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the History of Latin Christianity by dwelling on the distinctive features of this its noblest, and, we will not hesitate to add, its most genuine, offspring. But the advocates and the opponents of the Reformation would both do well to remember the lineage from which it sprang; the analogy which its origin presents to what, when viewed under their more favourable aspects, may be called, without offence, the two previous dispensations of Christianity; the hope that, as it is unquestionably the development of some of the best tendencies of those two older bodies, so it may, in the end, be the destined instrument of purifying, of reconciling, and of absorbing them both in some higher and deeper unity than has yet been vouchsafed to the mind of man.

So to view the progress of events, so to trace the influence of races and institutions and political convulsions on the history of Christianity, is assuredly not to diminish, but to exalt, its importance to men and to nations; not to underrate, but to represent in its full grandeur the divine and universal origin to which it lays claim. Of ordinary institutions it may truly be said, as of the ordinary instincts of humanity,

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But the course of the Christian religion, in spite of all the impediments it has encountered, in spite of the darkness which from time to time has clouded the Fate of Christendom,' has always moved onwards, and from that onward movement derived its main strength. Christianity has not drooped,-it has lived, it has flourished, it has expanded, it has grown more and more like to its ancient, Hebrew, divine original,-not in proportion as it has remained within the influences of its first home, but (so far at least as European history is concerned) in proportion as it has receded further and further from them. Westward the Star of Empire has held its course;' and westward has the Sun of Christendom moved also, shedding its light not only on Arabian deserts and Judæan palms, but on the endless varieties of Western life and scenery, on the cities and homes, on the empires and the families, of the Grecian, the Roman, and the Teutonic world; the Omega no less than the Alpha, the end no less than the beginning, of the history of civilised man.

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ART. III.-Dramatic Register for 1853. 12mo.

London.

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T must be owned that the drama labours under vantages at the present moment. We shall not dwell upon their more obvious causes-the habits of social life, the inroads made upon the attractions of the theatre by the counter-attractions of literature, or the ebb of fashion from the stage doors. These disadvantages are on the surface, and a sudden turn in the world's tide would repel and obliterate them. Their sources lie much deeper, and must be sought in the character and tendencies of the age itself.

It is perhaps an inevitable result of advancing civilisation that it levels in great measure the external and salient points of individual character, and thus deprives the drama of one of its principal aliments and attractions. Evil passions and evil natures are unhappily, indeed, the accompaniments of every age, but they do not therefore always exhibit themselves under dramatic forms. The crimes and woes of 'old great houses' seldom affect in our days either the annals of the world or the passions of individuals. Wars have lost their chivalric character; politics are no longer tissues of dark intrigues, revealed only by their results, but hidden during their process in impenetrable darkness. Society has ceased to be divided into castes, or distinguished by outward and visible tokens of grandeur or debasement. Our manners and habits have grown similar and unpicturesque. A justice on the bench is no longer worshipful; a squire, except in the eyes of some poaching varlet, is no more 'the petty tyrant of his fields; we take the wall of an alderman, and feel no awe in the presence of a mayor; lords ride in cabs; the coach, with six Flemish horses, with its running footmen and linkbearers, has vanished into infinite space; a knight of the shire be the son of a scrivener; our men on 'Change have doffed their flat caps and shining shoes; there are no bullies in Paul's Walk, and hardly a Toledan blade within the liberties of London. The toe of the peasant comes near the heel of the courtier.' Our very inns have dropped their pictorial emblems: we write, instead of paint, our tavern-heraldry. Town and country are nearly one. Clarendon says of a certain Earl of Arundel, that 'he went rarely to London, because there only he found a greater man than himself, and because at home he was allowed to forget that there was such a man.' Lord Arundel's policy would be unavailing now. Our humours and distinctions are well nigh abolished, and the drama, so far as it depends upon them, deprived of its daily bread. The stage-poet cannot find his Bobadil in any lodging in Lambeth, nor his Justice Shallow in Gloucestershire,

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tershire, nor Ancient Pistol in Eastcheap.T The portrait of a gentleman or lady at the Exhibition may represent four-fifths of our similar generation.no trobnoseniit od blow themexorte >i zid. toFarther afield then must our dramatists seek, if they draw from life, for their models of passion and humour. For the most part they suffer no especial inconvenience from the stoppage of supplies, inasmuch as they import them ready-made from the banks of the Seine.We shall advert presently to the number and character of these importations. For the present it suffices to remark that this assimilation of the external forms of life operates unfavourably upon the drama in two or three directions. It deprives the author of his fund of characters. It renders the audience less apprehensive of individual properties, and more [eager for startling effects upon the scene. The spectator comes to witness in representation something different from what he sees daily in the streets and markets, in the law-courts or the drawing-room, and is discontented if the plot have in it no dash of extravagance, or the costume and scenery, do not blaze with splendour. The scarcity of healthier food renders him the more eager for high and artificial condiments. His palate too has been previously vitiated by the circulating library Macbeth is flat after Jack Sheppard; Sir Anthony Absolute is dull beside Mr. Pickwick.Our earnestness and our sport have travelled at railway speed during the present century; and the drama, like panting Time,' in Johnson's prologue, either toils after them in vain, or outstrips them by dint of surpassing extravagances of story or decoration. od trio' and I won' vui blo to surte I When Sir Roger de Coverley made known his intention of going to the play, the Spectator and Captain Sentry had no diffi-culty in discovering at what theatre that very legitimate dráma The Distrest Mother' would be enacted. But a country gentleman of the present day, unacquainted with town if indeed such ta 'rara avis' survive in this age of locomotion and recurring to his early recollections of Elliston at Drury Lane, or Kemble at Covent Garden, would be sorely puzzled at first in his search for either regular tragedy or comedy. At Covent Garden he would find Italian Opera installed; at Drury, he might indeed light upon Mr. GV. Brooke, cleaving the general ear ;' but he would quite as likely read in the bills of the evening that a gentleman would walk across the ceiling, or that Franconi's stud would exhibit, or that a second Italian Opera awaited him. At the Haymarket he would witness indeed an excellent comedy of Mr. Planche's, but none of his old favourites, Moreton's, or the younger Colman's, or Reynolds's once popular plays. He would discover that the English Opera House had foregone its name

