« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
personal and harmonious conception : against .er, to refute he:. Maximin we must not mingle two strange and says : opposite ones. Dryden has left undone what he should have done, and
“War is my provin'e l-Priest, why stand has done what he should not have You gain by heaven, and, therefore, shoulo done.
dispute." He had, moreover, the worst of audi. Thus encouraged, the priest argues ; ences, debauched and frivolous, void but St. Catharine replies in the followe of individual taste, foundering amid ing words: cnfused recollections of the national literature and deformed imitations of
Reason with your fond religion fights,
For many gods are many infinites; foreign literature, expecting nothing This to the first philosophers was known, from the stage but the pleasure of the
Who, under various names, ador'd 'bu senses or the gratification of curiosity. In reality, the drama, like every work Apollonius scratches his ear a little, of art, only gives life and truth to a and then answers that there are great profound ideal of man and of existence; truths and good moral rules in paganThere is a hidden philosophy under its ism. The pious logician immediately circumvolutions and violences, and the replies : public ought to be capable of compre
“ Then let the whole dispute concluded be hending it, as the poet is of conceiving Betwixt these rules, and Christianity.” 1 it. The audience must have reflected or felt with energy or refinement, in Being nonplussed, Apollonius is con. order to take in energetic or refined verted on the spot, insults the prince, thoughts ; Hamlet and Iphigénie will who, finding St. Catharine very beauti never move a vulgar roisterer or a lover ful, becomes suddenly enamored, and of money. The character who weeps
makes jokes : on the stage only rehearses our own “ Absent, I may her martyrdom decree, tears; our interest is but sympathy;
But one look more will make that martyr and the drama is like an external con
me.” 1 science, which shows us what we are, In this dilemma he sends Placidius, “a what we love, what we have felt. great officer,” to St. Catharine ; the What could the drama teach to game- great officer quotes and praises the sters like St. Albans, drunkards like gods of Epicurus; forthwith the lady Rochester,prostitutes like Castlemaine, propounds the doctrine of final causes, old boys like Charles II. ? What spec- which upsets that of atoms. Maximin tators were those coarse epicureans, comes himself, and says : incapable even of an assumed decency,
“ Since you neglect to answer my desires, lovers of brutal pleasures, barbarians Know, princess, you shall burn in other in their sports, obscene in words, void fires.” $ of aoror, humanity, politeness, who made the court a house of ill fame. The Thereupon she beards and defies him, splendid decorations, change of scenes, Touched by these delicate manners, he
calls him a slave, and walks off. the patter of long verse and forced wishes to marry her lawfully, and to re. sentiments, the observance of a few rules imported from Paris,-such was
pudiate his wife. Still, to omit no ex: the natural food of their vanity and pedient, he employs a magician, whe
utters invocations (on the stage), sunfolly, and such the theatre of the Eng. ish Restoration.
mons the infernal spirits, and brings up I take one of Dryden's tragedies sing voluptuous songs about the bed of
a troop of spirits; these dance and very celebrated in time past, Tyrannic Love, or the Royal Martyr ;
* Tyrannic Love, üi. 2. 1.
t Ibid. title, and fit to make a stir. The roy
§ Ibid. 3. 1. This Maximin has a turn for al martyr is St. Catharine, a princess jokes. Porphyrius, to whom he offers his of royal blood as it appears, who is daughter in marriage, says that the distance orought before the tyrant Maximin. was so vast;" whereupon Maximin replies She confesses her faith, and a pagan pear, are by the air, which flowe etwixt thema
“Yet heaven and earth, which so remote ap philosopher, Apollonius, is set loose l near (a. 1).
