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sometimes overspread, with the mighty waters of anguish, but still Wunshaken. We look to him for hopes, principles, resting places of

the soul—for emotions which dignify our passions, and consecrate

our wões. A brief retrospect of tragedy will show, that in every theater age when it has triumphed, it has appealed not to the mere love of to be excitement, but to the perceptions of beauty in the soul to the Pere yearnings of the deepest affections to the aspirations after gran

deur and permanence, which never leave man even in his errors and afilictions.-Nothing could be more dignified or stately than

the old tragedy of the Greeks. Its characters were demi-gods, or met beroes; its subjects were often the destinies of those lines of the and mighty, which had their beginning among the eldest deities. So


, in the development of their plots, were the poets from appealing to mere sensibility, that they scarcely deigned to awaken an anxious throb, or draw forth a human tear. In their works, we see the catastrophe from the beginning, and feel its influence at every step, as we advance majestically along the solemn avenue which it closes. There is little struggle; the doom of the heroes is fixed on high, and they pass, in sublime composure, to fulfil their destiny. Their sorrows are awful,

their deaths religious sacrifices to the power of heaven. The glory that plays about their heads, is the prognostic of their fate. A consecration is shed over their brief and sad career, which takes away all the ordinary feelings of suffering. Their aflictions are sacred, their passions inspired by the gods, their fates prophesied in elder time, their deaths almost festal. All things are tinged with sanctity or with beauty in the Greek tragedies. Bodily pain is made sublime ; destitution and wretchedness are rendered sacred ; and the very grove of the Furies is represented as ever fresh and green. How grand is the suffering of Prometheus, --how sweet the resolution of Antigone,bow appalling, yet how 'magnificent, the last vision of Cassandra, how reconciling and tender, yet how mysteriously awful, the death of Edipus? And how rich a poetic atmosphere do the Athenian poets breathe over all the creations of their genius! Their exquisite groups appear, in all the venerableness of hoar antiquity; yet in the distinctness and in the bloom of unfading youth. All the human figures are seen, sublime in attitude, and exquisite in finishing ; while, in the dim back ground, appear the shapes of eldes 1 gods, and the solemn abstractions of life, fearfully embodied—“ Death the skeleton, and time the shadow!" Surely there is something more in all this, than a vivid picture of the sad realities of our human existence.

The Romans excelled not in tragedy, because their love of mere excitement was too keen to permit them to enjoy it. They had "supped full of horrors." Familiar with the thoughts of real slaughter, they could not endure the philosophic and poetic view of


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distress in which it is softened and made sacred. Their imaginations were too practical for a genuine poet to affect. Hence, in the plays which bear the name of Seneca, horrors are heaped on horrors-the most unpleasing of the Greek fictions (as that of Medea) are rewritten and made ghastly—and every touch that might redeem and soften is carefully esfaced by the poet. Still the grandeur of old tragedy is there still “the gorgeous pall comes sweeping by”-still the dignity survives, though the beauty has faded.

In the productions of Shakspeare, doubtless, tragedy was devested of something of its external grandeur. The mythology of the ancient world had lost its living charm. Its heroic forms remained, indeed, unimpaired in beauty or grace, in the distant regions of the imagination; but they could no longer occupy the foreground of poetry. Men required forms of flesh and blood, animated by human passion, and awakening human sympathy. Shakspeare, therefore, sought for his materials nearer to common humanity than the elder bards. He took also, in each play, a far wider range than they had dared to occupy.

