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Besides, did not the worthy ancient resses of Flanders are but straw bul-
Enough of startling opinions, howe knows something about them, and yet ever, have been advanced for one num- few know any thing substantial. A ber. The Drama is allowably in a rot- page or a passage of Shakespeare, even ten condition, and we must probe to if but half understood, is sufficient to the bottom of the evil; it is of the impress the mind with a deep feeling utmost importance that sound princi- of admiration ; but the French dramaples should be ascertained, applicable tists, indeed French verse, if not tato this, the royal compartment of li- ken in the ensemble, is nothing. Not (EATRatio terature. There exists no living dra- that they wanted feeling, but their matic genius, as yet displayed, not feeling is marked more by phrase than withstanding the late publication of thought. “ Les vers français sont à la many exquisite closet-dramas; but a fois ce qu'il y a de plus facile et de plus de paran great spirit may daily, hourly arise, difficile à faire. Lier l'un à l'autre and the great dread should be, that des hémistiches si bien accoutumés à this critical age doth not mislead or se trouver ensemble, ce n'est qu'un cop the ? neutralize the talent newly generated. travail de memoire ; mais il faut avoir de transi All other poetry may be permitted to respiré l'air d'un pays, pensé, joui, amuse or betake itself whither it plea- souffert duns sa langue, pour peindre ** sf be ses; but the drama, like the history en poesie ce qu'on eprouve." “ To and the language of the country, should have thought, rejoiced, and suffered be an object of anxious and universal in the language," as de Staël so beauconsideration. Materials for compa- tifully expresses it, is necessary not rative judgment are most copious, only for writing, but for reading its even in our very volumes; and if poetry. The French think, rejvice
, tako Blackwood's Magazine contains no and suffer in language, as we do in thing else than its articles of, and on thought. With them, as with the more the drama, they would be sufficient southern nations of Europe, words are alone to render it worthy of its estima- things; and being, therefore, to speak ted value. The Teutonic drama we metaphysically, independent essences, have introduced to the world; and, they have expressions supplementary though we do not love the classic stage to the thought. But even in this supof France and Italy, we will yet expend plementary expression, the French some time and pages upon them. Mo- tongue is so meagre, as to appear noratin, the living comic writer of Spain, thing to the full-cloyed ears of the is at present engaged in writing the south. Thus they are between two dramatic history of his country, which foes, and they prop themselves op will afford new lights and further either when attacked by the other. In means of comparison. He promised arguing with an Italian on the beauty us an article, but since the fever burst of their respective poetries, a Frenchforth in Barcelona, his place of resi- man will rest on superior thought in dence, we have not heard from him. his native verse ; in arguing with an His “Yes of the Maid” is a delightful Englishman, he will rest on superior comedy, and shall, please the fates, tone. There is, however, one overmake one of our Horæ Hispanicæ. With whelming objection to all that French the Dutch we are engaged ; in spite vanity can plead, their verse is utterly both of uur exhortations and subsidies, untranslateable—there is nothing in they will act French plays ; and Hol- them; and, for experiment sake, the land is to the French actors what Ame- very first sheet we can spare for Barica is to ours—by proceeding thither, laam, shall be occupied with a literal they fill their pockets, and whet the translation of Racine's “ Phædre." appetites of audiences at home by Thanks to the labours of Ducis, it their absence. Now, we tell the King is now easy to institute a comparison of the Netherlands flatly, that while between French and English tragedy. his theatre is French, his nation will That poet has re-written in his native be so; nor is it a joke to declare, that language, for it would be unjust to the battle of Waterloo and the forte say translated, most of the dramas of
but terly Shakespeare.* The Macbeth and the presents the latter, repentant for ha
Othello of Ducis are by no means in- ving participated in the murder of her ferior to any, even the best pieces of husband, and ends with her ordaining
Racine and Voltaire, but that they fall the coronation of Hamlet. As the first Seneste bine immeasurably beneath their great ori- act commenced between the King and netinin ginals
, we need not add. Here we have his confidant, the second opens bean interinediate standard, to which tween the Queen and hers, (Elvira ;)
both dramas may be applied, and by this lady has overheard sufficient to kepert:
which we may ascertain, almost to render her suspicious; and in this
mathematical precision, their relative scene Gertrude confesses her crime. a demi merits. A tithe of the poetry which (It is to be remarked, that in the
abounds in the originals, is sufficient French paraphrase the guilt of Claura try to animate the French plays ;-feel- dius is diminished, by supposing him
ing, imagination, character, are all re- to have been a victorious warrior, enset on a minor key, to suit the squeam- vied and disgraced by his brother ; ish tastes of the Parisian audience; and the queen is made to excuse her and the heroes of Shakespeare maké crime, by averring that she assisted to their appearance, as after a long con- poison the king, in order to save the sumption, apparently sweated down, life of her lover.) The queen begs like jockies, to the dapper weight re Norceste to restore the spirits and quired by the laws of the course. Ex- mind of the young prince. Hamlet tracts or translations we dare not offer rushes in, exorcising the spectreto our readers, for fear they should "Fuis, spectre epouvantable ;"—then accuse us of being profane, in utter- addressing the by-standers, ing paraphrases of the bard divine;
“ Eh! quoi, vous ne le voyez pas, but we shall offer analyses of the three Il vole sur ma tête, il s'attache à mes pas : bestof Ducis’performances--the Ham- Je me meurs :" let, the Macbeth, and the Othello. By the alterations which the scene and This is describing a ghost à la Franaction undergo, our readers may judge çaise with a vengeance. Only imawhat the spirit of the poetry itself gine the ghost flying over the head must have suffered.
