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On another elevated plain near the former many temples remain in a tolerable state of preservation, with numerous images scattered about, nised with large fragments of hewn stone.
On a more minute examination of this plain,' says Mr. Raffles,'traces of the site of nearly four hundred temples were discovered, having broad and extensive streets, or roads, running between them at right angles.'
Mr. Raffles states his reasons for supposing that these numerous temples must have been constructed between the sixth and ninth century of the Christian era ; and the Devanagari characters on the inscription found at Brambanan are recognized by Mr. Wilkins to be such as were in use on the continent of Hindostan, about eight or vine hundred years ago. When the followers of Boudh were persecuted by the Bramins, they spread their arts and their religion over the eastern archipelago, where they might still have Aourished if the intolerant spirit of proselytism had not forced upon the islanders the faith of Mahomet with fire and sword.
We must now take leave of Mr. Raffles, of whose elaborate volumes we have scarcely been able to skim the surface: the mass and variety of matter which he has there brought together render it almost impossible to search them in vain for any species of information respecting Java, while whatever is found, may be depended on as strictly authentic; but we cannot avoid repeating that a better arrangement of the materials would have saved the necessity of many repetitions, and considerably reduced the size of the work. In the administration of the government of the island, Mr. Raffles's conduct has been above all praise; the East India Company could not possibly have had a better servant; the Javanese cannot hope to find again so good a friend. By the abolition of forced services and arbitrary and vexatious imposts, and by the establishment of a moderate and equitable land-tax, the commerce and the agriculture of the island so rapidly improved, that the amount of the revenue received in three years, from 1812 to 1815, was 18,810,149 Java rupees, while the amount of the preceding three years, under the extortions practised by Marshal Daendels, who placed himself above the usual formalities, and disregarded every law,' was no more than 8,425,765 rupees: the expenditure, however, it must be admitted, was proportionably great. Art. IV. Comic Dramas, in Three Acts. By Maria Edge
worth, Author of Tales of Fashionable Life, &c. &c. London,
1817. THE THE late Mr. Sheridan, as we are informed in the Preface to
this work, advised Miss Edgeworth to turn her thoughts to the composition of comedy. Report adds that the novel of Belinda
was the performance, whence he derived so high an opinion of his countrywoman's talents. The authority of Mr. Sheridan was more than sufficient to justify an attempt in that walk of literature which he himself adorned: yet the attempt might fail without much imputation on his sagacity, and without discredit to the genius of Miss Edgeworth. His judgment must have proceeded upon analogies somewhat remote, the exact value of which be was, perhaps, not sufficiently at leisure to estimate. He read some of the scenes of Belinda with a pleasure not unlike that which comedy imparts; and hence be inferred, that the talents which produced them might be exerted with success in a new direction. The pleasure which we derive from a novel bears, indeed, in its general character, a resemblance to that which the drama gives ; vet each has peculiar tints to distinguish it, and is excited by appropriate means. We shall briefly trace the general similarity and the specific differences: as, in attempting to detail the grounds of Mr. Sheridan's judgment and the causes of his mistake, we shall, at the same time, dininish the surprize which many may be disposed to feel, at finding that the work now before us cannot claim, among the productions of the comic drama, a rank corresponding to that which is held by some of Miss Edgeworth's tales in their proper department.
Many have framed ingenious speculations concerning the sources of the delight which we receive from compositions that represent a series of fictitious adventures, and concerning the reasons why this is more lively, and felt more generally, than the satisfaction imparted by the truth of history. Some* have looked upon it as an effect of the weakness and degeneracy of our nature, which, too grovelling to relish the majestic loveliness of truth, surrenders itself a willing captive to the meretricious allurements of fiction. Otherst, of a better and a loftier school, have told us that the soul, tired with the dull uniformity of life, disgusted with the tameness of real characters and events so disproportionate to its esalted nature and to the dignity of its final destination, rejoices to escape into the regions of fancy, where it can luxuriate in ever-varying combinations, and gratify its high aspirings by the contemplation of personages rich in the assemblage of all possible perfections. The true sources of the pleasure derived from fictitious narratives and dramatic compositions, are our sympathy with the feelings, and our curiosity concerning the fate of the persons introduced to our notice. Why the exercise of sympathy is agreeable, why the sentiment as well as the gratification of curiosity is acconipanied with pleasant emotions, we do not stop to inquire. It is enough for us that the facts are certain, and that they account for the satisfaction which a well written tale or drama diffuses through us.
• Beattie in his Essay on Fable and Romance, and
The pleasure of sympathy and that of curiosity have so little mutual dependence, that a work may communicate the one with scarcely any intermixture of the other. But our participation in passions delineated soon begins to flag, unless we are enlivened by a series of critical situations ; while the interest awakened by a well connected succession of adventures, where we are not led into the feelings of the characters, is not much superior to that which we sometimes take in the solution of a riddle or the disentanglement of a puzzle. The two species of delight should, therefore, be combined, though in the united effect either may prevail over its fellow, In the tale, curiosity generally predominates ; but sympathy in the drama; which, however, on the modern stage borrows more aid from the artifice of the plot, than the example of antiquity would authorize. The tales tirst relished in the nursery are generally mere tissues of strange adventures; to this class of fictions, narratives which deal in the territic for the most part succeed. Mrs. Radcliffe's romances usually become favourites with us at an early age: the uncommomness of the transactions keeps us in suspense for the result; the scenes delineated are such as inspire terror; and terror is a passion which we are soon capable of feeling. In the progress of years the whole train of our affections and passions is developed. Then, and not till then, do we derive much delight from the lively exhibition of their workings.
