صور الصفحة
PDF
النشر الإلكتروني

TRIBOULET.
Well, now for new mischief : 'twere sure a good thing,
To play in his turn some trick on the king.

Enter a SERVANT (who whispers to Triboulet).
Monsieur de St. Vallier is waiting below,
Enfeebled by age, and heart-broken by woe:
He asks for the king.

TRIBOULET.

Good Lord ! what a joke!
Let him in (servant retires),

'twill be fun, though 'twill scandal provoke.

st. VALLIER (without). I must speak to the king !

KING.

No! no !-Who comes there?

ST. VALLIER.
I must speak to the king!

KING.

No! no !
ST. VALLIER (entering).

But I swear,
I will speak to you, sire.

KING.
St. Vallier ?

ST. VALLIER.

The same.

TRIBOULET.
The charge of his answer, my liege, let me claim,

(turns to St. Vallier, and continues in a pompous theatrical tone.)
My lord ; you were guilty of treason, your head
Was forfeit to law, the just sentence was said,
But your merciful monarch restor'd you to life ;
So far good. Now, what causes this rage and this strife ?
Have you lost all your sense, are you mad, are you wild,
To wish for a grandson, your son-in-law's child?
Your son-in-law's frightful, misshapen, ill-made,
The marks of small-pox in his face are display'd;
Of his visage no painter could tell you the tints,
Pale, yellow, and brown; it is said too he squints :
He's pot-bellied, just like my friend whom you see (points to M. Cossè),
And he's hump-back'd and crooked, exactly like me.
Were your daughter once seen with such man by her side,
The world would yourself and your daughter deride ;
It was merely through kindness to check this appearance,
That led our good king to make his interference.
He felt quite reluctant your grandsons should be,
In the front like to him (pointing to Cossè), in the back like to me.
Your son-in-law's ugly, his children would shock
Every mortal who saw them; you're rid of that stock;
Let the monarch alone, he'll continue your race,
With innocents human in form and in face;
And very soon grandsons your old age shall please,

By pulling your beard and by climbing your knees. We say that this ribaldry is extravagant had exaggerated the vice, and ascribes to and unnatural; but whatever doubt may the miserable jester a poetic and profound be on that point, we are sure that every melancholy such as can only be rivalled in one will be persuaded that the utterer of the Thoughts of Pascal and the poems of such scurril jest could not himself be a Byron. tender father, jealous almost to insanity of Blanche is a more perfect character, his daughter's honour; guarding her purity though her sorrow for the seduction is with a watchful zeal, such as the most blended with too large a portion of love for sublime virtue alone could inspire. But the seducer. It is easy to conceive that Victor Hugo does not even suspect this in-' despair might drive her to wish for death, congruity; he exaggerates the virtue as he because there is no longer any thing left

of her wrongs.

for which she can dare to hope. But as- their power, they are necessarily destitute suredly it is going too far to represent her of verisimilitude. purposely placing herself in the assassin's There is one redeeming characteristic of path, and sacrificing life to save the author the drama we have contemplated which

formed no part of the original conception, We think that most of our readers will but which becomes evolved in the deveagree with us after this brief analysis of lopment; it is the transforming power of Victor Hugo's most celebrated drama, that one noble sentiment. While we read the he has violated the truth of humanity as

father's tender effusions, we feel as if paflagrantly as he confesses that he has out- ternal love had rendered the hunch-back raged the truth of history. He has made lovely and the miscreant noble. We venhis work purely a creation of fancy ; his ture to translate a part of Triboulet's adfictions are generalisations of his own dress to the senseless body, after he has thoughts, not of realities, and great as is recognised his child. (Triboulet takes the body in his arms as a mother holds an infant, and turns to the bystanders).

Oh no! she's not dead-God would not remove
My last source of hope and my sole earthly love :
The hunch-back is scorn'd, avoided, or spurn'd,
No pitying eye on his sufferings is turn’d;
But she-oh! she loves me, my comfort, my stay,
Her tears wash'd the sting of the scorners away.
So lovely and dead! Oh no! aid me thou
To wipe off the damp that has sullied her brow.

