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dark; and can scarcely doubt that personal disappointments have had some influence in tinging it. But one thing is, we think, clear-Mr. Barry's evidence ought to be given at length: his character as a Catholic will lend it special value on many points; and it is obvious that his perfect previous familiarity with the language and manners, both of Spain and Spanish America, must have given him advantages for observing and understanding the effects of the recent convulsion, very superior to what could have been enjoyed by Mr. Miers, or indeed by any Englishman who has as yet published an account of these revolutionized Colonies.
ART. II. Anne Boleyn. A Dramatic Poem. By the Rev. H. H. Milman, Professor of Poetry in the University of Oxford. London. 1826.
T is a misfortune for a poet-above all for a tragic poet-to be born after Shakspeare; but it is one that he cannot avoid; nor is the evil entirely, or even chiefly, external. A modern poet is not only subject to comparison with the elder masters of his art, in the mind of his reader; but in the concoction of his plan, and during the composition of his work, he subjects himself to the same comparison, in his own mind. Because Nature has made him a poet, he is not, therefore, to despise the assistance of Art, He who willingly surrenders all acquaintance with the standard of art, must return back to the simplicity of nature; he must depend upon his own powers of production, to excel what powers similar in kind, and, perhaps, superior in degree, successively exerted by variously-gifted individuals, have successfully laboured to establish. Hence, the modern poet naturally refers to the models of which that standard is composed, and either selects from its combinations, or casts his creations in the moulds of theirs, and sometimes attempts both.
The author of Anne Boleyn' is an accomplished scholar, and a poet; but his poetry is more artificial than natural; and for his versification he is occasionally indebted both to Shakspeare and Milton. To a comparison with a production of the former, the subject of his present work renders it peculiarly liable; and we think we can perceive that the author of Anne Boleyn found it impossible to resist the force of association and the influence of authority. He has four personages, of which the mighty master' had already given portraits; and the character of Angelo Caraffa is evidently a substitute for that of Cardinal Wolsey. The difference is small between the two portraits of Henry VIII.; the later is the feebler resem
blance-that is all.
Of Gardiner and Cranmer an attempt is made at fuller developement. The remaining characters are constructed upon a principle of contrariety. Shakspeare's Ann Bullen is depicted in the heyday of youth, a triumphant wife, and a happy mother: the Anne Boleyn of our author is a woman of sorrow, and acquainted with grief,-she dies the death of an adulteress, yet innocent of transgression. Angelo Caraffa is differenced from Wolsey by a more marked contrast and opposition. He is the prime agent and motive power of Mr. Milman's poem, and our judgment of its merits must depend upon the way in which this character is delineated and developed. But there is an original sin in the conception: it is entirely imaginary. Shakspeare never makes fictitious characters the prime movers of his historical scenes:—he was content with the truth of history equally as of nature; and more art is shown in bending the stubborn material of history to the poet's purpose, than by eking it out with fanciful succedanea. We might prefer a play founded altogether on fiction ;-the impression, that the pains,' however majestic,' were once real, affects some too palpably, and they feel them too grossly, to enjoy the representation with that quiet and purifying consciousness, which attends the perusal of a work of unalloyed imagination, the forms whereof are manifested in the purity of the idea.' But, in a series of scenes-whether constituting a 'dramatic poem,' or a 'play' -that distinctly profess to develope a well-known historical event, the prominent introduction of a purely ideal character disturbs our belief, and breaks in upon the unity of the design. Even in epic composition this principle prevails. We look upon all the characters of the Iliad as real; and, in every poetic narrative of an historical event, expect that the author should display some research—indeed, in numerous instances, poets have been so sensible of what the reader expects in this kind, that they have appended voluminous notes, formally setting forth the authorities for their relations, as if given in evidence before a judge. This, perhaps, is an error on the other side;-but it proves how necessary they found it to create a belief in the facts of their stories, and the vraisemblance of their persons; which last is a matter of much greater importance than any question of mere anachronism.