If, from the pleasure itself, we turn our thoughts to the means by which it is imparted, we shall find a wide difference between the drama and fictitious narrative. The novelist leads us through a long and varied series of critical situations, where new sources of interest are continually opening, and where one perplexing intricacy is no sooner removed than another appears. As he is at liberty to enumerate every incident, his story is followed with ease by the reader. He is under no limitation with respect to the number of characters introduced, except what is imposed by the necessity of avoiding confusion; nor does he need to be very scrupulous as to the time during which the same actors may continue to occupy his page. In painting the emotions of his personages, he may avail bimself of an intinite diversity of situations to bring into view a corresponding diversity of shades in disposition and feeling. He has no peculiar difficulties of style to overcome; and can give variety to his work by making it narrative at one time, and at another throwing it into the dramatic form.
In the drama the case is otherwise. Here the action must consist of a much smaller number of parts than fictitious narrative admits; so that in adhering to the unity requisite in the construction of the fable, we are deprived of the means of holding curiosity in suspense by that copiousness of incident which so frequently charms in the novel. Add to this, that in proportion as we succeed in reducing the plot to a proper state of simplicity, we increase the labour of inventing a succession of adventures which may unravel the story and fill up the duration which custom has prescribed to legitimate comedy. From this difficulty Miss Edgeworth has, in part, escaped by the form of her dramas. We have no right to quarrel with such an arrangement; for it would be unfair to blame a work, because it is not different from what it professes to be. Yet we may be allowed to hint, that a play in three acts in not a work of the same difficulty, or of the same merit with one in five: and that, not on account of its shortness, but because, less incident being requisite, less skill is necessary in framing the plot.
There are other circumstances in the conduct of the fable, in consequence of which the task of the dramatic writer becomes much more arduous than the composition of a fictitious narrative. The novelist can accompany his hero through long periods of months and years; and, when the convenience of his story prompts, cau transfer bim from one kingdom into another. The drama has much narrower limits. The strict unities of time and place may, no doubt, be dispensed with. That there shall be no change of place, and that the duration of the action shall not much exceed the time of representation, are restrictions which load the writer with heavy incumbrances, without any adequate addition to the pleasure of the spectator. But good reasous may be assigned why, during the same act, the place should not be supposed to be changed, nor any time to elapse beyond what is occupied in the ex. hibition. From the rule, even when thus modified, the custom of the English theatre allows some further relaxation. We are often, in the course of the same act, carried from one place to another, a removal which, for the most part, implies a longer lapse of time than what is actually spent in shifting the scenes. Yet after every indulgence, the limitations which still remain operate like so many vew conditions introduced into an algebraical problem and render a higher degree of genius requisite in the writer. This is not all. In the drama a hero can seldom be trusted alone upon the stage for any length of time. A soliloquy is always dangerous, because it is generally a tiresome expedient for telling the audience something which could not be inserted in the dialogue. It can go no farther than the expression of the feelings which agitate the bosom of the speaker, and appears to be a kind of substitute for the chorus of the ancients. The novelist, on the contrary, can fix our attention by a series of incidents into which only one personage is introduced. Of this solitary nature are many of the most pows
erful passages of fictitious narratives. The novelist has likewise the advantage of leading us by degrees from adventure to adventure; while the drama is compelled to seize affairs in their crisis, and to resign all the interest which would be raised by contemplating the gradation of minute circumstances from which they originate. Indeed one of the principal difficulties of the dramatic art, is to contrive means of explaining what the nature of the subject and of the work will not allow to be exhibited. But it would be endless to attempt an enumeration of all the reasons which prove that in the drama the due conduct of the plot is a much more arduous undertaking than in the tale. Who is there that cannot recollect in the novels which he has read, a multitude of interesting scenes, which it would be nearly impossible to introduce into any composition thrown into the form that suits the stage?
If the language of the novelist flows in a clear, untroubled stream, he escapes without condemnation. But from comedy peculiar excellences of style are demanded; and these, too, excellences of no easy attainment—what they are, will be better learned from Terence and Molière, than from the vagueness of indefinite description. In general terms we can only say, that the dialogue should be concise, energetic, and sprightly; that it ought to be suggested by present circumstances, and unpolluted by that snappish flippancy which is too often mistaken for the playfulness of the comic muse; that wit is rather a becoming ornament to it than an indispensable requisite, and should be so diffused as to enliven every part, without degenerating, as in Congreve's scenes, into continual repartee.
Thus widely do the paths of the novelist and the dramatic writer diverge, though at first they appear nearly to coincide. The result is, that scarcely any author has pursued both tracks with eminent
Who now reads. Love and Duty Reconciled,' the novel with which Congreve commenced his literary career? Arundel, Henry, John of Lancaster, bring no additional honours to the author of the West Indian and the Fashionable Lover. Smollet has written little for the theatre, but that little excites no wish for more. Even Fielding's genius fails him, when he attempts dramatic composition. The literature of France resembles, in this respect, the literature of England : it boasts of no comic writers whe produced good novels, of no distinguished novelists who added to the wealth of their national drama. Marmontel might, perhaps, have been expected to hold a respectable rank in both classes ; for he composed his tales with an express view to the theatre, selecting for his subjects foibles which had not been touched upon by Molière, and which he thought capable of being moulded into a shape suited to the stage. Yet the general opinion is, that his plays possess little merit. An exception seems, and only seems, to pre