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hollow murmuring of the river, which runs at the depth of near one hundred and thirty feet below the surface of the earth; the fine groves of pines, which majestically climb the sides of a beautiful eminence, that rises immediately from the brink of the chasm; all these objects cannot be contemplated, without exciting emotions of wonder and admiration in the mind of every beholder! The appearance of this singular and picturesque scene, will naturally bring to the recollection of the classical spectator those beautiful lines of Virgil, in which he describes the gulph, through which his Alecto shoots herself into the infernal regions:
densis hunc frondibus atrum
Pestiferas aperit fauces:Critics may labour to convey the force and meaning of the author's words; and travellers may, by their ingenious descriptions, give us a still more lively idea of their beauty and propriety; but he who would see a living commentary on this noble passage, must visit the rock of Aultgrande.
As the writer of this elegant quotation seems to labour only at giving a faithful description of real objects possessed of peculiar grandeur and sublimity, not to display the refinement of his taste in sketching ideal scenery, which exists no where but in his own imagination, the picture is the more valuable, as it bears a minuter resemblance to truth and nature.
ANACREON MOORE AND HIS OPERA.
How little the criticisms in some of the public prints of London are to be depended upon, the following article, taken from a late journal of that city, will, when compared with another on the same subject which we extracted some time ago, sufficiently show to our readers. To the first we gave credit, because we consider Bell's Weekly Messenger, from which we took it, as superior authority in criticism, to that of any daily print in London. Of the article which follows, we can only say, that it bears evident marks of ill nature; and that we cannot help thinking the authority of Mr. Arnold preferable to that of the writer of this article, even though the latter assumes to be countenanced by the opinion of Mr. Moore himself-which was obviously dictated by a becoming distrust and modesty, and ought not therefore to have been taken up so pointedly against him.
LYCEUM THEATRE. MR. Moore's opera continues to be performed; and we presume, that we are to congratulate the manager on its success. We wish it were in our power to congratulate the author; but with all imaginable wish to think well of Mr. Moore's capabilities, we see no grounds for altering the opinion which we have already given. But all this seems otherwise to the summer manager of the Lyceum; and upon the formidable authority of Mr. Arnold we are to believe, that every thing in the representation was wit on one hand, and applause on the other; the audience all delight, and the performance all delicacy. Against this we have nothing but the idle testimony of our eyes and ears; and so long as we are inclined to let such childish matters of controversy rest on our minds, so long we must believe that Mr. Arnold's imagination has been in this instance VOL. IV.
more active than his memory. Mr. Arnold is an author, and probably his ideas of a “splendid reception" are rather of a more qualified order than those which are usually annexed to the phrase. A sanguine temperament may have more than once, in his case, converted a general hiss into the more genial semblance of turbulent admiration, and irresistible contempt into bursts of laughter. We have now done with Mr. Arnold and his intrusion; advising him to reflect on the folly of suffering his productions to appear on any stage but his own; and the awkwardness of suffering his zeal to lead him into the imminent imputation of puffing a piece which is stamped with all the features of early mortality. Mr. Moore seems to have formed a more correct idea on the subject, and we must coincide with him in allowing the dialogue to be frivolous. There is no plot to sustain the dialogue, even if it had been invigorated with all the manliness and meaning which was to be expected from a man of educated habits and respectable intercourse with society. A plot is not a certain number of exits and entrances, with a certain number of scenes, or indecent jests or feeble melodies. It is a chain of incidents fairly and firmly connected, leading to a natural conclusion, and exciting a continual and increasing interest to the end. There is in this something to give exercise to a poet's thought, something susceptible of every grace that cultivated capacity can supply,--something capable of touching the higher powers of the mind, and giving delight to taste, while it adds vigour to virtue. Some of the comedies of the last age have had this happy peculiarity; and it is possible to put them into the hands of our children without dreading the contamination of vulgarity or vice. We will spare Mr. Moore; and assure him, that if we do, it is simply from the hope, that as he comes more within the public eye, he will be more alive to public propriety; sedulously spurning at the absurd interference of his officious adulators, and only anxious to show that it is not too late for him to unite the dignity of virtue with the honours of genius.
The following letters have been published in the newspapers:
MR. MOORE'S - M. P."
MR. EDITOR.- In the account which has been given in some of the papers, of the Musical Trifle at the Lyceum, you have stated that the story is evidently meant to allude to “a certain recent cvent of a memorable nature,” and that in one of the scenes there is a manifest reference to another occurrence that has lately attracted the attention of the public.
Though it is with considerable reluctance I thus avow myself the author of a bagatelle, which has been received much more indulgently than it deserves, I cannot allow this statement to pass without declaring, that, however hastily the frivolous dialogue of this piece may have been written, I had thought of the story long before those events occurred, by which you, and perhaps many others, suppose it to have been suggested. I have the honour to be, sir, yours, &c.
THOMAS MOORE. September 11.
TO THE EDITOR.
SIR,Observing in your paper of last evening a letter from Mr. Moore, on the subject of his new Opera of M. P. or The Blue Stocking, I feel myself called upon to dissent from that gentleman's opinion of his own performance, and to state, that had I conceived it to be merely a “musical trifle," I am too sensible of what is due to the public, to have ventured to offer it to their notice.
The event of its brilliant and unqualified success has justified my opinion of the merits of Mr. Moore's drama; and I am confident that if the author had witnessed the splendid reception of its first representation, (which he did not), he would not have suffered an excess of modesty to pay so bad a compliment to public taste as to term that dialogue “frivolous" which was interrupted in almost every scene, by as gratifying applause as ever repaid the most anxious labours of a dramatist. I am, sir, yours, &c.
SAMUEL JAMES ARNOLD. Theatre Royal Lyceum, Sept. 12, 1811.
PHILADELPHIA THEATRICAL JOURNAL,
FOR DECEMBER, 1811.
Monday 2d, She stoops to Conquer.Forty Thieves. Wednesday 4th, Venice Preserved.—(Pierre by a gentleman (his first
appearance,) Belvidera, Mrs. Wheatley.) Two
Strings to your Bow.
Catch Him Who Can.
Mr. PAYNE's Nights.
The critical observations on the performances of this month, will fall under three heads. The performances of Mr. Cleary an amateur, who appeared for the first time in Pierre, and afterwards in the Stranger, and Glenalvon. Those of Mrs. Wheatley, who appeared for the first time in Belvidera and Fatima; and lastly those of Mr. Payne.
MR. CLEARY. In discussing the merits of this young gentleman, we must premise that the critic who would venture decisively to pronounce judgment on the talents of a young actor, on the evidence of two or three first performances, must have more sagacity than we pretend to, or else more presumption than, we hope, falls to our share. From all that we have yet observed in the gentleman before us, the opinion we have formed of him, is, in a more than common degree, favourable. Were we not apprehensive of cheapening our judgment, by seeming to hazard too much, and of impairing the value of that applause which we think it will come to our share hereafter to bestow upon him, by hasty, undigested conclusions in a word,