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ed in the sixteenth and seventeenth passing on their respective voyages, centuries,-or the inconsistent vagaries floating dead or alive on the sea, or of Norwegian fishermen.

driven, by various causes, either on Indeed, Mr Editor, it is a happy the coast of Scotland, its isles, or that circumstance for our country, that if of Norway. On the contrary, seldom such an animal as the kraken do exist, a year passes but there are numerous their numbers are not great, nor are instances of whales losing themselves, they capable of any great exertion. and running on some of the aboveIf this species had an existence when mentioned coasts. I shall not agitate, Pliny flourished, (which your corres- this question farther; and therefore pondent seems to prove,) there either proceed to the examination of the comust have been no propagation since Tossal cuttle-fish, which shall not dethat period, or the passage over the tain us long. German Ocean (at least between Shet- The cuttle-fish, though, according land and Norway,) must have been to Pennant, Shaw, and others, enorrendered, many years ago, impracti-mously large, bears no comparison to cable, by their natural mortality. The the mighty kraken ; nor can I well general depth of that channel is from see, from the description given of the 60 to 80 fathoms; and in no part, two monsters, how they can be identieven up to Spitzbergen, deeper than fied as the same species; the one be6 or 700 fathoms. Now, allowing ing an inhabitant of the Indian Ocean, that when Pliny wrote, there existed the other of the North Sea. ten couple of these animals--that they The only thing like evidence in suppropagated only one male and one fe- port of the existence of the colossal male in sixty years that they never cuttle-fish, (and that is of a most suswere killed by accident, nor by the picious kind,) is an account given by hand of man, (for so it appears,) but a Captain Dens, recorded in the works died a natural death at the good round of Denys Mertfort, and made use of age of two hundred years, what must by subsequent authorities, that the be the aggregate number lying dead, Captain, while in the African Seas, or now roaming at large on the north- lost three of his men by an attack ern ocean? As this question, how- from this monster, whilst employed in ever, involves much nicety of calcula- cleaning the ship's sides ; and he adds, tion, I shall at present leave it to the “ that its arms were the thickness of determination of our worthy professor a mizen mast, with suckers of the size of Mathematics.

Pennant, it appears, The whale, which is the largest sea only affirms, “ that he was well asanimal, except the one in question, sured by persons of undoubted credit, that we know of, is generally sup- that in the Indian Seas it has been posed to have young every second or found of such a size as to measure two third year; and the Greenland fishers, fathoms in breadth across the central aware of this fact, always make sure part,” &c. &c.—the remaining part of of the mother, (for the maternal af- the passage is too absurd to merit atfection is here exhibited in a very tention. Dr Shaw appears to have made striking point of view, which I have Captain Dens' account of this sea monmore than once witnessed,) by killing ster a subject of lecture, without the her young first. Allowing, however, support of ocular demonstration, or that the whale had been originally other testimonies sufficient to impress constituted like the kraken, at least us with any belief of its actual existso far as never to appear on the surface but in calmn weather, (which is Now, Mr Editor, I was fifteen years seldom the case in these climates,) nor afioat in the Indian Ocean, and, duany of the species to have been killed ring that eventful period, visited alby man,

of pot-lids."

and that the usual term of most every island, capital, creek, and their existence was two hundred years, course, from the Cape of Good Hope is it at all probable, or consistent with to the confines of the Molucca Islands, reason, to suppose, that out of one but never saw nor heard of this mon, hundred and fifty-seven thousand ster, nor any of the ravages of its fewhales, (about the average number rocity. It may, however, be asserted, killed by Europeans since 1060,) not and with some justice, that the evione of this multitude should ever have dence of seamen, relative to the wonbeen seen by ships passing and re- derful productions of nature, or other

ence.

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subjects peculiar to the countries they East and West Indies, as well as in
have visited, is often unaccountably the southern parts of the coast of
exaggerated; or, if near the truth, so America, many sea snakes, as they are
perplexed with ignorance, that it is called, from six to twelve, and even
extremely difficult to gather truth from fourteen feet in length, but very
such authority. I conceive, however, less in their nature. In the year 1792,
that if the ravages comınitted by the while at anchor at St Johns, Antigua,
colossal cuttle-fish were nearly as fre- one of these snakes, which was about
quent as the horrid ferocities of the six feet, as well as I remember, in
shark, alligator, &c. its name and length, got on the ship's deck by
terror would have been as frequently means of the cable, through the hawse-
in our mouths and minds, as the hole, which was taken up in the naked
names and terrors of these enemies of hand, and heaved into its own ele-
the human race; but, so far from ment.
this being the case, I do not recollect Had your correspondent repressed
ever having heard, during the long Paul Egede's absurd and irreconcile-
period I was in those seas, of the able fiction (for it deserves no other
name ever being mentioned.

