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the hands of Providence, to bring about an important change: but we must not confound the cause with the agency. The Reformation confers no lustre on Henry VIII., whose appetites were only the accidental occasions of its success at that period, but whose conscientious convictions had neither part nor lot in the matter. Neither, justly, ought any stain to be attributed to the Reformation, from the character or crimes of Henry, the former moulded under the auspices of another church, and the latter the growth of his own uncontrollable will and arbitrary disposition. But, with his usual tact and feeling, Shakspeare has redeemed the character within the limits of our kindliness. Everywhere he leaves the policy of the King's pretended scruples and actions to be inferred: the mask is never taken off, to expose a naked hypocrite to pure abhorrence. Henry VIII. is, in the play, as he was in life, above suspicion and exposure. This task was reserved to hisHis behaviour respecting Cranmer, in the last act, is such as to command our admiration and applause; and we part, not only on good terms with the King, but well satisfied with the result of the marriage, by whatever means effected.

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The comparison instituted between the Anne Boleyn of our author and the Henry VIII. of Shakspeare has, we confess, more reference to the former as a play, than as a dramatic poem. On the other hand, however, it is to be remarked, that the play of Henry VIII. is characterized by very little action, and the passion is of a subdued and meditative cast; and it be looked upon, both in its subject and its construction, as a sort of dramatic poem, not, surely, less poetical, although a little more dramatic, than most of the productions published of late years under this denomination. But, as Shakspeare's piece certainly was written for representation, Mr. Milman has a right to demand that the different intentions of the authors, and the different natures of their productions, should be duly considered. Anne Boleyn was not designed for representation, and depends, for praise or censure, rather upon its abstract poetical merits, than its dramatic pretensions : all this we admit. The comparison that we have made may not, however, we would hope, be entirely without advantage; it may at least direct attention to principles, elicited by force of the collision, the observance of which may be beneficial. The performance of an inferior mind would have been inadequate for such a purpose; and we are happy in being able to accomplish our object by means of a work of considerable ingenuity and merit, adorned with great splendour of versification, and much opulence of poetical diction.

The 'dramatic poem' is a modern species of composition, which has sprung up amongst us in consequence of the degraded state of our theatre, which is, again, consequent upon, or productive of,

the

the decline of dramatic genius in this country. We pretend not to inquire which is the cause, which the effect; it is probable that there has been an alternate action and reaction, and that either, at different periods, may have been both cause and effect. Whatever was the original occasion, it is notorious that our recent men of genius have not written for the stage. We do not think that there is a want of dramatic genius: indeed there is a manifest preference for that form of composition; and, in some instances, the spirit has not been neglected. This spirit has, however, been most evident in works not assuming the corresponding form; and the authors of these appear, to us, to have proceeded upon an erroneous principle. Writing for the closet, and not for the stage, they commence their work with a decided determination to violate all the proprieties of the theatre, and make it as unfit for representation as possible as if there were so wide a distinction between what was intended to be read, and what was intended to be acted, that an acting play never could be readable, nor a readable production endured upon the boards. The fact is clearly otherwise. We believe that most readers of taste acknowledge, that the plays of Shakspeare are better for the closet than the stage: yet how fit are they for the stage! At the same time it is observable, that his best plays are the most difficult of representation-not, however, from any dramatic defect in themselves, but from the general inefficiency of the corpsdu-théatre to represent any play that is not expressly written to suit the peculiar genius, or knack, of the different performers, and the strength or weakness of the company. The necessity of doing this, we are aware, is uncongenial with a great dramatic effort, and precludes the possibility of one being made with an immediate view to representation. Such another tragedy as Lear, it is obvious, would be written in vain with any such view. Yet surely it would not be impossible to compose a dramatic poem upon the model of Othello, Hamlet, Lear, or any other play of Shakspeare, that we would rather read than see,-thus preserving the dramatic spirit as well as the form. But our writers, under the title of a dramatic poem, divide a didactic essay into dialogue, and, giving themselves no trouble to create in their own minds the idea of human character and passion, content themselves with defining the outlines of an abstract or general notion of historical persons or events, interrupted with luxuriant descriptions of scenery and climate, and digressions of fanciful extravagance or impertinence. In all this, there is frequently much talent displayed. But we read without emotion: we shed no tears, because the writer shed none;we feel no sympathy, because he felt no sorrow. Let this, then, be reformed altogether.' Let the taste of an audience at a theatre be what it will-the inefficiency of the company what it may-and the defects of management what they must;-but

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there can be no reason for an author who does not intend to subject himself to the ordeal of these predicaments, so to write that the best-instructed audience, the most efficient actors, and the most accomplished management, could not, for a moment, entertain his production. Rather let it be these external conditions that are faulty, than the intrinsic arrangement and contents of the poem. A 'dramatic poem' need not be less dramatic because it is poetical, and will not, assuredly, be less poetical because it is dramatic. Witness Othello, Hamlet, Macbeth, and Lear! A few works written upon this principle would be sure to find readers,—would secure a permanent place in the literature of the country,-and might render it necessary for the conductors of our theatres to turn their attention to the higher interests of the drama. At any rate the attempt is worth making; and we know few who might make it with better hopes of success than the author of Fazio,' in the strength of his manhood.

ART. III.—1. Biblical Researches and Travels in Russia, including a Tour in the Crimea and the Passage of the Caucasus; with Observations on the State of the Rabbinical and Karaite Jews, &c. By E. Henderson, Author of Iceland, &c. London. 1826.

2. Voyage dans la Russie Méridionale, et particulièrement dans les Provinces situées au-delà du Caucase, fait depuis 1820 jusqu'en 1824. Par le Chevalier Gamba, Consul du Roi à Tiflis. A Paris. 1826.

