagination, that whoever is poflefled of the first of these gifts, is very feldom unprovided of the reit:--surely then his splendid reputation could have sufered nothing from acknowlerging Shakespeare to be a genius of the first order, and that he had been indebted to him for some truly valuable passages. A monopolising !pirit leads to great meannelses! While we pay to the great talents of Mr. de Voltaire, the most sincere, though at the same time, the most impartial respect, we cannot help blaming him for those excelles to which we sometimes see: him transported.
*“ Racine did not rail against Mr. Dacier, for having dared to translate those authors, who were his guides and models ;-ihe partisans of that poet did not call Brumoi barbarous and filly for having drawn a, parallel between them, but we are allured that these epithets have escaped Mr. de Voltaire, againit the translators of Shakespeare. We should be much pleased in doubting of this fact; it would be excessively indecent in him to domineer over opinions and sentiments, with that, despotic sway he so much abhors in others.
- It is a long time since we foretold some of the extravagant partisaus of that poet,' that in proportion as a knowledge of English literature became extended over Fiance, he would lose the reputation of originality in more than one of his productions. He has to many, that such a facrifice would be a meer trifle, especially if he makes it with a good grace.
“ The celebrated writers of the age of Louis XIV. were acquainted with the Italian and Spanish languages, but knew as little of the Eng. lish as of the Huron ; yer Milton, Shakespeare, and Dryden, before that time, had published some master-pieces of genius. Towards the middle of the age of Louis XV. Mr. de Voltaire itudieci i heir language and writings, and profited by that knowledge. He was too quickfighted not to be sensible of the great advantages he had over the imi. tators of Lopez de Vega, and the other Spanish authors, ic. This remained a secret while the French, immeried li prejudices, did not think of extending their views to the literary character din people, whom they only knew at that time by their reciprocal haired on gach other.
66 Mr. de Voltaire has no reason to be offended with this discovey He is not reproached with being a plagiary ;---pen, like the peot Mr. de Voltaire, embellish while they imitate ; his is by no pillaging. Wnen we observe his ill-humour and invectives aga English poet, we should be apt to imagine him eii her so very i or fo very aukward, as to confound these ideas—he exposes his luch weaknels.
6. Hurace ventured to say, that even the great Homer now Numbered ;--if the caustical Freron were itill alivo, he wo
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