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lating materials, and patient care in elaborating them, he could scarcely fail to attain distinguished excellence. The present volume was well calculated to fulfil such expectations. The Revolt of the Netherlands pos-sesses all the common requisites of a good history, and many which are in some degree peculiar to itself. The information it conveys is minute and copious; we have all the circum-stances of the case, remote and near, set distinctly before us. Yet, such is the skill of the arrangement, these are at once briefly and impressively presented. The work is not stretched out into a continuous narrative; but gathered up into masses, which are successively exhibited to view, the minor facts being grouped around some leading one, to which, as to the central object, our attention is chiefly directed. This method of combining the details of events, of proceeding, as it were, per saltum, from eminence to eminence, and thence surveying the surrounding country,-is undoubtedly the most philosophical of any but few men are equal to the task of effecting it rightly. It must be executed by a mind able to look on all its facts at once; to disentangle their perplexities, referring each to its proper head; and to choose, often with extreme address, the station from which the reader is to view them. Without this, or with this inadequately done, a work on such a plan would be intolerable. Schiller has accomplished it in great perfection; the whole scene of affairs was evidently clear before his own eye, and he did not want expertness to discriminate and seize its distinctive features. The bond of cause and consequence he never loses sight of; and over each successive portion of his narrative he pours the light of that intellectual and imaginative power, which all his prior writings had displayed. His reflections, expressed or implied, are the fruit of strong, comprehensive, penetrating thought. His descriptions are vivid: his characters are studied with a
keen sagacity, and set before us in their most striking points of view; those of Egmont and Orange occur to every reader as a rare union of perspicacity and eloquence. The work has a look of order; of beauty joined to calm, reposing force. Had it been completed, it might have ranked as the very best of Schiller's prose compositions. But no second volume ever came to light; and the first concludes at the entrance of Alba into Brussels. Two fragments alone, the Siege of Antwerp, and the Passage of Alba's army, both living pictures, show us still farther what he might have done had he proceeded. The surprising and often highly picturesque movements of this war, the devotedness of the Dutch, their heroic achievement of liberty, were not destined to be painted by the glowing pen of Schiller, whose heart and mind were alike so qualified to do them justice.*
The accession of reputation, which this work procured its author, was the only or the principal advantage he derived from it. Eichhorn, Professor of History, was at this time about to leave the university of Jena: Goethe had already introduced his friend to the special notice of the Duchess Amelia, the accomplished Regent of Sachsen-Weimar; he now joined with Voigt, the head chaplain of the court, in soliciting the vacant chair for him. Seconded by the general voice, and the persuasion of the Princess herself, he succeeded: Schiller was appointed Professor at Jena; he went thither in 1789.
With Schiller's removal to Jena, begins a new epoch in his public and private life. His connection with Goethe, of which this removal was in part the consequence, became secured and cemented by the change: Jena is but a few miles distant from Weimar; and the two friends, both settled in public offices belonging to the same Government, had daily opportunities of interchanging visits and communications. Schiller's wanderings were now concluded: with a heart tired of so fluctuating an exist
If we mistake not, Madame de Staël, in her Révolution Francaise, had this performance of Schiller's in her eye. Her work is constructed on a similar though a rather looser plan of arrangement: the execution of it bears the same relation to that of Schiller; it is less irregular; more ambitious in its rhetoric; inferior in precision, though often not in force of thought and imagery.
ence, but not despoiled of its capacity for relishing a calmer one; with a mind experienced by much and varied intercourse with men; full of knowledge and of plans to turn it to account, he could now repose himself in the haven of domestic comforts, and look forward to days of more unbroken exertion, and more wholesome and permanent enjoyment than hitherto had fallen to his lot. In the February following his settlement at Jena, he received the hand of the Fraulein Lengefield; a happiness, with the prospect of which, he had long associated all the pleasures which he hoped for from the future. A few months after this event, he thus expressed himself, in writing to
Life is quite a different thing by the side of a beloved wife, than so forsaken and alone, even in summer. Beautiful nature! I now for the first time fully enjoy
it, live in it. The world again clothes itself around me in poetic forms; old feelings are again awakening in my breast. What a life I ain leading here! I look with a glad mind about me; my heart finds a perennial contentment without it; my spirit so fine, so refreshing a nourishnious composure; not strained and impasment. My existence is settled in harmosioned, but peaceful and clear. I look to my future destiny with a cheerful heart; now when standing at the wished-for goal, I wonder with myself how it all has hap pened, so far beyond my expectations. Fate has conquered the difficulties for me; it has, I may say, forced me to the mark. From the future, I hope for every thing. A few years, and I shall live in the full enjoyment of my spirit; nay, I expect my very youth will be renewed; an inward poetic life will give it me again.
To what extent these smiling hopes were realized will be seen in the next and concluding Part of this Biography.
FROM THE ITALIAN OF
LORENZO DE MEDICI.
FOLLOW that fervour, O devoted spirit!
With which thy Saviour's goodness fires thy breast; Go where it draws, and when it calls-Oh! hear it, It is thy Shepherd's voice, and leads to rest.
