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quainted with the great efficacy of flank defences. He has therefore secured this curtain, by a projection from each angle, which answer the purpose of our bastions. These bastions are formed by two parallel lines, twenty-five or thirty feet in length, and at the distance of ten or twelve feet apart. Had these lines been drawn at different angles with the main work, they would have answered, without any additional labour, for the defence of the side-curtains also, as the modern bastions do: as it is, they defend the eastern face only; for in each of the lines which compose them, the one is drawn at right angles (or nearly so) with the eastern wall the other a prolongation of the side-wall. The foundation of the whole wall is of stone, without any appearance of cement, and not laid horizontally, but vertically, wedged in with each other as closely as possible. Upon this foundation the eastern parapet is raised.”
In the sketch A represents the mound or tumulus-B BB the line of the wall-C C the bastions-D DDD places in which the wall has been broken by ravines making down the hill-at E there is a spring of running wate. The drawing is made from actual admeasurement; but the line of the rivers is laid down merely to show their general situation, with regard to the work. Their relative proportion may be better understood by supposing the area of the fortification to contain fifteen acres, and that embraced between the rivers, in a line from F, about as many hundred.
I am, sir, &c.
. C. W. SHORT.
FOR THE PORT FOLIO.-FRENCH LITERATURE.
ON THE CHARACTER OF RACINE.
(Continued from page 105.) The Cid was the first epoch in the glory of the French theatre, and it was a brilliant one. Andromache formed the second, and it was not less striking: it created a sort of revolution. We perceived the existence of beauties entirely new. Those of the Cid were borrowed, in a great measure, from the Spanish: Racine, in the Andromache, owed nothing to any but himself. The piece from Euripides has nothing in common with his own but the title: the sabject is entirely different, and it was not in this place that Racine's obligations to the Greeks commenced. To some verses in the third book of the Æneid he was indebted for the idea of his Andromache. They comprise a part of the subject:the love of Pyrrhus for Andromache, and the murder of this prince, who was killed at the altar by the hand of Orestes. There is this difference, that in Virgil, Pyrrhus abandons Andromache, in order to espouse Hermione, of whom Orestes is enamoured. This is all that fable has furnished to the poet; and if we except subjects absolutely of invention, there are few instances where the author has done more of himself.
Whatever might have been the success of Andromache, Corneille and Racine had not yet so far enlightened the nation as to produce a proper estimation of the wonders of this tragedy. Racine was then too far before his own age and his judges. It requires more than one generation before knowledge, extending itself by degrees, shall shed a Oright lustre upon the strokes of genius. Creation is prompt, but jurigment moves with a slow pace. Instructed by the experience and reflection of a century, it is much easier for us to pronounce on the merits of Racine, when he had produced only his Andromache. What clearness and distinctness in the progress of an intrigue, apparently complex! What art in interlacing and carrying on simultaneously the two principal branches of action, in such a manner that they appear to be but one! Every thing is made to hinge upon a single event: the marriage of Andromache and Pyrrhus, and the events which produce the love of Orestes for Hermione, are always dependent upon that of Pyrrhus for Andromache. This art in overcoming difficulty supposes a complete science of intrigue, which it is necessary to develop.
There are three love affairs in the piece:—the love of Pyr. rhus for Andromache, of Hermione for Pyrrhus, and that of Orestes for Hermione. It is necessary that all three should be tragical-that they should possess a different character, and each contribute to tie up and unloosen the principal knot of the subject-the marriage of Pyrrhus with Andromache-on which de
pends the life of the son of Hector. All this the poet accomplishes. The attachment in each case is tragical; that is, it produces important catastrophes and great crimes. If Pyrrhus cannot obtain the hand of Andromache, he will deliver her son to the Greeks, who demand him. They have seized their victim, and he cannot refuse to his allies the blood of their common enemy; at least he dare not tell them, his mother has become my wife, and her son is mine. Here are adequate motives, well conceived and worthy of tragedy. Although the sacrifice of an infant may appear to be cruelty to us, yet the known manners of those times, the maxims of policy, and the rights of victory, sufficiently authorized it. Every thing has a motive, and all is probable; and lest the love of Pyrrhus should not assure us of the fate of Astyanax, the poet has preserved in his character the haughtiness and impetuosity which belong to the son of Achilles, and this violent passion which will ?ecome cruel, if it is not satisfied. This is announced in the first scene.
Chaque jour on lui voit tout tenter,
Epouser ce qu'il hait, et perdre ce qu'il aime.
And those men whom passion will not allow to remain masters of themselves, are precisely the description which is wanted in tragedy. We know not what will happen, but we may expect every thing: we hope and we fear, and this is all that we expect from the stage. The language of Pyrrhus confirms what Pylades has just said. He flatters himself with the hope of touching the heart of his mistress: he promises every thing--he values nothing.
Madâme, dites-moi seulement que j'espere,
Dans ses murs relevés couronner votre fils.
Why is it that these promises, so singular in the mouth of the son of Achilles, far from wounding our ears, appear to be very natural? It is not only because they belong to the character already announced, to the wildness of youth and the enthusiasm of passion, but even because there is nothing in them inconsistent with the heroism of a warrior. It is not a cold compliment of gallantry, like that which Alexander paid to queen Cleophik, when he said that for her sake he had come to conquer Indla. This we perceive at once is false, and that without any fault of the queen, Alexander might entertain the hope of conquering the whole world. But when a young leader who has overturned Troy, inakes it at the same time his pleasure and his glory to rebuild it for the son of his mistress, the son of Hector, this idea flatters his love and his pride; we see that he promises what he can do, and passion in him speaks the language of truth.
Is the same Pyrrhus, a moment afterwards, offended at the refusal of Andromache? He is no longer the same man who asked only the sad permission to hope. He knows nothing but extremes:
Eh bien! Madame, eh bien! il faut vous obéir,
These are the natural alternations and contrasts of passion. Happily love-affairs are not often affected by matters of such importance: but the foundation is the same; the difference is relative. Those women who have met with men really in love, know that it requires but a word to make them pass from the transports of love to those of rage. This vivacity of imagination, which is necessary in depicting the human passions, reminds me of an anecdote of Voltaire. He was teaching an actress, and endeavouring to infuse more fire into her manner-Sir, said the actress, if I perform thus, they will think the devil is in me.-Ah! mademoiselle, replied the poet, that is precisely what I want. To perform a tragedy well, it is necessary that you should seem to have the devil . in you.
If the love of Pyrrhus be tragical, is that of Orestes less so? Orestes fulfils perfectly the idea which we collect from all the mythological traditions. He appears to have been followed by an invincible fatality: to foresee the crimes of which he is to be guilty, and which are in a manner attached to his name. His passion is dark and mournful; it is tinged with that melancholy which approaches despair. He sees, he imagines nothing but what is gloo. my. He says to Pylades, at the moment when Hermione believes herself certain of espousing Pyrrhus:
S'il faut ne te rien déguiser,
Quand nos etats vengés jouiront se nos soins,
Tout lui rirait, Pylade; et moi pour mon partage,