Into my brain! Yet fo I fear 'twould split
My head, as air fhut up does water bubbles.
Titus. Thou haft fpoke wittier, Brute, than thou'rt aware.
Aruns. But what wilt give me now for a recipe
To make a wit? I had it from the Sibyl,

[ocr errors]

Her thou faw'ft t'other day, who fold to th' king
Her books at such a rate.
Pray let me fee it ;
What will I give !-Ten acres of my land.
Aruns. Thy land! where lies it?




Afk the king my cousin :

He knows full well: I thank him, he's my fleward,
And takes the trouble off my hands.

Who told thee fo?

Brutus. The king himself.-Now twenty years are past,
And more, when he sent for me from the farm
Where I had liv'd fome time studying philofophy,
And fuch like serious matters.


Noble fophift,
I bend with the profoundeft admiration
Of thy rare, hidden knowledge,

Yes, yes, all men
Muft grant that I have no fmall fmattering.
But where was I? Oh-Kinfman, fays the king,
Says he, and fmiled moft graciously upon me,
For deeds of blackest and most treasonous nature,
Thy father and thy brother were accused of,
They've paid the forfeit with their lives: for thee,
Who knew'ft not of their crimes, as I love mercy,
Nor take delight in wanton deeds of cruelty,
Live, and be happy; the ingenuous heart,
And fimple manners fpeaking in thy face-
Aruns. Aye, 'tis a fimple manners-fpeaking face.
Brutus. Nay, is it right to interrupt me thus ?
Aruns. Pardon, most noble Brutus.


These thy qualities,
Promife, fays he, thou ne'er wilt form a plot
Of damn'd confpiracy against thy fovereign-
Titus. Indeed for that, I'll be thy bondfman, Brutus.
Brutus. Live in my houfe, companion of my children.
As for thy land, to eafe thee of all care,
I'll take it for thy ufe; all that I afk
Of thee, is gratitude.


And art thou not
Grateful for goodnefs fo unmerited?
Brutus. Am I not? Never, by the holy Gods,

Will I forget it! 'tis my conftant prayer

To heaven, that I may one day have the power
To pay
the debt I owe him.-But the charm
For wit you

told me of.

Oh-take it gratis



Firft then; attend with caution-But the message
You brought from Tarquin.--

Father Romulus,

That I fhould loiter thús! Why would you keep me
Engaged in talk? The king your father calls
A council, to confider of the fiege
Of Ardea, and the future operations
Against the stubborn Rutili: your prefence
Is afk'd immediately; fhall I before,
And fay you're coming?

If thou wilt, good Brutus ;
Or else behind; or otherwife in th' middle:
Come, we'll all go together; or flay there,
And follow at thy leifure. [Exeunt Aruns and Titus.
Brutus alone. Yet, 'tis not this which ruffles me-
-the gibes
And fcornful mockeries of ill-govern'd youth-
Or flouts of painted fycophants and jefters,
Reptiles, who lay their bellies on the daft
Before the frown of majefty. All this
I but expect, nor grudge to bear; the face
I carry too demands it. But what then?
Is my mind fashion'd to the livery

Of dull ftupidity, which I have worn
Thefe many a day? Is't bent afide, and warp'd
From its true native dignity? Elfe why,
How is't that vengeance now hath slept fo long?
O prudence! ill delayer of great deeds,
And noble enterprizes !-Yet-not fo.
Chance may, and accidental circumftance
Crown bold and lucky rashness with fuccefs-
But oftener not. There is perhaps a time,
A certain point, which waited for with patience,
Seiz'd on, and urg'd with vigour, will go near
To banish chance, and introduce affurance
And fixedness in human actions.-

T' avenge my father's and my brother's murder!
(And fweet I muft confefs would be the draught)
Had this been all, oft hath the murderer's life
Been in my hands; a thousand opportunities
I've had to ftrike the blow-and my own life
I had not valued as a rush.-But ftill-
There's fomething farther to be done-my foul!
Enjoy the ftrong conception; Oh! 'tis glorious
To free a groaning country from oppreffion;
To vindicate man's common rites, and crush
The neck of arrogance.-To fee Revenge
Spring like a lion from his den, and tear
Thefe hunters of mankind!-Give but the time,
Give but the moment, gods! If I am wanting,
May I drag out this ideot-feigned life
To late old age; and may posterity
Ne'er know me by another name, but that
Of Brutus, and the Tarquin's household fool.




