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captured by the relentless renegade, and condemned to die by torture,
"Ere set of sun upon the morrow,"
unless, meanwhile, the city be surrendered. Envoys are despatched to announce the alternatives to Sebastian. A struggle between his affection to his son and his fidelity to his sovereign ensues, but is speedily decided in favour of the latter : he keenly rebukes the bearer of the dishonourable proposal, and remands them to Francesco with the offer, instead, of a ransom in gold of untold value. They declare its utter futility, and depart. Herodia, Sebastian's wife, with whom a mother's love is paramount, inclines to listen to the terms, and eagerly but idly entreats her sterner husband's acquiescence. She with Octavia her daughter, are present at this and the preceding scene, where, as yet ignorant of Francesco's ruthless resolution, and confident in the redeeming power of wealth, they collect their respective stores of jewellery to swell the sum, furnishing a conjuncture so well conceived and so justly managed that, had we space, we would gladly yield to the temptation and transcribe it. Ricardos, an officer of note among the besieged, but in heart a traitor, having been rejected in his suit for Octavia's hand, resolves to apply this crisis to his benefit; and, after an unsuccessful interview with his mistress, in which he seeks to engage her to his wishes, in the event of his saving her brother's life, passes to Francesco's camp, and pledges himself to betray the town forthwith, if assured of the surrender of Octavia to what are now the united
cravings of his passion and his pride. As the renegade is readily closing with the conditions, they are broken in upon by Herodia, who, foiled in her efforts to overcome her husband's fidelityfor the breach of which the clamours of the starving townsmen might supply a ready pretext-now hastens to Francesco to try the power of a mother's eloquence in behalf of Claudio. still, however, abides by his former terms, and, working on the love and terror of a distracted parent, at length engages her in Ricardos' compact, on the warrant of life and safety to herself and friends; and, in proof, transfers his signet. She is now admitted to Claudio's prison; but their interview, though dramatic enough, possesses, nevertheless, considerably less power than pretension. Simultaneously with this, Sebastian, with a body of veterans, resolves to attempt a rescue of his son by night, or, failing in that, reap his revenge at least. Francesco is apprised of his intention by a spy, and, benefiting by his absence, through the aid of Ricardos, enters the town, and closes the gate upon its governor. Sebastian discovers his error, and,
"like a lion from his den Shut out, and snuffing strangers in his lair,"
speedily returns, and, furiously assaulting the gate, while the Moorish force is galled by the remaining garrison within, happily regains an entrance. The renegade rallies his routed troops before the Cathedral, and he and Sebastian meet each other face to face. The following describes the circumstances of their encounter :
"Fran.-Stand to your ground! we here, at least, have space To fight unhampered; ye are not the men
I took ye for, to yield him up the gate,
Because, forsooth, the narrow way forbade
Fair elbow-room to fight, and brought you knocks
From walls and house-tops, like a storm of hail
Is not my head as precious to me, slaves!
As any man's among you? Yet did I
Snug in his hold, to mock him through the bars.
(Trumpets, shouts, and tumult in the distance.) Ay! they have cause to shout: now clench your arms, Serry your ranks, and summon all your powers;
And for their shouts that riot in your shame,
(Sebastian comes up with succours.) Seb. Stand back, ye gallant hearts! this prey is mine,
And God, in mercy, gives it to my sword.
Now, if for guilt so measureless as thine,
Thou would'st ask pardon, not of me, but Heaven,
To One, perchance, may hear thee! I am old,
Seb. For God! and for my child!
(Seb. rushes on furiously, but Fran. fights with caution.) A Sold. The Renegade is tame.
Fran. Thanks, Christian fool!
You minister a stimulus for which
Your chief shall shower you curses.
For never shalt thou 'scape to kill my boy.
Fran.-Thou, dotard! let it paralyse thine arm--
I've done him unto death.
Seb. Now, hell gape wide,
To catch a soul so damn'd as never yet
Shriek'd in its lake of fire. Thy words, thou fiend!
