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talent of the author, as a describer' The happiness of the lovers is also of manners and characters. But a long time retarded by the inif this had been the only intent of trigues of the monks, the schemes this novel, it would merely have of the Archbishop, and by Julia satisfied curiosity without exciting being carried off and shut up in a any interest.
convent. Not until after many - Every work must have an action, vain efforts and painful researches, an object, and a catastrophe. The does Florentius' find and release love of Florentius for Julia Severa Julia. Every devise of hatred and is the subject of the roinanice. Both superstition is 'emoployed to excite of them possess brilliant and uoble: the Romans, and even the Barbaqualities; but the father of Severai rians against Florentius. still adheres to the Pagan teligion, Like a new Asmodens, the author and the bishop of Tours, who is ac- has penetrated the secret dormitoquainted with this circumstance, ries and mysterious prisons of the endeavours to foment discord bes monasteries; which gives rise to tween the senator Severa and Clo- a great variety of descriptions and vis, and to prevent the marriage of portraits ; in which we are pleased Jalia with Florentius, who ap- and surprised to find the lively gepears to the Bishop already too nius of a romance writer united to: powerful, from the great influence the sound judgment of an historiani: he had acquired over the Gauls.
to produce individuals, who, soaring 8vo.
stamped their genius on the charac
ter of their countrmen, have awakened We believe, that the reputation in them exalted sentiments, or lead of literary works more frequently them to deeds of permanent utility depends upon the standard by which or of the brightest heroism. From they are criticised, than' upon their the great example of this chaintrinsic qualities. Many a work racter in the martyred Russell, it of little merit enjoys at least a tem' has been the peculiar privilege of porary fame, whilst others, of con, this distinguished family always to siderable desert, are doomed to an take the lead of society, to exhibit abortive struggle for eminence, and to their country a spirit of freedom simply from the degree of expecta- beyond the tenour of the times, to tion or of indifference with which patronize its arts and to advance they are originally received by the its literature, and to wean it from critic, or by the public at large. all that is degenerate, by an example The hereditary fame of the Russell of all that is disinterested and noble. family, and the personal celebrity The highest species of literary oom. of the noble author of the work we position, emanating from such a are about to criticise, will naturally source, will naturally exoite expecchallenge a high standard as a test tations which few works would be of its merits; but we are bound to fourid to gratify: In addition to confess our anticipation, that, after this, we must observe, that Trathe severest ordeal, Don Carlos will gedy, always the most difficult spebe pronounced by the public worthy cies of composition, except the even of the pen of its distinguished Epopee, is now rendered more difauthor. Weighed in the balance, it ficult than the Epic by the prewill not be found wanting, but it occapation of the best subjects, and, will add a wreath to the brow which particularly, by the pre-occupation literature and eloquence have already of those incidents of a nature to crowned with laurel. --- At those produce the highest degree of dracritical junotures, which so often de- matic excitement, or calenlated to termine thie condition of society for exhibit' situations of stage effect
« Tout-est dit," says. La Bruyere, be supposed to address ourselves; " et l'on vient trop tard, depuis plus de but to those, who expect in Don sept mille ans qu'il y a des hommes.” Carlos nothing more than the exalted To these circumstances, so appall., production of an exalted mind, we ing to the aspirants of dramatic' address ourselves with confidence frame, we may be allowed to add, and congratulation. the unreasonable practice prevalent The story of the play is admirably amongst our crities, who review the adapted to the display both of hu-higher efforts of the drama. . The mane and of heroic sentiments, and inimitable plays of Shakspeare are these the noble author pours forth to be converted into the bed of Pro- with an earnestness worthy of his . crustes, to the dimensions of which every modern votary of Thalia is to Don Carlos, the grandson of be tortured. But, not content with Charles the Fifth, and the son of subjecting the modern