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truth, the dramatist is privileged to gather materials in whatever quarter of the globe he may chuse to seek for them.

When it is said that the judgment of Solomon forms the subject of the play under our present observations, nearly all that regards the plot is told; the ingenuity, however, with which the simple incident, as recorded in scripture, is amplified, so as to answer the united purposes of dramatic interest and instruction, is very considerable.

The French author does nor remove his scene from the court of Solomon; but the decencies of our stage rendered it necessary to fix it in a different age and situation. Mr. Boaden has laid it in Sicily, and the manners are those of modern Europe.

THE STORY.-Lilla, the daughter of Count Gravina, who died in battle, was, by his death, reduced to indigence, and forced to take shelter in the cottage of Bendetta, who had been her nurse, and who resided in a distant village. The prince Rinaldo, brother to Alphonso, King of Sicily, while hunting in the neighbourhood, perceived the lovely Lilla as she was gathering flowers on the border of a rivulet. She made at once a powerful impression on his heart, and he soon succeeded in gaining both her affections and her person. He was, shortly afterwards, obliged to return to court, where he learned that Lilla had become a mother, and that her child lived only a single day. As an atonement for the injury he had done her, he sent her rich presents, but Lilla refused to receive them, and for five years they saw each other no more. At the end of this period, intelligence reaches the cottage of Bendetta, that Alphonso is about to marry Clorinda, a princess of Spain, and that Rinaldo is, at the same time, to espouse Alzira, the widow of Count Bertoldo. To catch a last look of her perfidious lover, Lilla sets out, with Bendetta, to visit Ricardo, the cousin of the latter, who is in the situation of head gardener to the king. To him Bendetta relates the unfortunate history of Lilla's attachment, and tells him, also, that the child (supposed by Rinaldo to be dead) had been stolen from her the day after its birth, and a lifeless infant placed in its room. In the midst of this conversation, the attention of Lilla is excited by the appearance of a beautiful boy, richly clothed, for whom she instantly conceives a powerful affection. The child, not accustomed to be fondled by Alzira, who calls herself his mother, and guided by the impulse of nature, is strongly attracted by the tender caresses of Lilla. They are here interrupted by the entrance of the king, with Rinaldo, who is greatly agitated at the sight of Lilla; his former tenderness returns; he confesses his guilt to Alphonso; breaks off his intended

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nuptials with Alzira, and solicits forgiveness from Lilla. Several circunstances render it likely that the child before-mentioned may be her's Bertoldo had determined to divorce Alzira, a resolution which was set aside by the birth of a son. This son was nearly expiring at his first entrance into the world, but was suddenly restored, as had been given out, by the surprising skill of a surgeon before unknown. The suspicions, thus raised, are confirmed by the discovery of two marks, similar to those which had been observed on the child of Lilla. With this conviction, Lilla taxes Alzira with her crime, lays claim to the infant, and desires to bring the question before the king. This measure Alzira is anxious to prevent; but the dispute having reached the ear of Alphonso, he appoints an hour for the decision. Lilla, in the most artless and affecting terms, strenuously asserts her right to the child, which Alzira, with equal stedfastness, denies. In the absence of all proof, the king knows not how to decide. He declares the difficulty he feels, and calls upon the generosity of the pretended parent to relieve him from it, promising to make an ample recompence to her for her confession. Lilla's answer is suitable to the justice of her pretensions :-" O my lord, what could recompense me for my child." Alzira replies that she had rather he should die than see him her's. The penetrating monarch, struck by a declaration so unworthy of a mother's feelings, and eager to confirm the suspicions to which it gives birth, commands that the child be instantly put to death. Alzira seems satisfied with the king's sentence, and awaits its completion unmoved; but Lilla, filled with the utmost horror, rushes, with frantic agony, between the child and the executioner, and entreats, rather than her beloved infant should perish, that it may be restored to the possession of her rival. The doubts of Alphonso are removed; he rises from the seat of judgment, and exclaims-" The VOICE OF NATURE GRIES— thou art the mother." The marriage of Rinaldo and Lilla is fixed for the morrow, and Alzira is sentenced to banishment.

Such is briefly the story of this play. Our readers will admire, with us, its simplicity, the probability of the action, and the air of nature and truth which pervades the whole. The catastrophe, it is true, must be known the moment the subject is declared, but this can be of little consequence, if the incidents naturally unfold themselves, and the passion of the scene he never suffered to languish. We know that the villany of Iago will finally prevail, and that Desdemona will perish by the hand of Othello, who will afterwards kill

himself; but we are, therefore, not the less interested for the fate of those personages. We know, too, that the child is Lilla's, and that he will be restored to her in the manner which the play exhibits; but the maternal anxieties of Lilla respecting the disposal of her infant, and the mutual tenderness which exists between them, strongly interest and agitate our feelings; we watch the progress of the trial with as much eager and fearful attention as if we did not know how it would terminate, and when Alphonso passes the sentence, we cannot but rejoice in the triumph of nature and simplicity, over arrogance, cruelty, and fraud.

The language is elegant and forcible, and several sentiments in the parts of Rinaldo and Alphonso, which are not to be found in the original, are thrown in with great happiness, and discover uncommon vigour of expression. The scene between the king and his brother in which the latter makes confession of his amour, is pregnant with moral sentiment and dignified reproof. The last scene is conducted with great dramatic art, and nothing can exceed the effect of the king's exclamation upon the successful issue of his stratagem.

Upon the whole we think the Voice of Nature a very exquisite morceau. The subject is so susceptible of dramatic illustration, that we are surprised it has never before been thought of, as it meddles with no point of doctrine or prophecy, the most rigid pietist cannot reasonably object to its being drawn from the sacred writings. The incident is there recorded merely to shew the sagacity of Solomon as a king and a judge, and to exalt the character of a mother, by shewing that her feelings are peculiar to herself, and can neither be counterfeited nor suppressed.

The performers did great justice to their characters. Barrymore, was the Alphonso; C. Kemble, Rinaldo; Mrs. St. Leger, Alzira; Mrs. Davenport, Bendetta; and Mrs. Gibbs the Lilla. Master Byrne, a beautiful boy, supported the interest of the piece by his engaging appearance and clever action.

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The epilogue, by Mr. Colman, is of the serious cast. It is certainly a most elegant composition and never were lines better delivered than these by Mr. Charles Kemble.

It is scarcely necessary to add that the piece was completely successful. It is still performing to very crowded houses.






THOU lowly Monitor of Time's career,

Pursuing at command thy Healthy pace,
Though all divested as thou art of Grace,
Yet hast thou been a constant inmate here,

For many an Hour and Day, Week, Month and Year,'
A Witness in this consecrated Place!

How would I prize thee, couldst thou but retrace
Each generous Sigh, each Sympathizing Tear

Which in these lonely Walls hath dropt unseen!
Still will I prize thee: as Reflection views
That Life compos'd of Nature's fairest hues,
Unjustly blended with the Shades of Spleen ;
And think how various it's chequer'd round,
Since here thy silent Stream it's hourly course first wound.

12 Jul: 1802.

S. W. L.



FIX'D in my breast a Jewel lies,
That caught its lustre from thy eyes,

When hid in Friendship's mine;
Soon love the burning ruby found,
And dug it from the covert ground,

Then bade it brighter shine.

'Tis Constancy, my fair, that braves
Fortune's smooth sea or troubled waves;
No cloud can dim its charms :
Let poverty or ills betide;
Let riches court, or courtly pride,
It still the lover warms.

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