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cation of this noblest Roman of them all, and prepared us gradually for the awful weight of his dignified sorrow :
“Now is that noble vessel full of grief.” Never, till it was brought out to me by Charles Young, had I felt the peculiar delicacy of that characteristic of the generous Roman, given by our great dramatist :
I found no man but he was true to me."
Such are almost the last words of Brutus : How exquisitely indicative of his disinterested, heroic, loving, and loveable nature !
In its massive stolidity, Liston's face was unendurably ludicrous. Power was a jewel of fun. O! the richness of his “ Irish Tutor!” His face, when on the point of being detected, no man can speak of aright. His absurd perplexity ; his overcrowing love of his “sustem;" his glory in Irish mischief, so intense that he rejoiced in his own very detection; the puckered crowfoot round his eye, every wrinkle of which was a channel giving in drollery to that eye, which winked with its brimming fulness, till the overflowing laughter ran incontinently out of it; the whole mingled with a dash of determination to “ bother" his “boy” a little farther, made up altogether such a rich amalgam of expression as I never saw. William Murray of Edinburgh, however, is a much greater actor than either Liston or Power. Indeed, in his line he is the finest player of his age. Irresistible in farce, he is also a master in genuine comedy. Perhaps I might even say generally, that that contained and temperate exercise of mirth, which marks the line of the higher comedy, is, in almost all cases, the best requisite for the successful representation even of farce. · In this distinguished performer, the first qualities that strike us or rather that prevent us being struck at all—are the natural ease and gentlemanly bearing that follow on with his part, free from the common ambition of making a great impression at the very first. He knows
how to be self-denied, which is the soul especially of wit, where the principle of division is essentially requisite, according to the poet's exquisite conception of
“ Young-eyed, healthful Wit, Whose jewels in his crisped hair
Are placed each other's beams to share;” whilst a huddled accumulation destroys the whole effect :
“Men doubt, because so thick they stand in the sky,
If those be stars that paint the galaxy." Murray is in no uneasy haste to distinguish himself, and though ever and anon “ his wanton spirits look out at every joint,” he knows how and why to repress berant power; so that even his lowest range of characters, without losing any of their essential drollery, are raised above the level of the mere vulgar, having that degree of the beau ideal which distinguishes Miss Edgeworth’s delineations of the Irish peasantry, or the Author of Waverley's pictures of the humblest Scotch. But the chief point gained by this gradual subordination of mirth, is that feeling in the audience of sincerity in the representation, which, added to its contrasting effect, completes the overwhelming impression, when the actor, feeling the right moment of his climax, gives himself up body and soul to the possessing Fury of fun, his face one glorious ferment of glee, his whole animal economy supple and reeling with the overflowing intoxication—the whole house the while melted down into loosened laughter.
THE MOUNT OF COMMUNION.
It was now about the dead hour of the night. The moon was withdrawn behind a huge cloud, which filled all the south from east to west. The air was thick and warm, and exceedingly still. All at once that great cloud, or rather rampart of clouds, was disparted as with the stroke of some potent rod, disclosing through the widening rift an ebon gulf of the firmament, in which there was a sprinkling of stars sharp and sparkling-blue-white diamond points of spiritual lustre. Gradually they grew pale, and almost fainted away, as the light of the coming moon was cast in among them; and immediately her clear globe itself came slowly sailing into the dark depth of the opened hea
I saw the valleys and the silent hills; and there, distinct as by day, were the rude Table and seats of stone at my feet, as I stood on the Mount of Communion. But ha! two of these seats were now occupied by the figures of two men, who leant forward with their elbows on the Table, their foreheads resting on their hands, as we see men reverentially do, who have just partaken of the holy Supper. Simultaneously they withdrew, each the arm on which leant his head ; and, sitting upright, I saw their faces, faces of grave and manly beauty, severely calm, yet totally untouched by any shade of sorrow. Suddenly, as if one spirit moved them both, they broke forth into singing. Their voices at first were like the voices of spirits that mourn for the days of earth ; yet it was soon felt that no melancholy was there, but the thrilling tones of profound hope and of waiting for some great end : altogether the effect was strangely