term), and a few others of the like
Whilst in the Red Sea, watching cast, our belief would have been great-
the motions of Bonaparte, I remember ly strengthened by the information
often observing, as did also every offi- given by our transatlantic brethren;
cer and man in the ship, an enormous but when we see so many absurdi-
sea monster; but so far from being ties mixed with facts, I really do not
ferocious, like the cuttle-fish, when well know what to think of the whole,
we made any attempt in our boats to when deliberately called on to give
approach it, it continually disappeared. credit to such a fable A hideous
This fish (the name of which I never sea monster was seen, July 6th,” but
ascertained,) was always to be clisco- no year mentioned, " which reared
vered in the Red Sea, by vast flocks itself so high above the water, that its
of gulls hovering over the spot where head overtopped our mainsail,” which
it lay. When perfectly calm, which must have been at least forty feet
was there frequently the case, partim above the surface of the sea.
cularly in the mornings, we used to had a long pointed nose, out of which
be highly amused by looking at this it spouted like a whale. Instead of
monster lying basking in the rays of fins, it had great broad flaps like
· the sun, with the upper jaw of the wings; its body seemed to be grown
mouth, which had some resemblance over with shell-work,” perhaps in
to the great porch door of an old ca- masonic order ; " and its skin was
thedral, but probably much larger, very rugged and uneven. It was
hove back to the angle of 45° from the shaped like a serpent behind; and
perpendicular, whilst the lower jaw when it dived into the water again, it
lay extended on the surface of the sea. plunged itself backwards, and raised
In this position, while thousands of its tail above the water a whole ship’s
gulls (whether attracted by the odour length from its body.”
of its breath, or some other cause, I I shall only observe again, that it is
know not) were flying immediately a most fortunate circumstance, that
over the throat, making a dreadful these sea monsters are so very scarce
noise, which was heard at a great dis- as not to be seen more than once or
tance, the upper and lower jaws were twice in a whole century; for if more
brought together like lightning, with numerous, the consequence would have
a clap resembling the report of a great been most fatal to a great maritime
gun, by which means some hundreds nation, like Great Britain. Our sea-
of the feathered tribe were entrapped men, undoubtedly the most supersti-
into the stomach. This operation was tious part of the whole community,
repeated about every ten minutes, un- would very soon have lost all that
til satisfied, when the animal disap- ardour and enterprise with which this
peared.

brave and heroic body of men are so After what I have advanced against universally characterised; our emi. the existence of the kraken and cuttle- nence, foreign and domestic, would fish, it may be expected I should say soon have been annihilated, governsoinething about the great sea serpent. ment bankrupt, and the nation a prey I have often witnessed, both in the to famine and civil discord. These

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NOTICES OF THE ACTED DRAMA IN

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are considerations worthy, if not of ry at Tunis, discovers that Charles V. the attention of your correspondent, is marching against the pirate city. at least of the serious contemplation He arms the Christian slaves against of ministers; and in order to ascer- their tyrants, and becomes himself tain the fact of the existence of these their leader ; binding himself by an sea monsters, I strongly recommend, oath, that not liberty, or even the emwithout loss of time, such measures braces of his wife and child, shall ás, in the wisdom of government, may make him abandon the common cause. appear most conducive to that end. At this period his wife Bellamira But perhaps the ships that have gone (Miss O'Neil), whom he considered on the northern expedition have or- to be in Italy, and separated from him ders to this effect.

W. B. for ever, arrives at Tunis with her Edinburgh, 9th May 1818.

child, as slaves. Manfredi attempts to save his wife from the grasp of the barbarians, and is, in consequence, about to be sacrificed to their rage, when Montalto (Mr Young) arrives on the spot, and saves him. Montalto

has been admiral of Naples; but being No V.

exiled, by the intrigues of his own

brother Salerno (Mr Terry), he reCovent Garden Theatre.

