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the country, before the vulgar as well as and feelings, all packed upon their

the refined, neither of which classes will proper shoulders. We hate all this $ sanction what is out of the line of their we abhor selfishness—we lament to

comprehensions, whether it be above see men for ever fishing in their own or below them. The poet cannot plead little selves, and angling, as it were, that he is of this school or of that for gudgeons in a pool. We had raschool; his Lakeism or his Satanism ther see the line flung abroad into the will not save the piece from being ocean, and hawling up the monsters damned, if it be stupid ; and all those of the deep. We like a bold, open pretty affectations that mark the petite game, such as a whole nation can maître versification of the day, and play at, but anatomy or dissecting that go off very well over a tea-table, rooms give us qualms-we are tenderpass for nothing in the huge ear of a hearted, so is John Bull, and we eartheatrical assemblage. It is nonsense nestly entreat the poets of the day to to say, that a writer should consult keep their stomachs to themselves for but his own taste; it must be influ- the future, and not to be so confoundenced, be it ever so unconsciously, by edly kind and communicative, as to floating opinion, and the more seclu- disgust us every now and then with a ded he lives, the more will he be influ- view of their very entrails. It is enced by the little he does hear. The butchery, not poetry. more general the opinion that modi- You perceive, my public, the diffies and directs a poet's taste, the more ference between sense and nonsense. original will he be :-there never has As long as we utter our own sublime been tale or epic since the world be- philosophy and abstract criticism, and gan, so original as our early dramas, as long as we speak of the worthy elwhich were composed imperatively for ders of literature, the purest stream of success anıl bread, and, consequently, prose flows from our pen. But the kept ever in view the taste of the au- moment, the cursed moment, in which ditory: But people at present fancy we first make mention of Cockaigne or that the only entrance to originality cotemporaries, we lose all command of is through the narrow duct of their ourselves, we wax angry, foam at the own egotistical spirit, and that to wing mouth, grow hysterical—in short, pour their way through the free and open forth a deal of nonsense, at times, inspace of general sentiment, would be deed, almost as disjointed as tablebut to follow a beaten path. It is talk. But where were we? just as if a carpenter or a blacksmith Dramatic authors are, as we have were to attempt perfecting himself in observed, necessarily subservient to gehis trade by chiselling or hammering neral feeling; they may change or inhis own nose instead of the wood or fluence it, but this must be by deiron, which are his natural materials. grees. A series of dramatic writers, The human mind certainly contains a were they kept up, would be the lic world of poesy; but it is not any in- terary history of a country-" they dividual mind, far less a Cockney, or shew the body of the time its form even a Byronic one, that can be said and pressure" -and an age that is to contain this. It is an arrogant trick without them has in reality no literaof both these last-mentioned schools ture properly its own. It is by this and their scholars, for each to set dependence on popular taste that the himself up as a type, as a representa- Drama has existed and flourished, tion of the human racema poetical and if at present we have no Drama, Anacharsis Clootz. Those fellows the reason is simply, that we endeavour have their eyes for ever turned in- to elevate it on exclusive taste-on wards upon themselves with an ego- that of our numerous schools. We tistical squint--they assume their do not mention the pieces that strive own pineal gland to be the world, and to live by scenic effect, clap-traps and the two-legged images that float there- appeals to the galleries alone-they in to be mankind.

are too wretched; but they deserve to There can be no stronger sign of be as successful as those which are the decay of literature, than to see its addressed to the three front rows of spirit thus ensconced within itself, the pit, such as Mirandola, &c.; these and our poets creeping about, lonely we might call pit-plays. A man may and separate, like so many snails, write a poem to please three hundred with their habitations, food, family, friends, but a tragedy cannot be





created for so limited an end ; and if may be sure, the blunt English yeoman in his tragedy an author wishes to exercised his full share of influence cater to the delicate palates of his re- We see the consequence; the world has fined friends, those touches should never had, and never will have, such a be, as in Shakspeare, altogether sub- theatre. The puritans overturned the ordinate ; they should keep up with stage; and when it was revived, the beautiful insignificance merely, like court and cavaliers sought to take posviolets among

the loftier and more ro- session of it, in imitation of the French. bust flowers that characterize the work. Then commenced the reign of the pit Ex pede Herculem, is fair reasoning and the beaux-esprits ; and, from that for a critic, but to carve a foot and call day, the drama fell. it Hercules-to write a prettiness, and We are, like Lord Byron, * aristocall it tragedy, is but an indefinite crats by birth and feeling, but we mixture of blunder and impudence. have a drop of the tiers etat in us, and

In the annals of stage history, we grow republican at times ; nowhere always find the drama dependent on more so than in a theatre. We forget the audience before whom it was to be the garter beneath our knee, and the represented; and proportionably as ribbon in our button-hole- the Goldthat audience was free, mixed, and po- en Fleece and the Grand Cross of the pular, we find the drama to have been Legion of Honour become invisible on grand, sublime, and original. Every our generous swelling breast-we look one's knowledge will here fill up a pa- up and around with a sentiment of fraragraph for itself concerning the Gre- ternity, and with proud humiliation cian and Roman stage. In Italy, the rejoice that so many are in one reaudience of tragedy became soon con- spect almost as great as ourselves. fined to the learned, owing to the mu.

