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place himself almost simultaneously in high reputation which he has obtained the situation of all his characters--of a among the poets of Greece, is now to sympathy with the beings of his own be examined ; and I shall begin with imagination, which will enable him to a short analysis of the play of Promethink with their minds, to feel with theus. It is founded on a well-known their hearts, and speak with their fable. In the wars of the gods, Protongues, as if they were real charac-metheus had joined the party of Jupiters—to become at once a Shylock and ter, to whom he gave important aid in a Portia- a Hamlet and the Queen the unnatural expulsion of his father, Mother. So to conceive and to paint Saturn, from the throne of heaven. character, as to clothe it in the garb of Jupiter, however, forgetful of past nature, to model it to symmetry, and services and of solemn oaths, was no to inspire it with the animation of life, sooner seated on the throne, than he not merely in description, but in re- began to exercise his authority in acts presentation—so to invent a fable as to of the most abominable tyranny over make it at once probable and interest gods and men. His amusement was ing, to lead us into the society of men in insulting the subject gods, but men and women in the moment of suffering he determined to exterminate, by at or heroism, and to light the whole with once depriving them of food and fire. a radiant atmosphere of poetry-from Prometheus was not like the submisthe frequency of the failure, must be sive throng of courtier gods, so far corconcluded to be one of the most ardu- rupted by the contagion of servility, ous of the enterprises of genius. Hence as not to feel pity for the distresses of the miscarriages of men, even of great mankind. In defiance of the tyrant, poetical talents; of whom some have he interposed to save them from the brought upon the stage characters so threatened destruction, and not only cold and so correct, so stiff and so gave them fire and food, but instructformal, so unlike the men and wo- ed them in many of the useful and ormen with whom we mingle in real namental arts. Jupiter, enraged at this life, that we have no more sympa- act of disobedience to his despotic manthy with them than with the inha- dates, condemned him to be chained bitants of the moon. They are mere to a rock on Mount Caucasus, there to puppets, through which their authors remain till he should expiate his crime, pour forth their declamations on stale and offer submission ; and this senmorality, and without the smallest re- tence was carried into execution with gard to propriety; every thing is spoken many circumstances of cruelty and inin the same tone, and with the same sult. This preface was necessary to emphasis. With these writers, every the right understanding of the play. breeze is a whirlwind, and every feel- The main object of Æschylus, in ing an ecstasy. They do not suit the writing this tragedy, was to exhibit to language to the sentiment, nor study his countrymen, in Jupiter, a ferocious the processes of Nature, who never errs tyrant, stained with every crime; and in fitness, but gives to every stream its in Prometheus, a suffering patriot. own particular key-sound, according Among the Athenians, such a subject to the weight of its waters and the ra- could not fail to awaken the deepest pidity of its descent. These hints, interest. Never was an altar erected crude and undigested as they are, will to freedom in any country on earth be of practical application in my re- where her flame burnt purer than in marks on Greek Tragedy.
that city; and this drama was an of Æschylus, in a glorious age, had fering worthy of such a shrine. perhaps a fairer claim to originality The fable is more than commonly than any of his contemporaries. He did simple, and all the characters mythonot improve, but create tragedy. He logical or allegorical except one. They not only paved the way in which Shak- are, Prometheus--a Chorus of Ocean speare was afterwards to move with a Nymphs—Io, the Daughter of Inachus splendour that should eclipse his own -Ocean-Vulcan-Force--and Vioand every other name, but he gave to lence;-of whom the two latter, under the acting manager the mechanism of the direction of Vulcan, bind Promescenery that was to represent the beau- theus to a rock with chains of adaties of the landscape, not merely to mant. In their presence, neither pain, delight the eye of the spectator, but nor the insults of Force, who is a well to give a fit place for the action.. painted executioner--nor the sympa
T'he claims of this writer to the thy of Vulcan, who is his kinsinan
draws from him a single word; but as traverse. In the last scene, Mercury soon as they retire, he apostrophizes the appears, commissioned by Jupiter to rivers, the ocean, the earth, the air, extort from. Prometheus a secret at and the sun; and calls upon them to which he had hinted in his conversation witness the injustice of his punishe with 10,—that it was in the decrees ment. The sound of his lamentations of fate that the tyrant himself should draws to the scene of his sufferings a be dethroned, and that he alone knew company of ocean nymphs, who form the means by which the danger might the Chorus, and consequently never be averted. On the sight of this minleave the stage.* They come as friends, ion of the despot, he addresses bim in to sooth and to sympathise ; and to the language of sarcasm and defiance, them he explains, that by his counsels confessing his knowledge of the secrets Jupiter had succeeded in his designs of fate, and his resolution never to reon his father's throne, and that in him veal them till his bonds should be they may see what reward they have loosed. The rock to which he is fixed to expect who serve a tyrant. To is struck with thunder, and he dethem he likewise narrates, at full scends to the infernal regions amid the length, the favours he had conferred convulsions of nature.
