Barbier, Mary Anne

, a French lady, a native of Orleans, became celebrated for her dramatic productions. She cultivated literature and poetry at Paris, and took for her models, Racine and Quinaut. Her tragedy, entitled “Arria & Paetus,” dedicated by an epistle, in verse, to the duchess de Bouillon, was represented at the theatre in 1702. “Cornelie Mere des Greques,” appeared on the stage in the ensuing year. “Tomyris, Reine des Mussagetes,” dedicated to the duchess du Maine, was acted in 1707. “La Mort de Cesar,” was dedicated to M. d’Argenson, counsellor of Metz. These pieces were printed soon after their representation as was also “La Faucon,” a comedy, inverse, represented in 1719. Mademoiselle Barbier composed a fifth tragedy, entitled “Joseph,” which was neither acted nor printed. She wrote also three operas, which were acted with success; “Les Fetes de FEte,” the music by Montclair, represented in 1716; “Le Jugement de Paris,” an heroic pastoral, in three acts, which appeared in 1718; and “Les Plaisirs de la Campagne,” a ballet, played in 1719. It has been said that her name was only borrowed by the abbe Pellegrin but he merely revised her performances, and might in some | instances correct them. She compiled also ‘ Saisons litteraires," a collection of poetry, history, and criticism, which was not printed until 1774, 12mo. She died in 1745. The conduct of the tragedies of mademoiselle Barbier is tolerably regular, and the scenes not ill connected, and the subjects are in general judiciously chosen, but nothing can be more unskilful than the manner in which she treats them. In endeavouring to render the heroines of her pieces generous and noble, she degrades all her heroes. We perceive the weakness of a timid pencil, which, incapable of painting objects in large, strives to exaggerate the virtues of her sex and these monstrous pictures produce an interest that never rises above mediocrity. Nevertheless, we meet with so me’ affecting situations, and a natural and easy versification but too much facility renders it negligent, diffuse, and prosaic. 1