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or incident, of such a work, from the same hand, as “The School for Scandal.” The comparing of Isaac's neuter faith to the blank leaf between two scripture doctrines, is, indeed, the happy conception of a very extraordinary imagination; but as this brilliant sentence stands in the dialogue unrivalled, without companion, or comparison with any other in the play, it has more the appearance of some other writer's wit, than that of the ostensible author; though subsequent wit from the same pen allows him most probable claims to it. Of less doubtful origin is the best incident in the opera, or rather, the foundation and fable of the opera itself, which is borrowed from Wycherley's “Country Wife.”—Not purloined, and the mark taken out, to prevent detection; but fairly borrowed, and used almost to the very letter. Neither is the scene of Friar Paul and his brethren of Mr Sheridan’s invention; but is either taken from Marmontel, or some other French author. Margaret, the Duenna, has some resemblance to Bickerstaff’s Ursula; but little Isaac, the Jew, seems to be a character wholly original; and notwithstanding there is great humour in him, there is, at the same time, infinite instruction. He is an excellent example for men, vain either of their persons, or their intellects. He has all the folly of both elderly and youthful coxcombs; and is happily punished by a destiny, which, in general, falls to their share. It is painful to record errors; but as the author was a young man, and somewhat inexperienced, at
the time of writing this drama, these circumstances may be his excuse for having here slandered a noble science, which he has since pursued with unremitting industry; and which, no doubt, has long given him reason to recant that unguarded declaration, in page 44, which alleges that “conscience has nothing to do with politics.”
f ACT THE FIRST.
Enter Lopez, with a dark Lanthorn.
Lopez. Past three o'clock soh a notable hour for one of my regular disposition, to be strolling like a bravo through the streets of Seville ! Well, of all services, to serve a young lover is the hardest—not that I am an enemy to love; but my love, and my master's, differ strangely—Don Ferdinand is much too gallant to eat, drink, or sleep—now, my love gives me an appetite—then I am fond of dreaming of my mistress, and I love dearly to toast her—This cannot be done without good sleep and good liquor; hence my partiality to a feather-bed and a bottle—what a pity now, that I have not further time for reflections! but my master expects thee, honest Lopez, to secure his retreat from Donna Clara’s window, as I guess— [Music without..] hey! sure, I heard music so, so I who have we here? Oh, Don Antonio, my master's friend, come from the masquerade, to serenade my
young mistress, Donna Louisa, I suppose: soh! we shall have the old gentleman up presently—lest he should miss his son, I had best lose no time in getting to my post. * [Exit.
Enter ANTONIo, with MAsks and Music.
Tell me, my lute, can thy soft strain
1 Mask. Antonio, your mistress will never wake, while you sing so dolefully; love, like a cradled infant, is lulled by a sad melody. Ant. I do not wish to disturb her rest. 1 Mask. The reason is, because you know she does not regard you enough to appear, if you awaked her. Ant. Nay, then, I’ll convince you. [Sings.
The breath of morn bids hence the night,
I feel no day, I own no light.
Louis A–replies from a Window,
Waking. I heard thy numbers chide,