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Pray, call me so again; thy words sound strangely,
Agenor. My lord,
Ion. I come. One more embrace—the last, the last In this world! Now, farewell! [Exit.
Clem. The last embrace ! Then he has cast me off! no—’tis not so; Some mournful secret of his fate divides us; I'll struggle to bear that, and snatch a comfort From seeing him uplifted. I will look Upon him in his throne; Minerva's shrine Will shelter me from vulgar gaze; I’ll hasten And feast my sad eyes with his greatness there. [Exit.
[Ion is installed in his royal dignity, attended by the high priest, the senators, &c. The people receive him with shouts.]
Ion. I thank you for your greetings—shout no more, But in deep silence raise your hearts to heaven, That it may strengthen one so young and frail As I am for the business of this hour. Must I sit here?
Medon. My son 1 my son!
Ion. Am I indeed so pale?
- [Sits on the throne.
Stand forth, Agenor.
Agenor. I await thy will.
Ion. To thee I look as to the wisest friend
Agenor. Pardon me—
Ion. Nay, I will promise ’tis my last request; Grant me thy help till this distracted state
Rise tranquil from her griefs——'twill not be long, If the great gods smile on us now. Remember, Meanwhile, thou hast all power my word can give, Whether I live or die. Agenor. Die! Ere that hour, May even the old man's epitaph be moss-grown' Ion. Death is not jealous of the mild decay That gently wins thee his; exulting youth Provokes the ghastly monarch's sudden stride, And makes his horrid fingers quick to clasp His prey benumbed at noontide. Let me see The captain of the guard. Crythes. I kneel to crave Humbly the favour which thy sire bestowed On one who loved him well. Ion. I cannot mark thee, That wakest the memory of my father's weakness, But I will not forget that thou hast shared The light enjoyments of a noble spirit, And learned the need of luxury. I grant For thee and thy brave comrades ample share Of such rich treasure as my stores contain, To grace thy passage to some distant land, Where, if an honest cause engage thy sword, May glorious issues wait it. In our realm We shall not need it longer. Crythes. Dost intend To banish the firm troops before whose valour Barbarian millions shrink appalled, and leave Our city naked to the first assault Of reckless foes? Ion. No, Crythes; in ourselves, In our own honest hearts and chainless hands Will be our safeguard; while we do not use Our power towards others, so that we should blush To teach our children; while the simple love Of justice and their country shall be born With dawning reason; while their sinews grow Hard 'midst the gladness of heroic sports, We shall not need, to guard our walls in peace, One selfish passion, or one venal sword. I would not grieve thee; but thy valiant troopFor I esteem them valiant—must no more With luxury which suits a desperate camp Infect us. See that they embark, Agenor, Ere night. Crythes. My lord— Ion. No more—my word hath passed. Medon, there is no office I can add To those thou hast grown old in; thou wilt guard The shrine of Phoebus, and within thy home— Thy too delightful home—befriend the stranger As thou didst me; there sometimes waste a thought On thy spoiled inmate. Medon. Think of thee, my lord? Long shall we triumph in thy glorious reign. Ion. Prithee no more. Argives! I have a boon To crave of you. Whene'er I shall rejoin In death the father from whose heart in life Stern fate divided me, think gently of him ! Think that beneath his panoply of pride Were fair affections crushed by bitter wrongs Which fretted him to madness; what he did, Alas! ye know; could you know what he suffered, Ye would not curse his name. Yet never more Let the great interests of the state depend Upon the thousand chances that may sway A piece of human frailty; swear to me That ye will seek hereafter in yourselves The means of sovereignty: our country's space, So happy in its smallness, so compact, Needs not the magic of a single name Which wider regions may require to draw Their interest into one; but, circled thus, Like a blest family, by simple laws
May tenderly be governed—all degrees,
Not placed in dexterous balance, not combined
CLEMANTHE rushes forward.
Clem. Hold! Let me support him—stand away-indeed I have best right, although ye know it not, To cleave to him in death. Ion. This is a joy I did not hope for—this is sweet indeed. Bend thine eyes on me ! Clem. And for this it was Thou wouldst have weaned me from thee! Couldst thou think I would be so divorced? Ion. Thou art right, Clemanthe— It was a shallow and an idle thought; 'Tis past; no show of coldness frets us now; No vain disguise, my girl. Yet thou wilt think On that which, when I feigned, I truly spoke— Wilt thou not, sweet one? Clem. I will treasure all.
