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Mjg. Account of the Lifi and Writh
observe that from the year 17*7, to the end of 1736, almost all his plays and farces were written, not above two or three having appeared since that time : fp that he produced about eighteen theatrical performances, plays and farces included, before he was quite thirty years old. No selectiort has been made of those pieces, but they are all printed together in this edition, that the public might have the entire theatre of Henry Fielding. For though it must be acknowleged that in the whole collection there are few plays likely to make any considerable figure on the stage hereafter, yet they are worthy of being preserved, being the works of a genius, who in his wildest and most inaccurate productions, yet occasionally displays the talent of a master. Though in the plan of his pieces he is not always regular, yet be is often happy in his diction and style; and in every groupe, that he has exhibited, there are to be seen particular delinea;ions that will amply recompense the attention bestowed upon them. The comedy of the Miser, which he has mostly taken from Moliere, has maintained its ground upon the stage ever since it was first performed, and has the value of a copy from a great painter by an eminent hand. If the comedy of Pajoum were restored to the stage, it would perhaps be a more favourite entertainment with our audiences, than the much admired Rehear/al; a more rational one it certainly would be, as it would undoubtedly be better understood.
The Pajquin of Fielding, though its success was considerable, never (hone forth with a lustre equal to its merit; and yet it is a composition that would have done honour to the Athenian stage, when the middle
gi of Henry Fielding, Esq. aicj
comedy, under the authority of the raws, made use of fictitious names to satyrize vice and folly, however dignified by honours and employ-, ments. But the middle comedy did not flourish long at Athens; the archness of its aim, and the poignancy of its satire, soon became offensive to the officers of state: a law was made to prohibit those oblique strokes of wit, and the comic muse was restrained from all indulgencies of personal satire, however humorously drawn, under the appearance of imaginary characters. The fame fate attended the use of the middle comedy in England; and it is said that the wit and humour of our modern Aristophanes, Mr. Fielding, whose quarry in some of his pieces, particularly the^ Historical Register, was higher game than in prudence he should have chosen, were principal instruments in provoking that law, under which the British theatre has groaned ever since.
In the comedy called Rase upon Rape, or the Coffee- hovje Politician, we have an admirable draught of a cha» raster very common in this country, namely, a man who is smitten with an insatiable thirst for news, and concerns himself more about the balance of power than of his books. The folly of these statesmen out of place is there exhibited with a masterly ridicule; and indeed in all the plays of our author, however in some respects deficient, there are strokes of humour and half-length paintings, not excelled by some of the ablest: artists. The farces written by MrFielding were almost all of them very successful, and many of them are still acted every winter with a continuance of approbation. They were generally the production of two or three mornings, ib great was his
facility I30 RffUHiem on the Urn
facility in writing; and to this day they bear frequent repetition, at least as well as any other pieces of the kind.
The mock tragedy of Tom Thumb is replete with as fine parody as perhaps has ever been written; the Lottiry, the Intriguing Chambermaid, and the Virgin Unmasked, besides the real entertainment they afford, had
tainly os Friendjbif. British on their first appearance this additional merit, that they served to make early discoveries of that true comic genius, which was then dawning forth in Mrs. Clive; which has since unfolded itself to a fulness of perfection, and continues to this day to be one of the truest ornaments of the stage.
[To be continue J A
Reflections on the Uncertainty es Friendship.
T IFE has no pleasure higher or *~* nobler than that of Friendship. It is painful to consider, that this sublime enjoyment may be impaired or destroyed by innumerable causes, and that there is no human possession of which the duration is less certain. ,
Many have talked, in very exalted language, of the perpetuity of Friendship, of invincible Constancy, and unalienable Kindness; and some examples have been seen of men who have continued faithful to their earliest choice, and whose affection has predominated over changes of fortune, and contrariety of opinion.
But these instances are memorable, because they are rare. The Friendship which is to be practised or expected by common mortals, must take it rife from mutual pleasure, and must end when the power ceases of delighting each other.
Many accidents therefore may happen, by which the ardour of kindness will be abated, without criminal baseness or contemptible inconstancy on cither part. To give pleasure is not always in our power; and little does he know himself.who believes that he can be always able to receive it.
