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ment is manifested in its conduct. It was once thought, by those who decided mechanically, according to the unities, that the plays of Shakspeare were deticient in this quality ;—that the developement of his plots was carelessly contrived, and the denouement detective. But we believe that now as much is allowed to him on the score of art as was always allowed on that of genius--and justly. It would be extraordinary were it otherwise ; for the earliest rules of art were derived from the preceding works of original genius ; and what should make the work of an original genius of England, in this respect, less worthy than one of Greece, requires explanation. A perfect work of art is one accurately formed upon the model of a previous production of transcendent genius.

How skilful is the opening of the play of · Henry the Eighth’! We early perceive that the Cardinal is the subject of jealousy in the court. Wolsey enters ;—he exchanges disdainful looks with his enemy, but no words, as if it were superfluous for him to speak whose frown was dangerous and might kill; and unbefitting the man who wrote Ego et Rex meus.' He has all the pride, without the power of sovereignty. But such pride is not for a subject. Accordingly, almost immediately afterwards, we have reason to suspect, that this pillared firmament is rottenness--this earth's base built on stubble. The arrest of Buckingham, however, assures us of his possession of power, which is further confirmed when, notwithstanding the charges brought by Queen Katherine against himself, he is still enabled to carry his point against the Duke, triumphs over his enemy, and retains the countenance of the King. The introduction of Queen Katherine in this scene is managed with much art. The examination of the Duke's surveyor is about to commence, but the business is put aside on account of the dignity and importance of the personage entering. We naturally expect that the charges against Wolsey will go hard with him; and we partake his triumph when, notwithstanding the difficulty of his situation, he is successful in his own plans. His ruin, after all, is the effect of inadvertence, and the result of accident. It is at an entertainment given by him that the King first sees Ann Bullen, and the part, though brief, which she plays in this scene, can never be too much admired. is comprised in three half-lines ; yet we have a full conception of her manners at once :

" Was he mad, Sir ?'—" You are a merry gamester, my lord Sands.' - You cannot show me.' In · Anne Boleyn' we remark, that the Queen finds it requisite, after talking for two or three pages, to inform her own brother's wife that her lips are laughter-loving.' The Ann Bullen of Shakspeare is not under this necessity--we see the laugh upon her lips. These instances would almost make us doubt the tradition that he never blotted a line. If we are to judge from our modern dramatists,

he

All she says

sity;

6

he would have to blot many lines to condense the quintessence of a character in about a dozen words. Or they proceed differently. They arrive, perhaps, at the idea by a tedious process of verbo

and in one or other line out of twenty, the substance of all may be discoverable. His words were consequent upon

his ideas. Poetical diction, in his time, had not been formed by precedent, and poetry had but few common-places. He, therefore, could not go versing on in the accustomed phraseology, until he started a thought to redeem the surrounding verbiage. He had not to

sound on his perilous way; '—he knew the depths and shallows instinctively, without indulging in a length of line.'

There is only another scene in which Ann appears—that with the old lady ; and it is conducted with exquisite judgment. We will not quote what must be so well known, and within the reach of every Englishman. But we may mention-her pity for the sad estate of the Queen, from whom the King is about to separateher reflections upon the loss of pomp—the conclusion to which these lead her, and of which her own fate was, ere long, to be another illustration

Verily,
I swear, 'tis better to be lowly born,
And

range with humble livers in content,
Than to be perked up in a glistering grief,
And wear a golden sorrow-

I would not be a queen!' ---and the maidenly way in which she receives the first favours from the King, by the hands of the Lord Chamberlain

• Would I had no being
If this salute my blood a jot; it faints me,

To think what follows.' Shakspeare knew that there was much to redeem in the character of Ann Bullen; he, therefore, very wisely, introduced her but seldom, and in the happiest lights.

Our space will not permit us to trace a comparison between the trial scenes of Queen Katherine in Shakspeare's piece, and Queen Anne in Mr. Milman's.

The author, probably, intended no rivalship with Shakspeare; and it is but justice to him to say, that his afflicted princess is produced with much skill and effect. The sorrows of the two ladies are of different kinds : those of Katherine are of a broken heart; but in Anne Boleyn they are the adjuncts of a public execution. There is more poetry in the former ; but there is much grandeur in the latter—in the firmness with which the Queen meets her fate—the christian forgiveness that she extends towards her enemies—her well-wishes for the King—and her anxiety for the success of the Protestant cause. Of the King it is difficult to speak. He was an instrument, in

the

.

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 history. His 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.

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 may 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 etfort, 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

there

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, fc. By E. Henderson, Author of Iceland,

&c. London. 1896. 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. Hender

son'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;

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