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known to the vulgar crew of mere grumblers, that actors have sometimes a will of their own, and will not be entirely swayed by the wishes of any particular manager.
But now that we have seen what it is impossible that the Edinburgh Theatre could be in the present state of the stage, let us look for a moment to what it is. We have already said that it is a Provincial Theatre, and that as such it must be judged. The question is, are its performances conducted in a style calculated to give a fair estimate of the existing capabilities of the provincial stage, and are they such as, considering how dramatic matters now stand, the Edinburgh public have a right to expect? We can see little difficulty in replying that they are; only stipulating, that we shall be understood as speaking of the company as it has existed for several years back, keeping out of consideration one or two defections which have taken place towards the fag end of the present season, and which there can be no doubt it is the manager's determination fully to supply before the commencement of his next campaign. Did we see cause to entertain a mean opinion of our stage, we should feel sore both for ourselves and other dramatic critics who have not scrupled, for a considerable period back, to bestow the best of their abilities in criticisms, both on the pieces produced here, and on the manner in which they were performed. We should feel sore, too, for the enlightened inhabitants of this city, who have so long permitted themselves to be gulled into an enjoyment of theatrical representations altogether unworthy of them. It is true that a Cockney, whose whole ideas of terrestrial grandeur vibrated between Charing Cross and Hyde Park Corner, might assure us that our little Theatre was altogether contemptible; or a very empty and conceited goose, dressed in a little brief authority, by having it in his power to print nonsense gratis, might wish to show his own inconceivable superiority, by turning up the ugly point of his pedantic nose at our homely enjoyments; but we should be as much amused by the Cockney's attempt at ridicule-poor thing! —as at the human frog's gigantic efforts to puff himself into an ox. We should hand them both over to Donald the boxkeeper, advising him to administer to them a little of that wholesome chastisement, the application of which would be facilitated had they the sense to wear kilts, and the receipt of which might possibly send them back to their respective places of abode, wiser and better men.
We take a proper and honest interest in our own national Theatre, and should be sorry to see it traduced. This has never yet been done, so far as we know; and, considering the histrionic talent connected with it, the task would be at once an unthankful and malignant one. It is needless to repeat here what has been so often said already, and what is known and confessed in London no less than in Edinburgh, that, as a comedian of most exquisite finish and tact, the stage cannot boast of any performer superior to MURRAY, and we sincerely believe that, in several of his favourite parts, it has none equal to him. As a manager, we know it to be universally allowed by his brother-managers, that his system is such as to secure a regularity like that of clock-work in all his greenroom arrangements, and to make it impossible that any thing can go egregiously wrong, either before or behind the curtain.—The manager's sister, MRS HENRY SIDDONS, does not appear to us to be destitute of faults as an actress, but our own opinion coincides with what we know to be that of the most talented female dramatist of the day, that there is no lady now upon the stage equal to her either for versatility or intensity of power.-We are willing to admit, that between Mr Murray and his sister and any of the rest of the company, there is a considerable interval; but still much merit remains. For the fine gentleman, and similar parts, we could desire no better performer than JONES. It is true that his personifications are seldom very varied, and that he rarely goes far out of himself, as it were; but neither does the fine gentleman ;
he belongs to a common genus, and it is only among this genus that Jones' forte lies.-For low life, in all its different grades and phases,-whether in happy or adverse circumstances, whether comic or grave,—whether a Yorkshire clown or an Irish bog-trotter, we are perfectly willing to rest content with STANLEY; for we are satisfied that he yields but little to either Edwin or Rayner.— We never thought PRITCHARD a great actor; but it is necessary that every provincial theatre should have a respectable actor of all work,-one who can turn with willingness and ease from tragedy to farce, from comedy to melo-drama, and from opera to pantomime. We do not know where we could, in this respect, find a substitute for Pritchard-certainly neither in Dublin nor Liverpool.-MASON is often a very facetious old man; and be makes, besides, an excellent starved apothecary, and a very mirth-exciting tailor.