pairs to Tunis, abjures his religion, Mr Sheil, the author of the Apostate, and is placed in high power. has written a new tragedy called Bel- it to give freedom to Manfredi, his LAMIRA, or THE FALL OF TUNIS, wife, and child, about whom he is which was produced at this theatre on particularly interested, on account of the 22d of April. It is characterised her resemblance, both in name and by the same faults as Mr Sheil's first person, to his own (as he supposes) production, and they are carried to murdered child-murdered by Salerno. even a more extravagant extent; but, At this period Sinano (Mr Macready), from what we could judge by the re- who is also a renegade from his counpresentation, it possesses more and try, arrives from the barbarian camp, greater beauties. The plot is, to the with orders to destroy the chief of the last degree, puerile and improbable. Christian slaves, and to depose MonIt seems to have been taken from the talto from the government. In Mancirculating library, which could very fredi he finds his deadly foe, the fawell afford to part with it, for there voured lover of Bellamira, and the are five hundred or five thousand as cause of his disgrace and exile from good left behind. The scene is laid his native land. He separates the at Tunis,-but wherefore, there ap- husband and wife, disgraces and impears no conceivable reason, for all prisons Montalto and Manfredi, and the chief persons are Italians. In fact, takes Bellamira to his palace. Various Chance has brought the five principal scenes ensue between these two chacharacters together, for the sole pur- racters, in which she resists all his pose of affording Mr Sheil an oppor- threats and intreaties, and rejects his tunity of writing a tragedy about proffered love. At this time Tunis is them ; and he seems to have chosen attacked by the Spaniards. Sinano is Tunis, in preference to any other wounded in the battle which ensues, place, in order that he might be de- but has still strength left to arrive at livered of certain common-places which the dungeon where he has confined he had conceived, respecting the con- his enemies, in order to destroy them. duct of the European powers, in so He kills Montalto, and is killed by long suffering a herd of vulgar barba- him, but not before Montalto has rians to make slaves of their more po- discovered that Bellamira is his child, lite and civilized Christian neighbours, and Salerno his guilty but repentant who would no doubt have been greatly brother. Tunis is now taken ; and scandalized at doing any thing of the the tragedy closes with the reunion of kind themselves. The plot, which we Manfredi and Bellamira. in part extract from the newspapers, This, as the reader will perceive, is is as follows:

forced and extravagant enough. But Count Manfredi (Mr C. Kemble), in truth, the plot of a tragedy, as well à nobleman of Naples, who is in slave- as of any other of the higher species of poetry, is of the smallest possible craving after unwholesome and enerconsequence; at least Shakspeare and vating food ; instead of which, they the Greek tragedians thought so, and have hitherto done nothing but admi. they knew something of the matter, nister to and aggravate it. And the whatever our modern dramatists may worst of all is, that he has made his think. With them character and pas- chief agent in this bad work, a charmsion were every thing, and plot no- ing creature, who is endowed with thing: with us it is just the reverse. qualities adapted, in the most beauThat the story of Electra had been tiful manner, to a directly opposite chosen for the subject of tragedies be- purpose. Miss O'Neil, and beings fore his time, was perhaps the very like her, were given us to cure the reason that Sophocles fixed upon it evils of humanity, not to enhance for the most beautiful that remains to them ; to “ make a sunshine in a us of his. The audience knew every shady place," not to scatter clouds and particular of the plot beforehand ; so tempests in our path. In the Apostate, that there was nothing to divide or Mr Sheil carried this moral torture, tó distract their attention from the deve- which we allude, as far as we thought lopements of character or passion. On it could go ; but in the tragedy before the contrary, the audience of a modern us he has invented a new kind of play can find nothing better to do, the rack, by which the feelings are absomoment it begins, than set about to lutely drawn and quartered. He places conjecture how it will end. It was so Miss O'Neil on a certain spot in the at Covent Garden theatre on the first centre of the stage, and contrives to night of Bellamira. The viva voce keep her there by means of the most critics who sat near us in the pit began violent emotions, which pull at the to discover, in the second act, that same moment in precisely opposite diMiss O'Neil* could be no other than rections, and with nearly equal forces. C. Kemble's wife; shortly after, they The three grand cords (besides several settled that she would turn out to be subsidiary ones) by which he effects Young's daughter; and lastly, as Mr this notable purpose, are, maternal, Terry still remained without a local conjugal, and filial affection. The habitation or a name," they concluded, maternal, however, scems to have the that as he must be somebody, he was strongest power ; and accordingly, a the brother of Mr Young, and conse- little child is used as a kind of loadquently the uncle of Miss O'Neil. stone to draw her about just as the Before long, all these conjectures author pleases. It is introduced into proved to be very true ; and when several scenes for this sole purpose, they ceased to be secrets, the persons and never speaks a word during the who had made the discoveries, having whole play. This is very mischievous no farther interest in the matter, and unworthy trifling; and, judging talked of something else.

