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strangeness of the events that surround him, he is of the moral and political reflections which full of amazement and fear; and stands in doubt this author has intermixed with his criticisms. between the world of reality and the world of fancy. He sees sights not shown to mortal eye, and hears unearthly music. All is tumult and dis- shown the same penetration into political character

“Shakespeare has in this play and elsewhere order within and without his mind; his purposes and the springs of public events as into those of recoil upon himself, are broken and disjointed; he every-day life. For instance, the whole design to is the double thrall of his passions and his destiny. liberate their country fails from the generous temRichard is not a character either of imagination or

per and overweening confidence of Brulus in the pathos, but of pure self-will. There is no conflict goodness of their cause and the assistance of others. of opposite feelings in his breast. In the busy tur. T'hus it has always been. Those who mean well bulence of his projects he never loses his self-pos- ihemselves think well of others, and fall a prey to session, and makes use of every circumstance that their security. The friends of liberty trust to the happens as an instrument of his long-reaching de professions of others, because they are themselves signs. In his last extremity we regard him but as sincere, and endeavour to secure the public good a wild beast taken in the toils : But we never en with the least possible hurt to its enemies, who tirely lose our concern for Macbeth; and he calls have no regard to any thing but their own un. back all our sympathy by that fine close of thought-principled ends, and stick at nothing to accomplish ful melancholy.

them. Cassius was better cut out for a conspirator. “My way of life

His heart prompted his head. His habitual jealousy Is fallen into the sear, the yellow leaf;

made him fear ihe worst that might happen, and his And that which should accompany old age, irritability of iemper added to his inveteracy of purAs honour, love, obedience, troops of friends, pose, and sharpened his patriotism. The mixed I must not look to have! But in iheir stead, nature of his motives made him fitter to contend Curses not loud but deep; mouth-honour, breath, with bad men. The vices are never so well em. Which the poor heart would fain deny, and dares ployed as in combating one another. Tyranny and

pp. 26-30.

servility are to be dealt with after their own fashion: In treating of the Julius Cæsar, Mr. H. ex: them, and finally pronounce their funeral panegyric,

otherwise, they will triumph over those who spare tracts the following short scene, and praises it as Antony did that of Brutus. so highly, and, in our opinion, so justly, that we cannot resist the temptation of extracting

" All the conspirators, save only he, i: too-together with his brief commentary.

Did that they did in envy of great Cæsar :

He only in a general honest ihought Brulus. The games are done, and Cæsar is Of common good to all, made one of them. returning. (sleeve,

pp. 38, 39. Cassius. As they pass by, pluck Casca by the And he will, after his sour fashion, tell you

The same strain is resumed in his remarks What has proceeded worthy note to-day.

on Coriolanus. Brutus. I will do so; bui look you, Cassius– The angry spot doth glow on Cæsar's brow,

Shakespeare seems to have had a leaning to And all the rest look like a chidden train.

the arbitrary side of the question; perhaps from Calphurnia's cheek is pale; and Cicero

some feeling of contempt for his own origin; and Looks with such ferret and such fiery eyes,

to have spared no occasion of baiting the rabble. As we have seen him in the Capitol,

What he says of them is very true : what he says Being crost in conference by some senator.

of their betiers is also very true; But he dwells Cassius. Casca will tell us what the matter is.

less upon it.—The cause of ihe people is indeed but Cesar. Antonius

liule calculated as a subject for poetry: it admits of Antony. Cæsar?

rhetoric, which goes into argument and explanation, Cæsar. Let me have men about me that are fat, but it presents no immediate or distinct images to Sleek-headed men, and such as sleep a-nigh18:

the mind. The imagination is an exaggerating and Yond Cassius has a lean and hungry look,

exclusive faculty. The understanding is a dividing He thinks too much; such men are dangerous.

and measuring faculty. The one is an aristocratiAntony. Fear him not, Cæsar, he's not danger- of poetry is a very anti-levelling principle. It aims

cal, the other a republican faculty. The principle He is a noble Roman, and well given. (not:

at effect, and exists by contrast. It is every thing Cæsar. Would he were farter! But I fear him by excess. It puts the individual for the species, Yet if my name were liable to fear,

the one above the infinite many, might before right. I do not know the man I should avoid