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and vocation, and Tom and Jerry' given place at the Adelphi to Mr. Taylor's admirable play, Two Loves and a Life.' But his amazement would be transcendent on learning that his best chance of meeting with Shakspeare would be in the remote regions where horrors or nautical heroics were wont-Consule Tullo, in the good days when George the Third was Kingto reign supreme, hamely, at the Surrey or Victoria Theatres, beyond the bridges, or at Sadler's Wells, once the Naumachia of our metropolis.qot to I zaoitstroqui 929ɗt to rotorred) bre

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To this Regio Transtiberina of London indeed has recently migrated the popularity of the so-called legitimate drama. Here, and in some of the City theatres and saloons, managers can reckon upon remunerating profits for the production of the Tempest and Henry V. the Duchess of Malfi and the School for Scandal Here the check-taker bawls Pit full!' and gives the check he takes; here spectators endure five acts, and forbear to vex the manager's brain with calls for novelties; and here Tarely, if ever, penetrate the last devices of the Porte St. Martin. If the spirits of defunct managers be permitted at any time to revisit the glimpses of the moon, that of old J. Davidge would find matter enough for meditation upon mutabilitie Ariel skims and Prospero stalks over the boards once dedicated to brigands and midnight murder; and the Midsummer Night's Dream displays its faery-wonders and mortal perplexities upon the area where British tars fought over again the battles of the Baltic and the Nile Johnson rightly predicted that on the stage of old Drury 'new Hunts might box and Mahomets might dance, but the migration of Shakspeare to Southwark and Islington was a prodigy beyond the bounds of his vision.

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For these effects, whether defective or not, and which assuredly are not altogether unfavourable aspects of the drama's condition, many causes may be assigned. But in order to set them in as clear a light as possible, whether as symptoms of theatrical renascence or decline, we shall briefly survey, in the first place, the representations current at more western theatres, and in what are esteemed more civilised regions of the metropolis. And as many of our readers may be unaware of the number of plays yearly brought out as novelties, as well as that of the theatres now open to the public, or the amount of persons, directly or indirectly, employed in ministering to them, we think that the following facts may not be unacceptable: bom

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In certain recesses of the Palace of St. James, in Westminster, are annually deposited some hundreds of manuscripts, the records of gratified or disappointed expectations. These manuscripts are copies of the dramas licensed for representation

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during the preceding twelve months. Of this number not a third finds its way to the press, or establishes itself in public favour and remembrance: and of those which are printed fewer still survive the year which gave them birth. It is not indeed desirable that there should be more frequent disinterments from this dramatic cemetery, since few of its inmates merit a 'resurgam' upon their escutcheon; yet in the mass they deserve some attention, as the abstracts and chronicles of the theatrical character of the age.

We do not allege these facts as implying any especial reproach either to the authors who produce or to the public which neglects this class of writings. Dramatic literature, as regards the majority of its productions, is, like the art of the actor, ephemeral. It partakes too much of the passing sentiments or caprices of the age, and is addressed too entirely to the eyes and ears of present spectators, to contain, in general, the germs of perpetuity. If we except Shakspeare, and a few of the greater luminaries of his age, the elder drama owes its partial immortality more to its poetic than its dramatic strength. Of those which linger in the closet, few would be now endurable on the stage. And at the time these were novelties nearly the whole imaginative powers of the English mind were engrossed in the service of the theatre; whereas, in the present day, with the exceptions of the author of Philip van Artevelde' and Mr. Browning, no poet of any distinction has tried even his prentice hand in dramatic composition. Lyrical verse has absorbed the most profound and original of our poetic writers; and the novel has appropriated to itself the talents which two centuries ago would have been in the pay of Henslowe or Alleyne. It is accordingly less surprising that so few modern plays should survive their birth-year, than that so many dramatic writers should be found exerting themselves in a province of art in which a few weeks of applause are generally succeeded by irretrievable oblivion.

In the year 1853, 206 dramas were licensed for representation, and, with very few exceptions, produced at various metropolitan or provincial theatres-and in that year the number of novelties fell short of the sums of former equal periods. Of these the majority were one, two, or at most three act pieces, the experience of managers or the capabilities of the actors having, we suppose, afforded grounds for declining the old-established play of five acts. The precepts of Horace and the practice of our elder dramatic writers are indeed seldom observed by modern poets or critics, and the almost universal custom of adapting French originals has tended much to the abbreviation of plots and acts. Occasionally indeed an opposite excess has been attempted, and 'a monstrumn

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