St. Catharine Her guardianangel recognize in this frightful pedantry the comes and drives them away. As a handsome cavaliers of the time, lo last resource, Maximin has a wheel gicians and hangmen, who fed 07 conbrought on the stage, on which to ex- troversy, and for the sake of amuse pose St. Catharine and her mother. ment went to look at the tortures of Whilst the executioners are going to the Puritans. I recognize behind these strip the saint, a modest angel descends heaps of improbabilities and advenin the nick of time, and breaks the tures the puerile and worn-out courtwheel; after which the ladies are car. iers, who, sodden with wine, were past ried off, and their throats are cut behind seeing incongruities, and whose nerves the wings. Add to these pretty inven- were only, stirred by startlina sur tions a twofold intrigue, the love of prises and barbarous events. Maximin's daughter, Valeria, for Por. Let us go still further. Dryden phyrius, captain of the Prætorian would set up on his stage the beauties bands, and that of Porphyrius for of French tragedy, and in the first place Berenice, Maximin's wife; then a its nobility of sentiment. Is it enough sudden catastrophe, three deaths, and to copy, as he does, phrases of the triumph of the good people, who chivalry? He would need a whole get married and interchange polite world, for a whole world is necessary phrases. Such is this tragedy, which to form noble souls. Virtue, in the is called French-like; and most of the French tragic poets, is based on reason, others are like it. In Secret Love, in religion, education, philosophy. Their Marriage à la Mode, in Aureng-Zebe, in characters have that uprightness of the Indian Emperor, and especially in mind, that clearness of logic, that lofty the Conquest of Granada, every thing is judgment, which plant in a man settled extravagant. People cut one another maxims and self-government. We perto pieces, take towns, stab each other, ceive in their company the doctrines of shout lustily. These dramas have just Bossuet and Descartes ; with them, rethe truth and naturalness of the flection aids conscience; the habits of libretto of an opera. Incantations society add tact and finesse. The abound; a spirit appears in the Indian avoidance of violent actions and physiEmperor, and declares that the Indian cal horrors, the meed and order of the gods “are driven to exile from their fable, the art of disguising or shunning native lands.” Ballets are also there ; coarse or low persons, the continuous Vasquez and Pizarro, seated in " a perfection of the most measured and pleasant grotto,” watch like conquerors noble style, every thing contributes to the dances of the Indian girls, who raise the stage to a sublime region, and gambol voluptuously about them. we believe in higher souls by seeing Scenes worthy of Lulli * are not want them in a purer air. Can we believe in ing; Alineria, like Armide, comes to them in Dryden? Frightful or in. slay Cortez in his sleep, and suddenly famous characters every instant drag falls in love with him. Yet the libretti us down by their coarse expressions in of the opera have no incongruities; their own mire. Maximin, having they avoid all which might shock the stabbed Placidius, sits on his body, imagination or the eyes; they are stabs him twice more, and says to the written for men of taste, who shun guards: agliness and heaviness of any sort. Would you believe it? In the Indian If either wit or sufferings would suffice, Emperor, Montezuma is tortured on the
All faiths afford the constant and the wise,
And yet even they, by education sway'd, stage, and to cap all, a priest tries to
In age defend what infancy obeyed. convert him in the meanwhile.t I Christian Priest. Since age by erring
childhood is misled, * Lulli (1633-1687), a renowned Italian com- Refer yourself to our unerring head. Armide is one of his chief works.- Montesuma. Man, and not err! what ream
son can you give ? † Christian Priest. But we by martyrdom Christian Priest. Renounce that carna our faith avow,
reason, and believe. Montesuma. You do no more than I for Pisarro. Increase their pains, the cordo
are yet too slack. Id prove re-igion true,
-The Indian Emperor, v 2.
ours do now.
“Bring me Porphyrio and my empresa conduct themselves; they look on im
dead :I would brave heaven, in my each hand a
pertinence as dignity, sensuality as head.”.
tenderness ; they have the recklessness
of the courtesan, the jealousies of the Nourmahal, repulsed by her husband's grisette, the pettiness of a chapman's son, insists four times, using such in- wife, the billingsgate of a fishwoman decent and pedantic words as the The heroes are the most unpleasant of following:
swashbucklers. Leonidas, first recog. ' And why this niceness to that pleasure nized as hereditary prince, then sudden shown,
ly forsaken, consoles himself with this Where nature sums up all her joys in one. .. Promiscuous love is nature's general law;
modest reflection : For whosoever the first lovers were,
“ 'Tis true I am alone. Brother and sister made the second pair, And doubled by their love their piety. .
So was the godhead, ere he made the wor.de You must be mine, that you may learn to
And better served himself than served by live." +
. I have scene enough within Illusion vanishes at once ; instead of To exercise my virtue." being in a room with noble characters, Shall I speak of that great trumpetwe meet with a mad prostitute and a blower Almanzor, painted, as Dryden drunken savage. When we lift the confesses, after Artaban,ť a redresser masks the others are little better. of wrongs, a battalion-smiter, a de Almeria, to whom a crown is offered,
stroyer of kingdoms ? 1 We find says insolently :
nothing but overcharged sentiments, “I take this garland, not as given by you,
sudden devotedness, exaggerated genBut as my merit, and my beauty's due." I erosities, high-sounding bathos of a Indamora, to whom an old courtier clumsy chivalry; 'at bottom the charac. makes love, settles him with the boast. ters are clods and barbarians, who fulness of an upstart and the coarse. have tried to deck themselves in French ness of a kitchen-maid :
honor and fashionable poiiteness. And
such, in fact, was the English court: it “ Were I no queen, did you my beauty weigh, imitated that of Louis XIV. as a sign. My youth in bloom, your age in its decpy."'$
painter imitates an artist. It had None of these heroines know how to neither taste nor refinement, and wished
* Tyrannic Love, iii. 5: 1. When dying to appear as if it possessed them. Maximin says:
“And shoving bacle this earth Panders and licentious women, ruffian. on which I sit, I'll mount, and scatter all the ly or butchering courtiers, who went to Gods I hit.”
