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boast of either in the days of Elizabeth or of Charles II.
VII. The whole diction of Calderon is as different from that of Shakspeare, as is the relative importance they attach to character and incident. In Shakspeare there is abundance of imagery, but it is the imagery which passion not only tolerates but creates, springing out of the predominant feeling, and appearing as its natural language. In Calderon, on the contrary, it is impossible not to feel that the long descriptions, the accumulation of ingenious comparisons and analogies, the point and subtlety of the thoughts and reasonings, the careful musical arrangement of the verses, the undisguised lyrical passages, such as glosses, sonnets, &c., which are of perpetual occurrence, all show that the natural results of strong feeling have been subjected to a process of reflection in the poet's mind; that the thoughts have been turned in every point of view; that all the aids of fancy and learning have been called in to deck them out in a more ornate form than nature would ever have dictated. The only play of Shakspeare which has any analogy in its diction to those of Calderon, is the early one of Love's Labour Lost, which, in its sublimity and point, reminds us occasionally of those dialectic passages in which Calderon discusses speculative questions of love; as for instance, "What is the greatest pain in loving?" a theme which is debated with much ingenuity and grace, in the first act of El Secreto a Vozes, (The Secret told Aloud,) and again with perfect novelty in Act I. of Hombre Pobre Todo es Trazas-or, "Which is the most difficult-to feign or to conceal?" a question which is handled in the same ingeniously sophistical spirit by Ulysses and his companions, in Act II. of El mayor Encantò Amor, (Love the greatest of Enchantments.)
In these discussions in the style of courts of love, Calderon certainly manifests extraordinary resour
There is one, for instance, of singular beauty, on the respective merits of blue and green, in the Vanda y la Flor, (the Scarf and the Flower.) He occasionally places his characters too in such situations, that, while apparently conveying one meaning to one individual, another of a very different kind is conveyed to another. Thus, in A Secreto Agravio
Secreta Venganza, (Act I.,) the sonnet in which Leonora appears to be conveying to her husband the assurances of the tenderest affection, is so ingeniously constructed, as at the same time to convey to her former lover, who stands disguised as a merchant in the background, a pretty decisive intimation that she has not forgotten her early passion. The masterpiece, however, of this species of contrivance, is perhaps El Secreto a Vozes, where two lovers communicate with each other aloud in the presence of jealous rivals by means of a cipher, which consists in selecting the first word of every line as conveying the meaning, the rest being mere remplissage to deceive the bystanders.
These subtile discussions, which appear to have been great favourites on the Spanish stage, as well as the long descriptive narratives, of which one or two seem to have been considered as indispensable in every Spanish play, and on which the actors invariably bestowed their most elaborate and finished efforts of declamation, can only be accounted for, first, from the avowed and understood principle of composition to which we have alluded-namely, that the language was not supposed to represent the immediate effusions of passion, but rather the finished and refined results of judgment, reflection, and fancy, exerted upon the natural dictates of the feelings; and secondly, because they formed points of repose amidst the incessant hurry and bustle of a complicated action, and allowed the poet to recapitulate, and to show the connexion of incidents which, in the rapid movement of the piece, might have escaped the notice even of the practised Spaniard, skilful as he is said to be in following the most involved thread of intrigue, and finding order and sequence where a foreigner perceives nothing but confusion.
Yet fertile and inventive as we admit Calderon's fancy to be, we cannot give him credit for that variety of imagery which is ascribed to him by Schlegel. On the contrary, though from the vast mass of his works a rich collection of images and comparisons, which are at once appropriate and novel, might be selected, we have seldom met with any distinguished poet who repeats the same image, in nearly the same words, so often or with so little ceremony as
Calderon. Indeed, nothing but the necessity of supplying the exigences of the theatre with a rapidity which did not permit a very rigorous elimination of former ideas; and the fact, that during his own lifetime most of his plays were confined in an unpublished shape to the theatre, so that he might safely trust that his plagiarisms from himself would remain undetected, could account for the frequency with
which an ingenious comparison, and sometimes a very indifferent joke, are made to run the gauntlet of many comedies. A few instances will illustrate the extent to which this system is carried.
In the Dama Duende, Act II., love,
Which, if it engenders venom,
De quien se sale el veneno,
The same image occurs again in the Galan Fantasma, (the Spectre Lover.)
Una vibora, no tiene
La ponzoña y la triaca ?
And a third and fourth time in No hay burlas con el Amor, and Las Armas de · la Hermosura.
DONNA ANGELA, in the Dama Duende, Act. III,
As the pencil can invent
Forms that vary with the light,
form two different lights, &c.
The same image, with very little variation in the expression, again occurs in La Vanda y la Flor, Act II.
Nay, within the same play, the same image is sometimes repeated.
DON MANUEL, Dama Duende, Act II.
Wonders surely must be hydras,
Since from one a thousand others
Spring in turn.
Hidras, a mi parecer
Son los prodigios, pues de uno
Again, in Act III.
