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person sent by the deities to preside as the judge of the criminals, and punish the murder of his friend. The partizans of the prisoners are not less desirous of having
the Macedonian king as their judge, and it is determined, that Philanax shall use his entreaties with Euarchus to induce him to accept of that office. Euarchus, though unwillingly, as if he felt a sort of presentiment in his mind how painful a duty he was about to undertake, to satisfy their importunity, consents; and thus, by one of the dark and unsearchable workings of fate, he is destined to act as the judge and sentencer of his nephew and son. The length of time which had elapsed since he had parted with them, had rendered their persons unknown to him; and the names of Palladius and Daiphantus, which they agreed to assume at their trial, farther promoted the concealment: while they, ignorant of the name and not less of the person of their judge, were equally prevented from a recognition.
The trial now commences-Gynecia is first examined, and it appearing from her own confession, that she was the murderer of the king, she is sentenced to be conveyed to prison till the day of her husband's burial, and then to be buried alive in the same tomb with him. The turn of Pyrocles and Musidorus next comes on, and their appearance is thus described :
“ Musidorus was in stature so much higher than Pyrocles, as commonly is gotten by one yeere's growth. His face, now beginning to have some tokens of a beard, was composed to a kinde of a manlike beauty. His colour was of a well pleasing brownenesse, and the features of it such, as they carried both delight and majesty; his countenance severe, and promising a minde much given to thinking. Pyrocles of a pure complexion, and of such a chearefull favour, as might seeme either a woman's face in a boy, or an excellent boye's face in a
His looke gentle and bashfull, which bred the more admiration, having shewed such notable proofes of courage. Lastly, though both had both, if there were any oddes, Musidorus was the more goodly, and Pyrocles the more lovely."—p. 459.
Their accuser is Philanax, who charges the former with aiding the murder of the king, and dishonoring the Lady Philoclea; and the latter with attempting to steal away her sister Pamela from her father and country, and rails against both in all the bitter terms of revengeful obduracy. They answer, by declaring the motives which led them to the king's retreat; and, recounting modestly their many benefits to him and his daughters, show how unlikely it was that they should be accessaries in his murder, or enemies to his person. During these pleadings and accusations, two letters from the princesses are brought to Philanax, written to the general assembly of the Arcadians, but which Philanax, whom nothing can satisfy but the death of the
princes, determines to suppress: that of Philoclea, embued with all the gentle humbleness of her nature; and that of Pamela, breathing forth all the high and noble spirit of her mind. After hearing, with much consideration, the accuser and the accused, and weighing all the evidence brought before him in the equal and unbiassed balance of reason, Euarchus pronounces the fate of the princes, and sentences Pyrocles to be put to death by being thrown out of a high tower, and Musidorus to be beheaded; which sentence he orders to be executed before sunset. According to his orders, Philanax is proceeding to execute the sentence, when, as the princes are leading forth to their fate, Kalodulus, the faithful servant of Musidorus, to whom the tidings of his master's trial had come, arrests them in their progress, and makes known to Euarchus his relationship to the prisoners he had condemned. On hearing this intelligence, all the spectators are excited to compassion, and even the hard heart of Philanax is mollified. The speech which Euarchus then makes is conceived with wonderful energy: never, perhaps, was there so sublime an exhibition of equity battling with affection, of the father struggling with the judge.
“ But Euarchus staid a good while upon himselfe, like a valiant man that should receive a notable encounter, being vehemently stricken with the fatherly love of so excellent children, and studying, with his best reason, what his office required : at length, with such a kind of gravity as was neare to sorrow, he thus uttered his mind: I take witnesse of the immortall gods (said hee) 0, Arcadians, that what this. day I have said, hath beene out of my assured perswasion, what justice it selfe and your just lawes require. Though strangers then to me, I had no desire to hurt them ; but leaving aside all considerations of the persons, I weighed the matter which you
committed into my hands, with my most impartiall and farthest reach of reason. And thereout have condemned them to lose their lives, contaminated with so many foule breaches of hospitality, civility, and vertue. Now, contrary to all expectations, I find them to be my onely sonne and nephew, such
whom you see what gifts nature hatń bestowed: such who have so to the wonder of the world heretofore behaved themselves, as might give just cause to the greatest hopes, that in an excellent youth may be conceived. Lastly, in few words, such in whom I placed all my mortall joyes, and thought my selfe, now neare my grave, to recover a new life. But, alas, shall justice halt? Or shall shee winke in one's cause, which had lynces' eyes in another's ? Or, rather, shall all private respects give place to that holy name? Be it so, be it so, let my gray haires be layd in the dust with sorrow,
let the small remnant of my life be to mee an inward and outward desolation, and to the world a gazing stocke of wretched misery; but never, never let sacred rightfulnesse fall : it is immortall, and immortally ought to bee preserved. If rightly I have judged, then rightly I have judged mine owne children ; unlesse the name of a child should have force to
change the never-changing justice. No, no, Pyrocles and Musidorus, I preferre you much before my life, but I preferre justice as farre before you: while you did like your selves, my body should willingly have been your shield, but I cannot keep you from the effects of your own doing: nay, I cannot in this case acknowledge you for mine; for never had I shepheard to my nephew, nor ever had woman to my son; your vices have degraded you from being princes, and have disanull’d your birthright. Therefore, if there be any thing left in you of princely vertue, shew it in constant suffering, that your unprincely dealing hath purchased unto you. For my part I must tell you, you have forced a father to rob himselfe of his children. Doe you, therefore, 0, Philanax, and you my other lords of this countrey, see the judgement be rightly performed, in time, place, and manner, as before appointed. With that, though hee would have refrained them, a man might perceive the teares drop downe his long white beard.”—p. 479.
