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TO HER GRACE

THE DUTCHESS OF BEAUFORT,

THESE

SACRED DRAMAS

ARE,

WITH THE MOST PERFECT RESPECT,

INSCRIBED:

As. among the many amiable and distinguished Qualities which adorn her Mind, and add Lustre to her Rank, her Excellence in the Maternal Character gives a peculiar Propriety to her Protection of THIS LITTLE WORK; written with an humble Wish to promote the Love of Piety and Virtue in Young Persons,

By her GRACE'S

Most obedient,

Most obliged,
And most humble Servant,

HANNAH MORE.

ADVERTISEMENT

BY THE AUTHOR.

I AM as ready as the most rigid critic to confess, , sacred historian represents him as exhibiting no that nothing can be more simple and inartificial mean lesson of modesty, humility, courage, and than the plans of the following Dramas. In the piety. Many will think that the introduction of construction of them I have seldom ventured to Saul's daughter would have added to the effect of introduce any persons* of my own creation ; still the piece; and I have no doubt but that it would less did I imagine myself at liberty to invent cir- have made the intrigue more complicated and cumstances. I reflected with awe, that the place amusing had this Drama been intended for the whereon 1 stood was holy ground. All the latitude I stage. There, all that is tender, and all that is ter. permitted myself was, to make such persons as I rible in the passions, find a proper place. But I selected act under such circumstances as I found, write for the young, in whom it will be always time and express such sentiments as, in my humble enough to have the passions awakened; I write for Judgment, appeared not unnatural to their charac- a class of readers, to whom it is not easy to accomters and situations. Some of the speeches are so modate one's subject, so as to be at once useful and long as to retard the action; for I rather aspired interesting. after moral instruction than the purity of dramatic The amiable poet Cowley, after showing the sucomposition. I am aware, that it may be brought periority of the sacred over the profane histories, as an objection, that I have now and then made some instances of which I have noticed in my intro. my Jewish characters speak too much like Chris- duction, concludes with the following remark, tians, as it may be questioned whether I have not which I may apply to myself with far more prooccasionally ascribed to them a degree of light and priety than it was used by the author :-“ I am far knowledge greater than they probably had the

from assuming to myself to have fulfilled the duty means of possessing; but I was more anxious in of this weighty undertaking; and I shall be ambi. consulting the advantage of my youthful readers, tious of no other fruit from this weak and imperby leading them on to higher religious views, than

fect attempt of mine, but the opening of a way to in securing to myself the reputation of critical er.

the courage and industry of some other persons, actness.

who may be better able to perform it thoroughly It will be thought that I have chosen, perhaps,

and successfully." the least important passage in the eventful life of David, for the foundation of the Drama which bears

. It would not be easy, nor perhaps proper, to

introduce sacred tragedies on the English stage. bis name. Yet, even in this his first exploit, the The pious would think it profane, while the pro

fane would think it dull." Yet the excellent Ra.

cine, in a profligate country and a voluptuous • Never, indeed, except in DANIEL, and that of court, ventured to adapt the story of " Athalia' to necessity, as the Bible furnishes no more than two the French theatre: and it remains to us a glorious persons, Daniel and Darius; and these were not monument of its author's courageous piety, while it sufficient to carry on the business of the piece. exhibits the perfection of the dramatic art.

MEMOIRS

OF

MRS. HANNAH MORE.

Ters lady, who has so highly distinguished herself ners of the Great to General Society," and her by her literary productions, was born, we believe, “Estimate of the Religion of the Fashionable at Hanham, a village near Bristol; in which latter World,' were very popular with all orders in the place she for several years kept a boarding school community. In short, such was the impression for young ladies.

which they made, that scarcely any other book was Her first publication was a pastoral drama, called for a long time read in private families, or men"The Search after Happiness," which appeared in tioned in polite conversation; nay, its arguments 1773. It was written at the age of eighteen, for were even detailed from the pulpits in the vicinity some female friends, who performed the several of the court. characters in private parties. Though the plot of Mrs. More has since given to the world “Prac. this little piece is perfectly inartificial, the poetry tical Piety, or the Influence of the Religion of the which it contains does infinite credit to the powers Heart on the conduct of the Life ;" *Christian of such early years, and it experienced a very fa- Morals; "." Hints toward forming the Character of vourable reception. Indeed few pastorals, in this a Young Princess;" “Strictures on Female Educaor any other language, are better calculated to re- tion;" Calebs in search of a Wife;" and "An fine the female taste, repress the luxuriance of ju- Essay on the Character and Practical Writings of venile imaginations, or charm. the rising affections St. Paul." of minds glowing with sensibility and ardour. But Her works, in general, are calculated to awaken its chief distinctions over every similar drama, are

the world to its best interest, and excite it to praise its purity of sentiment, simplicity of diction, origin- worthy, actions; and she uses, for this laudable ality of design, and the inviolable affinity which it purpose, the gentle means of reason and persuasion. establishes and preserves between truth and nature, She would lead her fellow-creatures into habits of virtue and happiness, habits of innocence and the

mutual forbearance and kind accommodation with practice of piety.