A lion hunting a flock of sheep is a more poetical So soon as that spare Cassius. He reads much;

object than they; and we even take part with the He is a great observer; and he looks

lordly beast, because our vanity or some other feel. Quite through the deeds of men. He loves no plays, ing makes us disposed to place ourselves in the As thou dost, Antony; he hears no music:

situation of the strongest party. There is nothing Seidom he smiles, and smiles in such a sort,

heroical in a multitude of miserable rogues not As if he mock'd himself, and scorned his spirit,

wishing to be starved, or complaining that ihey are That could be moved to smile at any thing.

like to be so: but when a single man comes for. Such men as he be never at heart's ease

ward to brave their cries and to make them submit Whilst they behold a greater than themselves;

to the last indignities, from mere pride and self-will, And therefore are they very dangerous.

our admiration of his prowess is immediately con: I rather tell thee what is to be fear'd

veried into contempt for their pusillanimity. We Than what I fear; for always I am Cæsar.

had rather, in short, be the oppressor than the opCome on my right hand, for this ear is deaf,

pressed. The love of power in ourselves and the And tell me truly what thou think'st of him.”

admiration of it in others are both natural to man:

But the one makes him a tyrant, the other a slave.. ... We know hardly any passage more expressive -pp. 69–72. of the genius of Shakespeare than this. Ii is as if he had been actually present, had known the dif. There are many excellent remarks and ferent characters and what they thought of one several fine quotations, in the discussions on another, and had taken down what he heard and Troilus and Cressida. As this is no longer saw, their looks, words, and gestures, just as they an acted play, we venture to give one extract, happened."-pp. 36, 37.

with Mr. H.'s short observations, which pei. We may add the following as a specimen I fectly express our opinion of its merits.

ous:

"It cannot be said of Shakespeare, as was said with him the clouded brow of reflection, and thought of some one, that he was without o'erflowing full.' himself too much i' th' sun;' whoever has seen He was full, even to o’erflowing. He gave heaped the golden lamp of day dimmed by envious mists measure, running over. This was his greatest rising in his own breast, and could sind in the world fault. He was only in danger of losing distinction before him only a dull blank, with nothing left rein his thoughts' (to borrow his own expression) markable in it; whoever has known the pangs of

despised love, the insolence of office, or the spurns “As doth a battle when they charge on heaps

which patient merit of the unworthy takes ;' he who The enemy flying."

has feli his mind sink within him, and sadness cling " There is another passage, the speech of Ulysses to his heart like a malady; who has had his hopes 10 Achilles, showing him the thankless nature of blighted and his youth staggered by the apparitions popularity, which has a still greater depth of moral of strange things; who cannot be well at ease, while observation and richness of illustration than the he sees evil hovering near him like a spectre ; whose former.

powers of action have been eaten up by thought;

he to whom the universe seems infinite, and him. Ulysses. Time hath, my lord, a wallet at his self nothing ; whose bitterness of soul makes him Wherein he puts alms for Oblivion ; [back, careless of consequences, and who goes 10 a play, A great-siz'd monster of ingratirudes;

as his best resource to shove off, to a second reThose scraps are good deeds past;

move, the evils of life, by a mock-representation of Which are devour'd as fast as they are made, them. This is the true Hamlet. Forgot as soon as done: Persev'rance, dear my lord, “ We have been so used to this tragedy, that we Keeps Honour bright: to have done, is to hang hardly know how to criticise it, any more than we Quite out of fashion, like a rusty mail

should know how to describe our own faces. But In monumental mockery. Take the instant way; we must make such observations as we can. It is For Honour travels in a strait so narrow,

the one of Shakespeare's plays that we think of That one but goes abreast ; keep then the path, oftenest because it abounds most in striking reflecFor Emulation hath a thousand sons,

tions on human life, and because the distresses of That one by one pursue ; if you give way,

