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nuscript-translation, or rather imitation, of the “Spaniards in Peru," which he used as the ground-work of Pizarro, has been preserved among his papers ;-and, so convenient was it to his indolence to take the style as he found it, that, except, as I have said, in a few speeches and scenes, which might be easily enumerated, he adopted, with scarcely any alteration, the exact words of the translator, whose taste, therefore, (whoever he may have been,) is answerable for the spirit and style of three-fourths of the dialogue. Even that scene where Cora describes the "white buds" and “crimson blossoms” of her infant's teeth, which I have often heard cited as a specimen of Sheridan's false ornament, is indebted to this unknown paraphrast for the whole of its embroidery.
But though he is found to be innocent of much of the contraband matter, with which his co-partner in this work had already vitiated it, his own contributions to the dialogue are not of a much higher or purer order. He seems to have written down to the model before him, and to have been inspired by nothing but an emulation of its faults. His style, accordingly, is kept hovering in the same sort of limbo, between blank verse and prose,—while his thoughts and images, however shining and effective on the stage, are like the diamonds of theatrical royalty, and will not bear inspection off it. The scene between Alonzo and Pizarro, in the third act, is one of those almost entirely re-written by Sheridan; and the following medley groupe of personifications affords a specimen of the style to which his taste could descend :
“ Then would I point out to him'where now, in clustered villages, they live like brethren, social and confiding, while through the burning day Content sits basking on the cheek of Toil, till laughing Pastime leads them to the hour of rest."
The celebrated harangue of Rolla to the Peruvians, into which Kemble used to infuse such heroic dignity, is an amplification of the following sentences of the original, as I find them given in Lewis's manuscript translation of the play :
“ Rolla. You Spaniards fight for gold; we for our country.
“ Alonzo. They follow an adventurer to the field; we a monarch whom we love.
“ Atalib. And a god whom we adore!"
This speech, to whose popular sentiments the play owed much of its success, was chiefly made up by Sheridan of loans from his own oratory. The image of the Vulture and the Lamb was taken, as I have already remarked, from a passage in his speech on the trial of Hastings ;—and he had, on the subject of Invasion, in the preceding year, (1798,) delivered more than once the substance of those patriotic sentiments, which were now so spirit-stirring in the mouth of Rolla. For instance, on the King's Message relative to preparation for Invasion :
“The Directory may instruct their guards to make the fairest professions of how their army is to act; but of these professions surely not one can be believed. The victorious Buonaparte may say that he comes like a minister of grace, with no other purpose than to give peace to the cottager, to restore citizens to their rights, to establish real freedom, and a liberal and humane government. But can there be an Englishman so stupid, se besotted, so befooled, as to give a moment's credit to such ridiculous professions? ..... What, then, is their object? They come for what they really want: they come for ships, for commerce, for credit, and for capital Yes; they come for the sinews, the bones—for the marrow and the rery heart's blood of Great Britain. But let us examine what we are to purchase at this price. Liberty, it appears, is now their staple commodity: but attend, I say, and examine how little of real liberty they themselves enjoy, who are so forward and prodigal in bestowing it on others.”
The speech of Rolla in the prison-scene is also an interpolation of his own,-Kotzebue having, far more judiciously, (considering the unfitness of the moment for a tiraden) condensed the reflections of Rolla into the short exclamation, “Oh, sacred Nature ! thou art still true to thyself," and then made him hurry into the prison to his friend.
Of the translation of this play by Lewis, which has been found among the papers, Mr. Sheridan does not appear to have made any use ;-except in so far as it may have suggested to him the idea of writing a song for Cora, of which that gentleman had set him an example in a ballad, beginning
“ Soft are thy slumbers, soft and sweet,
Hush thee, hush thee, hush thee, boy."
The song of Mr. Lewis, however, is introduced, with somewhat less violence to probability, at the beginning of the Third Act, where the women are waiting for the tidings of the battle, and when the intrusion of a ballad from the heroine, though sufficiently unnatural, is not quite so monstrous as in the situation which Sheridan has chosen for it.
The following stanza formed a part of the song, as it was originally written :
“ Those eyes that beam'd this morn the light of youth,
This morn I saw their gentle rays impart
The pure Aurora of my lover's heart.
The only question upon which he spoke this year was the important measure of the Union, which he strenuously and at great length opposed. Like every other measure, professing to be for the benefit of Ireland, the Union has been left incomplete in the one essential point, without which there is no hope of peace or prosperity for that country. As long as religious disqualification is left to “lie like lees at the bottom of men's hearts,”* in vain doth the voice of Parliament pronounce the word “Union” to the two Islands-a feeling, deep as the sea that breaks between them, answers back, sullenly,“ Separation."
