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BEING A NEW SERIES OF
The Scots Magazine.
CONTENTS. ORIGINAL COMMUNICATIONS. REVIEW OF NEW PUBLICATIONS. Observations on the Agamemnon of The Round Table, a Collection of
Eschylus, Illustrated with Transla- Essays on Literature, Men, and tions.com
299 Manners; and-Characters of ShakeJohnnie Faa, the Gypsey Chief, and spear's Plays. By William Hazlitt 352 the Countess of Cassillis.
With a Six Weeks in Paris, or a Cure for the Portrait 302 Gallomania...
361 Anecdotes, Historical, Literary, and A Narrative of the Case of Miss Margaret Miscellaneous, (1. Joannes Duns Sco- M'Avoy, with an account of some Op
310 tical Experiments connected with it. On Making Bread from Wood... _313
By Thomas Renwick, M. D...mmm...362 Original Letter from the Ministers of
ORIGINAL POETRY. Perth respecting the Surrender of Mohaled, a Tale.........
364 that Town to Montrose's Army in Lines on visiting the Sepulchral Monu1644.
ment of Robert Burns at Dumfries. Historical Notices of the Cathedral By Eaglesfield Smith, Esq.............366
Church of St Giles, Edinburgh, with Sonnet on receiving the Scenes of InSuggestions for its Exterior Decora. fancy” from a Lady.
320 Old Age, and Death of the Poor. A Frag. On the Introduction of the Organ into ment in Imitation of Crabbe...amib. the Service of the Scottish Church...324 LITERARY AND
SCIENTIFIC Remarks on the History of Painting in INTELLIGENCE mammans 367 Scotland
326 WORKS PREPARING FOR PUBLICAExpence of the Board, Clothing, and
ancoram...372 Education of Children in Public In- MONTHLY LIST OF New FUBLICAstitutions 331 TIONS
374 An Account of the Misfortunes of Mrs
MONTHLY REGISTER. Erskine of Grange, commonly known Foreign Intelligence..........
,378 as Lady Grange. From a manu- British Chronicle..
-381 script written by herself, 1740......333 British Legislation
-388 Highland Scenery :-Description of a Patents....
390 Stupendous Cataract at Lochleven. Appointments and Promotions..... ib.'
Head, near Ballachelish, Argyleshire 339 Meteorological Reporta........ .391 Remarks on the Deaf and Dumbcore...342 Agricultural Reports.com.com
392 Report on the present State of Fever in
wannen 347 Births, Marriages, Deaths coreano 396
EDINBURGH: PRINTED FOR ARCHIBALD CONSTABLE AND CO. EDINBURGH,
AND LONGMAN, HURST, REES, ORME, AND BROWN,
TO CORRESPONDENTS. It having been found inexpedient, at present, to notice publicly, and quite impracticable to acknowledge privately, in every instance, a number of Communications lately received for various departments of the Magazine, the Editors beg leave generally to assure their Correspondents, that, though they have been, and in future may be, under the necessity of postponing, for a time, the insertion of some of their contributions, yet that this delay ought not to be considered as equivalent to a rejection. Out of upwards of Forty Papers transmitted to them within these few weeks, besides those already printed, there are very few indeed which they do not think would be acceptable to their readers. The greater number of these shall appear with the least possible delay; and they hope that the additional half-sheet given in this Number will be received as a proof of their anriety to meet the wishes of Contributors to the Work, as well as of their
gralitude for the uncommon degree of public favour it has already experienced.
Edinburgh, November 15, 1817.
The Correspondents of the EDINBURGH MAGAZINE AND LITERARY MISCELLANY are respectfully requested to transmit their Communications for the Editors to ARCHIBALD CONSTABLE and Company, Edinburgh, or LongMAN and COMPANY, London, to whom also orders for the Work should be particularly addressed.
Printed by George Ramsay & Co.