Hamlet are transferred, by the turn of his mind, to Or hedge aside from the direct forih-right,

the general account of humanity. Whatever hap. Like to an entered tide they all rush by,

pens to him, we apply to ourselves ; because he And leave you hindmost ;

applies it so himself as a means of general reasonOr, like a gallant horse fall'n in first rank, (present, ing. He is a great moralizer, and what makes him O'er-run and trampled on: then what they do in worth attending 10 is, that he moralizes on his own Tho' less than yours in past, must o'ertop yours: feelings and experience. He is not a commonplace For Time is like a fashionable host,

pedani. If Lear shows the greatest depth of pas. That slightly shakes his parting guest by th' hand, sion, Hamlet is the most remarkable for the ingeAnd with his arms outstretch'd as he would flv,

nuity, originality, and unstudied development of Grasps in the comer : thus Welcome ever smiles,

character. There is no attempt to force an interest : And Farewel goes out sighing. O, let not virtue seek every thing is left for time and circumstances to Remuneration for the thing it was; For beauty, wit, / unfold. The attention is excited without effort; the High birth, vigour of bone, desert in service, incidents succeed each other as matters of course ; Love, friendship, charity, are subjects all

the characters think, and speak, and act, just as To en vious and calumniating time:

they might do if left entirely to themselves. There One touch of nature makes the whole world kin. is no ser purpose, no straining at a point. The ob That all, with one consent, praise new born gauds, servations are suggested by the passing scene-the Though they are made and moulded of things past." gusts of passion come and go like sounds of music " The throng of images in the above lines is pro: transcript of what might be supposed io have taken

borne on the wind. The whole play is an exact digious; and though they sometimes jostle against place at the court of Denmark, at the remote period one another, they everywhere raise and carry on the feeling, which is melaphsically true and pro- in morals and manners were heard of. It would

of time fixed upon, before the modern refinements found."--pp. 85—87.

have been interesting enough to have been admit. This Chapter ends with an ingenious paral. ted as a by.stander in such a scene, at such a time, lel between the genius of Chaucer and that to have heard and seen something of what was

But here we are more than spectators. of Shakespeare, which we have not room to We have not only the outward pageants and the insert.

signs of grief,' but we have that within which The following observations on Hamlet are passes show.' We read the thoughts of the heart,

we catch the passions living as they rise. Other very characteristic of Mr. H.'s manner of dramatic writers give us very fine versions and writing in the work now before us; in which paraphrases of nature; but Shakespeare, together he continually appears acute, desultory, and with his own comment, gives us the original iext, capricious—with great occasional felicity of that we may judge for ourselves. This is a great

advantage. conception and expression-frequent rashness and carelessness-constant warmth of admi-sion of genius. It is not a character marked by

“The character of Hamlet is itself a pure effu. ration for his author-and some fits of extrav- strength of will, or even of passion, but by refineagance and folly, into which he seems to be ment of thought and sentiment. Hamlet is as little hurried, either by the hasty kindling of his of the hero as a man can well be: but he is a young zeal as he proceeds, or by a selfwilled deter- and princely novice, full of high enthusiasm and mination not to be balked or baffled in any questioning with 'fortune, and refining on his own

quick sensibility, — the sport of circumstances, thing he has taken it into his head he should feelings; and forced from the natural bias of his say.

disposition by the strangeness of his situation."“ Hamlet is a name : his speeches and sayings

pp. 104-107. but ihe idle coinage of the poet's brain. But are His account of the Tempest is all pleasingly They not real? They are as real as our own thoughts. written, especially his remarks on Caliban; Their reality is in the reader's mind. It is we who but we rather give our readers his specula. are Hamlet. This play has a prophetic truth, which tions on Bottom and his associates. is above that of history. Whoever has become thoughtful and melancholy through his own mis- Bottom The Weaver is a character that has not haps or those of others; whoever has borne about had justice done him. He is the most romantic of mechanics; He follows a sedentary trade, and he is never see him at table. He carries his own larder accordingly represented as conceited, serious, and about with him, and he is himself 'a lun of man.' fantastical. He is ready to undertake any thing and His pulling out the bottle in the field of battle is a every thing, as if it was as much a matter of course joke to show his contempt for glory accompanied as the motion of his loom and shuttle. He is for play with danger, his systematic adherence to his Epi. ing the tyrant, the lover, the lady, the lion. · He will curean philosophy in the most trying circumstances. roar that it shall do any man's heart good to hear Again, such is his deliberate exaggeration of his him ;' and this being objected to as improper, he own vices, that it does not seem quite certain still has a resource in his good opinion of himself, whether the account of his hostess' bill, found in and will roar you an 'iwere any nightingale.' his pocket, with such an out-of-the-way charge for Snug the Joiner is the moral man of the piece, capons and sack with only one half-penny-worth who proceeds by measurement and discretion in of bread, was not put there by himself, as a trick to all things. You see him with his rule and com- humour the jest upon his favourite propensities, and passes in his hand.

