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till the PRESENT TIME.
And at evening evermore,
Hark! the cadence dies away On the yellow moonlight sea: The boatmen rest their oars and say, Miserere Domine ! ' [A long pause. Ord. The innocent obey nor charm nor spell! My brother is in heaven. Thou sainted spirit, Burst on our sight, a passing visitant Once more to hearthy voice, once more to see thee, O'twere a joy to me! Alv. A joy to thee! What if thou heardst him now What if his spirit Re-entered its cold corse, and came upon thee With many a stab from many a murderer's poniard What if (his steadfast eye still beaming pity And brother's love) he turned his head aside, Lest he should look at thee, and with one look Hurl thee beyond all power of penitence Vald. These are unholy fancies! Ord. [Struggling with his feelings.] Yes, my father, He is in heaven I Alv. [Still to Ordonio.] But what if he had a brother, Who had lived even so, that at his dying hour The name of heaven would have convulsed his face More than the death-pang ! Val. Idly prating man : Thou hast guessed ill: Don Alvar's only brother Stands here before thee—a father's blessing on him I He is most virtuous. Alv. [Still to Ordonio.] What if his very virtues Had pampered his swollen heart and made him proud : | And what if pride had duped him into guilt Yet still he stalked a self-created god, Not very bold, but exquisitely cunning; | And one that at his mother's looking-glass Would force his features to a frowning sternness? Young lord ' I tell thee that there are such beings— Yea, and it gives fierce merriment to the damned To see these most proud men, that loathe mankind, At every stir and buz of coward conscience, Trick, cant, and lie; most whining hypocrites! Away, away! Now let me hear more music. [Music again. Ter. "Tis strange, I tremble at my own conjectures: But whatsoe'er it mean, I dare no longer Be present at these lawless mysteries, This dark provoking of the hidden powers! Already I affront—if not high Heaven— Yet Alvar's memory ! Hark! I make appeal Against the unholy rite, and hasten hence | To bend before a lawful shrine, and seek That voice which whispers, when the still heart listens, | Comfort and faithful hope 1 Let us retire.
REv. CHARLEs Robert MATURIN.
The REv. CHARLEs Robert MATURIN, author of several romances, produced a tragedy named Bertram, which, by the influence of Lord Byron, was brought out at Drury Lane in 1816. It was well received; and by the performance and publication of his play, the author realised about £1000. Sir Walter Scott considered the tragedy “grand and powerful, the language most animated and poetical, and the characters sketched with a masterly enthusiasm.” The author was anxious to introduce Satan on the stage, a return to the style of the ancient mysteries by no means suited to modern taste. Mr Maturin was
curate of St Peter's, Dublin. The scanty income derived from his curacy being insufficient for his comfortable maintenance, he employed himself in | assisting young persons during their classical studies at Trinity college, Dublin. The novels of Maturin (which will be afterwards noticed) enjoyed considerable popularity; and had his prudence been equal ||
to his genius, his life might have been passed in com- | fort and respect. He was, however, vain and extravagant—always in difficulties (Scott at one time | generously sent him £50), and haunted by bailiffs. | When this eccentric author was engaged in composition, he used to fasten a wafer on his forehead, which was the signal that if any of his family entered the sanctum they must not speak to him! The success of “Bertram' induced Mr Maturin to attempt another tragedy, Manuel, which he published in 1817. It is a very inferior production: “the absurd work of a clever man,’ says Byron. The unfortunate author died in Dublin on the 30th of October 1824.
Bertram. Was it a man or fiend? Whate'er it was, It hath dealt wonderfully with me— All is around his dwelling suitable; The invisible blast to which the dark pines groan, The unconscious tread to which the dark earth echoes, The hidden waters rushing to their fall; These sounds, of which the causes are not seen, I love, for they are, like my fate, mysterious! How towered his proud form through the shrouding
How spoke the eloquent silence of its motion,
I felt the hollow whisper of his welcome, 516
I felt those unseen eyes were fixed on mine,
Enter two of his band observing him.
First Robber. Seest thou with what a step of pride he stalks : Thou hast the dark knight of the forest seen; For never man, from living converse come, Trod with such step or flashed with eye like thine. Second Robber. And hast thou of a truth seen the dark knight? Bertram. [Turning on him suddenly..] Thy hand is chilled with fear. Well, shivering craven, Say I have seen him—wherefore dost thou gaze Long'st thou for tale of goblin-guarded portal : Of giant champion, whose spell-forged mail Crumbled to dust at sound of magic horn— Banner of sheeted flame, whose foldings shrunk To withering weeds, that o'er the battlements Wave to the broken spell—or demon-blast Of winded clarion, whose fell summons sinks To lonely whisper of the shuddering breeze O'er the charmed towers— First Robber. Mock me not thus. a truth : Bertram. Well, fool— First Robber. Why, then, Heaven's benison be with you. Upon this hour we part—farewell for ever. For mortal cause I bear a mortal weapon— But man that leagues with demons lacks not man.
