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in the same slow and concealed manner as he had come in. Lord Southampton used to say that he could not distinguish any thing of his face; but that, by his voice and gait, he took him to be OLIVER CROMWELL.
In the Lansdowne MSS. deposited in the British Museum, occurs a singular story relating to the unfortunate Charles, and the not less unfortunate Lord Falkland, to this effect:
About this time there befel the King an accident, which, though a trife in itself, and that no weight is to be laid upon any thing of that nature, yet since the best authors, both ancient and modern, have not thought it below the majesty of history to mention the like, it may be the more excusable to take notice of.
* The King being at Oxford during the civil wars, went one day to see the public library, where he was shewn, among other books, a Virgil, nobly printed, and exquisitely bound. The Lord Falkland, to divert the King, would have his majesty make a trial of his fortune by the Sortes Virgilianæ, which every body knows was an usual kind of augury some ages past. Whereupon the King opening the book, the period which happened to come up was that part of Dido's imprecation against Æneas, which Mr. Dryden translates thus: .
Yet let a race untamed, and haughty foes,
Oppressed with numbers in th’ unequal field,
Æneid, b. iv. l. 88. • It is said King Charles seemed concerned at this accident, and that the Lord Falkland observing it, would likewise try his own fortune in the same manner, hoping he might fall upon some passage that could have no relation to his case, and thereby divert the King's thoughts from any impression the other might have upon him. But the place that Falkland stumbled upon was yet more suited to his destiny than the other had been to the King's; being the following expressions of Evander upon the untimely death of his son Pallas, as they are translated by the same hand:
O Pallas! thou hast failed thy plighted word,
Æneid, b. xi. 1. 230. (MI TABLETS FOR THE MONTH OF FEBRUARY in our next
• Plague o both your Houses.'-Shakspeare.
66 THEATRE ROYAL, os The Proprietors present their compliments to “ Mr. , they are greatly obliged by his preference “ of their Theatre, and have read his Piece with much " attention, but are of opinion that it would not succeed « in representation.”
Alas! for the unlucky wight, who hath ever received, together with his rejected Tragedy, Comedy, Opera, Farce, Melo-drama, Musical Drama, or any Drama, the melancholy billet, which forms but too appropriate an opening to my truly melancholy tale. Alas! too, and again alas! that youthful authors will begin by writing Tragedies--or, what is to them perhaps more difficult, Comedies—or, at least, by courting the Dramatic Muse in some mode or other. Such, gentle Reader, was the “ignorant sin” which I committed. Scarce seventeen
years had (yes, even in so brief a period) shifted full many a scene, and produced a considerable number of exits and entrances, within the sphere of my confined cognizance, upon the theatre of life, when, after preluding only by sundry rhymes, essays, and other literary fragments, I heroically sat down to write a Play! Ah me! little did I imagine the toils, the cares, the uncertainties, the perplexities, and, above all, the rejections, to which, by this first effort in dramatic composition, I was about to expose myself.-However, a Play did I write, and in five acts too; and, immediately on its conclusion, carried it to a highly esteemed literary friend, of whose favourable opinion I did not doubt, though I had the modesty to believe, and indeed to hope, that the Piece might by possibility receive improvement from his suggestions.
After allowing this gentleman what I considered a competent time for its perusal, I made my call to enquire his sentiments. I found him seated with a common friend ; and could not at first help surmising, from his neglect to enter upon the topic of my dramatic achievement, that he had not been possessed of time to give it a reading. But I was undeceived in this particular, when, taking advantage of a pause in the conversation, I, with a
palpitating heart, at length ventured upon the question—" what he thought of the PLAY?" For he directly, and with much suavity, answered, “ that he thought highly of it, as a first production—that, really, it did me much credit -that it had numerous merits as a composition
BUT—he did not think it calculated for the Stage.” Had the words which I have placed in Italics been so many stabs, they could not to me have been more terrible. In fact, they gave a death-blow to my fondest hopes; they seemed at once to have annihilated the results of all my efforts: for the idea of a play not calculated for the stage, not unjustly perhaps appeared to me as ridiculous as that of a sermon not calculated for the pulpit. Yet I rallied spirits to express a hope, that, though it were not a good acting play, it might be made one; and scrupled not to hint, that the alterations suggested by so good a judge could scarcely fail to render it all that was desirable. My friend smiled, and very frankly and goodnaturedly offered me his assistance.
And here I feel my incompetence to do justice to the patience and goodness of a most worthy man, who pointed out the faults in my performance at once with the acumen of a critic, and with all the benevolent gentleness that predominates in his character. By him