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carrying reverence for his Author too far. But the tranflator's love for couplets is not marked by the conclusion of the scenes alone, if the two following lines did not slide inadvertently into rhyine,
-"From th' inttant that restored me to thy fight,
Insensibly my load of woe grows light.” The character of Metaitatio is already fixed by the public voice ; his faults and perfections are sufficiently known; we think it therefore unnecessary to enter into a critical investigation of the drama, as Mr. Hamilton has for the most part pretty exactly followed his original, (if we except his divifion into five acts) both in the outline and the finishing. Instead of which we shall present our readers with the story of the piece, which is highly capable of interest and pathos; especially to a Briton, when he sees the Grecian herô giving up riches, honours, power, nay life itself, for the love of
Themistocles, banished from Athens, is introduced in the first scene with his son Neocles, in a gallery of the palace of Xerxes, the latter querulous, fearful, and exasperated at his country, the former with a firm and steady mind, rising superior to all his misfortunes. He there meets with his daughter Aspasia, whom he had thought loft in a fhip bound for Argos, and hears that two hundred talents are offered for bringing him alive or dead to Xerxes. Aspasia, earnestly, with all the passion of filial tenderness, adjures him to quit the inhospitable shores of Persia, but Themiftocles persists in his resolution to behold his enemy, and leaves her abruptly, without giving any reason for his exit. In this situation the is accosted by Roxana, the mistress of the Persian monarch, who accuses her of want of candour, in keeping from her “ the fortunate event. Aspasia thinks, from the words of her address, that she lrad overheard the conversation with her father, and is ftruck dumb with terror and confufion, but soon discovers that jealousy had given rise to the angry expoftulation. Happy that her father is not discovered, she endeavours to calmn the mind of the Persian princess, by disavowing all pretensions to the heart of Xerxes, and confessing an unchangeable passion for another. In the meanwhile the prime-minister, Sebastes, enters, to announce the arrival of the Athenian ambassador, who he says is come to demand Themistocles. Roxana quits the scene with Sebaftes; while Afpafia, who had heard from him the name of the ambassador, remains in the utmost distress, on finding that her lover Lysimachus had accepted of such a commiflion. The second act opens with Themiftocles and his son, in the audience chamber of the great
king. Xerxes, after testifying a mortal hatred against the Athenian exile, without knowing he was so near, gives audience to the ambassador of Athens, who having hinted at peace, and demanded Themistocles, is haughtily dismissed by the Afiatic monarch. The conqueror of Xerxes at that moment discovers himself, and displays such dignity, and firmnefs of mind, that the king, after a thort ftruggle, receives him with open arms, and confiders him as the firmest pillar of his throne. Afpafia having been informed by Neocles, that her father had discovered himself to Xerxes, enters in the next scene almost distracted with grief, and begs Roxana to protect her father. The jealousy of the princess, on hearing that the was the daughter of that illustrious Athenian, is again awakened, and Sebastes at that moment entering with a message from the king, expressing an eager defire to see Afpafia, the gives vent to all the, bitterness of disappointed love. The wily minifter, who meditated treason against his mafter, takes advantage of her state of mind, and endeavours to prompt her to revenge. Themistocles is introduced in the 3d act, surrounded with the magnificent gifts bestowed on him by Xerxes, meditating on the changeableness of human affairs, and distrusting the stability of his present fortune. “ Well I perceive,” says he; “. That life “is but a' tale-mine’s yet untold.” His son appears, as much elated in prosperity, as he was depressed by adversity. His father endeavours to convince him on what slippery ground they ítand, and says, “ To ruin us there only needs a frown." Xerxes then enters, and addresses the Grecian with all the warmth of friendship, pouring upon him at the fame time additional riches and honours. Themistocles, without assigning any reason for leaving the monarch alone, goes off in an extacy of gratitude, and military enthusiasm approaching to rant. The king ruminates on the cares of royalty, and on the blessings that may be diffused by the hand of abfolute power : he next reflects on the advantages to be reaped by the acquisition of Themistocles, and determines to secure his faith by raising Aspasia to the throne of Persia. This train of pleasing ideas is interrupted by the entrance of Roxana, whose jealous reproaches are just about to bring on a confession of his love for Afpafia, when the minister enters to inform him, that the Grecian ambassador requests a second audience, for the purpose of again demanding the person of Themistocles. The monarch, in a rage, first forbids him the court, but afterwards grants the andience he demands; and unable to communicate his purposes to Roxana, quits her with saying, my
