« AnteriorContinua »
IN FIVE Acrs;
BY RICHARD CUMBERLAND, Esq.
AS PERFORMED AT THE
THEATRE ROYAL, COVENT GARDEN,
PRINTED UNDER THE AUTHORITY OF THE MANAGERS
TROM THE PROMPT BOOK.
BY MRS. INCHBALD.
PRIN PED FOR LONGMAN, HURST, REES, AND ORNE,
This comedy made its appearance at Covent Garden theatre, in 1769, and pleased the town so well, that it merely sunk into neglect, when the author, two seasons after, banished his own, and all other come. dies, of that period, from the stage, by the splendid 2 success of his “ West Indian.”
With all the merit which “ The Brothers” possesses, Sand which is of no small account, it is instructive to
observe, with how much judgment Mr. Cumberland corrected in his second play, all those faults he had committed in the first.
The language of “ The West Indian" is wholly refined, and every idea it contains, perfectly delicate. The youthful parts are there rendered brilliant, as well as interesting; and wit and humour are not confined, as here, to the mean, or the vulgar; but skilfully bestowed on persons of pleasing forms and polite manners. Herein is the difficulty, which divides, like a gulf, the superior, from the inferior, dramatist.
To give blunt repartee, or other humorous dia+ logue, to characters in low life; to produce variety of
comic accidents, by which a petty tradesman, a sailor, or a country clown, shall raise a peal of laughter, is
JUN 4 124
whimsical writer: But to exhibit the weak side of wisdom, the occasional foibles which impede the full exertion of good sense ; the chance awkwardness of the elegant, and mistakes of the correct; to bestow wit on beauty, and to depict the passions, visible in the young, as well as in the aged ;-these are efforts of intellect, required in the production of a good comedy, and can alone confer the title of a good comic author.
Notwithstanding the disadvantage under which this drama must be judged, in comparing it with one near perfection, by the same writer; « The Brothers" will always be read with infinite pleasure; and the moral which it conveys, in the remorse of Belfield senior, will always be considered as ore, among the various obligations which the public owe to Mr. Cumberland, for having preserved, throughout all his numerous works, a strict sense of the dues of morality.
The characters which will amuse the most, in the reading of this play, are those, most deficient of entertainment on the stage. The love-stories of the Bela field family, are rather adapted to the closet, whilst Sir Benjamin Dove's cowardice, and ultimate victory, draw bursts of merriment and applause, from every part of a theatre.
Ironsides has, also, his share of admirers in his exo hibition before an audience; and every rough sentence, which falls from this boisterous sailor's lips, is received as the uncouth overflowings of an honest heart.
Of the character of Mr. Paterson, two questions