One touch of nature maketh the whole sical and operative propensities of the

world kin.” people, as well as to the mental thraldom imposed by religion. The tragic How beautiful the line! How trebly pieces from Trissino to Maffei are no- beautiful, had not the Cockneys bequothings--absolute nothings; they ad- ted it! Who can doubt that it was not dressed an assembly of learned and in his theatre Shakespeare conceived tasteful churchmen, whose vein was ri- the thought and moulded the verse ? dicule and raillery ; and who could to- It must have been so—we have felt lerate serious feeling, only when it was the sentiment there a thousand times, cold ; and even then, but for form- and should have built the very line sake. Alfieri arose late, and having no ourselves, in this very article, had not audience but an imaginary one to look the poet had the impudence to write to, he wrote a second edition of the it before us. Grecian Drama, to which he hoped the Vulgarity is the essence of the draItalians would suit themselves till matic genius-not conventional vul. that distant day, his works may re- garity or cant, but vulgarity, properly main in the closet, In France, the ru- so called the current sentiments

the ling audience of tragedy was the Court. unsophisticated passions—the simple, A new piece was first brought forward straight-forward language of rulgar there, and the smile or frown of the life. To write an epic, or to found a monarch passed a judgment without school, we may refine upon refinement appeal. To this smile the drama -We may ereate supererogation of genadapted itself, and became what it is tility and heroism-and idle folk may -utterly contemptible for any one be found who will educate their hotthat has a thought beyond his ears. In bed sympathies for the prepense enEngland, thanks to the Reformation, joyment of such imaginations; but let the theatre became free, and obedient these never be embodied in a tragedy. solely to a.public audience ; where, we Antithetic characters, unintelligible


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Query. Was Lord Byron born an aristocrat ?-If we mistake not, neither he himself, nor his friends, could have had expectations at the hour of his birth, that he would ever enjoy a title. And had the aristocratic baby of an hour old—had the little gentleman titled hopes, how does that make him an aristocrat ? “ Un lord disoit spirituellement:" relates Madame de Stael, “ Je ne puis pas devenir aristocrate, car j'ai chez moi constamment des representans du parti populaire ; ce sont mes fils cadets."

passions, wire-drawn sentiments, may tated. Their isoble and distinguishing be unravelled in the closet; and the qualities are to be adopted, but not nonsense of these too may be exquisite, transplanted, thought, language, and like Coleridge's ignorance, and may all, into a modern soil. Third-rate well repay our trouble ; but, on the borrowers commit desperate blunders ; stage, this is misplaced—it is all High they are never satisfied, and are só Dutch to John Bull. The passions eager to grasp, that they steal the first and characters of the acting drama thing that comes in their way, and, if must be from the staple ones of hu- it be a mill-stone, endeavour to carry it manity--they must be drawn from ob- off;--this has been the case with some servation as well as from egotism ; and of the Cocknies. The rising race of drano one, be he ever so talented, ever so matists, have, in my humble opinion, finely organized, can expect that an been led astray, when they were inaudience will listen to a five act pano- duced to steep their souls, pens, and rama of his thoughts, hopes, and opi- tongues, in these ancient worthies. nions. Indeed we prophesy that our They have been put on the wrong next great dramatic genius must spring scent, and look, at this present moe from the lower ranks of the people. ment, extremely like a baffled pack of

And here we approach the very core beagles, howling here and there, and of the subject. The sign of decay, in running after their tails for lack of leall literature, has been peculiar and gitimate game. How much Christoexclusive attention bestowed on lan- phorus Northus has been to blame in guage. A more advantageous effect this case, we won't determine-forbid, certainly could not be brought about, all powers propitious! that we should than that of stablishing language, and trouble the conscience of a gouty Sexarendering it pure and permanent. But genarian. As to Mr Lambe, he dehowever noble and praise-worthy the serves to be hanged for wasting talent, endeavour be in itself, it is by no like the Schlegels, in making silk means the way to elevate a dormant purses out of sows' ears. And as for or a fallen poetry. What is chiefly ad- the Edinburgh Review, who moped mired in our ancient dramatists, is the after those dashing sons of genius, and simple, strenuous, natural style ; it is took up the theme at second-hand, thence concluded that we should take like a cur hastening to mumble the them as models, and adopt their man- bone just dropt by the mastiff, we leave ner and phraseology. This would be the old woman to her quarterly task well, if the nineteenth century were of gleaning the same as the sixteenth. But as (Impudence will have a fall, and there exists a material difference be- mine has already dissolved my pretween them, the language that appear- rogative of plurality.) I have a great ed simple, natural, and strong to the mind to belabour some of the old Engpeople of that day; and which appears lish dramatists. It would, indeed, be possessed still of the same qualities to a charity to abuse them, for since every the critics of the present, who have no museling has taken to imitate them, objection to transport themselves a we shall

