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The affecting tragedy of “George Barnwell" has more admirers than it is the fashion to acknowledge: yet it gives not even an intimation, that the same dramatist could ever arrive to that degree of perfection in his art, as to produce “Fatal Curiosity." From the first scene of this tragedy to the last, allis interesting, all is natural—occurrences, as in real life, give rise to passions; passion inspires new thoughts, elevates each sentiment, embellishes the language and renders every page of the production either sweetly pathetic, or horribly sublime. , Yet the highest merit of any, is the moral which the work contains. The unfortunate should read it, and be taught patience—the fortunate, and learn gratitude to Divine Providence. There is even instruction to be gained by a very inferior event in the glay—deception, for whatever innocent purpose used, is shown to be of most fatal tendency. Though every character partakes of the general interest which the story excites, yet Old Wilmot and his wife are pre-eminent in all they utter, even before they are provoked to act. It may be, their conversation has greater force, and appears to have more of nature, because the dissatisfied and complainer, though seldom made an object of interest by an author, is a being far more familiar to every observer, and by far more pitiable, than the resigned and the patient. “Fatal Curiosity” was first performed in the year 1736, and received most favourably—it then was withdrawn from the stage till about the year 1782, when Colman the elder revived it at his theatre during the Summer. Mr. Colman was a warm admirer of Lillo's works, and of this play in particular. He caused it to be rehearsed with infinite care; and, from the reception of the two first acts, and part of the third, he had the hope that it would become extremely popular—but, on the performance of a scene which followed soon after, a certain horror seized the audience, and was manifested by a kind of stifled scream. After having shuddered at this tragedy, even as a fiction, it is dreadful to be told,—that the most horrid event which here takes place, is merely the representation of a fact which occurred at a village on the western coast of England. That the direful circumstance thus brought upon the stage might probably occur, is the great hold which it has upon the heart;-had probability been violated, that powerful force would have failed—but Lillo is an author whose characters are such as inhabit the world, and do not reside merely in romances. Fielding, another copyist of nature, says of the play, in his prologue:

“ No fustian hero rages here to-night; “ No armies fall to fix a tyrant's right: “ From lower life we draw our scene's distress:

“Let not your equals move your pity less.”

DRAMATIS PERSONAE.'

DRURY-LANE. HAYMARKET. OLD WILMoT Mr. Kemble. Mr. Bensley, Young WILMoT Mr.Barrymore. Mr. Palmer.

EUSTAcE Mr. Trueman. Mr. R. Palmer, RANDAL Mr. C. Kemble. Mr. Bannister.jun, AGNES Mrs. Siddons. Miss Sherry. CIHARLOTTE Mrs. Powell. Mrs. Bulkeley. MARIA Miss Leake. Miss Hooke.

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FATAL CURIOSITY.

ACT THE FIRST.
SCENE. I. -

~
WILMoT's House.

‘OLD WILMoT alone.

O. Wilm. The day is far advanc'd. The cheerful Sull Pursues with vigour his repeated course : No labour lessens, nor no time decays His strength, or splendour: evermore the same, From age to age his influence sustains Dependent worlds, bestows both life and motion On the dull mass, that forms their dusky orbs, Cheers them with heat, and gilds them with his brightness. Yet man, of jarring elements compos'd, Who posts from change to change, from the first hour Of his frail being to his dissolution, Enjoys the sad prerogative above him, To think, and to be wretched ! What is life To him that's born to die Or, what the wisdom, whose perfection ends In knowing, we know nothing 2 Mere contradiction all! A tragic farce,

Tedious, though short, elab'rate without art,
Ridiculously sad—

Enter RANDAL.

Where hast been, Randal?
Rand. Not out of Penryn, sir; but to the strand,
To hear what news from Falmouth, since the storm
Of wind last night.
O. Wilm. It was a dreadful one.
Rand. Some found it so. A noble ship from India
Ent’ring the harbour, run upon a rock,
And there was lost.
O. Wilm. What came of those on board her ?
Rand. Some few are sav'd, but much the greater
art,
'Tis do, are perish'd.
O. Wilm. They are past the fear
Of future tempests, or a wreck on shore :
Those who escap'd, are still expos'd to both.
Where's your mistress 2
Rand. I saw her pass the High-street, t'wards the
Minster.
O. Wilm. She's gone to visit Charlotte. She doth
well.
In the soft bosom of that gentle maid, -
There dwells more goodness than the rigid race
Of moral pedants eer believ'd, or taught.
With what amazing constancy and truth,
Doth she sustain the absence of our son,
Whom more than life she loves! How shun for him,
Whom we shall ne'er see more, the rich and great;
Who own her charms, and sigh to make her happy!
Since our misfortunes we have found no friend,
None who regarded our distress, but her;
And she, by what I have observ'd of late,
Is wearied, or exhausted. Curs'd condition?
To live a burden to one only friend,
And blast her youth with our contagious woe!

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