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Of Colman, whose irony aptly can hit
(s) The stage veteran Waldron, a downright enthusiast in his profession, very respectably exerted his talents in the dramátic line; while the late General Burgoyne, uniting all the acquirements of a polished gentleman, an intimate acquaintance with high life, and the most finished style of composition, has enriched the stage with specimens of genteel comedy, which fully entitled him to that universal praise he enjoyed while living, and the fame which has followed him in death. Of the late Mr. Dibdin, whether considered as a writer or musical composer for the stage, it is impossible to say too much; his genius in either walk was prolific in the extreme; and when I state that no man, perhaps, ever yet produced so much for the gratification of all classes of society, I shall not only keep within the pale of veracity, but offer a just panegyric'to one of the most powerful supporters of operatic exhibitions that has appeared since the first establishment of a British place of scenic entertainment. To the voluminous labours of the elder Colman the theatric boards are highly indebted; but it is to his son, the present dramátist, that every praise is due : his wit is intuitive, and it is impossible to find, in private society, any companion so aptly formed by nature for social enjoyments ; indeed, in speaking of this gentle
man, we may justly apply the words of Shakspeare, where he
A merrier man,
Independent of his numerous scenic labours, Mr. G. Colman has no less endeared himself to the literary world, by humorous tales, handled in a metrical manner completely his own; in short, he seems to possess an inexhaustible fund of mirthmoving wit, which is ever found to diversify his dramatic productions, and thus ensure the favour of a British public,
So Reynolds and Morton, in fetters dramatic,
(u) Which moderns can never make too much their own.
(t) It is a generally received opinion, that two heads are better than one ; but in the present instance the adage is not proved infallible, as very little connected with true theatrical talent is discernible in the several productions of this dramatic combination.
(u) From the pen of Mrs. Inchbald several pieces have appeared, among which we may rank the Midnight Hour, as having justly acquired a greater share of celebrity: her style, as a dramatist, is far above the common standard of writing, and in other branches of literature she has no less been honoured with the approval of the public. Mr. Tobin, who unfortunately did not live to enjoy the gratification of hearing his merits publicly extolled, has only illumined the theatrical hemisphere with his productions' for 'the last few years; the energy of his language has been universally allowed, and the arrangement of his ideas,
To German philosophy's system allied,
in the manner of Shakspeare, confer the highest honour upon the figurative powers of his fancy. It is only to be regretted, that the management of a theatre should be so faulty as to suffer performances of this meritorious description to remain neglected from year to year, while paltry compositions, aided by some trifling interest, have, in the interval, been obtruded upon the public, in contempt of an enlightened audience, and to the flagrant disgrace of the managers of an institution who could tolerate such a violation of every principle of justice and de
(v) If Mr. Holcroft's dramatic essays are not of the first class, they at all events afforded amusement to the public; indeed,
Of themes operatic the page to explore,
from the general tenour of this gentleman's writings, one could not have expected that he would delineate such characters as Goldfinch, in the Road to Ruin: his thoughts were of the sombre cast, and tinctured with all those new-fangled philosophical tenets, which, instead of instilling cheerfulness over the mind, cast the gloom of despondency and dissatisfaction. From the nature of the drama it was impossible that the Mysterious Mother of the Earl of Orford could ever be represented to a British audience: the whole mechanism of the piece hinges upon an incestuous intercourse between the mother and her son, every scene partakes of the gloom of the cloister, no under-plot enlivens the monotony of the subject, and the language, though, pompous at intervals, does not elicit any sparks of mental refinement.
(w) Aided by the powerful talents of the late justly celebrated Storace, Messrs. Cobbe and Hoare have figured ably in the ope.