soon think their free verse as couple of centuries back ;-this same hackneyed as Pope's couplet. I love language is to the common audience of them all dearly, therefore will run a the year eighteen hundred and twenty- tilt at them some of these days ;-look two, neither simple nor natural, but, to your new editions, Mr Gifford, at on the contrary, pedantic, extravagant, which I intend to fly, not, however, and, for the most part, nonsense. The I trust, to break my shins over them, metaphors, the phrases, the turns of as did Mr Jeffrey. It is time for the expression then used, founded, as they world to hear the other side of the were, on the current conversation of question. Every one has been heard the day, struck, with full force, on in their favour; Maga, the Quarterly, prepared and familiar ears; but to us “the Monthlies, the New and the it is a foreign tongue, and, with all its -- Old,” the Edinburgh Review, and the boasted simplicity and nature, I defy Cocknies, have all bellowed forth their a country gentleman, or a city one pleadings, and not a tongue has wageither, to understand one continued ged in contravention. And even should speech couched in its language. These my apostrophes fall foul of Mr North’s ancient masters are worthy of being great toe, what care I? Doth not the imitated,-true, but not servilely imi- ocean roll between me and his crutch?


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Besides, did not the worthy ancient resses of Flanders are but straw bulgrant me full liberty of opinion ? and warks, as long as a Flemish pit enjoys were not his last words to me, as I the tragedies of Racine and Corneille. departed for the Grand Tour, these: The three great French dramatic “ Lad, go thine own way; be any writers, in tragedy at least, have one thing but a Jacobin or a Cockney?" disadvantage, viz. that every foreigner

Enough of startling opinions, howe knows something about them, and yet ever, have been advanced for one numa few know any thing substantial. A ber. The Drama is allowably in a rot- page or a passage of Shakespeare, even tèn condition, and we must probe to if but half understood, is sufficient to the bottom of the evil ; it is of the impress the mind with a deep feeling utmost importance that sound princi- of admiration;

but the French dramaples should be ascertained, applicable tists, indeed French verse, if not tato this, the royal compartment of li- ken in the ensemble, is nothing. Not terature. There exists no living dra- that they wanted feeling, but their matic genius, as yet displayed, not- feeling is marked more by phrase than withstanding the late publication of thought. “Les vers français sont à la many exquisite closet-dramas; but a fois ce qu'il y a de plus facile et de plus great spirit may daily, hourly arise, difficile à faire. Lier l'un à l'autre and the great dread should be, that des hémistiches si bien accoutumés à this critical age doth not mislead or se trouver ensemble, ce n'est qu'un neutralize the talent newly generated. travail de memoire ; mais il faut avoir All other poetry may be permitted to respiré l'air d'un pays, pensé, joui, amuse or betake itself whither it plea- souffert dans sa langue, pour peindre ses; but the drama, like the history en poesie ce qu'on eprouve.' and the language of the country, should have thought, rejoiced, and suffered be an object of anxious and universal in the language,” as de Staël so beauconsideration. Materials for compa- tifully expresses it, is necessary not rative judgment are most copious, only for writing, but for reading its even in our very volumes; and if poetry. The French think, rejoice, Blackwood's Magazine contains no- and suffer in language, as we do in thing else than its articles of, and on thought. With them, as with the more the drama, they would be sufficient southern nations of Europe, words are alone to render it worthy of its estima- things; and being, therefore, to speak ted value. The Teutonic drama we metaphysically, independent essences, have introduced to the world; and, they have expressions supplementary though we do not love the classic stage to the thought. But even in this supof France and Italy, we will yet expend plementary expression, the French some time and pages upon them. Mo- tongue is so meagre, as to appear noratin, tbe living comic writer of Spain, thing to the full-cloyed ears of the is at present engaged in writing the south. Thus they are between two dramatic history of his country, which foes, and they prop themselves on will afford new lights and further either when attacked by the other. In means of comparison. He promised arguing with an Italian on the beauty us an article, but since the fever burst of their respective poetries, a Frenchforth in Barcelona, his place of resi- man will rest on superior thought in dence, we have not heard from him. his native verse ; in arguing with an His “ Yes of the Maidis a delightful Englishman, he will rest on superior comedy, and shall, please the fates, tone. There is, however, one overmake