Those who would_gladly pass their
days together may be separated by the different course of their affairs; and Friendship, like Love, is destroyed by long absence, though it may be encreased by short intermissions. What we have missed long enough to want it, we value more when it is regained ; but that which has been lost till it is forgotten, will be found at last with little gladness, and with still less, if a substitute has supplied the place. A man deprived of the companion to whom he used to open his bosom, and with whom he shared the hours of leisure and merriment, feels the day at first hanging heavy on him; his difficulties oppress, and his doubts distract him; he fees time come and go without his wonted gratification, and all is sadness within and solitude about him. But this uneasiness never lasts long, necessity produces expedients, new amusements are discovered, and new conversation is admitted.
No expectation is more frequently disappointed, than that which naturally arises in the mind, from the prospect of meeting an old Friend, after long separation. We expect the attraction to be revived, and the coalition to be renewed; no man considers how much alteration time
has Mag. ReJUaiom en the Uhi
has made in himself, and very few enquire what effect it has had upon others. The first hour convinces them, that the pleasure, which they have formerly enjoyed, is for ever at an end; different scenes have made different impressions, the opinions of both are changed, and that similitude of manners and sentiment is lost, which confirmed them both in the approbation of themselves.
Friendship is often destroyed by opposition of interest, not only by the ponderous and visible interest, which the desire of wealth and greatness forms and maintains, but by a thousand secret and slight competitions, scarcely known to the mind upon which they operate. There is scarcely any man without some favourite trifle which he values above greater attainments, some desire of petty praise which he cannot patiently suffer to be frustrated. This minute ambition is sometimes crossed before it is known, and sometimes defeated by wanton petulance; but such attacks are seldom made without the loss of Friendship; for whoever has once found the vulnerable part will always be feared, and the resentment will burn on in secret of which shame hinders the discovery.
This,. however, is a flow malig""y, which a wise man will obviate a' inconsistent with quiet, and a good man will repress as contrary lo virtue; but human happiness is sometimes violated by some more sudden strokes.
A dispute begun in jest, upon a subject which a moment before was °n both parts regarded with careless "Terence, is continued by the de
rtmnty os FrilnJJhip. 23 I
sire of conquest, till vanity kindles into rage, aud opposition rankles into enmity. Against this hasty mischief I know not what security can be obtained ; men will be sometimes surprized into quarrels, and though they might both hasten to reconciliation, as soon as their tumult had subsided, yet two minds will seldom be found together.which can at once subdue their discontent, or immediately enjoy the sweets of peace, without remembering the wounds of the conflict.
Friendsliip has other enemies. Suspicion is always hardening the cautious, and Disgust repelling the delicate. Very flender differences will sometimes part those whom long reciprocation of civility or beneficence has united. Lonelove and Ranger retired into the country to enjoy the company of each other, and returned in six weeks cold and petulant; Ranger's pleasure was to walk in the field;, and Lonelove's to sit in a bower; each had complied with the other in his turn, and each was angry that compliance had been exacted.
The most fatal disease of Friendship is gradual decay, or dislike hourly encreased by causes too slender for complaint, and too numerous for removal. Those who are angry may be reconciled; those who have been injured may receive a recompence; but when the desire of pleasing and willingness to be pleased is silently diminished, the renovation of Friendship is hopeless; as, when the vital powers sink into languor, there is no longer any use of the Physician.
IS peace was now restored, the crown to another family, if the king,
king thought it expedient to with the assistance of pope Innoplace the crown upon the head of cent, had not prevented it, in the his eldest son Philip ; which was ae- manner that has been related. With cordingly done, with all the usual all his excellent qualities, and the solemnities, at Rheims. This being more candid of tj)e French histoover, he thought himself more at rians acknowlege him the best of leisure to correct many inconveni- their kings, he had a failing, if it encies which had gradually crept may be called so, which raised a seinto different parts of the kingdom, cret dislike to him, and increased and which, in those times, could be with his years. This failing condone no other way than by force; fisted in a certain freedom of speech; and if, in these his good endeavours, honest, sincere, and well-meaning he met with opposition from some of himself, he despised flattery, and he the great lords, he was assisted aud hated salshood; pious, without hjrsupported by others: so that, by pociify or superstition, he treated executing the decrees of his fu- very roughly such of the prelates as preme courts of justice, he rendered acted inconsistent with their chatappeals frequent, and, with an ap- raster; obedient to the laws himself, parent zeal for the public good, ex- his zeal for justice had led him to tended his own authority. Pope correct such of the nobility as acted Innocent the second, finding him- tyrannically, with a degree of rigour self constrained to leave Rome by that made them secret enemies to his competitor, retired into France, him and his family. But, while where he was received with great they meditated the humiliation of respect, and kept his Easter with both, Providence placed the crown great splendour at Paris. But the upon the head of the young Lewis, joy of the court was quickly turned in the sight of fonr hundred preinto mourning by the fall of the lates, assembled fromdifferent parrs, young king Philip from his horse, the major part of the nobility, and of which he died on the third of the embassadors and deputies of seOctbber, 1131. Before the close of veral foreign nations, with general the month a general council was applause.