POSTSCRIPT TO THE LETTERS TO DRAMATISTS.
My honour is in pawn for a "mo- nerate it. Whilst the root is underate Postscript" to these Letters: sound, the tree will not bear good that is, of course, a moderately short fruit. Nothing were more easy to one, or, in other words, an immode- prove, than the intimate connection rately long one. The truth is, the which subsists between delineation six letters which I have already ad- of character and choice of phraseodressed to the Dramatists of the Day logy, and that it is the nature of do not contain above a sixth part of ultra-poesy to annihilate all distinc what would complete the subject; tion or individualization of persons, there are numberless other points to dissolve in one uniform medium • connected with tragedy, which I could all the essential characteristics which dilate upon, with more satisfaction to mark the differences of manners aud myself, perhaps, than advantage to of minds. The language of poetry, that my readers. Much as I have said in is, of mere poetry, is one and conthese letters upon a very few subjects, ventional, similar to itself in all I have not said all I had to say, even places, and identical upon all occaupon them. Neither have I alluded sions. This being the case, it never to many other distinct particulars, in can represent adequately the many, which I think the Dramatists of the arbitrary, dissimilar, and various Day deficient or reprehensible. I modes of manner in which diffehave cursorily noticed the meagre- rent individuals express themselves, ness of their plots, and have enlarged nor display the antagonist peculiarisomewhat profusely upon the ultra- ties of mind which are only to be poetry of their language: the third exhibited by a correspondent idiom great province of the tragedist, deli- of phrase ;-that is, it never can porneation of character, I have left tray character. If Faulconbridge wholly untouched, with several mi- and Hotspur both spake in the sweet nor considerations. Nevertheless, I and monotonous voice of poetry, how merely wish to recapitulate, here, a should we be able to distinguish the few leading principles of dramatic fearless, free-minded soldier from the composition propounded in these let- hair-brained and impatient warrior? ters, the validity of which I am per- Why are all the personages of the suaded no one will be found to dispute, Rhetoric school of drama, from the and the practice of which we may, monarch down to the menial, from therefore, expect to see, in some mea-cap on head to cap in hand, heroes, sure, cultivated by our tragic writers, There are also, one or two remarks, which have been, or may be made on my theory, or on myself; some of these deserve a reply. But it is not my design in this Postscript to enter upon a subject, which might fairly claim a letter to itself, characterial delineation. Indeed, it is, in my opinion, perfectly useless to proceed with attempts at revolutionizing
modern system of drama in these remoter details-until the language of the drama is itself reformed. All the abuses of the modern stage, I am fully convinced, bottom themselves on the one false basis, and are derived from the one impure source, the unwarrantable and perpetual use of language merely poetical, as the proper language of the drama. Whilst this error is blindly or obstinately adhered to, it is in vain that we cry out against the degeneracy of the modern stage, or endeavour to rege
-heroes of the full grenadier measure like the King of Prussia's bodyguards, at least, if big words constitute tall fellows? Why, because they all speak the same inflated language, their speeches are all screwed up to the "sticking-place" of heroic poetry, Why are all the personages of the Poetic school, imbeciles? Why, because they are all mere poets. I "I however, insist no longer upon this subject; it does not belong to a Postscript.
The Dramatists of the Day will, I hope, impute it to my interest in their welfare, and my anxiety for the regeneration of the stage, that I once more, in the way of a brief synopsis, presume to solicit their attention to a few maxims of dramatic composition which I have insinuated in the course of these letters, and that I once again confront them with the false methods and principles which I would fain see abjured
1st. The plots of tragedies must be either founded on more illustrious actions, or compounded of a greater number of minor interest ing ones. Dramatists have to choose between these methods of plot-work. Their subject must be one, great, and magnificent; or it must be various, full, and busy. If they could combine the methods (as Shakspeare generally does; vide his Macbeth, Lear, &c.), it would be, of course, so much the better. But to choose an obscure fact or fiction, to select with inquisitive microscopic eye, a little pigmy story, raked out of the promiscuous annals of Italy or Spain, with contemptible diligence,-nay, in some cases (Montezuma, &c.) to disfigure the stage with Tomahawkers and Wild Indians, and then, having adopted such a fable, to neglect embellishing, amplifying, or diversifying it with new supplemental incidents this system of plot-work appears to me, I confess, totally irreconcilea ble either with reason or commonsense, not to talk of genius. But whence does this system, so prevalent now-a-days, originate? From the principle of Ultra-poesy. Where the writer thinks that all he has to do is to depute a certain number of persons in plumes and buskins to reciprocate poetry, for three hours and a half, before a gaping audience, he will, of course, make all his other endeavours subserve to this, or rather, for this, he will sacrifice them altogether.
2d. The scenes, or continued dialogues between the same persons, in a tragedy, should be as short as is compatible with a due developement of the subject which those persons have to communicate to the audience. Ultra-poetry goes upon a principle, and introduces a practice upon the scene, directly in the teeth of this maxim.
