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Montfort. What mean these cries, my friend ?-what shouts have scared
Sleep from my eye-lids ? 1 have vainly called
the waichful Gaston-he is gone Perchance to crush some wild seditious broil,
That sends it's tumult hither.
Why hast thou come ?
Strange, indeed :
Do you seek to die?
Approach me not:
Fly! for I have sworn-
I have sworn to kill thee!
I dare not.
Beneath the infuriate people.
They shall see me,
And perish like a soldier.
They shall perish
For the last time,
friend—for the last time, my friend !--(Emlracing
hirr.) Montfort, Oh, Lorédan! Loredan.
'Tis done! we are foes for ever : Go, perish for your master ;-as for me
Oh, God ! let me expire for Sicily! We are sensible that we do great injustice to the force and brevity of the original in this loose and hasty translation. Encumbered as the author was with rhyme (which so often obliges a French writer to dilate his ideas into a tedious amplification) he has swept through this excellent verse with equal smoothness and rapidity, and concluded it by touching the heart with an instance of noble and manly friendship, in which he has wrought a complete and instantaneous, and therefore a most dramatic revolution, in the feelings of Montfort and Lorédan, which sends them into the streets of carnage with all the sympathies of the audience for their anticipated fate. But this verse demands acting of the first order, without which it would be flat and insipid, and press upon the spectator a sense of improbability, which, if once awakened, would mar the noblest writing, and divest it of that which is the very life and essential spirit of the drama.
Thus ends the fourth act; and we regret to be obliged to state that our praise must terminate with it. The fifth act is crudely and feebly composed. We shall dispose of it in a few words. Amelia and her suivante enter for the purpose of describing the massacre to the audience, which was perfectly unnecessary, as it was easy to conceive its horrors, to which no verse could furnish an adequate delineation, and whose description retards the progress of the play, which at such a moment should hurry to its catastrophe. If we may venture on the illustration, a dramatic work should possess “the torrent's smoothness ere it dash below.” Fine poetry itself becomes an interruption, where the passions are all in a state of excitation, and curiosity is trembling for the result. The result in this instance is, we must confess, little calculated to satisfy the emotions which the author had previously succeeded in exciting. Lorédan enters, and informs Amelia that he has put Montfort to death to save his father, against whom the former was raising his sword, at the moment that Lorédan plunged his poniard in his heart. Lorédan raves in the usual style of insanity, into which it is so convenient for dramatic writers to precipitate their heroes when their own invention is stranded. Montfort, however, who has not been wounded to instant death, enters bloody and expiring. Lorédan discloses to him that he is his murderer, and receives his forgiveness. Montfort dies. Procida enters at the head of the triumphant conspirators, and Loredan stabs himself upon the body of his friend. Procida exclaims and the conclusion is certainly a fine one)
Oh my country!
(He stands in silence for a moment and then turns to the
conspirators. Soldiers, be ready for the fight to-morrow! Our limits prevent us from indulging at any length in any farther observations, which might be suggested by this tragedy with reference to the present state of our own stage. We shall take some future opportunity of pointing out what we consider to be the cause of the little hold which modern tragedy has taken of the public, when compared with the enthusiasm manifested in France upon the appearance of “Les Vêpres Siciliennes.”
That there is no want of poetical talent in England at this moment, is universally admitted; and the disrepute into which tragedy has fallen, and the failure, in a great degree, of every person who has attempted it, is a curious subject of speculation. Our acquaintance with the green-room will enable us to supply some elucidation of this fact; for which it may, at first view, seem to be difficult to furnish a satisfactory solution. In the interval we cannot refrain from expressing a wish, that our stage could produce a tragedy equal to that of which we have given this imperfect outline.
A SABBATH IN LONDON.