dramatist. to Philip, the reigning monarch of so discouraging a standard of com- Spain, having had an early attach-, parison as the general productions ment to her who had subsequently of our unrivalled bard, they select married his father, combats his fatal. from this great poet only his pro- passion with firmness. The Inqui-. minent excellencies, and establish sitor-General (Valdez) with his agent these as the test of succeeding merit. (Luecro) incensed at the enlightOne critic complains, that the mo- ened enmity which Don Carlos bears, dern tragedy has not the rich dis- to religious persecution, effects his cursive dialogue of Shakspeare ;- ruin by exciting the jealousy, and another, that it is destitute of the appealing to the superstition of the felicitous creation of character, or King. On this outline the poet has of the accurate : delineation of na- wrought a drama of very considerture; a third laments, the paucity able interest. Valdez aids his deof incident, or bewails the want of sign by means of Cordoba, a false his rich and powerful vein of poetry; friend of Don Carlos, and by means , whilst all unite in the exclamation, of Don Cordoba's wife, Donna Leothat we have lost “ the dramatic nora, who is stimulated against the parlance of the Elizabethian pe- Prince by her slighted passion. But riod." It is to these absurdities there is no under plot the unity of that we may trace the fact, that, action, of place, and almost of time' from the age of Shakspeare, we have is preserved, and without, as in the not produced one single tragedian French dramas, shackling or inconof any thing like acknowledged me veniencing the piece. rit.- Our greatest poets have tried The first act developes the charac-' the drama, and have failed.-Thoma ter and designs of Valdez, the exson and even Dryden, as dramatic cited jealousy of the King, and the poets, are forgotten. Lee and Rowe Queen's virtuous confidence in the are read but for curiosity.-Otway honour of Don Carlos. There are and Southern Jive, but in a single passages of beauty in this act ; but, play-whilst Cato, Irene, and Leo- on the whole, it is yot sufficiently, nidas are never acted, and seldom animated. The plot is developed in read. In France, on the contrary, long set speeches, after the manner successful standard tragedies are of the French drama; but making. numerous.However enraptured the thé plot disclose itself by the inci French may be with Corneille, Ra- dents of the play, or by apparently cine, Crebillon, or Voltaire, they casual communications from the chaare not infatuated to the degree of racters, is an excellent art, which excluding all other pretensions.- seems peculiar to Shakspeare. The These observations have naturally scene between Valdez and the King presented themselves to us, on con- reminds us of that between Othello sidering the subject, and they must and lago. Where Philip forgets his not be construed into palliation of kingly rigidity, and moved by his faults, or into deprecations of se- affections exclaims Oh! think verity in favour of Don Carlos. To on this, and doubt—but say, the those, who expect in this tragedy Queen what said you of the the rival of Macbeth or of Othello, Queen ?" and his following speech, we cannot, after what we have said, display much pathos and nature..
The second act, ia point of con- and the dreadful superstition of the straction, is of the nature of the King, is very finely drawn. Don
first. The scenes and speeches are Carlos, speaking of the burning of · long and staid; but, it contains the heretic, says, proofs of the poetic spirit. The first scene, of twenty pages, deve
Cazalla, he lopes the fine character of Don Car- That stood so tall before me in the , los, and gives us the stratagem by
strength which the infatuated King at once
Of a high soul; was now a cinder, tost convinces himself of his son's at
And scattered by the air! tachment, and of his damning sin What an infinity of reflections, re
of heresy. The conclusion of this ligious and metaphysical, are suglong scene appears to us conceived gested by these three lines
, but how from Timon of Athens. The next beautifully touching is the circumscene, representing the Queen plead- stance of the victim's entreating the ing to the King for Don Carlos, Prince's protection for his poor though not a plagiarism, is too sister's offspring!" A powerful les. analogous to Desdemona's
pleading son might be taken from this scene for Cassio. Don Carlos, in the rav- by those bad, or at least mistaken ings of his anhallowed passions, ex. claims — " ! combat - conquer - of religious persecution amongst us!
men, who would now revive a spirit tremble suffer-sink.”
