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opponents, without the least courage or candour to come forward before that public who befriended her, and on which she has so long and so shamefully imposed. I hesitate not to say, that Hannah More's religion is craft. It is to her no rule of conduct. It did not restrain her from injuring Mrs. Cowley. It did not curb her tyranny over Mrs. Yearsley, whose genius is far superior to her
It did not tell her, when she humbled herselfon account of her circumstances (which caused the only difference, for she was as well born as herself) at her feet, from insulting and calumniating Mrs. Yearsley; it did not tell her, “ thou “ shalt not steal,” when she refused to return her MS. of poetry ; but it permitted her to tell the. falsehood, “ I have burnt them !” H. More has in this act reduced herself to the situation of a barbarous Goth and Vandal, or a common thief. That she had the poems in her custody, she does not deny, for she says she “ has burnt them ;” if she burnt poems, the productions of a person of whom she writes to Mrs. Montague in the following strains, she is a barbarian, whose mind is corroded by the meanest and basest envy ;
if she has not burnt them, she is a thief, for it is clear, they have not been returned. She kept them for her own use, to alter, garble, and publish in another form.*
* As she has made of Sir Abraham, a “very Abram,” even so, in like manner, as the minor poet has “ damned himself” in verse, will she now" damn * him," in prose, Then he will be « doubly damned."
" A copy of verses was shewn me, said to be written by " a poor illiterate woman, in this neighbourhood, who sells of milk from door to door. The story, did not engage my “ faith, but the verses excited my attention ; for though in“ correct, they breathed the genuine spirit of poetry, and “ were rendered still more interesting, by a certain natural “ and strong expression of misery, which seemed to fill the “ heart and mind of the author.
" When I went to see her, I observed a perfect simpli
city of manners, without the least affectation or preten“ sion of
kind : (this cannot be said of Mrs. H. More, “ for she is all cunning and artfulness) she neither attempted “ to raise my compassion by her distress, nor my admira« tion by her parts. On a more familiar acquaintance, I “ have reason to be surprized at the justness of her taste. “ The study of the sacred scriptures has enlarged her ima“ gination and ennobled her language.
6. You will find her, like all unlettered poets, abounding “ in imagery, metaphor, and personification; her faults, “ in this respect, being rather those of superfluity than of “ want. "If her epithets are now and then bold and vehe“ment, they are striking and original; and I should be
sorry to see the wild vigour of her rustic muse polished “ into elegance, or laboured into correctness. Her ear is
perfect; (tinat is not Hannah's case, for she has many “ false rhymes) there is sometimes great felicity in the “ structure of her blank verse, and she often varies the pause, with a happiness which looks like skill."
But because this woman had a soul and a genius, which H. More confessedly wants, and because that she had acquired a little consequence from being useful to her in the subscription, as she would not submit to her abuse and tyranny, she must, in her usual low way, be calumniated. H. More has been uniform in her conduct thro'
life; those who will not flatter her she will ruin, if possible, and by wearing a religious cloak, with her exquisite refinements in artfulness and trick, she renders the evil deeds consequent to her ingenious malice so incredible, that the world is made to believe they “ arise from the ground,” for it is impossible that H. More, who is so “ex" cellent," would descend to“ secret accusations, “ lies, or calumny;" and yet private accusations, lies, and calumny are proved against her. She will not defend any thing ; but she will pluck the rumps
of others to “ foolish foster-father-mo66 ther”
action or conduct of hers. 66 Thus Candour's maxims flow from Rancour's throat, “ As Devils, to serve their purpose, scripture quote.” The most fortunate circumstance in Mrs. More's life was the purchase of the annuity of 2001. a year so cheaply, which enabled her to run up and down after great folks, and carry incense. She even flatters the vices of the great to their faces. Had it not been for this income, and her share of 50001. which was made by the school in ParkStreet, and which being invested in 3 per cent. cons. during the American war (which war also H. defended) when sold out in 1785, doubled itself; had it not been for these advantages, H. More would now be poorer than Mrs. Yearsley; and from her temper, and disposition to calumny, would have been, as now she is very generally, and as she soon will be universally, execrated.Put on a robe of sanctity, and stab in the dark.
- With that smooth falsehood, whose appearance charma,
the vilest ends;
I have seen Mrs. Yearsley, I have seen Mrs. More; and the works of each I have now read. But although the evil deeds of H. More, deeds of which the low and uneducated are scarcely ever guilty, might excite a strong prejudice, on account of the mask under which they are perpetrated, against her; and though at other times I may express an honest indignation against her cruelty to individuals, and her profanation of religion, under whose guise she always so acts, I declare, that in matters of literature I will do her justice, always granting to her abilities, but no genius, much diligence and application, but no originality; and I pronounce Mrs. Yearsley a woman of original genius, and H. More a woman of great diligence and ability. This I am certain is their literary character. But it is the mental character, the complexion of the heart, the dignity of soul, that distinguishes the individual. All H. More's
opponents, and she has had quarrels enough in her time, candidly and honourably, when they found it necessary, and discovered what sort of adver
* Not a line that thrilled my soul did I meet with in Hannah's works; yet I felt horror at several; as I do at her conduct, when I read her history, or lise ten to the recital of her unworthy actions. But when I take up Mrs. Yearsley's poems, I scarcely read a page but my soul is moved.
sary they had to deal with, appealed to the world, and justified themselves; instead of which, Mrs. More retired, affected illness during the storm, " added more accusations and calumnies," or wrote anonymously, or stung some of her dupes with nettles, to “ come out," with or without a name, to combat for her.
By vilest means pursues the vilest ends.” Of the INFLEXIBLE CAPTIVE, nothing more can be said, but that some good sentiments are expressed in strong and appropriate language.-There is nothing dramatic; for it is only a dialogue, without catastrophe.
FATAL FALSEHOOD was perforined at CoventGarden theatre, three nights, to which she herself wrote a prologue, and Mr. Sheridan the epilogue. Mr. Garrick wrote a prologue to Percy, which was acted at Drury-Lane several nightsMr. Garrick wrote the epilogue also. Percy was inscribed to Earl Percy; Fatal Falsehood to the Countess Bathurst. The Inflexible Captive, which was inscribed to the Hon. Mrs. Boscawen, was performed at Bath a few times. The prologue was written by Dr. Langhorne, and the epilogue by Mr. Garrick.
The character of these tragedies is, that they are calculated only to excite horror, and often disgust.
The following is a specimen of the language and sentiments in Fatal Falsehood.
“ Dost thou not know that fear is worse than grief? “There may be bounds to grief, fear knows no bounds;