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His kingdoms; for where light is there is right.
So thinks the sovereign head, whose messenger
So please you-I myself will be your guide,
And truly guests will not be wanting there-
We shall give the Fifth Act, which takes place in Rome, almost entire. The first scene is a conversation between Lucretia, the Duchess of Mantua, and her sister Leonora, who, by the permission of Alfonso, had been allowed
to be present at the coronation of her former lover. It is comparatively unimportant to the progress of the play. The scene then changes to the Convent of St Onofrio, where Tasso had taken up his residence.
St Onofrio in Rome. A Balcony, from which a Colonnade leads.
Tas. (at the window.) How rich the scene before the eye. There lies The silent convent garden at my feet,
With all its rosy-blooming oleanders,
And walks of dusky-shaded cypresses;
There stands the oak where I have often rested,
And close beside the noiseless churchyard spreads,
Beyond the walls the distant city rises
With thousand towers, and domes, and palaces,
That for the churchyard's peace I rather long
Princes, and lords, and dames in garbs of splendour,
Unto the Capitol. This is the day
That wakes my Tasso to a second life.
Tas. It is, indeed: Not for this outward glitter
Not for the laurel wreath that binds my brow-
I enter to the lofty Capitol :
It is not these-with these I could dispense;
'Tis that I stand here as a worthy man!
That this acclaim bears witness that my labour
Has not been vain; that God who gave the pleasure
In poetry's creations, gave the power;
That for the pain one being laid upon me
Prince as he was-THE WORLD atonement makes
That I shall not descend to after times
As a chained maniac; that posterity
Shall see the poet's picture undistorted ;-
Grows green, and blooms again. All I have suffer'd
Ang. Yes, Tasso ! yes-I feel as much as you,
Life's goal is gain'd, and come what may hereafter,
Tas. It is no fond conceit that poets fable,
Ang. O speak those words again: it is too sweet
Tas. Now listen, girl, for something I could say,
Earth will not hold you long. When once my spirit
That youth diffuses on thy face of spring:
Theirs is a deeper glow-the glow of death!
Ang. My Tasso! you have said-I follow soon.
Tas. And now enough. No pining, no impatience
-Let me go first. When once the fruit is ripe,
In God's good time, by its own weight, it falls.
Luc. Tasso, some friends of old are come to greet you.
Tas. Ha! what? You, princess-and your highness too
You here in Rome! How shall I thank you for it?
Too much of happiness for one short day.
Leon. We stood so near, and saw your merit's growth;
Could we be absent when such worth was crown'd?
Luc. In Italy you have but wellwishers
And friends-your enemies have disappear'd.
Leon. What joy, beloved friend, it brings to me,
That the world knows you now as I have known.
I'll bear it with tranquillity. For you
That peace which came so late, but came at last,
Tas. You wish me rest, and yet would have me live.
So long as I inhale the breath of earth
My element is conflict; and the flames
That smoulder here, though hills should stifle them,
Leon. This is a gentle hour, which, after long
Let us enjoy it calm and undisturb'd;
A sea that scarce has sunk into a calm,
No! like the diver
Tas. The smiling future that I long for, lies
O peace! enough of this-'twas but a dream.
Tas. No dream; it was the plenitude of life :
But found an answering echo in thy heart.
I lived as blessed deities live on,
Within those haunts where storms are never heard,
And everlasting sunshine lights the sky!
What happen'd then-what lot was mine thereafter-
And now I stand beside you as I did
Of old; and feel it is for the last time.
Yes, Leonora-yes, our parting's near!
Reach me your hand, reach me your hand again,
And for a token
That ancient faith no time can alter that
I trust in you for ever, and for ever
I place this treasure in your cherish'd hand,
A rich and precious legacy of mine,
Well worthy to be cherish'd in your bosom→→
Tasso, what means this?
Tas. Receive this heart, and, when I am no more,
Preserve and value it on my account.
She will love you, even as she loved myself.
NO. CCLXXXVIII, VOL, XLVI.
Luc. O Tasso! what is this? Heavens! what has happen'd,
Luc. Oh, listen!-what an uproar !
Ang. The bells are knelling loud from every tower-
Leon. The hour is come. Here comes Aldobrandini.
[The sound of bells is heard, and from time to time cannon shots in the distance.
