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In Five Acts,
BY THOMAS MORTON, ESQ.
Author of The Way to get Married, Town and Country, School of Reform, The Slave, Knight of Snowdoun, Zorinski, Columbus,
Spred the Plongh, $c.
ACTING COPY, WITH REMARKS,
CRITICAL, BY D._G.
To which are added,
А DESCRIPTION OF THE COSTUME,-CAST OF THE CHARACTERS ENTRANCES AND EXITS, -RELATIVE POSITIONS OF THE PERFORMERS ON THE STAGE,-AND THE WHOLE OF THE STAGE
As now performed at the
THEATRES ROYAL, LONDON:
EMBELLISHED WITH A FINE WOOD ENGRAVING,
By Mr. BONNER, from a Drawing taken in the Theatre by
Mr. R. CRUIKSHANK.
JOHN CUMBERLAND, 19, LUDGATE HILL.
• 'Tis Education forms the common mind;
Will sneaks a scriv'ner, an exceeding knave." EVERY age has its distinguishing feature :-Education is that of the present. Before, however, we can fairly decide upon its general utility, we must consider it in some of its various significations. Were it asked of us, What is education ? we should reply, That which happens to be the whim or fashion of the day ! Not the acquirement of solid, elegant, and essential knowledge ; but of certain superficial indispensables, that transform a man into a frothy, ephemeral coxcomb; and a woman into a vain, frivolous coquet. We have discarded the ponderous learning of our forefathers, for the light accomplishments of modern times ; substantial food, for whipt syllabub,—two ruffles and never a shirt. This epidemic pervades both town and country. If Miss Seraphina Skeggs, of Saint Mary Axe, is quite au fait at waltzing, and twanging the Harpsicolls, ten to one but her no less accomplished cousin can polles-vous, and cut the genteel caper at Leighton-Buzzard.
We are a reading public : every one, now-a-days, has an opinion of his own, and he is entitled to it, when he has regularly paid for it, in a magazine, or review ;
“ The golden hair that Gallia wears,
Is hers;---who would have thought it?
For I know where she bought it!"
It would be difficult to find a person that cannot talle fluently about Moore, or Byron. There are certain literary names that fashion has converted into household gods; and a good memory may ring the changes on them with considerable eclat. We
are liecome a nation of critics, craniologists, and philosophers ! Our very cools are waxing intellectual ; and our mechanics though they cannot break the head of Priscian, ingeniously contrive to puzzle their own :
“ They talk much of economy, much of profuseness ;** and, generally speaking, quite as much to the purpose as their betters ! We perfectly agree with that excellent old adage,“ Learning is better than house and land :
When house and land are gone and spent,
Learning is most excellent !" And even when house and land are not gone and spent, they often play their possessors a knave's trick, by intruding them into company which their wealth hardly gives them a privilege to enter. We have seen a young gentleman, with a boarding-school edication, march from his toilet (a tailor made him,) into a society where he felt as uneasy as a cat in a water-butt ;-a sorry predicament for one whose head has been neglected for his heels? But scholastic-learning, it seems, is not essential to complete a modern education! Seven years' apprenticeship to Latin and Greek is a cruel sacrifice of time ;-your modern smatterer learns his business in as many days, and then sets up for himself. He is an economist in learning: =like Garrick and his guinea, he makes it go farther than any body else. He trades on a small stock, and trusts to other people's wits for a floating capital. 16 is universally admitted, that
“ A little learning is a dangerous thing :" and what, we may ask, is a great deal ?
“Only to know how little can be known,
To see all others' faults, and feel our own .!" Blessed therefore are the illiterate !
“ Where ignorance is bliss,
'Tis folly to be wise !" Milton, who certainly deserves well of the ladies, if it were only for his espousing three wives, which certainly implies no small devotion to the sex, has given us a description of what ke considers female accomplishments, in his beautiful picture of Eve, when she spreads the repast before the angel, and Adam in Paradise. In the whole range of poetry, there is nothing more delicate and lovely. She is represented as performing her duties with an ease and gracefulness that many drawing-room beauties
would do well to imitate. She is no household drudge; but, as Adam nobly describes her,
“ Daughter of God and man, accomplished Eve." This comedy is an agreeable illustration of the many erroneous systems of education that have been pursued, according to the caprice of individuals. We have an inveterate fox-hunter; a querulous, impertinent critic; a young lady, stark-mad with botany, star-gazing, and cantatas; and a wife who has drank sutficently deep at the fountain of modern refinement, to bring her husband to the brink of ruin, by her extravagance. There are other personages, who exhibit their whimsicalities with considerable effect, and complete the group of educated outrès that constitute this comic picture.
66 Education" is more adapted to the closet than the stage; it has little of the bustle that characterises the other comedies of its ingenious author. Particular pains seem to have been taken with the dialogue, which is evidently laboured, and, if we may adopt the expression, more than usually didactic. None of the characters have the slightest claim to originality. Stanch is a compound of_Sir Harry Beagle and Goldfinch. Mrs. Templeton is Lady Teazle, below stairs. Aspic is of the family of the Snakes. Templeton is alternately Sir Peter Teazle and Old Dornton. Vincent is Harry Dornton. Suckling is
Tony Lumpkin, in masquerade. Damper is Mr. Sulky, all over ; and Broadcast and his dame are Ashfield and his wife, without the catch-word of Mrs. Grundy. But these old acquaintances are placed in such novel situations, and, moreover, are so agreeable, that we are not at all sorry to meet with them again.
Count Villars and Rosine are the tragic hero and heroine of the drama. It seems as if it were absolutely necessary to infuse a certain portion of serious interest into a comedy, that it may approximate nearer to real life. The idea is probably correct :life is an April day,--a mixture of fair weather and foul,-of shower and of sunshine. For ourselves, we would hardly desire to pass through life (and Providence has ordained that we should not) without some experience of chastening sorrow. It is the pathetic exclamation of Burns, that “ Man was made to mourn:" and Gray finely remarks, that Fate has given
“ To each his sufferings: all are men,
Condemn'd alike to groan ;
Th’ un feeling for his own."
e are surprised that this comedy has not been revived,; it has, certainly, sufficient merit to entitle it to that distinction, particularly in the present dearth of rational theatrical entertain