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Surge! anime, veternum
Te ad sacrificium.
Decet reparare ;
Credita tibi talenta,
Summa vocet hora.
Sit culparum labe pura
Omni innocentiâ :
Nam quocunque pedes vertas,
Ipse pandet vias :
Surge ! anime, catenas
Cæli pete sedes.
Inter sacras ædes,
Surge ! namque illic omnes
G. P. T.
'Ακτίς Αελίου, κ. τ. λ.
O evershining Sun! O utmost bound
Turn thy swift coursers to th' unsullied good
But if thou bear some sign of threat'ning war,
And quite renew man's foul uprooted line ;
THE USE OF THE DRAMA, AND ITS
It is a curious fact, that the French, who once carried their hatred of theatres so far as to exclude actors from Christian burial, are now so inordinately fond of these exhibitions, that they cannot pass one day in the week without a repetition of them. Creatures of impulse as they are, can we wonder that melancholy and low spirits, with their worst consequences, follow this uninterrupted round of excitement?
We are not of the number of those stern moralists who decry all amusements of this sort, and would persuade us that their tendency is vicious, as well as uninstructive. Of all the inventions of genius that have contributed to delight and edify mankind, to cheer, soften, and ennoble their nature, few have more powers of doing so, and few have been more universally encouraged by civilized nations, than the drama.
To speak of our own individual feelings only—can we imagine any delight greater than that with which for the first time in our lives we witnessed a play? The immense house crowded with persons of all classes, from royalty to the unwashed apprentices in the gallery, forming in itself an interesting study for the moralist, the splendid decorations—the brilliancy of the lights -the magnificent dresses of the actors—the intensity of interest with which the audience waited the drawing up the curtain—the scenery which then presented itself-woods, mountains, and lakes, inhabited, it seemed to us, by a supernatural race of beings, whose language is poetry, and whose every thought and action is capable of arousing the most powerful feelings of our nature, sorrow, astonishment, joy ;-all these features, heightened by the addition of enchanting music, naturally left a vivid impression on our memory.
The older and more experienced part of the audience can find instruction in those tales which charmed
To become acquainted with the highest energies of human passions, with the hidden traits of human tempers and dispositions, illustrated in the most vivid manner,—to imbibe lessons of virtue and morality, made more uneffaceable from the memory by the recital of some touching history,—these are the advantages which a good play is calculated to produce.
Yet advantages which accrue to individuals from the drama are small, compared with their influence over the national character. The greatest geniuses of all countries, whose writings will never be forgotten, have been dramatists. In Athens' brightest age, there were no poets of distinction but those of this class. Can we conceive a more magnificent sight than the whole of Greece assembled to listen to, and crown an Æschylus, a Sophocles, or an Euripides ? Is anything more calculated to refine and elevate the tone of a nation, than such works, heightened by the charms of music, and the magic of scenic illusions ? No branch of talent can surpass the English, French, or Spanish drama, either in excellence or extent. Whose writings are more admired than Shakspeare's ?
Such infinite variety of instruction does he afford, and such light does he throw both on our own characters and those of others. If he is not in all respects accurate in his historical dramas, one who has read them is much more likely to take up the study of history, when he has seen it invested with the charms of poetry, and some touching tale is founded upon it. Then again, with what art does he contrive to relieve the mind, and draw it away for a time from the horrors of a tragedy, by some light and humorous scene. Such well-sustained plots ! such an amazing variety of characters ! such exquisite songs interspersed over the scenes ! lastly, such touches of the