Irus. I bring you glorious tidings— Ha! no joy Can enter here. Ion. Yes—is it as I hope? Irus. The pestilence abates. Ion. [Springs to his feet.] Do ye not hear? Why shout ye not? ye are strong—think not of me; Hearken! the curse my ancestry had spread O'er Argos is dispelled! My own Clemanthe ! Let this console thee-Argos lives againThe offering is accepted—all is well! [Dies.
HENRY TAYLOR-LEIGH HUNT-WILLIAM SMITH.
Two dramatic poems have been produced by HENRY TAYLOR, Esq., which, though not popular, evince high genius and careful preparation. The first.£ilip van Artevelde, was published in 1834,
and the scene is laid in Flanders, at the close of the fourteenth century. The second, Edwin the Fair, 1843, relates to early English history. Though somewhat too measured and reflective for the stage, the plays of Mr Taylor contain excellent scenes and dialogues. ‘The blended dignity of thought, and a sedate moral habit, invests Mr Taylor's poetry with a stateliness in which the drama is generally deficient, and makes his writings illustrate, in some degree, a new form of the art-such a form, indeed, as we might expect the written drama maturally to assume if it were to revive in the nineteenth century, and maintain itself as a branch of literature apart from the stage. Besides these works Mr Taylor has written The Eve of the Conquest, and other Poems, 1847; Notes from Life, 1848; Notes from Books, 1849; and The Virgin Widow, a poem, 1850. Eloquent, thoughtful, and learned, all the writings of Mr Taylor are of a high intellectual order. MR LEIGH HUNT, in 1840, came before the public as a dramatic writer. His work was a mixture of romance and comedy, entitled A Legend of Florence: it was acted at Covent Garden Theatre with some success, but is too sketchy in its materials, and too extravagant in plot, to be a popular acting play. Athelwold, a tragedy by WILLIAM SMITH, 1842, is a drama also for the closet; it wants variety and scenic effect for the stage, and in style and sentiment is not unlike one of Miss Baillie's plays. The following Christian sentiment is finely expressed:
Joy is a weak and giddy thing that laughs
This popular humorist and satirist (1803–1857) finds his place more appropriately in our list of miscellaneous writers, but his first grand success was in the character of a dramatist, and his comedies and other pieces for the theatre fill two volumes of his collected works. After some obscure theatrical labours for the Coburg Theatre, Mr Jerrold produced his nautical and domestic drama, Black-eyed Susan, which was brought out at the Surrey Theatre in 1829, and had prodigious success. It had a run of above three hundred mights, and produced many thousands to the theatre, though to the author it brought only about £70. The sailor hero of the piece was admirably represented by Mr T. P. Cooke, and the other characters and situations in the piece were managed with great skill and effect. The other dramas of Jerrold are– The Rent Day, 1832; Nell Gwynne, and The Housekeeper, 1833; The Wedding Gown, 1834; The School-fellows, and Doves in a Cage, 1835; Prisoner of War, 1842; Bubbles of the Day, and Time Works Wonders, 1845; The Catspaw, i850; Retired from Business, 1851; St Cupid, 1853; Heart of Gold, 1854. The plays of Jerrold, like all his other writings, abound in pointed and witty sayings and lively illustration. His incidents and characters are also well contrasted and arranged for stage effect, yet there is a want of breadth and simplicity
about most of his dramas that renders them unattractive in the closet. We dip into them occasionally for a sentiment or piece of satire tersely expressed, yet we cannot read them continuously as we do the comedies of Goldsmith or Sheridan. Perhaps the most artistic and most interesting is Time Works Wonders, but the simple pathos and plot of Blackeyed Susan will always render it a greater favourite on the stage. The following extracts from Bubbles of the Day ridicule the prevailing rage for new schemes and companies:
[Fancy Fair in Guildhall for Painting St Paul's.]
Sir Phenix Clearcake. I come with a petition to you —a petition not parliamentary, but charitable. We propose, my lord, a fancy fair in Guildhall; its object so benevolent, and more than that, so respectable. Lord Skindeep. Benevolence and respectability ! Of course, I’m with you. Well, the precise object? Sir P. It is to remove a stain—a very great stain from the city; to give an air of maiden beauty to a most venerable institution; to exercise a renovating taste at a most inconsiderable outlay; to call up, as it were, the snowy beauty of Greece in the coal-smoke atmosphere of London; in a word, my lord—but as yet ’tis a profound secret—it is to paint St Paul's! To give it a virgin outside—to make it so truly respectable. Lord Skin. A gigantic effort! Sir P. The fancy fair will be on a most comprehensive and philanthropic scale. Every alderman takes a stall; and to give you an idea of the enthusiasm of the city—but this also is a secret—the Lady Mayoress has been up three nights making pincushions. Lord Skin. But you don't want me take a stall—to sell pincushions? Sir P. Certainly not, my lord. And yet your philanthropic speeches in the House, my lord, convince me that, to obtain a certain good, you would sell anything.