+ Aureng-Zebe, v. 4. 5. Dryden thought he see Harrison drawn, or to mutilate was imitating Racine, when six lines further on Coventry, maids of honor who have he wakes Nourmahal say:
awkward accidents at a ball,ß or sell to “ I am not changed, I love my husband still ; But love him as he was, when youthful grace them, a palace full of baying dogs and
the planters the convicts presented to And the first down began to shade his face : That image does my virgin-flames renew, bawling gamesters, a king who would And all
your father shines more bright in bandy obscenities in public with his Racine's Phèdre (2. 5) thinks her husband * Marriage à la Mode, iv. 3. I. Theseus dead, and says to her stepson Hip- | “The first image I had of him was from the polytus :
Achilles of Homer, the next from Tasso's Oui, prince, je languis, je bröle pour Thésée: Rinaldo, and
the third from the Artaban d Je l'aime
Monsieur Calpranède.”—Preface AL Mais fidèle, mais fier, et même un peu mansor. farouche,
| “ The Moors have heaven, and me, to a Charmant, jeune, traînant tous les cours
sist their cause” (i. r). après soi, Tel qu'on dépeint nos dieux, ou tel que je
“ I'll whistle thy tame fortune after me
(3.1). vous voi. Il avait votre port, vos yeux, votre langage ; He
falls in love, and speaks thus Cette noble pudeur colorait son visage."
“ 'Tis he; I feel him now in every part; According to a note in Sir Walter Scott's edi.
Like a new lord he vaunts about my heart, sion of Dryden's works, Langbaine traces this
Surveys in state each corner of my breast, speech also to Seneca's Hippolytus.—TR.
While poor fierce I, that was, am liepos The Indian Emperor, i. 3.
sess'd” (3. ). Aurang-Zobe, V. 2 I.
See rol. ii. 348.
half-naked mistresses, *-such was this it; general terms, tways rather threadillustrious society; from French modes bare, suit best the caution and niceties they took but dress, from French noble of select society. Dryden sins heavil, sentiments but high-sounding words. against all these rules. His rhymes, to
an Englishman's ear, scatter at once the IV.
whole illusion of the stage; they see The second point worthy of imita. that the characters who speak thus are tion in classical tragedy is the style. but squeaking puppets; he himself ad Dryden, in fact, purifies his own, and mits that his heroic tragedy is only fit renders it more clear, by introducing to represent on the stage chivalric ose reasoning and precise words. He poems like those of Ariosto and Aas oratorical discussions like Cor- Spenser. neille, well-delivered retorts, symmetri- Poetic dash gives the finishing stroke zal, like carefully parried arguments. to all likelihood. Would we recognize He has maxims vigorously enclosed in the dramatic accent in this epic conithe compass of a single line, distinc-parison ? cions, developments, and the whole art “ As some fair tulip, by a storm oppress’d of special pleading. He has happy
Shrinks up, and folds its silken arms to rest; antitheses, ornamental epithets, finely- And, bending to the blast, all pale and dead, wrought comparisons, and all the Hears, from within, the wind sing round its artifices of the literary mind. What is
So, shrouded up, your beauty disappears : most striking is, that he abandons that
Unveil, my love, and lay aside your fears, kind of verse specially appropriated to The storm, that caused your frighi s pass'd the English drama which is without and done." * rhyme, and the mixture of prose and What a singular triumphal song are verse common to the old authors, for a these concetti of Cortez as he lands : rhymed tragedy like the French, fancy. “On what new happy climate are we thrown, ing that he is thus inventing a new
Su long kept secret, and so lately known? species, which he calls heroic play. As if our old world modestly withdrew, But in this transformation the good! And here in private had brought forth a perished, the bad remains. For rhyme
new." + differs in different races. To an Think how these patches of color Englishman it resembles a song, and would contrast with the sober design transports him at once to an ideal and of French dissertation. Here lovers fairy world. To a Frenchman it is only vie with each other in metaphors; there a conventionalism or an expediency, a wooer, in order to magnify the and transports him at once to an ante- beauties of his mistress, says that chamber or a drawing-room; to him it “ bloody hearts lie panting in her is an ornamental dress and nothing hand.” In every page harsh or valgar more; if it mars prose, it ennobles it; words spoil the regularity of a noble it imposes respect, not enthusiasm, and style. Ponderous logic is broadly dischanges a vulgar into a high-bred played in the speeches of princesses. style. Moreover, in French aristocratic “ Two ifs,” says Lyndaraxa, verse every thing is connected; pedan- make one possibility.” 1. Dryden sets try, logical machinery of every kind, is his college cap on the heads of these excluded from it; there is nothing poor women.