The reconciling power of his imagination, and the genial influences of his philosophy, are ever softening and consecrating sorrow. He scatters the rainbow hues of fancy over objects in themselves repulsive. He nicely developes the “soul of goodness in things evil” to console and to delight us. He blends all the most glorious imagery of nature with the passionate expressions of afiliction. He sometimes in a single image expresses an intense sentiment in all its depth, yet identifies it with the widest and the grandest objects of creation. Thus he makes Timon, in the bitterness of his soul, set up his tomb on the beached shore, that the wave of the ocean may once a day cover him with its embossed foam-ex. panding an individual feeling into the extent of the vast and eternal sea; yet making us feel it as more intense, from the very sublimity of the image. The mind can always rest without anguish on his catastrophes, however mournful. 'Sad as the story of Romeo and Juliet is, it does not lacerate or tear the heart, but relieves it of its weight by awakening sweet tears. Their joys, indeed, are nipped in early blossom; but the flower that is softly shed on the earth, yet puts forth undying odours. We shriek not at their tomb, which we feel has set a seal on their loves and virtues, but almost long with them there " to set up our everlasting rest.” We do not seel unmingled agony at the death of Lear;-when his aged heart, which has beaten so fearfully, is at rest—and his withered frame, late o'er-informed with terrific energy, reposes

with his pious child. We are not shocked and harrowed even when Hamlet falls; for we feel that he is unfit for the bustle of this world, and his own gentle contemplations on death have deprived it of its terrors. In Shak

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speare, the passionate is always steeped in the beautiful. Sometimes he diverts sorrow with tender conceits, which, like little fantastic rocks, break its streams into sparkling cascades and circling eddies. And when it must flow on deep and still, he bends over it branching foliage and graceful flowers-whose leaves are seen in its dark bosom, all of one sober and harmonious hue-but in their clearest form and most delicate proportions.

The other dramatists of Shakspeare's age, deprived like him of classical resources, and far inferior to him in imagination and wisdom, strove to excite a deep interest by the wildness of their plots, and the strangeness of the incidents with which their scenes were crowded. Their bloody tragedies are, however, often relieved by passages of exquisite sweetness. - - Sometimes, amidst the gloom of continued crimes, which often follow each other in stern and awful succession, are fair pictures of more than earthly virtue, tinted with the dews of heaven, and encircled with celestial glories. -

Of the succeeding tragedians of England, the frigid imitators of of the French Drama, it is necessary to say but little. The elevation it of their plays is only on the stilts of declamatory language. The Het proportions and symmetry of their plots, are but an accordance

with arbitrary rules. Yet was there no reason to fear that the sensibilities of their audience should be too strongly excited, without the alleviations of fancy or of grandeur, because their sorrows are unreal, turgid, and fantastic. Cato is a classical petrifaction. Its tenderest expression is, “ Be sure you place his urn near mine," which comes over us like a sentiment frozen in the utterance. Congrève's Mourning Bride has a greater air of magnificence than most tragedies of his or of the succeeding time; but its declamations fatigue, and its labyrinthine plot perplexes. Venice Preserved is cast in the mould of dignity and of grandeur ; but the characters want nobleness, the poetry coherence, and the sentiments truth. The plays of Hill, Hughes, Philips, Murphy, and Rowe, are dialogues, sometimes ill and sometimes well writtenoccasionally stately in numbers, but never touching the soul. It would be unjust to mention Young and Thomson as the writers of tragedies.

The old English feeling of tender beauty has at last begun to revive. Lamb's John Woodvil, despised by the critics, and for a while neglected by the people, awakened those gentle pulses of deep joy which had long forgotten to beat. Here first, after long interval, instead of the pompous swellings of inane declamation, the music of humanity was heard in its sweetest tones. - - Yet this piece, with all its delicacies in the reading, wants that striking scenic effect, without which a tragedy cannot succeed on the stage. The Remorse of Coleridge is a noble poem; but its metaphysical clouds, though fringed with golden imaginations, brood too heavily over it. In the detached scenes of Barry Cornwall, passages of the daintiest beauty abound—the passion is every where breathed tenderly forth, in strains which are silver sweet" —and the sorrow is relieved by tenderness the most endearing. Here may be enjoyed “a perpetual feast of nectar'd sweets, where no crude surfeit reigns.” In these and in the works of Shiel, and even of Maturin-are the elements whence a tragedy more noble and complete might be moulded, than any which has astonished the world since Macbeth and Lear. We long to see a stately subject for tragedy chosen by some living aspirant—the sublime struggle of high passions for the mastery, displayed—the sufferings relieved by glorious imaginations, yet brought tenderly home to our souls—and the whole conveying one grand and harmonious impression to the general heart. Let us hope that this triumph will not long be wanting, to complete the intellectual glories of our age,

[From the New. Monthly Mag. and Lit. Panorama.-London,

Ap. 1820.]

