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And far up in heaven near the white sunny cloud,
The song of the lark was melodious and loud,
And in Glenmuir's wild solitude, lengthened and deep,
Were the whistling of plovers and bleating of sheep.
And Wellwood's sweet valleys breathed music and

classes. The increased competition in business has
also made our nation of shopkeepers' a busier and
harder-working race than their forefathers; and the
diffusion of cheap literature may have further tended
tainment for the masses at home at a cheaper rate
to thin the theatres, as furnishing intellectual enter-
than dramatic performances. The London managers

The fresh meadow blooms hung in beauty and redness;
Its daughters were happy to hail the returning,
And drink the delights of July's sweet morning.
But, oh! there were hearts cherished far other feelings,
Illumed by the light of prophetic revealings,
Who drank from the scenery of beauty but sorrow,
For they knew that their blood would bedew it to-

appear to have had considerable influence in this matter. They lavish enormous sums on scenic decoration and particular actors, and aim rather at filling their houses by some ephemeral and dazzling display, than by the liberal encouragement of native talent and genius. To improve, or rather re-establish the acted drama, a periodical writer suggests that there should be a classification of theatres in the metropolis, as in Paris, where each theatre has its distinct species of the drama, and performs it well. We believe,' he endeavour of managers to succeed by commixing says, that the evil is mainly occasioned by the vain every species of entertainment-huddling together tragedy, comedy, farce, melo-drama, and spectacleand striving, by alternate exhibitions, to draw all And their bridle reins rung through the thin misty the dramatic public to their respective houses. Im


'Twas the few faithful ones who with Cameron were
Concealed 'mong the mist where the heathfowl was

For the horsemen of Earlshall around them were



Their faces grew pale, and their swords were
But the vengeance that darkened their brow was
With eyes turned to heaven in calm resignation,
They sung their last song to the God of Salvation.
The hills with the deep mournful music were ringing,
The curlew and plover in concert were singing;
But the melody died 'mid derision and laughter,
As the host of ungodly rushed on to the slaughter.

perfect-very imperfect companies for each species are engaged; and as, in consequence of the general imperfection, they are forced to rely on individual un-excellence, individual performers become of inordinate importance, and the most exorbitant salaries are given to procure them. These individuals are thus placed in a false position, and indulge themselves in all sorts of mannerisms and absurdities. The

public is not unreasonably dissatisfied with imperfect companies and bad performances; the managers wonder at their ruin; and critics become elegiacal over the mournful decline of the drama! Not in this way can a theatre flourish; since, if one species of performance proves attractive, the others are at a discount, and their companies become useless burdens; if none of them prove attractive, then the loss ends in ruin.' Too many instances of this have occurred within the last twenty years. Whenever a play of real excellence has been brought forward, the public has shown no insensibility to its merits; but so many circumstances are requisite to its successful represtream-sentation-so expensive are the companies, and so capricious the favourite actors-that men of talent are averse to hazard a competition. The true dramatic talent is also a rare gift. Some of the most eminent poets have failed in attempting to portray actual life and passion in interesting situations on the stage; and as Fielding and Smollett proved unsuccessful in comedy (though the former wrote a number of pieces), so Byron and Scott were found wanting in the qualities requisite for the tragic drama. It is evident,' says Campbell, that Melpomene demands on the stage something, and a good deal more, than even poetical talent, rare as that is. She requires a potent and peculiar faculty for the invention of incident adapted to theatric effect; a faculty which may often exist in those who have been bred to the stage, but which, generally speaking, has seldom been shown by any poets who were not professional players. There are exceptions to the remark, but there are not many. If Shakspeare had not been a player, he would not have been the dramatist that he is.' Dryden, Addison, and Congreve, are conspicuous exceptions to this rule; also Goldsmith in comedy, and, in our own day, Sir Edward Lytton Bulwer in the romantic drama. The Colmans, Sheridan, Morton, and Reynolds, never, we believe, wore the sock or buskin; but they were either managers, or closely connected with the theatre.