-In a Scottish theatre, nothing could be more desirable than one or two actors who can do justice to Scottish parts, and this desideratum is very completely supplied in Messrs MACKAY and DENHAM. It is true, that the powers of neither of these deserving actors are limited to the delineation of national character; but it is in this department that they both excel. Sir Walter Scott, by linking Mackay's name with one of his own inimitable creations, has unquestionably made the actor immortal; and we need only add, that all this performer's Scotch parts are delightfully true to nature, whether we see him in "Rob Roy," in " Guy Mannering," in "St Ronan's Well," in "The Heart of Mid Lothian," in "The Fortunes of Nigel," in "Cramond Brig," or in "Mary Stuart." Denham, in the same walk, is not inferior; and the Dandie Dinmont of the one is as firmly established in popular favour as the Bailie Nicol Jarvie of the other.-Though his voice is scarcely strong enough to enable him to gain much eclat as a public singer, THORNE possesses a cultivated taste, which secures our always listening to him with pleasure; and though we often wish that he could do more, we are sure to be safe from the annoyance of his attempting too much. So long as he had MISS NOEL's powerful support, together with MISS TUNSTALL'S still remaining assistance, we do not think we had any right to complain of the want of operatic force in the company. Miss Noel, it is true, has now left us; and her place has yet to be supplied.-We might allude to more members of the establishment-especially to MRS STANLEY and MRS NICOL;-but the list we have already given is sufficient to show that, for the performance of those pieces which are now the most popular-light comedy, melo-drama, opera, and farce,—than which, nothing else appears to go down-capabilities are to be found in the Edinburgh Theatre of the most respectable kind. We do not say that a better company may not be found in London, but we do say, that a better company will not be found out of London; and further, that the Dublin Company, which, in proportion to the size of the city, ought to be better, is not so good. At the same time, as we have already hinted, we think Mr Murray has a good deal to do, before he commences another season, in the way of repairing some holes which we could, at this moment, pick in his coat. To these we have already alluded on a former occasion; and, trusting that his own good sense will show him the propriety of our hints, we shall say nothing further of them at pre
The Theatre closes this evening for about three months. It is probable that it will re-open, towards the latter end of September, with the German Company who have been recently performing in London, and who will bring out upon this stage the original editions of the "Freischutz,” the "Zauberflote," the "Swiss Family," and other German operas. They are to be succeeded by Madame Vestris, who, we doubt not, will draw good houses; and we are happy to be able to add, that Kean has promised to visit Edinburgh about the same time.
THE POET SHELLEY.
THERE has recently been put into our hands a manuscript volume, which we look upon as one of the most remarkable literary curiosities extant. It is a poem in four cantos, by the late poet Shelley, and entirely written in his own hand. It is entitled "THE WANDERING JEW," and contains many passages of great power and beauty. It was composed upwards of twenty years ago, and brought by the poet to Edinburgh, which he visited about that period. It has since lain in the custody of a literary gentleman of this town, to whom it was then offered for publication. We have received permission to give our readers a farther account of its contents, with some extracts, next Saturday; and it affords us much pleasure to have it in our power to be thus instrumental in rescuing, through the medium of the LITERARY JOURNAL, from the obscurity to which it might otherwise have been consigned, one of the earliest and most striking of this gifted poet's productions, the very existence of which has never hitherto been surmised.
From "Eldred of Erin, or the Solitary;" a MS. Poem by Charles Doyne Sillery, Author of "Vallery, or the Citadel of the Lake."
TELL me, ye midnight voices, where are they-
How sweet is death! no sorrow clouds the tomb ;—
They are all severed-long forgotten-fled—
Ah! how the rush of years to manhood tends
To tread the fields with light and bounding heart;
Yet can they charm, though age apace comes on,
THE ROVER'S RETREAT.
By Thomas Atkinson.
My stride is again on the deck of my bark,
And my bark rides once more on the crest of the sea, And I care not though round my track storm-clouds lour dark,
While the breeze swells my sails thus with boisterous glee!
And I've learn'd, as the hurricane tempest hath swept, That to bend to the bounding is firmest to stand; And through my last peril as now I have stept,
Till my foot was as free as 'tis here, on the land! But when next the broad deck of the Osprey I leaveIf it be not the guerdon of beauty to winMay the billows that now my glad spirit upheave,
Never greet my dull ear with their soul-rousing din; For the home of the Rover's the timber-where floats The red flag of defiance to coward or churl;
And while these hold together, away with the thoughts That would point to the hour when that banner we'll furl !
Then her head to the wind and her breast to the wave, The bright west is before us, though clouds close behind!