Ald. Pardon me, princess, that I must withdraw
The hour has struck, the guests are all assembled,
Where you are stay'd for, to conduct our Tasso,
Luc. We are prepared to go.
You, too, my friend?
Come, then, and let the moment of our joy
No longer be delay'd. Let us be gone.
Tas. Now, then, proceed! I was prepared to drop
By few beloved, by few bewail'd-to lay
My wearied head unto its latest sleep!
But from the very churchyard comes the dance
Of giddy life to meet me! It returns,
And lures me onward with its richest treasures,
And I obey. It is his hand that brings
These changes-life, and death, and grief, and glory;
With light, that cheers and dissipates the gloom.
[Exeunt through the colonnade.
Ang. What feeling's this? my senses sure deceive me
I never saw him thus. That glance of his
Was not his glance-it was another fire
That sparkied from within; and all his features
(Shrieks.) Woe is me!
O God! He sinks! They throng around him! Hence
O he is dead!
[She rushes out through the colonnade. [Louder cries are heard without of" Long live Tasso," accompanied by the music, the sound of the bells, and the cannon beyond the scene.
A large Hall, filled with Ladies and Nobles richly attired. Musicians, Pages, (one of whom holds a Laurel Garland on a satin cushion.) Halberdiers in the background.
In front, Tasso dead on a couch. At his feet, ANGIOLETTA kneeling, CORNELIA and the Princesses standing round him. Behind, MONTECATINO and other Strangers. In the extreme front, ALDOBRANDINI.
Ald. Yes, he has finish'd. Let the triumph cease-
In mournful measures let the music wail-
This trying day of joy was all too much :
The knolling bell invites him now; his God
He had not reach'd those lofty halls, wherein
Leon. With rich reward the poet lays him down! In life a Prison, and in death-a Crown!
[The curtain falls.
ON THE FEIGNED MADNESS OF HAMLET.
Ir it be allowable to entertain towards any writer that partial and affectionate admiration, which, if it does not altogether deny, yet refuses to take cognisance, of any blemish or defect-that writer is Shakspeare. From verbal criticism he seems to enjoy an immunity. His faults of style are so obvious, and of a kind so little likely to obtain imitators in the present age, that there appears to be no necessity for dwelling on them. Having once admitted that he has a hasty, headstrong way of entangling a plain meaning in abstruse and elliptical expressions, of huddling and crushing together all kinds of metaphors, with no sort of respect for their delicate fabric; and that he has an obstinate habit of sporting in the strongest conjunctures with riddling conceits-having once settled and allowed all this, which dulness itself could discover, and dulness is least likely to forgive-we care not to have it repeated, but pass on to that endless fund of every species of poetic enjoyment which his works afford. Criticism, moreover, is disarmed by the intimate persuasion we feel, that, in the dramas of Shakspeare, there are many things not his, and which never came there by any legitimate process of authorship. His plays, unpublished and unprinted, were lying for some time amidst others, the property of a theatre; and from this agitated mass they seem to have acquired a certain alluvial deposit, which the detergent care of the critic can never entirely remove. The players and the playwright have made sad com
mixtures and confusion amongst them. Who can read the play of Julius Cæsar without a conviction that the character of Cæsar has received damage at the hands of these gentry? It is out of nature that the same man who drew Cassius and Brutus, and gave to Mark Antony an eloquence surpassing any the Roman forum ever echoed with, should have set down in the same play that pompous and starched puppet, that rodomontade figure, which stalks through it under the name of Julius Cæsar. This portrait of the Dictator, if it were at all like the original, would decide for ever the famous question of the propriety of his assassination. Such a Cæsar assuredly deserved extermination, but hardly by the hand of the noble Brutus. Besides which, some few of Shakspeare's plays were themselves adaptations of oid pieces, belonging, like its wardrobe to the theatre for which he was engaged to write, and which, by additions of his own, and touches throughout of his pencil, he seems to have fitted for reproduction. Such is the conjectural account given of Pericles, Titus Andronicus, and some others; and this account, we think, might be extended to some plays of a still higher order than these. There is one which abounds in passages of poetic beauty, which nevertheless, if we might venture to deal in such conjectures, we should pronounce to have been fashioned on the stock or framework of some older piece. In Troilus and Cressida we see remnants, if we are not mistaken, of some previous work.