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her innocent face, asked me if I was to the smiddy wi' him, it is ten to ane married. I could scarcely contain my but Jock Anderson wad hae been gravity, while I took her by the hand, drunk, an' then we wadna hae gotten and answered in the negative." An' the bride hame afore twall o'clock at hae ye no gotten a piece o' the bride's night; sae I thought it was better to cake?"-" Indeed, my dear, I am let them tak their chance than spoil sorry I have not.” “O, that's a great sae muckle good sport, an' I e'en set shame, that ye hae nae gotten a wee her on Wattie Bryden's pownie. The bit! I canna bide to see a stranger factor has behaved very ill about it, guided that gate. Here, sir, I'll gie ye the muckle stottin gowk! If I had the tae half o' mine, it will ser' us durst, I wad hae gien him a deevil of baith; an' I wad rather want mysel a thrashin; but he says, ' Faith it's than sae civil a gentleman that's a that-yes, indeed-that-he will send stranger should want."
them-yes, faith—it's even ama new So saying, she took a small piece of tikabed every year.' cake from her lap, and parted it with The ceremony of the marriage next me, at the same time rolling each of ensued; but as there was nothing pethe pieces carefully up in a leaf of an culiar about it (except that it took old halfpenny ballad; but the whole place in the bridegroom's house, and of her demeanour shewed the utmost not at the bride's former home, which seriousness, and of how much import was out of the parson's reach); and as she judged this trivial crumb to be. it was, besides, the dullest part of that
Now," continued she, ye maun day's exercise, I shall not say much lay this aneath your head, sir, when about it, only that every thing was ye gang to your bed, and ye'll dream done decently and in order. But I about the woman ye are to get for have run on so long with this Numyour wife. Ye'll just think ye seeber, that I fear I must postpone the her plainly an' bodily afore your een; foot-race, the dinner discourse, and an' ye'll be sae weel acquainted wi' her, final winding up of the wedding, till a that ye'll ken her again when ye see future opportunity.
H. her, if it war amang a thousand. It's a queer thing, but it's perfectly true; sae ye maun mind no to forget I promised the most punctual ob
No II. servance of all that she enjoined, and added, that I was sure I would dream (Æschyli Chæphori--Sophoclis Elecof the lovely giver ; that indeed I
tra.) would be sorry were I to dream of When we study the history of our any other, as 1 deemed it impossible race, which is little else than a chronito dream of so much innocence and cle of crimes and follies, of blood shed beauty." Now mind no to forget," in vulgar wars, and intellect wasted rejoined she, and skipped lightly away on unworthy purposes, the eye, that to join her youthful associates. wanders with disgust over the blotted
As soon as the bride was led into page, turns with delight to the conthe house, old Nelly, the bridegroom's templation of the virtues and the gemother went aside to see the beast on nius by which it is sometimes brightwhich her daughter-in-law had been ened ; nor are periods wanting, in brought home; and perceiving that it which, degraded as man has generally was a mare, she fell a-crying and been, he exhibits such moral and inwringing her hands.— I inquired, with tellectual grandeur, as to make even some alarm, what was the matter.- the most cynical abate of the harshness "O dear, sir," returned she, “ it's for with which he usually judges of huthe
poor bairnies that'll yet hae to dree man nature. Of these favoured times, this unlucky mischance-Laike-a-day, in an eminent degree, was the age in poor waefu' brats! they'll no lie in a which Æschylus flourished. Never, dry bed for a dozen o' years to come!” perhaps, did there exist at once, a
“ Hout ! haud your tongue, Nelly," greater number of men distinguished said the best man," the thing's but a by virtue and talent. To prove this freat a' thegither. But really we could- assertion, nothing more were necesna help it: the factor's naig wantit a sary than to give a list of the honest fore-fit shoe, an’ was beckin like a wa statesmen who then presided in the ter-craw. If I had ridden five miles councils of Athens,-of the warriors
REMARKS ON GREEK TRAGEDY.