Lord Skin. Well, well; command me in any way; benevolence is my foible. [Companies for leasing Mount Vesuvius, for making a Trip all round the World, for Buying the Serpentine River, &c.] Captain Smoke. We are about to start a company to take on lease Mount Wesuvius for the manufacture of lucifer-matches.
Sir P. A stupendous speculation! I should say that,
| when its countless advantages are duly numbered, it
will be found a certain wheel of fortune to the enlightened capitalist. Smoke. Now, sir, if you would but take the chair at the first meeting-(Aside to Chatham: We shall make it all right about the shares)—if you would but speak for two or three hours on the social improvement conferred by the lucifer-match, with the monopoly of sulphur secured to the company—a monopoly which will suffer no man, woman, or child to strike a light without our permission. Chatham. Truly, sir, in such a cause, to such an auditory—I fear my eloquence. Smoke. Sir, if you would speak well anywhere, there’s nothing like first grinding your eloquence on a mixed meeting. Depend on’t, if you can only manage a little humbug with a mob, it gives you great confidence for another place. Lord Skin. Smoke, never say humbug; it's coarse. Sir P. And not respectable. Smoke. Pardon me, my lord, it was coarse. But the fact is, humbug has received such high patronage, that now it’s quite classic. Chat. But why not embark his lordship in the lucifer question? Smoke. I can't: I have his lordship in three companies already. Three. First, there's a company—half a million capital—for extracting civet from asafoetida. The second is a company for a trip all round the world. We propose to hire a three-decker of the Lords of the Admiralty, and fit her up with every accommodation for families. We’ve already advertised for wet-nurses and maids of all work. Sir P. A magnificent project! And then the fittings-up will be so respectable. A delightful billiardtable in the ward-room; with, for the humbler classes, skittles on the orlop-deck. Swings and archery for the ladies, trap-ball and cricket for the children, whilst the marine sportsman will find the stock of gulls unlimited. Weippert's quadrille band is engaged, and Smoke. For the convenience of lovers, the ship will carry a parson. Chat. And the object? Smoke. Pleasure and education. At every new country we shall drop anchor for at least a week, that the children may go to school and learn the language. The trip must answer: 'twill occupy only three years, and we've forgotten nothing to make it delightful— nothing from hot rolls to cork jackets. Brown. And now, sir, the third venture? Smoke. That, sir, is a company to buy the Serpentine River for a Grand Junction Temperance Cemetery. Brown. What! so many watery graves? Smoke. Yes, sir, with floating tombstones. Here's the prospectus. Look here; surmounted by a hyacinth —the very emblem of temperance-a hyacinth flowering in the limpid flood. Now, if you don’t feel equal to the lucifers—I know his lordship's goodness—he'll give you up the cemetery. (Aside to Chatham: A family vault as a bonus to the chairman.) Sir P. What a beautiful subject for a speech ! Water lilies and aquatic plants gemming the translucent crystal, shells of rainbow brightness, a constant supply of gold and silver fish, with the right of angling secured to shareholders. The extent of the river being necessarily limited, will render lying there so select, so very respectable,
Tackle. Kitty, see what you’ll get by waiting! grow you such a garland for your wedding.
Kitty. A garland, indeed! A daisy to-day is worth a rose-bush to-morrow.
Puffins. But, Mr Pennyweight, I trust you are now, in every sense, once and for ever, retired from business?
Gunn. No : in every sense, who is? Life has its duties ever; none wiser, better, than a manly disregard of false distinctions, made by ignorance, maintained by weakness. Resting from the activities of life, we have yet our daily task—the interchange of simple thoughts and gentle doings. When, following those already passed, we rest beneath the shadow of yon distant spire, then, and then only, may it be said of us, retired from business.
