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lousy of Othello, and the ambition of and universally established practice; Lady Macbeth ; but no one, except but it is time to think of its execuour author, ever thought of giving, in tion. Independently of this fundathe form of a drama, an anatomical mental mistake, we think she has analysis,-a
-a philosophical dissection sometimes erred in the delineation of of a passion. Her highly poetical her characters, and the developement mind and fine conception of human of her fables. In De Montfort, where character, and her glorious clevation the passion that is to be illustrated is of moral sentiment, would have risen hatred, she seems to have been so eliabove every difficulty but this. To make grossed with her favourite system, as this plain by an example in Othel- to attend neither to consistency of lo, though jealousy is the poisoned character nor probability of incident. fountain from which all the calamities It is merely an outline, sketched by a of the piece flow, we never think of it bold and masterly hand certainly, abstracted from the character of the but it wants the filling up, and the Moor, It is the consummate art and symmetry, as a whole, that gives the villany by which lago kindles up in his likeness to nature. If it were possigenerous and unsuspecting mind the ble (and for the honour of human fires that are to consume him, and his nature we trust it is not) that deadly giving to “ trifles light as air” the hate could find a place in such a mind hues of importance, and his well as De Montfort's;—that he should be feigned friendship, while he is seek- gentle, and amiable, and benevolent ing his undoing ;-—it is the terrible to all but one man, and that the very workings, and the overwhelming e thougbt of him should transform him ruptions of this volcanic passion, and into a fiend ;-that he should be so the powerful sympathy we feel for bereft of all good feelings as to assassithe gentle and the pure Desdemona, nate the man who had twice spared his that form the charm of this great life ;-there is no good cause assigned drama, and the passion is interesting for this terrible outrage on humanity. only as it influences the fortunes of A school-boy rivalship, a taunt, a the prime actors. In Miss Baillie the sneer, are the front of Revenvelt's ofcharacters and the incidents are mere- fending. Base and flagitious as men ly a mirror in which to contemplate often are, we have never heard of a the passions, or rather a microscope, murder proceeding from such a cause; by means of which she seems to think and we are confident that such a uthat she has brought within the sphere nion never existed in the same mind of our vision things too minute for at least in a state of sanity) as in the naked intellectual eye. This is, this fiction of Miss Baillie's imaginawe think, the radical defect of her tion. Again, to appeal to Shakespeare, plays, and casts an air of restraint and which is, in truth, to recur to nature, formality cver the whole of her per- in Othello, the change from the des formances; yet there are in them votion of love to the frenzy of jealousy, many delightful redeeming qualities, is as sudden as the flash of lightning, and we shall have much more plea- yet instantanecus as it is, it is in the sure in dilating on these than in the natural current of events. In such a discovery of faults, where there is so character as the divor, the scion of a much to admire.
semi-barbarous land, the passions are As far as we remember, the best in the fiercest extremes ; love is the plays, ancient and modern, are found- adoration due to a divinity, and jeaed either on historical facts, or on le- lousy is a fiery tenpest, that passes gends, which, in all probability, had over its object to its destruction; and their origin in real events, that had in this very instance Shakespeare has undergone considerable changes by displayed the triumph of his genius the inaccuracy, or even the genius of in not omitting a single circunstance the narrators. This is to follow the that could operate on such a mind, order of nature, and in this case the and in the natural and easy transition action is seldom confined to the de- from love to jealousy, and from jeavelopement of one passion. All the lousy to madness, and from madness Greek, and the greater number of to murder. Shakespeare's tragedies, have been so It is the want of a proper soil in constituted. Miss Baillie's plan was which to plant such a passion, and therefore a bold innovation on a long the culture necessary to its growth.
(if we may be allowed such an ex the passion were equal to the produce pression,) of which we complain in tion of the consequences that follow De Montfort; we are told, indeed, from it, it is not sufficiently accountthat it has sprung up and thriven, ed for, and the mind turns in increbut we do not see it possible. We dulity from love, at sight, as the are aware that we are here treading origin of such calamities. Here again on dangerous ground, and that we the evil arises from the system; for have against us the authority of one the author has thought of the passion, of the ablest living dissectors of hu- and nothing but the passion, nor has man passion ; but though Godwin has she even deemed it necessary to asrun into the same radical error with sign a good cause for its production, Miss Baillie, he has, with infinitely more and to it she has sacrificed probabiskill, traced the passion through a se- lity and nature. From this fundaries of events that give it the colouring mental blunder nothing can be conof probability. Of this character we ceived more insipid than Basil in must say, though the sentence may love, yet the genius of Miss Baillie seem to be harsh, that, if the author has, in some degree, redeemed this by would make it a puppet" for her fa- the energy she has given him in quelvourite passion to speak through, sheling the mutiny, and the great interought at least to have made it speak est she has thrown around the wreck aright.