who devoted their lives to her inde Bannockburn is of more value than
that life, and assuming her finest forms. reared it; and of the ninety tragedies The ruins of their temples give us which the fertility of the genius of models of the grandest design and the Æschylus produced, only seven have most beautiful execution. Socrates descended to us, and these in a mutaught a system of the purest morals tilated and imperfect state; yet, though and the most sublime theology, of in many passages it is obvious that which he exemplified the one in his the poetry has suffered from the carelife, and sanctioned the other by his lessness of transcribers, and not less, death. In history, Thucydides and perhaps, from the ambitious learning Xenophon have not yet been surpass
of the commentators, we can judge of ed; and the dramatic writers gave to these seven as wholes; and the more the drama a form which their succes narrowly we examine them, the more sors may have modified and improved cause shall we find to justify the ad-never changed. War was not then miration of his contemporaries, and of waged to aggrandize one and to de
succeeding ages. grade the many-it was the generous It is not the object of the writer of struggle of a whole people, determined this essay to indulge in verbal critito perish amid the ruins of their coun cism on the Greek text, or to attempt try, rather than receive a foreign yoke. to restore imperfect readings by conIn the battles of liberty, in which jectural emendations, much less to aim Æschylus, and Pindar, and Socrates, at bringing forward original views of fought, a little band of freemen resist the Greek Tragedy. His design is ed and baffled the whole power of a simply to offer such obvious remarks mighty empire ; and war, that in com as are most suitable to a miscellany of mon cases depresses talent, and ex this kind, and to give such abstracts, tinguishes all the arts but such as are and extract such passages, as may ensubservient to the purposes of destruc- able the reader to judge for himself of tion, kindled a fame of enthusiasm these celebrated productions. He is that cherished and developed the seeds now to analyze two plays written on of whatever was great and good in man; the same subject, the Chophori of Æsand were we asked to name a period chylus, and the Electra of Sophocles. in which he is seen in the noblest While Agamemnon was at Troy, view, our minds would turn to the his queen, Clytemnestra, had an illicit years that elapsed from the Persian intercourse with Ægysthus. Fearing invasion to the extinction of the liber. the punishment due to their disloyalties of Greece by Philip. The dura- ty, they surprised him on his return tion of freedom, and the glory of to Argos, murdered him, and usurped Greece, was short; but let it be re his throne. Electra, who, at the time membered, that national glory was of her father's death, was arrived at the offspring of national independence, womanhood, secretly sent to Phocis, and that they perished together. The under the care of an aged and faithful lovers of mankind may lament, and tutor, her infant brother Orestes, well the abettors of despotism may rejoice, aware that her mother and Ægysthus that their existence was of so short a would soon remove this only obstacle date ; but a few such years are worth to the secure possession of that throne myriads of ages of monkish slumber, which they had obtained by adultery and one such victory as Salamis or and murder. The punishment of the
guilty pair, which is the subject of of her murdered husband. After of these plays, is supposed not to have fering the sacrifice, as directed by her taken place till twenty years after the mother, Electra discovers the lock of transaction of which I have been speak, hair left by Orestes, and from various ing. Electra, who was a woman of a reasons concludes that it could have lofty and unconquerable spirit, during been brought there by none else than that long interval, suffered every spe- him.
Its resemblance to her own in cies of indignity from an unnatural colour, and the certainty that no one mother, and the murderer of her fa- but a real mourner would have perther, who now sat upon his throne. formed this pious office to the spirit of The only effect of ill treatment on a prince who had been long forgotten such a mind was, to fix there a settled by all except herself and her brother, purpose of revenge. She was one of carried conviction to her mind that he that class of beings, whom an attempt was at no great distance, and that the to humble exasperates, not subdues; time for which she had so long and so and from the depth of her degradation, ardently prayed was at length arrived. she looked forward to the return of So completely had this idea taken posher brother as the event that was to session of her mind, that even his footavenge her wrongs, and restore the prints, which coincided with her own honours of the family of Agamemnon. in measurement, to her ardour apHe at length appears, and a recognition peared proof unquestionable. She ad. takes place between him and his sister, dresses the Chorus as follows : at the tomb of their father, where
E. Long has my agitated soul been they swear mutual vengeance over his
pierced ashes. With the advice of Pylades, By fortune's keenest arrows; grief and rage they arrange their plans, by which it Alternately have swayed my withered heart, is agreed that Orestes should assume But at the sight of this small lock of hair the character of a messenger from Large tears of joy flow from my thirsty eyes. Phocis, with the news of his own
'Tis his! what hand but his could place it
there? death. He thus gains admittance to Clytemnestra and Egysthus, to whom Hope trembles in my bosom. Ye bright this was the most welcome intelli, Oh ! had ye voices to allay my fears ! gence; and stabs them with a poignard
Orestes. (Starting from concealment.) which he had concealed under his Thy prayers are granted. robe.
E. Say, what prayers are granted ? These are the main incidents in 0. Behold the man for whom thou oft these dramas. In each there are slight
hast prayed. variations, and a marked difference E. Stranger, how knowest thou what my in the dramatic management; but in
prayers have been ?