Have you the lion's part as a conscious caricature of himself. written? Pray you, if it be, give it me, for I am “The secret of Falstaff's wit is for the most part slow of study. - You may do it extempore,' says a masterly presence of mind, an absolute self-posQuince, 'for it is nothing but roaring. Starve. session, which nothing can disturb. His repartees ling the Tailor keeps the peace, and objects to the are involuntary suggestions of his self-love; instinc. lion and the drawn sword.. I believe we must tive evasions of every thing that threatens to inter, leave the killing out when all's done.' Starveling, rupt the career of his triumphant jollity and however, does not start the objections himself, but self.complacency. His very size floats him out of seconds them when made by others, as if he had all his difficulties in a sea of rich conceits; and he no spirit to express his fears without encourage turns round on the pivot of his convenience, with ment. It is too much to suppose all this intentional: every occasion and at a moment's warning. His but it very luckily falls out so."'-pp. 126, 127. natural repugnance to every unpleasant thought or

circumstance, of itself makes light of objections, Mr. H. admires Romeo and Juliet rather too and provokes the most extravagant and licentious much-though his encomium on it is about answers in his own justification. His indifference the most eloquent part of his performance: to truth puts no check upon his invention; and the But we really cannot sympathise with all the more improbable and unexpected his contrivances conceits and puerilities that occur in this play; of ihem, the anticipation of their effect acting as a

are, the more happily does he seem to be delivered for instance, this exhortation to Night, which stimulus to the gaiety of his fancy. The success of Mr. H. has extracted for praise !-.

one adventurous sally gives him spirits to undertake

another: he deals always in round numbers, and "Give me my Romeo—and when he shall die,

his exaggerations and excuses are open, palpable, Take him and cut him out in lille stars,

monstrous as the father that begets them." And he will make the face of heaven so fine,

pp. 189—192. That all the world will be in love with Night," &c.

It is time, however, to make an end of this. We agree, however, with less reservation, We are not in the humour to discuss points in his rapturous encomium on Lear—but can of learning with this author; and our readers afford no extracts. The following speculation now see well enough what sort of book he on the character of Falstaff is a striking, and, has written. We shall conclude with his reon the whole, a favourable specimen of our marks on Shakespeare's style of Comedy, inauthor's manner.