Hast met him of
That brightness all around thee, that appeared
In the same year with Mr Sheil's ‘Evadne' (1820) appeared Brutus, or the Fall of Tarquin, a historical tragedy, by John HowARD PAYNE. There is no originality or genius displayed in this drama; but, when well acted, it is highly effective on the stage.
In 1821 MR PRoctER's tragedy of Mirandola was brought out at Covent Garden, and had a short but enthusiastic run of success. The plot is painful (including the death, through unjust suspicions, of a prince sentenced by his father), and there is a want of dramatic movement in the play; but some of the passages are imbued with poetical feeling and vigorous expression. The doting affection of Mirandola, the duke, has something of the warmth and the rich diction of the old dramatists.
Duke. My own sweet love! wife! By the blue sky and all its crowding stars, I love you better—oh far better than Woman was ever loved. There's not an hour Of day or dreaming night but I am with thee: There's not a wind but whispers of thy name, And not a flower that sleeps beneath the moon But in its hues or fragrance tells a tale Of thee, my love, to thy Mirandola. Speak, dearest Isidora, can you love As I do? Can—but no, no ; I shall grow Foolish if thus I talk. You must be gone; You must be gone, fair Isidora, else The business of the dukedom soon will cease. I speak the truth, by Dian. Even now Gheraldi waits without (or should) to see me. In faith, you must go: one kiss; and so, away. Isid. Farewell, my lord. Duke. We'll ride together, dearest, Some few hours hence. Isid. Just as you please; farewell. [Erit. Duke. Farewell; with what a waving air she goes Along the corridor. How like a fawn; Yet statelier.—Hark! no sound, however soft (Nor gentlest echo), telleth when she treads; But every motion of her shape doth seem Hallowed by silence. Thus did Hebe grow Amidst the gods, a paragon; and thus— Away! I’m grown the very fool of love.
Oh! my dear peerless
Jul. None. Lor. Then 'twas my fancy. Every passing hour Is crowded with a thousand whisperers; The night has lost its silence, and the stars Shoot fire upon my soul. Darkness itself Has objects for mine eyes to gaze upon, And sends me terror when I pray for sleep In vain upon my knees. Nor ends it here; My greatest dread of all—detection—casts Her shadow on my walk, and startles me At every turn: sometime will reason drag Her frightful chain of probable alarms Across my mind; or, if fatigued, she droops, Her pangs survive the while; as you have seen The ocean tossing when the wind is down, And the huge storm is dying on the waters. Once, too, I had a dream Jul. The shadows of our sleep should fly with sleep; Nor hang their sickness on the memory. Lor, Methought the dead man, rising from his tomb, Frowned over me. Elmira at my side, Stretched her fond arms to shield me from his wrath, At which he frowned the more. I turned away, Disgusted, from the spectre, and assayed To clasp my wife; but she was pale, and cold, And in her breast the heart was motionless, And on her limbs the clothing of the grave, With here and there a worm, hung heavily. Then did the spectre laugh, till from its mouth Blood dropped upon us while it cried—‘Behold ! Such is the bridal bed that waits thy love!” I would have struck it (for my rage was up); I tried the blow; but, all my senses shaken By the convulsion, broke the tranced spell, And darkness told me—sleep was my tormentor.
on that striking incident in Roman story, the death of a maiden by the hand of her father, Virginius, to save her from the lust and tyranny of Appius. Mr Knowles's Virginius had an extraordinary run of success. He has since published The Wife, a Tale of Mantua, The Hunchback, Caius Gracchus, The Blind Beggar of Bethnal Green, William Tell, The Love Chace, &c. With considerable knowledge of stage effect, Mr Knowles unites a lively inventive imagination and a poetical colouring, which, if at times too florid and gaudy, sets off his familiar images and | illustrations. His style is formed on that of Massinger and the other elder dramatists, carried often to a ridiculous excess. He also frequently violates Roman history and classical propriety, and runs into conceits and affected metaphors. These faults are counterbalanced by a happy art of constructing scenes and plots, romantic, yet not too improbable, by skilful delineation of character, especially in domestic life, and by a current of poetry which sparkles through his plays, “not with a dazzling lustre—not with a gorgeousness that engrosses our attention,
but mildly and agreeably; seldom impeding with useless glitter the progress and development of incident and character, but mingling itself with them, and raising them pleasantly above the prosaic level of common life.”