THERE are but few persons who, having read Dr. Henderson's Tour round Iceland, will not expect to find both instruction and entertainment in whatever may proceed from the same pen. We are inclined to think, however, that the general reader's interest may be somewhat damped in the perusal of his present volume, by its long and frequent digressions on bible societies and, their proceedings, minute criticisms on scriptural translations, and dissertations on the religious creeds and conduct of the numerous sectaries of every denomination-Christian, Jew, Mahomedan, and Pagan,-which are met with in various parts of the almost interminable dominions of Russia.—— There are other reasons why this performance of Dr. Henderson should be less entertaining than the former. In Russia he travelled over the great distance of nine thousand versts (about six thousand eight hundred miles) in eleven months, passing in rapid succession through various tribes, nations, and languages. He had to attend, and to assist in establishing, auxiliary bible associations in the capitals of no less than thirty of the Russian

governments;

governments; and this business alone may well be supposed to have occupied so large a portion of his time and thoughts, as to leave, comparatively speaking, scanty opportunities for inquiries of a general kind; whereas in Iceland his undivided and concentrated attention was directed to one small island, curious in its structure and natural phenomena, inhabited by one people, of simple habits and manners, speaking one language and professing one religious belief. Perhaps, also, an interval of nine or ten years, spent mostly in devising, and executing plans for the dissemination of the Holy Scriptures, may, in some degree, have diminished the traveller's ardour for secular pursuits.

The volume before us is, notwithstanding all these circumstances, a highly curious one; and contains much matter that the scholar, the theologian, and the antiquarian, on the one hand, and the candid political student on the other, will not fail to appreciate.

The mission, of which Dr. Henderson now gives an account, originated in the favour with which the late Emperor Alexander was inclined to regard all efforts for the distribution of the Scriptures among the numerous nations scattered over his territories. This pious work he encouraged not only by pecuniary contributions, but by placing at the head of the society established for the purpose, his minister for ecclesiastical affairs and national instruction, the Prince Galitzin. It seems that this good man had not long filled the situation of president ere he became the object of a deadly hatred on the part of the Jesuits. By their agents in Russia, and through the instrumentality-so at least Dr. Henderson distinctly says-of certain leading politicians at the conferences of Laybach and Verona, those ambitious priests did all in their power to impress the mind of Alexander with a conviction, 'that bible societies are politically dangerous.' In this object they partly succeeded. The proceedings of the Bible Society began, and have continued, to be strictly watched; but Mr. Henderson informs his readers, that the most rigid scrutiny in regard to the conspirators, proved that not one individual who took any part in the affairs of that institution, was, in any way, implicated in the late plot against the government.'—It would indeed be highly disgraceful were these institutions to dabble in any way in politics; and of any such tamperings we entirely acquit Dr. Henderson ; whose sole object appears to be the extension of that faith which, by promoting civilization, inculcating principles of pure morality, and infusing a spirit of benevolence among men, throws to an immeasurable distance all other systems of religion which the world ever saw. But we shall not, on the present occasion, indulge in political speculations: intending to confine ourselves principally to the information which the volumes on our table afford as to some of the most strange and picturesque sects and tribes dispersed throughout

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throughout the Russian dominions, and to a few remarks on Georgia.

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In February 1821, Dr. Henderson, in company with Mr. Paterson, set out from St. Petersburgh, on his way towards Moscow. On approaching the city of Novogorod, whose imposing appearance, in the distant view of its churches and spires, upwards of sixty in number, forcibly attracts the attention of a stranger, our travellers felt satisfied that the brilliant and animated descriptions, which have been given of the ancient extent and grandeur of this old metropolis of Slavonia, are by no means exaggerated; a place 'which once,' says our author, acquired such a tremendous importance, that the saying became proverbial-" Who can withstand God and great Novogorod?" Its serious political influence in Moscovite affairs was only annihilated in 1578, when the iron sceptre of Ivan Vasilivitch almost levelled it with the ground, at a time when it is said to have contained nearly four hundred thousand inhabitants: its present population, including the military, does not exceed fifteen thousand. The cathedral church of St. Sophia, founded in 988, is still standing; many curious antiquities are preserved in it; and among others, some of Grecian workmanship; and the library is said to contain a number of Greek manuscripts, chiefly relating to ecclesiastical matters, and also two Slavonic MSS. of the four gospels of the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. The city contains three principal elementary institutions for the education of youth, a spiritual academy, a public school for the citizens in general, and another for the military. A few years ago the secular schools are stated not to have contained more than two hundred scholars; at present the number amounts to nine hundred, all of whom receive a free education. At the monastery of St. Anthony, on the right bank of the Volchof, is an academy of three hundred students, of whom one hundred and sixty have free board as well as education; the rest pay about 37. sterling a-year they are divided into three classes, philological, philosophical, and theological.*

Not far from this, at one of the post-houses, kept by Russian peasants, who furnish horses for travellers, the host was so eager to peruse a Slavonic New Testament which our author put into his hand, that he sat up most of the night reading it aloud; and this, though it interrupted the sleep of our travellers, afforded them unspeakable delight, as an early instance of that avidity with which,

* Dr. Henderson was here informed of a circumstance which may be deemed rather curious. Near the banks of the Ladoga, a number of coins have lately been dug up, bearing inscriptions of Cufic characters, and among them one with the Latin inscription, 'Ethelred Rex Anglorum,' which he thinks might probably have been part of the Danengeld levied by the Danes on England, and conveyed through channels of commerce to this remote quarter.

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