Though in mist and in darkness and fire they were shrouded,

Yet the souls of the righteous were calm and unclouded,
Their dark eyes flashed lightning, as, firm and un-

They stood like the rock which the thunder is rending.
The muskets were flashing, the blue swords were
The helmets were cleft, and the red blood was
The heavens grew dark, and the thunder was rolling,
When in Wellwood's dark muirlands the mighty were

When the righteous had fallen, and the combat was ended,

A chariot of fire through the dark cloud descended;
Its drivers were angels on horses of whiteness,
And its burning wheels turned on axles of brightness.
A seraph unfolded its doors bright and shining,
All dazzling like gold of the seventh refining,
And the souls that came forth out of great tribulation,
Have mounted the chariots and steeds of salvation.

On the arch of the rainbow the chariot is gliding,
Through the path of the thunder the horsemen are

Glide swiftly, bright spirits! the prize is before ye,
A crown never fading, a kingdom of glory!


Dramatic literature no longer occupies the prominent place it held in former periods of our history. Various causes have been assigned for this declineas, the great size of the theatres, the monopoly of the two large London houses, the love of spectacle or scenic display which has usurped the place of the legitimate drama, and the late dinner hours now prevalent among the higher and even the middle

* Edinburgh Review for 1843.

In the first year of this period, ROBERT JEPHSON (1736-1803) produced his tragedy of The Count of Narbonne, copied from Walpole's Castle of Otranto, and it was highly attractive on the stage. In 1785 Jephson brought out another tragedy, The Duke of Braganza, which was equally successful. He wrote three other tragedies, some farces, and operas; but the whole are now utterly neglected. Jephson was no great dramatic writer; but a poetical critic has recorded to his honour, that, at a time when the native genius of tragedy seemed to be extinct, he came boldly forward as a tragic poet, and certainly with a spark of talent; for if he has not the full flame of genius, he has at least its scintillating light.' The dramatist was an Irishman by birth, a captain in the army, and afterwards a member of the Irish House of Commons.

The stage was aroused from a state of insipidity or degeneracy by the introduction of plays from the German, which, amidst much false and exaggerated sentiment, appealed to the stronger sympathies of our nature, and drew crowded audiences to the theatres. One of the first of these was The Stranger, said to be translated by Benjamin Thompson; but the greater part of it, as it was acted, was the production of Sheridan. It is a drama of domestic life, not very moral or beneficial in its tendencies (for it is calculated to palliate our detestation of adultery), yet abounding in scenes of tenderness and surprise, well adapted to produce effect on the stage. The principal characters were acted by Kemble and Mrs Siddons, and when it was brought out in the season of 1797-8, it was received with immense applause. In 1799 Sheridan adapted another of Kotzebue's plays, Pizarro, which experienced still greater success. In the former drama the German author had violated the proprieties of our moral code, by making an injured husband take back his guilty though penitent wife; and in Pizarro he has invested a fallen female with tenderness, compassion, and heroism. The obtrusion of such a character as a prominent figure in the scene was at least indelicate; but, in the hands of Mrs Siddons, the taint was scarcely perceived, and Sheridan had softened down the most objectionable parts. The play was produced with all the aids of splendid scenery, music, and fine acting, and these, together with its displays of generous and heroic feeling on the part of Rolla, and of parental affection in Alonzo and Cora, were calculated to lead captive a general audience. Its subject was also new, and peculiarly fortunate. It brought the adventures of the most romantic kingdom of Christendom (Spain) into picturesque combination with the simplicity and superstitions of the transatlantic world; and gave the imagination a new and fresh empire of paganism, with its temples, and rites, and altars, without the stale associations of pedantry.' Some of the sentiments and descriptions in Pizarro are said to have originally formed part of Sheridan's famous speech on the impeachment of Warren Hastings! They are often inflated and bombastic, and full of rhetorical glitter. Thus Rollo soliloquises in Alonzo's dungeon:

O holy Nature! thou dost never plead in vain. There is not of our earth a creature, bearing form and life, human or savage, native of the forest wild or giddy air, around whose parent bosom thou hast not a cord entwined of power to tie them to their offspring's claims, and at thy will to draw them back to thee. On iron pinions borne the blood-stained vulture cleaves the storm, yet is the plumage closest to her heart soft as the cygnet's down; and o'er her unshelled brood the murmuring ring-dove sits not more gently.'

