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Françoise retires from the scorn of the Queen; but Triboulet, the fool, soon comes to her in a gallery in the palace, and gives her another fatal letter from the destroyer, who promises, if she will give him an interview, to save her brother's life. The
e fool is as much ashamed of his errand, as soon as he clearly understands the import of the letter, as the poet was; but Françoise, who had fainted, on recovering from her swoon, is delirious with fear for her brother's life, and commands and implores Triboulet to lead her to the King evol mid geoda W "Franç. The night grows pale, and the
To melt away, before the burning breath
Trib. Then heaven be with thee, lady! for I can no more.
Follow! and may I in this hour have been a greater fool than e'er I was before. [Exeunt."
The Queen Mother from the hour in which she had detected her son wooing Françoise, felt that her own power over him was endangered, and the more for reason of the with which rage he had visited her intrusion. To avert that evil the loss of her imperial state-she had called Gonzales to her -and asked him "didst ever look upon the dead ?" Having received a satisfactory answer, she commissions him to murder the girl she now hates and fears, and he, on being told that Françoise is betrothed to Laval, with grim joy swears to do the deed. "Gonz. Rejoice, my soul! thy far-off goal is won!
His bride, all that he most doth love and live for,
His heart's best hope,-she shall be foul cor
Say, was it infamy?
Flor. Dear lady, you are ill! Some strange distemper fevers thus your brain.
Come, madam, suffer me at least to bind These tresses that have fallen o'er your brow, Making your temples throb, with added weight:
Let me bind up these golden locks that hang Dishevell'd thus upon your neck.
Fran. Out, viper!
Nor twine, nor braid, again shall ever bind These locks! Oh! rather tear them off, and cast them
Upon the common earth, and trample them,Heap dust and ashes on them,-tear them thus,
Think'st thou a heap of gold as high as Etna Could cover from the piercing eye of heaven So foul a crime as-as-adultery?
Down, down, and hide me in your ruins-ha! (As LAVAL and GONZALES enter, FRANCOISE shrieks.)
Lav. My bride!—my beautiful!-- Gonz. Stand back, young sir! Lav. Who dares extend his arms 'twixt those whom love
Hath bound? whom holy wedlock shall, ere long?
Gonz. The stern decree of the most holy
Whose garb Iwear; and whose authority
Lav. Oh, how unutterably fair!
Gonz. Seems not that shrinking flower the soul of all
That is most pure, as well as beautiful? Lav. Peace, thou vain babbler! is it unto
Why dost thou stare thus strangely at my That thou art prating ?unto me, who have
I will cast off the burthen of my shame, Or ere it press me down into the grave!"
Gonzales is introduced to the penitent -as if to confess or to murder her. She confesses her sin-and now he knows how to wring and stab the heart of the man on whom he has so long burned to wreak his revenge.
Laval, who has retrieved the loss sustained by Lautrec's discomfiture, and been victorious in Italy against Lannoy, returns to France, and flies on the wings of love to the Chateau de Foix. The King, too, had a little
VOL. XXXI. NO. CXCIII.
Worshipp'd her, with a wild idolatry, Liker to madness than to love?
The king! a merry tale, forsooth!
Gonz. Then we
Will laugh at it, ha! ha!--why, what care I?
Lav. Françoise-I-I pray thee
What, tears! what, wring thine hands!
And not one word-not one!
cious and insulting destroyer. The fine, free, generous, and brave spirit of the noble youth, a moment before in enjoyment, as he believed, of life's dearest happiness, love and glory, is humiliated by sudden access of most miserable calamity almost into a slave. He weeps before his deadliest foe, and is not ashamed; when Gonzales says-" Tears, my lord ?" he answers, without seeking to smite
Franç. (To GONZALES) Oh deadly him dead," Aye, tears! thou busy
Thou hast but hasten'd that which was fore
(TO LAVAL) My lord, ere I make answer to this charge,
I have a boon to crave of you-my brother
Lav. How wildly thine eye rolls! thy hand is cold
As death, my fairest love.
Franç. Beseech you, sir,
In Italy; ere now is well and happy.
Franç. Thanks, gentle heaven! all is not
In this most bitter hour. My Lord Laval,
mischief!" And on learning from
Gonz. Thy father died in battle;
Of my dear hate;-I have had such re-
Such horrible revenge!-thy life, thy
Were all too little;-I've had thy tears!
And drunk each bitter drop of agony,
My tools and instruments: you, haughty
And your ambition,-yonder headstrong boy,
And his mad love,all, all beneath my feet,
All slaves unto my will and deadly purpose.'
The Queen-Mother cries, " Ho! lead out that man to instant death;" but the undaunted Spaniard accuses and and of her last and worst, her murconvicts her of her many crimes, derous design against Françoise; and the King, seeing his mother's guilt, commands her
"Give me that ring, Strip me that diadem from off thy brows, For in a holy nunnery immured, And bid a long farewell to vanity! Thou shalt have leisure to make peace with heaven,
(To the body.)—And for thee, Thou lovely dust, all pomp and circumstance
That can gild death shall wait thee to thy
Thou shalt lie with the royal and the proud;
And marble, by the dextrous chisel taught,
'There lies King Francis' paramour!' In life,
Thou didst despoil me of her; but in death,
She's mine! I that did love her so, Will give her that my love doth tell me best
Fits with her fate-an honourable grave: She shall among my ancestral tombs repose,
Without an epitaph, except my tears.
Fran. Then now for war, oh! ill to end, I fear,
two; and more than ingenuity in the way in which they are made to move on together towards the final catas, trophe.