Have nerv'd my arm with frenzy's horrid might,
To stab thee thro' the heart.
(Seb. runs his sword through Fran., and at the same time
receives his thrust.)
Ha! ha! thou'rt touch'd;
Go join thy brat that mock'd me.
(Fran. falls, then rises on one arm.
Seb.-Oh! thou blot!
by a soldier.)
Thou horrid incarnation! my son's blood
Fran. His is sealed.
1 triumph o'er thee, dotard, and thy dead! For every pang thou feel'st, ten such felt he! Voices-Ho! succours, succours! Claudio!
Seb. Do I live!
Seb. is supported
(Claudio enters with fresh troops.)
Clau. He call'd my mother traitress ;' for his lie
My new-found succours! take your leader's word—
Seb. Did'st thou not, Renegade ?
-gnash, gnash thy fill,
(Seeing Fran. staring wildly on Clau.)
Thou murderer in intent, baulk'd of thy triumph!
Did'st thou not boast thou slay'dst him? Son! my son!
Look you, my boy! what I have done to prove,
Old as I am, a father's boundless love.
I feel no pangs, but joy beyond compare!
My son! my son!
Fran.-So, my assassin failed!
(Totters into his arms.)
Curse on his recreant hand! Oh, God, the pain!
Whose son is sav'd, can bless my God.
(Thunder and lightning.)
Seb. I die rejoicing. Renegade, repent!
The Prophet is my God!-'tis dark, girl! dark!
(The maniac* enters wildly. The Cathedral bell tolls.)
(Staggers off, beckoning him, and falls from sight,
Fran. 'Tis she-'tis she-her call must be obey'd,
An ague's at my heart a sick, faint thrill,
A flash upon my brain. Ha! no!-so soon?
Join me in prayer-again, the solemn bell
Tolls through the welkin of its own accord.
(They cross themselves, and join in silent devotion till the tolling ceases.)
Sebastian expires immediately after, happily unconscious of the frailty of his wife, who just then re-enters on the scene. Her heart, however, is broken by the united shock of reflection and, present horror, and vainly soothed by her children, she soon breathes her last by her husband's corpse.
A perusal of the original, to which our notice may invite, will satisfy the reader that it possesses conjunctures of high dramatic point and excellence, and that-if common sense may intrude upon the mysteries of management fitly represented, it would tell with unequivocal and retributive effect. The whole, doubtless, would require supervision by the eye of experience to pro
duce that adaptation in minor matters without which intrinsic merit, as we often see, is crippled in its power; but this done, as usual in such cases, we entertain no doubt of a favourable result.
Faults and failings of serious moment in microscopic eyes, as well as such as are worthy of more candid reprehension, might unquestionably be adduced; but, agreeing in the main with Swift, that "Criticism, contrary to other faculties of the intellect, is generally the truest and the best when it is the first result of the critic's mindas fowlers reckon the first aim for the surest, and seldom miss the mark if they stay not for the second," we gladly allow ourselves to be swayed, unmolested, by our primary impression.
To give any thing like a detailed argument of this metrical romance, or "novel in rhyme," as the author not unfitly denominates it, would, with our
limitations, be impracticable, so numerous, adventitious, and diversified are its incidents and episodes. Revelling in a limitless and most attractive range,
An unfortunate with whom Francesco had some dark dealings at some former period, and who is invested by the author with certain mysterious powers of influence and locomotion, to deepen the hue of the tragedy, we presume, as, in themselves, she and they are quite extraneous to the story. Hence this necessary explanation in a foot-note. With the same view it must be, that the bell of the cathedral above-mentioned whence the title of the play-is, ever and anon, made to toll most marvellously of its own accord.
Selma. A Tale of the Sixth Crusade, London: Smith, Elder, and Co., Cornhill.
he soon wearies of the harassing restrictions of regular scheme, and, letting his fancy away upon the wing, freely follows as she leads, wherever caprice, or chance, or charm decides, as his easy and ever-shifting pages testify.
