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Wagram; was afterwards appointed The subject of Tasso has been renImperial chamberlain, and, marrying dered popular in Germany, by the in 1810, withdrew from the army, and play of Goëthe on the subject.
Raudevoted himself to literature. His pach, in The Death of Tasso, has furlyrical poems soon attracted attention, nished as it were a second part to although the best of these, entitled Goëthe's, to which he has endeavourTodten Kränze, (Garlands for the ed, in all respects, to conform the tone Dead,) did not appear till 1831, and of his own play. That of the Baron after his reputation as a dramatist had Von Zedlitz is a more independent been established. One little ballad of creation, though, as usual, Raupach's his, written with much force and ori- knowledge of stage effect renders his ginality, entitled Napoleon's Midnight play more effective in representation. Review, has been translated into sev- It must be admitted, however, that all eral languages, and has appeared, we these plays labour under one defectbelieve, more than once in English. that the subject is not dramatic.
The first of his plays, Turturell, ap. Deeply interesting as is the character peared in 1825. It was followed by of Tasso, that interest is not of a tragic Two Nights in Valladolid, (1825;) nature. The picture of a poetical Master and Slave, a tragedy ; and Love temperament at war with the convenwill find a way, a comedy, (1827 ;) tional restraints of its position, at first
The Star of Seville, (1830 ;) The Pric indulging in the dream that the nobi. son and the Crown, and The Queen's lity of genius must counterbalance Honour, (1834.) Of these, we should rank, and then taught by a cruel and say, The Star of Seville, the Two Nights unexpected reverse the folly of such in Valladolid, and the Prison and the expectations, though an affecting picCrown, are the best. In the first of ture in itself, affords but little room for these, which is an adaptation from a development either in sentiment or play of Lope de Vega, he has caught action. Still less does the closing porwith much success the spirit of the tion of Tasso's career-his imprison. Spanish romantic theatre, as in his ment in St Anne's, or his restless comedy of Love will find a Way, he has wanderings from one Italian court to very gracefully imitated the manner of another, after his liberation~afford the Calderon's pieces of intrigue. The materials of strong dramatic interest.
tar of Seville had the strange fortune The uniformity of melancholy becomes to be attacked equally by Liberals and monotonous. Any play which deals Absolutists. While the maxims of with this period of fretfulness, and comdevoted loyalty which the dramatist plaint, and despondency, assumes alhad put into the mouth of Don Sancho most unavoidably a lyrical rather than Ortis, drew down on the head of the a tragic tone. Tasso himself, in a Baron the charge of advocating a beautiful chorus in his (almost unservile submission to authority, the known) tragedy of Torrismond, has tone of the play, in other respects, ap. concentrated the whole spirit of his peared to some of the critical authori- own feelings and situation as he apties of Vienna far too liberal to be proached the close of his course, more safe; and it is even said that its repre- effectually than could be done by any sentation was prohibited.
attempt to develop them in dramatic While it may be said of all the plays action. of Zedlitz, that in knowledge of dra
Come alpestre rapido torrente, matic effect, and probably also in the
Come acceso baleno, delineation of character, he is inferior
In notturno sereno, to Raupåch; yet in-fertility of imagery,
Come aura o fumo, o come stral repente, beauty of reflection, and harmony of Volan e nostre fame, ed ogni onore versification, he is fully his equal. His
Sembra languido fiore. diction has indeed been generally and justly admired throughout Germany. Che piu si spera, ò che s'attende omai? How far we may succeed in conveying
Dopo trionfo e palma, any idea of these merits by our trans
Sol qui restano all' alma,
Lutte e lamenti e lagrimosi lai; lation, we know not. But, at least, the translation is executed line for line, and
Che piu giova amicizia o giova amore?