The third act is more full of inOh! had the idol of my heart been terest, and the examination of Don scornful,
Carlos by the Inquisition is finely Rejected all my prayers, spurn'd at conceived, and as finely executed. my love,
It is what poetry seldom is—it is And met my adoration with contempt, pathetic, ratiocinative, and grand. I could have borne it; then, indeed, There are numerous passages of methipke,
great power, but they are finer in The simple recollectlon of her form,
connection with the whole scene, The faintest image of a smile gone by, and we regret that our limits do not The feelings of a moment Aed away,
allow us to make either numerous And fled for ever, were to me a feast, That lodia could not buy-my life
or lengthened quotations. The apmy all
pearance of the father, as an evidence Bot viewing her perfections with my against the son, is skilfully divested eyes,
by the poet of extravagance or of To be obliged to chase her from my being unnatural. Superstition knows thought
not ties of blood. This scene, disTo view myself with loathing the playing the horrors of tyranny and rank soil
persecution, and the sophistry with In which a poison growsnor'll no which we gloss oppression, must more
suggest to the reader many reflecThe very speaking it is horrible.
tions on the passing scene of life.The King, speaking of the disso. Finally, the entrance of and pleadnance between regal pomp and hap-ing of the tutor of Don Carlos inpiness, uses the following new and duces the King to postpone the trial appropriate simile,
to the succeeding day.
In the fourth act, Valdez, distrust. our vain pomp ful of the King's fortitude to witGives but a hollow joy, and lasting ness the sacrifice of his son, plots
grief; Tis for onr subjects' honour, not for Carlos by the hands of Don Luis
the perpetual imprisonment, of Don our's.
Cordoba. The speeches to Lucero The garland and the gold that deck
in which Valdez pourtrays his own the bull Denote the sacrifcing peoples' pride,. traces his loss of human sympathies
fiery and ambitious nature, and And not the victim's fortune, ,
to the criminal nature of the monasThe description of the “ Act of tic institution, are replete with the Faith,” given by Don Carlos, and verba ardentia, they are full of vethe whole scene descriptive of the hement description, and are equalled horrors of the Inquisition, are very only by the subsequent speeches, in powerful, and the contrast between whích' Don Carlos indignantly rethe generous kumanity of the Prince fuses to purchase his "safety by betraying his friends. This act ends this author's Simple Plan, we may with the escape of Don Carlos' out be allowed to state our thorough of the prison of the Inquisition by accordance with Mr. Malthus's great the activity of his friends, and after principle, that there is no possible his refusing to effect his liberation means of diminishing pauperism, by generous efforts on the part of and, consequently, mendicity, but the Queen, which might compromise by preventing population exceeding her safety and character.
or pressing too closely upon supply: The fifth act is replete with ex. and this is to be effected only by planations, Don Carlos is betrayed the diffusion of moral instruction in his flight by Don Luis Cordoba, among the poor, and by creating in and a conflict between them ends in them a species of humble Juxury, the death of Cordoba, and in Don a love of certain factitious comforts, Carlos being mortally wounded. An without the attainment and probainteresting scene takes place between ble security of which, they will not the distracted father and the dying be induced to marry. This is the son. The father is convinced by only method of preventing, pauperthe last confessions of Don Carlos, ism, whilst the only possible means that both his child and wife are in- of relieving it must be found in the noçent, and, consigning Valdez to transportation of superfluous numperpetual imprisonment, the play is bers to spots of the earth now uninclosed. The last speech of Valdez habited or thinly peopled. What is perfectly demoniac. It is obvious ever schemes politicians may devise, that the real climax of the play is they must prove impracticable, unin the third act. The interest of the less they are founded on those two piece is there at the highest pitch, great principles, and those princiand every thing after seems rather ciples being established, there can supplementary than an integral part be no dificulty in carrying thein of the drama. There are very many into operation, but what arises from faulty lines throughout the piece, prejudices, and that inherent at which, however, appear to us to be tachment to the opinions and practhe effect of haste or negligence ra
tices of our forefathers, which is ther than of a want of ear or want almost always carried too far; and of judgment. The author seems which consequently retards improvefond of the Latin principles of ac
ment and is the great bane of centuation-thus Lncéro, Granada human happiness. The author of have the accent on the penultimate, the work before us
a person of whilst Cordoba, on the contrary, judgment and humanity: his geinust have the antepenultimate ac
neral principles on the objects of cent from the double consonant in government and society are sound the first syllable. Valladolid also and enlightened, and they are stated must be metamorphosed by the pri- with clearness and propriety. Upon mary accent on the antepenultimate, the immediate subject of the werk; But there are frequent gingles of he asserts, that the aggregate evil proximate words beginning and end of our present parochial system ing with the same syllable, whilst greatly preponderates over the good. there sometimes pleonasms This is a fact, we believe, that none amounting almost to bad grammar. will contradict. It has become alHowever, these obseryations are hy. most ca truism. But the sole diffi, percritical, and must be lost in the culty is, how to get rid of the evil, predominant merits of so fine a and what to substitute for parochial arama-a drama which, in the exe
relief to the houseless and unfed. cution of our literary duty, we have We hold the author's plan to be read with infinite pleasure, and from more benevolent than practicable. a future perusal of which, we anti. A voluntary society is to be formed cipate renewed satisfaction.