This cluster of genial wits—most of them contributors to Punch, and all of them well known in general literature—have each attempted the drama. MR A BECKETT (1810–1856) delighted in puns and burlesque; he produced above thirty dramatic pieces, and wrote the Comic Blackstone and Comic Histories of England and Rome. He latterly filled the office of police magistrate—a man universally respected and beloved. MR TAYLOR (born in Sunderland in 1817) is author of several comedies —some produced in conjunction with Mr Charles Reade, the novelist—and he has written the life of Haydon, the historical painter, a deeply interesting and melancholy memoir. In 1836, MR CHARLEs DICKENs wrote an opera, The Village Coquettes, which was acted at St James's Theatre, but acted only once. MR BRooks (born at Oswestry in 1816) has produced four successful dramas–The Lowther Arcade, Our New Governess, Honours and Riches, and The Creole. MR MARK LEMON (born in London in 1809) has written a vast number of dramatic pieces —above fifty, it is said; but his best honours are derived from his editorship of Punch, and his occasional essays and poems. MR WILKIE CollINs (born in London in 1825, the son of William Collins the artist) is author of two dramas, The Light-house and The Frozen Deep. MR WESTLAND MARSTON (born at Boston, in Lincolnshire, in 1819) produced The Heart of the World, 1847; Strathmore, a tragedy, 1849; The Patrician's Daughter; &c. MR RoPERT B. BROUGH (born in London in 1828) has produced several burlesque and other dramatic pieces, performed at the Olympic Theatre. There are numerous other dramatists—MRPLANCHS, MR BUCKSTONE, MR OxENFORD, MR LEMAN REDE, MR SULLIVAN, MR STIRLING CoxNE, &c., and one gentleman, Row: FITZBALL, in an account of his life recently
- James Fenimore Cooper.
is essentially poetical. He invests the ship with all the interest of a living being, and makes his readers follow its progress, and trace the operations of those on board, with intense and never flagging anxiety. Of humour he has scarcely any perception; and in delineating character and familiar incidents, he often betrays a great want of taste and knowledge of the world. “When he attempts to catch the ease of fashion, it has been truly said, “he is singularly unsuccessful. He belongs, like Mrs Radcliffe, to the romantic school of novelists--especially to the sea, the heath, and the primeval forest. Mr Cooper was born at Burlington, New Jersey, son of Judge William Cooper. After studying at Yale College, he entered the navy as a midshipman; and though he continued only six years a sailor, his nautical experience gave a character and colour to his afterlife, and produced impressions of which the world has reaped the rich result. On his marriage, in 1811, to a lady in the state of New York, Mr Cooper left the navy. His first novel, Precaution, appeared in 1821, and attracted little attention; but the same year appeared his story of The Spy, founded upon incidents connected with the American Revolution. This is a powerful and interesting romance, and it was highly successful. The author's fame was still more increased by his novels of The Pioneers and The Pilot, published in 1823; and these were succeeded by a long train of fictions— Lionel Lincoln, 1825; The Last of the Mohicans, 1826; Red Rover, and The Prairie, 1827; Travelling
Bachelor, 1828; Wept of Wish-ton Wish, 1829; The Water Witch, 1830; Bravo, 1831; Heidenmauer, 1832; Headsman, 1833; Monikins, 1835; Homeward Bound, and Home as Found, 1838; The Pathfinder, and Mercedes of Castile, 1840; The Deerslayer, 1841; The Two Admirals, and Wing and Wing, 1842; Ned Myers, and Wyandotte, 1843; Afloat and Ashore, and iles Wallingford, 1844; The Chainbearer, and Satanstoe, 1845; The Red Skins, 1846; The Crater, 1847; Jack Tier, and Oak Openings, 1848; The Sea Lions, 1849; and The Ways of the Hour, 1850. Of this numerous family of creations, the best are– The Spy, The Pilot, The Prairie, The Last of the Mohicans, and The Red Rover. In these his characteristic excellences—his noble marine painting and delineations of American scenery and character —are all combined. Besides his novels, Cooper wrote ten volumes of sketches of European travels, a History of the Navy of the United States, and various treatises on the institutions of America, in which a strong democratic spirit was manifested. In these he does not appear to advantage. He seems to have cherished some of the worst prejudices of the Americans, and, in his zeal for republican institutions, to have forgotten the candour and temper becoming an enlightened citizen of the world. In the department of fiction, however, Cooper has few superiors, and his countrymen may well glory in his name. He “emphatically belongs to the American nation, as Washington Irving has said, while his painting of nature under new and striking aspects, has given him a European fame that can never wholly die.
[A Virgin Wilderness—Lake Otsego.]