0. I know that they are offered for Or. the following examination, it will be seen which of the rival poets has
E. Tell me, I pray thee, how they are made the most skilful use of his ma
accomplished ? terials. From this skeleton of the 0. Sister, I am Orestes, seek no further. plan, it will appear that these plays E. Oh ! how may I believe thee? Mayst approach nearer our ideas of regular thou not tragedy than the Prometheus.
By treachery be seeking my undoing ? The first scene of the Chophori dis
0. That only were to plot my own de
struction ; covers Orestes at the tomb of his fa
This moment thou wert easier of belief, ther, on which he lays a lock of his
A single hair, a foot-print, served as proof, hair, a customary rite among the an
And now that thou behold'st me, thou recients; but seeing a company of fe ject'st me ; males approach, whom from their ap. Look on this robe which thou thyself didst pearance he supposes to be Electra and
weave, her maidens, he retires to a covert to Thou doubtest me-thou wilt not that em. see what was the object of their visit. broidery. He soon discovers that he was right
E. My beloved Orestes ! Joy of my tears, in his conjectures. It was Electra, Light, hope, and safety, of my father's and a band of Argive virgins who courage, my brother, and thou shalt obtain form the Chorus. On that very night Thy reft inheritance, thou guiding star Clytemnestra, who had been disturbed of all my fortunes ; father, mother, sister, by portentous dreams, had sent her All nature's dearest names, are met in thee: to offer expiatory libations at the tomb Oh ! Jupiter, regard our righteous cause.
0. Father of gods and men ! oh, hear spirit, he compensates by a delicacy of my prayer !
taste, and a tenderness of feeling, Behold the generous offspring of the eagle,
which, if they do not render him the Who basely perish'd in the hideous folds Of a fell serpent :- now the orphan brood
greatest of the ancient poets, make
him at least one of the most interest Are famished and defenceless in their eyrie; Oh! plume their wings, and give them to ing of them. Nature had endowed
him with an imagination which was avenge Their royal father, and again establish ever under the guidance of a sound The undermined foundations of the palace." understanding ; not overleaping her
After a dialogue of considerable own boundaries, nor irregular and erlength, and in many places of great ratic in its course, and astonishing by beauty, they invoke the ghost of Aga- its blaze, like the comet; but, like the memnon to aid them in the work of evening-star, steady in its progress vengeance.
through the fields of light,-ever bril“0. Open, 0 earth, and send my father liant, and ever beautiful. He is alforth
ways in the elementary of our nature To see the conflict !
- therefore he always takes possession E. Proserpine, inspire of the heart; and though he does not Our souls with energy-our arms with reign there with absolute dominion, strength.
like Shakspeare or Homer, he is a 0. Oh, father! bear in mind the bloody guest whom we receive with pleasure, bath
and dismiss with regret; and if he Where thou wert slain.
does not fill us with the idea that he E. The veil with which they bound thee. 0. The toils in which, like a wild beast, is the greatest poetical genius of the they caught thee.
dramatic writers of his country, he has Why does thy spirit start not from the grave certainly produced better plays than When that thou hearest of these unnatural any of them. Less impetuous and deeds ?
less daring than Æschylus, and less E. Why lift’st thou not thy venerable pathetic than Euripides, he knew how head ?
to turn his talents to account better Pitý thy children sitting on thy tomb !
than either. His mind could Oh! blot not from the earth an ancient race;
grasp Thou livest in us, and be it to
his subject, and mould it according to
avenge He at last gains admittance to the his will
, which generally led him into palace, and murders Ægysthus and the path of nature ; and he seldom so Clytemnestra. At first he glories in far loses sight of the whole, as to say the deed, but the power of conscience
more in any one part than is necessary soon prevails ; and in a fit of phrenzy to the developement of his plot or his he fancies he sees the furies of his characters, nor less than is required for mother.
perspicuity. Like the statuaries, he • O. (To the Chorus.) See there they are! Standard of ideal excellence ; and if
seems to have fixed in his mind a dost thou not see them there? The dragons
rear and hiss among their hair! he does not, like some of them, alI can abide no longer.
ways reach it, he comes nearer it than Cho. My dear Orestes ! any of his competitors for dramatic Thy fancy's vain creations do distract thee. glory; and it is not easy for us to conÓ. These are no imaginations. See, they ceive, that the tragic art should in a
few years have made such advances to The dogs of hell—my mother's angry furies! perfection, as appears in some of the Cho. Thy hands are red with blood ; in pieces of this elegant writer. The such a state
drama was then like a rich field new'Tis natural thy mind should be disturbed. 0. Save me, Apollo ! see they rush on ly broken up by the plough, and its me!
fertility was amazing. Sophocles proThe blood is dropping from their glaring duced no fewer than a hundred and eyes.
forty plays. Only seven of these have Ye see them not—but I do see them well survived the wrecks of time, or the They fix their eyes on me I cannot stay.” dilapidations of barbarian or monkish
I shall now give a short analysis of ignorance ; but these are so skilful in the Electra, which is justly considered design, and so beautiful in execution, one of the finest plays of the Greek -are such masterpieces of art, and stage. Sophocles was not a man of so yet such faithful exhibitions of nasublime a mind as Æschylus; but ture, —
-as to make us greatly lament what he wants in loftiness and fire of the loss of the whole.
