Imagens das páginas

Que dis-je? de Brutus l'héroique furie
Sacrifiait ses fils à Rome à la patrie;
Et cet arrêt cruel, par lui-même dicté
Sur leur tombeau sanglant fondait la liberié :
Faụstus, qui la défend, marcherait au supplice!...
Que me reviendra-t-il d'un pareil sacrifice ?
Quel est le noble prix que mon cæur en attend ?
Les Romains sont trop vils pour leur donner mon sang.
Si du haut de ce rang, Rome me contemple,
J'étonnais l'univers d'un plus sublime exemple ;
Si malgré mes fureurs, je forçais l'avenir
A garder de mon nom l'immortel souvenir !
J'y songerai.'...

p. 59. Faustus, as he had been ordered, introduces Claudius, and leaves him alone with Sylla. This is incomparably the finest and most dramatic scene of the whole play. It is impossible not to feel some respect for the almost sublime contempt and sarcasm of Sylla : alone with the young man, he indulges himself in the most scornful reproaches of the man himself, of his father, ce lâche tribun,' and of all the opposite party; he insinuates that he had slid into bis palace to assassinate the father, by the help of a guilty sonhe bids him execute his purpose, and seeing him unarmed, offers him a sword. Any analysis must give but a feeble idea of such a scene in the hands of Talma. Claudius, who displays through the whole an answering spirit of courage and plainness, refuses the offer, showing him at the same time that he carried a dagger concealed, and wanted not a weapon for his purpose, if he had entertained it. Sylla dismisses him in the custody of his lictors, and he retirés exclaiming,

* Adieu, Sylla. Regarde autour de toi ! Je te laisse en mourant plus malheureus que moi.' This brings us to what was considered in Paris the great feature of the play, though we confess it disappointed us sadly. Syllathe anxious Sylla, who is represented as trembling at the sound of bis own footstep at night, and who at this moment must have been labouring under more than common suspicions of danger, doubtful of the fidelity even of Faustus, chooses for the place of his repose the public hall of audience, the room in which not only had he held his council and his levér, but in which Aufidius, Lænas, Claudius and Valeria, had assembled to conspire his death. A change of scene, we own, would have shocked us less than this absurdity, which, be it observed, like all other inconveniences which flow from the unities, is the more striking, the more complete the illusion is, which they were intended to preserve. The more entirely we are swallowed up in the fiction, and believe we really see Sylla in his


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palace, the more surprized are we at his reposing himself in that part of it. However, in gloomy reflections on his miserable condition, that his life is perpetual anxiety, and every day stained with some new act of violence, which the preceding act has forced upon him; that he has gained the summit of ambition, and gathered nothing but vanity; in this train of thought he gradually falls asleep. But the reflections which had been last upon his waking mind pursue hiin in bis sleep: he dreams, and sees the shades of the proscribed Romans flocking round his couch, pointing to their wounds, brandishing their weapons, and threatening him with vengeance. There must always be an immense difficulty in conveying such an incident as this naturally to the audience; and we are inclined to think, that from the moment when the appearance

of spirits ceased to be an article of popular belief, it was an impossibility which should never have been attempted. A dreamer on the stage may sleep in agitation, and awake in affright; he may utter incoherent hints, even in his sleep, of what he is seeing, and, when uwake, may

third person

in detail what he has seen; but to make a dreamer tell the audience collectedly what he is seeing, at the time he sees it, M. Jouy may well call a' chose hasardée,' but it is what even Talma's acting could not prevent the most moderate critic from feeling as absurd. This, however, is what Sylla is made to do. He dreams aloud in these words :

Que vois-je ? et quel pouvoir-dans ces demeures sombres
De ceux que j'ai proscrits-a ranimé les ombres ?
Que voulez-vous de moi, transfuges des tombeaus?
De vos corps déchirés vous m'offrez les lambeaux.
J'ai puni vos forfaits-J'ai puni vos complices-
Tremblez qu'on ne vous trâine à de nouveaux supplices !
Je les vois tous les bras vers mon lit étendus
Agiter leurs poignards sur mon sein suspendus.
O dieux ! à me frapper leurs mains sont toutes prêtes.

