صور الصفحة
النشر الإلكتروني

As true a friend and servant to your honour,
And one that will with as much hazard guard it,
As ever man did goodness. But then, lady,
You must endeavour, not alone to be,
But to appear worthy such love and service.

We have just now heard Horatio reproach Calista with the reports that were circulated against her reputation ; let us compare it with what Romont says upon the same subject

But yet be carefull
Detraction's a bold monster, and fears not
To wound the fame of princes, if it find
But any blemish in their lives to work on.
But I'll be plainer with you: Had the people
Been learnt to speak but what even now I saw,
Their malice out of that would raise an engine
To overthrow your honour. In my fight,
With yonder painted fool I frighted from you,
You us'd familiarity beyond
A modeft entertainment : You embrac'd him
With too much ardour for a stranger, and
Met him with kisses neither chaste nor comely :
But learn you to forget him, as I will
Your bounties to him; you will find it safer

Rather to be uncourtly than immodeft. What avails it to attempt drawing a comparison between this conduct and that of Horatio's, where no comparison is to be made ? I VOL. III.




leave it to the reader, and decline a task at once so unnecessary and ungrateful.

When Romont finds no impression is to be made upon Beaumelle, he meets her father, and immediately falls into the same reflection that Horatio had struck upon

Her father !-Hah!
How if I break this to him? Sure it cannot
Meet with an ill construction. His wisdom,
Made powerful by the authority of a father,
Will warrant and give privilege to his counsels.
It hall be ro.

If this step needs excuse, the reader will confider that it is a step of prevention. The experiment however fails, and he is rebuffed with some asperity by Rochfort; this draws on a scene between him and Charalois, which, as it is too long to transcribe, so it is throughout too excellent to extract any part from it. I can only express my surprize, that the author of The Fair Penitent, with this scene before him, could conduct his interview between Altamont and Horatio upon a plan so widely different, and so much inferior : I must suppose he thought it a strong incident to make Altamont give a blow to his friend, else he might have feen an interview carried on with infinitely more spirit, both of language and character, between Charalois and Romont, in circumstances exactly similar, where no such violence was committed, or even meditated. Was it because Pierre had given a blow to Jaffier, that Altamont was to repeat the like indignity to Horatio, for a woman, of whose aversion he had proofs not to be mistaken? Charalois is a character at least as high and irritable as Altamont, and Romont is out of all comparison more rough and plain-spoken than Horatio : Charalois might be deceived into an opinion of Beaumelle's affection for him; Altamont could not deceive himself into such a notion, and the lady had testified 'her dislike of him in the strongeft terms, accompanied with symptoms which he himself had described as indicating some rooted and concealed affliction: Could any solution be more natural than what Horatio gives ? Novall was a rival so contemptible, that Charalois could not, with any degree of probability, consider him as an object of his jealousy; it would have been a degradation of his character, had he yielded to such a suspicion: Lothario, on the contrary, was of all men li:ing the most to be apprehended by a husband, let his confidence or vanitybe ever so great. Rowe, in his attempt to surprize, has facrificed

more nature

U 2

nature and the truth of character for stageeffect; Maffinger, by preserving both nature and character, has conducted his friends through an angry altercation with infinitely more spirit, more pathos and more dramatic effect, and yet dismiffed them with the following animated and affecting speech from Charalois to his friend;

[ocr errors]

Thou'rt not my friend;
Or being so, thou’rt mad. I must not but
Thy friendship at this rate. Had I just cause,
Thou know'f I durfi pursue such injury
Thro' fire, air, water, earth, nay, were they all
Shuffled again to chaos; but there's none.
Thy skill, Romont, consists in camps, not courts,
Farewel, uncivil man! let's meet no more:
Here our long web of friendship I untwift.
Shall I go wbine, walk pale, and lock my

For nothing from her birth's free liberty,
That open'd mine to me? Yes; if I do,
The name of cuckold then dog me with scorn:
I am a Frenchman, no Italian born. (Exit.)

It is plain that Altamont at least was an exception to this remark upon Italian husbands. I shall pursue this comparison no further, nor offer any other remark upon the incident of the blow given by Altamont, except with regard to Horatio's conduct upon receiving it; he draws his sword, and immediately suspends resentment upon the following motive:

Yet hold! By Heav'n, his father's in his face!
Spite of my wrongs, my heart runs o'er witb tender-

And I could rather die myself than hurt him.

We must suppose it was the martial attitude that Altamont had put himself into, which brought the resemblance of his father so strongly to the obfervation of Horatio, otherwise it was a very unnatural moment to recollect it in, when he had just received the deepest insult one man can give to another : It is however worth a remark, that this father of Altamont Thould act on both sides, and yet miscarry in his mediation; for it is but a few passages before that Altamont says to Horatio,

[ocr errors]

Thou wert my father's friend; he lov'd thee well;
A venerable mark of him
Hangs round thee, and protects thee from my vina

I cannot, dare not lift my sword against tbee.

What this mark was is left to conjecture; but it is plain it was as feasonable for Horatio's rescue at this moment, as it was for Altamont 2 few moments after, who had certainly overa looked it when he struck the very friend against whom he could not, dared not lift his sword. When Lavinia's entrance has parted Alta


U 3

« السابقةمتابعة »