Through the remainder of Mr. Sheridan's political career it is my intention, for many reasons, to proceed with a more rapid step; and merely to give the particulars of his public conduct, together with such documents as I can bring to illustrate it, without entering into much discussion or comment on either.
* “ It lay like lees at the bottom of men's hearts; and, if the vessel was but stirred, it would come up."-Bacon, Henry VII.
Of his speeches in 1800,-during which year, on account, perhaps, of the absence of Mr. Fox from the House, he was particularly industrious,-I shall select a few brief specimens for the reader. On the question of the Grant to the Emperor of Germany, he said :
“I do think, Sir, Jacobin principles never existed much in this country; and even admitting they had, I say they have been found so hostile to true liberty, that, in proportion as we love it, (and, whatever may be said, I must still consider liberty an inestimable blessing,) we must hate and detest these principles. But, more, I do not think they even exist in France. They have there died the best of deaths; a death I am more pleased to see than if it had been effected by foreign force,-they have stung themselves to death, and died by their own poison.”
The following is a concise and just summary of the causes and effects of the French Revolutionary war :
“France in the beginning of the Revolution, had conceived many roman. tic notions; she was to put an end to war, and produce, by a pure form of government, a perfectibility of mind which before had never been realised. The Monarchs of Europe, seeing the prevalence of these new principles, trembled for their thrones. France, also, perceiving the hostility of Kings to her projects, supposed she could not be a Republic without the overthrow of thrones. Such has been the regular progress of cause and effect; but who was the first aggressor, with whom the jealousy first arose, need not now be a matter of discussion. Both the Republic and the Monarchs who opposed her acted on the same principles;—the latter said they must exterminate Jacobins, and the former that they must destroy monarchs. From this source bave all the calamities of Europe flowed; and it is now a waste of time and argument to inquire further into the subject.”
Adverting in his Speech on the Negotiation with France, to the overtures that had been made for a Maritime Truce, he says, with that national feeling, which rendered him at this time so popular,
“No consideration for our ally, no hope of advantage to be derived from joint negotiation, should have induced the English Government to think for a moment of interrupting the course of our naval triumphs.—This mea.
sure, Sir, would have broken the heart of the navy, and would have damp. ed all its future exertions. How would our gallant sailors have felt, when, chained to their decks like galley-slaves, they saw the enemy's vessels sailing under their bows in security, and proceeding, without a possibility of being molested, to revictual those places which had been so long blockaded by their astonishing skill, perseverance, and valour? We never stood more in need of their services, and their feelings at no time deserved to be more studiously consulted. The north of Europe presents to England a most awful and threatening aspect. Without giving an opinion as to the origin of these hostile dispositions, or pronouncing decidedly whether they are wholly ill founded, I hesitate not to say, that if they have been excited because we have insisted upon enforcing the old established Maritime Law of Europe,-because we stood boldly forth in defence of indisputable privileges,-because we have refused to abandon the source of our prosperity, the pledge of our security, and the foundation of our naval greatness,—they ought to be disregarded or set at defiance. If we are threatened to be deprived of that which is the charter of our existence, which has procured us the commerce of the world, and been the means of spreading our glory over every land, --if the rights and honours of our flag are to be called in question, every risk should be run, and every danger braved. Then we should have a legitimate cause of war;—then the heart of every Briton would burn with indignation, and his hand be stretched forth in defence of his country. If our flag is to be insulted, let us nail it to the top-mast of the nation; there let it Ay while we shed the last drop of our blood in protecting it, and let it be degraded only when the nation itself is overwhelmed.”
He thus ridicules, in the same speech, the etiquette that had been observed in the selection of the ministers who were to confer with M. Otto:
“ This stiff-necked policy shows insincerity. I see Mr. Nepean and Mr. Hammond also appointed to confer with M. Otto, because they are of the same rank. Is not this as absurd as if Lord Whitworth were to be sent to Petersburgh, and told that he was not to treat but with some gentleman of six feet high, and as handsome as himself? Sir, I repeat, that this is a stiffnecked policy, when the lives of thousands are at stake.”
In the following year Mr. Pitt was succeeded, as Prime Minister, by Mr. Addington. The cause assigned for this unexpected change was the difference of opinion that existed between the King and Mr. Pitt, with respect to the further enfranchisement of the Catholics of Ireland. To this measure the Minister and some of his colleagues considered themselves to have been pledged by the Act of Union ;