Ahi lagrime ! ahi dolore! as nearly as possible word for word even the disposition of the pauses in Zedlitz has done as much, we think, the original being generally copied. o impart interest and variety to the subject as its essential uniformity Duke's sister, Lucretia, the Duchess would admit of, by placing beside the of Urbino, determines Leonora to poet, as the companion of his wander- make another and a last appeal to the ings, a young and innocent being, An- compassion of her brother, through gioletta, the niece of the keeper of the the Duke of Urbino, the Duke of Hospital, whose heart has unconsci. Mantua, and the Countess Sanvitale ously become devoted to him in his cell Scandiano, who are expected at the at St Anne's; and by throwing around court of Ferrara. Meantime she anthe last scene of his life the consoling nounces her resolution of seeing Tasso impression derived from the general unce more-though without speaking acknowledgment of his greatness, and to him-in his cell; which she is inthe preparations for his coronation in formed by the keeper is possible, by the Capitol. His play opens with the placing herself in an upper gallery surseventh year of Tasso's imprisonment rounding the cells, whence she could in the Hospital of St Anne's, after many see without being scen by the object attempts had been made in vain to in- of her interest and pity. The fourth duce Alfonso to relax the rigour of scene introduces us to the Hospital of his confinement. The arrival of the St Anne's and Tasso's cell. A high vaulted room with two side-doors. Above, in the background, a large
Gothic glass door, leading out upon the gallery that surrounds the cells. Tasso and ANGIOLETTA, (the keeper's niece,) who sits at one side occupied with some female work, which she from time to time lays down and looks at Tasso.
Angioletta. It is a mild and lovely day of spring,
Tasso. Why speak to me of spring of flowers--perfumes
Ang. O sir, be patient, be composed : you know
Tas. O would it did ! O would it could destroy me
Ang. Here comes my uncle. He comes to announce that the Signor Montecatino, the bearer of a message from the Duke, iş without, and demands admittance to the poet. Tasso refuses to see him, and bursts out into a strain of invective against his mingled pride and baseness, as a being who crawls in the dust before his superiors, and looks as if he disdained to breathe the same air with those beneath him. The Keeper replies
This touches you not. For you are his equal
You rave, methinks;
Keep. I meant not that; I only meant that you,
Understand me rightly.
My faults are more than I have breath to utter;
Keep. Shall I admit the messenger ?
Ang. Torquato !
Be calm, I pray. Is this
Tas. Sweet creature ! I am wrong. But be not angry
[The Keeper retires. Ang. (rising and approaching Tasso.) Tasso! with patience bear
this stranger's visit :
Tas. Thou gentle flower! sure some propitious being
Mont. So, Tasso !-in God's name, how goes it with you ?
Tas. Your pardon: I am sickly, as you know
Mont. Your prison walls !there now another
A thousand thanks
You are pale, my friend
Howl my Lord ?
Tas. My Lord, I am not so mad as they may think
Mont. See now, I always told his highness, when
Tas. (aside.) Patience !-grant me patience, Heaven!
Mont. Yourself are much to blame for your condition.
Tas. (Sighing.) That is true!
Tas. Not so, fair sir! If what I write be good,
Mont. Ha! ha! I give you joy, good friend.
Be it so:
Mont. I grudge it not, Torquato ; nor desire
Tas. Right! very right! And yet, Montecatino,
I cherish this persuasion, when my spirit
Mont. In this, methinks, your dreams go something far!
Tas. It may be so; I am, they say, at court
Explain the message which his Highness sends. The message is far enough from warded of which he approves. Last being consolatory. In answer to a comes the unkindest cut of all-even letter which the poet had addressed to the Princess returns his letter unopenthe Duke, the courtier bears a verbal ed. Montecatino retires, accompaanswer, strictly prohibiting every such nied by the keeper; a scene of pasapplication in future, under the penalty sionate explosion on the part of T'asof having his imprisonment rendered so, followed by exhaustion, succeeds. more close and rigorous than before; Angioletta sings him to sleep, and rethe letters which he may write to tires into the side apartment. Leonora others are to be submitted to Monteca- and the keeper appear in the gallery tino's inspection, and those only for above.
Keep. He sleeps, so please your Highness ;
Leon. (contemplating Tasso-after a pause.)
Keep. Ah! lady, he is worthy of your pity-
Leon. Oh! treat him well. Do for him what you can-
None is needed,
O God! one glance alone!--
Tas. (looking up, exclaims, with a wild cry.) Ha!
rushes in from the side-room.
What is this, good Heaven ?
That was my Leonora ! Act Second opens in Tasso's cham- sion of the imagination. The poet ber, as before. The Keeper is attempts tells him his efforts are in vain; that he ing to persuade Tasso that the appear- knows it was the Princess herself who ance of the Princess was a mere delu- had visited his cell; he infers that his