filence speak a truth too harlh for.utterance.” A short scene of.little
importance between the two rival ladies succeeds; and the act concludes with the interview of Afpafia and Lyfimachus, where the struggle between love and patriotism is well supported. In the fourth act, Xerxes, who had promised Lyfimachus to send back the Athenian exile to Greece, now unfolds his meaning by placing him at the head of the army he had destined to carry vengeance into that country. The patriotic Greek refufes the command, and the enraged defpot sends him to prison as the devoted victim of his resentment. Happy at this event, Roxana makes her appearance, but with her joy the blends her apprehenfions, left the interference of her rival should alter the determination of Xerxes. In the midst of her doubts Afpafia comes in, and by a promise of her hand to the king, prevails upon him to suspend her father's doom. Roxana, abandoned to jealousy and despair, is accosted by Sebaftes; who unfolding his scheme of trea-son, prevails upon her apparently to enter into his designs. She retires, her bosom torn by the contending passions of love and revenge. In the last act, Themistocles being informed by Sebastes, that nothing less than his swearing “eternal hatę to Greece” could appease the Persian monarch, détermines, rather than prove a traitor to his country, to poison himself at the altar where Xerxes expected him to pronounce the vow of lasting enmity. Without disclosing his design, he seems to enter into the views of the king, and begs of Sebaftes, that the Athenian ambassador may be present at the folemn act. His children are then introduced, to whom he reveals his purpose, and quits them, after having bestowed his last parental advice. After the first burft of grief is over, they are worked upon by the counsels and example of their father, to approve his resolution, and prepare to witness the patriotic sacrifice. Xerxes then enters, overjoyed that he had at last overcome the stubborn virtue of the Greek. He is met 'by Roxana, in whose heart love had taken the place of revenge. Under the influence of that passion, the presents him with a paper which discovers the treason of Sebaftes, who appears soon after the monarch had perused it, and to further his treacherous designs, folicits the command of the troops that were to march into Egypt The king, having for some time amused him with answers which convey a double meaning, at fast puts the paper into his hands, and leaves hịm to the enjoyment of his disappointment and remorfe. In the last scene, Xerxes having difcovered the purpose of Themiftocles, prevents him from swallowing the poison, and won by the virtues of the Grecian hero, receives him as his friend, and swears “a lasting amnity with Greece.” Having likewise discovered the mutual
love of Aspasia and Lysimachus, he leaves the former to the man of her choice, and rewards the generous constancy of Roxana, by raising her to the Persian throne. Even Sebastes is forgiven ; and the play, of course, ends happily. Not a drop of blood is shed, nor does even a single wish of any of the personages remain unsatisfied.
Such is the plot of the tragedy-That our readers may be able to form some judgement of the execution, we shall present then). with part of a scene between Afpafia
, and Lysimachus, which we select as rather a favourable exa tract.
Afpajia. Thus Xerxes means to punish my refusalons [apides
Lyfim. Ah!-by what means ? - The king, perhaps, already
Afp. All if thou wilt :-permit him to escape.
I only crave
Lyfim. All-seeing gods! ye bound me to my country,
Afp. Art thou oblig'd to be an instrument
Lyfim. Forbid it, Heaven! 'tis furthest from my wish :
Afp. Most true : we both have duties to discharge :
Lyfim. Ah! whiher fliett thou ?
To entomb myself
In Xerxes' arms?
Lyfim. Wilt thou amaze the world with this example
I but adopt
41p. I: costs me little ! - ungrateful!Know,
But in refentcnt of Afpafia's coldness :
Lyfim. Say'it thou, Aspasia!
More I have to say :
I muit from thee for ever fly.
To keep in pent-up fighs, that stop my breath,
Lysim. Refistless eloquence of weeping beauty !
Lysim. My virtue shuns a conflict
In thy breast
Lyfim. No more--Farewel-there's peril in my stay!
[Exeunt,' We observe " to give in my hands," instead of into, and a few other incorrect expressions. Themiftocles tells his fon, “ That virtue gains new luftre in affliction,
" And oft is tarnished by prosperity.
" When stagnant grows impure. This is the fimile unlike. We can difcern no resemblance between a clear stream gliding over pebbles, and virtue in affliction. Afpafia, withing to support with proper fortitude the fatal refolution of her father, fays, Why shou'd
brother of more firmness boast? “ The blood that fills his veins alike fills mine,
" And sprung too from the fame illustrious source." The second and third line appear to us to convey exactly the same idea, which is, that both were the offspring of Themistocles; though “ And sprung too" in the third leads the reader to think that each of them has a distinct meaning. Upon the whole this translation, though it does not equal the rapidity, and abrupt ardour of the original, has a confiderable degree of merit.