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The tender prayer
To watch me in the battle.
The other is The Sailor's Journal:
Scarce winds and waves had ceas'd to rattle,
And, dauntless, we prepar'd for battle.
Like lightning rush'd on ev'ry fancy,
Put up a prayer, and thought on Nancy.
upon For only that can save us now.
G. p. 30. On the subject of introducing Prophecies upon the Stage, I have before noticed (p. 28) the Witches in Macbeth, who are represented as having an absolute foreknowledge of events.
In King Henry the VIIIth. Cranmer, at the christening of Elizabeth, says to the King,
Let me speak, Sir,
A. V. S. last. He then proceeds to give an account of what is to happen in the reigns of Queen Elizabeth and James the First.
A similar passage is introduced at the conclusion of the Royal Convert, respecting the reign of Queen Anne.
In King Lear, A. III. S. 2. the Fool speaks a burlesque prophecy. This, however, is omitted on the Stage. In the Crusade is another of the same kind.
p. 31. So common are curses on the Stage, that it were easy to point out hundreds. The character of Queen Margaret in Richard the Third, consists of little besides. I have before noticed one in
Macbeth, (p. 148) and the curse uttered by King Lear, A. I. S. 40 against his daughter, I wonder any actor will speak.
In Richard the Second, A. III. S. 2. Richard vents a curse against Bushy, Bagot' and Green, when he supposes them to be traitors, which is very shocking; and the calling them “three Judasses,” and “ each one thrice worse than Judas," is impious. A reply is made to it by Scrop, which is good, but not sufficiently strong:
Sweet love, I see, changing his property,
And lie full low, grav'd in the hollow ground. In Othello, Æmilia introduces the following, which contains a direct reference to Scripture:
If any wretch hath put this in your head,
Let Heaven requite it with the serpent's curse! A. IV. S. 2. In Jane Shure, A. III. Hastings, under the idea of patriotism, pronounces a curse, which is always received with applause.
I have in a forner page (148) noticed a curse in the Poem of the Landscape.
I. p. 31.
On this head, I will refer the reader to Bedford's Serious Remonstrance, ch. xviii. particularly p. 279, and ch. xx. p. 316, and will merely give some few other instances of the abuse of Scripture phrases, and light allusions to sacred bistory, &c. which l.ave come under my own notice.
In Jane Shore, Dumont says to her,
A. II. which is certainly an improper application of 1 Pet. v. 7. where, speaking of God, he says, “ Casting all your care upon him, for he careth for
you." In the same play, A. V. S. I. Dumont, speaking of the sufferings of Jane Shore, says,
Hence with her post offences,
* It is plain she is not one of us.” A phrase taken from Genesis iji. 22. " And the Lord God said, Behold, the nan is become as one of us.'
In Macbeth, A. IV. S. 3. Macduff says of Malcolm, that he “ does blaspheme his breed:” blasphemy according to the common acceptation of the word, is speaking against God. So again, in The Road to Ruin, Young Dornton says, “Utter no blasphemy against my father.” A. IV. S. 2.
In The Gamester, A. V. S. 3. When Stukely tells Charlotte that Lewson is dead, she says,
Say he lives, and I'll kneel and worship you."
It was, I believe, an usual phrase with the late Mr. Brown, the ornamental gardener, to say, that he had created such a place; and some of his followers use the term to this day. I cannot furbear, in this place, relating an anecdote, which I had from very good authority.
A nobleman who had made many improvements in his grounds, and was very fond of shewing them, was walking round them one evening with a visitor, accompanied by his little grandson and his Tutor. He came at length to a spoi, where much liad been done to embellish the scene, and contemplating it with great satisfaction, he said to his guest, “ I can assure you, every thing you see here is my own creating." His grandson immediately replied, “What! and the skies and all, grandpapa?” see Ezekiel xxix. 3. and Isaiah xiv. 5-7. 12. 18.
I have been told, that in some modern farce, there is a scene, where there is an arbour in a tree, and where some person is concealed, while two of the characters are conversing on the stage; one
“ There is one above sees all.” As this expression is commonly applied to the Deity, I consider it as profane.
Of light allusions to Scripture I will mention but a few. The Mysterious Husband, A. I. Sir Edmund Travers talks of “ a detail as tedious as the courtship of Jacob and Rebecca:” and in The West Indian, when Captuin Dudley says, he has “been above thirty years in the service," Fulmer says " 'tis an apprenticeship to a profession fit only for a patriarch.” A. II. S. 1.
In The Belle's Stratagem, A. IV. S. 1. when Doricourt wishes Lætitia to unmask, she says, " Beware of impertinent curiosity, it lost Paradise.
Doricourt. Eve's curiosity was raised by the Devil, 'tis an Angel tempts mine. So your allusion is not in point.”
of them says
In The Battle of Hexham, A. II. S. 2. Gregory talks of " King Nebuchadnezzar," and his “grass-eating qualities."
In The Surrender of Calais, A. I. S. 2. when La Gloire comes in with provisions, he says, “ Here I am diopt in among you,
like a lump of muna.'
The same allusion is introduced in The Merchant of Venice, in a much les exceptionable way. When Nerissa tells Lorenzo, that the Jew has made a deed of gift, leaving him and Jessica, after his death, all he dies possessed of: he says,
Fair ladies, you drop manna in the way
A. V, end. In John Bull, A. V, S. 2. when Ifr. Shuffleton and Lady Caroline come in, having been just married, Sir Simon says,
The last dinner-bell has rung, Lady Caroline; but I'll attend you directly.
Mr. Shuffleton. Baronet, I'm afraid we shan't be able to dine with you to-day.
Sir Simon. Not dine with me!
This is undoubtedly a light allusion to the parable of the Supper in the Gospel, Luke xiv. where the persons who were invited, send excuses for staying away; one of them is “ I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come." (v. 20.)
Yet I conceive that Scriptural allusions and phrases may be introduced with propriety.
At the beginning of the first part of Henry the 1Vth, Henry is talking of his intended expedition to the Holy Land, and says,
Over whose acres walk'd those blessed feet,
For our advantage, on the bitter cross.
At the end of Act I. of this play, after the First Murderer has killed Clarence, the Second, who would have relented, and saved
of mortal men,
How fain, like Pilate, would I wash my
hands Of this most grievous guilty murder done. In Act III. S. 4. Where Gloster has ordered Hastings to execution, Hastings says,
O momentary grace
Into the fatal bowels of the deep. The first two lines I conceive to be an allusion to John xii. 43. “ For they loved the praise of men, more than the praise of God.”
The latter part is probably an allusion to Proverbs xxiii. 34. “ Yea, thou shalt be as he that lieth down in the midst of the sea, or he that lieth upon the top of a mast:" The former verses are about drunkenness.
Again, A. V. S. 1. Where Buckingham is led to execution, and he acknowledges the justice of God, in visiting him for his want of fidelity to King Edward's children and allies, as he had wished that such judgment should fall upon him, should he ever prove false; he says,
Thus doth he force the swords of wicked men
To turn their own points on their masters' bosoms : an allusion to Psalm xxxvii. 15. “ Their sword shall go through their own heart.”
In Macbeth, A. IV. S. 3. Macduff, in the lines immediately following those I have just quoted, says to Malcolm,
Thy royal father
Dy'd every day she lived. Evidently taken from what St. Paul says of himself, (1 Cor. xv. 31.) “I die daily."
J. p. 32. I wish to submit to the sober and serious consideration of those who pay, and those who suffer these extravagant honours to