OBSERVATIONS ON THE AGAMEMNON Being separated from the general classes
OF ESCHYLUS, ILLUSTRATED WITH of existence, and moving and acting TRANSLATIONS.
before us like one of ourselves, that It has justly been remarked by great poet has far more than atoned & very ingenious essayist on the Greek for all his faults and absurdities, and Drama, * that“ it is rather extraordi- makes us almost as indifferent about nary, that, with the example of Ho- these faults as he seems to have been mer before their eyes, whose charac- himself. ters are always men of nature, each
The ancient drama, from the pecumarked by his own individual pecu- liarity of its origin amid the ritual of liarity,—the Greek tragedians should religion, and loaded as it was by the have often been so careless, or so un
coldness and inaction of its Chorus, successful, in this most important de- seeins to have been regardled more in partment of dramatic writing.”—The the light of a moral poem, than as a tables of these poets are perhaps bet- representation of human life, and it ter conducted, and their incidents, al. is, indeed, as this learned writer has though limited in their range, of a observed, much rather to Homer than more pathetic kind, than we general- to the tragic poets of Greece, that we ly meet with on the modern stage. are to look for those varied and perfect But it is chiefly the interest arising exhibitions of life and manners, which from situation, that they are anxious are more, perhaps, in the spirit of our to excite, and while they give all the own Shakespeare, than any thing else effect that can be given to this species
in antiquity. These observations, of interest, they have very little con- however, it ought to be mentioned, ception of that individuality and dis- apply much more to Sophocles and tinction of character which forms so Euripides, than to the great founder powerful a charm in dramatic compo- of the Greek tragedy, Eschylus-who, sition, and is, in truth, the great ani- in the drama which was rising in his mating soul of the dramas of Shakes hands, seems clearly to have perceived peare. From possessing the wonder- the importance of making his personfih talent of making every personage ages characteristic, and even while he whom he produces in the fertility of allots to his Chorus a greater portion his exhaustless inyention, a real living of his poem, than was done by his
successors, he yet contrives to render See Remarks on the Tragedy of Phi. that cumbersome machine much more loctetes in the sixth number of the Edin- dramatic than it ever appears in them. burgh Monthly Magazine. The same writer has obliged us with the article on
The sublime imagination of this poet, the Iphigenia in Aulis of Euripides, at
when he soars into the unfathomed page 240 of the present Work ; and we have fields of his mythology, is strikingly the satisfaction of being enabled to promise displayed in the dramas of Promeour readers a further continuation of his theus and of the Furies ; in the traleared and admired « Remarks on Greek gedy of Agamemnon, of which it is Tragedy," in our next number. EDIT.
here proposed to give some account,
we have the finest examples of his skill My long year's watch, which on this pain the delineation of character, and
lace roof the display of passion ; and the chief I keep, the house of the Atridæ, e'en object of the present essay and of the Like to a trusty dog—and have the while quotations to be produced from a very Of all the nightly stars, their fair assem
Beheld the constant setting and the rise impert:ct translation of this noble
blage performance, is, accordingly, to illus- In the mid sky—and those conspicuous trate the dramatic genius of Eschylus, although, at the same time, instances Flaming aloft, the shining lords of night, will present themselves to us as we That give to men winter and summer proceed of his general powers of de- hours. scription, and of the fervour of his Even to this day the signal of the light Lyrical poetry:
I watch—the expected blaze of fire from The story of the Agamemnon relates Troy to the murder of that hero by his wife That is to bring the story of its fall: Clytemnestra, at the instigation of her Happy if that report may cow the heart paramour Egisthus. No sooner has of my bad mistress, treacherous to her
lord ! the unfortunate Prince, on his return from Troy, entered his own house, While Night and all her stars are over
O heavy case! that in my dewy couch, than he is decoyed by the Queen into head a bath, where, winding a robe around Travelling, is powerful to drive off the ashim, from which he is unable to ex
sault tricate himself, she stabs him; and Of sleep, and from the visitation guard me Egisthus and she usurp the sovereign of dreams--for real terrors freeze my rule. This incident the poet has blood, brought out with the least possible ap
So that my eyelids never droop or close
Nor needs there hum or whistle to awake pearance of artifice; but still, it is to be remarked, with the most consum
My drowsy senses, tears and sighs instead mate skill and judgment, contriving Keep off the stealing slumber—for this
house throughout to seize those points in Fallen from its integrity, my master's the story which are the best adapted House, unsound, alas ! at core !-O would for exhibiting his characters in their
that light most impressive forms. The drama The messenger of good appear, relief opens with a very striking circumstance. To me from labour of body and mind ! It had been agreed upon at the de
See! see! parture of Agamemnon, that upon the Behold it, the blest beam crossing the success of the expedition, a fire should Night be lighted upon Mount Ida, which With noon-day radiance !-Now shall Arwas to be repeated at proper intervals,
gos rouse till the blaze of triumph should be dis
Its choral songs and dances, at this chance tinctly seen from his palace in Argos. The wife of Agamemnon-let her press
Rejoicing ! Hola! Ho! Awake the queen, The moment of the opening of the
Her couch no more-but through the house drama is the appearance of this welcome light, and the character first in- The note of gratulation—for the light, troduced is a faithful watchman at- The beacon Hame, if it speaks truth, brings tached to his master's family, who is tidings represented as walking upon the top of That Troy indeed is taken !—May this the palace, and anxiously looking for
hand the long-expected object of his watch. Soon touch the honoured hand of him, my In his simple and natural soliloquy, 6 the fou secret !—but my tongue shall
king we get some insight into the infidelity of Clytemnestra, though, at the same time, of so imperfect a kind, that we
Speak it—'tis as a bull's weight pressed it
down! are by no means permitted to see
The walls, the walls themselves, if they through that deep veil of hypocrisy had voice, which the poet throws around her, Might utter it with best assurance ! - Never and which is intended partly to de- Shall hint from me convey the guilty know. ceive the spectators, as well as the per- ledge sons of the drama.