( Takes a napkin from one of the spectators.)
Her ripe lip is red. Had you seen! I behold
Her an infant once more with her ringlets of gold.
How fair she was then! See, I clasp to my breast
My Blanche, my delight, my poor daughter oppress’d.
'Twas thus when an infant I fondled her charms,
Thus still and thus helpless she lay in my arms ;
When my angel awoke, ah I could you but see,
How her eyes saw no wonder, no monster in me;
But gaz'd with affection and radiance divine,
While her little hands grappled feebly with mine.
Poor lamb! Death-oh no! It is gentle repose-
There was danger before—now her eyelids unclose.
She awakes, she awakes ; and one short moment more,
Will Blanche to her father's endearments restore.
My friends, I'm not mad, in my words there is sense,
To none of you here have I offer'd offence:
And since you have found me so tranquil and mild,
Permit, oh permit me to gaze on my child.
How smooth is that forehead ! no wrinkle is there,
And gone are the traces of sorrow and care.
Her hands have already grown warm within mine,
Just look—will you touch them?

A STRANGER.

I see not a sign
Of motion or life, but the surgeon is here.

TRIBOULLT.
Well—I will not hinder him, let him draw near--
You see, sir, 'tis nothing-just a fit, as I said.
Oh speak ! is it not so ?

SURGEON.

The lady is dead-
Then be not by fanciful symptoms beguil'd.

TRIBOULET.

I have murder'd my child—I have murder'd my child.

( The curtain falls.) It was manifestly an after-thought that gested a still more singular drama. Victor led Victor Hugo to rest his defence of this Hugo resolved to display maternal tenderdrama on the purifying influences of pa- ness, redeeming and ennobling the most ternal love ; but the idea once presented atrocious crimes, the most consummate to his imagination, held its sway and sug- tur de. We need not enter into the general question of examining how far a he demands that they should be tried, not drama can be legitimately applied to the by the conventional standard of any stage solution of a psychological problem, but of society, but by the general laws of huassuredly neither the subject of Lucretia man nature. The demand is unfair ; but Borgia, nor the manner in which it is even if we yield to it, what law of nature treated, are calculated to inspire us with would justify maternal love redeeming not any favourable impressions of the author's one vice, but every crime which the tongue artistic skill.

can speak or the mind conceive ? A heroine polluted by incest, murder, We have not room to enter into any adultery, encircled by an atmosphere of analysis of Angelo, the tyrant of Padua; it depravity, to whom crime is as necessary is, in fact, a mere revival of Hernani and as food, retains the feelings of a mother: it Marion de l'Orme; there are a scoundrel is possible, for the tigress loves her cubs; and a courtesan, each with a single virtue, but is scarcely within the limits of credi- pictures undoubtedly from the dark room bility, that the object of her affection and imperfect glass, creatures of Hugo's should be the offspring of incestuous inter- imagination, whose archetypes could not course, the living witness of the most re- be found in the world of reality. But our volting crime in nature; and it is utterly old acquaintance, Bloody Queen Mary, impossible that her affection should be of must not be dismissed so summarily; she that holy and pure nature which alone is is made the heroine of a drama, or rather worthy of poetry. We might have en- she is made the form in which the author dured the moral anomalies of Victor Hugo's developes one of the most whimsical ideas earlier plays; it is possible that the bandit of his consciousness. The psychological Hernani

may have preserved the chivalrous discovery which the drama was formed to feelings of a Spanish noble, and that the propound, is contained in the following courtesan Marion de l'Orme may be ca- speech of Lemon Renard :pable of pure love ; but it is utterly impos- My Lord Chandos, when a woman is sible that Lucretia Borgia should have our ruler, caprice is our ruler. Politics room in her polluted soul for any feeling are regulated, not by calculation, but that could interest humanity. It was a chance. We are no longer able to count flagrant error to make such a moral mon- upon any thing. To-morrow will not be a ster the heroine of a drama. What would logical inference from to-day. Affairs of be said of the sculptor that sought his state cease to be a game of chess, and bemodels in the charnel or the lazar house, come a game of cards.” that wrought representations of revolting Now while we deny that this aphorism decay, or still more revolting deformity, can be received either as an absolute or to shew that there was some single mi- general truth, we assert, that if the entire nute feature in the human frame which annals of history were searched for a reresisted the disgusting effects of death futation, no more striking instance could be or pestilence ? But Hugo has gone found than Mary Tudor. She was not beyond this: never was there in life or capricious, but as steady a bigot as ever in death any thing more shocking, more the church of Rome produced, and as inhorrifying, and more sickening than his flexible a despot as either her father or portraiture of Lucretia Borgia; and the sister. The politics of her reign might attempt to relieve the picture by traits of have been calculated on from the outmaternal love merely superadds incredulity set with more certainty than Finlayto disgust. Yet it was received with ap- son's long annuities. The politicians of plause on the very stage whence Hernani her day could count upon every thing. and Marion de l' Orme had been hissed The to-morrow of her time might be read and hooted : such is the influence of per- in the yesterday ; and the affairs of state severance in producing the toleration of were only a game of cards, because the splendid error.