(Il se lève en dormant.)
A moi, licteurs à moi ! J'avais proscrit leurs têtes,
Je les revois encore ? Chassez tous ces pervers!
Et que vos fouets sanglans les rendent aux enfers,

Sylla le veut-l'ordonne-obéissez.' We shall expose ourselves, perhaps, to the ineffable contempt of M. Jouy, if we venture to compare, not the genius but the judgment of Shakspeare with his own, in managing a similar incident. He takes a story, when he represents the dream of Richard, for which he had the warrant of tradition, and be paints it to the eyes of his audience in a manner which was natural and credible to their superstitions. At that tiine, what must have been the harrowing effect to those, who had seen the ghastly figures come and go, of Richard's start from his couch.

• Give

P. 64.

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Give me another horse !--bind up my wounds!

Have inercy, Jesu-Soft-I did but dream.' and then, after a speech of agony, the three short lines of narrative, which are exactly what a man might tell to himself:

• Methought, the souls of all that I had murther’d
Came to my tent, and every one did threat

To-morrow's vengeance on the head of Richard.' But so mighty is Shakspeare, that strike out all the preceding ap. pearances, and let a fastidious manager deprive us of the play as its author wrote it,* the speech alone communicates to us every thing that Sylla's does, and without any breach of the laws of probability.

In the last act, and on the second morning of the action, which has now lasted two nights, a whole day, and part of a second, the scene changes to the forum. The people are seen flocking in agitation to a general assembly, soldiers are stationed at all the avenues, and Catiline and Balbus, in the front of the stage, are con versing on the probable purpose of the dictator in convening the people. Catiline, full of the hopes of vengeance, promises himself that Sylla is about to consummate his extraordinary character, by the execution of Claudius, and of Faustus for the concealment of him. The menacing aspect of the people interrupts their spea culations, and they retire to the ranks of the soldiery.

With the people, and stirring up their courage, are Lænas and Valeria ; the latter offers herself upon the spot where her brothers had perished for their liberty, (we suspect she was a little mistaken in her topography,) to lead them forward to a glorious and desperate attack upon the person of their tyrant. At this moment, the unfortunate Claudius and his friend are led in by the lictors as for execution, and shortly afterwards Sylla enters, attended by a splendid cortège. The people, so indignant but a moment before, receive him with enthusiastic applause; and Valeria, inflamed by this almost to madness, darts forward to stab him, but her arm is arrested by Roscius. This is unquestionably a fine moment in the play: the agitation of the beautiful Valeria; Claudius intent upon the danger of his wife; and Faustus, trembling for his father, and they themselves, the whole group, an object of deep interest to all, contrast very nobly with the proud indifference of Sylla, who,

* We take this opportunity of saying, that the way in which Richard the Third is interpolated and mangled for representation at our principal theatres, is a disgrace not only to the managers who so order it, but to erery actor of talent and influence, and every audience, that submit to it. To say nothing of the actual substitution of a great many lines of Colley Cibber, or some such ingenious gentleman, for a less number of Shakspeare, we ask how Mr. Kean, Mr. Young, Mr. Macready, can submit to the gra, tuitous addition of the last scenes of Henry VI.? the loss of the splendid scene between Richard and Clarence? or of Clarence's dream, and all that depends on his death?


entirely self-possessed, simply says, Eloignez cette femme,' and turns to the business of the day. That business is his abdication, which he announces to the people from the rostra, in a speech of no great beauty. It was a difficult scene to manage well, and we are not surprized that M. Jouy has failed.