Or the speech of Rolla to the Peruvian army at the consecration of the banners:- My brave

associates! partners of my toil, my feelings, and my fame! Can Rolla's words add vigour to the virtuous energies which inspire your hearts? No! you have judged, as I have, the foulness of the crafty plea by which these bold invaders would delude you. Your generous spirit has compared, as mine has, the motives which, in a war like this, can animate their minds and ours. They, by a strange frenzy driven, fight for power, for plunder, and extended rule. We, for our country, our altars, and our homes. They follow an adventurer whom they fear, and a power which they hate. We serve a monarch whom we love-a God whom we adore! Where'er they move in anger, desolation tracks their progress; where'er they pause in amity, affliction mourns their friendship. They boast they come but to improve our state, enlarge our thoughts, and free us from the yoke of error. Yes, they will give enlightened freedom to our minds, who are them. selves the slaves of passion, avarice, and pride. They offer us their protection; yes, such protection as vultures give to lambs-covering and devouring them! They call on us to barter all of good we have inherited and proved, for the desperate chance of something better which they promise. Be our plain answer this: the throne we honour is the people's choice; the laws we reverence are our brave fathers' legacy; the faith we follow teaches us to live in bonds of charity with all mankind, and die with hopes of bliss beyond the grave. Tell your invaders this, and tell them, too, we seek no change, and least of all such change as they would bring us.' Animated apostrophes like these, rolled from the lips of Kemble, and applied, in those days of war, to British valour and patriotism arrayed against France, could hardly fail of an enthusiastic reception. A third drama by Kotzebue was some years afterwards adapted for the English stage by Mrs Inchbald, and performed under the title of Lovers' Vows. "The grand moral of the play is to set forth the miserable consequences which arise from the neglect, and to enforce the watchful care of illegitimate offspring; and surely as the pulpit has not had eloquence to eradicate the crime of seduction, the stage may be allowed a humble endeavour to prevent its most fatal effects.' Lovers' Vows also became a popular acting play, for stage effect was carefully studied, and the scenes and situations skilfully arranged. While filling the theatres, Kotzebue's plays were generally condemned by the critics. They cannot be said to have produced any permanent bad effect on our national morals, but they presented many false and pernicious pictures to the mind. There is an affectation,' as Scott remarks, 'of attributing noble and virtuous sentiments to the persons least qualified by habit or education to entertain them; and of describing the higher and better educated classes as uniformly deficient in those feelings of liberality, generosity, and honour, which may be considered as proper to their situation in life. This contrast may be true in par ticular instances, and being used sparingly, might afford a good moral lesson; but in spite of truth and probability, it has been assumed, upon all occasions, by those authors as the groundwork of a sort of intellectual Jacobinism.' Scott himself, it will be recollected, was fascinated by the German drama, and translated a play of Goethe. The excesses of Kotzebue were happily ridiculed by Canning and Ellis in their amusing satire, The Rovers. At length, after a run of unexampled success, these plays ceased to attract attention, though one or two are still occasionally performed. With all their absurdities, we cannot but believe that they exercised an inspiring influence on the rising genius of that age.


They dealt with passions, not with manners, and awoke the higher feelings and sensibilities of our nature. Good plays were also mingled with the bad if Kotzebue was acted, Goëthe and Schiller were studied. The Wallenstein was translated by Coleridge, and the influence of the German drama was felt by most of the young poets.


single tragedies; and she would have invented more stirring incidents to justify the passion of her characters, and to give them that air of fatality which, though peculiarly predominant in the Greek drama, will also be found, to a certain extent, in all successful tragedies. Instead of this, she contrives to make all the passions of her main characters proceed from One of those who imbibed a taste for the mar the wilful natures of the beings themselves. Their vellous and the romantic from this source was feelings are not precipitated by circumstances, like MATTHEW GREGORY LEWIS, whose drama, The a stream down a declivity, that leaps from rock to Castle Spectre, was produced in 1797, and was per- rock; but, for want of incident, they seem often like formed about sixty successive nights. It is full of water on a level, without a propelling impulse.'* supernatural horrors, deadly revenge, and assassina- The design of Miss Baillie in restricting her dramas tion, with touches of poetical feeling, and some well-each to the elucidation of one passion, appears cermanaged scenes. In the same year Lewis adapted tainly to have been an unnecessary and unwise rea tragedy from Schiller, entitled The Minister; and straint, as tending to circumscribe the business of this was followed by a succession of dramatic pieces the piece, and exclude the interest arising from —Rolla, a tragedy, 1799; The East Indian, a comedy, varied emotions and conflicting passions. It cannot 1800; Adelmorn, or the Outlaw, a drama, 1801; be said to have been successful in her own case, and Rugantio, a melo-drama, 1805; Adelgitha, a play, it has never been copied by any other author. Sir 1806; Venoni, a drama, 1809; One o' Clock, or the Walter Scott has eulogised Basil's love and MontKnight and Wood Demon, 1811; Timour the Tartar, fort's hate' as something like a revival of the ina melo-drama, 1812; and Rich and Poor, a comic spired strain of Shakspeare. The tragedies of Count opera, 1812. The Castle Spectre is still occasionally Basil and De Montfort are among the best of Miss performed; but the diffusion of a more sound and Baillie's plays; but they are more like the works of healthy taste in literature has banished the other Shirley, or the serious parts of Massinger, than the dramas of Lewis equally from the stage and the glorious dramas of Shakspeare, so full of life, of inpress. To the present generation they are unknown. cident, and imagery. Miss Baillie's style is smooth They were fit companions for the ogres, giants, and and regular, and her plots are both original and Blue-beards of the nursery tales, and they have carefully constructed; but she has no poetical luxushared the same oblivion. riance, and few commanding situations. Her tragic scenes are too much connected with the crime of murder, one of the easiest resources of a tragedian; and partly from the delicacy of her sex, as well as from the restrictions imposed by her theory of composition, she is deficient in that variety and fulness of passion, the form and pressure' of real life, which are so essential on the stage. The design and plot of her dramas are obvious almost from the first act -a circumstance that would be fatal to their success in representation. The unity and intellectual completeness of Miss Baillie's plays are their most striking characteristics. Her simple masculine style, so unlike the florid or insipid sentimentalism then prevalent, was a bold innovation at the time of her two first volumes; but the public had fortunately taste enough to appreciate its excellence. Miss Baillie was undoubtedly a great improver of our poetical diction.

The most important addition to the written drama at this time was the first volume of JOANNA BAILLIE'S plays on the passions, published in 1798 under the title of A Series of Plays: in which it is attempted to Delineate the Stronger Passions of the Mind, each Passion being the subject of a Tragedy and a Comedy. To the volume was prefixed a long and interesting introductory discourse, in which the authoress discusses the subject of the drama in all its bearings, and asserts the supremacy of simple nature over all decoration and refinement. Let one simple trait of the human heart, one expression of passion, genuine and true to nature, be introduced, and it will stand forth alone in the boldness of reality, whilst the false and unnatural around it fades away upon every side, like the rising exhalations of the morning.' This theory (which anticipated the dissertations and most of the poetry of Wordsworth) the accomplished dramatist illustrated in her plays, the merits of which were instantly recognised, and a second edition called for in a few months. Miss Baillie was then in the thirty-fourth year of her age. In 1802 she published a second volume, and in 1812 a third. In the interval she had produced a volume of miscellaneous dramas (1804), and The Family Legend (1810), a tragedy founded on a Highland tradition, and brought out with success at the Edinburgh theatre. In 1836 this authoress published three mere volumes of plays, her career as a dramatic writer thus extending over the long period of thirtyeight years. Only one of her dramas has ever been performed on the stage: De Montfort was brought out by Kemble shortly after its appearance, and was acted eleven nights. It was again introduced in 1821, to exhibit the talents of Kean in the character of De Montfort; but this actor remarked that, though a fine poem, it would never be an acting play. The author who mentions this circumstance, remarks:'If Joanna Baillie had known the stage practically, she would never have attached the importance which she does to the development of single passions in

[Scene from De Montfort.]

[De Montfort explains to his sister Jane his hatred of Rezen

velt, which at last hurries him into the crime of murder. The gradual deepening of this malignant passion, and its frightful catastrophe, are powerfully depicted. We may remark, that the character of De Montfort, his altered habits and appearance after his travels, his settled gloom, and the violence of his pas sions, seem to have been the prototype of Byron's Manfred and Lara.]

De Mon. No more, my sister, urge me not again;
My secret troubles cannot be revealed.
From all participation of its thoughts
My heart recoils: I pray thee be contented.
Jane. What! must I, like a distant humble friend,
Observe thy restless eye and gait disturbed
In timid silence, whilst with yearning heart

I turn aside to weep? O no, De Montfort!
A nobler task thy nobler mind will give;
Thy true intrusted friend I still shall be.

De Mon. Ah, Jane, forbear! I cannot e'en to thee.
Jane. Then fie upon it! fie upon it, Montfort!
There was a time when e'en with murder stained,
Had it been possible that such dire deed

*Campbell's Life of Mrs Siddons.

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I thought through life I should have so remained,
Nor ever known a change. Forgive me, Montfort;
A humbler station will I take by thee;

Would I could tell it thee!

Jane. Thou shalt not tell me. Nay, I'll stop
mine ears,

Nor from the yearnings of affection wring
What shrinks from utterance. Let it pass, my brother.
I'll stay by thee; I'll cheer thee, comfort thee;
Pursue with thee the study of some art,
Or nobler science, that compels the mind
To steady thought progressive, driving forth
All floating, wild, unhappy fantasies,
Till thou, with brow unclouded, smilest again;
Like one who, from dark visions of the night,
When the active soul within its lifeless cell
Holds its own world, with dreadful fancy pressed
Of some dire, terrible, or murderous deed,
Wakes to the dawning morn, and blesses heaven.
De Mon. It will not pass away; 'twill haunt me

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The close attendant of thy wandering steps,
The cheerer of this home, with strangers sought,
The soother of those griefs I must not know.
This is mine office now: I ask no more.

Some sprite accursed within thy bosom mates

To work thy ruin. Strive with it, my brother!

De Mon. Oh, Jane, thou dost constrain me with thy | Strive bravely with it; drive it from thy heart;
'Tis the degrader of a noble heart.
Curse it, and bid it part.


De Mon. It will not part. I've lodged it here too


Ha! wilt thou not?
Then, if affection, most unwearied love,
Tried early, long, and never wanting found,
O'er generous man hath more authority,
More rightful power than crown or sceptre give,
I do command thee!

De Montfort, do not thus resist my love.
Here I intreat thee on my bended knees.
Alas! my brother!

De Mon. [Raising her, and kneeling.]
Thus let him kneel who should the abased be,
And at thine honoured feet confession make.
I'll tell thee all-but, oh! thou wilt despise me.
For in my breast a raging passion burns,
To which thy soul no sympathy will own-
A passion which hath made my nightly couch
A place of torment, and the light of day,
With the gay intercourse of social man,

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Could in thy breast such horrid tempest wake,
Who art thyself his fellow?

Unknit thy brows, and spread those wrath-clenched


With my first cares I felt its rankling touch.
I loathed him when a boy.

Jane. Whom didst thou say?

De Mon. Detested Rezenvelt!

E'en in our early sports, like two young whelps
Of hostile breed, instinctively averse,

Each 'gainst the other pitched his ready pledge,
And frowned defiance. As we onward passed
From youth to man's estate, his narrow art
And envious gibing malice, poorly veiled
In the affected carelessness of mirth,
Still more detestable and odious grew.
There is no living being on this earth
Who can conceive the malice of his soul,
With all his gay and damned merriment,
To those by fortune or by merit placed
Above his paltry self. When, low in fortune,
He looked upon the state of prosperous men,
As nightly birds, roused from their murky holes,
Do scowl and chatter at the light of day,
I could endure it; even as we bear

The impotent bite of some half-trodden worm,
I could endure it. But when honours came,
And wealth and new-got titles fed his pride;
Whilst flattering knaves did trumpet forth his praise,
And groveling idiots grinned applauses on him;
Oh! then I could no longer suffer it!

It drove me frantic. What, what would I give-
What would I give to crush the bloated toad,
So rankly do I loathe him!

Jane. And would thy hatred crush the very man
Who gave to thee that life he might have taken?
That life which thou so rashly didst expose
To aim at his ? Oh, this is horrible!

De Mon. Ha! thou hast heard it, then! From all the world,

But most of all from thee, I thought it hid.

Jane. I heard a secret whisper, and resolved

Upon the instant to return to thee.

Didst thou receive my letter?

De Mon. I did! I did! "Twas that which drove me


I could not bear to meet thine eye again.

