« PredošláPokračovať »
Tout prend fin :-faut-il donc que ta longue cholere,
Que tu doives ainsy toujour estre irrité? An attendant, taking advantage of the lucid moment, tells him it was because he had spared the life of Agag. Saul replies:
Pour estre donc humain j'esprouve sa cholere,
bien a luy qu'a ses vaincus commune,
Esgard a quelque honneur qu'a' nostre grand pouvoir? But to do justice to this most tragic subject was reserved for the genius of ALFIERI. JACQUES DE LA TAJLLE, the brother of the abovementioned, also wrote tragedies; the most remarkable of which is “ The Death of Alexander.” This play abounds with two vices which are but too prevalent in Shakspeare--ringing changes upon words, and a disposition to the unnatural and gigantesque. One of the conspirators, having invited Alexander to the feast at which he is to be poisoned, says, (aside).
“ Va! va! O fier tyran, ta fiere tyrannie
Sera par des gents fiers, bien fierement punie.” This sets translation at defiance.
The following speech, in which Alexander vents his agony under the effects of the poison, resembles the forcible but somewhat exaggerated speech of King John, in a similar situation, and, though still at a sober distance, the bombastic deliration of Lee's tragedy on the same subject :-
+ Helas ! voyez que c'est qui mes poulmons empiere,
Dy-moy quy t'a donné l'entree sy secrette, tell the cause of this thy hate—tell why I am thus made to suffer. Alas ! what have I done, what guilt committed, that thou must be always thus in anger ?
• For being pitiful, then, I suffer his anger ; and had I been cruel, he would be kind to me. Oh, Lord, Lord! must then a conqueror be harsh, not pitiful, and, without calling to mind that the vanquished lot might be his own, cut so many throats ? Is it not better to consult our humanity than our great power?
† Alas! see, what is it that attacks my lungs, that freezes my blood, and racks my vitals ? Ah! what plague is this that, ever without rest, cuts my heart all through,-burns my bones to cinder? Out! out! whoever thou beest, that within me hast garrisoned thee. Confront me, and do not take ine thus, like a cowardtraitor. Why dost attack my limbs in ambush thus ? Tell me who hath given thee this so 'secret entrance within me, thou plague ? What Moorish shore,
O peste ! de mon corps ! Dy quel rivage More,
Main a main contre moy venir tu n'oserais. The younger Balf was natural son of LAZAR E Baif (already mentioned), an ecclesiastic, by a Venetian lady, with whom he had an amour whilst on an embassy to that republic. This revereud ambas.. sador of Francis the First appears to have represented with a curious fidelity the gallantry and love-letters which distinguished that generous and, for his time, accomplished and enlightened prince. The son, like the father, chiefly applied himself to giving translations, greatly improved, from the Greek and Roman dramatists. He is, however, chiefly remembered for two experiments tried by him upon the poetic language of his country--the introduction of blank verse, and the adoption of the dactylic and spondaic measure of the Greeks and Latins. The first project was not even noticed; the second, upon which he had set his heart, and tried to stamp his name in the title of Vers Baifins, was noticed for derision. Our own laureat's recent trial of the latter experiment upon the English language, presents an edifying coincidence.
Between 1560 and 1570, French tragedy was advanced a step by Robert GARNIER, who united in himself, and with distinction, the several characters of a lawyer, a judicial magistrate, a lieutenantgeneral, and a poet. He imitated the ancients with considerable taste, and derived from them a finer sense of the difference between rudeness and elegance of style, with improved skill in rendering his dialogue dramatic. Eight pieces by him have been preserved, viz. “ The Death of Portia,” founded on the defeat of Philippi, and the death of BRUTUS;—“ The Death of Cornelia, (wife of Pompey)" founded
tyranny of the triumvirate ;— " Marc Antony ;"“ Hippolytus," imitated from Euripides ;—“ The Troas," from Seneca ;--" Antigone," from Sophocles ;—“ Sedecias, or the Jews," taken from Scripture; and “ Bradamante," from the Orlando Furioso. It is difficult to select a specimen which should give a precise estimate of the talent of Garnier. His most conspicuous beauties of thought are scarcely his own, being imitated from the ancients. His finest speeches are taken from Sophocles, Euripides, Seneca, Virgil, Lucan, and his best choruses from Pindar and Horace. No extract, for nearly the same reason, will give an idea of his manner. It varied with the original, which he imitated for the moment, whether tragic, epic, lyric, or even pastoral. The following lines from his “ Death of Portia” afford an example of that beautiful blending of the fanciful with the pathetic, which is so exquisitely touched by Shakspeare and some of bis contemporaries. A messenger announces to Portia that Antony had ordered the body of Brutus to be embalmed, and conveyed to her by sea, for the purpose of receiving the honours of Roman burial. Portia, after reproaching the gods with injustice and cruelty, in having allowed wrong to prevail over right, and three tyrants to triumph over the virtue of Brutus, and the liberties of Rome, thus apostrophizes the sea, which bears back the body of her husband :-
what pontic land, or what Circe hath produced thee, another monster, to vanquish Alexander the invincible ? Is it some serpent, or horrid aspic ? alas ! tell me what thou art, that at least I may know who is my enemy that lurks within me to take my life. Certes, whoever thou beest, thou darest not meet me hand to hand.