At the same time we must of a noble mind. admit, that this defect is not nearly
For these reasons,
cannot so obvious in the reading, as in the help lamenting that ever Miss Baillie representation; and we cannot forget, thought of fettering herself by a false that, when we went to the Edinburgh system, instead of looking into life, theatre to witness its first representa- and drawing her subjects thence untion here, full of enthusiastic admi- shackled by prepossessions of any ration from its perusal, how painfully kind. There was in the idea a cerwe were struck with this sin against tain air of originality that was seduce truth and consistency. It was this tive to an ardent and ingenious mind, that shed a haze over the whole per- and she incautiously followed its formance, that not even the glorious splendour, not considering whither it character of Jane De Montfort, walk- would lead her. In her preface, she ing like an angel of light amid the even boasts of it; and, as it is the darkness, nor even the sun of Miss only claim she makes on our approBaillie's genius, could dissipate. bation, we regret that we cannot grant
These remarks apply more or less it; yet, in these dramas, there is to all the Plays on the Passions. In much left for us to admire. Basil, where the passion is love, simi In an age of great poets, she has lar errors are committed. It is not acquired, by ker dramatic writings, a very likely that a soldier, in the full distinguished station in the literature career of military glory, should have of her country, yet we are almost been so much thrown off his guard by tempted to wish that she had written one glance of a beautiful woman, and epic rather than dramatic poetry, for so bewitched by her presence, as to which her powers of description, risk even the possibility of being ab- and the loftiness of her conceptions, sent from a battle, in which he was have eminently qualified her. If a to add the last leaf to his laurel tragedy written for the stage is not wreath-a dereliction of duty which received there with an enthusiasm he knew would plunge him in irreme- of delight, or if the applause is bediable infamy ; yet this must either bestowed on any thing foreign to the supposed to be natural, or the ground- characters and their fortunes, the auwork of the tragedy be condemned. thor may be said to have failed in his Here the author seems to have been aim. Niss Baillie's ambition was the aware of the inadequacy of the cause stage, this she has herself told us, to the effect, for she has made the fa- and, indeed, we believe it is the aim of ther of the lady, who was secretly every person who writes a drama, hostile to the cause in which Basil whatever name he choose to give it,was to fight, form a plot to detain she has submitted to the judgment him, yet he only urges his daughter to from which there is no appeal ; every use the whole influence of her charms thing has been done for her that the for that purpose. Besides this, though' talents of the most distinguished ac
tors could achieve ;-a Sidilons and a never portrayed another character than Kemble have been enlisted in her Jane De Montfort,--and never written cause ;-—she has been heard with fi- another scene than that betwixt her your and applause, and partiality has and De Montfort, after the perpetration even turned aside the edge of criti- of the murder of Revenvelt, these acism ;-her plays have had their run, lone would have raised her to a high yet have they been quietly laid aside rank among the dramatists of her on the shelves of the prompter, and we country. She has here finely connow hear of them as a part of our ceived and beautifully expressed the acted drama, no more than if they had purity and the ardour of sisterly afnever enjoyed a stage existence. This fection,-all those holy ties that link is a death-blow to the hopes of the the heart of a sister to a brother, and candidate for dramatic glory, and per- which not even infamy and crime can haps more mortifying than the tu- dissolve. In this character every multuous condemnation of a first lineament is so completely filled up, night, where a few noisy and mali- -all the most amiable feelings of our cious people may prevail over the good nature flow so spontaneously,-it exsense of the more judicious part of the hibits such a lofty moral tone in union house. The fault in this case cannot with such tenderness, and there is be with the public, for they had read withal so little of effort in its prothe Plays on the Passions with feelings duction, that we are confident that of delight, before any of them were it is not the offspring of the imaginaacted, and went to the representation tion, but the unstudied effusion of with partiality in their favour ;-it her own spirit. Who would not venecan hardly be with the managers of rate such a character as Jane De Montour theatres, for it is likely that they fort, and if in this beautiful portrait will bring the plays most frequently Miss Baillie has unawares perhaps forward that draw the fullest houses. drawn herself, who would not erecta There is then only one other alterna- shrine alike to her virtues and her tive, and in it we fear that we shall genius ?
