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The scene ends with a pi&turesque fong by Clytie: whereist the Author, instead of representing Love as nursed by tygers in the desert, which even the antients have done, desires that the God may be drawn with scorpion whips, instead of golden shafts, and not an infant heaven-design'd,
But a grim monster, fierce and blind,
The curse and scourge of human kind. In the fourth scene, Apollo, after a short descant on jealoufy, sees the object of his wishes approach; and in the begini ning of the fifth scene he thus expresses his impatience.
So, in fome evening fair, the feather'd male
Ard fide by Side pursue their way to reft.(k)
Ridet hoc, inquam Venus ipfa; rident
Simplices Nymphe. But after Phoebus has sung his happiness, in numbers worthy of himself, and of Love, we are disappointed in the following couplet.
Oh thrilling joy! oh more than charming she!
Was ever Deity caress'd like me ? Leucothoe's answer is, indeed, somewhat happier expressed, tho' not quite free from impropriety,
Oh height of bliss! oh greater than (2) divine !
Was ever mortal happiness like mine? as the air in which she says, it is as impossible to count the « ftars of heaven, or the sands on the sea-shore, as it was to
tell how much she loved,' is simply elegant. See the Poem.
To make amends for this amorous compliment, Apollo commands the winds to be hushed, and all those powers who owned his sovereignty, now to give a proof of their obedience. Soft music is heard. Leucothoe is agreeably surprised; ' the music coming forward in a full fymphony; the clouds
Tk) Altho' the fimile is beautiful, as might be expected from the God of Poetry, yet we doubt if comparisons can ever be introduced with propriety in pasionate compositions. The words in the last line, marked italics, appear to us somewhat obscure.
(!) A Smith, or a Johnson, (vid, Rehearsal) would be apt to ask, How could fire know ibut?
which obscured the head of the mountains, fuddenly dif• perse,* fhewing Parnafsus, and the Muses with their proper • fymbols, &c. An Entertainment is performed by them, on o their several instruments, consisting of three parts ; the first • very fonorous; the second a flow movement, to which a • pastoral nymph dances; the third sprightly; when the low• est of the mountains opens, discovering Vulcan's cave.
The Cyclops come out, and dance with a number of Dry<ads, who enter from the woods, then range themselves on
each side of the stage. Phoebus and Leucothoe advance, when the latter, tho' pleased with the revels, defires her lover to put an end to them, left the noise should alarm the neighbourhood, and inform her father of their intrigue, the dread of which, the says, makes her blood run cold, and curdle at the thought. Apollo laughs at her fears; and the act concludes with a song of exultation.
• The first scene of the second act discovers a night-pros, pect of a garden ; a pavilion in view, beyond which ap-. pears the back part of a palace; a terrace adorned with statues, &c. &c.
Phoebus and Leucothoe enter from the pavilion, Clytie, 6 with a black slave, listening behind.
Apollo is no longer the eager lover, He now wants to be gone; and tho' Leucothoe tells him, that the Morning was far from being near, as the Moon yet Ihone, he did not now, however, fee with his mistress's eyes, but answers, that the morning-star shone in the east, that Aurora had begun to unbar the gates of light, and from the mountain summoned him away. Leucothoe yields to necessity, but asks him when he will return? which she endeavours to haften, by affuring him that a long absence would break her heart. The God promises to lalh his coursers with double speed, and to come back at night. This does not satisfy Leucothoe; the, tender foul ! weeps, droops, and seems mightily frighted. "Apollo prays her, cooly enough, to let him know what alarmed her? She asks forgiveness, as she was a fond, weak woman, often terrified when there was no danger.
Perhaps I weep, and fear, I know not why.
As it is an established rule, that Gods and Goddesses may
be introduced in an Opera, so is that species of the Drama capable of all the inarvellous, in point of incident and machinery, which fan, y can bestow on it.
In the first stanza of the air which follows, she desires him not to enquire into the cause of her sorrow; but in the second she tells him,
Prizing joys we fear to lose 'em ;
Can you then condemn my pain?