one of our Horæ Hispanicæ. With whelming objection to all that French the Dutch we are engaged ; in spite vanity can plead, their verse is utterly both of our exhortations and subsidies, untranslateable—there is nothing in they will act French plays; and Hol- them; and, for experiment sake, the land is to the French actors what Ame- very first sheet we can spare for Barica is to ours-by proceeding thither, laam, shall be occupied with a literal they fill their pockets, and whet the translation of Racine's “ Phædre." appetites of audiences at home by Thanks to the labours of Ducis, it their absence. Now, we tell the King is now easy to institute a comparison of the Netherlands flatly, that while between French and English tragedy. his theatre is French, his nation will That poet has re-written in his native be so; nor is it a joke to declare, that language, for it would be unjust to the battle of Waterloo and the forte say translated, most of the dramas of


Shakespeare.* The Macbeth and the presents the latter, repentant for haOthello of Ducis are by no means in- ving participated in the murder of her ferior to any, even the best pieces of husband, and ends with her ordaining Racine and Voltaire, but that they fall the coronation of Hamlet. As the first immeasurably beneath their great ori- act commenced between the King and ginals, we need not add. Here we have his confidant, the second opens bean intermediate standard, to which tween the Queen and hers, (Elvira ;) both dramas may be applied, and by this lady has overheard sufficient to which we may ascertain, almost to render her suspicious; and in this mathematical precision, their relative scene. Gertrude confesses her crime. merits. A tithe of the poetry which (It is to be remarked, that in the abounds in the originals, is sufficient French paraphrase the guilt of Clauto animate the French plays ;-feel- dius is diminished, by supposing him ing, imagination, character, are all re- to have been a victorious warrior, enset on a minor key, to suit the squeam- vied and disgraced by his brother; ish tastes of the Parisian audience; and the queen is made to excuse her and the heroes of Shakespeare make crime, by averring that she assisted to their appearance, as after a long con- poison the king, in order to save the sumption, apparently sweated down, life of her lover.) The queen begs like jockies, to the dapper weight re- Norceste to restore the spirits and quired by the laws of the course. Ex- mind of the young prince. Hamlet tracts or translations we dare not offer rushes in, exorcising the spectreto our readers, for fear they should “Fuis, spectre epouvantable ; "—then accuse us of being profane, in utter- addressing the by-standers, ing paraphrases of the bard divine;

“ Eh! quoi, vous ne le voyez pas, but we shall offer analyses of the

three Il vole sur ma tête, il s'attache à mes pas : bestof Ducis' performances—the Ham

Je me meurs :" let, the Macbeth, and the Othello. By the alterations which the scene and This is describing a ghost à la Franaction undergo, our readers may judge çaise with a vengeance. Only imawhat the spirit of the poetry itself gine the ghost flying over the head must have suffered.

of Hamlet, instead of preserving the Hamlet was the poet's first essay, awful, still, imperturbable demeanour, and it was represented for the first which characterizes it in the original. time in 1769. The piece commences Hamlet at length becomes calm, and with Claudius consulting Polonius,

relates to Norceste the appearance, his confidant, as to his projects, yet words, &c. of the spirit. (In this rein futuro, of marrying the Queen, and cital, the author, for the first time, assuming the crown to the exclusion makes use of the exact language of of Hamlet. Then follows a scene be- Shakespeare.) He gives as his reason tween Claudius and Gertrude ; it re- for not killing Claudius, the love he

* Shakespeare has been translated into Italian by Leoni, with partial success. The Romeo and Juliet is thought to be the best rendered. The whole version is in verse, our poet's prose dialogues as well as his others. The Leonis are two brothers, resident at Florence, and are continually occupied in translations from our tongue. Milton has also issued from their hands, but not well performed—except the Allegro and Penseroso, which are said to rival their originals.

The best French literal translation of Shakespeare is Letourneur's; he was aided by Fontaine, Malherbe, and the Count de Caticàlan, who had long lived in England. Guiyot has published a later translation. The merits of which are well summed up by Jouy, in one of his critical essays.

“On remarque que Letourneur ne cherche jamais à se mettre á la place du grand poete qu'il traduit, qu'il ne veut pas faire l'écrivain, il se content d'être naturel et vrai, et n'aspire qu'à bien faire connaître son modèle. Les nouveaux traducteurs de Shakspear n'ont pas toujours suivi cette route, ils veulent briller aussi ; le style doce trinaire se glisse à chaque page, en courant après la concision, en procédant par les géneralités, les traces du poete sont toujours presque effacés, et le prosateur ambitieux surgit de ce fratas enluminé, et place son ombre entre le poete et lui.”

Jouy follows this up with quoting Mercutio's description of Queen Mab, which hc calls marivaudage. It certainly cuts a strange appearance in French prose.

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