Beyond its present limits! Watchman. Would that the Gods would When the watchman retires, the free me from my toil,
Chorus is introduced, consisting of
the old men of the city, who are sup- Might bring on them ill omen ! -There posed to have been left behind when she lay the youthful warriors of the land had Her rosy tincture vanished like a sign followed their king into battle ; and Or statue-beautiful though mute--no way are represented as a kind of council of Finding to utter word, though much she the queen.
had to say !--Upon being informed of the beacon light, she had sent out or
Tears dash'd the cheeks of those who held
the knife ders for a public rejoicing, and re
Above that beauteous form, once fitting quired the attendance of these her ancient counsellors. Before coming into Through her paternal hall--not yet a wife,
gay her presence, they consume, it must
But a young maiden, singing roundelay be owned, a most unconscionable To cheer the banquet and drive care away! length of time in talking and singing; What butcher-work ensued I will not tell! but there is much mysterious gran- Only that Calchas never was said naydeur in those dark forebodings of evil And that sweet ladly unrevenged fell which sit deep upon their souls, and How yet things will come round, 'tis not which had taken possession of them
for me to spell. ever since the horrible incident of the
Clyteninestra now makes her apsacrifice of Iphigenia. This Chorus is pearance, and in her firm and decided extremely characteristic : they are fee- character, we have a fine contrast to ble old 'men, full of remembrances the hesitation and imbecility of the and presages, which the poet works up Chorus. We see nothing, at first, into fine wild starts and rhapsodies either, that does not impress us with but quite inefficient when they are respect for her, and are half inclined called upon to act. They describe to think that the watchman who had themselves very accurately and pathe- thrown out hints against her virtue, tically in their first speech.
must have been slandering his misMeantime the flower of all the land de tress. Her triumphant joy on occaparted.
sion of the great event which she anWe poor old wrinkled creatures, feeble- nounces, and the enthusiasm with hearted,
which she describes the rapidity of Yea, children more than half,
the succession of fires by which the Move, propping our weak limbs upon a glorious intelligence was conveyed, staff!
seem quite natural, and characteristic The youthful juices of our joints all sunk In stiffening age-our warrior sinews merely of an ardent and noble-minda
ed woman. shrunk ! Such is life's dreary fall,
Chor. Here, then, in reverence of thy Its foliage withering all,
majesty, And dropping off apace.
I come great Clytemnestra ! meet it is Three-footed creeping takes the place The wife of prince or ruler meet with Of the twin runners of the race:
honour, Like infancy we seem,
The more if he is absent from his throne; Or rather like a dream
I long to hear what message of good news, Wandering unhallowed in the day's bright At least what hopes of good have reached
beam! Some fine touches on the sacrifice To prompt thy grateful offerings. Yet if
silence of Iphigenia, evidently the ground. Seems to thee best, I would not be obtruwork of the celebrated description of sive. Lucretius, close this long wandering Cly. Good news indeed, e'en as the proharangue.
verb goes, Her piercing cries A cheerful morning after a dark nightPor pity-her soft form—these warlike Joy greater than thy utmost hopes would chiefs despise !
None else than that the Greeks have Nay to the ministering priests, her steady taken Troy.
Chor. What sayst thou ? on mine ear Could even issue orders when on the shrine hard of belief Like victim-goat she fell, her loose attire The sounds fall scarcely audible. Wrapping her lovely limbs-tight to con- Cly.
The Greeks, fine
I say, have taken Troy! Do I speak plain ? Her tongue, and bind her lips, that no Chor. Ay me! the flood of joy bursts weak whine
forth in tears !