each other, not drive them into those of harshness The concern that she took, and the interest and aversion; she would fill their heads with which she felt, in the dignity of her own sex, were knowledge, that their hearts may not be blinded by afterwards exemplified by a series of " Essays on passion; she would inspire them with principles of various Subjects, principally designed for young integrity, and a sense of what is just and right, that Ladies."

their duty may be an object of choice, not compulIn the year 1774, Mrs. More published “The sion. We understand that her publications are an Inflexible Captive," a Tragedy, founded on the exact transcript of her own life, which is literally story of Regulus; its literary merits are great, and spent in doing good. Some of her friends (says the it was once acted on the Bath stage.

Editor of the "Biographia Dramatica," edit. 1812,) "Sir Eldred of the Bower," and " The Bleeding called her exquisite humanity her hobby-horse; Rock," two charming legendary Tales, were pub

and to such of them as were wits, it furnished a lished together in quarto, 1776. The latter is in new species of raillery. It is in this humour, the manner of Ovid; and the pretty fiction at the which is a mixture of praise and blame, that the conclusion had its origin from a rock, near the late Lord Orford, in a letter to herself, gives the author's residence in Somersetshire, whence a

following sketch of her character. crimson stream flows, occasioned by the red strata It is very provoking (says his Lordship,) that over which the water makes its way from the people must be always hanging or drowning themmountains.

selves, or going mad, that you, forsooth, mistress, Mrs. More has also written “ An Ode to Dragon,” may have the diversion of exercising your pity, and Mr. Garrick's house-dog: “ Percy," a Tragedy, good-nature, and charity, and intercession, and all founded on the Gabrielle de Vergy of M. de Belloy

that bead-roll of virtues that make you so trouble“The Fatal Falsehood, a Tragedy; “Sacred some and amiable, when you might be ten times Dramas,"* chiefly intended for young Persons the more agreeable, by writing things that would not subjects taken from the Bible; “ Sensibility," a

cost one above half-a crown at a time. You are an Poem: « Florio," and « The Bas Bleu," two absolute walking hospital, and travel about into Poems; “Slavery," a Poem; and “Remarks on Lone and be places, wiih your doors open to house the Speech of M. Dupont, made in the National stray

, at Convention of France, on the Subjects of Religion

have some children yourself, that you might not be and Public Education. In this work she exposed plaguing one for all the pretty brats that are starv. the gross atheistical tendency of the speech of M.

ing and friendless. I suppose it was some such Dupont, and roused the general abhorrence of all goody, two or three thousand years ago, that ranks at the atrocity of a system which struck at the suggested the idea of an alma mater suckling the vitals of every thing good and sacred among men.

three hundred and sixty-five bantlings of the The profits of the book were appropriated toward

Countess of Hainault.-Well, as your newly adopted the relief of the French emigrant clergy.

pensioners have two babes, I insist on your After this latter work, Mrs. 'More projected a

accepting two guineas for them, instead of one, at "Cheap Repository," for supplying intelligence of present; that is, when you shall be present. If an opposite tendency, to such as could not afford it you cannot circumscribe your own charities, you on other terms. The fund by which she reared,

shall not stint mine, madam, who can afford it and for a long time maintained, this impregnable much better, and who must be dunned for alms, fortress against the havoc of irreligion and licenti,

and do not scramble over hedges and ditches in ousness, originated in the munificence of the liberal searching for opportunities of flinging away my circle to which she had access by her personal mer.

money on good works. I employ mine better at its and address.

auctions, and in buying pictures and baubles, and Her“ Thoughts on the Importance of the Man- hoarding curiosities, that, in truth, I cannot keep

long, but that will last for ever in my catalogue,

and make me immortal. Alas! will they cover a • Moses in the Bulrushes-David and Goliath

multitude of sins ? Adieu ! I cannot jest after that Belshazzar-and Daniel.

sentence."

INTRODUCTION.

Or for the sacred energy which struck

Shall fiction only raise poetic flame, The harp of Jesse's son or for a spark

And shall no altars blaze, 0 Truth, to thee? Of that celestial flame which touch'd the lips Shall falsehood only please, and table charm ? Of blest Isaiah; when the seraphim

And shall eternal Truth neglected lie, With living fire descended, and his soul

Because immortal, slighted or profaned ? From sin's pollution purg'd! or one faint ray,

Truth has our reverence only, not our love; If human things to heavenly I may join,

Our praise, but not our heart : a deity, Of that pure spirit which inflamed the breast Confess'd, but shunn'd; acknowledged, not ador'd: Of Milton, God's own poet! when retired,

Alarm'd we dread her penetrating beams; In fair enthusiastic vision rapt,

She comes too near us, and too brightly shines. The nightly visitant deign'd bless his couch

Why shun to make our duty our delight? With inspiration, such as never flow'd

Let pleasure be the motive, disallow From Acidale or Aganippe's fount !