é funds are to be subscribed-cot
tages with gardens are to be built Sketch of a Simple, Original, and poor lands are to be brought into Practical Plan, for Suppressing Men cultivation, the paupers are to effect dicity, &c. &c. London, 1823. 8vo. but from the funds of the society,
all this; they are to be paid nothing,
and the produce of their toil ; they Before informing our readers of are to be well clothed, housed, fed,
and instructed. —Surely, all this is temporaries, to submit their writings visionary and Utopian. The bene- to more severe and cautious reflecvolent anthor cannot have considered tion, before they suffer them to the animal nature of man. Finally, appear before the public. Should we have but two further observations some future Longinus ever class the to make on this scheme.–First, the numerous ages of literature, and bringing of poor lands into cultiva: attach to each its discriminative cogtion is a policy strongly denied by nomen, whatever may be the merits our best political writers.-Secondly, or the demerits of the present period, the scheme, if now practicable, con- we are convinced, that an epithet, tains the principles of its speedy synonymous with prolific would sudissolution :-for making the great persede any terin of its other chabody of the poor so free from want, racteristic features.
Lord Byron and so reckless of consequences, himself was formerly in a similar would act as a greater bounty upon train of thought, when he observed population, even than our present in his “ English Bards and Scotchi disastrous parochial system, and, Reviewers." that, formerly, it reconsequently, population would soon quired an age or century to produce exceed supply in a greater ratio than an Epic, but that Mr. Southey at present, and misery would, there- poured forth his Epics at least in fore, be proportionately increased, the ratio of ope every year. A Tra
gedy has always been considered Werder, a Tragedy. By Lord one of the most sublime and diffiByron. 8vo. pp. 188.
cult of compositions, and now we
have his_lordship, as well as an We have not to accuse ourselves Oxford Professor, publishing at of any inclination to be “niggards the rate of two or three tragedies in our praise” of Lord Byron, but, per annum. Fielding thought himon the contrary, we have always con- self industrious and his genius fersidered ourselves bound in justice to tile, if, in conjunction with his join in that homage which the world , sister, 'he produced at the rate of pays to his genius, and which has a moderately sized novel, with one always appeared to us to be the re- or two farces, in six years. Pope sult of critical acumen, and of that kept his pieces four or five years, influence which his lordship’s wri- and some of them much longer bctings are calculated to have upon fore he thought them sufficiently mankind. But, however exalted revised to meet the public judgmay be our opinion of “The poet of ment. Now every work is sent into the age;" we must confess without the world hot from the anvil, and hesitation, that we took up the Tra. are almost continually comgedy of Werner with but little hope pelled to reflect upon Addison's obof amusement, and with as little ex: servation, that 'many a ponderous pectation that the work would add folio, or voluminous set of octavos, freshness to his lordship’s laurels. reduced its' quintessence, would He who every year sends forth two occupy but a very small space upon or three tragedies, with as many our shelves. mysteries, and with some scores of These observations, it may be lyrical stanzas, can have little dif. said, can scarcely be elicited by the fidence of public opinion, or be little solicitous for his own fame; 'what- face inform's us that part of the
appearance of Werner, as the preever may be his genius, he must tragedy was written so long ago as publish much of what is common: 1815; but we may be allowed to place, and with the alloy of what is reply, that the drama itself bears even worse. To us who feel a li- evident marks that the long interval, terary anxiety for the fame of all between the conception and the . great men, heightened, in a case writing of the play, arose from other like the present, by something of 'canses than criticism and a revision national pride, it becomes a para- of the subject; and the accidental mount daty to contribute to the dis procrastination is no exception to semination of those opinions and the rapidity with which the noble sentiments which would induce Lort author pours forth bis effusions on Byron, and one or two of hiş con- the public. Eur, Mag. Jan. 1823.