"Sicut aqnæ tremulum labris ubi lumen ahenis Sole repercussum, aut radiantis imagine lunæ, Omnia pervelitat late loca, jamque sub auras Erigitur, suminique ferit laquearia tecti.”
But what by a more methodical structure the author might have gained in dignity and condensation, we think we call gather from his genius he would have lost in fluency and ease; and we are content, therefore, to receive his wild fertility and graceful abandon in lieu of the more orderly, but tamer attractions he might otherwise have conferred. A slender warp of fact is, however, at intervals, introduced, with the aim of imparting a historical prestige, while it is yet so interwoven with the rich and many-coloured weft of fiction, as to combine therewith the peculiar charins and picturesqueness of irregular romance. It purports to be a tale of the chivalrous times of the Seventh Crusade, or that of the renowned St. Louis, who, shining alike in valour and in virtue, is, with other names well known to story, incidentally introduced, so as to bestow an air of verity and elevation, and a glow of brightness on the poem. noble youth of our own green isle the epitome of all that is admirable in knightly excellence and manly piety is the hero; and serves against the infidels with the Earl of Salisbury and other illustrious English volunteers, who seek that fame under the chivalric St. Louis, from the pursuit of which their own less aspiring sovereign had withdrawn.
reclaimed from her evil creed by Anselm, a holy monk, becomes the affianced love of her deliverer, and the interesting heroine of the romance. True to the faith of her adoption, and the love of Albert, she incurs the vindictive fury of her relatives and former suitor, is artfully seized on and carried off by the latter, dauntlessly followed by her Christian lover in disguise; and out of their ever-varying adventures in captivity and in freedom, in sunshine and in shade, in separation and communion, the author has wrought bis rich mosaic-illustrated, too, by scattered sketches of Egypt's storied scenery, which are most graceful, and of her everlasting and stupendous monuments, which are, perhaps necessarily, defective, and as good as, under the circumstances, we are entitled to expect. But yet the strain of the whole is not suited to the present period: it is behind the time" in its appearance: the public taste has moved from the point at which it especially—and, we tell with its ancient power, and will grieve to add, poetry in general-could not be arrested but by the united radiance of such another constellation
of "Shining Ones" as even the young among us has beheld; though now, alas! the brightest have left their spheres, and those remaining become faint and The glimmering in their loneliness. author of "Selma," however, if we judge him rightly, is one to whom poetry has been its own 'exceeding chill reception of his efforts, as one great reward,'" and will not reck a more laborious and less favoured might. The song "free from a minstrel spirit lung" will surely well repay itself, though there be none to extol its excellence; as he who awakes his harp in solitude is rewarded by as rich a harmony as if the admiration of thousands rested on his strain.
As a specimen of the style, we subjoin a few passages, selected, not so much on account of their relative superiority, as their easy separation from the context :
Majestic stream! upon thy breast
As if, from Eden issuing forth,
Amid the torrent floods of earth,
The author, with strange oversight, commits an anachronism in the very title of his poem, which professes to be a tale of the sixth crusade, which was that distinguished as the Emperor Frederick's, and, by many years, antecedent to the expedition of St. Louis, or the seventh, to which he refers.
Thy spring unseen, thy source unknown,
"As one, whom slow disease and pain,
If, bearing health, the balmy spring
." It is a lovely day!—how blue,
There's not a breeze or breath, to shake
The crystal of Menzale's lake;
To crisp around her islands green ;-
As monarch of the feather'd train,
On the whole, "Selma" displays a copious, but often interrupted, vein of thought, a just appreciation of grace, and comparatively few of those cheap and spurious passages which, though at first they present a glittering aspect,
yet when stripped of the tinsel of euphuistic covering, stand confessed as destitute and meagre common-places. But the author has not without injury enjoyed the "fatal facility" of the octosyllabic verse, which, in too many