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ness, or of indifference, in the speaker or writer, provided that something be thrown in to excite curiosity in the hearer or reader, is the most expedient style of proem ; and powers must be kept in reserve, which are to render the close more striking than the commencement. Next, and under the name Proposition, is treated the second part of a speech; the exposition, or unfolding, of the subject, is here meant: it is commonly narrative. Thirdly, comes the confirmation, or proof of the facts advanced; which is branched through successive lectures, and involves details peculiar to the instruction of the French barrister. The Abbé Maury's panegyric of Saint Louis is cited with applause: it was pronounced in 1772. Finally, the peroration is discussed; which should skilfully condense all that has gone before, emphatically repeat the stronger grounds of inference, and press the desired decision with every possible energy

Elocution, or delivery, succeeds to discourse, or composition. A want of neatness is perceptible in the management of this and some other subdivisions : many comments occur, which, however just and amusing, do not illustrate the subject under notice : some repetitions ought to be suppressed : and many of the remarks on pronunciation and prosody concern the French language only. Figures of rhetoric are improperly classed under this head. Declamation, on the contrary, forms with propriety the topic of peculiar lectures ; in which curious details are given respecting the pantomimic spectacles of the Romans.

Garrick,' says the author, p. 404. vol. I., carried this theatric art to an eminent height. I will mention one instance of which I was myself a witness in 1768. At Paris, I met him in a house, the lady of which asked him, after supper, to give the company some specimen of that art which made so much impression on the English stage. He undertook to tell us the story of Othello, and rose at the moment at which his jealous feelings first acquire ascendancy, by finding a handkerchief which he had presented to his beloved Desde. mona, and which he believes her to have transferred with her affections to another. With this evidence in his hand, Othello enters the chamber in which his wife was sleeping, in the security of innocence. Garrick first went up to the chimney, leaned there with one elbow, laid on the mantle-piece the fatal handkerchief, and in his countenance, which we saw by reflection from the mirror, he successively painted the agitations of a husband now doating, now indignant, but always vehement in his sensibility.

• From the deep grief of meditation, we saw him pass to anger, and then to tenderness : he shed tears, he gave himself up to the most frightful despair, seemed to hesitate between love and vengeance, and at last to be possessed by fury. He then seized again the handkerchief, and proceeded with it as if to strangle, I was going to say, or to stifle his victim, a lady of the company having been placed on a sofa to represent the unfortunate Desdemona.


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« This terrific dumb show terminated here; and, to those who knew not Shakspeare, it explained the spirit and communicated the emotion of his tragic energy.'

A concise history of eloquence forms the concluding lecture of the first volume. With considerable ignorance of our literature, the author laments that the master-pieces of oratory pronounced in the British parliament, recorded from memory, and enfeebled by the reporter, are condemned, like all produce tions of the moment, to annihilation, and are totally lost to posterity'

Volume II. opens with the theory of poetry. To an introductory division of the subject, succeeds an amusing dissertation on the origin and spirit of mythologic fable. It is remarked that religions founded on the imagination are more tolerant than those which are founded on the reason ;

the spirit of proselytism being less apt to attach itself to the poet than to the arguer.

Of the several forms of poetic art, the epopea is analyzed first; and the poems of Ossian are here considered as genuine, and adduced as really authentic monuments of the natural state of poetry among a rude and barbarous people. The Edda has

preserved specimens of early native northern song, but in Ossian the manners are as much out of costume as in Telemachus, and incommode the memory with pictures as deceptious, The action of an epic poem is here required to be noble and single. Oberon does not fulfil these conditions; yet it is the most attractive narrative-poem which has been published in Europe since Tasso's Jerusalem. The importance of a plan well considered, and progressive as to its interest, is patiently enforced. The decaying animation of Virgil, the incoherence of Ariosto, the mythological anachronism of Camoens, the superhuman incidents of Milton, and the geographic detail of Ercilla, are censured in turn as they deserve. Homer also is blamed for an excessive division of interest among the different personages of his poem; and M. FONTANELLE advises us on the contrary to concentrate attention on one leading individual, and to make each character and every incident subordinate to. bringing out the single hero of the piece. The Iliad has too much of the disconnection which offends in the Orlando ; and its successive adventures are often episodical, affecting but little the main catastrophe, and happening during but not because of the displeasure of Achilles.

The Epopea is dissected into its several component parts; and a separate critique is allotted to the Exposition, the Invo


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cation, the Fore-scene, (1 Avant-scène,) the Characters, the Episodes, and the Marvellous.

In comparing the principal expositions, the shortest and simplest are preferred : perhaps, there is little occasion for any prefatory description of the fable, or plot. The invocation, also, is a needless and superfluous part of many epic poems. A curious bull is Voltaire's invocation at the beginning of the Henriade; he calls on Truth to lead Fable to his assistance. --About the fore-scene, little is said : yet it is a very difficult part of the structure of an epopea to communicate the events which have preceded the opening of the action, with sufficient fulness, naturally, and without fatigue. Virgil makes Æneas relate his own adventures: but this length of narrative, seldom interrupted by the comments of the patient Dido, has in it a monotonous formality which a narration undertaken by the poet in his own person would not have manifested. The poet can put every thing into action; he knows what passes among gods as well as among men, and can overhear the soliloquy of the traitor or the council of the foe: but his hero is necessarily condemned to that one-side view of every incident and phænomenon, which is the necessary lot of an individual human observer. Hence all narrations by the personages of the poem have in them something anti-dramatic, which abates the vivacity and lessens the interest, whenever a comprehensive view is to be taken of the event so told. We object to the French tragedies that the preliminary matter always, and the catastrophe often, (as in Racine's Phèdre,) are narrated by some confidant; and we require to have the whole action acted. It is not less a violation of the true spirit of epic poetry to introduce historical passages; and to bring a story-teller on the stage, instead of the personages in the plot. Klopstock, in his Messiah, frequently bursts into dialogue; which is better than sinking into chronicle.