Dux fæmina facti. -Ovid. A Fair One foremost in the glorious deed. That the fairer portion of creation is excluded from the laboris ous and the honourable duties of society, has long furnished a topic of lamentation to its more restless and ambitious members. Their rights are said to be usurped, their interests are postponed or neglected. They are shut out from the different professions which support and plague civilized life; and their genius languishes in inactivity, or is wasted upon laborious trifles. But the language of these Blue-stockings only proves, that they mistake the sphere of their rights, that they are ignorant of the extent of their power, and unacquainted with the nature of their real interests. Exclusion from servile labours should not be reputed a disgrace, but an honourable elevation above mean and mercenary employments. What opinion would be formed of the wisdom of the landed proprietary, or the merchant, who should complain of their ex. emption from the husbandman's toils, and the seaman's dangers, while Plenty emptied her abundant horn into the lap of the one, and the four winds of heaven wasted the luxurious tribute of every climate to the repositories of the other? Woman is the free and generous Spartan, who stimulates, directs, and enjoys the labours of her helot, man. The influence of the sex controls every member of society, and pervades every department of life. It is the attractire principle of the social and moral world ;—no mass is too large to refuse obedience to its dictates, no particle so minute as to escape its control. The different professions of society refer to it their being, or approach it with their homage. Science has flourished under its fostering protection, while literature traces to this nutritious source its luxuriant sweets and eternal verdureimmaterial substances are not sufficiently subtle to evade its grasp. Religion, which defines the relations and communion of souls with the Great Spirit, has too often worshipped at the shrine of this fair idol. Solomon was not the only

“ Uxorious king, whose heart, though large, Beguiled by fair idolatresses, fell

To idols foul.” The sex, it is true, is exempt from the responsibility of military command, and the perils of military service. They are unexposed to the rude conflict of political opposition, and the more formidable effects of rival intrigue. But their influence is felt in the camp, and the cabinet is controlled by their dictates.

Science has received from the hands of Beauty some of her sweetest wreaths. To enumerate them all would be to trespass, beyond measure, upon patience already abused. We shall not, therefore, advert to the clue which has been furnished for the labyrinths of Algebra by a fair Italian;a or to the additional satellite given to the royal star of Englandb by the exploring vigilance of Miss Eliza Herschell. To the liberal curiosity of his "fair countess" we are indebted for Fontenelle's plurality of worlds. At her command he strewed with flowers the erratic wanderings of the comet and the planet's pathway. He has detached from science the thorns which had deterred a delicate hand from plucking its roses. To the “ ravished ears" of Taste he has called down from heaven “ the music of the spheres.” A learned chemist of the present day has taught the world to offer its acknowledgments to Lady Davy for the first part of his Chemical Essays :- His labours were cheered by the smiles of his lady, and amply remunerated by the ecstacies of a honeymoon. If the question could not admit of malicious interpretation, we would ask, why his learned labuurs have been so long interrupted ? Is not a first part of a first volume the harbinger and the pledge of at least another part and a second volume?

LITERATURE has toiled from infancy to erect imperishable trophies to the genius, the fate, and the influence of woman. The majesty of the epic muse has rendered homage to her supremacy. Of the three poets in three distant ages born,” the last in order and first in merit has raised a mon ment to the influence of the Signora Maria Agnesi. b[Uranus--called by the English) Georgiuin Sidus,

c Dedication.

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