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with expressions of horror, which dubitably, is the disgusting mangling Aristodemus desires him to reserve of his murdered child's corse by the until he shall have ampler cause for father. Her immaculate purity would them; a request which we might well have been sufficiently established by address to our readers, notwithstand- her dying mother's testimony; and ing our purpose of sparing them and Aristodemus would have had ample ourselves as much as possible of what cause for remorse, melancholy, bloody the monarch, in the plenitude of his hands, and ghost-seeing, in the simple sovereign power, inflicts upon his fact of his filiæcide, -if we may coin humble friend.
a name for a crime that scarcely seems The father had opened his daughter to have entered into the contemplation to seek for the evidence of her frailty, of legislators. A question arises with and had convinced himself of her in- respect to this ultra-atrocity of trages
The mother, entering un- dy, under the management of writers expectedly, and overpowered by the whose national theatre has been habispectacle before her, had snatched up tually charged with tameness, or maudthe fallen dagger, and plunged it into lin softness, which we cannot pass over her own bosom. The priests, gained unnoticed, although our present leito his interest, had conveyed the mur- sure serves not for its full investigadered Dirce privately to the temple,
tion. Does so violent a change proand spread the report that she had ceed merely from the reaction which been offered up in sacrifice during the we see constantly taking place in all night, and Aristodemus had obtained things, physical and moral, around the crown. But he is tortured by re- us? Or is it a sort of volcanic erupmorse, and nightly a borrid spectre tion of a naturally blood-thirsty dis
-Gonippus again interrupts him, position, previously restrained, upon refuses to listen to ghost-stories, as- the stage at least, by the arbitrary laws sures the King that his remorse has of dramatic decorum, and of the scenic abundantly expiated his crime, and fitness of things ? This doubt first urges him to attend to state affairs, presented itself to our minds during and to receive the Spartan envoy. the perusal of Voltaire's “ Mort de Aristodemus rouses himself, with an Cesar," in which, it will be recollected, evidently painful effort, to consent, Cæsar discovers himself to Brutus as and the first Act concludes.
his father, accompanying the declaraWe must here pause for a remark tion of their consanguinity with all or two.—Monti asserts that the pre- the documents requisite to substanceding details are taken, without al- tiate his paternal claims; whereupon teration, from Pausanias. We write- Brutus first requires that Cæsar, like Proh pud:or! That critics should have a dutiful father, should instantly comto confess such degeneracy from the ply with his wishes, and lay down the book-worm habits of their predeces- dictatorship; which when Cæsar, persors ! But so it is; and the confession sisting with unparalleled obstinacy, is wrung from us by the necessity of refuses, the inflexibly virtuous son, the case.
We write at a fashionable never for a moment putting nature in watering-place, whither il Cavaliere the balance against patriotism, hurries Vincenzo Monti has, at our especial back to his fellow-conspirators, to invitation, accompanied us, but where make the final arrangements for the we have no possible means of refer- assassination of his newly recognized ring to Greek authorities. We are parent. Assuredly no British audience, willing, however, to take our friend hardened to sanguinary representathe Cavaliere's word for the accuracy tions as our nerves and hearts are by of his version of Pausanias; and still foreigners supposed to be, could sit we must observe to him, that a poet is out such a deliberate parricide, any not bound to such strict historical truth more than the descriptions put by -more particularly when his subject Monti into the mouth of Aristodemus. is one of remote antiquity-as should But, as we have already said, we canpreclude him from softening down, if not now go into all the pros not omitting, any minor, or rather un- of this difficult question ; and thereessential circumstances, that happen fore, recommending it to the reader's to be absolutely irreconcilable with serious consideration, we return to the the common natural fealings of man- business in hand. kind. Of this description, most in- The second Act, like the first, opens Vol. XIX.