With Ocean, who was also Such, divested of all poetical orattracted to the place by his com- nament, is an abstract of this sinplaints, he holds a dialogue on the same gular play. Here there is none of subject,--who, after having reasoned the interest that arises from the hurwith him in vain on the inutility of ry, of incident, and the unexpected resistance, and advised submission, change of fortune. From the conquits the stage. Io then enters. She, clusion of the first scene to the belike Prometheus, was the victim of the ginning of the last, the action stands cruelty and the crimes of Jupiter, and still the intermediate scenes being was wandering over the earth in soli- merely conversational, and in nowise tary wretchedness, goaded on by the forwarding the plot. The only thing jealousy of Juno. Prometheus fore- like business is in the first scene, where tells her future wanderings, and gives Prometheus is chained ; and in the a short but rapid and poetical descrip- last, when he sinks amid the thunder. tion of the countries, which she is to Nor are the subordinate characters
more interesting than the incidents, The most remarkable feature of differ. displaying none of those fine creations ence between the ancient and modern dra. in which the charm of dramatic poetry mas was the Chorus, a company of persons consists, nor of the language well imawho might naturally be supposed present on the occasion, and interested in the
events gined, yet suitable to the situation of the which were going on.
The number of the speaker. They do nothing more than chorus was at first indefinite. Æschylus, utter common places of sympathy and in his Eumenides, brought no fewer than submission to the powers that be; and fifty on the stage, but was obliged by the what is said by one, may, with equal civil authority to reduce them to twelve. propriety, be put into the mouth of Sophocles was afterwards permitted to add any other. In what then, it may be three ; and after that time fifteen seems to asked, does the merit of this tragedy have been the number to which the chorus
consist? In the character of Prome. was restricted. This company was constantly on the stage. One of them, who theus alone ;-in the benevolence that was called Choragus, or Choryphæus, the refines, and in the sublimity that eleleader or president of the chorus, generally vates, the soul of man ;-in the conspoke for the rest ; but their odes were sung sciousness of rectitude, that reposes on by the whole band, accompanied with music itself, independent of fortune ;-in the and dancing. It was the office of the chorus glorious energy of spirit, that resists to deduce from the events represented those oppression, though armed with omnimoral reflections which the principal actors were too busy, or too impassioned, to make; rises superior to unmerited sufferings,
potence ;-and in the fortitude that to direct the leading characters with their counsel ; and, during the intervals of the It was the love of independence, and action, to sing their odes, in which they the hatred of tyranny, and the unprayed to the gods for success to the vir. quenchable daring of a lofty mind, tuous, lamented their misfortunes, and took that rendered it the delight of the occasion, from the events, to enforce upon Athenians. It was the bright reflectheir audience the lessons of religion and tion of their own souls, and the fair morality.
image returned to them again with all VOL. I.
the joy of self-exultation. This was The herbs' sweet influences, and the balm the halo that shone from heaven, and That wak’d the bloom upon the faded cheek. shed over the tragedy a lustre by And strung the nerveless arm with strength which it was sanctified in the eye of
I was man's saviour, but have now no power freedom.
From these degrading bonds myself to save." I have brought heavy charges against this performance as a drama, and it is sublime poem is that in which Pro
The most sublime passage in this only justice that I should bring for: metheus replies to Mercury, when, in ward some of its beauties in detail : and here enough of matter will be the name of Jupiter, he denounces found to soften the rigour of criticism.
a terrible vengeance if he refuse to However wide the tragedies of Æschy- reveal the secrets of fate touching the lus may be of the standard of excels dethronement of the thunderer. lence established in the land that gave
P. To be a slave, thy words sound
wondrous well, Shakspeare birth, yet in all ages and the words of wisdom and authority, in all countries he must be considered The tyrant is but young
in power, and deems an eminent poet. In the eye that kin- His place inaccessible to sorrow, dles as it rolls over the beauties of na.