X. find the cause.
These dramas possess poetical merit of so extraordinary a kind, and in many instances dramatic merit too, that we cannot help regretting the cause deeply wherever it may
MR EDITOR, lie.
It was announced, some time ago, No species of literature is so con- in a contemporary periodical work, stantly under the eye of the public as that a celebrated supporter of the Hutthe acted drama :-every London ap- tonian theory of the earth had acprentice has Shakespeare by heart; knowledged the existence of stratified nor is there any which is in so great granite. This is true; yet I hope danger of being forgotten as an un- it is no impeachment of the able obacted play. Ford and Massinger were server's discernment to say, that it is till lately left to the obscurity of black possible he may be mistaken. The letter, and the libraries of the curious. truth is, that geologists at this day have Yet if this admirable woman has fail- no distinct definition of the word straed in aught, she has failed where few tum, while, at the same time, they use but Shakespeare have succeeded. If the word bed, both as synonymous, and she has not always been faithful as something different. The distinction even to the delineation of her fa- between these was clear enough in vourite passions, and has not always my younger days, before geological made men and women pass in review war began ; but, in the confusion of before us in the unquestionable at- battle, the distinction seems to have tributes and the universal features of been lost. I believed the distinction nature,-if there is often wanting a to be this,-that stratum was used to link in that mysterious chain, that express a mass of rock, the internal leads men as by the irresistible impulse structure of which indicated a certain of fate to the perpetration of crimes; regularity in the arrangement of its yet has she exhibited many fine con- materials, sometimes parallel, or nearly ceptions of character, and many scenes so, to the planes which forin the sides truly dramatic,—of an elevating ener- of the mass, and always in the same gesy, or a melting tenderness. If she had neral direction ; that a bed had all the
characters of a stratum, excepting the criminately for the general appearance apparently mechanical regularity of the both of beds and strata, and hence, arrangement of its materials. This probably, has arisen the confusion of distinction is very evident in the vici- the two. Perhaps superposition might nity of this city, in the instance of be used when beds are spoken of, as Salisbury rock. There the greenstone lying one above another, as interposiis pointed out by Professor Jameson tion is used when a bed appears aas a bed, while the sandstone, &c. ex- mong strata. Such distinctions may hibit stratification. Now, I ain in- to soine appear trivial, but to those clined to maintain, that the green- who are in the habit of studying geostone of Salisbury rock is as well en- logical descriptions, I doubt not of titled to the appellation stratum as their having due importance. There any granite rock in Switzerland or is not, perhaps, any kind of descripelsewhere. It is interposed between tion in which clearness is more necesstrata of sandstone, just as the gra- sary than in that of rocky masses, nite, referred to above, is between since geology may be said still to be gneiss. I dare say most of your geo
an infant science. logical readers are acquainted with The most celebrated English and the beds of porphyry that occur be- Continental geologists seem to be neartween Blair in Athol and the inn of ly agreed respecting the igneous oriDalnacardoch. No one has ever cal- gin of trap rocks; and the opinion led these strata of porphyry. They of Von Buch in this respect, a pupil are beds apparently ; but, on an exi- and zealous admirer of Werner, must mination not very minute, they will have great weight. But, although we be found to send off numerous have veins of granite presenting, with branches or veins, which cut the stra- respect to primitive and transition ta of gneiss, and clearly indicate these strata, the same appearances that apparent beds to be great veins acci- greenstone, basalt, &c. offer to our dentally running between, instead of notice among those that are secondary, across, the strata ; and a great many Von Buch does not allow the igneous instances have been observed and re- origin of granite. Much as this lastcorded of great dikes or veins, in their mentioned rock has been explored, course among the strata, occasionally and although the fundainental posirunning for a considerable distance tion of Werner, that granite was the between them. In the sume manner, rock on which all others rested, has granite has been observed to proceed been long ago proved to be groundand to be formed in apparent beds pa- less, still we must make more careful rallel to gneiss. Now, as we know and extensive observations, before that there is no limit to the space concluding that granite is either igthrough which granite, porphyry, neous or stratified. Crystallization is greenstone, &c. may pass in this man a guod general mark of want of strati. ner between strata, we ought not to be fication; but, if the Wernerian syshasty in forming a conclusion fro:n tem, as extended by the speculations our seeing a very great extent arrang- of Jameson, be well founded, stratified in this manner. Granite and gneiss cation is a word which is inadmissible, are very nearly allied ; and, indeed, so inasmuch as it has been understood to nearly, that, in a great many in- imply mechanical deposition from wastances, hand specimens can with dif- ter. This is, however, too extensive ficulty, it at all, be distinguished. a subject for your Miscellany, and I For these reasons, I think we should have thrown out these hints merely not be hasty in forining general con with the view of suspending the judgclusions, the more especially, as we ment of your readers respecting what. have found, during the extension of has been said of stratified granite, our knowledge, that the more careful until we shall have seen the descripwe are in observing, the farther we tion of it by the great illustrator remove from any theory supposed to of the Huttonian theory; and, in be generally applicable to every phe- the hope that soine geologist of nomenon. If there be, as I think known ability will favour us with a there should, a distinction between definition of the words stratum and the words stratum and bed, there bed, which occur in geological writseems to be a word wanted to denote ings so often without a specific meanthe arrangement of beds above one ing, and in a manner which greatly another. Stratification is used indis- misleads the student.