with a conversation between our two And by another powerful feeling, wakenSpartan acquaintance, Lysander and
ing Palamedes. In this it appears, as may Inexplicable tumalts in my soul. have been anticipated, that Cesira is
Arist. Our bearts have sympathized. the lost Argia, whom Lysander, in the But to thy father,
To him alone, these tender sentiments hope of thus obtaining some unex
Are due.-To hiin return; comfort his plained advantage over the detested
age. Aristodemus, had saved, together with
Most fortunate old man! Thou, at the her guardian Eumaeus, intrusting both to the faith of Talthibius, the one to
Art not of those whom, in their indignabe educated as his child, the other to
tion, be kept a close prisoner
The gods made fathers ! Thou upon thy would fain reveal the secret to comfort
death-bed the bereaved and sorrowing father ;
Shalt have a filial hand to close thine eyes but Lysander insists upon its conceal
Shalt feel thine icy cheeks new-warm'd ment, and hurries away his friend, to
by kisses convince him elsewhere of the patriotic Given by a daughter's lips. Alas! had duty of silence, upon seeing Cesira and
fate Gonippus approach. The last-named
But spared her to mine anguish, I, ev'n I persons have scarcely succeeded to the Might well have hoped to taste such vacated stage, and exchanged a few happinesssentences about Aristodemus, ere the Might in her arms have laid the burthen hero himself joins them, and dis- down patches his confidant to summon and Of all my woes. introduce the Spartan ambassador. We Ces. Whom speak'st thou of ? shall give the scene of unconscious na- Arist. Argia. tural affection between the mutually Forgive that I so oft remember her. unknown father and daughter, that She was, thou know'st, the last remainfills up the period of his absence. The ing treasure spectator's previous knowledge of their Whence mine age once hoped solace. All actual relationship gives it a peculiarly
things now touching charm.
Recall her. Everywhere does an illu
sion, Arist. If Heav'n, Cesira, favour mine Cruelly flattering, depict her. Thee attempts,
When I behold, on her I seem to gaze. This day shall close the long hostilities My heart, meanwhile, trembles and pal*Twixt Sparta and Messenia--shall be. pitates, stow
And of mine idle tenderness the gods Peace on the nations. And of smiling Make mockery. peace,
Ces. Most pitiable father! The firstling, bitter fruit, must be thy loss. Arist. Her years would equal thine, and Infirm and sorrowful shall I be left,
nor in beauty, Whilst thou, delighted, hurriest to greet Nor virtue, should she thine inferior Thy native Spartan walls.
prove. Ces. Erroneously
Ces. Oh wherefore would the gods My heart thou readest,-better do the deprive thee of her! gods
Arist. They sought the consummation Read and interpret it.
of my griefs. Arist. Oh, generous maid !
Ces. Were she yet living, wert thou so Wouldst thou remain with me?-Is't content ? possible
Arist. Cesira, could I once embrace Thou shouldst desire it? Hast thou then her, once, forgotten
I'd ask no more.
Arist. Wert thou-Oh; daughter ! Ces. My father
Ces. Wherefore call me daughter ! Dwells in my heart, but thou art also Arist. My heart resistlessly inspired there;
the name. For thee that heart speaks strongly, Ces. Me, likewise, me, oft-times my urging still
heart impels That thou to its affection art entitled To call thee father. Entitled by my gratitude, thy sorrows, Arist. Do so-call me father ;
There is a sweetness in the very name- valedictory interview, much of that A charm that ravishes the soul ; and none indistinct and unconscious natural afCan taste it thoroughly, save who, like me, fection, of which we have already given The bitterest dregs of agony have drunk- a specimen, is expressed on both sides, Have in their bosoms' depths felt nature's and sometimes in terms so energetic, touch
that, in the representation, we should Have lost their children have for ever
almost apprehend its approaching too lost them!
nearly to the character of passion; Ces. (aside.) He breaks my heart !