But bear him this defiance: I have seen ture, and in the imagination that teems Two hated despots hurl'd from the same with great conceptions, he is inferior throne, to few poets. There is a grandeur and And in him I shall soon behold a third, loftiness of soul about hiin, generated Plung thence in an irreparable ruin. by the elevation of freedom, that is Think not that I do fear thy upstart gods, blazing forth on every fit occasion, & Go tell him that his thunders have no power
Beings of yesterday ; but hie thee hence, mysterious sublimity that cannot be To humble me, or wrest my secret from me. understood, much less felt, by the
M. It was thy proud rebellion brought slaves of a despot.
thee here, The following is a feeble attempt to Else hadst thou from calamity been free. render the meaning of the beautiful P. Thinkst thou that I would change passage in which Prometheus describes these galling bonds the degraded state in which he found for slavery, and be the thing that thou art ? man, and by what means he had raised No! I would rather hang upon this rock him from it'; and it will be well if the Thus I return his insults,--thus defy him.
than be the slave of Jupiter. meaning is given—the inspiration of Yet must he fall; but he shall never learn poetry evaporates at the touch of trans- From me whose hand shall strike the whelmlation.
ing blow : “ Eyes had they, but they saw not; they There is no pang by which he may prevail.
No ! let him launch at me the flaning bolt,
There is so striking a resemblance
book of Paradise Lost, that there is Should shed its roses, or the Summer pour
reason to believe that Milton's farIts golden fruits, or icy Winter breathe
famed line, In barrenness and bleakness on the year. “Betterto reign in hell than servein heaven.” To heaven I rais’d their eyes, and bade them might have been suggested by this :
mark The time the constellations rose and set,
“ No! I would rather bang upon this rock By which their labours they might regulate. For aye, than be the slave of Jupiter.' I taught them numbers: letters were my gift,
It would be easy, were not this ar-
length, to draw such a parallel betwixt
reason to suspect that Milton took his
theus. Yet this is to detract little from I to the tail mast hung the flaxen pinions,
the glory of one of the greatest of our To bear the vessel bounding o'er the billows, poets. An accidental spark is suffiIn sickness, man, without a remedy,
cient to kindle the fires of a volcano. Was left to perish, till my pity taught
NOTICES CONCERNING TIE SCOTTISH GYPSICS.
“ Hast thou not noted on the bye-way side,
That an Asiatic people should have have furnished. In presenting to the resided four hundred years in the public the following desultory notices, heart of Europe, subject to its civilized we are very far from any thoughts of polity and commingled with its varied aspiring to this grave office-nor inpopulation, and yet have retained aldeed is it our province. Our duty is most unaltered their distinct oriental rather to collect and store up (if we character, customs, and language,mis may so express it,) the raw materials a phenomenon so singular as only to be of literature to gather into our repoequalled, perhaps, by the unaccount- sitory scattered facts, hints, and obserable indifference with which, till very vations,-which more elaborate and lately, this remarkable fact appears to learned authors may afterwards work have been regarded. Men of letters, up into the dignified tissue of history while eagerly investigating the customs or science. With this idea, and with of Otaheite or Kamschatka, and losing the hope of affording to general readers their tempers in endless disputes about something both of information and Gothic and Celtic antiquities, have wit- amusement on a subject so curious and nessed with apathy and contempt the so indistinctly known, we have collectstriking spectacle of a Gypsey camp, ed some particulars respecting the Gyppitched, perhaps, amidst the moulder- sies in Scotland, both from public reing entrenchments of their favourite cords and popular tradition; and, in Picts and Romans. The rest of the order to render the picture more comcommunity, familiar from infancy with plete, we shall introduce these by a the general character and appearance rapid view of their earlier history-reof these vagrant hordes, have probably serving to a future occasion our obsernever regarded them with any deeper vations on their present state, and on interest than what springs from the the mysterious subject of their natione recollected terrors of a nursery tale, al language and origin. or the finer associations of poetical and That this wandering people attracted picturesque description. It may, in- considerable attention on their first ardeed, be reckoned as one of the many rival in Christendom in the beginning remarkable circumstances in the hise of the fifteenth century, is sufficiently tory of this singular race, that the best evident, both from the notices of conand almost the only accounts of them temporary authors, and from the varithat have hitherto appeared in this ous edicts respecting them still existing country, are to be found in works of in the archives