The characters are justly considered as the most important features of the epopea; and their consistency, variety, greatness, probability, distinction, and pathos, constitute the chief diffic culty of the poetic artist. It is for excellence in this department that Homer is preferred to all other epic poets. Virgil's characters are mostly cold, unmarked, and not attaching. Milton and Klopstock fall short even of Virgil in this respect. Tassó, on the contrary, surpasses him : the characters in the Jerusalem being distinct, various, attractive, and animated.

Episodes find an apologist in M. FONTANELLE: but a severe critic would complain of whatever tends to detach the attention and solicitude of the reader from the main purpose of the poem. Tasso's Olindo and Sofronia may form a captivating tale: but,


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if Olindo had been involved in the progress of the story, and instead of an episodical had become an implicated personage; this part of the fable would seemingly not have been the less beautiful. Such, we are told, was Tasso's intention : but, when he perceived that Olindo, to be consistent, must become a deserter or a traitor, it was found best to drop him. The episode of Ines de Castro is but a splendid blemish of the Lusiad.

The marvellous is next discussed; and, though a common, this is not an exhausted topic. Colley Cibber published a rhapsody on the subject in 1751, and others have since as unsuccessfully attempted the speculation. Criticism as yet has no where permanently established a rational theory of the marvellous. The first principle which we should be for advancing, and in which we differ somewhat from M. FONTANELLE, is this; that, in the human agency of the poem, should always be found a sufficient cause, or motive, for all the human conduct. Homer adheres strictly to this principle throughout the Iliad ; and so does Pope in the Rape of the Lock. If Pallas had not taken Achilles by the hair, and bidden him sheath his sword, his own good sense would have brought on the action, and if Iris, in the shape of Laodice, had not conducted Helen to the Scæan gate, the real Laodice would have done so. The mythology is there to decorate and to aggrandize, but never to cause any thing to happen which would not else have occurred. Storms and calms, heats and colds, and all the accidents of nature which influence the fortunes of human affairs, are within the province of the gods : but, whenever this interposition, instead of being merely miraculous, becomes supernatural, a great absurdity is committed ; incidents are made to originate as they never can have originated, all probability is destroyed, and all illusion is put to flight. An abuse of the marvellous is frequent in Tasso; as when the knights, who are in search of Rinaldo, pass the straits of Gibraltar to reach the gardens of Armida. — A dissertation on epic style terminates this subdivision. Several beautiful similes here adduced are elegantly discussed ; and a cursory sketch of the principal poets completes the lecture.

To the romantic epopea a separate attention is allotted, we know not why. Tasso surely belongs to this class, as well as Ariosto. Some forgotten poems of the Italians are analysed, such as the Artemidoro of Tellucini ; which describes travels and exploits performed in the old world by native Americans from the new. Some Columbian poet will probably undertake to refashion this earliest celebration of his countrymen. A French translation of the Ricciardetto, by the uncle of General Dumouriez, is highly praised.


Burlesque poetry succeeds. A parody of the Jerusalem Delivered exists, intitled Malmantile racquistato. Some quotations are given from the excellent French translation of Hudibras; and an amusing poem by Voltaire is aptly compared to one of those enchanting syrens, whose attractions even the man who respects himself cannot always resist, but in whose company he is unwilling to be seen.

Dramatic poetry forms the next grand division. First is treated the history of the art among the antients and among the southern Europeans : secondly, are examined the English theatre and the northern drama. We appeal from the partial judgment of M. FONTANELLE to the comprehensive equity of M. Schlegel. - To Greek tragedy the present author gives the preference over Gothic. He talks of the four great masters of the tragic art in France ; reckoning the plays of Crebillon as worthy to confer a reputation : but even the best of them, Rhadamisthe et Zenobie, is no longer borne. The Unities, the Exposition, the Characters, the Intrigue or Knot, the Catastrophe or Unravelling, and the Style, are the heads of discussion. A short survey of the modern productions in this line prepares the conclusion of the second volume.

Comedy succeeds to tragedy; and the same native prejudice in favour of the French school of art recurs. It is, however, in this case more excusable, since ridicule is indigenous; and the seats of refinement have apparently the greatest right to legislate respecting the merits and direction of a sneer. A frequent fault of French comedy consists in treating adultery with levity, as in George Daudin, and in the marriage of Figaro.

The drama, or sentimental comedy, and the opera, or lyric drama, next pass under review. Every nation should aim at a vernacular opera ; it contributes to soften the language for recin tative and musical declamation; it speedily bestows a taste for harmony, grace, and beauty; it diffuses mythological instruction, it multiplies the luxuries of reminiscence; and it prolongs the wings of fancy. The poet of the opera is advised to submit in every thing to the musician. The French opera excels the Italian opera in form, by making the ballets into a part of the piece itself.

From the drama, the lecturer descends to the eclogue, or bucolic dialogue ; and thence to the monody, which is subdivided into the heroid and the elegy. Satire is the ensuing topic ; its forms are dramatic, epistolary, and didactic. theory of the epigram is discussed under this head, and the following specimen is cited with applause; it was written under an engraving representing in medallions three Parisian. writers :

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