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THE AMERICAN FOREST GIRL.-Mrs. Hemans.
WILDLY and mournfully the Indian drum
On the deep hush of moonlight forests broke;-
A youth, a fair-haired youth of England stood,
As the wind passed, and with a fitful glow
With tall plumes crested and wild hues o'erspread,
Would the winds tell it?-Who might dream or hear
They bound him; and that proud young soldier strove, His father's spirit in his breast, to wake.
Trusting to die in silence! He, the love
She had sat gazing on the victim long,
'He shall not die!'-the gloomy forest thrilled
They loosed the bonds that held their captive's breath;
They quenched the brand beneath the cypress tree;
SIR FRETFUL PLAGIARY, DANGLE AND SNEER.-Sheridan.
Dan. SIR Fretful, have you sent your play to the managers yet?-or can I be of any service to you?
Sir F. No, no, I thank you; I believe the piece had sufficient recommendation with it.-I thank you, thoughI sent it to the manager of Covent-Garden theatre this morning.
Sneer. I should have thought that it might have been cast (as the actors call it) better at Drury Lane.
Sir F. O! no-never send a play there, while I livehark 'ee! [Whispers Sneer.
Sneer. Writes himself!-I know he does
Sir F. I say nothing-I take away from no man's merit -am hurt at no man's good fortune-I say nothing.-But this I will say, through all my knowledge of life I have observed, that there is not a passion so strongly rooted in the human heart as envy!
Sneer. I believe you have reason for what you say, indeed.
Sir F. Besides, I can tell you it is not always so safe to leave a play in the hands of those who write themselves. Sneer. What, they may steal from them, hey, my dear Plagiary?
Sir F. Steal! to be sure they may; and, serve your best thoughts as gypsies do stolen children, disfigure them to make 'em pass for their own.
Sneer. But your present work is a sacrifice to Melpomene, and he you know never
Sir F. That's no security. A dexterous plagiarist may do anything. Why, sir, for aught I know, he might take out some of the best things in my tragedy, and put them into his own comedy.
Sneer. That might be done, I dare be sworn.
Sir F. And then, if such a person gives you the least hint or assistance, he is apt to take the merit of the whole
Dan. If it succeeds.
Sir F. Ay: but with regard to this piece, I think I can hit that gentleman, for I can safely aver he never read it. Sneer. I'll tell you how you may hurt him more.
Sir F. How?
Sneer. Declare he wrote it.
Sir F. Plague on 't now, Sneer, I shall take it ill.-I believe you want to take away my character as an author. Sneer. Then I am sure you ought to be very much obliged
Sir F. Hey! sir!
Dan. O you know he never means what he says.
Sir F. Sincerely then-you do like the piece?
Sir F. But come now,, there must be something that you think might be mended, hey?—Mr. Dangle, has nothing struck you?
Dan. Why, truly, it is but an ungracious thing, for the most part, to
Sir F. With most authors it is just so indeed; they are in general strangely tenacious! But, for my part I am never so well pleased as when a judicious critic points out any defect to me; for what is the purpose of showing a work to a friend, if you do n't mean to profit by his opinion! Sneer. Very true. Why, then, though I seriously admire the piece upon the whole, yet there is one small objection; which, if you 'll give me leave, I 'll mention.
Sir F. Sir, you can't oblige me more.
Sneer. I think it wants incident.
Sir F. You surprise me!-wants incident!
Sneer. Yes; I own I think the incidents are too few.
Sir F. Believe me, Mr. Sneer, there is no person for whose judgment I have a more implicit deference. But I protest to you, Mr. Sneer, I am only apprehensive that the incidents are too crowded.-My dear Dangle, how does it strike you?
Dan. Really I can't agree with my friend Sneer. I think the plot quite sufficient; and the first four acts by many degrees the best I ever read or saw in my life. If I might venture to suggest anything, it is that the interest rather falls off in the fifth.
Sir F. Rises, I believe you mean, sir.
Dan. No, I do n't, upon my word.
Sir F. Yes, yes, you do, upon my soul; it certainly don't fall off, I assure you. No, no, it don't fall off.
Dan. Well, Sir Fretful, I wish you may be able to get rid as easily of the newspaper criticisms as you do of ours. Sir F. The newspapers! Sir, they are the most villanous -licentious-abominable-infernal- -Not that I ever read -No-I make it a rule never to look into a news
Dan. You are quite right; for it certainly must hurt an author of delicate feelings to see the liberties they take.
Sir F. No! quite the contrary; their abuse is, in fact, the best panegyric-I like it of all things. An author's reputation is only in danger from their support.
Sneer. Why that 's true-and that attack, now, on you the other day
Sir F. What? where?
Dan. Ay, you mean in a paper of Thursday: it was completely ill-natured, to be sure.
Sir F. O, so much the better. Ha! ha! ha! I would n't have it otherwise.
Dan. Certainly, it is only to be laughed at, for
Sir F. You do n't happen to recollect what the fellow said, do you?
Sneer. Pray, Dangle,-Sir Fretful seems a little anxious
Sir F. O no!-anxious,-not I,-not the least-I-But one may as well hear, you know.
Dan. Sneer, do you recollect? Make out something.
[Aside. Sneer. I will. [To Dangle.] Yes, yes, I remember perfectly.
Sir F. Well, and pray now-not that it signifies—what might the gentleman say?
Sneer. Why, he roundly asserts that you have not the slightest invention or original genius whatever; though you are the greatest traducer of all other authors living.
Sir F. Ha! ha! ha!-very good!
Sneer. That as to comedy, you have not one idea of your own, he believes, even in your common-place book, where stray jokes and pilfered witticisms are kept with as much method as the ledger of the lost and stolen office.
Sir F. Ha! ha! ha!-very pleasant!
Sneer. Nay, that you are so unlucky as not to have the skill even to steal with taste: but that you glean from the refuse of obscure volumes, where more judicious plagiarists have been before you; so that the body of your work is a composition of dregs and sediments, like a bad tavern's worst wine.
Sir F. Ha! ha!
Sneer. In your more serious efforts, he says, your bombast would be less intolerable, if the thoughts were ever suited to the expression; but the homeliness of the sentiment stares through the fantastic encumbrance of its fine language, like a clown in one of the new uniforms!
Sir F. Ha! ha!
Sneer. That your occasional tropes and flowers suit the general coarseness of your style, as tambour sprigs would a ground of linsey-woolsey; while your imitations of Shakspeare resemble the mimicry of Falstaff's page, and are about as near the standard of the original.
Sir F. Ha!
Sneer. In short, that even the fine passages you steal are of no service to you; for the poverty of your own language prevents their assimilating; so that they lie on the surface