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varied powers of the chief performers. He candidly admits, however, that “this tragedy possesses the merit of preserving unremitted interest in the progress of the narrative, from the first act to the last; the dramatic excitement never ceases or languishes; it is supported by a rapid succession of events, which, though destitute of intrinsic novelty, are very varied; and by a catastrophe, which, though common-place, is certainly unexpected :—this is a great and necessary art in dramatic composition; without it, poetry fatigues and passion exhausts us; but still, it is rather an art than a talent; it savours more of the experience of the mechanist than of the inspiration of the poet. But let us estimate it as we may, its use on the stage is as indispensable as its effect is resistless; and that which produces a powerful effect must be allowed to possess some share of merit.” He likewise owns that “ The versification does not resemble that of any other author; and in this age of schools, not to be a plagiarist is to be not wholly without praise."* The writer compensates himself for these admissions by caricaturing the scenic accidents of the piece, by complaining that the language does not adequately sustain the strength of the situation,” and by objecting that the Inquisition is denounced by the unhappy Moors who were its victims, and who, he conceives, had no right whatever to complain of the cold blooded persecution of Philip II., because men of the same creed elsewhere had been fanatical conquerors some centuries before. As a matter of historic criticism this objection is singularly infelicitous. Whatever their other faults may have been, or those of their kindred and creed elsewhere, the Mahomedans of Spain are allowed, even, by the annalists of their exterminators, to have been eminently tolerant and humane. The Christians, in all matters exclusively relating to themselves, were governed by their own laws administered by their own judges, their churches and monasteries were scattered over the principal towns, Cordova retaining seven, Toledo six, &c.; and their clergy were allowed to display the costume and celebrate the pompous ceremonial of their communion.* Such of the Christians as chose were permitted to remain in the conquered territory in undisturbed possession of their property. They were allowed to worship in their own way, to be governed by their own laws, to fill certain civil offices, and serve in the army;t Christian students were permitted to frequent the Moslem Universities of Andalusia ; and among those who came from far to partake of an educational hospitality too seldom imitated in Christendom, were men who, like the exemplary Gerbert, subsequently rose to the highest eminence in the Church, and who contributed to found new seats of learning in their own lands. Besides the gratification derived from its success,

* Quarterly Review, for April, 1817, No. xxxiii., p. 259.

* Prescott's Hist. Ferdinand and Isabella, Introd. ; § 1, note.

† Prescott's Hist., Part 1st, chap. 8.

the publication and performance of The Apostate were productive of other advantages, not less acceptable. The copyright was purchased by Mr. Murray for 3001., and in his hands it passed through several editions. In addition to this, the author is said to have received 4001. from the managers of the theatre.

CHAPTER IV.

1818-1820.

Attack on Mr. Grattan by the mob-Interposition of Mr. Sheil

- Play of Bellamira–RehearsalMiss O'Neil: Mr. Gifford Shirley's TraitorEvadneVisit to Paris : Talma-Dramatic writings-Montoni-Damon and Pythias.

At the general election of 1818, Mr. Grattan and Mr. Shaw were returned for the city of Dublin without opposition. The proceedings at the hustings passed off quietly, and Mr. Grattan's friends had arranged that, as was customary, he should be chaired. His appearance on the steps of the court-house was the signal for vociferation and insults from the mob, with whom he had recently becomeunpopular. The cavalcade had not proceeded very far when symptoms of violence began to be manifested : stones from various quarters were thrown at the chair; and at length Mr. Grattan was compelled to seek for safety in a house in Capelstreet, the door of which was soon beset by his senseless and infuriated pursuers. The decorated car was in a few moments torn to pieces; the windows of the house in which the venerable patriot had sought a shelter were quickly broken; and in the absence of any police force sufficient to disperse the rioters, serious alarm was felt lest an attempt should be made to break in the door. At this critical moment Mr. Sheil, having quitted the court-house, where he had been present at the nomination, reached the street which had become the scene of this disgraceful outrage, and hearing that Mr. Grattan was supposed to be in danger, he entered the first door which he found open, and, hastening to a balcony, commenced an earnest and eloquent appeal to the populace on topics not immediately connected with the subject of their irritation. Caught by the sound of his shrill, though then unfamiliar voice, and the passionate gestures with which his impromptu harangue was accompanied, the curiosity of the multitude rapidly passed into admiration; and finding his object gained, the young orator continued to amuse and flatter his fickle audience until time had been given for the rescue of the aged and insulted statesman.

Encouraged by the success of his dramatic cfforts, he

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