BY A SEVEN YEARS' ABSENTEE. An Englishman who has passed seven consecutive years on the Continent, might be fairly reckoned an eighth sleeper. His eyes have been open, 'tis true, but he has been virtually visionless—a wonderseeking somnambulist; cheated by a dream of splendor and variety, but unblest by any “sober certainty of waking bliss," or actual reality of comfortable enjoyment. Comfort ! how that word will come into the sentence in spite of me! It is hacknied, worn out, threadbare: I know it is. But what then? Must I discard it on that account? must I not speak the truth, because it is a truism? must I not bask in the sunshine, because the sun has shone since the creation ? must I inly adore and idolize this word, but never utter it, like the Hebrew who closes his lips on the sacred syllables of the Cabala uprising from his heart? It is in vain to think of baulking my fancy. Reader, I cannot write this paper without comfort being its staple, for I write it in the central sanctuary of happiness—in the penetralia of enjoymentat home. Home and comfort! these are, indeed, our own peculiar words. Well may we be proud of them, for they are not understood beyond our shores. Let England be my home, then, and comfort and cleanliness my Di Penates, and I freely grant to cavillers against common-place the right of laughing at my prejudice.
The steam-boat, like a great sea-monster winging its way through the waters, bore me across the Channel in three hours, and disgorged me and a hundred other passengers on the Quay of Dover, one Saturday afternoon in the month of September last. The weather was calm, the sea smooth, the sun clear. Every thing, in short, conspired around the shores of England to give the lie to those prattling impertinenoes, which I had been latterly accustomed to, about eternal fogs, and clouds, and vapours. But on landing I was electrically struck by observing the compact and diminutive look of every thing. I had been so long surrounded by extravagant and disproportioned combinations, that the thrill of pleasure on touching the solum natale was for a moment checked. I shrunk, like Mimosa at the touch of mortality, or, by a plainer and better illustration, like a snail into its shell. But when I got fairly within the comfortable contraction, I was much more at my ease, and I experienced a relief as instantaneous as little Poucet must have enjoyed when he flung off the jack-boots of the Giant. I was at once reduced to my fitting scale and level, and an instant sufficed to make me appreciate the contrast of what I felt with what I had been feeling. I saw at a glance that all I had been so long accustomed to was unnatural and artificial; that the whole surface on which I had for years been floating, was swelled out beyond its due proportions; society puffed up like the frog in the fable; bloated bubbles waiting only to be pricked to make them burst; and men, so many political Titans waging war against Nature, and buried under the ele. ments they are unable to wield.
These were rapid associations running down the chain of thought ; yet all this, and much more, rushed on my mind on looking at the short-set, small-windowed, narrow-doored, two-storied residences ranged on the Quay of Dover. Every thing which followed was qua
lified to strengthen this impression. The snug parlour in which I dined; the light carriage in which I placed myself to start for the metropolis ; the narrow roads, compact inclosures, neat gardens, and natty cottages, as we rattled out of the town—all made me understand that I was no longer in Brobdignag. The very boots of the postilion taught me a lesson of humility.
It was evening when I quitted Dover. The sun was sinking behind the Kentish hills, throwing a rich glare on the hop-gardens--a million times more lovely than the vineyards of Italy or France; and he was covered as he went down by a huge cloud, its edges fringed with his golden beams, and its broad shades throwing a solemnity on the effulgence of his descent. The full moon soon rose upon us, almost as bright as day; and with the beautiful country thus illuminated for me, and my heart penetrated with “ a sacred and home-felt delight," I travelled the whole night without closing my eyes. At five o'clock in the morning the carriage entered the yard of the Golden Cross. Every thing was still as we drove over Westminster-bridge and up
Whitehall -no labourers of any kind to be seen. The repose seemed more than natural, but was not the less impressive on that account. It was quite unlike what I had remembered of a summer morning in London ; but I believe it was the first Sunday morning I had been in the streets so early. By ten o'clock I had got rid of the discomforts consequent on three nights' travelling—had given vent to my admiration of the comparative cleanliness of this inelegant inn with the state of the most magnificent foreign hotel—and had finished my breakfast of tea and French bread, as they call those rolls; which are, by the way, as like French bread, as some other necessaries of life, which the French call à l'Anglaise, are like their originals. I then sallied out to pay several visits, where I hoped to make some fine experiments of the effects of a pleasant surprise. I proceeded straight towards Grosvenor-square, and stepping up to the door of an old chum of mine, I raised the brazen visage that served for a knocker, and struck a blow, strong and heavy, with that ponderous implement. The sound reverberated through the house, answered by the cheerless echoes of emptiness. A woman, however, came out into the area below, and called shrilly,
Why, what the devil d’ye make that noise for, d'ye hear? couldn't you ring the bell, eh ? what d'ye want ?" Rough manners, thought I, but this is English independence, which levels ranks and soars above distinctions of sex. Why, mistress, I want your master, by your leave.” “ Do you, indeed ? an you want him, e'en go and look him out near Norwich, d'ye hear ?"-and muttering something, God knows what, but certainly nothing civil, she retired into the passage, and I lost her-perhaps for ever. I comprehended perfectly that my iriend T. was down at his place in Norfolk, for the partridge-shooting ; but I was sadly puzzled to know the meaning of his housekeeper's want of ceremony. I looked at myself right and left, saw that my coat was good, a watch in my fob, and various other indications of gentility, all as they should be;--but my English readers will scarcely credit, that it was three hours afterwards before sundry such receptions reminded me that a single knock at the door was an official announcement that the hand which struck it was plebeian ; and that all ranks are now-adays dressed so much alike, that the man who has not the dandy knack
for tying his cravat, may vainly hope to escape being occasionally confounded with his servant.
