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could not literally translate) that passage unexce'led even by Æschylus himself, in glowing and terrific eloquence,
-But at hand, at hand Ensues his piteous and unpitied end: Earth gapes, hell burns, fiends roar, saints
To have him suddenly convey'd from hence; Cancel his bond of life, dear God, I pray, That I may live to say, The dog is dead!
A sound of arms and warlike music announced Richard's approach: the Queen and Duchess prepared to confront him, but Margaret with drew, uttering a solemn and bitter farewell to the tyrant, as to one whose living face she would never behold again.
A Chorus formed of warriors attending on the King's person (and afterwards stationed about his tent), now poured upon the stage, invoking Victory and Fortune to baffle their adversaries, and sweep back the billow of invasion. Richard had begun to address his followers, when the appearance of the two matrons, pale, squalid, and in mourning weeds, astonished and disturbed the Chorus. "Who intercepts me?" was the impatient demand of Richard; and his mother then broke silence in Shakspeare's words. The women became copious in exclaims," till, overwhelmed with their reproachful lamentations, the monarch cried "a flourish, trumpets!" and drowned their voices with the "clamorous report of war." A short dialogue followed, concluding with the Duchess's solemn farewell, and keen maternal curse.*
The interval between this and the ensuing scene was filled with a lofty and elaborate descant of the Chorus, who confessed with awe and grief that the fierce avenging spirit (o madaios Spivs aλáswp.-Agam. 1512), who had followed the house of Anjou from of old, was not yet laid asleep, but thirsting for new sacrifices. They deduced the late calamities immediately from the murder of Richard
II, but more remotely from the ma-" lediction laid by Henry, the first crowned Plantagenet, on his guilty and rebellious children. They asked how long the family of York should live "the thrall of Margaret's curse,' (an expression like that of Eschylus, ὕμνος ἐξ Εριννύων δέσμιος φρενών. with a determination to cherish hope, Eumenides, 340, 341,) and concluded · be steadfast in their fidelity, and await the will of Heaven.
In the following scene Richard appeared engaged with Norfolk in drawing" the form and model of his battle." Eschylus took occasion from a short speech in Shakspeare's tragedy † to introduce here a delineation of the appearance, characters, and warlike qualities of the hostile leaders, with an account of their stations in the field and of the forces under their command. The detail was not unlike those given in the Persae and Seven Chiefs. Richard commented like Eteocles on each description, and expressed, as in Shakspeare's play, his scorn of the base and "vagabond" Bretons. Æschylus, I thought, went even beyond Shakspeare in portraying the contempt so naturally felt by Richard, an old and hardy soldier, for the unwarlike breeding of Richmond.
The King now issued some commands, and, the night being far advanced, prepared to pass an hour in sleep. Before he retired within his tent, it was communicated that Buckingham had paid the penalty of his insurrection, an event in which the Chorus once again acknowledged the fatal efficacy of Queen Margaret's curse. In the ensuing ode they moralized on the blindness of those who, like the imprudent nobleman just put to death, forsake ancient alliance and make shipwreck of their fortunes by precipitately shifting their course. While commiserating this new victim of civil discord, they were alarmed by unusual sounds from the royal tent, and Richard burst forth upon them, distracted, and exclaiming that he was beset by horrible phantoms.
It will easily be believed that the rude and untimely pun of Richard, about "Humphrey Hour," was not adopted by the Greek imitator of this scene. Yet the practice of playing on names was not despised by Eschylus and his contemporary tragedians; and Shakspeare himself never quibbled more audaciously than Eschylus, where he says that Helen was rightly so named, because she was Ελένας, έλανδρος, ἐλέπτολις. Agam. 692, + Act IV. Sc. 5.
- Eschylus, as it seemed to me, had so contrived this scene that the mere reader or hearer might, at his discretion, imagine the Spectres actually exhibited on the stage, or suppose them only present to the disturbed fancy of Richard. It is well known that the poet wanted neither courage to introduce phantoms visibly on the scene, as in the Persae and Eumenides, nor address to make the audience sympathise with a personage, who, like Orestes in the Choëphora, saw forms invisible to all beside. In the present scene, Richard, by his earnest and hurried exclamations, imperfectly but strongly indicated the figures, aspects, and demeanour of his dread ful visitants; and the manner in which Eschylus would conceive the apparitions of Henry VI, of Anne, and of the young princes, may be imagined by those who recollect his Darius issuing from the earth amidst the prostrate and awe-struck Persians, his Clytemnestra pointing to her wounds as she rouses the slumbering Furies, or those shadowy forms of murdered children which Cassandra (in his Agamemnon) sees sitting at the gate of the Atridae. Repeated and earnest expressions of awe and terror burst from the Chorus; and the Tyrant's agitation was at last wound up to a giddy whirl of thoughts and words, as vehement as the frenzy of Io.* At this pitch of passion the avenging terrors left him, and his mind gradually sank into calmness. And now the
hour was come when
-Flaky darkness breaks, within the East.+ Norfolk and another leader of Richard's army entered to receive his orders, and the king retired to "buckle on his armour."
