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History has too little sympathy with the people. It pauses not to observe their wants. It enters not into their distresses, nor into their wrongs. Yet surely it may be expected to furnish purer scrolls. Its pages shall not be always stained with blood. Violence shall cease to be its chosen and reiterated theme. It shall not march with the car of victory, it shall follow the train and triumph of peace. Virtue shall be the brow for its chaplet, and truth the might it shall rehearse. Nor can we doubt the swelling tendency which all things impel. Disappointment may yet be felt. Retrograde may still be seen. Augury, once and again, may be mistaken. A boastful empiricism may turn many to jealousy, and bring much into suspicion. But another kind of History shall be written. It shall yield to new tastes and to new standards. There is,-however mimicked by the air of pedantry, and the stumble of ignorance, -a stately march of the human mind. Its tread was never more firm, and never so swift. Knowledge rapidly diffuses itself, from individual to individual, from rank to rank, like the gathering illumination of the Torch-Race in the Ancient Games. Rather is it day-break, and darkness flies away! Faithful, unerringly faithful, without a flattering bias, shall the history be, which is yet to be composed,—but bright and holy shall be its records. Honoured shall He be for whom its consummation is reserved, Whose hand shall transcribe the final scene, and Who shall conclude the eventful, bitter, solemn, though not unrelieved, tale of our earth and of our species, with an epilogue of enduring concord and true glory!

«Ος δ' αν ανεν μανιάς Μουσών επι ποιητικές θυρας αφικηται πασθεις ως αρα εκ τεχνης ικανώς ποιησης ισομενος, ατελης αυτος τε και η ποιησις υπο της των μαινομενων ή τα σωφρονούντος ηφαισθη.

PLATO.-Phædrus.

“Segnius irritant animos demissa per aurem,

Quam quæ sunt oculis subjecta fidelibus, et quæ
Ipse sibi tradit spectator."

HORACE.

“Our Shakspeare is a stumbling-block to the whole tribe of rigid critics. Who would not rather read one of his plays where there is not a single rule of the stage observed, than any production of a modern critic, where there is not one of them violated! Shakspeare was indeed born with all the seeds of poetry, and may be compared to the stone in Pyrrhus' ring, which, as Pliny tells us, had the figure of Apollo and the Nine Muses in the veins of it, produced by the spontaneous hand of nature, without any help from art."

ADDISON.

ON THE TRAGIC GENIUS OF SHAKSPEARE.

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IF arbitrary Characters in writing be not the abbreviation and disguise of ruder but more natural signs constituting a Picturelanguage, if they be a sudden and perfect invention, like the full-armed Minerva bursting from the brain of Jove,-if Cadmus could rule off his Alphabet at once,-we are, of necessity, carried back to a far earlier age in which substances and events were denoted by graphic resemblances and representations. Such drawings might be more or less skilfully executed,—their usefulness, in the first employment made of them, depended upon the accuracy of the impression they conveyed. As the daub, when a likeness, is preferred to the masterpiece if distortion of those we love, and would recall, --so the primitive symbol was best valued that was most clearly self-interpretative, and that scribe wrote the best hand which had the least contraction and circumflex to be decyphered. It was thus, very probably, that transactions were traced on more durable tablets than sand and wax ; their outline would be attempted in plaster and even stone. Their religious buildings would be regarded as the safest depositories of these memorials. The sacred marbles were thus uncouthly sculptured, and the idea was doubtless borrowed from them which expanded and refined itself in many a classic composition of architecture and statuary in a future æra,—the storied column, pediment, and frieze.

But in addition to these Symbols, counters and marks for things,-a species of instruction arose commonly denominated Symbolic Action. This was accomplished through significant courses of gesture by living individuals or groups. In such personifications the national chronicles were told, narrative was pourtrayed, history was embodied. Man was called by the Greeks Moyeni xox (wov. The more oriental the people, the more

dexterous they appear in its use, and the more susceptible of its influence. Behaviour, the extravagance of insipidity in itself, became, having this intention, informed with meaning, and capable of defence. Instances of this kind, the Res Gesta, are not infrequent in either sacred or secular authors. All, in the management of it, is advised, sustained, consistent.

It is not Ajax butchering the herds, nor Xerxes lashing the waves : nothing is wanton or idle. It is the excess and exuberance of the poetic feeling. It is its own congenial method of notifying instruction, and perhaps warning. If a penitent nation drew water and poured it out before their Deity on the day of their fast, it showed their sense that tears of grief should thus copiously flow. If a man walked bare-foot, it might be to express the utter destitution and shame to which captive kingdoms should be reduced. If another continued for many days to eat his bread by weight and drink his water by measure, it might pre-intimate the approaching visitation of famine. To set a little child in the midst of an assembly, might aptly subserve the inculcation of simplicity and meekness. To bind oneself with the girdle of a friend, might denote the certainty of his being cast into bonds and prisons. To rend the garment might image grief or horror. To plunge a mill-stone into the midst of the sea, might forebode the sudden and total catastrophe of some people or system. Passing from these well-known descriptive acts and foreshadowing imitations of the Hebrews, we may seek similar allusive, sensible, deportment, “ the living drollery,” excellent dumb discourse, in the Classical writings of Greece and Rome. In the first book of the Iliad, the enraged Achilles having struck with his heavy hand, zerga Bagear, his silverhilted sword, and dashed it back into its scabbard, to prove by this show of behaviour that he will restrain any violence which his tutelary goddess had interdicted,-after having indulged his sallies of scorn and invective against Agamemnon,-proceeds to another deed of the same expressive style. He swears by his sceptre, which he pathetically declares never shall bud more, stripped of its foliage and its bark since it abandoned its stem on the mountains,—yet such as the rulers of Achaia bore who were

appointed by Jove to be the preservers of the laws,—and then Alings it, inlaid with golden studs, Zgureong 72.0101 TETU gje svov, upon the ground. He thus formally asserts that he breaks from the confederacy of the chiefs, and withdraws from all co-operation with them ; not altogether failing to impress upon the Council, the loss incurred by the host, and to the cause, in the secession of that influence of which his sceptre was the image, the casting down of which marked that his allies had no more the confidence, and should possess no more the concert, of Phthia's king and Peleus' son.—Æschylus bad offended his countrymen, and especially the guardians of religion, by the freedom of some of his compositions; for this supposed license of impiety he was condemned to death ; when his brother Amynias lifted up

the stump of a mutilated arm, lost in the battle of Salamis, made his silent appeal, by this patriotic sacrifice, to the mercy of the court, and won the sought-for pardon.— The dagger reeking with the blood of the chaste Lucretia made Brutus powerful, and the shambles-knife, plucked from the bosom of Virginia, could not be waved by her father without the fall of Appius, as certainly as though it had struck him to the heart.—The awful ceremony by which the Roman heroes devoted themselves to the Dii Manes, in battle, was most impressive. Livy, in his eighth and tenth Books, preserves some of its most solemn incidents. Much depended upon the appearance of the dress, and the religious ritual of the self-immolation. The heroic victim covered his head with the prætexta, thrust his hand up under that gown to his chin, and stood upon a spear laid horizontally beneath his feet. The pontiff then dictated to him the formula which he recited. Afterwards, being girded in the Gabine cincture, a garb which the consul always assumed in declaring war, he leaped on his horse and plunged into the thick of the enemy. The daring, the votiveness, the generosity, of the sacrifice,—the imagined favour of the infernal deities,-generally raised the courage of the legions to enthusiasm, and spread panic among the foe. “ There,” says the historian, speaking concerning Decius," he appeared in the view of both armies, far more august than human bearing: as if sent from heaven to appease all the wrath

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