Several other attempts had the same success--for what with the sea and Scotland, the country and the continent, I found that London was nearly depopulated. Well, well,” said I, as I turned into Burton Crescent, “ I am sure of finding my old friend Mrs. W. and her maiden daughter at least; they are none of your migratory misses, who take their annual flight to wells or watering places; they are sure to be in London all the year round.” “Will you have the goodness to tell Mrs. W. that a gentleman wishes to see her, Ma'am,” said I, touching my hat to the scullion-looking wench, who opened the door-for I began to learn humility. “Sir," replied she, “ Mrs. W. is at Fonthill, with her daughter." " What! at Mr. B.'s ?” “ Yes, Sir, I believe that 's the gemman's name.” “ Indeed !” exclaimed I,
guests at Fonthill! and ladies too!! Heavens ! how times and customs are changed since I was in Wiltshire!”—But the newspapers told me the secret next morning.
But this is too bad, thought I: no one in town-all my friends absent-and I a perfect stranger in the land! Come, come, I will bend my steps to my old camp-companion R, who has thrown aside his sword as assistant-surgeon, and taken up his pestle as a master-apothecary. He will moralize with me on thousands of past scenes-he will tell me, with his old good-humoured quaintness, the merits of the last new actor-detail to me the minutiæ of the last pitched battle, and shake my right hand with the same honest grasp as when he put me into the Dover coach seven years ago, slipping into my left a box of anti-bilious pills, with strenuous advice to get rid of the effects of my fever, and avoid every thing heating but ginger and Cayenne pepper. In the direction of his well-remembered residence I accordingly proceeded ; and, after many wanderings in divers beautiful streets, crescents, and quadrants, and wonderings at disorders of architecture, unrivalled in the wildest absurdities of Moorish, Chinese, or Egyptian design, which are, to quote an old author describing what must have been the prototype of Regent-street, &c. "licentious, fantastical, wild, and chimerical, whose profiles are incorrect, and whose imagery lamentable;" after exhausting my admiration at the general improve. ments of this part of the town, and my astonishment at the absurdity of their details, I was at last constrained to ask my way to the house of my old acquaintance. Imagine, good reader, my utter amazement when I learned that the spacious and splendid opening in which I proposed my inquiry to an old Irish applewoman (who decorated a corner, and puffed off the contents of her wheelbarrow, with a twang of the brogue and a touch of the blarney that to me was most mellifluous) was nothing less than the old, tottering, filthy passage, designated in my days of boyhood-i.e. seven years ago-Swallow-street, and that still, as if in mockery of the past, it retained its pristine appellation. But not the most gentle of my readers can well suppose the shock I received, upon learning from my sympathizing informant that honest Jack R was no more; that not a vestige of his house, nor the remnant of a pill-box, not a grain of his powders, nor a drop of his phials, but were many a day buried in the rubbish of the old crazy habitation, and its very site forgotten but by two or three poor patients