My ills are hydras, since they still contrive
Again, in Mejor esta que estava, Act I.—
And again, with a slight variation of the idea, they are like the Phoenix, because when one dies another springs from its ashes.
Again, in No hay burlas con el Amor
Que bien dicen que los males,
Son, se hay uno, como el Fenix,
Pues cuna en que uno nace,
La Tumba donde otro muere.
And finally, misfortunes are like cowards, because they never come single, but always in pairs.
Que eran cobardes decia,
This absurd comparison, which might be tolerated as a joke in the mouth of the gracioso, but which in Calderon is given with all gravity, occurs a second time in Mejor esta que estava, and a third time in Los Tres Mayores Prodigios.
If, then, within the limited portion of Calderon's works with which we profess to be acquainted, so many repetitions of the same images, comparisons, or thoughts occur, it may fairly, we think, be assumed, that in the vast mass of his plays with which we are not familiar, many other instances of this system of making the most of an idea might be pointed out. We certainly are not disposed, therefore, implicitly to subscribe to the opinions of his German critics as to the unbounded variety of his imaginative powers. On the contrary, we think his range of imagery, on the whole, rather limited, and that his dexterity is chiefly shown in giving an air of novelty to ideas with which we were formerly familiar, by the new situations in which they are introduced.
On the whole, we feel disposed to give a very decided preference to Cal
La Vida es Sueno.
deron's comic over his tragic plays. Of pathos we think he has very little, at least we must confess our insensibility to the pathetic effect even of the Constant Prince, which is generally referred to as a favourable specimen of his powers; and the mere stateliness and elevation of his manner, seem to us but a poor substitute for the profundity, and the deep human feeling, of Shakspeare. He carries our sympathies with him when he paints scenes of chivalrous honour, loyalty, or courtesy ; but when he seeks to move the tender feelings, we cannot recognise the master of the human heart. In plays of a mystical character, we readily admit the wild and gloomy grandeur-the strange visionary effect, like that of a troubled dream, which he imparts to such themes as La Vida es Sueno, (Life a Dream,) and En esta Vida todo es Verdad y todo Mentira, (In this life all is truth and all is falsehood ;) both of which illustrate nearly the same idea, viz., that of the hollow and unreal character of that "little life" of ours which is "rounded by a sleep."
What is life? 'tis but a madness,
But in his comedies, which, like Shakspeare's, often deal with matters of very serious interest, though terminating in a happy conclusion, we acknowledge with less qualification Calderon's mastery over the subject. His comic powers are great; while the principle upon which his dramas are constructed, making human conduct seem the sport of mere accident, suits better with the lighter interests, em
La Vida es Sueno, Act II. barrassments, and distresses of comedy, than with the more earnest passions which it is the province of tragedy to delineate.
In our next Number we shall resume our translations from the Spanish theatre, and present to our readers ample specimens from one of the best of Calderon's comedies of the Cloak and Sword.
Å LETTER FROM EUSEBIUS TO HIS FRIEND, AND HIS REPLY.
Ir was long before I could bring myself to think seriously of your intentions. You farm!-are you dement. ed? I have imagined you in all possible positions agricultural—and have laughed at the wretched figures I have conjured up, very heartily, more meo; but that I should label them with your name!! Oh, what a pity it is, the cap and bells are out of vogue! You had better by far, sith you will follow vagaries, turn merryandrew. You farm! whom I have hundreds of times heard say, that though you had lived in the country so many years, you did not know peas from potatoes. So now, other means of ruin in this perfectable world failing, you must set yourself up as a plough er, a sower, a hedger, a ditcherand little wot you, in your simplicity, what a sackful of troubles each of those nouns-substantive is ready to lay at your door. It is not that you make an ill choice alone; you make a laughable one. You will be the butt of the whole race of fat-faced farmers, and before you have been in it six months, will be reduced to be the scarecrow for your own fields and even then, the very hedge-sparrows will cock up their tails at you, and chirp witticisms upon you in their depredations. Well-it is your own doing-and remember the say ing, "He that makes his choice without discretion, doth sow his corn he knows not when, and reaps be knows not what.' Your reason is sophisticated, and your heart is not in the matter, and never can be. The very style of your letter proves you are deluding yourself. You used to be a plain-spoken man, told a plain tale in plain words; now you write, and to me your familiar, as if you were labouring at a prize essay, and run your periods into Ciceronian English. And because Virgil tossed about the dung with dignity, you think it incumbent on you to walk out of your library, with a pitchfork over your shoulder, upon your campaign of folly!! It suited you very well to read eclogues, and look over your portfolios, rich in masters old and
new, and then to go to bed, and dream of Pan and Sylvanus-nymphs, satyrs, and id genus omne-but waking, to dream on that you would meet them in the disguise of overseer, churchwarden, waywarden, clodhoppers and weeders, would justify your friends in holding an inquest, de lunatico inquirendo, upon the dead body of your understanding, and it is not your friend Eusebius could rescue you-" Fit rusticus" would be the only answer to every attempt. "How can he have understanding whose talk is of bullocks?" And there you are, I dare to say, at this moment, in your easy-chair, dreaming on, and glorifying yourself, leading a prize ox by the halter; dream on it will soon turn out "The Vicar my defeat, and all the village see.' ." You speak with delight of living "Ut prisca gens mortalium"-you quote Horace, but forget that the usurer Alpheus, just upon the point "jamjam futurus_rusticus," wisely changed his mind, or expended it in verbal praise, and bought in again on Monday what he had sold out on the Saturday. You have Horace at your fingers' ends→→→ but you cautiously omit the apt story of Vultejus Mena, hooked by the old crafty lawyer Philippus, in his sport of human weaknesses and sufferings, to accept a farm-who, "ex nitido" a town dandy, "fit rusticus"— who, when he had lost his sheep to the thieves, and his cattle to the murrain, quite distracted, takes horse, and calls up his patron in the middle of the night, entreating him to take all, and restore him to his former way of living.