The length of our analysis has left us but little room for any general remarks. We think the character of Sylla misdrawn, both according to the poet's conception of it and our own. In his preface M. Jouy tells us, that Sylla was from the beginning a patriot;, one who meditated long and deeply for his country's good, and who executed magnificently what he had planned pru: dently; that he was a severe schoolmaster, who punished that he might purify, and laid down his power only when he had effected his purpose. In part, the history of the times bears out this theory. Sylla's proscriptions, we believe, preceded his dictatorship, which lasted two years at least, and was principally employed in legislation, and in settling his troops on the forfeited estates, and then came the abdication. But setting out with this view of biin, what has M. Jouy done?-lie makes him sign a proscription in the first act at night, the idea of abdication enters bis head the next evening, and he executes it the following morning, while Rome, so far from being tranquillized, was in the very tempest of a massacre, her streets flowing with blood, her houses echoing shrieks and groans ; her inhabitants in misery, fury, and lamentation.

It is not, however, merely because this is inconsistent with the author's own avowed conception that we object to it, but because it mars the whole design of the play, and makes the catastrophe an accident, not the result of the preceding events. What have the proscription, the concealment of Claudius, the distress of Valeria, or the discontent of the Romans to do with the abdication of Sylla ? he is above them all, unmoved by them all; but a thought strikes him towards the end of the fourth act—it is received doubtfully at first--favoured by a dream, and executed with precipitation in the fifth.

We have a right to institute this course of criticism on M. Jouy, for he has challenged us to it. After describing the English drama, he says, 'à l'aspect de ce chaos, l'homine des bords de la Seine sourit avec dédain.' But we assure bin, whatever plainness we may have used in our remarks, we do not return the smile of disdain' upon what he considers the more regular and dignified drama of his country, nor do we feel anything but respect indi. vidually for his talents. The length of our notice may serve to convince him that we think his production of importance. We say unfeignedly that we shall be glad to ineet with him again ; he


wants, indeed, some of the main qualifications of a tragic poet he camot individualize character; for if he could, he surely would not have made a cold monotonous declaimer of the changeful, humorous, elegant, licentious, witty, cunning and gallant Syllahe bas no well-spring of poetry in him--we never read a tragedy so dry and destitute in this respect; not a single passage occurs to us which we cau distinguish from ordinary prose except by the metre, much less is there any instance of those sweet o'erflowings of genius, those bursts of exultation, or those low, sad, dying falls' of sorrow which, whether we look to our own Shakspeare, to his Racine, or to the unquestioned models of elder Greece, the example of superior talent in every country has sanctioned and established. M. Jouy wants all this; still we repeat that we shall be glad to meet with himn again—our own experience of modern playwrights has made us moderate in our demands—the people of Paris will not be .badly entertained if they have always such plays at their principal theatre; their tastes will not be corrupted, nor their prejudices abused: there is no enervation, no mischief, in the cup which M. Jouy mingles for them, who, if he redeems the pledge which Sylla has given, will always write what is, at least, sensible, manly and moral.

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Art. V.-1. History of the Indian Archipelago. By John

Crawfurd, F.R.S. Iate British Resident at the Court of the Sultan of Java. With Maps and Engravings. 3 vols. 8vo.

Edinburgh. 2. Proceedings of the Agricultural Society, established in Sur

matra. 1820. Vol. I. Bencoolen. Printed for the Baptist

Mission Press. 1821. 3. Maluyun Miscellanies. Vol. I. Bencoolen. Printed and

published at the Sumatran Mission Press. THE works which we have selected

to head the present Article are of very different characters and pretensions : but as the -subjects of which they treat are intimately connected, and the quarter of the globe to which they refer has lately attracted a considerable share of the public attention, we are induced to place them together, and to enter, somewhat at length, into an examination of their contents.

The first, in point of time and importance, is Mr. Crawfurd's History of the Indian Archipelago. The ample details already before the public concerning Java and the countries more immediately connected with it, had prepared us to expect, in a work bearing so imposing a title, an account of the other portions of the


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