troduced in the account of the Twelfth Night. " Wit is often a meagre substitute for pleasure- “ This is justly considered as one of the most de. able sensation; an effusion of spleen and petty lightful of Shakespeare's comedies. It is full of spile at the comforts of others, from feeling none in sweetness and pleasantry. It is perhaps 100 good. itself. Falstaft"s wit is an emanation of a fine con- nalured for comedy. It has little satire, and no stitution; an exuberance of good-humour and good; spleen. It aims at the ludicrous rather than the nature; an overflowing of his love of laughter, and ridiculous. It makes us laugh at the follies of good-fellowship ; a giving vent to his heart's ease mankind; not despise them, and still less bear any and over-conteniment with himself and others.-- ill-will towards them. Shakespeare's comic genius He would not be in character if he were not so fat resembles the bee rather in its power of extracting as he is; for there is the greatest keeping in the sweets from weeds or poisons, than in leaving a boundless luxury of his imagination and the pam- sting behind it. He gives the most amusing exag. pered self-indulgence of his physical appetites. He geration of the prevailing foibles of his characters, manures and nourishes his mind with jests, as he but in a way that they themselves, instead of being does his body with sack and sugar. He carves out offended at, would almost join in to humour; he his jokes, as he would a capon, or a haunch of rather contrives opportunities for them to show venison, where there is cut and come again; and themselves off in ihe happiest lights, than renders lavishly pours out upon them the oil of gladness. them contemptible in the perverse construction of His tongue drops fainess, and in the chambers of the wit or malice of others. his brain it snows of meat and drink.' He keeps “There is a certain stage of society, in which up perpetual holiday and open house, and we live people become conscious of their peculiarities and with him in a round of invitations to a rump and absurdities, affect to disguise what ihey are, and set dozen.-Yet we are not left to suppose that he was up pretensions to what they are not. This gives a mere sensualist. All this is as much in imagina- rise to a corresponding style of comedy, the object tion as in reality. His sensuality does not engross of which is to detect the disguises of self-love, and and stupify his other faculties, but ascends me to make reprisals on these preposterous assumptions into the brain, clears away all the dull, crude va- of vanity, by marking the contrast between the real pours that environ it, and makes it full of nimble, and the affected character as severely as possible, fiery, and delectable shapes.' His imagination and denying to those, who would impose on us for keeps up the ball long after his senses have done what they are not, even the merit which they have. with it. He seems to have even a greater enjoy. This is the comedy of artificial life, of wit and sa ment of the freedom from restraint, of good cheer, tire, such as we see in Congreve, Wycherley, Van. of his ease, of his vanity, in the ideal and exagge- brugh, &c. But there is a period in the progress rated descriptions which he gives of them, ihan of manners anterior to this, in which the foibles and in fact. He never fails to enrich his discourse follies of individuals are of nature's planung, not the with allusions to eating and drinking; but wel growth of art or study; in which they are therefore uncons.ious of them themselves, or care not who | Maria, Sir Toby, and Sir Andrew Aguecheek. knows them, if they can but have their whim out; For instance, nothing can fall much lower than this and in which, as there is no attempt at imposition, last character in intellect or morals: yet how are his the spectators rather receive pleasure from humour weaknesses nursed and dandled by Sir Toby into ing the inclinations of the persons they laugh at, something high fantastical;' when on Sir Andrew's ihan wish to give them pain by exposing their ab. commendation of himself for dancing and fencing, surdity. This may be called the comedy of na- Sir Toby answers,— Wherefore are these things fure; and it is the comedy which we generally find hid? Wherefore have these gifts a curtain before in Shakespeare:- Whether the analysis here given them? Are they like to take dust, like Mrs. Moll's be jusi or not, the spirit of his comedies is evidently picture? Why dost thou not go to church in a quite distinct from that of the authors above men. galliard, and come home in a coranto? My very tioned; as it is in its essence the same with that of walk should be a jig! I would not so much as make Cervantes, and also very frequently of Molière, water but in a cinque-pace. What dost thou mean? though he was more systematic in his extravagance Is this a world to hide virtues in? I did think by than Shakespeare. Shakespeare's comedy is of a the excellent constitution of thy leg, it was framed pastoral and poetical cast. Folly is indigenous to under the star of a galliard !'-How Sir Toby, Sir ihe soil, and shoots out with native, happy, un- Andrew, and the Clown afterwards chirp over their checked luxuriance. Absurdity has every encour- cups ! how they'rouse the night-owl in a catch, agement afforded it; and nonsense has' room to able to draw three ouls out of one weaver!' What flourish in. Nothing is stunted by the churlish, icy can be better than Sir Toby's unanswerable answer hand of indifference or severity. The poet runs riot to Malvolio, .Dost thou think, because thou art in a conceit, and idolizes a quibble. His whole ob- virtuous, there shall be no more cakes and ale ? ject is to turn the meanest or rudest objects to a In a word, the best turn is given to everything, in. pleasurable account. And yet the relish which he stead of the worst. There is a constant infusion of has of a pun, or of the quaint humour of a low the romantic and enthusiastic, in proportion as the character, does not interfere with the delight with characters are natural and sincere : whereas, in the which he describes a beautiful image, or the most more artificial style of comedy, everything gives refined love. The clown's forced jests do not spoil way to ridicule and indifference; there being noth. the sweetness of the character of Viola. The same ing left but affectation on one side, and incredulity bouse is big enough to hold Malvolio, the Countess on the other."'--pp. 255—259.

