Obrázky na stránke
PDF
ePub
[ocr errors]

ject. The tyrant's speeches are mostly taken from the mouths of indignant denouncers of the tyrant's character, with the substitution of • I' for 'he,' and the omission of the prefatory "he acts as if he thought' so and so. The only feelings they can possibly excite are disgust at the Acciuses, if regarded as sane loyalists, or compassion, if considered as Bedlamites. So much for their tragedies. But even their comedies are, most of them, disturbed by the fantasticalness, or gross caricature, of the persons or incidents. There are few characters that you can really like,-(even though you should have erased from your mind all the tilth which bespatters the most likeable of them, as Piniero in The Island Princess for instance,) — scarcely one whom you can love. How different this from Shakspeare, who makes one have a sort of sneaking affection even for his Barnardines ; Iagos and Richards are awful, and, by the counteracting power of profound intellects, rendered fearful rather than hateful;- and even the exceptions, as Goneril and Regan, are proofs of superlative judgment and the finest moral tact, in being left utter monsters, nulla virtute redempte, and in being kept out of sight as much as possible,—they being, indeed, only means for the excitement and deepening of noblest emotions towards the Lear, Cordelia, &c. and employed with the severest economy! But even Shakspeare's grossness — that which is really so, independently of the increase in

whose very

modern times of vicious associations with things in-
different–(for there is a state of manners conceiva-
ble so pure, that the language of Hamlet at Ophe-
lia's feet might be a harmless rallying, or playful
teazing, of a shame that would exist in Paradise)
at the worst, how diverse in kind is it from Beau-
mont and Fletcher's! In Shakspeare it is the mere
generalities of sex, mere words for the most part,
seldom or never distinct images, all head-work, and
fancy-drolleries; there is no sensation supposed in
the speaker. I need not proceed to contrast this
with B. and F.

ROLLO.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

HIS is, perhaps, the most energetic of Flet

cher's tragedies. He evidently aimed at a new Richard III. in Rollo ;—but as in all his other imitations of Shakspeare, he was not philosopher enough to bottom his original. Thus, in Rollo, he has produced a mere personification of outrageous wickedness, with no fundamental characteristic impulses to make either the tyrant's words or actions philosophically intelligible. Hence the most pathetic situations border on the horrible, and what he meant for the terrible, is either hateful, rò

μιση: tòr, or ludicrous. The scene of Baldwin's sentence in the third act is probably the grandest working of passion in all B. and F.'s dramas;—but the very

[ocr errors]

magnificence of filial affection given to Edith, in this noble scene, renders the after scene-(in imitation of one of the least Shakspearian of all Shakspeare's works, if it be his, the scene between Richard and Lady Anne,) – in which Edith is yielding to a few words and tears, not only unnatural, but disgusting. In Shakspeare, Lady Anne is described as a weak, vain, very woman throughout. Act i. sc. 1.

Gis. Ile is indeed the perfect character Of a good man, and so his actions speak him. This character of Aubrey, and the whole spirit of this and several other plays of the same authors, are interesting as traits of the morals which it was fashionable to teach in the reigns of James I. and his successor, who died a martyr to them. Stage, pulpit, law, fashion, — all conspired to enslave the realm. Massinger's plays breathe the opposite spirit; Shakspeare's the spirit of wisdom which is for all ages. By the by, the Spanish dramatists Calderon, in particular,—had some influence in this respect, of romantic loyalty to the greatest monsters, as well as in the busy intrigues of B. and F.'s plays.

THE WILDGOOSE CHASE.

[ocr errors]

6

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

Act II. sc. I. Belleur's speech :

- That wench, methinks,
If I were but well set ou, for she is a fuble,
If I were but hounded right, and one to teach me.
YUIPSON reads " affable,' which Colman re-

jects, and says, “the next line seems to enforce' the reading in the text.

Pity, that the editor did not explain wherein the sense,' seemingly enforced by the next line, consists. May the true word be ' a sable,' that is, a black fox, hunted for its precious fur? Oróat-able,' —as we now say,—' she is come-at-able?'

6

[ocr errors]

A WIFE FOR A MONTH.

Act IV. sc. ). Alphonso's speech :

Betwist the cold bear and the raging lion

Lies my safe way.
Seward's note and alteration to

'Twixt the cold bears, far from the raging lion

TH

THIS Mr. Seward is a blockhead of the

provoking species. In his itch for correction, he forgot the words - lies my safe way!' The Bear is the extreme pole, and thither he would travel over the space contained between it and the raging

THE PILGRIM.

Act IV. sc. 2.

LINDA'S interview with her father is lively,

A

derigo is truly excellent. Altogether, indeed, this play holds the first place in B. and F.'s romantic entertainments, Lustspiele, which collectively are their happiest performances, and are only interior to the romance of Shakspeare in the As you Like It, 'Twelfth Night, &c. Ib.

Alin. To-day you shall wed Sorrow,

And Repentance will coine to-morrow. Read · Penitence,' or else

Repentance, she will come to-morrow.

THE QUEEN OF CORINTH.

Act II. sc. 1.
ERIONE'S speech. Had the scene of this

tragi-comedy been laid in Hindostan instead of Corinth, and the gods here addressed been the Veeshnoo and Co. of the Indian Pantheon, this rant would not have been much amiss.

In respect of style and versification, this play and the following of Bonduca may be taken as the best,

« PredošláPokračovať »