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Happy, for rural business fit,
Who merely tells his mother wit,
Unskill'd in repartee to shine,
They who neglect their proper home
Are poor Quixotick Vandals;
Care swarms in rivers, roads, and bogs,
We cannot all be merry.
It roams thro' London streets at large,
The man who no vertigo feels,
Nor heeds its future bitters.
Poor Tobin* died, alas! too soon,
This writer, in addition to the Honey Moon, has produced The Pharo Table, The Curfew, and The School for Authors; and some others, which it seems during his life were rejected at the theatres. Some persons have expressed strong doubts of the existence of such a man as Mr. Tobin; they consider it very extraordinary, that a series of plays, as excellent as those which have been attributed to him, should have remained neglected during That these plays should his life, and he entirely unknown to the world. have appeared one by one, each as the last production of the author, is a circumstance equally singular. Yet Mr. Holcroft has given us an account of his life, so circumstantial and characteristick, that we cannot avoid giving credit to the supposition that Tobin was a real, and not a fictitious
This eminent poet was born at Salisbury in England, Jan. 28, 1770. He was sent to school in Southampton, when his parents left England to reside in Nevis. In 1785 he was articled to an eminent solicitor of Lincoln's Inn. This gentleman died, and Tobin then became partner with three other clerks in the office; but some disagreement occurring, he engaged with a
Others, I will not mention who,
Who creep in prose, or soar in rhyme,
From Massinger to Murphy.
Fortune to thee two Muses gave,
You hospitably screen 'em :
a friend in a new firm. His health declined, and in 1803 he went to reside in Cornwall, by the advice of his physicians. His disorder terminated in a consumption; and in 1804, after having taken passage in a vessel for the West-Indies, he died on the very day she sailed. The ship returned to Cork in consequence of contrary winds and Tobin was followed to the grave by the friend, who had undertaken to accompany him to the West-Indies.
The characteristick of Tobin seems to be delicacy of taste. There is never any greatness or depth of thought about him, but his language is always pure and harmonious, and his thinking ingenious and novel.
"Averse to walking, unless when he had a strong motive, his hours were lost in thought, or in the creations of an active mind. Abstracted and constitutionally indolent, he was alike apt to forget forms and neglect pecuniary concerns; yet, having a high sense of moral duty, he never broke even trifling engagements. He frequently composed while walking the streets, and especially songs, which he usually committed to writing when he came home. Animated by society and enjoying rational conversation, yet, as solitude never displeased him, he did not anxiously seek company; though always happy to see a few valued friends, their absence was never perceptible. Unruffled by the accidents of life, possessed of fortitude not easily shaken, and with a mind never unemployed, he was subject to no fits of weariness. He was altogether the happiest man I ever knew. Though the progress of the disease alarmed him, he contemplated death without fear or superstition. Hope and fancy pictured to him his future success on the stage, while his bodily powers were wasting and his energies daily on the decline. He died without a groan. While at Falmouth, he revised some of his works, and wrote notes on Shakespeare, intending to contribute to a new edition of our immortal bard. Two of his unfinished plays it was his intention to complete in the West-Indies. A constant reader of Beaumont and Fletcher and the writers of that age, he was no less an admirer of Farquar and some of his cotemporaries. He also read some Spanish comedies, but found little to admire, except the ingenuity of their plots. Genuine comedy he supposed might find support from the publick, and a better taste be revived, notwithstanding the mercenary motives by which it continues to be depraved."
THE INDIAN PRINCESS.
IN our review of this play, last week, want of room obliged us to curtail our selections. We give the following scene at the commencement of the third act, as a specimen of the author's talents at humorous composition. It is certainly not inferiour to the writings of most modern English play-mongers, the opinions of their criticks to the contrary notwithstanding; and would by no means discredit the plays of Colman or Tobin.
WALTER and ALICE.
Wal. One mouthful more (kiss). Oh! after a long lent of absence, what a charming relish is a kiss, served from the lips of a pretty wife, to a hungry husband.
Al. And, believe me, I banquet at the high festival of return with equal pleasure. But what has made your absence so tedious, prithee?
Wal. Marry, girl, thus it was: when we had given the enemies of our ally, Powhatan, defeature, and sent the rough Miami in chains to Werocomoco, our captain despatches his lieutenant, Rolfe, to supply his place, here, in the town; and leading us to the water's edge, and leaping into the pinnace, away went we on a voyage of discovery.— Some thousand miles we sailed, and many strange nations discovered;
and for our exploits, if posterity reward us not, there is no faith in history.
Al. And what were your exploits?
Al. And have you brought him hither?
Wal. Ay, is it not? But, best of all, I've kiss'd
Al. Dost recollect the fashion of it?
Their dress e'en such as madam Eve had on,
Madder than mad Bacchantes.
O the powers!
Where, as the custom of the court it was,
Al. O! you're a Judas!
Then I am a Jew!
Then, the light being out, you know, was in the dark.
ON RELIGIOUS MADNESS OR ENTHUSIASM.
I THINK it is pretty evident that madness is a super-abundance of vital spirits, which must burst their vessel, if they do not overflow, or be let out by tapping; but which way soever they find their evacuation, they generally ferment first, and make a terrible combustion within. This is the devil which haunts us, and often carries away part of an empty house, or blows it up. If he ascend to our garrets or upper regions, he disorders the brain, and shews visions, airy and romantick images and appearances, carries the hero out of himself, and then sends him armed cap-a-pee, in wild expeditions, to encounter wind-mills, and giants of his own making; till at last he return home (if ever he return home) transported with his victory, and in his own opinion a most consummate knight-errant.
Whenever the mind cannot be confined within its inclosure, but flies like Phaeton into the great abyss, and gives the full reins to imagination, it will quickly be carried out of its knowledge, and ramble about wherever fancy, desire, or vision, leads it. It will quickly rise above humanity, become proper conversation for the celestial beings; and when once it can persuade itself into such angelical company, will certainly despise all other; and the man who is animated by it will think he has a right to gov