of Hamlet, instead of preserving the Hamlet was the poet's first essay, awful, still, imperturbable demeanour, and it was represented for the first which characterizes it in the original. time in 1769. The piece commences Hamlet at length becomes calm, and with Claudius consulting Polonius, relates to Norceste the appearance, his confidant, as to his projects, yet words, &c. of the spirit. (In this rein futuro, of marrying the Queen, and cital, the author, for the first time, assuming the crown to the exclusion makes use of the exact language of of Hamlet. Then follows a scene be- Shakespeare.) He gives as his reason tween Claudius and Gertrude ; it re for not killing Claudius, the love he
Shakespeare has been translated into Italian by Leoni, with partial success. The Romeo and Juliet is thought to be the best rendered. The whole version is in verse, our poet's prose dialogues as well as his others. The Leonis are two brothers, resident at Florence
, and are continually occupied in translations from our tongue. Milton has also issued from their hands, but not well performed-except the Allegro and Penseroso, which are said to rival their originals.
The best French literal translation of Shakespeare is Letourneur's; he was aided by Fontaine, Malherbe, and the Count de Caticàlan, who had long lived in England. Guiyot has published a later translation. The merits of which are well summed up by Jouy, in one of his critical essays.
"On remarque que Letourneur ne cherche jamais à se mettre à la place du grand paete qu'il traduit, qu'il ne veut pas faire l'écrivain, il se content d'être naturel et vrai
, et n'aspire qu'à bien faire connaître son modèle. Les nouveaux traducteurs de Shakspear n'ont pas toujours suivi cette route, ils veulent briller aussi ; le style doce trinaire se glisse à chaque page, en courant après la concision, en procédant par les gé. neralités, les traces du poete sont toujours presque effacés, et le prosateur ambitieux surgit de ce fratas enluminé, et place son ombre entre le poete et lui.”
Jouy follows this up with quoting Mercutio's description of Queen Mab, which he calls marivandage. It certainly cuts a strange appearance in French prose.
bears his daughter Ophelia ; and en for the purpose of consulting a sage old for men gages Norceste to go to the King, and man, who is to acquaint him with imrelate to him the assassination of the portant tidings. He mentions the reEnglish monarch, for the purpose of bellion of Cador, against whom Mac- feu n'a observing what effect it would produce beth conducts the royal army, and inon the royal conscience. The third dulges in presentiments and fears of act commences between Polonius and ill fortune and an untimely end. Ducis Claudius, (whom we have perhaps is extremely fond of the prophetic menprematurely called king,) plotting to tal horrors of the German school. prevent the crowning of Hamlet. The From the second scene, in which the second scene of the third act answers old man appears, we learn that Dunto our play-scene; and is exceedingly can has committed, secretly, his son meagre and wretched, the relation of Malcolm (supposed dead) to the care of the Englisha king's death being substi- this old man, (Sevar,) that he may be tuted for our episodic drama. At the out of the reach of Cador. Duncan end of the act, Ophelia appears, and inquires of the character and educa. informs the Queen, that love for her tion of his son ;-this is a poor and is the cause of Hamlet's madness. The useless imitation of the original scene fourth act opens with Hamlet's soli- between Macduff and Malcolm. At the loquy; it is interrupted by the ap- end of this act is a Variante, to be used pearance of Ophelia, who, not very de- or not, ad libitum ; in which the three licately, acquaints the prince, that she witches make a brief appearance, has disclosed the secret of their loves, hint at the conflict then engaged. The and settled the affair with the Queen. second act takes place near Macbeth's He answers very ungallantly, castle, which“ doit être d'un caractere “Le bonheur quelquefois est plus loin qu'on terrible," as we are informed. Except ne pense.