( February, 1822.) Sardanapalus, a Tragedy. The Two Foscari, a Tragedy. Cain, a Mystery. By LORD BYRON.

8vo. pp. 440. Murray. London : 1822.* It must be a more difficult thing to write a scenity, or deforms with rant, the genuine good play-or even a good dramatic poem- passion and profligacy of Antony and Cleopatra than we had imagined. Not that we should, -or intrudes on the enchanted solitude of a priori, have imagined it to be very easy: Prospero and his daughter, with the tones of But it is impossible not to be struck with the worldly gallantry, or the caricatures of affected fact, that, in comparatively rude times, when simplicity. Otway, with the sweet and mel. the resources of ihe art had been less care- low diction of the former age, had none of its fully considered, and Poetry certainly had not force, variety, or invention. Its decaying fires collected all her materials, success seems to burst forth in some strong and irregular flashes, have been more frequently, and far more in the disorderly scenes of Lee; and sunk at easily obtained. From the middle of Eliza- last in the ashes, and scarcely glowing embers, beth's reign till the end of James', the drama of Rowe. formed by far the most brilliant and beautiful Since his time—till very lately—the school part of our poetry, -and indeed of our litera- of our ancient dramatists has been deserted: ture in general." From that period to the and we can scarcely say that any new one Revolution, it lost a part of its splendour and has been established. Instead of the irregular originality; but still continued to occupy the and comprehensive plot—the rich discursive most conspicuous and considerable place in dialogue—the ramblings of fancy—the magic our literary annals. For the last century, it creations of poetry—the rapid succession of has been quite otherwise. Our poetry has incidents and characters—the soft, flexible, ceased almost entirely to be dramatic; and, and ever-varying diction—and the flowing, though men of great name and great talent continuous, and easy versification, which charhave occasionally adventured into this once acterised those masters of the golden time, fertile field, they have reaped no laurels, and we have had tame, formal, elaborate, and left no trophies behind them. The genius of stately compositions—meagre stories—few Dryden appears nowhere to so little advantage personages-characters decorous and consistas in his tragedies; and the contrast is truly ent, but without nature or spirit—a guarded, humiliating when, in a presumptuous attempt timid, classical diction-ingenious and meto heighten the colouring, or enrich the sim- thodical disquisitions—turgid or sententious plicity of Shakespeare, he bedaubs with ob- declamations—and a solemn and monotonous

strain of versification. Nor can this be as. * I have thought it best to put all my Dramatical

cribed, even plausibly, to any decay of genius criticisms in one series : and, therefore, I take the among us; for the most remarkable failures tragedies of Lord Byron in this place and apart have fallen on the highest talents. We have from his other poetry.

already hinted at the miscarriages of Dryden.