On all sides, wherever the eye turned, nothing met it but the mirror-like surface of the lake, the placid view of heaven, and the dense setting of woods. So rich and fleecy were the outlines of the forest, that scarce an opening could be seen; the whole visible earth, from the rounded mountain-top to the water's edge, presenting one unvaried line of unbroken verdure. As if vegetation were not satisfied with a triumph so complete, the trees overhung the lake itself, shooting out towards the light; and there were miles along its eastern shore where a boat might have pulled beneath the branches of dark Rembrandt-looking hemlocks, quivering aspens, and melancholy pines. In a word, the hand of man had never yet defaced or deformed any part of this native scene, which lay bathed in the sunlight, a glorious picture of affluent forest grandeur, softened by the balminess of June, and relieved by the beautiful variety afforded by the presence of so broad an expanse of water.
[Death of Long Tom Coffin.]
Lifting his broad hands high into the air, his voice was heard in the tempest. ‘God's will be done with me, he cried: “I saw the first timber of the Ariel laid, and shall live just long enough to see it turn out of her bottom; after which I wish to live no longer.’ But his shipmates were far beyond the sounds of his voice before these were half uttered. All command of the boat was rendered impossible, by the numbers it contained, as well as the raging of the surf; and as it rose on the white crest of a wave, Tom saw his beloved little craft for the last time. It fell into a trough of the sea, and in a few moments more its fragments were ground into splinters on the adjoining rocks. The cockswain [Tom] still remained where he had cast off the rope, and beheld the numerous heads and arms that appeared rising, at short intervals, on the waves, some maki: powerful and well-directed efforts to gain the
sands, that were becoming visible as the tide fell, and others wildly tossed, in the frantic movements of helpless despair. The honest old seaman gave a cry of joy as he saw Barnstable [the commander whom Tom had forced into the boat] issue from the surf, where one by one several seamen soon appeared also, dripping and exhausted. Many others of the crew were carried in a similar manner to places of safety; though, as Tom returned to his seat on the bowsprit, he could not conceal from his reluctant eyes the lifeless forms that were, in other spots, driven against the rocks with a fury that soon left them but few of the outward vestiges of humanity. Dillon and the cockswain were now the sole occupants of their dreadful station. The former stood in a kind of stupid despair, a witness of the scene; but as his curdled blood began again to flow more warmly to his heart, he crept close to the side of Tom, with that sort of selfish feeling that makes even hopeless misery more tolerable, when endured in participation with another. “When the tide falls, he said in a voice that betrayed the agony of fear, though his words expressed the renewal of hope, “we shall be able to walk to land.’ “There was One and only One to whose feet the waters were the same as a dry deck, returned the cockswain; “and none but such as have His power will ever be able to walk from these rocks to the sands.’ The old seaman paused, and turning his eyes, which exhibited a mingled expression of disgust and compassion, on his companion, he added with reverence: ‘Had you thought more of Him in fair weather, your case would be less to be pitied in this tempest.’ “Do you still think there is much danger?’ asked Dillon. “To them that have reason to fear death. Listen Do you hear that hollow noise beneath ye?’ ‘'Tis the wind driving by the vessel !’ ‘'Tis the poor thing herself, said the affected cockswain, “giving her last groans. The water is breaking up her decks, and in a few minutes more, the handsomest model that ever cut a wave, will be like the chips that fell from her in framing!” ‘Why then did you remain here?’ cried Dillon wildly. “To die in my coffin, if it should be the will of God,' returned Tom. “These waves are to me what the land is to you: I was born on them, and I have always meant that they should be my grave.’ “But I–I, shrieked Dillon, “I am not ready to die! —I cannot die!—I will not die!’ “Poor wretch!' muttered his companion, “you must go like the rest of us; when the death-watch is called, none can skulk from the muster.' ‘I can swim, Dillon continued, rushing with frantic eagerness to the side of the wreck. ‘Is there no billet of wood, no rope, that I can take with me?’ “None; everything has been cut away, or carried off by the sea. If ye are about to strive for your life, take with ye a stout heart and a clean conscience, and trust the rest to God.' “God!” echoed Dillon, in the madness of his frenzy, ‘I know no God! there is no God that knows me!’ “Peace!” said the deep tones of the cockswain, in a voice that seemed to speak in the elements; ‘blasphemer, peace!” The heavy groaning, produced by the water in the timbers of the Ariel, at that moment added its impulse to the raging feelings of Dillon, and he cast himself headlong into the sea. The water, thrown by the rolling of the surf on the beach, was necessarily returned to the ocean, in eddies, in different places favourable to such an action of the element. Into the edge of one of these counter-currents, that was produced by the very rocks on which the schooner lay, and which the watermen call the ‘under-tow, Dillon had unknowingly thrown his person; and when the waves had driven
him a short distance from the wreck, he was met by a 625