The Chorus, still agitated by the recent horrors, poured forth a supplication to the shades that had disturbed the king's repose, entreating that their angry and vengeful influences, their 'Eves, might not in the ensuing battle "sit heavy" on the royal breast. They wished that earthquake or lightning would remove from heaven's view the
Tower, the fatal prison of Henry, of Clarence, and of Edward's children; and they gave this fortress in their description all the visionary and mysterious terrors bestowed by Eschylus on the ensanguined house of Atreus.§ They observed that ro power can charm back the life-blood once fallen to earth,|| but that expiation, with the favour of heaven, might yet be made; they prayed therefore for an auspicious end of this day's conflict, and a brighter season after the present gloom, deducing, in a manner somewhat fanciful and obscure, the connexion between prosperity at one period and humiliation at another.
The king re-appeared, looked forth upon the ranks, now nearly formed for battle, and addressed some ardent words of exhortation to his attendant chiefs. A messenger announced that "the enemy had passed the marsh." Eschylus could not express more nobly than by adopting Shakspeare's manner the swell and mounting of Richard's fiery spirit at the well known moment of onset ; but the stirring appeal
Fight, Gentlemen of England! fight, bold
was beyond the reach of a Grecian poet, nor do I think his language
could have furnished him with terms productive of any similar effect. To an English ear, even the cry ' raïdes Evwv re at the battle of Salamis, appears insipid in comparison.
After Richard's departure the messenger continued with the Chorus, who guarded their monarch's tent. While he was briefly describing to them the advance of Richmond's force, the first crash of conflict was heard without. Then the Chorus divided themselves into separate groups, impatiently straining their sight to catch some glimpse of the battle, striving with anxious ears to gather intelligence from the confused din of the armies, and each party alternately conveying in short energetic_bursts of description, the news or the conjecture, the hope, fear, or triumph of the moment. Every verse re
Rich. III. Act v. Sc. 2. A similar form of expression is used in the Seven Chiefs, 1. 698, where Eteocles declares that his father's curse poïs anλaúsos öμpaσi poσitável, or, as we should say, Sits heavy on his parched and tearless eyes. | Ibid. 1026.
§ Æsch. Agamemnon, 1197, &c.
Esch. Persae, 400.
the scene, he was not under the necessity of sacrificing to stage effect by slaying him in single combat.
Richmond and some of his partizans now entered proclaiming anew that "the Boar" was dead, and announcing that his followers, discouraged by this event and the previous defection of Stanley, had yielded, fallen, or been dispersed. The victor gave orders for securing the royal tent, which the Chorus, still faithful to their charge, indignantly prepared to defend. They were checked, however, by assurances that no hope remained of successful opposition. Richmond, who appeared not to be a favourite with Eschylus, pronounced a tame speech of exhortation and self-applause, and the Chorus after hinting the advantages of moderation, submitted sullenly to the conqueror.
* I justify this phrase by the authority of battle of Salamis, that at day-break the trumpet fired all the coast.
schylus, who says, in describing the with its loud call, dutÿ, —inépλeyer, Rich. III. Act v. Sc. 2.
SPECIMENS OF SONNETS
FROM THE MOST EMINENT POETS OF ITALY.
MICHEL ANGELO BUONAROTTI.
Giunto è già il corso della vita mia
Per tempestoso mar con fragil barca
Gli amorosi pensier, già vani e lieti,
Nè pinger, nè scolpir fia più che queti
Che aperse in croce, a prender noi, le braccia.
My wave-worn bark through life's tempestuous sea
At length from Fancy's wild enchantments free,
I deeply feel how vain its richest store,
Now that the one thing needful faileth me!
Vain dreams of love! once sweet, now yield they aught
This-doom'd me here, and that-beyond the grave?
GIO. BARTOLOMEO CASAREGI. I
Lungi da quel che piace al volgo insano
Scorro l'Assiro e 'l Perso, e quivi invano
Ah che pur polve e' sono: e, se gli eroi
Oft the dull joys that maddening crowds enchain I fly, and, seated in some lonely place,
Traverse in thought the wide-extended space
Arise, proud Asia's lords, avenge the wrong;
Alma gentil, che pria che l'uman velo
Se dentro al pensier mio fallace un zelo
Lasso! egli avvenne, come avvenir suole
Che 'I bel Frigio al gran Giove pose in grembo:
Splendor gli oscuran d' un perpetuo nembo.
O thou, whose soul from the pure sacred stream (Ere it was doom'd this mortal veil to wear,) Bathed by the gold-hair'd God, emerged so fair, That thou like him in Delos born didst seem!
If zeal, that of my strength would wrongly deem, Bade me thy virtues to the world declare; And in my highest flight, struck with despair, I sunk unequal to such lofty theme;
Alas! I suffer from the same mishap
As the false offspring of the bird that bore
BUONACORSI DA MONTEMAGNO.
Non mai più bella luce, o più bel Sole
Nè quando l'età verde aprir si vuole,
Dal bel guardo vezzoso par che fiocchi
Amor s'è posto in mezzo a' suoi begli occhi,
Oh! never rose a light, or sun more fair
Never, when opening buds first scent the air,
In midst of her bright eyes Love makes his bower, And in his lap does my lorn heart detain,
Too scanty fuel for so fierce a flame !
GALEAZZO DI TARSIA.
Tempestose sonanti e torbid' onde,
A me serene notti, o chiari giorni,
Tempestuous, loud, and agitated sea!
From thee is fled each joyous thing, the glee Of sportive Nereid, and smooth-gliding prow; From me-what late made joy illume my brow, And these sad present hours so drear to be.
Alas! the time is near, when will return The season calm, and all thy waves be gay, And thou this fellowship of woe forsake:
The mistress of my soul can never make Serene the night for me, or clear the day, Whether the sun be hid, or cloudless burn.