[Scene from “Virginius.” Appius, CLAUDIUs, and Lictors.
Appius. Well, Claudius, are the forces At hand? Claudius. They are, and timely, too; the people || Are in unwonted ferment. | App. There's something awes me at The thought of looking on her father Claud. Look Upon her, my Appius ! Fix your gaze upon The treasures of her beauty, nor avert it Till they are thine. Haste! Your tribunal! Hastel [Appius ascends the tribunal || [Enter NUMIronius, Icilius, Lucius, CITIzENs, Wingnnts leading his daughter, SERVIA, and CITIzENs. A dead silence || prevails.] Virginius. Does no one speak? I am defendanthere. Is silence my opponent? Fit opponent To plead a cause too foul for speech What brow || Shameless gives front to this most valiant cause, That tries its prowess 'gainst the honour of | A girl, yet lacks the wit to know, that he #. casts off shame, should likewise cast off fear— And on the verge o’ the combat wants the nerve To stammer . the signal? App. You had better, Virginius, wear another kind of carriage; This is not of the fashion that will serve you. |
Vir. The fashion, Appius! Appius Claudius tell me
The fashion it becomes a man to speak in,
App. Stand o,
Claud. Most noble Appius—
Wir. And are you the man That claims my daughter for his slave?—Look at me And I will give her to thee.
* Edinburgh Reviow for 1833.
Claud. She is mine, then: Do I not look at you? Vir. Your eye does, truly, But not your soul. I see it through your eye Shifting and shrinking—turning every way To shun me. You surprise me, that your eye, So long the bully of its master, knows not To put a proper face upon a lie, But gives the port of impudence to falsehood When it would pass it off for truth. Your soul Dares as soon show its face to me. Go on, I had forgot; the fashion of my speech My not please Appius Claudius. Claud. I demand Protection of the Decemvirl App. You shall have it. Vir. Doubtless! App. Keep back the people, Lictors! What's Your plea You say the girl's your slave. Produce Your proofs. Claud. My proof is here, which, if they can, Let them confront. The mother of the girl— [Virginius, stepping forward, is withheld by Numitorius. Numitorius. Hold, brother! suffer me To speak. Vir. Man, I must speak, or else go mad! And if I do go mad, what then will hold me From speaking? She was thy sister, too ! Well, well, speak thou. I'll try, and if I can, Be silent. [Retires. Num. Will she swear she is her child? Vir. [Starting forward.] To be sure she will—a most wise question that! Is she not his slave? Will his tongue lie for him— Or his hand steal—or the finger of his hand Beckon, or point, or shut, or open for him? To ask him if she’ll swear! Will she walk or run, Sing, dance, or wag her head; do anything That is most easy done? She'll as soon swear! What mockery it is to have one's life In jeopardy by such a bare-faced trick!’ Is it to be endured? I do protest Against her oath! App. No law in Rome, Virginius, | Seconds you. If she swear the girl's her child, | The evidence is good, unless confronted | By better evidence. Look you to that, Virginius. I shall take the woman's oath. Virginia. Icilius ! Icilius. Fear not, love; a thousand oaths Will answer her. App. You swear the girl's your child, And that you sold her to Virginius' wife, Who passed her for her own. Is that your oath? Slave. It is my oath. App. Your answer now, Virginius. | Vir. Here it is [Brings Virginia forward. | Is this the daughter of a slave? I know 'Tis not with men as shrubs and trees, that by | The shoot you know the rank and order of | The stem. Yet who from such a stem would look | For such a shoot. My witnesses are these— | The relatives and friends of Numitoria, Who saw her, ere Virginia's birth, sustain The burden which a mother bears, nor feels The weight, with longing for the sight of it. Here are the ears that listened to her sighs In nature's hour of labour, which subsides In the embrace of joy—the hands, that when The day first looked upon the infant's face, And never looked so pleased, helped them up to it, And blessed her for a blessing. Here, the eyes That saw her lying at the generous And sympathetic fount, that at her cry
Hear them out, or
Sent forth a stream of liquid living pearl
Women and Citizens. You have, Virginius.
App. so Keep silence there ! No more of
that I You're very ready for a tumult, citizens. [Troops appear behind.
Lictors, make way to let these troops advance!
Vir. Troops in the Forum !
App. Virginius, have you spoken?
Vir. If you have heard me,
App. You need not,
Vir. Your hand, Virginia!
App. My conscience will not let me
Vir. Join your friends, Icilius,
And leave Virginia to my care. [Aside. App. The justice
I should have done my client unrequired,
Now cited by him, how shall I refuse?
