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passage, which will give a full idea of the various yet not inconsistent peculiarities of his character; they are collected only (and this we think a merit) from a perusal of the whole poem. In the following extract however, where he is preparing himself for the murder of Isidore, he draws the prominent features of his character, omitting at the same time the brightest traits of it. The scene is in the cavern.
Ordonio.-One of our family knew this place well.
Ord. What boots it, who or when ?
Isid.-What, he was mad?
Ord.--All men seem'd mad to Irim!
Isid.—Alas, poor wretch!
Ord.—He walk'd alone,
Why didst thou look round ?-
Ord.-With his human hand
Why babblest thou of guilt ?
Isid.- I would, my lord, you were by my fireside.
Ord. Where was I ?
Ord.--Surveying all things with a quiet scorn,
of ordinary men-and such he seem'd. To this heartless suspicion and contempt of all men, he unites a certain degree of generosity and honour; and when he finds Isidore armed and prepared to meet bim, he joyfully exclaims:
· Now this is excellent, and warins the blood!
Among my comfortable thoughts hereafter.' He strikes us as bearing in many points a strong resemblance to the murderer of the lamented Perceval ; in his moral madness framing a new code of action, in which he is self-constituted judge and executioner, and by which the most creadful acts of vengeance stand justified of guilt; feeling indeed at times the tortures of unperverted conscience, yet neither terrified nor subdued and angry, at the weaknesses of a nature, which he deems unworthy of him.
We have endeavoured to give our readers some idea of Ordonio; but we pass over the remainder of the characters, because they are either slightly drawn, or are in themselves rather interesting and amiable, than strongly marked or original. But we do not consider this as a defect in the composition of the play. No scene, to be natural, should be exclusively filled with prominent characters ; indeed these are qualities which may be said to exist only by comparison, and certainly cannot have their due effect, unless they are relieved by contrast.
To the merits of incident and character, we have to add the charm of a rich and glowing poetry. Indeed in all that Mr. Coleridge writes are to be observed a loftiness and purity of sentiment, a picturesque conception of imagery, and a luxuriance of fancy, which make us regret that he has so much abused his endowments. The following description is highly poetical:
. The morning of the day of our departure
There seem'd a glory round us, and Teresu .
The angel of the vision.' There is something of uncommon richness and wildness of fancy in the following speech of Teresa :
There are woes
Smile at him from my arms! Highly, howerer, as we think of the merits of the Remorse, we confess we are rather surprised that it should ever have been popular on the stage. The plot has radical errors, and is full of improbabilities. It is improbable that Teresa should not recognise Alvar; it is improbable, that neither Ordonio nor Isidore should discover him; it is improbable, that Alhadra should have been able to collect her band of Morescoes in so short a time; it is improbable, that she should have penetrated, undiscovered, with them, to the dungeon in the castle ; it is still more improhable, that she should escape with them, unmolested, when Valdez and his peasantry must have been in the very entrance. There is also a considerable awkwardness in the conduct of the plot; between the closing of each act and the opening of the following one, more of the action is carried on, than it is possible by any stretch of imagination to suppose natural. We do not, however, build upon those errors, our opinion, that the play is not likely to keep possession of the stage. We know, that in the
illusion of splendid scenery, and the bustle of representation, greater defects than these may well be overlooked; but we think that the great merits of the Remorse are precisely those which in representation would be neglected, or ill understood by the majority of spectators. The character of Ordonio is the masterly conception of an original mind, but to be duly appreciated it must be not merely seen, but studied : it is strongly marked with the metaphysical habits of the author; and the parts must be compared with each other, and with the whole, before we can enter into the poet's own ideas of Ordonio.
Again, the poetry, beautiful as it is, and strongly as it appeals in many parts to the heart, is yet too frequently of a lofty and imaginative character, far removed from the ready apprehension of common minds. We consider the invocation to be appropriate and happy: and aided by music, scenery, and the solemn feelings that naturally arise on such occasions, we can conceive that the whole effect must have been awful and imposing ; but bow few of the audience would comprehend at a single hearing poetry so full of mysterious and learned allusion, as the following !
With no irreverent voice, or uncouth charm
Since haply thou art one
Stands vast and moves in blackness, &c. Throughout the play, the reader who is at all conversant with Sbakspeare, will perceive the author's ardent admiration of the father of the English drama. Mr. Coleridge is, however, no servile copyist; in general his imitation is of that judicious kind which is felt every where, and seen no where, a likeness of the whole, rather than a copy of any part; in some instances, however, by boldly venturing to try his strength with his great master, he forces us to a comparison of particular passages which is pot favourable to him. The imitation, for example, of Hamlet's picture of his father and uncle, though not without some beautiful lines, appears to be the effort of an injudicious and mistaken ambition. Should we even allow, that in any instance of this sort Mr. Coleridge had equalled the parallel passage in Shakspeare; this would not in any way affect our judgment of the merits of the two poets. It is one thing to invent, another to imitate ; it is one thing as by inspiration to throw out a bright passage, which shall become a text in the mouths of all men for ever, and another to study that passage, to enlarge its beauties, to supply its defects, to prune its luxuriancies, and thus at length produce a faultless copy of an imperfect original. Mr. Coleridge is not often guilty of this fault; he has in general rather given us the character, than the features of Shakspeare. For these and many other excellences, which our limits prevent us from noticing, we will venture to recommend the Remorse to our readers. We are confident of its success in the closet, we wish we could be as sanguine of our own, when we exhort Mr. Coleridge to a better application of the talents, wbich Providence has imparted to him. He has been long before the public, and has acquired a reputation for ability proportioned rather to what he is supposed capable of performing, than to any thing which he bas accomplisbed. In truth, if life be dissipated in alternations of desultory application, and nervous indolence, if scheme be added to scheme, and plan to plan, all to be deserted, when the labour of execution begins, the greatest talents will soon become enervated, and unequal to tasks of comparative facility. We are no advocates for bookmaking, but where the best part of a life, and endowments, of no ordinary class have been devoted to the acquiring and digesting of information on important subjects, it is neither accordant with the duty of a citizen to his country, nor the gratitude of a creature to his maker, to suffer the fruits of his labour to perish. We remember the saving of the pious Hooker, that he did not beg a long life of God for any other reason but to live to finish bis three remaining books of Polity.' In this prayer we believe that personal views of fame had little or no concern ; but it is not forbidden us to indulge a reasonable desire of a glorious name in the aftertime.
ART. XIII.- History of the Azores, or Western Islands; contain
ing an Account of the Government, Laws, and Religion ; the Manners, Ceremonies, and Character of the Inhabitants; and demonstrating the Importance of these valuable Islands to the British Empire. London. 1813. THE quality possessed by the magnet of attracting iron was well 1 known to the ancients; but when, or where, or by whom tbe