« 前へ次へ »
year 1745. The plot is borrowed from a story in the celebrated romance of Gil Blas : the fable is very interesting; the characters are few but active; and the attention is never suffered to wander. This succeeded beyond any other of Mr. Thomson's plays; and, from the deep romantic distress of the lovers, still continues to draw crowded houses.
This was the last play Mr. Thomson published, his tragedy of Coriolanus being only prepared for the theatre, when a fatal accident robbed the world of one of the best of men, and best poets that ever lived in it.
One summer evening, being alone, in his walk from town to Hammersmith, he had overheated himself, and, in that condition, imprudently took a boat to carry him to Kew; apprehending no bad consequence from the chill air on the river, which his walk to his house, at the upper end of Kew-lane, had always hitherto prevented. But, now, the cold had so seized him, that next day he found himself in a high fever, so much the more to be dreaded that he was of a full, habit. This, however, by the use of proper medicines, was removed, so that he was thought to be out of danger; but the fine weather having tempted him once more to expose himself to the evening dews, his fever returned with violence, and with such symptoms as left no hopes of a cure. Two days had passed before his relapse was known in town; at last, Mr. Mitchell and Mr. Reid, with Dr. Armstrong, being informed of it, posted out at midnight to his assistance; but, alas ! came only to endure a sight of all others the most shocking to nature, the last agonies of their beloved friend.--This lamented death happened on the 27th of August, 1748.
His testamentary executors were the Lord Lyttleton, whose care of our poet's fortune and fame ceased not with his life ; and Mr. Mitchell, a gentleman equally noted for the truth and constancy of his private friendships, and for his address and spirit as a public minister. By their united interest, the orphan play of Co
riolanus was brought on the stage to the best advantage. The profits arising from this play, and from the sale of manuscripts, and other effects, more than satisfied all demands; so that a very handsome sum was remitted to his sisters in Scotland. My Lord Lyttleton's prologue to this piece was admired as one of the best that ever had been written : the best spoken it certainly was. Mr. Quin was the particular friend of Mr. Thomson ; and when he spoke the following lines, which are in themselves very tender, all the endearments of a long acquaintance rose at once to his imagination, while the tears gushed from his eyes :
“He lov'd his friends (forgive this gushing tear, “ Alas I feel I am no actor here :) “ He lov'd his friends with such a warmth of heart. “ So clear of interest, so devoid of art; “Such generous freedom, such unshaken zeal; “No words can speak it, but our tears may tell."
The beautiful break in these lines had a fine effect in speaking. Mr. Quin here excelled himself; nor did he ever appear so great an actor as at this instant, when he declared himself none.
Mr. Thomson's remains were deposited in the church of Richmond, under a plain stone, without any inscription. It was not till the year 1762, that the noble design was proposed, to erect for him a funeral monument in Westminster Abbey. In order to defray the necessary expence of this undertaking, Mr. A. Millar published by subscription a splendid edition of our author's works, in 4to, the entire profits of which he cheerfully dedicated to this purpose and it was further proposed, that any remaining sun, after paying all expences, should be remitted to his relations.
The subject proposed.--Inscribed to the Countess
of Hartford.—The season is described as it affects the various parts of Nature, ascending from the Tower to the higher; with digressions arising from the subject. Its influence on inanimate matter.On vegetables.-On brute animals. And last, on Man.-Concluding with a dissuasive from the wild and irregular passion of love, opposed to that of a pure and happy kind.
COMÉ, gentle Spring, ethereal Mildness, come,
V And from the bosom of yon dropping cloud,
O Hartford, fitted or to shine in courts
And see where surly Winter passes off,