certainly, if it is preserved from it, the
preservation must be chiefly due to Lysander is now ushered in by Go- the spectators' consciousness of that nippus, who, with Cesira, immediately consanguinity, of which the parties withdraws. Left alone with the am themselves are uninformed. But be bassador of his arrogant and triumph- that as it may, poor Cesira, from her ant enemies, the unhappy King shakes ignorance of the real source of Aristo. off his depression, and shows himself demus's distress, in her professions of worthy of the exalted dignity he had attachment, her praises, and her vaso flagitiously acquired. This scene is rious efforts at consolation, so irritates written with considerable talent; but the wound she would fain heal, that the political squabbles of Lacedæmon the afflicted monarch breaks from her and Messenia are, at this time of day, in an agony of despair. The Spartans too absolutely uninteresting to justify immediately afterwards come in search a detailed account of the arguments of her ; Lysander sternly rejects her of the two interlocutors. Suffice it to entreaties to delay their departure, as say, that Aristodemus displays a lofty well as the private remonstrances of and resolved spirit, unbroken by ad- Palamedes upon his inhumanity; and versity; and while he consents to pur. Cesira, yielding to the plea of filial chase peace-impelled thereunto by duty, sets forth with them upon their the impatience and sufferings of his homeward journey, leaving a kind subjects with the surrender of a por message for the King with Gonippus, tion of his dominions, he positively re
who had come to see them off. jects a coudition, apparently of less Aristodemus, when they are gone, moment, but which he considers dis
returns upon the stage, again rejects honourable: and that the Spartan his confidant's attempts at consolation, character is well pourtrayed in Lysan- and announces his now settled purder, save and except a small deficiency pose of self-slaughter. Against this in laconic brevity, such as we before intention Gonippus argues vehementimputed, more largely, to Palamedes. ly, and we cannot but think in someBut then we must frankly own, that it what too Christian a strain. The king, would be no easy matter to eke out one to prove the utter impossibility of his of these incidental tragedies, half the longer enduring life, now relates the dramatis personæ being Spartans born fearful manner in which he is hauntor bred, did all those individuals strict- ed by his daughter's ghost; but his ly adhere to the conversational fashion description of the spectre reminds us of their country. Lysander, who seems too disagreeably of a subject in a disto set more store by solid profit, and secting-room, to be dwelt upon. The less by the bubble reputation, than confidant's incredulity is overpowered, Aristodemus, agrees to a compromise ; or at least silenced, and he begins prothey strike hands upon the bargain; posing journeys, and such other reand the war and the second Act are at ceived methods for the cure of sorrow; an end.
but Aristodemus, without attending In the third Act, Aristodemus is dis- to him, determines to enter Dirce's covered sitting beside Dirce's tomb, im- sepulchre, and there question the mersed in gloomy meditations. These dreadful phantom. The utmost that he intimates in soliloquy, and their Gonippus can obtain by his opposievident tendency is towards suicide. tion, remonstrances, and supplications, He is joined by Gonippus, who endea- is the surrender of the before-menvours, by no means successfully, to tioned blood-stained dagger, and the console him, and presently gives place king's visiting the abode of death to Cesira. She comes to take leave of unarmed. The third Act closes with her royal and paternal friend, prior to the entrance of Aristodemus into the quitting Messenia for Sparts. In this monument.
In the first scene of the fourth Act (Aloud)-Dost thou not recognize my Cesira again makes her appearance.
features ? Look. Palamedes having contrived, in some Arist. Upon my heart they are engraunexplained way, to detain Lysander ved-My heart a little longer in Messenia, she has Now whispers to me, and the mist distaken advantage of the delay, to re- perses. turn in quest of Aristodemus, and to Thou soother of my sorrows, to mine decorate with flowers the tomb of the lamented although unknown Dirce.
Who has restored theé? Let me with Whilst 'she is engaged in the latter
thy tears occupation, the miserable father ex- Mingle mine own;this heart will burst claims from within the monument,
If not by tears relieved. Leave, leave me, horrid spectre !
Ces. Into my bosom Ces. Gracious Powers !
Pour all thy tears and sufferings None Did I not hear Aristodemus' voice?
other, Ye gods, protect me!
With pity and with grief so deeply touchARISTODEMUS bursts from the tomb,
ed, and rushes to the front of the stage.
Shalt thou e'er find. -- But from thy lips
such words, Arist. Leave me! hence! avaunt! Oh king, have burst, I shiver even yet Pity me, barbarous as thou art !-(Faints. With horror at their sound. What is it, Ces. Oh, where
say, Shall I seek shelter ! Me unhappy! nei- The spectre that so cruelly pursues thee? ther
Arist. The innocent that persecutes Can I endure his sight, nor shriek, nor
the guilty. fily
Ces. And who the guilty ? What shall I do? Let me assist hiin
Arist. I. gods!
Ces. Thou? Wherefore thus The ashy hue of death is on his brow, Strive to persuade me thou art criminal ? Whence sweat-drops thickly burst-his Arist. Because I slew herhair uprises
Ces. Whom? Whoin didst thou slay? His aspect terrifies--Aristodemus,
Arist. My daughter. Aristodemus, answer, hear'st thou not? C'es. Heavens! he raves. Alas, what Arist. Fly! touch me not ! Avaunt, frenzy revengeful shade!
Urged him within her tomb to set his Ces. Look up, and recognize memit foot ? is I
Merciful gods, to be termed merciful Who call upon thee.
If 'tis indeed your pleasure, oli restore Arist. How ?-Is’t vanish'd ? Say, His wandering faculties! Be moved to Whither is't gone? From such relentless pity! rage
Alas, thou tremblest : what so fixedly Who rescued me?