The princes intercede for each other, but Euarchus is immoveable. At this juncture, the body of Basilius, which had been placed near the seat of judgment during the trial, is seen to move, and he regains animation, having recovered from the effects of the draught he had imbibed, which, in reality, was only a sleeping potion. The sequel of the story may easily be conceived." The fame of Gynecia is cleared up by the asseverations of her husband, and she is considered as a paragon of fidelity and conjugal love. Basilius, effectually cured of his passion for Zelmane, marries his daughters to the two princes, who, after many rejoicings, depart to their respective kingdoms, and thus the oracle is accomplished.
Such is the outline of this interesting story: to continue and supply which, many attempts were made by different authors during the period when its celebrity continued, and brought with it the usual concomitant of familiar acquaintance, the desire of imitation. Amongst these, Sir William Alexander, afterwards Earl of Sterling, may be mentioned, who has attempted to supply the defect existing in the third book, as an imitator not unworthy of Sidney. This performance, as well as the other continuations, is a proof, from the exactness with which the style of Sidney is copied, how great a portion of attention had been paid to its model, and what labour and care were exerted to rival the excellencies of its original. All these attempts, indeed, are, as good imitations, deserving of praise ; and, perhaps, that of Johnstoun is the best, but, like all other imitations, they want the spirit of originality; and, however closely they resemble their precursor in its outward accompaniments, have little of its peculiar and inward character.
The modernization of the Arcadia, by Mrs. Stanley, has little to recommend it. With most meritorious industry she has managed, with its occasional quaintnesses and conceits, to rewho,"
move all the charms of diction and freshness of expression, which the work itself possessed, and to convert the felicitousness and force of its language into prettiness and insipidity. Such transmutations of the original productions of genius, such meltings down of the massive gold of our ancestors for the purposes of modern frippery, have much of bad taste in them, if not something of profanation. They resemble, in the boldness of their attempts and the weakness of their execution, the impotent endeavours of the modern Greeks, to repair the mighty monuments of their forefathers' power and politeness ; to use the words of a great author, can do no more for the preservation of those admirable specimens of art, than to whitewash the Parian marble with chalk, and incrust the porphyry and granite with tiles and potsherds." To those only can such literary metamorphoses present_attraction, who prefer Shakspeare fresh from the alembic of Dryden, and are wishful to see all the bold irregularities and exquisite touches of genius transformed to one flat level of even mediocrity.
Of the poetry interspersed in the Arcadia, there is much good, but much more bad, in its composition. It is not, however, our present design to consider Sir Philip in his poetical character. We shall only observe by the way, that, in general, his prose is much superior to his poetry. There is frequently about the latter, and particularly in his sonnets, a kind of clogged and cumbrous restraint, which appears to shackle and confine the natural and accustomed play of his thoughts, in attempting to bound himself within the limits of verse. The breathings of his feeling do not proceed in their usual unobstructed manner, and his spirit does not seem to move at large under the incumbrance to which it is subjected. There is, also, a more frequent recurrence of conceit, and mean and unsuited images, disgracing sentiments lofty and elevated, by their juxta-position. The success of his injudicious attempt to model the English metre after the example of the Roman is well known, and the reasons of his failure are too evident to need any exposition. . Of his poetry, the following specimen, part of a very beautiful song, shall suffice.
“What tongue can her perfection tell,
pens may dwell ?
That doth present those even browes,
Her nose, her chinne pure ivory weares;
than the pretty eares.
The character of Sir Philip Sidney, as a writer, is thus given by his friend, Lord Brook, with more, perhaps, in it of justice, than such characters generally possess." His end was not writing even when he wrote, nor his knowledge moulded for tables or schools : but both his wit and understanding beat upon
his heart, to make himself and others not in words or opinion, but in life and action, good and great." Sir Philip Sidney appears to have been possessed of a quick and lively sensibility, of a noble and generous heart, whose emotions, unrestrained by fear and unobstructed by dissimulation, gushed forth, with a spirit of joyous gladness, from their sacred fountain of feeling. To think loftily and to act magnanimously, to speak eloquently and to write poetically, appear in him, prerogatives not derived, but inherent: as if, of all that was elevated or extraordinary in man, he was the sole and rightful proprietary. His most heroic actions were done without any apparent consciousness of their greatness : his most exquisite productions were finished without