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178                    CURIOSITIES OF MUSIC.
or a new farce is chosen and performed as dessert."
Many of the plays are not destitute of poetiy and plot. It may not be uninteresting to give a short sketch of the style of incidents woven into their plays by Chinese authors.
The following is an outline of the plot of a play performed before the English embassy, Lord Macartney's, in the latter part of the last century; it was given in a private theatre, by a private troupe.
" An emperor of China and his empress are living in supreme felicity, when on a sudden his subjects revolt. A civil war ensues, battles are fought; and at last, the arch-rebel, who is a general of cavalry, overcomes his sovereign, kills him with his own hand, and routs the imperial army.
The captive empress then appears upon the stage, in all the agonies of despair, naturally resulting from the lo^s of her husband, and her dignity, as well as the apprehension of that of ^ier honor. Whilst she is tearing her hair, and rending the skies with her complaints, the conqueror enters, approaches her with respect, addresses her in a gentle tone, soothes her sorrows with his compassion, talks of love and adoration, and like Eichard the Third with Lady Anne, in Shakespeare, prevails, in less than half an hour, on the Chinese princess to dry up her tears, to forget her ueceased consort, and to yield to a consoling wooer. The piece concludes with a redding and a grand procession."*
•Account of Lord Macartney'sembassy, by Sir George Staunton.






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