Gazest thou on? Ces. What speak'st thou of? and why Arist. It comes again- the spectre ! So anxiously look round ?
'Tis there! Dost thou not see it? Oh, Arist. Didst thou not see?
protect me, Didst thou not hear ?
In pity shield me from its sight! Ces. What should I hear or see?
Ces. Oh! this I shudder whilst I listen to thine ac- Is mere distraction-Nothing I perceive cents
Save yonder torb. Arist. And thou, who mercifully com'st Arist. Observe, upon its threshold to aid me,
Erect and menacing the pliantom stands. What art thou ?--If a deity from Hea- Observe, immovably on me its eyes ven,
Are fixed ;--it shudders. -Oh, be thou Reveal thyself, I pray thee. At thy feet appeased, I'll fall in adoration.
Thou ever-wrathful! If my daughter's Ces. Mighty gods !
shade What wouldst thou? Dost thou not re- Thou be, why take so terrible a form? member me?
Who gave thee licence o'er thy father I am Cesira.
thus, Arist. Who? What is Cesira ?
O'er nature's self to tyrannize? 'Tis mute, Clasira (aside. )--Woe's me! his senses And slow receding, now iç vanishes. ure entirely loss,
Oli me! how cruel, and how frightful!
Are Heaven's decrees ; through their obI also feel the ice of terror creep
scurity Through every vein. Nothing I saw, no, No mortal eye may penetrate. · Pernothing,
chance In very truth. But, that faint moaning Heaven, as a warning to mankind, or. heard,
dains The silent korror from the yawning Mine agonies, whence Nature to revere, tomb
Ay, and to dread, may every parent Out-breathed, thy words, the paleness of learn. thy cheek,
Believe it, Nature outraged is ferocious. Chiefly the inward tumult of my soul, The name of fatber with impunity All, all forbid me longer to dispute None bear; whoever violates its duties, That in yon dismal sepulchre abides Sooner or later shall repent and weep. A dreadful spectre. But if manifest
Ces. And thou hast wept. After suchTo thee, say wherefore is't from me con- sufferings cealed ?
'Tis time to dry thy tears, and to imArist. Thou’rt innocent ;
plore and gentle eyes
From adverse gods of thy long penitence Were ne'er design'd to look upon such The fruits. Take courage! Every crime secrets
admits As the indignant deities reveal
Of expiation. This resentful shade But to the guilty, with remorse and With grateful incense and the choicest shame
victims To overwhelm them. Thou no mother's Propitiate. blood
Arist. Be it so I will. The victim Hast shed; the cry of Nature dooms not Already is selected. thee.
Ces. By thy side
Arist. No, no! Desire not of the saBut question me no farther-Prythee, crifice ily,
To be a witness--I advise thee-do not. Forsake me.
Ces. I would myself with flowery Ces. I forsake thee? Never, never!
wreaths adorn Whatever thy misdeeds, within my heart The victim, and by supplications strive Is written thy defence.
To change thy destiny. Arist. My condemnation
Arist. 'Twill change, Cesira ; In heaven is written, written with the I hope it confidently. Soon 'twill blood
change. Of innocence.
Ces. Misdoubt it not. All evils have Ces. And thus implacable
their period ; Are parted spirits ?
Heaven's clemency, though sometimes Arist. Wholly to themselves
long delayed, The gods beyond the confines of the Ne'er wholly fails; and thou, whose pes grave
nitence, Reserve the privilege of pardoning. He hears me not, but gozes on the ground But say, wert thou my daughter, and, With eyes, wiiose very lids are motionmisled
less. By guilty wishes, I had murder'd thee : lle seems a statue. Spirit of clemency, couldst thou forgive Arist. (aside. ) - Nought but this'Tis Thy barbarous assassin ? Speak, Cesi.
One instant, then repose.--( Aloud.) -I Wouldst thou forgive?
have resolved. Ces. Oh, speak not thus !
Ces. Resolved on what? Explain. Arist. And farther,
Arist. Only on peace. Believest thou Heaven would sanction Ces. That say'st thou in such troubled thy forgiveness ?
accents? Ces. Is't possible that Heaven should Arist. No; allow
I'm tranquil; seest thou not? I am all In souls of children such enduring wrath, tranquil. Against a father, such relentless ven, Ces. This calmness more affrights me geance ?
than thy fury. Arist. Severe, inscrutable, unfathom. For pity's sake Again he heeds me able,