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But thou wast form’d by Heaveu divine,
To shield the weak from every storm;
To lure us, and our ways reform!
And though e'en Guilt herself attend,
And all her craving wants befriend!.
Of sparkling eyes and peerless graces,
For that outshines the sweetest faces !
And blended with exterior graces ;
And in his Fair an angel traces!
Dear charming girl! I soon discover,
And that an angel is my lover!!
ALLA SPAGNA, ALL'ITALIA, ALL'EUROPA.
FREME l’Tiranno altero, che sol pone
Ma gia pena condegna
Mandagli giù da la sfera superna
Londra, Luglio, 1808.
L. E. discendante di un vero Sapgnclo.
THE LONDON THEATRES.
28. Iron Chest-Plot and Counterplot.
29. [Never acted.] THE AFRICANS; or War, Love, and Duty. The overture and music composed and selected by Mr. Kelly. Få. rulho (the priest), Mr. Thompson ; Torribal, Mr. Farley, Madi. boo, Mr Fawcett; Selico, Mr. Young; Demba Sego Jalla (King of Kasson), Mr. Palmer, jun.; Daucari, Mr. Carles; Fetterwell. Mr. Grove; Marrowbone, Mr. Menage; Henry Augustus Mug, Mr. Liston ; Berissa, Mrs. Gibbs ; Darina, Mrs. St. Leger ; Sutta, Mrs. Liston. The scenery by Mr. Morris, &c. Sylvester Daggerwood -Mrs. Wiggins.
30. Ib.-Seeing is Believing-Cheats of Scapio. AUGUST
]. Ib-Love laughs at Locksmiths.
3. Ib. Vock Doctor Spoilt Child. Little Pickle, Mrs. Bel. lamy.
4. Ib.-Ways and Means. 5. Ib.-Ghost-Cheats of Scapin. 6. Ib. Music Mad-Follies of a Day. 8. Ib.-Spoilt Child-Catch him who can. 9. Ib-Mrs Wiggins-Tale of Mystery. 10. Ib.--Seeing is Believing-Hunter of the Alps. 11. Ib.- Mock Doctor Katharine and Petruchio. 12. Ib.-Blind Boy. Edmond (1st time), Miss A. De Camp. 13. Ib Plot and Counterplot Music Mad. 15. Ib.-Recruiting Serjeant-Tom Thumb.
16. [Mr. FARLEY's Night.] Blind Boy-Plot and Counter plot -Valentine and Orson. Valentine, Mr. Farley; Orson, Mr. Grimaldi, (his ist appearance on this stage); Hugo, Mr. Grove; Green Knight, Mr. Menage.
18. [Mr. TAYLOR's Night.) Five Miles off-Review. Looney Mactwolter, a Gentleman, (1st appearance on any stage). Imitations---Hob in the Well, (ist time for 15 years.) Hob, Mr. Taylor ; Hob's Father, Mr. Noble; Betty, Mrs, Taylor; Flora, Mrs. Ma thews.
19. Africans-Blind Boy.
22. Mr. MATHEW's Night.] Young Quaker-Blue Devils. (Never acted] FIRST COME FIRST SERV'D; or, the Biter Bit. Characters by Messi's. Liston, Farley, Mathews, Noble, Mrs. Davenport, Miss De Camp.
The AFRICANS, is the production of Mr. Colman, an author whose name ranks deservedly high among the dramatic writers of the day. In the present instance he has not been eminently successful. There is a substantial interest in the story; but it is too much dilated, and the deficiency of Incident is supplied by a super
abundance of Dialogue, the plot is from a Tale of Florian's, which, as a narrative, is beautifully simple and impressive, but in adapting it to the Stage, the author has been obliged to look to other sources for materials, and thus, “mixed with baser matter," much of the original interest, and pathos bas escaped. The Comic scenes of Muy, whimsical as they are in the contrivance, and comic in the effect, can only be considered as so much intrusive buffoonery, suddenly interrupting the interest which the distress of the African family has excited. When their history is resumed, sympathy is again to be awakened, the interim, having dissipated all our emotions. This may be said of all serio comic pieces, but the defect, unavoidable in a Drama so coustructed, has seldom been felt more powerfully than in this instance. The story will not well bear to be broken, especially by means so violent. The following, taken from the newspaper, seems to be a pretty correct sketch of the fable.