* Vous deloyale mer, quy courbastes le dos
Que loyaute se trouve en la parjure mer! The plot of his “ Hippolytus" is, in some scenes, managed with more force than by Euripides or Racine. Phædra, in the fourth act, no longer able to controul the fervour of her passion, tbrows her arms round the neck of Hippolytus. The young prince, fired with indignation, draws his sword to kill her. The unhappy queen bares her bosom to the stroke; the sword drops from his hand, and she retires, overwhelmed with shame. Thesens in the mean time arrives, and insists, by menaces, upon knowing from the nurse, the cause of the confusion and terror which he finds in his house. Phædra hears what is passing, and dreading lest the nurse should disclose the truth, rushes in with the sword dropped by Hippolytus, and presents it to Theseus, as that which the violator of her person had left behind him in his flight, having drawn it against her life. Theseus receives the sword, recognises it for that of his own son, and claims from Neptune the pledged fulfilment of his fatal prayer. Phædra survives, and learns the dreadful death of the Prince ; weeps over his mangled body, vindicates his innocence, and confesses ber own shame, in language full of pathos and remorse:-
+ Hippolyte! Hippolyte! helas! je romps le cours
Par une ardente amour de vos pudiques jours !
• Thou traitor sca, that didst bend thy vassal back beneath our armed ships, and didst upon thy waves proudly bear my Brutus; instead of restoring him to me, you bring me a corpse ready for the tomb. It was not thus you received him committed to your faith. You received him living_living give him back to me. Oh! fool that I am. Oh! fool to think that any faith or pity existeth in the oftperjured sea.
† Hippolytus ! Hippolytus ! I break the thread of thy pure life, by my burning passion. Forgive me, and do not, oh thou beloved, bear indignant within the tomb, implacable revenge for this my crime. I have murdered thee, Hippo
Je suis vostre homicide, Hippolyte! je suis
Mon cæur que tremble-tu ? quelle soudaine horreus,
pour me recevoir leurs cavernes ils fendent.
Sur ce corps trespassé, &c. &c. In his tragedy of “Cornelia,” the widow of Pompey relates the following dream, diffusely, but eloquently, imitated from the apparition of Hector in the Æneid:
* Deja la nuit muette, ayant faict long sejour,
Quand d'un petit sommeil (s'il faut ainsy nommer
Il estoit triste, affreux, les yeux creux, et la face,
lytus ! It is I who shut thee captive in the dungeon of infernal night. But my own unchaste blood shall wash out my crime against thy innocence. My heart, why tremblest thou ? What sudden shuddering horror congeals thy rage? What horrid fury appears before my eyes ? What coiled serpent, what flaming torch, what foaming wave, what roaring current, what red furnace blazing horribly! Ah! it is Hell, it is, it is, Hell that opens to receive me in its caverns. Adieu, thou shining sun, bright sun adieu ; farewell, sad Theseus—this mournful spot farewell. It is time to die. Come ! let my blood flow upon this dear mangled corsc, &c. &c.
* Already silent night, having made a tedious stay, had passed the midway between evening and morning
when a light sleep (if I may so call the numbness of thought which overcomes us) flows on my eyes unused to repose -wearied and surcharged with tears for the sorrow which consumes me. And behold I see by my moistened pillow, the buried Pompey, his visage piteous, sad, pale, and disfigured ; ah ! not such as he was wont to be, when carried in triumph amidst the sovereign people, or when, seated on a throne, he beheld at his feet kings manacled with clumsy cords. He looked mournful, frightful, his eyes sunken,
Un linceul, tout saigneux, à son dos s'estendoit,
Vous dormez, Cornelie, et vostre pere et moy, &c. His “ Marc-Antony,” though it possessed no other beauty, would deserve notice for the following single verse, which anticipates the stately and affecting grandeur of Corneille, when the nobleness and simplicity of that great poet are least impaired by declamation. Marc-Antony, vanquished at Actium, betrayed by Cleopatra, and abandoned by all the world, exclaims,
“ Je demeure tout seul, reste de ma fortune!” The image here is the more powerful from being but barely, indeed imperfectly, sketched by the poet. The imagination of the reader completes it beyond the utmost touching and colouring of language in detail. It presents Antony with all the moral attributes of his foriner greatness magnified by pity,--himself, sole surviving remnant of his wrecked fortunes, cast naked upon the beach.“ Bradamante," though the most elaborate, as well as the last of Garnier's performances, more than counterbalanced the improvement which his preceding pieces had made in the drama. It was the first of that monstrous species called tragi-comedy, a thing so utterly absurd in its essence, as to carry a solecism of expression in its very title. “ Bradamante," as the name suggests, was taken from the Orlando Furioso. That bewitching poem, by its chivalrous sentiment, romantic adventure, gorgeous magnificence--by its draughts of valour, beauty, glory, and love, mingled as in an enchanted cup, seems to have fascinated Garnier's imagination, and extinguished his purer taste. Thus early did the romantic dame commence that dispute for empire with the classic Muse, which divides the literature of imagination throughout Europe at the present day. The way once open, tragi-comedy, no longer an association of the grave and gay, but a mixture of horror with libertinism and buffoonery, overspread the drama, until it reached its acme and its death in Francis Hardy, tie contemporary of Shakspeare, and predecessor of Corneille.
his face, beard, and hair covered and clotted with miry gore. A shroud, all bloody, torn, hung from his shoulders to his heels. He unclosed his teeth all covered with skin, and these words came forth, “ Thou sleepest, Cornelia," &c.