chief player could sauter la coupe and hold Victor Hugo has told us the secret of the all the honours. peculiarities of Lucretia Borgia; it is simply This drama is, indeed, Victor Hugo's the development of an idea of his own most flagrant sin against historical verity ; consciousness-maternal love in a vicious his partisans tell us that he had a right to bosom-the characters have derived no- baptize his own idea, but we say that by thing from history but their baptism, and such baptism he did by iinplication“promise

and vow certain things in its name," and dark room and through his distorted methat the neglect of the conditions is ruin- dium, he will not correct his false impresous to the child.

sions by his own experience or that of It would be worse than idle to criticise others—he neither mixes with the world the historic verisimilitude of a drama, in nor reads history; hence his representawhich there is not an incident that would tions are distorted phantasmagoria, objects have occurred in the reign of any of the of wonder, of horror, even of admiration, Tudors, nor indeed at any time in Eng- but not of sympathy. And hence their land. It is equally at variance with ab- fate may be predicted, they will be stared stract human nature. Marie Tudor and at, applauded, and forgotten. Jane are impossible characters; their love The influence of the theatre cannot be and their jealousy are not the passions as revived; Victor Hugo in his efforts to rewe see them in real life, and the hero store stage dynasty, has inflicted upon it an Fabiani is to the full as much out of nature irreparable injury, by removing it to a as Triboulet. We need not pursue the greater distance from reality, and thus deanalysis farther; he who has read one of priving it of sympathetic interest. He has Victor Hugo's plays can understand the mistaken the true nature of fiction, which plan of all; his system is to represent one is the more perfect when it is the more pure passion struggling with and over- true; but he has evinced powers that coming the depravity of all the rest ; it is would command success if he opened the the Corsair or Giaour broken into crums; shutters of the dark room and substituted he exaggerates the purity, he exaggerates plain glass for the imperfect convex lens. the depravity; he views both in his

DENNIS O'DAISY AND THE PIG.

"No doubt the Fairy hath been here!"-GAY.

I had been angling on the Nannywater, cupations, and Nancy to attend to her duties and, after a good morning's sport, determined in the bar—where a continual bustle, clankto turn in and have breakfast at my friend ing of pewter pots, and loud talk, gave unTim Casey's,—who at that time was land- deniable evidence that the house was well lord of the “Golden Shamrock,” near Black- to do.” For my own part, having lighted Abbey. I had two motives for doing so : my cigar, I took up the “Dublin Observer," first, because the hostess, Mistress Nancy and stretching out my legs upon the sofa— —was justly considered the best hand in or rather settle-determined to “ take mine the country at dressing rashers and eggs ; ease in mine inn." and next, because I wished to select one of Before ten minutes however had elapsed, a litter of fine Newfoundland puppies which I was interrupted by a stentorian voice exTim's celebrated “ Mermaid" had just pro- claiming —"Blood-an’-agers! Missus Casey, duced.

darlint, how is every bit of you? but, by While breakfast was preparing, Tim and gorra ! it's yourself that's looking elegant, so I walked into the yard, and paid a visit to I needn't be after axing.” the manger where the whelps lay comfort- “ 'Tis Dennis O'Daisy,” said I, “for a ably nestling their noses and resting their guinea to a turnip,—I know his voice.”

each other's flanks, in a state of So getting up, I rang the bell, and sumsomnolency. Having made my selection, moned our hero into the parlour. we returned to the little parlour, and there Dennis was a boy, (at least so he called found the tea, coffee, et cætera,as exquisite as himself,) about thirty years of age, six feet a keen appetite could desire—Nancy with two inches in altitude, with a proportionable her best cap, and best smiles, officiating in breadth of shoulder and strength of limb. person at the tea-board.