In one moon the warm waves of the tropics shall lave
LITERARY CHIT-CHAT AND VARIETIES.
WE are informed that a New Monthly Periodical is to be published in September next, to be entitled, "The Edinburgh Journal of Natural and Geographical Science." It will be conducted by an association of Naturalists, and is to embrace all the departments of Natural History and of Geography, both physical and descriptive; and while it will be quite scientific, it will at the same time be written in a popular style.
We understand that the Rev. A. G. Carstairs, minister of Wester Anstruther, is preparing for publication a volume containing the whole of the Scottish Communion Service, according to the usual form of the Presbyterian Church, including the services for the Fastday, and the Saturday before and Monday after Communion.
The Life of Herman Cortes, including a complete History of the Conquest of Mexico, and a faithful Account of the state of that Empire at the time, and the Life of Francis Pizarro, with an Account of the Conquest of Peru, &c., by Don Tellesforo de Trueba y Cosio, author of " Gomez Arias," "The Castilian," &c. are preparing for speedy publication in Constable's Miscellany.
We understand that Mr Derwent Conway, whose works must be well known to our readers, and whom we have the pleasure of ranking among the contributors to the LITERARY JOURNAL, is at present engaged with a poem, which will appear some time in the course of the present year, to be entitled the Chronicle of the Flowers.
Observations upon the Condition of Negro Slavery in the Island of Santa Cruz, and some Remarks upon Plantation Affairs; with a Notice of the Danish West India Islands, is announced.
The MS. note-books of the Rev. Gilbert White, the author of the Natural History of Selbourne, containing many curious observations not hitherto published, are at present in the possession of Mr Murray, of Albemarle Street, who will issue in a few days a cheap and elegant edition of that work.
The author of Reginald Trevor has a new novel in the press, en titled, Lawrence Mertoun, or a Summer in Wales.
A Life of Sir Walter Raleigh, by Mrs A. T. Thompson, authoress
of the Memoirs of the Court of Henry the Eighth, is announced for early publication.
A poem, intended to recall to the attention of the public the son of Bonaparte, has just appeared in Paris. It is entitled, "Le Fils de r'Homme," and has been seized at the instance of the King's Attorney
The Courier Francois is undergoing a prosecution before the Tribunal of Correctional Police of Paris, for an attack on public morals, the religion of the state, and the mode of worship legally recognized. In speaking of the picture of the King's Coronation, by Baron Gerard, it had said, "The immortal picture of the Supper, those of the Transfiguration and of the Communion of St Jerome, will remain master works of art, even when Christian creeds will be completely abolished, if their frail materials could last so long."
Proposals have been published, at Jassy, for a political and literary journal, in the Wallachian language, to be called the Wallachian Bec. The editors express a hope that this journal may tend to the cultivation of a language spoken by four millions of people, and which derives its origin from the Romans.
The Marquis of Hereford, now residing in Rome, and a munificent patron of the fine arts, has purchased the famous Spada Pompey for 21,000 Roman scudi, upwards of L.5100! This is the statue at the base of which Cæsar was assassinated in the Senate-house; and besides the interest attached to it from this circumstance, it possesses intrinsic value as a specimen of ancient sculpture.
ETON MONTEM.-This ceremony, the object of which is to obtain a collection for the head-scholar on the foundation, preparatory to his removal for the university, by laying all the spectators and passengers under a contribution, demanded as money for "salt," for which a ticket is given, with the motto of " Mos pro lege," took place on Tuesday. It was witnessed by a large number of visitors, and produced a larger sum than on any previous occasion. The King
sent a contribution of one hundred guineas.
NEW HIGH SCHOOL.-This fine building is to be opened, with all due ceremony, upon Tuesday next; and a public dinner, commemorative of the occasion, is afterwards to be given, at which the greater part of the literary talent of Edinburgh will be present.
PHRENOLOGY.-We observe that the sensation excited by Mr Stone's recent attack on Phrenology has not yet subsided, and that the attempts made to rally by the Phrenologists have called forth a good deal of discussion in the public journals. We revert to the subject simply to state, that after all that has been said both pro and con, we remain fixed in our opinion, that Mr Combe has been decidedly unsuccessful in his "Answer" to Mr Stone. At the same time we think it right to mention, that one ingenious Phrenologist has directed our attention to several weak points in Mr Stone's pamphlet, to which Mr Combe has not adverted, and to which we believe Mr Stone would find it more difficult to make a "rejoinder." We cannot, however, give a place to any more controversy upon this subject, because we do not conceive it sufficiently interesting to the general reader. Talent may be elicited upon any subject under the sun, and it certainly has been elicited upon Phrenology; but the soi-disant science is, at the best, a harmless delusion, and its disciples are trifling with a phantom.