Vir. And if he must, I should advise him, Appius,
him To the honour of a Roman maid! my child ! Who now clings to me, as you see, as if This second Tarquin had already coiled His arms around her. Look upon her, Romans! Befriend her! succour her see her not polluted Before her father's eyes!—He is but one. Tear her from Appius and his Lictors while She is unstained.—Your hands! your hands! your hands !
Citizens. They are yours, Virginius.
App. Keep the people back—
Icilius. Down with the slaves!
vance of the soldiers, retreat, and leave Icilius, Vir
ginius, and his daughter, &c. in the hands of Appius and
his party.] Deserted –Cowards! traitors! Let me free 9
But for a moment! I relied on you;
Vir. Icilius, peace!
App. Separate them, Lictors!
Vir. Let them forbear awhile, I pray you, Appius:
App. I have not time
Vir. Appius, I pray you wait! If she is not
App. Have your wish. Be brief I Lictors, look to them.
Virginia. Do you go from me?
Vir. No, my child—
Virginia. Will you not leave me? Will you take
me with you?
My father! my dear father! Art thou not
[VIRGintus, perfectly at a loss what to do, looks anxiously around the Forum; at length his eye falls on a butcher's stall, with a knife upon it.]
Vir. This way, my child—No, no; I am not going To leave thee, my Virginia! I'll not leave thee. App. Keep back the people, soldiers! Let them not Approach Virginius! Keep the people back! [Virginius secures the knife.
Well, have you done? Vir. Short time for converse, Appius, But I have. App. I hope you are satisfied. Vir. I am— I am—that she is my daughter! App. Take her, Lictors! [Virginia shrieks, and falls half-dead upon her father's shoulder. Wir. Another moment, pray you. Bear with me A little—"Tis my last embrace. Twont try Your patience beyond bearing, if you're a man! | Lengthen it as I may, I cannot make it | Long. My dear child ! My dear Virginia! [Kissing her. There is one only way to save thine honour– 'Tis this.
[Stabs her, and draws out the knife. . Icilius breaks from the soldiers that held him, and catches her. | Lo, Appius, with this innocent blood I do devote thee to the infernal gods ! | Make way there! App. Stop him 1 Seize him 1
Lorenzo. That's right—you are collected and direct || In your replies. I dare be sworn your passion Was such a thing, as, by its neighbourhood, Made piety and virtue twice as rich As e'er they were before. How grew it? Come, Thou know'st thy heart—look calmly into it, And see how innocent a thing it is Which thou dost fear to show—I wait your answer. How grew your passion? Mariana. As my stature grew, Which rose without my noting it, until They said I was a woman. I kept watch Beside what seemed his deathbed. From beneath An avalanche my father rescued him, The sole survivor of a company Who wandered through our mountains. A long time His life was doubtful, signor, and he called For help, whence help alone could come, which I, Morning and night, invoked along with him ; So first our souls did mingle! . I perceive: you mingled souls until you mingled hearts? You loved at last. Was’t not the sequel, maid! Mariana. I loved, indeed If I but nursed a flower Which to the ground the rain and wind had beaten, That flower of all our garden was my pride: What then was he to me, for whom I thought To make a shroud, when, tending on him still With hope, that, baffled still, did still keep up; I saw, at last, the ruddy dawn of health Begin to mantle o'er his pallid form, And glow—and glow—till forth at last it burst Into confirmed, broad, and glorious day ! Lorenzo. You loved, and he did love? Mariana. To say he did, Were to affirm what oft his eyes avouched, What many an action testified—and yet— What wanted confirmation of his tongue. But if he loved, it brought him not content 1 'Twas now abstraction—now a start—anon A pacing to and fro—anon a stillness, As nought remained of life, save life itself, !, And feeling, thought, and motion, were extinct. Then all again was action! Disinclined To converse, save he held it with himself; Which oft he did, in moody vein discoursing, And ever and anon invoking honour, As some high contest there were pending 'twixt Himself and him, wherein her aid he needed. Lorenzo. This spoke impediment; or he was bound By promise to another; or had friends Whom it behoved him to consult, and doubted; Or 'twixt you lay disparity too wide For love itself to leap. Mariana. I saw a struggle, But knew not what it was. I wondered still, That what to me was all content, to him Was all disturbance; but my turn did come. At length he talked of leaving us; at length o He fixed the parting day—but kept it not— O how my heart did bound! Then first I knew It had been sinking. Deeper still it sank When next he fixed to go; and sank it then To bound no more! He went. Lorenzo. To follow him You came to Mantua: