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Bedeck'd with the trappings of parsonic state,
Who living will ne'er be awaken’d to shame
Since Ruse ever ranks with the Cloth as Fair Game.
From wolds and his greyhounds a Topham next
And starts for the plate with our Thespian forces;
The palfrey he rode on prov'd faulty indeed,
ratic department; not that I mean to say much in commendation of the pieces these gentlemen have produced, when considered in a literary point of view, for where performances are made the vehicles of harmony, it is of little consequence whať trash be now foisted on the public ; some years back the case widely differed, but tempora mutantur, &c.
(r) This clerical baronet has vainly endeavoured to gain a footing upon
the theatrical boards, his dramatic efforts being of the most mediocre cast, not to say in some respects indecorous : after such vain attempts, it would therefore be advisable that he
In garb of deception boy Ireland now view,
should continue to issue forth his puny attempts at Shaksperian imitation; indeed, his own morning print is the best vehicle for giving publicity to the lucubrations of himself and his worthy compeer Anthony Pasquin. As to Major Topham, of greyhound and sporting celebrity, I would most seriously advise him to stick to the breed of dogs rather than attempt in future to amuse an English audience; for, after the justly merited fate of Small Talk, or the Westminster Boy, what can be expected to emanate from such a Muse but the most consum
mate nonsense ?
(y) The fate of Vortigern is well known to the public; it was the effusion of a youth of eighteen, and, if not possessed of some beauties when read in the closet, the wisest and most able critics must have been most egregiously deceived. After the above piece had been brought forth among the fabricated
Monk Lewis, of trick most consummate projector, Bamboozled John Bull with his Castle and Spectre; (x)
papers attributed to Shakspeare, a second play, entitled Henry II. was produced by young Ireland; and, after his confession of the forgery, was also written a play under the title of Mutius Scevola. With respect to the merits of this writer, whose works are very numerous, it would be unfair to have recourse to the reviewers; the stigma of having deceived the public uniformly follows his career, and, be his efforts what they may, the lash of severest criticism at all times pursues him. It is said, however, that many productions from his pen have appeared without any signature, which have been much commended : it is therefore to be regretted that this gentleman does not avow to the world all he has written, that they may be fully enabled to appreciate the extent of his literary acquirements. Having adverted above to the subject of the Shaksperian forgery, I cannot, as appertaining to the Belles Lettres, here omit the insertion of the following anecdote, which, for its singularity, surpasses even the attempts of Chatterton, Lauder, or Ireland.
Pere Hardouin, a Jesuit, strove, about the middle of the last century, to gain immortality by dispossessing the Latin poets, in particular, of their seats in Parnassus; the idea propagated by this father was, that; about 350 years ago, when learning was re
Which, alas! in their trammels gave folly full sway: But, the fever subsided, we greet Reason's ray.
viving in the north of Europe, a set of Literati, all protestants, united to form a body of fictitious poems, congenial to a few which were really extant; to these they prefixed the respectable names of Virgil, Ovid, &c. In short, the good Jesuit only allowed, as genuine, the Georgics of Virgil, the Epistles of Horace, and a few more fragments. Some regarded this treatise as the offspring of a frenzied brain, while others conjectured that Hardouin was encouraged by his brethren in this attack on the pillars of literature, in order that, should he succeed, and introduce again into the world the obscurity of former ages, the clergy might then resume that superiority which the learned will always be able to support among the ignorant. The cry was, however, so loud against this ridiculous system, that the author was abandoned, and even eried down by the votaries of his own
Lauder, a learned but petulant North Briton, assaulted the reputation of Milton, about the same period, with the same success; but his motive for the attack was, avowedly, envy, at the preference given by Pope to that great Bard above Johnstone," whose works Lauder was concerned in publishing.
Charles Dibdin, and Tom, worthy chips of the block, Pen language and songs for the wearers of sock; While, bold and unblushing, comes Theodore Hooke, For ever enroll’d in rank plagiary's book.
(z) Write when he will, and what he will, spectres must attend this gentleman's Muse; of whom having previously spoken, I shall content myself with offering my congratulations upon the run of his piece, without mentioning one syllable in commendation of his dramatic style, or the Clap-Trap system which he has uniformly adopted during the progress of his theatrical career. The two younger Dibdins, pursuing the track of the parent, have indefatigably laboured in their literary and musical avocations : they are far from being deficient on the score of talent, and their uniform industry entitles them to the highest commendation. Mr. Theodore Hooke, full of eccentricity, and who exists but to partake of the gratifications of life, is now absent from England: that he possesses talents cannot be denied; but, like many men of ability, his natural unstableness debars him from adopting any fixed mode of action: one hint, however, it is necessary that I should give this gentleman, whose effrontery in having produced Tekeli as his own (which is a translation verbatim from the French), may be esteemed one of the most flagrant proceedings that ever characterized the conduct of a dramatic writer: a plagiary, when delicately concealed, we can willingly pardon ; but