THE NEW DIORAMA.-The Diorama of the Valley of Sarnen has been succeeded by a View of the Ruins of Holyrood Chapel by Moonlight. It is by far the finest specimen of pictorial art and mechanical ingenuity in this department of painting which has yet been exhibited here. The illusion is perfect, and the effect quite magical. The spectator is supposed to be in the interior of the Chapel, looking out upon the starry heavens through the ruined window in the east. The moon is seen slowly rising, and her light tips with silver all the projecting points of the ruins, and, in the most enchanting manner, streams in among the mouldering tombs and pillars. Occasionally, clouds pass across its disc, or what a less romantic imagination might conceive to be a sudden puff of smoke from the Old Town. The admirable manner in which the whole scene is managed cannot fail strongly to impress upon the mind the many historical associationsthe brightest and the darkest in Scotland's annals-with which these Ruins are connected; and thus, the exhibition not only delights the eye, but is calculated to produce a moral effect upon the mind. The introduction of some subdued and pensive music, executed by an unseen minstrel, is a great addition. The tout ensemble is so delightful, that we scarcely have it in our heart to object that the stars are too large and brilliant, that too many of the first magnitude are crowded within a certain space, and that they represent no known constellation; or that the moon, like most theatrical moons, is not quite round; or that the woman, standing motionless, with a lamp burning before her, is an unnatural and disagreeable figure, We easily forgive these imperfections; for, in the fascination of the scene, with the gentle moon gliding through the air before us, and shedding her lovely light upon the walls, shafts, and shattered architrave, we forget that they exist.
was not an absolute outrage on decency, it was, at all events, a very coarse and vulgar trick, and presents but a melancholy view of the theatrical taste of the metropolis.-Drury Lane closes for the season this day, and Covent Garden on the 24th. We are informed, by authority on which we can rely, that the new plays which Mr Price, the manager of Drury Lane, announced lately for next season, are from the pens of the late Mr Maturin, author of "Bertram," &c.,
and Miss Mitford, author of "The Two Foscari," "Rienzi," &c., one by each.-As we have occasionally mentioned Miss Smithson somewhat harshly, we think it right to quote the following passage from the letter of a London correspondent:-"I am sorry to see that you select the harshest opinions of the London papers concerning Miss Smithson. There are many who estimate her highly; and one thing is certain, that however she might rank with Mrs Siddons or Miss O'Neil, she is infinitely superior to Miss Phillips, Miss F. H.
Kelly, or any other Miss or Madam on the boards of this great city, as a tragic actress."-We see it mentioned in the Atlas that Sontag
requires £350 per night to visit Edinburgh or Dublin! It is quite impossible that Sontag can be such an idiot. The house here, at the fullest, does not hold one-half the sum; and were she to ask £20 per night, she would be asking a great deal too much. She is no doubt a very fine singer, but we have heard Pasta, Catalani, and Caradori, and would not break our hearts though Sontag should retire forthwith into some Hungarian solitude with her reputed husband, Count Clam. Catalani is at Belfast, and Madame Vestris in Dublin.-Poor
Terry has had a stroke of paralysis, and is said to be dying.—The Haymarket has opened in considerable force.-Although Denham's powers are certainly not equal to the doing full justice to Virginius, he sustained the character with great respectability at his benefit on
Tuesday last.-Caradori, who delighted us so much in the "Beggar's
Opera," appeared last night in "Love in a Village," too late of course for any criticism of ours this week. She repeats the part this evening. -The new piece we announced last Saturday,-" Willie Armstrong, or Durie in Durance,”—has been very favourably received, and deservedly so. Its author is Dr Poole, who has no reason to be ashamed of his bantling, and who, we hope, will favour us next season with something still better; for, in writing for the stage, as in every thing else, practice makes perfect.-We have been much pleased with the neat manner in which the Caledonian Theatre is now fitted up; bu we are sorry that we cannot speak very highly of the merits of mo of the performers. Mr C. Bass himself we have not yet seen; wi hope he plays fully better than his better half. "Anne of Geierstein is being dramatised for this Theatre.
