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Hence kings should never heedlessly expose
Their sacred persons to the assaults of foes;
The kingdom's welfare on their life depends,
And in their death the nation's safety ends.

The first deviser thought it fit the queen
Should in this warlike pastime predomine.
In ecclesiastic paths she freely moves,
And thro’ the rocky way unbounded roves ;
Yet must she not th’indecent footsteps trace
of leap-skip knights, nor imitate their pace -
Although the king's prerogative is such,
That none his person or his life can touch,
Others, by their bad conduct when misled,
May be swept off the field of war as dead.
Nor does the monarch still the battle lose,
In number tho' inferior to his foes,
But by the hazarıl of one pawn may gain,
And prudent conduct victory obtain.

Nor must we here omit the pawns' reward,
Who, when courageous, justly are preferr'd,
If they the limits of the board can reach,
Like those who first assault a dangerous breach.-

This to our view doth fully represent
Virtue's reward, and vice's punishment;-
So active minds themselves to glory raise,
While slothful cowards their owu souls debase

The game thus ended, kings with pawns are jumbled,
Queens, knights, rooks, bishops, all confus'dly tumbled,
Into the box, pell-mell, are headlong toss'd,
And all their grandeur in oblivion lost.-
Thus monarchs with their meanest subjects must
Be one day levelld in their native dust,
So short-liv'd, fading, vain, and transitory,
That shadow of a phantom-human glory!

It would be hardly fair towards the historian and poet. laureate of the game of chess to dismiss the subject without a short specimen of Marcus Hieronymus Vida, whom Mr. Roscoe lauds for his admirable talent of uniting a considerable portion of classical elegance, and often dignity, with the utmost facility and clearness. Whether his style deserve the praise of being a just mixture of Virgil and Lucretius we leave the reader to determine ; so far as a judgment may be formed from so short a citation. Jupiter, enthroned in all his state, thus issues his commands to the deities, as to the parts they are to act in a pending gama of chess between an Albian and an Ethiopian prince.

“Hos Pater adversis solos decernere jussit
Inter se studiis, et ludicra bella fovere,
Ac partes tutari ambas, quas vellet uterque:
Nec non proposuit victori præmia digna.--
Dii magni sedire: Deum stat turba minorum
Circumfusa; caveat sed lege, et fædere pacto,
Ne quisquam, voce aut nutu, ludentibus ausit
Prævisos monstrare ictus.- Quem denique primim.
Soss inferre aciem vocet, atque invadere Martem
Que situm: primuinque locum certaminis Albo
Ductori tulit, ut quem vellet primus in hostem
Mitteret : Id sané magni referre putabant. -
Tum tacitus secum versat, quem ducere contra
Conveniat; peditemque jubet procedere campum
In medium, qui Reginani dirimebat ab hoste.”

CHAPTER XXIV.

English Drama.

“ Hard is his lot that here by fortune placed,

Must watch the wild vicissitudes of taste;
With every meteor of caprice must play,
And chase the new-blown bubbles of the day.
Ah! let no: censure terin our fate our choice,
The stage but echoes back the public voice;
The drama's laws the drama's patrons give,
For we, that live to please, must please to live.
Then prompt no more the follies you decry,
As tyrants doom their tools of guilt to die.”

Dr. Johnson.

Of the origin of the drama among the Greeks and Romans we have already spoken in our fourth chapter, where we have shown that it had its source in the public games and religious festivals, at which was customary to celebrate the life and exploits of the deity or hero in whose honour they were instituted. It is not our purpose to enter into the much-agitated controversy concerning the origin of the modern drama in Europe ; for whether it arose in France or Italy, among the troubadours of Provence or the shepherds in Calabria, it will be sufficient for our purpose to contend that it was a distinct species of itself, and not a revival of the ancient drama ; that it was of Gothic rather char, of classic birth ; and that it ought not, therefore, to be bound by the rules or compared with the merits of its Grecian predecessor. Had Shakspeare been circumscribed by the ancient dramatic laws, of which he was probably ignorant, and which he certainly did not mean to follow, we should have had cold and tame imitation, instead of the fiery flights of original genius; and the dramatic glory of England would have suffered a lamentable eclipse.

Nothing, indeed, is more superfluous than our inquiries into the origin of great and useful inventions; nothing more vain than the keen contests among rival nations for the honour of their first discovery: for the principles of human nature being the same in all parts of the world, there may be often coincident productions at the two ex tremities of the globe, absolutely identical in their general nature, and yet both fully entitled to the merit of being original. Imitation is not less inherent in our nature than the passions; and if these were the sources of poetry in general, the former must in all ages have given rise to dramatic representations. It is natural for indolent persons, who have no resources in their arts or learning against the telliousness of life, to delight in assuming fictitious characters, as we see children at school fond of acting kings and heroes, and of rudely dramatising the stories which have made the most vivid impressions upon their fancy. What thus began in amusement was soon found to be susceptible of a much higher and nobler application. As example is the strongest and most effectual manner of enforcing the precepts of wisdom, it became manifest that a just theatrical representation might be rendered a humanizing and instructive academy; with this special advantage, that the young spectator might contemplate a picture of human nature, and learn the manners of the world without encountering its perils.

“ Even some of the inspired writings have been considered dramatical by very pious persons. The illustrious Bossuet divides the Song of Solomon into various scenes : the Book of Job, equally valuable for its great antiquity and for the noble strain of moral poetry in which it is composed, has been esteemed a regular drama; and Milton tells us that a learned critic distributed the Apocalypse into several acts, distinguished by a chorus of angels. Gregory

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of Nazianzen, a poet and a father of the church, persuaded the people of Byzantium to represent on their theatre some chosen stories of the Old and New Testament, and to banish from their stage the profane compositions of Sophocles and Euripides. The Jews themselves had the stories of the Old Testament exhibited in the dramatic form ; part of a Jewish piece on the subject of Exodus is preserved in Greek iambics, written by one Ezekiel, who styles himself the poet of the Hebrews.*

A custom of representing at every solemn festival some event recorded in Scripture, became almost general nearly at the same period, in the south, the west, and even in the north of Europe ; in the two latter of which divisions the poems of Gregory and the language of the Greeks were wholly unknown; so that neither can have borrowed their mysteries from Constantinople. In both these instances they probably originated in the pious desire of disseminating a knowledge of the Bible, at a time when the mass of the people were unable to read, and when even those who possessed that rare qualification, could not betake themselves to the Scriptures, since they were mostly restricted to the Latin language. Although the clergy in many instances opposed themselves to any version of the sacred writings in the vulgar tongue, they do not seem to have objected to the translating into action, or dramatising such portions of them as were most susceptible of being thus illustrated. Of these pious, or as we should now rather say profane, performances, the church was the theatre ; the ecclesiastics Themselves or their scholars were the performers; and it appears that they were not altogether disinterested teachers, nor content with such scriptural knowledge or moral instruction as could be thus conveyed, since they derived a pecuniary profit from their exhibitions. These were termed mysteries and miracles, because they inculcated the profound doctrines of Christianity, and represented the miracles wrought by the great founders of the faith and their successors, as well as the sufferings of the martyrs.

* The principal characters of this drama are Moses, Sepphora, and ó Okos årò Baty, “God speaking from the bush." Moses delivers the prologue in a speech of sixty lines, and his rod is changed into a serpent upon the stage.--See The Origin of the English Drama, by Thomas Howkins, p. 5.

No other species of drama was known at Rome and Florence in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. The passion of our Saviour was performed in the Coliseum ; and if their music at that period had been as perfect as it is now,—if the poetry of so awful a piece had been composed by a Metastasio, and the choral part by a Pergolesi, the effect upon a devout people, who are at the same time passionate admirers of music, would have been profoundly impressive ; while the stupendous extent of the building must have presented a still grander and more august spectacle than our commemoration of Handel.

It is generally imagined that the English stage rose later than the rest of its neighbours; and yet nothing is more certain than that we had theatrical entertainments almost as early as the Conquest, if we may believe Fitz Stephen, who, in his Descriptio nobilissima Civitatis Londoniæ, says, “ London, instead of common interludes belonging to the theatres, has plays of a more holy subject; representations of those miracles which the holy confessors wrought, or of the sufferings wherein the glorious constancy of the martyrs did appear.

This author was a monk of Canterbury, who wrote in the time of Henry II. ; and as he does not mention these representations as novelties, for he is describing all the common diversions of the time, we can hardly fix them later than the Conquest, which we believe is an earlier date than can be claimed for such entertainments by any of our continental neighbours. The first play of this kind specified by name is understood to have been called St. Catherine,* and, according to Matthew Paris, was written by Geofrey, a Norman, about the year 1110, and performed in the abbey at Dunstable. In Chaucer's time the miracleplays were exhibited during the season of Lent, when a sequel of Scripture-histories was sometimes carried on for several days. At Skinner's Well, near Smithfield, in the reign of Henry IV., we read of a drama which lasted eight days, beginning with the creation of the world, and containing the greater part of the history of the Old and New Testament. This must have borne a close analogy to the well-known mystery entitled Corpus Christi, or Ludus Coventria, the Coventry play, transcripts of which, nearly if

* Quendam ludum de Sancta Katerina (quem miracula vulgariter ap. pellamus), fecit.-Vitæ Abbat. p. 35 as cited by Strutt.

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