Angelo Caraffa is a Jesuit. The disciples of Ignatius Loyola were not incorporated till about five years after the death of Anne Boleyn but that is, perhaps, a trifle. The character is an endeavour, says our author, to embody that awful spirit of fanaticism-the more awful because strictly conscientious-which was arrayed against our early reformers.' We may readily believe, that the misfortunes of Anne Boleyn were partly occasioned by the secret machinations of the see of Rome; and, with sorrow,
accept the character of Angelo Caraffa, as the embodied conscience of that church. He is one who willingly coinmits the most heinous crimes for conscience' sake-he does evil that good may come. But what is the good proposed? Why, that his church may be catholical in unity-the universal-the only one. Such is his conscience; and such is, or was, the conscience of the church to which he belonged. Such, in truth, is the constitution of the human mind itself: the reason of man almost invariably aspires to the universal and absolute in its ideas of religion, science, morals, legislation. Cardinal Wolsey, on the other hand, may be considered as a symbol of the ambition of his church. Of humble stock
being not propped by ancestry, (whose grace
Out of his self-drawing web,
The force of his own merit made his way'
he drew together a world of wealth for his own ends to gain the popedom,-and fee his friends in Rome.' He was intent on personal aggrandizement. Angelo Caraffa, on the contrary, is
a noble born
Of Rome's patrician blood; rich, lettered, versed
But he is content that on him his father's palace-gates no more shall open-to own no more his proud ancestral name,'to forego all property even in the coarse and simple weeds he wears,—to annihilate will, passion, affection, love of kindred, nay, his very self, his personal being, and boasts that on the altar of his God he has laid a noble sacrifice
Conscious it might have compassed empire.'
His utmost ambition is to be, merely
'A limb, a nameless limb, of that vast body
That should o'erspread the world, uncheck'd, untrac'd,
He explains the principle of action in his following passage':—
'God spoke within this heart, but with the voice
That's nought-to quench all natural compunction,
VOL. XXXV. NO. LXX.
To know nor right nor wrong, nor crime, nor virtue,
Cardinal Wolsey was a bold bad man;' his ambition, that scarlet sin,' prompted him to remove all obstructions in the way of his preferment, and he is suspected of practising against the Duke of Buckingham.—
He was a man
Of an unbounded stomach, ever ranking
But not without reason, for if he had faults he had also many virtues :
From his cradle
He was a scholar, and a ripe and good one;
But to those men that sought him, sweet as summer.
Such a man is not without a claim upon our sympathies-he is within the sphere of our common humanity. The last acts of his life redeem the preceding. We have often admired the patience which he displays when Norfolk, Suffolk, and Surrey produce to him
while, in their malice, they exultingly specify the charges against him in the king's possession, he stands in silent endurance, until they leave him with the taunting valediction—
'So fare you well, my little good Lord Cardinal;'
-then follows his fine soliloquy, beginning with—
'So farewell to the little good you bear me;
and the touching dialogue with Cromwell, wherein he tells him, that he has recommended him to the king, and warns him against ambition :
By that sin fell the angels; how can man then,
The circumstances of his death are equally affecting :
'After the stout Earl of Northumberland
At last, with easy roads, he came to Leicester,
His blessed part to heaven, and slept in peace.'
Thus it is always with Shakspeare. His worst characters have some claim upon our kindly feelings. Genius is the power of reflecting nature; for genius, as the word imports, is nature. The mind of Shakspeare was as a magic mirror, in which all numan nature's possible forms and combinations were present, intuitively and inherently-not conceived-but as connatural portions of his own humanity. Whatever his characters were besides, they were also men. Such they were in the world of his imagination-such they are also in the world of reality. It is this harmony and correspondence, between the world without and the world within, that gives the charm to his productions. His characters are not the mere abstractions of intellect from an understood class or species, but are generated in his own mind, as individuals having personal being there, and are distinctly brought out, not so much as representatives of character in actual nature, as the original productions of a plastic genius, which is also nature, and works like her. This is to be a poet-this is what is meant by a creative imagination. But what is Angelo Caraffa?-anairy nothing,' that the poet's pen has turned to shape'?-a creature of the poet's imagination? No: Mr. Mil
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