In his attire, he was invariably, (if I may As the moralist says, “ All human happi- be allowed to apply the language of Horace,) ness is fleeting;” and as I say, 6 breakfast simplex munditiis. He wore strong shoes, itself must have an end !” The important bluecotton stockings, short leathern breeches, business being over, and its equipage re- and a coarse grey coat-or rather jacket,moved, Tim went off about his out-door oc- with very brief skirts. A low-crowned hat,

VOL. X.-NO. 1v.APRIL, 1837.

chins upon

A A

[ocr errors]

or &

perfectly devoid of all nap, and slightly lous timidity, by his less credulous complaced aside, upon an immense mop of curly, panions at the alehouse; and as often had black hair, surmounted his person, and (with he exclaimed in reply,—“Blood-an’-agers ! the addition of a shirt,) completed his cos- isn't it enough that I'm not afeard to face a tume ;—for, (except on Sundays,) he gene- man, or a mad bull, or, by Jabers! a rally dispensed with the use of either waist- rhinoros, or any other frightful Christhian, coat or cravat, “ not,” as he declared, but yous must expect me to go for to stand

in the regard of the saving, but becaze he aginst the Divil himself ? Well, wait felt aisier athout them.” On the Sabbath, awhile! maybe the Good People may talk however, he sported either a “plover's-eye,” to some of your yet!” shamrock green,"

" Why, Dennis, have you ever seen any

of them same ?" tied round his nate neck,"

“ Have I! is that what you say? oh, no and a cotton vest, cut from a piece of cloth, matter !-never you fear, I've seen more originally intended for a bed-curtain, and

nor the best of yous has comed across yet; having portrayed on it, in glowing colours, but not more, (plaze God !) nor some of the spirit-stirring device of a Fox-chase !

you may meet before

ye

die." About the design in this last-mentioned

By this evasiveness in his answers, Denwork of art, I shall at present say nothing; nis, at last, went far to convince his audibut I think the artist rather laid himself

tors that he had seen something, and by long open to the strictures of criticism, as far as

and habitually thus tacitly lying, in order the execution was concerned. It evinced a

not to remove their error from the minds of startling contempt for perspective; and in- his catechumens, he finally began to believe deed a boldness—I had almost said careless- with the fervour of a devotee even the ness—of colouring, which went far to con

wildest and most absurd of his own vince me that the “ Ball's-Bridge” cotton

theories ;factory has not been able, (no matter what

Dark, tangled doctrines, dark as fraud can weave; the connoisseurs may say about home ma

Which simple votaries shall on trust receive, nufacture,) to equal the yet celebrated loom

While craftier feign belief, till they believe ! work to which old Gilles Gobelin has given In a word, as Dennis grew older, he every his name.

I shall not press my readers, however, to adopt this opinion, as after all day became more amusingly superstitious.

Our hero at this time was land-stewart, perhaps it may be the result of early prejudice on my part.

indeed factotum to Sir Valengame-keeper,

tine Burrows, who intended at the next At so-hoing a hare, snaring a rabbit,

trout-stream, drawing a

or robbing a
general election to become a candidate to

in Parliarookery, Dennis was without a rival. .He represent the county of D

ment. Now it so happened that his near was also the best wrestler in the Three Parishes, and had unconquerable courage, interest in that quarter; and in consequence

neighbour, Lord Doublechin, had paramount barring by night;" for Dennis, like many thereof, was paid every courtesy and attenof his country's peasantry, was ludicrously tion by the worthy and aspiring baronet. superstitious, and has been known to run

When Dennis entered the room, I obwith breathless speed from an old white goat, who, in his anxiety to reach a tuft of served that he'deposited in one corner of it ivy, had set his fore fcet against the church- brawny shoulder, tied round the mouth

a small sack which he had slung over his yard wall, and happened to peep over it just as Dennis chanced to be reluctantly taining some

with a leathern thong, and evidently con

ing animal. passing, at the hour of gloaming,

“A bag-fox, I'll be sworn, Dennis !” Shadows the soul of Dennis could appal! said I. Ghostsand Ben-shees he trembled at the very Ah, by my sowl! Sir, I wish it was name of; but the Faries were his grand that same :—but," added he, in a half subject of alarm. When mention of "The whisper, “my master, do you see, is latterly, Good People" was made, he either became I'm afeard, not going on altogether right.” silent altogether, or talked mysteriously, “ How so, Dennis ? I do not underand with as much guardedness as though he stand you." firmly believed that Queen Mab herself Why, you see, ever since this Parl'mint was within ear-shot of the conversation. business comed into his head, he never takes Often had he been jeered at for this ridicu- a gun in his hand at-all-at-all ! and that,

66

« السابقةمتابعة »