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• The following spring, the Miss Longwoods, gay and happy, were escorted by youthful, titled bridegrooms into that very church. They entered it futtering in bridal finery; and as they quitted it, their steps trod lightly on the graves of De Courcy and Eva.-Such is the condition of life.
......... Zaira still lives, and lives in Ireland.' A spell seems to bind her to the death-place of her daughter and lover. Her talents are gone, at least they are no longer exerted : The oracles may still be there, but it is only the tempest of grief that now scatters their leaves. Like Carathis in the vaults of Eblis, her hand is constantly pressed on her heart, in token of the fire that is burning there for ever ; and those who are near her, constantly hear her repeat, “ My child—I have murdered my child !”. When great talents are combined with calamity, their union forms the tenth wave of hu. man suffering ;-grief becomes inexhaustible from the unhappy fertility of genius,-and the serpents that devour us, are generated out of our own vitals.' III. 407, 408.
The length of our analysis, and of our quotations, are the best proof of the pleasure with which we have read this moral and interesting tale,--and may stand in place of eulogy. We have also hinted at some of the author's errors; and we must now, in all candour and respect, mention one of considerable importance, which the reader has perhaps anticipated. It respects the resemblance betwixt the character and fate of Zaira and Corinne,-a coincidence so near, as certainly to deprive Mr Maturin of all claim to originality, so far as this brilliant and well painted character is concerned. In her accomplishments, in her beauty, in her talents, in her falling a victim to the passion of a fich le lover, Zaira closely resembles hier distinguished prototype. Still, however, she is Corinne in Ireland, contrasted with other personages, and sustaining a different tone of feeling and conversation and argument; so that we pardon the want of originality of conception, in consideration of the new lights thrown upon this interesting female, who, in the full career of successful talent, and invested with all the glow of genius, sacrifices the world of taste and of science for an unhappily-placed affection. On the other hand, the full praise, both of invention and exccution, must be allowed to Mr Maturin's sketch of Eva—so soft, so gentle, so self-devoted—such a mixture of the purity of heaven with the simplicity of earth, concealing the most acute feelings under the appearance of devout abstraction, and unable to express her passion otherwise than by dying for it. The various impressions received by good and by bad lispositions from the profession of methodistical or evangelical tenets, form a curious chapter in the history of our modern manners. Mr Maturin has used the scalpel, not we think unfairly, but with professional rigour and dexterity, in anatomizing the effects of a system which is making way amongst us with increasing strength, and will one day have its influence on the fate perhaps of nations. But we resume our criticisms. The character of De Courcy we will not resume;—it is provokingly inconsistent; and we wish the ancient fashion of the Devil flying off with false-hearted lovers, as in the ballad of the Wandering Prince of Troy, had sustained no change in his favour.
Indeed, such a catastrophe would not have been alien to the genius of Mr Maturin, who, in the present as well as in former publications, has shown some desire to wield the wand of the enchanter, and to call in the aid of supernatural horrors. While De Courcy was in the act of transferring his allegiance from Eva to Zaira, the phantom of the latter-her wraith as we call in Scotland the apparition of a living person-glides past him, arrayed in white, with eyes closed, and face pale and colourless, and is presently afterwards seen lying beneath his feet as he assists Zaira into the carriage. Eva has a dream, corresponding to the apparition in all its circumstances. This incident resembles one which we have read in our youth in Aubrey, Baxter, or some such savoury and sapient collector of ghoststories; but we chiefly mention it, to introduce a remarkable alteration in the tragedy of Bertram, adopted by the author, we believe, with considerable regret. It consists in the retrenchment of a passage or two of great poetical beauty, in which Bertram is represented as spurred to the commission of his great crimes, by the direct agency of a supernatural and malevolent being We bave been favoured with a copy of the lines by a particular friend and admirer of the author, to whom he presented the manuscript copy of his play, in which alone they exist. The Prior, in his dialogue with Bertram, mentions
the dark knight of the forest,
Bertram. I'll ring a summons on his barred portal
Prior. Thou’rt mad to take the quest.-Within my memory
Bertram, What fate befel him there?
Bertram. That man shall be my mate--Contend not with me. Horrors to me are kindred and society.