In the analysis of the Electra, it
E. It is too plain. will be only necessary to mention
0. These are the ashes of the young the incidents in which it differs from
E. Give me that treasure, I conjure thee, the Chæphori, as the main story is
stranger, the same in both. The great dif
By all the gods, deny me not that boon. ference of the dramatic management (It is given to her, and she proceeds.) lies in the recognition ; and the lock Ye dear remains of my beloved Orestes, of hair, of which so important a use Vain were the hopes that shone like thee in is made in the one, is barely men brightness, tioned in the other. Another char. When I did send thee hence! Then didst acter is besides introduced, Chryso
thou bloom, themis, the sister of Electra, a woman
Like a sweet flower, in infant loveliness ; of a gentle and timid mind, subdued Oh! would that I had died when i did
Now art thou withered, not to bloom again. by the tyranny of her mother and
send thee Ágysthus, and well contrasted with into a foreign land did rescue thee Electra. Clytemnestra, who in the From murder; on that day thou might'st play of Æschylus seldom appears till have lain the scene of her own assassination, is in the same grave with thy beloved father ; here much on the stage, and, by the But thou hast perished in a foreign country, bitterness of unmerited reproach, ex
A friendless exile, and I was not near thee.
Wretch that I am ! I did not with these asperates the haughty spirit of Electra. During a dialogue between the Perfume thy precious corpse, nor did I ga
hands mother and daughter, composed of ther mutual recrimination, the tutor enters, Thy ashes from the pile, as it became me ; and informs them, abruptly, that he But thou wert dressed by mercenary hands, was sent from Phocis with the intelli- My star of hope is set. Alas! how fruitless gence of the death of Orestes, who had Were the sweet cares with which I tended been killed by a fall from a chariot in
thee, the Pythian games.
While yet an infant! For I was to thee produced in the mind of Clytemnestra How joy did dance through my delighted
A nurse, a motherI was all to thee. an unnatural joy, that she was at no
veins, pains to conceal, and plunged Electra When, hanging round my neck, thou didst into despair. She had hitherto endured
pronounce, life, merely from the hope of the re- With music in my ear, the name of Sister. turn of Orestes; and this was a blow Thy death has like the whirlwind swept away so terrible and so unexpected, that she All that remained to me of love and life. sank beneath it. After Clytemnestra Long I have had no father who could aid me; had quitted the stage, and a conversa- My enemies insult me, and my mother
Revels in joy; and thou, who oft didst send tion of some length had passed between
Assurance to me that thou wouldst arise the sisters, in which Electra, in the The glorious avenger of my wrongs, simple and affecting language which shalt never wake to look on me again ; real sorrow always suggests, mourns And for thy beautiful and manly form, the fate of Orestes, he himself appears, And fair affection's smile upon thy face, disguised as a traveller, and an attend. And thy sweet voice---all I receive is ashes. ant bears a small casket. I transcribe But, oh! that I were with thee in that case this scene, which is perhaps the finest
ket! of the Greek stage.
For it were good to mingle ashes with thee,
And lie in loved repose in the same tomb. “ O. Is that the palace of Ægysthus ?
0. How shall I address her ? This is more Cho. It is : thou hast been well directed Than I can bear: my feelings will have hither.
utterance. 0. Lady, wilt thou inform him that a E. What grievest thou for? I understand stranger
thee not. From Phocis craves the honour of an au. 0. Oh, lady! art thou not the famed dience ?
Electra ? E. Alas ! he brings sad proofs of our E. I am Electra, but most miserable. misfortunes.
Thou hast no sorrows, stranger; why weep'st. 0. I understand thee not; but Strophius
thou? sent me hither
O. Because I pity thy calamities. To be ar Ægysthus tidings of Orestes.
E. Thou knowest but few of them. E. What tidings, stranger ? Fear is in 0. What worse than these?
E. I am condemned to dwell with mur0. The little casket that thou seest contains
derers. The ashes of the dead.
0. Whose murderers ?