WEEKLY LIST OF PERFORMANCES.
Theatrical Gossip." The Beggar's Opera" has been performed at Covent Garden with the characters reversed,-that is to say, the male parts were sustained by females, and the female by males. If this
TO OUR CORRESPONDENTS.
"REMINISCENCES of former days-My first interview with Si Walter Scott," by the Ettrick Shepherd, will appear in our next.
The learned and able reviewer of Dr Walker's Sermons has ou best thanks: his communication will appear next Saturday.-Th interesting article on St Fillan's Spring is in types. We re gret much that the tale of " Marina and Jacopo" is too long fo our pages, but shall be glad to hear again from its talented Author ess.-The short article, by " A Friend," shall have a place."Q. Q." of Glasgow says, "Give me an answer next Saturday, a though it should be a very ill-natured one; I have very little pa tience." We have a good deal, but it will cost us all we have, unle "Q. Q." pays the postage of his next letter: as he seems to be rath a good sort of person, we forgive him this time.-We have to than our Correspondent at Kirkaldy for his suggestion.
The Sonnet, by our friend" G. H. G." of London, shall have place in our next.-Our Leith correspondent shows very distinctly that in his Pilgrim's Progress, Bunyan has in one or two instanc copied from Shakspeare.-The Scotch Ballad, beginning,
"The crabbit auld farmer cam hame at e'en,
The body a' day at the pleugh had been,
An' he was as hungry as hungry could be,"
is rather too coarse in some of its stanzas; but we shall be glad hear again from its author, who has a good deal of native humour a ability about him.-We regret that the verses by "A. P.”—by ‹‹ N."-by " J. B.”—and by “S. N." of Inverness, will not suit us.
Several of our poetical friends must be content to wait a sho while longer, like Peris, at the gate of Paradise; but their time coming.
EDINBURGH LITERARY JOURNAL;
WEEKLY REGISTER OF CRITICISM AND BELLES LETTRES.
SATURDAY, JUNE 27, 1829.
poem "The Wandering Jew," or "The Victim of the Eternal Avenger." Both names occur in the manuscript; but had the work been published, it is to be
"THE WANDERING JEW."
THE POET SHELLEY-HIS UNPUBLISHED WORK, hoped that he would finally have fixed on the former, the more especially as the poem itself contains very little calculated to give offence to the religious reader. The motto on the title-page is from the 22d chapter of St John,"If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee? -follow thou me." Turning over the leaf, we meet with the following dedication:-" To Sir Francis Burdett, bart. M. P., in consideration of the active virtues by which both his public and private life is so eminently distinguished, the following poem is inscribed by the Author." Again turning the leaf, we meet with the
We now proceed to redeem the promise we made last Saturday, to give our readers a more detailed account of this exceedingly interesting poem. There can be little doubt that, with the single exception of Lord Byron, no poet of our day has evinced a more strikingly powerful and original genius than Shelley,-indeed, in so far as originality is concerned, he is probably entitled to claim precedency even of Lord Byron. Hardly, therefore, could there have come into our possession any literary curiosity upon which we should have placed a greater value than an unpublished work by the author of the "Cenci;" for, much as we regret the fallacious and unhappy principles which Shelley was induced to adopt, and whose spirit he was too much in the habit of infusing into his writings, we hesitate not to own the great admiration we have ever entertained for his profound abi
"The subject of the following Poem is an imaginary personage, noted for the various and contradictory traditions which have prevailed concerning him-The Wandering authenticity of this fact, the reality of his existence. But as Jew. Many sage monkish writers have supported the the quoting them would have led me to annotations perfectly uninteresting, although very fashionable, I decline presenting to the public any thing but the bare poem, which they will agree with me not to be of sufficient consequence to authorize deep antiquarian researches on its subject. I might, indeed, have introduced, by anticipating future events, the no less grand, although equally groundless, superstitions &c. ; but I preferred, improbable as the following tale may of the battle of Armageddon, the personal reign of J— C—, appear, retaining the old method of describing past events: it is certainly more consistent with reason, more interesting, even in works of imagination. With respect to the omis sion of elucidatory notes, I have followed the well-known maxim of Do unto others as thou wouldest they should
do unto thee.'
