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ment. Now, in the reform system, however strict the discipline is professed to be, there is necessarily a degree of attention and indulgence which much mitigates the pains of imprisonment, and causes the criminal to quit his confinement with any feeling but of that dread which ought to operate as a lesson to himself, and a warning to others. To the neglected wretches, who form the bulk of prisoners, a reform prison offers no terrors. They do not like confinement and regularity, but then they find so many sets off in the attentions they meet with, and the comforts provided for them,—that is, comforts compared with their frequent privations,—and their physical state becomes so much improved, that when they come again into the world, their retrospect is far from one of unmixed repugnance to a prison life; and if they return, as they generally do, to their vicious courses, the sufferings they bring upon themselves must make them frequently almost sigh after a renewal of restraint. It often occurs to me, when I am committing disorderlies to prison for short periods, that to many of them the prospect of control is not altogether disagreeable; and if we reflect what sufferings they must entail upon themselves by their gross irregularities, it is not to be wondered that it should be so. I consider, then, all attempts at reform within the walls of a prison as misplaced, and as contrary to, and defeating, the true end of imprisonment, which should present a striking contrast to a state of liberty and its enjoyments. The second object of prison discipline, and that which certainly is now occupying public attention, is to render prisons as effective places of punishment as possible; but this, under efficient government out of doors, would be a very simple process indeed. My objection to the course pursued is, that it is turning attention in the wrong direction, and causing neglect, where attention is most of all wanted. If I were asked what I thought would be the best mode of prison discipline for diminishing the present mass of crime, I should answer, that there ought to be no such mass, and that the question is not a question of pri.
son discipline, but of government. Prison discipline is no cure for systematic crime to the present extent existing, but the cure is to be found in government discipline independent of prisons. All systematic crime arises from defective government, and is beyond the reach of prisons. Isolated crime only is that which cannot be altogether prevented by good government, and it is the proper object for punishment and prevention by imprisonment. Supposing systematic crime to be done away with by good government, then, and not till then, comes the question of prison discipline in its true and very narrow limits. I have remarked before that imprisonment should present a striking contrast to liberty and its enjoyments. There are two ways of effecting this; one, which is the way at present being pursued, is to make imprisonment very severe, and the other, which is the way that ought to be pursued, is by improvement in government to render liberty and its enjoyments as sweet as possible, so that a simple separation from them, within four walls, may be sufficient punishment without any refinements and contrivances of severity. A necessity for severe punishments is a scandal to a government. When the inside of a prison is made the subject of great attention, it proves that what is on the outside is the subject of great neglect. Govern men well, and crime will be unfrequent, and simple confinement sufficient punishment. Individuals above the neglected mass are not deterred from the commission of crime by any consideration of degrees of severity of confinement, but by confinement itself; and if there were no neglected mass, there would be no necessity for what is called prison discipline: it would not be worth a thought. If an agriculturist were asked how to clear a marsh from weeds, he would answer, drain it, and what spring up after will easily be subdued. So, to clear the country from crime, govern well, and the individual cases which arise will be disposed of without difficulty. Great as is the quantity of crime at present existing, it is to me quite astonishing, considering the quantity of neglect, that there is not an immense deal more, and thence I infer that with adequate attention in the proper direction, there would be an immense diminution. The principal means of accomplishing this is by moral influence to be derived from improved parochial government, carried on by the most worthy part of the community, most of whom now either take no part in public affairs, or employ their efforts on expedients for government, instead of in government. This is the only system for a free and Christian country, and to this we must come.
ROMEO AND JULIET.
· In no other writings, in any language I believe, is to be found united, in the same degree as in those of Shakspeare, the force of reality with vividness of imagination. Hogarth's paintings eminently exhibit the same qualities, but, comparatively speaking, in an extremely limited range. He descends as low as Shakspeare, but is at an immeasurable distance from him in whatever partakes of the sublime and beautiful ; or rather, I think, he seldom touches on the beautiful, and never on the sublime. In what he does delineate, from the drawingroom in Marriage-à-la-mode to the night-cellar in the Stages of Cruelty, there is a truth and imagination, so far as the pencil goes, utterly unrivalled. Shakspeare generally writes as if, by some magical art, he had conjured up the scene before him, and had only put down what his characters themselves had uttered, so faithful is it not only to nature, but to the actual circumstances. As instances of this, I will only mention the quarrel between Hotspur and Glendower over the map of England, in the First Part of Henry the Fourth ; the dialogue between Hotspur and his wife, whilst he is thinking of his roan horse, in the same play; the scene between Hamlet and the grave
digger; and, lastly, the celebrated balcony-scene in Romeo and Juliet, an unaccountable mistake in which, in the different editions and in the representation, suggested to me this article. In the days of Miss O'Neill, I saw the play on twelve different occasions, and for some time it struck me that during Romeo's soliloquy that accomplished actress was always rather awkward, and at a loss to know what to do with herself, as also that the soliloquy itself was not altogether clear and applicable. As this was neither O'Neillian nor Shakspearian, I examined into the matter, and found the cause to be a mistake in the stage directions, which destroyed the beauty and propriety of the soliloquy; and in order to make it at all consistent, a transposition was made, and, if I recollect right, some omission. The misdirection runs, I believe, through all the editions, and it seems to me most extraordinary that it was never detected. The scene arises out of the following circumstances, and its truth to nature entirely depends upon them. Romeo and Juliet fall deeply in love with each other at a ball at Juliet's father's house, where Romeo had introduced himself in mask for the purpose of seeing Juliet's cousin, for whom he entertained a very strong but unrequited passion. He is there struck with Juliet's extreme loveliness, and suddenly transfers his full-grown passion to her. She, on the other hand, has just had marriage put into her head for the first time, and a match proposed to her by her mother, so which she answers,
I'll look to like, if looking liking move. In this state she is passionately addressed by the most accomplished youth in Verona, who, when he is gone, and an impression made, she discovers to be the only son of her father's deadly enemy
My only love sprung from my only hate. According to the dictates of nature, her love for such an object becomes violent in proportion to the obstacles which it presents. After the ball, Romeo, rivetted to the spot
Can I go forward, when my heart is here ?
scales the garden wall, and hears the volatile Mercutio making jokes on his former passion, on which he appropriately remarks,
He jests at scars that never felt a wound; then observing light appear through a window, as from some one entering a room with a lamp, he exclaims,
But, soft! what light through yonder window breaks ?
and, with a most beautiful comparison, adds,
It is the east, and Juliet is the sun! Having caught the idea, and with the waning moon above him, he goes on in the true Italian style of poetry and love,
Arise, fair sun, and kill the envious moon,
And none but fools do wear it ;-cast it off. At the conclusion of this passage, Juliet advances to the balcony, and not as in the books and on the stage, before the words,
But, soft! what light through yonder window breaks ? In the representation, after this last line, is introduced, out of its place,
It is my lady ; O it is my love!
O that she knew she were ! In short, the whole of this beautiful soliloquy is made into what I can only adequately express by using the familiar phrase, “ a complete hash.” As soon as Romeo sees his conjecture realized, he rapturously exclaims,
It is my lady; O it is my love !