We confefs ourselves to be in the number of those, who wish that the lefs ftudied diction, and more, plain and level metre of the school of that immortal poet (which feems to have ended with Southern) had been continued to the prefent time.' And as far as our Author has adopted the diction of the school of Shakespeare, we approve of his dialogue, which is often flowing, eafy, nervous, and characteriftic; but it cannot be denied that it often finks into grofs familiarity and meanness, and fometimes goes in fuch a hobbling pace, and falls into fuch low expreffions, that it cannot with juftice be termed even meafured profe.'

A diverfification of character' hath not only been attempted in this play, but in many inftances fuccefsfully executed : nor can we think with the Writer, that his piece is, on that account, lefs proper for the ftage, or lefs adapted to the multitude. The ftage and the multitude are equally favourable to pieces of character, and receive, with equal coldness, such dramas as are void of that ingredient; which is the chief reason why fo many tragedies (ince the days of Southern) have ftrutted and fretted their fhort hour upon the ftage, and then been heard no more!"

It is a very unfortunate circumstance for an Author to indulge his felf-complacency fo far, as to take it for granted that his tafte and abilities are fuperior to the age in which his works are published. This idea is the parent of flovenlinefs and inaccuracy; and there is in the piece before us, if we may hazard the expreffion, a kind of laboured incorrectnefs; the Author feeming to difdain the trouble of giving the neceffary compactness to his fable, or the last polifh to his ftyle.

Notwithstanding thefe defects, which it was our duty to obferve, this hiftorical tragedy abounds with uncommon beauties of language and fituation, and much exquifite delineation of character; all which excellencies would be ftill heightened, if the Author would vouchlafe to amend the irregularities, and fupply the deficiencies, which would, in its present state, prove the only obftacles to its fuccefs in theatrical reprefentation. Such corrections would also render it still more pleasing in the closet.

ART. VIII. The Hiftory of Edinburgh. By Hugo Arnot, Efq; Advocate. 4to. 11. 5 s. Boards. Edinburgh printed; fold by Murray in London. 1779.


N the viciffitudes and accidents which characterife the hiftory of towns, we find, in general, many important objects of research and curiofity; but when the towns described have the peculiarity of being the capitals of a nation, 'the inftruction communicated is of the greater moment, and the materials



of the author are the more connected with great events. The plan of the work before us was originally of a limited nature; and we are informed, by Mr. Arnot, that it grew into its prefent magnitude from his attention to a variety of matter which tended to illuftrate the state of manners in Scotland, and to throw a new light upon its public tranfactions. There is nothing, indeed, which appears more certain, than that the affairs of a kingdom and its capital are deeply interwoven. To give a wide range to inquiry and inveftigation is, of confequence, the most instructive method which can be adopted in works of this kind.

The minuteness of this Hiftorian will, perhaps, be confidered, by fome readers, as a merit. The fearch which he acknowledges was made by him into moft of the public records of Scotland, was highly proper. The colleges of St. Andrews, Aberdeen, and Edinburgh confented to afford him the aids he required; and to feveral private gentlemen he returns his acknowledgments for the politeness of their communications.

Whatever has a particular relation to the city of Edinburgh, in the civil and ecclefiaftical hiftory of Scotland, is detailed by this laborious Inquirer, and furnishes fuch materials as are the most capable of compofition and ornament. The manners of the Scottish nation, the prices of provifrons, and the value of money, engage his attention. He describes the public buildings of Edinburgh, its religious houses, its population, and its amufements. He treats of the legislative and the judicial affemblies; and, on this fubject, he advances the evidence of many improper acts of magiftrates. His freedom and fpirit, in this particular, are worthy of praife, as they have in view the promotion of the interefts of liberty and mankind.

