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inconveniences, and the disgrace of poverty, its spirit droops, and more is subtracted from the public treasury, than the excessive burthen of the tax brings into it. Numerous are the articles of luxury that would yet bear taxation, or an increase of taxation, which would never be felt by the voluptuous consumer, but particularly those are worthy the notice of financiers, which are the exquisite entremets or messes of wise and ingenious cooks, where the plain and wholesome is rejected for des viandes tres succulente, tres excellente, et tres superbe ; certainly epicurism cannot grudge to pay additional for any thing got up with so much taste, and so delightful to the appetite.

I observe that the new Income Bill requires a return of the names of all ideots and lunatics resident in Great Britain. I am afraid that the list will be found to be enormous, and at least take ten thousand reams of fool's cap. Indeed, I am afraid from the next declaration that I shall myself become liable, being a lunatic, not resident in England; but for whom my guardian, trustee, or receiver, the bookseller, will, by virtue of the act, be made chargeable.


The idea of so many ideots and lunatics suggests to my mind the propriety of a poll tax on that rich and numerous class of the community ; it would, doubtless, bring in an immense sum to the Treasury, particularly, according to the opinion of the late Mr. W-s, who having been told by a gentleman that he should take the sense of the city upon an important question, replied :-“ Very well, Sir, do; and

I'll take the nonsense of the city, and beat you ten to one.” Now supposing Mr. W—'s calculation to be correct, the tax would be extremely productive in that part of London, nor would the thing be attended with much trouble, as a board of wise commissioners might be appointed, assisted by medical men, to ascertain the precise quantity of brains contained in each head, which should pay in proportion to the deficiency, to make up, if possible, what is wanting to society.



In addition to the above, another numerous class might become the objects of taxation; these are the lazy, (for the blind and the lame I would excuse) a very efficient return might be made of these inefficient beings, and they would, by this means, bring more into community than could otherwise be possibly expected.

In this tax, however, there must certainly be an exception as to statesmen, great lawyers, and physicians; for these gentlemen, doubtless, come under the description of wise heads, and are therefore exempt from the duty, nor will it be proper that they should undergo an examination before the Board of Wisdom, lest by any jealousy of the commissioners, or other accident, they might be reported wanting.




Say, what is taste, but the internal pow'rs
Active, and strong, and feelingly alive
To each fine impulse ? a discerning sense
Of decent and sublime, with quick disgust
For things deform’d, or disarrangd, or gross
In species.



Saturday, 10th Dec. 1803.

PERHAPS in no epoch of history has the wretched poverty of true genius and of taste been more apparent than at the present time. That pureness of intellect, soundness of judgment, and moral of the mind, that adorned other ages, seems exhausted in this, so that scarcely any thing is left but a debilitated tone of taste (if I may be allowed the expression) that requires a constant stimulus to satisfy its false and depraved appetite; no longer pleased with the wholesome food of recreation, reason, and common sense, it seems to delight only in the twice laid dishes cooked up by managers and authors, who have felt the sickly pulse of the town, and know the relaxation of solid sense, under which it labours. Yet all is vain, these messes, garnished with high seasoned absurdities, may act as stimulants for the moment, but will, in the end, pall and sicken the understanding. How many cardiacs has the fertile invention of modern drama,

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tists mixed up secundum artem, to please an audience, gaping to take in the grossest deformities of novelty, baited by the skilful anglers of public favour. This career of nonsense commenced about three or four years ago, when in solemn procession enter O.P. two stately elephants; sometime afterwards a little monkey was engaged for the purpose of skipping about, scratching his ears, &c. to entertain the boxes, for to do the galleries justice they do not like any thing so low. The next was an elegant dumb character, who was too graceful to use any stuttering or stammering natural to some of those unhappy beings, but who presented a finished address and perfect action, that made the deformity an advantage ; but to

; display the highest degree of stage effect, it was necessary the next season to produce to the public a pretty little baby, who was to be dandled in the arms of an hero. It used to be an observation of an excel

. lent dramatic author of the present day, that he always wished that it was the reign of Herod, whenever he saw a child brought upon the stage; and yet this same author, in conformity, no doubt, with the puling taste of the town, stept up into the nursery himself for a little poppet to insure the success of his piece; and certainly speaking with true dramatic feeling, if little master had been included in the Herodian anathema, it would not have mattered a great deal. Pity it iş that authors, who are capable of painting characters of real life, should disturb from their cradles poor little innocents, who would be far best at home. Yet not a great while ago, one of these was about to be cut in pieces for the entertainment of an audience, it was said, agreeable to the judgment of Solomon, though I am of opinion that it did not shew the judgment of the author to offer such a spectacle to the public. But the reader may judge the astonishment of the Man in the Moon when he heard, in addition to these prodigies, a report ascend to his lunar mansion, that the next novelty of the stage was to be a large Newfoundland dog; it was natural to suppose that the critics would growl and grumble at the innovation, but never did an amateur of the drama sustain the fatigue of the insipid representation of the musical entertainment called the · Caravan,' with more fortitude than I did, tortured every instant with the greatest improbabilities, the harlequinade of a governor descending from the window of his castle at a cry of fire, without the usual alarm from the sentries; by which his excellency is the first out of danger, with the hackneyed tink a tinka of the Mountaineers, and which has been renewed in almost every new muşical entertainment since, to fascinate, with the attitudes of the graceful Decamp, the dramatic censors into gentleness and peace; yet, oh nature ! without thy help, what would all the dress and fancy of art. avail? one incident from thy choice store of materials can conquer the heart in a moment, and make the sternest critic yield; the child of the marquis is hurled into the stream, which incident alone, would have occasioned more of horror than of any other sensation; but the heart is enwrapt in delight and love for the trusty faithful animal, who at his master's call plunges into the flood, and brings the infant safe to


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