one or two scenes of little import, it
passes between Macbeth and his lady, The scene, though one of the best (Fredegonde.) The former has just in Ducis' play, shows manifestly that returned; he relates his having met the author was as incapable of compre- with the witches, to whom the poet, hending, as of imitating, the beauties in obedience to the usual bad taste of of Shakespeare. Hamlet expresses his the French with respect to imaginative intention of killing Claudius, and propriety, gives a classic and incongruOphelia appeals to his love to spare her
ous occupation. father. Ducis has made her the daughter of Claudius, not of Polonius. This " Dans les flancs entr'ouverts d'un enfant affords a struggle in the mind of égorgé, Hamlet between love and duty-that Pour consulter le sort, leur bras s'etait common-place contrariety of interest,
plongé." which the French so gladly lay hold on. The catastrophe is somewhat re
He could not understand a Scotch versed. Claudius besieges the palace
witch, without metamorphosing her -threatens Hamlet's life but is kill- into a Roman augur. Fredegonde ed by that prince. The Queen kills tempts Macbeth to aim at the crown. herself; and Hamlet concludes with, In the last scene of the act, Duncan
and Glamis enter, and are conducted “ Mais je suis homme et roi : reserve to their apartments. Act the third, pour souffrir,
Fredegonde urges - Macbeth to murJe saurai vivre encore ; je fais plus que der Duncan, saying, that she had conmourir."
sulted Iphyctone, who declared he The “ Macbeth” of Ducis made its should be king. They do not know appearance in 1790; and is further re- Malcolm to exist, but suppose Glamis moved from the spirit of its original, alone between them and the throne. by the political allusions, which were Fredegonde still urges Macbeth-the necessary indeed to the success of any dialogue between them is very fine, piece at that period. It is nevertheless and literally taken from Shakespeare. far superior to his “ Hamlet.", The He is about to perpetrate the crime, first scene is very fine and spirited, and when interrupted by the cry of "T: takes place between King Duncan and arms! Cador has attacked the castle ?" Glamis, the supposed heir to the
Act fourth commences between Maccrown. Duncan, it seems, has visited beth and Fredegonde, after the mur the forest
in which the scene is laid, der of the King. The people enter, and
med restores the crown; while it appears ” mere leather or prunella.” 98 Shakespeare.
ulting set offer the crown to Macbeth, but with should be broiled and distributed for as da res the proviso then fashionable, the food of the poor-yet these men
could not tolerate Othelo. The pre“Que tu n'es rien ici qu'un premier ci face speaks of the tragedy of ShakeHast. toyen."
speare as une des plus touchantes, et * *** Then follows an imitation of our ban- plus terribles productions dramatiques
quet scene. Macbeth sees the ghost qu'ait enfanté le génie vraiment créapropbetisk of Banquo becomes distracted -and teur de ce grande homme. L'execraThis his lady disperses the company. Sevar ble caractére de Iago y est exprimé :, in the introduces Malcolm as the son of the surtout avec une vigueur de pinceau et or late king. The fourth act concludes extraordinaire.” This is another sign credhe be with a soliloquy of Fredegonde, media of French taste. The character of Iago ud) to the tating thedestruction of the new-found is understood and appreciated; but, as DEL Malcolm.
we shall see, that of Othello is appreAct 5th-Macbeth soliloquizes--is hended by the imitator not a jot farter and a repentant, and professes his intention ther than its coarse outline. None of is a pure to restore the crown to the young the fine shades of the high-minded and
prince. Fredegonde walks in her sleep, passionate soldier are caught by the | alert de and reveals her criminal acts and pur- imitator-the broad features are given, ieste
, poses. This scene is supposed to be and indeed are quite sufficient, more thiet has one of Mademoiselle George's finest than sufficient, for the French muse; pozriem pieces of acting. There are two catas. but all that we esteem the character
trophes to the play, which the actors istic beauties of Othelloof that noble per les may choose between ;-in one, Mac- ideal of a soldier, is lost upon the
perd'un mot beth confesses the King's murder, and ceptions of Ducis-they were to him Emile is that Fredegonde, in her sleep, has The tragedy opens by an officer res
stabbed her own son, mistaking him lating to the Doge (Moncenigo) the oma lot for Malcolm ;-in the other, assassins, conquest of the rebellious Veronese by share employed by Fredegonde, are made to Othello. Odalbert (Brabantio) rushes
fall into a similar mistake, and stab in, plaining the loss of his daughter :
Macbeth for Malcolm. o' my faith, Othello soon after enters. The scene piza were the French versifier living, we is beautifully written, but Othello asand say should indite him on the Maiming sumes a pathetic tone of expostulation,
Act. The Irish never houghed cattle which is a poor substitute for the mild in a more cruel style than Ducis does yet manly