The account he has given of the Court of Jufticiary in Scotland will afford entertainment to our Readers, and will be accepted as a specimen from which they may form a judgment of the abilities of the Author:

It has been already explained, that the Justice-ayre, or Court of Jufticiary, was the fupreme court, civil as well as criminal, over the barons, and thofe refiding within their domains. After the original Court of Seffion was inftituted, it ftill retained its civil jurifdiction; but, upon the erection of the College of Juftice, the authority of the Court of Jufticiary was reftricted to criminal affairs. The judges were the Lord Juftice General, Juftice Clerk, and certain affeffors added to them by the Privy Council, who were chofen from among perfons not verfant in the laws, and whofe commiffions only latted during the particular trials upon which they were appointed to prefide. A conftitution fo highly improper, was altered by Charles II. and the court modelled into its prefent form. It now confifts of the


Charles II. parl, 2. feff. 3. c. 16.'


Lord Juftice General, who is always a peer of the moft diftinguished rank or influence, the Lord Juftice Clerk, and five Commiffioners of Jufticiary, who are alfo Lords of Seffion. The office of Lord Juftice General bears a fimilar relation, in the Court of Jufticiary, to that of one of the extraordinary Lords formerly in the Court of Seffion, and, like these too, ought to be abolished +.

The Court of Justiciary has a fupreme jurifdiction in criminal affairs. The decrees of sheriffs, and other inferior criminal courts, as well as thofe of the Court of Admiralty, are liable to its review. It has been doubted, how far the decrees of the Court of Justiciary itself are fubject to the review of the Houfe of Lords. This is a matter of great importance; and, in fo far as may be confiftent with the deference due to the refpectable perfons who entertain oppofite notions, we deliver our opinion without diffidence or referve, "That an appeal lies from the Court of Jufticiary to the House of Lords."

The decrees of the ancient court of King's Julticiary, or Jufticeayre, from which the prefent court has, after feveral changes, been modelled, were fubject to the review of parliament. That court took cognizance of cauíes both civil and criminal, and these too by jury. After the inftitution of the College of Juftice, when the King's Justiciary no longer meddled with civil causes, we find * King James V. taking the opinion of parliament, upon a criminal trial depending before that judge. Even fince the erection of the court into its prefent form, frequent inftances of the reverfal of fentences of § forfeiture occur in the parliamentary proceedings. But further, an ap peal from the Court of Jufticiary was actually received by the House of Lords, A. D. 1713 1, and the judgment of that court reverfed. In a late cafe, where a petition of appeal, prefented from that court, was difmiffed, it was only found, "That the faid petition and appeal, was not properly brought;" nothing was decided refpecting the general point.

The ftrefs which is laid upon no inftances of appeal being to be found from the Court of Justiciary, as prefently modelled to the Scots parliament, is over-balanced by other considerations; befides, it is eafy to explain why there were none. Appeals from the fupreme civil court were not admitted after the inftitution of the College of Juftice, down till the revolution. In that period of a hundred


+ We apprehend there was no system of liberty in Scotland till the union. Since that, we know but of three trials in which the Lord Juftice General prefided. They were all political. In all of them, government exerted itfelf to make the prifoners objects of exemplary punishment. The first was that of the Glasgow rioters; and in it, the Lord Juftice General entered his diffent and protest against the opinion of the ordinary judges, in finding that the rioters were not subject to a capital punishment. The fecond was that of Provoft Stewart. The third was that of James Stewart of Aucharn, for the murder of Campbell of Glenure, the only trial that we know of, in which a Lord Juftice General, and Lord Advocate, condelcended to go upon a circuit, A trial, in which government was fuppofed to have exerted its utmost influence to procure a conviction of the prifoner; and in which, upon his conviction, the Lord Justice General addressed him in a moft infulting (peech; a speech, which, far from being expreffive of generofity and compaffion, breathed an ardent fpirit of political hatred and refentment. Rec. of Juft. 4th Oct. 1725; printed trial of James Stewart of Aucharn, A, D. 1753.'


James V. parl. 6. c. 69.'


Law Tracts, p. 276.'

[ocr errors]

i. e. conviction of high treason." Maclaurin's cales, p. 581,'


« VorigeDoorgaan »