Jane. Alas! that, tempted by a sister's tears,
I ever left thy house! These few past months,
These absent months, have brought us all this wo.
Had I remained with thee, it had not been.
And yet, methinks, it should not move you thus.
You dared him to the field; both bravely fought;
He, more adroit, disarmed you; courteously

Returned the forfeit sword, which, so returned,
You did refuse to use against him more;
And then, as says report, you parted friends.

Shall, thundering loud, strike on the distant ear
Of 'nighted travellers, who shall gladly bend
Their doubtful footsteps towards the cheering din.

De Mon. When he disarmed this cursed, this worth- Solemn, and grave, and cloistered, and demure
less hand
We shall not be. Will this content ye, damsels ?
Every season
Shall have its suited pastime even winter
In its deep noon, when mountains piled with snow,
And choked up valleys from our mansion bar
All entrance, and nor guest nor traveller
Sounds at our gate; the empty hall forsaken,
In some warm chamber, by the crackling fire,
We'll hold our little, snug, domestic court,
Plying our work with song and tale between.

Of its most worthless weapon, he but spared
From devilish pride, which now derives a bliss
In seeing me thus fettered, shamed, subjected
With the vile favour of his poor forbearance;
Whilst he securely sits with gibing brow,
And basely baits me like a muzzled cur,
Who cannot turn again.

Until that day, till that accursed day,
I knew not half the torment of this hell
Which burns within my breast. Heaven's lightnings

blast him!

Jane. Oh, this is horrible! Forbear, forbear! Lest Heaven's vengeance light upon thy head For this most impious wish.

De Mon. Then let it light.
Torments more fell than I have known already
It cannot send. To be annihilated,

What all men shrink from; to be dust, be nothing,
Were bliss to me, compared to what I am!

ful words?

De Mon. Let me but once upon his ruin look,

Then close mine eyes for ever!-
Ha! how is this? Thou'rt ill; thou'rt very pale;
What have I done to thee? Alas! alas!

Jane. Oh! wouldst thou kill me with these dread-Or lonely tower, from its brown mass of woods,

Give to the parting of a wintry sun

One hasty glance in mockery of the night
Closing in darkness round it? Gentle friend!
Chide not her mirth who was sad yesterday,
And may be so to-morrow.

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[Female Picture of a Country Life.]
Even now methinks

Each little cottage of my native vale
Swells out its earthen sides, upheaves its roof,
Like to a hillock moved by labouring mole,
And with green trail-weeds clambering up its walls,
Roses and every gay and fragrant plant
Before my fancy stands, a fairy bower.
Ay, and within it too do fairies dwell.
Peep through its wreathed window, if indeed
The flowers grow not too close; and there within
Thou'lt see some half a dozen rosy brats,
Eating from wooden bowls their dainty milk-
Those are my mountain elves. Seest thou not
Their very forms distinctly?

I'll gather round my board
All that Heaven sends to me of way-worn folks,
And noble travellers, and neighbouring friends,
Both young and old. Within my ample hall,
The worn out man of arms shall o' tiptoe tread,
Tossing his gray locks from his wrinkled brow
With cheerful freedom, as he boasts his feats
Of days gone by. Music we'll have; and oft
The bickering dance upon our oaken floors


[Fears of Imagination.]

Didst thou ne'er see the swallow's veering breast,
Winging the air beneath some murky cloud
In the sunned glimpses of a stormy day,
Shiver in silvery brightness?

Or boatmen's oar, as vivid lightning flash
In the faint gleam, that like a spirit's path
Tracks the still waters of some sullen lake?

[Speech of Prince Edward in his Dungeon.]
Doth the bright sun from the high arch of heaven,
In all his beauteous robes of fleckered clouds,
And ruddy vapours, and deep-glowing flames,
And softly varied shades, look gloriously?
Do the green woods dance to the wind? the lakes
Cast up their sparkling waters to the light?
Do the sweet hamlets in their bushy dells
Send winding up to heaven their curling smoke
On the soft morning air?

Do the flocks bleat, and the wild creatures bound
In antic happiness? and mazy birds

Wing the mid air in lightly skimming bands?
Ay, all this is-men do behold all this----
The poorest man. Even in this lonely vault,
My dark and narrow world, oft do I hear
The crowing of the cock so near my walls,
And sadly think how small a space divides me
From all this fair creation.

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