The exquisite taste and fine observation of imitations, of Schiller and Kotzebue, carica Addison, produced only the solemn mawkish- tured and distorted as they were by the aberness of Cato. The beautiful fancy, the gor- rations of a vulgar and vitiated taste, had still geous diction, and generous affections of so much of the raciness and vigour of the old Thomson, were chilled and withered as soon English drama, from which they were avowas he touched the verge of the Drama; where edly derived, that they instantly became more his name is associated with a mass of verbose popular in England than any thing that her puerility, which it is difficult to conceive could own artists had recently produced ; and served ever have proceeded from the author of the still more effectually to recal our affections to Seasons and the Castle of Indolence. Even their native and legitimate rulers. Then folthe mighty intellect, the eloquent morality, lowed republications of Massinger, and Beauand lofty style of Johnson, which gave too mont and Fletcher, and Ford, and their tragic and magnificent a tone to his ordinary contemporaries—and a host of new tragedies, writing, failed altogether to support him in his all written in avowed and elaborate imitation attempt to write actual tragedy; and Irene is of the ancient models. Miss Baillie, we rather not only unworthy of the imitator of Juvenal think, had the merit of leading the way in this and the author of Rasselas and the Lives of return to our old allegiance—and then came the Poets, but is absolutely, and in itself, a volume of plays by Mr. Chenevix, and a nothing better than a tissue of wearisome succession of single plays, all of considerable and unimpassioned declamations. We have merit, from Mr. Coleridge, Mr. Maturin, Mr. named the most celebrated names in our Wilson, Mr. Barry Cornwall, and Mr. Milman. literature, since the decline of the drama, al. The first and the last of these names are the most to our own days; and if they have neither most likely to be remembered; but none of lent any new honours to the stage, nor bor-them, we fear, will ever be ranked with the rowed any from it, it is needless to say, that older worthies; nor is it conceivable that any those who adventured with weaker powers age should ever class them together. had no better fortune. The Mourning Bride We do not mean, however, altogether to of Congreve, the Revenge of Young, and the deny, that there may be some illusion, in our Douglas of Home (we cannot add the Mys- habitual feelings, as to the merits of the great terious Mother of Walpole--even to please originals-consecrated as they are, in our Lord Byron), are almost the only tragedies of imaginations, by early admiration, and assothe last age that are familiar to the present; ciated, as all their peculiarities, and the mere and they are evidently the works of a feebler accidents and oddities of their diction now and more effeminate generation-indicating, are, with the recollection of their intrinsic ex. as much by their exaggerations as by their cellences. It is owing to this, we suppose, timidity, their own consciousness of inferiority that we can scarcely venture to ask ourselves, to their great predecessors—whom they af- steadily, and without an inward startling and fected, however, not to imitate, but to supplant. feeling of alarm, what reception one of Shake.

But the native taste of our people was not speare's irregular plays—the Tempest for exthus to be seduced and perverted; and when ample, or the Midsummer Night's Dreamthe wits of Queen Anne's time had lost the would be likely to meet with, if it were now authority of living authors, it asserted itself to appear for the first time, without name, by a fond recurrence to its original standards, notice, or preparation ? Nor can we pursue and a resolute neglect of the more regular the hazardous supposition through all the posand elaborate dramas by which they had been sibilities to which it invites us, without somesucceeded. Shakespeare, whom it had long thing like a sense of impiety and profanation. been the fashion to decry and even ridicule, Yet, though some little superstition may minas the poet of a rude and barbarous age*, was gle with our faith, we must still believe it to reinstated in his old supremacy: and when be the true one. Though time may have his legitimate progeny could no longer be hallowed many things that were at first bat found at home, his spurious issue were hailed common, and accidental associations imparted with rapture from foreign countries, and in a charm to much that was in itself indifferent, vited and welcomed with the most eager we cannot but believe that there was an origenthusiasm on their arrival. The German inal sanctity, which time only matured and It is not a little remarkable to find such a man the association derived all its power.

extended-and an inherent charm from which

And as Goldsmith joining in this pitiful sneer. In his when we look candidly and calmly to the famous town ladies, Miss Carolina Amelia Wilhel. works of our early dramatists, it is impossible, mina Skeggs, and the other, as discoursing about we think, to dispute, that after criticism has “high life, Shakespeare, and the musical glasses !” done its worst on them-after all deductions -And, in a more serious passage, he introduces a for impossible plots and fantastical characters, player as astonishing the Vicar, by informing him unaccountable forms of speech, and occasional that “ Dryden and Rowe's manner were quite out of fashion-our taste has gone back a whole century;

extravagance, indelicacy, and' horrors--there Fletcher, Ben Jonson, and, above all, the plays of is a facility and richness about them, both of Shakespeare, are the only things that go down." thought and of diction—a force of invention “How!" says the Vicar, is it possible that the and a depth of sagacity-an originality of present age can be pleased with that antiquated dia, conception, and a play of fancy-a nakedness lect, that obsolete humour, and those overcharged and energy of passion,

above all, a co characters which abound in the works you mention?". No writer of name, who was not aiming at piousness of imagery, and a sweetness and a paradox, would veniare to say this now flexibility of verse, which is altogether unri.

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