How admirably the old lawyer quizzes his victim!" Durus," as Horace calls him. The hard-hearted old sinner sees him worn to a chitterling by care, and compliments him upon his anxiety, the too deep interest he takes in his country affairs. know the passage well. It will be as good as a glass, a perspective glass to you, jamjam futurus rusticus"but don't come to knock me up in the middle of the night, when your daily disasters have driven you out of your
new farming senses that you have adopted—I will be "durus" harden'd against you as Old Philip.
There now, is a piece of rascally callous philosophy for you, worthy of Philippus himself. Come to me-ay, at any hour by night and by day, mocked, laughed at, cheated, beggar'd, like the prodigal son, sneezing from the husks of your own swine-I will re. ceive you, welcome you, caress you, and never breathe a syllable of your past folly; for were we not "nursed upon the self-same hill," but never, never will we "Feed the same flock by fountain, shade, and rill." You cannot surely have been deluded by poetry-by your reading Virgil and Theocritus and Hesiod. You don't imagine either would have handled a plough, but in verse. Eclogues and Georgics indeed! In the former the very shepherds are miserables, all lamentation and regrets, and richly deserve the stick they contend for; and in the latter the poct does not even colonize his Australia with respectable people. The pastor Aristæus would disgrace any parish, running after another man's wife, and being the death of her. Here was a pretty fellow to pop his nose into a bee-hive, and (serve him right) find his colony defunct. But the poet was sick of his apprenticeship to ploughmaking, and was glad to plunge into episode and fable.
And in truth, the fabulous part of ancient rusticity is pleasant enough, when there was a sort of golden age, and no taxes, and shepherds had nothing to do but pipe, and nymphs to dance-but now we must "pay the piper". - and who now-a-days ever sees Chaw bacon like Alphesibeus dancing the "satyrs?" The only tune the Farmer delighteth to dance to, is "Money in both pockets"-I wish he may get it!-for "he danceth well to whom Fortune pipeth." The country pipes now-a-days, are terribly fusticated with tobacco, not the bacca, hederæ, and olivæ. And can my friend—my classical, my tasteful friend -jog with bumpkins to fairs? Can he bear to fumigate away all his better ideas in the Cacus dens of" entertain
won't do it is altogether a mistake— you are not "natural born and bred to it."-You will be cheated by your servants, laughed at by your neighbours; and, worst of all, detested by yourself, before you have been initiated-if initiated you ever Your sheep will die of the rot, and your hay will be burned in the making-you have no Pan as the "ovium custos," and so you will be out of the frying-pan into the fire. Your cattle will go astray, and your neighbours bring actions of trespass against you. You will be so sick of, and mad with troubles, that, like poor old King Lear in the storm, you'll bid them “ Blow and crack their checks." Yes-the "pitiless storm"-it will come down, well directed upon your hay-field; whilst your host of labourers, your Damons, your Thestylus', and Phillis', are enjoying their idleness, and drinking you up by the gallons. In vain will you be classical, and cry out upon the "ilia messorum"_down pours the inexorable torrent, and the living tottering cider- casks and beerbarrels drink to you in their "swilled insolence," and then fall off and snore like pigs in your presence. You must positively contrive to lose the delicacy of every sense; seeing, touching, smelling, tasting, hearing. There has been a story going the rounds, of a musical genius in the back settlements, for lack of other instruments, arranging his pigs. What think you of studying the gamut of grunts, in exchange for your "ancient concerts?" You that are wrapt in Elysium with Handel and Mozart, to be put off with a chorus of butchers cheapening your cattle! You used to delight in the song of birds, and would stay at the chirping of a hedge-sparrow, and say it was the very note of inquisitive happiness; you fed them with crumbs-but now, your innocent delight is gone, they are no longer your sweet choristers, but feathered depredators; you even teach poor children mercenary cruelty, by instigating the churchwarden to put a price upon their heads—a penny a dozen-nay, those you used to feed so familiarly from your window, you immolate into a sparrow pudding. You will no longer go out to admire nature, with your sketch-book and colours; your portfolio will contain nothing but maps and terriers; the