Act 1st.-Selico is about to be married to Berissa, when the Mandingoes invade Bondon. Madiboo in a shooting excursion sees a party of the enemy, but supposing them to be stragglers, be resolves not to give any alarm till the nuptials of his brother shall be celebrated. In the mean time the town is attacked, and as the priest is uniting the hands of the lovers, intelligence is brought that half the city is already in flames, and the invaders sparing neither sex nor age, are rapidly advancing to the temple. The ceremovy is of course stopped--the Mandingoes destroy Tatteconda, and exter. minate its inhabitants.
Act 2.-Torribal and Madiboo escape with Darina, and conceal her in a hut.Madiboo leaves this asylum to seek provisions for bis mother-he meets Selico, who relates to him that anongst the slain he found the headless and mangled bodies of Berissa and her father. Madiboo persuades him to seek sustenance for his mother, and soon after his departure, falls in with Mug, who has become secretary of state to the conqueror, and obtains from him a basket of provisions. With these, he returns to the hut, where he finds Selico, whose search has been unsuccessful. The three brothers consult on the means of providing for their mother. Selico proposes to be taken to the Mandingo camp, and sold to the English slave merchants, who have arrived to purcbase prisoners. Torribal and Madiboo wish to have it decided by lots, but he overrules them, and sets off with the latter.
Act 3.-On his arrival he finds that his sale can only produce a sufficiency to support his mother for a few days, and hearing a very large reward offered for the apprehension of some unknown person who had on the preceding night procured access to the favourite captive of the King, he determines that his brother shall give him up as the delinquent. This is done, and Madiboo obtains the reward. He is for his alleged crime sentenced to be burned with the female prisoner he is supposed to have visited. The culprits are led to stakes opposite each other, and in his fellow-sufferer he discovers his Berissa. Her father now rushes in, and proves to have been her clandestine visitor. Darina also appears with Torribal and Madiboo; and the King touched with the constancy and filial affection of the lovers, pardons and gives them to each other.
The story being ready for his purpose, and so finely wrought by the Inventor that nothing was necessary to be added, Mr. Colman
bas employed his chief labour upon the Dialogue, which is highly ornamented, and in the most vigorous stile of the author; but the labour is mis-applied, for the characters required the utmost simplicity of diction, and when a morsel of bread is all the famished. mother requires, her hard hearted children feed her with nothing but cramped words, studied antitheses, and a bundle of high flown metaphors. This is a great fault in a play like the present. There are always sufficient opportunities for a writer, gifted like Mr. Col. man, to shew that he is a poet; but when the object is to reach the heart, he should not travel to it by a circuitous route.
For the reasons we have stated, the effect of this Drama is not very powerful. The first Act possesses every thing that is necessary; and the Contest of affection between the three Brothers in the second, is exquisitely touching. The third Act is a botch. It is an Act of mere declamation prolonged till patience itself begins to cry out ; and the subject, thus amply discussed, is now become $0 stale as to pull both on the ear and on the mind. The lovesick Selico, distracted for the supposed loss of his half-married wife, heart-broken on accouut of affictions which overwhelm his family, and in momentary expectation of death, becomes all at once a subtle disputant, and declamatory bully; while poor Demba Sego Jallo very patiently supplies him from his throne with the materials of his argument. By the bye this King of the Mandingoes, who had been previously represented as a bloodstained usurper, and sayage monster, blacker even than Bonaparte, (blacker he certainly is in complexion but we did not intend a pun) turns out to be a most amiable character; brave, polished, forbearing, acute, and really magnanimous. The Denouement is flat and common.
The comic division of the play rests entirely with Henry Augustus Mug, who is a sort of Trudge, more farcical, but less amusing. There are boundaries even to extravagance, and when Mr. Colman planned the introduction of a Cockney into Tatteconda, and made him a Secretary of state, we have no doubt he was astonished at his own temerity. That a King like Dembu Sego Jallo should give him such an appoivtment does not add much to the probability. Some of the incidents in the last act have been dramatized in Il Bun. docani; probably from the same original,
The performers distinguished themselves greatly. The Brothers were well represented by Young, Farley, and Fawcett. The latter played admirably, and was doubtless, the great support of the piece. He displayed infinite skill, and in the affecting scenes no Tragedian could have worked upon the feelings more powerfully. Liston is himself alone ; his humour never fails; and we have no doubt his Mug, if not the author's, will long be a source of theatrical at. traction.
The music is by Kelly; but there is nothing striking in it. The following song, a sort of parody on the popular ballad of Won't you come to the Bower was sung by Liston with prodigious effect. By trade I am a turner, and Mug it is my name, To buy a lot of Ivory, to Africa I came; I met a trading Blackamoor, a woolly old humbug, He coax'd me up his land, and made a slave of Mr. Mug. Crying won't you, won't you, won't you, come Mr. Mug?
Won't you, won't you? &c.