of every state in Europe. fiction. Disregarded by philosophers Their first appearance and pretensions and literati,--the strange, picturesque, were indeed somewhat imposing. They and sometimes terrific features of the entered Hungary and Bohemia from gypsey character, have afforded to our the east, travelling in numerous hordes, poets and novelists a favourite subject under leaders who assumed the titles for delineation; and they have exe- of King's, Dukes, Counts, or Lords cuted the task so well, that we have of Lesser Egypt, and they gave themlittle more to ask of the historian, selves out for Christian Pilgrims, who than merely to extend the canvass, and had been expelled from that country to affix the stamp of authenticity to by the Saracens for their adherence the striking representations which they to the true religion. However doubt. ful may now appear their claims to been somewhat diminished in particuthis sacred character, they had the ad- lar states by the progress of civilizadress to pass themselves on some of tion, it seems to be generally allowed the principal sovereigns of Europe, that their distinctive character and and, as German historians relate, even modes of life have nowhere undergone on the Pope himself, for real pilgrims; any material alteration. In Germany, and obtained, under the seals of these Hungary, Poland,-in Italy, Spain, potentates, various privileges and pass- France, and England, this singular ports, empowering them to travel people, by whatever appellation they through all christian countries under may be distinguished, -Cingari, Zitheir patronage, for the space of seven geuners, Tziganys, Bohemiens, Gitanos, years.—Having once gained this foot- or Gypsies, --still remain uncombined ing, however, the Egyptian pilgrims with the various nations among whom were at no great loss in finding pre- they are dispersed,--and still continue tences for prolonging their stay; and the same dark, deceitful, and disorderly though it was soon discovered that race as when their wandering hordes their manners and conduct corres- first emigrated from Egypt or from ponded but little to the sanctity of India. They are still every where their first pretensions, yet so strong characterized by the same strolling was the delusion respecting them, and and pilfering propensities,- the same so dexterous were they in the arts of peculiarity of aspect,--and the same imposition, that they seem to have pretensions to fortune-telling and warbeen either legally protected or silently lockry.'* endured by most of the European go- The estimate of their present numvernments for the greater part of a bers, by the best informed continentcentury.*
al writers on the subject, is almost When their true character became incredible.—" Independently,” says at length fully understood, and they Grellmann, “ of the multitudes of were found to be in reality a race of gypsies in Egypt and some parts of profligate and thievish impostors, – Asia, could we obtain an exact estimate who from their numbers and audacity of them in the countries of Europe, had now become a grievous and intol- the immense number would probably erable nuisance to the various coun- greatly exceed what we have any idea tries that they had inundated,- -severe of. At a moderate calculation, and measures were adopted by different without being extravagant, they might states to expel them from their terri- be reckoned at between seven and eight tories. Decrees of expulsion were is. hundred thousand.” sued against them by Spain in 1492, The gypsies do not appear to have by the German empire in 1500, and by found their way to this Island till France in 1561 and 1612. Whether about 100 years after they were first it was owing, however, to the ineffi- known in Europe. Henry VIII. and cient systems of police at that time his immediate successors, by several in use, or, that the common people severe enactments, and by re-exportamong whom they were mingled fa- ing numbers of them at the public voured their evasion of the public expense, endeavoured to expel from edicts, it is certain, that notwithstand their dominions “ this outlandish
peoing many long and bloody persecu- ple calling themselves Egupeians, tions, no country that had once ad- but apparently with little better sucmitted “ these unknown and uninvita cess than their brother sovereigns in ed guests,” has ever again been able other countries; for in the reign of to get rid of them. When rigorously Elizabeth the number of them in Engprosecuted by any government on ac- land is stated to have exceeded 10,000, count of their crimes and depreda- and they afterwards became stili tions, they generally withdrew for a more numerous. If they made any time to the remote arts of the coun- pretension to the character of piltry, or crossed the frontiers to a neigh- grims, on their arrival among our bouring jurisdiction-only to return to southern neighbours, it is evident their accustomed haunts and habits as at least that neither Henry nor soon as the storm passed over. Though their numbers may perhaps bave since • Grellmann.-See also Hume on Crim.
Law of Scotland, vol. ii. p. 344.—MackenGrellmann.
zie's Obs. on Stat. p, 333.