All high incentives drawn from God's command: Then, when the sacred fire within him burnt, Where shall we trace, thro' all the page profane, He spake as man or angel might have spoke,

A livelier pleasure and a purer source When man was pure, and angels were his guests. Of innocent delight, than the fair book

It will not be.-Nor prophet's burning zeal, Of holy Truth presents ? for ardent youth, Nor muse of fire, nor yet to sweep the strings The sprightly narrative; for years mature, With sacred energy, to me belongs;

The moral document, in sober robe Nor with Miltonic hand to touch the chords

Of grave philosophy array'd : which all That wake to ecstacy: From me, alas !

Had heard with admiration, had embrac'd The sacred source of harmony is hid;

With rapture, had the shades of Academe, The magic powers which catch the ravish'd soul Or the learn's Porcb produced it :-Tomes had In melody's sweet maze, and the clear streams

then Which to pure Fancy's yet untasted springs Been multiplied on tomes, to draw the veil Enchanted lead. of these I little know!

Of graceful allegory, to unfold Yet, all unknowing, dare Thy aid invoke,

Some hidden source of beauty, now not felt! Spirit of Truth: to bless these worthless lays :

Do not the powers of scul-enchanting song, Nor impious is the hope ; for thou hast said, Strong imag'ry, bold figure, every charm That none who ask in faith should ask in vain. Of eastern flight sublime, apt metaphor, You I invoke not now, ye fabled Nine !

And all

the graces in thy lovely train, I not invoke you, though you well were sought Divine Simplicity ! assemble ail In Greece and Latium, sought by deathless bards, In Sion's songs, and bold Isaiah's strain ? Whose siren song enchants; and shall enchant, Why should the classic eye delight to trace Through Time's

wide-circling round, though false The tale corrupted from its prime pure source, their faith,

How Pyrrha and the famed Thessalian king And less than human were the gods they sung. Restored the ruin'd race of lost mankind : Though false their faith, they taught the best they Yet turn, incurious, from the patriarch saved, knew;

The rescued remnant of a deluged world ?
And (blush, o Christians !) liv'd above their faith. Why are we taught delighted to recount
They would have bless'd the beam, and hail'd the Alcides' labours, yet neglect to note
day,

Heroic Samson 'midst a life of toil
That chas'd the moral darkness from their souls. Herculean ? Pain and peril marking both
Oh ! had their minds receiv'd the clearer ray A life eventful and disastrous death.
Of Revelation, they had learn'd to scorn

Can all the tales which Grecian story yields;
Their rites impure, their less than human gods, Can all the names the Roman page records
Their wild mythology's fantastic maze.

Of wondrous friendship and surpassing love; Pure Plato! how had thy chaste spirit hail'd Can gallant Theseus and his brave compeer; A faith so fitted to thy moral sense?

Orestes, and the partner of his toils; What hadst thou felt, to see the fair romance Achates and his friend ; Euryalus Of high imagination, the bright dream

And blooming Nisus, pleasant in their lives, Of thy pure fancy, more than realiz'd!

And undivided by the stroke of death; Sublime enthusiast ! thou hadst blest a scheme Can each, can all, a lovelier picture yield Fair, good, and perfect. How had thy rapt soul Of virtuous friendship: can they all present Caught fire, and burnt with a diviner flame! A tenderness more touching than the love For e'en thy fair idea ne'er conceiv'd

Of Jonathan and David ?-Speak, ye young Such plenitude of bliss, such boundless love, Who, undebauch'd as yet with fashion's lore, As Deity made visible to sense.

And unsophisticate, unbiass'd judge, Unhappy Brutus! philosophic mind!

Say, is your quick attention more arous'd Great 'midst the errors of the Stoic school!

By the red plagues which wasted smitten Thebes, How had thy kindling spirit joy'd to find

Than Heaven's avenging hand on Pharaoh's host?
That thy loved virtue was no empty name :- Or do the vagrant Trojans, driven by fate
Nor hadst thou met the vision at Philippi;

On adverse shores successive, yield a theme
Nor hadst thou sheathed thy bloody dagger's point More grateful to the eager appetite
Or in the breast of Cæsar or thy own.

Of young impatience, than the wand'ring tribes The Pagan page how far more wise than ours, The Hebrew leader through the desert led ? They with the gods they worshipp'd graced their The beauteous Maid (tho" tender is the tale), song ;

Whose guiltless blood on Aulis altar stream's Our song we grace with gods we disbelieve; Smites not the bosom with a softer pang Retain the manners, but reject the creed.

Than her in fate how sadly similar,

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