1804 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Elizabeth Cooper

S. S., in "Memoir of James Ralph" Universal Magazine NS 2 (September 1804) 226.



About the year 1735, he [James Ralph] commenced a managing partner with Henry Fielding, in the Haymarket Theatre. He now wrote the Astrologer, a comedy, on the plan of the Alchymist. In this play is joined, to the disadvantage of a plot founded on the almost-forgotten scheme of the philosopher's stone, an affectedly obsolete style, the most disgusting. It was often rehearsed, but the great success of Fielding's Pasquin put aside all thoughts of bringing it forward; and Ralph found that his share in the management must be confined to a view of his partner's celebrity. He, however, espoused a play by Mrs. Cooper, called The Nobleman. It was performed under his direction; but the event proved him as poor a critic as a dramatist. The comedy was condemned, and that in so decisive a way, that, to the great mortification of Ralph, it was not thought worth while to print it.