3d. Narration, description, stilllife, and pacific imagery, are either to be wholly excluded, or sparingly used: these are the very anodynes of the stage. Nota Bene: They constitute the essence, the soul, the sine qua non of Ultra-poetry.
4th. The language of the drama must be discriminated from common poetry by other qualities, than merely that of being divided into alternate or successive parts, supposed to be allotted to different personages, A, B, C,
&c. This device may serve to amuse or be wilder the reader, so that he shall mistake that which is only a poetical colloquy in five acts for a real play, but nevetheless it does not of itself constitute drama. Legitimate, effective drama being an approximate personal representation of some interesting human action, historical or fictitious, in a series of scenes, incidents, and dialogues, its language must observe the two following laws immediately derived from this its nature and essence: First, the lan-, guage must be such as is accommodated to personal action; Second, however, the language may be raised and beautiful by the intermixture of poetical and rhetorical figures, common dialogue, i. e. the natural mode of phrase in use amongst that human society for which the dramatist composes his tragedy, should never be wholly, or for any considerable interval, lost sight of, it should always appear on the surface of his play. These two laws might, perhaps, be, resolved into one; for common or na-: tural dialogue, being that which passes, between persons really in action on the human stage, is necessa-. rily accommodated to action. But the first law rather concerns the energy, the intensity of action involved by the language, than its naturaluess; for unless the language be forcible as well as natural, striking as well as colloquial, it will be de-. ficient in point of interest and effect. Now legitimate, effective drama is not merely a representation of human life, but of the interesting parts of it, I need scarcely conclude this paragraph by adding, that Ultra-poetry is inconsistent with the language of action and with natural dialogue.
5th. Tragedy may occasionally dispense with what, in my sixth let ter, I denominated, the rule of Joinery. Such a relief will assist the nature, spirit, and ease of the dialogue, without injuring its harmony materially. In Ultra-poetry, the rule of Joinery is indispensable, and must be rigorously observed.
These few maxims contain my theory upon the subject of drama, as far as regards the plot, the business, and the language. To me they ap pear little short of axiomatical truths, It will, however, I hope, be recollected, that I do not pretend to infallibility. I attributing the dege
neracy of the modern stage principally to an erroneous choice of language, and especially that of the present age of drama to an excessive and unwarrantable indulgence in poetry,-'tis very possible I may be utterly mistaken. I have given my reasons for my opinions in the preceding letters, nor am I aware that any one of them can be proved false or fallacious. The Dramatists of the Day are, perhaps, fortified in their own principles, and think their case equally impregnable, else they would no longer persist in a course from which they reap little profit and less reputation. If this really be the fact, I should be very much obliged to any one amongst them, who would take the trouble of demonstrating one of two things; either of which being proved would annihilate my theory at once, and shut up my oracular mouth for ever; videlicet: either that poetry in parts, necessarily, and of itself, constitutes drama, or that the trage dies of the day, generally speaking, are not poetry in parts and little
If the Doge of Venice, Mirandola, Evadne, Conscience, Fazio, &c. are anything more than conversations in verse; if they are representations of human life, and approximations to the language of life; if they are calculated to rouse the passions, and are accommodated to action; i. e. if they are dramas,-all I can say is, I am in the very lowest state of hopeless and deplorable error. If languid volubility, endless amplification, and a perpetual penchant towards descriptions of still-life and dead scenery; if smoothness, softness, and sweetness of versification; refined, evanescent, half-etched ideas, conceptions and imagery ("touches" as the Author of Fazio calls them); in a word, if Ultra-poetry be the legitimate instrument wherewith to produce dramatical effect, if this be the proper material whereof to construct a tragedy,-the Dramatists of the Day, in spite of their repeated failures on the stage, are pre-eminently qualified to succeed there, and John Lacy, in spite of his dogmatism, knows just as much about drama as an owl does of astronomy. Ultra-poetry may be the divine nostrum which shall at length restore the stage to its primitive health and vigour Dramatists may be wise in challenging the passions and assault
ing the heart, through the medium of Ultra-poetry:-to me it appears that they might as well run a-tilt against Mount Atlas with a green rush. But again, I entreat my readers will recollect, that I am not infallible. Unless they are convinced by my reasonings, let not the Dramatists of the Day desert their own principles of composition to follow my prescriptions. As a confirmation of my theory upon the subject of the drama, however, I must beg leave, in conclusion, to adduce the internal evidence of a modern tragedy itself: the mad tragedy is altogether on my side of the question, in as far as regards the furor dramaticus, for which I so strenuously contend:-v. g. Thou tremblest least I curse thee, tremble
Joy to the proud dame of St. Aldobrand !— While his cold corse doth bleach beneath
her towers.-(Bertram, A. 2, Sc. 3.) There is a crazy energy in this speech, which, however absurd it may appear in the closet, adapts the thing in some measure for the stage: the writer seems to have fully appreciated the cotemporary error of deluging the scene with poetry, but he has unluckily, in avoiding the frying-pan fallen into the fire, and mistaken insanity for inspiration.— Nevertheless, if we are to choose between Tom o' Bedlam and Sir Velvet-lungs, give us the madman