Neither he nor his more disagreeable to well-bred and re- characters are well brought up; they
ned persons than the scholastic rust. have taken from the French but the Images are rare, but always well kept outer garb of the bar and the schools; up; bold poesy, real fantasy, have no * The first part of Almansor and Almarido, place in it; their brilliancy and diver. iv. 5: 2. gencies would derange the politeness
to The Indian Emperor, ü. 1. I. and regular flow of the social world. iv. 2. 1. This same Lyndaraxa says also to
The first part of Almanzor and Almakide, The right word, the prominence of free Abdalla (4. 2), "Poor women's thoughts are al expressions, are not to be met with in extempore."" These logical ladies can be very
coarse ; for example, this same damsel * Compare the song of the Zambra dance in act 2. 1, to the same love: , who er treats her to the first part of Almansor and Almahide, make him “ happy. “ If I make you so you
shall pay my price."
they have left behind symmetrical elotion, stroke after stroke, to the ground quence, measured diction, elegance and we cannot tell if the matter be a true delicacy. A while before, the licentious portrait or a fancy painting; we remain coarseness of the Restoration pierced suspended between truth and fancy; the mask of the fine sentiments with we should like either to get up to which it was covered; now the rude heaven or down to earth, and we jump English imagination breaks the orator- down as quick as possible from the ical mould in which it tried to enclose clumsy scaffolding where the poet itself.
would perch us. Let us look at the other side of the On the other hand, when Shakspeare icture. Dryden would keep the foun- wishes to impress a doctrine, not raisc dation of the old English drama, and a dream, he attunes us to it before retains the abundance of events, the hand, but after another fashion. We variety of plot, the unforeseen ac- naturally remain in doubt before a cidents, and the physical represen- cruel action : we divine that the red tation of bloody or violent action. irons which are about to put out the He kills as many people as Shak- eyes of little Arthur are painted sticks, speare. Unfortunately, all poets are and that the six rascals who besiege not justified in killing. When they Rome, are supernumeraries hired at a take their spectators among murders shilling a night. To conquer this mis and sudden accidents, they ought to trust we must employ the most natural have a hundred hidden preparations. style, circumstantial and rude imitaFancy a sort of rapture and romantic tion of the manners of the guardroom folly, a most daring style, eccentric and and of the alehouse; I can only believe poetical, songs, pictures, reveries spo in Jack Cade's sedition on hearing the ken aloud, frank scorn of all verisimil. dirty words of bestial lewdness and itude, a mixture of tenderness, philos- mobbish stupidity. You must let me ophy, and mockery, all the retiring have the jests, the coarse laughter, charms of varied feelings, all the whims drunkenness, the manners of butchers of nimble fancy; the truth of events and tanners, to make me imagine a matters little. No one who ever saw mob or an election. So in murders, Cymbeline or As you Like it looked at let me feel the fire of bubbling passion, these plays with the eyes of a politi- the accumulation of despair or hate cian or a historian; no one took these which have unchained the will and military processions, these accessions nerved the hand. When the uncheckof princes, seriously; the spectators ed words, the fits of rage, the convulwere present at dissolving views. sive ejaculations exasperated desire, They did not demand that things have brought me in contact with all the should proceed after the laws of na- links of the inward necessity which has ture; on the contrary, they willingly moulded the man and guided the crime, did require that they should proceed I no longer think whether the knife is against the laws of nature. The irra. bloody, because I feel with inner trenitionality is the charm. That new bling the passion which has handled it. world must be all imagination; if it Have I to see if Shakspeare's Cleopa was only so by halves, no one would tra be really dead? The strange laugh care to rise to it. This is why we do that bursts from her when the basket not rise to Dryden's. A queen de- of asps is brought, the sudden tension throned, then suddenly set up again; of nerves, the flow of feverish words, a tyrant who finds his lost son, is de- the fitful gayety, the coarse language. ceived, adopts a girl in his place; a the torrent of ideas with which she young prince led to punishment, who overflows, have already made me sound snatches the sword of a guard, and all the depths of suicide, * and I havo recovers his crown: such are the ro
* “ He words me, girls; he words me, that I mances which constitute the Maiden Queen and the Marriage à la Mode. Be poble to myself ; but hark thee Char We can imagine what a display classical dissertations make in this med.
Now, Iras, what think'st thou?
Thou, an Egyptian puppet shalt be showa ley; solid reason beats down imagina- In Rome, as well as I: mechanic slaves.