Or man, or fiend, he hath won the soul of Bertram. Bertram is afterwards
discovered alone, wandering near the fatal tower, and describes the effect of the awful interview which he had courted.
Bertram. Was it a man or fiend ?-Whate'er it was
Enter two of his band observing him.
Second Robber. And hast thou of a truth seen the dark knight?
fear-Well ! shivering craven,
Longost thou for tale of goblin-guarded portal ?
First Robber. Mock me not thus-Hast met him of a truth?
First Robber. Why then heaven's benison be with you.
The description of the fiend's port and language,-tlre effect which the conference with him produces upon Bertram's mind, the terrificdignity with which the intercourse with such an associate invests him, and its rendering him a terror even to his own desperate banditti,—is all well conceived, and executed in a grand and magnificent strain of poetry; and, in the perusal, supposing the reader were carrying his mind back to the period when such intercourse between mortals and demons was considered as matter of indisputable truth, the story acquires probability and consistency, even from that which is in itself not only inprobable but impossible. The interview with the incarnate fiend of the forest, would, in these days, be supposed to have the same effect upon the mind of Bertram, as the metaphysical aid ' of the witches produces upon that of Macbeth, awakening and stimulating that appetite for crime, which slumbered in the bosom of both, till called forth by supernatural suggestion. At the same time, while we are happy to preserve a passage of such singilar beauty and power, we approve of the taste which retrenched it in action. The suadente diabolo is now no longer a phrase even in our indictments; and we fear his Satanic Majesty, were he to appear on the stage in modern times, would certainly incur the appropriate fate of damnation.
To return to the present work.-- We observe, with pleasure, that Mr Maturin has put his genius under better regulation than in his former publications, and retrenched that luxuriance of language, and too copious use of ornament, which distinguishes the authors and orators of Ireland, whose exuberance of imagination sometimes places them in the predicament of their honest countryman, who complained of being run away with by his legs. This excessive indulgence of the imagination is proper to a country where there is more genius than taste, and more copiousness than refinement of ideas. But it is an error to suffer the weeds to rush up with the grain, though their appearance may prove the richness of the soil. There is a time when an author should refrain, like Job,“
even from good words—though it should be pain to him.'-And although we think Mr Mathurine has reformed that error indifferently well, in his present work, we do pray him, in his future compositions, to reform it altogether. For the rest, we dismiss him with our best wishes, and not without hopes that we may again meet him in the maze of fiction, since, although he has threatened, like Prospero, to break his wand, we have done our poor endeavour to save his book from being burned.
QUARTERLY LIST OF NEW PUBLICATIONS,
From February to June 1818.
AGRICULTURE. The Farmer's Magazine. No. 74.
An Essay on Agriculture, containing an Introduction, in which the science of Agriculture is pointed out, by a careful attention to the works of Nature; also the means of rendering barren soils luxuriantly productive; to which is added a Memoir, drawn up at the express desire of his Imperial Highness the Archduke John of Austria, on the Nature and Nutritive Qualities of Fiorin Grass, &c. By W. Richardson, D. D.
Considerations respecting Cambridge, more particularly relating to its Botanical Professorship. By Sir James Smith, M.D. F. R. S. 8vo. 2s. 6d.
ARCHITECTURE. Mr Kendall, architect, of Exeter, has just published an Elucidation of the first principles of English Architecture, usually denominated Gothic. The work comprises upwards of 20 finely engraved plates by Mr Storer, respresenting Elevations, &c. taken from the Cathedral Church of Exeter.
ARTS, FINE. New Churches Considered, with respect to the Opportunities they offer for the encouragement of Painting. By B. R. Haydon. 8vo. Is. 6d.
No. I. of a Series of Twelve Portraits of Distinguished Living Characters of Scotland; containing heads of Walter Scott, Esq. Francis Jeffrey, Esq. and Henry Raeburn, Esq.; drawn and etched by William Nicholson ; accompanied with short Biographical No. tices. Size of the plates 11 inches by 9. Price of each number 14 Ils. 6d. for proofs on India paper; and il. ls. for plain impressions. VOL. XXX. NO. 59.