We have already mentioned that the whole of the manuscript of "The Wandering Jew," now in our possession—and which, we have every reason to believe, is the only copy extant is written in Shelley's own hand, and that it must have been composed about twenty years ago. This latter fact is sufficiently established by the date affixed to the Preface, which is " January 1811;" and the Preface bears internal marks of having been written after the poem, which may therefore be set down as belonging to the year 1810. It is, consequently, in all likelihood, the very earliest production of Shelley's pen; for that wild and astonishing poem, "Queen Mab," was not written till 1811, and was not given to the public till 1815. In 1811, Shelley was only eighteen, and he himself, writing from Pisa in 1821, says,-" A poem, entitled Queen Mab, was written by me at the age of eighteen, I daresay in a sufficiently intemperate spirit," &c. It thus appears, that "The Wandering Jew" must have been written when the poet was only seventeen, and when his talents were entirely unknown. It may possibly have been offered to one or two booksellers, both interesting passages of the poem. It opens thus, in a strain London and Edinburgh, without success, and this may account for the neglect into which the author allowed it to fall, when new cares crowded upon him, and new prospects opened round him. Certain it is, that it has been carefully kept by the literary gentleman to whom he intrusted its perusal when he visited Edinburgh in 1811, and would have been willingly surrendered by him at any subsequent period, had any application to that effect been made. A poem written by a lad of seventeen would, in most cases, possess little attraction; but when it is recollected that the same individual produced "Queen Mab" at eighteen, and afterwards, during his brief career, stood in the very first place of intellectual superiority, the case is altered, and the primitia of such a mind become perhaps still more interesting than its most matured ef
The poem introduced by the above Preface is in four cantos; and, though the octosyllabic verse is the most prominent, it contains a variety of measures, like Sir Walter Scott's poetical romances. The incidents are simple, and refer rather to an episode in the life of the Wandering Jew, than to any attempt at a full delineation of all his adventures. We shall give an analysis of the plot, and intersperse, as we proceed, some of the most in
of subdued and tranquil beauty:
Mr Shelley appears to have had some doubts whether to
"The brilliant orb of parting day
Still sparkling with the snow;
And linger'd as if loth to leave
'Twere there even luxury to grieve;
So pure and genial were the skies,
And now she beat her bosom bare,
Fresh roses strew'd upon the ground,
Three spotless vestal virgins shed
Sabean incense o'er the head
Of the devoted maid."
Just as the ceremony is about to be performed, the intended victim, by a sudden impulse, throws herself among the crowd, and rushes from the chapel. The stranger, who has already felt interested in her fate, flies to her assistance, catches her in his arms, and bears her away through the gathering twilight beyond the reach of pursuit. A storm comes on; they seek shelter, and briefly inform each other who they are. The nun's name is Rosa, and the stranger is Paulo-the Wandering Jew. They conceive, strangely enough, a sudden affection for each other, and the first canto closes with the expression of Rosa's consent to share the future fortunes of Paulo. It is curious to observe, before proceeding to the second canto, that, in illustration of something said by Paulo, Shelley quotes, in the margin, the following line from Eschylus, so remarkably applicable to his own future fate,
(6 Εμυ θανόντος γαια μιχθητο πορι.”
In canto second, we are introduced to Paulo's castle on the banks of the Po, where he lives in deep retirement with Rosa, visited only by Victorio, an Italian of moble birth, who resides in the neighbourhood. Some bold and vigorous descriptions of Alpine scenery follow. But it is evident that Paulo is not happy, and he spends a wild, uneasy life:
"Strange business, and of import vast, On things which long ago were past, Drew Paulo oft from home;
Then would a darker, deeper shade,
By sorrow traced, his brow o'erspread, And o'er his features roam.
Oft as they spent the midnight hour,
And heard the wintry wild winds rave
Midst the roar and spray of the dashing wave,
Was Paulo's dark brow seen to lour.
As if some strange form was near?
Fierce as a fiery furnace glow,
As it burn'd with red and lambent flame;
Would chill like the spectre gaze of death,
He seems o'er the sick man's couch to stand,
And shakes the dread lance in his skeleton hand.
"But when the paroxysm was o'er,
As on his form with pitying eye,