tone of the soldier of Shake
speare. The account of his courtship The “ Othello," which is the chef is closely and beautifully imitated. leuvre of Ducis, was first acted in This act
does not depart much from 1192. It is accompanied by a preface, the original, except that Othello and which we should at first suspect to Hedelmone (Desdemona) are not yet have been addressed to his countrymen married. The second act
commences bein a tone of bitter irony; but upon ex
tween Hedelmone and her nurse; the amining it, we find it merely to con
former confesses the feeling of presenşist of stupid Aattery. It tends to il- timent which we have mentioned as a lustrate the natural tenderness of favourite with Ducis. Loredan, son French hearts, and the impossibility to the Doge, and an old suitor to Heof their sitting spectators of the cruel delmone, is introduced. He requests of and ferocious Othello. Unluckily, this her to obtain permission for him to acwas written in 1792. They who could company Othello to the war. He also bear and enjoy the cold blooded mas- acquaints her, that her father is ensacre of two millions of their fellow- gagel, from resentment against Othelcountrymen, could not sit to behold lo, in a plot against the state-she enOthelló! They who but we must treats Loredan to watch over her fahot grow angry. One of the men of ther's safety. Towards the end, they taste of that day, who was also, by the are observed by Othello and his friend bye
, an Academician, wrote a pam. Pezare. The poetry of the scene bephlet, in which he proposeda vast saving tween these two is very fine, and altoto the nation. The proposal was, that gether original. The following de the human carcases daily butchered scription of the government is much should not be thrown to waste, but esteemed by the French critics :
Othello and Pezare. Loredan has in- versification allows of; it is melodious de pure mony between Hedelmone and his ri. least, if not in passion. There is no tenen per val. Pezare, the Iago of Shakespeare, plot-Sylla appears in the commence on the ment. Then follows a scene between upbraids him with his tyranny, and as had been but poorly copied from Shakespeare. from me pardon for their servility. ideat proof the billet and bandeau found thee. The liberty which I destroy, hasta
but in Rome saw not one save myself,
« Dans tous les lieux, sans cesse, ouvrant l'ail et l'oreille,
Et les bourreaux sont prets quand le soupçon commence, &c."
, be su richte that Loredan demands Hedelmone's sides the original pieces of " Edipeolt laid land as the only price of her father's chez Admete," and “ Allinfar, ou la safety. After much reluctance she Famille Arabe.” signs a promise to bestow herself up. We cannot quit the subject of the on him, and also gives to Loredan her French drama without noticing the ted th bandeau of diamonds, in order to pro- new tragedy by Jouy, which, in our cure food and necessaries for her fugi- theatrical phrase, has had such a run keer, in tive father. This is all very lame-in in Paris. The title, Sylla, sufficient. 34. T the last scene of the act, Othello drags ly announces the gist of the piece, and the thich Hedelmone away.
saves us the trouble of an analysis
. It airbeton Act fourth commences between is rich in all the beauties that French Samole terrupted the secret marriage cere- and pointed, and strong in allusion at a dos is much softened down in Ducis, his ment, dressing his lists of proscription, and, die diabolical purposes not being suspect- and openly acting the tyrant." Upon Napie ed by the audience until the denoue- on the expostulation of Roscius
, who is de Othello and Hedelmone-he begs her says “For what crimes, Sýlla, punished to accompany him to the war-she est thou the Romans ?" pleals the necessity of watching over Sylla replies, “For accepting the her father. Othello's rising jealousy is chains that I give, for daring to hope Pezare declares to Othello the infide- Thou knowst me not, Roscius ; I see lity of Hedelmone, and produces for that my soul is as yet a mystery, on Loredan, whom he has killed. ever been my dearest idol ; for it hare Hedelmone enters, brought by the I combated in the senate, the forum, boisterous imprecations of Othello, who on the plains of Cheronæa, and the ironically conveys to her his suspie sands of Arpinum. I wished it for all
Act the fifth represents the chambre who wished or who dared to be free, à coucher of Hedelmone; it is, in one &c." “I scaped from the axe
of Variante, much the same as in Shakes- the lictor ; proscribed I fled, and repeare, but much curtailed, hurried, turn dictator ; what should's consult and vastly inferior in effect. Hedele in these degenerate times, but my conmone sings the Willow song, which tempt for mankind? What plea hare was a singular innovation for the the Romans to aught but my hate? French stage. The other Variante In spite of them I'll break their chains
. ends happily, and makes the discovery Ye crouching citizens ! 'tis slavery ye
of Pezare's treachery be announced as seek! I judge ye worthy of a no 1
Othello's hand is raised to give the fa- bler fate. Ye ask of me chains, and