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way of reference, to warn posterity of the approach of the crisis, when such provision shall be necessary.
From such a land- the seat of strife and woe;
Nor oft are sever'd till the breast is cold. The tale of Eva is in the Spenserian stanza,—the finest, perhaps, in our language, yet at the same time the most difficult. 'It is no small praise to say that our poet has conquered its difficulties, and given us much of the harmony and grace which are its characteristics. The tale is simple. We will not anticipate any interest which it may possess, by furnishing an outline; and the rather as its merit depends not so much upon the story, as its colouring and illustrations. Like Childe Harold, its actors are only introduced to furnish occasion for the author's reflections and descriptions.
We can only afford room for two or three of the detached thoughts and descriptions with which it abounds. Description of her mother's tomb:
There was at home one sacred, little spot,
The tears she shed refresh'd them like the dew,
Those thoughts she loved to cherish, though they sent
Lean'd on it as it were a mother's breast-
It was possess'd- as if that stone had breathi,
The buried started forth again to glow;
And every tree of dark and mournful hue
The deeply rooted trees and shrubs among:
Amidst whose leaves the wind its plaintive murmurs flung.
Romantic bosoms soonest feel the power
Survives, to flourish when the storm is past;
The widest ocean rolls the vastest waves-
On all it shows; whether with rapture fraught,
The volume contains a Poem on Electricity. “However ynpoetical the theme may sound,” the poet observes," he believes that there is more poetry in science, than most people are aware of.”. We believe him, and are happy in being able to illustrate his remark by the following extract from the same poem, which so forcibly describes the direness of the death by lightning :
And, oh! has fate a death so dread--so dire !
Pride shall have a Fall; a Comedy, in Five Acts, with Songsi
&c. &c. &c. First performed at the Theatre Royal Covent
Hurst, Robinson, and Co. The golden age of the British Drama has long since past away; the period of its existence was short, but its brilliancy compensated for its brevity. The writers who adorned it take their place among the classics of the English language, and, wherever sound taste and good feeling shall prevail, will be studied with delight, and regarded almost with reverence.
The reigns of Elizabeth and of the two first Princes of the House of Stuart were eminently fertile in the production of genius of almost every kind; and, while Bacon was introducing mankind into the magnificent temple of philosophic truth, every division of the garden of poesy was cultivated by men, upon whom Nature had stamped the impress of intellectual power, and for whom Learning had opened all her resources. But, amidst this blaze of mental splendour, the drama is surrounded by such pre-eminent lustre, as almost to cast into the shade every other branch of literature. In an age of intellectual giants, the dramatists challenge the highest place. Next to the political institutions of his country, if there be one thing of which an Englishman should feel proud, it is of its early dramatic literature. In nature, in vigour, in beauty, in originality, no other nation, of modern times at least, can boast of any thing comparable with it. The humour of Jonson, the wit and poetry of Beaumont and Fletcher, the eloquence of Massinger, the pathos of Ford ---and the union of all these, with ten thousand other excellencies, in SHAKSPEARE,
-exhibit a constellation of dramatic genius of unrivalled brilliancy and grandeur. Round these great lights of the drama revolve a host of minor luminaries, each of whom in later times would have been a sun ; but, overpowered by the superior splendour of their; cotemporaries, their works are disregarded, and their names almost, unknown
A cry has been raised by some fastidious critics against the immorality of these writers; nothing was ever more unjust, and the charge evinces a total want of discrimination in those who make it. That in the works of our early dramatists we meet with language which to modern ears is coarse and indelicate, cannot be denied; but such language was not then regarded as criminal, or even indecorous. Innumerable instances of its use might be produced from writers far more grave than
Beaumont or Massinger, and whose morality, and even piety, have never been questioned. It may perhaps fairly admit of doubt, whether, as we have advanced in refinement, we have made a proportionate improvement in virtue ; whether the fact be that there is now less vice than in former days, or that it is only more carefully concealed. At any rate it is most unjust to try men by a standard of propriety which in their day did not exist, and to condemn them for inattention to forms of decorum, of which they never heard. But the injustice of the charge, and the ignorance of those who bring it, are apparent, from the manner in which it is supported. These writers are accused of immorality, but they are convicted of coarseness of language. Now, these are two very different things; a book may be extremely coarse, the moral tendency of which is good; and, on the contrary, a work may be so correct in point of Janguage, as to satisfy the most scrupulous delicacy, while it undermines the foundations of moral obligation, and invests vice with the garb of virtue. Of the former kind are the works of the elder writers of England; of the latter, too many of the productions of France and Germany. It is strange that this shrinking delicacy seems not to regard actions, but only words ; that those who shudder at the coarseness of Othello, can heave the sigh of sentimental sympathy with Mrs. Haller; and it is somewhat remarkable, that the same age which has given us a Shakspeare," has introduced the tales of Marmontel as a school-book for the edification of youth.
Our early dramatists never sought to confound the distinction of right and wrong, and to persuade us that they differ but in name. They never inculcated that our notions of virtue and vice are altogeter conventional, and have no foundation in reason or nature. They never endeavoured to excite a sickly sensibility in favour of guilt, nor to render vice agreeable, by casting over its odious features a veil of flimsy sentiment. No one will arise from the perusal of these works a worse man than he sate down to them, and it must be his? own fault if he be not improved by his study. An eloquent modern writer has pointed out the moral excellence of these authors, in language which we cannot refrain from quoting. "One conspicuous feature in the productions of Jonson, of Fletcher, and many of the most eminent poets of this age, is the fervent strain in which they deliver themselves coneerning purity, moral elevation, and virtue. Fletcher occasionally is: wanton, and Jonson is coarse, this was the vice of their
age. But they were men of sound and erect ithinking, they were entirely strangers to that heart-withering scepticism which I have so often heard reverend grey-beards enforce in a later