In the same work in which the no- took down a volume of Johnson and tice respecting granite is given, we Steevens's Shakspeare, to pass away find an observation, or rather a specu- the time before I retired to bed. As lation, of Major Peterson, respecting I was engaged in unravelling one of stalactites, in caverns of lava observ- Dr Warburton's long notes, I was, ed by him in Iceland, some of which some how or other, surprised by that he supposed might have been formed sort of stupor, so ably accounted for by the percolation of water. Geolo- by Professor Stewart, in which a cer. gists are, in general, very fond of an- tain consciousness of visible objects nouncing new discoveries and specu- still remains, though the faculties are, lations ; but, in this instance, I ap- in other respects, under the influence prehend that Major Peterson has been of a dream." In this state, I imagined misrepresented. I was fortunate in myself on a sudden transported into having that gentleman's acquaintance, the red century; and, by a similar and to have had a conversation with Legerdemain of the senses, the book him on this very subject, with speci- I held in my hand appeared to be conmens from the volcanic caverns before verted into a volume of Tristram us. His words to me were, -" I do Shandy, printed in the year 2118, in hot say that I can prove it, as I had which I fancied I read a series of comlittle time to extend my examination; ments upon a passage, which does not, but I think it, and it may be possi- at the present day, seem to require ble.” Without specimens, it is im- much explanation.
The whole was possible to enter on this subject. I so fresh in my memory when I awoke, can only say, that I paid particular that I was enabled to commit it to attention to such specimens of these paper, with tolerable fidelity. As you stalactites as were before me, and I may possibly esteem it sufficiently cucould not find that any part of the rious to obtain a place in your valualava forming the roof of the caverns ble repository, I take the liberty of offers room for a conjecture that wa- transmitting it to you, in the followter, in percolating through it, has car- ing words : ried any portion along with it to form "Speaking to a little dwarfish bandy the stalactites, all the vesicles appeare legged drummer," I think we should ing perfectly entire. Nevertheless, as read bendy legged, from the verb, to Major Peterson observed, it may be bend, or bow. In the Latin the word possible. But we must not receive “ valgus" is employed, which sig. such a speculation too readily, or draw nifies bowed or crooked legged.--POPE. conclusions from it, especially as the The precise meaning of the word author himself declared, that the a- “ valgus," is of little consequence, queous were exceedingly difficult to as the author seems to have aimed at be distinguished from the igneous any thing, rather than a literal transstalactites. For my own part, I am lation; otherwise, he surely never disposed to prophecy, that we shall at would have rendered," nequaquam, last admit the agency both of fire and respondit uxor," by, "’tis a pudding's water; and incline to the belief, that end, said his wife."
I suspect Shan water, strongly heated under power- dy wrote “ bendy locked," for curly ful compression, may have produced headed, the drummers of those days substances which we know that nei- having been always boys. Sometimes ther heat nor water separately can they were called 'drum-boys. This form, under any management of ours, reading is, moreover, countenanced by or in any circumstances in which we
little,” and “ dwara can imagine them to operate indepen- fish.”—THEOBALD. dently of each other.
S. This passage has been strangely Edinburgh, March 1818.
corrupted. Beyond all question the author wrote “ dandy ragged dreamer.” The word “ dandy” frequently occurs in the romances or novels (as
they were then called) of the early MR EDITOR,
part of the nineteenth century. The I had the misfortune to dine alone * Dandies” appear to have been a yesterday, (an evil which sometimes sect that flourished about this period, occurs to us bachelors,) and, having and were remarkable for the wildness nothing better to do in the evening, I of their tenets. Of what nature these
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