held at Rheims, in which the king By long experience the greater as well as the pope was present, and vassals of the crown began to perthere the crown was set upon the ceive, that the king's views were head of Lewis, his eldest surviving very honourable, and that, though son, at that time about twelve years he was very quick, he was no less of age. The suddenness of this steady in his resolutions; and therecoronation, after so unlucky an ac- fore Thibaut, count of Champagne, cident, is accounted for by an old and other great lords, reconciled historian, who reports, that a party themselves to him; so that all the was forming amongst the great lords arts of his rival could never detach and prelates for transferring the them again from his interest. But,
in Hag, Compendious History ofFrance. 233]
in the midst of his prosperity, he fell and sixtieth of his age. With the
into a languishing state of health, being in a manner overwhelmed with fat. As his strength wore away he prepared for death, by setting his affairs in order j and, when he thought it so near as to receive the sacraments of the church, he drew his signet yng from his finger, and pat it upon that of his son, with these words: " By this sign 1 invest you with sovereign authority; but remember, that it is no other than » public employment, to which you are called by Providence, and for the exercise of which you are to give a strict account in the world to come." He grew better after this, but he would never use any os the ensigns of royal authority j but *henever he appeared abroad on horseback, he was surrounded by fast crouds of people, who, by loud acclamations, testified their zeal for his government, and their affection for his person.
An accident contributed not a little to the revival of the king's strength. William the tenth, duke of Guienue and Aquitaine, resolving to make a pilgrimage to the shrine of St. James of Compostella, bequeathed his extensive territories to his daughter Eleanor, upon condition that (he married the young king Lewis; and he dying in that pilgrimage, the king sent his son, most nobly attended, to Bourdeaux, •here the marriage was celebrated with great pomp, and the young princess solemnly crowned queen of France, and the young king was inaugurated as duke-of Aquitaine and Poitiers. In the mean time Lewis fe Gross, unable to support the heat ... of the dog-days, died at Paris, on the first of August, 111 the thirtieth year of his reign, ; Hits 176^,
addition of certain qualities, the French historians fay he might have made a better king; but, they allow, a better man never graced their throne : posterity perhaps may think this no diminution of his character.
Lewis, at the time of his father's demise, was eighteen years of age< and, as all writers agree, was furnamed le Jeune. If this was only* to distinguish him from his father, then we ought to stile him Lewis the younger; but a certain writer tells us, that this surname was giveni him on his separating from his wife Eleanor, and giving her back the duchy of Guienne, and then it has; quite another signification, and implies that Lewis was always a young man. The fame troubles that perplexed the beginning of his father's^ disturbed also the entrance of hisj reign; that is, several of the nobility indulged themselves in great excesses, which, as we have already shewn, were no otherwise to be repressed than by force* The king therefore, having put good garrisons/ into the fortresses of his new dominions, returned to Orleans ; where, upon his attempting to assemble troops, the commons, who owed alt their privileges to his father's favour, revolted :■ but Lewis quickly* reduced and chastised them, as he/ likewise did the lords. It is remarked, and it deserves to be remarked, that he did not follow hist father's example, in being crowned a second time. Eustace, the son of Stephen earl of Bologne, who had seated himself in the English' throne,' had done homage to Lewis the Grose for the duchy of Normandy; the king, to fix him more effectually to' his interests, gave him his sister in H h maniage f