Secondly, the characters are numerous, and all either well brought out, or distinguished and discriminated by a few happy touches, so as to move before us, creatures imbued with peculiar life. There is no dimness or faintness in the colouring; and whether interesting or otherwise, the actors stand well out from the canvass, and, coming or going, do their work directly, with energy, and without delay. The inferior personages in plays are often lame and halt though walking gentlemen; but not so here, although some of them have but little to do certainly, or say either; nor would it have mattered much had they never
Usher'd with such dark deeds and fell been born-either by their mothers,
[Exeunt FRANCIS, followed by the QUEEN and Attendants on one side, and LAVAL, with the others, bearing the body.
The Tragedy here ends. But there is a fifth act, full of fine description, in which is fought the famous battle of Pavia.
We find that we have left ourselves too little room for any thing like a right critique on this admirable production; and, indeed, after so much heart-moving and spirit-stirring poetry, most probably our readers might turn away coldly from any lengthened remarks of ours on its beauties or defects. In the first place, it will be allowed by all, that there is great grasp of intellect, extraordinary, indeed, in so young a person, shewn in the handling of an historical subject of such magnitude and variety, and in moulding somewhat complicated materials, necessarily of difficult management, into cohesive and consistent form. The main plot, in which the Queen-Mother, Bourbon, and Gonzales figure, is, on the whole, planned and executed powerfully and skilfully; and the under plot, as we may perhaps rather inaccurately call it, in which the King and Françoise are the chief parties, hangs well together, and appertains closely to that to which it may be said to be subordinate. Great ingenuity, at least, is displayed in the union of the
or the muse of Miss Kemble.
Thirdly, the sentiments and descriptions, though frequent, are almost always appropriate, both to the characters and the situations, and are rarely, if ever, too eloquently expressed or too elaborately painted, the besetting sin of all our modern dramatic poems, which therefore are, for the most part, poems and not plays. Many of the sentiments, too, are in themselves fine and noble; and many of the descriptions extremely beautiful-proving that in Miss Kemble's genius there is a rich vein of poetry-besides great dramatic power.
But the prime merit of the play is the composition. We mean thereby the language and the versification. The structure of both is admirablequite after the immortal fashion of the great old masters. Yet it is no mimicry of theirs no patch-work imitation. Miss Kemble's ear-and it is a fine one-is tuned to the music of their harmonious numbers; and she uses it as if it had long been her familiar speech. It flows along easily and naturally, as well in the humbler as in the higher moods; and sometimes, when the passion is violent, it proceeds with a powerful and headlong energy not far short of the sublime. It is on her command of an instrument so powerful, but so difficult to wield as dramatic blank verse of the true and high temper,
that we rely, when we predict that she is destined for much greater achievements.
On these her merits it would be
pleasant to us to expatiate, and be illustrate them; but we desire to say some words, not on her defects, but on those of her drama-and care not if they should assume the shape of advice, which will at least be taken kindly, even if not followed, from an old man.
ring any part of the play without contempt and abhorrence. Such a crime as his may be forgotten as we There may have been peniread the history of a man's whole tence, remorse, expiation; but we see him here before us only as a selfish, cruel, and unprincipled seducer, and what punishment was it for such a sin, that he was taken prisoner at Pavia? But there is no connexion shewn or hinted at between the violation and the overthrow; and, indeed, such an idea is preposterous, and was not, we think, in the mind of the fair author.
Would then that in her future plays-and we trust they will not be few nor very far between though like angel-visitsMiss Kemble may choose or create heroes and heroines Great power is displayed in the of a nobler nature. The character of character of Gonzales-but we fear the Queen-Mother is strongly, and it is not a character fit to figure in we dare say truly drawn; but it is the legitimate drama. We presume odious and repulsive. Strong intel- not to say what is natural or not lect she has, and strong passions; so natural in such a passion as revenge. while we hate we cannot perhaps abso- Yet there is to us something perlutely despise her; but, what is as bad plexing in the union of zeal in the or worse, the hag, in her lust of man, cause of his master, Charles, and Yet might, and murder, inspires us with his hellish hatred of Laval. disgust. There is no grandeur in that may be a mistake of ours or a her guilt, as in that of Clytemnestra, or m misconception; but we almost beMedea, or Lady Macbeth, yet her lieve it is no mistake of ours to say disposition is as cruel; and had Bour- that Garcia could not have expebon been bribed by a crown to wed her, the life of her son would have been in jeopardy. The cold-blooded murder of Françoise, commanded to the monk, is revolting; from first to last never do we for a
pathize fully with
"rienced the same immitigable pangs of murderous revenge, from looking on the son of the man who had stained the honour of his house by the seduction of his sister, as if he had beof the man himself emotion by black with the guilt and the insult. which she is actuated; and when she Yet incomprehensible creatures are is doomed to be immured for life in a we all, men and women; and, on convent, we hear the sentence with looking down at his feet, we see the same indifference as if Lady neither hoofs nor claws belonging to Barrymore were about to be sent Iago. once more to Bridewell. To
Even Bourbon's self might, we think, have been made a nobler rebel, and certainly, before he joined the enemy, a higher hero, without violence to the truth of history or nature.
Francis the First is not, in this drama, a king to our mind. He is too much under the dominion of his mother. 'Tis amiable to be a dutiful son, but a full-grown king should not be in leading-strings. We cannot ennoble him to our imagination, by thinking on the pageantry of the Field of the Cloth of Gold. He jousts successfully with Lautrec; but we hear loud cries of Oh! oh! oh! against his conduct to Françoise de Foix. In what does it differ from that of the infamous Colonel Kirke?admiration. It is impossible to look at him dusede opst mil2 1973 199up hourage
We earnestly hope, then, that the heroes and heroines of her future plays will be such, with all their human frailties, as we may follow with there our sympathies; nor, if so, can
doubt that from Miss Kemble's genius will arise far nobler creations, and worthy of immortal