صور الصفحة
PDF
النشر الإلكتروني

Of bis vain youth to fain a lady's fame;
Perhaps bis malice to disurb my friend.
Ob! no, my beart forebodes it must be true.
Metbought e'en now I mark'd the parts of guilt
Tbat sbook bér foul, tho' damn’d disimulation
Screen'd ber dark thoughts, and set to public vieru
A specious face of innocence and beauty.

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

This soliloquy is succeeded by the muchadmired and striking scene between him and Lothario; rigid criticism might wish to abridge some of the sententious declamatory speeches of Horatio, and shorten the dialogue to quicken the effect; but the moral sentiment and harmonious versification are much too charming to be treated as intruders, and the author has also ftruck upon a natural expedient for prolonging the dialogue, without any violence to probability, by the interposition of Roffano, who acts as a mediator between the hostile parties. This interposition is further necessary to prevent a decisive rencounter, for which the fable is not ripe ; neither would it be proper for Horatio to anticipate that revenge, which is referved for Altamont: The altercation therefore closes with a challenge from Lothario

Wef of the town a mile, amongst the rocks,
Two hours ere noon to-morrow I expect tijee;
Tby fingle-hand to mine.

The

The place of meeting is not well ascertained, and the time is too long deferred for strict

probability; there are however certain things in all dramas, which must not be too rigidly insisted upon, and provided no extraordinary violence is done to reason and common sense, the candid critic ought to let them pass: This I take to be a case in point; and though Horatio's cool courage and ready presence of mind are not just the qualities to reconcile us to such an oversight, yet I see no reason to be severe upon the incident, which is followed by his immediate recollection

Two hours ere noon to-morrow! Hah! Ere that
He sees Califa.--Oh! unthinking fool!
What if I urg'd her with the crime and danger?
If any Spark from Heav'n remain unguench'd
Within her breast, my breath perhaps may wake it.
Could I but prosper there, I would not doubt

My combat with that loud vain-glorious boaster. Whether this be a measure altogether in character with a man of Horatio’s good sense and discretion, I must own is matter of doubt with me. I think he appears fully satisfied of her actual criminality, and in that case it would be more natural for him to lay his measures for intercepting Lothario, and preventing the assiga nation, than to try his rhetoric in the present crisis upon the agitated mind of Califta. As it has justly occurred to him, that he has been over-reached by Lothario in the postponement of the duel, the measure I fuggest would naturally tend to haften that rencounter. Now, though the business of the drama may require an explanation between Horatio and Califta; whereupon to ground an occasion for his interesting quarrel with Altamont, yet I do not fee any necessity to make that a premeditated explanation, nor to sacrifice character by a meafure that is inconsistent with the better judge ment of Horatio. The poet, however, has decreed it otherwise, and a deliberate interview with Calista and Horatio accordingly takes place. This, although introduced with a folema invocation on his part, is very clumsily conducted

crisis

Teach me, fome Power! that happy art of speech
To dress my purpose up in gracious words,
Such as may Softly Real upon her soul,
And never waken tbe tempestuous pasions.

Who can expect, after this preparation, to hear Horatio thus break his secret to Calista?

Lothario and Calisa !—Thus they join
Two names, which Heav'n decreed should never meet.
Hence bave the talkers of this populous city

A pameful

A foameful tale to tell for public sport,
Of an unhappy beauty, a false fair-one,
Who plighted to a noble youth her faith,
When me had giv'n her bonour to a wretch.

This I hold to be totally out of nature; first, because it is a palpable departure from his refolution to use gracious words ; next, because it has a certain tendency to produce rage and not repentance; and thirdly, because it is founded in exaggeration and falsehood; for how is he warranted to fay that the story is the public talk and sport of the city? If it were so, what can his interference avail? why seek this interview?

Why come to tell ber how she might be happy?
To footh the secret anguish of ber foul?
To comfort that fair mourner, that forlorn one,

And teach her steps to know the paths of peace? No judge of nature will think he takes the means to lead her into the paths of peace, by hurrying her to the very brink of desperation, I need not enlarge upon this observation, and shall therefore only remark, that the scene breaks up, as might be expected, with the following proof of her penitence, and his success in persuasion

Henceforth,

Henceforth, thou officious fool,
Meddle no more, nor dare, evin on thy life,
To breathe an accent that

ту

virtue : I am myself the guardian of my honour, And will not bear so infolent a monitor,

may touch

Let us now enquire how Romont (the Horatio of Maffinger) conducts this incident, a character from whom less discretion is to be expected than from his philosophical successor, Romont himself discovers Beaumelle and Novall engaged in the most wanton familiarities, and, with a warmth suitable to his zeal, breaks up the amorous conference by driving Novall off the scene with ineffable contempt; he then applies himself to the lady, and with a very natural and manly spirit says,

I respeet you

Not for yourself, but in remembrance of
Who is your father, and whose wife you now are.

She replies to him with contempt and ridicule ; he resumes the same characteristic strain he set out with, and proceeds

My intent', Madam, deserve not this; nor do I say To be the whetstone of your wit : Preserve it To spend on such as know how to admire Such colour'd stuff. In me there is now speaks to you

« السابقةمتابعة »