sweet. Would I could remember the words of the hymn they sung! During the singing of it, two or three ghostly shapes, with eager countenances, came gliding onwards, as if drawn by the psalm ; but they påused at some distance, yet near enough to show me there was a wild trouble in their faces, as they bent forward listening. Suddenly, as if scared away, the visionary things flitted off, and were whirled away into a neighbouring pine wood, that seemed to yawn for them, while the tops of the trees moaned heavily. The trees, however, were soon calm again ; and not a sound disturbed the uninterrupted hymn. As it proceeded, a female form, staid and serene, came floating near in a moment, and took her seat on one of the stones, beside the two who sung. Another majestic shadow came onwards, and bowed his head reverentially, standing at a little distance, like one who waits in proud modesty. His visage was a very remarkable one; sable masses of hair lay thick and curling on his broad forehead; the boldness of a lion was in every lineament, yet tem
pered with grace and love, as he stood with his large dark eyes fixed on the three who sung—for the female ghost had joined in the anthem. They ceased and he advanced. Hail
, brethren of hope!” he exclaimed. Happy are ye, Edward Gordon, and Alexander M‘Cubine ! * What though your strangled bodies lie where they were slain, resting not in the
peace of your
fathers' consecrated graves, hallowed are the solemn trees beneath which
bones are laid ; very dear is the place in your country's eyes. The tombs of her Covenant Martyrs are part of the very Constitution of Scotland ; nay, they belong to the wide world of mankind : They are part of that great Foundation of Example on which rest the faith and patience of the saints. On earth your names live in sweet memorial. Happy are ye! And thou, too, Helen Walker,+ great is thy praise above women !"
“ My son !" said the Image of the Woman, in a voice somewhat
severe, “ enough for us all that we wait in hope of the resurrection. They have raised a monument above my dust, simply for doing a sister's duty. Is that virtue now so rare in the land of my fathers, that it is wondered at and admired as a thing out of course ? You, too, my son, have your monumental glories : I am permitted to know you : You are the sweet Poet of our native land. Fear not, my son ! No more tears, no more sorrow! Those struggling spots of care are washed away from thy forehead for ever; and all is serene there now, clear as from the refiner's furnace! Blessed be He in the shadow of whose wings we wait!"
“ Amen!” exclaimed the Martyrs of the Covenant.
" Amen!” murmured the Ghost of BURNS; and bowing his head low before Helen Walker, she kissed his brow as with the kiss of a mother. There were tears in his eyes, and his noble shape trembled greatly as he lifted himself
The bodies of the martyrs, Edward Gordon and Alexander M‘Cubine, lie near Irongray church-yard, in Galloway.
† Helen Walker, the prototype of Jeanie Deans, is buried in Irongray church-yard. The Author of Waverley erected a stone with a suitable in. scription over her dust.
up; but they were the trembling and tears' of gratitude and immortal gladness.
GHOST OF E. GORDON,
Tremble not, son of renown! Whether from a sense of duty, or from the mere instinctive promptings of a full heart, you have conferred a vast benefit on your country. The manners of the past can never wholly pass away from the respect of the present, so long as thy verse lives; and on this sympathy are founded patriotism and national character. Thou hast sanctified humble life in Scotland, and lifted it up to the reverential regards of the loftiest. In one common love of thy name, men become more strictly a brotherhood.
GHOST OF A. M'CUBINE. Yes, our National Poet is a guardian at once the sternest and sweetest of the ancient spirit and independence of Scotland, and of her dear old simplicities. He is worth a thousand laws and statutes to preserve our public virtue. He is a compelling power on the side of nature to bind our nobles and peasants under every circle and sign of Heaven, by every sweet and solemn recollection, to their fatherland of Scotland ; bringing them back by leadingstrings of love that cannot be resisted to their native streams, which have murmured in his verse through their hearts during all the long years of their unavoidable absence. He has magnified our country through all ages to come, and to all nations. He has brought out the character of our peasantry, and raised and kept them up to a level of moral respect beyond the example of any other people ; and by this his eternal vindication of their native worth has smoothed down the offensive gradations of society, and fused all classes of our countrymen into one happy amalgam of mutual honour and love. The man who has done all this is worth“ riches fineless” to a country. The gems and the most fine gold, enough
“To ransom great kings from captivity," could not buy us such a man !