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Beyond this general appearance, there is little to be seen but a bit of mosaic and a fountain, and even this last has not escaped the doubts of the incredulous.
“ Before the discreet traveller girds himself for this tour,” says Mr. Hobhouse, “ he is requested to lay aside all modern guide-books, and previously to peruse a French work, called • Researches after the House of Horace. This will undeceive him as to the Blandusian Fountain, which he is not to look for in the Sabine Valley, but on the Lucano-Apulian border where Horace was born."
The proof brought forward is incontrovertible as far as it goes, and is founded on a bull of Pope Paschal, that mentions the “Castellum Blandusiæ ;” and in enumerating the churches, to which it is addressed, describes one as “ in Blandusino fonte apud Venusiam,” which leaves no doubt that there was a Blandusian fountain where Horace was born. But a distant fountain could scarcely be the object of an ode and a vow, and it is very unlikely that Horace, “ satis beatus unicis Sabinis," possessed a residence elsewhere. Perhaps the poet, finding a nameless well in his farm, which he sought to elevate into his Helicon, and to dignify it by an appellation, called it Blandusine from that near his native place. The controversy is of little moment: the well in the Sabine Valley, if it be not the actual “ Fons Blandusix, splendidior vitro," is consecrated, independent of that ode, in the epistle to Quinctius,
«« Fons etiam rivo dare nomen idoneus, ut nec
Frigidior Thracam, nec purior ambiat Hebrus;
Infirmo capiti fuit utilis, utilis alvo.” So much for Horace-too much, perhaps, for one every way unworthy of reverence, unless as possessed of poetic power. It should be the boast, not the regret of England, that she has few Horaces to deify her Cesars, and that her best Mæcenases are her princely booksellers. In this light, may she never have her Augustan age !
Cupid and Time, an Eclogue.
I must o'ertake you by and by :
I exercise, it is to slay.
So, Mr. Scytheman, keep your distance.
The sorrows that poor lovers feel !
And none can fear except young Dandies ;
The Literary Trio.
To mutton and old port:
In verse and chapter court.
From the gay Poet's tongue ;
And more the echoes rung.
And amicably chum:
The Fair Sophist.
On Visiting an old Armoury.
Credas simulacra moveri
LES VÊPRES SICILIENNES.* Lorsdan makes some compensation for the feebleness of diction in which the avowal of her guilt is conveyed, by the force of his invective and imprecation.
Your treachery stands
, let him arouse
Then will you think of me! Lorédan continues his invective against Amelia in verse of great force, which our limits will not permit us to extract, and bids her retire lest the vehemence of his emotions should hurry him to an extremity. She complies with his injunction. This scene, though well written, is, when taken with reference to the plot, objectionable, upon the ground that it does not forward the progress of the play, and contains no new event or intimation of some future incident on which expectation can be fed. This is a defect into which every author not acquainted with the stage is apt to fall, but it is most injurious to dramatic interest, which, though it may not constitute a very important merit, and may be attained by writers of inferior capacity, is yet indispensably necessary for success. We have seen whole acts of tragedies abounding with poetry and filled with character, which were rendered wholly unfit for representation by this fatal blemish. In general, the French authors, who, with less vigour, have yet more intimate perceptions of effect than the writers who have reached a high reputation in England, avoid the commission of this error; and the work before us is sufficiently free from it to render the scene to which we have alluded less imperfect than if it were a link in a long series of irrelevancies. The rest of the act is rapid and precipitate. Procida enters, and informs his son that Gaston, whose wariness was such an object of alarm to the conspirators, has been despatched. Procida exhorts him to make reparation for his offence by some great achievement, and the selection of a noble victim. The conspirators enter, and, in order to reconcile the improbability of their holding their assembly in the hall of Montfort's abode with any resemblance of likelihood (the objection which has been so often made to Cato, and which arises from too
* Concluded from page 390. VOL. V. NO, XXIV.
scrupulous an observance of the unities), it is supposed that they ar-
In thousands at the altar; now's the time-
God is our guide to carnage !
Hold a moment !
To feel the poniard.
What! against one heart
One blow should be sufficient.
Who should strike it?
That! dare you say so?
The first stab
Call you the son of Procida. My friends,
On his revenge : remember it. Come on! This scene is sweeping and rapid, as it ought in such an emergency to be. The conspirators precipitate themselves from the stage, with Procida at their head, to accomplish their sanguinary purpose, of which the outrages committed by the French furnish a sufficient extenuation, to divest the leader of this enterprise of that horror with which our imaginations would have arrayed him, had not his dreadful deed been palliated, to a certain extent, by the enormity of those offences against his country which he was sworn to revenge. A mere unmitigated villain is an undramatic personage. He excites no other sentiment than that of detestation, as unmingled as his own atrocities. Unmodified depravity may be occasionally introduced for the purpose of bringing other characters into relief, and making their good qualities more conspicuous from the depth of shadow which borders on their delineation. But, in general, cold blooded malignity should be banished from theatrical representations. Procida commits a deed repugnant to all our notions of morality and honour ; but it receives from the injuries which he has endured a partial alleviation. The author should, perliaps, have dwelt at greater length upon the outrages of the French, and entered into more minute details of their barbarities; but he was writing for a Parisian audience, whose vanity would have recoiled from the spectacle of their national atrocities, and upon this account he was, in all probability, induced to sacrifice to the necessity of pleasing a people so sensitive upon every subject connected with the honour of their country, what was at once due to justice and to dramatic propriety. To return from this deviation: Lorédan remains upon the stage, having undertaken to put his friend and benefactor to death. This is a fine situation, and is managed by the author with exceeding skill. A person unacquainted with the stage would, probably, have indulged himself in a long soliloquy upon an occasion of this kind, in which he would have scrupulously and minutely anatomized the feelings of Lorédan, and have made him, at great length, descant upon his misfortunes, and indulge in much lachrymatory egotism and self-contemplation. But the author knew better, and accordingly he is satisfied with putting into the mouth of Lorédan a few lines, the brevity of which is their chief merit; because in such a situation the audience, who are awakened into the most intense expectation, and pant for the event, would listen with impatience to the finest poetry that was ever endited.
Thus the author has, with singular dexterity, brought Montfort upon the stage in a moment that assembles in its compass so many deep and thrilling interests. It is likely that an English writer, who thinks that there is even a merit in breaking the unities, would have led Lorédan to the couch on which Montfort was reposing. For our own part, we conceive that the unities ought never to be violated during an act, except where some great object, incompatible with their observance, is to be attained. The sudden appearance of Montfort, awakened by the call of Lorédan, is infinitely more impressive than any change of scene, which in the hands of one of our melodramatists would have presented Montford to the audience talking, in all likelihood, in his sleep. Upon Montfort's entrance he says