We shall never meet again. Those forebodings, which make such a figute on the stage's (and, indeed, love is superstitious) Apollo represents as the brood of fancy. Upon which she bids him farewel, and he bids her adieu.(m)
But whatever pain this parting gave Leucothoe, it certainly could not be over-pleasing to Clytie, who saw the whole. Apollo being gone, Leucothoe's fears return; the fancies a sword hung over her head, and that the earth opened to swallow her. She is, however, foon convinced that all this was conceit; and after a natural and appropriated invocation(n) to Morpheus, the falls asleep. Clytie now re-appears with her attendant; and after an emphatical exclamation, tears off her jewels and robes, that her soul and body (as she expresses) might be akin,
Naked without, as desolate within. The air that follows this scene of distraction well represents the agitations of a mind divided between revenge and affection, particularly the two last lines :
Now I could stab his faithless breast,
Now-press him close to mine. Here the slave entreating her to moderate her transports, and
(m) Altho' the whole of this scene is natural, yet Apollo uses some expressions in it, which are too vulgar for heroics, such as, My dear love, &c. unless the poet meant to insinuate, that the parting compliments of lovers are less ardent than those at meeting i and that Phæbus, tho' a very god at first, was a very mortal when he took leave.
(n) O God of Sleep! arise and spread
Till he returns,
not to nourish thoughts that she ought to banish, Clytie exclaims,
Hence babbler, &c. And determines immediately to kill herself: the flave, however, wifely proposes that she should rather revenge her suffer ings on those that occafioned them;--and to
Pay falfhood back with falfhood,In the true strain of an Abigail. Clytie is offended at the proposal, and draws a dagger, with intention to dispatch herself: nor would the slave, with all her tears, have been able to prevent her from immediately executing her dire purpose, had The not pronounced,
The object of your jealousy shall die! At this, indeed, Clytie pauses, and suspends the blow; but the confidant, still apprehensive of consequences, prevails on her to fling away the poniard; when she immediately cries,
Said you not, the, th’accursed the, should fall ? The flave assures her mistress that Leucothoe shall fall, but not by her ; for as the God was now insensible to her charms, the destruction of the new object of his wishes, would not only fail of regaining his love, but would make sure her own destruction. That, in fine, the ought to inform King Orchamus of his daughter's amcur. Clytie assents, and expresses her impatience; when, unluckily for Leucothoe, her father is seen walking at no great distance, in a shade of myrtle.() The slave now prompts her Lady to make the discovery; but the, however impatient but a little before, is on the instant seized with an unaccountable tremor. At last, dea fire of revenge getting the better of her fears, the resolves to tell Orchamus the whole, and bids her confidant retire.
The fourth scene contains an animated song, in consequence of her resolution. In the fifth, the King finds Clytié on her knees before him, with a
May (p) the King live for ever!
(0) Should not Clytie, and especially the slave, whose mind was less concerned, have considered, that the discovery in that manner would expose her equally to the god's vengeance?
According to Xenophon, the Kings of Persia, to set a good example to their subjects, used to rise early, to hunt. Had the poet adopted this hint, would not Orchamus's preparation for this exer cise, with the courtiers, and hounds, at a distance, have been more natural and picturesque, as well as more affecting, as the discovery would spoil his purposed pleasures ? (D) Line of an old song.
His Perfian Majesty, all politeness to the fair, insists on her rising; and as it was no less unusual. in his dominions than in Britain, to see the court Ladies so soon abroad, he begs to know the cause. Far from letting him understand that the had been
all night, she cunningly answers, that she had left her bed, to view the infant Morn, adore the Heavens, &c. Orchamus is in raptures with her wisdom. This encourages her, and she is just on the point of communicating her fatal fecret; when fear, doubt, and hesitation, seize and throw her into confusion. This the King observes, and encourages her to speak out. She still evades the purpose she came determined upon: Orchamus presses to know what she was about to have said; and assures her, that her demands should inftantly be complied with : but the warns him not to press her, as the discovery might, perhaps, too much affect his peace of mind;
To guilt a stranger, we're unknown to fear. True, replied Clytie; but there are some evils which event virtue cannot support, and she asks if
Nothing could affect him more
Dreadful to expound!
What of her? I shake all o'er!
The God you worship, Sir, has done the deed :
* This is not well, fr. A good round word; but too modern for the Persian Monarch)