from ourselves, its only effect is to It is this “fatal curiosity,” this dis- give unmingled pain at first, and at eased appetite for violent stimulants, length to become quite ludicrous. that has been the bane of the modern We shall endeavour to return to stage. It was at first the effect of bad this subject in a future Number. In dramas, and is now become the cause the mean time, we must add, that we of them; and what is worse, it is the think this second dramatic production cause of the absence of good ones. of Mr Sheil evinces rare and valuable We have poets who are qualified to powers. The language, though someexcel in the very highest departments times overstrained, and disfigured by of our acting drama ; but they are de- the common-places of poetry, is freterred from attempting it, on account quently pure, vigorous, and unaffectof the vitiated state of the public taste. ed; the characters are, upon the whole, Mr Sheil possesses powers that might powerfully and consistently drawn; and should have been employed in and there occasionally occur original helping to correct this unhealthy and highly poetical' thoughts and

images. The audience of a modern play always speak and think of the characters by the

Drury-Lane Theatre. name of the persons who act them. This is a more severe and sagacious criticism Marlow's Jew OF MALTA.-On than they intend it to be.

the 24th of April, this play was re

vived here. The Jew of Malta is, on moral purpose ; or that Barabas is a many accounts, a very curious and in

mere monster, and not a man. We teresting work. It is undoubtedly the cannot allow, that even Ithamore is foundation of Shakspeare's Jew. But gratuitously wicked. There is no it possesses claims to no common ad- such thing in nature least of all in miration for itself; for, besides the human nature, and Marlow knew this. high poetical talent it exhibits, it may It is true that Ithamore appears to be be considered as the first regular and so at first sight. He finds it a pleasant consistent English drama; the first pastime to go about and kill men and unassisted and successful attempt to women who have never injured him. embody that dramatic unity which had But it must not be forgotten that he been till then totally neglected or over. is a slave ; and a slave should no more looked. The dramatic poems which be expected to keep a compact with preceded the Jew of Malta could be the kind from which he is cut off, considered as dramas only in so far as than a demon or a wild beast. Who they exhibited events, instead of relat- shall limit the effects of slavery on the ing them. The poet, instead of tell- human mind? Let those answer for ing a story himself, introduced various the crimes of Ithamore who broke the persons to speak their own thoughts link that united him to his species. and feelings, as they might be suppos- For a more full account of this play ed to arise from certain events and in its original state, we refer the read circumstances; but his characters, for er to Vol. II. p. 260, of this Magaa the most part, expressed themselves in zine. a style and language moulded and The alterations in the Jew of Malta, tinctured by his particular habits of as it has now been performed, are thinking and feeling.

chiefly confined to omissions, with the Marlow was the first poet before exception of a long and tedious scene Shakspeare who possessed any thing between Lodowick and Mathias at the like real dramatic genius, or who commencement, in which each tells seemed to have any distinct notion of the other and the audience the story what a drama should be, as distin- of his love for Abigail, the Jew's guished from every other kind of daughter, which said love nobody poetical composition. It is with some cares any thing about. What could hesitation that we dissent from the be the inducement to change the fine opinion of an able writer in this Ma. and characteristic commencement of gazine, in thinking, that the Jew of the original, in which we are at once Malta is Marlow's best play. Not that introduced to Barabas in his countingwe like it better than the Faustus or house, among his gold ? Lodowick Edward II., but it is better as a play, and Mathias are very uninteresting There is more variety of character, and and intrusive people at best; and it is more of moral purpose, in the Ed- quite time enough to be troubled with ward II., and the Faustus exhibits them when the author wants them in loftier and more impassioned poetry; order to heighten his principal chabut neither of those plays possess, in racter. But it is a remarkable fact, so great a degree as the one before us, that managers of theatres seem to that rare, and when judiciously ap- know less of the true purposes and plied, most important quality, which bearings of the dramatic art than any we have called dramatic unity,—that other given set of people whatever. tending of all its parts to engender and After saying this generally, it is but sustain the same kind of feeling fair to add, that we noticed two slight throughout. In the Jew of Malta, alterations in this play, which seemed the characters are all, without excep- to evince something that looked almost tion, wicked, in the common accepta- like genius. In the third act, after tion of the term. Barabas, the Go- having purchased the slave Ithamore, yernor, Ithamore, the Friars, Abigail, in order to ascertain whether he wilí to compass their own short-sighted suit bis purposes, Barabas desired to views, all set moral restraint at know his " birth, condition, and prodefiance, and they are all unhappy, fession.” Ithamore answers, that his --and their unhappiness is always profession is any thing his new master brought about by their own guilt. We pleases.

« Hast thou no trade?” says cannot agree with many persons in Barabas," then listen to my words;" thinking, that this play is without a and then, after counselling him to disVOL. III.

2 D

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